Columnists may indulge in semantics: about tales, towards an uprising or a hindu uprising. When the history of hindu civilization is written, the ongoing revolution in Jammu will be recognised as such, a revolution of such spontaneity that sets the limits to hindu tolerance against adharma perpetrated by chamchas.
But, read: The Wonder That Was Kashmir. In "Kashmir and its People: Studies in the Evolution of Kashmiri Society." M.K. Kaw (ed.), A.P.H., New Delhi, 2004. ISBN 81-7648-537-3.http://www.scribd.com/doc/4639773/kashmirwonder
Background on J&K history of conversions at the following URLs (extracted texts appended):
J&K a historical perspective (beware, official account) http://jammukashmir.nic.in/profile/jkhist.htm#top
Memorial of mistakes, converted Kashmir, a bitter saga of religious conversion by Narender Sehgal version by Narender Sehgal http://www.kashmir-information.com/ConvertedKashmir/Foreword.html
In Jammu, a tangled tale is written in blood
August 09, 2008
The land row is widely seen as a galvanising factor for the people of Jammu to unite and stand up against the Valley.
"From bureaucracy to politics to other service sectors, Jammu has been neglected for long. Its geographical area is more, but the power goes to the Valley. Its population is more, but the Valley has more constituencies. All development projects are Valley-centric," Joshi points out.
SASS member Baldev Singh Salathia, who stepped down as the assistant advocate general to join the agitation, argues, "People have seen the discrimination and suffered for 60 years. Now they see this as a god sent opportunity to voice their anger."
A pro-Jammu local newspaper, the State Times, stated in its editorial, 'For Jammuites who were being exploited for 60 years, it came to a breaking point and acted as a unifying factor -- maybe under a religious emblem. But what is wrong with it?
'It is not against any other religion as it is against the Valley move that targeted Hindus.'
Interestingly, the Muslims of Jammu do not see eye to eye with their co-religionists in Kashmir. Leader of the Muslim Federation Abdul Majid says, "What the state has done is wrong. We are fully in support of revoking the order and giving the land for use by pilgrims. If you want to understand this, you must first understand that the feelings of the Kashmir Muslim and the Jammu Muslim are different. First, they are a majority force there and we are a minority people here. Second, and more important, is the fact that for us people here, Jammu comes first. So, naturally we will be with the people of Jammu."
Thus, the movement in Jammu has ceased to be a political issue and has become a mass movement with people of all faiths -- Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus -- joining it. In the Valley, politicians started it and the separatists hijacked it; in Jammu, politicians started it and now the disenfranchised people have hijacked it.
And now, all parties face one ineluctable fact: There is no solution that can reconcile the differing stands of the two regions, and any solution that favours one region will be immediately -- and violently -- rejected by the other.
What was started by politicians for electoral gains has metastasized into an issue of regional pride as Jammu, neglected for decades, demands its due and demands it now.
The area is completely deserted. The authorities have been using the curfew to test the popular temperature. Thus, on Thursday, it was first lifted from 5 am to 9 am, then extended to 11 am before being clamped again. On Friday, it was lifted at 5 am, and gradually extended till 1 pm.
While on the surface this might suggest a return to normalcy, there is the underlying sense that this is merely the calm before a cataclysmic storm. Though the army has managed to put down the violent protests, it is now facing a different sort of problem: the friendly neighbourhood protestor.
The phenomenon starts around sunset, gathers momentum as darkness pervades, and ends abruptly around 7 pm. Here is what happens:
Though people honour the curfew, at around 5.30 pm they start trickling out of their homes. At first, this happens in groups of two and three, say two elderly women stepping out of their gates for a harmless evening stroll or a couple of youngsters shooting the breeze. Since they confine themselves to their residential lanes, the army personnel stationed on every main road of the city leaves them alone, though they know this casual borderline defiance of the curfew is just a beginning.
As the minutes tick away, the number of people out on the streets swell; gradually, women and children appear in increasing numbers, and then the men begin to join in. Suddenly, what was an isolated evening walk has become a crowd of about 60, 70 people.
And then an anonymous hoarse voice yells 'Bam Bam..' The crowd responds with a full throated 'Bole!'
Suddenly, it is a full-fledged religious procession � but it still remains confined to the lanes and bylanes, so the army continues to observe.
Gradually, the group finds its way to the army pickets at the place where the lane joins the main road. A solitary soldier steps up to the barbed wire, asks them to stop, and to return to their homes. Curfew is on, he reminds them.
The crowd taunts him. The volume of the chanting gradually picks up. An effigy materialises out of nowhere -- Mehbooba Mufti, president of the People's Democratic Party, appears to be the favourite muse of effigy makers.
The crowd garlands it with torn slippers, and sets it on fire. The lone soldier now gets backup in the form of four or five more colleagues, who roll up in an army van. And just when you would assume that a flashpoint has been reached, and a violent confrontation is a heartbeat away, the crowd melts away, its job for the day done.
The next day, the dangerous game of chicken, played out between restive crowds and tentative army personnel, begins afresh.
Seventy-year-old Santosh Aroura is soaked in sweat as she returns home after the daily game. She is ill; it is difficult to walk back down the lane to her home. So why take the trouble, why subject the body to a strain it is clearly incapable of taking?
"We have spent enough years thinking why to get out," she says, as she clambers painfully into the car of a friend. "And we have been paying the price for it for 60 years. This time things have gone too far, and there is no point sitting at home and lamenting our fate. If we don�t come out, how will the youngsters come out?"
"We will show the Mehbooba Muftis of the world and the Kashmir Valley what Jammu is made of," says another elderly lady with a toddler on her hip and no name she wants to share with the world. "All these years, the people of the Valley have gotten away with a lot of things. This time they have stooped so low as to make an issue of a piece of land that was going to be used for a pilgrimage for just two months? How can they twist it into such a big issue? This time we will not back off till the government withdraws its order."
This is the woman who made the Mufti effigy. "At my age, I sat for two hours and made it. But I don't mind as long as we get something out of it."
This is not an isolated story of a random lane but a template that has been institutionalised across the troubled region. In every lane adjoining an arterial road, evening brings at least 50 'friendly' protestors for the ritual eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with the military.
For them, it is no longer an issue of the use of land for two months in the year for the comfort of Amarnath pilgrims � Jammu�s pride is on the line.
Talk to protestors, and they recount their story. Move a few lanes over, talk to another group, and you get the same story, almost verbatim. Either they have been impeccably tutored, or many minds have begun thinking alike. This is their story:
The People's Democratic Party was in the coalition when the move to divert land for providing yatris with temporary facilities was taken. Then, with an eye to the elections around the corner, it withdrew support to the government and protested the diversion of land. The minority government, also wanting to gain political mileage in the Valley, withdrew the order. But the separatists hijacked the issue, saying that this was a ploy to settle Hindus in the Valley, though the land is within the forest, and is uninhabitable.
That is the casus belli, as Jammu-ites recount it. If the initial problem was triggered by local politicians in the Valley, in Jammu too it was politics that triggered the backlash and has since kept it burning, with the Bharatiya Janata Party backing the initial protests. Locals say the party has been forced to soften its stand after the all-party meet that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh convened on Thursday.
While both the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti and the BJP maintain the issue is not communal, observers say there was an effort to give it a communal tinge in the Jammu region.
"Badly-phrased terms like 'Quit Jammu' and 'economic blockade of the Valley' were definitely used by some sections of the political spectrum. Thankfully, they have toned down their rhetoric," Arun Joshi, a veteran journalist from Jammu working for Hindustan Times, said.
While care has been taken to keep the issue from becoming overtly communal, some say the current scenario, pitching Jammu against Kashmir, could prove to be very difficult to solve.
"When the people in Jammu see the administration standing as mute spectators while separatists hoist the Pakistani flag, and the same administration clamping curfews and using force against people who are carrying the Indian flag, there is bound to be unrest. The people in Jammu want the anti-national sentiment to be reversed," Joshi said.
Text: Krishnakumar P in Jammu | Photographs: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images
See: Kanchan Gupta’s Jammu’s Hindu uprising http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/aug/05gupta.htm
See: Swapan Dasgupta’s Towards an uprising http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080808/jsp/opinion/story_9663131.jsp#
J&K a historical perspective (beware, official account) http://jammukashmir.nic.in/profile/jkhist.htm#top
Memorial of mistakes, converted Kashmir, a bitter saga of religious conversion by Narender Sehgal version by Narender Sehgal http://www.kashmir-information.com/ConvertedKashmir/Foreword.html
J & K : A Historical Perspective
Jammu and Kashmir came into being as a single political and geographical entity following the Treaty of Amristar between the British Government and Gulab singh signed on March 16, 1846. The Treaty handed over the control of the Kashmir State to the Dogra ruler of Jammu who had earlier annexed Ladakh. Thus a new State comprising three distinct religions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh was formed with Maharaja Gulab Singh as its founder ruler. The feudal dispensation in the State, however, was too harsh for the people to live under and towards the end of a hundred years of this rule when their Indian brethren were fighting for independence from the British under the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Kashmiris led by a towering personality, the Sher-I-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, rose against the autocracy. The autocratic rule came down heavily on the people’s freedom movement. However, the people laid their lives in the cause of freedom and to uphold the ideals of secularism, equality, democracy and brotherhood.
The high point of the movement was July 13, 1931 when 22 protesters were martyred. The event strengthened the movement and contrary to the expectations of the then rulers, the peopled emerged more determined in their resolution to seek an end to autocratic rule. By the time the rulers could realise the futility of breaking the will of the people with the might of the State, the National Conference, headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, had become a mass movement and a force to reckon with. It broke the barriers of region and religion and became a popular and secular voice of the people of the State whose collective yearning was freedom from autocracy and the establishment of a popular rule. The people’s movement spearheaded by the National Conference saw several ups and downs with its leaders particularly the Sher-I-Kashmir suffering vissitudes and long internment.
Jammu and Kashmir was one of about 565 princely States of India on which the British paramountcy lapsed at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947. While the power was transferred to the people in British India, the rulers of the princely States were given an option to join either of the two Dominions – India or Pakistan.
The Government of India Act 1935, as adopted in the Indian Independence Act, 1947, provided, "An Indian State shall be deemed to have acceded to the Dominion if the Governor General has signified the acceptance of an Instrument of Accession executed by the rule thereof." India, Pakistan and even Britain were party to these provisions. So the choice of joining either of the Dominions was left to the Rulers of the States concerned. Moreover, in the Indian Independence Act, 1947, there was no provision for any conditional accession.
Kashmir Hamara Hai "historical speech of Sheikh Mohammd Abdulla
in presence of Pandit Nehru in Lal Chowk.
The Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh did not exercise the option immediately and instead offered a proposal of Standstill Agreement to both the Dominion, pending final decision on State’s accession. On August 12, 1947, the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir sent identical communications to the Government of India and Pakistan which read, "Jammu and Kashmir Government would welcome Standstill Agreement with Union of India/Pakistan on all matters on which there exists arrangements with the outgoing British India Government." Pakistan accepted the offer and sent a communication to J&K Prime Minster on August 15, 1947. It read, "The Government of Pakistan agrees to have Standstill Agreement with Jammu and Kashmir for the continuation of existing arrangements …". India did not agree to the offer and advised the Maharaja to send his authorized representative to Delhi for discussion on the offer.
The Story Behind
Pakistan, though entered into Standstill Agreement, had an eye on Jammu and Kashmir. Even before the lapse of the British paramountcy on J&K, Mr.Mohammed Ali Jinnah, author of two-nation theory, had plans to grab the Paradise on Earth. He had once boastfully declared that "Kashmir is blank cheque in my pocket." The Pakistan’s designs on Kashmir could be well judged from the comments appearing on August 24, 1947 issue of its semi-official daily Dawn, "… the time has come to tell the Maharaja of Kashmir that he must make his choice and choose Pakistan…. Should Kashmir fail to join Pakistan the gravest possible trouble will inevitably ensue." In his bid to woo Sher-I-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, the undisputed leader of Kashmir, Mr.Jinnah visited Srinagar a couple of times, but failed to achieve his objective. Even his arrogance and browbeating tactic did not pay him.
The Maharaja was already facing a formidable challenge from the people who had launched the Quit Kashmir movement under the leadership of Sher-I-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah against the autocratic rule. Quit Kashmir movement ran parallel to the national movement with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah having close association with the leaders of the national movement against British rule. The national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru too espoused the cause of the people of Kashmir seeking political freedom from autocratic rule. To deal with the people’s upsurge, Maharaja had even detained Sheikh Abdullah on May 20, 1946 for spearheading ‘Quit-Kashmir’ movement. Faced with new alarming situation arising out of repeated violations of the Standstill Agreement by Pakistan and blocking of Pindi-Srinagar road, the Maharaja set him free on September 29, 1947. Sher-I-Kashmir, as he was fondly called by the people for his unmatched courage, deputed his close aide Kh.G.M.Sadiq to Pakistan to tell Pak leaders about the sentiments of the people who can not be taken for granted and coerced to join them. This plain speaking did not desist Pak for her designs.
While addressing a mammoth public meeting at Hazuri Bagh, Srinagar on October 1, 1947, Sher-I-Kashmir had made things about the future of the state obvious when he said, "Till the last drop of my blood, I will not believe in two-nation theory." It was yet another rebuff to Mr.Jinnah.Finding their designs on Kashmir not fructifying, Pakistan rulers launched an armed attack on Jammu and Kashmir to annex it. Tribals in thousands alongwith Pak regular troops entered the State on October 22, 1947 from several points and indulged in bloodshed and mayhem. The bewildered people of the estate were not expecting an attack from Pakistan especially in view of the Standstill Agreement.
Bowing before the wishes of the people as reflected by Muslim dominated National Conference and to push back the invaders, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession in favour of India on October 26, 1947 on the prescribed terms and conditions. This was accepted by the Governor General of India, Lord Mountbattan next day. The Instrument of Accession executed by Maharaja Hari Singh was the same which was signed by other rulers of the princely States. Similarly, the acceptance of the Instrument of Accession by the Governor General was also identical in respect of all such instruments. He was to write, "I do hereby accept the Instrument of Accession." It could not be conditional as mere acceptance by the Governor General was complete and final.
With J&K becoming legal and constitutional part of Union of India, the troops were rushed to the state to push back the invaders and vacate aggression from the territory of the state. The first batch of Indian Army troops arrived at Srinagar airport immediately after the Accession was signed. On October 30, 1947 an Emergency Government was formed in the State with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as its head. The Army fought sustained battle with the tribals and after several sacrifices pushed them out of the Valley and other areas in the Jammu region.
Meanwhile, the people of Kashmir under the towering leadership of Sher-I-Kashmir were mobilised and they resisted the marching columns of the enemy. Till the arrival of the troops, it were mainly the Muslim volunteers under the command of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who braved death to push back invaders. Lt.General P.C.Sen who as Brigadier functioned as Commander of 161 Infantry Brigade in Srinagar during 1947-48, wrote in his book, ‘Slander was the Thread’, "These volunteers moved across the mountains and forests with speed and gave accurate information the army about enemy’s strength, location and movements". While the army pushed back the invaders, there are several instances where people put up a gallant resistance and stopped the advance of the invaders. The most glaring examples of people’s resistance was the martyrdom of Mohammad Maqbool Sherwani and Master Abdul Aziz.
Shaheed Sherwani, a staunch follower of Sher-I-Kashmir, did not oblige the invaders when they enquired from him the route to Srinagar. Instead, he put them on a wrong track gaining time for troops to come. Somehow the tribesmen came to know about his tactics and nailed him at a Baramulla crossing and asked him to raise pro-Pakistan slogans. He did raise slogans but these were different. These were pro-Hindu Muslim amity and in favour of Sher-I-Kashmir. Engaged by this, the ruthless tribesmen emptied their guns on him.
The sacrifice of Master Abdul Aziz too was exemplary. The invaders who raped the nuns and wanted other non-Muslim women to handed over to them, Master Abdul Aziz, a tailor by profession, held the holy Quran in his hand and said that they can touch the women only over his dead body and the holy Quran. The brutal killers did not spare him.
On January 1, 1948 India took up the issue of Pak aggression in Jammu and Kashmir in UNO under Article 35 of its charter. The Government of India in its letter to the Security Council said, "…Such a situation now exists between India and Pakistan owing to the aid which invaders, consisting of nationals of Pakistan and tribesmen… are drawing from Pakistan for operations against Jammu and Kashmir, a State which has acceded to the Dominion of India and is part of India. The Government of India requests the Security Council to call upon Pakistan to put an end immediately to the giving of such assistance which is an act of aggression against India. If Pakistan does not do so, the Government of India may be compelled, in self defence, to enter into Pakistan territory to take military action against the invaders." After long debates, cease-fire came into operation on the midnight of January 1, 1949. Presence of Pak regular troops in the Valley was attested even by UNCIP documents (UNCIP first report).
At the time of cease-fire, Pakistan was holding 78114 sq.Kms illegally and this aggression on that territory continues even today. On March 5, 1948, the Maharaja announced the formation of an interim popular Government with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as the Prime Minister. Subsequently, the Maharaja signed a proclamation making Yuvraj Karan Singh as the Regent.
Pandit Shyam Lal Saraf, an old worker and known leader
of the National Conference, Supplies Minister
During one of the debates in UN Security Council on February 5, 1948, Sher-I-Kashmir, said "aggression and not the accession is the issue." The Security council, however, passed a resolution on plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir subject to certain conditions. The resolution had three parts, one relating to cease-fire while the second, the most important and relevant, was a truce agreement which provided the mechanism for plebiscite. As per the agreement, Pakistan Government agreed to withdraw its troops from the State and undertake to secure the withdrawal of its tribesmen and nationals who had invaded the State. The territory thus evacuated by the Pakistani troops would be administered by local authorities under the surveillance of UN Commission for India and Pakistan.
The second part of this agreement related to the obligation of Government of India which would have come into force after Pakistan had fulfilled its obligation in part A of the agreement and thereby terminated the situation which occasioned the presence of Indian troops. On being notified that Pakistan had withdrawn its forces, the Government of India would begin withdrawal of bulk of its forces in stages but she will maintain the minimum strength of its forces necessary for law and order with the Commission stationing its observers.
The third part related to reaffirmation of both the countries to determine the wish of the people.
Pakistan, knowing well the fate of such plebiscite at that time did not take any step to fulfil its obligations under the agreement and continued to hold the territory of the State illegally and forcefully even today. The issue plebiscite was linked with the condition of withdrawal of Pakistani forces and tribesmen from the occupied territory of the state which it never fulfilled, making the resolution absolutely irrelevant. On the other hand, J&K after attaining political freedom, marched ahead to strengthen democratic structure. Moreover, the truce agreement on plebiscite was superseded by the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan signed on July 3, 1972 itself, the two countries undertook to resolve all differences bilaterally and peacefully. Pakistan, through its commitments enshrined in this Agreement, accepted the need to once and for all shift the Kashmir question from the UN to the bilateral plane.
The first important speech of Pandit Nehru in Lal Chowk.
"India will never let down Kashmir" and the Indian army
will fight on till the last raider is driven out.
In 1951, the State Constituent Assembly was elected by the people. The Assembly met for the first time in Srinagar on October 31, 1951. Close on the heels of this, the Delhi Agreement was signed between the two Prime Ministers of India and Jammu and Kashmir giving special position to the State under the Indian Constitutional framework. The Constituent Assembly elected the Yuvraj as the Sadar-I-Riyasat on November 15, 1952, thus bringing to end the 106 year old hereditary rule in Jammu and Kashmir. The State Constituent Assembly ratified the accession of the State to the Union of India on February 6, 1954 and the President of India subsequently issued the Constitution (Application to J&K) Order under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution extending the Union Constitution to the State with some exceptions and modifications. The State’s own Constitution came into force on January 26, 1957 under which the elections to the State Legislative Assembly were held for the first time on the basis of adult franchise the same year. This Constitution ratified the State’s accession to Union of India. Section 3 of the Constitution makes this historic fact a reality. This section 3 of the Constitution says, "The Sate of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India." The Section 4 of the Constitution defined the territories which on the fifteenth day f August, 1947, were under the sovereignty of suzerainty of the Ruler of the State." Since then eight assembly elections have been held in the state besides Lok Sabha elections where the people exercised their franchise freely.
While the people of the state continue to march ahead for socio-economic emancipation as per the Naya Kashmir charter for better quality of life, Pakistan continued with her plans to grab Kashmir through force. Pakistan waged two wars in 1965 and 1971 to annex Kashmir but the people gave her befitting reply and repulsed her attacks with the help of army like they did in 1947-48. Failing to match India’s military power, it launched a low intensity war through militancy in 1990 which took a toll of 20,000 human lives besides destroying private and public property.
Memorial of mistakes, converted Kashmir, a bitter saga of religious conversion by Narender Sehgal
Writing of history was not a tradition in India. Reason being its dependence on Vedic and post-Vedic religion and Brahminism. Our ancient literature is rich but sans history. What is religion in it? What are its qualities ? These find full description and definition in the ancient scriptures like contentment, forgiveness, life, purgation knowledge, education, truth and peace etc. There is enough material in upanishadas and scriptures but less of history.
Many of our scholars consider the Puranas as history but the Puranas do not fulfil all the requirements of history. There is description of kings and rulers but is not known when and where they existed. Possibly paper shortage has been the reason for it. Writing on birch was not an easy affair. That is why our entire purpose has remained dependent on the Vedic discourse.
In India Emperor Ashoka got his teachings engraved on stones which are still available in different places. Later Gupta rulers and Bokhrias too ordered stone engravings. All the teachings of Emperor Ashoka, whether engraved on stones or on iron pillars, are in Brahmi, simple and common dialect. But the Gupta rulers used Sanskrit while propagating their sayings. No one had knowledge of Brahmi dialect a hundred years ago. This is the reason that scholars of that period remained entangled in the illusions connected with the dialect. During that period western scholars had started coming to India. They would ask our scholars about the dialect. Their queries would remain almost without an answer. They started research and found the key to Brahmi dialect. Engravings on stones and iron pillars were deciphered and they revealed history. Similarly the history of Gupta rulers is packed on the stone engravings. Whatever history is recorded on those engravings has paved a way for writing history of the middle ages.
There has been meagre research on the Puranas. Some work has been done but no research on history in them. Historians have remained indifferent towards them.
Rajtarangani is one such book in Sanskrit which has all the ingredients of history. It has history and a description of the periods of different kings and rulers. Each chapter carries a reference of "Kashmir, Mahabharata, Champak, Prabhu Butta". Kalhana had started writing Rajtarangani in 1147 and completed it in two years. Kalhana may have received help from his father, Champak, who was the Prime Minister. He has mentioned the names of the books used as reference material for completing the book. He had also studied thoroughly Mahabharata and Ramayana. At that time there were 11 books connected with the history of Kashmir and it appears that he had read some of them. These include "History of Kashmir" written by Suvrat, "Nripavali" of Hemendra and "Parthivavli" written by Helaraj. These three books are not available these days. It seems he had studied thoroughly Neelmat Puran. Besides this, Kalhana used stone engravings, copper plates, documents available in temples. He has given description of ancient edicts, manuscripts and coins. There is reference to folk tales also in the book. This way Rajtarangani is a book of history. Kalhana's great work cannot be underestimated.
After Kalhana Joanraj wrote history in 1150. In it there is scanty reference to Kalhana. In addition to this he wrote some books in which names of Muslim rulers and their work find description.
As far writing of history in Jammu is concerned nobody had written history against the Government. Yes, Kahan Singh Baleria wrote history of Jammu rulers which was based on the lineage charts the courtiers possessed. But this does not give evidence of history. After this Hashmatullah too wrote history. Some 20 years ago Editor-owner of an Urdu weekly "Chaand" Narsimh Das Nargis wrote a voluminous book on history in Urdu. This book was more voluminous than others. Besides this, KM. Panikar's Gulab Singh, and Saligrem's Gulab Singh are worth reading. There have been some attempts at writing of history but the history of Jammu and Kashmir has many controversies and illusions which await solution. A reference to these is carried in the "Converted Kashmir" book and the readers will see it. One thing deserves special mention. This pertains to autobiographies written by some politicians which, no doubt, carry some historical facts and data but have generated many controversies.
Many learned people ask why there has been major conversion in Kashmir when in rest of India some conversions have taken place. Mr. Narender Sehgal explains the genesis of it. It is one such question which needs explanation.
The importance of this historical book can be judged and evaluated by the experts on history. In fact foreigners have played an important role in the writing of India's history. Among them are Max Muller, Keith, Macnold and others who have worked in this field but their attempt has been that they did not consider India's civilisation more ancient than Egypt and other countries. Max Muller kicked up a controversy by writing that the Rig Veda belonged to the period 800 years before Christ. But when names of Indra (lord of de ities), Marut (lord of wind), Ashwani Kumar (son of the Sun) and Varuna (son of Kashyap) deities were found engraved on the iron pillar excavated in Asia Minor, Max Muller accepted his mistake. The reason being that foreign experts had traced the date of the pillar to 1500 B.C. All these four deities belonged to the Vedic period.
It is a matter of distress that during the British rule books written by foreign authors were taught in schools, colleges and universities in India. But even after the independence these book's were not excluded from the curriculum. In these books importance has been given to invasions of Huns, Syrianst Parshians and Greeks on India and an attempt has been made to prove that right from the beginning India had remained under foreign rule. The names of Hun rulers, Meharkul and Torman, have found special mention. Foreign scholars have made a scanty mention of big defeat Meharkul faced in the hands of Baladitya Yashovardhan and Hun ruler Torman having taken shelter in Kashmir. Kalhana, in his Rajtarangani, has given a detailed account of it. Readers will find a detailed account of it in this book, 'Converted Kashmir'.
The major reason for the current serious problem in Kashmir has been the separate status for the state. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India on October 26,1947 without any condition which was as wise a step as other rulers and Nawabs had taken. Why was accession then declared temporary at that stage? The Government of India appointed Governors in all the states but in Jummu and Kashmir an Agent was posted. Restrictions were imposed on travel from and into Jammu and Kashmir and the permit system was introduced which was not prevalent in any part of the country. In addition to this the state was kept under the Ministry of External Affairs by delinking it from the Ministry of Home Affairs and one Secretary was kept incharge of the state. The seeds of separatism were sown then. Not only this, the state's trade Agents were posted in Delhi, Amritsar and Pathankot.
Besides this, the Government of India gave special powers to the State and the State Government. These special powers had not been given to any other State. In Jammu and Kashmir powers were given to the Government to frame its own constitution. Permission was given to have Sadar-i-Riyasat in place of Governor and to hoist National Conference flags, instead of the National flag, on the Government buildings. At that time the Finance Commission and the Election Commission had no jurisdiction in the State. No Central law could be applied to the State. The Government of India paid no attention to its dangerous consequences. The Government of India set up a Radio Station in Jammu and Kashmir but instead of naming it All India Radio, Srinagar, or Jammu, it was christened Radio Kashmir Srinagar and Radio Kashmir Jammu.
If anyone slightly opposed it, he was dubbed as communal and anti-India. Those who protested against it collectively were jailed. These special powers received legitimacy by incorporating Article 370 in the Constitution of India. This Article is dangerous. The slogan of separatism that is being shouted in Kashmir is directly connected with Article 370. The purpose of this Article is not to give special status to the State. The meaning is straight. Under it the Muslim majority in the State is to get as much powers as it can to keep itself totally protected. Kashmiri leaders have many times stated that this Muslim majority state was joining Hindu majority country and the majority community in this State should be protected. Therefore, article 370 of the Constitution was adopted. The Article is clearly communal. Its aim is to keep the State separate from India and nothing else. It is surprising that the Government of India and many political parties consider it essential. They do not know that Kashmiri Muslims have been, over the years, saying that "we are not an inseparable part of India and we can decide our future ourselves."
It is not so that every Kashmiri treats this Article necessary. One Chief Minister of the State, G.M. Sadiq, had said that the utility of the Article was nil. This Article should be abrogated. He had tried to get it scrapped and its spirit eroded. He introduced nomenclatures of Governor and Chief Minister in place of Sadar-i-Riyasat and Prime Minister respectively and several central laws in the State. He had said that during his tenure he would gradually go in for complete abrogation of Article 370. But unfortunately his rule lasted for 7 years only. Had he lived for more time, Article 370 would have ceased to exist.
Jawaharlal Nehru had unbounded faith in Sheikh Abdullah. But how the time takes a turn The same Sheikh was arrested on August 9, 1953 and jailed. He remained in the wilderness for 21 years during which he delivered objectionable speeches. When he was released on August 8, 1964 he told a massive public rally in Jammu that "our accession to India is temporary and it had ceased. We demand right of self-determination so that people can decide their future".
Sheikh Abdullah was installed Chief Minister again in February, 1975. At that time he was a patron of the Plebiscite Front. The seeds of insurgency had been sown at that time. One thing more is worth mentioning. At that time one Al-Fatah named terrorist outfit existed in Kashmir which had been declared illegal. Those activists of this outfit, who had been imprisoned, were being defended in the court by Mirza Afzal Beg, Chief Lieutenant of the Sheikh. And the same Beg was sworn in as a cabinet minister in the council of ministers headed by Sheikh Abdullah. He was number two in the cabinet and recruited activists of Al-Fatah in the Government departments.
Today Pakistan is proclaiming in the world that the security forces are committing excesses on Kashmiris. This is totally false. Our Soldiers have come here to establish peace by curbing terrorism. If they are fired at they should have to return the fire in self-defence. Thousands of deadly weapons have been smuggled into Kashmir from Pakistan. Should these weapons be allowed to be in the hands of terrorists ? If it is to be, what should become of law and order ?
Pakistan's false campaign that "India's occupation of Kashmir is illegal and it is part of Pakistan" should be given a strong reply. Under the 1947 Indian Independence Act, the British Government transferred power to the people in India and in the states, power remained in the hands of the rulers. These rulers of the states were free to decide whether they would accede to India or to Pakistan. On August 15, 1947 Maharaja Hari Singh wrote to Government of India and Pakistan suggesting a status quo which was accepted by Pakistan but rejected by India. Possibly the reason was that the Government of India wanted to give to Sheikh Abdullah the power to decide the future of the State.
Rice was available in Kashmir but there was no wheat. Cloth and sugar were imported. The most important matter related to kerosene oil and petrol which were being imported from Pakistan. Pakistan curtailed the export of these items. Not only this, Pakistan brought 5,000 pathans from the frontier Province and collected them at Abettabad. They were given rifles and on October 21, 1947 were sent to Kashmir via Muzafarabad. They were backed by Pakistani troops. They marched ahead creating terror and destruction everywhere and raping women. The Maharaja of Kashmir had no sufficient force to repulse the attack. In order to protect the State he wrote to the Government of India expressing his willingness to accede to India and appealed to Delhi for sending troops. Can Pakistan and its supporters say whether Jammu and Kashmir State was independent or not at the time 5,000 pathans and Pak soldiers invaded Kashmir ? Was not this invasion launched to attack Maharaja's independence ? No one has an answer for this.
One more question can be asked. What does the ongoing terrorist and separatist movement in Kashmir indicate ? This is an established fact, there can be no two opinions about it, that first of all nepotism flourished in Kashmir resulting in the emergence of a section of people which started minting and looting money. One section became rich and the other famished. Those youths who had the backing of National Conference leaders got jobs but those without any recommendation and push remained unemployed. Is it the only reason for terrorism ?
Mr. Narender Sehgal has, in this book, dwelt at length on the historical and political background of the Kashmir problem. Why Kashmiris, who have for 4,000 years refused to surrender before the dreaded invaders, are holding the apron of foreigners and their religion by snapping ties with the Indian culture and nationalism ? Readers will get an answer to it in this book with the support of historical instances. The problem of Kashmir is neither economic nor political in anyway. Separatism is not the result of poverty and backwardness. The problem has roots in religious attitudes and inclinations. Had political and economic inequalities been the cause of separatism, it should have first spread to Jammu and Ladakh when these two regions have been kept backward under a definite plan. In the intoxication of appeasement of the Muslims the Government of India always butchered the legal rights of the people of Jammu. It closed its eyes towards the development of Jammu and Ladakh and focussed its attention towards the Kashmir valley. The dirty politics of votes encouraged anti-national forces in Kashmir. The result is that Kashmir is seemingly becoming a land of religious fundamentalism.
Therefore, the only solution to the problem is to bring Kashmiri youth to the national mainstream. But the politics of self-interest is an obstacle in the noble work. This is the reason that the Central Government and all political parties are not worried over the future of three lakh Hindu migrants from Kashmir. In order to resolve the Kashmir problem it is totally necessary to send these migrants back to their homes in Kashmir safely. The result of settlement of these displaced Hindus in areas outside Kashmir will be that the valley will become a Muslim country.
The "Converted Kashmir" book has been divided in four parts. The matter penned down in these four parts stands the test of historical facts and those of social sciences. By giving a detailed account of Kashmir's shinning cultural and literary heritage in the first part of the book the learned author has concentrated all the remaining material on it to highlight the real picture of Kashmir. It is a fact that this Kashmiriyat is a collective heritage of all Kashmiris. Today's Kashmiri Muslim society is the product of Hindu ancestors. The author has attempted to remind those Kashmiri youths, who have, on instigation from external forces, raised the banner of terrorism and separatism, of this shinning heritage and petriotism on which Kashmiriyat is based upon.
The second part of the book carries a detailed account of painful history of mass conversions of the Hindus by Muslim rulers and Sultans in Kashmir which is substantiated by instances and research work of historians. There is need for accepting this historical fact with an open mind.
In the third part there is an account, based on strong facts, of grave mistakes of the ruling politicians in the present times. There is a laudable description of Maharaja Hari Singh's nationalism, Lord Mountbetten's conspiracy, anti-national activities of Sheikh Abdullah and Nehru's short sightedness.
The last part assumes importance in the light of current developments. The ways for solving the Kashmir problem, given in this part, are strong, suitable and timely.
I believe that besides the bundle of evidences, simple language and attractive style will make the book popular.
Vijaygarh, Jammu D.C. Prashant 4-8-1992 Ex-Member Rajya Sabha