General V.K. Singh: The Perpetual Intellectual
General VK Singh is the perpetual intellectual. In contrast to hoi poloi of journalists, he is deep into research when he is not in the field caring for his jawans, or talking to young students and intellectuals in India and abroad. Back from his recent US trip, where he was invited as the keynote speaker at a number of prestigious gatherings, he was in Bhopal defending his PhD thesis.
General VK Singh’s research topic is very interesting and of critical importance: ‘Security implications of rise of fundamentalism in Afghanistan: Its Global and Regional impact with special focus on Wakhan‘. Wakhan is an Afghan territory sandwiched between China and Pakistan.
General Singh enrolled for his doctorate in 2009 and had submitted the thesis in September last year despite being on “active duty” in social and political arena. Prof Kailash Tyagi, Gen. Singh’s guide from Barkutallah University, Bhopal was pleased with his research and was confident that the former Army Chief will be soon awarded his well-earned PhD Degree very shortly.
For thousands of years Wakhan has been an important transit point where the Western and Eastern portions of Central Asia meet. Western Wakhan was in 1st Century AD part of the original Kushan Empire and was one of the five xihou or principalities. Until 1883 Wakhan was a principality on both sides of the Panj and Pamir Rivers, ruled by a hereditary ruler (mir) with his capital at Qila-e Panja. In the 1880s, Abdur Rahman Khan the Emir of Afghanistan when instigated by the Britishers attacked and annexed the region.
Originally a part of Greater India, as a part of “the Great Game” Britain and Russia in 1873, and then Britain and Afghanistan in 1893, signed agreements effectively splitting the historic area of Wakhan by making the Panj and Pamir Rivers the border between Afghanistan and the Russian Empire On its south side, the 1893 Durand Line agreement of 1893 created an artificial boundary between India and Afghanistan. This left a narrow strip of land, is now known as Wakhan Corridor and has about 12,000 inhabitants.
With communists taking over China in 1949, Mao Zedong sealed off the 2,000-year-old caravan route