In this Series:
The Forgotten Kohat Genocide of Hindus: An Introductory History
The Delhi and Gulbarga Massacre of Hindus: Precursors to the Forgotten Kohat Hindu Genocide
The earliest recorded history of Kohat traces its founder to a Buddhist king named Raja Kohat. Today, the only surviving traces of Kohat’s remote Buddhist past is a road carved into the hill to the north of the Muhammadzai village, about eight kilometres to the west of Kohat; that, and the ruined Adh-i-Samut fort named after another Buddhist king, Adh. After a lull of several centuries, we hear Kohat again, mentioned in barbarian Babur’s Baburnama. Like scores of similar alien Muslim invaders, he proudly mentions how he invaded, destroyed and plundered Kohat after first capturing Purushapura (Peshawar) in 1505 CE. The next significant mention of Kohat occurs in the mid 18th century when the short-lived but brutal Durrani Empire absorbed it.
Next, the lionlike Maharaja Ranjit Singh wrested it from Pir Muhammad in 1834 A.D. The debt of gratitude that Sanatana civilization owes to Lion Ranjit Singh is incalculable when we recall the fact that he reconquered and reestablished Sanatana civilization all the way in the badlands of Afghanistan after nearly five hundred years! Unfortunately, Ranjit Singh’s vast empire crumbled after his demise and by 1849, Kohat passed into British hands.
Fast forward seventy-five years. 1924 CE. The Hindus formed a measly six percent of Kohat’s total population. The remaining population was entirely Muslim. But Kohat’s Hindus of those days were made of sturdier stuff unlike the Ishwar=Allah, Meera=Mary, Krishna=Christ “Hindus” of today. As long as Ranjit Singh was alive, as long as the indomitable Sikh force guarded Kohat, both Hindus and Sikhs were safe in Kohat. And the courage he had instilled in them had deep, powerful roots.
After Ranjit Singh’s death and the British takeover, the Hindus of Kohat had to face on a daily basis what the Hindus of Pakistan continue to face since 1947: forced conversions to Islam, depopulation, abduction and rape of women and young girls. But the Hindus did not give up, did not convert, did not abandon their ancestral Karma Bhoomi. They formed the Sanatan Dharma Sabha, registered at Kohat, to safeguard and preserve their Dharma.
September 9, 1924 would savagely change that.
Sometime in August 1924, a local “Moslem news-sheet” published[i] an “offensive anti-Hindu poem.” Jiwan Das, the Secretary of the Sanatan Dharma Sabha retorted by distributing “a pamphlet which was calculated to wound Muslim religious susceptibilities.” But the Hindu community quickly realized what they were up against: how do you beat the odds of 6 to 94? So, on 2 September, they passed a resolution requesting pardon.
This was precisely what the Muslim leadership wanted.
The fanatical Maulvi Ahmad Gul approached the Superintendent of Police and threatened “consequences.” Jiwan Das was arrested and had to stay in custody before he could pay up a bond of ₹ 10,000 (in those days). On 8 September, Jiwan Das was released on bail.
The Muslim leadership was now completely incensed.
The local mosque instantly swung into action. It drummed up thousands of the Faithful and to cut a long story short, an oath[ii] of Talaq was taken by this rabid collective. Here’s how it read:
[the Muslims] solemnly decided that they would either die next morning or arrive at some decision; that their wives stood divorced to them, and that they would not be afraid of death or imprisonment. This particular oath-taking had a very sinister meaning amongst the frontier people…
And here is what happened[iii] next:
On the 9th a crowd of about 1,500 men came in an ugly mood to interview the Deputy Com- missioner, and seeing that crowd he and the Superintendent of Police made arrangements to post the entire available force of the City Police in the streets…
But the Kohat Hindus had seen the writing on the wall even before the cops could act. After all, they had generational experience in such matters, dating back to hundreds of years. Even as the cops were frantically trying to erect preventive measures, the rabid Muslim mobs had already struck. Let’s hear it from[iv] Acharya R.C. Majumdar.
On the morning of 9 September, 1924, the Muslims looted and burnt all the shops of the Hindus. On the night of 10 September the Muslims made a number of breaches in the mud walls of the city, and committed wholesale plunder and incendiarism…Before noon, there were widespread fires in Hindu quarters.
The scale, intensity, and extent of Muslim mob violence in Kohat was so unprecedented and incomparable to anything that had happened in the past that it shook even the Imperial British Government. The Kohat Deputy Commissioner and Brigade Commander almost gave up citing helplessness against this level of determined mob barbarism. This is how Mohandas Gandhi described[v] it:
The Muslim fury knew no bounds. Destruction of life and property, in which the Constabulary freely partook…was general…Even the Khilafat volunteers, whose duty it was to protect the Hindus, and regard them as their own kith and kin, neglected their duty, and not only joined in the loot but also took part in the previous incitement.
It was the first ever genocide of Hindus on this scale. All Hindu and Sikh shops and establishments and majority of their homes were destroyed and burnt. Temples and Gurudwaras were desecrated, the Murtis vandalized and wrecked. It was a bloodbath that left more than a thousand Hindu and Sikh dead bodies in its wake.
This was followed by what always follows any massacre of Hindus: mass exodus and depopulation of the geography of Hindus. The local authorities escorted the surviving Hindus and Sikhs first to the cantonment and then sent them[vi] off to Rawalpindi “apprehending that there was a grave danger of wholesale slaughter of Hindus.”
That was the entire Hindu and Sikh population of Kohat: about 3500 people not counting the slain. They never returned to Kohat.
Guess where Rawalpindi is today?
If the Kohat Genocide of Hindus was macabre, what followed it was perverse. It was political and communal necrophilia committed shamelessly by the Father – Son – Holy Ghost trio on the dead bodies of these unfortunate Kohat Hindus.
Let’s first consider the Holy Ghost, alias Mohandas Gandhi who had by 1924, become the unchallengeable dictator of the Indian National Congress. As a student of history, the more I study, the more my conviction grows that there was only one Mard in the Indian National Congress who could mock, scold, and challenge dictator Gandhi: Sarojini Naidu. Here’s how she admonished him[vii] for Kohat in a letter:
Nothing is likely to be achieved by lecturing on or teaching about peace. You should take some effective steps to stop the riot.
Gandhi was indeed ashamed. But what did he do to atone for it? He declared[viii] to Sarojini Naidu:
I must find out an effective remedy…had I not been instrumental in bringing into being the vast energy of the people? I must find a remedy if the energy proved self destructive.
You can almost touch the sheer self-righteous egotism in these words. But more importantly, note that there is not a single word of condemnation of the Muslim fanaticism that led to the Kohat Hindu Genocide!
And what was Gandhi’s “remedy?” You guessed it correctly. He announced a 21-day fast starting on 17 September 1924. And where did he start this fast? At the sprawling home of the selfsame Muhammad Ali of the bigoted brothers, they of the Khilafat infamy. All it took was just four days to show the world that it was a farce not a fast. Let’s read Acharya R.C. Majumdar[ix] again:
How far Gandhi’s fast had any salutary effect on the communal relations may be judged by the fact that four days after Gandhi began his fast there was a serious communal riot at Shahjahanpur in which the military had to intervene and 9 were killed and about 100 injured. On October 8, when Gandhi broke his fast, there were serious communal riots at Allahabad, Kanchrapara near Calcutta, and at Sagar and Jubbulpore in C.P.
As incident after sickening incident demonstrates, the delusional world of Mohandas Gandhi admitted no illuminating ray of reality.
Next we turn to the Father alias Bade Nawab alias Motilal Nehru. The role he played in gorging over the Hindu dead bodies of Kohat is truly appalling. He moved a resolution in the Congress with serpent-tongued sinisterness best described[x] again by Acharya R.C. Majumdar:
Motilal Nehru [said] : “in Kohat a tragedy has taken place the like of which has not been known in India…” but scrupulously avoided casting any blame on any party, merely observing that “this is not the time for us to apportion the blame upon the parties concerned,” though more than three months had passed since the incident. The Congress resolution…urged the Musalmans of Kohat to assure their Hindu brethren of full protection of their lives and property and invite them to return, advised the refugees not to return except upon any such invitation, and asked everybody to suspend judgement…”
That was how Kohat was entirely cleansed of even its meagre Hindu population.
The Genocide of Hindus at Kohat would eerily repeat itself all over again sixty-five years later in the summer of 1989 in Kashmir. This time, the genocide and forced displacement of Kashmiri Hindus was on an industrial scale. Scripted, produced, directed, and executed with clinical brutality by the state Government in “independent” India. Back then, it was the necrophile Motilal Nehru who indirectly warned the displaced Kohat Hindus to never return to their ancestral Karma Bhoomi. In 1989, it was his great grandson Rajiv Gandhi who inherited the selfsame gene of necrophilia.
Meanwhile, we wait perhaps in vain that Hindus will learn from history.
|| ॐ तत् सत् ||
[i] IAR: Vol 2, 1924. p 26
[iv] R.C. Majumdar: History of the Freedom Movement, Vol 3, p 279
[v] Quoted in Ibid, p 279
[vi] Quoted in Ibid, p 279
[vii] RNP Singh: Riots & Wrongs: Islam and Religious Riots: A Case Study, India First Foundation, 2004. p 194
[ix] R.C. Majumdar: History of the Freedom Movement, Vol 3, p 283. Emphasis added.
[x] Ibid. pp 279-80