The Himalayas enjoys divine bliss as narrated in the historical chronicles of Vedas and the Puranas as stated below:
Ancient Indian scriptures have mentioned abundantly about the great ‘Immovable Himalayas’. The Bhagwad Geeta 5000BC) mentions:
Lord Krishna says: “The Himalaya is a great devatatma, a great spiritual presence, stretching from the west to the eastern sea like a measuring rod to gauge the worlds” This when translated to Siachen glacier specifically reverberates and echoes the voices of Gods.
In Gita the Sanskrit Shlok says:
This if translated with monosyllables reads”: mahā-ṛṣīṇām — among the great sages; bhṛguḥ — Bhṛgu; aham — I am; girām — of vibrations; asmi — I am; ekamakṣaram — praṇava; yajñānām — of sacriﬁces; japa-yajñaḥ — chanting; asmi — I am; sthāvarāṇām — of immovable things; Himalayaṇ — the Himalayan mountains”.
The immovable means that the India’s Himalayas cannot be moved and won. Therefore, It is India’s duty to hold on at these blessed mountains as even the most virulent attacker (China?) cannot win. ‘Bharat Maa’ will always be victorious. This has always been historically, India’s shield against all aggressors. The Himalayas gets the mythical historical linkages through many exploratory expeditions, especially during the British era. The most ancient scriptures of the world; Vedas, Purans, Shiv Puran and other Upanishads had clearly informed the human race about its invincibility. The Mount Kailash and Rakshasta Tal are housed within the Himalayas as the abode of Shiva and enjoy divine grace. Unfortunately, the PLA has recently demolished many artifacts here for deploying missiles against India. Spiritual seekers vow that Lord Shiva is likely to punish them for the same. Recently 21 major rivers including Yangtze and Yellow River have suffered floods and vast irrigation fields are submerged. In addition, there have been earthquakes in China causing loss of human life and property. The collateral impact is likely to cause a massive food shortage in China. More retribution is likely to come through natural calamities. Thus, the linkage of China’s brazen aggression in the Himalayas and these natural disasters are mystical and true and cannot be considered as only a coincidence.
As regards literature on research and explorations are concerned, it appears that the earliest knowledge of the Himalayas probably came to Europe through Alexander’s invasion of ‘Hindoostan’ about 325 BC. After which some Greeks explored up to the Hindukush and Pamir’s (see map above). Old texts and other evidence suggests that the first European to set out an exploration was on 30 March 1624 to trace Christians living in the Himalayas. Their route lay along Srinagar (Uttaranchal)-Badrinath-Mana Pass (This route has been also walked upon by the author in the year 2002 up to Mana Pass) and thence into Tibet across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. The route reached Leh finally through its tributary on the Upper Sutlej. Thereafter, there were a series of expeditions by many missionaries from the Portuguese and Belgians. Fifty years later on 19 October 1714, another intrepid expedition was in Leh via PirPanjal to Srinagar and then to Leh via the domitable Zoji La Pass. From there it went to Lhasa in 1716 while bypassing the Siachen glacier.
Throughout the middle path of the eighteenth century, the only map of the Himalayas and Tibet, which had some authenticity was one made in Paris by the geographer d’Anville for his atlas of China published in 1735. However, Lord Clive, before leaving India ordered an expedition by Capt. James Rennel, who was the first Surveyor-General of Bengal and was basically tasked for route surveys and mapping. Subsequently, after his retirement in 1777, he set about compiling the ‘The Great Map of Hindoostan” from all available sources and all earlier expeditions. He had demarcated the Himalayas clearly and had even indicated rough alignment of the various glaciated regions as a difficult route and to be avoided for any movement to Tibet.
Very little history is known about Ladakh in the BC period and even in the earlier AD period. By the beginning of the 19th century, the Mughal Empire had collapsed. Both Punjab and Kashmir came under the Sikh rulers. However, the Dogra region of Jammu remained under its Rajput rulers, the greatest of whom was Maharaja Gulab Singh who is General Zorawar Singh invaded Ladakh in 1834. The King of Ladakh was dethroned and exiled. Ladakh came under Dogra rule and was incorporated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1846. Ladakh maintained considerable freedom from Tibet. During the Sino-Sikh War (1841–42), the Qing Empire invaded Ladakh but the Sino-Tibetan army was defeated. During the partition of India in 1947, Ladakh was left as a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, to be controlled from Srinagar. In 1948, Pakistani raiders invaded Ladakh and occupied Kargil and Zanskar, reaching within 30 km of Leh. Indian troops were immediately sent towards Leh by air and a battalion of Gurkhas reached Leh through a forced march on foot from South. The Pakistani invaders were repelled.
In 1949, China closed the border between Nubra and Sinkiang, blocking the 1000-year-old trade route from India to Central Asia. In 1950, China invaded Tibet, causing a flood of Tibetan refugees towards India, which was known for Gandhi’s peaceful revolution of Ahimsa.In 1962, China occupied Aksai Chin, and promptly built roads connecting Sinkiang and Tibet, and the Karakoram Highway, jointly with Pakistan. India built the Srinagar-Leh Highway during this period simultaneously. Meanwhile, to stop Indian influence China closed the Ladakh-Tibet border, ending the 700-year-old Ladakh-Tibet relationship.
Ladakh continues with its tradition of peace and Budhism. Article 370 until recently was applicable to Ladakh as well, being a part of Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately, the mineral-rich areas of the Ladakh were tilled now, governed by a unique legal provision that the Indian government had to acquire approval from the Jammu and Kashmir government for mining and exploration in the areas. The locals were aware that progress had been held back because of binding laws of Kashmir. Therefore, there had been a movement to acquire independent status in the Union of India. In April 2017, 15 political parties, religious communities, and civil society groups had presented a joint memorandum for granting statehood to the Leh-Ladakh region.
Thus the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 has been cheered by the local Ladakhis. They can now mine resources without receiving approval from the Jammu and Kashmir government. This legislative amendment is, therefore, a game-changer for the prosperity of Ladakh and India. Indian geologists had found uranium and thorium in Eastern Ladakh in 2007. Very large areas in South-East Ladakh have been found rich in geothermal borax and Sulphur. There are initial reports of precious minerals near Daulat Beg Oldi, the highest
Read also: Standoff at the Himalayas: A mystical view Part-2
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.