PUNJAB NOTES: Invaders: fallacies regarding capitulation and resistance Part-I.

Byline: Mushtaq Soofi

One of the widespread fallacies routinely touted in our political and cultural discourse in the country is that the Punjab, our largest province, never resisted invaders who shaped the history of the entire region spanning thousands of years. Punjab's neighbors in the north, south and east hold it as a politically loaded accusation while Punjabis, alienated from their history, because of colonial occupation and certain other misplaced ideological considerations, willy-nilly half accept it which further muddies their already murky intellectual landscape.

The origins of this modern distortion lie buried in the era of occupation when it was imperative for the architects of colonial project to re-write history for their own ends. Demonizing the people and their past made it easier for the occupation force to dictate and for the occupied to acquiesce to what was being dictated. But the process of demonization in Punjab has a long history. In the aftermath of Aryan ascendancy way back in time, we find the earliest evidence of such a phenomenon in Vedic and post Vedic myths and literature which is hardly different from what emerged with advent of colonialism. Both carry unmistakable signs of what ensued from occupation; demonization of the subjugated and rejection of their socio-cultural assets which could be in any way a source of historical pride. In one of the stories native language of Harappa is demonized in a mythopoeic fashion. Far superior Harappa Civilization and people were denigrated by pastoral nomads with the express intent of demeaning of what their civilization advance could offer. The treatment accorded by the colonial masters was no different from the one shown for the vanquished by Indra, the deified general of Arya, when one of the British officers said: 'Punjab has been occupied but not conquered'. And conquered it was when new discourse about Punjab and its people initiated by colonial bureaucracy found traction with the colonized people by osmosis.

When Punjab's neighbours in the north assert that the Punjab never resisted the invaders, they consciously or subconsciously not only forget history but distort it. All invaders from Alexander of Macedonia to Babur of Farghana came from the north. Each marauder after having decimated north moved towards the fertile plains of the Punjab. Punjab's northern neighbours failed to stop the advancing armies of Iranians, Greeks, Scythians, Huns, Kushans, Turks and...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT