History of India – by MS. Gowalker Part-2
But, a House Divided
However, by about that time, a set-back in our national solidarity was gradually creeping in. During the long peace which succeeded the great battle of Mahabharata the whole nation was lulled by a sense of security into a sort of stupor. The cohesive impulse, which results from an awareness of impending common danger, having ceased to function for centuries, a gradual though imperceptible falling away from a living consciousness of one nation resulted in creating little independent principalities and weakened the nation. Kingship became the object of the people’s loyalty and supplanted the national concept. Mutual jealousy and rivalry between the various kingdoms poisoned their relations, thus making our nation a house divided against itself. Kings were drunk with their own personal glory and prestige and lost the power to discriminate between the friend and the foe. We forgot even the first lessons of national defense that the enemy who plundered a part of our land would one day plunder the whole of it and that national freedom is indivisible. We also forgot that the result would be disastrous to one and all, that things dear and sacred to us, all our pelf and prosperity would be razed to dust. Thus the enemies who trembled at our might before, came here as ‘honored guests’ later, and became the conquerors and rulers.
The painful story of how our country fell before the Muslim invasion is before us. Within a century of the death of their Prophet, the Muslims had overrun almost the whole of Southern Europe, Spain, Portugal and portions of Asia, and established themselves securely right up to the Pacific Ocean. With a far-flung empire spread form the Atlantic to the Pacific at their back, they turned their greedy eyes towards our country. They tried to penetrate at two points, one through Sind and the other through Afghanistan across the Himalayas into Punjab. But, even with such a vast empire and huge armies at their command, waves after waves of their invasion were effectively repulsed for over two centuries by the small Hindu principalities defending our North-Western frontiers, thus proving that Hindu military skill and valor were incomparably superior to the aggressive power of the Muslim hoarders. The reason, however, for the ultimate collapse of the Hindu resistance was that internal dissensions and treachery had enfeebled their ranks and the rest of the country had failed to give them succor from time to time to carry on the battle for the defense of motherland.
Nor did our country wake up and stand united at least after the first shock of Muslim invasion. The suicidal story of dissensions and betrayal continued. To Ghazini Mohammed, who had set out to loot and desecrate sacred Somanath, our own chieftains acted as guides and aides. Again, it was Jayachand who invited Mohammed Ghori. Thus it was a Hindu king who helped the foe to establish a foreign reign for the first time in the scared capital of Indraprastha. The tribe of Jayachand fast multiplied. Raja Mansingh became the cornerstone of Akbar’s vast empire. It was he who came down upon Rana Pratap who alone had kept the torch of freedom burning bright in those days. Mirja Raja Jayasingh, Jasavantsingh and others, all Hindu generals, became the powerful arms of Aurangzeb, the notorious anti-Hindu fanatic. It was they who came to destroy Shivaji on behalf of Aurangazeb.
Our disintegration had gone to such an extent that Bakhtiyar Khilji who had set out eastward from Delhi, it is said with just eighteen men, carried his sword right up to Bengal, leaving behind a bitter trail of massacres, mass conversions, abduction of women, destruction of temples and breaking of kingdoms. Thousands of students and teachers of the world-famous Nalanda University were all mercilessly butchered by him. He put to sword the entire population of the city also. He made a bonfire of the library there, the treasure-house of knowledge accumulated over thousands of years. Finally he established his rule in Bengal.
Manucci, an Italian officer in the army of Aurangzeb, wrote in his diary after personally going round the country. “If any invader descends today with an army of thirty thousand through the Khyber pass, he can easily conquer and rule over the whole of Hindustan.” Such records and instances are engraved on every page of our history of those times telling the heart-rending story of internecine struggles, betrayals and of joining hands with the enemy to enslave our country.
The suicidal story of betrayal continued unabated even after the English came. We had shut our eyes to lessons of Muslim invasion. Hindu captains and soldiers shed their blood and also the blood of freedom fighters to make the British Empire safe and secure. Our wealthy merchants helped the British with money. Our resources, in men, money and intellect were placed at their feet. They were harnessed to forge our own fetters. As an English historian has written, “Even if all the able-bodied persons in England had been armed and organized into an army, they could not have conquered or much less ruled in peace over India by themselves. It was in fact the local people who, out of internal strife’s, carved out the kingdom for us. Even to this day they are content to remain as docile slaves of England.”
The verdict of history is therefore too clear to be mistaken. It was the absence of national consciousness, of the feeling of being the organic limbs of a single national entity with the resultant mutual hatred, discord, jealousy and internecine quarrels to gain little selfish ends that has eaten into the vitals of our nation over the last thousand years.It was not the Muslims or the English who were our enemies but we ourselves. The Gita says, आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बंधुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः ।(We are our own friends; we are our own foes.) Alas, in our case, the truth of the latter half has been proved!
So we say that it is no use cursing the external aggressors as being responsible for our degeneration and destruction. After all it is in the nature of predatory nations to overrun, plunder and destroy other weaker countries. If a serpent bites a person, that is not its fault. That is in its very nature. The fault lies with the person who does not exercise caution and protect himself against the possible attack. Unfortunately, during the last one thousand years of our history, even after repeated experiences of disgraces and disasters, we failed to learn the basic lesson that we alone are responsible for our downfall and unless we eradicate that fatal weakness from ourselves we cannot hope to survive as a nation.
Have we, at least now, learnt that lesson? We nowadays hear that we have won freedom, that there has been all–round awakening and therefore there is no need to worry about our past failings and so on. But is it true that we won freedom solely on the strength of our valor and sacrifice? If it is a fact, then, how is it that the British left Burma and Ceylon also where there was no freedom struggle at all? How did Pakistan – a new independent State – come into being without the least sacrifice on the part of the Muslims? And why did our leaders also acquiesce in it against all their declarations and pledges of securing the independence of undivided Bharat? The fact is, the British had little energy left in them after the blood-bath of the last world war to run a vast and far-flung empire. They were not sure of the loyalty of the Indian Army either. And the British, shrewd as they were, managed to quit all these countries preserving their goodwill and creating for themselves a permanent base in the form of Pakistan. In an old book of Sir John Strachey, the author had stated more than half a century ago that if the British had perchance to quit India, they would do so only after dividing in into ‘Hindu India’ and ‘Muslim India’. The only difference now is that not only did our leaders concur with the British in carrying out that plan but have gone further and cut up the country into ‘Muslim India’ and ‘non-Muslim India’!
The Law of Cause and Effect
The formation of Pakistan has only proved that we have not as yet learnt the lesson of history and remedied our fatal weakness.
At the time of the quitting of the British, the Hindus were too disorganized and the national leadership too demoralized to face even the small sporadic onslaught of the Muslims and the machinations of the British. And Partition was the result. History repeated itself. Alas, the only lesson that we learn from our history is that we do not learn anything from history! Big slices of our motherland – half of Punjab, half of Bengal, Sind and the Frontier Province – once again fell into enemy hands.
These parts were once the glory of our Hindu Nation. Punjab is the birth-place of Vedas – the holiest of our holy heritage. Our great rishis meditated on the banks of the Sindhu. Bengal has been cradle-land of saints, poets and revolutionaries. NWFP was our life-line of defense for millennia. The writ of our free and powerful Hindu State ran all over there. But centuries ago those parts fell to Muslim invasion. Later on, they shook off the Muslim yoke, only to come under the rule of another enemy, the British. Now they have once again fallen under the Muslim heels.
Lakhs of Hindu brothers and sisters were butchered in cold blood in these provinces after they were handed over to the Muslim bondage in 1947. The honor of our womanhood was trampled upon. Conversion at the point of sword took place on a massive scale. The inhuman atrocities which the Muslim hordes had perpetrated on the Hindu people a thousand years ago were re-enacted. The horror is still continuing with the same barbarity, with the result that tens of thousands of our displaced brothers and sisters are continuously pouring into West Bengal day after day, the very images of human wrecks.
The root cause of our national tragedy then, a thousand years ago, and now, a thousand years later, is the same – the utter lack of organized and unified life among the Hindus, the children of this soil. The law of cause and effect knows no limits and place. Every page of our history of the past thousand years is a mute witness to this bitter truth operating on our national plane.
Let us now turn to the conditions in the areas, which came into our hands when the British left. Is our freedom and honor secure at least here?
The Tribe of Jayachands
After the first partition, there has been again partition of Kashmir. At one time, our late Prime Minister Pandit Nehru had even expressed his willingness to offer the Pakistan-occupied part of Kashmir to Pakistan in a bid to ‘solve’ the so-called Kashmir problem. The offer of plebiscite in Kashmir was also mooted by our leaders. What does this indicate? If there is an injury to a limb of the body, then, should that particular limb be asked to decide its fate by itself? On the contrary, is it not the complete body, which has to decide? Similarly, if at all there is to be a plebiscite, it should be conducted in the whole of our country. Plebiscite in Kashmir alone would only mean that the consciousness of the unity of our motherland has all but disappeared from our mind.
There are, in addition, serious cleavages developing among our people on any and every issue, whether of language, caste, sect or party. Everyone stands up and says that he wants a state for his own language, a state for his own sect, and if at all he is prepared to stay in the Union, he wishes that it should be a loose federation with greater and greater powers for his state and the Central authority prevailing only in name.
The same curse of mutual hatred and jealously, which turned our national life into a shambles during the last thousands years, is continuing to pay its devil-dance under the new garbs of love of province, party, language, community, sect, etc. Once a prominent leader of Andhra had publicly declared that if a separate Andhra State was not formed he would take the aid of Russia to achieve it. A prominent Sikh leader once threatened that if Punjabi Suba was not carved out then all the Sikhs would turn Communists. With the Chinese armies poised on our frontiers, such a statement could convey only one meaning, and that is, an invitation and an assurance to the aggressor of help from inside, in exchange for his help in carving out a separate state. Some years ago that leader was hobnobbing with Pakistan in a bid to get help from that country. Can we say that the race of Jayachands and Mansinghs has disappeared from this land?
The same fatal disease of the absence of national consciousness, which made us lose the power to discriminate between the friend and the foe, is continuing as before. Can ”We” People realize and work towards for Unity of India?
Note: Excerpt from the book “Bunch of Thoughts” written by one of the greatest and most visionary leaders of modern India, Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, fondly called Guruji by his followers and supporters
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