Kashmir is a place wrapped up in uncertainty where every person has their own version of history. History, above all, is no myth. It stands on tangible facts. Kashmiris have been rendered invisible by the Indian state and unreliable as far as their history is concerned. The right-wing historical narrative dominates the Indian thought. Kashmir was the Hindu Kingdom and thus belongs to India even though Kashmiris are culturally distinct from both Pakistan and India. Let’s answer this.
I shall go into the depth of this claim later but first of all, let’s see the truth in it. Over the decades, this is the claim that not just right-wingers but also Liberals of India have been spreading. However, there is little truth in it. In Buddhist Kashmir, Shah Fida Hasnain, a prominent Kashmiri historian explains the Buddhist roots of Kashmir. Buddhism is the only religion that has remained in Kashmir for more than two thousand years. Chronicles in Sri Lanka and hundreds of well-researched papers and books are self-evident to this. The last Buddhist Monastery was built by Sultan Zain-ul-Abideen at Bijbehara in the 15th century. The monastery though in ruins is self-evident that Buddhism must’ve survived until the 15th century.
In the 4th century, Kanishka the Buddhist king convened the world’s fourth Buddhist council in Kashmir. The place is now called Harwan. Known for its magnificent garden, the meeting at Harwan boosted the image of Kashmir among Buddhist nations and helped monks from Kashmir to reach out to other countries. The deliberate destruction of the Buddhist lineage is a well-calculated attempt to manipulate the history of Kashmir.
Who does Kashmir belong to? If right-wingers or anybody claims that Kashmir belongs to India because it has a Hindu Character that too for a small period of time ruled by Hindu Kings, then by that logic Cambodia, Haiti, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka should also belong to India. The absurdity lies in the claim. Even if we were to ignore the history and agree to the whataboutism, how does that make any sense?
No doubt there has been a period when Kashmir was ruled by Shavists – a doctrine of Hinduism completely different from one practiced in India – but if we were to prove the ownership by that, certainly Buddhist come first. History needs to be secluded from myth. Furthermore, irrespective of history, it is now what matters. Bangladesh would not exist if outsiders were to decide what natives want and what they do not. Whatever has been the history, right-to-self-determination is a human right and if ground situations and emotions change, one has every right to be and not to be.
Using religious cards may be the finest of tricks but history is devoid of myths and none can travel back in time and change the course of history. It’s may not appear appealing but it’s the truth.