What Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Bipan Chandra and others have done since forty years, is to deny historical facts, in particular, the Hindu genocide since the Hindu Kush. These need to be ropily documented now as I explain below:
The massacre of 6 million Jews by Hitler and the persecution that Jews suffered all over the world in the last 15 centuries has been meticulously recorded after 1945 and has been enshrined not only in history books but also in Holocaust museums, the most famous one being in Washington DC. It has not been done with a spirit of revenge: look at Israel and Germany today, they are in the best of terms; yet, the facts are facts and contemporary Germany has come to terms with its terrible actions during Second World War.
Hindus have suffered also a terrible Holocaust, probably without parallel in human history. Take the Hindu Kush for instance, probably one of the biggest genocides of Hindus. There is practically no serious research ever done about it and no mention in history books. The Hindu Kush is a mountain system nearly 1000 miles long and 200 miles wide, running northeast to southwest and dividing the Amu Darya River Valley and the Indus River Valley. The Hindu Kush has over two dozen summits of more than 23,000 ft in height and historically its passes, particularly the Khyber Pass, have been of great military significance, for they provide access to the northern plains of India. Most foreign invaders have used the Khyber Pass: Alexander the Great in 327 BC, Mahmud of Ghazni, in 1001 AD, Timur Lane in 1398 AD, or Nader Shah in 1739 AD.
Yet, in the first millennium before Christ, two major Hindu kingdoms, those of Gandhaar (Kandahar) and Vaahic Pradesh (Balkh of Bactria) had their borders extending far beyond the Hindu Kush. The kingdom of Gandhaar, for instance, was established by Taksha, grandson of Bharat of Ayodhya and its borders went from Takshashila (Taxila) to Tashkent ( the corruption of ‘Taksha Khand’) in the present day Uzbekistan. In the later period, the Mahabharat, one of India’s greatest epics speaks of Gaandhaari as a princess of Gandhaar and her brother, Shakuni as a prince and later as Gandhaar’s ruler (the last Hindu Shahiya king of Kabul, Bhimapal was killed in 1026 AD). Then came in the 3rd century B.C. Buddhist emperor Kanishka, whose empire stretched from Mathura to the Aral Sea (beyond the present day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Krygzystan) and under his influence Buddhism flourished in Gandhaar. The two giant Buddha sand stones carved into the cliffs of Bamian, which have been destroyed by the Taliban, date from the Kanishka period.
In Persian, the word ‘Kush’ is derived from the verb Kushtar – to slaughter or carnage. Encyclopaedia Americana says of Hindu Kush: The name means literally ‘Kills the Hindu’, a reminder of the days when Hindu slaves from Indian subcontinent died in harsh Afghan mountains while being transported to Moslem courts of Central Asia. Encyclopaedia Britannica for its part mentions “that the name Hindu Kush first appears in 1333 AD in the writings of Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, who said the name meant ‘Hindu Killer’, a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers. Unlike the Jewish holocaust, the exact toll of the Hindu genocide suggested by the name Hindu Kush is not available. “However, writes Hindu Kush specialist Srinandan Vyas, the number is easily likely to be in millions”.
A few known historical figures can be used to justify this estimate. Encyclopedia Britannica recalls that in December 1398 AD, Timur Lane ordered the execution of at least 50,000 captives before the battle for Delhi; likewise, the number of captives butchered by Timur Lane’s army was about 100,000. Encyclopaedia Britannica again mentions that Mughal emperor Akbar ‘ordered the massacre of about 30,000 captured Rajput Hindus on February 24, 1568, AD, after the battle for Chitod, a number confirmed by Abul Fazl, Akbar’s court historian. Afghan historian Khondamir notes that during one of the many repeated invasions on the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, which used to be part of the Hindu Shahiya kingdoms “1,500,000 residents perished”. “Thus, writes Vyas, it is evident that the mountain range was named as the Hindu Kush as a reminder to the future Hindu generations of the slaughter and slavery of Hindus during the Moslem conquests”.
Since some of the Moslem conquerors took Indian plainsmen as slaves, a question arises: whatever happened to this slave population? The startling answer comes from New York Times (May-June 1993 issues). The Gypsies, who used to be wandering peoples in Central Asia and Europe since around the 12th Century, have been persecuted in almost every country (the Nazis killed 300,000 gypsies in gas chambers). Until now their country of origin could not be identified, as their language has very little in common with the other European languages. Recent studies however show that their language is similar to Punjabi and to a lesser degree to Sanskrit. Thus the Gypsies probably originated from the greater Punjab. The time frame of Gypsy wanderings also coincides with early Islamic conquests; hence most likely their ancestors were driven out of their homes in Punjab and taken as slaves over the Hindu Kush.
Why does not the Government of India tell Indian children about the Hindu Kush genocide? The horrors of the Jewish holocaust are taught not only in schools in Israel and USA, but also in Germany, because both Germany and Israel consider the Jewish holocaust a ‘dark chapter’ in the history. Yet, in 1982, the National Council of Educational Research and Training issued a directive for the rewriting of school texts. Among other things it stipulated that: ‘Characterization of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Moslems is forbidden’. Thus denial of history, or Negationism, has become India’s official ‘educational’ policy. Fortunately, the present Government of India ill soon initiate, it is hoped, a rewriting of History school books, although this policy will surely come under attack as “a dangerous saffronization” of history.
This is why Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), which I started, has opened the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History in Pune, which shows Indian History as it HAPPENED, not as it has been written. It records not only the genocide of Hindus at the hands of Muslim invaders, but also the terrible persecutions by the Portuguese (also hardly mentioned in Indian History books). We also included the British – nobody knows that 20 million Indians died of famine between 1815 and 1920, a genocide, as the English broke the agricultural backbone of India to get raw materials which they needed, cotton, jute etc. the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits etc.without speaking of the plunder of India by them.
Please tell your friends in Pune and Mumbai to come and visit this Museum, it’s 12 minutes from the Pune airport, past the Air Force base, past Lohegaon village, 300 meters on the right after the Marathwada College of Engineering.
Courtesy: Francois Gautier