His Story

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hindu Kush

I am sure that all of us would have heard or read about this term in our schools. School textbooks tell us that it is 500 mile long mountain range, stretching between central Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan, and is barrier between the pass linking Iran and Afghanistan.

But that's geography. Ancient Hindu literature s, from the time of the Maurya Empire, refer to the mountain range as "Pariyatra Parvata", whereas the ancient Iranians named it as "upari saena" or "kof-i aparsen" (mountains that rise higher than birds can fly). The Greeks, during the time of the invasion of Alexander had encountered this mountain and named it as "Paropanisadae". Documents, and inscriptions surviving from the period of Chandragupta's conquest of this area never refer to this area as Hindu Kush. How did it came to be known as Hindu Kush?

An answer can be found in Ibn Batuta's travel memoirs dating back to 13th century, just a few centuries after the Islamic invaders first attacked the Indian subcontinent. Ibn Batuta was a scholar from Morocco, and travelled to many countries,in Asia and Africa during his lifetime, and recorded his observations and memoirs.

"Another reason for our halt was fear of the snow, for on the road there is a mountain called Hindukush, which means "Slayer of Indians," because the slave boys and girls who are brought from India die there in large numbers as a result of the extreme cold and the great quantity of snow. The passage extends for a whole day march. We stayed until the warm weather had definitely set in, and cross this mountain by a continuous march from before dawn to sunset"

Ref. - Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354

Batuta's travel memoirs clearly allude the naming of the mountain ranges to the death of slaves, who were natives of India. These slaves were either the captured soldiers, or (unfortunately) the inhabitants of forts or cities which these invaders raided with impunity and without any mercy. The code of conduct followed by ancient Indian rulers strictly forbid disturbing the non-combatant population or hamlets during the time of battles and warfare. As a result, sub continental India was actually little affected by wars and battles between different princes - until the Islamic invasions happened - which changed everything.

Current history textbooks, do not mention these events or even talk about them, for they have been written by "scholars" who have omitted such details for no obvious reasons. But to negate history as it is happened, and consequently misrepresenting it is a greater crime, for it does not allow us to see our own history in light and learn from it. Unfortunately, history textbooks in India are full of such glaring omissions and intended additions. For example, we learn about the evils of caste ism and communal ism, but do we ever read the evils of communism and Islamic fanticism? Did we read about the atrocities which were committed by the Islamic sultans during the course of their campaigns to bring Indian population to subjection? Do we read about the horrors inflicted by the Portuguese on the Hindu residents of Goa during the Inquisition, and their consequent forced conversion to Christianity? Do we read about the atrocities committed against the Hindus by Aurangzeb, who brought untold miseries to them by his policies? We read about Akbar the Great, but how many of us have heard about Devaraya, Prithiviraj Chauhan, Harsha, Rajaraja, Pulkeshi, Krishnadevaraya or Rana Pratap? Communist interpretations of India's history has erased these heroic bearings of these great kings, and brought ruthless conquerors as "saints". Perverse, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Just jumped ur blog from deeshaa.org
    Nice one you have and I didn't know who actually wrote about Hindku Kush - so it was Ibn Batuta.
    Thanks for the info.