India'sHindu civilisational identity is in grave peril. After being a civilisation in retreat for more than one thousand years, we have become a civilisation under siege. Barely 1,200 years ago Afghanistan and today'sPakistan were part of the great Hindu civilisation which extended from Bactria, Afghanistan, Gilgit in Kashmir, Seistan in Iran and Sindh to Indonesia. Ever since the defeat of Afghanistan'sHindu King Jaypal Shahiya in 980 AD by Sabuktagin, the Hindu civilisation has been in retreat, while Islam has been in fast forward mode. When Hsuan-Tsang visited the capital of Shahiya rulers, Kapisa (located 60 kms north of the present city of Kabul) in seventh century, the ruler of Afghanistan (then known as Upganisthan) was the Kshatriya king, Shahi Khingala.
After the defeat of Jaypal Shahiya, the Hindu ruler of Kabul, in 980 A.D. by Sabukatgin, and subsequent defeat of his son Anandpal Shahiya in the battle of Chach at the hands of Mahmud Ghazanvi, the fortunes of Hindus of the sub-continent went into tailspin. Soon they were pushed to the margin of history and were driven into an irretrievable retreat mode. And for the next one thousand years every geopolitical transformation in the sub-continent has been a change for the worse for Hindus!
The Shahiya rulers of Afghanistan were traditional warriors and traced heir descent from king Janamejaya of Mahabharata fame, as mentioned by Cunningham in his famous tome, Coins of Medieval India. They were also known as Janjua Rajputs. The Shahiya kingdom extended from Herat in the present Afghanistan to Haridwar and beyond. Kalhan, the well known historian of Kashmir, has written that, ?To this day, the appellation Shahi throws its lustre on a numberless host of Kshatriya abroad who trace origin to that family.? One of the Galgit Manuscripts reveals the name of a Shahi king Srideva Sahi Surendra Vikramaditya Nanda. The valour of Shahiya rulers was legendry and was acknowledged even by their Muslim adversaries. The great grandson of Jaypal Shahiya, Prince Bhimpala, son of Trilochanpala, was referred to by the Muslim historian Utbi, as ?Bhim, the Fearless?. He personally led the Hindu army in the battle of Nandana and seriously wounded Muhammad bin Ibrahim, commander of the invading Ghazanavi army. He ruled only for five years and died in 1026. Bhimpala was the last Hindu ruler of the illustrious Shahiya family.
Skipping the gory period of Islamic rule over Hindusthan, we notice how Partition of the country in 1947 led to gruesome manslaughter of lakhs of Hindus and Sikhs. It led to ignominious ethnic cleansing of Hindus from West Punjab. In that biggest and the fastest mass migration of human beings recorded in the history of mankind, on a rough count nearly 72,49,000 Hindus and Sikhs migrated from West Pakistan to India. Millions of helpless Hindus and Sikhs, mostly the poor and the indigent, left behind in the remote areas, were either killed or forced to convert to Islam. The massive killings and ethnic cleansing of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan is reflected in the steep decline in the percentage of Hindus and Sikhs from nearly 24 per cent before Partition to nearabout one per cent now.
Within a few decades after that there was a mammoth retreat of Hindus from their ancient homeland in north-western India, Muslims staged an equally sordid ethnic cleansing of Hindus from East Pakistan, now called Bangladesh. The same old story of barbaric killings and persecution was repeated in the wake of the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Though the oppressed Bangladeshi Muslims were rescued from the clutches of Pakistani overlords largely through the blood, sweat and valour of Indian army, that good deed was forgotten by the ungrateful Bangladeshi Muslims who started writing another shameful chapter of unremitting atrocities on Hindus and Buddhist forcing them to abandon their ancient hearths and homes. The population figures speak loudly and clearly about extensive ethic cleansing. The percentage of Hindus which constituted nearly 29 per cent of that country'spopulation before Partition has now plummeted to less than 8 per cent.
(To be concluded)