By Shrinandan Vyas
All the Encyclopedias and National Geographic agree that Hindu Kush region is a place of Hindu genocide (similar to Dakau and Auschwitz). All the references are given. Please feel free to verify them.
All Standard reference books agree that the name 'Hindu Kush' of the mountain range in Eastern Afganistan means 'Hindu Slaughter' or 'Hindu Killer'. History also reveals that until 1000 A.D. the area of Hindu Kush was a full part of Hindu cradle. More likely, the mountain range was deliberately named as 'Hindu Slaughter' by the Moslem conquerors, as a lesson to the future generations of Indians. However Indians in general, and Hindus in particular are completely oblivious to this tragic genocide. This article also looks into the reasons behind this ignorance.
21 References - (Mainly Encyclopedia Britannica & other reference books, National Geographic Magazines and standard history books).
The Hindu Kush is a mountain system nearly 1000 miles long and 200 miles wide, running northeast to southwest, and dividing the Amu Darya River Valley and Indus River Valley. It stretches from the Pamir Plateau near Gilgit, to Iran. The Hindu Kush ranges mainly run thru Afganistan and Pakistan. It has over two dozen summits of more than 23,000 ft in height. Below the snowy peaks the mountains of Hindu Kush appear bare, stony and poor in vegetation. Historically, the passes across the Hindu Kush have been of great military significance, providing access to the northern plains of India. The Khyber Pass constitutes an important strategic gateway and offers a comparatively easy route to the plains of Punjab. Most foreign invaders, starting from Alexander the Great in 327 BC, to Timur Lane in 1398 AD, and from Mahmud of Ghazni, in 1001 AD, to Nader Shah in 1739 AD attacked Hindustan via the Khyber Pass and other passes in the Hindu Kush (1,2,3). The Greek chroniclers of Alexander the Great called Hindu Kush as Parapamisos or Paropanisos (4). The Hindu name of the Hindu Kush mountains was'Paariyaatra Parvat'(5).
EARLY HISTORY OF HINDU KUSH REGION (UP TO 1000 AD)
History of Hindu Kush and Punjab shows that two major kingdoms of Gandhaar & Vaahic Pradesh (Balkh of Bactria) had their borders extending far beyond the Hindu Kush. Legend has it that the kingdom of Gandhaar was established by Taksha, grandson of Bharat of Ayodhya (6). Gandhaar's borders extended from Takshashila to Tashkent (corruption of 'Taksha Khand') in the present day Uzbekistan. In the later period, Mahabharat relates Gaandhaari as a princess of Gandhaar and her brother, Shakuni as a prince and later as Gandhaar's ruler.
In the well documented history, Emperor Chandragupt Maurya took charge of Vaahic Pradesh around 325 BC and then took over Magadh. Emperor Ashok's stone tablets with inscriptions in Greek and Aramaic are still found at Qandahar (corruption of Gandhaar?) and Laghman in eastern Afganistan(3). One such stone tablet, is shown in the PBS TV series 'Legacy with Mark Woods' in episode 3 titled 'India: The Spiritual Empire'. After the fall of Mauryan empire, Gandhaar was ruled by Greeks. However some of these Greek rulers had converted to Buddhism, such as Menander, known to Indian historians as Milinda, while some other Greeks became followers of Vishnav sects (Hinduism)(7). Recent excavations in Bactria have revealed a golden hoard which has among other things a figurine of a Greek goddess with a Hindu mark on its forehead (Bindi) showing the confluence of Hindu-Greek art (8). Later Shaka and KushaaN ruled Gandhaar and Vaahic Pradesh. KushaaN emperor Kanishka's empire stretched from Mathura to the Aral Sea (beyond the present day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Krygzystan)(9).
Kanishaka was a Buddhist and under KushaaN influence Buddhism flourished in Gandhaar. Two giant sandstone Buddhas carved into the cliffs of Bamian (west of Kabul) date from the Kushan period. The larger Buddha (although defaced in later centuries by Moslem invaders) is about 175 ft tall (10,11). The Kushan empire declined by 450 AD. The Chinese traveller Hsuan-Tsang (Xuan-zang) travelled thru the region in 7 th century AD and visited many Buddhist religious centers (3) including Hadda, Ghazni, Qonduz, Bamian (3,10,11), Shotorak and Bagram. From the 5 th thru 9 th cenury AD Persian Sasanians and Hepthalites ruled Gandhaar. During their rule Gandhaar region was again influenced by Hinduism. The Hindu kings (Shahiya) were concentrated in the Kabul and Ghazni areas. The last Hindu Shahiya king of Kabul, Bhimapal was killed in 1026 AD. The heroic efforts of the Hindu Shahiya Kings to defend the northwestern gates of India against the invaders are described by even al-Biruni, the court historian of Mahmud of Ghazni (12). Some excavated sites of the period include a major Hindu Shahiya temple north of Kabul and a chapel that contains both Buddhist and Hindu images, indicating that there was a mingling of two religions (3).
Islamic invasions on Afganistan started in 642 AD, but over the next several centuries their effect was marginal and lasted only a short time after each raid. Cities surrendered only to rise in revolt and the hastily converted returned to their old religion (Hinduism or Buddhism) once the Moslem armies had passed (3).
THUS TILL THE YEAR 1000 AD AFGANISTAN WAS A FULL PART OF HINDU CRADLE.
HINDU KUSH AND THE HINDU GENOCIDE
Now Afganistan is a Moslem country. Logically, this means either one or more of the following must have happened:
a) original residents of Hindu Kush converted to Islam, or
b) they were slaughtered and the conquerors took over, or
c) they were driven out.
Encyclopedia Britannica (3) already informs us above about the resistance to conversion and frequent revolt against to the Moslem conqueror's rule from 8 th thru 11 th Century AD. The name 'Hindu Kush' itself tells us about the fate of the original residents of Gandhaar and Vaahic Pradesh during the later period of Moslem conquests, because HINDU KUSH in Persian MEANS HINDU SLAUGHTER (13) (as per Koenraad Elst in his book 'Ayodhya and After'). Let us look into what other standard references say about Hindu Kush.
Persian-English dictionary (14) indicates that the word 'Kush' is derived from the verb Kushtar - to slaughter or carnage. Kush is probably also related to the verb Koshtan meaning to kill. In Urdu, the word Khud-kushi means act of killing oneself (khud - self, Kushi- act of killing). Encyclopedia Americana comments on the Hindu Kush as follows: The name Hindu Kush means literally 'Kills the Hindu', a reminder of the days when (Hindu) SLAVES from Indian subcontinent died in harsh Afgan mountains while being transported to Moslem courts of Central Asia (15). The National Geographic Article 'West of Khyber Pass' informs that 'Generations of raiders brought captive Hindus past these peaks of perpetual snow. Such bitter journeys gave the range its name Hindu Kush - "Killer of Hindus"'(10). The World Book Encyclopedia informs that the name Kush, .. means Death ..(16). While Encyclopedia Britannica says 'The name Hindu Kush first appears in 1333 AD in the writings of Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, who said the name meant 'Hindu Killer', a meaning still given by Afgan mountain dwellers who are traditional enemies of Indian plainsmen (i.e. Hindus)(2). However, later the Encyclopedia Britannica gives a negationist twist by adding that 'more likely the name is a corruption of Hindu-Koh meaning Hindu mountains'. This is unlikely, since the term Koh is used in its proper, uncorrupted form for the western portion of Hindu Kush, viz. Koh-i-Baba, for the region Swat Kohistan, and in the names of the three peaks of this range, viz. Koh-i-Langer, Koh-i-Bandakor, and Koh-i-Mondi. Thus to say that corruption of term Koh to Kush occurred only in case of Hindu Kush is merely an effort to fit in a deviant observation to a theory already proposed. In science, a theory is rejected if it does not agree with the observations, and not the other way around. Hence the latter negationist statement in the Encyclopedia Britannica must be rejected.
IT IS SIGNIFICANT THAT ONE OF THE FEW PLACE NAMES ON EARTH THAT REMINDS US NOT OF THE VICTORY OF THE WINNERS BUT RATHER THE SLAUGHTER OF THE LOSERS, CONCERNS A GENOCIDE OF HINDUS BY THE MOSLEMS (13).
Unlike the Jewish holocaust, the exact toll of the Hindu genocide suggested by the name Hindu Kush is not available. However the number is easily likely to be in millions. Few known historical figures can be used to justify this estimate. Encyclopedia Britannica informs that in December 1398 AD, Timur Lane ordered the execution of at least 50,000 captives before the battle for Delhi, .. and after the battle those inhabitants (of Delhi) not killed were removed (as slaves) (17), while other reference says that the number of captives butchered by Timur Lane's army was about 100,000 (18). Later on Encyclopedia Britannica mentions that the (secular?) Mughal emperor Akbar 'ordered the massacre of about 30,000 (captured) Rajput Hindus on February 24, 1568 AD, after the battle for Chitod' (19). Another reference indicates that this massacre of 30,000 Hindu peasants at Chitod is recorded by Abul Fazl, Akbar's court historian himself (20). These two 'one day' massacres are sufficient to provide a reference point for estimating the scale of Hindu genocide. The Afgan historian Khondamir records that during one of the many repeated invasions on the city of Herat in western Afganistan, 1,500,000 residents perished (11).
Since some of the Moslem conquerors took Indian plainsmen as slaves, a question comes : whatever happened to this slave population? The startling answer comes from New York Times (May-June 1993 issues). The Gypsies are wandering peoples in Europe. They have been persecuted in almost every country. Nazis killed 300,000 gypsies in the gas chambers. These Gypsies have been wandering around Central Asia and Europe since around the 12 th Century AD. Until now their country of origin could not be identified. Also their Language has had very little in common with the other European languages. Recent studies however show that their language is similar to Punjabi and to a lesser degree to Sanskrit. Thus the Gypsies most likely originated from the greater Punjab. The time frame of Gypsy wanderings also coincides early Islamic conquests hence most likely their ancestors were driven out of their homes in Punjab and taken as slaves over the Hindu Kush.
The theory of Gypsie origins in India was first proposed over two centuries ago. It is only recently theta linguistic and other proofs have been verified. Even the Gypsie leadership now accepts India as the country of their origin.
Thus it is evident that the mountain range was named as Hindu Kush as a reminder to the future Hindu generations of the slaughter and slavery of Hindus during the Moslem conquests.
DELIBERATE IGNORANCE ABOUT HINDU KUSH
If the name Hindu Kush relates such a horrible genocide of Hindus, why are Hindus ignorant about it? and why the Government of India does not teach them about Hindu Kush? The history and geography curriculums in Indian Schools barely even mention Hindu Kush. The horrors of the Jewish holocaust are taught not only in schools in Israel and USA, but also in Germany. Because both Germany and Israel consider the Jewish holocaust a 'dark chapter' in the history. The Indian Government instead of giving details of this 'dark chapter' in Indian history is busy in whitewash of Moslem atrocities and the Hindu holocaust. In 1982, the National Council of Educational Research and Training issued a directive for the rewriting of school texts. Among other things it stipulated that: 'Characterization of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Moslems is forbidden'. Thus denial of history or Negationism has become India's official 'educational' policy (21).
Often the official governmental historians brush aside questions such as those that Hindu Kush raises. They argue that the British version is the product of their 'divide and rule' policy' hence their version is not necessarily true. However it must be remembered that the earliest reference of the name Hindu Kush and its literal meaning 'Hindu Killer' comes from Ibn Battutah in 1333 AD, and at that time British were nowhere on the Indian scene. Secondly, if the name indeed was a misnomer then the Afgans should have protested against such a barbaric name and the last 660 plus years should have been adequate for a change of name to a more 'civil' name. There has been no effort for such a change of name by the Afgans. On the contrary, when the Islamic fundamentalist regime of the Mujahadeens came to power in 1992, tens of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs from Kabul, became refugees, and had to pay steep ransom to enter into Pakistan without a visa.
In the last 46 years the Indian Government also has not even once demanded that the Afgan Government change such an insulting and barbaric name. But in July 1993, the Government of India asked the visiting Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra to change its name because the word Jerusalem in its name is offensive to Moslem Fundamentalists.
It is evident that Hindus from ancient India's (Hindustan's) border states such as Gandhaar and Vaahic Pradesh were massacred or taken as slaves by the Moslem invaders who named the region as Hindu Kush (or Hindu Slaughter,or Hindu Killer) to teach a lesson to the future Hindu generations of India. Unfortunately Hindus are not aware of this tragic history. The Indian government does not want the true history of Hindu Moslem conflicts during the medieval ages to be taught in schools. This policy of negationism is the cause behind the ignorance of Hindus about the Hindu Kush and the Hindu genocide.