Kak’s soul continues to lament

Getting ensnared in the plot engendered in Delhi the Maharaja appointed a legal expert from Himachal Pradesh Mehr Chand Mahajan as his Prime Minister at the behest of the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallab Bhai Patel. It is in his account that the holocaust of the Muslims of Jammu goes.
Kak’s soul continues to lament
File Photo

The courageousness of RC Kak getting struck against the new political reality broke to pieces. History does not play favors. Kak Sahib began to take steps in a new direction. He started hobnobbing with the leaders of the Muslim League especially with Liaqat Ali Khan, the would be Prime Minister of newly created Pakistan, with whom he had several meetings in which secret parleys about the future of Kashmir were held. Kak Sahib could only carry on the agenda of his Maharaja on such an important matter (K issue) He as a loyalist on the pay roll of the Maharaja could not persue his heart's, desire. But the formula of forging Kashmir into an independent state, under discussion, was where his heartbeat definitely pervaded. Inside another front to deal with was of the local politics. In the sedition case Sheikh Sahib had been awarded 9 years imprisonment and was made to suffer jail in the Bhaderwah fort to begin with. By besieging mass movement entailing National Conference a political vacuum had been created in the valley. Like a daring player; of cource fighting a losing battle; Kak sahib announced election to the state assembly. National Conference boycotted the election. Kak Sahib floated a new pro government party as state peoples Conference. Ghulam Mustafa Malik of Arwani, those days famous as the lion of Anantnag; editor of Martand newspaper of Kashmiri Pandit Sabah Prem Nath Kana; Ghulam Muhammed Drabu of Rajpora; Shamas-Ud-Din Kafur; and many other Landlords and land holding personages were its activists and workers. It was a race against time. Kak Sahib did not succeed in making a sinking feudal structure walk on crutches.

To visit Kashmir Jawahar Lal reached Gardi where he came to face a demonstration comprising supporters of RC Kak and the Maharaja, some Dogra bands from Jammu and some Muslims in opposition to the National Conference holding placards "NEHRU GO BACK". But it was the last flickering of an extinguishing lamp.

On 1 August 1947 Srinagar was rife with commotion. A world famous personality was paying a visit to the city. In his tremendous political career Mahatma Gandhi had found no time to visit Kashmir ever since Kashmir's political movement was launched-from 1931-1946. Even when the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir had once invited him with great gusto to visit Kashmir. He did not accept the invitation. In 1947 India was going to be partitioned. with it the much awaited sunrise of freedom was going to happen. In order to forestall opposition to its Kashmir Front, the Congress sent to Kashmir its greatest stalwart-Mahatma Gandhi. As was proved by the turn of events later, its fatal blow fell on RC Kak. Like a commander with full confidence in his action, keeping in mind his own interest only, the Maharaja ditched RC Kak. Exactly in the same manner in which Nehru ditched his dear friend Krishna Menon in the aftermath of India-China border clash in 1962. Power holds no bars to perpetuate itself. After all Kak Sahib was an employee of the Maharaja.

August 11, 1947. It was Monday. After celebrating weekend at Shikargah Tral Kak Sahib had returned to Srinagar and as usual had come to his office in Shergardi. He was still getting in touch with his staff when an arrest warrant was shown to him. The Maharaja had dismissed him. (recall Sheikh Abdullah dismissed as prime minister of J&K by the Maharaja's son Sadar-i-Riyasat Karan Singh on August 9, 1953). And the administration after sensing the intention of the Maharaja had arrested him. To do this in such a haste was necessary because only after 3 days Pakistan was going to come into existence as a sovereign state. One day after that India as a much bigger Sovereign state. In Jammu the supporters of the Maharaja had raised the demand of creating an independent state of the estate of the Maharaja. In Kashmir on 19th July 1947 the Muslim Conference had passed a resolution demanding accession of Kashmir with Pakistan. For some time Kak Sahib had prevailed upon Hari Singh. To direct the future course of events the Maharaja appointed his maternal uncle general Janak Singh as his prime minister after putting RC Kak behind the bars being perceived as a man with a different idea from the establishment at that time. Getting ensnared in the plot engendered in Delhi the Maharaja appointed a legal expert from Himachal Pradesh Mehr Chand Mahajan as his Prime Minister at the behest of the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallab Bhai Patel. It is in his account that the holocaust of the Muslims of Jammu goes. Making a mention of which he had told a delegation of Jamuites including Lala Mulk Raj Saraf that he had taken necessary steps to set right the balance of population in Jammu. Kak Sahib remained in Jail for quite a long time. He was framed in a law suit made to pass through many a hardship. Those who had seen him a prisoner in Central Jail Srinagar they would say even in that state of helplessness he would not give up his pride. Released in 1950 he went out of the state. Though his pension was restored, yet he was far off from living with ease. This fact proclaims the solidity of his character that he never met the Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Nor did he go to meet his former employer Maharaja Hari Singh who had been compelled by the adverse turn of the events to flee to Bombay to live as an exile. He did not ever meet Sheikh Muhammed Abdullah-the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and later the Chief Minister. But bigger than this attitude of self-respect is this that he as an exemplary public servant never said a word about what had happened or who had done what at the crucial historical turnover of Kashmirs history(1946-1947). Despite knowing all, he posed knowing nothing. He never said anything about how the Maharaja had ill-treated him or about his dealings with the emerging scenario at that time. This even though he was very eloquent and with a powerful pen in his hand. After many years living outside the state he came back to live the last days of his life in aloofness and obscurity in Srinagar. He would be very cautious in his conversation. Apart from his trusted close relatives he would not disclose his secrets to anybody. Even so it was not out and away to perceive that he had no qualms about his political ideas in 1947 or the actions he had taken thereof. His eyes would come to have a unique sparkle while he talked. As if to say that the future will establish his ideas being on the right side at that defining moment of Kashmir's history. Because of having fallen on bad days he might not have been able to write about the historical developments of his time and tenure. But those who went to meet him they would say they could feel it from his manner of expession that he had jotted down his memoirs thinking that at a suitable time these could be elaborated and published. Some years ago (before 2003) his British wife Margret Mary died in London. So to say anything with certainty in this regard is difficult. Because in the last days of his life she alone was the keeper of the things of his life. 

Date line 30 January 1998. When Kashmiri Pandits held their international conference in the Sri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi in which robes of honour were given to famous and learned Personalities of Kashmiri Pandits besides the same given to Shiv Sena chief Bal Thakre, Film Star Anupam Kher and Padma Sachdev from Jammu. But who would remember Kak Sahib there! (This writer was also retrogressively honoured. One of the organizers of this conference Mr. Arun Koul said in his speech "the ex-secratary of state cultural academy MY Taing has been charged by Mr. Koul to have put forth distorted versions of the historical facts and has said that he has ignored the glorious contribution of the Kashmiri Pandits" (Kashmir Times 31 January 1998). After some years a similar such conference was held in the Abhinav theater of Jammu in which eminent personalities of Kashmiri Pandits were honoured .Among those honoured were Pandit Kashap Bandu, Pandit Jai Lal Kalam, Shiv Nairain Fotedar, many other prominent personalities from the community. Here too Kak Sahib was conveniently ignored. Even though after death differences are not taken into consideration. This grace has not been shown to Kak Sahib till now. A contemporary of Kak Sahib, another distinguished Kashmiri Pandit personality Prem Nath Bazaz has not been honoured by his own community. Not awarded either by the Kashmiri Pandit community or by the GoI. But the government of Pakistan has honoured him with the highest award of the state Nishan-i-Pakistan. His books are published by the state departments in rapid succession. In the national archives of Islamabad his picture has been displayed respectfully along with great leaders of the Pakistan movement. But the soul of Kak Sahib continues to lament with this Ghalib couplet:

Pas az murdan bhi dewana ziarat gah-i tiflan hai

Sharar-i-Sung nei turbat pae meri Gulafshani kei

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