This Blog provides an insight on the Kashmir-issue, India and Pakistan. The articles on this Blog can be best described as thought-provoking. The articles thrive to trigger debate about the miseries enslaved Kashmiris are facing and discuss also possible solutions to this long standing conflict. It also aims to convince readers why Independent Kashmir is the best solution for all parties involved.



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Maqbool Bhat, the Martyr

A teacher, a scholar and a politician

Another 11th of February has come. A citizen of Kashmir, in whatever part of the world he is, remembers Maqbool Bhat, the martyr, on this day. This is the day on which Maqbool Bhat attained martyrdom by ascending the steps to the gallows of the Indian government. It brought him immortality as he paved the way for the freedom of Kashmiri nation.

People will copiously read and write on his political philosophy. Much has already been written. As a friend of humanity, a brother, a student and a politician, he had reached the pinnacle of glory. Yet he was extremely patient, unassuming and affectionate person. He accepted life as it came. He never allowed human desires to have better part of him. This was because he was always engrossed in the thoughts of freedom of the State.
Hashim Qureshi with Maqbool Bhat

I am reminded of an incident in Kot Lakhpat prison. We were sent to the prison in connection with Ganga hijacking case. Three out of six of us were given B Class. Bhat Sahib, Ashraf Qureshi and I were put in C Class. We lived together in a big cell. It was December-January of 1972. We were not given adequate number of blankets as was allowed to the convicts. Moreover the blankets were old and worn out. I was only 18 years old and Ashraf was two years elder to me. Being very young, we used to become sentimental. We would complain of cold. We asked the jail authorities several times to provide us with more blankets to protect ourselves from cold but to no avail. Once being taken out from the prison to the Special Court, Bhat Sahib happened to meet the Deputy Superintendent of the jail on the gate. I still remember what he talked to the jail officer. “Don’t you think that we are human beings? Don’t you think that we the prisoners also feel cold or hunger or heat? For three days we have been asking you for blankets to save ourselves from cold but our request have fallen on deaf ears. I have two young boys with me”. But the tone and tenor of Bhat Sahib in his conversation with the Deputy Superintended of the jail was markedly different from what his usual tone used to be. His face had turned red with anger.  Talking to the jailor he had thundered,” Don’t think that by putting us in the jail you have made us prisoners. Remember that wherever we are standing, that place and that land get liberated.” Having said this, we headed towards the Special Court. He assured us that there would be more blankets than what they needed that very night.  On our return we found that instead of three, fifteen blankets were placed in our cell. We distributed extra blankets among other prisoners who needed these.

In the cell, we three would prepare our response to the charges brought against us in the court. Bhat Sahib prepared his statement recording the event of his flight from Srinagar jail. He had also made a hardboard model of Srinagar jail which he later on produced in the court of law for explaining how he had run away from Srinagar jail. We read as many newspapers as we could while interned in that cell. Sometimes we would stray into the B Class cell of other three comrades, namely G.M. Lone, Mir Qayyum and Mir Manan, and listened to radio news.

In the cell, Bhat Sahib used to put our general knowledge to test on making bets. The bet was to go through physical exercises. He used to sing patriotic songs in very melodious voice. Ashraf Qureshi would empty the earthen vessels of water and then play at it while I would get hold of some pot or pan to add jingle to this show. Bhat Sahib sang both Kashmiri and Pahari songs. I still remember the Kashmiri song he used to sing often:

“Tokehsur yeleh gaseh shethrwen panjran/Adeh hai neran saen arman
Baleh yar yeleh Sheen gali…/ adeh hai neran saen arman''

The Pahari song was as this:
“Langeh aja patan chanan/da yara langeh aja patan chana aja”

He had many more Kashmiri songs that carried the spirit of patriotism and the sentiment of freedom.He would also tell us about major freedom movements in the world.

UN Resolutions and Local Elections

“Tell the truth or someone will tell it for you”

In June 2013, my article titled ‘Why Boycott Elections’ was published in many newspapers. I had argued that boycotting elections was to indirectly legitimize corrupt politicians holding power.

Boycott means casting zero per cent vote. Despite a boycott call by separatists, nowhere in the state was boycott observed fully. Anything between 40 and 60 per cent votes were cast.  This shows that boycott call was an exercise in futility.

When out of anger people go on strike against their present or past rulers, NC, Congress and PDP activists are obliged to cast vote to their respective parties. They seize power and continue exploiting the people.

A year is yet to go for the onset of new elections. But to ease Ali Shah Geelani’s detention and set him free and his immediate resolve to campaign against elections has stimulated an interesting debate in current Kashmir politics. Some accuse NC of join hands with Geelani to hatch a conspiracy. He has been allowed to initiate intense campaign for boycotting elections. Previously he had not been permitted even to participate in Friday prayers or to attend marriage or condolence ceremonies of his relatives. He was not allowed to offer Eid namaz. How come now that all of a sudden NC has become so munificent to him? At the same time in two rallies which he addressed in Sopor and Shupian, emphasis was on boycott of elections. This lends credence to the doubts of his freedom from detention being attributed to anti election tirade.

On the other hand, Chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Omar Farooq has adopted a very reasonable stance in regard to elections. His statement has appeared in social media and in the press. He has said that elections would have no impact on Kashmir issue and it is premature to initiate boycott campaign.