Good old days

GLORY REVISITED

Mir Abdul Aziz, a Kashmiri journalist, profiles Abdur-Rehman Mitha and Ganshiam Kumar Reddy of Kashmir Times, Srinagar till 1947.There was a Jammu and Kashmir Editors Conference in the State. Reddy was its Provincial President and Mir Abdul Aziz was the Secretary

Abdur Rehman Qasim Mitha was the son of Sir Suleman Qasim Mitha ex-Mayor of Bombay was the owner of the weekly, “Kashmir Times” and the printing press of the same name… Khan Qayuum and Mitha were friends when both were in the Congress and during the National Movement of the Indian sub-Continent…” In addition to being the Editor of the ‘Kashmir Times’ Reddy was also the correspondent of the Associated Press of India in Srinagar. When Pakistan was about to be born, as an independent journalist and Reporter, Reddy did not grudge the pro-Pakistan elements the publicity they deserved. This annoyed the nationalist (Abdullah’s men) in Srinagar. One day they openly assaulted Mr. Mitha who in retaliation and annoyance said that Quaid-e-Azam was right in having said publicly in 1944 in Srinagar that the nationalist in Srinagar were the gangsters……..
“During the stormy days of August-September 1947, Reddy did his job exceptionally well as correspondence of API. His boss at Lahore was Malik Tajuddin. So factual were his reports about  Kashmir situation that the late Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah of Kashmir, humorously remarked that “Reddy” was actually “Radio” because all his news items about Pakistan movement in Kashmir in those days were covered by Radio Pakistan Lahore. When Pakistan was actually born, like any other realist, Mitha and Reddy hailed its formation and gave due publicity to it.”
“This annoyed the Kashmir Government (which of course was, after the expiry of British paramountcy, independent and not part of India or Pakistan). Prem Nath Bazaz, who spearheaded the movement for referendum on accession issue in Kashmir in August, 1947, was arrested and sent to Kathua jail, warrant of arrest were issued against me (Mir Abdul Aziz) and I (Mir Aziz) went underground in southern Kashmir, Mitha and Reddy, both outsiders, were externed from the State and their press and paper confiscated. Mitha was brought in a jeep to Kohala and dropped on Pakistan side of the bridge………..
Mitha, on being externed from Kashmir went to his friend Mr. Khan Qayuum, Chief Minister of NWFP. As regards Reddy, he was also instantly externed but dropped out in East Punjab at Pathankot. This was done to ensure his personal safety because he was a Hindu. But Reddy came to Lahore on the same day and reported the whole story to Malik Tajuddin, his boss in APP. News of externment of Mitha and Reddy was flashed in Pakistan Press and Radio.
In Rawalpindi Sardar Ibrahim the President of Azad Kashmir on hearing of the arrival of Mitha and Reddy, appointed one as Director Public Relations and the other as Deputy Director of Public Relations of the Azad Kashmir Government. The second declaration of independence of Azad Kashmir, on24 October. 1947 appearing in Pakistan Press including “The Pakistan Times” Lahore dated 26th October, 1947, with Palandri date line, was drafted by Mitha and Reddy and approved by the President. Later on the flag of Azad Kashmir was also designed by Mitha and others. They did their job exceptionally well as they stayed at Poonch House Rawalpindi.”
“….. In the morning I went to Kashmir Political Workers Training Centre, which was in former DAV College building near Company Bagh. This Institute had at the instance of Mitha, been set up by the A.K. Government to train Kashmiris for political in plebiscite which was suppose to be at hand and Mitha was supposed to make speeches and train Kashmiris in the art of making speeches in favor of Pakistan”

(Daily ‘Muslim’)