BY DR.ABDUL AHAD
The erstwhile Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir came into being in 1846 as a result of the British hobnobbing during Anglo-Sikh wars. The nature of the new State was decided by the Treaty of Amritsar-a sequel to the Treaty of Lahore-that was concluded between the British and Gulab Singh on 16 March, 1846. It was in recognition of the services rendered by Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu to both the British and Lahore Darbar (the Sikhs) that a bunch of geographically and culturally unrelated territories was welded together by unconcerned people, the British into a first category Princely State for him and his successors to rule in perpetuity.
After serving the interests of the Dogra rulers for a century (one hundred years, five months and eleven days), the State of Jammu and Kashmir was made to sacrifice its future on the altar of Partition of the Sub-continent to become a bone of contention between the two successor States of the British Indian Empire: India and Pakistan. The consequences of this conflict are still there to cause enormous wrangling and bad blood among the parties to the dispute.
The genesis of the dispute can be traced from the appropriation of the State by the Indian Union cunningly through a device called the “Instrument of Accession”, a clever political ploy to usurp Kashmir and eat away its independence, individuality resources and identity.
The mechanism of “Accession” is, obviously, an infuriating legacy of the Partition of 1947 which has left Kashmir entirely to the volition of Indian hegemony to dictate the tempo of its politics and policies; bringing, thus, in its fold heaps of miseries and tensions which are, with each passing day, increasing their momentum despite intense Kashmiri noise and protestations.
Some voices of sanity and reason are sometimes raised even from India but with no real impact on the prevailing Kashmir situation. Vir Singhevi didn’t mince words when he wrote:
If we are the largest democracy on the planet then how can we hang on to a people who have no desire to be part of India….is the future of India to be held hostage to a population less than half the size of the population of Delhi?…if you believe in democracy, then giving Kashmiris the right to self-determination is the correct thing to do” (Hindustan Times, 16-8-2008).
Likewise S. S. Aiyer predicted the worst for India if it didn’t grant the right of self-determinations to Kashmiris; the commitment it has made in UN. He wrote
On August 15, India celebrated independence from the British Raj. But Kashmir
staged a bandh demanding independence from India. A day symbolizing the end of colonial ism in India became a day symbolizing Indian colonialism in the Valley…after six decades of effort, Kashmiri alienation looks greater than ever( Times of India, 17-8-2008) The commitments of the desired settlement through the route of plebiscite accepted by both India and Pakistan are indelibly inscribed on Kashmiri psyche.
The keenness with which the esteemed readers have evaluated the intellectual depth and cultural significance of the much hated concept of Kashmiryat in the socio-political context of post 1980 era as an antidote to Sheikh Sahib’s “izzat o aabroo ka maqaam” is really worth appreciating. But to my utter dismay I am not able to understand what prevented Prof. Ishaq Khan to awaken the club audience with the sound of his new discovery of Kashmiryat”? Why did he decline to participate in the S.P. College seminar to create public awareness about his discovery’ despite his present pretentions to being an incubator of the concept? Did he intentionally bury his ‘precious treasure’ to guard it against the evil gaze of both the public and the authorities? Was he distancing himself from the growing collective Kashmiri consciousness to avoid intense and instant colonial disdain and wrath that it was bound to bring forth in course of time? Or was he playing a waiting game for about three decades to finally display his cards at an opportune time when the Kashmir University is once again in search of a new director for the Institute of Kashmir Studies of which the Prof. had the honour of being first director as a gratuity immediately after his retirement from teaching service? And what meaning/definition is he inclined to lend to his invaluable discovery’ ?
These are the questions which have baffled me the most.
The Cultural Academy’s literature too does not give us any idea about his outstanding discovery’. It is totally silent about it and does not untold as to why the Academy decided to choose the Professor to popularise Kashmiryat as an ideology”. It would have been definitely a fruitful experience for us if the Academy had initiated a debate and published articles on the subject rather than to privately, “impress upon the Professor “more than once to propagate Kashmiryat
The Professor’s outburst of patriotic frenzy takes him far away from observing what has actually happened in our contemporary history. The contention that Z.A. Bhutto’s call for hartal against the Indra-Shiekh Accord fell on deaf ears is not tenable. It is a pretty loony view not substantiated by tacts.
That Bhutto was the darling of the Kashmiri masses, a hero and beloved leader goes without saying. The question of the failure of his emotional appeal does not arise therefore. He still continues to live in our memory even after elapsing of so many years. His appeal undoubtedly called forth a flutter of noise and chaos across the vales and dales of Kashmir; inspiring the Kashmiris to observe a complete hartal against the Accord. He had gained such an immense popularity that his assassination provoked a huge disturbance in the usual pattern of events; causing enormous disquiet, noise, dust and uproar; nay a roaring inferno compelling Zia-ul-Haq to call Kashmiris bloody Brahamans.
The Professor is slipping through his teeth when he tries to evolve a ‘new methodology to interpret events by attributing whatever he likes to historians of great repute and makes them to comment upon situations they were not even distantly related to. The illustrious Prof. Mohibbul Hassan was far away both in space and time when the Accord took place. He had come here at the behest of Sadiq Sahib and had subsequently left the Valley owing to a paralytic attack that had rendered him immobile, speechless and feeling less.
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.