It was the last week in October of 1947, barely ten weeks after India became independent from the British rule. I was in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, and was an eye witness to Srinagar's proud record in war against terror, when the city was saved by the triamph of secular forces over the evil of communal fundamentalists. Tribal militias, backed by Pakistan military, had invaded Kashmir. Before the raiders had almost reached the outskirts of the city, all the Maharaja's men fled to Jammu and beyond. In the absence of any administration, the city's infrastructure had totally collapsed to leave us without water and electricity in our homes. It was then that the citizens of Srinagar experienced something very strange--a unique power to pull together, the vast majority of the Moslem population along with Hindus and Sikhs, to save the city from falling to the tribal invaders and to restore all the essential services in the city including law and order.
Imagine the scenario, Moslem fundamentalists, motivated to wage a 'Jihad', to capture Kashmir, pushing forward to within miles of Srinagar, the capital, could not cross the human barrier of brave men whose only weapon was their united stand for secularism and a strong will to overcome the forces of communalism. Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent struggle for India's independence was their inspiration, Pundit Nehru's passion for secularism provided the strength and Sheikh Abdullah's leadership gave the guiding light that led them to victory, and saved their beloved city, Srinagar. The saga of Srinagar is as relevent today as it was then, in war against terror and extremist forces anywhere in the world.