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Azad Jammu & Kashmir

Jinnah and Kashmir

Jugular Vein
In May 1948 the Quaid-e-Azam moved to Ziarat for rest where he remained under medical treatment of a team of doctors including Dr. Riaz Ali Shah till his death in September 1948. According to Dr. Riaz Ali Shah’s Diary (Publishing House, Bull Road publication 1950) the Quaid-e-Azam was stated to have said, "Kashmir is the Jugular vein of Pakistan and no nation or country would tolerate its Jugular vein remains under the sword of the enemy".

Not only the Jugular vein of Pakistan but also that of Kashmiri community in particular has been under the sword of the enemy for the last fifty years. In fact the people of the Indian occupied Kashmir have been pushed to the wall to have this realization. Those who supported the States accession to India or remained indifferent at that time now stand disillusioned. The people of Kashmir particularly the Muslim majority were gradually subjected to economic strangulation. In early years India did pump huge funds for development of the occupied State to show to the world that rapid economic progress was taking place in the area. Several welfare schemes were launched including free education from primary and post-graduate level. This gave temporary satisfaction to both classes of people namely pro-accession and anti-accession. The former saw in it vindication of their stance. The latter thanked Pakistan for keeping the Kashmir issue alive forcing India to siphon more and more money to Kashmir.

Simultaneously with spending funds in the State of Jammu and Kashmir cultural and economic onslaught was let loose in full swing. Hindi was introduced in almost all-educational institutions; in some it was compulsorily taught. Roads and institutions were re-christened after the name of Indian leaders. Wherever there was resistance from the local population, the move was temporarily suspended. Islamabad town founded by Islam Khan, a Subedar of Mughal King in 1640, and known for sulphurous springs and black fish was re-christened as Anantnag (plenty of springs). The local population resisted the official change in the town’s name. All shops and private buses plying to and from the town carried Islamabad signboard. But post Office took pains to correct the mail address to Anantnag. Local people however, persistently post their letters with Islamabad address.

Indian economic tentacles were spread to the farthest corner of the State by opening offices of State Bank of India (which is like National Bank of Pakistan). On the roadside one could see signboards of IFFECO (Indian farmer’s cooperative organization for marketing) and All India handicraft Board. Economic domination by non-Muslim and non-kashmiris mounted. In 80’s in Srinagar alone 42,000 Muslim families had mortgaged their immovable property to Indian banks at as high rate as 20 percent interest. The Indian banks were liberal in advancing loans for non-productive ventures but very niggardly in case of economically feasible projects. Within years the borrowers were deprived of their belongings through court decrees.

No commercial article reached the consumers without passing through non-Muslim and non-kashmiri agencies. Export business had been monopolized by non-Muslims and non-kashmiris. In 80’s except for one Muslim firm namely Indo-Kashmir Carpet, six other exporters licensed to export carpets from Kashmir were non-Muslim, non-kashmiri firms.

The original industries for which Kashmir was known for namely carpet- manufacturing, fruit cultivation, wood carving, embroidery and paper mache had gone in quandary. After occupation Indian Government made it a point to recruit all leading skilled labor as instructors to train persons in Himachal Pradesh in the same trade. Thus industries like embroidery and fruit cultivation had gradually centered in Himachal Pradesh. With closure of short land routes leading to Pakistan after Indian occupation, fresh fruits of Kashmir could not reach markets. Kashmir type carpets started to be manufactured in Amritsar (Punjab) and Mirzapur (UP). Wood carving on Kashmir pattern had been started in Saharanpur (U.P). Himachal, Saharanpur Mirzapur and Amritsar products elbowed out the Kashmiri products from market on account of being cheaper because of less transport expenses. Patterns of Kashmiri artcraft were fed into Indian machines to make Kashmiri handicrafts uneconomical.

Tourism remained the only industry in the field till the resistance movement was afoot in late 90’s. The clientele was largely Hindu from India. This too posed a cultural threat to Kashmiris. Guides and attendants would say "Nomaskar" with folded hands lest they should be deprived of their tips’. In 90’s a Muslim guide was asked what was his name, he replied ‘X,Y,Z". He did not disclose his name and faith till he found that his addressed was a Muslim.

Even the National Conference elements who supported accession to India in early years are now disillusioned and repentant in their hearts of heart. In early 80’s a National Conference stalwart admitted: " We had apprehended that by merger with Pakistan, Kashmir culture would be eroded under Punjab domination as the Punjabis are of aggressive temperament. But now we feel that Kashmiri culture was to go anyway and our Islamic character would undoubtedly have the Hindu impact. But now that the mistake had been done, its rectification will depend on time and circumstances. " If ballot had been allowed to have a free play Kashmiris would have kept their separate identity intact. But that was not so be so. There may be no immediate reaction on the surface but after fifteen years or so, Kashmir will be a base for Pakistan provided Pakistan is intrinsically strong at that time", he said after regaining self-confidence.

As the Kashmiris are keen to keep their religion and cultural ethos intact, the Hindu minority backed by Indian government is equally enthusiast about not letting the Muslim influence spread in areas where Muslims are not in majority, say Jammu and Laddakh. Administrative arrangements are often made at the instance of Indian Government so that Hindu majority areas, even at district and tehsil level get as much free hand as possible.

In recent years Laddakh Hill Council was constituted to give them an internal autonomy. Hindu Pundits of Kashmir valley also staged a drama of leaving their hearths and homes to shift to Jammu to give communal color to the ongoing struggle for the right to self-determination by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu also has been getting more autonomous as compared to the past. There used to be one Director Education for the entire Jammu and Kashmir State. Now there are two full-fledged Directors of Education separately in charge of Jammu and Kashmir with separate funds of equal amount.

A chairman of Jammu and Kashmir State Public Service Commission had to quit his job, as he did not oblige to recruit a certain percentage of Hindu teachers irrespective of their low merit for appointment in State schools. Sheikh Abdullah had been told by Indian Government that certain percentage of Hindus had to be taken for recruitment as schoolteachers. When a Muslim and Kashmiri Chairman was not obliging he was replaced by a Sikh to do the needful.

Similarly there was no longer any Director of Health for the State. Instead there were two Deputy Directors separately in charge of Jammu and Kashmir. May be the State is ultimately divided into three separate administrative units- Kashmir, Jammu and Laddakh as Indian Punjab was divided into Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to save Hindu areas from Sikh domination. Even in the Kashmir valley the Muslim police officers are kept debarred from training in arms handling. The Muslim personnel may be promoted to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of police but his subordinate Hindu sepoy would be trained to handle arms while he would remain deficient in this field.

Jammu, culturally and linguistically, is more akin to Himachal Pradesh then to Kashmir valley. The atmosphere of the valley is so different that Hindu tourists returning from Kashmir start feeling at home as soon as they cross Banihal tunnel (now named as Jawaharlal tunnel) and similarly Muslims on entering into Kashmir valley by crossing the tunnel feel a sense of familiarity.

In 80’s this scribe was stationed at New Delhi as A.P.P. correspondent and used PTI (Press Trust of India and Indian counterpart of A.P.P) office for functioning. A friendly PTI Staffer had been seen in office for a week or so in a summer month. On return he said he had been to a hill station. On being asked whether he had gone to Kashmir, he candidly stated, "Who would go to Kashmir? Hatred for us is writ large in the eyes of Kashmiris. Militancy had not surfaced by that time.

 

Autonomy
Sheikh Abdullah is stated to have had a dream of internal autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir within India. This unrealistic dream could never come true and indeed did not. But in the process of dreaming Sheikh Abdullah put the jugular vein of the entire Kashmiri community under the sword of Hindu India. He walked out of prison to become the so-called Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. His honeymoon with Nehru ended soon and he again went to jail in 1953. And for the rest of his life he had been unsuccessfully clamoring for pre-1953 status for the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which was never restored.

Till 1953 a special permission was required for Indians to enter Kashmir. Till 1953 accession was considered to be conditional. In 1953 India claimed the fraudulent accession of Jammu and Kashmir to be final. Till 1953 the chief executive of Jammu and Kashmir was called Prime Minister and not the chief minister.

During his chief minister-ship Sheikh Abdullah did keep senior civil posts in the state to be held by Kashmiris and projected this as decentralization policy. But this was more for his personal convenience rather than by conviction or a matter of policy. Kashmiri bureaucrats obviously desired not to be transferred outside the State. Thus they were more submissive and willing to do any dirty job for the chief minister while Indian Administrative Service officers consulted Delhi before executing any apparently extraordinary orders from the chief minister.

As regards Article 370 of the Indian constitution giving special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, it has been amended so many times that it has lost the import it was intended for. Autonomy had been consistently eroding. Earlier this year Hindu nationalist party BJP won parliamentary polls in India with election promises to do away with whatever was left of Article 370 for the State of Jammu and Kashmir, repealing personal Law for Muslims in India, constructing Rama temple in place of Babri Mosque pulled down by Hindu fanatics seven years back in Ayodhya and making India a nuclear weapon state. Within 40 days of coming into power of BJP, India with a series of underground nuclear tests had already become the sixth nuclear power state in the world with BJP redeeming one of the pledges.

Sheikh Abdullah had returned to power in Jammu and Kashmir State in 1976, of course, without winning anything extra for state subjects or repairing any damage done to the State’s autonomy. His duplicity was more than exposed. In Jammu and Kashmir he was described at clever and cunning man and his slogan of State’s self-assertion as mere stunt.

Demographic Changes
The people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir however, remained one and determined to resist any attempt to destroy their distinct Muslim entity. The restrictions imposed by the late Maharaja on granting state subject certificate to any outsider remained in force on paper but with scant respect by the powers that be. In early 80’s Dr. Mehboob Beg, son of Afzal Beg who had founded Inquilabi National Conference after falling apart form Sheikh Abdullah in 1976, alleged that 1500 domicile certificates were issued over signatures of Sheikh Abdullah chief Minister alone. The number of the subjects certificates issued at tehsil level was immensely large. This had upset the ratio of population of Muslims vis a vis non-Muslims. Corruption was rampant in the state and the entire administration from top to bottom was involved in it. Dr. Mehboob, physician by profession had left his job to step into his father’s shoes.

The Congress (I) circles alleged that Sheikh Abdullah and his family members were rolling in millions. There was hardly a metropolitan place in India where Sheikh or his family members did not own real estate, mostly in form of picture houses. Through various factors, the complexion of population was changing in the State to the disadvantage of the Muslims. According to early 80’s census figures the growth rate in Muslim population was dwindling as compared to Hindus, According to official explanation more Muslims were taking to family Planning.

The census (1981) figures were as follows:
Kashmir Valley------27 Lac (Including Hindus)
Jammu ---------------- 24 Lac (there is a Muslim belt in Jammu too)
Laddakh---------------3 lac.


Thus the population of Kashmir valley was equal to that of Jammu and Laddakh put together. So the Muslims have only a thin edge majority. While attempts were being made to save as many Hindus from Muslim cultural influence, an effort was also being made to cut cultural moorings of the Muslim. Well to do persons particularly upstart families were taking to western type of education, which in any case take the young generation away from its cultural heritage.

New inscription mostly in Hindi were being put on the tombs of old Muslim saints to say that they had equal followings among Muslims and Hindus in a bid to appease and attract Hindu tourists and at the same time inculcate among Muslims a feeling that they had no separate spiritual heritage. A Muslim Malik teamed up with Hindu Pundits to organize "Charri Mubrarak’ and Amar Nath cave pilgrimage and share the offerings. Hindi was replacing Urdu in many educational institutions to be taught along with Kashmiri language. The intention was that with the passage of time Urdu disappears and its elimination might cause a communication gap between Kashmiris and Pakistanis.

Ploy of Resettlement Bill
A private bill Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Permit for Resettlement (Permanent Return to the State) Bill 1980 piloted by Abdul Rahim Rathor was adopted by the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir legislature with the support of the ruling National Conference. This was an enabling provision to grant for permit for resettlement in the State of any person who had been a State subject and migrated to the territories now forming Pakistan (it did not apply to Azad Kashmir) between March 1947 and May 14, 1954. Ostensibly it was intended to give a deceptive impression to the general public that there were many Kashmiri Muslims who had migrated to Pakistan were but now being repentant and dissatisfied with living conditions in Pakistan and wanted to return to the State, which was still paradise on Earth. Indeed it was a camouflage in the sense that under its garb the motive was to give permit of residence to those Hindu migrants from Pakistan at the time of Independence and from other places in India subsequently to offset Muslim majority complexion of the state.

According to the some Srinagar citizens the real purpose of the bill was to distribute the property left by Muslims in Jammu among favorites of Sheikh Abdullah. The evacuee property had already been given to Hindus and lacks of rupees were being received by way of rent and the Bill aimed at finally distributing the booty among the favorites. A provision of the Bill lay down that the applicant for resettlement was to take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India and to undertake to faithfully observe the laws of the State and India.

In early 80’s militancy was not visible on surface, yet the youth looked conscious and determined to fight their own battle. They admitted that Pakistan had done its outmost for them and had suffered in return. The people in the valley were on the whole Islam-loving and pro-Pakistan. It was a privilege to parade as a Pakistani. They love you. Every body would offer you a cup of tea. You do not have to introduce yourself. Their just coming to know that you are a Pakistani was enough. Even not very bold persons would come to whisper in your ear: We know you. We are pleased to see you here. They did not wait to be introduced or to introduce themselves and would disappear in the crowd.

An attendant in a tourist bungalow said, "We too were very keen on Pakistan. Probably it was not our luck to be Pakistanis". Love for Islam is inexhaustible. On occasion of Shab-e-Bara’t mosques were full for the entire night for what they called "Shab" which included Zikar, Naatkhwani and Waaz. In early 80’s too there was massive Indian military presence in the State. But even bus drivers were bold enough to defy military officer’s instructions. The bus driver that drove the scribe and family members from Srinagar to Jammu ignored the signals of a military sergeant on a bridge and later talked to him with his head high.

He probably defied the traffic signal in a bid not to waste time since I had told him that we were to catch Jhelum Express train the same evening at Jammu for Delhi. In spite of the heavy odds created by landslides on the main road and diversions, the driver reached Jammu well in time for the train. At Jammu he saluted me and said "Saab aap ka khadim hen, aap ke kam khadim hen, Pakistan ke ziada khadim hen" (we are your servants, More of Servants to Pakistan that to you).

The people of Kashmir are engaged in a heroic resistance struggle and have lain down and continue to lay supreme sacrifices to relieve jugular vein of Pakistan and that of their own from enemy’s sword as willed by the Quaid-e-Azam.
May Almighty Allah bless them with success- Ameen.