Monday, 7 January 2013
From an Old Book, Some Passages of Description of Kashmir the Most Beautiful

From a geographical encyclopedia entitled 'Lands and Peoples', Vol IV, 'Southern Asia and the Far East' (originally published 1929; revised and updated, 1949, 1951).

'Kashmir in the Himalayas: the Loveliest State in India'.

'"We can get the best idea of Kashmir, which lies to the north of the sun-scorched Punjab, by thinking of it as three parallel strips lying north-west and south-east.  

"First comes the range of the Pir Panjal, the barrier that separates the happy valley, as the land has been called, from India;

"then the valley itself, the plain of Kashmir, which is called the nearest approach on earth to the Garden of Eden;

"and, last, the chain of sheltering hills which rise in tiers of extraordinary grandeur up to the mountain wall on the north.

"Kashmir has been likened to an emerald set in pearls, for the valley is always green, and during nine months of the year the inner circle of hills that rings it about is white.

"Further north lie the eternal snows.  Nanga Parbat, 26, 620 feet, is visible from certain points in the valley, and K2, or Mount Godwin-Austen, 28, 728 feet, the second highest mountain in the world, can be seen from a spot only a day's journey distant.

"The Pir Panjal, the southern wall, through the passes of which Kashmir is entered from the plains of India, is the most delightful playground of the Himalayas.  In it there are open spaces, where we can gallop over downs of short turf and through forest glades.  We can look down into the green valley over meadows dotted with clumps of birch, maple and pine, and as we walk along we crush the flowers which grow so thickly.

"But it is not the flowers alone that make the land so beautiful.  Nearly every mountain range in a temperate climate, given sufficient rain, is more or less a garden.  It is the position of the garden that gives the Pir Panjal its unusual beauty.  To say that it commands a wide view of the plains is to convey little.

"From most Indian hill stations or their neighbourhood one gets an extensive view of the plains.  But the plain on which we look down from Gulmarg, in the Pir Panjal, is a mountain plain, another garden under the rock garden, quite different from the sunburnt expanse of the plains of the Punjab.

"The green and golden valley of Kashmir is over eighty miles long and from twenty to twenty-five in breadth.  It lies at an elevation of some six thousand feet above the sea.

"In it are all the fruits of the earth, and there is no corner of it which is not beautiful.

"From the Pir Panjal the traveller does not look out over an endless stretch of country as he does from the southern slopes of the Himalayas.  

"The Vale of Kashmir owes most of its loveliness to the fact that it is not very large.  If a mist hid the lakes and mountain buttresses, it would still make a picture of unforgettable beauty and mystery.  But when the mist lifts and we can see all, we understand then why the valley with its encircling hills is famous as the most wonderful natural garden in the world...

"We might leave Kashmir without setting foot in the Pir Panjal and still think of it as the most delightful country in the world.

"The road from the railway, at Rawalpindi, in the Punjab, to Srinagar drops into the Jhelum Valley below Murree and follows the bank of the river, cut into the edge of the cliff, until it comes to Baramula under its cedar forest and enters the Vale of Kashmir.

:In the last few miles before Baramula, the torrent becomes a wide placid stream; the valley broadens out into rich cornfields and pastureland; walnut, willow and elm enfold snug villages.  At Baramula the Jhelum becomes navigable.

"Baramula is the gateway of Kashmir, and the visitor can leave the road and continue his journey to Srinagar, the City of the Sun, in a houseboat.  He will be poled and towed to the Wular Lakes and Mnasbal with their mountain background.

"Women and children crowd the balconies and river steps.  They wear a long garment in bright colours with loose, turned-up sleeves. The Kashmir women are pretty and the children are often beautiful, with regular features, fair complexion and large, bright black eyes.  Their hair is worn in long plaits..

"Srinagar lies between two hills.  On the top of the one to the north is the straggling yellow fort of Hari Parbat; that to the east is the Takht-i.-Suleimani, or "Throne of Solomon", rising a thousand feet above the plain.  The Dal Lake washes the bases of both hills, and both are reflected in its clear waters.  It is a spring-fed lake, and the water is as clear as crystal.  The surface, five miles in length and two and a half in breadth, is broken by belts of gigantic reeds, bulrushes, floating gardens and islands.

"There are gardens of cockscombs in the dry patches between the dykes, a rich warm glow of colour, and fields of bright marigolds, which the true Hindu plucks daily to strew on the altars of the god Siva.  At every turn in these creeks there is a new glimpse of the hills.

"The Nishat, Shalimar and Nasim gardens, on the shores of the lake, were made by the Moguls (that is, I would bet, they were designed and made and maintained by Hindu slaves working for the Moguls - CM) who were the rulers of India for over two hundred years.

The first Mogul ruler in India was one Babur, though Kashmir's first Muslim ruler seized power for himself - and for Islam, and Muslims - in the 14th century, by a process of infiltration and subversion.  One can get an idea of what the first Mogul, Babur was like, and the process of assiduous butchery by which the Mogul rulers achieved dominance, by picking up Andrew Bostom's anthology, 'The Legacy of Jihad', and turning to pages 651-653 to read some blood-curdling excerpts - including casual references to the building of piles of heads of butchered Hindu soldiers - from 'The Jihad Campaigns of Babur', A S Beveridge's 1975 translation of the 'Babur-Nama'. - CM

"The Nasim, or garden of breezes, is famous for its chenars, or plane trees, planted by the Mogul emperor Akbar in the 16th century.  All these gardens are built on the same plan.  A spring-fed canal runs down the centre, dropping from terrace to terrace by a series of cascades into reservoirs in which fountains play.  The walls of the canal are of marble or old limestone, and have niches for lights, which glisten on nights of festival behind the falling water.

"The Nishat garden is finer than the Shalimar.  Its terraces slope down from the steep rocks behind it to the green shores of the lake, so that the last pavilion, covered with roses and jasmine, overlooks a bed of lotuses.  The Pir Panjal, twenty miles beyond the opposite shore, forms the southern screen.

"From Bandipur on the Wular Lake, we may climb the zigzag path to Tragbal over the Burzil and Kamri passes to Gilgit and the Pamirs.

"Ten days out of Srinagar, camp can be ptiched under the Tarshing Glacier at the foot of Nangar Parbat. 

"Or a visit may be paid to the cave of Amarnath, the natural temple of Siva under the snow.

"According to Hindu mythology, Siva is a god who forms the supreme Trinity with Brahma and Vishnu.  Siva is the destroyer of this life or the re-creator of a new form of life.

"On leaving the houseboat at Ganderbal, after seven days' march one crosses Zoji-la, which is 11,300 feet high, the lowest pass in the northern wall, and is well on the road to Leh in Ladakh, a province of Kashmir which makes an ideal contrast to the barrenness left behind.  Some of the pleasantest haunts of the side valleys may be reached in a morning's walk from the houseboat.

"Islamabad, at the eastern end of the valley, where the Jhelum ceases to be navigable, is a favourite camping ground.  Within a circle of a few miles lie the blue springs of Bawan, the Mogul Garden of Achibal, the rock caves of Bomtzu, the monastery of Eishmakam, and Martand, the ruined Temple of the Sun.

"The valley is strewn with ancient temples.  Martand is believed to date from about the eighth century AD, during the period of early Hindu civilization in Kashmir.  The ruins are of a bluish-gray stone with a tinge of pink.

The article is accompanied by many wonderful old photographs, some 'colourised', some in black and white; there is a black and white photograph of Martand, captioned 'What Remains of the Once Great Temple of Martand' and underneath there is this account of it: "The ruins of the temple of Martand, once the largest in Kashmir, stand on a bleak plateau five miles from Islamabad.  The temple was built in a mixture of Indian and Classical Greek styles, and is, therefore, a typical example of ancient Kashmiri architecture.  It was largely destroyed by Sikander, who ruled Kashmir at the end of the fourteenth century". In other words, in the typical Mohammedan way, this 'Sikander' systematically smashed the biggest temple in the valley. - CM

"The temple stands on one of the flat ridges peculiar to the plain.  In the valley on either side a river appears and disappears among villages set in poplar clumps and groves of walnut and willow and one can look down on a well-irrigated plateau, where fields of purple amaranth and the green and chocolate coloured rice crops stretch away to the yellow hills.

"The glittering waters run underneath the road, feeding the rice fields and turning little mills.  Such is the valley in spring.

"In summer, Dal Lake is ablaze with tall pink lotuses, acres of them...

"By October, the air is nipping, and orchards of apples, quinces and cherries are reflected in the lake...".

"...the once famous Cashmere shawls are made from the wool found beneath the hair of the Kashmir goats.  Some of these shawls...have an embroidered border.  This kind of needlework is a specialty of the region around Srinagar.

"Both industry and agriculture are on a small scale.  Most of the Kashmir own or rent tiny farms on which they raise rice, wheat and other cereals for their own use.  Some fruit is grown for export and canning.  The chief industry is sericulture - raising silkworms - which dates back to the fifteenth century. Wool and silk are spun and woven at home.

"Srinagar is a centre for woodcarving, carpet weaving, silver and copper articles and papier mache as well as the embroidery mentioned above...

""The Banihal cart road, about two hundred miles long, connects Srinagar, which is the summer capital, with Jammu, the winter capital.

"Kashmir was once part of the Mogul Empire, and in the late 1700s it came under the rule of Afghans.  In 1846 the former state of Jammu and Kashmir was created when a Jammu chieftain, Gulab Singh, a Hindu, acquired the Vale of Kashmir.  The dynasty founded by Gulab was a benevolent one, and the people gained a measure of freedom. Nevertheless, as a large majority of the Kashmiri are Mohammedans (I observe that even this Old Book does not inquire too deeply into how they came to be Mohammedans, nor spend much time on the pre-Islamic history of Kashmir nor the bloody process of conquest by which Muslims entered and took it over and reduced its Hindus and Buddhists to a minority - CM)  they have never been altogether happy under Hindu maharajas.

Of course not.  No matter how decent and orderly the non-Muslim entity within which they may settle themselves or under whose rule they may come, Muslims are never happy in any situation where they are ruled by Infidels, or where Infidels are their social, political and civil equals; for "Islam is to dominate, and not be dominated", as Hassan al -Banna, founder of the Ikhwan, or Muslim Brotherhood, once wrote. - CM

"Discontent became more vocal during the 1920s and 1930s.  One popular demand at that time was for a goverment by legislature rather than by royal decree.

"Thus Kashmir with a Hindu ruling house and a Mohammedan people (reality check: in 1900 there were, for example, one million Hindu Pandits living in the Valley, and though most of them have been driven out by the Muslims since the 1940s, in 2001 Hindus still comprised some 32 percent of the population, dropping further to 29 percent by 2010. - CM) became a disputed area in August 1947 when the subcontinent was divided, largely along religious lines, and the two new countries of Pakistan and India were created.  

"The Maharaja was free to join Kashmir with either country. At first he hesitated, but in October 1947, as armed tribesmen (armed Muslim jihadists - CM) poured into Kashmir from Pakistan, he hastily acceded his state to India.

Sensible man.  Thus ensuring that at least Kashmir had some kind of a chance of not being dragged down into the same dismal sharia hellpit into which Pakistan has been steadily descending since 1947. - CM

"Immediately the Indian Army took over the defense of Kashmir and troops were flown in.

"India placed the dispute before the United Nations in January 1948, but all during that year Kashmir was the scene of bitter strife between Indian and Pakistani divisions.

That is: during that year Kashmir was a theatre of full-on Muslim Jihad, aimed at gaining still more 'turf' for the insatiable Ummah. - CM

"In January 1949, a United Nations commission finally succeeded in bringing the undeclared war to a halt.

"Since then a number of efforts have been made to get India and Pakistan to agree on conditions whereby the people themselves could decide their own fate by popular vote..".

Unfortunately, since the Mohammedans have outbred - and systematically driven out - many of the non-Muslims, thus achieving a majority, a simple vote would see Kashmir, loveliest state of India, with its many very ancient  Hindu and Buddhist shrines (not all of which the Muslims even over a period of centuries have entirely managed to erase), engulfed by the black cloud of Islam.  And so the stand-off described in that paragraph from 1951, punctuated by periods of open warfare whenever Muslim Pakistan thinks itself strong enough to have another go at simply taking what it desires, continues.

I cannot reproduce, here, the many pictures which illustrated this account.  The captions are a story in themselves: for example, under a picture of 'a street corner in Islamabad, once the capital of Kashmir', we learn that "Islamabad...was once known as Anant Nag, after its sulphurous holy reservoir, which still contains swarms of sacred fish...".  Another photograph shows us 'a mile long wall near Leh [in Ladakh, which has since been seized and divided up by Pakistan and China], built as an act of worship', with the explanation, "The lamas, or Buddhist priests, believe that the righteous can worship Buddha constantly by means of certain devices.  Here is a wall carved with repeated invocations to Buddha.  This wall is one of many relics of ancient Buddhist worship that have been found throughout Asia from Ceylon to Chinese Turkestan, from Afghanistan to Korea and Japan."

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Posted on 01/07/2013 12:48 AM by Christina McIntosh
7 Jan 2013
CHristina McIntosh

 Post scriptum.  Re. the demographics.  I would appreciate input.  

I have operated on the working assumption that a/ regions under Muslim rule and/ or formally or informally invaded by Muslims tend to lose their original non-Muslim populations over time (both by 'conversion' under varying degrees of subtle and not-so-subtle coercion, and because many of the non-Muslims are killed off whether gradually or in bursts, and many of them flee) but that also b/ Muslims tend to inflate their population figures for political purposes.  

So when I challenged the sweeping statement made in the article I reproduced, that Kashmir had 'a Mohammed people', I  assumed both that non-Muslims have been steadily reduced in numbers in Kashmir since Muslims first took over in the 14th century but that there were still probably more of them, as a percentage of the population in 1900, in 1947...and for that matter, that there still may be more today, than Muslim partisans, and anyone relying on Muslim sources, might claim.  I tried to cross-check but not knowing whether the sources for population figures in Kashmir at various times, but esp from 1900 to the present day, were Muslim or non-Muslim (except for the old British censuses) and how accurate they were or could be,  I advise people to treat anything I've said about demographics, above, with circumspection.  If you know of good published and/ or online sources, especially old ones, that could reasonably be regarded as non-partisan and stand a chance of being uninfluenced by Mohammedan nonsense and lies, please  share.

The wikipedia entry on Kashmir is not without interest.  I suspect it of having been modified by pro-Muslim editors, as all such articles about areas of interest to Mohammedans tend to be, but nevertheless, there is some good stuff in it about Kashmir's deep and very rich Hindu - and Buddhist - past.  The valley was apparently a seat of both Sanskrit and Buddhist learning.

The Sikander who smashed the Indo-Grecian Temple of the Sun, was a full-on sharia-pushing Muslim: it is said that he 'persecuted the Hindus and issued orders proscribing the residence of any other than Muslims in Kashmir' (this may mean, that the Hindus were pushed out of the good, fertile land in the valley proper).

The article I reproduced, from 'Lands and Peoples', calls Gulab Singh a Hindu but he was in fact - as his surname indicates - a Sikh.  It appears that it was Sikhs who between 1780 and the 1820s or 1830s managed to wrest Kashmir and associated regions (first Jammu, then the valley, then finally Ladakh and Baltistan) from the clutches of the Ummah, placing it once more under non-Muslim rule, though much of its population had by that time been Islamised by the usual Muslim methods.

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