There is ample material with us to prove that he fought for the rights of the people of Kashmir
It is in response to Mehboob Makhdoomi’s article, published in Greater Kashmir on January 24, 2015, How I Interpret Him. For understanding one’s personality one shall delve deep, and have a good insight, and knowledge before giving any judgement, especially about a personality like Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who led the Freedom Movement in Jammu and Kashmir State for 51 years, as a leader of the masses.
The columnist complains with conviction about the late leader that as far as his role in Kashmir’s struggle for self determination is concerned, he neither wanted it nor fought for it ever. He unlike his people was always for India not for independence or Pakistan because of his personal proclivity for Nehru and personal dislike for Jinnah and his Pakistan. In the last lines of his article the columnist says “a personal like or dislike threw Kashmir into an un-ending bloody conflict which resulted in three wars between India and Pakistan destabilizing entire South Asia”, and this is his complaint against Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
I am not a columnist but a researcher having been working on the Problem of Kashmir for last 46 years, right from 1969, for finding out a realistic solution for the good of the millions and millions of the people of the entire sub-continent. It would be advisable to recall, and repeat some chapters from the political history of the Freedom Movement of Kashmir which will throw light on the part played by Late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah for which the columnist feels much aggrieved and complains against him.
“On 8th January 1941 when the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference had already been changed, and renamed as Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had delivered a speech and addressed to the people in Srinagar wherein he spoke:
“Knowing the reality and keeping it in view, I and my young comrades have been striving and struggling to unite the scattered people of the State into an organized political force and power to lead them successfully to the ultimate goal of our freedom and independence which is the birth right of the state’s people. It was the only purpose before us all from 1931 to 1938 while struggling in the name of Muslim Conference. The ultimate goal before us will remain the same, that the freedom and the right of self determination is the birth right of our people. The success of our struggle does not much depend upon the names of our parties, but much depends upon our actions and our sincere efforts to achieve our goal for our freedom and right of self determination.” (Translated from an Urdu booklet, namely Statement of Truth No. 2 Page 18, Published from Srinagar). It seems that Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was guiding and consoling his followers who might have been aggrieved by the change of the name of Muslim Conference.
When Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was tried for treason with the consent of Government of India, in Nehru’s era, in Special Jail Jammu, 1961 – 62, under the so-called Kashmir Conspiracy case for pleading the cause of the freedom loving people in Jammu and Kashmir, he stated in written arguments signed by him in the Court of Special Magistrate in Special Jail, Jammu on 28th June, 1961.
“If my imprisonment serves the cause to which I have dedicated myself then it will be
well with me, and I shall take pride in thus serving my people and the land of my
forefathers. My voice may be stifled behind the prison walls but it will echo and ring for
all times to come. It can never be stopped. It is the voice of the human conscience. It is
the voice of the people. I am only symbol of people’s undeniable aspirations and rights.
What I am saying now will be repeated time and again, and it will go down in history.
He goes on to say;
Kashmir is dear to us because of its beauty and past traditions which are common to all
who inhabit this land. But it is the future that calls to us for which we labour; a future
that will be the common heritage of all and in which we, as free men and women, will
build the Kashmir of our dreams. Then only shall we be worthy of the land we dwell in”.
These statements speak sufficiently about the political conviction of Late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, and are a part of the political history of the Freedom Movement of the people in Jammu and Kashmir which he led for 51 long years as a leader of the masses with all honesty and sincerity, but had to leave it midway because he left for abode of peace on 8th September, 1982. But the people’s struggle is going on and is carried ahead by the young generation after him.