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A Review on Anwar Shaikh's ETERNITY  by Dr. David Frawley, U.S.A.
A Review on Anwar Shaikh's ISLAM: The Arab National Movement by Bhagawandas P. Lathi
Anwar Shaikh reviews P. N. Oak's book Islamic Havoc in India
Anwar Shaikh reviews Baljit Rai's book Is India Going Islamic?
Anwar Shaikh reviews Keshav Dev Sharma's book The Question of Culture
Anwar Shaikh reviews Pandit Ram Nath Kak's book Autumn Leaves - Kashmiri Reminiscences
Anwar Shaikh reviews Subhash Kak's book The Secrets of Ishbar - Poems on Kashmir and Other landscapes
Anwar Shaikh reviews Ibn Warraq's book Why I am not a Muslim
Anwar Shaikh reviews Dr. N. S. Rajaram's book A Hindu View of the World

 
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Book Reviews

Anwar Shaikh reviews Pandit Ram Nath Kak's book:

Autumn Leaves - Kashmiri Reminiscences

Autumn Leaves - Kashmiri Reminiscences is the autobiography of Shri Ram Nath Kak, a Kashmiri Pandit. Even in the heavenly setting of Hawaii, which boasts of "green foliage and blue skies" in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean, he reminisced of "the other paradise, Kashmir."

And why shouldn't he? Jehangir, the Mughal Emperor of India, known for his jollity and romantic nature, when first saw Kashmir, felt a poetic burst and wrote:

    AGAR FIRDOS BER RUAI ZAMEEN AST,
    HAMEEN ASTO, HAMEEN ASTO, HAMEEN AST.
"If paradise is on earth, it is this Kashmir, it is this Kashmir, it is this Kashmir." It was not just an emotional hyperbole but the natural feeling engendered by the scenic intermontane valley of the Himalayan ranges studded with beautiful lakes, multicoloured trees, snow-capped mountains and fragrant air. Kashmir is the land of gods, which in summer becomes the mirror of natural beauty by reflecting golden rays of the morning sun and turns into a vast slumberland of happy dreams induced by the silvery moon.

Kashmir, the home of beauty, bliss and bounty is, in fact, an ancient lake basin eighty-five miles long, twenty miles wide and 5300 feet high. The natural charm of the Vale of Kashmir has been enhanced by the picturesque gardens and buildings constructed by Jehangir to celebrate his love for Nur Jehan, his elegant and accomplished wife. The capital of this mundane paradise is Srinagar where Ram Nath Kak was born in October, 1917, and passed away in Honolulu in July, 1993, reminiscing about the splendours of his motherland, which he adored.

Shri Ram Nath Kak was not a politician but a patriot, who lived an ordinary life, without attracting public attention. Yet his autobiography is of general interest, which indicates his scholarly character, though by profession he was a veterinarian.

Autobiography is not just writing one's own life- story. As moon is moon only when it reflects sunlight, an autobiographer is autobiographer only when he echoes the social conditions of his time and locality, and thus ranks as a chapter of the contemporary history. This is the glory that keeps popping its head throughout the 126 page narrative of "Aututmn Leaves - Kashmir reminiscences. I must confess that I learnt a good deal about my own Kashmiri origin from this liltle book. This literary gem has been quite aptly named as "Autumn Leaves - Kashmiri reminiscences" because autumn leaves in Kashmir are used as a substitute for charcoal in Kangris, which are portable braziers, used for warmth during extremely cold winters. This book generates radiance of its own to enlighten, entertain and elevate spirit of the reader.

Shri Kak is an intellectual giant, but it is not possible to discuss everything here except one major issue that he did not think of the Hindus as just a religious group but a bona fide nation based on lineage and a homeland. However, his views of nationalism were not tinged with racial bigotry; he was a humanist who respected all religions and individuals' rights to choose and practise what he likes without being a nuisance to others.

One can fathom the depth of his bruised, battered and blighted heart when he narrates the story of Kashmir, his beloved motherland. The Vale of Kashmir was a true earthly paradise where laughter galloped, happiness gamboled and good fortune smiled until 1339 when it fell victim to the Islamic sword; it was Shah Mir, a Muslim warrior from the South, who deposed widow of the last Hindu king to ascend the throne. He was a fanatic who mercilessly destroyed the Hindu temples, broke statues and desecrated everything associated with the Indian culture. Above all, he was a blood-thirsty savage, who conducted wholesale, slaughter of the Hindu population with a view to converting them into Muslims. According to a tradition, only eleven Hindu families survived the holocaust.

When Akbar the Great, incorporated Kashmir in the Mughal India in 1589, its fortune changed for the better owing to his religious tolerance and good administration. Allured by the scenic beuty of Kashmir, Jehangir and Shah Jehan, whose hearts danced to the musical rhythm of love and romance built magnificent gardens in Shalimar, Nishat , Cheshm-E-Shahi and Achabal. Then came the reign of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor (1685-1707), who surpassed all records of turture, tyranny and torment that India had ever endured. The entire purpose of this exercise was to impose Islam on the indigenous population. Yet the Muslims claim that Islam is the ambassador of peace and brotherhood, admitting no violence in religious matters!

Why did these foreign tyrants ,who had the good fortune of capturing India, want to force Islam down the throats of their Hindu subjects? No doubt, this act was a messenger of devastation for the Hindus, but it constituted high wisdom of the invaders, because it guaranteed them dominance through a very subtle device of devide and rule.

To understand this point, one must know that the Islamic principles are diametrically opposed to the Hindu philosophy. The latter preaches Karma, that one reaps what sows, and therefore, a person is his own savior. On the contrary, Islam believes in intercession, which means that a person's salvation depends on the recommendation of a man whon is appointed by God as His Vicar on the earth. All his followers, even if they are murderers, rapists, thieves, liars and twisters, shall go to paradise because the Prophet's intercession for his followers is binding on God! Conversely, all non-believers such as Hindus shall go to hell even if they happen to be the most pious and innocent people. What a cheap and sure way of attaining salvation it is!

Of course, these foreign invaders did not come to India for opening the gates of paradise by dispensing cheap salvation to the "Kafirs." They wanted to govern, but being insignificant in numbers they could not hold the Hindus in perennial subjugation without a skilful subterfuge. Islam was the best provider of such a stratagem. How?

Because of its antihuman attitudes, Islam does not qualify as a Divine religion. In fact, it is an Arab National Movement, which seeks to impose the Arab cultural hegemony on the non-Arab nations through a very subtle device of religion. The Prophet Muhammad, who holds the key of paradise, intercedes only for those who believe in him and follow him as the Model of Behaviour, that is, copy him in all details such as eating, drinking, walking, talking, thinking and acting. Since he was a great national leader, he loved Arabia, his motherland, and made Kaaba-worship, the essential part of Islam. Thus, a Muslim, no matter where he comes from, must love Arabia and the Arab religious and cultural institutions at the expense of his own motherlands and indigenous traditions. If he does not toe the line, he cannot qualify as a Muslim, the basic condition for the Prophetic intercession. The net result of this contrivance is that the non-Arab Muslims stop loving their own motherland to the extent of blatant treason by believing in the Two-Nation Theory, which means that they class themselves as Muslim to be on the Arab side and bitterly oppose their own kith and kin if they do not discard their own religion to embrace Islam. This tragic division into two nations as Momin (the Muslimsl and Kafir (the non-Muslim) led to the partition of India, with its lethal consequences. Now, one can see that Islam is the most subtle device of divide and rule. The foreign rulers imposed this religion on the Indians with the sole purpose of dividing them so that they should hate their own motherland and despise their own cultural traditions. This is what led to the formation of internal factions, determined to destroy their own brethren, facilitating foreign rule.

The Islamic subtlety, in fact, is much deeper than it looks: one's hatred of motherland leads to infatuation with Mecca, thus debilitating one's rational faculties. It is certainly a symptom of insanity to revile one's own mother to revere someone else's mother. An Indiar who prostrates towards the Kaaba, gets used to insulting the Kaashi. This preposterous attitude of the mind became an easy source of exploitation for the opportunists to fool, snool and school the ordinary folks in the name of Islam. Without such a psychological flaw, the Two-Nation Theory, leading to the split of India, would not have been possible.

In this context, Shri Kak has mentioned the name of another Kashmiri, Sahaj Ram Sapru, a revenue collector. He embezzeled state funds. When his guilt was established, the Afghan governor, Azim Khan, gave him "the choice of death or conversion to Islam. Sahaj Ram Sapru chose life, and assuming new (Muslim) names, he and his family moved to Sialkot in the Panjab. Later Iqbal never acknowledged his native Kashmiri and Indian tradition that his grandfather had been forced to renounce."

This is a very shrewd and eminent observation of Shri Kak. Why?

Because it means that embracing Islam involves transferring loyalties from one's own motherland to Arabia; it is a process of thorough brainwashing because it turns a convert into a moth, which seeks self-cremation on the Arabian lamp of glory. Proof of this fact lies in the proselytism of Sahaj Ram Sapru, a Kashmiri brahmin who became grandfather of Muhammad Iqbal, popularly known as Allama Iqbal. This man, without firing a shot, caused more damage to the political integrity and cultural sanctity of India than the combined forces of Muhammad Bin Qasim, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi and Aurangzeb Alamgir. He was not a soldier, but in his ancestral traditions, a learned man, who was also endowed with poetical skills. Poetry is that branch of fine arts, which appeals to emotions at the expense of reasoning. Its bewitching effect is such a benumbing force that one may take a wolf for a lamb, and vice versa, depending how one has been motivated by the poet. The effect of religious poetry in the Islamic world is multiplied many times owing to the irrational reverence of the devotees to the Prophet Muhammad. This is the reason that when a verse seems to represent an Islamic principle, the Muslims fall for it owing to their conditioning with the name of Muhammad. This is one mystery that non-Muslims usually do not understand but Sri Kak has explained it masterfully by drawing attention to the crisis which Ghulam Muhammad Bakhshi's administration created when it lost public confidence:

At the shrine of Hazratbal, a Muslim saint, is a glass tube, which is reputed to contain a strand of hair belonging to the Prophet Muhammad. Though its veracity cannot be proven, the Muslims call it Mu-E-Mubark, the Blessed Hair, and show it supernatural respect. With a view to causing distraction from the administrative inefficiency, the Government arranged stealing of the hair. The result was a spate of strikes and threats of violence throughout the valley. This volcano of faith kept erupting until the Mu-E-Mubarak was restored to the shrine.

The idea of Pakistan was not a brainchild of Iqbal, but of Chaudhary Rahmat Ali, yet another person of Indian ancestry. However, it was Iqbal who lent credibility to the Two-Nation Theory, leading to the divisicn of India, which God had created as one geographical unit. This was mainly the result of Iqbal's Islamic poetry which stupifies the mind but activates emotions.

Here one can see that Shri Kak's lament about Iqbal's turning away from his own Motherland to join the Islamic forces eternally arrayed against her, is quite appropriate in the context of Indian patriotism. One can also hear Shri Kak's ATMAN crying loud and clear that India stands to break up further unless the stallion of Islam is bridled and brought under the strict control of Indian authority.

There is yet another point that lends eminence to Shri Kak's genius, that is, he knew that Hindutva is all about Karma, and not verbosity: in October, 1947 when Kashmir was invaded by the tribesmen from Pakistan, Shri Kak, the veterinarian, joined the local militia that had been formed to defend the valley, and thus became a soldier. Fighting for righteousness is the essence of dharma, and there is no virtue greater than defending the honour of one's motherland. This is how the Bhagawad Gita puts it:

    ''Arjuna, it is only the lucky among the Kastriyas, who get such an unsolicited opportunity for war, which is an open door to heaven." (1: 32)

    Again,

    "Either slain in battle you will attain heaven, or gaining victory you will enjoy sovereignty of the earth; therefore, arise Arjuna, determined to fight." ( 2: 37)

Shri Kak is a model, which should be followed by the pandits, who have, unfortunately, chosen to live in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi. Being one of them, I feel sad, bad and mad about their plight, yet I am inclined to add that they have themselves brought this humiliation on them by defying the basic law of dharma, which requires of its devotees to die with honour instead of surrendering to tyranny.

Ksatriya is the one who fights for dharma with all that he has got. He is the best of all castes, no matter what his status of his birth.

An important Vedic feature is the parental love and care for one's children. Shri Ram Nath Kak possessed ample share of this virtue. He had several children, namely, Avinash, Subash, Shakti, Jaishree and Neeraj. They all received high education and rose to gain good social positions; Subhash, a professor in the university of Louisiana, has achieved international repute for his classical endeavours in Indology and the Indian Scriptures.

Autumn Leaves - Kashmiri Reminiscences is available as hardback and paperback, and has been published by :

    VITASTA
    B- 36 DDA FLATS
    SAKET
    NEW DELHI - 110 017
    INDIA

 
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