The Hindu Rajas weren’t at all prepared to respect the spirit of the Independence Act 1947and acknowledge that they were no more the masters of the State. Their stubbornness resulted in a civil war between the communities; prompting the Muslim Conference to form a Provisional Government of J&K’ with its headquarters at Muzzaffarabad. The announcement of the Provisional Government precipitated the worst crisis, yet; resulting in an increasingly bitter communal war: Dharma-Yud versus Jihad; ensuing heartlessly the unending extermination of an inestimable number of people for the simple reason of their being Muslims; driving hordes of them out of the State into Punjab forcibly. Stephens, editor, Statesman, Calcutta, while penning down the nasty episode, reports: that from 15 August onwards about five lakh Muslim population was uprooted from Jammu Kashmir in eleven weeks’ time. Two lakhs were wiped out in such a way that even their traces were not found… Remaining saved their lives by fleeing to West Punjab in helpless condition’
The Jammu & Kashmir State was harshly wobbled by the partition’ that shook the mixed population of its territories to their toes; infuriating a number of them to join the street melee to thwart the plans of the perpetrators of crime against humanity, and in the process themselves went on rioting spree to become a part of the obnoxious throng of marauders who had created a ghastly situation that presented a horrifying picture of red, hot human blood spilling over the main roads and lanes of various localities. Upsetting people devastatingly, it provoked scores of them to become unruly enough to bring disgrace to all that they used to boast about as the proud legacy of their “glorious past and for whose preservation and perpetuation their predecessors had always stood ardently like a rock.
No stone was left unturned by the troublemakers in bringing the situation to a boiling point; nay to a point of no return; obliterating, thus, all chances of reconciliation completely. The unimaginable frenzy and unrestrained public fury that ensued gripped the attackers so overpoweringly that they could not resist swallowing up treacherously whatever came their way. They behaved aggressively like predatory animals and wrought havoc on everything associated with humanity; engulfing the entire State in the flames of malicious hate crime, wicked rioting, selective massacre, brutal rape, loot and arson; impairing devastatingly the delicate social fabric, the tender roots of collective living, and the religious and regional synchronization beyond repairs; setting apart the Hindus and the Muslims, and the Dogras and the Kashmiris for ever with no chance of any compromise in the offing till date.
The assailants enjoyed full support of the Hindu elite and astounding patronage of autocratic rulers who had been wholly overtaken by the anxiety of losing their hold over the State in the aftermath of the opening of the transom of freedom accompanied by the unsightly scar of partition of the Subcontinent. The Treaty of Amritsar, the mainspring of their authority, had lapsed into inactive state owing to the coming into force of Independence Act of 1947 and the vanishing of the British Paramount power from India as a sequel to that. What they had acquired through this Treaty (infamously known as Sale Deed) dubiously in 1846 was rendered invalid and untenable on 15h August, 1947. But the Hindu Rajas weren’t at all inclined to accept this reality. Not prepared to respect the spirit of the Act and acknowledge that they were no more the masters of the situation they declined smugly to listen to the sounds of their Muslim subject’s clamouring for a fresh dispensation under the new-fangled political setting and, thereby, paved the way for the doomsday scenario of a civil war between the communities.
The extreme reluctance shown by the Hindu Rajas to acknowledge this incredible fact and relinquish the throne deeply stirred their Muslim subjects up to pressurize the regime into Quitting Kashmir. They launched an unyielding, earth-shattering campaign-that appeared to be more processional in the Valley but hugely violent in other Parts of the State-to bring home to the rulers that they were no more ready to let the Dogra suzerainty squeeze them unendingly and that they themselves were the genuine masters of their destiny.
Thus, the reverberations of thunderous sloganeering of Quit Kashmir Movement swamped the Valley extensively on the one hand and fierce exchange of fire between the autocratic forces and the insurgents engulfed the vicinities of Bagh, Rawalkote, Poonch and Mirpur entirely on the other. In these areas the piercing sound of gunshots split the air so violently that within a short span of time the Muslim Crusade became hostile enough to assume the magnitude of a triumphant rebellion that finally, on 3rd October 1947, prompted the Muslim Conference to form a Provisional Government of J&K with its headquarters at Muzzaffarabad.
While throwing off the shackles of feudalism the new Government declared that “Maharaja Hari Singh’s title to rule has come to an end from August 15, 1947 and he has no constitutional or moral right to rule over the people of Kashmir against their will. He is consequently deposed with effect from October 4, 1947. All the Ministers and officials of the State will henceforth be duty bound to carry out the orders and instructions of the Provisional Government” that was named as the Government of Azad Jammu Kashmir, on 24h October, 1947, to enable it to “represent the united will of Jammu Kashmir….and to safeguard its identity as(one) political entity.
The announcement of the Provisional Government precipitated the worst crisis yet resulting in an increasingly bitter communal war Dharma-Yud versus Jihad. Seeing in it a spark of their deliverance from the growing disquiet under Hindu domination the Muslims hailed it as a historic decision, a Jihad, and showed such an amazing response that a large number of them gave up the Maharaja’s service and joined the ranks of activists to strengthen the hands they had raised to flag him out and weaken his tenacity and pig-headedness, and smash hideously diabolic forces lurking in all violence in the name of Dharma Yud. The Hindus, however, took it as a final nail in the coffin of their century old rule over Kashmir; it was, therefore, a do or die situation for them. The Maharaja was himself so startled that he decided to face the challenge with all his might and religious zeal; giving quickly, in panic, a free rein to his clique and their cohorts to engineer fresh violent outburst to hit back with unparallel brutality at his Muslim detractors. His army; his police; his civil servants all Jumped on the Government sponsored ethnic cleansing bandwagon to bring about wholesale catastrophic evaporation of the Muslim ethos, life and property in the Jammu division of the State. The hapless victims couldn’t resist the onslaught ; they had already been disarmed and debarred from keeping arms that was the exclusive prerogative of the Hindu Rajputs of Jammu only. They succumbed to watch helplessly their devastation beneath the gunfire smoke of unmatched communal whirl.
…to be continued
Dr. Abdul Ahad is a well-known historian of Kashmir. He presents a perspective on the Kashmir issue and talks about Kashmir’s history and individuality and personality.