'Present happenings in Kashmir a continuation of the past'

'Present happenings in Kashmir a continuation of the past'

Book on freedom struggle by Late Pir Muhammad Afzal Mukhdoomi released at event organized by GK Foundation

The present happenings in Kashmir especially the people’s uprising are a continuation of incidents that have occurred way back in 1930s and even prior to that, eminent speakers said at a book release function here on Monday.

The book ‘Khwaab, Azzab aur Sarab’, a collection of essays on Kashmir freedom struggle, is authored by late Pir Muhammad Afzal Mukhdoomi. It has been published by Meezan Publishers and was released at a function organized by GK Foundation at Nigeen Club here.

Addressing the audience, senior journalist and political commentator Muhammad Sayeed Malik said the book puts forth historical facts and suggests that ‘hartals’ and elections boycotts were prevalent even during 1930s. “It tells us how the municipal elections in 1931 were boycotted and despite no formal organizations around, a political brainstorming was happening in discussion rooms in areas such as Maisuma and Khanyar then,” Malik recounted.

He said the character depiction in the book has been “done skillfully” which will help younger generations to understand the role of political characters of Kashmir’s freedom struggle better. “The book is a primary source material for future study as Mukhddoomi Sahab possessed the qualities of a historian. The (freedom) movement in 1930s was so sensitive that even personal events mattered and Mukhddomi Sahab has chronicled these anecdotes very well. Every freedom struggle has a direction and a foundation. This book in detail presents the role of individuals such as Mufti Jalaluddin, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad and Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq,” Malik said. He said the book dispels “several myths” especially about communal riots during 1930s.

Prominent historian and author, Muhammad Yousuf Taing, said Kashmir’s freedom struggle is the most prolonged struggle in Asia because such huge sacrifices have not been given elsewhere.

“Kashmiris are a resilient people whose struggle was not part of India’s freedom movement. It was an indigenous movement of which Late Pir Mukhdoomi was an important part which is also reflected in the book,” Taing said.

Calling Allama Iqbal as one the pillars of Kashmir’s freedom struggle, he said the Allama launched a Kashmir-centric newspaper at a time when the Maharaja did not allow publication of newspapers from here. “Allama Iqbal wrote extensively about Kashmir and even formed a Kashmir committee of which he was the president. He celebrated Kashmir Day to stand against oppression on Kashmiri people,” Taing said.

Drawing parallels between incidents of 1931 in Kashmir and Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919, Taing said efforts of vested interests to create fissures among Kashmiris for several decades even continue at present.

“Our core identity is still alive and will stay alive. Any book on Kashmir will tell you how there has been a betrayal of Kashmiris even before India’s independence. Yesterday a BJP leader said Kashmir’s freedom struggle is limited to three and a half districts. This along with national media propaganda is at an all-time high but truth has still prevailed,” Taing said.

He said 1947 brought several hardships for Kashmiris and that Maharaja’s rule was much more relaxed than the later period. “Incidents of 1896 and even the 1865 Zaldagar incident are a reflection on how old Kashmir’s struggle is. The year 1924 when a memorandum was presented to the then Viceroy and 1931, when 23 people were killed in the central jail, are milestone years for our freedom struggle,” Taing said.  

Former Inspector General of Police Javid Mukdoomi, who is Late Pir Mukhoodmi’s son and editor of the book, said his father who was injured in the July 13, 1931 firing incident at central jail has narrated it with graphic details in his essays.

“In the initial days of freedom struggle he did not intend to write any historical account. It was late Shameem Ahmad Shameen who convinced my father to write and later his column in ‘Aaina’ became popular and evoked strong reactions,” Mukhdoomi said.

Mukhdoomi said the importance of his father’s works is that all characters of the beginning of Kashmir’s freedom struggle were alive when he wrote the essays.  “The smallest of workers and unsung heroes find a mention in this book. This book was a prized possession which I had to make available for the people. I thank GK Foundation and others who helped me make this book possible,” Mukhdoomi said.