- The mighty river Sindhu, the Indus, that rises from Mansarovar Lake, flows through Ladakh to Aarbian Sea, has been the stream of cultural integration and emotional divinity of the lands and people of Bharatvarsh.
- Rigveda mentions the Sindhu river, which is the source of the name that the modern times have given to India (Sindhu), the land of Bharat.
- The UT of Ladakh has large international borders and also has references in holy epic Ramayana & Mahabharata. So there is no logic in seeing Kashmir Valley alone as territory of Bharatvarsh.
- The ‘Sindhu Darshan’ abhiyan was started to focus attention on the heritage of the ancient Indian civilization and culture that ‘Sindhu’ symbolizes and to let us see India as “Ladakh to Kanyakumari”.
- Rising above all competitive politics, a major shift in style of handling J&K affairs must be made by GOI without losing any more time.
- Real need is also for adequately seeing and focussing on the territories of the erstwhile State of J&K outside the Kashmir valley. The verse/phrase “Ladakh to Kanyakumari” could hence be the first humble start.
Throughout the Indian civilization and culture, the river Sindhu has a very important place. Sindhu which is described in the National Anthem flows from Ladakh symbolising ethos of Indian civilization. Rig Veda describes the Sindhu thus – “So swift is Sindhu, nothing can impede”. Hence it is Ladakh and not Kashmir valley (“Kashmir” ) which is presently and historically the boundary of the land of Bharat
Ancient India of 600 BCE is quoted as having 16 Mahajanapadas like Kamboja, Gandhara and hence Bharatvarsh had influences even beyond the waters of Mansarovar lake. It is the river ‘king’ Sindhu, the Indus, that rises from Mansarovar Lake, flows through Ladakh to Aarbian Sea and has been the stream of cultural integration and emotional divinity of the lands and people of Bharatvarsh. In modern India, it will not be an overstatement to say that it was only in 1996 that Lal Krishna Advani was the first to take a serious note of this when he was at banks of Sindhu during his visit to Choglamsar (8 km from Leh – Ladakh). He again visited to pay tributes with some festivity in the name of Sindhu Darshan Abhiyan in October 1997.
A formal GO was given to observance of Sindhu Darshan Festival on 7th June 2000 by the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji at Shey (about 15 km from Leh city) where Vajpayee ji had said quoting a hymn from Rig Veda: “Sindhu’s might surpasses all the streams that flow – His roar is lifted up to heaven above the earth, he puts forth endless vigour with a flash of light, even as cow with milk rush to their calves, so other rivers roar in to Sindhu. As warrior king leads other warriors, so does Sindhu lead other rivers”, professing that some people queried about existence of Sindhu in India as described in our National Anthem. But little did they know that it flows from our soil in Ladakh symbolising the 5,000 year ethos of Indian civilization and its re-discovery will strengthen emotional integration of the country.
Rigveda, universally accepted as composed at least about 1500 BCE, mentions the Sindhu river, which is the source of the name that the modern times have given to India (Sindhu), the land of Bharat. Will it not be more appropriate to say Ladakh to Kanayakumari in place of Kashmir to Kanayakumari?
With effect from after 31st October 2019 one can say that UT of Ladakh is the Crown of India. The State of J&K has now been bifurcated and from 31 Oct 10-2019, Ladakh is a Union Territory of India. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, notifies that the Territories of Leh district of UT of Ladakh have been laid as the territory of Leh district specified in Section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 including Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilas, Tribal territory and ‘Leh and Ladakh’ except present territory of Kargil” districts of the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir. A commemorating postage stamp (28 July 1999) on the Indus River (Sindhu) has been issued also bearing a line ‘Rig Veda describing the Sindhu (“So swift is Sindhu, nothing can impede”). As per known history, Hunas were a tribe living close to the Himalayas who were mentioned in the epic Mahabharata and belonged to the Xinjiang province of present China. As per some scripts about Mahabharata, Hunas had links with Vasishta, Viswamitra and Kamdhenu. Ramayana too has some descriptions of the same but a little different than that in Mahabharat. References of Ladakhas too have been seen as emerging from the descriptions of Kurukshetra battle. Kashmir valley (“Kashmir” ) hence is both historically and presently on the boundary land of Bharat.
So far, all these years even after 1947, Jammu and Kashmir State has been seen as ‘Kashmir State ‘while Jammu and Kashmir affairs have been seen only as “Kashmir Affairs” more in relation to people living in Kashmir valley and their aspirations. Questions related to Jammu & Kashmir state have been regarded more as questions from & related to people from “Kashmir Valley” only and the limits of India have been continuously addressed in reference to Kashmir only which too have the reason for the success evading and letting the world know the real status of J&K w.r.t India nation state of the day. May be perhaps seeing everything in the name of “Kashmir” is the reason why those people who have been even raising questions on the extent and quality of constitutional relations of Jammu & Kashmir with India or those who have been seeing accession of J&K as an issue yet to be finally resolved or imaginations/ aspirations of people of J&K have been read only as like some people from Kashmir valley have been penning. Hence most of the people only belonging to Kashmir valley have been able to carve for themselves some positions whether it was in relation to some ‘dispute’ of their dreams at some international levels or as ‘only’ legitimate voice/ representation of J&K even when Kashmir valley formed which was just about 15% of the area of J&K.
In other words Indian leadership too has allowed Kashmiries to project J&K only as Kashmir valley, what to talk of those of the outside world but even to many of common Indian people. Whereas very vast lands of emotional / historical/ cultural values and size are there beyond Kashmir valley in J&K along the international borders with China, Afghanistan and even Pakistan. Even what most of the people, irrespective of the clan/ ideology/ political affiliations/ community they belonged, have written about J&K after 1990 too has been mostly structured to see and project J&K only as Kashmir Valley and they have succeeded in making the ‘out side’ world sense and assess likings/ dislikings/sufferings/achievements of people identifying themselves with ‘Kashmir’ identity only.
Now it is the UT of Ladakh (let us see it like a Janapad of Bharatvarsh) that has large international Indian borders and also has references in holy epic Ramayana & Mahabharata. So there is no logic in seeing Kashmir Valley alone as territory of Bharatvarsh. Why not adopt describing our emotions and culture now onwards by using the phrase/verse at least from “Ladakh to Kanayakumari” if not the phrase “Aksai Chin to Kanyakumari!”.
It was on 24th June 2020 that BJP leader Ram Madhav was quoted as having said while speaking at an event on the India-China border issue organised by ”Organiser Weekly” that when it comes to the UT of Ladakh, it includes Gilgit-Baltistan and Aksai Chin. Not only the British but also the Prince / Maharaja of J&K on several occasions referred to J&K state as Kashmir State. Even the British have been addressing Hari Singh as Maharaja of Kashmir. Why it has been so could be a matter of debate and people may have different logical explanations for the same. However, one thing that could also be said in this regard is that right since the times of Mughals, Kashmir Valley has remained a place of resort for the rulers and the rich as well as the visitors. Hence Kashmir valley has remained more known to the people of ‘class’ and so the state of J&K was addressed as Kashmir even when Kashmir valley had become part of Jammu Raj in 1846 (Ladakh was already in Jammu Raj). Even after 73 years of independence ‘India’ has not been able to come out of this web of misconceptions and consequently the affairs concerning J&K were mishandled. So, there is first a need for recasting the concepts and images as regards to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
It had been an adopted convention / practice to describe the cultural and geographical limits of India as “From Kashmir to Kanayakumari” and call Kashmir as crown of India whereas the J&K state of India also included Ladakh Region, a region much larger than Kashmir Region and having much larger international boundaries. Ladakh is surely qualified for getting the verse/ phrase “Kashmir to Kanyakumari’ replaced with the phrase “Ladakh to Kanyakumari”. It could have been adopted in routine expressions at least from 31 Oct 2019 but was not done.
Every year in June on Guru Poornima, Sindhu Darshan is performed and Sindhu darshan Festival is now held for 3 days .The ‘Sindhu Darshan’ abhiyan was started to focus attention on the heritage of the ancient Indian civilization and culture that ‘Sindhu’ symbolizes and to let us see India as “Ladakh to Kanyakumari”. This would also narrow down the lanes for the separatists, question raisers and black mailers. Those playing communal cards for their illegitimate personal or community interests and enemies from other lands across the world would not receive this shift from Kashmir to Ladakh very well. Only the common man of Kashmir valley and those staying back, in whose name the so called economic, socio-territorial, political and identity specific game plans have been navigated and played all these years by the so called ‘victim’ leadership from either side, and those who have all these years lived in socio-ideological turmoil would receive it well.
After 1990, a race had been set between the community leaderships for narrating stories of so far ‘undisclosed’ discriminatory behaviors and treatments the classes have been meteing out to each other. No doubt leaders simultaneously have been adding ‘a word’ affirming that earlier they were examples of classical social harmonious living. No signs have appeared over the last 30 years of any possible wilful start of return of over 60,000 families who are listed as Kashmiri migrants and are staying away from their hearths outside Kashmir valley in their own country. Some may not agree but surely the way J&K affairs have been handled as Kashmir affairs by all the governments has kept the Governments engaged in understanding and dismantling the webs woven with the yarns of Kashmiri aspirations – Commitments made with Kashmiries in 1947 – Kashmir the crown of Indian culture – Kashmir the symbol of communal harmony – and of course the ‘third’ powers too waxing the web with extraterritorial inputs keeping India militarily engaged too.
Hence the issues that needed more attention for making the migrants return possible have apparently nearly remained out of sight for the Government of India. Of Course the 85% territories of the erstwhile State of J&K other than Valley too have politically and economically not received the needed attention, may be due to over occupation of Indian leaderships/ Governments more with only ‘Kashmir’ centric issues. The anti India elements have been quoting the non return of Kashmiri migrants to outside world to support their propaganda professing that it is not a small segment of Kashmir that is against India but it is the major segment that is against India otherwise why those who vociferously call themselves Indians are not able to move back even after 3 decades. It is not out of place to mention here that even a few leaders ( including some who have been even given special honours / recognitions by Government of India) from the migrants have on occasion accused even Indian Government as well as National level political parties including BJP for not having cared for them forcing them to think of even approaching United Nations.
So, rising above all competitive politics, a major shift in style of handling J&K affairs must be made by GOI without losing any more time. Real need is also for adequately seeing & focussing on the territories of the erstwhile State of J&K outside the Kashmir valley and would be a better playground.The verse/phrase “Ladakh to Kanyakumari” could hence be the first humble start.
(Daya Sagar is a senior Journalist and analyst of J&K Affairs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect the views of SamvadaWorld.)