‘Kashmir’ as Swami ji Saw
Swami Vivekananda in Kashmir  

Swami Vivekananda travelled all over Bharat and stayed in Kashmir, which he called the lamp of civilisation. He said that Kashmir was subjected to barbarity by invading Muslim armies and forceful conversion of Kashmiri Hindus to Islam. Today, Swami ji’s words about the history of Kashmir is more relevant than ever before


Rajendra Chaddha 

While staying abroad, Swami Vivekananda propagated Hindutva and reflected on the socio-religious historic reasons. Travelling from Himalaya till the far lands, Kashmir didn’t escape Vivekananda’s attention. In this context, Swami Vivekananda’s speech delivered in San Francisco on April 19, 1900, about worshipper and his object of reverence, is notable. In his speech he has outlined foreign Muslim invasions on Kashmir State and conversion of the local population’s religion.
In his speech Swami Vivekananda has said that ancient history of India mentions three famous Turkish emperors—Husk, Yusk and Kanishk. King Kanishk, founded Buddhism by the name Kanishk Mahayaan. After a long time, many of them converted to Islam and Buddhist religion’s main centers in Middle Asian regions viz Gandhar, Kabul etc was destroyed. Before conversion, whenever these people used to have victory in a region, used to learn the other country’s culture, traditions and books. But after converting to Islam, all they were interested in was war. The sign of knowledge & civilisation was no more prevalent—in fact the country which they use to defeat was soon deprived of its civilisation. In the present Afghanistan Gandhar region, there are still Stupas, Centres and Temples made by early Buddhists. But due to the influence of the Turks and after the conversion of majority of the locals, these structures have been destroyed and modern Afghanis have turned into uncivilised, foolish beings. Hence, many opine that these structures surely would have been built by Gods and not humans. Present Iran is in miserable state because their royalty is strong, uncivilised Turks, and people are descendants of truly civilised ancient Persians. In this manner, civilised Aryan last of descendants of Greeks, Romans were destroyed by the barbaric Turks. The Mughals of India were probably out of this ferocity—perhaps due to mix of Hindu ethos & blood. In the historical books of Rajputs, Bhats & Charans—the only victory holders are from the families of Muslim and Turkish warrior families. This is the best name—reason being that no matter who kept winning Indian Muslim’s army had soldiers from any caste, the leadership was always in the hands of Turks.
Highlighting his relationship with nature during his stay in Kashmir, he says that I have been trying to climb the heights of Mount Everest—utmost beauty of valley, delightful nature there! (We’ll study) that love, in spite of all odds, ties us here. That love that inspires us to be a martyr, that which the Man has chosen himself. We want to study that everlasting love for which humans has made the series, for which he suffers sorrows. We do not wish to forget others. The ice-streams of Himalayas must embrace the rice fields of Kashmir. The lightening in the skies will have to match its tune to the chirping birds.

 Swami Vivekananda at the World Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1893
Upon receiving the invitation from Kashmir & Punjab, Swami Vivekananda visited these places. He stayed in Kashmir for more than a month & the King of Kashmir and his brothers praised his work a lot. He stayed for a few days in Mari, Rawalpindi & Jammu where he addressed the local population. Then he visited Sialkot where he delivered two speeches—one in English and one in Hindi. The subject of Hindi speech was “Devotion”.
In this speech of his he talked about conversion and said that surely organising atonement for those who have converted and want to return to own religion is a must. But it wont be suitable for those who in Nepal & Kashmir has been separated from us or any new people who want to join us.
Beauty of Kashmir was not hidden from him. Describing it in a letter to Miss Hale dt August 28, 1898, from Srinagar, he says, “Oh Mary, you should be able to see Kashmir—Lotus & lake with swans (there are only ducks, not swans). And the bumblebee who wants to sit on the lotus (poem expresses as if the lotus is denying kissing the bumblebee). Now you can die in peace. As it is a paradise on Earth it is smart to have a visit here but from financial point of view, the other heaven is much better—no tensions, no troubles, no hard work, no expenses. A low, playful doll’s life and “The End” of it all.
(The writer is a member, Central Group, Pragya-Pravaah)