The 14th August
Not the one just days away!
INKSIGHT BY MEHMOOD UR RASHID
14th August means Pakistan, as does 15th Hindustan. It is because 1947 is the national thesaurus of politics, both in Pakistan and Hindustan. Borders really stand irrelevant when it comes to the writhing moments of partition. From that violent squirming were born twins, one after another, with troves of violence received by each as bequest. Wishing both the countries well Ėhappy returns of the day, days! Ė Kashmir has something else to remind herself of on this occasion. Occasions!
We either celebrate birth or commemorate death. Any ideas about abortion! When it has no birth day, why celebrate it! And when it was not born, how could it meet death; so what to commemorate! A life that ends before it begins, poses a gritty dilemma to human memory. This 14th August is about that abortion. About a memory hard to substantiate! About a gritty dilemma!
In those final moments of labour when British, Indian National Congress and Muslim League midwived the birth of two countries, an abortion was also induced. Mulk-i-Kashmir was denied birth. The most tragic portion of the tale is that the womb which carried it was part of the crime. It wasnít Mountbatten and Nehru alone; Master Abdullah of Reading Room days was part of the murderous plot. Anyway, it was a slight detour, we will come back to 14th August.
In a politically charged atmosphere that the middle of August engenders every year in Kashmir, 14th August has always been a special day. To one kind of politics itís a day that can only be celebrated. Pakistan to them is a country that they would love to see themselves be a part of. Itís an inalienable extension of their body-politic. To them 14th August is a sort of Independence Day in anticipation. In the hey-days of militancy it would rise like a D- Day. Little did Kashmir know that D stood for anything but Deliverance! This being one extreme, there is another. To that, it is little different than 15th, if at all it is any. They, at times, see it as anathematic to Kashmir as both see 15th of August.
The common manís territory is decidedly drawn within these extremes. He jumps with joy when Javaid Miandad hits Chetan Sharma for a winning sixer, but hits back the ground painfully when the decision of Pakistan First hands over the strategic depth in the West to the far West. Not just the depth in West, what happened to the very own surface in the East serves as a forbidding reminder. Even after much has happened to Kashmir, every winning sixer in Sharja presents an occasion to jump with joy, but expecting Kashmir to remain joyously suspended for ever is a dangerous fallacy. In a deeper sense itís a denial of being. Itís an act of ungratefulness towards the God who has bestowed us with a land, a history, a culture, and a yearning to have it all freed. True, the failures of Pakistan are not necessarily the failures of the idea that connects the Mulk-i-Kashmir to Mamlikat-e-Khudadad, but considering the Idea and its Application as one is decidedly a failure of imagination. Itís this failure of imagination that consecrates a country to make it look like a scripture.
There are nicer ways of connecting the Universal with Particular. The historical experience represented by the meeting of Shah-e-Hamdan and Sheikh-ul-ĎAlam Kashmir beams like a beacon on us. Itís the impact of this experience that a Kashmiri poet, writing in Persian, solemnizes the marriage of Universal and Particular. Baba Mir Uvaysi first spreads himself Universal:
The whole creation belongs to me
Beyond the void is my abode
And then he recoils:
I chose solitude in Kashmir
For this universe is my garden
With all respect to the person of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and even more to his idea of Islam, his politics would only become better if he looks at Islam, as Islam and Pakistan, as Pakistan. Neither Maududi nor Iqbal would take any offences if Geelani Sahab allows this nice distinction to operate in his politics. One may skip to comment on the correctness of the inclusion of 14th August as Youm-e-Istiqlal in the latest weekly schedule of Quit Jammu and Kashmir program, but one does want to give tongue to this wish; would that Geelani Sahib went some years back into history of this land he would have stumbled upon another event. A pleasant discovery, it would serve as a fortuitous concatenation. Kashmir has an independent reason to commemorate the day called 14th August.
It has the full range of ingredients that can make us all happy. It was a day that had as its background the political mobilization of July 1931. It was the site that allowed the religion and region to come together in the defense of people. It had the involvement of Punjabi Muslamaan, who was the political equivalent of what we now have in the form of Pakistan. And then it had the presence of that great man who shaped our emotional and intellectual - Allam Iqbal. (Now if someone cynically points towards an Ďuncomfortableí strand he has only himself to blame for the sickness of judgment.)
It was 14th August, 1931, observed as Kashmir Day, in response to an appeal issued by All India Kashmir Committee. How unchanged things have remained in Kashmir; history says, a complete Hartal was observed on the Day.
Tailpiece: There is a pleasant way of leafing through history, why pose grim. When Pakistan suffered amputation in the form of Bangladesh, another Muslim country was born independent. Bahrain got her freedom in 1971. Any guesses about the day; hold your breath, it was 14th of August. Another Happy Birthday.
(Feedback at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 11 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 11 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 12 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OPINION
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, Aug 11: The Hurriyat Conference (G) senior leader Masrat Alam Bhat on Wednesday said the Ď2010 mass revolution in the form of Quit Jammu Kashmir movement had caused political tremors in India More
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Aug 11: The much awaited third generation mobile service in J&K once again came under shadow of uncertainties following a communication issued by Union Ministry of Home Affairs to the Department More
- South Asia
Remembers Sheikh Aziz
NISAR AHMED THOKAR
Islamabad, Aug 11: The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (M) Pakistan chapter on Wednesday staged a sit-in in front of UNMOGIP office in Islamabad and urged the world body to take stock of the simmering More