Who are the Real Talebani, Pakistanis or Pakhtuns? -The Legacies of Aurangzeb & Frontier Gandhi

Editor’s Note: In our articles about Afghanistan, we have complained about the lack of knowledge about Afghanistan and today’s Pakistan in the American Media. It is not enough to complain. It is important to do something about it. So we begin a series on the history of the Indian Subcontinent and focus on the important figures & events that have shaped today’s environment. Today, we bring you Aurangzeb, the man who established the Talebani philosophy as his official policy.

Just about everyone who has a Television or reads an American newspaper has heard of the Taleban, the bearded Islamic fundamentalists who are fighting American troops in Afghanistan. The Taleban are routinely thought of as uneducated, ignorant people who have been influenced or brainwashed by Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

In this conflict, Afghanistan is usually portrayed as the place of the Taleban, a place of terror while Pakistan is portrayed as a modern regime which is fighting the fundamentalists as America’s critical ally in the battle against the Taleban.

We thought about the Taleban, Pakistan and the history of the movement when read Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Tourism say publicly:

  • “Ulema and Taliban are the true followers of Islamic ideology and America is the biggest terrorist of the world, which is creating hatred against them.”
This quote was originally published by the Pakistani Newspaper Dawn and was reported by the Times of India . We wonder whether Maulana Attaur Rehman, the Pakistani who made this statement was a minister of Tourism or of Terrorism. We also wonder why the American Media did not report it.

Actually we don’t wonder. We believe that the vast majority of American journalists understand that Pakistan is at best playing a double game. They also know that America does not have any good choices for dealing with the Pakistani problem. So their main approach is to ignore the reality and hope that someday Pakistanis will wake up.

The basis of this naive belief might be the biggest problem for American Journalists and for America as a society. Because this basis rests on the premise that the Pakistani leadership is basically modern, anti-terrorist, rational and the Afghans, specifically the Pakhtuns (or Pashtuns), are basically Islamic fundamentalists easily susceptible to terrorism. The reality may be just the opposite.

The vast majority of Americans do not know that Afghanistan was Buddhist for over 3-4 centuries. That is why so many Buddhist archeological sites are found through out Afghanistan. Last week, BBC.com reported the finding of a 2,600 year old Buddhist Monastery in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the archeological site sits on top of the world’s second largest unexploited copper mine, according to BBC.com. The Chinese are putting enormous pressure on the Afghan Government to stop the excavation project so that they can begin mining the copper. Once the mining begins, this Monastery shrine complete with Stupa (domes) will be destroyed forever. 

              (Buddhist Relics in Mes Aynak, Logar Province on the Silk Route – src BBC.com)

That’s old history. What about recent history? Have you heard of Frontier Gandhi or Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan , also known as Badshah Khan (Badshah means Emperor)? He was a great Pakhtun leader who had marshalled the Pakhtuns into a Non-Violent movement. A close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Badshah Khan was lovingly and respectfully called Gandhi on the Frontier (of India & Afghanistan).

(Badshah Khan with Gandhi – src wikipedia)   (Badshah Khan & Gandhi in Peshawar – src wikipedia)

Badshah Khan was vehemently opposed to the Partition of India and when the Partition became inevitable, he asked Nehru to let the North West Frontier Province become a part of India. In an act of utter arrogance and stupidity, Nehru refused.

Badshah Khan told Nehru “you have thrown us to the wolves”. The North West frontier Province became a part of today’s Pakistan. Almost immediately, the Pakistani regime began the long task of removing the pacifist influence of Frontier Gandhi and reconverting the Pakhtuns into an aggressive, Islamist weapon against India.

Remember, the creation of this artificial entity called Pakistan (“Land-of- the-Pure”) was ostensibly driven by the need for a homeland for Muslims out of the Hindu-majority India. This nonsense was exposed from the very beginning when more Muslims chose to stay in India than to move to the new Land of the Pure.

The reality is that the elite who ran Pakistan then and the elite who run it today firmly believe that Muslims should rule India just like the Mughals did 350-450 years ago. This is why every Pakistani regime has tried to attack India at every conceivable opportunity. They continue to try to find allies that will help them against what they see as Hindu rule in India. When America refused to provide the Pakistani regime what it needed, the regime turned to China. When the Pakistani army realized it cannot take on the Indian Army, the regime switched to terrorism.

This attitude is neither strange nor stupid. It comes from Aurangzeb, the last Mughal Emperor who ruled from 1658 to 1707. The Pakistani regime thinks of itself as the successor regime to Aurangzeb’s rule. They refuse to accept that Aurangzeb himself was utterly defeated in a 17 year war and died in Mahaarashtra. With Aurangzeb, died the rule of Islam in India.

What kind of a man was Aurangzeb? First he was a brilliant, diabolical and ruthless ruler. He killed all his brothers and imprisoned his father, Emperor Shah Jahan, to get the Mughal throne. He ruled for almost 50 years and ended up destroying the Mughal empire. 

Aurangzeb was in many ways the original Osama Bin Laden. He was also the spiritual father of today’s Talebani movement in Pakistan-Afghanistan. He lived an extraordinarily simple life and discarded all luxuries. He despised music and banned it with other fine arts because he deemed these as un-Islamic.

He was an extremist Muslim. He destroyed the holiest of Hindu temples in North India and replaced them by mosques. Aurangzeb began a campaign of converting Hindus into Muslims by coercion. He imposed a tax on non-Muslims called the Jiziya tax, just as a punishment for not being Muslim or not converting to Islam.

About two years ago, the Taleban in Pakistan imposed the Jiziya tax on Sikhs who live there. Yes, the same tax of Aurangzeb, by the same name given by Aurangzeb and for the same reason – punishment for not being Muslim or not converting to Islam. The Taleban insist on banning music, television and go around stores destroying DVDs, Videos and other things they consider un-Islamic. Aurangzeb would have been proud to see his legacy thrive in today’s Pakistan.

Learn about Aurangzeb and you will understand why Osama Bin Laden is so popular in today’s Pakistan. The Taleban movement did not arise out of thin air. It was created, nourished and guided by the Pakistani Regime. This is why the Taleban has gone from near extinction in 2001 to a major fighting force in 2010 while Pakistan received billions in US aid for being a critical ally in the war on terror.

In this context, doesn’t it seem logical that Pakistan’s Minister of Tourism would call the Taleban true followers of Islamic ideology and call America the biggest terrorist of the world? After all, the Minister is just following the legacy of Aurangzeb, the original Osama Bin Laden and Pakistan’s spiritual father.  

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