The underpinnings of the Kashmiri struggle, for right to self-determination, are based on the principles of two nation theory whose strings are connected to the internal struggle for realizing the true Islamic nature of kashmiri identity and the external developments which were instrumental in the emergence of Muslim identity in the sub-continent. The message of Islam reached to this land-locked vale circa twelfth century CE when a Turkish scholar Sheykh Sharfuddin Abdul Rehman Al-turky popularly known as “Bulbul Sahib” enlightened the people of Kashmir with the universal message of Islam. Rinchen Shah, the then Bhudhist king was highly influenced by the Onto-Cosmic Discourses of Islam based on the divine strands of epistemology. He embraced the Islam as his conscious way of life and came to be known as Sultan Sadruddin, hence the First Muslim ruler of the Kashmir. Besides sultan Sadruddin, there were other courtiers, notables and common masses who realized the truth of life in the form of Islam. The transition of Islam to the valley was welcomed by our fore-fathers consciously and wholeheartedly and witnessed a paradigm shift from the mythologies of polytheism to the absolute reality of oneness of the Creator of the universe. It was an insomniac journey of the soul and thought from the marshy bogs of mythos to the realization of ultimate truth. There were no any coercive or compulsive measures to give way to this new way of thought and practice as it is fundamentally against its principles of propagation and promulgation. However, there has been wanton efforts on the part of the Hindu elite to distort the basic facts and they left no stone unturned to prove that there were coercive and oppressive measures responsible for the conversion of the people to Islam.
Khalid Bashir, a renowned intellectual and author, has unmasked the reality of the myths and lies as:
“For several centuries, the history of Kashmir has remained under the occupation of Brahman writers who converted it into a story of the so-called aboriginal Hindus -’the inheritors of five millennia of uninterrupted history’ – their forcible conversion, periodic uprooting and destruction of temples. For them, the 500 years of Muslim rule exists only as a grim reminder of the long drawn-out persecution…… the bias they brought into the narrative also found way into the official publications printed after the termination of the Hindu rule in 1947 and formation of a ‘popular government’. A specimen of this misrepresentation is keys to Kashmir published in 1955 by the government of Jammu and Kashmir. The book perpetuates the Hindu mythology and narrates factually incorrect historical events”.
[Kashmir – Exposing the the myth, Khalid Bashir, p.XXI]
The five centuries of Muslim rule ushered an era of peace, prosperity, and a fine example of peaceful co-existence in which the minority Hindus were enjoying the prominent posts. However, by the end of the centuries long Muslim rule, their nefarious designs against the Muslims unmasked their obnoxious character. The minority Hindus deprived the majority Muslims of all political, religious and social freedom. The position of the Muslims were reduced to the two legged political creatures whose control was in the hands of their Hindu masters.
The internal struggle of kashmiris to forge a Muslim Identity began with the advent of Hindu rule in Kashmir. Kashmiris suffered a great deal of sufferings due to their unwavering commitment to the Islam. They embraced all miseries with a smiling face and remained loyal to the faith their fore-fathers had embraced consciously and wholeheartedly.
KASHMIRIS UNDER SIKH RULE
when Kashmir came under the brutal rule of the Sikhs in 1819, they enacted a number of anti-Muslim laws and policies. According to Frederic Hartemann and Robert Hauptman
“ the Sikhs enacted a number of anti-Muslim laws, which included handing out death sentences for cow-slaughter, closing down the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, and banning the Azan, the public Muslim call to Prayer.”
[Deadly peaks: Mountaineering’s greatest triumphs and tragedies, p.149]
In 1835, three European visitors, Hugel, Vigne and Henderson vividly recorded the divide between the affluent aristocracy living in palatial places and the abject poverty of the common man. Sikh rule was a continuation of the degeneration, poverty and deprivation of the people of Kashmir. The Muslim population of Kashmir had to face the fury of the Sikh rulers and were the worst sufferers. Agriculture, shawl and carpet industry were ruined due to the introduction of heavy taxation policies. With the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, the sikh rule began to decline and replacing the new Dogra Masters for the people of Kashmir.
KASHMIR UNDER DOGRA RULE
The horrors of Dogra rule in Kashmir has left a saga of pain, torture, discrimination and exploitation on the pages of the history. It was a unique episode in the history of the humanity that all the material as well as human stuff was sold to the Dogra rulers by the British under the “Treaty of Amritsar”. Of the sane voices which came from the British quarters was of Robert Thorpe who could feel the brutal injustice done to the people of kashmir. He lamented upon the ‘unjust treaty’ as
“Towards the people of Cashmeer we have committed a wanton outrage, a gross injustice, and an act of tyrannical oppression which violates every human and honourable sentiment which is opposed to the whole sprit of modern civilization and is in direct opposition to every tenet of religion we profess.”
[Political assertion of Kashmiri identity, Gul Mohammad wani, p.126]
Soon after the ‘treaty of Amritsar’, in which kashmir was sold to the Dogra regime against an amount of Rs. 750k, they openly declared to promote the cause of Hindu interests and religion. While replying to the question of H.M.Lawrence, the British signatory of the Amritsar Treaty, about treating his Muslim and non-Muslim subjects alike, Gulab Singh retorted:
“As a Hindu ruler he would have to give priority to the religion of Hindus”.
[Politics and religion in india, Religion-Polity interface in J&K, Tajjudin Mohammad]
Since the inception of their rule, they resorted to the repressive policies and practices against the Muslims of Kashmir. The Hindutva agenda of the rulers coerced the Muslims socially, politically, economically and religiously. Choudhary Gouhar Rehman, secretary of Young Muslims Association Jammu, depicts the horrible situation as
“The conditions under which the Muslims of Kashmir live are known to the entire world. Our political suppression and educational backwardness were sufficient to ruin our life. Our little residual religious freedom is now being crushed.”
[Political awakening in Kashmir, Ravinderjit kaur, p.140]
The historic episode of July 1931 left an unparalleled story in which 22 Muslims were martyred, by the Dogras, just to complete the Azan. The day is commemorated as the ‘Martyr’s Day’ which reminds the Muslims of Kashmir of the sacrifices of their fore-fathers for the sake Islam and their valour against oppression and injustice. The 1931 resistance galvanized the momentum of Muslim leadership against the anti-Muslim policies, practices and oppressive measures of the Hindu-Dogra rulers. The historic episode of 1931 infused an impregnable spirit among the Kashmiri people and leadership alike and provided them the opportunity to formulate the super structure of the kashmiri society according to the guiding values of Islam. This Ummatic conciousness ultimately concretized in the formation of the first ever-known religio-political organisation of Kashmir—All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, by Molvi Yusuf Shah, Molvi Ahmad, Saed Hassan Jalali, Saed-UdDin Shawl, Shaikh Mohammad Abdullah, Ghulam Ahmad Ashai, Mistri Yaqoob Ali, Mufti Shuhab-Ud-Din, Chowdhury Ghulam ,Abbas,Gowhar Rehman, Ahmad Shah Jalali and others. Sheikh Abdullah later on stabbed the people of Kashmir by converting the religious Muslim Conference into secular National conference. However, the sincere and genuine leadership of Kashmir extended their full support to Quaide A’zam Mohammad Ali who has been seriously engaged with the draft and vision of unifying the Muslims of the sub-continent including Kashmir into a vibrant Muslim nation who could derive the inspirations of polity and life from the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah.
The Muslim leadership in Kashmir began to cherish the dream of a ‘free Hindu dominance society’ which had stifled the growth of the Muslim Identity. Kashmiri émigrés living in the Punjab had established a forum called the All-India Kashmir Muslim Conference, based in Lahore, started mobilizing Muslims of Punjab and with their help had initiated an organized campaign in support of the Muslims of Kashmir. The organization was actively involved not only in campaigning for the Muslims of Kashmir but also in providing them material and emotional support.
The echo of these developments could be heard by the Muslim thinkers and intellectuals outside the Kashmir and they could anticipate the future fusion of the socially, politically, geographically and topographically, psychologically and above all ideologically harmonious unification of the people of the North-Western Frontier Provinces (NWFP). Choudhary Rehmat Ali, a refined intellectual and the voracious voice of the Muslims, demanded the separate homeland for the vast majority of Muslims of the North-West of India including the Kashmir. The rationale behind it was the existence of two separate and opposite entities in the form of different Muslim and Hindu identities. In his conceptual treatise,Now or never;are we to live or perish forever, C.R Ali remarked
“Our religion and culture, our history and tradition, our social code and economic system, our laws of inheritance, succession and marriage are fundamentally different from those of most peoples living in the rest of India. The ideals which move our people to make the highest sacrifices are essentially different from those which inspire the Hindus to do the same. These differences are not confined to broad, basic principles. Far from it. They extend to the minutest details of our lives. We do not inter-dine; we do not inter-marry. Our national customs and calendars, even our diet and dress are different”
The growing Hindu hostilities towards the Muslims within Kashmir and translating the dream of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ [A Hindu state] into reality without, were sufficient sources for our Muslim intelligentia to draft and design a separate destiny for the Muslims of entire Indian sub-continent including the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The strong feelings of Muslim identity of Kashmiris within and a vibrant movement for separate homeland for Muslims without were fused together under the meticulous leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
MAJOR POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN INDIA
On august 1928, J.L.Nehru along other nine member committee including his father Moti Lal Nehru published a vision document/memorandum which anticipated the future political and constitutional structure of Indian state. The Nehru report out rightly undermined the political and constitutional rights of the Muslims. In 1930, Allama Iqbal expressed his grave concern against such developments and demanded the separate homeland for the Muslims with full force and conviction. In his letter to M.A.Jinnah, Allama Iqbal said:
“why should not the Muslims of North-West India and Bengal be considered as nation entitled to self- determination just as other nations in India and outside India are.”
[Afzal,M.R, selected speeches and statements of Quad-e-Azam M.A.Jinnah, 84]
These persuasions and developments waxed the enthusiasm of M.A.Jinnah and he began to demand forcefully the separate homeland for Muslims on the basis of two nations theory. While addressing a historic public gathering at Lahore on March 23,1940, he enunciated:
“we have our past experience of the last two and half year. We have learnt many lessons. We are now apprehensive and can trust nobody….. it has always been taken for granted mistakenly that Muslims are a minority. Muslims are a nation by any definition of nation. Hindus and Muslims belong to two religions, philosophies, social customs, literatures. They neither inter-marry nor inter-dine and indeed belong to different civilizations which are based on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their concepts of life different, they have different epics, different heroes and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is the foe of the other and like wise their victories and defeat, overlap. He also added that, to take together state, one as a numerical majority other as a minority must lead to growing discontent. Muslims are nation according to any definition of a nation and they must have their homeland, their territory and their state.”
PARTITION OF INDIA,1947 AND KASHMIR
Realizing the intensity of demand of the separate homeland for the Muslims, British finally consented to the partition of 562 princely states of India including the state of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of religion I.e Hinduism and Islam. Lord Mountbatten finalized the ‘Partition Pact’ which allowed the Hindu-majority states to be the part of India and Muslim-majority states to be the part of new-born state of Pakistan. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, being the Muslim majority state had to be the part of Pakistan. Unfortunately, due to the treacherous, obnoxious and dirty politics of hindu ruler Hari Singh, he pushed the Kashmir into the cataclysmic disaster and unending pain of occupation. Lord Mountbatten tried to convince Hari Singh to respect the demand and aspiration of of majority of the population by acceding to Pakistan. However, he was reluctant to give up his kingship. Meanwhile, the Muslims of Jammu province while emigrating to Pakistan were brutally butchered and mercilessly massacred by the hindu goons and terrorists. This broad day-light massacre of innocent Muslims triggered their kith and kin inhabiting in the tribal areas of North-Western front-line to come to their rescue.
Hari Singh cunningly projected the defence of the tribals to their relatives as a war against his state. Under the pretext of this ‘so-called tribal war’, Hari Singh collaborated with the government of India and invited the foreign occupying forces to subjugate the state of J&K on 27 Oct, 1947. The day is still observed as ‘Black Day’ in Kashmir. The united Nations security council took a strong note of this unwarranted occupation and passed around one and a half dozen resolutions and recommendations supporting a free and fair Plebescite and acknowledging the right to self-determination for the people of the Kashmir. J.L.Nehru, the then Prime minister of India, pledged before United Nations to allow and ensure a free and fair Plebescite for the people of J&K. Unfortunately, India has been reluctant and adamant to fulfill the sanctity of International covenant she has been signatory to. Since the inception of ugly occupation in 1947 until now, the Muslims of J&K have been incessantly offering the matchless and unparalleled sacrifices for right to self-determination under United Nations security council resolutions.
The Caravan of sacrifices is invincibly moving on to its logical conclusion. LFOVK deems it religious, political and moral obligation to represent the true aspirations of the people of J&K at all international fora of the world until the accession of the state of J&K to the state of Pakistan.