Chronicling Deceit

The subsequent events in Reshma’s life are a tale of deceit, fraud and corruption that her father indulged in to secure the throne that had been snatched from him in 1953.
Chronicling Deceit
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Whose Blood it is? Who Died? : It's Kashmir's Blood; Kashmir has Died is rechristened title of a classic account of Sheikh Abdullah's treachery and deceit that he indulged in for more than two decades and, especially, since his arrest as the Prime Minister of J&K in August 1953. The subtitle of the book has been added to the latest edition; earlier it was only yeh kiska lahu? yeh kaun mara? (Whose Blood is this? Who died?). It is about a ' tall' leader who (mis)used the Quran, religion and politics to carve for himself a strong niche in Kashmir body politic as a result of which he earned the name of being a crownless king of Kashmir.  The first edition of the book was published in 1982 when the Abdullahs were still in power. Before publishing the book, the author was jailed. The new edition which is called the last edition also has two new chapters devoted to the younger Abdullahs—Farooq and his son, Omar. 

The book is in the form of a story that centres around Reshma, Kashmir, and Ashok, India, and Mehmood, Pakistan.  Mehmood wanted to have Reshma and sent in Tribals, but Ashok pushed them back only after Reshma's father had entered into a secret agreement with Ashok. When Ashok tells Reshma about the agreement, she is stunned. She believed that her father had given her the choice to choose her fate, but Ashok has something else to tell her: "I know every decision has been left to me. Whatever I decide that will be accepted by all", Reshma said to Ashok. "I think your father hasn't told you the truth. He has made a deal with me… long back, he did it", retorted Ashok. Reshma wouldn't believe it but Ashok insisted. Once this conversation is over, we are no longer in the fictional world but meet with the real characters of Kashmir politics. Sheikh Abdullah, the father and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and GM Sadiq, the Uncles of Reshma, are introduced when the conflict with regard to Reshma's fate has already surfaced. The father tells Ashok that Resha could marry the lover of her choice, as he had dreamt of her happy life and taken oath at Khwankahi Moala that he would protect her freedom.  Listening to this from Reshma's father, Ashok became very angry and with the help of Resham's uncles, Bakshi and Sadiq, he dumped Reshma's father into the jail. . This created commotion and people jumped into the river to save the Sheikh but not all came out alive. As things unfold themselves, Reshma soon learns about the treachery of her father. She wouldn't believe that her father could have decided to marry her to Ashok when Mehmood was a contender also. But, her uncle reassures her that the Sheikh had already taken a decision and that she must abide by that: "Why would he marry me with Ashok; why not Mehmood?" Resham asks. "Because he has already done a deal with Ashok…the same Ashok who he considers now a usurper and enemy", Uncle says to Reshma.  Although Reshma can't believe this, she looks at the situation around and becomes sad that her father could do this to her. 

The subsequent events in Reshma's life are a tale of deceit, fraud and corruption that her father indulged in to secure the throne that had been snatched from him in 1953. He accepted to become the crownless king of Kashmir once again, but Ashok cut him to his size and he had no option but to accept a chair less respected than what he had earlier. Although the Sheikh lived under this delusion that people loved him, he had to face the wrath of the people when they watched a Hollywood film in a local cinema. People by now had learnt about his treachery, but he continued to rule till his death. After his death, his eldest son, Farooq, followed his father's path and at times went even further.  The Sheikh's party fell apart and Farooq lost his chair to his brother-in-law, Gula Shah. This made Farooq mad and he cursed his father for allying with Ashok. But, he couldn't keep himself away from the chair for long and did everything to come to power. Warning Ashok about ' consequences' of respecting the popular mandate in favour of Muslim United Front,  he entered into an accord with Rajiv and at the behest of Ashok, he even made friends with Molvi Farooq. 

Farooq couldn't hold longer. Kashmiris soon wielded the gun and in 1988, they started an armed struggle to release Reshma from the clutches of Ashok. It brought with it devastation and destruction that bruised Reshma beyond imagination. The armed struggle subsided a little and a new wave of anti-insurgency started with the patronizing of Ikhwanis and Speical Operation Group. There was no end to killings and sufferings of common people. Farooq returned to the valley and with that he introduced his son Omar as his heir apparent. Interestingly, Shabnam Qayoom dedicates the newly added chapters to NC –MLAs, MPs etc— unleashed  a reign of terror on Kashmir for power.  Farooq Abdullah learnt what his father meant by freedom and plebiscite and he in turn taught his son, Omar, the meaning of'  right of self determination' by crowning him as Kashmir's ruler. P. 292).  This way the third generation of the Abdullahs started treading the same path of deceit and cheating that Sheikh Abdullah had followed for decades and, thus, have been hoodwinking people for ages. Our tragedy is that we have never really understood the machinations that the Abdullahs indulged in to keep Kashmir eternally slavish to India for their lust for power. 

Whose Blood it is? Who Died? : It's Kashmir's Blood; Kashmir has Died has been written as a romantic novel that revolves around Reshma (Kashmir) who has got too many lovers, especially India and Pakistan. Sheikh Abdullah plays the role of the father who wants to marry off his daughter but not the groom of her choice. Naturally, the wooing partners present lucrative offers, but the father accepts on Ashok's (India) for he promises to make him the king of his state. Mehmood (Pakistan) can't do much as the father has already been caught in the web of lust by Ashok. Marrying off his daughter to India would in itself be no crime, if the father told Reshma the truth, but he doesn't as a result of which Reshma has become the bride of none, though Ashok, through her father, is bruising her soul all the time. The father's treachery isn't known to the people in general for they are so fond of him that until his death, they feel that he would somehow save Reshma from the illegal clutches of Ashok. He doesn't. Instead, he passes on the responsibility of continuing Ashok's hegemony over resume to his son, Farooq, and the latter to his son, Omaar. Thus, this process of deceit and treachery continues even today. 

The book is historical in nature and should pass on to the future generations as a tragic tale of our woes and sufferings. But, our tormentor has not been Sheikh Abdullah alone. What about Bakshi, Sadiq, Qasim and/or the present leadership, both mainstream and separatists. Shabnum Qayoom hasn't talked about them. That way, the story seems biased against the Sheikh. However, the book has an appealing jacket and paper and print quality are good. It has been published by Ali Mohammad & Sons and priced three hundred rupees. I believe that with the addition of two new chapters, this old book has become a valuable read for Kashmir lovers. 

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