The man behind Kashmir Freedom Struggle
Maulana Abdul Qadeer Khan Gazi, a disciple of Maulana Jamal-ud-din Afghani is the real founding father of the Kashmir Freedom Struggle, writes Prof. Fida Hassnain.
IT is but natural for human beings to hold different views on the same issue. It is also difficult for any human being to claim that his point of view in correct and the other person is wrong. There is no final word in the domain of research. As such, instead of arguing for the sake of argument will not lead us nearer the truth. This is my sincere opinion after reading scholars like G.M. Zahid, Tabassum Kashmir and Aijaz Ahmad Kakroo in Greater Kashmir. It was Zahid who wrote, “I do see Allama Iqbal as the founding father of Kashmir struggle” and proposed some arguments to prove his hypothesis. However, we know that our freedom struggle starts right from our enslavement by Akbar in 1586. It was Yaqub Shah Chak, who fought against the Mughals but latter succumbed to the desires of life. Had he fought and laid down his life for the cause, he would have been mentioned in history as the founding father of Kashmiri freedom movement. After the Mughals we were enslaved by the Afghans, the Sikhs and the Dogras. The then British East India Company sold Kashmir and its people to Gulab Singh of Jammu in 1847 and the period of slavery continued upto 1947. In fact, our organized political struggle starts with the advent of the Dogra Maharajas. The first person, who engineered armed struggle against the Dogras was a lady, Begam of Sheikh Imam uddin Edwards in his letter dated 15 october 1846 to Henry Lawrence speaks of her “as a bigoted Muslim full of schemes for Muhammadan ascendency in a Muslim Majority State.” Naba Shah in his Waijiz-ul-Tawarikh describes her as a woman of determined courage and noble character. Iqbal Ahmad in his Discoveries of Kashmir, p. 298 mentions her as the brain behind the 1846 uprising against the Dogras. Naturally, she can be counted among the founder of freedom struggle in Kashmir.
It was in April 1865, when Kashmiris, mostly shawls weavers lead an organized struggle against the Dogra Maharaja. This struggle was engineered by Shiekh Rasool, Abli Baba, Qudda Lala and Sona Shah. This struggle came to an end when the Dogra army under Col. Bajay Singh ambushed the agitators at Haji Rather Sum and hundred of workers suffer injuries and at least 28 dead bodies were collected by the people floating in the water. This historical event makes Sheikh Rasool, Abl Baba, Qudda Lal and Sona Shah as the founder fathers of Kashmiri struggle.
In the historical records of our Freedom Struggle we find two names, most dominant, who wrote pages after pages against the Dogra Rule. In their writings, they declared that the sale of Kashmir and its people to Gulab Singh was a crime against humanity. While Robert Thorpe gave his life for Kashmir, in 1868, Salam Rafiqui had to conduct a long odyssey from Srinagar to Sialkot, then to Shimla, then to Calcutta, then to Rangoon and finally to Jakarta in Indonesia Opinions may differ but some will be inclined to include them in the list of founding fathers of our freedom struggle.
In 1924, the Muslim of Kashmir submitted a memorandum of grievances before the Viceroy of India, demanding:
Prosperity rights to the peasants.
Equitable representation in secures
Abolition of Begaer and other taxes
Release of mosques and shrines under use of government.
This memorandum was signed by Khwaja Saad-uddin Shawl, Khwaja Noor Sahib, Khwaja Hassan Shah and Sayyid Hussain Shah Jalali, Mirwaiz Hamadani and Mir Waiz Kashmir. Naturally they can also be included in the list of founding fathers of freedom struggle.
It is also a historical fact that the ideological base to our freedom struggle was provided by Molvi Muhammad Abdullah Vakil, Khwaja Ghulam Ahmad Ashai, Hakim Ghulam Safdar and Munshi Muhammad Din Fauq. The role of the Reading Room Party in spear heading the struggle is well known.
In his write up in GK 30 Feb. Tabassum Kashmiri had pleaded that it is historically incorrect to term Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal as the founder father of our struggle. His arguments are as under.
During his professional visit to Kashmir as a lawyer in 1921, Dr. Iqbal, spent his time in sight seeing and did not interact with the elders of Kashmiri Muslims, nor pleaded against the sufferings of Kashmiri Muslims with any authority.
It was only after 10 years silence, he took active interest in Kashmiri politics in 1931 and that too for a short period of a few months.
Both of the two contentions are historically correct except that Dr. Sir Iqbal was proud of his being of Kashmiri origin and he would often talk about their miserable life with those who met him. Also it cannot be denied that Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal was a great poet, philosopher and politician. It was he, who encouraged and worked closely with Qaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinah to lead the Indian Muslims to carve out of a Muslim State out of the Hindu India. While advocating unity among Muslims of the world, he pleaded for the revival of Islamic civilization and culture in a global perspective. He wanted all Muslims to follow the real teachings of Islam. It is also a fact that in his writings after 1931, he wept over the plight of Kashmiris as well as the sale of Kashmir for a petty sum.
In his ruthless reaction published in G.K. 4th March, Ajaz Ahmad Kakroo has failed to come up with any historical fact to refute Tabassum Kashmiri. Rather he exhausts his energy and his time in denigrating and degrading the Ahmadi sect and their doctrines. Thus, he has turned the whole academic debate into a religious battle. While reading his Munazara, I was reminded of a non-Muslim’s advice to Muslims.
As long as Muslims hate and fear one another more than they hate their conquers, they will remain a vanquished people.
Ajaz Ahmad Kakroo, reveals his egoistic mindset when he names Tabassum Kashmiri as some Tabassum Kashmiri. The readers of Greater Kashmir have read write- ups of Tabassum Kashmiri, who is noted for making in-depth study in the modern political period of our history. At the same time we all love and respect Dr. Sir Iqbal as an illustrious son of Kashmir, but his active contribution in our freedom struggle is not so significant as to name him as the founding father of our freedom struggle. Dr. Sir Iqbal returned to India in 1908 from Cambridge and took up the job of a Professor in Government College, Lahore. But his personal life was in turmoil due to his intimate relations with Atiyah Begam. Though the miserable plight of Kashmir’s dominated his thinking, but he could not mention the drowning of Kashmiris in the Wular Lake nor Zaldagar Nallah in his poetic compositions. He came to Kashmir in 1921 but did not interact with anyone. We fail to find any contribution of Dr. Sir Iqbal in the Memorandum presented and signed by Khawaja Saad-uddin Shawl, Khwaja Noor Shah, Sayyid Hussain Shah Jalali and others, submitted the Viceroy of India in 1924. Nor, we see any reaction of Dr. Sir Iqbal towards the martyrdom of 13th July 1931.
While Tabassum Kashmiri provides historical evidence about the contributions made by Mirza Bashir-uddin Mehmood towards the freedom struggle of Kashmiri Muslims, Mr. Ajaz Ahmad Kakroo, has simply resorted to quoting Qudrat-ullah Shahab’s sectarian tirade against Ahmadis, terming their sectarian doctrines as Qadiyaniat. He forgets that being very vigilant and ahead of times, it was these Qadiyanis like Abdullah Vakil, Ghulam Nabi Gilkar and others, who spearhead this political struggle against the Maharaja. In that period of time all Kashmiri Muslims irrespective of Masliks, joined hands to overthrow the Maharaja.
Let me submit that I am old and forgetful but I still remember having read a volume of Tarikh-i- Ahmediat by Dost Muhammad Sahid, which informs that when Shaikh Muhammad Abdullah as teacher was shunted to Muzaffarabad by the Government, he met another teacher in the school, whose name was Muhammad Saeed Masoodi, who had studied at Qadian Madrasa. Both of them became friends and it was Muhammad Saeed Masoodi, who took Shaikh Sahib to Hazra and introduced him to Mirza Bashir-uddin Mehmood, the Head of Ahmadi sect. During this meeting Shaikh Sahib gave a sorrowful description of Kashmiri Muslims in general, together with his personal tale of suffering as a teacher with his high qualification in receipt of a meager pay of Rs. 60/- per month. After hearing him, it was Mirza Bashir-uddin Mehmood, who advised Shaikh Sahib to resign and dedicate his life in the service of Kashmiri Muslims. I did find that in this work, Mr. Shahid had supported his information with documentary proofs in writing signed by Shaikh Sahib, Masoodi and others. I do not possess this book; otherwise I could quote in a correct way. But, it is clear that Shaikh Sahib resigned and came back to Kashmir to start his political activities, under the patronage of Mirza Bashir-uddin Mehmood, the head of Ahmadis.
After the 13th July 1931 Massacre, the whole of Kashmir remained under curfew for 21 days. While the Muslim Press of Panjab came forward with stories of atrocities committed against the Muslim masses the Hindu Press asked the Maharaja to crush the agitation with an iron hand. At this juncture, that Ahmadis organized relief camps and committees throughout India for aid of the Kashmiri Muslims. At this critical juncture, when the Viceroy of India had shown his inclination to take over Kashmir, under direct rule as a part of British India, the Maharaja and his Hindu agencies, succeeded in dividing the Kashmiri Muslims on sectarian lines. Thus the Kashmiri Muslims lost the golden opportunity to end the Dogra slavery in 1931.
It needs to be retreated that one foremost among the real founding father of the Kashmir Struggle for freedom is Maulana Abdul Qadeer Khan Gazi, a disciple of Maulana Jamal-uddin Afghani, the founder of Pan-Islamic Movement, who in reality ignited the fire for freedom by raising the slogan. Demolish this Dogra edifice of injustice, cruelty and subjugation…
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Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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