This year July 13 was observed by people across the divide thereby deepening all contradictions and mysteries behind the day
This year the Martyrs’ day was more mysterious than it has been earlier. Against slavery and tyranny of the Dogra Rule oppressed and subjugated people of this State raised their voice. The price had to be paid when about two dozen innocents fell to the bullets of Maharaja Hari Singh’s forces on July 13 which from 1931 is being commemorated as Martyrs’ day.
The instances of oppression and suppression of the said rulers are in abundance in which peasants were treated worse than cattle for recovery of revenue. Although they were producing the crops at the cost of their blood and sweat yet were left with bear minimum food grains to feed their families for the year. They remained always in miserable position. The gravity of suppression can be visualised by knowing that even prostitutes where supposed to pay tax for entertaining each client.
Against this rule of tyranny and injustice when despite being a muslim majority State its inhabitants had no role in administration at all, resistance was born and protests were answered by bullets. Though history is repeating itself yet the irony is for political gains the purpose and spirit for which said martyrs laid their lives has become a mystery now.
I was born in down town and vividly remember during my school days this day was observed by Plebiscite Front with much fanfare when from Lal Chowk to Mazari Shuhada road was decorated with different and colorful banners, buntings, photographs of leaders etc particularly Sheikh Saheb, Beigh Saheb and other front running leaders of the Front who were greeted by people while giving reception by standing on both sides of the road. Those who had their houses on road side were usually facing the flood of their relations to host them who would come to see this procession from the windows facing towards the road. It was a full day affair till the procession which would start from Lal chowk in the morning would terminate in the evening at Shaheed Mazar. The procession was being led by above prominent leaders in a Jeep signifying the fact that these martyrs have laid their lives for achieving the goal which is followed by Plebiscite Front i.e Mahaz-e-Raishumari.
What surprised me was that those who politically opposed Sheikh Saheb against Raishumari also observed this day like Bakshi Saheb as Prime Minister, Sadiq Saheb, Mir Qasim etc who were declared pro Indian politicians against Raishumari though they would do it in symbolic way only.
This year was still surprising when floral tributes were paid not only by arch political rivals but even security forces and non state subject administrators and advisors. Question that haunts is that when you pay tributes to martyrs then you fully endorse the purpose for which they laid their lives then what kind of contradiction is this. How are politically opposing factions also observing their day making it even more mysterious. Are we really known for mysteries, contradictions, confusions and inconsistencies which the hapless people have been witnessing from 1947 itself when leaders fixed one goal for people to achieve and themselves pursued another for different reasons. The gullible public was made to suffer
Will the people continue to be betrayed and befooled by leaders.
B.A.Bashir is Sr.Advocate