Heroic history of Kashmiris’ resistance | By Prof Dr Muhammad Khan


Heroic history of Kashmiris’ resistance

THE historical evidence reveals that Mughal Empire of India was the first foreign power which militarily invaded Kashmir in October 1586 and unleashed a reign of terror in the entire state. Indeed, Mughal Empire made several attempts to invade and capture Kashmir from 1528 to 1586.

During these fifty-eight years, the peaceful Kashmiris repeatedly resisted and repulsed the military attacks of the Mughal Army.

It must be remembered that Kashmir was a Muslim State, since the advent of Islam took place in Kashmir peacefully from the middle of 14th Century. The Mughal Empire attacks and finally invasion were nothing else but a lust for power.

They were the first one to ruin the thousands years old Kashmiri civilization and enslaved the Kashmiris which is continuing till to-date.

After Mughals, Kashmir remained under Afghan rule for over sixty-six years, yet another tyrant rule of so-called Muslims.

They further degraded and humiliated Kashmiris with massive human rights violations of Kashmiris. After Battle of Shopian (1819), Sikhs Afghan Army captured Kashmir.

They ruled Kashmir from 1820 to 1846, before Kashmir Sale Deed of 16 March 1846. Thereafter, there remained Dogra Rule in entire Jammu and Kashmir for over 100 years (1846-1947).

It was a continuation of tyranny, oppression and suppression of Kashmiris which started by Mughals in 1586.

Kashmiris have been resisting against all foreign invasions. However, it is generally assumed that Kashmiris started their resistance against Dogra Rule after the landmark event of July 13, 1931. This day is observed as Youm-e-Shudha-e-Kashmir by Kashmiris throughout the world.

Indeed, on this day in 1931, Kashmiris overtly reacted against the oppression of Dogra Rule through a unique chapter of sacrifices. This pattern of sacrifices had no precedence in the history of human beings.

On this historical day thousands of Kashmiris gathered outside Srinagar Central Jail to witness the court proceedings of one of their colleagues, Abdul Qadeer, who raised voice against desecration of the Holy Quran by the Dogra Army.

This gathering of the Kashmiris outside Srinagar Central Jail was unarmed and peaceful. While the court proceedings were continuing, it was time for Zuhar prayers and a Kashmir youth stood for Azan (a call for prayers).

In the middle of Azan, the Dogra Army opened fire and the youth performing Azan embraced martyrdom.

In order to complete the remaining portion of Azan, yet another Kashmiri youth succeeded him, but he too was fired upon and embraced martyrdom.

In this way, in the process of completion of Azan, Dogra Army killed twenty-two Kashmiri Muslims, one after the other.

After this brutal incident, it was revealed that Maharaja of Kashmir himself had ordered for this firing through his Governor, Ray Zada Tartilok Chand.

This incident gave Kashmiris a new vigour, a new determination and indeed a new and bold course for their freedom from brutal Dogra Rule.

In the subsequent days, the first ever-political party of Kashmir, “All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference” came into being.

The party had in its very manifesto, the restoration of the political, religious, economic and social rights of the people of Kashmir, which were ceased as a result of ‘Kashmir Sale Deed’-16 March 1846.

Tracing the history of colonialism, 20th Century is marked by massive movements against colonial rule.

Among others, the people of the sub-continent also started their demand for the end of British Colonial rule.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir, however, had two-fold colonialism imposed on them; a tyrant Dogra Rule and a discriminatory British colonialism. For long, Kashmiris were covertly struggling for their freedom from these multiple yokes.

Otherwise, there is a long history of the struggle of people of Jammu and Kashmir against tyrant rules and brutalities.

In fact, under the Dogra Rule, the people of Kashmir were nothing other than the “free forced labour” as described by the famous Kashmiri writer, Yousaf Saraf in his book, ‘Kashmiris Fight for Freedom’.

He further described that “instead of donkeys and horses, Kashmiri Muslims were used for transportation of goods across the far-flung areas”.

The Muslim population of Kashmir was deprived of their basic human rights and in some cases were even bared from performing their religious obligations. Such an incident took place on 19 April 1931, when Eid Khutba was banned in Jammu.

The Muslims of the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir took this ultimate step of the Dogra ruler very seriously.

It was indeed, interference in their religion or subsequently a step towards banning the religious obligations of the Muslims.

Indeed, the years of discrimination, suppression and oppression at the hands of despotic Dogra rule, have compelled the Kashmiris to stand for their basic right.

The process started with ‘Reading Room Party’ in 1919. It was a covert Kashmiri Movement for their rights and awareness among the masses.

It was yet another unfortunate happening that, at the end of British colonialism from subcontinent in 1947 India militarily invaded and captured a large portion of the state (Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK)) against the Partition Plan of India and rules set for accession of princely states.

Over the last seventy-three years, India perpetrated untold human rights violations in the occupied parts of the state.

On August 5, 2019, India relegated the statehood of the state, converting it into two union territories.

It has unilaterally changed the status of the State in violation of UN resolutions and the Constitution of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Since April 2020, India is massively undertaking demographic changes in IIOJK.

The heroic and relentless struggle of Kashmiris for their right of self-determination is continuing despite genocide of India in IIOJK.

Kashmiris have a long history of resistance against foreign invasions. Despite clamp-down, curfew and siege, today there is no adequacy for the Indian rule in IIOJK.

They are determined to achieve their right of self-determination which must be given to them as per UN Charter and UN resolutions on Kashmir.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.

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