Land of Hope and Despair

By Col Masood Anwar, Retd (34th PMA Long Course)

Why was Genghis Khan more concerned with Europe and the Middle East? Why didn’t he turn towards the sub-continent of India-pakistan? Had it to do with divine arrangement; or Ghengis’s tactics of fighting war; wherein he required vast tracts of land, sparsely inhabited that afforded good communication; speed and surprise; manoeuvre and deployment of his troops; while the sub-continent was thickly populated, with rivers and streams, marshy areas; towns; and forests that restricted the movement of the troops? The Mongols however launched several invasions from 1221 to 1327 and also occupied most of modern Pakistan. Mongols made Kashmir their vassal state. However, the campaigns against the Delhi Sultanate proved unsuccessful.

For centuries invaders have been coming to this land to change it’s destiny but were mesmerised by its beauty and mysticism. Neither the land nor the people of this land changed while those who came themselves changed. Therefore, perhaps, Genghis Khan’s did not attempt. He might have known that this land could not be ruled without his presence. Had he stayed he would not have remained Genghis that the world knows; the hot and humid climate would have made him romantic; he might have started reciting poetry and indulged in people’s politics. We would have then known a different Genghis Khan before and after his conquest of the sub-continent. Like the British are known before and after their rule in the sub-continent. Today Britain is greatly influenced by history, customs, traditions and unshaken commitment of the people with their faith.

There is something special about this land; something mystic. It’s five thousand years of history, ancient civilizations; rivers, mountains and deserts; poets, scholars, mystics have made this land a land of hope and despair.


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