Pandva Temple at Awantipoora-Kashmir


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Kashmir Freedom in which shape, by Hashim Qureshi

Nationalism is the philosophy of a nation´s identity. If nationalism does not become a cause for hatred against other nations, then it is an indicator of a nation´s progress and prosperity. People of all hues and description are accommodated within this identity and every member is proud of his or her nationality. However, the pre-requisites for its proper growth are that nationalism is not exploited and instead of hating other nations, they are meted out equitable treatment. Deviation from this principle means taking the direction of fascism which gives rise to Hitlers and Mussolinis. In todays´s world, nationalism leads to national development and fraternal relations whereas its death is caused by religious extremism. In the Indo-Pak sub-continent, Egypt, Algeria and Afghanistan, religious extremism has not only made the life a virtual hell but the peace and progress of the entire world has been taken a hostage. Bomb blasts are caused on roads and in buildings, innocent people are killed and fear is struck. This is also true of the Valley of Kashmir where national liberation struggle has been taken a hostage by religious extremism. The on-going struggle in Kashmir, it is feared, may sound a death knell to Kashmir´s nationalism, her secular tradition and image and finally to her tradition of Sufism and religious tolerance. If this struggle takes the shape of religious extremism instead of a true national struggle, what would be the consequences. What shape will it give to the solution of Kashmir tangle? In what shape will the geography of the sub-continent and Kashmir come up? These questions necessitate proper assessment of international situation and also the conditions prevailing in the sub-continent and within Kashmir. Geopolitics lN 1947 the State of Jammu and Kashmir comprised an area of 222,263 square miles. Today 101,387 square miles are in India´s control and the rest 120,649 square miles are with Pakistan and China. The territory in Pakistan´s control is further divided into two parts; Northern Areas comprise Gilgit and Baltistan which is under the administrative control of Islamabad. The population in this area comprises Sunnis, Shias, Ismailis, Noorbakhshis and other communities who are identified as Shin and Oshkin. In 1947, the people of Gilgit and Baltistan rose in revolt against Maharaja Hari Singh and invited Pakistan to take control of the area. For next 25 years, Pakistan administered the area under the black laws like F.C.R. Administration was run through a resident as was the system during the British rule. Later on the nomenclature was changed to Commissioner. The Azad Kashmir High Court, in a historic decision, decreed that Northern Areas were not a part of Pakistan but of Kashmir and that the control of Gilgit and Baltistan be immediately handed over to Azad Kashmir. Pakistan managed to obtain a veradict from the Supreme Court of Azad Kashmir on some technical basis. The other part of Pakistan controlled territory comprises only 2,000 square miles and is called Azad Kashmir with six districts of Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Mirpur,Bhimber, Bagh and Poonch. Poonch and Bagh comprised only one district in earlier days but since Sardar Qayyum Khan hails from Dhirkot in Bagh, he exercised his hegemony and divided Poonch into two districts. Azad Kashmir, which in reality should be called Pakistani held Kashmir is also a conglomerate of different castes, fraternities, tribes and linguistic denominations. There are hardly any means of production or industry which would ensure a healthy transformation of economic condition of the people. The people of this area generally emigrate to Europe and the Middle East where they put in hard work to earn a living and support their families back home. It is estimated that their remittances in the shape of foreign exchange to Pakistan are to the tune of a thousand million dollars per year. Structure in Azad Kashmir As far as the people of Gilgit and Baltistan are concerned, it is a fact that they do not want to align themselves with Kashmir. Two movements are afoot there; one supports making Gilgit and Baltistan the fifth province of Pakistan and thus win representation in national assembly and the senate. The other movement, still in early stages, is that of carving Baloristan as a new territorial entity comprising Gilgit, Baltistan and some parts of Chitral. The supporters of this movement only occasionally align themselves to Kashmir. And that is because of the pressures of such Kashmiri speaking people from the valley as had come to these areas in 1942 as merchants and later on settled there. Since Gilgit and Baltistan did not take part in the national freedom struggle launched in Kashmir, therefore Pakistani rulers and its I.S.I selected Amanullah Khan from Gilgit to recruit youth from the valley and induct them into the armed struggle in Kashmir. Evidently one who has no base of his own, the agencies can detach him at any time from the struggle and render him toothless. This is precisely what the I.S.I did with Amanullah Khan. In Azad Kashmir, people of different ideologies are to be found in different political parties. For the last fifty years, autocratic rule has prevailed depending on the good will of Islamabad. But when differences cropped up, the good will was lost and the person was deposed. This game was played with late Mir Waiz Maulavi Yusuf Shah, Sardar Qayyum Khan, Sardar Ibrahim Khan, K.H. Khurshid and Mumtaz Rathore. By and large, Muslim Conference has remained in power for the most part of the time in Azad Kashmir. Its slogan has been Kashmir banega Pakistan (Kashmir will become Pakistan). But when PPP came into existence, Sardar Ibrahim Khan separated from the Muslim Conference and formed PPP in AK. This party came to power twice and it floated the slogan “Make Azad Kashmir a province of Pakistan”. Nationalists As far as nationalist are concerned, the younger generation in Azad Kashmir wants an independent Kashmir. Like us, they are also dreaming of an entire independent Kashmir as in 1947. Unfortunately owing to personal differences, nationalists are divided into several groups. By adopting wrong strategies, there are further divisions among them. Theirs is a strange philosophy. While living in Azad Kashmir, they are struggling for the freedom of Indian occupied Kashmir. However, National Students Federation, National Lliberation Front, ( led by Maqbool Bhat’s son Showkat Maqbool Bhat) and Peoples National Party AK,and National awami Party( NAP ) do speak of liberating AK and Gilgit and Balltistan and actually they have also put in some effort. But intelligence agencies and pro-Pak accessionists accuse them of working for India. In the case of Jamaat-e-Islami, it never had a strong position in AK so as to win even a single seat in the assembly. But they do mange to organise rallies by orchestrating Islam and hate-India slogans and by alluding to armed struggle in Kashmir valley. These rallies are generally meant to collect funds and incite religious feelings in the minds of teenagers whom they eye for recruitment in the rank and file of Kashmir militancy. Since the nationalists do not have an organised party and leadership, therefore, even the staunch nationalist could not continue his march along the path of real struggle. This was because either there was no proper organisation or that nationalist leadership sold itself to the intelligence agencies. Apart from this, those engaged in national liberation struggle were bogged down by problems of material survival which invariably forced them to migrate either to the Middle East, Europe or Pakistan. Take the example of Liberation Front. As long as it worked with ISI and other organs of Pakistan, its members continued to receive training in camps, arms, ammunition, funds and publicity to the extent that in the context of Kashmir, Liberation Front became almost omnipresent. But when secret agencies took Hizbu’l-Mujahideen and some more organisations under its wings and strengthened them , Liberation Front found itself ditched. Through the instrumentality of Hizbu’l-Mujahideen, many capable and patriotic youth of Liberation Front were liquidated in Kashmir. In these circmstances in Gilgit and Baltistan, PPP and the Shia group of Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafariyya won in Council elections. It is believed that although the people there were not fully satisfied with the arrangement, yet in the light of freedom struggle in Kashmir, they were not prepared to join the peoples’ struggle now going on in Kashmir valley. They considered themselves part of Pakistan, because Pakistan to separate them from Azad Kashmir( P.O.K )and ruled them from Islamabad for last fifty years. As far as Azad Kashmir (AK) is concerned, there is a large number of nationalists in that region. But despite that, the nationalists are not knit into an organised structure nor are they prepared to embark on anti-Pakistan uprising on a scale on which the people in the valley have risen against India. The main reason for this deficiienccy is that the activists in the valley receive substantial support from Pakistan and pro-Pak accessionists in AK. The nationalists in AK are not receiving help from any side. That is the reason why even well-known nationalists usually fight elections as independent candidates. Class (biradari) and region are important factors in the social structure of AK. The nationalists must perforce take that into consideration. They cannot come out of these trappings. Therefore it is evident that somehow they have to rationalise their equations with two major political parties, namely Muslim Conference and AK Peoples Party. In other words, they,too, must allow themselves to be bogged down by sub-regional politics of Poonch, Mirpur, Kotli and Muzaffarabad segments plus the biradari that dominates these. As students, these nationalists introduce themselves in the context of national freedom by delivering fiery speeches from the platform of National Students Federation. But in practical politics they cash their nationalist past in one of the two major parties namely Muslim Conference and PPP. In this group can be included leaders like Mumtaz Rathore, the former Prime Minister and Mian Bashir, a senior minister. These conditions are hardly conducive for the nationalist movement to aspire for a definite shape and structure. As already said, in elections they got bogged down in local and non-proliferating politics.In practice they have been only supporting one of the two major political parties namely Muslim Conference and PPP. Invariably elections in AK are won either by the Muslim Conference or PPP. It may, therefore, be inferred that the people in AK want the present status quo to continue. This status quo is based on the perception of Pakistan that Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan are already with Pakistan, the part of Kashmir under Indian occupation has also got to go to her because Pakistan considers the whole of Kashmir as its property. This stand of Pakistan, however, is not supported by any legal or moral justification. According to UN resolution, Pakistan must withdraw all her troops from all parts of Kashmir in the event of a plebiscite. Again with reference to UN perceptions, the accession document signed by the Maharaja of Kashmir (1947) makes India’s position legally stronger in comparison to the claim of Pakistan because plebiscite has to be conducted with Indian army in reduced numbers continuing its presence in the state and the committee appointed by the UN supervising the conduct of plebiscite. Kashmiris and Pakistanis should be thankful to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who took Kashmir issue to the UNO. It has, therefore, to be seen what kind of freedom for Kashmiris is envisioned by the religious extremists of Pakistan, Azad Kashmir and Kashmir itself when they raise the loud cry of Islam. On the basis of language, religion and culture, the State of Jammu and Kashmir comprises three regions. Ladakh has an area of 96,701 sq kilometres, Jammu has 26,293 sq kms comprising six districts of Udhampur, Doda, Kathua, Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch. The smallest region in terms of land mass is Kashmir valley with 15,853 sq kms as its area. Kashmir region comprses six districts namely Anantnag, Pulwama, Srinagar, Baramulla, Budgam and Kupwara. The three regions are inhabited by people of different ethnicities such as ( on the basis of culture) Kashmiris, Dogars,Bakarwals, Dards, Balti, Ladakhi, Pushwari, etc. In terms of language and dialects, we have Kashmiri, Dogri, Gujri, Dardi, Balti, Punjabi etc. In Jammu, there are Dogra Hindus and in the rest except the valley of Kashmir, Muslims are in minority and thinly dispersed throughout the regions. They are described as Gujjars, Bakarwals, Dards, Baltis, Shia, Poshwari etc. These denominations have always kept themselves politically away from Kashmiri speaking populace. The Bodhis and Muslims of Ladakh and the Dogras and Muslims of Jammu regions have always considered themselves separate from Kashmiri speaking Muslims and Pandits. Likewise Kashmiri speaking Muslims and Pandits, too, have considered themselves separate from others. To them Kashmir valley means Kashmiris, calling the rest as Gujjars, Paharis, Pohul etc. This was the reason why Kashmiri Pandits resented rehabilitation of non-Kashmiri speaking refugees in the valley in 1948-49 who had come from the present Azad Kashmir. Their argument was that owing to the rehabilitation of these non-Kashmiri refugees, there would be tremendous stress on the population of the valley which in turn might adversely affect local culture. Secularism under stress The tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits is that though they ardently love their motherland, yet they look more to India and, in the context of religion, consider themselves more secure with India. This was considered their crime though the Muslims who demand Pakistan are not considered traitors in the eyes of the champions of national liberation. It is to be noted that at the very outset of the on-going national liberation struggle in Kashmir when Liberation Front was the only organisation making armed struggle for attaining freedom, Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their place of origin. On individual level a Kashmiri Pandit might have done some excess or denied the right of others, but as a community they never harmed anybody. It was the Kashmiri Pandit who rose to the envious position of teacher (guru) and the Pandits brought the light of education to their Muslim compatriots in Kashmir. Strength of Kashmiri Pandit teachers in Islamia High School and College in Srinagar was 40 per cent. I developed taste in history because of my history teacher. Our science teacher also was a Pandit. The sports teacher, Nereh Bhat (Narender Bhat) took great pains in developing sports in our school to the extent that we always won the first position in the district. These teachers were secularists to the core. How sad that we have not been able to protect our culture of secularist traditions; how unfortunate that we could not protect our teachers, our neighbours and our friends of Pandit community and their properties. This failure will be considered a tragedy for our nation by any stretch of imagination. For several centuries in the past, these Pandits had been living together with their Muslim neighbours in peace and amity. During the turmoil of 1947, Kashmiri Muslims came forward to protect them and their property and thus a unique example of inter-community tolerance was demonstrated during a turbulent period of Kashmir history. Today some Pandits are raising their voice for `Panun Kashmir.´ They have a strong argument. They say that they have been driven out of their homes by terrorising them, by attacking their honour and by killing some of their members. Now they are living in sub-human conditions in refugee camps in Jammu and elsewhere. When told that they left their homes on the promptings of Governor Jagmohan. they say that nobody would leave comfortable homes and go in exile to unknown and inhospitable places to live in tents where life is virtual hell. Assuming that they left at the behest of Governor Jagmohan, but what has been the fate of those Pandits who stayed back in Kashmir. A dental surgeon and his wife, who were rendering service in Srinagar,were one day called by some unknown persons at their house and then gunned down at the doorstep. Rosy and her mother were raped and then shot dead including Rosy’s father. The Pandits ask why have their houses and shops been looted and then burnt. They ask whether this is the treatment which Islam permits to be meted out to one’s neighbours? Should not these developments be good enough to scare a community away? Is not there strong logic in their demand for a separate homeland? But demanding the separate home land on the basis of community or religious is also against the integrity and unity of the India, same like a jamaati-e-islaami’s stand on the Kashmir? Regionalism Since a long time, the people in Ladakh have been demanding that Ladakh be given the status of autonomous hill council and placed under central administration. During Dr. Farooq Abdulla’s first stint, a strong movement for these objectives was launched in Ladakh. Likewise Jammuites are also demanding autonomy for their region. When people in the valley ask for Pakistan on the basis of religion without taking the people of other regions into confidence, all that will happen is that instead of strengthening national freedom movment, people of other regions and faiths in the state will begin to feel insecure and thus will ensue the process of parcelling the state into fragments. In what shape will Kashmir then emerge if the solution is desired to be found on the basis of the type of struggle we have launched? This is a big question looking directly into the eyes of Kashmiris. We the nationalists of Kashmir are baffled by the very question. The current atmosphere of communalism will turn Kashmir into another Bosnia fragmenting her into regions, districts , sub-districts and the rest of it. Fragmentation of Kashmir Pro-Pakistan groups and Pakistan want Kashmir to become a part of Pakistan. I need not emphasise the point that Pakistani rulers and majority of her politicians call pro- independence activists traitors and Indian agents. They label independence of Kashmir as a conspiracy either by the Indians or the Americans. Evidently in a prospect of independent Kashmir, Pakistan will have to vacate Gilgit and Baltistan, a situation which does not go in the interests of Pakistan at all. Therefore, when the proposition of independent Kashmir was in circulation in western political circles and was also placed before Pakistan, she rejected it outright. Pakistan knows that in the event of independent Kashmir, her overland link with China via Gilgit along the Silk Route will be broken and her northern borders will shrink to Kotli Satyan, Kohala and Daena instead of Kahuta, Chakothi, Bhimber and Neelam valley. It will be barely 22 kilometers away from Kahuta atomic plant and will come close to Garhi Dupatta instead of Neelam Valley. The nationalists are trying to make Pakistanis understand that in a prospect of independent Kashmir, Kashmiris would like to live as their younger brothers, and that their military pressure would be pronounced on Indian border because they would be relieved from their concerns in Kashmir. But Pakistanis just laugh it away. Let me disclose here that in 1985, some Pakistani officials and ISI representatives met with our four-member delegation headed by me. In that meeting, we precisely adopted the same line of argument. History has taught us that friedship among countries on the basis of religion cannot be lasting one. Economic interests and international alignments are major factors cementing friendship among nations. Relationship between India and Bangladesh on one hand and Pakistan and Afghanistan on the other could be identified as good examples. A close study shows that inner circles in Pakistan ruling clique and their policy planners want only the valley of Kashmir so that Pakistan would feel herself more secure with control over the sources of water and the Silk Route. They are ready to let Jammu and Ladakh regions remain with India. But in order to drag India to the negotiating table, they maintain pressure on Muslim dominated areas of Jammu namely Doda and Kishtwar through the instrumentality of armed militants. They do not mind recruiting Afghans, Pakistanis, Sudanese and others to conduct insurgency operations there. Apart from this, occasional statements of Pakistani and Azad Kashmir political figures in regard to the proposition of division should also be taken note of. Dixon Plan also surfaces now and then. Some voices have been raised suggesting that Jammu and Ladakh be given to India; Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir to Pakistan and the valley of Kashmir be made independent. India does not seem to be in any mood of taking back Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan. However in order to maintain pressure on Pakistan, the Indians use the lever of threatening that they would throw Pakistanis out of Azad Kashmir. They even get resolutions passed by the Indian parliament to this effect. In the same vein, Pakistan too, cannot wrest Kashmir from India’s hands. But if in the background of on-going turmoil in Kashmir, Pakistan succeeds in prompting international policemen to offer themselves for resolution of Kashmir tangle, then fragmentation of Kashmir will be writ large on her balance sheet. In that scenario of division and sub-division, if, for example, the valley is given freedom, the question is what will the people of the valley do with it because it will have to be further divided to give the Pandits their homeland. Thus having turned Kashmir into another Bosnia, what would be the parameters of our economic viability and security? Shall we not be dependent on India and Pakistan for contacts with the rest of the world? Today, as we find it, Pakistan has rescinded the transit rights of Afghanistan although according to international law a landlocked country is to be provided access route to the international waters by her neighbours. Had not Pakistan to incur the enemity of Russia for the sake of Afghanistan? What will be the economic strength of fragmented Kashmir? The economy of the valley cannot be run by tourist industry alone. Even there are some hard pre-reaquisites to make tourist industry economically viable. It asks for free atmosphere and acceptable political system. What will be the political system for a region with just thirty or thirty five lakh population divided into various religious and cultural denominations and varrying perceptions? Isn’t it that like Pakistan and Afghanistan, we get embroiled in large scale sectarian and factional feuds ready to lynch one another? (to be honest we are already doing that exercise). Then nothing can stop Pandits from getting their portion – Panun Kashmir – even if it is in the shape of concentrated localities. What is more, will it not usher in the dark and dangerous prospect in which the story of 1947 communal carnage of Jammu will be re-enacted? The large Muslim minority in various parts of Jammu region will, in the event of the danger of pogroms, migrate to the valley. Can Kashmir bear the burden and what will be its repercussions? Division of Kashmir on communal basis will, eventually, engulf the whole of India and its flames will consume millions of innocent people in the entire sub-continent. Assuming for a while that Pakistn succeeds in wresting the valley of Kashmir, even then the fate of Muslim minorities in the State will be only exodus from their homes and hearths. In such a situation nobody can guarantee the safety of 180 million Muslims of India. One shudders on the mere thought of it. In the event of such an unprecedented carnage, people will yearn for another Gandhiji who had gone on strike unto death in order to stop the massacres in Calcutta. People will remember Waris Shah who, moved by the suffering of a daughter of Punjab, wrote his immortal poem. But alas, there is neither a second Waris Shah among us today nor did India produce another Gandhi. Therefore patriotic Kashmiris, good Muslims and humanist sections in the sub-continent and in Asia should vehemently oppose division of Kashmir in the name of religion and community. In fact they should initiate resistance to such a move. This is the reason why we repeatedly say that reviving the 1947 position of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, free and fair elections should be held in both the parts and the duly elected representatives of Kasshmir (both parts) be given an opportunity of talking to both India and Pakistan for a lasting resolution of Kashmir tangle. And a lasting solution will be one which is acceptable to the people in Kashmir, people of all faiths. Disinformation Let us admit frankly that we the masses of the valley have been made victims of propaganda of a golden dream by people with vested interests. We should try to dissect these golden dreams in the context of international and regional situation. Such international organistions as keep close watch on emerging situations anywhere in the world and are always ready to supervene, do not give an iota importance to Kashmir issue. They consider it a case of religious extremism and as cancerous as Afghanistan. During Benazir Bhutto’s visit to the United States, President Clinton, while supporting elections (in Kashmir) had said: ” ……….. of course the Indians now are talking about election. It will be interesting to see who is eligible to vote, what the conditions of the election are, whether it really is a free referundum on the peoples´will.” But Benazir contended that her American visit was a success, and consequently, distorted the statement of the American President. She said that the American President felt that the peoples’ will in Kashmir can be ascertained only through free referundum. She eschewed reference to elections. It is amusing to note that invariably Indian and Pakistani bureaucrats and mandarins give their own interpretation to the statements and reports of foreign political leaders and organisations. At a point of time in recent days, there ensued a spate of statements and counter-statements between the Indian Home Minister and the American embassy in New Delhi. The American ambassador met with the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India to tell them that American Assistant Secretary of State, Robin Raphel, had stated before the Congressional Committee for South Asia that plebiscite in Kashmir as stipulated in 48 – year old UN resolution was no more practicable. But, of course, a solution to Kashmir problem in changed circumstances will have to be found according to the wishes of the people. This solution can be found when both the countries include Kashmiris in their talks. The truth is that the Americans apprehend emergence of Afghanistan-like situation in Kashmir with rising crescendo of religious extremism, That could lead to eruption of large scale communal violence in the entire sub-continent. As already said, in the event of a plebiscite, Pakistan will have to withdraw all her troops from Gilgit, Ballltistan and Azad Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolution. The results of a plebiscite cannot be conjured up by entertaining the wishes of Kashmir valley alone. And in the event of results not going the way Pakistan likes, Silk Route will go out of her hands. The Americans will use it as a lever to foster the policy of encirclement of China if the exigency of geopolitics demands it. At the present moment, the US does not want to antagonise India. Her relations with Iran are already strained and Sino – American relations are too fragile to bear stress and strain of rapidly changing alignments in eco-strategic world. If China, India and Iran form a nexus, then the US shall have to bear herself in South Asia with utmost caution. She will have to reckon with the nexus. Indo-US trade relations are widening and deepening day by day. Why should the US endanger such a vast market just for the sake of a tiny stretch of land called Kashmir. History stands witness to the reality that western powers always keep their economic and political interests ahead of every other consideration. These interests are protected by means fair or foul. When they needed the people of Afghanistan against Russia, they labelled all religious groups of Afghanistan as crusaders and provided them with enormous funds by way of assistance to carry out jehad. Not only that, through a media blitzkrieg they projected Afghan resistance as a decisive battle for protection of freedom and democracy throughout the world. But when their purpose was served, they have become silent spectators of the same Afghanistan drifting down the precipice of destruction and annihilation. Afghanistan turned into desolation and ruination, makes them beat not an eyelid. This is a living example of imperialist powers fomenting regional problems and instigating conflicts between the nations in order to exploit the people for their selfish interests. In order to maintain their stranglehold on Gulf oil and secure markets for the sale of oil and arms, they forged an alliance of western countries and of the Islamic world against Iraq. This spelled destruction for that country. But now feigning humanism, some human rights organisation and the UNICEF, the organ of the United Nations, create loud noise that children, women and old people in Iraq are dying of hunger and that economic embargo imposed on Iraq be lifted. Those who had ganged up against Iraq in the war, including Islamic countries, have no qualms of conscience so that they might gang up to provide relief to the hungry and dying co-religionists of Iraq. It has to be remembered that the US and Europe are gradually reaching their economic optimum. In order to maintain the present living standard of their peoples, they may have to take recourse to colonialism. Now a new area has been explored to perpetrate colonialism and that is the area of trade and marketting. Fomenting problems and complicacies of regional level is a crucial instrument in their hands to be used against the targetted countries. These instruments take various shapes: sometimes these appear in the guise of human rights violations or enticements for global trade and open market and at other times as renewed prescriptions for democratic dispensation. In this background, one can only wish that the poorer countries of Asia and Africa or elsewhere in the world, generate confidence to resolve their regional problems themselves.

Proposals

Under the auspices of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, non-official talks have been held in New Delhi in recent past. This is a welcome step. In this non-official conclave were present two former finance ministers, former foreign minister and former chief justice of supreme court of Pakistan. From Indian side former foreign minister, American ambassador in India and many others participated. It should be remembered that the participating former Pakistan foreign minister Sahibzada Ya’qub Ali Khan has been considered close to the Americans and the Pakistan army while her former finance minister, Dr. Mahbubu’l-Huqq is popular among US ruling circles and the World Bank. Three years ago I had written an article under the heading ” Solution of Kashmir problem in the background of Palestine”. My proposal was as this: Both sides of Kashmir should be declared self-governing as in Palestine which would form the basis for its final resolution. The participating former finance minister of Pakistan, Mahbu’l-Huqq had proposed in this non-governmental conclave that self government be accepted for Kashmir like Gaza Strip and Jerico in Palestine. I take pride in my six years of struggle which is the sum total of my thirty years of political journey. I take pride in myself for the reason that I did not become the instrument of destruction for my fellow countrymen, my brothers ,my sisters and my neighbours in Kashmir. I strove to keep the on-going struggle in Kashmir on the track of national liberation movement. Through my writings, public meetings and interaction with people at large, I proposed peaceful solutions for the Kashmir problem. Today, many plolitical figures and parties in India and Pakistan, people who matter in international fora and organisations committed to democratic ideology, are recalling those proposals. However, it is a matter of regret that Sardar Qayyum Khan of Azad Kashmir severely condemned the statement issued by the non-government delegation which had participated in the conclave under Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. He called it playing in the hands of Indian secret agencies asserting that the suggestion of Gaza Strip type self- governance for Kashmir was tantamount to betrayal of the blood of martyrs in Kashmir. It is interesting to remind our readers that in the past, the same Sardar Qayyum Khan expressed to Robin Raphel and Bhim Singh his agreement to the proposal of holding eletions in Kashmir under the supervision of an impartial authority. This had also been stated by him in a press conference. These days Azad Kashmir is seized of election politics. Therefore political stalwarts are making loud claims in this season of elections of liberating Srinagar, Jammu and even Delhi and Amritsar in a matter of days. Undoubtedly they will make thunderous speeches of hoisting the flag in these Indian cities. In this way political blackmail will be kept energised for a few months to come but only at the cost of the blood of Kashmiri youth. In foreign countries their hirelings will take out processions and call rallies and enjoy sumptuous feasts because for last fifty years, Azad Kashmir political horse traders have made the people of Kashmir their hostage by raising the bogey of Kashmir issue. In this manner they have managed to divert the attention of the public from their demand for providing them with basic necessities of life. Therefore, I have a humble message not for political leadership of Azad Kashmir but for her youth. I want to ask them how long will they become victims of self-delusion? How long they will continue to remain hostages to their leaders back home while they toil endlessly to earn their livelihood in distant lands away from their near and dear ones? I have also a word for the leadership of the valley of Kashmir. They should take stock of the dead bodies of their sons, brothers, sisters and mothers dropping around them day in and day out. They should galvanize themselves into action for liberating Kashmir and Kashmiris from the bondage of the gun because now, besides the security forces, we too are actively involved in taking precious and innocent lives so wantonly. They must also consider what economic disaster has befallen Kashmir. In 1995 alone, more than 400 Kashmiri youth were killed in inter-gang rivalries. Those who died were sons, brothers and dear ones of people among us.

International opinion

As far as the question of smoothing of international opinion is concerned, it is a reality that in foreign countries public opinion does not go in our favour. By resorting to brutalities like kidnapping and beheading foreign tourists and by taking innocent lives through bomb blasts, we have provided an opportunity to the people abroad to label our movement a terrorist movement like those in Egypt and Algeria. The influence of such organisations and single-member parties as bring out demonstrators on the streets of London or any other place or march along with British MPs who have a constituency of Asians, is hardly of any consequence for international opinion on Kashmir. The masses of people do not come out to join these protest rallies which presents a completely different picture from what the US faced in Europe and US in connection with Vietnam war. Not more than five per cent of population of Pakistans and Kashmiris living abroad have been participating in these rallies. It is a different story that London-based newspaper Jung sensationalises Indo-Pak relations and stops not short of capturing Delhi. “This is, in fact, the news bullletine of ISI brought out under the present name”. I have in my possession letters exchanged between themselves by the staff members of Jung, London in which facts about imposition of a ban on freedom of expression have been given in full detail. It shows that every single-member party is on regular pay roll of some organisation or alternatively has been made a hostage to killing and kidnapping of Kashmiri youth only to sustain its political or journalistic existence. Thousands of people dole out lessons of using Kashmiri struggle for facilitating political asylum for the youth of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. When the applications for seeking asylum against India began to be rejected here in Europe, a large number of applicants changed their stand and pleaded that they were being forcibly recruited by ISI and Pakistan army to join the war against India in Kashmir. In this way, some people have made Kashmir a business and source of income. A few days ago the Jung London published a letter written by one Mahmud Ahmad from Birmingham. He hails from POK. He wrote, “there are a few families in UK who have migrated from Srinagar. But each one of these families has floated an organisation. The people from Indian part of Kashmir have floated four human rights councils. six charity trusts and one or two political organisations. What is to be seen is what differences do they have on the question of human rights so that they cannot make only one organisation. The fact is that these organisations have one President and one or two office bearers and the rest is a blank. Take the case of Dr. Ayub Thukkar. His organisation is given much more projection than any other in the Jung. But till this day we could not find out whether, apart from him, there is or is not any other office bearer of his organisation. And if there are other office bearers, why is their name never mentioned. In the same way Nazir Gilani continues to be the General Secretary of an organisation for the last eight years. There must be a president or a chairman of his organisation. Why is there never any mention of him? What is this secret about and why do Pakistani newspapers give so much of importance and coverage to one-member parties? It is also alleged that some agencies hire intellectuals and capable people in UK and utilise them for specific purpose. After sowing seeds of discord and disunity among Kashmiris, they are blamed that they do not unite.” Mahmud Ahmad has conceded the truth on one side. People of Indian occupied Kashmir have the freedom of forming organisations for demanding their rights and projecting their problems. But the people of Azad Kashmir have been keeping themselves politically alive only by the name of Kashmiris living on the other side of the border. In the name of Kashmiris, Sardar Qayyum Khan and other leaders have amassed billions of rupees. What can one say of the irony that instead of crying over their own slavery, the leaders of Azad Kashmir feign crying over the slavery in Indian Kashmir. Communal and inter-gang killings Last month, foreign armed people kidnapped some innocent people in Barshala, Doda and then murdered them in a barbaric manner. The victims belonged to our state. There are many groups in Kashmir who claim that they are fighting for the freedom and rights of the people of the state. Neither humanism nor any religion permits these savage acts of murder. Those who claim to be the champions of Islam do not know that according to Islamic faith killing an innocent person is tantamount to killing humanism. Bomb blasts made in Anantnag and Lal Chowk in Srinagar have taken the lives of innocent people. Bomb blasts engineered in Delhi have brought havoc with God’s humanity. By hurling a rocket on the mosque in Kahuta, Azad Kahmir, innocent lives have been lost. Such cowardly acts should be condemned strongly. This is prcisely the reason why despite being oppressed, nobody is prepared to listen to the plight of Kashmiris. The Doda massacre perpetrated by foreign militants indicates that there is a calculated plan of converting Kashmir into another Afghanistan. The parties or groups who invite these armed groups to Kashmir, give them shelter and take pride in them, do they not compass the death of innocent people, children, women and aged persons of Kashmir?. By striking fear in the minds of the people, don’t they want to subject them to their ideology and enslave them to their political agenda? A close look at the pages of history will show that religous extremist parties in more than 70 Islamic countries have never been successful in forming a government on the strength of votes. In Pakistan, for example, during the previous elections, religious parties could not bag more than 2 per cent of the total vote cast. Unable to win power through ballot, these religious extremist groups have unleashed violence and terror throughout the world by barbaric acts of hurling bombs, gunning down people, kidnaplping victims and keeping them as hostages. Imagine, for a while, if Hindu extremists in India embark on similar lunacy, how horrendous will be its reprisals? We have had a bitter experience in the past. It were the people of same diseased mind who murdered Muhammad Sultan Bhat, the brother of Professor Abdul Ghani and the blame was brought to the doorsteps of Hizbu’l-Mujahideen. In retaliation, the Jamaat-e-Islami ex-member of Legislative Assembly , Abdul Razzaq was murdered. The blame was laid on Muslim Mujahideen. The point is that the leaders and others who support gun and become hostages to gun culture, ultimately get mowed down by the same gun along with those affilated to them. The bullet shooting forth from the barrel is blind. It does not differentiate between the sinner and the innocent. In this connection the statements of Bilal Lodhi and Babar Badr and others are worth noticing in which they have said that in connection with Kashmir issue, unconditional talks should be held with New Delhi. We know that armed men killed innoocent persons like Professor Mushiru’l-Huq, Abdul Ghani and Khera. One gun totter of the same group once shot at an aged Kashmiri Pandit while he was easing himself. The man shot and killed him just because he wanted to test his repaired gun. When foreign tourists were kidnapped and one of them was brutally murdered by them, the people who had a hand in these brutalities come forward to condemn the act of Al Faran. They feigned to distance themselves from the group. Those who claimed that Al Faran was the creation of India, were belied by the statements which Harakatu’l-Ansar and other organisations gave to local newspaprs in the shape of a press release two weeks earlier. It said,” Hamid Turk and four others who were killed in an encounter with the army were people of Harakatu’l-Ansar. Kashmiris knew that Hamid was an activist of this organisation.” In this way Harakatu’l-Ansar and Al Faran, both have confessed that Al Faran was created to seek the release of top Harakatu’l- Ansar leaders in India. I am reminded of my telephonic talk with a friend in Muzaffarabad. He said that Azahr Masud, Sajjad Afghani and Abu Jindal are very special people of ISI who brought success to the plans of religious organisations and ISI itself according to which foreign militants could entrench themselves in Kashmir. In order to seek their release, their sympathisers and next-of-kin in Pakistan will do everything possible. Kashmir leadership On the shoulders of Kashmir leadership , rests a heavy responsibility. In order to save the future generations of Kashmir, they have to choose the path of truth and realism. If we allow ourselves to become the hostages of circumstances, then we shall be only signing the death warrants of our future generations. Already the security forces have taken a toll of life; we have now begun to indulge in fratricide, destroying the national wealth – forests. Assets of our society like tradition, confidence and trust are trampled under foot. How long shall we attribute mutual killings to ‘Indian agents’ and close our eyes to the realities. A gun is hardly used properly. The time is ripe when Kashmiri leadership should take stock of current situation and exhort the nation to reject the gun. They should take the movement into their hands. The on-going struggle in Kashmir will bring nothing but fragmentation of Kashmir. We shall find nothing but more graveyards, more mourning houses and more of revenge and counter revenge. If Kashmir wins freedom in this shape, as was the case in Afghanistan, it will be a horrible and highly repugnant shape. In one of my previous articles ‘ “How long the Business over Dead Bodies of Kashmiri Youth” I had given some detail about an organisation called Muslim Hand. In this connection Shabbir Shah talked to me on telephone and told me that Muslim Hand members were providing aid to people in Kashmir through him. Despite that, it is a fact that under the cover of a paltry sum for relief work, millions of rupees are being embezzled in the name of Kashmiris. My return Having played a constructive role for the last six years, my friends, colleagues and relatives all over the world advise me that the time has come when I should take part in practical politics and that I should go back to Kashmir. I am also considering seriously whether I should go back to my native land after having spent 26 years of life in exile. This is almost an age. Out of this period, I have spent ten years in Pakistani jails. I have made Mr. Muzaffar Baig as my lawyer. ( Earlier Ramesh Pathak was to do that job. He died last year). Muzaffar Baig happens to be the friend of my leader late Maqbul Bhat. I am told if a person is punished for a crime in any part of the world, he cannot be punished for the same crime again. But anything is possible in India and Pakistan. Who knows my hands may be tied and then an encounter- with- police case framed. Or there could be disappearance after arrest. As such, I shall take any step only after consulting all concerned friends, party workers and legal advisers. In any case, it is clear that I want to go back as an active and energetic person and not a dead man whose body is to be sent back from Europe. I feel I must join my people to provide them some comfort in their hour of suffering. To me politics is prayer. While living in Europe, I never distanced myself from the problems facing my compatriots. First, I played my role in changing the destiny of the Kashmiri nation through Liberation Front. When that organization distanced from its basic idealogy and objectives and fell in the lap of agencies, then we launched Democratic Liberation Party. We floated a welfare organisation, the social wing of Democratic Liberation Party, named MNWA. For the last three years we have been trying to provide , though on a limited scale, some relief to deserving people in Kashmir. We serve God’s humanity irrespective of religion, sect, class, colour etc. To the people of India Kashmir Banay Ga Khudmukhtarndhiji had withdrawn ‘Quit India’ movement because the element of violence had crept into it. People had resorted to loot and arson, and attacks were made on police and ruling forces. The British imperialism had reacted and tried to suppress them by using the state power. Gandhiji did not want the people to die. Thus though that movement was on the path of success yet it had to be recalled. Evidently Gandhiji knew the value of human life and humanism. But today the heirs of Gandhiji who rule the roost and the security forces who swear by the security of India are making not the armed militants but innocent civilians the targets of their bullets. They arrest people and then make them disappear. Zaheeru’d-Din has written a book on the subject entitled ‘Did they Vanish in Thin Air’. Disappearance of a child or a grown up person is indeed a tragedy. The closest relatives of the victim do not know what happened to him. During the bloody revolution In Chile and Argentina, some people disappeared in the custody of military junta. Even today a movement goes on there to identify the perpetrators of the crime. The UN and Human Rights organizations have considered custodial disappearances as a major crime and violation of human rights. Custodial disappearance is a life long pain and punishment for the relativs of the victim. Zaheeru’d-Din has mentioned in full detail the case of custodial disappearance of nearly 70 persons. The details include name, address, circumstances in which arrested, family’s efforts for search, copies of writ petitions in High Court etc. Among them are a sixteen year old boy named Wahid Ahmad Ahangar of Sopor and 8 year old Javed Ahmad Dar. The 8-year old boy is reported to have thrown a stone on the vehicle of security forces. Those who have adopted the policy of arresting people in Kashmir and then making them disappear can never be called loyal to India. Such acts abuse Gandhiji’s philosophy of non-violence and the democratic tradition of India. India gets a bad name on international level besides infesting Kashmiri mind with more hatred against India. Undoubtedly these are anti-India antics. I, therefore, make a fervent appeal to the rulers of India and to those from whose office power flows. that instead of rejecting the contents of Zaheeru’d- Din’s book and the details of disappearances outright, they should institute a proper enquiry into the alleged cases and when the truth is established, give proper and legal punishment to the culprits. Justice has to be done to the families of the victims. The families of the victims should be given fullest possible detail of what happened to their wards. This will be victory for public justice. History tells us that only those nations and countries survive and move along the path of progress that provide justice to their people. The height of humanism is to provide justice to the people and especially to the oppressed. Kashmir is not only a political issue, it is also a human issue. Sons and daughters of Kashmir have been separated from their near and dear ones for the last 48 years. People have been made refugees in their own country and outside. Properties have been destroyed. Kashmiri youth are languishing in jails; Pandits and Muslims have been sent into forced exile, graveyards are extending day after day, people are overtaken by an impulse of revenge. For all these reasons, Kashmir issue has to be treated as a human problem. As Gandhiji said and did, politics has to be elevated to the level of worship. Post script: These days there is much talk in political circles about partitioning of Kashmir. People comment on it according to their own interests. Pakistan pursues its Operation Topac agenda of grabbing Kashmir by hook or by crook. Sometime some Pakistani circles refer to American plan of dividing Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir together with the valley of Kashmir. Dr. Farooq Abdullah talks about partition along the actual line of control so that he may continue in the seat of power. In the event of the division of Kashmir, the people of Kashmir will, on regional and community basis, get nothing whatsoever except that our motherland and our birth place will be fragmented into pieces as does a canine do with its prey. Even then peace will not dawn upon the sub-continent. Therefore people in Kashmir, on either side of the cease fire line, will have to struggle and rise against any proposal that leads to the division of Kashmir.

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Plight of the exiled Pandits


Plight of the exiled Pandits
By Sandeep Kaul

In the cold winter of 1989-90, a mobocracy, a part of the hydra-headed terrorism supported by Pakistan, tore into pieces what was known as Kashmiriyat. A community’s our sense of security was pierced by the bullets of men we came to recognise as jihadis, mujahidin. And a whole community was rendered homeless, forced into exile.

Since the terrorism that uprooted lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits from the land of our ancestors, we have been stalked by misfortune, gloom, and despair. And a blank future.

The voice of Kashmiri pundits was never ever given its due share in Jammu and Kashmir pre-1990; the exodus only muffled it further. Our fundamental rights as Kashmiris and as Indians were always ignored.

Now, some kind of peace is gradually limping back into the hearts of the people of Kashmir. We pray for the restoration of the lost glory back to Kashmir and for the prosperity of our motherland. And for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley. We are grateful that the Government of India had made some temporary settlements for Kashmiri Pandit migrants in Jammu. These settlements are occupied by the segment of our community who were hit hardest by the violence and terrorism; and they really needed it the most.

The Centre has given the impression that the Hindu migrants presently living in temporary settlements at Jagti and other places would be rehabilitated back in Kashmir once the situation is conducive for their return. This plan includes only those living in settlements at Jammu.

But what about the rest of us? The exodus included at least 3.5 lakh Kashmir Hindus post-1989.The numbers rise when we count those Pandits who left Kashmir post-1947 up till 1989; they also have a right to return. The rights of all Kashmiri Pandit’s have been equally mauled irrespective of their social or financial strata, and are entitled to equal justice.

Somehow we get the impression that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the UPA are not sincere in their efforts of rehabilitating all Kashmir Hindus. If they are serious in their endeavour, they should act fast.

In 2008, the Prime minister announced an employment package of Rs 1618 crore to facilitate the return of Kashmiri Pandits, but out of 6000 jobs only 1446 took the offer. The reason for this low response was fear and lack of security and safety. It is not easy to forget those gory incidents which drove us to live life in exile, that too, in our own country.

To be effective, the Prime ministers package should be linked to the settling of the Hindu community in a safe zone in Kashmir. All the Pandits irrespective of social and financial strata should be invited to settle there. And there should be only one settlement/safe area for all the Pandits where we can practice our faith without fear, where there will be no more terrorists, no mosque in the middle of night yelling at us to leave, where no Pandit will be killed and women raped for being Hindu and Indian. We will call it Homeland if it takes care of the security and safety concern of Kashmiri Pandits.

As of now, however, the Government of India and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir have no plans at all. Nor, we have been led to believe, do they have any intentions. The electoral calculations of the respective regime force them to pull their hands back when it comes to the political empowerment of seven lakh Hindus. The homeland would definitely empower the Pandits politically and that is precisely what they do not want.

Besides, there are some processes which are making the return of Pandits to their homeland difficult.

It has become very cumbersome to get the legal recognition as State-Subject of J&K. The writer was told to submit at least 12 different documents for getting recognised as State Subject, including revenue record of my land in Kashmir as well as the voter list of 1988. This is clearly intended to be a deterrent to getting the State Subject certificate.

Since so much of the community has been forced into exile, their homes burnt and destroyed or simply taken over by those who moved in after they were driven out, how are we to produce land revenue and other records? There is an obvious case for making the process simpler, especially as a large percentage of the community lives outside Jammu, mostly in large metropolitan towns.

Another point which needs an immediate attention is the Aadhar card, which has been made compulsory for any financial transaction including getting the monthly relief of Kashmiri Migrants. This might be a good decision, but not for Kashmiri Pandits in exile. For us, our only home is in Kashmir. And our homes have been occupied illegally or we were forced to sell them homes at throwaway prices under duress, or just leave them vacant and run-down. Any which way, we have no homes to call our own.

We fear that if we take the Aadhar card – which has no parliamentary sanction either – we may be permanently labelled as non-State Subjects and denied our Kashmiri identity and State Subject status. This will push us further away from the motherland.

The Government of Jammu and Kashmir should without further delay announce that all displaced Kashmiri Pandits can use their respective Kashmir addresses (prior to 1990) as their official addresses, and thereby help them to preserve their last identity in Kashmir and protect their status as State Subjects. Alternately, the Government of India should exempt all Kashmiri Pandits from using/recognizing the Aadhar card as their proof of residence.

Our existence and identity as Kashmiri Pandits should not be erased from the tapestry of Kashmir. Enough water has flown down the Jhelum since our exodus, and it is time to restore our rights. And they should be restored now….

The author is a Kashmiri exile

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ISI global anti-India racket exposed


ISI global anti-India racket exposed
23 Jul 2011, 0801 hrs IST
Days after the arrest of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) man Ghulam Nabi Fai in Washington, ISI’s global racket of fostering anti-India agenda has been exposed. TIMES NOW have exposed how Ghulam Nabi Fai’s Kashmiri Centre in various nations not just in US but in the UK too was being used to spread Pakistan’s ISI’s anti-India agenda. Money trail shows how ISI through various intermediaries paid Fai and others to hold anti-India protests.

Now, following these revelations Britain’s Scotland Yard has initiated probe in to the financing of London-based Justice Foundation which was being routed money through the Fai’s Kashmiri American Centre. A few years ago, a probe was launched against the sources of funding of the Foundation, which is accused of financing ‘jihadi’ groups that have been launching attacks against India in Jammu and Kashmir. Fai, 62, and Zaheer Ahmad, 63, both US citizens, were charged with conspiring to act as agents of a foreign power in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of US.

Fai, with the help of Ahmad, allegedly funneled ISI’s cash into the US to influence the American policy on Kashmir. Meanwhile, the detention hearing of Fai was postponed for next Tuesday as his attorney had scheduling conflicts. Fai appeared in a US court briefly yesterday wearing a green jumpsuit and looking a little depressed. In proceedings that lasted a brief five minutes, the court was told that Fai’s main attorney Nina Ginsberg could not appear because of scheduling conflict. Fai was represented by Ginsberg’s deputy Michael Lieberman, while the government was represented by attorney Gordon Kromberg.

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‘Pakistan trying to ‘stir the pot’ in Kashmir’


‘Pakistan trying to ‘stir the pot’ in Kashmir’
S Rajagopalan
Express News Service

WASHINGTON: Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao categorically told the United States earlier this year that Pakistan’s latest moves indicated that it was trying to “stir the pot” in Kashmir.

At a meeting with visiting US special envoy Richard Holbrooke in January, Rao expressed concern over the ‘sharp increase in unseasonal Pakistan-inspired violence and preparation for violence’. She pointed to incidents of cross-border shelling along the Line of Control and in Punjab, increased infiltration, and transfer of terrorist hardware.

“They are clearly trying to ‘stir the pot’ in Kashmir,” according to a US diplomatic cable of the meeting, leaked by WikiLeaks on Thursday. “In her view, Pakistan is trying to deflect attention to its eastern border from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where the focus ought to be.”

The cable, put out by US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer, said Holbrooke and special adviser Vali Nasr briefed Rao on “the evolving political landscape in Pakistan with a weakening President Zardari and the fluid dynamic between the various centers of power, including COAS Kayani, Prime Minister Gilani, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Chief Justice Choudhary”.

In what clearly would not be music to Pakistani ears, Holbrooke said at the very start of his meeting that he had come to New Delhi ‘with a clear vision of the centrality of India to the strategic landscape in the region’.

Significantly, at one point while dealing with Rao’s suggestion that the US should apply pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting the Afghan Taliban, Holbrooke signalled Washington’s own frustration on this score.

Holbrooke went on to comment that “Pakistan views certain Taliban groups, particularly the Quetta Shura, as an insurance policy to protect its strategic interests in Afghanistan and it is not clear that anyone can easily influence Pakistan to turn on these groups, although the US is exerting tremendous pressure”.

Against this backdrop, Holbrooke cited Washington’s “own difficulties in dealing with the Pakistan government” and suggested that “many people overestimate the US influence in Pakistan”, noted the cable.

The special envoy lauded India’s role in Afghanistan, stating that he favours the Indian assistance programmes. He pointedly stated that he “is not influenced by what he hears in Islamabad”.

Holbrooke, taking on board India’s acute concerns, made it clear that the US would not let the Taliban enter into a power-sharing agreement in Afghanistan

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With its India obsession, Pak digging its own grave: US


With its India obsession, Pak digging its own grave: US
Press Trust Of India
Washington,

Pakistan’s obsession with India is leading it to “dig its own grave” as the ISI’s “destructive role” now stands exposed in the wake of the revelations by classified intelligence documents, a leading US lawmaker has said. “The ISI’s attempt to distinguish good from bad militants will spin out of Control.With its obsession with India, Pakistan is digging its own grave,” Congressman Ed Royce told Press Trust of India (PTI) in the wake of WikiLeaks revelations
“I’ve been speaking about the destructive role of Pakistan’s ISI for many, many years. I’ve read this headline before,” Royce, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said when asked about the WikiLeaks revelation, which revealed that ISI continues to help and assist al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Reacting to the WikiLeaks posting of more than 92,000 classified documents on the war in Afghanistan, several Congressmen condemned the release of such secret documents but expressed concern over the continued links between ISI and the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

“These leaked documents, while troubling, appear to support what I was asserting for years: the war in Afghanistan was not going well, and we needed a real strategy for success,” Senator Ike Skelton, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.

“These leaked reports pre-date our new strategy in Afghanistan and should not be used as a measure of success or a determining factor in our continued mission there,” he said.

The publication of highly-classified documents was deeply troubling and a serious breach of national security, Senator John McCain said, adding the source of the leak within the US government should face the full penalties of the law.

“Some of these documents reinforce a longstanding concern of mine about the supporting role of some Pakistani officials in the Afghan insurgency,” Senator Carl Levin said.

Levin said he and Senator Jack Reed, during their recent visit to Islamabad, had strongly urged officials to take forceful action against militant networks using Pakistan as a base to attack Afghanistan and American troops.

“The materials – which cover the period from 2004 to 2009 – reflect the reality, recognised by everyone, that the insurgency was gaining momentum during these years while our coalition was losing ground,” Senator Joe Lieberman said in a statement.

“We should give General Petraeus and our troops on the ground the time and support they need to succeed. Although we know that the path ahead is difficult, we also know that the consequences for our national security will be catastrophic if we abandon this effort and allow the Taliban and their allies to regain a safe haven in Afghanistan. That is the path back to 9/11,” Lieberman said.

In particular, the documents highlight a fundamental strategic problem, which is that elements of the Pakistani security services have been complicit in the insurgency, Senator Russ Feingold said.

“That, combined with competing agendas within the Afghan security forces, make it clear that there is no military solution in Afghanistan.”

On February 2, during an open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Feingold had asked the then Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair about Pakistan’s “continued support to militant proxies and about the assistance provided by some of those groups to al-Qaeda”.

Senator Kit Bond, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it is shocking that any American, much less someone in the Pentagon, would betray his country and possibly put soldiers at risk by leaking information on the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

“The damage to our national security caused by leaks like this won’t stop until we see more perpetrators in orange jump suits,” he added.

Pakistan’s obsession with India is leading it to “dig its own grave” as the ISI’s “destructive role” now stands exposed in the wake of the revelations by classified intelligence documents, a leading US lawmaker has said. “The ISI’s attempt to distinguish good from bad militants will spin out of related stories
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control. With its obsession with India, Pakistan is digging its own grave,” Congressman Ed Royce told Press Trust of India (PTI) in the wake of WikiLeaks revelations.

“I’ve been speaking about the destructive role of Pakistan’s ISI for many, many years. I’ve read this headline before,” Royce, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said when asked about the WikiLeaks revelation, which revealed that ISI continues to help and assist al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Reacting to the WikiLeaks posting of more than 92,000 classified documents on the war in Afghanistan, several Congressmen condemned the release of such secret documents but expressed concern over the continued links between ISI and the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

“These leaked documents, while troubling, appear to support what I was asserting for years: the war in Afghanistan was not going well, and we needed a real strategy for success,” Senator Ike Skelton, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.

“These leaked reports pre-date our new strategy in Afghanistan and should not be used as a measure of success or a determining factor in our continued mission there,” he said.

The publication of highly-classified documents was deeply troubling and a serious breach of national security, Senator John McCain said, adding the source of the leak within the US government should face the full penalties of the law.

“Some of these documents reinforce a longstanding concern of mine about the supporting role of some Pakistani officials in the Afghan insurgency,” Senator Carl Levin said.

Levin said he and Senator Jack Reed, during their recent visit to Islamabad, had strongly urged officials to take forceful action against militant networks using Pakistan as a base to attack Afghanistan and American troops.

“The materials – which cover the period from 2004 to 2009 – reflect the reality, recognised by everyone, that the insurgency was gaining momentum during these years while our coalition was losing ground,” Senator Joe Lieberman said in a statement.

“We should give General Petraeus and our troops on the ground the time and support they need to succeed. Although we know that the path ahead is difficult, we also know that the consequences for our national security will be catastrophic if we abandon this effort and allow the Taliban and their allies to regain a safe haven in Afghanistan. That is the path back to 9/11,” Lieberman said.

In particular, the documents highlight a fundamental strategic problem, which is that elements of the Pakistani security services have been complicit in the insurgency, Senator Russ Feingold said.

“That, combined with competing agendas within the Afghan security forces, make it clear that there is no military solution in Afghanistan.”

On February 2, during an open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Feingold had asked the then Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair about Pakistan’s “continued support to militant proxies and about the assistance provided by some of those groups to al-Qaeda”.

Senator Kit Bond, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it is shocking that any American, much less someone in the Pentagon, would betray his country and possibly put soldiers at risk by leaking information on the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

“The damage to our national security caused by leaks like this won’t stop until we see more perpetrators in orange jump suits,” he added.

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The UFO base in Aksai Chin


The UFO base in Aksai Chin

India Daily Technology Team

It is now clear that multiple UFO bases exist in Aksai Chin, the Chinese controlled part of Kashmir. The bases extend from India’s Ladack to China’s Aksai Chin.

When the Sun is about rise in the 14,000 ft elevation, Kashmir’s remotest part where the earth’s crust is thick due to fold mountains of Himalayas, the UFOs cluster in formation and come out from their underground bases. For a long time Indian military thought these were Chinese Air Force Advanced reconnaissance vehicles of odd shapes and sizes. Now it is clear that even Chinese authorities are surprised with the number of

that are coming out from underground these days.

Aksai Chin is a no man’s land whre neither Chinese nor the Indian authorities exert their influence. The local know about these UFOs and they also know not to disturb these ”higher order Gods from Heavens.”

The UFOs come out and disappear in the middle of gravity wave modulations. They propagate with electromagnetic flux. They navigate with gravity wave shield. Their armor is made of time encapsulated zero point energy modules.

Aksai Chin is largely a vast high-altitude desert including some salt lakes from 4,800 metres (15,700 ft) to 5,500 metres (18,000 ft) above sea level. It covers an area of 37,250 square kilometres (14,380 sq mi).

The main UFO base is in Soda Plain and uses Aksai Chin’s largest river, the Karakosh. The region is almost uninhabited, has no permanent settlements, and receives little precipitation as the Himalayas and the Karakoram block the rains from the Indian monsoon. It is perfect for underground UFO base formation.

The maximum UFO cluster formations happen in Aksai Chin Lake area. The radioactivity in the lake is surprisingly above normal in early hours of the day.

Hotan County in the Hotan Prefecture in Xinjiang of China administers Aksai Chin. The administrators knowingly avoid questions on Aksai Chin underground UFO bases.

China National Highway 219 runs through Aksai Chin connecting Lazi and Xinjiang in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Recently people treveling in the highway have reported many UFO citing from the area.

The satellite imagery on the Google Earth service revealed a terrain model of eastern Aksai Chin and adjacent Tibet, built near the town of Huangyangtan, about 35 kilometres (22 mi) southwest of Yinchuan, the capital of the autonomous region of Ningxia in China. The satellite imagery also reveals strange spots in the deep terrains. Many believe these strange deep spots were previous underground UFO bases.

Indian Daily

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Saviour of Kashmir


 

 

 

 

 

This is the saga of man who thwarted Pakistan plan of annexing Kashmir in 1947 with a strength of just 100 soldiers at his command, he put up a fight-which was extra-ordinary by all accounts.
Brigadier Rajinder Singh was born on 14th June 1899 in small village of Bagoona 35 kms east of Jammu in the family of Dalpatia clan of Jamwals. The history of bravery and sacrifice ran in the family, with his illustrious ancestor General Baj Singh having sacrificed himself almost a century earlier in the defence of Chitral. His grandfather was a war veteran with seven battle scars on his body. His father Subedar Lakh Singh, who Rajinder lost at an early age of six months was a junior officer in the State forces Lt. Col. Govind Singh, an affectionate uncle, brought him up. He was educated in Jammu and graduated in 1921 from Prince of Wales College, now Government Gandhi Memorial Science College in 1921. During his student days he is remembered as being unassuming, obedient and a good student who did well in his studies. In June 1921 immediately after graduation he joined the J and K State Forces as a Commissioned Officer. Being educated, hard working and dedicated to his profession his progress was rapid. He was promoted Captain in April 1925, Major in July 1927 and Colonel in 1935. In May 1942 he had risen to the rank of Brigadier and stood approved as a Major General. On 24th September 1947 he took over as a Chief of Staff of J and K State Forces from Maj. General. H.L Scott a British Officer. Brigadier Rajinder Singh as Head of the State Forces responded to the call of the time and the ruler and laid down his life fighting with a company virtually to the last man, a rare feat in the annals of military history. He delayed Pakistani invasion of 6,000 strong with 100 gallant soldiers for four days from 23rd to 27th Oct 1947 on Uri front and enabled Maharaja Hari Singh to accede to Indian Union and get reinforcement and also enabled Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah to organise his people to defend the State.
The saviour of Kashmir as he came to the called lateron was awarded the first gallantry award of Independent Indian Mahavir Vir Chakra posthumously for his courage, supreme sacrifice and leadership for which he will be remembered forever. We remember him on his birth anniversary and pay homage to him and his gallant men who scarificed their lives for the state.
Independence demanded price and scarifices while the country got independence under Mahatama Gandhi with comparatively less sacrifices. It had to pay heavy price at the time of independence due to partition of the country. Our suffering started with the Pakistani invasion of the Valley on night 21st to 22nd Oct 1947 since J and K State did not accede to either of the dominion on 15th August 1947. Pakistan started attacking the State soon after 15th August according to the plan hatched by her in collusion with the British culminating into an invasion of the Valley in Muzzafarbad in Uri sector on night 21st to 22nd Oct. Two Muslim companies of 4 J and K Infantry defending Muzzafarabad switched sides which was a severe blow to the defence for the State and was to have a far reaching influence on the battle of Uri.
When Maharaja Hari Singh was informed about the fall of Muzzafarabad by Brig. Rajinder Singh, Maharaja decided to go to the front to see the situation for himself but Brig. Rajinder Singh volunteered himself to proceed to the front as the Maharaja was to carry out accession parleys and arrange reinforcements from India.
On 22nd Oct. 1947 Brig. Rajinder Singh collected whatever troops were available in Srinagar Cantt and proceeded towards Uri with a small force of 100 men. He reached Uri at mid-night in a heavy down poor. Next day on 23rd Oct. 1947 the first engagement took place at Garhi where he inflicted heavy casualities on the enemy but lost a complete platoon in the battle. This bold and determined action of the Brigadier put a severe caution on the enemy which made it possible for the Brigadier to organise his defences at Uri and get some reinforcements. At this time Maharaja Hari Singh realising the gravity of the situation, issued the historic order to Brigadier Rajinder Singh to hold the enemy at Uri at all costs and to the last man. Brigadier Rajinder Singh realising the importance of Uri Bridge to the invaders blew it up on 24th October which was a masterly stroke of the delaying operation that saved the Valley of Kashmir. The destruction of the Uri Bridge drastically slowed down the enemy’s movement, the invaders however followed up on foot and Brig. Rajinder Singh commenced a fighting withdrawal towards Baramulla. After delaying the enemy at Mahura on 25th octrober. He took a defencive position at Rampur Buniyar where he fought them like a lion till 1:00 AM on 27th Oct. Since this small force came under very heavy pressure, it was forced to withdraw due to mounting casualities.
Brig. Rajinder Singh was himself hit in his right arm and legs in the ambush while withdrawing to the next position Despite his bleeding wounds he continued to inspire his men to fight on and subsequently he lost his life defending his country against great odds.
In Jammu in his memory a Chowk is dedicated behind the Secretariat. A beautiful park is also built in this Chowk with his statue. Brig. Rajinder Singh Auditorium is also situated in the Jammu University. In the memory of Brig. Rajinder Singh, a park on his name has been built on Ranbir Canal. Rajinder Bazar in Jammu brings to us the memory of this great Solider and Son of the Soil.

 

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Afghan War Diary – Reading guide


Afghan War Diary – Reading guide

The Afghan War Diary (AWD for short) consists of messages from several important US military communications systems. The messaging systems have changed over time; as such reporting standards and message format have changed as well. This reading guide tries to provide some helpful hints on interpretation and understanding of the messages contained in the AWD.

Most of the messages follow a pre-set structure that is designed to make automated processing of the contents easier. It is best to think of the messages in the terms of an overall collective logbook of the Afghan war. The AWD contains the relevant events, occurrences and intelligence experiences of the military, shared among many recipients. The basic idea is that all the messages taken together should provide a full picture of a days important events, intelligence, warnings, and other statistics. Each unit, outpost, convoy, or other military action generates report about relevant daily events. The range of topics is rather wide: Improvised Explosives Devices encountered, offensive operations, taking enemy fire, engagement with possible hostile forces, talking with village elders, numbers of wounded, dead, and detained, kidnappings, broader intelligence information and explicit threat warnings from intercepted radio communications, local informers or the afghan police. It also includes day to day complaints about lack of equipment and supplies.

The description of events in the messages is often rather short and terse. To grasp the reporting style, it is helpful to understand the conditions under which the messages are composed and sent. Often they come from field units who have been under fire or under other stressful conditions all day and see the report-writing as nasty paperwork, that needs to be completed with little apparent benefit to expect. So the reporting is kept to the necessary minimum, with as little type-work as possible. The field units also need to expect questions from higher up or disciplinary measures for events recorded in the messages, so they will tend to gloss over violations of rules of engagement and other problematic behavior; the reports are often detailed when discussing actions or interactions by enemy forces. Once it is in the AWD messages, it is officially part of the record – it is subject to analysis and scrutiny. The truthfulness and completeness especially of descriptions of events must always be carefully considered. Circumstances that completely change the meaning of an reported event may have been omitted.

The reports need to answer the critical questions: Who, When, Where, What, With whom, by what Means and Why. The AWD messages are not addressed to individuals but to groups of recipients that are fulfilling certain functions, such as duty officers in a certain region. The systems where the messages originate perform distribution based on criteria like region, classification level and other information. The goal of distribution is to provide those with access and the need to know, all of the information that relevant to their duties. In practice, this seems to be working imperfectly. The messages contain geo-location information in the forms of latitude-longitude, military grid coordinates and region.

The messages contain a large number of abbreviations that are essential to understanding its contents. When browsing through the messages, underlined abbreviations pop up an little explanation, when the mouse is hovering over it. The meanings and use of some shorthands have changed over time, others are sometimes ambiguous or have several meanings that are used depending on context, region or reporting unit. If you discover the meaning of a so far unresolved acronym or abbreviations, or if you have corrections, please submit them to wl-office@sunshinepress.org.

An especially helpful reference to names of military units and task-forces and their respective responsibilities can be found at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/enduring-freedom.htm

The site also contains a list of bases, airfields http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/afghanistan.htm Location names are also often shortened to three-character acronyms.

Messages may contain date and time information. Dates are mostly presented in either US numeric form (Year-Month-Day, e.g. 2009-09-04) or various Euro-style shorthands (Day-Month-Year, e.g. 2 Jan 04 or 02-Jan-04 or 2jan04 etc.).

Times are frequently noted with a time-zone identifier behind the time, e.g. “09:32Z”. Most common are Z (Zulu Time, aka. UTC time zone), D (Delta Time, aka. UTC + 4 hours) and B (Bravo Time, aka UTC + 2 hours). A full list off time zones can be found here: http://www.timeanddate.com/library/abbreviations/timezones/military/

Other times are noted without any time zone identifier at all. The Afghanistan time zone is AFT (UTC + 4:30), which may complicate things further if you are looking up messages based on local time.

Finding messages relating to known events may be complicated by date and time zone shifting; if the event is in the night or early morning, it may cause a report to appear to be be misfiled. It is advisable to always look through messages before and on the proceeding day for any event.

David Leigh, the Guardian’s investigations editor, explains the online tools they have created to help you understand the secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/datablog/video/2010/jul/25/afghanistan-war-logs-video-tutorial

Understanding the structure of the report

The message starts with a unique ReportKey; it may be used to find messages and also to reference them.
The next field is DateOccurred; this provides the date and time of the event or message. See Time and Date formats for details on the used formats.
Type contains typically a broad classification of the type of event, like Friendly Action, Enemy Action, Non-Combat Event. It can be used to filter for messages of a certain type.
Category further describes what kind of event the message is about. There are a lot of categories, from propaganda, weapons cache finds to various types of combat activities.
TrackingNumber Is an internal tracking number.
Title contains the title of the message.
Summary is the actual description of the event. Usually it contains the bulk of the message content.
Region contains the broader region of the event.
AttackOn contains the information who was attacked during an event.
ComplexAttack is a flag that signifies that an attack was a larger operation that required more planning, coordination and preparation. This is used as a quick filter criterion to detect events that were out of the ordinary in terms of enemy capabilities.
ReportingUnit, UnitName, TypeOfUnit contains the information on the military unit that authored the report.
Wounded and death are listed as numeric values, sorted by affiliation. WIA is the abbreviation for Wounded In Action. KIA is the abbreviation for Killed In Action. The numbers are recorded in the fields FriendlyWIA,FriendlyKIA,HostNationWIA,HostNationKIA,CivilianWIA,CivilianKIA,EnemyWIA,EnemyKIA
Captured enemies are numbered in the field EnemyDetained.
The location of events are recorded in the fields MGRS (Military Grid Reference System), Latitude, Longitude.
The next group of fields contains information on the overall military unit, like ISAF Headquarter, that a message originated from or was updated by. Updates frequently occur when an analysis group, like one that investigated an incident or looked into the makeup of an Improvised Explosive Device added its results to a message.
OriginatorGroup, UpdatedByGroup
CCIR Commander’s Critical Information Requirements
If an activity that is reported is deemed “significant”, this is noted in the field Sigact. Significant activities are analyzed and evaluated by a special group in the command structure.
Affiliation describes if the event was of friendly or enemy nature.
DColor controls the display color of the message in the messaging system and map views. Messages relating to enemy activity have the color Red, those relating to friendly activity are colored Blue.
Classification contains the classification level of the message, e.g. Secret

Help us extend and defend this work

Sources:WikiLeaks

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The Afghan Dairy


The Afghan Dairy

WikiLeaks today released over 75,000 secret US military reports covering the war in Afghanistan.

The Afghan War Diary an extraordinary secret compendium of over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010. The reports describe the majority of lethal military actions involving the United States military. They include the number of persons internally stated to be killed, wounded, or detained during each action, together with the precise geographical location of each event, and the military units involved and major weapon systems used.

The Afghan War Diary is the most significant archive about the reality of war to have ever been released during the course of a war. The deaths of tens of thousands is normally only a statistic but the archive reveals the locations and the key events behind each most of these deaths. We hope its release will lead to a comprehensive understanding of the war in Afghanistan and provide the raw ingredients necessary to change its course.

Most entries have been written by soldiers and intelligence officers listening to reports radioed in from front line deployments. However the reports also contain related information from Marines intelligence, US Embassies, and reports about corruption and development activity across Afghanistan.

Each report consists of the time and precise geographic location of an event that the US Army considers significant. It includes several additional standardized fields: The broad type of the event (combat, non-combat, propaganda, etc.); the category of the event as classified by US Forces, how many were detained, wounded, and killed from civilian, allied, host nation, and enemy forces; the name of the reporting unit and a number of other fields, the most significant of which is the summary – an English language description of the events that are covered in the report.

The Diary is available on the web and can be viewed in chronological order and by by over 100 categories assigned by the US Forces such as: “escalation of force”, “friendly-fire”, “development meeting”, etc. The reports can also be viewed by our “severity” measure-the total number of people killed, injured or detained. All incidents have been placed onto a map of Afghanistan and can be viewed on Google Earth limited to a particular window of time or place. In this way the unfolding of the last six years of war may be seen.

The material shows that cover-ups start on the ground. When reporting their own activities US Units are inclined to classify civilian kills as insurgent kills, downplay the number of people killed or otherwise make excuses for themselves. The reports, when made about other US Military units are more likely to be truthful, but still down play criticism. Conversely, when reporting on the actions of non-US ISAF forces the reports tend to be frank or critical and when reporting on the Taliban or other rebel groups, bad behavior is described in comprehensive detail. The behavior of the Afghan Army and Afghan authorities are also frequently described.

The reports come from US Army with the exception most Special Forces activities. The reports do not generally cover top-secret operations or European and other ISAF Forces operations. However when a combined operation involving regular Army units occurs, details of Army partners are often revealed. For example a number of bloody operations carried out by Task Force 373, a secret US Special Forces assassination unit, are exposed in the Diary — including a raid that lead to the death of seven children.

This archive shows the vast range of small tragedies that are almost never reported by the press but which account for the overwhelming majority of deaths and injuries.

We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually, in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits.

Additional information from our media partners:

Der Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,708314,00.html
The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/series/afghanistan-the-war-logs
The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/world/war-logs.ht
Sources : WIKILEAKS

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German bakery attack was hurriedly planned: IB


German bakery attack was hurriedly planned: IB

Investigations into the blast that went off in a popular locality in Pune on Saturday night have revealed that the German bakery, where the attack took place, was not the first choice of terrorists.

Members of the Indian Mujahideen [ Images ], who are reportedly being blamed for the attack, had first planned on carrying out a strike at the Chabhad House and the Osho Ashram in Pune.

Intelligence Bureau officials told rediff.com that Pune was on alert and that several alerts had been issued in the past couple of months to the Maharashtra [ Images ] government and the state police regarding a possible terror strike in the city.

The intelligence alert that was received first was that terror outfits would target Chabhad House and Osho Ashram since there were many foreigners in these places and terror groups would be trying to get international attention.

However, the plans were changed at the last minute, as they were not able to intercept these places. Based on the advisories and the alerts that were issued, the security in these two places was beefed up.

IB sources say that it is very clear that they were looking for places, which had a large number of foreigners and hence they decided to target the German bakery.

While conducting the reccee of these places, the operatives realised that there was no way in which they could access the Chabhad House of the Osho Ashram. However, there was no particular intel on the German bakery and hence this was the easiest target for them to attack.

The IB further adds that the IM was in a hurry to carry out a strike. Over the past year, several of their plans have gone bust due to police action against their cadres. The police cleaned up the entire top rung of the IM and this was a huge setback for the organisation.

The IM was gradually regrouping under the supervision of Mohsin Chaudhary and Riyaz Bhatkal and they had managed to rope in Shahzad alias Pappu to carry out a deadly strike at New Delhi [ Images ]. However, he too was arrested.

IB officials say that they do not rule out the fact that the IM had timed the attack in such a manner to avenge the death of Shahid Azmi, the lawyer who was gunned down by unidentified persons in Mumbai [ Images ] last week. The blasts took place barely a couple of hours after the lawyer’s funeral.

Azmi was fighting several cases of SIMI [ Images ] and the IM operatives and had made a lot of enemies in the bargain.

If one looks at all these factors, it is evident that the blast at Pune was a hurried operation.

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ABANDONED: Legendary Kashmiri Pandits


ABANDONED: Legendary Kashmiri Pandits Malediction,Curse,Pain,Sorrow and Agony
By: Dr.Satish Ganjoo

The Telangana Movement is being revived at the initiative of K.Chandrasekhar Rao(KCR) and a separate state is being curved out of Andhra Pradesh simply to avoid
the political crisis for the Divine Rulers of India But What about Kashmiri Pandits who have inhabited the saffron Valley of Kashmir since times immemorial, last 12000 years. Today they are vacillating in other states of India. This cursed community has suffered the seven mass exoduses so far- the last one being in 1989, when its members were brutally killed, ladies molested and children harassed. The union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee,said on Dec 12,2009 “The demand of Telangana is 60 years old. This does not mean everywhere new states are to be created. The demand of Telangana could not be bracketed with demands for Gorkhaland, Kamatpur or other new states”. But Why…….? Legendary Kashmiri Pandits, who are living as REFUGEES in other states of India since last 20 yers need a HOMELAND to live honorably with their traditions, customs,rituals,values, language and literature . No one feels their pain,sorrow and agony.Union Home Minister , P Chidambaram is OPEN to separatist, terrorists ,
militants , killers , rapist and kidnappers – every Tom,Dick and Harry but CLOSED to Kashmiri Pandits.Why this hypocrisy…..? If Telangana can be created after 60 years of struggle and ii days of Fast, why not HOMELAND for Kashmiri Pandits after centuries of malediction,curse and sorrow , and , 20 years of struggle, pain and agony. Kashmiri Pandits living everywhere in India or abroad,can find his ROOTS and settle down peacefully , Kashmiri Pandits have suffered either at the hands of rulers, invaders or terrorist since long. It was Harsha ( AD an of extravagant habits and jumble of contraries,who robbed temple treasures and got the idols of gold and silver melted to tide over his financial crises .Before him two other kings, Jalauka and Kalasa , employed the same approach of plundering the temples to augment their depleted treasuries Harsha also employed Muslim generals , who are called Turushkas by Kalhana for the first time in the history of Kashmir. So Muslims as a class appeared in the political field and began to consolidate its roots .The rulers of Kashmir encouraged the influx of Muslims into valley .during the reign of Suhadeva (AD 1301-1320) many Muslim adventurers came to Kashmir.The chief among them was Muslim missionary- Bulbul Shah. Two others were Shahmir from Swat and Rinchana from Tibet. Shahmir came in AD 1313 along with his numerous relations.Suhadeva granted him jagir in a village in the Lar Valley. These two adventurers were instrumental in the establishment of Muslim rule in Kashmir. Dulucha a Tartar chief from Central Asia, invaded Kashmir with 60,000 strong horsemen. Suhadeva tried to induce him to retreat by paying him off a large sum of money , but the invader refused and struck terror. He stayed in the Valley for eight months and took about 50,000 Brahmans with him as slaves. However, all the troops and slaves perished while crossing the Devsar Pass.

The Cruel invader went away from the valley but left it haunted. The cursed people had lost all faith in ruler, Suhadeva. Taking the advantage of the chaos and confusion, Rinchana- the Buddhist refugee from Tibet ,occupied the throne with the help of some chiefs .He killed his benefactor ,Ramchandra, in the fort of Lar by treacherous means and married his daughter ,Kota Rani .Shahmir and Bulbul Shah managed his conversion to Islam. Ramachandra’s son, Ravanachandra and many others also embraced Islam. A Muslim class came into existence. This newly established Muslim class slowly consolidated its position and employed various methods to propagate the new faith. After the Death of Rinchana (AD 1326), Udyanadeva, the brother of Suhadeva, was installed on the throne of Kashmir and Shahmir was appointed as Commander-in-chief. Achala , a Turkish chief, invaded Kashmir during the rain of Udyanadeva, lying waste the territories he passed through.The king fled to Tibet Kota Rani –the queen , faced the invader procured his death and saved the kingdom . In this operation,Shahmir Played the dominant role. Shahmir’s influence increased tremendously and he further strengthen his position by entering into matrimonial relations with powerful nobles in Kashmir. A subversive struggle was born between the tolerant Hinduism and the militant Islam .In AD 1339 . after defeating Kota Rani by a foul stratagem and procuring her death,Shahmir ascended the throne of Kashmir under the name of Sultan Shamas-ud-Din (The Light of Religion –Islam).He got khutaba read and the coins struck to his name. Islam became the court religion. Shahmir became the legitimate author and architect of Muslim rule in Kashmir. With the establishment of the new regime Muslim missionaries,preachers,
Sayyeds and saints penetrated into the Valley. Sayyid Jalal-ud-Din , Sayyid Taj-ud-Din ,
Sayyid Hussain Simnani ,Sayyid Masud and Sayyid Yusuf came to Kashmir to avoid the intended massacre by Timur. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani ( Shah Hamadan) entered Kashmir with 700 Sayyids, and his son, Mir Muhammad Hamadani, with 300 more .They endured in the valley under royal protection and disseminated the massage of Islam.Mir Sayyid Ali hamadani ( AD 1314-AD 1385) pronounced sixteen commandments for Non-Muslims in “ Zakhirat’ ul Mulak”

1. Muslim ruler shall not allow fresh constructions of Hindu temples and shrines for image worship.
2. No repair shall be executed to the existing Hindu temples and shrines
3. They shall not proffer Muslim Names.
4. They shall not ride a harnessed Horse.
5. They shall not move about with arms.
6. They shall not wear rings and Diamonds.
7. They shall not deal in or eat Bacon.
8. They shall not exhibit idolatrous images
9. They shall not Build horses in the neighbourhood of Muslims.
10. They shall not dispose of their dead in the neighbourhood of Muslim graveyards, nor weep or wail over their dead.
11. They shall not deal in or buy Muslim Slaves.
12. No Muslim traveler shall be refused lodging in the Hindu temples and shrines where non-Muslims shall treat him as a guest for three days.
13. No non-Muslim shall act as a spy in the Muslim state.
14. No problem shall be created for Non-Muslims who of their own will show their readiness for Islam.
15. Non-Muslims shall honour Muslims and shall leave their assembly whenever the Muslims enter the premises.
16. The dress of non-Muslims shall be different from that of Muslims to distinguish themselves.
This naturally caused animosity among the Brahmans and resulted in frail rebellion during the reign of Shahab-ud-Din (AD 1354-1373). In order to break the upheaval among the Hindus and to make them prostrate, the Sultan turned his attention towards their temples.All the temples in Srinagar, including the one at Bijbehara were wrecked to terrorize the poor Kashmiri Pandits. It seems that by this time the Sultans of Kashmir were perfectly dogmatized as a result of their contacts, interactions and intercourses with the sayyids .These Sayyids came here as absconders in search of safe harbours but maneuvered the events for their own cause and fanatic iconoclastic zeal. The Hindus began to feel deserted and alienated in their own land. To consolidate their rule sultans institutionalized the policy of extermination to eradicate all traces of Hinduism in any form.
Sikander- the Butshikan was bigoted with fanatic religious zeal to spread Islam in the entire Valley. Mir Muhammad Hamadani stimulated this fanaticism. Both hatched deadly conspiracy to prosecute the Hindus and enforce the Nizam-i-Mustafa. Jonaraja says “ The Sultan forget his kingly duties took delight day and night in breaking images……. He broke images of Martanda, vishaya , Ishana, Chakrabrit and Tripureshvara………… There was no city, no town, no village,no wood where Turuksha left the temples of gods unbroken…

“ According to Hassan ( History of Kashmir), “ This country Possessed from the times of Hindu rajas many temples which were the wonders of the world. Their workmanship was so fine and dedicate that one found himself bewildered at their sight. Sikander goaded by feelings bigotry and destroyed them and leveled them with the earth and with the material built many mosques and khanqahs. In the first instance he turned his attention towards the great Martand Temple built by Ramdev ( the temple was rebuilt by King Lalitaditya AD 724-760) on Mttan Kareva.

For one year he tried to demolish it but failed. At last in sheer dismay he dug out stone from its base and having stored enough wood in their place set fire to it. The gold gilt paintings on its walls were totally destroyed and the walls surrounding its premises were demolished. Its ruins even now strike wonder in men’s mind .At bijbehara, three hundred temples including the famous Vijiveshwara temple,which was partly damaged by Shihab-ud-Din, were destroyed. With the material of vijiveshwara temple a mosque was built and on its site o khanaqah,which is even now known as vijiveshwara Khanqah”. The stones and bricks which once configured a marvelous and splendid temple or monastery now hold up mosques. Hassan further adds “ Sikandar meted out greatest oppression to the Hindus. It was notified in the valley that if Hindus does not become the Muslim. He must leave the country or be killed. As a result some of the Hindus fled away, some accepted Islam and many Brahmins consented to be killed and gave their lives. It is said that Sikander collected by these methods ,six maunds of sacred thread form hindu convert and burnt them.

To be continued………….

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Bhim Singh welcomes India’s stand on ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’


Bhim Singh welcomes India’s stand on ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’

Prof. Bhim Singh, Chairman, National Panthers Party and Member, NIC today hailed the reaction by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India on the Pakistan’s attempt to legalize its occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan by treating this part of Indian Territory as 6th Province of Pakistan.

Prof. Bhim Singh expressed satisfaction vis-à-vis India’s commitment on Gilgit-Baltistan, a Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which was occupied by Pakistan in 1947 by kidnapping and illegally detaining the then Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan, Brig. Ghansara Singh who was appointed by Maharaja Hari Singh. Since then this area of Chitral, Gilgit and Baltistan comprising 32,500 sq. miles continues to be under the illegal occupation of Pakistan with India keeping mum on the plight of its habitants who were citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.

Prof. Bhim Singh thanked the Prime Minister of India for accepting his 40 years old demand that India should take up the cause of liberation of Gilgit-Baltistan from Pakistan and restoration of fundamental and human rights to its 1.5 million citizens who continue to remain as slaves of Pakistan’s military rulers sans basic civil, economic and political rights for the past six decades.

Prof. Bhim Singh said that policy of the Government of India under Dr. Manmohan Singh towards Gilgit and Baltistan has strongly focused the attention of the world that, “Entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India by virtue of rejection of 1947. The so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan empowerment and Self-government Order-2009 was yet another cosmetic exercise intended to camouflage Pakistan’s illegal occupation”. This is for the first time that India has conveyed its message in clear terms to the world that there shall be no compromise on the issue.

Prof. Bhim Singh has urged on all the groups and political organizations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir everywhere including in Europe, UK, USA, POK to organize a universal, civil and political rights solidarity day with our people in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral on February 1, 2010. He appealed to APNA, Gilgit-Baltistan Liberation Groups and their leaders to organize protests and demonstrations for the liberation of Gilgit-Baltistan from the illegal occupation of Pakistan.

Sd/-Sudesh Dogra

Political Secretary

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Sheikh-Indira Accord 1975, Agreed Conclusions


Sheikh-Indira Accord 1975, Agreed Conclusions 1. The State of Jammu and Kashmir which is a constituent unit of the Union of India, shall, in its relation with the Union, continue to be governed by Article 370 of the Constitution of India. 2. The residuary powers of legislation shall remain with the State; however, Parliament will continue to have power to make laws relating to the prevention of activities directed towards disclaiming, questioning or disrupting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India or bringing about cession of a part of the territory of India or secession of a part of the territory of India from the Union or causing insult to the Indian National Flag, the Indian National Anthem and the Constitution. 3. Where any provision of the Constitution of India had been applied to the State of Jammu and Kashmir with adaptation and modification, such adaptations and modifications can be altered or repealed by an order of the President under Article 370, each individual proposal in this behalf being considered on its merits ; but provisions of the Constitution of India already applied to the State of Jammu and Kashmir without adaptation or modification are unalterable. 4. With a view to assuring freedom to the State of Jammu and Kashmir to have its own legislation on matters like welfare measures, cultural matters, social security, personal law and procedural laws, in a manner suited to the special conditions in the State, it is agreed that the State Government can review the laws made by Parliament or extended to the State after 1953 on any matter relatable to the Concurrent List and may decide which of them, in its opinion, needs amendment or repeal. Thereafter, appropriate steps may be taken under Article 254 of the Constitution of India. The grant of President’s assent to such legislation would be sympathetically considered. The same approach would be adopted in regard to laws to be made by Parliament in future under the Proviso to clause 2 of the Article. The State Government shall be consulted regarding the application of any such law to the State and the views of the State Government shall receive the fullest consideration. 5. As an arrangement reciprocal to what has been provided under Article 368, a suitable modification of that Article as applied to State should be made by Presidential order to the effect that no law made by the Legislature of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, seeking to make any change in or in the effect of any provision of Constitution of the State of Jammu and Kashmir relating to any of the under mentioned matters, shall take effect unless the Bill, having been reserved for the consideration of the President, receives his assent ; the matters are: – the appointment, powers, functions, duties, privileges and immunities of the Governor, and the following matters relating to Elections namely, the superintendence, direction and control of Elections by the Election Commission of India, eligibility for inclusion in the electoral rolls without discrimination, adult suffrage and composition of the Legislative Council, being matters specified in sections 138,139, 140 and 50 of the Constitution of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. 6. No agreement was possible on the question of nomenclature of the Governor and the Chief Minister and the matter is therefore remitted to the Principals. Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg G. Parthasarthi New Delhi, November 13,1974.

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Non-territorial Settlement: Towards a Second Partition


Non-territorial Settlement: Towards a Second Partition

Mohan Krishen Teng

Engagement with Pakistan, which the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has commended to the Indian People as “a way forward” to establish a relationship of peace, is in real terms a prescription for the second Partition of India. The composite dialogue between the two countries and the long Track Two negotiations held behind the scenes for over a decade now, have centered round the quest for a settlement on Jammu & Kashmir, which is acceptable to the Muslims of Pakistan and the Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir. The Indian Prime Minister’s claim to have formulated proposals envisaging a non-territorial solution on Jammu & Kashmir, which does not involve any territorial adjustments and which would be acceptable to Pakistan and the Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir, is deceptively simple. A Muslim sphere of interest In essence, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s approach underlines the recognition of Jammu & Kashmir as a separate sphere of Muslim interest in the Republic of India. The proposed non-territorial settlement seems to essentially envisage the inclusion of Jammu & Kashmir in the territories of India, but at the same time exclude it from the secular political organization of India. The approach further envisages the exclusion the state of Jammu & Kashmir from the territories of Pakistan, while at the same time including it in the political organization of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The methods and means of balancing the act of the inclusion of Jammu & Kashmir in the territories of India and its exclusion from the Indian political organization and the exclusion of the state from the territories of Pakistan with its inclusion into the political organization of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, are spelt out in the proposals made by General Musharraf, the then President of Pakistan. Gen. Musharraf, by no means a friend of India, had the opportunity of a lifetime, perhaps one he never expected to come his way, to accept the formula of a non-territorial settlement on Jammu & Kashmir which virtually opens the way for the Second Partition of India. Cabinet Mission Part II Musharraf accepted the formula of a non-territorial solution on Jammu & Kashmir exactly the way the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, had accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan. The principles underlying the non-territorial concept as envisaged by Manmohan Singh are identical with the principles which underlined the Cabinet Mission Plan. The Cabinet Mission Plan underlined the recognition of a separate sphere of influence with a separate political organization, constituted of the Muslim majority provinces of British India, within a broad structure of a future confederation of India. Ironically, British historians of the Partition of India later made the startling revelation that the Cabinet Mission Plan was originally conceived by the senior Muslim leadership of the Indian National Congress! When the Muslim League accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan, Jinnah exclaimed that he had accepted the Plan because it recognized the principle of Pakistan. History proved Jinnah right. The Cabinet Mission Plan led straight to the Partition of India in 1947. Musharraf had no reason to be dissatisfied with the non-territorial solution of Jammu & Kashmir. Like Mohammad Ali Jinnah, he was wise enough to understand where the recognition of Jammu & Kashmir into a separate Muslim sphere of interest in India would lead to. India, he must have felt, was the one country where History would repeat itself. The Cabinet Mission Plan was a prescription for the complete balkanization of India. The British officials and men, who were close witnesses of the events in India those days, wrote later that had the Cabinet Mission Plan been implemented, India would have broken into several fragments. The Government of Pakistan must be fully aware that the de jure recognition of Jammu & Kashmir into a separate Muslim sphere of influence in India would disrupt the Sanskrit content of the northern frontier of India, and shift the battlefront from the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir to the Shivalik plains situated to the east of river Ravi. Incomplete final settlement Neither the Prime Minister of India, nor the Indian Foreign Office, have provided the people of India a clear exposition on the content and contours of the non-territorial settlement on Jammu & Kashmir. The Indian Prime Minister has publicly only stressed the necessity to render the Line of Control irrelevant as the basis of their perspective. The Indian Prime Minister has also unambiguously stated that some sort of final settlement had already been arrived at between India and Pakistan during the rule of Pervez Musharraf, which could not be given a practical shape because of the internal instability in Pakistan. However, a clear exposition of the terms and conditionalities of the proposed settlement on Jammu & Kashmir was made by former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. The broad structure of the proposals he made underlined: – Demarcation of the Muslim majority regions of the state including those situated to the west of river Chenab from the Hindu majority areas situated mainly to the east of river Chenab. – Dissolution of the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir. – The demilitarization of the State. – Self-rule. – Joint management of the State by India and Pakistan. Gen. Musharraf left no one in doubt about the fact that the proposals he made formed the broad framework of the negotiations which took place between the two countries, almost up to the time Musharraf was forced to step down from office. Whether the new successor Government in Pakistan accepted to continue negotiations with the Indian Government on the basis of the Musharraf Plan, is not yet clear. It is, however, clear that the Indian Government did not abandon its commitment to implement the proposals Musharraf had made. Integration with Pakistan in 10 years An overall assessment of Musharraf Plan leaves no one in doubt about its import. The plan is an ingenious road map to bring about the unification of Jammu & Kashmir with Pakistan within a period of ten years. Musharraf Plan has specified ten years, after which the whole process would be subject to review. The demarcation of the Muslim majority regions of the state and their reorganization into five Muslim majority zones, and the reorganization of the two and a half districts of Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur into a Hindu majority zone, is aimed to confine the Hindu and Sikh population of the State, nearly four million, towards the east of river Chenab. The dissolution of the Line of Control through the stratagem of creating a porous border and joint management is actually aimed to integrate the five Muslim majority zones of the State with the occupied territories of POK. These occupied territories have been used by Pakistan as a springboard of Jihad against India The demilitarization of the State, which forms the most prominent part of the Musharraf Plan, is aimed at the withdrawal of the Indian security forces from the Muslim majority zones of the state, and their replacement by the militarized separatist forces which have been fighting against India for the last two decades. Deceptive self-rule The most deceptive of the conditionalities envisaged by the Musharraf Plan is the implementation of self-rule in the State. Self-rule underlines the transfer of power in the state to Muslim separatist regimes through the instrumentalities of multiple legislative bodies constituted to fortify Muslim demographic domains. The last, and in fact the least conspicuous part of the Musharraf Plan underlines the transfer of the de facto control over the State to the Government of Pakistan, which after the period of ten years, would be followed by the transfer of de jure control over the State. When the army of the Sikh monarch, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, chased the Durrani Afghans across the river Attock in the north-west of India and fought its way up to Daulat Beg Ouldi in the north of Ladakh, the Sikhs closed the routes of invasion into India from the north. The dissolution of the Line of Control will only shift the battlefront with Pakistan to the Shivalik plains of Jammu situated to the east of river Ravi.

Prof MK Teng is a retired Professor and Head of the Political Science Department of Kashmir University; he has authored many books, including a seminal work on Article 370

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Return of Migrants : Kashmir is under the control of India…………………


Return of Migrants : Kashmir is under the control of India………………… Daya Sagar Sharma

A Look Through the Mist

The upper reaches of areas of Doda, {Bhaderwa/ Kishtwar/ Ramban } Rajouri, Poonch, Udhampur, Kathua too are affected by militancy as are areas like Baramulla, Kupwara , Anantnag, The muslim population in these areas too is reasonable large. The people are poor and good number is Hindu in these areas. So far the official data as is available does not indicate appreciable displacement / migration from areas outside Kashmir valley though there have been many brutal killing and rape cases there. Under the circumstances all Kashmiri { Valley }Muslims are being misunderstood by the other world as being fully involved in pushing out Kashmiri Hindus from valley. Where as the truth is not so. Delay is causing a great damage to the good will of Kashmiri Muslims as well as the ties between Hindu & Muslim could weaken more out of ignorance. Though the number of Kashmiri Migrant families that actually migrated from 1989 to 1991 { majority being Kashmiri Hindu …Pundits } from Kashmir valley is not known , the Kashmiri Pundit families who have got them selves registered as Kashmiri migrants { some also call their self as internally displaced } may be over 50000. The number of muslims / Sikhs / non Kashmiri speaking Hindu may be hardly 2 to 3 percent of this number. So when we refer to the return of Kashmir Migrants to Kashmir valley , it is taken as with reference to return of Kashmiri Hindu to Kashmir Valley { that too particularly Kashmiri pundits }. Local Hindu from Kashmir Valley is out for over 20 years. It makes the out side world think convincingly that India has some serious problem in J&K. The question that more disturbs is that when 500000 to 600000 Indian tourists { nearly 90 percent non muslims } can visit Kashmir Valley for leisure and vacations { including honeymooning } every year over a period of 4 months , why can not the safe return of Kashmiri migrants be made possible ?. In case some one contests that since the majority community { muslims } of Kashmir is not for India the Kashmiri Pundits so are not safe in valley. In case for argument sake it is accepted then the another question that rises is that how are 500000 to 600000 Indian tourists { nearly over 90 percent non muslims } are visiting Kashmir Valley for leisure and vacations { including honeymooning } every year over a period of 4 months ? Some KP migrants do argue that the tourist Indians visit Kashmir forgetting their identity ? This way one would even conclude that 100 crore “Indians are migrants” as regards Kashmir Valley . This is not a convincing plea. Rather it more questions the seriousness of New Delhi in cooling down the turmoil in JK. The foreign countries under the circumstances are getting the impressions that {i} it is only Kashmir valley that is disturbed and Kashmiri majority { muslims } had not accepted 1947 accession {ii} it is only Kashmiri Hindu { Pundits } who express rights over the land of Kashmir valley and oppose the separatist movement {iii}Jammu and Kashmir State { Particularly Kashmir region }is under the influence of separatist and externally sponsored terrorist activities {iv} the GOI has no control worth providing socio economic security to the Kashmiri Hindu or those who dare profess Indian nationality in Kashmir. Where as the facts are surely not like this. Yes one could say that New Delhi has not so far set the return of Kashmiri Hindu to valley as its first priority. No doubt as regards the economic and social support to Kashmiri Migrants Government of India has been reasonably considerate in sensing the miseries of those Kashmiri Pandits who had to run away from Kashmir Province in 1989/1990. Some of them still staying in the tents and one room tentaments provided by the J&K Government at Nagrota, Muthi, Mishriwala and Roopnagar near Jammu. POJK is under the control of Pakistan but Kashmir is under the control of India. POJK Displaced persons were displaced in 1947 from Pakistan Controlled parts of Kashmir { Jammu and Kashmir }.Sensitizing the conditions for socio economic return of POK Displaced Persons does have international compulsion . But Kashmiri migrants are away from their own homes in Indian controlled territories of the day. Government of India proposed { 2004/2005 } to add one more pacca room to the one room accommodation already provided to migrants and laying foundations of multi storey pucca apartments in 2007 for Kashmiri Migrants outside Valley have surely been wrong signals { indirectly strengthening terrorist / separatist cause signaling that GOI is not hopeful for ensuring the safe return of Kashmiri Hindu to the Valley even after 20 years } to the World community. Kashmiri kids who were in primary class in 1989 are now { 2009 } the thinking youth force of Kashmir valley. The way time has been lost has made many of them to start thinking of some dispute regarding their Nationality. Non Hindu Kashmiri is regularly so mis informed after 1989 about the intentions of Bharat Sarkar that they do not much believe in confidence building efforts of the government officials as well as the security forces . They doubt the trueness of government loyalists. The local Kashmiries are getting more and more confused ; more and more misinformed. Those who are staying back in Kashmir valley and are in teens / twenties this day have very less positive information about Kashmir being India. Enough rearing grounds have emerged for anti India forces ( Pakistan, foreign mercenaries and local insurgent/ Pakistan loyalists) to win confidence/ sympathies against India. The socio political environment in J&K is deteriorating. Any more delay for return of Hindu migrants would dismantle the communal matrix beyond normal reconstruction. The Kashmiri Hindu migrant kids of 1989/90 too are the youth of the day. They too carry horrifying memories of 1989/1990 when their parents had to run away carrying what ever they could pick. All these years it is the Kashmiri Pundit who has conducted more of the seminars, workshops, conventions on the subject of Migration from Kashmir valley . Surely Pundits were forced by the circumstances to paint the secularism of Kashmiri muslims that rough {may be were under compulsions to speak not good about the secular credentials Kashmiri Muslims }. Under the present circumstances they will not find it easy to live with the post 1990 Muslim Community. Unless assured of ultimate social security and economic benefits .Some migrant leadership may not feel the prevailing security conditions worth taking risk of losing the benefits in education, business , jobs and sympathies they are presently getting as migrants. The response the Prime Ministers package for the Kashmiri Migrants has got could make some to even infer that the Kashmiri Migrants too do not appear to be that much interested for return to Kashmir. Migration has not taken place due to economic reasons and hence government of India should not hope possible return in economic packages only. There fore some hard decision will have to be taken. Government of India must set return of migrants to Kashmir Valley as priority number one. Delay in their return is causing more and more damage to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as a whole..

 ( * Daya Sagar is a social activist and senior coloumnist on Kashmir affairs dayasagr at yahoo.co.uk }

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Obama should know Kashmir’s accession is irrevocable


Obama should know Kashmir’s accession is irrevocable
J. N. RAINA

A lot of fuss has been created about Kashmir. It is a deliberate attempt to confuse the international opinion about the ‘ownership’ of Kashmir.The U S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s obfuscatory remarks that “feelings of the people of Kashmir” must be taken into account to resolve the issue, tantamount to interference in India’s internal affairs. She must understand that Jammu and Kashmir, constituting the three regions of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh, is an integral part of India, just like Texas—where feeble voices of secession were heard recently— belongs to US.

The Obama administration has even gone to the extent of ‘admonishing’ India to provide a ‘solution’ to the so-called Kashmir ‘problem’. These tangy observations are made off and on by fusspots, not just to baffle global opinion about Kashmir, but to force another partition of India and beleaguered Pakistan. The latter has already got truncated, following the separation of East Pakistan, to become Bangladesh. The real motif behind these pungent remarks cannot be underestimated. There has been no end to machinations against India, ever since the subcontinent was divided by the imperialists in 1947. The root cause of partition was the “clash of civilization”.

Both Mrs Clinton and President Barack Obama must take a judicious view of the fact that Kashmir ‘problem’ was resolved when Maharaja Hari Singh executed the instrument of accession on October 26, 1947. The accession was formally accepted and signed by Lord Mountbatten on the following day; October 27, 1947, in his capacity as the Governor General of India.

At the dawn of India’s independence, the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, like 560 other such states, had a choice to either join India or Pakistan. When the British paramountacy came to an end, the Maharaja had no alternative but to accede to India, in the wake of Pakistan-backed Tribal invasion. However, he consulted then popular leader Sheikh Abdullah, who subsequently took over the reins of the administration.

Any form of ‘secession’, being engineered by Pakistan, in collusion with some foreign forces, can lead to a greater clash of civilization, which can have far reaching consequences globally. It will have a cascading effect in the western nations, which are already on Osama bin Laden’s hit list. Laden has threatened American Christians to embrace Islam. He is acquiring nuclear weapons. It was 9\11 that changed the world, according to Italy’s ambassador to India, Roberto Toscano. “Clash of civilizations has left the sphere of scholarly debate to become a familiar reference”, he says.

Pakistan has been provoking the Kashmiri separatists and misleading the international community that Kashmir ‘is a disputed territory’ and Kashmiris were ‘waging a struggle for their right of self-determination’. Plebiscite is a dead issue. It was buried in the Indian Ocean when Bangladesh emerged, following the 1971 war between India and Pakistan. Now Pakistan is seeking the services of Barack Obama, to get Kashmir on a platter. The U S has a vested interest in Afghanistan. This is why India is being pressurized to obtain Kashmiris opinion while the two countries resume talks. The U S Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs has repeatedly said: “Any resolution of Kashmir has to take into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”

Pakistan has been supporting the secessionists in Kashmir, because it is a Muslim-majority state, although the divide between Hindus and Muslims is not so wide. By dint of that very notion, East Pakistan would not have separated in 1971 war. India is united because of its huge diversity. It is the system of governance that matters.

The Kashmir issue would have been non-existent, but for mass conversion of Hindus in the 14th century. Kashmir was a Hindu kingdom till 1320. The civilizational clash, or whatever we may call it, continues even now. The flash point reached when over half a million Hindus were driven out from Kashmir in 1990.

Most member –nations of the UN General Assembly believe that the right to ‘self-determination’ applied only to people under colonial domination by foreigners. India is not a colonial power. Kashmir’s accession is legal and irrevocable. The UN has observed that ‘self-determination’ cannot be allowed to “dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity of sovereign states, conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights…” Some members of the United Nations Committee on India and Pakistan observe “Mere technicality of holding a plebiscite seemed beyond the scope of reality.” Kashmiri Muslims are not being discriminated. In Pakistan, even Muslims are discriminated, not to speak of Hindus. Kashmiri Muslims are being misled by vested interests. They have no right to secede. The Security Council, according to political observers, has recognized the accession of Jammu and Kashmir, while accepting India’s complaint against Pakistan in 1948.

Says veteran journalist and writer M J Akbar, “There is some good news for Hillary Clinton. The Kashmir problem has already been solved. It was solved on January 1, 1948, the day India and Pakistan froze their troops along a Cease Fire Line, recognized by the United Nations”. Kashmiri opinion has been ascertained from time to time whenever elections were held. Only recently, Kashmiri Muslims exercised their franchise overwhelmingly, ignoring the boycott call of the pro-Pakistan Hurriyat Conference and the guns of militants.

When the Shimla accord was signed after the 1971 war, the Cease Fire Line was converted into the Line of Control (LoC). Some saner persons suggested to convert the LoC—de facto border—into the de jure one, making it an international border, although it will be difficult for India to forgo its claim to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), which is legally a part of India.

The U S as a ‘friend’ of both the countries can play a constructive role in making them to agree to convert the de facto border into the de jure border. But instead, it is provoking Pakistan and the separatists, to keep the Kashmir pot boiling, by making frequent references to the so-called Kashmir ‘problem’, which actually does not exist.

US shows eagerness to develop good relations with New Delhi; yet it has been arm-twisting India on Kashmir. The Obama administration has signalled that it would take ‘markedly a different approach’ to Kashmir from the previous Bush administration. Some time ago, Obama had decided to appoint a ‘special envoy’ for Kashmir. The US might fastidiously pass on some modern technologies to India, as a bargaining factor, but not without attaching strings.

The rub is, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been keeping mum and not reacting to such verbose. India can never bargain on Kashmir. The U S wants to weaken India, asking it to demilitarize Kashmir though it knows Pakistan has a well-established ‘proxy force’ placed across the LOC to bleed India.

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Nature’s Beauty-Kashmir


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Kashmiri parties hold Pak Govt responsible for terrorism in valley


Kashmiri parties hold Pak Govt responsible for terrorism in valley
London,
ANI

London, (ANI): Ahead of ‘Black Day’, Kashmir leaders have slammed Pakistan for using their land for proxy wars and terrorism.

“They (Kashmiris in Pakistan occupied Kashmir) are being used from last 15-16 years. The way they started the proxy war. They use the Kashmiris basically, not only Kashmiris, all from the Pakistani jails actually.

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Those people in the jail bring them out and put them in the name of Jihad and we can’t call them Jihad,” Kashmir National Party Chairman Abbas Butt said at a conference here.

‘Black Day’ is observed on October 22, the day Pakistani tribals raided Kashmir.

The leaders of the parties who attended the conference expressed concern over the presence of Chinese troops in the region.

“Ten thousand army is here. They are here to stay. Previously they used to come to complete various projects and they used to go back. This time they are taking part in local politics. They are encouraging politicians and playing role in society. They are building proper houses, which indicates they are going to stay. What the Pakistan government is doing is they are leasing out different areas to Chinese for exploration,” said KNP spokesperson Shabir Choudhry.

The KNP has also decided to hold a public rally and a meeting in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Sardar Shoukath Ali Kashmiri, the Chairman of the United Kashmiri People National Party, who has been living in exile in Geneva for the last decade said that the Pakistani government is supporting Kashmir valley based terror camps.

“All these organisations have no locus standi, even they have not any representation … because people of Pakistan not actually give them any kind of mandate like Jamat-e-Islami and Lashkar-e-Toiba LeT. They are actually isolated but they have big support from the state institutions,” he said. (ANI)

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Huge anti-Pak protests in PoK, violence erupts


Huge anti-Pak protests in PoK, violence erupts

ANI

Published on Sat 24th Oct 2009

 Islamabad, Oct 24: Kashmiris from all walks of life observed a “Black Day” in Pakistan Kashmir, including capital Muzaffarabad, on the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the invasion of the area by Pakistani army men disguised as tribesmen from the North West Frontier of Province (NWFP), known as the Lashkars. A large number of people, carrying black flags and protest placards, participated in demonstrations held in various parts of Pakistan Kashmir. AHuge anti-Pak protests in PoK, violence erupts ANIPublished on Sat 24th Oct 2009 07:45:31Updated On Sat 24th Oct 2009 07:46:51 Islamabad, Oct 24: Kashmiris from all walks of life observed a “Black Day” in Pakistan Kashmir, including capital Muzaffarabad, on the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the invasion of the area by Pakistani army men disguised as tribesmen from the North West Frontier of Province (NWFP), known as the Lashkars. A large number of people, carrying black flags and protest placards, participated in demonstrations held in various parts of Pakistan Kashmir. Among the participants were Arif Shahid, the general secretary of the All Party National Alliance (APNA), Baltistan National Front leader Nawaz Khan Naji and Abdul Hamid Khan, the Chairman of Balawaristan National Front, besides others. So vociferous were the protests by the almost 800-odd participants, that security forces deployed to ensure maintenance of law and order, had to use teargas shells and firing in the air to disperse themmong the participants were Arif Shahid, the general secretary of the All Party National Alliance (APNA), Baltistan National Front leader Nawaz Khan Naji and Abdul Hamid Khan, the Chairman of Balawaristan National Front, besides others. So vociferous were the protests by the almost 800-odd participants, that security forces deployed to ensure maintenance of law and order, had to use teargas shells and firing in the air to disperse them

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Kashmir Dispute – The Myth


Kashmir Dispute – The Myth

History vindicated Maharaja Hari Singh’s Stand

By Dr. M.K. Teng

Neither the composition of the population of the  Princely States nor the self-determination of their peoples was recognised by the British, the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress, as the determining factor of the future disposition for the states in respect of their accession.

After the 3 June Declaration, envisaging the partition of the British India, Nehru demanded the right of the people of the Princely States to determine their disposition in respect of their accession Mohammad Ali Jinnah rejected Nehru’s demand as an attempt to thwart the process of the partition. Shortly, before the transfer of power, the Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten advised the Princess to keep in consideration the geography and the composition of the population of the States in reaching a decision on their accession. Mountbatten proposed to the Muslim League as well as the Congress to accept the principles of the partition–geographical contiguity and the composition of the population as the criteria of their accession. While the Congress leaders indicated their inclination to accept the proposals, the Muslim League leadership reacted sharply against the proposals and characterised them as an attempt to interfere with the rights of the Princes to determine the future of the States. At that time the Muslim League was deeply involved in shadowy maneuvers to support the Muslim rulers of several major States to remain out of India and align with Pakistan. It has been pointed out in an earlier part of this paper that Pakistan invoked the partition to legitimize its claim to Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of the Muslim majority character of its population after the last two Muslim ruled States of Junagarh and Hyderabad were integrated with India.

There is enough historical evidence available, which reveals that in persuading the Congress leaders to accept the partition the British assured the Congress leaders that after the Muslim majority provinces and regions were separated to form the Muslim homeland of Pakistan, the unity of the rest of India, including the states would be preserved and not impaired any further.

The Indian leaders rejected the claim Pakistan made to the Muslim majority States as well as the  Muslim ruled States, but they dithered when the time to act and unite the States with India arrived. Instead of taking active measures to bring about the unification of the States with India, they resorted to subterfuge..

The Indian leaders turned to Mountbatten and not the people of the States to bring about their  integration with India. Mountbatten steered the States Department to accept a balance between the Muslim ruled States and the Muslim majority States. The largest of the Muslim ruled States were deep inside the Indian mainland. Neither Gandhi nor Nehru objected to the course, the Indian States Department followed.

The Viceroy did not forgive Hari Snigh for having disregarded his advice to come to terms with Pakistan. He refused stubbornly to deal with Jammu and Kashmir independent of the Muslim States and in the long run did more harm to Jammu and Kashmir than anybody else in India did. He was the main proponent of the policy of isolation, the Indian leaders followed towards Jammu and Kashmir. The way Mountbatten acted as the Governor General of India till 15 August 1947, and the way he acted as the Governor General of the Indian Dominion after 15 August 1947, left wide space open for Pakistan to claim a separate freedom for the Muslim of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of the Muslim majority character of its population. Not many months after the Security Council adopted its first resolution on Jammu and Kashmir in August 1948, the Muslims laid claim to a separate freedom for them on the basis of the Muslim majority character of the population.

The Government of India and the Indian political leadership failed to rebut the claim made by Pakistan and the Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir that the state was on the agenda of the partition of India. Not only that, the Government of India and the Indian political leadership failed to refute the claim made by the Muslims of the state to a separate freedom, different from the freedom that the Indian people were ensured by the Constitution of India – a separate freedom which was determined by the theological imperatives of Islam. The Indian leaders overlooked the fact that the conflict which led to the partition of India was rooted in the claim the Indian Muslims made to a separate freedom which drew its sanction from the precept and precedent of religion.

The Muslim League followed a meticulously designed plan to use the Muslim rulers of several major Princely States, situated deep inside the Indian mainland to bring about the fragmentation of India. The Indian  leaders walked into the trap when they tried to balance the accession the Muslim majority state of Jammu and Kashmir with the accession of the Hindu majority States ruled by the Muslim Nawabs like Bhopal, Hyderabad and Junagarh. The strategy to refer the issue of the accession to the people of these States tantamounted to the acceptance of the Muslim claim to a separate freedom, the Two-Nation theory envisaged. The Indian proposals to Pakistan to refer the accession of Junagarh with that Dominion, accomplished by the ruler of the State on the eve of the transfer of power, was a tame recognition of the Muslim claim to a separate freedom. When Pakistan made a counter-proposal to hold a plebiscite in all the three States, the Government of India was suddenly faced with a catastrophic choice. It promptly rejected the proposals made by Pakistan.

The Indian Government, for unknown reasons, separated its offer to refer the accession of the State to its people i.e. the Muslims for their endorsement. Why did not the Indian Government propose to refer the accession of Bhopal and Trancore to the Dominion of India, to the people of the two States? The rulers of both the States were opposed to join India and their people took to the streets and forced them to accede to India. Hardly ten months after the accession of the Jammu and Kashmir while the Indian armies were still fighting to drive out the invading forces, United Nations foisted a resolution on India which envisaged a plebiscite to determine its final disposition in respect of its accession. The resolution of the Security Council, virtually underlined the repudiation of the accession of the State to India and opened the option for the Muslims of the State to exercise their choice to join Pakistan. The Security Council Resolution was the first step in the process of the internationalization of the claim of the Muslims of the State to a separate freedom.  The Government of India cried hoarse that it had rejected the Two-Nation Theory inspite of having accepted the partition of India. But its commitment to refer the accession of the State, accomplished by Hari Singh to its people was a tacit recognition of the right to a separate freedom, which underlined the demand for Pakistan.

Another ten months after the August resolution of the Security Council was adopted the Indian Government took a fateful step and formally recognised the right the Muslims for Jammu and Kashmir to a separate freedom, when in May 1949, it agreed to exclude Jammu and Kashmir from the constitutional organisation of India. In November 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India incorporated provisions in the Constitution of India which left out the State from the constitutional structure which it had evolved for the Dominion as well as the Princely States which had acceded to India  and after years of labour. The special provisions for the State, embodied in the Constitution of India, stipulated the application of only Article if the Constitution of India to the State. A blanket limitation was imposed upon the application of the rest of the provisions of the Constitution of India to the State. The Union Government was empowered to exercise powers listed in the Central list of the Seventh Schedule of the India Constitution only in respect of defence, foreign affairs and communications which corresponded with the powers delegated by the State to the Dominion Government by virtue of the Instrument of Accession.

The Interim Government of the State, constituted by the National Conference insisted upon the right to frame a separate constitution for the State, which fulfilled the aspirations of the Muslims who constituted a majority of its population. The Interim Government arrogated to itself unrestricted powers and ruled the State by decree and ordinance. Within six years of its tenure, it completed the task of the Muslimisation of the State by enforcing the precedence of Islam and the Muslim majority in its social, economic and political organisation. In 1953, the Interim Government claimed a separate freedom for the Muslim ‘nation’ of Kashmir. The Indian leaders had conceded to the Muslims the right to constitute a Muslim State of Jammu and Kashmir on the territories of India. Confronted by the demand for a Muslim State outside the territories of India, the Indian leaders were flustered. They refused to countenance the Muslim demand for a separate Muslim State of Jammu and Kashmir, which did not form a part of India. The Interim Government was dismissed and the National Conference broke up.

Pakistan, the Muslim separatist and pro-Pakistan Muslim flanks joined by a large section of the leaders and cadres of the National Conference, called for a plebiscite in the State, which enabled the Muslims to exercise their right of self-determination. They claimed that they had acquired in consequence of the partition of India and which India, Pakistan as well as the United Nations had explicitly recognised.

The Muslim separatist movement led by the Plebiscite Front, committed itself to an ideological framework which was based upon the distortions of the history of the partition of India. The ideological commitments of the Plebiscite Front underlined : (a) that the right of the Muslims to a separate freedom enmated from the partition of India and the creation of the Muslim homeland of Pakistan; (b) that the right of the Muslims to a separate freedom transcended the accession of the State to India, brought about by the ruler of the State; and (c) that as a consequence of the partition of India, the Muslims, constituting the majority of the population of the State, had acquired an irreversible right to exercise their option to join the Muslim State of Pakistan.

In 1990, the Muslim Jehad initiated by Pakistan and the Muslim separatist forces in the State, claimed their aims to be the unification of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan on the basis of the Muslim majority character of its population to complete the agenda of the partition of India. The Jehad claimed that Muslims of the State, as the Muslims elsewhere in India, had acquired a right to a separate freedom which the  Muslim struggle for Pakistan had secured the Muslim nation of India.

The Indian Government and the Indian political class must realise that the Muslims of the State did not acquire any right to separate freedom from the partition of India, which brought Pakistan into being and any attempts to arrive at a compromise with the Muslim separatists forces will lead straight to a second partition of India. The Muslim claim to a separate freedom on the basis of religious is a negation of the unity of India.

Of the many distortions of the history of the transfer of power in India, which form a part of the Kashmir dispute, the most conspicuous is the distortion of the historical facts of the boundary demarcation between the Dominion of India and Pakistan in the province of the Punjab. After the announcement of the partition plan on 3 June, 1947, a Boundary Commission was constituted by the British to demarcate the boundary between the Muslim majority zones and the Hindu-Sikh majority zones in the two provinces of Bengal and the Punjab. The Boundary Commission for the demarcation of the Muslim majority zone in the Punjab was constituted of four Boundary Commissioners, two of them representing the Muslims and two representing Hindus and the Sikhs. Justice Din Mohammad and Justice Mohammad Munir represented the Muslims and Justice Mehar Chand Mahajan and Justice Teja Singh represented the Hindus and the Sikhs respectively. A British lawyer of great repute, Sir Cyril Radcliff was appointed the Chairman of the Commission. Sir Radcliff presided over the Boundary Commission appointed for the demarcation of the boundary in the province of Bengal as well.

The Boundary Commission was charged with the responsibility of demarcating the Muslim majority region of the Punjab from the Hindu-Sikh majority region of the province on the basis of the population and other factors, which were considered to be relevant to the division of the province. Justice Mohammad Munir and Justice Din Mohammad refused to agree upon the criteria to specifically identify the factors other than population ratios. The Muslim Commissioners insisted upon strict adherence to the population proportions as the basis of the division of the province.

Mehar Chand Mahajan and Teja Singh pleaded for a balanced interpretation of the terms of reference of the Boundary Commission and emphasised the need to bring about harmonization between population proportions and the “other factors”, specified in the terms of reference. They felt that the division of the province of the Punjab was bound to affect the lives of millions of people, belonging to various communities living in the province as well as the future of the two Dominions, India and Pakistan. The Commissioners pointed out to the Commission that the population of the Hindus and Sikhs was unevenly distributed over the province of the Punjab. They pointed out that larger sections of the Hindu and Sikh population were concentrated in relatively smaller region of the East Punjab  and the imbalance would be reflected in demarcation of Hindu and Sikh majority regions from the Muslim majority regions of the West Punjab. They expressed the fears that the territorial division of the Punjab on the basis of population would earmark a smaller part of the East Punjab, to the Hindu and Sikh Community which would not commenserate with their population in the province. The Hindus and the Sikhs, Mahajan and Teja Singh pointed out to the Commission formed 45 percent of the population of the province and the territorial division of the province on the basis of the population ratios would leave them with less than 30 percent of the territory of the Punjab.

Mahajan and Teja Singh pointed out to the commission that fair distribution of river waters, irrigation headworks and canal system and cultural and religious centres could not be left out of its consideration in the delimitation of the Muslim majority and the Hindu and Sikh majority regions of the province. They emphasized the necessity of keeping in view the geographical contiguity of the demarcated regions, the communications and the viability of the borders  of the two Dominions of India and Pakistan. They told the Commission that in the demarcation of the borders between the West Punjab and the East Punjab balance would have to be achieved to ensure a fair and equitable division of the territories of the province between the Muslim community and the Hindu and the Sikh communities.

The most controversial and bitterly contested part of the demarcation for the borders was the division of the Doab, comprising the districts of the Lahore Division. Of the four districts of Lahore Division, the District of Amritsar was a Hindu-Sikh majority district and the district of Gurdaspur was a Muslim majority district with the Muslims having a nominal majority of 0.8 percent. Both Din Mohammad and Mohammad Munir insisted upon the inclusion of the entire Lahore Division in the West Punjab. The Muslim Commissioners were men of great ability and legal acumen and had the advantage of representing the majority community of the Punjab. They knew that the inclusion of the Lahore Division in the West Punjab would be of crucial importance to the future of Pakistan. The inclusion of the Lahore Division in the West Pakistan would ensure the Muslim homeland a larger share of water resources, irrigation headworks and the canal system of the Punjab. It would also close the only communication line; the Jammu-Madhopur fair weather road, which ran between the Jammu and Kashmir State and the Dominion of India. The Muslim League leaders were keen to isolate Jammu and Kashmir and build pressure on the ruler of the State to compel him to come to terms with Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir was not wholly isolated from India and had a contiguous frontier with Kangra and the Punjab Hill States, which had acceded to India. The State Government could construct an alternative communication route to connect the State with India. The construction of an alternative road between the State and the Dominion of India would, however, be an arduous task and take a long time, thus exposing the State to more hardship. Logistically also the construction of an alternative road would pose many problems. The borders between the State and the Indian Union running east of the Pathankot tehsil in Gurdaspur district, through which the Jammu-Madhopur road run, were mountainous and rugged and largely snowbound. The closure of the Jammu-Sialkot road and railway line and the Jhelum Valley road, which linked Srinagar with Rawalpindi had been closed by Pakistan and there was little prospect of their being thrown open for transport after the State joined India. By the time, the Boundary Commission begun its work, Pakistan was left with little doubt about the disinclination for the ruler of the State Maharaja Hari Singh to accede to that country.

Mahajan and Teja Singh pleaded for the inclusion of the Division of Lahore in the East Punjab. The two Commissioners raised fundamental issues with unparalleled eloquence in respect of their claim, which Sir Cyril Radcliffe could not overlook altogether. The issues they raised, included:

 

i) the distribution of water resources between the East and West Punjab, the location of the irrigation headworks and the canal system;

ii) the continuation of the communication lines in the East Punjab of which the Lahore Division formed Centre;

iii) the demarcation of a viable and defensible border of the India in the Punjab;

iv) the interests of the Sikh Community which had its largest assets in the West Punjab and its main religious and cultural centres in the Division of Lahore;

v) the Indian interest in the road-link between Jammu and Madhopur, arising out of its proximity to Jammu and Kashmir State for the security of that state as well as its future relations with the Indian Dominion.

Both Mahajan and Teja Singh avoided the heavily value-laden discourse of the Congress leaders, in their presentation to the Commission. They marshalled up concrete facts relevant to the demarcation of boundary in the Punjab and elucidated in detail the consequences – geographic, economic, political and strategic, the division of the province was bound to lead to and their impact on the future of the Hindus and Sikhs in the Punjab. Sir Radcliffe was a man of independent outlook, sent down from his country to draw the boundaries of the new Muslim State of Pakistan, which the British had actively connvived in creating. Sir Radcliffe knew little of the cultural configuration of the Punjab, its economic organisation and its history. Not only the Punjab, Sir Radcliffe knew much less of the history and culture and economic and political organisation of Bengal, the other Indian province he was commissioned to divide between the two communities, Hindus and Muslims, on the basis of population proportions.

Mahajan and Teja Singh were genuinely fearful of the future of their communities in the Punjab. The history of the Punjab had been shaped by Hindus and the Sikhs. The Sikhs established a powerful Kingdom in the Punjab, the borders of which extended from Afghanistan to the eastern fringes of Tibet. The Sikh state integrated the Himalayas into the northern frontier of India. The Himalayas, Sanskritised by the Hindus of Kashmir, formed the civilisational frontier of India. The establishment of the Sikh power put an end to the long history of the invasion of India from the north. The division of Punjab was bound to have serious effect on the future of the Sikh community. The Punjab was considered by the Sikhs to be their homeland. The Sikh places of pilgrimage were located in the eastern part of the Punjab, mainly the Division of Lahore. The responsibility of apprising the Boundary Commission of the sociology of the Sikh religion and its moorings in the Hindu civilisation of India, fell upon the Hindu and Sikh Commissioners. Teja Singh, ravaged by the anti-Hindu riots in the Punjab, exhibited great courage and forbearance, in defending the cause of his community.

The Muslim League carried on a strident campaign to build pressure on the Commission to demarcate the boundary between the east and the West Punjab on the basis of the population proportions. The British Governors of the Punjab and the North-East Frontier province along with the British officials posted in the two provinces acted in tandem to influence the Commission.

The Boundary Commission was entrusted with the historic task, of the demarcation of the Indian frontier in the north. Jammu and Kashmir formed the central spur of the warm Himalayan uplands and the new configuration of power created by the emergence of the Muslim state of Pakistan, was bound to effect the security of the Himalayas. There is no evidence to show that the Indian leaders realised the importance of the crucial changes, the emergence of Pakistan, would bring about in the structure of power-relations along northern frontier of India.

The Hindu and Sikh leaders of the Punjab evinced serious interest in the boundary demarcation. Both Mahajan and Teja Singh kept themselves in close touch with the Hindu and Sikh leaders of the Punjab. Among them were Sir Shadi Lal and Bakshi Tek Chand. Both Sir Shadi Lal and Tek Chand were in the confidence of Maharaja Hari Singh. The Indian leaders had warbled notions about the northern frontier of India. They were carried away by the fraternal regard, the Asian conference held in Delhi in 1946, symbolised. The Indian leaders viewed the solidarity of the Asian people and the emergence of the Asian nation from colonial dominance as basis for coexistence and cooperation among the Asian people. Gandhi disclaimed national frontiers. He claimed commitment to vaguely conceived concept of anarchism which formed a part of the intellectual tradition of the early twentieth century.

They had accepted partition of India, but they refused to recognise its political implications. They were unable to comprehend the significance of the demarcation of the boundary between India and Pakistan in the Punjab. Their inability to link the boundary demarcation in the Punjab with the security of the Northern Frontier of India exposed Jammu and Kashmir and the entire Indian frontier, stretching to its east, to foreign aggression.

Another man, whose future  was linked with the de marcation of the boundary in the Punjab, was Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. The Jammu-Madhopur fair weather cart-road was the only communication link between the State and India. The two major all weather motorable roads, the Jehlum-Valley Road linking Srinagar with Rawalpindi and the Jammu-Sialkot road ran into the West Punjab. The railway line connecting Jammu with Sialkot also ran into the West Punjab. The border between the State and Kangra and the Punjab Hill States, which had decided to accede to India, was broken by rugged mountainous terrain. An alternate road could be built via Mukerian to connect Jammu with Kangra and via Doda with the Punjab Hill States. Indeed, when Mahajan and Teja Singh pointed out to the Commission the necessity of securing access to Jammu and Kashmir through East Punjab, Mohammad Munir and Din Mohammad suggested the construction of an alternate land route via Mukerian connecting Jammu with Kangra. The Hindu and the Sikh Commissioners  realised, as did Hari Singh, the importance of the tehsil of Pathankot to the viability and the defensibility of the borders of India as well the Jammu and Kashmir State.

Sir Shadi Lal and Bakshi Tek Chand kept Hari Singh informed of the boundary demarcation in the Punjab. They were close to Mehar Chand Mahajan and had apprised him of the interest Hari Singh had in the demarcation of the boundary in the Punjab.

Hari Singh was suspicious of Mountbatten, whose mind he knew. He did not trust the Congress leaders. He had received a communication from States Minister, in which the latter had advised him to release the National Conference leaders and come to terms with them. Unsure of the course Sir Radcliffe would follow in respect of his State, he reportedly, conveyed to the British officials, through some of his trusted British friends, his interests in a balance border with the two Dominions of India and Pakistan and the importance of the Jammu-Pathankot road for the security of his State. Reportedly, he conveyed to the British authorities that in case he was not secured the land route between Jammu and Pathankot he would have no other alternative except to depend upon the Dominion of India for the construction of a new transit route, across the eastern borders of the State with Kangra or with any of the Punjab Hill States, which had already acceded to India.

The British were not averse to a balanced border of the State with India and Pakistan, for they were keen to avoid any diplomatic or political lapse which would push the Maharaja into the lap of India. Some of the British officials sincerely believed that Hari Singh would opt for an arrangement in which he was not required to accede to any of the Dominions, if he was guaranteed peace on his frontiers. Ram Chander Kak, out of stratagem or straight devotion to his master, had spared no efforts to assure the British, that Hari Singh pursued a policy, which enabled him to retain his independence, rather than join India which was beset with serious difficulties.

In view of the extremely divergent views and deep disagreement among the Hindu and Sikh Commissioners and the Muslim Commissioners, the Boundary Commission was unable to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on the demarcation of the boundary across the Lahore Division. In accordance with the procedure laid down for the Boundary Commission, in case of disagreement among the Hindu, Sikh and the Muslim representation in the Commission, it was decided by mutual agreement to entrust the task of the demaracation to Sir Radcliffe, the Chairman of the Boundary Commission. The Commissioners, representing the Hindus and the Sikh as well as the Muslims agreed that the arbitral award made by Sir Radcliffe would be binding on them.

History had cast a unique responsibility on Sir Radcliffe, to lay down the future boundaries of the nation of India, which was on the threshold of freedom from centuries of slavery as well as describe the future boundaries of an independent Muslim state in India. The Congress leaders, were perhaps, oblivious of the elemental  change the creation of Pakistan would bring into the civilisational boundaries of India and the far-reaching effect the establishment of a Muslim power in India, would have on its northern frontiers. Jammu and Kashmir formed the central spur of the great Himalayan uplands poised as the State was, it stood as a sentinel for any eastward expansion of any power from the west as well as the north.

Pakistan was, however, keenly conscious of the strategic importance of Jammu and Kashmir. But the Government of Pakistan was unable to judge the ability of Maharaja Hari Singh to defeat their designs. Hari Singh played a historic role in persuading Sir Radcliffe to accept  that his State could not be completely isolated from the Indian Dominion.

The Muslim League leaders did not trust Hari Singh. They spared no efforts to convince the British officials in the Government of India about the necessity to ensure that the Boundary Commission did not deviate from the principle of the population proportions. The Muslim League leaders were keen to acquire the Ravi Headworks at Madhopur isolate the district of Amritsar and seal the existing road-link connecting Jammu and Kashmir with India. The League leaders sent Chowdhary Mohammad Ali to convey to the British officials in the Indian Government their concern about the future of the Lahore Division. Mohammad Ali met, Lord Ismay, the Political Advisor to the Viceroy to convey to Mountbatten the anxiety of the Muslim League leaders about any deviation from the principle of population-proportions the Boundary Commission may resort to in the demarcation of the boundary in the Punjab. Ismay told Mohammad Ali that the Boundary Commission was an independent body of which the functions were determined by its terms of reference, and the Government of India had no role in its function. Many years later, research in Pakistan revealed that during his meeting with Lord Ismay, Mohammad Ali showed the Political Advisor a sketch map of the demarcation of the boundary between east and west Punjab which was not strictly based upon the principle of population-proportions. Ismay, reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with it.

The award of the Boundary Commission was announced on 18 of August 1947, three days after the transfer of power in India. Sir Radcliffe left India the same day. The districts of Amritsar and Gurdaspur were included in the East Punjab, whereas the districts of Lahore and Sheikhopora were included in the West Punjab. The entire Muslim League leadership flared upon in anger against the inclusion of Gurdaspur in the East Punjab and blamed Sir Radcliffe of connivance in a craftily devised plan to give India access to Jammu and Kashmir and provide the Indian state the strategic ground to grab the State. Communal riots flared up in Lahore and spread to the whole of the Punjab.

Sir Radcliffe followed uniform standards in the delimitation of the boundary between India and Pakistan in Bengal as well as the Punjab. Evidently, he did not overlook the consideration of other factors, specifically mentioned in the terms of reference of the Boundary Commission in the delimitation of the boundary between the East and the West Punjab. He did take into consideration the nominal majority, the Muslims enjoyed over the Hindus and the Sikhs in Gurdaspur. The Tehsil of Pathankote in the Gurdaspur district had a distinct Hindu majority and it could not have been included in the West Punjab by any stretch of imagination. Sir Radcliffe had not followed the district boundaries as the basis of delimitation of the boundaries elsewhere in the Punjab. Besides, the Ravi irrigation headworks were located in Pathankot and they could not have been excluded from the East Punjab, to ensure a just and equitable distribution of water resources in the Punjab between India and Pakistan. undoubtedly, Sir Radcliffe did not overlook the necessity of providing a balanced border to the Jammu and Kashmir State, for which Mahajan and Teja Singh had spiritedly  pleaded. The security of the Jammu and Kashmir State, which constituted the central spur of the northern frontier of India and which was crucial to the security of the Himalays, could not be left out the consideration of the Boundary Commission. The division of the Punjab was a part of the partition  of India and the demarcation of the boundary between India and Pakistan could not be undertaken in isolation from its effects on the Indian States. The delimitation of the boundary in the Punjab around the Bahawalpur State, was undertaken with due consideration of its future affiliations. Bahawalpur joined Pakistan,.

Sir Radcliffe recognised the inclusion of the district of Gurdaspur in the East Punjab as a strategic requirement of the security of the northern frontier of India, including the frontier of India in the Punjab. He accepted in his report that the inclusion of Gurdaspur in the East Punjab was necessary for the security of the district of Amritsar, which would otherwise he surrounded by Pakistan. Perhaps, Radcliffe was aware of the security of the northern Frontier of India, in which the British were more interested than the Congress leaders, who had warbled notions about the security of the Himalayas. Unlike the other officials of the Government of India, Radcliffe was free of the trappings, the British officials of the Indian Civil Service were strapped to. He did not visualise the partition of India as the British officials of the Indian Government did, and he was guided by his own judgement. He refused to recognise the claim to the geographical expression of the Muslim nation of Pakistan, the way the British officials of the Indian Government did. He had little regard for their colonial concerns or Jinnah’s notions of the ascendance of the Muslims power in India.

An important consideration which Sir Radcliffe had in mind in dividing the Lahore Division was the future of the Sikh Community, which was bound to be adversely affected by the partition of the Punjab. The land and the assets owned by the Sikhs were largely situated in the west Punjab but a larger section of their population lived in the East Punjab. Besides, their main religious centres and most sacred shrines, including the Durbar Saheb, were located in the Lahore Division. The division of the Punjab was bound to uproot them from the West Pakistan and deprive them of their land and assets. The claim laid by the Muslims to the whole of Lahore Division, would divest them of their sacred places and shrines. Lahore was the seat of the Sikh empire of the Punjab, which had changed the course of the history of India. The demarcation of the boundary of the East Punjab was therefore, crucial to the survival and future of the Sikh community. Both Mahajan and Teja Singh emphasised upon the need to consider the interests of the Sikh community in the demarcation of the boundary in the Punjab.

The inclusion of Gurdaspur in the East Punjab mitigated, though only partially, the rigours of the division of the Punjab. The delimitation of the boundary in the Punjab, Sir Radcliffe undertook, gave the Muslims, who constituted 55 percent of the population of the Province, 65 percent of its territory. The Hindus and the Sikhs who constituted 45 percent of the population got only 35 percent of the territory of the Punjab. The Muslim League leaders had no reason to grumble. Their reconstruction were politically motivated and aimed to prepare ground to launch a new form of Direct Action to reduce the Jammu and Kashmri State.

Pakistan resorted to the distortion of the history of the transfer of power in India, to justify its claim on Jammu and Kashmir. Inside Jammu and Kashmir the National Conference leaders who ruled the State for decades after its accession to India, resorted to the distortion of the history of the accession of the State to India, to legitimize their claim to a Muslim State of Jammu and Kashmir inside India but independent of the Indian Union and its political organisation. Not only that. The Muslim separatists forces, which dominated the political scene in the State after the disintegration of the National Conference in 1953, also resorted to the fossilization of the facts of the accession of the State to India. Interestingly, the entire process of the distortion of the history of the accession of the State, spread over decades of Indian freedom assumed varied expressives from time to time.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who headed the Interim Government instituted in March 1948, disclaimed the Instrument of Accession executed by Hari Singh, as merely the Kagzi Ilhaq’ or “paper Accession” and claimed that the “real accession of the state to India” would be accomplished by the people of the State, more precisely the Muslim majority of the people of the State. While the Constitution of India was on the anvil and the issue of the constitutional provisions for the States came up for the consideration for the Constituent Assembly of India, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah claimed that the National Conference had endorsed the accession of the State to India on the condition that the claim the people of the state had to a separate freedom was recognised by India and the leadership of the National Conference had been assured by the Indian leaders that the people of Jammu and Kashmir would be reserved the right to constitute Jammu and Kashmir into an autonomous political organisation, independent of the Indian constitutional organisation.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and other National Conference leaders, claimed that they had been assured that Jammu and Kashmir would not be integrated in the constitutional organisaion of India and the assurances were incorporated in the Instrument of Accession. They stressed that they had agreed to the accede to India on the specific condition that the Muslim identity of the State would form the basis of its political organisation.

In his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir convened in 1951, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who was the Prime Minister of the Interim Government of the State, claimed that the Constituent Assembly was vested with the plenary powers, drawn from the people of the State and independent of the Constitution of India. He claimed that the Constituent Assembly was vested with the powers to opt out of India and assume independence or join the Muslim state of Pakistan.

Fifty years later the claims Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah made in the Constituent Assembly were echoed in the first Round Table Conference, convened by the Government of India in 2006, to reach a consensus on a future settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

Mr Muzaffar Hussain Beg, represented the People Democratic Party in the Round Table Conference which was a constituent of the coalition government in the State, headed by the Congress Party. Beg claimed, that the Instrument of Accession was a treaty between two independent states, the Dominion of India and the Jammu and Kashmir State and the Constituent Assembly was a sovereign authority, independent powers inherent in its sovereignty.

The Government of India made no efforts to put the record straight. Frightened at the prospect of losing the support of the National Conference the Indian leaders did not question the veracity of the claims the Conference leaders made. Indeed, they depended upon the support of the National Conference to win the plebiscite which the United Nations Organisation was hectically preparing to hold in the State. The Indian leaders, overwhelmed by their own sense of self-righteousness, helped overtly and covertly in the falsification of the history of the integration of the Princely States with India and the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with the Indian Dominion in 1947. Many of them went as far as to link the unity of India with the reassertion of the subnational identity of Jammu and Kashmir, which the Muslim demand for separate freedom for the Muslim symbolised.

The Indian Independence Act of 1947, laid down separate procedures for the transfers of power in the British India and the Indian Princely States. The Princely States were left out of the partition plan, which divided the British Indian provinces and envisaged the creation of the Muslim state of Pakistan. In respect of the Princely States, the Indian Independence Act, envisaged the lapse of the paramountcy – the power which the British Crown exercised over the Indian States. The British Government clarified its stand on the future disposition of the States in the British Parliament during the debate on the Indian Independence Bill. It categorically stated that the lapse of the Paramountcy would not enable the Princes to acquire Dominion status or assume independence.

The British Government made it clear that the reversion of the Paramountcy to the rulers of the States would inevitably lead to mutually accepted agreements between the Dominions and the Princely States which would involve their accession. The Indian Independence Act did not envisage in the procedure the accession of States. The Nawab of Bhopal approached the Diplomatic Mission of the United States of America in India to seek the recognition of the Independence of his state. The American Government snubbed the Nawab and refused to countenance any proposals for the independence of the Princely States in India. It was left to be formulated by the two Dominions of India and Pakistan.

The Political Department of the British Government of India was divided into two separate Political Departments – the Political Department of Pakistan to deal with the Indian Princely States. The Political Department of India was put in charge of Sardar Vallabhai Patel and the Political Department of Pakistan was put in charge of Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar. The procedure for the accession of the States to the two Dominions was evolved separately by their respective Political Departments.

The Muslim League however, insisted upon the independence of the Princely States in order to enable the Muslim ruled states to remain out of India. The Muslim League aimed to Balkanise the Princely States and place the state of Pakistan in a position which provided it a way to forge an alliance with them. The Indian States spread over more than one-third of the territory of India constituted more than one fourth of the Indian population. Some of the Muslim ruled Princely States were largest among the Princely States of India and several of them were fabulously rich.

The claim Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah made in his inaugural speech to the Constituent Assembly of the State that the States had the option to assume independence was a reiteration of the stand the Muslim League had taken on the future disposition of the states following the lapse of the Paramountcy. The lapse of the Paramountcy did not underline the independence of the States. It did not envisage the reversion of any plenary powers to the Princes or the people of the states as a consequence of the dissolution of the Paramountcy. The states were not independent when they were integrated in the British Empire in India. They did not acquire independence when they were liberated from the British Empire 1947. They were not vested with any inherent powers to claim independence to which Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah referred to in his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly.

The convocation of the Constituent Assemblies in the States was provided for in the stipulations of the Instrument of Accession that the Princely States acceding to India, executed. The Instrument of Accession devised by the States Department of Pakistan for the accession of the States to that country did not envisage provisions pertaining to the convocation of the Constituent Assembly. The power to convene separate Constituent Assemblies was reserved for all the major states the Union of the States, which acceded to India.

The Jammu and Kashmir State was no exception. In fact, Constituent Assemblies were convened, in the states of Cochin and Mysore and the State Union of Saurashtra, shortly after their accession to the Indian Dominion.

The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir was a creature of the Instrument of Accession. It exercised powers which were drawn from the state of India and its sovereign authority. It did not assess any powers to revoke the accession of the State to India to bring about the accession of the State to Pakistan or opt for its independence, as Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly claimed or as Mr Muzaffar Hussain Beg claimed in the Round Table Conference.

The truth of what happened during those fateful days of October 1947, when the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India was accomplished was concealed by a irredentist campaign of disinformation which was launched to cover the acts of cowardice and betrayal, subterfuge and surrender which went into the making of the Kashmir dispute.

The National Conference leaders, were at no stage, brought in to endorse the accession of the State to India. No one among them was required to sign or countersign the accession and none of them signed or countesigned the Instrument of Accession, executed by Maharaja Hari Singh. The Indian Independence Act, an Act of the British Parliament, which laid down the procedure for the transfer of power in India, did not recognize the right of self-determination of either the people of the British India or the people of the States.

The transfer of power was based on an agreement among the Congress, the Muslim League and the British. The British and the Muslim League stubbornly refused to recognise the right of the people of the British India and right of the people of the Princely State to determine the future of the British India or the Indian states. The Muslim League and the British insisted upon the lapse of the Paramountcy and its reversion to the rulers of the States. Accession of the States was not subject to any conditions and the Instrument of Accession underlined an irreversible process the British provided for the dissolution of the empire in India.

No assurance was given to the National Conference leaders that the Constituent Assembly of the State would be vested with plenary powers or powers to ratify the accession of the State to India, revoke it opt for its independence or its accession to Pakistan. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and the other National Conference leaders did not seek the exclusion of the State from the Indian political organization as a condition for the accession of the state to India. Nor did the Indian leaders give any assurance to them that the Jammu and Kashmir would be reconstituted into an independent political organisation, which would represent its Muslim identity.

At the time of the transfer of power in India, the National Conference leaders and cadres were in jail. They were released from their incarceration after the proclamation of General Amnesty was made on 6 September 1947. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, the Acting President of the National Conference who had evaded arrest and taken refugee in the British India in May 1946, arrived in Srinagar with several other senior leaders of the National Conference on 12 September 1947. Meanwhile, Mohi-ud-Din Qara the Director General of the War Council, which had been constituted by the National Conference to direct the Quit Kashmir Movement, surfaced from his underground quarters alongwith some of his close aides. Onkar Nath Trisal, who played a historic role in the defence of Srinagar, when the invading armies of Pakistan surrounded the city, was with him. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was released from jail on 29 September 1947.

Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad used the good offices of Pandit Sham Sundar Lal Dhar, a personal aide of the Maharaja to arrange a reconciliatory meeting between Hari Singh and Sheikh Mohammd Abdullah. The meeting did not go beyond usual formalities as the two men who shaped the future of the State looked at each other with cold distrust. Shiban Madan, a close kin of Sham Sundar Lal Dhar, then a man of younger years acted as a help. Shiban Madan told the author in a interview held in Srinagar in 1978, that Hari Singh sat through the meeting glumly. His Highness looked straight when the usual presentation ceremony of the Nazarana was completed. He sat glum and expressionless, his haughty demeanour more than awkwardly visible. The rest of the meeting was strictly formal.”

Hari Singh was unable to judge the far-reaching consequences of the end of the British empire in India. Not only him, the other Princes too refused to realise that their power, which had its sanction in the British Paramountcy had virtually suffered dissolution with its withdrawal. The Princely rulers genuinely believed that the States were their fiefs and the British had usurped their right to rule them. They visualised the end of the British Empire as an act of deliverance for them, which they believed would enable them to regain the unquestioned authority they had as the sovereigns of the states.

They considered accession of their States to India as a new arrangement with the Dominion of India, by virtue of which they would part with the specific powers of the defence, foreign affairs and communications of the states and retain the rest of the powers of the governance without the encumbrances the Paramountcy entailed.

Hari Singh had been shaken by Mountabatten’s advice to come to terms with Pakistan when the Viceroy visited Srinagar. Accession to Pakistan was the last act, Hari Singh was prepared to perform. However, when he turned to India and conveyed to the Indian leaders his desire to accede to India the Indian leaders advised him not to take any perceptible action in respect of the accession, till the transfer of power had been accomplished. The Indian leaders advised Hari Singh to end the distrust with the National Conference,  release the leaders and cadres of the Conference and take them into confidence and commence preparations to associate them with the government of the State.

After the transfer of power in August 1947 Hari Singh promptly ordered fresh recruitment to his armed forces and reportedly sought to secure field guns from Patiala and Hyderabad. Reports appeared in the newspapers in Pakistan that he tried to seek military assistance from India and wanted the Indian Government to take up the conversion of the fair weather road from Jammu to Madhopur, into a national roadway.

He was alarmed by the establishment of the Provisional Government of Pak-occupied-Kashmir at Tran Khel in the district of Mirpur by Sardar Ibrahim Khan on 30 August 1947. Hari Singh knew that the proclamation of the Provisional Government of Azad Kashmir had been made in connivance with the intelligence agencies of the Government of Pakistan and the leaders of the Muslim League to build pressure on him to accede to Pakistan.

Meanwhile Sham Sunder Lal Dhar helped to bridge the differences between Hari Singh and the National Conference leaders. Hari Singh agreed to revive the Dyarchy he had introduced in the State Government in 1944, and provide a wider share of power for the National Conference and accept to entrust a fairly large measure of responsibility in the State Government to National Conference leaders as members of his Council of Ministers. The National Conference leaders had shown their readiness to join the State Government.

For Hari Singh however, the difficulties he faced in regard to the accession were not eased. Several developments in the process of the integration of the States complicated his situation further. Junagarh, situated in the midst of the Kathiawad States, which had acceded to India, acceded to Pakistan on the eve of the transfer of power. The Nawab of Hyderabad refused to join India and secretly plotted with the leadership of the Muslim League to align himself with Pakistan.

Not only that. Mountbatten was at the helm of affairs in India, where he had been placed by the Congress leaders probably, to earn them a favourable disposition of the British. Hari Singh knew that Mountbatten had not forgiven him for his audacity to send him back to the Indian capital, without having agreed to abide by his advice to come to terms with Pakistan. It is hardly possible that the Congress leaders must not report have received the intelligence of what transpired between the Viceroy and the Maharaja in Srinagar. But how did they install him the first Governor-General of the Dominion of India is an enigma, which continues to remain unexplained.

Hari Singh was unsure of the Congress leaders as well, who had, in unabashed self-conceit, indicated their willingness to accept a settlement on the Princely States on the basis of their population and geographical location. Perhaps, they sought to use the influence of the Viceroy to ensure the accession of the Muslim ruled States, inhabited by Hindu majorities and situated within the territorial limits earmarked for the Indian Dominion to India. It is hardly possible that they did not know the mind of the Viceroy and perhaps the strategic implications of the future disposition of Jammu and Kashmir to the British interests in Asia. A section of the Congress leadership was not averse to the division of the States on the basis of their population even after the transfer of power. Some of them believed that Mountbatten would be able extricate Junagarh from Pakistan and bring about the integration of Hyderabad with India. Their prestige in the whole of the Kathiawad peninsula had plummeted down as they had reacted to the accession of Junagarh to Pakistan  pussiliminously. The rulers of the Kathiawad States had to send Jam Sahib of Nawanagar to convince the Congress leaders that Junagarh posed a serious threat to them and to demand immediate and effective action to liberate Junagarh, which was fast slipping into a civil wear.

The Congress leaders looked up to Mountbatten, who advised them restraint. Later admissions made by him in his interviews and memoirs, prove that he was keen to secure the interests of Pakistan and his country, Britain, in Jammu and Kashmir, but he had no mandate from the British Government to secure the Indian interests in the Muslim ruled States of Junagarh and Hyderabad. He disapproved of any perceptible action for the reclamation Junagarh and Hyderabad.

Hari Singh did not lose sight of the problems, arising out of his enemity with Mountabatten and the duplicity of the Congress leaders. Jinnah scuttled the proposals to divide the States on the basis of their population and scoffed at the suggestions made by Mountbatten. Hari Singh knew that if he took a false step, Mountbatten as well as the Congress leaders would nor hesitate to abandon him in a bargain with Pakistan.

This was the greatest act of betrayal committed by the men in power in India. The Indian Government crumbled in its resolve to set right the wrong in Junagarh and rein in the Nawab of Hyderabad. The Indian leaders  looked upto Mountbatten to deliver them from their predicament though experience had shown to them that the major role in the integration of the States had been played by the States people who had struggled for the unity of the States with India and the Hindu rulers of the States who had acceded to India.

The Government of India should have made a bold move to take Hari Singh into confidence, thrash out the issues pertaining to the transfer of power to the peoples representatives with him and helped in removing the prevailing distrust between him and the National Conference leaders. Instead the Indian leaders sulked away. Gandhi had advised Hari Singh to handover the State Government to the National Conference leaders and entrust them the responsibility to conduct elections to the Praja Sabha, the State Legislative Assembly and empower the elected representatives of the people to take a decision on the accession of the State. Hari Singh had refused to abide by Gandhi’s advice and told him that such a course would enable Pakistan to grab the State with the support of the Muslim Conference and the other pro-Pakistan flanks in the state. Later events proved that Hari Singh had chosen the right course. Jammu and Kashmir would have gone the way, North West Frontier Province did if he had opted for elections to the Praja Sabha.

The Indian Princely States were a part of the Indian nation. Partition did not divide the States, nor did the partition empower Pakistan to grab Junagarh or claim Hyderabad on the basis of being Muslim ruled States and annex Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of its population. The Muslim League as well as the British treated the States as their personal preserve and sought to use them to Balkanise India. The Princes as well as the people of the States defeated their designs.

The role played by Mountbatten and VP Menon, in the integration of the Indian States was only marginal. The States’ Ministry did not draw up any plans for the consolidation of the northern frontier of India of which Jammu and Kashmir was the central spur. Nor did the States Ministry formulate any plans for the security of the Himalayas against the threat of their de-Sanskritsation which the creation of Pakistan posed.

Few in-depth investigations and inquiries have been undertaken so far to unravel the forces and factors, which shaped the events in Jammu and Kashmir, during the fateful days following the transfer of power in India. No investigations were ever carried out in the actions of men, who were at the helm of affairs in India, Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir, their motivations and their personal prejudices. Much of what happened those days, has been covered under false propaganda by the Government of India as well as the  Government of Pakistan and the  Interim Government which was instituted in Jammu and Kashmir after the accession of the State to India. A widespread disinformation campaign was launched by the Interim Government in collusion with the Government to find scapegoats for their failures and to apportion blame, where it did not belong. The sordid story of what happened in the state, those days, is yet to be told.

Pakistan sought to bend the procedure laid down by the Indian Independence Act for the transfer of power in India, to grab the Muslim majority states as well as the states ruled by Muslim Princes.

The Indian Government failed signally to counteract the stratagem, subversion and military intervention, Pakistan employed to achieve its objectives. Perhaps the British, who had quit India, still cast a shadow on the Indian outlook. The Congress leadership with its liberalist tradition which denied the civilisational boundaries of the Indian nation, continued to play the Muslim card, to prove that Jammu and Kashmir would be more Islamic than the Muslim State of Pakistan after its inclusion in the Indian Dominion.

The Congress leaders wanted Maharaja Hari Singh to follow what they did in collusion with Mountabatten to retrieve Junagarh and bring round the Nawab of Hyderabad to come to terms, with India. Gandhi advised Hari Singh, during his visit to Kashmir, towards the close of July 1947, to (a) transfer the powers of the State Government to the representatives of his Muslim subjects, who formed a majority of the population of the state; (b) hold fresh elections to the Praja Sabha, the State Legislative Assembly, on the basis of universal adult franchise and (c) entrust the Praja Sabha with the task of taking a decision on the accession of the state. The meeting between Hari Singh and Mahatma Gandhi was held on the lawns of the Gupkar Palace, situated on the eastern bank of the Dal Lake in Srinagar. Maharani Tara Devi and the Heir-Apparent Karan Singh were present in the meeting. The only other man present in the meeting was a senior officer of the state army, who acted as an aide to the Maharaja and prepared the situation report of the meeting for the military archives of the state.

Gandhi had lost touch with the developments in the princely states. He was not aware of the dangerous  situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He did not know that an armed rebellion was brewing in the Muslim majority districts of the Jammu province, where arms and ammunition were being dumped by the elements of the Muslim League from a  cross the border of the state with the Punjab. He was hardly aware of the sharp divide between the Kashmiri speaking Muslims and non-Kashmiri speaking Muslims. He did not know that the non-Kashmiri speaking Muslims, who constituted nearly half the Muslim population of state along with a small section of the Kashmiri-speaking Muslims owing loyality to the Mirwaiz, the chief Muslim divine of Kashmir, supported the Muslim Conference, which spearheaded the struggle for Pakistan. He was completely unaware of the fact that the Kashmiri-speaking Muslims constituted about half the population of the Muslims of the State and together with the Hindus, the Sikhs and the Buddhists they formed more than sixty percent of the population of the State. The Hindus, the Sikhs and the Buddhists, a million people, constituted more than a quarter of the population of the State. Gandhi was completely unaware of the impact of the partition on the leaders and cadres of the National Conference, which had its main support bases in the community of the Kashmiri-speaking Muslims, largely concentrated in the Kashmir province. He did not know that an influential section of the leaders and cadres of the National Conference favoured a reconsideration of the commitment of the National Conference to the unity of India.

Gandhi believed that by seeking to divest Hari Singh of his powers to determine the future affiliation of the State in respect of its accession and empowering his Muslim subjects to take a decision on the accession of the state, he would be able to create a precedent for the rulers of the Muslim ruled states, to entrust their powers to determine the future affiliations of their states their Hindu subjects, who formed a majority of their population. Nearly all the Muslim ruled states, barring a few of them situated within the territories delimited for the Muslim State of Pakistan, nearly all the Muslim ruled States in India, including the major states of Hyderabad, Junagarh, Bhopal, were populated by preponderant Hindu majorities.

Perhaps, Gandhi believed that the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir committed to support the accession of the state to India, would opt to join India after power was transferred to them and they were empowered to  determine the future affiliations of the state. He was convinced that the transfer of power in Jammu and Kashmir would provide him a moral ground to bring round Pakistan as well as Mountbatten to persuade the Muslim rulers to abnegate from their power to determine the future affiliations of their states and entrust their subjects and of whom the Hindus formed a majority, to opt for India.

Gandhi and the other Indian leaders did not even get the wind of the secret preparations in Pakistan for military intervention in the Jammu and Kashmir State in the name of the Jehad for the liberation of the Muslims from their subjection to the Dogra Rule, while Gandhi went on a indefinite fast to prevent communal violence in India which threatened the Muslims, Pakistan prepared feverishly for the invasion of the state. Pakistan planned to reduce the state by military force and then deal with India from a position of strength in respect of Junagarh and Hyderabad. Junagarh had acceded to Pakistan and Hyderabad was plotting the align itself with Pakistan to remain out of India.

Had Hari Singh accepted Gandhi’s advice he would have provided open ground for Pakistan and the Muslim League to grab the state by stratagem and force. Gandhi’s suggestion to hold the elections to the Praja Sabha would have enabled the Muslim Conference and the flanks of pro-Pakistan Muslim activists, operating underground, to sabotage the National Conference and use religious appeal for Jehad to pack the Praja Sabha with the Muslim Conference. Any stringent measures adopted by him to prohibit religious propaganda in the elections would have brought him the blame of having settled the expression for the will of the Muslims. In case he did not take effective measures to prohibit the use of religious propaganda in the elections he would virtually leave the field open for the Muslim Jehad to take over.

Hari Singh had borne the ravages of Muslim communalism. He had also faced the scourage of the Paramountcy. The Congress leaders had installed Mountbatten as the first Governor General of the Dominion of India. Hari Singh had rebuffed Mountbatten and refused to abide by his advice to join Pakistan. Mountbatten, later events proved, had not forgotten the slight Hari Singh had caused to him. The Maharaja did not allow himself to be arranged before the man, who had spared no efforts to push his state into Pakistan for his management. He refused to accept Gandhi’s advice.

Hari Singh contested Gandhi’s views on the accession of the state and refused to abnegate from his rightful obligation to determine the future of his state. He told Gandhi, in measured words in the presence of Maharani Tara Devi, who regarded the Mahatma in awe, that the safety and the security of the Hindus and the other minorities in the state was uppermost in his mind, and he would not abandon them at any cost. He insisted upon the recognition of his rights as the ruler of the state to determine the basis of his future relations with India. He reminded Gandhi that nor only had the lapse of the Paramountcy vested in him the right to determine the future of the State, the Indian States Ministry had recognised the rights of the rulers of the States as the basis of their accession to India and he could not be treated in a manner different from the way, the rulers of all other acceding states had been treated.

Gandhi gave expression to his feelings in a statement he gave to the press in Punjab, on his way back to Delhi. He said that Jammu and Kashmir was a Muslim state and therefore, its future must be determined by Muslims who formed a majority of its population. He denounced the treaties between the Princes and the British as “parchments of paper” and decried the claims made by the Princes to any rights arising out of such treaties.

Hari Singh did not accept the surrender to a Muslim majority identity as the basis of a settlement of the accession of the state. He refused to become part of the process to consolidate the borders of the Muslim state of Pakistan, which Mountbatten and the Congress leaders visualised as the guarantee of the unity of India.

Later events proved Hari Singh right. Pakistan strove hard to hold Junagarh and openly supported Hyderabad in its endeavour to remain out of India. Pakistan invaded the State, irrespective of the procedure laid down by the Indian Independence Act, for the lapse of the Paramountcy, showing little regard for the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir and the people of Junagarh and Hyderabad.

Gandhi’s press statement administered a jolt to Maharaja Hari Singh. Maharani Tara Devi favoured reconciliation with the Congress leadership. She cautioned Hari Singh against the isolation into which the State was sinking fast. It is a lesser known fact that the Maharani tried to bridge the gulf between Hari Singh and the Indian leaders.

Shortly after Gandhi left Kashmir Hari Singh removed Ram Chandra Kak from his office and appointed General Janak Singh, one of his close kin the Prime Minister of the state. Ram Chandra Kak headed the State Government during the last years of the British Raj in India. Kak served the Maharaja with unflinching loyalty and devotion. Kak belonged to the Kashmiri Pandit community in Kashmir, which played a pioneering role in the growth of national consciousness in the State. While in office, Kak acted as an interface for the Maharaja with the British as well the Muslim League, at a time, when the Princes were struggling to place the State in between the British Crown and an independent Indian nation. The political Department of the British Govt. of India, with conrad corfield, a diehard British Civil Service officer, as its head, spared no efforts to assure the Princes that the British would not abandon the Princely India and would ensure the continuity of the treaties between the States and the Crown. Like the other Princes, Hari Singh was suddenly brought on the crossroads, when India was divided and the British Paramountcy was withdrawn.

The British refused to continue the protection, the Paramountcy had provided the States and the Muslim League claimed Jammu and Kashmir for the Muslim State of Pakistan on the basis of the Muslim majority of its population.

During the days, the future of the constitutional organization of India was taking shape, Ram Chandra Kak was at the Centrestage of the negotiations between the Princes, the British and the Indian leaders. The Princes were not left with the choice to seek a place outside the constitutional organization of the two successor Dominions of India and Pakistan. The undersecretary of the State for India in the British Government, clarified in the British Parliament, during the debate on the Indian Independence Bill, that the British Government would not recognize the States as the Dominions of the Commonwealth nor would extend it recognition to their independence. Kak was no longer relevant in the political context in which Jammu and Kashmir was left with no choice except to join India, the option to accede to Pakistan was not acceptable to Hari Singh or Kak.

Hari Singh turned away from the British, when he refused to abide by the advice of the Viceroy of India tendered to him to come to terms with Pakistan.

He earned the displeasure of the leaders of the Muslim League, when he refused to grant permission to Mohammad Ali Jinnah to visit Jammu and Kashmir, during the days, the transfer of power in India was in process of completion. Jinnah sent several of his emissaries to persuade Hari Singh to accede to Pakistan on conditions which he specified. A second world war veteran Major General Shaukat Hayat Khan, arrived in Kashmir with a peculiar proposal from him.

Khan met Hari Singh in his palace. He told the Maharaja that he had been commissioned by Jinnah to convey to the Maharaja that he could lay down any conditions that he chose, to accede to Pakistan and that Pakistan would deposit a huge amount of money in British currency worth hundreds of millions of Sterling Pounds, in the Bank of England, as guarantee against any breach of the conditions laid down by him.

Hari Singh was slighted, but he did not lose his poise. He told Shaukat Hayat that he would take a decision on the accession of the State only in consideration of the interests of his subjects.

Naseeb Singh, an Army officer, of the Signal Corps, who was in attendance on the Maharaja those days, told the author in an interview: “I heard him (Shaukat Hayat) tell his aides, how strange of the Maharaja it was to have turned down the offer. As he saw me standing bye, he recoiled and fell silent”. Thakur Kartar Singh, a close kin of the Maharaja and a former Revenue Minister of the State, told the author in an interview in Jammu. “His Highness was severely intolerant of any suggestion about his relations with Pakistan.

He felt hurt by what happened around him. He had given a long rope to Ramchandra Kak. He waited patiently, though that was not in his habit, for an opportunity to save the State from going to Pakistan. Pakistan pressurized him to agree to accede to that country, offering to accept any number of conditions that he would lay to safeguard his interests. But he “withstood all pressures”.

Hari Singh offered a Standstill Agreement to India as well as Pakistan for which the Indian States Department and the State Department of Pakistan had provided the option. The Indian Government did not take any action on the Standstill Agreement, though it extended the period of accession by two months for both the States – Jammu and Kashmir as well as Hyderabad. Hyderabad was the other Princely State, which did not accede to the Indian Dominion by 15 August 1947.

That Pakistan had adopted a policy of confrontation with the State Government was signaled by the formation of the Provisional Government of ‘Azad’ Kashmir, by pro-Pakistan Muslim flanks and the cadres of the Muslim Conference, at Trad Khel on 30 August 1947. Sardar Ibrahim Khan founder of the Provisional Government of ‘Azad’ Kashmir, took the salute of a contingent of armed volunteers of the Provisional Government which march passed before him in a military formation. The volunteers were armed with the rifles supplied to them from Pakistan.

Hari Singh proclaimed a general amnesty for all political prisoners who were involved in the Quit Kashmir Movement and against whom proceedings were in process in the courts of the state. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, the Acting President of the National Conference, who had taken refuge in the British India, during the Quit Kashmir Movement, alongwith other leaders of the National Conference, arrived in Srinagar on 12 September 1947. He received a tumultuous welcome, from the people in Srinagar.

The leaders and cadres of the Conference who had gone underground, had already begun to emerge from their underground quarters. Mohi-ud-Din Qara the Head of the War Council, which had been constituted to direct the Quit Kashmir Movement, came out of his underground quarters, alongwith a number of his senior cadres. Among them was Onkar Nath Trisal, a senior communist party activist, who later played a memorable role in the defence of Srinagar, when the invading armies of Pakistan were pouring into its outskirts. Mohi-ud-Din Qara addressed a number of public meetings, where he impressed upon the people of the necessity to maintain intercommunity peace and combat communalism and subversion.

While the National Conference leaders and cadres set out to reconstruct the organizational units of the National Conference, which had been battered by the Quit Kashmir Movement, Pakistan launched a surreptitious campaign in the State to unite the Muslims in support of its accession to that country. The leaders and cadres of the Muslim Conference and the sections of the Muslim community which were ideologically committed to the Muslim struggle for Pakistan, though they did not support the Muslim Conference, carried on the campaign with the support of the widespread network of Pakistani agents, spies and intelligence sleuths of the Government of Pakistan which operated underground and in vast numbers, Muslim League cadres and other political activists who had slipped into the state unnoticed.

The creation of Pakistan symbolized the realization of the desperation of the Muslim Ummah in India and (a) religious obligation devolved on the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir to support its accession to Pakistan to consolidate the Muslim power (b) the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir were part of the Muslim Umah and therefore were bound to Pakistan by the bond of Islam; (c) any deviation from a commitment to the unity of the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir would be an un-Islamic act. The National Conference had spearheaded the Muslim struggle for liberation from the Dogra Rule and now the only option for the leaders and National Conference was to join the struggle for the unification of the State with Pakistan (d) India and the Hindus who formed the main resistance to the struggle for Pakistan, were trying their utmost to scuttle the freedom of the Muslims in the Princely States, where the Muslims were subject to severe repression and the ruler of the State was waiting for an opportunity to join India, scuttle the freedom of the Muslims and perpetuate his power (e) the Muslim struggle for Pakistan was not against the Maharaja and the Muslims of the State had assured him that they would recognize him as the constitutional head of the State if he opted for Pakistan; (f) the National Conference and its cadres and supporters would be accommodated in the Muslim commonwealth of Pakistan on the basis of equality and brotherhood enjoined by Islam upon all the Muslims irrespective of their language and the region which they inhabited (g) any differences between the National Conference leadership and the Muslim leadership of the people of Pakistan could be settled mutually and (h) the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir had to stand united in the struggle for Pakistan in view of the efforts the enemies of Islam were making in India to impair the unity of the Muslims.

The police intelligence of the State reported that it had received information about an underground cell, involved in the raising of a militia, the Muslim Guard, to defend the struggle for Pakistan against any police or military action the State Government resorted to. A woman volunteer of Pakistan was charged with the tasks of recruitment of local Muslim volunteers to the ranks of the Muslims guard. The intelligence report about the Muslim Guard reached the State Government and a summary of the report was sent to Hari Singh as well. As usual, Hari Singh sent it to the State archives. But no action was taken against the sabotage planned by the enemy agents to foment a rebellion in the State, probably to coincide with the invasion of State Pakistan was secretly planning.

The Indian leaders took little notice of the developments in the State. The States’ Minister wrote a cryptic letter to Hari Singh, imploring the Maharaja to bring all punitive measures against the National Conference to an end, release the Conference leaders and cadres from imprisonment and seek their cooperation to meet the challenge the State was faced with.

On September 3, 1947, an intelligence signal was received in the Army headquarters at Delhi, that armed infiltrators of Pakistan had raided a border outpost, three miles inside the state territory. The signal with the staggering import evoked response from the Indian Government. The Indian leaders received information about the border raids and the heavy damage to life and property the Hindus and the Sikhs suffered in the border districts of the State. No voice was raised in India against the depredation, the armed infiltrators spread in the border districts of the State.

Note: The Article, in this series are based upon documentary sources in the Indian Archives, Archives of the Jammu and Kashmir State, Sardar Patel Papers; documents and Papers in Sapru House Library, Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi, Contemporary Newspaper Files and Interview.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

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Kashmiri Pandits: On the road to extinction


Kashmiri Pandits: On the road to extinction
By P.N.Razdan

The Kashmiri Hindu���s tragic saga continues to this day with neither the state nor the central governments doing enough to relocate those who fled their homeland.
Kashmiri Pandits, the Hindus of Kashmir valley, have been Kashmir’s original inhabitants. Their roots in the valley can be traced back to 5,000 years. Their history dates back to the time when one of their earliest kings, Gonanda I, fought and died in the Mahabharata battle.

The Kashmiri kingdom comprised the present valley, Gilgit, Baltistan, parts of Punjab and even extended, at one time, to Western Tibet and Afghanistan. It witnessed a religious transformation from Buddhism in the 4th and the 3rd centuries BC to Brahmanism — Shaivites and Shakti worshippers — till the 11th century AD when conversion of Hindus to Islam started with the annexation of Punjab by Mahmud Ghazni in 1021 AD.

Beginning of the 14th century saw mass Islamic conversions with the arrival of a trio comprising a Sufi saint, Bulbul Shah, from Turkey, Rinchan, a rebel prince form Tibet and Shamir, a Muslim religious preacher from Swat valley in Persia. The trio joined hands to transform the Hindu kingdom of Kashmir into a Muslim empire — a dream that Arabs had nurtured for more than five centuries.

Mayhem, plunder and subjugation were unleashed in the next 500 years. Savage methods and brutal force was used to make the innocent locals embrace Islam. Except for a brief period of relief under pious rulers Zain-ul-Abdin and Mughal emperor Akbar, Hindus continued to be forcibly converted. Their temples were ransacked and wrecked, scriptures were burnt, and taxes (jazia) were imposed. People had no option but convert, flee or commit suicide. To escape the wrath of the brutal persecution, there was mass exodus from Kashmir. There are records of at least six mass exoduses during this period and Kashmir history records that only 11 Hindu households were left at one time. All other Kashmiri Hindus were either killed, converted to Islam or had migrated to safer places.

Kashmir returned to peaceful times after its annexation by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1819 at the invitation of a Kashmiri, Pandit Birbal Dhar. Peace and order was restored and all punitive laws against Hindus were revoked. This was followed by hundred years of peaceful rule by Dogras of Jammu till the Indian independence in 1947. Sheikh Abdullah, who led the independence movement in Kashmir, was a great votary of secularism and several prominent Kashmiri Pandits were his closest colleagues during the freedom struggle against the Maharaja. Kashmiri Pandits therefore occupied important positions in Jammu & Kashmir as part or the newly born Indian Republic. Estimate of their population then is about 1.50 lakh forming about 9 per cent of the valley’s population.

Post independence, Kashmiri Pandits lived a peaceful life in the valley and enjoyed all rights available to the citizenry. They formed an important part of the composite Kashmiri Hindu-Muslim-Sikh culture, popularly called Kashmiriyat. During the communal flare-ups of the partition, Mahatma Gandhi saw a ray of hope in the state’s religious harmony. Kashmiri Pandits, however, had to make adjustments with the growing aspirations of the Muslims in a free political set up. Their absentee land lordship over agricultural lands got eschewed under the tenancy and land reforms initiated by the people’s government in 1952 and this affected a large number of Pandit families. Being an educated class, Pandits, who were solely dependant on government employment, had also to concede space to fellow Muslims, who, too, were now educated and were claimants to government employment. These and a long agitation in 1967 over the kidnapping of a Pandit girl by a Muslim boy and the government apathy on the issue started a low-key migration of Pandits outside Kashmir. However this wasn’t so large as to draw the state government’s attention, particularly as Kashmir appeared so peaceful in the 1971-87 period after the 1971 Indo-Pak war that separated East Bengal from Pakistan.

The events of 1989 turned the tables on Pandits. As a follow-up of the Pakistan-sponsored militancy that started in 1989-90, almost the entire community of 2.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits was forced to leave the valley following arson, rape and killing of about a 1,000 members of their community by terrorists. This was their seventh exodus. The state government made makeshift arrangements for these migrants in tented camps around Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi. Many of them stayed voluntarily with friends and relatives in different parts of the country. As of now, there is no change in this situation and these temporary residences of the migrants continue. Although the government provides relief in cash and kind to registered migrants and salaries to those who were in employment, yet the loss of home and snapping of ties with their roots has made a tremendous impact on their physical, social and mental make up. Out of Kashmir’s total population 5.5 million, there are now about 5,000 Kashmiri Pandits left in the valley. They have dared to stay on despite the militancy.

Kashmiri Pandit community is therefore at the cross roads of history today. This diaspora of around 7 lakh people is scattered all over the globe. They live practically in every corner of the world — from the migrant camps in the outskirts of Jammu city, to medium towns and metropolises in India, Europe, North America and Africa. They are stateless Indian citizens, who have no vote, no constituency and no representation in Parliament or the Assembly of their home state. They have become refugees in their own country. Their employment in the state has dropped from 14,000 to just 1,000 and there are no new recruitments happening. Admissions to professional colleges in the state stopped the day they left the state. Had the state governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka not reserved one seat in each engineering institute of the state for the migrant community, Kashmiri Pandit youth would have been on the roadside and turned into bad elements. Their exodus from Kashmir has not only deprived them of their homeland, but also their properties, culture, language, history, rituals and the social milieu they inherited and conserved for thousands of years. They are finding themselves at the cross roads of history where the only road visible is the one leading to their extinction.

Kashmiri Pandits have been a highly accomplished community. It has produced several luminaries in history. Kashmir has been a seat of Buddhist philosophy, Shaivism, Sanskrit learning, and a messenger of Vedic civilization to India. Between the 9th and the 14th centuries, Kashmir produced a galaxy of intellectuals like Kalhana, the great historian of the world. Kalhana’s Rajtarangani, a chronicle of the kings of Kashmir, Patanjali’s Mahabasya commentary on Panini’s works on Sanskrit grammar, Abhinavgupta, the Shaivist philosopher and Saint Suyya, the great engineer who rid Kashmir of incessant floods and built the town of Sopore in northern Kashmir stand a testimony to the intellectual heritage of the Pandits. They are many other Pandit luminaries, including Pingala and his monumental work Pingalasutra on metrics and prosody, Lal Ded, the great mystic poetess and philosopher, Kshemendra the Sanskrit poet and playwright, known as “Vedvyasa of Kashmir” on account of his commentaries on Ramayana. They made priceless contribution in the fields of music, dance, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy and literature. Kalidasa the Sanskrit poet and Caraka, the great physician and author of the famous book on medicine Charaksamhita are also believed to be from Kashmir.

In the last century, Kashmir gave India its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Swami Lakshman Ji spiritualist and guru on Shaivist philosophy and Tantraloka, Pandit Gopi Krishna, the master and researcher in Kundalini techniques, Anupam Kher the Bollywood actor, R N Kao, the author and first chief of RAW, Suresh Raina, the emerging young cricketer, several administrators, judges, journalists, military personnel, engineers and doctors.

Kashmiri Pandits have won laurels in every field, be it business, computer software or research, in India and abroad. Their ingenuity, analytical mind and sublime nature have been appreciated all over.

A disintegrated community, not unsurprisingly, has so many community organizations to take care of the local needs, interaction with the mainstream communities, and above all to keep their age-old culture protected. Almost every Kashmiri enclave in any town has an organization, which arranges community meets on prominent festival days, yagyas, interactive parties, etc to foster a cultural bonding. The younger generation that has hardly seen its roots is fast merging with the local conditions and societies, hardly speak Kashmiri language, and marry outside their community without any taboo.

Despite occasional outbursts and pleas for their honorable return to the valley, they draw a blank from the government, Kashmiri Muslims and general public. Nobody seems to care to save this illustrious community from becoming extinct.

Kashmiri Pandits are politically irrelevant too. Being an uprooted lot, they do not constitute a vote bank, are not a slogan-shouting crowd and are too self-oriented to be of relevance to the politicians. They do not have an apex political body to represent themselves, which probably is their greatest failure and the reason to be so extraneous to the people, media and the government. The first time they were given a political platform in the last 16 years of their exile was at the first roundtable on Kashmir held in Delhi in February this year. Their demand of a carving out a separate homeland for them in the Kashmir valley – a state or a union territory – was turned down by both the state and the central governments. And, the issue of their return to Kashmir has been relegated to the background and has been tagged with the return of other refugees from across the LOC.

Kashmiri Pandit community is at a precipice. The state and central governments need to appreciate the community’s predicament. More importantly, the Kashmiri Muslims need to welcome the community back to their homes for preservation of Kashmir’s ancestry and the mosaic of cultural synthesis the valley is known for.

Integration of the community and its development as a separate social sect is possible only if it returns back to its homeland roots. It is important for this to delink the issue of the return of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir problem. All separatist and national parties in J&K and migrant Kashmiri pandits need to sit together and chalk out a detailed coordinated plan of action for an unconditional and honorable return of the displaced persons. Return of Pandits is possible through a social initiative. The government role should start only after the community returns to its home.

Other steps that can inject confidence in this community could be the reservation of one seat through nomination in Parliament under Article 331 of the Constitution on the lines of the Anglo-Indian community and similar reservation of two seats in the state assembly. These measures would reassure the community of their safety. Also, certain laws need to be introduced in the state constitution that guarantee quick redressal of the community grievances, reservation in state employment and admissions in professional colleges and creation of a full-fledged Ministry for Return and Rehabilitation of Migrants (MRRM) to liaise with the migrants and redress their problems.

Happily the conditions in the valley are fast changing for the better. Dark clouds of fear and mistrust are giving way to those of hope and goodwill. Service in the spirit of a self-preservation of their heritage by all Kashmiris irrespective of religion, can save the Kashmiri Pandit community from their current hardship and extinction.

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Gilgit-Baltistan package termed an eyewash


Gilgit-Baltistan package termed an eyewash

The Dawn

 GILGIT/SKARDU: Public representatives, nationalist and progressive political groups and activists on Saturday rejected the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-governance Order, saying it is gimmick of words to perpetuate the bureaucratic rule over the region. Labour Party Pakistan Gilgit chapter chief Advocate Ehsan Ali rejected the package and said that it would increase the sense of deprivation among the people. ‘The real powers rest with the governor, who is President’s appointee and not answerable to Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly,’ said Mr Ehsan. There is no constitutional protection to the provincial setup. Talking to Dawn Hafizur Rehman, member Northern Area Legislative Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president declared the package mere a gimmickry of words and said once again the centre was throwing dust in the eyes of people. He said a powerful governor, who would be appointed by the President, would enjoy absolute authority. He criticised that other political parties were not taken on board nor any consultation was done in formulation of this package, which was not desired by the people of the region.Chairman of his own faction Nazir Khan Naji bashed the centre and said Gilgit-Baltistan were again deceived in the name of package. He said the so-called packages could not heal the decades-old wounds of the people of this region and they need only their identification. Advocate Fidaullah, member Nala, said Islamabad and PPP-led government won hearts of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan by giving them autonomy and this would ensure that people were governed through their elected representatives. He said independent judiciary was longstanding demand of the people. The PPP member said that the new setup would strengthen democracy. Advocate Aftab Haider, PPP member of Nala, stressed the need for observing a thanksgiving day for this historic package and said the federal government had once again fulfilled the demands of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who had introduced remarkable reforms. Mr Aftab said that the package would usher in the area into a new era of prosperity. He was of the view that now Gilgit-Baltistan would be hub of economical and political activities as the package was guaranteeing social, political and economical uplift. Member Northern Area Legislative Assembly Ghulam Mohammad, also secretary general of PPP, said that the package was complete reflection of the aspiration of the people and the government had taken all members of the society on board before finalising it. Safdar Ali, spokesman for Balawaristan National Front, said his party totally rejected the package, which was mere eyewash. ‘It’s meant to detract the international community from the violation of human rights in this region,’ he added. Local journalist and political analyst, Imtiaz Ali Taj, said the package contained nothing for the people and it would only benefit the representative of the federal government who would enjoy the authority and powers. Shujaat Ali, a nationalist leader, said the centre should allow the people of Gilgit-Baltistan to govern their region. ‘The so-called provincial setup aims at concealing the human rights violations and continue the colonial control over the region,’ said Manzoor Hussain Parwana, chairman Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement Said that the so-called empowerment order was illegal and held no ground at all because Gilgit Baltistan didn’t fall under the constitutional ambit of Pakistan. He demanded an independent judiciary and constitutional assembly until the resolution of Kashmir dispute. He said the government did not take the public representatives and political leadership on board to formulate the packages while the people were expecting and demanding Azad Kashmir like setup. Zulfiqar Ali Khan adds from Hunza The nationalist parties in Hunza-Nagar termed the package ‘old wine in a new bottle’. They said through such cosmetic measures the government was playing with the legal and constitutional rights of the people. They however welcomed renaming of the region as Gilgit-Baltistan. Talking to this correspondent, Baba Jan, chief organiser of Progressive Youth Front, demanded an independent and constitutionally protected governance system for the region. He said the federal government through such packages wanted to justify and prolong its illegal occupancy of the region. The Hunza chapter of Pakistan People’s Party has appreciated the new package however shown their concern for not giving additional seats for Hunza in the Assembly. Karimullah Baig, general secretary of the local chapter of PPP, said the party would issue detailed statement after convening a special meeting regarding the package. Public opinion leaders and representatives rejected the empowerment and self-governance package and said that nothing new had been announced rather old win had been poured into a new bottle. The package was criticised and it was declared as designed to strengthen the bureaucracy and unelected forces which ruled the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

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The History of Kashmiri Pandits


The Pandit Reborn- By Jia Lal Kilam

ALI SHAH could not maintain himself long on the throne. He had struck no deep roots in the people. The bulk of the people were subjected to a forcible conversion, and though later on they reconciled themselves to the inevitable, yet for the time being the wound was fresh and the resentment alive. There were many others who, though not converted dragged their miserable existence either by paying Jazia or by passing their days in disguise. The result was a universal discontent, Whether stung by a remorse for his own misdeeds or for the mere love of travel Ali Shah planned a pilgrimage to the holy places of Islam, but on reaching Jammu he changed his mind on the advice of the king of that place and he returned back to Kashmir with a considerable force supplied to him by the latter. He had appointed his younger brother Shahi Khan to act on his behalf in his absence. Shahi Khan came out to meet him, but was defeated by the superior forces of Ali Shah. Ali Shah again ascended the throne, but was soon defeated by Shahi Khan, who mounted the throne now and took the title of Zainulabdin. That Shahi Khan would have won an easy victory shows that Ali Shah, the rightful sovereign had lost the confidence of the people.

Shahi Khan now known as Zainulabdin opened a new chapter in the annals of Muslim Kashmir. From tenth century onwards and even earlier the Muslims, particularly the Arabs, had almost monopolized the trade in the East. Arab ships went as far as China and Japan. In the fourteenth century these traders had established their colonies in South India, Ceylon, Java, Sumatra, and even in China. Their contacts with races and religions other than their own had widened their outlook. The enormous gains which they reaped from trade abroad made them keep their countries open for non-Muslim traders too. Fresh ideas poured into the Muslim lands. With the free flow of ideas which now broke through the iron ring of strict isolation, it was but natural that the Governments too in most Muslim countries became very tolerant. Poets and philosophers with a radical outlook came into being and inspite of the rigidity of the Muslim Code there came about a revolution in men’s minds. Kashmir also shared the spirit of the age. In the reign of Zainulabdin trade and commerce flourished. Kashmiri traders went as far away as Turkey and with them came new ideas and many learned men. Zainulabdin with his receptive mind fully partook of this new spirit and became very tolerant. He turned his attention to the establishment of real peace in the country. He dealt with lawless elements with an iron hand, and strengthened the defences of the frontiers. This gave a great deal of encouragement to trade, and with the establishment of safe communications learned people and traders and industrialists from all over Asia began coming over to the country. Many industries were started and above all agriculture was made a special concern of the State. Gigantic irrigation schemes were undertaken and completed which exist to the present day. Where ever one may go in Kashmir, he will, in spite of the efflux of five centuries, come across with the name of this king. Zainagir Zainapur, Zainadub, Zaina Lank, Zaina Ganga and Zaina Kadal bear eloquent testimony to the great and glorious rule of this King.

It has already been noticed that the Hindu population was totally uprooted. An overwhelming majority of the people was converted forcibly, though many there were who accepted the new creed with their free will. A good number of Brahmans had left the country and many more were passing their days in ignominy and wretchedness only on payment of Jazia. But they could not openly declare themselves as Hindus nor couId they affix their Hindu mark on their foreheads, much less could they pray in their temples or perform any religious ceremony. But with Zainulabdin coming to power the Brahmans got a respite. Again we find them practising some arts, notably medicine. In this useful art they had achieved from times immemorial a mastery which they had maintained even in spite of the vicissitudes of times through which they had to pass. Their fame began to re-assert itself and in course of time it reached the royal ears as well. Zainulabdin got a poisonous boil which gave him much trouble. The court physicians tried their skill but failed, Jona Raja, the historian says “As flowers are not obtainable in the month of Magha on account of the mischief by snow, even so physicians who knew about poisons could not at that time be found in the country owing to Governmental oppression. The servants of the king at last found out Shri Bhatta who knew the antidotes of poisons and was well-versed in the art of healing, but out of fear he, for a long time delayed to come. When he arrived, the king gave him encouragement and he completely cured the king of the poisonous boil.” The king wanted to make munificent gifts to Shri Bhatta. But the latter refused to accept any. But when pressed hard, he made a request which was to the effect that the Jazia on the Brahmans be remitted, and opportunities be assured to them to develop their mental and moral resources without any let or hinderance. The selflessness displayed by the physician Shri Bhatta had its effect upon the mind of the king. The request was accepted and Jazia was remitted. The Brahman was freed from the position of inferiority to which he was relegated by the previous kings.

Shri Bhatta’s selflessness and the acceptance of his request by the king proved a land-mark in the history of Hinduism in Kashmir. Shri Bhatta’s attitude shows that the will to live as a group by themselves was very predominent amongst the Brahmans which was shared by Shri Bhatta in an equal measure with the whole lot of them. Freed from the shackles of Jazia and other handicaps the Brahmans started their own reorganization and rehabilitation. By now the Persian had become the official language. The desire to share office with others could not be fulfilled without a study of Persian. The Brahmans who were poppularly known as Bhattas took to the study of Persian and in a brief span of a few years they acquired a mastery over this language. But the Sanskrit learning and their religious ceremonies were not forgotten because this was the only distinctive feature to keep them alive as a separate group. There was now practically only one caste, that of the Brahmans which represented Hinduism in Kashmir. From this did now ” Lords Spiritual and Temporal” again take their birth, just as in the past the Lords spiritual and Temporal sprang out of the vis (populace.) The caste was divided further into two sub-castes, the Karkuns and the Bhasha Bhatta or Bhacha Bhat, the former included amongst its fold those who studied Persian and entered Government service and the latter those who studied Bhasha, i.e., Sanskrit and took charge of the religious affairs of the community. But how was the division of labour to be made? It was decided that a daughter’s son of a person should be made a Bhasha Bhatta to administer to the religious needs of his maternal grandfather’s family. The arrangement was simple enough, as it began involving ho loss of status to the Bhaska Bhatta, but in course of time this arrangement became responsible for the creation of two distinct classes with a distinctive culture and mode of life and habits with the result that though there is no legal or religious bar, yet the two classes seldom inter-marry these days. In the beginning the Bhasha Bhattas prided at having been given the exalted position of the custodian of the religion and learning of the country and may be that they were looked at with great esteem and regard by the Karkuns. But for his maintenance the Bhasha Bhatta was dependent upon the Karkuns. In course of time they lost their importance. The rise and fall of the Karkun made a corresponding increase or decrease in Basha Bhatta’s economic position. Gradually the majority of the Bhasha Bhatta’s became like the parts of a soul-less machine destined to perform ceremonies in a mechanical manner in lieu of a pittance they eked out of the munificence of the Karkun, but some of them maintained their highest traditions, and their fame for great learning and culture resounded from one end to the other. But socially, because of their economic dependence upon them, they in course of time came to be looked down by the Karkuns. Thus the Kashmiri Pandit took his birth in his modern shape, though till then the name Kashmiri Pandit was not coined to describe this community which was described as Bhatta. Even now a Kashmiri Pandit at home describes himself as a Bhatta and it is by this name that he is described by others in Kashmir.

Having cured the king and refused to accept a reward, Shri Bhatta rose very high in the official favour. He was made the court physician and Afsar-ul-ataba, the Head of the Medical Department. His influence both with the king and his own people was very great. This influence he utilised in the rehabilitation of his people. The king was all prepared for this. He wanted peace and prosperity. Jona Raja says ” As the lion does not attack other animals in the hermitage of saints, so the Turshkas who were very much alarmed did not now oppress the Brahmans as they had done before. Brilliant as the sun the king bestowed his favours on men of merit (Brahmans) whose very existence had been endangered previously.” The result was that many Brahmans who were forcibly converted during previous times were reconverted without any molestation. Those who had fled away came back in large numbers. The king gave them rent free lands and besides imported a number of Brahmans from Jagannath and Yogis from Kurukhshetra. The Brahmans were free to practise their religion and some temples that were damaged during the previous rule were repaired. Sanskrit books that were destroyed were sent for from India. Many Sanskrit books were translated into Persian and similarly Persian books into Sanskrit. A free kitchen was established for Yogis and other Sanyasis and Pathshalas were established for the propagation of Sanskrit learning. In short no stone was left unturned in giving fullest relief to the Brahmans. No wonder that the Sultan came to be known and is even now known as Bhatta Shah i. e., the king of Bhattas. The Brahmans repaired to the Sultan’s Court with their petty grievances and complaints and like the Hindu kings of old the Sultan listened and redressed them. In Zainpur and Zainagir rent free lands were given to them.

The Brahman, the Pandit or the Bhatta proved a source of great strength to the Sultan. In intellectual field he enriched his court, and in the land assessment work his services were unique. The land settlement records were placed in charge of and prepared by the Brahmans. The village administration was totally in Brahman’s hands and being the only literate man in the village he was a useful member of the village community. This accounts for the existence of Pandits though in very small numbers in villages with a predominant Muslim population in spite of the vicissitudes through which he had to go in course of centuries that rolled by from the time Zainulabdin held sway. With his apptitude for literary pursuits, the Brahmans took to the study of Persian and within a short time acquired a sound and workable knowledge of the language. This made their entry into subordinate services both easy and possible. Jona Raja and Shri Vara, the two Hindu chroniclers, have bestowed unbounded praise upon the Sultan for his open partiality for the Brahmans and their sacred books. A sort of Research Department was established which amongst others performed the task of translating Sanskrit books into Persian and vice versa. This opened the portals of Sanskrit learning to the Muslim savants and the Brahmans themselves learnt Persian and Arabic. Both the communities came to respect the learning of each other. A new culture now began to grow which was the outcome of a synthesis in the mode of thought and way of life followed by the two communities. Saints and sages now appeared who preached oneness of God and brotherhood of his creatures. Common places of worship sprang into existence where both the Brahman and the Sheikh prayed. A common poetry sprang up in Kashmiri language which was sung by both the Hindus and Muslims. The language was beautified further by an admixture of Sanskrit and Persian words used to describe highest ideas pertaining to the mystic faith which all of them shared copiously. In spite of the constant changes which took place on the political horizon after Zainulabdin’s reign there came about little change in the life of the people.

At the top many Kashmiri Brahmans came to prominence. Some of them were in constant attendance on the Sultan whom they described in their writings as Suratrana Shri Jainulavadena. He listened with great pleasure to recitations from Nilmat Purana and other Shastras such as Vashishta Brahama Darshana. Shrivara the historian says, “The king heard me recite the Vashishta Brahma Darshna composed by Valmiki which is known as the way to salvation and when he heard the annotations he was pervaded by a feeling of tranquility. He remembered them even in his dreams.” The influence of these Brahmans was so great that he forbade the killing of fish in cettain tanks and even stopped cow-killing, and also meat eating on some days. No wonder that a Muslim historian deplcres that ” the king imported back all the practices of the infidels which were once vanished from his land.” But the king, unmindful of the Muslim historian, trod his Fath which led to his eternal credit and greatness of the country.

In his reign the country witnessed an unprecedented prosperity. Agriculture reached its highest peak. The produce was as much as it was never witnessed ever since, not even under the glorious rule of the Moghuls. The produce of Shali alone was 774 lacs of Khirwars (154 lacs of maunds). The land settlement including agriculture was in charge of the Brahmans. For these operations the country was divided into two provinces. Each province was placed in charge of a Qanungo whose duty it was to look after the general welfare of irrigation and to prepare settlement records. Madho Kaul, was put in charge of northern province and, Ganesh Kaul in charge of the southern. They both were responsible to an inter- provincial head known as Sadar Qanungo by name Gopala Kaul. Under their supervision huge irrigation schemes were undertaken. L al Kuhl, Shah Kuhl exist even up to this day and feed thousands of acres of land. As was but natural these three Brahmans recruited on subordinate posts of Patwaris and others, men from their own community. The Patwaris prepared village records. This class of Patwaris lives upto this date. Ever since they have been holding these posts in heredity, the son following the father and so on. Sultans came and Sultans went, some of them cruel harsh and oppressive to the Brahmans now known as Pandits, but the Pandit Patwari on account of the usefulness of his job was left unmolested. There were many other Pandits who filled the ministerial ranks or waited upon the king as courtiers. The notable amongst them was Shri Bhatta himself. He was the head of the State physicians and held a ministerial rank. The Sultan was highly kind to him. As already seen, Shri Bhatta was indeed a deserving person. Shri Vara the historian writes that it was due to Shri Bhatta that Brahmans rose high. About him it is stated that

” Shri Bhatta was a Wazir of the king and was very high in his favours. On his death the Sultan not only expressed his great sorrow but settled an early endowment of one crore dinars on his sons.”

A short description of the Pandits who rose high in his reign may not be out of place. Sadasheo Bayu was the royal astronomer, and astrologer and held a very high rank. So did Tilkacharya, a great Budhist scholar. Soma Pandit was a very high dignatory and held a very high and distinguished position at the court and was besides, in charge of the Translation Department. He was greatly gifted for this job on account of his mastery of both Sanskrit and Persian languages. He wrote exquisite poetry in Kashmiri and was well-versed in Persian and Tibetan languages besides Sanskrit. He was the author of a book Jaina Charitra which gives an account of the Sultan’s reign. He was a skilful musician and has written a book on this subject. He translated many Persian books into Sanskrit and besides this, Mahabharata and Raj Taranigni were for the first time translated into Persian under his supervision and direction. He was a great favourite of the king. Sumitra Bhatta was an astrologer of repute who also was in constant attendance at the Court. Rupya Bhatta was another astrologer very much honoured by the king about whom it is recorded that “he could without the labour of calculation, but by merely observing the course of the planets in the past year, know their position in the year to come.” Karpur Bhatta was a physician of renown to avail of whose treatment men from distant lands came to Kashmir. Shree Ramanand renowned scholar of his time wrote an exposition of Mahabhashya. Yodha Bhatta was a great poet in Kashmiri language. He wrote Jaina Prakash and presented it to the king who ” in token of his appreciation bestowed many favours on him.” Bhatta Avatara (or Bhodi Bhatta) as others call him, was a great favourite of the king. He had Committed to memory the whole of the Shah Nama for which the king had a great liking. The duty of Bhatta Avatara was to recite Shah Nama for the delectation of the king. It is said that the king got unbounded pleasure from his recitations. This man was a great musician and has written a treatise on music. Rupya Bhanda was in charge of the palace decorations and Jaya Bhatta maintained the king’s private accounts, and the king’s charities were distributed through him. Jona Raja and Shri Vara were the two historians. The former assisted the Sultan as an assessor in deciding the cases laid before him. Shivara was a great musician who was very much in king’s favour. There were other Pandits also who were given strictly confidential diplomatic missions to execute. In short the Pandits carved for themselves a place in the body politic.

In the foregoing pages we have seen as to how the Pandits again rehabilitated and reorganized themselves. They studied Persian and in a short period of a few years they acquired a mastery over this language and by their useful services they acquired an influence and prestige which put them on par with any favoured class in the realm. It is evidene that the atrocities which were perpetrated on them during the previous rules had not robbed them of their stamina. They possessed it in abundant measure. Those who could not withstand the trials to which time put them changed their faith but those who persisted and went through the ordeal of fire and death came out unseathed and with their stamina undiminished. Zainulabdin breathed his last in the year 1474 A. D.

Though with his passing away the Pandits lost much of their prestige and greatness, yet the structure of society which they had built during his benevolent rule lasted for long and provided them shelter during the vicissitudes that befell them during their chequered career. The vicissitudes they had to go through were many and numerous: vicissitudes that almost brought them to the brink of destruction, but they survived and survive till today

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The Kashmir -History


The Kashmir -History

Kashmiri Pandits who have left the Saffron Valley, feel the pain and agony of migration.

Myth and reality move together in the Saffron Valley of mystic splendor. The reclamation of land from Satisar created certain complications. The Saraswati River that flowed into the eastern Punjab, Rajasthan, Sind and other parts of Indian subcontinent suddenly got dried up. Geologists are of the opinion that all those streams, which fed Satisar and form the source of water for the Saraswati river, mostly ran underground. Once the cleft materialized at Baramulla, the water of the Satisar flowed out in an opposite direction, leaving the Saraswati basin dry. The Aryan Saraswat Brahmans, who used to live on the banks of Saraswati river, migrated to the Kashmir Valley to continue their austerities. With the passage of time these people came to be known as ‘Bhattas’ in Kashmir. The word is derivative of Brahman. Now they are called the Kashmiri Pandits or the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir, who believe in the mystic combination of Shaivism, Kali Bhakti, Shakta worship and Tantra.
History of the Kashmiri Pandits is the history of Kashmir since unknown millennia. They are associated with its society, culture, civilization, customs, traditions, myths and realities. The rise of Buddhism and reactions by Brahmans gave rise to a long struggle between the two rival ideologies. The Naga (Snake) worship was also the dominant religion in the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. However, Buddhism flourished in the Valley during the reign of Durnadeo, Simhadeo, Sundersen, Ashoka and Kanishka. The great Buddhist council was held at Kanishpur in Kashmir during the rule of Kanishka and it was presided over by two eminent scholars — Asvaghosha and Vasumitra. About 500 monks from different parts of the subcontinent attended the same. Nagarjuna , a Bodhisattva and the greatest philosopher of Buddhism, lived in Kashmir. During the reign of Abhimanu, a number of people were converted to Buddhism. It was first struggle of the Kashmiri Brahmans for their survival. A number of Kashmiri scholars – Kumarajiva (AD 384-417), Shakyashri Badhra (AD 405), Ratnavera, Shama Bhatta (5th Cen AD) and others went to China and Tibet to preach Buddhism. However, the Brahmans regained their supremacy during the reign of Nara I . The struggle between Buddhism and Brahmanism came to an end with the emergence of modern Hinduism. A period of comparative historical validity began with the establishment of the Karkuta rule in AD 627. Avantivarman (AD 855-833) is believed to be the first Vaishnavite ruler of Kashmir. During his rule there was a tremendous cultural development in the Valley. The great Shaiva philosophers of this period were Kayyatacharya, Somananda, Muktakantha Swamin, Shiva Swamin, Ananda Vardhana and Kallata.
The struggle between the Brahmans and other castes, such as Kayasthas, began during the reign of Shankara Varman. The authority of the Brahmans was broken and the sacred character of their citadels was violated. However, the Shaivite thought and philosophy flourished. Pradyumana Bhatta, Utpalacharya, Rama Kantha, Prajnarjuna, Lachaman Gupta and Mahadeva Bhatta have made a tremendous contribution to this philosophy. During the regime of Lohara dynasty, Kashmir came into contact with the Muslim invaders who attacked India. When Mahmud Ghazni annexed the Punjab, most of the tribes on the borders of Kashmir embraced Islam. At that time, the Valley was ruled by Sangram Raja (AD 1003-1028). Even after their conversion to Islam, these people continued to visit Kashmir – as traders, wanderers and even missionaries. There are historical evidences that some of these tribals settled in the Valley and made some venture into propagating their new religion.
Harsha (AD 1089-1101), was a man of extravagant habits and a jumble of contraries. He robbed the temple treasures and melt idols of gold and silver to tide over his financial crisis. Before him two other kings, Jalauka and Kalasa, employed the same approach of plundering the temples and melting the images of gold and silver to augment their depleted treasuries. Harsha also employed Muslim generals, who are called Turushkas by Kalhana, for the first time in the history of Kashmir. Now Muslims as a class appeared in the political field and began to consolidate its roots. Bhikshachara, a descendant of Harsha, organized a cavalry force mainly consisting of the Muslims. During the reign of Gopadeva (AD 1171-1180), the Brahmans consolidated their position. But the Lavanya tribe shattered their roots once again. The Damaras, Lavanyas and other tribes never allowed the Brahmans to monopolize. In the reign of Jassaka (AD 1180-1198), two Brahmans – Kshuksa and Bhima, endeavored to capture the throne. But it was the fear of Damaras or feudal lords that prevented them. Ramadeva (AD 1252-1273) humiliated those Brahmans who had helped him in his coronation. They conspired against him but could not succeed. A reign of terror, loot and plunder was let loose against them. Many Brahmans were killed and others crushed barbarously. This was the first direct assault against them in the history of Kashmir. To save themselves they cried “ Na Batoham” (I am not a Bhatta). The Kashmiri Pandits are even now taunted as Bhattas and Dalli Bhattas.
To counter the supremacy of the Brahmans, the rulers of Kashmir encouraged the influx of Muslims into the Valley. During the reign of Suhadeva (AD 1301-1320) many Muslim adventurers came to Kashmir. The chief among them was a Muslim missionary- Bulbul Shah. Two others were Shahmir from Swat and Rinchana from Tibet. Shahmir came in AD 1313 along with his numerous relations. Suhadeva granted him a jagir in a village near Baramulla. Ramachandra, the Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of Kashmir, employed Rinchana and granted him jagir in a village in the Lar Valley. These two adventurers were instrumental in the establishment of the Muslim rule in Kashmir. Another adventurer who received Suhadeva’s patronage was Lankar Chak.
Dulucha, a Tartar chief from Central Asia, invaded Kashmir with 60,000 strong horsemen. Suhadeva tried to induce him to retreat by paying him off a large sum of money. For this purpose he imposed heavy taxes even upon the Brahmans who had never before been taxed. But Dulucha refused to retreat and struck terror. He ravaged the Valley with fire and sword. Monstrous miseries were inflicted upon the people including the Brahmans. According to Baharistan – i -Shahi, “Dulucha and his soldiers killed everyone they could find . People who had fled to the hills and forests were pursued and captured. Men were killed, women and children were reduced to slavery and sold to the merchants of Khita (Turkistan), whom the invaders had brought with them. All the houses in the cities and the villages were burnt. The invaders ate as much of the corn and rice as they could . Whatever was left, they burnt and destroyed. In this way the whole of the Kashmir Valley was trampled under foot”. Suhadeva fled to Kishtwar, leaving the Kingdom to the cruel aggressors. Dulucha stayed here for eight months and took about 50,000 Brahmans with him as slaves. But all the troops and slaves perished while crossing the Devsar pass. It was a terrible experience for the legendary Kashmiri Pandits.
Dulucha went away from the Valley but left it haunted. The cursed people had lost all faith in their ruler- Suhadeva. Taking the advantage of the chaos and confusion, Rinchana- the refugee from Tibet, occupied the throne with the help of some chiefs . He killed his benefactor, Ramachandra, in the fort of Lar by treacherous means and married his daughter, Kota Rani.
Rinchana, a pseudo- Buddhist, wanted to get initiated into the Brahmanical fold to strengthen his political position. At that time, Shaivism was the most extensively practised religion in the Valley. So he called Sri Devaswami, the religious head of the Shaivas, to indoctrinate himself into the Hindu religion. Devaswami called a secret meeting of the prominent Pandits, who refused to accept Rinchana into Hinduism because of his low birth. Jonaraja says,” The King asked Devaswami to initiate him in the mantras of Shiva, but as he was Bhautta (Tibetian), Devaswami feared that the King was unworthy of such initiation and did not favour him”. This was a monstrous blunder on the part of Pandits, which turned the course of history. In fact, the Brahmans were not ready to share their privileges with an outsider. Thus deflected, Rinchana wanted to establish a uniform faith of warring sects and creeds in Kashmir with himself as its head. But Shahmir and Bulbul Shah manipulated his conversion to Islam. Ramachandra’s son, Ravanachandra, and many others also embraced Islam. A Muslim ruling class came into existence. In this way the Kashmiri Pandits were responsible for the destruction of their own ascendency and the ruin of their very existence. They are tremendously paying for it till today.
People of inferior origin and subordinate castes were attracted to Islam by gradual methods. This newly established Muslim class slowly consolidated its position and employed various methods to propagate the new faith. However, the Brahmans put a brave front and resisted the tide. After the death of Rinchana (AD 1326), Udyanadeva, the brother of Suhadeva, was installed on the throne of Kashmir and Shahmir was appointed as Commander-in-Chief.
Achala, a Turkish chief, invaded Kashmir during the reign of Udyanadeva, laying waste the territories he passed through. The king fled to Tibet. Kota Rani – the queen, faced the invader, procured his death and saved the kingdom. In this operation , Shahmir played the dominant role. Jonaraja says, “Strange that this believer in Allah became the saviour of the people. As a dried up river allows men to cross it and gives them shelter on its banks, even so this believer in Allah, calm and active, protected the terrified subjects.” Shahmir’s influence increased tremendously and he further strengthened his position by entering into matrimonial relations with the powerful nobles in Kashmir. A subversive struggle was born between the tolerant Hinduism and the militant Islam.
In AD 1339, after defeating Kota Rain by a foul strategem and procuring her death, Shahmir ascended the throne of Kashmir under the name of Sultan Shamas-ud-Din (The Light of the Religion – Islam). He got khutaba read and the coins struck to his name. Islam became the court religion. Shahmir became the legitimate author and architect of Muslim rule in Kashmir. With the establishment of the new regime Muslim missionaries, preachers, sayyids and saints penetrated into the Valley. Sayyid Jalal-ud-Din, Sayyid Taj-ud-Din, Sayyid Hussain Simnani, Sayyid Masud and Sayyid Yusuf came to Kashmir to avoid the intended massacre by Timur. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani (Shah Hamadan) entered Kashmir with 700 sayyids; and, his son, Mir Muhammad Hamadani, with 300 more. They endured in the Valley under royal protection and disseminated the message of Islam. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani (AD 1314-AD 1385) wrote in “ Zakhirat’ul Maluk ” :
1. Muslim ruler shall not allow fresh constructions of Hindu temples and shrines for image worship.
2. No repair shall be executed to the existing Hindu temples and shrines.
3. They shall not proffer Muslim names.
4. They shall not ride a harnessed horse.
5. They shall not move about with arms.
6. They shall not wear rings with diamonds.
7. They shall not deal in or eat bacon.
8. They shall not exhibit idolatrous images.
9. They shall not built houses in the neighbourhood of Muslims.
10. They shall not dispose of their dead in the neighbourhood of Muslim graveyards, nor weep or wail over their dead.
11. They shall not deal in or buy Muslim slaves.
12. No Muslim traveller shall be refused lodging in the Hindu temples and shrines where he shall be treated as a guest for three days by non-Muslims.
13. No non-Muslim shall act as a spy in the Muslim state.
14. No problem shall be created for those non-Muslims who, of their own will, show their readiness for Islam.
15. Non-Muslims shall honour Muslims and shall leave their assembly whenever the Muslims enter the premises.
16. The dress of non-Muslims shall be different from that of Muslims to distinguish themselves.
This naturally caused animosity among the Brahmans and resulted in frail rebellion during the reign of Shihab-ud-Din (AD 1354-1373). In order to break the upheaval among the Hindus and to make them prostrate, the Sultan turned his attention towards their temples. All the temples in Srinagar, including the one at Bijbehara, were wrecked to terrorize the poor Kashmiri Pandits. It seems that by this time, the sultans of Kashmir were perfectly islamized as a result of their contacts, interactions and intercourses with the sayyids. These sayyids came here as absconders in search of safe harbours, but manoeuvered the events for their own cause and fanatic iconoclastic zeal. The Hindus began to feel deserted and alienated in their own land. To consolidate their rule, sultans institutionalized the “policy of extermination” to eradicate all traces of Hinduism in any form. However, the Kashmiri Pandits stuck to their own religion and traditions, ignoring the atrocities, barbarism and cruelties of the privileged ruling class. But there were many from other castes who, either by conviction or in order to gain royal favour, embraced Islam. These new converts were looked down upon by the Kashmiri Pandits as traitorous and treacherous, with no loyalty for time-honored values. This gave rise to a new class rivalry. Suha Bhatt, who after embracing Islam took the name of Saif-ud-Din, became the leader of the fresh converts during the reign of Sikandar (AD 1389-1413).
Sikandar- the Butshikan, was bigoted with fanatic religious zeal to spread Islam in the entire Valley. This fanaticism was stimulated by Mir Muhammad Hamadani. Suha Bhatt – the convert, was appointed Prime Minister by Sikandar and both hatched a deadly conspiracy to persecute the Hindus and enforce upon the Nizam-i-Mustaffa. Jonaraja says, “ The Sultan forgot his kingly duties and took delight day and night in breaking images … He broke images of Martanda, Vishaya, Ishana, Chakrabrit and Tripureshvara …… There was no city, no town, no village, no wood where Turushka left the temples of the gods unbroken.” According to Hassan (History of Kashmir), “ This country possessed from the times of Hindu rajas many temples which were like the wonders of the world. Their workmanship was so fine and delicate that one found himself bewildered at their sight. Sikandar, goaded by feelings of bigotry, destroyed them and levelled them with the earth and with the material built many mosques and khanqahs. In the first instance he turned his attention towards the great Martand temple built by Ramdev (the temple was rebuilt by King Lalitaditya, AD 724-760) on Mattan Kareva. For one year he tried to demolish it, but failed. At last in sheer dismay, he dug out stones from its base and having stored enough wood in their place, set fire to it. The gold gilt paintings on its walls were totally destroyed and the walls surrounding its premises were demolished. Its ruins even now strike wonder in men’s minds. At Bijbehara, three hundred temples including the famous Vijiveshwara temple, which was partly damaged by Shihab-ud-Din, were destroyed. With the material of Vijiveshwara temple, a mosque was built and on its site a khanqah, which is even now known as Vijiveshwara Khanqah.” The stones and bricks which once configurated a marvelous and splendid temple or monastery, now hold up mosques. Hassan further adds, “ Sikandar meted out greatest oppression to the Hindus. It was notified in the Valley that if a Hindu does not become a Muslim, he must leave the country or be killed. As a result some of the Hindus fled away, some accepted Islam and many Brahmans consented to be killed and gave their lives. It is said that Sikandar collected, by these methods, six maunds of sacred thread form Hindu converts and burnt them. Mir Muhammad Hamadani, who was a witness of all this vicious brutality, barbarism and vandalism, at last advised him to desist from the slaughter of Brahmans and told him to impose jazia (religious tax) instead of death upon them. All the Hindu books of learning were collected and thrown into Dal Lake and were buried beneath stones and earth.” Sikandar issued orders that no man should wear the tilak mark on his forehead and no woman be allowed to perform sati. He also insisted on breaking and melting of all the gold and silver idols of gods and coin the metal into money. An attempt was made to destroy the caste of the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans by force and those who resisted were subject to heavy fines. Farishta says, “ Many of the Brahmans, rather than abandon their religion or their county, poisoned themselves; some emigrated from their native homes, while a few escaped the evil of banishment by becoming Muhammedans”. To strictly enforce the Nizam-i-Mustaffa, Sikandar established the office of Shaikh-ul-Islam.
According to W.R. Lawrence, the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir were given three choices-death, conversion or exile. “Many fled, many were converted and many were killed, and it is said that this thorough monarch (Sikandar) burnt seven maunds of sacred threads of the murdered Brahmans”. As for the statements of Hassan and Lawrence, six maunds of sacred threads of converts and seven maunds of murdered Pandits were burnt. The number of people, to whom these thirteen maunds of sacred threads belonged, might have been tremendously colossal. A mammoth number of the Saraswat Pandits also went into exile, causing the first disastrous mass exodus of the community. When Suha Bhatt- the convert, came to know that many Brahmans were leaving Kashmir, he tried to check their exodus and ordered the frontier guards not to allow any one to cross the borders. The unfortunate Pandits caught while crossing the border were awarded severe punishments. Even the converts were required to pay jazia as they were suspected of secretly clinging to their old religion.
Not only Sikandar- the Butshikan, but Suha Bhatta – the convert, also was responsible for this barbarous, murderous and cruel approach towards the mythical Kashmiri Pandits. Jonaraja says, “ Suha Bhatta- the convert, after demolishing the temples felt the satisfaction, and with the help of sayyids, ulema and newly converts tried to destroy the caste of the people… the illustrious Brahmans declared that they would die rather than lose their caste and religion, and Suha Bhatta – the convert, subjected them to a heavy fine, jazia, because they held to their caste and religion.” There is no parallel of this religious persecution in the history of the subcontinent.
Ali Shah – the tyrant (AD 1413-1430), son of Sikandar- the Butshikan, during his short rule of six years, carried on his father’s 24-year tyrant reign with homicides, conversions, tyranny and enforced jazia. Suha Bhatta – the convert, who retained the prime ministership continued his earlier crimes and atrocities against the Kashmiri Pandits. Jonaraja gives a graphic account of the plight of the illustrious Kashmiri Pandits in the draconian reign of Ali Shah. He says,” Suha Bhatta- the convert, passed the limit by levying fine, jazia, on the twice – born. This evil-minded man forbade ceremonies and processions on the new moon. He became envious that the Brahmans who had become fearless would keep up their caste by going over to foreign countries, he therefore ordered posting of squads on the roads, not to allow passage to any one without a passport. Then as the fisherman torments fish, so this low born man tormented the twice-born in this country. The legendary Brahmans burnt themselves in the flaming fire through fear of conversion. Some Brahmans killed themselves by taking poison, some by the rope and others by drowning themselves. Others again by falling from a precipice. The country was contaminated by hatred and the king’s favourites could not prevent one in a thousand from committing suicide …. A multitude of celebrated Brahmans, who prided in their caste, fled from the country through bye-roads as the main roads were closed. Even as men depart from this world, so did the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir flee to foreign countries. The difficult countries through which they passed, the scanty food, painful illness and the torments of hell during life time removed from the minds of the Kashmiri Pandits the fears of hell. Oppressed by various calamities such as encounter with the enemy, fear of snakes, fierce heat and scanty food; many Brahmans perished on the way and thus obtained salvation.” This was the second miserable mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits. Jonaraja calls it “ Chandh-Dandh” – violent, cruel, brutal and horrible punishment, for the abandoned and vulnerable Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir. History repeated itself again in AD 1989-1990.
The brutal religious persecution of the Kashmiri Pandits has been borne testimony to by almost all the Muslim historians. Hassan, Fauq and Nizam – ud – Din have condemned these excesses in unscathing terms. It was the reign of terror and homicide. The majority of the Hindus were converted forcibly and a large number had left the Valley. Yet many more were passing their days in the most deplorable conditions only on payment of jazia. The allowances of the Brahman academicians were stopped to destroy the ancient learning, literature, education, art and culture. These enlightened intellectuals had to move from door to door for food, like dogs. One can’t imagine a higher level of mental torture!
The Brahmans, even after paying jazia, could not openly declare themselves as Hindus nor could they apply tilak on their foreheads. Neither could they pray in their temples or perform any religious ceremony. Even then they did not forget their past and rich tradition. As the custodians of their extraordinary cultural heritage, they wrote the illuminating treatises on the stupendous Kashmir Shaivism, colossal literature, splendid art, marvelous music, grammar and medicine.
Sultan Zainul Abidin-the Budshah (Great Monarch), ruled Kashmir from AD 1420 to 1460. The son of Sultan Sikandar – the Butshikan, and the brother of Sultan Ali Shah- the tyrant, Zainul Abidin followed the policy of tolerance, endurance, patience, sympathy and broad mindedness. He recalled the Kashmiri Pandits who had left the Valley during the rule of Sikandar and Ali Shah. Jazia was abolished and the Brahmans were given their earlier positions in administration. Demolished temples were rebuilt and new ones constructed. Two temples were built by Zainul Abidin at Ishbar, Srinagar. The Sultan also participated in the Hindu festivals. A large number of houses were built for the widows of the Brahmans who had suffered during the reign of terror. Zainul Abidin stopped the killing of cows, restricted the eating of beef and catching of fish in the sacred springs of the Hindus. Even the personal law as laid down in the Shastras was adopted for the Hindus. The legenday Kashmiri Pandits were resurrected and resuscitated. Ferguson observes that indeed history has very few examples where the policy of a father was so completely reversed by the son. Even the Mughal monarch, Akbar – the great , capitalized on the religious policy of Zainul Abidin. But the conservative and dogmatic Muslims reacted very sharply to this policy of toleration and mutual coexistence . According to Mulla Bahauddin, “ The Sultan reimported practices of infidels which had once become extinct”.
But the honey-moon of the Kashmiri Pandits proved very brief. During the reign of Haider Shah (AD 1470-1472) – the prodigal son of the great Zainul Abidin, Kashmiri Pandits once again suffered tremendously. Under the evil influence of Purni- the Hindu barber, Haider Shah adopted various corrupt and cruel practices against the Saraswat Brahmans. The repression was so terrible that the tolerant Pandits lost their cool. Hassan says, “ the patience of the Pandits having reached the breaking point, they rose in a body and set fire to some mosques which were built with the material of the Hindu temples once demolished by Sikandar. The rising was quelled by the sword; many more Pandits were drowned in rivers; and, loot and plunder was practiced with unbridled licence.” Srivara also illustrates the cruel and inhuman treatment given to the mythical Kashmiri Saraswat Brahmans, “ many Pandits struggled and threw themselves in river Vitasta to be drowned there. The arms and noses of many people were cut off, even of those Brahmans who were king’s servants.” Ravage and arson of the sacred places continued during the indifferent rule of Hassan Khan (AD 1476-1487), when the real authority was with the gang of three persons- Shams Chak, Shringhar Raina and Musa Raina. The pressure exerted on the illustrious Kashmiri Pandits was so barbarous that, in order to save themselves from merciless brutality, some of them gave up their caste and screamed – “ I am not a Bhatta, I am not a Bhatta” ( I am not a Hindu). They went in strict seclusion to avoid any argument or controversy.
Mir Shams-ud-Din Iraqi, who visited the Saffron Valley twice in AD 1477 and 1496, was the founder of Nurbakhshiya order (Shia sect) in Kashmir. His mission was the vigorous propagation of his faith. So, not contented with peaceful preachings, violent methods were employed. In this adventure , Iraqi was helped by the homicidal creature and most dreaded tyrant- Malik Musa Raina, a convertee, whose original name was Soma Chandra. Not only the poor vulnerable Brahmans, but the Sunni Muslims were also violently converted to Shia sect by murderous techniques. This dogmatic fanaticism even crippled the Sunni ruler of Kashmir, Fateh Shah (AD 1510-1517). A khanqah was built at Zadibal (Srinagar) by Iraqi, which became the nucleus of Shia concentration.
Kashmiri Pandits suffered ferociously under the instructions of Shams-ud-Din Iraqi and Musa Raina. About 24,000 of them were forcibly converted to Shia sect of Islam. Iraqi had even issued orders that everyday about 1500 to 2000 Brahmans be brought to his doorsteps, remove their sacred threads, administer Kalima to them, circumcise them and make them eat beef. These decrees were ferociously and brutally carried out. The Hindu religious scriptures from 7th century AD onwards and about 18 magnificent temples were destroyed, property confiscated and ladies abused. Thousands of Brahmans killed themselves to evade this horrific barbarism and thousands migrated to other places, resulting in their third tragic mass exodus from the Saffron Valley of Kashmir. Those who stayed behind were not only forced to pay jazia, but their noses and ears were chopped off. To escape the tremendous pain and agony, they cried. “I am not a Hindu.” After Kashmir , the next destination of Iraqi for war against so-called infidelity was Kargil. It is now a Shia –dominated area and there are frequent sectarian clashes between them and the Buddhists.
In AD 1519, about ten thousand Kashmiri Pandits died during pilgrimage to Harmukh Ganga, where they had gone to immerse the ashes of those eight hundred Hindus who had been massacred during Ashura a year before. Poet-historian Suka says about this cataclysm, “ Ganga was oppressed with hunger, as it was after a long time that she had devoured bones; she surely devoured the men also who carried the bones.” It was after a gap of many years that the people were allowed to go on a pilgrimage to Harmukh lake, which ended in the most devastating tragedy.
Qazi Chak, the founder of Chak rule in Kashmir (AD 1553-1586), carried on ferocious religious policy and made conversion of many Hindus to Shia sect of Islam. According to Suka, one thousand cows were used to be killed everyday without any opposition under the orders of the Chak rulers, who were Shias, just to injure the religious sentiments of the Kashmiri Pandits. These celebrated and highly educated Aryan Saraswat Brahmans were made the objects of laughter and reproach. They were publically taunted, abused and humiliated. The last Chak ruler, Yaqub Chak, had a bigoted zeal for the propagation of Shia sect and planned mass conversion of the Hindus. However, he could not administer his criminal designs because of the Mughal annexation.
Akbar was tremendously influenced by the amazing moral supremacy of the Kashmiri Pandits. Abul Fazl records in Ain-i-Akbari, “ the most respectable class in this country (Kashmir) is that of the Pandits, who, notwithstanding their need for freedom from the bonds of tradition and custom, are the true worshippers of God. They do not loosen their tongue of calumny against those not of their faith, nor beg, nor importune. They employ themselves in planting fruit trees and are generally a source of inspiration for others”. The great Mughal Emperor abolished jazia and other unjust taxes imposed upon the Hindus. He also evinced great interest in the rehabilitation of the Pandits. Suka says, “ The Emperor announced that he would without delay reward those who would respect the Brahmans in Kashmir and that he would instantly pull down the houses of those who would demand the annual tribute from them.” The greatness of Akbar lies in his magnificent and fascinating policy of religious tolerance. Jahangir and Shah Jahan were not so tolerant. But their religious enthusiasm cannot be termed as fanatic. During this period, the Brahmans could perform their religious ceremonies after paying some tribute. But the whole scenario changed with the accession of Aurangzeb to the throne. With his bigoted fanatic and dogmatic approach, the Kashmiri Pandits were once again made vulnerable. Iftkar Khan, the Mughal governor of Kashmir during the reign of Aurangzeb, brutally tyrannized over the Brahmans to such an extent that they approached Guru Teg Bhahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru, at Anandpur in Punjab and solicited his personal intervention with the Emperor. This ultimately led to the Guru’s martyrdom and made Guru Gobid Singh to create the Khalsa to fight the oppressors . Muzaffer Khan, Nassar Khan and Ibrahim Khan were other governors of Aurangzeb who ferociously terrorized the Kashmiri Pandits. These celebrated scapegoats were once again forced to migrate from the land of their origin. It was the fourth disastrous mass exodus of the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans from Kashmir.
During the rule of later Mughals, Kashmir witnessed the outbreak of the worst kind of religious intolerance. In AD 1720, Mullah Abdul Nabi, also called Muhat Khan, a non-resident Kashmiri Muslim, was appointed as Shaikhul Islam . In order to assert his religious authority, he asked the Deputy Governor, Mir Ahmed Khan , to start a campaign of persecution of the Kafirs (infidels) – as the Kashmiri Pandits were called. In order to satisfy his satanic ego, the Mulla issued six commandments:

1. No Hindu should ride a horse, nor should a Hindu wear a shoe;
2. That they should not wear Jama (Mughal costume);
3. That they should move bare arms;
4. That they should not visit any garden;
5. That they should not have tilak mark on their foreheads;
6. That their children should not receive any education.

But Ahmed Khan refused to execute the mischievous decree. The Mullah then excited his followers against the Kashmiri Pandits. He established his seat in a mosque, assumed the duties of the administrator under the title of Dindar Khan and let loose the reign of terror. The Hindus were wickedly tormented, their houses burnt and property looted. Hundreds of Brahmans were killed, prostrated, maimed and humiliated. They began to run away in large numbers and hide themselves in mountainous terrain. This was the fifth dreadful mass exodus of the legendary Kashmiri Pandits from their mystic motherland. Those who remained behind lived in the most horrific and terrible conditions generated by the Mullah and his gang. But soon he was assassinated by his rivals and his son, Sharif-ud-Din, become the new Shaikhul-Islam. The son improved upon the brutal methods of his father and inflicted most barbaric, cruel and inhuman tortures upon the vulnerable Brahmans. The plight of the Kashmiri Pandits during this period became tremendously miserable and tragic.
The Afghan rule in Kashmir (AD 1753-1819) was a period of cruelty, homicide and anarchy. W.R. Lawrence calls it the “reign of brutal tyranny.” The barbarous Afghans employed every wild, inhuman, primitive, ferocious, cruel and brutal method to suppress the Kashmiri Brahmans. A pitcher filled with ordure was placed on the head of a Pandit and stones were pelt on it, till it broke and the unfortunate Brahman become wet with filth. Their brutality and atrocity crossed the extreme limits when Hindus were tied up in grass sacks, two and two, and drowned in the Dal Lake. The victimized Hindu were forced to flee the country or were killed or converted to Islam. There was horrible mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits, sixth one, to far away places like Delhi, Allahabad, etc. Many covered the long distances on foot.
Hindu parents destroyed the beauty of their daughters by shaving their heads or cutting their noses and ears to save them from degradation. Any Muslim could jump on the back of a Pandit and take a ride. Mir Hazar – an Afghan governor, used leather bags instead of grass sacks for the drowning of Brahmans. Turbans and shoes were forbidden for them. The Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir were also forced to grow beards and tilak was interdicted. The Afghans are now only remembered for their barbarity, brutality, ferocity, tyranny and cruelty. They thought no more of cutting of heads than of plucking a flower.
The Shahmirs, Chaks, Mughals and homicidal Afghans tore the fabric of society in Kashmir and left deep scars on it. When the Afghan oppression became intolerable, the Pandits turned with hope to the rising power of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. But they were suspected. The Afghan governor, Azim Khan, confiscated their jagirs and imposed jazia on them. Eminent Pandits were brutally killed, humiliated and their authority was snatched. Nur Shah Diwani – a cruel Muslim official who was in charge of revenue collection, hatched a conspiracy in league with Azim Khan to eliminate the distinguished Kashmiri Brahmans. But this evil manoeuvre was exposed and a galaxy of Pandits saved. Pandit Sahajram, the Diwan, played a prominent role in the rescue operation.
Azim Khan had appointed Sukhram Safaya, Mirza Pandit and Birbal Dhar as revenue collectors. Birbal Dhar could not collect the required amount due to failure of crops. The atrocious Afghan governor browbeated Pandit Birbal to make the payment of one lac rupees. Rowdy and boisterous soldiers were send to threaten him and other Pandits. Sensing the Afghan tsunami, distinguished Kashmiri Pandits called a backstairs meeting in which it was resolved to invite Ranjit Singh for the conquest of Kashmir and salvation of the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans. Accordingly Birbal Dhar and his minor son, Raja Kak Dhar, secretly left for Lahore with a petition signed by the prominent Kashmiri Pandits through which as invitation was extended to Ranjit Singh to take over the Valley. When Azim Khan came to know about these developments, he sent his soldiers to nab Birbal Dhar and teach him a lesson. But when these bandits met with no success, the cruel governor turned his guns towards the wife and daughter-in-law of Birbal Dhar . Both the ladies had taken shelter in the house of a trustworthy Muslim, Qadus Gojwari. Azim Khan asked Pandit Basa Kak to hunt down the innocent ladies. Basa Kak knew about the retreat of ladies but did not disclose it even after monstrous tortures and oppressive penalties. At last his abdomen was ripped open in the most barbarous manner and the dead body discredited – the most unfortunate and brutal crime against humanity in the civilized world. The poor ladies were also captured . Birbal Dhar’s wife committed suicide by swallowing a piece of diamond. The younger lady was violently converted to Islam and handed over to an Afghan noble, who carried her to Kabul.
Nervous to the marrow of his bones and crazy with rage, Azim Khan tormented all those Kashmiri Brahmans whom he suspected to be in league with Birbal Dhar. Prominent Pandits were detained in a concentration camp at Nishat Garden and ferociously tortured. But on learning about the Sikh advances towards Kashmir, he lost all nerve and solicited instruction from Pandit Sahajram Dhar. The illustrious Pandit advised him to sent off his ladies folk to Kabul. It was the only way to save them from the ignominious treatment. Sahajram himself escorted the ladies to Kabul and saved them from disastrous shame. Azim Khan himself ran away from the Valley, leaving the administration into the hands of his brother, Jabbar Khan. However, atrocious Afghans were crushed and the Sikhs annexed Kashmir. Some extremist Sikhs, including Phul Singh, endeavoured to knock down the mosque of Shah Hamadan. But celebrated Birbal Dhar, at a considerable risk to his own life, made them desist from this action. According to GMD Sufi, “ It is to the lasting credit of Birbal Dhar that when a deputation of Muslims headed by Sayyid Hasan Shah Qadiri Khanyari approached him to dissuade the Sikhs from the destruction of the Khanqah, he moved in the matter, used his influence and saved this historical structure from vandalism.” It reveals the true personality and character of a distinguished Kashmiri Pandit.
During the Sikh rule in Kashmir, AD 1819-1846, the celebrated Pandits reclaimed their past glory and magnificence. They claimed back the prominent places of trust and honour. Cow slaughter was banned, temples renovated and the earlier wrongs rectified. The legendary Kashmiri Pandits received a healing touch after centuries of barbarity, ferocity and tyranny. But by the time, the Sikhs conquered Kashmir in AD 1819, about nine-tenths of the population had become the followers of Islam. Out of the 10% Hindu population, a large number had migrated to the Punjab and other provinces. The Pandits in general belonged to the middle class while the upper and lower classes were dominated by the Muslims.
With the formation of Jammu and Kashmir State; and, establishment of the Dogra rule in 1846, Kashmiri Pandits were imperceptibly elbowed to the background. Administrators and officials were deputed from Jammu region. Though they enjoyed comprehensive religious freedom and social emancipation, political rights of the Kashmiri Brahmans were confined. On certain occasions, they even became victims of intrigue and suspicions. The vicious communal forces also turned their wrath against them. During the communal disturbances of July 1931, shops and houses belonging to the Kashmiri Brahmans were not only looted but also burnt. Three innocent Hindus lost their lives. This communalism in the state politics aggravated and magnified with the passage of time . It was fed for years with vicious communal propaganda and brainwashing.
After independence and accession of Jammu & Kashmir state to India, Kashmiri Pandits were pushed back to the barbarous Afghan era. They were given the sugarcoated dozes of poisonous toxics. Article 370 of Indian constitution just reduced them to cipher and liquidated their population. Under the pretext of economic reforms, their jagirs were confiscated and distributed among the Muslim peasants. The administration of Shaikh Abdullah adopted malicious and pernicious approach towards the Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir. They were taunted on one excuse or the other. Hindu temples were desecrated, looted and plundered. Minor girls of the community were forced to embrace Islam and marry the Muslim youth.
Shaikh Abdullah tried to create “ Shaikhdom” for his dynastic rule in Kashmir. But his dreams were shattered when he was arrested in 1953 for anti-national activities. In 1958, he was released but detained again after three months under the Kashmir conspiracy case. However, the case was withdrawn in 1964 because of political reasons. But he was arrested again in May 1965 for his subversive activities and released in January 1968. Again, in January 1971, a ban was imposed forbidding him to enter the Jammu Kashmir state. This restriction was lifted in 1972.
During 1953-1974 Shaikh Abdullah characterized India as an imperialist power endeavouring to subjugate the people of Kashmir. He asserted that the accession of Kashmir with India was his greatest blunder for which history will never forgive him. He also demanded the right of self determination for the people of Muslim – dominated Kashmir, but ignored the Hindu- dominated Jammu and Buddhist- dominated Ladakh regions. The sophist Shaikh advocated plebiscite and unconditional withdrawal of Indian army from the Saffron Valley. He also campaigned against the import of food grains from India and asked people to eat potatoes grown in Kashmir. For such arguments, Shaikh Abdullah was nick named as “Aaloo Bab” — Feeder of Potatoes. He made emotional solicitations that after death his body should not be buried in the subjugated Valley, but immersed into the sacred waters of Arabian sea. However, today his magnificent tomb stands on the banks of beautiful Dal Lake in Srinagar and is guarded by the Indian security personnel. By such gratuitous and conflicting statement, his secular credentials evaporated into thin air. The prospect of disloyalty and sedition began to haunt the Saffron Valley. Kashmiriyat switched over to political vandalism and bigoted fundamentalism. Shaikh Abdullah desperately held Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, a Kashmiri Pandit, responsible for the shattering of his malevolent dreams in 1953. The mortified Shaikh ambiguously decided to retaliate against the whole Pandit community in Kashmir. In vindictiveness, he instigated his associated that while making a choice between a Kashmiri Pandit and dreaded cobra, kill the Pandit first. A vicious campaign of terror was launched against the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir. They were refused entry to government jobs and institutions of higher learning. Besides hurling strong statement against the Government of India and Kashmiri Pandits, the Shaikh derided that the whole lot of Indian army cannot save the Hindus in Kashmir against the malevolence of Muslims. Farooq Abdullah also employed the same approach towards the crumbled Pandits when his brother-in-law, Gulshah, seized the chief ministership in 1984.The reactionary leaders- Afzal Beg, Maulvi Farooq, Mohi-ud-Din Kara and Maulana Masoodi; ignored the very existence of Kashmiri Pandits during their political adventurism. The Kashmiri Pandits were made to pay for every move on the political chessboard in Kashmir because they represented the pseudo-secularism, incognito- socialism and flowering- democracy of India. They were scolded and emotionally hurt in the Afghan fashion.
But then the whole political scenario in Kashmir took a dramatic turn in 1974, when Indira-Shaikh accord was signed by virtue of which the Shaikh became the Chief Minister of the State after the lapse of 22 years. Ignoring the great expectations he had created among the people in Kashmir and his vigorous campaign for plebiscite, the sophist Shaikh began to speak the language of Indian nationalism, democracy, socialism and secularism. The slogans of plebiscite, self-determination and independent Kashmir melted away. But the Hate- India virus, infused by him into the blood of the Muslim youth in Kashmir, was exploited by other corrupt self-styled politicians for their own interests from time to time. A vacuum was created because the people were betrayed disillusioned, politically raped and left in wilderness by their own leaders.
Omkarnath Ganjoo, who established the Index Branch of the Jammu & Kashmir Criminal Investigation Department under the directions of Union Home Ministry in early 1960 and managed the same upto 1986, established a powerful network in the State. He collected detailed information about the seditious, subversive and treasonous persons and sent the detailed dispatches to the government from time to time . He also excavated the nefarious designs of ISI- the Pak Intelligence Agency, and informed the concerned authorities. But the state as well as the central administration lacked the determination and resolution to act.
The programmes and policies of Bakshi, Sadiq, Qasim, Farooq and Gulshah were also damaging for the Kashmiri Pandits. They were continuously haunted by antagonistic, hostile and rebellious elements. Mufti Syed is even believed to be responsible for the anti-Hindu communal riots of 1986, when cows were slaughtered and temples destroyed in Anantnag district. From 1947-1986 about four lac Kashmiri Pandits silently migrated from Kashmir. Hypocritical atrocities and criminal ignorances of political leaders were responsible for these development. Pakistan, to avenge the defeat of Bangladesh, blatantly sponsored the violence and terrorism in the Valley, resulting in the turmoil of 1989-90. The then celebrated governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Jagmohan, wrote a detailed letter to the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi , on April 21,1990, endorsing the alarming signals earliest transmitted by discerning Omkarnath Ganjoo. But cowardly Indian leadership was still unconcerned.

“Aay Zalimu, Aay Kafiroo,
Kashmir Hamara Choudh Dou”

“Bharat Kay Aiwanu Ko
Aag Lagado, Aag Lagado”

The final assault on the Kashmiri Pandits started with these slogans. Barbarous terrorists from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Sudan and even Saudi Arabia penetrated into the Saffron Valley. Brutal, wild and barbarous techniques were employed to hound and kill the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir. Even the helpless ladies were not spared. Sarla Bhat, a nurse in Soura Medical Institute, was abducted on 19th April, 1990, by JKLF militants who repeatedly gang-raped her and eventually killed her on 25th April. Girja Tikoo, a teacher from Bandipur, was kidnapped, raped and eventually shred to pieces by a saw mill on 4th June, 1990. Bimla Braroo from the Nai Sarak, Srinagar, who along with her daughter, Archana, was raped in the presence of her husband, Sohanlal, before all the three were killed on 31st March, 1992. There are dozens of such brutal instances. Even wicked Afghans will be feeling sorry in their graves for the sanatic holocaust of the legendary Kashmiri Pandits.
The barbarous murder of hundreds of innocent Brahmans of Kashmir caused their seventh and final agonizing mass exodus from the Valley. This was the final knock down of ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits. The mass massacres at Sangrampora (1997), Udhampore (1997), Prankot (1998), Wandhama (1998) and Nadimarg (2003) were the follow up cleansing operations. Pandits in Kashmir dwindled from 10% in 1947 to fewer than 5% in 1989 and to less than 1% today. The pretended world bodies, contaminated human rights organizations, pseudo-secularists, self-styled leaders, so-called policy makers, tainted political parties and slack bureaucracy have failed to express serious concern at this great human tragedy. Danse macabre is going on. During 1990-2005, the security forces seized around 30,000 assault rifles, over 15,000 pistols, more than 20,000 kg explosives, about 2000 UMGs and RPGs , from terrorists. In the barbarous turmoil about 45,000 persons including the Kashmiri Pandits, nationalistic Muslims and Sikhs have been killed. However the government is keen to provide a healing touch to militants. But the legendary Kashmiri Pandits, who were virtually exterminated from the Valley, have not even received the displaced status..

By: Dr.Satish Ganjoo

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India Snubs OIC’S Kashmir Resolution


India Snubs OIC’S kashmir Resolution

ANI

NEW DELHI – India has rebuffed OIC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir passed by 36th session of the Council of Ministers in Damascus, Syria recently.

 

The 57-member grouping has made a direct reference to the last year Amarnath land row in Jammu and Kashmir.

A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said: “We note with regret that the OIC has chosen to comment on India’s internal affairs during the 36th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers held in Syria on 23rd – 25th May 2009. The OIC has no locus standi on India’s internal affairs”.

The OIC in its resolution expressed concern over use of force against the economic blockade during the Amarnath land row agitation and have also regretted that following the Mumbai incident Indian government have put a pause on the composite dialogue.

The Islamic conglomerate also urged India to resume composite dialogue.

India also took umbrage over OIC calling catastrophic 26/11 Mumbai attack as merely an incident.

The MEA statement said: “We also note with dismay that in the resolution adopted, the terrorist attack on Mumbai in November, 2008, has been referred to as a mere “incident.”

For almost two decades, the OIC has been has been advocating the issue of self-determination and resolution of Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolutions of 1948 and 1949, but this time it went a step further by directly referring to the Amarnath Land row in its resolutions.

Pakistan, which is a member of this group, has vociferously raised issues pertaining to Kashmir at this forum. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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PoK leaders want merger with India


PoK leaders want merger with India
By
d-sector Team

Fast changing geo-political equations have made India extend its helping hand to political groups in PoK who have now been openly seeking New Delhi’s help in their struggle for survival and freedom.

While all and sundry in India are criticising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for bringing Balochistan on to the agenda of Indo-Pak bi-lateral talks, an international seminar organised in New Delhi has once again brought to the fore the approach-avoidance conflict India faces in dealing with the expectations of disenchanted communities from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and frontier regions.

Till recently India did not want to be seen as meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs, but several political groups in PoK have now been openly seeking New Delhi’s help in their struggle for freedom, dignity and human rights, and now it seems New Delhi is willing to extend a helping hand to the distressed Karakoram communities. India now claims “legitimate interest in territories and peoples that are part of India but under illegal occupation, both to the west as well as to the east”.

These groups say that since India continues to consider the whole of Kashmir, including PoK, as its own territory, it is its duty to protect the local communities against Pakistan, a foreign aggressor for them.

Some of these political leaders and intellectuals from areas around Gilgit and Baltistan in PoK, referred to as Northern Areas by Pakistan, travelled to New Delhi to participate in the seminar on ‘Society, Culture and Politics in the Karakoram Himalayas’. The seminar was dominated by tales of discrimination and persecution of the local people in these areas by Pakistan’s civilian and military establishment.

“I am surprised that India has no concern about what is happening in Gilgit and Baltistan. Pakistan has been openly supporting and encouraging militants in Indian Kashmir and New Delhi doesn’t even want to keep contact with areas that are officially still a part of its own territory,” said Abdul Hamid Khan, chairman of Balawaristan National Front, a political party whose objective is to gain independence from Pakistan. Northern Areas are historically known as Balawaristan.

Khan, like most other political leaders from the region, lives in exile in Europe. He said the Indian position was even more surprising considering the fact that most political formations in the area were now open to a merger with India.

“Even an independent Balawaristan is in larger interest of India as it would not support terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Shaukat Kashmiri, leader of the United Kashmir National People’s Party, one of the largest political formations in the region, also spoke about a reunification with India. Kashmiri, who is chased by the ISI, has been operating out of Switzerland for the past few years.

Though the leaders from PoK complained about the indifference India shows to their concerns, few former diplomats, army officials and intellectuals of India actively participated in the seminar.

Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran made the inaugural address, in which he said, “The destinies of the Karakoram communities and the vision of India as a successful and inclusive plurality are in a sense, linked more than symbolically. We have a duty to be engaged more actively in the survival and I would venture to say, revival of these challenged communities.”

Evidently India is reaching out to the communities in the Karakoram areas – stretching from Swat, Buner, Waziristan, Balochistan and Xinjiang to Gilgit, Hunza and Baltistan in the Northern Areas to Jammu & Kashmir. Significantly, most of these areas lie within the territory of the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state.

India’s effort in getting together leaders from these regions is significant considering the rising unrest in several parts of Pakistan’s frontier regions as a result of the stresses of extremism and terrorism. For the first time, India is appealing to these indigenous mountain cultures, regardless of their religion, to bond as communities, rather than as parts of countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and China.

“It is our collective responsibility to preserve and to promote this varied culture, created by people who have a long history, settled existence and outstanding contributions to civilisation. India feels very much a part of this civilisational network which has enriched its own culture,” Saran said.

“In its interaction with Pakistan on Jammu & Kashmir, India has always insisted that all cross-LoC links and potential projects for cooperation in specific areas must cover the entire erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, including Gilgit and Baltistan. Any consultative mechanism across the LoC must be between self-governing and representative entities and that, too, includes Gilgit and Baltistan,” he added.

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Plight of the people of Gilgit Baltistan


Plight of the people of Gilgit Baltistan

 Constitutional, political and socio-economic deprivation, miseries and plight of the people of Gilgit Baltistan Northern part of Kashmir’ Speech delivered by Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri on April, 2008 in European- Parliament Respected Baroness Emma Nicholson, Member European Parliament, Vice Chair Foreign Affairs Committee and Vice Chair sub- committee on Human Rights in the European Parliament, architect of first European Parliament resolution on Jammu Kashmir. Madam Chairperson, Chair IKA Dr Nazir Gillani Sahib, Mumtaz Khan, Vice Chair IKA, Dr Shabir Chaudhry, Abbas Butt Abdul Hamid Khan Chairman BNF, dear journalists, ladies and gentlemen. I would warmly welcome you in this august conference and taking this opportunity to bring you constitutional, political and socio-economic deprivation, miseries and plight of the people of Gilgit Baltistan Northern part of Kashmir. People of Pakistani Administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan have special respect and honor for you Madam Chairperson. Dear Delegates, Before going into the historical perspective of Gilgit Baltistan I would like to present my views on Jammu Kashmir and its political, constitutional, socio-economic, cultural, educational, religious, and lingual history and its long history of relations with Northern Part Gilgit Baltistan. Jammu Kashmir is north western region of the Indian sub-continent. Until the mid 20th century, the term “Kashmir “referred to the Valley lying between the great Himalaya and the Pir Panjal range; since then, it has been used for a larger area that today includes Jammu Kashmir consisting of Kashmir valley, Jammu, Ladakh, Pakistani Administered Kashmir, Gilgit, Baltistan Chinese administered region of Aksai Chin. The oldest account of Kashmir history is Rajtirangni of Kalhana which was written in 1147-1149 CE.Though Kashmir has long history of foreign occupation but it’s important feature is that the prominent Chak ruler of Kashmir and Ali Sher Khan Anchan who is known as Ranchan Shah in Kashmir was belonging to the Gilgit region that proves that the Gilgit Baltistan region had a strong influence in Kashmir political affairs in the past. Under the paramountcy of the British crown that lasted until 1947 when the former princely state became disputed territory between its neighbors India, Pakistan and China. The total area of the state is 84471 Sq Miles and 12million population bigger than many independent nations in terms of population and area particularly five European countries, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland together. At this point I would say that the founding father of this state was Maharajah Gulab Singh despite our differences with treaty of Amritsar of 1846. I would also pay tribute to the loyalty and patriotism of Maharajah Hari Singh and I would say that If Maharajah Hari Singh had not enacted the law of “State Subject Rule” of 1927 Kashmiri people under different administrations and political systems would have been turned as minority particularly those who live under illegal administration of Pakistan since 1947. Respected Delegates, At this moment when different lobbies are trying to distort the facts and misleading world community I would like to put forward my submissions so that historical misconception can be clearly understood. * It is evident that India came into Kashmir through a treaty of accession while Pakistan infiltrated it’s tribal in Jammu Kashmir and illegally occupied about 36000Sq Miles of State. * Under UNCIP resolutions Government of Pakistan failed to comply with the UNCIP resolutions as UNCIP resolutions clearly asked Pakistan to withdrawal all its armed and para-military forces and civilians simultaneously from state and India was to withdraw bulk of its forces after that. * Therefore, unless Government of Pakistan fulfills the UNCIP resolutions condition, asking India to revisit the treaty of accession and seek the opinion of Kashmiris on the treaty. But it is the duty of Indian government to protect the life, liberty, property and dignity of the Kashmiri unless final solution is sought. While on the other hand government of Pakistan has denied the fundamental rights and freedoms of people of Gilgit Baltistan. We call Karachi agreement as conspiracy against the identity and unity of Kashmiris by the Pakistani authorities and reject it for following various reasons. 1- At the time of Karachi Agreement on 28th April-1949 there was no representative of that region. 2- The people of Gilgit Baltistan are kept deprived, politically, constitutionally and forced to live unprivileged and underdeveloped since 1949. 3- No legislature was formed for the people of these areas. 4- There are no notable institutions like healthcare and hospital except Agha Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP). 5- As Karachi agreement was clearly infringe to the autonomy and fun political, democratic, and cultural and human rights of the people of the region. Through Karachi agreement Pakistani authorities have assumed extraordinary powers and region became sole domain to ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas (KANA) 6- Muslim Conference and its leadership had no democratically legitimate mandate for the people of Gilgit Baltistan to sign such agreement on their behalf with Government of Pakistan. It is irony that Government of Pakistan takes a very different route to govern the affairs of Gilgit Baltistan unlike in Pakistani Administered Kashmir which consist of 4000Sq Miles was given a nominal institutions like Legislative Assembly, President, Prime Minister, Supreme Court, National Flag and National Anthem, but Gilgit Baltistan which is 28000 Sq Miles was put under the mercy of a low rank officer in Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas. The population of Gilgit Baltistan consists of many diverse linguistic, ethnic and religious groups’ isolated valleys separated by some of the world’s highest mountains. Urdu is the lingua franca of the region, understood by most male inhabitants. The Shina language (with several dialects) is the language of 40% of the population, spoken mainly in Gilgit, throughout Diamer, and some parts of Ghizer. The Balti language, a sub-dialect of Ladakhi is spoken by the entire population of Baltistan. Minor languages spoken in the area include Wakhi spoken in upper Hunza, and some villages in Ghizer, while Khowar is the major language of Ghizer. Burushaski is an isolated language spoken in Hunza, Nagar, Yasin (where Khowar is also spoken), Some parts of Gilgit and some villages of Punyal. Another interesting language is Domaaki, spoken by the musician clans of the region. Gilgit Baltistan is rich in natural resources. Its major resources are gold, emerald, uranium, forests and water blue gold in modern terminology. Government of Pakistan is collecting billions of rupees from the tourism of this area. World highest and tallest peaks are situated in this area. Mount K2 and Godwin- Austin are one of them which attract expeditions and mountaineers across the globe. Trans Karakoram route which is the only link of Pakistan with China trade and commerce but local people are kept isolated of any benefit of such business. This area is blessed of huge assets of water resources. Kashmir has five rivers which are 1. River Indus 2. River Kishanganga 3. River Jhelum 4. River Chenab 5. River Poonch This area is most marginalized in the field of health and education. There is only one university for the population of 2 million people, but no medical and engineering college or polytechnique institute for the population of entire region. The women situation in the area is even worst due to poor health care facilities have deteriorated health conditions in female and they are particularly victim of Pakistani state fundamentalist policies in this area. There are only two colleges in the area and literacy rate among men is 14% and 3.5 % is among women. There is no major hospital in the area except Agha Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP), which is the only Non-Governmental- Organization (NGO) providing primary health care to the people of this area. There is no industry in this area. Water and sewerage system is non-existent so is the electricity where more than two third of the population of the area. The attempts to wage a political struggle through the Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC), have been handicapped by the ban imposed by the Pakistani authorities on any one contesting elections unless he or she pledge that the Gilgit Baltistan is an integral part of Pakistan. Similarly constitutional restraints are in placed in Azad Kashmir to bar political opponents from participating in the elections those stipulations are clear violations of UNCIP resolutions. High court of so called Azad Kashmir verdict of 1993 and clear verdict of Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1999 define that Gilgit Baltistan is part and parcel of Jammu Kashmir’ and Government of Pakistan was asked to hand over administrative control of this area to the so called Government of Azad Kashmir or least they should be given opportunity to form their own legislative Assembly. But these verdicts went unnoticed under red tape of ministry of Kashmir affairs that enjoys the total control and absolute administrative powers and financial affairs from Islamabad and local people are treated as slaves. More than two hundred political activists are facing so called sedition charges in this area while constitutionally and legally this region is not part of Pakistan. Dear Delegates, I’m grateful to you for your keen interest in poliitical, constitutional and socio-economic deprivation of the people of Gilgit Baltistan and would like to put following suggestions in this regard. • We welcome the end of military rule and installation of democratically elected Government in Pakistan and we should support democratic forces. • We warmly welcome ban lifted on trade unions and students organizations, and we also express jubilance over the release of top judges of apex courts. Yet an independent judiciary is a dream in today’s Pakistan. We should support the Lawyers’ movement in Pakistan. • Borders should be opened between Gilgit Baltistan and Ladakh like some crossing points have been opened in Pakistan Administered Kashmir. • A bus service should immediately be started between Ladakh and Gilgit Baltistan so that the divided families and cultural links could be reunited and revitalized between both regions. • We strongly urge world community and particularly European Parliament to establish a fact finding mission to be sent in Pakistani Administered Gilgit Baltistan and in Pakistani Administered Kashmir to see ground realities and particularly the worst situation of earthquake victims of October -2005. • Having regard of the world community most generous support to rehabilitate effected people, Government of Pakistan and local administration in Pakistan Administered Kashmir have failed to do so accordingly. • We urge world community and European Parliament to oversee the funds allocated to earthquake victims and misuse of those funds by the concerned authorities and Government officials. • We strongly condemn attack on a member of Pakistani Administrative Legislative Assembly Mr. Tahir Khokhar who was asking in the assembly about misusing the public funds but was beaten in the house by the government ministers. We demand that independent inquiry should be held in this regard and allegations labeled by him must be fairly investigated. • We recommend that to empower women of the most deprived region there should be special quota be allocated for them so that they can also participate in socio-economic and political advancement of 21st century requirements • We also recommend that to provide them free and cheap justice to the people an independent judiciary of world standard be established for the people of Gilgit Baltistan. ltistanight of the people of Gilgit Baltistan

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Aksai Chin: China’s disputed slice of Kashmir


Aksai Chin: China’s disputed slice of Kashmir

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By Nick Easen
CNN

(CNN) – It may be nothing but an ice desert with little geographical, economic or military value but the dotted red line of disputed territory still encompasses a slice of Tibetan plateau known as Aksai Chin.

This area, which is about 20 percent of the whole of Kashmir, belongs neither to India or Pakistan but the region’s other nuclear superpower — China.

As Beijing’s southern neighbors mass troops in a potentially explosive standoff, China peers over the towering peaks and glaciers of the Himalayas nervously.

Chinese foreign policy spokesmen have been careful not to take sides in their statements on Kashmir — the memory of a brief but brutal war in 1962 was precipitated by China’s actions in this very sector.

It culminated in China seizing about 38,000 square kilometers (14,670 sq mile) of Indian territory in Aksai Chin, as well as another 5,180 sq km (2,000 sq miles) of northern Kashmir that Pakistan later ceded to Beijing under a 1963 pact.

Regional analysts say that the area is so remote that India’s intelligence service didn’t learn that China had established a road through the area until the following decade.

Remote but important

 
 

The 1962 war over Aksai Chin led to the severing of direct air links between India and China, routes that were not reintroduced until March of this year — heralding a warming of relations between the former foes.

And at present China is officially remaining impartial despite having vested interests in Kashmir — it is appealing for restraint from both sides.

For the northern nuclear power is quite aware that both Pakistan and India are quite willing to fight over pieces of real estate that are of little value.

Beijing just has to look at the 18-year old death toll on the icy pinnacles of the Siachen glacier, the world’s highest ‘cold war’ to understand what extremes the nuclear adversaries are prepared to go to.

It is also very much aware of India’s utopian mantra for this northern area — Pakistan to hand over Pakistan occupied Kashmir and China ditto for Aksai Chin.

This is one of the reasons why India and China have made slow progress in resolving differences over their shared 4,500-km (2,600-mile) Himalayan frontier.

A good portion of it — 3,268 km (2,043 miles) still falls into the three disputed sectors.

Their disputes over the western and eastern sectors are particularly thorny and have hampered better relations for years.

Although last November a minor breakthrough saw another official exchange of approved maps in yet another disputed sector.

While India claims areas of Kashmir, China claims large parts of the northeastern Indian states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Busy in Aksai Chin

Yet over the last 40 years China has been busy in Aksai Chin.

Now an all weather highway links remote western Tibet (China calls it Xizang province) with southern Xinjiang province, it is a vital logistical route.

Han Chinese trucks full of Hami melons and dried produce ply the restricted highway along with military supply trucks.

The road most of which is over 4,000 meters — one of the highest and coldest in the world — now links Lhasa to Kashgar.

Yet it comes at great cost, the strategic highway needs constant maintenance by remote public works stations.

Travel for tourists in this area is still restricted and those who decide to make the journey by bike or in the back of supply trucks are normally fined at security stops.

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China: Latest assessment of Kashmir issue


China: Latest assessment of Kashmir issue Guest Column-by D. S. Rajan The assessment on Kashmir issue, given by Chen Yiwu, the Pakistan based correspondent of the People’s Daily (Online Chinese language edition, Dec 1 &2,2004) for the benefit of readers in China, is notable for its significance, as views expressed in the authoritative paper invariably reflect the Chinese official stand. Taking note of the resumption of India-Pakistan peace talks since November 29,2004 and giving a historic account of the circumstances surrounding the Kashmir issue, the article described the issue as a ‘time bomb’ in India-Pakistan relations. Hinting that Pakistan’s stiff anti-India position on Kashmir is linked to its inability to take over Hyderabad and Junagarh at the time of partition, the article highlighted the fact that both India and Pakistan accepted the January 20,1948 UN Security Council resolution for a ceasefire, demilitarization and a step by step solution on the accession issue by holding a ‘plebiscite’. It added that in the fifties, India considered Pakistan as an aggressor in Kashmir and demanded for full withdrawal of latter’s troops before a ‘plebiscite’ could be held. Pakistan, on its part, asked for withdrawal of troops of both the sides from Kashmir prior to such a plebiscite. Observing that Pakistan’s joining the SEATO in 1954 and later the Baghdad Pact were aimed at resisting India’s strength, the write-up indirectly criticized India for announcing the irrelevance of the plebiscite principle on the pretext of Pakistan’s joining such military blocs. It pointed out that in the 15 years since the beginning of armed attacks in the Indian controlled Kashmir in 1989, 45000 people were killed. Though the accession of Kashmir is basically a legacy of India-Pakistan partition, the subsequent changes in the international situation and the continued uncertainty in India-Pakistan relations, brought other factors like security and political strategy of each side into focus, making the issue further complicated, the People’s Daily item remarked. Analysing the perceptions of India and Pakistan regarding the issue, the item said that although the Indian Congress Party came under compulsion to accept partition in 1947, India till today does not accept the ‘ two nation theory’, which formed the basis for Mountbatten’s formula on partition of the South Asian sub-continent. India is of the view that the partition has caused damage to its historic unity which arose out of the country’s old culture. The partition also had a deep negative influence on India’s big power status as well as defence. Pakistan, on its part, relies on the ‘two nation theory’ to win a broad Muslim religious and national sympathy. Moreover, since its formation, it is intentionally making efforts to gain features, which are different from that of India, so that it can exist as a pure Muslim nation. The article further observed that when Pakistan came into being, India thought that the former would not survive for long and aspired to continuously weaken that country with an eye on its leading position in the sub-continent. Also, India hoped for reunification of the sub-continent some day, considering partition as a mistake. Facing serious imbalance in terms of national strength and keeping in view India’s long term plans, the Government and people of Pakistan were pushed to nurture a feeling of crisis and insecurity. Pakistan saw India’s taking over of Hyderabad and Junagarh by force. It also realized that at the same time, India was not willing to abandon its claim over the Muslim majority Kashmir but with a Hindu ruler. The People’s Daily item opined that these factors led to Pakistan’s resolve to support the cause of Kashmir’s accession to it through use of force. Tracing the strategic reasons behind deepening of India-Pakistan hostility and unyielding positions on Kashmir issue adopted by both the sides, the article said that. Pakistan views the Kashmir issue as being not purely a territorial one, but also religious in nature, in view of the region’s Muslim majority. For India, protecting Kashmir is important for establishing an effective control over other regions in the country, particularly over Punjab through curbing separatist tendencies there. India also feels that if Kashmir goes out of its control, it could face a chain reaction. Kashmir is the home for the family of former Prime Minister Nehru and is thus a pride for the nation and the people. The People’s Daily item added that in addition India feels that the rich Indus river and its tributaries flowing into Pakistan, originate in Kashmir and that a control over this would ensure its domination over the life-line of Pakistan’s water resources. Pointing out to the emergence of internal pressures in each side on the Kashmir issue over the years, the item assessed that as a result, a realistic concession or compromise on the issue appear difficult for both India and Pakistan. As the country’s constitution stipulates that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, New Delhi, irrespective of the party in power, cannot accept any formula for solving the Kashmir issue on the basis of a plebiscite. If it does so, the regime would come under the blame of selling the country’s territory. For Pakistan, helping the Kashmir Muslims on the accession issue is a policy evolved out of an internal consensus. The article remarked that any rethinking in this regard by Pakistan would make the country to face political dangers, particularly in respect of internal stability. Making a reference to measures taken by India and Pakistan like holding of elections to legitimize the regimes in their respective sides of Kashmir, the article said that in such a process, local forces and elements with vested interests have emerged in both sides of Kashmir, capable of putting pressure on India and Pakistan in the matter of making mutual concessions. Though the article is generally balanced, what is visible is a veiled criticism of India for its attempts to weaken Pakistan with an eye on gaining a leading position in the sub-continent as well as its stand on the plebiscite principle. The strategic perceptions of India and Pakistan on Kashmir and the assessment that both the sides may not be in a position to yield or compromise in the face of pressures likely from the vested interests in two Kashmirs, as brought out in the People’s Daily item, give an indication as to how the Chinese view the situation. Interestingly, the People’s Daily item made no mention of other factors relevant to India-Pakistan relations like the nuclear issue, the question of infiltration from across the border and Kargil conflict. This is also the case regarding Kashmir territory ceded by Pakistan to China

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There was enough evidence about Tribal Raid By Pakistan


There was enough evidence about Tribal Raid
By A Special Correspondent

There is enough evidence to suggest that the J&K government and Government of India had sufficient information about raiders’ invasion before hand.

Dr. Atri’s revelation:

On October 8, 1947 Dr. SK Atri, a leading doctor of Srinagar had been informed by some of his patients who held pro-Pak views that an invasion was in the offing. He took Prof. Madhok and many others into confidence about it. This is corroborated by Prof. Niranjan Nath Raina, the founder of the communist movement in Kashmir. In his book ‘Kashmir Politics and Imperialist manoeuvres’ (1846-1980), he writes:

“Some influential refugees from the NWFP with close personal contacts among the Pathan elite, reached Srinagar in second week of October. They had personal knowledge that Khan Bahadur Kuli Khan had been recruiting tribes in the Swat Valley for invasion of Kashmir”.

Indian forces pushing back Pakistani Invaders in Nov. 1947 in Teetwal Sector.

The communist group in the National Conference acting on this information issued a handbill on the 14th or 15th of October warning that an invasion was being planned to take place before the onset of winter. It asked all the patriotic forces to rise to the occasion to defend the state against invasion. At the same time it asked for transfer of power to the people, claiming that only a government enjoying the confidence of the people would be able to organise effective defence.

Cunnigham Letter:

George Cunnigham, who was Governor of NWFP at the time of partition, wrote a letter to Lord Mountbatten divulging information that Pakistan was sending armed tribesmen to Kashmir. His letter was forwarded to Prime Minister Nehru by the Viceroy. Pandit Nehru later admitted in Parliament to having accidentally destroyed the crucial document.

Dewan Shiv Sharan Lal, who was Deputy Commissioner of Dera Ismail Khan had soon after his escape from Pakistan met Sardar Patel, the Home Minister and informed him about Pakistan’s preparations for invasion of Kashmir. Sardar Patel had, it is believed, despatched Dewan Shiv Sharan Lal to Srinagar to be in touch with DIG Kashmir, Sh. Gian Chand Bali.

Kalkat Episode:

By far the direct and comprehensive evidence about the Pakistani attack came from Major Onkar Singh Kalkot on 19th October i.e. more than two days prior to invasion.

Major OS Kalkat, who later rose to be the Major General in Indian Army was serving as the Brigade Major at HQ Bannu Frontier Brigade Group at the time when preparations were underway for tribal invasion. His Brigade head was Murray, a British national Kalkat had been with Murray for over a year and was in his confidence. He was a postgraduate in Economics from Delhi University and had joined the Army rather late at the age of 24 in 1942.

Soon after partition there was communal trouble in Mirpur, killings had gone unabated.. Kalkat had offered to go there but was restrained by Murray. The latter told him it was better that a white officer went there, otherwise the issue would get politicised. Kalkat’s family had already reached East Punjab.

Kalkat was under watch of Pakistani intelligence, a junior Lieutenant was watching his movements. Besides Kalkat there were other few non-Muslim military personnel stationed at Bannu brigade outpost.

Messenger packet used to come on every Monday. The duty officer brought the packet, Kalkat as Brigade Major signed for it. The packet marked ‘personal/top secret’ was meant for Brig. Murray. It was an official communication from Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army. Major OS Kalkat was on the horns of a dilemma. As Brigade Major it was his duty to relay the message by radio to his Brigadier. At the same time becoming privy to what was supposed to be secret communication to his boss would put his life in danger. For a moment Kalkat hesitated. Then he opened the packet, which included a letter addressed to Brig. Murray. It was signed personally by General Sir Frank of Messervy, C in C. Kalkat on reading the contents of the letter got nervous and felt excited. He bolted the door of his room to study the details in secrecy.

The letter and the accompanying briefing note detailed the plan for an Army offensive named ‘Operation Gulmarg’. The invasion was planned by Pak Army Headquarters meticulously with considerable strategic and tactical insight. The ‘Operation Gulmarg’ was to be an invasion of the Kashmir valley by tribal warriors of the northern frontier areas, which were to be armed and led by Pak army officers wearing tribal dress. The headquarters of ‘Operation Gulmarg’ was to be in the building that housed General Messervy.

Kalkat was the only Indian to know of secret invasion planned by Pakistan. Destiny had chosen him for a very special task. There were still two months in which India could make effective preparations to foil Pakistan’s nefarious game-plan. Kalkat made notes hurriedly, making a point-by-point copy of the plan.

‘Operation Gulmarg’ had devised a three-pronged operation:

Hit and Run attacks along the border with J&K force dispersal of state forces of J&K into small groups.

Unleashing of systematic propaganda on the border areas inciting the Muslims to fight the forces of the Maharaja and resort to religious-cleansing of their non-Muslim neighbours.

Finally, thousands of tribal warriors were to cross the frontier into J&K and occupy every bridle road and mountain tracks.

According to this plan, as revealed by Major Kalkat, every Pathan tribe was required to enlist one Lashkar of 1,000 tribesmen. The tribal detachments were to be collected at Baftnu, Wana, Peshawar, Kohat, Thal and Nowshera by the first week of September, 1947. The Brigade Commanders at these places had to issue them arms/ammunition and essential clothing items. Each Lashkar was to be commanded by a Major. A Captain and 10 JCOs of the regular Pakistan army were also to be provided to each Lashkar. The invasion was to be commanded by Major General Akbar Khan, who was assigned the code name ‘Tariq’.

As per ‘Operation Gulmarg’ all Lashkars were to meet at Abbottabad by October 18th. Six Lashkars were to advance along the main road—Abbottabad-Muzaffarabad-Uri-Srinagar, with the specific task of capturing the Srinagar Airport and subsequently the Banihal pass. Two Lashkars were to march from Haji Pir Pass direct on to Gulmarg, ensuring the security of the right flank for the main force advancing from Muzaffarabad. Two other raiders’ detachments were to move from Tithwal through the Nastachchun Pass for capturing vital towns of erstwhile Baramulla district—Sopore, Handwara and Bandipore. 10 other Lashkars were assigned the task of capturing Poonch, Bhimbar and Rawalkot before advancing to Jammu. Detailed plans were made for procuring guides/informers to be provided to different Lashkars. These guides/were to come from pro-Pak elements in J&K State forces.

Arms/Ammunition and other required items were to be transhipped to Abbottabad by October 15th. These were to be subsequently moved to Muzaffarabad and Domel after the D-Day.

The D-Day was fixed as 22 October, on which date the Lashkars were to enter J&K territory. Pakistan’s 7 Infantry Division was to concentrate on the Murre-Abbottabad area by October 21st and was ordered to be ready to back up Lashkars entering J&K territory and help these consolidate their hold on the Kashmir valley. Another infantry brigade was to be kept ready at Sialkot to move on to Jammu. The main attack was to be launched along the motor road. The raiders force was supplied rifles, the LMGs, 300 civilian lorries were put at their disposal.

Kalkat after finishing the notes asked his two Sikh batmen to stay back for the nightwatch. This made his junior Lieutenant spying on him suspicious. Kalkat concealed the envelope he had received in utmost secrecy. Then he talked to Brigadier Murray on radiophone. Kalkat conveyed that a code-named ‘Operation Gulmarg’ had been drawn up by the Pak Army and described it as an astounding plan—an invasion by Tribals.

Brig. Murray asked Kalkat to keep the plan to himself and not to reveal more on the radio. He warned him that any leakage would put his (Kalkat’s) life in danger.

Kalkat believed Brigadier Murray to be a part of conspiracy and took his advice as a veiled threat to keep quiet. Murray reached Bannu the following morning. It is said that the Pakistani Lieutenant had overhead Kalkat’s radio-talk with Brigadier Murray.

The next morning Kalkat was on a stroll. The Lieutenant, accompanied by a British officer surrounded him, putting him under arrest. The British officer told him, ‘you just poked your nose into something too big’. Kalkat was taken in a jeep for Lahore. He believed that the Pakistani Lieutenant or Murray himself had summoned them from Pak Army Headquarters.

At the helipad Kalkat was put before Major General Akbar Khan. Murray was also brought there. As per one version Akbar Khan himself shot him dead. Kalkat was put under house arrest in Lahore. He made his escape from Lahore, hiding in a goods train and reached Delhi via Ambala.

On 19th October Major OS Kalkat met Brigadier Kulwant Singh and Defence Minister Baldev Singh and revealed what Pakistan was cooking up. He also met other senior army officers at the headquarters. The Defence Minister asked his Army Hqrs. to analyse Kalkat’s information.

A Brigadier dismissed Kalkat’s revelations (Operation Gulmarg) as a Cock and Bull story’ and said the latter had invented it as his family was caught up in the riots and that was weighing on his mind. The Brigadier further claimed that he had spoken to his friends at Pak Army Hqrs, who laughed away at any possibility of trouble between India and Pakistan. But a colonel who knew Kalkat for years disagreed with his Brigadier and said Kalkat was steady as a rock who would never say anything for which he did not have basis. Kalkat was then taken to Prime Minister Nehru and made to repeat what he had said earlier to Defence Minister and other officers at Army Hqrs. Angry Nehru stared at his Defence Minister. Before Kalkat could finish, Nehru let loose verbal barrage against his senior Army officers for disregarding Kalkat’s information. He rumbled through his papers, telegraph messages and army couriers and flung these at them and kept shouting unrestrained.

Nehru turned to Kalkat and acknowledged, “This man (Kalkat) here risked his life, forgot about his family, to come to us here, to the PMO office, to tell us about an attack, a perfidious attack on our country. He had details, total step-by-step plans of an enemy operation. And what do my Army officers do, what does the Defence Minister of India, Sardar Baldev Singh, no less, do. They laugh it off. Kalkat is a mad man or worse. A paranoid patriot. They do nothing”. Pointing at the fallen papers Nehru said”, There is the proof that every word that Kalkat spoke was true. We have the news now that ‘Operation Gulmarg’ has already started and raiders are entering Kashmir.

Major Kalkat was soon drafted into the Kashmir operations (1947-48) and saw operations in the difficult Tithwal sector. Kalkat had great political foresight too. He was mentioned for his leadership role in Kashmir operations in dispatches. His plan for settlement of refugees from Muzaffarabad in 1947 was widely appreciated but ignored by Pt. Nehru at the instance of Sheikh Abdullah.

Kalkat later commanded 14 Infantry in the Western Sector to recapture 32 posts from Pakistanis in Mamdot and Jalalabad sectors in the 1971 war. In the same war Kalkat and Major General BN ‘Jimmy’ Sarcar had initially commanded ‘Operation Jackot’ in the Eastern Sector. Kalkat also worked as Chief Military Intelligence Officer in the Cabinet Secretariat for two years. He wielded a facile pen. His brilliant account—’The far-flung frontiers’ (Allied, 1983) has attained the status of a classic.

Though Kalkat was approved for promotion as Lt. General, he sought voluntary retirement at the age of 54 in 1972. This great son of India passed away at Chandigarh on December 3, 2004 after a prolonged illness.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

Tribal Raid 1947

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China aims to block India’s place in the sun


China aims to block India’s place in the sun
Posted by: John Elliott

It’s probably the tip of the iceberg of China’s ambitions to thwart India’s emergence as a significant economic and maybe diplomatic and military power. I’m referring to what might appear to some to be a crazy article on a Chinese strategic issues website, which claims that China could “dismember the so-called ‘Indian Union’ with one little move”.

The writer has argued that India’s national unity is weak and that China could exploit this by supporting separatist forces, such as those active in India’s north-east state of Assam, and split the country into 20 or 30 sovereign states.

“There cannot be two suns in the sky. China and India cannot really deal with each other harmoniously,” said the article. That almost certainly reflects Beijing thinking, even though the founder of the website has claimed the anonymous writer has no known government links.

The article was posted last Saturday and was publicised in India yesterday, prompting the Indian foreign ministry to say it appeared to be “an expression of individual opinion and does not accord with the officially stated position of China on India-China relations conveyed to us on several occasions”. But what else could India say – especially since the article coincided with apparently cordial talks between the two countries on their border that has been disputed since China defeated India in a brief 1962 Himalayan war.

It is not unusual for China to fly such extreme kites. Philip Bowring of the Hong Kong-based Asia Sentinel website pointed out in a New York Times article two days ago that the arrest last week of two Rio Tinto executives in Beijing for alleged theft and corruption followed an internet article written by an official of China’s National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets, which accused Rio of commercial “spying” that had cost the nation $100bn in higher iron ore prices – an accusation says Bowring that “does not stand up to the most casual scrutiny of trade data”. Bowring then points out that “although the article is no longer on the website, its claims have not been corrected and its imprint on Chinese minds will not disappear”.

The imprint of the India internet article will also not disappear because, whatever the two countries may say officially, it sums up what has been happening for years.

As James Lamont and Amy Kazmin explained a month ago in an excellent FT round-up of the two countries’ tortuous relations, China has been encircling India by developing influence and outposts in Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, and wants to usurp India’s major role in controlling the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

Pakistan, which China has armed and helped become a nuclear power, has been destabilising India first in Punjab (in the 1980s) and then in Kashmir. China has also for years been encouraging separatist forces in India’s north-eastern states, including Assam, and will no doubt use its growing clout in Myanmar – and Bangladesh – to increase those activities. In the future it could perhaps use its growing influence in Sri Lanka – where it is developing a naval base and advised the government in the recent defeat of the Tamil Tiger separatists – to cause unrest among linked Tamil communities in southern India.It has also strengthened its border claims – for example by opposing a $3bn Asian Development Bank aid project in Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian border state that China claims as “south Tibet”. And it tried to block international approval of the recent India-US nuclear deal with the US.

This is of course a dangerous game and sometimes India has to respond – recently for example by moving fighter jets to the China border and, of course, by meddling in other countries, as a comment by Abhyaan (below) explains.

I have heard a former senior Indian bureaucrat argue privately that China’s basic – and permanent – aim is to force India to focus on domestic issues and thus thwart it becoming a future international rival.

China, according to this view – which is surely correct – is determined to be the world’s sole superpower after America, and does not want that status to be upset by a strong and democratic India backed by the US and Europe. Its tactics have become more insistent in the past two years as it has become irritated by India’s growing links with the US, culminating in the nuclear deal.

Everything that China does in relation to India therefore has to be seen through that prism. India will not fragment into 20 or 30 pieces – it is far too unified for that – but there is no prospect of permanent peace and co-operation between the two countries because, as the internet writer has said, “there cannot be two suns in the sky”.

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Kashmir & Jinnah


Kashmir & Jinnah-jagmohanSurprisingly, there is no mention of the Kashmir problem in Jaswant Singh’s book, Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence, though this problem throws light on Jinnah’s mind and motivation, his well-crafted approach and his over-powering ambition to attain his objective even if it involved loss of innocent lives.
A couple of years before Partition, Jinnah had formulated his strategy with regard to the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. In the summer of 1944, he visited it, ostensibly for rest. But his real purpose was to establish contact with the two principal political outfits of the state — the National Conference, headed by Sheikh Abdullah, and the Muslim Conference, headed by Chowdhry Ghulam Abbas. He accepted invitations for receptions in his honour from both.
At the reception given by the National Conference, Sheikh Abdullah as well as Jinnah indulged in what may be called an “exercise in ambivalence”. But at the reception held by the Muslim Conference, Jinnah came out openly in its favour. He said: “The Muslims have one platform, one ‘Kalma’ and one God. I would request them to come under the banner of the Muslim Conference and fight for their rights”.
Jinnah also presided over the annual session of the Muslim Conference. In his address, he described Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference as a “band of gangsters”. Later, when this outfit launched its “Quit Kashmir” movement against the Maharaja, Jinnah labelled it “an agitation carried on by a few malcontents who were out to create disorderly conditions in the state”.
Jinnah urged the Muslims of the state to rally under the leadership of Chowdhry Ghulam Abbas and his Muslim Conference. This must have convinced Sheikh Abdullah that his political future would be bleak if Kashmir joined Pakistan. In his autobiography, Atish-e-Chinar, Sheikh has himself acknowledged the hostility which Jinnah displayed towards him: “At that time, Jinnah was intoxicated by power. He thought it beneath his dignity to talk to a poor and resourceless nation. When this equation of power went against him, he woke up in panic from his dream. But by this time, the snake had passed; only its line remained”.
At the time the Indian Independence Act was passed, the political stage of Kashmir was crowded with a variety of actors. The National Conference dominated the Valley but had a limited influence in Jammu and Ladakh. It had developed close rapport with the leaders of the Indian National Congress, particularly Jawaharlal Nehru. Then there was the Muslim Conference which had been gaining ground after Jinnah’s visit to the state. The Maharaja was yet another force. The relations between him on one hand and Sheikh Abdullah and Pandit Nehru on the other were marked by mutual distrust and dislike.
All these actors were soon to play their part in the first act of the tragic Kashmir drama. The Maharaja was indecisive. Jinnah was impatient. Pandit Nehru was caught between his idealism and the stark realities of the situation. Sheikh Abdullah, with streaks of megalomania embedded deep in the layers of his mind, was nursing the ambitions to carve out a virtual “Sheikhdom” for himself and his coterie.
Each one of these actors was pushed on the stage with illusions of his own importance and believed that the drama would end the way they desired. Consequently there was confusion and inconsistency. Mistakes were made and Kashmir soon found itself in the whirlpool of national and international controversy.
The first grave mistake was when Maharaja Hari Singh flirted with the idea of independence. Later Lord Mountbatten recalled: “The only trouble that could have been raised was by non-accession to either side, and this, unfortunately, was the very course followed by the Maharaja”.
Jinnah and his advisers, however, lost no time in working out a plan to secure possession of the state through subterfuge, subversion and infiltration. While on paper a “stand-still agreement”, operative from August 15, 1947, was executed by Pakistan with Jammu and Kashmir, in practice economic blockade was brought about, causing acute scarcity of essential commodities in the state.
On October 16, 1947 Dawn reported: “The Kashmir government is disintegrating. It has already suffered a loss of Rs 2 crores out of its total budget of Rs 4 crores. The tremendous inflation in the prices of necessities has created a feeling of feverish restlessness amongst the masses.”
Earlier, Jinnah had sent his private secretary to Kashmir to build an environment favourable to Pakistan. According to M.C. Mahajan, the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, “Communal-minded persons and Muslim divines were worked up and asked to request the Maharaja to give accession of the state to Pakistan”. According to the Tribune’s report of October 23, “West Punjab and Frontier Pakistani crusaders, masquerading as pleasure seekers, had poured into the Valley and, besides carrying on subtle poisonous propaganda, were organising ‘stabbers and fire-raiser’ squads. Menacingly, Jinnah caps were visible everywhere”.
Around the same time, military skirmishes all along the border were manipulated to disperse state forces, the total strength of which was only nine infantry battalions and two mountain batteries. From October 22, large-scale infiltration of armed tribesmen began.
They pillaged, plundered, raped and killed with impunity. Muzaffarabad and Baramulla soon fell to them. The latter was ruthlessly devastated. Of about 14,000 inhabitants, only 3,000 are believed to have survived. Jinnah did not utter a single word of condemnation against such beastly atrocities.
When, on October 27, Jinnah learnt that Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India and the Indian forces had landed in Srinagar, he realised that his plan could not be executed with the smoothness he had earlier visualised. Flabbergasted, he ordered General Gracey to march into Kashmir with Pakistani troops. But General Gracey expressed his inability to carry out the orders without the approval of General Auchinlek, the supreme commander. Auchinlek told Jinnah that in case of a war between the two dominions, all British officers would have to be first withdrawn.
Jinnah was left with no option but to cancel his orders. He asked for a meeting with Nehru and Mountbatten at Lahore. Being ill, Nehru could not go to Lahore on November 1, where the two Governor-Generals met. During the course of discussions, Jinnah proposed withdrawal of all forces — the Indian Army and the tribal invaders. When asked how anyone could guarantee that the latter would be withdrawn, Jinnah, according to Alan Campbell Johnson, the press adviser of Mountbatten, replied: “If you do this, I will call the whole thing off”. Unwittingly, he gave out that the entire invasion had been engineered by him.

* Jagmohan is a former governor of J&K and former Union minister

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Nicknames of Kashmiri Pandits


Nicknames
Lovers
A nickname, says Hazlitt, is the hardest stone that the devil can throw at a man, yet the Kashmiris have shown the unparalleled endurance to bear this hardest stone Pleased with their ‘devotion’ he (Mr. Devil) seems to have gifted this stone to them (Kashmiri) for ever. Love of nicknames is mixed in the blood of Kashmiris, nay, they have nurtured this art with their blood, for generations together. They give it without asking for and make full use of ordinary events, actions, habits and even physical feature of persons to coin new and newer nicknames. Raja Tarangini is full of references of nicknames. Shalok I6I of Sixth Taranga uses the word Kankanavarsa, which is a nickname given to a person. Yudhishthira, a king of Kashmir, was on account of his small eyes nicknamed as the ‘blind Yudhishthir’. At one place, an aspirant to the throne was nicknamed as lame. The verse reads, “what is his fitness for the throne, who keeps awake during the nights being addicted to sexual pleasures and sleeping by day, is marred by his inability to get up and has therefore obtained the nickname of ‘the Lame’ ” A certain king was nicknamed for having fallen in love with a lady. “As his mind became absorbed in Didda, the daughter’s daughter of Sahi, the king came to be known by the humiliating epithet of Diddaksama.”A merchant is said to have carried in the lap a black cat (pet). He bore the designation of a cat merchant which relegated his proper name to oblivion. Kalhan further reports that the furious tribe of Damras once nicknamed their master as snow king. For they believed that he can occupy the throne only after snow melts.

Humour
Kashmiris never lose their sense of humour. Even adversity has not killed their instinct of humour. It has on the other hand, sharpened it to boost their morale and love of boisterous life. Hamidullah, a resident of remote meadow village of Nobog Nai, has not only exposed the ruthless Sikh bureaucracy of Kashmir in his Bebujnamah, but has proved himself a caricaturist par excellence as well as a non-conformist as for as Sikh administrative system was concerned. This work contains allegorical names and characters. “It is steeped in symbolism depicting the glaring traits of bureaucracy under Sikh rulers from the Patwari upto the Nazim or Governor. According to the author, the whole lot of them was responsible for all sorts of the sufferings of the peasantry, especially their aim being simply to grease their own palms and to sustain Sikh power by force. The significance of the names he has coined for prominent members of the bureaucracy in the Revenue Department, such as, ‘Kazibrathar’ for Qanungo; ‘Adawat Koul’ for Patwari; ‘Fasad Bhat’ for Harkara, ‘Rishwat Baba’, for Qazi, can better be guessed than described. Similarly to describe the state of general administration, he introduces characters like ‘Gurez Singh’ for Mir Shamshere; ‘Adbar Singh’, for Mir. Bakshi; ‘Shahmat Singh’ for Chief Police Officer, ‘Mafajat Qulli’ for Chief Cavalry Officer, ‘Rahzan Bandey’, for Chamberlian, ‘KhalaJat Razdan’, for Munsif; ‘Tawan Koul’, for Amil,’ ‘Nuqsan Thaplu’, for mutasaddi, ‘Dewali Dass’, for chief storekeeper of grains; and ‘Chughl Beg’, for news reporter. They are glaring illustrations. The selection of these names as their meanings show, represents the basic characteristics of the holders of the public office. While talking about allegories, we must not forget to mention that Master Caricaturist of ancient Kashmir, Kshemendra, who has in a lyrical language exposed a Kayastha, a prostitute, a Brahmana and many others. His ‘Narmala and ‘ desopdesa ‘ are available in a printed form.

Aversion
It may not be right to say that Kashmiris have never shown an aversion to the nicknames. Pandit Anand Koul has quoted a classical example of resistance shown against a nickname by a poor Pandit whose name was ‘Vasadev’. He had a mulberry tree in his courtyard, and was, therefore, called Vasadev Tul. Tul being the Kashmiri name of mulberry. In order to get rid of this nickname he cut down the mulberry tree. But a Mond (trunk) remained and he was called, ‘ Vasadev Mond’. Irritated Pandit immediately removed the trunk; and a Kkud (depression) was caused and henceforth he was known as ‘Vasadev Khud’. Continuing his battle against nickname givers he got the depression filled up and the ground became a Teng (a little elevated). Thus he was re-nicknamed as ‘Vasadev Teng’. He had, however, to give in before the limitless arrows in the quiver of nickname givers and accepted gracefully his latest nickname, which has become a family name of his progeny.

Permanent
Kashmiri’s never forget a nickname once coined for a particular person, even if he makes all the amends in his behaviour, which had served as the source of his nickname. A certain gentleman by name of Karim was once found uralking bare-footed in the street. He was instantly called ‘Karim Nanvor’ (i.e., Karima the bare-footed). He is reported to have later on put on very attractive and fashionable shoes. But people will only whisper “Look! Look! how beautiful shoes have ‘Karim Nanvoroo’ put on!”. Another incident commonly related is that of an unfortunate family which gave a dinner party on some occasion of happiness. But the cook employed for preparing the dishes is reported to have spoiled all the dishes and a strange smell (Fakh) was found coming out of all the preparations. Thus the family was nicknamed as Fakh (dirty smell). The head of the house, in order to get rid of the contemptuous appelation, gave a luncheon to the members of his Biradari. Every dish was prepared cautiously and under strict supervision of an expert cook. The party was a grand success. But the plight of the head of the family can better be imagined than described, when he overheard two men conversating ‘Yar, these Fakhs have this time given really a grand party!’

The arrows of nicknames do not make a difference between a richman and poorman, a gentleman and a rogue. It hits its target with no consideration of caste, creed, or sex. A pious saint was nicknamed as Zanana Zoi, for the devout women surrounded him all the time. A Pandit by name of Maheshwar Nath was called Maheshwar Mahlami, because he used to distribute free of cost an ointment to the needy. The ointment in Kashrniri means Malham. Another devout Pandit used to bathe and worship his Saligram everyday and would throw the flowers and water of pooja in the Jehlum river, early in the morning. He was nicknamed as Madhav Nirmali.

Strange Sources
Strange are the sources of nicknames and stranger are the consequences of certain nicknames. A London-based Pakistani teacher, Mohamed Haseen, was nicknamed ‘Mr. Vortical’ at a junior school in which he was teaching because of the way some children in his school pronounced ‘Vertical’. His complaint of a racial discrimination was rejected by an Industrial Tribunal, when he was banned from being employed in State Schools because of his accent. He alleged that he was called ‘Paki-bastard’ by a student and no action was taken against him. An Indian girl in England with a nice name like Suneeta has been nicknamed as Snoteater (one who eats her own phlegm). Khushwant Singh recalling his childhood experiences with the nicknames writes that “for some reason I was nicknamed Shali which I did not mind too much. But when it came to be rhymed; Shali Shooli Bagh Ki Mooli (radish in the garden) I minded it very much. For some reason- Shali died out. I was re-nicknamed Khusrau which I did not mind too much. But when Khusrau had its tail docked and I was labelled Khusra (eunuch) I minded it very much”.

Ancient
Nicknames in one form or the other existed in ancient India. “A boy was called Balaki because he was brought up in the company of girls. Gargiya, his son would be referred to by his own name along with the epithet associated with his father, thus, Gargiya, Balaki i.e. Gargiya the son of Balaki. Sometimes the personal name was fallowed by the name of country or locality from which a man or his ancestor came, eg., Bhima Vidharbha or Bhima belonging to Vidarbha. Names could also be taken from one’s locality of birth, e.g., Vyasa, compiler of the Mahabharata, was born on an island (dvipa) and was surnamed Dvaipayana. Also common was the use of the ‘Viruda’ or (praise) name, often given to kings and heroes. It was not unknown in Vedic days, as can be seen by the eulogistic titles bestowed on certain kings, e.g., Puranjaya, ‘City conqueror’. Vikram, and Parakrama, signifying one boldly striding or advancing were among the royal titles used in medieval times.

Universal Practice
Nicknames are a universal phenomenon. Some names derived from nicknames are: white, brown, longfellow, drinkale, drinkwater, makepeace, gathergood, scattergood, gotobed (used in England). Names like Angell, Pope, King, Knight were attached to those who had acted such parts in medieval pagents.’ Imagine the agony of an obese child being called Bessie or Billy Bunter, Fatso or Motu! or of a thin child being called skinny! A long nosed one being a Concorde! A thick lipped being a Lipso.

Kram Names
Nicknames these days survive in the form of Kram names. Another name given to Kram is Zat and it is in no case akin to the jati as used in the Hindi-speaking areas of India. Kram, says Madan, is derived from a Sanskrit word and is used as a synonym for Zat. “It means a ranked category and suggests that internal ranking was, as it still is, characteristic of Brahmans of Kashmir. Whether the basis of ranking earlier was politico-economic as it is now, or involved other considerations also, is a subject on which I lack any data at present.

Origin
It is really an interesting job to trace the origin of Kashmiri Krams (nicknames). The sources of these surnames are often funny incidents or deliberate attempts to malign a person. Kashmiri Krams are not the gotra names but pure specimen of nicknames. Late M. D. Fauq has, in his Aqwami Mardam Kashmir, made a scholarly analysis of these nicknames. We have tried to reclassify these nicknames under the following heads: (i) Profession/occupation, (ii) Locality (iii) Abnormal/extra-ordinary physique or temperament, (iv) Peculiar circumstances / incident, and (v) Religious/ official/academic epithet.

Anglicisation
Classification and finding out of the origin of Kashmiri Krams has been rendered difficult by a craze for anglicising these surnames. Many abnoxious and absurd-looking Krams have been Westernised or Indianised beyond recognition. Thus Khar has become Kher, Wali became Vali, Thalal became Atal, Sar became Sir, Gor became Gaur and so on. There may be some justification in reshaping or modifying an awkward-looking surname. But to change the quite pretty and beautiful surnames like Kaul and Razdan ls really a deplorable attempt. For example, Kaul is often anglicised as Kaula and Razdan as Rosedon. Such deliberate modifications sometimes give rise to very absurd situations. Kaul is derived from Maha Kaul, which is a name of Lord Shiva. Kaul,therefore means a devotee of Shiva, but Kaula on the other hand stands for a big fool. See the difference yourself. This madening craze for anglicising ones names made Kashyapa Bandhu, a noted social reformer and political leader, to remark sarcastically.

Continuous Process
The evolution of nicknames and permutation and combination of different surnames is a continuous process. Laurence records that new and newer Krams are sprjnging up “in Zainagiri I found the large number of famlies rejoicing in the Kram (Chang). Their ancestor was a man who played on the Jews’ harp (chang). Azad the Pathan tyrant, sliced off the ears of an old and faithful servant because he was slow, and banished him to Lolab. His descendants are numerous, and their Kram is Kanchattu, the ‘crop-eared’. In Lolab a young Kram is arising known as Dogra. For two generations they have been in the service of Dogra rulers of the country”.
Moreover, to obliterate all traces of lowly origin men have assumed surnames or nicknames borrowed from familiar animals, insects, trades, occupations and places, e.g. Gegroo (rat); Dand (bullock); Bror (cat) Pisu (flea) etc.

Lawrence further records that one of the leading merchants of Srinagar is known by the name of Jackal. Another man of considerable influence, has adopted the unpleasent word ‘Latrine’ as his family appellation …It would serve no useful purpose to give a list of nicknames. Many are extremely coarse, and neither the giver nor the recipient of some of them is to be congratulated either for generosity or wit, and it is strange that men should have quietly allowed such names t.o be handed down in their families from’ generation to generation.

Jewish Influence
Bernier and Younghusband imagine without much authority, that Kashmiris are the lost tribes of Israel. Advocates of this theory agree with the Quadiani sect of Muslims that the ‘Lord Christ’ is buried in Srinagar. Younghusband records that the ‘people are in appearance of such a decided Jewish caste that it arouses curiosity that such a theory should exist; and certainly, these are real Biblical types to be seen everywhere in Kashmir, and especially in upland villages Here the Israelitish shepherds tending their flocks and flocks may any day be seen.”

Some local authors have also agreed with the theory and declare Hebrew language as the source of Kashmiri language. They also argue that the surnames of Kashmiris, as for instance Magre, Dand, Pare, etc., are borrowed from the Jewish surnames. More Kashmiri surnames like Raina Kichloo, Haptu, Varikoo Nehru, etc., are said to be akin to the surnames of Jewish people. Moreover, the word ‘Bal’ and ‘Hom’ at the end of certain places names is considered similar to the Jewish place names. Examples of such place names are Gandarbal, Manasbal, Gagribal, Dudarhom, Burzahom, Dropahom, Balahom, etc.

Joo
Bernier established the Jewish identity in Kashmiris by the frequent use of affix ‘Joo’ with their names. This title is frequently given by way of respect or an endearment. To quote Lawrence, ‘when a man has won the title “JU”, he ceases to use his real Kram name. Thus Habib Ju, the well-known silver smith, is probably Habib Gadh. Sul Ju the cloth merchant, is really Sultan Guzarban. In the villages, too, the affix Ju displaces the Kram name. Thus Kadir Ganai of Bhawan is called Kadir Ju, and Ahad Dar of Nanil is always addressed as Ahad Ju.’

The controversy over the origin of the affix ‘Joo’ has not been settled so far. Commenting upon the use of ‘Aryaraja’ by Kalhana in Shaloka 110 and Taranga II of Rajatarangini, R. S. Pandit says that Aryaraja means chief of the Aryas. ‘The term Arya is used to differentiate from the Anarya, the non-Aryans, or barbarians. Arya also means gentlemen. In early times, the pater-families was addressed as Arya and the wife in the Indian household addressed her husband as Arya-Putra (son of the Arya). It is interesting to find the survival of this term Arya through the Prakrata Ajja in the modern “ji” used as a suffix for respect and as a term of address’. The affix ‘joo’ seems, therefore, to be a Kashmiri version of the Hindi honorific ‘ji’ (which literally means life or soul).

Profession/Occupation
1. Aram – Some of their ancestor had been employed to collect the taxes from the vegetable growers and in the due course of time the word Aram became their nickname. Rajatarangini has used the word Aramak for them.

2. Kral - There are many localities in Kashmir known by the word Kral viz., Kralpur, Kralgund in Kupwara district. In the city of Srinagar we have two Mohallas known as Kral Khud and Kralyar. The Pandits employed for collecting taxes from ‘Krals’ (potters) were nick named as Kral.

3. Gooru – A milk man and a cowherd is called Goor in Kashmiri. Pandits did neither of these jobs However, certain Pandits were employed as Patwaris to keep the accounts of their cattle heads and collect the Government taxes from them. In the course of time their original family names became obscure and were known as Gooru.

4. Bakaya – An officer of the rank of a Tehsildar was appointed in the time of Sikhs and Pathans to realise the outstanding taxes from the people. His descendants were nicknamed as Bakaya.

5. Manwati - Manwati used to be a standard weight in Kashmir. It was equal to two and a half seers. Government used to levy a tax of one Manwati of rice on the tenants and an official employed to collect this tax was known to people by the name of Manwat. His descendants also lost their original family name and the nickname Manwati became an irremovable attachment to their names.

6. Guzarwan – A Guzarwan was an Official-incharge of an excise check-post on the outskirts of a town. Every article coming to the town from outside was to be checked and tax at a previously fixed rate to be realised. A Guzarwan was also to check the smuggling and unauthorised entry of articles to the town. An official employed, thus to perform this duty became famous by the name of Guzarwan. His children, whatever their profession might have been, were also known by this name.

7. Bakshi – It is a common Punjabi surname. A Pandit employed as an Assistant to a Punjabi officer, having Bakshi his surname, was also known as Bakshi. Mr. Fauq says a Pandit employed as a clerk of the Army was known as Bakshi or Mir Bakshi.

8. Jawansher - Jawansher was a famous Afghan Governor of Kashmir. He had a Pandit as his Peshkar (Assistant) who became famous by the name of his master. Jawansher is the nickname of many families bearing different surnames.

9. Munshi - It is a common surname among many linguistic groups of India. K. M. Munshi was a Gujrati and a famous Indologist. Munshis exist in almost all the Hindi-speaking areas of India. Munshi means a clerk. Mr. Fauq says that a certain Pandit of Tikoo family was employed as a Munshi during the rule of Sikhs or Pathans. He was the most intelligent and efficient Munshi Kashmir had ever seen. Therefore, he became famous by his professional name and his children were also known by this name.

10. Misri – A Pandit employed in service of a trader who had come from the Egypt (Misr) was known by the nickname Misri. One more probability is that some Pandit had gone to Egypt and when he came back he was known by the name of the country he had visited. Some describe it to be the nickname of those Pandits whose ancestor was employed by a trader dealing in Michari Kandi.

11. Turki – A Pandit was employed as a clerk by a Turk trader and was nicknamed as Turki. Fauq mentions Pandit Tab Ram Turki to have been a famous poet who wrote ‘Jangnama of Sikhs.’ A ‘Turki’ friend has been re-nicknamed as ‘Istambol’. Perhaps, because, Istambole is the capital of Turkey.

12. Gandnoo - ‘Gandan dasta’ is kind of toy and a decoration piece and ‘Posha Gandun’ is the flower vase. A pandit manufacturing or selling these articles was nicknamed as Gandnoo.

13. Kuli - ‘Tarkuli Khan’ and ‘Noor Kulikhan’ were two Afghan chiefs during the rule of ‘Durani’ kings. Pandits employed by them as Government servants were known as Kuli.

14. Wazir - The Pandits employed in the service of Wazirs of Kashmir during Pathan and Mughal rule became gradually famous by the name of Wazir.

15. Ambardar – Ambar means a huge store. Land revenue was being realised in kind, instead of in cash, in the past. Naturally certain people were employed to look after these stores of levy rice. They were called Ambardar and their later generations also were identified by this name.

16. Chakbast – ‘Chak’ in Kashmiri is the name given to a large piece of land. Chakdari was a common £eature of Kashmir’s agrarian system. It was abolished after the end of Dogra regime in 1948. Before the passing of Agrarian laws large pieces of land would be given to influential zamindars as the ‘Chaks’ on a nominal rent. Therefore, the officers entrusted with the job of keeping a regular- account of these land holdings were known as ‘Chakbast.’ They were also known as Kanoongo.

17. Bhan - It is an ancient Kashmiri nickname given, perhaps, to those who sold the utensils. Bhan is the name of the Sun also but this name does not justify itself to be a source of a nickname or a family name. There is a locality, known as, ‘Bana Mohalla’, in Srinagar.

18. Langar or Langroo - Some of their ancestor must have been the manager of a Government kitchen. His descendants were, therefore, nicknamed Langar or Langroo.

19. Fotedar – It is an Arabic and Persian word and was used as a nickname for those Pandits who were entrusted with the duty of looking after the royal treasury, during the rule of Mughal kings.

20. Wattal – It is a very derogatory term and is used for a low caste tribe. It is also used for a person who indulges into very mean and lowly acts. It is presumed that some Pandit must have been appointed as an officer of Wattals, who himself was later on known by this very name. Fauq says that during Hindu rule many people swept the premises of temples, without any compensation, out of devotion to the presiding deity of the temple. They and their descendants were later nicknamed as Wattal. One more theory being forwarded is that the Pandits whose family name is Wattal are the descendants of some famous saint by the name of Wattal Nath.

21. Hakim – It is the family name of such families whose ancestors have been hereditary Hakims.

22. Waza – It literally means a cook. Mr. Fauq is of the view that it was a nickname given to the professional cooks. It may be true of the Muslim Wazas, of whom there is a separate Mohalla by the name of Wazapora in Srinagar. Among Hindus of Kashmir the profession of a Waza is by no means an honourable one. It is adopted only under compelling circumstances, and Waza or a Kandroo (baker) is never addressed by the name of his occupation. But the families known by the name of Waza never feel ashamed of this suffix to their name. It is argued that some of their ancestor was highly fond of good dishes and had gained sufficient knowledge of preparing palatable dishes for himself. He is said to have won the nickname of Waza which continued its company with his descendants, whether or not they had any knowledge of cookery.

23. Katwa - Mr. Fauq describes it to be a branch of professional cooks, who earned this nick name for being in habit of using small Patilis (utensils) for cooking.

24. Sultan – Their actual family name is ‘Koul’. Some of their ancestor was employed as a clerk with the Sultans of Kashmir and became famous by the name of his employers.

25. Nala - Mr. Fauq says that there is no family of this name in Srinagar. An ancestor of this family must have been a guard of some Nala (Rivulet). Their gotra is Dattatriya.

26. Nehru - It is a nickname which originated from a canal. Probably any ancestor of this family was Mir Munshi of canals (i.e., a supervisor or an overseer of canals). They originally belong to Koul family and are commonly nicknamed as Naroo. A Naroo in Kashmiri means a pipe. It is possible that any of their ancestor was as thin as a pipe and was, therefore, called Naroo, which in due course of time became Nehru. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in his autobiography sees the genesis of the word Nehru under a different situation. He says, ‘we were Kashmiris. Over two hundred years ago, early in the eighteenth century, our ancestor came down from that mountain valley to seek fame and fortune in the rich plains below. Raj Koul was the name of that ancestor of ours and he had gained eminence as a Sanskrit and Persian scholar in Kashmir. He attracted the notice of Emperor Farrukhsair during the latter’s visit to Kashmir, and, probably at the Emperor’s insistance, the family migrated to Delhi about the year 1716. A Jagir with a house situated on the banks of a canal had been granted to Raj Koul and from the fact of this residence ‘Nehru’ (from Nahar, a canal) came to be attached to his name; this changed to Kaul Nehru; and in later years, Kaul dropped out, and we became simply Nehrus.’ The above statement of Pandit Nehru has been disputed by many on the grounds of historical facts as well as usage of language. Firstly, Farukhsair is never reported to have visited Kashmir. Aurangzeb was the last Mughal King to visit Kashmir. Secondly, Delhi was the home of Urdu language and literature. Naturally the adjectival form of Nahar (canal) would be Nahree and not Nehru. We see many people by the name of Lucknowee, Jullandaree, Ahmadabadi etc., but none with the name of Lucknowoo, Jullandaroo or Ahmadabadoo etc. Kashmir, however, has a tradition of using ‘oo’ instead of ‘ee’ viz., Kathjoo, Waloo, Chagtoo, Saproo, Wangoo, Ganjoo, etc. Therefore, it is almost certain that the ancestor of Nehrus who had gone from Kashmir had taken the nickname ‘Nehru’, from the valley itself, with him. Taking up of residence at a canal bank is only a coincidence.

27. Bazaz – Some ancestor of the family must have been a cloth merchant.

28. Taimani – It is presumed some Pandit must have been under the service of Taimini Pathans of Kabul and earned this nickname. Fauq believes it to be a word of Hindu or Buddhist origin and considers this family to be the followers of some Rishi or Muni. At the same time, it is suspected that some ancestor of this family might have been of black colour, and was called Tamini as the Tamun in Kashmiri means the carbon formed on the bottom of the utensils.

29. Mattu – It is derived from the Sanskrit word Math. Some of the ancestor of this family must have either been a founder or a manager of some Math.

30. Darbari - It means a courtier. Some ancestor of the family was a courtier of some Pathan or Sikh Governor’s court.

31. Bhandari – Some ancestor might have been the in-charge of some Governmental store (Bhandar).

32. Akhoon – During the Muslim rule a teacher was called Akhoon. Some elder member of this family was teaching Persian and Arabic to the pupils and was known by the name of his profession rather than by his family name.

33. Mirza - Some ancestor was in the service of a Mirza family.

34. Hashia - They were professionals engaged in putting margin on papers.

35. Nasti - It is nickname of a family whose ancestors sold the snuff. (Naswar).

36. Vani – A petty shopkeeper.

37. Hak - Growers of Hakh.

38. Kotha – It means a granary in Kashmiri. An official-in-charge of the Government granaries was given this nickname.

39. Kandhari – Some ancestor of this family was an employee of the traders from Kandhar.

40. Diwan - An officer in the Sikh Court.

41. Chagtu – An employee of Chagutais.

42. Hastwaloo – An employee of the Royal Court in-charge of elephants.

43. Durrani – Ahmad Shah on becoming an independent ruler of Afghanistan styled himself as Durri-Durran (pearl of the age). His successors were known as Durrani. In Kashmir this nickname was given to those Pandits who were the employees of Durrani Pathans.

44. Bamzai - Employees of Bamzai Pathans.

45. Jallali - Clerks employed by Jallali Shias were known as Jallali.

46. Chak – Employees of Chak Kings.

47. Zradchob – Traders of turmeric (Haldi) or their employees.

48. Khaibari - Khaibaris were influential chiefs of Kashmir. Their Pandit employees received this nickname.

49. Zalpuri – Employees of traders from Zablistan. It is often mispronounced out of Kashmir as Zalpari.

50. Khazanchi – Some ancestor must have been a Cashier.

51. Khar - It means an ass in Kashmiri. A Pandit employed to realise taxes from donkey drivers (Markaban).

52. Araz Begi – A person employed to read out petitions in the Sikh and Pathan Courts.

53. Hazari – A servant of Hazari Pathan’s got this nickname.

54. Lal - Some ancestor of this family was serving with a Punjabi Lala.

55. Karwani - Some elder member must have been selling Kara (i.e., Peanuts).

56. Nagari – A Pandit employed as an officer of the royal heralds during Mugal rule got this appellation.

57. Aoonth - This nickname was used for a family whose some elder member was employed in Government service, and entrusted with the duty of collecting taxes from camel drivers.

58. Kalapoosh – It was a kind of lady’s cap used by Pandit as well as Muslim woman to cover their skull over which traditional Tarang or Kasab (traditional headwear of women) would be used. A Pandit selling these Kalpushas or having at anytime used a Kalpush for himself, was nicknamed Kalpush.

59. Dral - A name given to those families whose ancestor was working as a broker. It’s Hindi equivalent is Dalal and is used as a surname by many families in Hindi-speaking areas of the country.

60. Nazir – Fauq states it having been a nickname of a person and his descendants, who was manager of a Government Kitchen. Nazir is also used for a clerk in the court. Pandit Jia Lal Nazir was an efficient teacher and historian.

61. Zaraboo - Those Pandits are called Zaraboo whose some ancestor was in-charge of a Government mint.

62. Ogra – It means watery rice, just like a Kheer. Fauq states that a Pandit was entrusted with the duty of distributing cooked rice to the hungry during a famine. Once he found the quantity of rice was less and the number of hungry people more. He ordered to get prepared a Wugra, and distributed among the needy. Thus Wugra became a part of his name. It is now written as Ogra.

63. Badam - An almond merchant must have been nicknamed as such.

64. Tufchi - An ancestor of this family was employed either as an officer of gunners or was himself a gunman during Muslim rule. Tufchi is a corrupted form of Top (a cannon).

65. Cheru - A few families of this name reside in Anantnag city. A common ancestor of these families is reported to have been trading into Charkha rods made of apricot wood. An apricot is a succulent orange pink fruit known as Cher in Kashmiri.

66. Khachoo – A Khoch in Kashmiri means a special kind of boat used for transporting the goods from one place to another. An ancestor of this family was employed to collect taxes from these special boatmen and was thus nicknamed as Khachoo.

67. Mirakhur – Some ancestor of this family was officer of the department entrusted with the duty of maintaining the Royal horses.

68. Shora - An ancestor of this family was either a Government officer in-charge of gunpowder makers, or was himself a trader of the explosive material. Shora in Kashmiri means gunpowder.

Religious/Official/Academic Epithet
1. Sahib – It is an honorific. Some elderly Pandit who had attained highest stage of spiritual perfection or was well-versed in the religious Scripture was out of reverence called as Sahib. There is a spring of sweet water known as Sahibi Spring near Chashma Shahi Sahib Koul was a great saint from this family.

2. Pir - Pir Pandit Padshah, during the reign of Shah Jahan, has been a famous saint of Kashmir. His miracles and spiritual attainments brought many people from different walks of life, under his banner. His desciples were known as Pir.

3. Sadhu – Some of the elder member of this family were as faultless and self-realising person as a real Sadhu. So they were known by the name of Sadhu. Another explanation is that some ancestor of this family had proved himself as an honest person under very conspiring and hostile circumstances. He won the public applause and was known as Saidh (the antonym of a thief).

4. Sedhu – Some ancestor of this family is reported to have been a Sidha Pursha (attained soul). Another version, of the events leading to this nomenclature, given is that head of this family was a simpleton and was, therefore, nicknamed as Sedhu. A few families of this name live in village Mattan of district Anantnag.

5. Sher – Fauq reports an elder of this family musthave killed a lion and was named Sher for his extra-ordinary valour. This guess does not seem to be correct, as is natural, such a brave person would have been called Sah (Kashmiri word for lion) and not a sher. Most probably this name must have originated from the continued association of the head of this family with some Sher Khan or Sher Singh, etc.

6. Shair – There must have been a distinguished poet among Kashmiri Pandits, who was better known by the word Shair than his real family name. Naturally the epithet became a part of the names of his progeny.

7. Zutshi – It is a corrupt form of the word Jyotshi. Zutshis are reported to have been distinguished astrologers and Sanskrit scholars.

8. Razdan – The census report of 1819 states that Razdan is a corrupted form of ancient Sanskrit epithet Rajanak. Stein is of the view that ‘the title Rajanak, meaning literaly “a king”, used to be given for services rendered to the King. The title has survived in the form of Razdan as a family name of very free occurrence among the Brahmans of Kashmir. It was borne by Rajanaka Ratanakara, the author of the Haravijaya (9th Century), and by many Kashmirian authors of note enumerated in the Vamsaprasasti which Anama Rajanaka (17th Century) has appended to his commentary on the Nisadhacarita. As the designation of certain high officials (Muhammadans), the term Rajanaka is often used by Srivara and in the fourth chron (also in the shortened form Rajana).’ R. S. Pandit states that the title Rajanaka was continued under Muhammadan rule and was conferred on Muslim officers.

9. Tikoo – It is said to have originated from the ‘Trika’. The members of this family were special devotees of the goddess ‘Tripura’. Fauq has given one more explanation stating that an ancestor of this family adopted a non-Brahman boy who was deemed to have become a Brahman by a Tika (a sacred mark on the forehead of a Brahman). He and his descendants were later nicknamed as Tiku.

10. Dhar - It is stated to be a pure gotra name. Dhar Bharadvaja is the name of their gotra. However, many scholars are of the view that Dhars are the descendants of Damras, the war lords and a troublesome non-Brahmanic tribe of ancient Kashmir.

Locality
1. Khan-Mushu – A village towards north-east of Srinagar is known as Khanmoh. Emigrants from this place, became known as Khanmush, in Srinagar.

2. Vichari - There is a sacred spring, at the outskirts of Srinagar, near Soura. It is said Lord Shiva had meditated for sometime here. This place is known as Vicharnag. The Pandits coming from this place to Srinagar were nicknamed Vichari.

3. Ishbari - Nickname of those Pandits who came to settle down from Ishabari, a village near Nishat garden.

4. Kathjoo - Pandit family residing at Kathleshwar in Tanki Pora (a mohalla of Srinagar) was nicknamed Kathjoo.

5. Sopori - Pandits of Srinagar, whose ancestors migrated from Sopore, or the descendants of Soya Pandit (founder of Sopore) were known as Sopori. Kashmiri Pandits of this nickname in plains have hanged the word Sopori into Shivpori.

6. Thussoo – Emigrants from a village Thus, in Kulgam Tehsil, to the Srinagar city became known by the name of their native village.

7. Zadoo – It is said that a certain family residing near a marshy land was called Zadoo (as Zadoo in Kashmiri means a wet and marshy land). They are mispronounced outside Kashmir a as Jadoo (a groom).

8. Zaboo – This name is also derived from a marshy and wet land.

9. Kakroo - The name to a family who came from a small village Kokargund, near Achhabal. There are a few families of Kakroos in Achhabal also.

10. Kar - This name is used for the Pandits who came from a village known as Karhama in Handwara Tehsil. Swami Krishan Joo Kar was an illustrious saint, produced by this family.

11. Pampori - Pandits of Pampore, irrespective of their family names, are known by the name of their locality.

12. Saproo – Dr. Iqbal, who was the worthy descendant of a Pandit family whose surname was Saproo, wrote to Mr. Fauq about the word Saproo as follows. He wrote that Mr. Dewan Tek Chand M.A., who was a Commissioner in Punjab, had a taste for linguistic research. He told Mr. Iqbal that the word Saproo had its genesis from the Ancient Iranian Kings ‘Shapur’. Saproos are those Iranians who had settled down in Kashmir much before the advent of Islam and because of their sharp intellect were absorbed soon with Brahmans of Kashmir. Dr. Iqbal has further written that his father used to say that ‘Saproos’ are the descendants of those Kashmiri Brahman families who were first to learn Persian and other Islamic studies, during the Muslim rule. Saproo means a person who is first to learn a new thing. This name was given to them out of contempt by other Brahmans. The latter analysis is nearer in the approach of a common Kashmiri and the former assertion needs full investigation.

13. Kanzroo – They are the descendants of the Pandits of Kanzar, a village near Tangmarg.

14. Momboi – There is no family with this nickname at present. However Mr. Fauq was informed by one Mr. Tarachand Trisal that some contributors to a certain magazine used to write ‘Mombai’ with their name. It is presumed that some Kashmiri family had temporarily settled at Bombay for sometime and, its members used the epithet Mombay with their names, when they came back. According to another story, a Muslim named Mohammad (Momma) was so gentle that he would not react even to a harsh and abusive language. He became known as Moma Bayoo. It is thought that some Pandit must have been as gentle as Mombayoo and he was along with his descendants nicknamed as such. Yet one more thesis forwarded is that it was a nickname given to those Pandits who came down to Srinagar from Bumai village of Kulgam Tehsil.

15. Purbi – Genesis of this term has been discussed in the chapter of “Kashmiri Surnames” in full. Mr. Fauq has quoted an interesting statement of Rai Bahadur Pandit Amar Nath Purbi (ex-Inspector General Customs, Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir), saying that his grandmother after adopting his father, (Pt. Dila Ram) who was serving on a good post with the Nawabs of Lucknow, migrated to Delhi. Delhi people began to call them Purbi as they had come from the eastern part of the country. Mr. Fauq further writes that there were a few families of Bhai Purbi in Srinagar, who according to census report of 1891 were the offspring of a widowed Panditani by a Purbi (coming from the eastern part of the country), whom she secretly re-married. Any person coming from U.P. is still called by the name of ‘Bhaia’, just as every Kashmiri in plains of Punjab is called as a ‘Hato’.

16. Madan – Residents of a Mohalla of Srinagar. viz., Madanyar. Madan is a word used for a romantic man. Some of the ancestor might have been of this nature and earned the appellation Madan. Another story forwarded in this connection is that an ancestor of this family was an employee of ‘Madan Talkies’ owned by a Parsee of Bombay. He and his descendants were, therefore, nicknamed as Madan.

17. Haksar – Emigrants from a village named Hakchar in district Baramullah.

18. Trisal – A boy of Dhar family was adopted by Pt. Neko Pandit of Trisal. When he came back to settle down in Srinagar he and his descendants were called Trisal (name of a village in Pulwama district).

19. Chhachabali – Pandits who took up their residence, during Afghan rule, in the then suburban area of Srinagar viz., Chhatabal, were known as Chhachabali.

20. Chakru – Name given to the families having come from Chokur village.

21. Krid – Krid in Kashmiri means a thorny creeper. A few families in Shangas Nawgam bear this name. Their ancestors took up residence near a Krid and became known by its name.

22. Nad – A family residing near a ravine in the same village is known by the name of Nad. It means a ravine in Kashmiri.

23. Baghati – A family having a number of orchards or having taken up their residence in or near an orchard were nicknamed Baghati. Bhag is also a nickname of the same category.

23. (a) Hangloo – Pandits of Hangalgund near Kokar Nag.

24. Mujoo – It means a raddish in Kashmiri. Ancestors of this family are said to have come from Mujja Gund, a village in district Baramullah.

25. Haloo – Emigrants from the village Hal in Pulwama district. Haloo in Kashmiri means a Tidi (grasshopper) also.

26. Parmoo – The ancestors of this family must have come from the other side of Pirpanchal range, to settle down in Kashmir valley. Parmoo is a corrupt form of Aparium (i.e., one who lives or has come from the other side). It is, even now, used for any non-Kashmiri person, particularly for a Punjabi. As a matter of fact, Punjabi and Parium have become synonymous terms.

27. Nagri – It is different from Nagari. It is an epithet used for the Pandits who had some connection with Nagri Malapora a village in Handwara.

28. Ganz – lt is a nickname given to a family which was residing at a place where some bad smell used to come from a stagnant pool of water.

29. Danji – One or two families in the village Mattan are having this family name. Danji in Kashmiri means a small ravine and in fact, these families are still residing in a small ravine on the bank of Chaka stream.

30. Kilam – Emigrants from the village Kilam of Kulgam Tehsil.

31. Booni – A family residing near a big Chinar tree were known by its name.

32. Sum – It means a small bridge connecting the two banks of a small rivulet, a pond or a lake. A family residing near such a mini bridge got the appellation ‘sum’.

33. Rafiz – Shia Muslims, in Kashmir, are called by the name of Rafiz. Some Pandit family for its nearest association with Rafizs or having lived in a locality of Rafizs, got this nickname.

34. Bali – A family having lived near a mountain or having some connection with the Bal’s (i.e., mountains) was called Bali. It is in no way connected with the Sikh surname Bali.

35. Kadal Buju – A nickname of those Buju families which lived near a bridge. Buju nomenclature has been discussed elsewhere.

36. Raina – It is stated that the Pandits who originally belonged to Rainawari and later settled down in the main city were known as Raina. Mr. Fauq states that Rainawari was the capital of the famous King Rana Datta 436 A.D.-497 A.D. There was also a large garden of this king situated at the site of present Rainawari and Vari in Kashmiri means a garden. Thus Rainawari meant a garden belonging to the king Ranadatta. Another view expressed is that it, like Razdan, is a corrupted form of the title Rajanaka.

Peculiar Circumstance/incident
1. Waloo or Wali – A fire chimney in Kashmiri is called Wol. One who got constructed a fire chimney in his house at first was immediately nicknamed as Wol, which in due course of time became, Waloo and Wali.

2. Sas – It means a thick Dal in Kashmiri. It is often cooked along with wopal hakh (a vegetable) and is, thus, known as Saswopalhakh. It is said that some one was irritated to have been served with this (for him unpalatable) dish at a dinner or lunch party. He was asked by some one what dishes were served at the party and instantly came the reply ‘Sas’ (using half the name to make his anguish more expressive). He and his descendants were later on called ‘Sas’ by every one.

3. Kotru – Some of the elder member of this family had kept a number of pigeons as his pets. He was forever nicknamed as Kotur (Pigeon).

4. Wantu/Wanchu – Wantu in Kashmiri is used for a hard walnut. It is impossible to get a full Kernel (GIRI) out of a hard walnut, even if it is broken into pieces. Some of the ancestor of this family must have been a top class miser and was compared to a ‘Wont doon’ (hard walnut). Thus was this nickname started to continue for generations.

5. Mantoo – It means one and a half seer in Kashmiri. It is said that some ancestor of this family underwent a bet to eat a manut (one and a half seer) of rice at a time, which he won. This victory brought its reward in the form of a nickname.

6. Wakhul – It is a flat bottomed stone mortar used for shrinking and washing the woollen clothes. In the past the professional washermen were not as abundant as they are now. Therefore, every mohalla had kept at least one Wokhul for the washing purposes. The family in whose premises this Wokhul was kept was in the long-run known by its name. Another explanation forwarded is that the head of this family was in the Government service with a duty to realise taxes from Wakhul makers.

6. (a) Kenoo – It is used for a wet and watery thing. It is reported that a certain Pandit of Rainawari who had taken a distasteful dish at some party, was asked by a saint (Mian Shah) about the taste of the dish he had taken. He is reported to have replied that it was as tasteless as a Kinoo. Immediately the Pandit lost his real identity and became known as Kinoo.

7. Kallawat – It is said a Pandit by the name of Kailash was working as personal assistant of Colonel Watt, who constructed the Pahalgam Road during the rule of Maharaja Partap Singh. Kalla is the short form of Kailash, and colleagues of the Pandit connected with it the surname of the Colonel and, thus, originated a new name e.g., Kalawat. The descendants of the unfortunate assistant also lost their real family name and were known by the name of Kallawat since then.

8. Wangnoo – It stands for a brinjal in Kashmiri. An ancestor of this family is reported to have been highly fond of brinjals and was, therefore, nicknamed after his favourite vegetable. Another explanation given is that Wangnoo is, perhaps, the only vegetable which is cooked with almost all the vegetables. Therefore, a man who could mix with anybody and won over even his foes was nicknamed as Wangnoo; Kashmiri Pandits as a whole were also called as Wangnoo for having successfully mixed up with all the races and religions, without losing their identity. This is perhaps a misnomer for a race who could save its identity only after having submerged its ninety per cent population with other races and religions. A friend sarcastically, but very correctly, remarked that gone are the days when they (Pandits) were called Wangans. Now they are only Wangan Hachi (dried brinjals).

9. Labroo – The head of a certain family was for tunate enough to win prefix in any venture he under took. He was nicknamed Labh (profit), which in due course of time became Labroo.

10. Taku – An ancestor of this family was fond of taking his meals in a fresh taku (an earthen plate) everytime. He and his descendents were, therefore, known as Taku.

11. Safaya – A certain Pandit is reported to have been a lover of cleanliness and was known as Safai, which later on became Safaya.

12. Chengaloo – An ancestor of this family is reported to have been of a light heart and would not conceal his happiness and excitement even over small gains. Chengun in Kashmiri means to be jubilient. There are a few families of this nick name in the village Mattan of Anantnag district.

13. Jogi – An elder member of their family had become a Jogi.

14. Buju – There was an old woman in a Mohalla. She had two or three sons who were called Bujihandi (i.e., Sons of the old woman). This became their permanent nickname and their descendants came to be known as Buju.

15. Sukhia – The head of this family is reported to have played the role of a Sakhi (girl friend) in the Krishan Leela drama and was nicknamed as Sakhi, which later on became Sukhia. Another version of facts is given that a parent had named his son Sukh which became later his nickname.

16. Peshin – It means the time of afternoon in Kashmiri. A Pandit who was a Government servant had to attend to his job at the afternoon. He was nicknamed Peshin.

17. Gamkhwar – A Pandit was a born sympathiser. He would share the sorrow of one and all. Somebody out of envey nicknamed him Gamkhar. Mr. Fauq reports that one Sadanand Koul was given the title of Gamkhar by the Mughal King Shah Jahan. His progeny was also known by this title.

18. Bula – One of the ancestors of this family is reported to have been a foolishman. That is why he was called Bula (fool).

19. Choor – An ancestor of this family had been caught red-handed while committing a theft, or was a shareholder of the professional thieves. He was labelled as Chsor (thief) for all the time to come.

20. Zaroo – A Pandit was a habitual gambler or had allowed gambling den to operate in his house, he was therefore, rightly nicknamed as Zaroo (a gambler). Another explanation given is that a certain Pandit was in habit of taking rash decisions without giving a proper thought to the facts. He was nick named as a Zaroo.

21. Chrangoo – It means a handful in Kashmiri. A certain Pandit was known for being a parsimony. He would not give to any begger more than a handful of grain. This led people to call him and his descendants as Chrangoo.

22. Musa – After a long and tedious journey or after doing some hard work a man, naturally, relaxes for sometime to refresh himself. This process of refreshing is called ‘Muskadun’ in Kashmiri. There are two or three families of this name in village Mattan of Anantnag district. They are professional Pandas having their Jajmans (clients) spread all over the Jammu region and the Punjab State. Every year these Pandas go to their clients during winter seasan to collect their annual Dan and Dakshina. It is said that some ancestor of these families would continue to relax and refresh himself for months together, after coming back from a long, tedious and risky journey, over the peaks of Pir Panchal. He was in the long-run nicknamed as Musa and his progeny is known now by this name.

23. Brayth – It is a Kashmiri form of the Sanskrit word ‘Brasht’, which means a deliberate deviation from the religious path. Some of the ancestor of this family must have been found guilty of some non-religious act and was declared Brashta, which became Brayth in the long-run.

24. Band – With the curious exception of Akingam (a village in District Anantnag) the Bands are all Muslims. ‘The story of Akingam Baghats,’ says Mr. Lawrence, is peculiar. Brahmans considered acting to be degrading, and even now the Brahmans of Kashmir the Akingam play as with contempt. But the Brahman plays say that they took to the stage by the express order of goddess Devi. The legend relates that many years ago Devi appeared to the Akingam Pandits, and, placing a fiddle in his hands, said, ‘play upon this fiddle’. He protested his inability, but on the goddess persisting, he took up the blow and played unearthly music. He was bidden by Devi to sit under the deodars of the Akingam and play in her honour. For some years he and his sons obeyed the goddess behest but unable to withstand the prejudices of his caste, he finally declined to play any more. On this he was striken with blindness and wondered away to the Lidder Valley. In a dream Devi appeared to the Magistrate of the Lidder, and told him to take old Pandit to Akingam. On reaching Akingam the Pandit recovered his sight and since that day he and his descendants fiddled away without further protest. These Pandits never send their children to school, as they believe that Devi would resent it and would kill their children. This state of things has now completely changed. Bands of Akingam (Mohripora) have left this vocation since long but the name has persisted.

25. Gadva – A Pandit was seen always with a Ghadva (a metal tumbler) in his hand going to purchase milk or curd, or even throwing the ‘Nirmal’ in the river was nicknamed Gadva. Another explanation offered is that a certain Pandit had collected, as a hobby, a large number of different varieties of ‘Gadvas’ and got this appellation.

26. Yachh – It is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word Yaksha. However, in Kashmir a certain rarely visible animal possessing supernatural powers is now called Yachh. Pandits offer Khichri and other sweetmeats to this animal extra-ordinary on Yaksha Amavasi in December-January, every year. It so happened that a certain Pandit either used to make sounds like a Yachh (i.e., Bas, Bas) or was some how specially linked with the characteristic Yaksha Pooja. He along with his descendants was nicknamed Yachh. The latter assumption seems more true in the light of the fact that this nickname is used mostlv by Gor families.

27. Bohgun – It means a cooking vessel made of brass. Some Pandit is stated to have had a hobby of collecting different varieties of Bahgun, or was fond of the food prepared in a certain type of Bohgun, and was nicknamed as such, because in appearance he was as fat and round as a ‘Bohgun’. Another explanation given is that it is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word Bahuguna (possessor of many qualities).

28. Nakab – It means a veil. Kashmiri Pandit ladies did not wear a veil in the past. But a family having introduced this practice at first, during Muslim rule, got this nickname.

29. Thalchoor – It means a plate thief. A Pandit was either caught red handed while stealing thals (plates) or was accused of such a theft. He and his descendants got the appellation of Thalchoor.

30. Kakh – An elder brother, uncle or a cousin was out of reverence called as Kakh. Some Pandit for his good and generous nature seems to have won the public respect and was called Kakh by the people, other than his family members. He lost his real appellation and was along with his progeny known as Kak. However, there are repeated references of the family name Kak in Rajtarangini. Shaloka 1311 of Taranga VII reads, ‘As his passage was blocked by warriors of the Kaka and other educated families, he retreated from. . .’ R. S. Pandit in a footnote to above Shaloka says that the Kaka family is repeatedly referred to by Kalhana. Shaloka 180 and 599 of Taranga VIII says, ‘holders of high military rank and others, brave men such as Tilka of the family of Kaka. . .’. ‘From the very midst of …, Sufi captured alive in battle the brave knight Sobhka sprung from the family of Kaka…’ Kaks in the ancient Kashmir, therefore, belonged to a military class.

31. Chilam – Some ancestor of this family was a chilam smoker and got this name.

32. Thapal – A few families of this name live in Anantnag city. Some of the common ancestor of these families must have been a habitual snatcher and got this nickname.

33. Kuchur – It means penis in Kashmiri. An ancestor of the family is reported to have been moving without trousers or a Kacha and thus unmindful of his exposed penis. He was along with his progeny nicknamed as Kuchur.

34. Jad – It means the eldest ancestor in Kashmiri. An elder member of this family is reported to have been behaving like an old and experienced man even during his childhood. He was therefore, nicknamed as Jad.

35. Jalla – A family of Rainawari Pandits was residing on the bank of Dal Lake (now turned into a quagmire). This part of the lake abounded in delicious fish. The fishermen catching the fish, would generally spread their nets on the compound wall of this family, to dry them up. A fish net in Kashmiri is called a Zal. This family was, therefore, nicknamed as Zalu, which in the long run became Jala.

36. Puran – A few families of this nickname live in village Zainapora. One of their common ancestor is reported to have been in habit of quoting from the Puranas on every occasion. He was, therefore, known as Puran.

37. Zaharbad – An ancestor of this family is reported to have been suffering from a serious type of Carbuncle on an exposed part of his body. He was, therefore, nicknamed as Zaharbad. Another reason related is that some ancestor of this family was a terrible mischief monger and was intolerably unpleasant man. The people expressed their displeasure for his mischievous character by an equally unpleasant nickname (i.e., Zaharbad).

Abnormal/Extra-ordinary Physique or Temperament
1. Mushran – An awkward and ugly man with a huge and powerful body is called Mushran. Some ancestor of this family must have been nicknamed as mushran because of his unusual physique and, later his descendants continued to be called by this name.

2. Kuraz – It is a name given to a very dangerous water animal. Some elder member of this family must have been of a fierce nature and was nicknamed Kuraz.

3. Shagali – Shagalis had come along with Pathans, under the leadership of Gulshagali. He was a long and healthy young man. A pandit was having an extraordinary physique like Gulshagali and was accordingly nicknamed.

4. Sharga – It is corrupt form of Shogo (a parrot). Some member of the family was having small eyes and a long nose like a parrot.

5. Handoo – This nickname was given to a Pandit who was fat and fresh like a sheep or to those Pandits who somehow were connected with flocks of sheep.

6. Atal – It is a corrupt form of Thalal (i.e., a Samashar). A Pandit with a broad forehead as if a forceful smasher, received this nickname.

7. Gurtu – It is a nickname given, perhaps, to those Razdans whose some ancestor was of Gurtu (yellow) colour. Gurtu is now used for those Pandits who do not cook meat and fish on the Shivratri festival.

8. Shangloo – Some elder member of this family is reported to have had six fingers in his hand and became known as six-fingered (She Angul).

9. Mota – A fat man’s nickname.

10. Langoo – Some elder of the family was a lame man.

11. Kaboo – Any ancestor of this family is reported to have been a hunch backed (Kaboo) man.

12. Marchawangan – A thin and a red faced man may have been nicknamed as a red pepper. It is also possible that some ancestor of the family was in possession of a hot and pungent temperament, ormay be some one of the family elders was a pepper trader.

13. Raghu – A thin and a frail man must have won the appellation.

14. Kachroo – Some ancestor must have been as red haired as an Englishman.

15. Kichloo – It means a long-beared in Kashmiri Some elder of the family must have developed a long beard and received this nickname.

16. Chakoo – Chouk means ‘bottom’ as well as ‘sour’ in Kashmiri. It is reported that some elder of the family was a sour-tempered man. Mr. Fauq connects it with an amusing and interesting story. A man named his twelfth son as Chauk (i.e., bottom) of the chain of sons and he (the son) became famous by the name of Chauk. It is amusingly and often awkwardly mispronounced as Chakoo (a Knife) outside Kashmir.

17. Khashoo – A left hander.

18. Ganjoo – A bald man’s nickname or an appellation for a man who was put in-charge of Ganj (treasury).

19. Gagroo – It was the nickname of a person who was very small and swift.

20. Kharoo – A bald man.

21. Zoroo – A deaf man.

22. Kariholu – A nickname given to an elder of the family, whose neck was a little curved.

23. Kaw – An ancestor af this family was as black as a crow.

24. Daraz – A long-heighted ancestor of the family was given this name.

25. Mam – It means maternal uncle in Kashmiri. A man was in habit of poking his nose in everybody’s affairs. He and his children were, therefore, nicknamed as Mam.

26. Chacha – The word Chacha is used by Kashmiri Muslims for a paternal uncle. A Pandit who unnecessarily involved himself in other peoples’ affairs must have received this nickname.

27. Tut – A man with a long chin was nicknamed Tut.

28. Bambroo – An ancestor of this family was as dark complexioned as a black bee. It is also said that some elder member of this family was in habit of making sounds like a beetle when alone. That is why he and his descendants came to be known as Bambroo.

29. Kalla – It means head in Kashmiri. An ancestor of this family had a conspicuous head and was named as Kalla.

30. Sikh – It is said that an ancestor of this family had grown a long beard to conceal the white patches on his face. He and his family members were nicknamed as Sikh.

31. Hakhoo – It was used as a nickname for a thin and frail person. His descendants were also labelled as Hakhoo, even if some one among them may be as fat as an elephant.

32. Trakroo – This nickname was given to a man who was of very hot temperament and, of course, a hard task master. The nickname became part and parcel of his descendants also. Trakur in Kashmiri is used for anything hard.

33. Miskeen – A man was very kind to poor and needy. He was nicknamed as Miskeen (poor). Another explanation is that a well-to-do man used to feign as a poor man. He was along with his progeny called as Miskeen.

34. Chhot – It means a short statured person. Some elder of the family was unusually of a short stature and won this nickname for himself and his descendants.

35. Braroo – An ancestor of this family must have been a blue eyed man and was nicknamed as Braroo (the cat).

36. Kaloo – It means a person unable to speak. The name is Kaloo (just like a dumb-man).

37. Nikka – It is an ‘affectionate name’ given to small boys in Kashmiri families. Such a name generally gets discarded as soon as the boy grows up to be a youth. However, some Pandit seems to have been called Nikka, even after he attained his adulthood, and thus got the nickname. Another reason could be that an ancestor of this family was a short and small statured that even in his youth and old age, he looked like a boy and was called a Nikka.

38. Kissu – It means a small finger. Some ancestor of the family is reported to have been in possession of an extra-ordinary Kis, or was in habit of displaying his small finger in a peculiar way and got the appellation.

39. Mandal – In Kashmiri mandal means buttocks. An ancestor of the family is reported to have been a large rumped person and, thus, got this nickname.

40. Dev – Some Pandit seems to have been nicknamed as such, either for his extra-ordinary valour or having the habit of taking too much food or sleep – the peculiarities of a Dev. A Dev is an imaginary being like a Jinnie of Arabian nights.

41. Dasi – A few families of this name live in Anantnag town. An ancestor of this family is reported to have been a spend thrift and would become bankrupt in every trade and occupation he owned. He was thus nicknamed as Dasi, meaning a person who would finish and destroy everything.

42. Vokhu – An ancestor of this family is reported to have been of abnormal physiqueas well as temperament.

43. Pedar – An ancestor of this family is reported to have a deformed foot which looked like a cloven hoof and was thus nicknamed as Padar.

Kashmiri Names

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UNITED STATES OBSESSION WITH THE KASHMIR ISSUE: An Analysis


UNITED STATES OBSESSION WITH THE KASHMIR ISSUE: An Analysis

by Dr. Subhash Kapila

Pakistan excepted, it is the United States of America which stands out as the second nation most obsessed with the Kashmir issue. The American obsession with Kashmir has been persistent for the last fifty years or so.

Paradoxically, when Indian Governments and leaders of all hues have contested Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir, no Indian government or leaders have questioned the United States obsession. Similarly, the Indian media which goes to ridiculous lengths at over-analysis of Kashmir happenings and national security issues, has also not ventured to question the United States obsession with Kashmir.

In the last fifty years, the United States has applied different labels to the Kashmir issue from ‘self- determination’ to ‘aspiration of the Kashmiri people’ to being ‘a nuclear flash-point’ endangering international security’. The constantly changing stand of the United States is reflective of the fact that the United States stand on the Kashmir issue is flexible and can be said to be dependent on two factors at a given point in time: (1) Tenor of India-United States relations and; (2) The strategic utility of Pakistan for any intended United States strategic moves in South West Asia.

Kashmir or the Kashmir issue, therefore is of no concern to the United States, but only an expedient strategic tool for the region. However, since the United States cannot be ignored on any strategic issue, its rationale for its obsession with the Kashmir issue needs to be analysed. This analysis can best be done in reverse order by first analysing whether Kashmir does exist as an issue at all and then trying to understand United States motives.

Kashmir is an Obsolescent Issue: Kashmir has become an obsolescent issue as: (1) Pakistan has failed repeatedly to alter the status by resort to arms and proxy war (2) Pakistan has exhibited an incorrigible pattern of behaviour in reneging on all agreements (Simla Agreement 1972) and accords (Lahore Accord 1999) and UN resolutions (UN Resolution of 1948 and 1949 asking for withdrawal of Pakistan Army from Kashmir) which could have provided the basis for any amicable resolution of Pakistani concerns.

Pakistan and so also the United States have to come to grips with the harsh strategic reality that the Kashmir issue besides India’s legal inheritance, stands resolved through obsolescence itself.

This view stands corroborated by noted authority on conflict resolution and international politics: Prof K.J. Holsti. Prof. Holsti is an eminent Canadian scholar and once President of the International Studies Association.

United States Original Unequivocal Stand On Kashmir Accession: Warren Austin, the United States Representative to the United Nation asserted in the United Nations on February 4, 1948: “The external sovereignty of Kashmir is no longer under the control of the Maharaja…. With the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, this foreign sovereignty went over to India and is exercised by India…..”.

The above clearly indicates that the United States at the inception of the dispute and conflict generated by Pakistan was abundantly clear and had asserted the legality of Kashmir’s accession to India.

It can be said that this clear assertion was made before Cold War politics could take root in the Indian sub-continent and before Pakistan became an accomplice of US strategic designs.

Subsequent Changes in American Stand: In brief, a historical analysis of subsequent events would indicate that America’s stand on Kashmir kept changing in direct response to India’s stances and attitudes on international issues. The more important factors that came into play, singly or in combination were:

* United States State Department policies towards the Indian Sub-continent becoming overly dependent on the guidance of Sir Olaf Caroe, the British expert and friend of Pakistan.

* United States stand on Kashmir was being determined by Britain. Britain has never till today got over the loss as to why Kashmir did not accede to Pakistan despite, Britain’s determined efforts.

* The Cold War enlistment of Pakistan as a strategic ally for containment of the former Soviet Union.

* India’s policy of non-alignment which became an anathema for the United States and the West.

Broad pattern of American Involvement with Kashmir Issue: The American involvement with the Kashmir issue has been a constant. What has varied is the intensity and this corresponded to the prevailing security environment and USA-India-Pakistan equations. (1) The 1950s witnessed active involvement; (2) The 1960s and 1970s was an era of detached involvement; (3) The 1980s marked US promotion of dialogue.

The 1990s witnessed an intense anti-Indian manifestation on the Kashmir question under the Clinton Administration. This was chiefly due to the pro-Pakistan proclivities of the Asstt Secretary of State, Robin Raphael who on October 23, 1993 declared that: “We (USA) do not recognise the legal validity of Kashmir’s accession as meaning that Kashmir is for ever an integral part of India… The people of Kashmir have got to be consulted in any kind of final settlement of the Kashmir dispute.” It was a strange reversal from what Warren Austin had declared in 1948.

Clinton was later to make amends in the last year of his second administration on this count when Pakistan was berated by him on the Kashmir issue, specifically in terms of respect for the LOC. It must be noted that the proxy war in J&K by Pakistan intensified during the 1990s i.e. the era of United States permissiveness of Pakistan’s delinquency in Kashmir.

What has crept in US policies in the 1990s and being sustained by the present Bush Administration and particularly the Secretary of State, Colin Powell is “the aspirations of Kashmiri people”.

Kashmiri alienation and ‘Aspiration of the Kashmiri People’: Much stands recorded on this count and to make this analysis simpler, what needs to be re-counted is:

* Kashmiri alienation is a myth propagated by Pakistan, Western scholars and the Indian media elite. Alienation in the valley inspired by foreign Islamic Jehadi impulses is restricted and confined to the Kashmir valley. It cannot be applied to the other major and bigger regions of Jammu, Ladakh and non-Valley Muslim areas.

* If Kashmir alienation was so pronounced and claimed by the above sections, Pakistan would have been able to inflict a ‘Bangladesh’ on India. That this has not happened negates such assertions.

The United States and others need to understand that under the provisions of accession of princely states in 1947 under the British policies of ‘Transfer of Power’, Kashmir cannot be made an exception.

In any case, even Pakistan as the main protagonist and contender in Kashmir, would not permit any resolution, incorporating the American invented, 1990′s version of “aspirations of the Kashmiri people”.

United States Strategic Interest in Kashmir: Recent reports had indicated that the United States has strategic interests in Kashmir as an independent entity. An independent Kashmir would be wholly dependent on the United States and would facilitate establishing a permanent military presence of the United States.

This speculative report stands negated as establishing any United States military presence in an independent Kashmir would be costly, terrain-wise strategically unsound, and whose access to a land-locked entity would mean over-flying territories of other nations which may not permit so always.

The United States, therefore, has a strategic objective, of using Kashmir as a “pressure-point” in the conduct of its policies in the Indian sub-continent. Comparatively, use of Kashmir as a pressure-point is more India-intended and more India-relevant. This is the stark reality that all Indians, and especially the liberal fraternity, must note and recognise.

Conclusion: Contentious issues and disputes have a shelf-life and cannot be flogged ad-nauseum. This reality must dawn on the United States. More importantly it must manifest itself in American official pronouncements. Kashmir is an obsolescent issue now and needs to be given a dignified burial, which can best be done by the United States.

Emerging strategic realities in the Indian sub-continent would indicate in faint contours now and in more bold contours in the future, that the United States national interests would best be served in the Indian sub continent and the Indian Ocean region by a friendly India and not a “pressurised” India. A strongly emerging and assertive India becomes that much less “pressure -prone”.

(Dr. Subhash Kapila is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst.

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KASHMIR – Historical Perspective


KASHMIR – Historical Perspective

U. N. RESOLUTIONS – A REALITY
In 1946, M A Jinnah conferred with the leaders of J&K for merger with the proposed new state of Pakistan but did not get a favourable response. On 20 October, 1947 , Pakistan, not adhering to the Stand Still Agreement with the Maharaja of J&K, launched an invasion of J&K by Tribals led by Pakistan Army officers, prompting the Maharaja to accede to India on 26 October, 1947. The Indian Army saved Srinagar in the nick of time and cleared two thirds of Kashmir from the infiltrators. Subsequently a UN -sponsored ceasefire was accepted.

Appeal to the UN
On 30 December, 1947, while the operations were still in progress, and going India’s way, Indian Political leadership appealed to the United Nations to intervene and ask Pakistan to withdraw its troops. Four UN Resolutions were passed during 1948 and 1949. These envisaged the following :-
- Pakistan to withdraw all its troops from areas it had occupied in Kashmir.
- After Pakistan troops withdrawal, India to withdraw the bulk of its forces but to maintain a requisite strength for safeguarding the law and order in the state.
- Subsequently, the future status of the state was to be determined in accordance with the will of the people.

Pakistan’s Default and Culpability.
- As it was guilty of the invasion of J&K, it did not abide by the UN Resolution and neither withdrew its troops and infiltrators. Instead, it built airfields in the occupied territory, and imposed A full civilian and military control while claiming the territory as Azad Kashmir. For these violations the UN could not impose sanctions on Pakistan as the Resolution was not under Chapter VII of the Charter.
- To win Chinese support, it gifted 4853 sq km of the Kashmiri territory in the Shaksgam Valley to
China in 1963, thus disrupting the territorial integrity of the State of J&K. Now, to recover this
territory it is next to impossible.
- Pakistan by a Constitution Amendment incorporated a part of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(POK),
that is, Northern Areas, in Pakistan, thereby changing the territorial status of J&K and violating the UN Resolutions.
- Pakistan has changed the DEMOGRAPHY of POK by resettling large number of Punjabi ex- servicemen and Afghans from NWFP, thereby making plebiscite of erstwhile J&K irrelevant.
- Pakistan launched three large scale operations on India in 1965, 1971 and the recent Kargil war in 1999 with an attempt to militarily change the territorial status of J&K.
-After 1971 as Bangladesh was formed from East pakistan, Pakistan could no longer cite the two nation theory nor could it claim that it was the true homeland of all Muslims of the sub continent, therefore Pakistan claim on Kashmir became invalid. Also post 1971the Pakistan which remained was not even party to the dispute since it had less than half the population of original Pakistan.
- Pakistan signed the Simla Agreement in 1972 and Lahore Accord in 1998 with India, stating resolving of all disputes between two countries bilaterally and through peaceful negotiations.
- Since 1988, Pakistan has sponsored cross border terrorism in J&K with an aim to change the territorial status of J&K unilaterally which is again violation of the UN Resolutions.

Other Aspects.
- China is illegally occupying Aksai Chin area which is 19 percent of the territory. It will be next to impossible for the UN to make China vacate the area.
- In addition to the people of J&K, the Pakistan paid stooges in Kashmir demanding the implementation of the UN Resolutions, have participated in elections conducted in J&K, sworn by the Indian Constitution and also been members of the State Legislative Assembly for number of years. So, what other plebiscite they are asking for now?

THE WORLD MUST REMEMBER THAT ERSTWHILE JAMMU AND KASHMIR CONSISTED OF JAMMU REGION, KASHMIR REGION, LADAKH REGION, PAKISTAN OCCUPIED KASHMIR, BALTISTAN, GILGIT, HUNZA, SHAKSGAM VALLEY AND AKSAI CHIN (BOTH OCCUPIED BY CHINA)

AND NOT

KASHMIR ALONE

DO YOU STILL THINK UN RESOLUTIONS ARE
RELEVANT AND CAN BE IMPLEMENTED?

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Unmasking China


Unmasking China
By Bharat Verma
Issue: Vol 24.3 Jul-Sep 2009

China will launch an attack on India before 2012.

There are multiple reasons for a desperate Beijing to teach India the final lesson, thereby ensuring Chinese supremacy in Asia in this century. The recession that shut the Chinese exports shop is creating an unprecedented internal social unrest. In turn, the vice-like grip of the communists over the society stands severely threatened.

Unemployment is on the rise. The unofficial estimate stands at a whopping fourteen percent. Worldwide recession has put thirty million people out of jobs. Economic slowdown is depleting the foreign exchange reserves. Foreign investors are slowly shifting out. To create a domestic market, the massive dole of loans to individuals is turning out to be a nightmare. There appears to be a flight of capital in billions of dollars in the shape of diamond and gold bought in Hong Kong and shipped out towards end 2008.

The fear of losing control over the Chinese masses is forcing the communists to compulsorily install filtering software on new computers on sale to crush dissent on the Internet, even though it is impossible to censor in entirety the flow of information as witnessed recently in Tibet, Xinjiang and Iran.

The growing internal unrest is making Beijing jittery.

The external picture appears to be equally dismal. The unfolding Obama strategy seems to be scoring goals for democracy and freedom without firing a single shot. While Bush unwittingly united and arrayed against himself Islamic countries and radical Islam worldwide, Obama has put radical Islam in disarray by lowering the intra-societal temperature vis-à-vis America and the Muslim world. He deftly hints at democracy in his talk without directly threatening any group or country and the youth picks it up from there – as in Iran. With more and more Chinese citizens beginning to demand political freedom, the future of the communists is also becoming uncertain. The technological means available in the 21st century to spread democracy is definitely not conducive for the totalitarian regime in Beijing.

India’s chaotic but successful democracy is an eyesore for the authoritarian regime in Beijing. Unlike India, China is handicapped as it lacks the soft power – an essential ingredient to spread influence. This further adds fuel to the fire.

In addition, the growing irrelevance of Pakistan, their right hand that operates against India on their behest, is increasing the Chinese nervousness. Obama’s AF-PAK policy is primarily a PAK-AF policy. It has intelligently set the thief to catch the thief. The stated withdrawal from Iraq by America now allows it to concentrate its military surplus on the single front to successfully execute the mission. This surplus, in combination with other democratic forces, enables America to look deep into resource rich Central Asia, besides containing China’s expansionist ambitions.

To offset this adverse scenario, while overtly pretending to side with the West, the Chinese covertly ordered their other proxy, North Korea, to test underground nuclear explosions and carry out trials of missiles that threaten Japan and South Korea. The Chinese anxiety is understandable. Under Bush’s declared policy of being ‘a strategic competitor’ alongside the ‘axis of evil’, they shared a large strategic maneuverability with others of similar hues. However, Obama policies wisely deny such a luxury by reclaiming more and more international strategic space ceded by the previous administration.

The communists in China, therefore, need a military victory to unite the disillusioned citizenry behind them. This will assist in marketing the psychological perception that the 21st century belongs to China and assert their deep belief in the superiority of the Chinese race. To retain the communist party’s hold on power, it is essential to divert attention from the brewing internal dissent. In an autocratic system normally the only recipe to unite the citizenry is by mannpulating their nationalistic feelings. The easy method for Beijing to heighten the feeling of patriotism and forging national unity is to design a war with an adversary. They believe that this will help them to midwife the Chinese century. That is the end game rooted in the abiding conviction of the communists that the Chinese race is far superior to Nazi Germany and is destined to “Lord over the Earth”.

At present, there is no overall cost benefit ratio in integrating Taiwan by force with the mainland, since under the new dispensation in Taipei, the island is ‘behaving’ itself. Also, the American presence around the region is too strong for comfort. There is also the factor of Japan to be reckoned. Though Beijing is increasing its naval presence in the South China Sea to coerce into submission those opposing its claim on the Sprately Islands, at this point of time in history it will be unwise for recession-hit China to move against the Western interests, including Japan. Therefore, the most attractive option is to attack a soft target like India and forcibly occupy its territory in the Northeast.

Ideally, the Chinese believe that the east-wind should prevail over the west-wind. However, despite their imperial calculations of the past, they lag behind the West, particularly America, by many decades. Hence, they want the east-wind to at least prevail over the other east-wind, i.e., India, to ensure their dominance over Asia. Beijing’s cleverly raising the hackles on its fabricated dispute in Arunachal Pradesh to an alarming level, is the preparatory groundwork for imposing such a conflict on India. A sinking Pakistan will team up with China to teach India “the final lesson”.

The Chinese leadership wants to rally its population behind the communist rule. As it is, Beijing is already rattled, with its proxy Pakistan, now literally embroiled in a civil war, losing its sheen against India. Above all, it is worried over the growing alliance of India with the United States and the West, because the alliance has the potential to create a technologically superior counterpoise.

All these three concerns of the Chinese communists are best addressed by waging a war against pacifist India to achieve multiple strategic objectives. But India, otherwise the biggest challenge to the supremacy of China in Asia, is least prepared on ground to face the Chinese threat.

How will India repel the Chinese game plan? Will Indian leadership be able to take the heat of war? Have they laid the groundwork adequately to defend India? Is the Indian military equipped to face the two-front war by Beijing and Islamabad? Is the Indian Civil Administration geared to meet the internal security challenges that the external actors will sponsor simultaneously through their doctrine of unrestricted warfare?

The answers is an unequivocal ‘NO’. Pacifist India is not ready by a long shot either on the internal or the external front.

It is said that long time back, a king with an excellent military machine at his disposal could not stomach the violence involved in winning wars. So he renounced war in victory. This led to the rise of the pacifist philosophies. The state either refused to defend itself or neglected the instruments that could defend it.

Any ‘extreme’ is dangerous, as it tends to create imbalance in statecraft.

We saw that in the unjust unilateral aggression in Iraq. It diminished the American aura and recessed the economy. China’s despotic regime is another extreme, scared to permit political dissent. This will fuel an explosion worse than the Tiananmen Square. Despite the use of disproportionate force and the demographic invasion of Tibet, Beijing’s hold remains tenuous. Pakistan’s over-aggressive agenda in the name of jihad haunts it now to the point of fragmentation of the State.

Similarly, India’s pacifism is the other extreme. 26/11s will occur on a regular basis as it infects policy-making. Such extreme postures on either side invariably generate wars. Armed with an aggressive Wahabi philosophy, Pakistan, in cohort with China, wants to destabilize a pacifist India. India’s instruments of state steeped in pacifism are unable to rise to its defence.

In the past sixty years, the deep-rooted pacifism contributed to the Civil Administration, ceding control of forty per cent of the Union’s territory to the Maoists and ten percent to the insurgents, effecting a shrinking influence internally, as well in the ‘near abroad’.

India must rapidly shift out from its defeatist posture of pacifism to deter China. New Delhi’s stance should modify, not to aggression, but to a firm assertion in statecraft. The state must also exclusively retain the capability of intervention by use of force internally as well as externally. If it permits the non-state actors to develop this capability in competition, then the state will whither away. On the contrary, the state machinery should ensure a fast-paced development in the Red Corridor even it if has to hold Maoists hostage at gunpoint. The state’s firm and just intervention will dissolve the Maoist movement.

Keeping in view the imminent threat posed by China, the quickest way to swing out of pacifism to a state of assertion is by injecting military thinking in the Civil Administration to build the sinews. That will enormously increase the deliverables on ground – from Lalgarh to Tawang.

Bharat Verma, Editor Indian Defence Review.

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China’s Kashmir


In an opinion piece titled “How does China handle its Kashmir?” in the latest issue of Organiser, S Gurumurthy writes: “That China too has its Kashmir and problem with Islamist separatists identical to India’s Kashmir is not widely known. Xinjiang is China’s Kashmir. Xinjiang actually shares borders with Ladakh in India’s Kashmir. China’s Kashmir is physically 100 times bigger than India’s and therefore its problem too is that bigger. Yet many do not know about it. The reason is that China prevented Xinjiang, its Kashmir, from becoming an international issue like India’s Kashmir. Xinjiang, which had a majority Turkish Mulims [known as Uyghurs] in 1949, had a short lived state of East Turkestan. China invaded it, crushed it, won back its territory. The name Xinjiang literally means ‘old frontier returns to China’! See the contrast. A year earlier, in 1948, India almost won back most of the Kashmir from Pakistan which had invaded it, but, voluntarily offered and turned it into an international issue. It was India, not Pakistan, which went to the United Nations; made it an international issue. It is struggling to say it is a bilateral one! Now, on to how China handled Xinjiang, its Kashmir, and integrated it with mainland China.”

He adds: “Xinjiang has a population of 20 million plus. The Uyghur Muslims constitute 45 per cent; other Muslims 12 per cent and Hans 41 per cent. What was the population of Han Chinese in Xinjiang in 1949? Just 6 per cent; in six decades it has risen by seven times. This change did not occur on its own. China did not just trust army or administrative control of its territory in Xinjiang. It trusted only its people. It ensured that the Han Chinese slowly began populating Xinjiang. The result is self-evident. But the 41 per cent Han Chinese population does not include Chinese defence personnel and families, and unregistered migrant Chinese workers”.
He concludes: “Yes China do have problem with Islamist separatists, extremists and terrorists. But it has, by diplomacy and action, kept that an internal problem of China unlike India which has on its own made the Kashmir an international issue. China has changed the religious and political demography of Xinjiang by ensuring that 41 per cent of the province’s population is non-Muslim. Instead of working to change the demography in favour of India like China has done, the Indian government, in contrast, could not even prevent the expulsion of the Hindus from the Valley. While Xinjiang is half filled by Han Chinese, Kashmir is cleansed of the Hindus. With the result, India has to defend Kashmir by the army instead of by the people. Had India followed the policy which Chinese had adopted in Xinjiang, conquering back Kashmir instead of contracting under Article 370 which prevented rest of Indians from migrating to Kashmir, today Kashmir would have demographically integrated with India. India would be dealing with internal riots occasionally like China does; and not face or fight wars with Pakistan and with terrorists everyday. The lesson for India is: demography — religious demographic balance that is in tune with the national mainstream — is the guarantee for the nation”.

Courtsy:Indian express

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Kashmir: The origins of the dispute


Kashmir: The origins of the dispute Current tensions go back decades By Victoria Schofield, author of Kashmir in Conflict

 In August 1947 when the Indian subcontinent became independent from Britain, all the rulers of the 565 princely states, whose lands comprised two-fifths of India and a population 99 million, had to decide which of the two new dominions to join, India or Pakistan. The ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, whose state was situated between the two new countries, could not decide which country to join. He was Hindu, his population was predominantly Muslim. He therefore did nothing. Instead he signed a “standstill” agreement with Pakistan in order that services such as trade, travel and communication would be uninterrupted. India did not sign a similar agreement. Law and order In October 1947, Pashtun tribesmen from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province invaded Kashmir. There had been persistent reports of communal violence against Muslims in the state and, supported by the Pakistani Government, they were eager to precipitate its accession to Pakistan. Mountbatten favoured Kashmir’s temporary accession to India Troubled by the increasing deterioration in law and order and by earlier raids, culminating in the invasion of the tribesmen, the ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, requested armed assistance from India. The then Governor-General, Lord Mountbatten, believed the developing situation would be less explosive if the state were to accede to India, on the understanding that this would only be temporary prior to “a referendum, plebiscite, election”. According to the terms of the Instrument of Accession, India’s jurisdiction was to extend to external affairs, defence and communications. Troops airlifted Exactly when Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession has been hotly debated for over 50 years. Nehru’s representative met the ruler of Kashmir Official Indian accounts state that in the early hours of the morning of 26 October, Hari Singh fled from Srinagar, arriving in Jammu later in the day, where he was met by V P Menon, representative of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and signed the Instrument of Accession. On the morning of 27 October, Indian troops were airlifted into Srinagar. Recent research, from British sources, has indicated that Hari Singh did not reach Jammu until the evening of 26 October and that, due to poor flying conditions, V P Menon was unable to get to Jammu until the morning of 27 October , by which time Indian troops were already arriving in Srinagar. In order to support the thesis that the Maharaja acceded before Indian troops landed, Indian sources have now suggested that Hari Singh signed an Instrument of Accession before he left Srinagar but that it was not made public until later. This was because Hari Singh had not yet agreed to include the Kashmiri leader, Sheikh Abdullah, in his future government. To date no authentic original document has been made available. Pakistan immediately contested the accession, suggesting that it was fraudulent, that the Maharaja acted under duress and that he had no right to sign an agreement with India when the standstill agreement with Pakistan was still in force. Pakistanis also argued that because Hari Singh fled from the valley of Kashmir , he was not in control of his state and therefore not in a position to take a decision on behalf of his people. ‘Bad faith’ In the context of Pakistan’s claim that there is a dispute over the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the accession issue forms a significant aspect of their argument. By stating that the Instrument of Accession was signed on 26 October, when it clearly was not, Pakistan believes that India has not shown good faith and consequently that this invalidates the Instrument of Accession. Indians argue, however, that regardless of the discrepancies over timing, the Maharaja did choose to accede to India and he was not under duress. On the basis of his accession, India claims ownership of the entire state which includes the approximately one-third of the territory currently administered by Pakistan. In 1949 Maharaja Hari Singh was obliged by the Government of India to leave the state and hand over the government to Sheikh Abdullah. He died in Bombay in 1962.

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Taliban, al-Qaeda linked to Kashmir


Taliban, al-Qaeda linked to Kashmir

By John Diamond, USA TODAY WASHINGTON — Al-Qaeda and Taliban members are helping organize a terror campaign in Kashmir to foment conflict between India and Pakistan, U.S. intelligence officials and foreign diplomats say. The strategy of the terrorist network and its allies in the ousted Afghan government: Relieve pressure on al-Qaeda members hiding in western Pakistan by forcing the Pakistani government to move troops searching for the terrorists to the eastern border with India. Destabilize the government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf by raising tensions with India and pushing Musharraf to crack down on domestic Islamic militants who support al-Qaeda. Pakistan and India, the world’s newest nuclear powers, both claim all of Kashmir, the Himalayan region that straddles their border. They have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over Kashmir. Al-Qaeda’s ability to coordinate terrorist activities in Kashmir worries U.S. officials because it indicates the war in Afghanistan hasn’t put the group out of business. The shift of Pakistani troops to the Indian border leaves U.S. operatives in western Pakistan without crucial allies to pursue al-Qaeda leaders that might include Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. Pakistan’s offensive against al-Qaeda in the west has fizzled as forces move to the tense Indian border, a top Pentagon official says. Intelligence officials have yet to link al-Qaeda or the Taliban conclusively to specific acts, such as the attack on the Indian parliament Dec. 13, which touched off the latest crisis, or Tuesday’s shooting of seven people in a Kashmiri village, apparently by Muslim guerrillas. Some Pentagon and CIA officials are not ready to ascribe al-Qaeda activities in Kashmir to a coordinated terrorist campaign. But sources familiar with U.S. Intelligence analysis say al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives in the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan are helping terrorists they had trained in Afghanistan to infiltrate Indian-controlled territory. Their goal, says one U.S. Intelligence official, is to “cause the biggest problem between India and Pakistan that they possibly can.” The intelligence is coming from interrogations of al-Qaeda and Taliban members, as well as information supplied by intelligence organizations in Pakistan and India, the officials say. Robert Oakley, former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, says that if al-Qaeda “can do something to bring India and Pakistan to war, that’s wonderful for them because it relieves pressure on them.” A link between al-Qaeda and Kashmiri militants would pose an awkward problem for the United States, which would have trouble carrying out its war against al-Qaeda and still remain neutral in the India-Pakistan dispute. Musharraf’s government, which fears the conflict could turn Pakistan’s Muslims against his pro-U.S. regime, denied charges by India on Tuesday that Pakistan is harboring al-Qaeda terrorists in Kashmir.

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Text of Memorandum submitted by 14 Muslim leaders of India


Text of Memorandum submitted by 14 Muslim leaders of India

to Dr. Frank P. Graham, United Nations Representative

14 August, 1951

Reproduced from:
Converted Kashmir – Memorial of Mistakes
A Bitter Saga of Religious Conversion
Author: Narender Sehgal
Utpal Publications, 1994

It is a remarkable fact that, while the Security Council and its various agencies have devoted so much time to the study of the Kashmir dispute and made various suggestions for its resolution, none of them has tried to ascertain the views of the Indian Muslims nor the possible effect of any hasty step in Kashmir, however well-intentioned, on the interests and well- being of the Indian Muslims. We are convinced that no lasting solution for the problem can be found unless the position of Muslims in Indian society is clearly understood.

Supporters of the idea of Pakistan, before this subcontinent was partitioned, discouraged any attempt to define Pakistan clearly and did little to anticipate the conflicting problems which were bound to arise as a result of the advocacy of the two-nation theory. The concept of Pakistan, therefore, became an emotional slogan with little rationale content. It never occurred to the Muslim League or its leaders that if a minority was not prepared to live with a majority on the sub- continent, how could the majority be expected to tolerate the minority.

It is, therefore, small wonder that the result of partition has been disastrous to Muslims. In undivided India, their strength lay about 100 million. Partition split up the Muslim people, confining them to the three isolated regions. Thus, Muslims number 25 million in Western Pakistan, 35 million to 40 million in India, and the rest in Eastern Pakistan. A single undivided community has been broken into three fragments, each faced with its own problems.

Pakistan was not created on a religious basis. If it had been, our fate as well as the fate of other minorities would have been settled at that time. Nor would the division of the sub- continent for reasons of religion have left large minorities in India or Pakistan.

This merely illustrates what we have said above, that the concept of Pakistan was vague, obscure, and never clearly defined, nor its likely consequences foreseen by the Muslim League, even when some of these should have been obvious.

When the partition took place, Muslims in India were left in the lurch by the Muslim League and its leaders. Most of them departed to Pakistan and a few who stayed behind stayed long enough to wind up their affairs and dispose of their property. Those who went over to Pakistan left a large number of relations and friends behind.

Having brought about a division of the country, Pakistan leaders proclaimed that they would convert Pakistan into a land where people would live a life according to the tenets of Islam. This created nervousness and alarm among the minorities living in Pakistan. Not satisfied with this, Pakistan went further and announced again and again their determination to protect and safeguard the interests of Muslims in India. This naturally aroused suspicion amongst the Hindus against us and our loyalty to India was questioned.

Pakistan had made our position weaker by driving out Hindus from Western Pakistan in utter disregard of the consequences of such a policy to us and our welfare. A similar process is in question in Eastern Pakistan from which Hindus are coming over to India in a large and large number.

If the Hindus are not welcome in Pakistan, how can we, in all fairness, expect Muslims to be welcomed in India ? Such a policy must inevitably, as the past has already shown, result in the uprooting of Muslims in this country and their migration to Pakistan where, as it became clear last year, they are no longer welcome, lest their influx should destroy Pakistan’s economy.

Neither some of the Muslims who did migrate to Pakistan after partition, and following the widespread bloodshed and conflict on both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border in the north- west, have been able to find a happy asylum in what they had been told would be their homeland. Consequently some of them have had to return to India, e.g Meos who are now being rehabilitated in their former areas.

If we are living honorably in India today, it is certainly not due to Pakistan which, if anything, has by her policy and action weakened our pooition.

The credit goes to the broadminded leadership of India, to Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, to the traditions of tolerance in this country and to the Constitution which ensures equal rights to all citizens of India, irrespective of their religion caste, creed, colour or sex.

We, therefore, feel that, tragically as Muslims were misled by the Muslim League and subsquently by Pakistan and the unnecessary suffering which we and our Hindu brethren have to go through in Pakistan and in India since partition, we must be given an opportunity to settle down to a life of tolerance and understanding to the mutual benefit of Hindus and Muslims in our country – if only Pakistan would let us do it. To us it is a matter of no smaller onsequence.

Despite continuous provocations, first from the Muslim League and since then from Pakistan, the Hindu majority in India has not thrown us or members of other minorities out of Civil Services, Armed Forces, the judiciary, trade, commerce, business and industry. There are Muslim Ministers in the Union and State cabinets, Muslim Governors, Muslim Ambassadors, representing India in foreign countries, fully enjoying the confidence of the Indian nation, Muslim members in Parliament and state legislatures, Muslim judges serving on the Supreme Court and High Courts, high-ranking officers in the Armed Foroes and the Civil services, including the police. Muslims have large landed estates, run big business and commercial houses in various parts of the country, notably in Bombay and Calcutta, have their shares in industrial production and enterprise in export and import trade. Our famous sacred shrines and places of cultural interest are mostly in India.

Not that our lot is certainly happy. We wish some of the state Governments showed a little greater sympathy to us in the field of education and employment. Nevertheless, we feel we have an honourable place in India. Under the law of the land, our religious and cultural life is protected and we shall share in the opportunities open to all citizens to ensure progress for the people of this country.

It is, therefore, clear that our interest and welfare do not coincide with Pakistan’s conception of the welfare and interests of Muslims in Pakistan.

This is clear from Pakistan’s attitude towards Kashmir. Pakistan claims Kashmir, first, on the ground of the majority of the State’s people being Muslims and, secondly, on the ground, of the state being essential to its economy and defence. To achieve its objective it has been threatening to launch “Jehad” against Kashmir in India.

It is a strange commentary on political beliefs that the same Muslims of Pakistan who like the Muslims of Kashmir to join them invaded the state, in October 1947, killing and plundering Muslims in the state and dishonouring Muslim women, all in the interest of what they described as the liberation of Muslims of the State. In its oft-proclaimed anxiety to rescue the 3 million Muslims from what it describes as the tyranny of a handful of Hindus in the State, Pakistan evidently is prepared to sacrifice the interests of 40 million Muslims in India – a strange exhibition of concern for the welfare of fellow- Muslims. Our misguided brothers in Pakistan do not realise that if Muslims in Pakistan can wage a war against Hindus in Kashmir why should not Hindus, sooner or later, retaliate against Muslims in India.

Does Pakistan seriously think that it could give us any help if such an emergency arose or that we would deserve any help thanks to its own follies ? It is incapable of providing room and livelihood to the 40 million Muslims of India, should they migrate to Pakistan. Yet its policy and action, if not changed soon, may well produce the result which it dreads.

We are convinced that India will never attack our interests. First of all, it would be contrary to the spirit animating the political movement in this country. Secondly, it would be opposed to the Constitution and to the sincere leadership of the Prime Minister. Thirdly, India by committing such a folly would be playing straight into the hands of Pakistan.

We wish we were equally convinced of the soundness of Pakistan’s policy. So completely oblivious is it of our present problems and of our future that it is willing to sell us into slavery – if only it can secure Kashmir.

It ignores the fact that Muslims in Kashmir may also have a point of view of their own, that there is a democratic movement with a democratic leadership in the State, both inspired by the progress of a broad minded, secular, democratic movement in India and both naturally being in sympathy with India. Otherwise, the Muslim raiders should have been welcomed with open arms by the Muslims of the State when the invasion took place in 1947.

Persistent propaganda about “Jehad” is intended, among other things, to inflame religious passions in this country. For it would, of course, be in Pakistan’s interests to promote communal rioting in India to show to Kashmiri Muslims how they can find security only in Pakistan. Such a policy, however, can only bring untold misery and suffering to India and Pakistan generally and to Indian Muslims particularly.

Pakistan never tires of asserting that it is determined to protect the interests of Muslims in Kashmir and India. Why does not Pakistan express the same concern for Pathans who are fighting for Pakhtoonistan, an independent homeland of their own ? The freedom-loving Pathans under the leadership of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Dr. Khan Sahib, both nurtured in the traditions of democratic tolerance of the Indian National Congress, are being subjected to political repression of the worst possible kind by their Muslim brethren in power in Pakistan and in the NWFP. Contradictory as Pakistan’s policy generally is, it is no surprise to us that while it insists on a fair and impartial plebiscite in Kashmir, it denies a fair and impartial plebiscite to Pathans.

Pakistan’s policy in general and her attitude towards Kashmir is particular thus tend to create conditions in this cauntry which in the long run can only bring to us Muslims widespread suffering and destruction. Its policy prevents us from settling down, from being honourable citizens of a State, free from suspicion of our fellow-countrymen and adapting ourselves to changing conditions to promote the interests and welfare of India. Its sabre-rattling interferes with its own economy and ours. It expects us to be layal to it despite its importance to give us any protection, believing at the same time that we can still claim all the rights of citizenship in a secular democracy.

In the event of a war, it is extremely doubtful whether it will be able to protect the Muslims of East Bengal who are completely cut off from Western Pakistan. Are the Muslims of India and Eastern Pakistan who sacrifice themselves completely to enable the 25 million Muslims in Western Pakistan to embark upon mad, self-destructive and adventures?

We should, therefore, like to impress upon you with all the emphasis at our command that Pakistan’s policy towards Kashmir is fraught with the gravest peril to the 40 million Muslims of India. If the Security Council is really interested in peace human brotherhood, and international understanding, it should heed this warning while there is still time.

Dr. Zakir Hussain
(Vice Chancellor Aligarh University)

Sir Sultan Ahmed
(Former Member of Governor General’s Executive Council)

Sir Mohd. Ahmed Syed Khan
(Nawab of Chhatari, former acting
Governor of United Provinces and
Prime Minister of Hyderabad)

Sir Mohd. Usman
(Former member of Governor
General’s Executive council and
acting Governor of Madras)

Sir Iqbal Ahmed
(Former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court)

Sir Fazal Rahimtoola
(Former Sheriff of Bombay)

Maulana Hafz-ur-Rehman M.P.
Col. B.H. Zaidi M.P.

Nawab Zain Yar Jung
(Minister Gcvernment of Hyderabad)

A.K. Kawaja
(Former President of Muslim Majlis)

T.M. Zarif
(General Secretary West Bengal Bohra Community)

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Shariat Law may soon implemented in POK


Shariat Law may soon implemented in POK

Arif Shahid who belongs to Koyain Khaigla, a far flung area of Pakistan occupied Kashmir says that Pakistan has captured PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan and condemn the role and policy of Pakistan. He has been struggling for these two regions under the banner of Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Front (JKNLF) as its secretary general.
In an exclusive interview to R C GANJOO he expressed his views on the current situation in Pakistan and its impact in these regions.

Q:Since Pakistan is once again facing political crisis, what impact will it have on Pakistan occupied (PoK) and Gilgit-baltistan regions which have been remained under the thumb of Pakistani rulers. And if Pakistan is again ruled by its army what would be fate of these two regions.

ARIF SHAHID – Pakistan may be at any square, it will continue to treat Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) as its colonies as has been handling before. However, as the result of present crisis, it may also change the fate of PoK and GB, but chances seem to be bleak.
In case of army rule once again in Pakistan definitely PoK shall also be placed under some military commander as chief executive and GB zone shall be under martial law as was done by dictator the then army president Zia-ul-Haq. But I think this time army rule shall also take toll of Pakistan itself, because the people of Sindh, Baluchistan and NWFP shall prefer to announce their own sovereignty instead of being ruled by Punjabi military again and again. Let us hope something good emerges for these unfortunate people of small provinces in Pakistan this time.

Q:Do you think Swat after getting Islamic rule ( Shariat Law) implemented has further strengthen the morale of fundamentalist forces. Will these forces extend their agenda in your regions also?

ARIF SHAHID: Yes, since the ego of Islamic fundamentalists and extremists is pampered and inflated due to their victory over Pakistan military in Swat, they shall certainly try to expand their infrastructure and activities in other areas of Pakistan as well, although their presence is everywhere in Pakistan, but in unstable organisational structure. As far as PoK is concerned, these forces are already in much organized manner under the patronage of Pakistan military and its agencies. They consider PoK as the future battle ground where Pakistan military establishment shall continue to support them till the issue of PoK is settled in favour of Pakistan. Moreover, the brand of ‘shariat’ they have introduced in Swat already exists in PoK as the ‘Qazis’ sit beside the judges in courts. This sort of judicial structure is helpful to them, and they shall get benefit out of it in future.
Q: What future course Talibans are going to take

ARIF SHAHID: It is evident that some circle in the establishment is having strong links with Taliban. They formed Taliban and trained them but now they become not only dangerous for them but for whole civilized world. Since Pakistan has provided a safe heaven to Talibans and they will turn the world into hell for whole mankind. If they succeeded to implement their own branded shape of Islam in Malakand ultimately they will demand same for Panjab , Sindh and Balouchistan. Sofi Muhammad has already announced that democracy is un-Islamic and Islamic System has having no boundaries. That’s why India has said that extremism is not the only issue of Pakistan but it is a Global Issue.
During the cold war these Islamic extremists were claiming that communism is against Islam. They forbade Pakistani youths for studying in former Soviet Union and China. Surprisingly the prominent leader of this school of thoughts Qazi Hussain Ahmed recently visited China and signed an agreement of friendship with communist party of China. This is a unique development in the politics of the region. And this sign of new change is for what, is to be watched .

Q:What lesson separatists in Jammu and Kashmir should learn from the unpleasant emerging situation in Pakistan and its impact in PoK and G.B regions?
ARIF SHAHID – All the people of Jammu Kashmir who have been romantically attached to Pakistan and have been engaged in proxy war on behalf of Pakistan instead of fighting for their own independence should be realistic enough now at least. They should think that a country which has already been dismembered due to malfunctioning and maladministration, especially due to dictatorship and injustice, and remaining part is again at the verge of disintegration due to the same reasons, deserves to be considered as a comfortable refuge for any people? I think people of all the parts of Jammu Kashmir must have learnt lesson by now.
The expression of solidarity has still been continuing in the Valley of Kashmir since 1988 in one way or the other as a result of that they have lost some 80 thousand precious lives. How much more price they shall have to pay, God knows! In addition to that there are so many historical facts which can expose Pakistan for her expression of solidarity with Kashmiris. Let us see what is the state of her solidarity with both the regions the so called ‘Azad Kashmir’ ( POK) and GB, which are under her direct control. Jammu and Laddakh regions are fortunate enough that they are out of limits of Pakistan’s solidarity’s for being non-Muslim majority

Q: As you said that people in PoK and G.B regions have been suffering since 1947 under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. Are the people prepared to join neighbouring country to get rid of slavery?

ARIF SHAHID –The sane and conscious people of Jammu Kashmir have always been struggling for their freedom to become a secular and democratic entity in a reunified Jammu and Kashmir. But if it is not possible at any cost. They shall have to think about feasible and viable alternatives. Certainly, they shall never think to join a country which is habitual of military rule, dictatorship, feudalism, fundamentalism and religious oppression.
I think that the Muslim majority of PoK shall have to reconsider its priorities as against the past.
Courtsy: bharat khabar

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We will one day regain homeland: Kashmiri Pandits


We will one day regain homeland: Kashmiri Pandits
Jammu, April 12
The Kashmiri Pandit (KP) community in exile for the past 19 years today adopted a declaration seeking dignified return and “Union territory of Panun Kashmir” within the Kashmir division at the 3rd World Kashmiri Pandit conference, which came to a close at Jammu University today.

“Today, tomorrow, someday, we shall regain homeland one day,” this was the optimism exhibited by the community, especially youths. The KPs assembled at the jam-packed Zorawar Singh Auditorium showered praise upon people of Jammu for giving them “shelter” after their mass exodus from the valley.

“Vitasta (Jehlum river) flows in the valley of our souls, in our sub-conscious mind, we see the splendor of Shankaracharya temples in the reflection of Dal Lake, writers like Habba Khatoon and Rehmaan Rahi keep on haunting us….in our dreams we revisit the lanes and bylanes of the ruined cultural civilisation,” said head of Hindi department, MS University, Baroda, Shailja Bhardwaj.

Dr Shailja was speaking during the first session; KP Women: Challenges in Exile.

Coming down heavily upon extremists in the valley, she asked the Muslim youth not to fall prey to evil designs of separatists. She urged them to redirect their minds towards the era of modernisation from religious bigotry.

Sikh cleric, Sant Mehar Singh and MLA, Ashok Khajuria in their formal addresses extended all support to the community.

Younger generation presented cultural extravaganza on the occasion. The youth also shared their experiences of being away from their roots, collective problems and viable solutions in the second session: KP Youth in Exile- Challenges Galore.

In the third session a documentary film, “Journey to homeland” by Roots in Kashmir was screened.

Ashutosh Sharma
Tribune News Service

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Speakers at World Conference lambast Govt for plight of KPs


Speakers at World Conference lambast Govt for plight of KPs

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Apr 11: Terming the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Valley as painful, the speakers in 3rd Kashmiri Pandit World Conference turned tables on Government for watching this tragedy as a mute spectator.

While renowned film star Anupam Kher who was the chief guest in the first session of the conference urged the members of Kashmiri Pandit community that instead of holding seminars and debates, it is now time to do something practical for solving their problems.

He urged the community to fight the problem on political front by participating in elections while expressing his concern that not a single Kashmiri Pandit has won the election. “It is important to have your say in politics to fight the system,” he added. Mr Kher, while expressing his grave concern and anguish over the plight of the Pandits said “let us become warriors instead of worriers.”He, while complimenting Jammu people for adopting the displaced Pandits said the community should be ready for an “Andolan” now as nothing has emerged from our long patience of 20 years.

He asked the KPs to launch a decisive struggle by remembering the Mantra that “any thing can happen at any time”.

He also urged the displaced community to join hands for fulfilling the dreams and said that he was pained to see the house in which he used to spend two months in Summer at Karannagar, Srinagar 20 years back has been in possession of CRPF and the houses of Kashmir Pandits on Pahalgam route deserted during his last year’s visit to Srinagar.

Parliament Member and veteran journalist, Chandan Mitra, said the nation has not forgotten the sufferings and pain of KPs.

He said “till Pandits don’t return with security and honour we have no right to call our selves as Indian”. The Pandits are fighting a war for self-esteem and respect and they have become refugees in their own country but till date justice has not been dispensated to them. “It is our duty to find a solution to their problems”, he added.

He urged the community to continue to raise their voice so that the next Government keeps their permanent rehabilitation in its agenda.

He said hounding out KPs from Valley was the first attack to dismember India and it is also a conspiracy to grab Indian territory.

Former D G BSF, Prakash Singh said that four blunders done by India are responsible for present turmoil. First in 1962 when China annexed Indian territory and “we accepted the control of China over Tibet,” second in 1971 after liberation of Bangladesh, India failed to resolve Kashmir, third was 1984 anti Sikh riots and fourth was KPs exodus in 1989-90.

He accused the media and mainstream political parties for playing negative role on this issue. “We have all resources at our disposal for a powerful nation but the reins of Government are in weak hands”,he added.

Congress leader Ashok Bhan said KPs have faced atrocities since 1931 when first uprising took place in Kashmir. He said the community which has 5000 year old history should have slogan “awake, arise and strike to go to homeland”.

He said if the community fails to achieve this goal “our next generation will continue strike for the same”.

Vivek Kumar an educationist from HP lamented on pitible conditions of India which was once Vishaw Guru . He, while asking people to fight out the nation’s detractors who are hell bent to bleed India, warned that next generations will not spare us if we fail to strike back.

Raj Kumar Tyagi, president Akhil Bharatiya Bram Rishi Maha Sangh, said it is not a battle of Kashmiri Pandits alone but of entire nation.

He stressed on taking to arms against the enemies of nation and justified it.

In his key note address Dr Agnishekhar highlighted the plight of displaced KPs and gave a background of holding this conference.

Earlier, ASKPC chief A N Vaishnavi, Mohinder Singh Bitta, B L Bhat representative KOA,T N Ganjoo and T N Tickoo were given away the Sharda Samman. The awards were presented to them by Nirmala Pandit a spiritual saint. Besides J N Koul was also given this award posthumously. Gokal Dembi’s paintings on three KP icons Shriya Bhat, Kripa Ram and Birbal Dhar were released. In addition to this a cassette of Deepali Wattal, Kuldeep Sapru and Vishal Gupta ——a tribute to Amarnath martyrs was also released.

A film by J K Bezan and Asha Zaroo on language of Satisar, calendar of Shivlingam by Navreh Foundation, P K calendar and book of Dr Ved Kumari Ghai was also released.

A special session was held on discrimination to which Jammu and Ladakh regions have been subjected to. The speakers in this session were Dr Jitendra Singh, renowned diabetologist, Ram Sahai, president Chamber of Commerce, B S Slathia ex president of Bar Association, Raj Kumar Dogra a famous musician and K K Pangotra.

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Pakistan: “The Taliban’s Godfather”?


Pakistan: “The Taliban’s Godfather”?

Documents Detail Years of Pakistani Support for Taliban, Extremists

Covert Policy Linked Taliban, Kashmiri Militants, Pakistan’s Pashtun Troops

Aid Encouraged Pro-Taliban Sympathies in Troubled Border Region

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 227
Edited by Barbara Elias

 

For more information contact:
Barbara Elias – 202/994-7000
belias@gwu.edu

Unnamed and undated, this U.S. intelligence document confirms that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with both financial and military assistance.

 

 

 

 

Washington D.C.,  A collection of newly-declassified documents published today detail U.S. concern over Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban during the seven-year period leading up to 9-11. This new release comes just days after Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, acknowledged that, “There is no doubt Afghan militants are supported from Pakistan soil.” While Musharraf admitted the Taliban were being sheltered in the lawless frontier border regions, the declassified U.S. documents released today clearly illustrate that the Taliban was directly funded, armed and advised by Islamabad itself.

Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the documents reflect U.S. apprehension about Islamabad’s longstanding provision of direct aid and military support to the Taliban, including the use of Pakistani troops to train and fight alongside the Taliban inside Afghanistan. [Doc 17] The records released today represent the most complete and comprehensive collection of declassified documentation to date on Pakistan’s aid programs to the Taliban, illustrating Islamabad’s firm commitment to a Taliban victory in Afghanistan. [Doc 34].

These new documents also support and inform the findings of a recently-released CIA intelligence estimate characterizing Pakistan’s tribal areas as a safe haven for al-Qaeda terrorists, and provide new details about the close relationship between Islamabad and the Taliban in the years prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Declassified State Department cables and U.S. intelligence reports describe the use of Taliban terrorist training areas in Afghanistan by Pakistani-supported militants in Kashmir, as well as Pakistan’s covert effort to supply Pashtun troops from its tribal regions to the Taliban cause in Afghanistan-effectively forging and reinforcing Pashtun bonds across the border and consolidating the Taliban’s severe form of Islam throughout Pakistan’s frontier region.

Also published today are documents linking Harakat ul-Ansar, a militant Kashmiri group funded directly by the government of Pakistan, [Doc 10] to terrorist training camps shared by Osama bin Laden in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. [Doc 16]

Of particular concern was the potential for Islamabad-Taliban links to strengthen Taliban influence in Pakistan’s tribal regions along the border. A January 1997 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan observed that “for Pakistan, a Taliban-based government in Kabul would be as good as it can get in Afghanistan,” adding that worries that the “Taliban brand of Islam…might infect Pakistan,” was “apparently a problem for another day.” [Doc 20] Now ten years later, Islamabad seems to be acknowledging the domestic complications that the Taliban movement has created within Pakistan. A report produced by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry and obtained by the International Herald Tribune in June 2007 warned President Pervez Musharraf that Taliban-inspired Islamic militancy has spread throughout Pakistan’s tribal regions and could potentially threaten the rest of the country. The document is “an accurate description of the dagger pointed at the country’s heart,” according to one Pakistani official quoted in the article. “It’s tragic it’s taken so long to recognize it.”

Islamabad denies that it ever provided military support to the Taliban , but the newly-released documents report that in the weeks following the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 1996, Pakistan’s intelligence agency was “supplying the Taliban forces with munitions, fuel, and food.” Pakistan’s Interservice Intelligence Directorate was “using a private sector transportation company to funnel supplies into Afghanistan and to the Taliban forces.” [Doc 15] Other documents also conclude that there has been an extensive and consistent history of “both military and financial assistance to the Taliban.” [Doc 8]

The newly-released documents also shed light on the complexity of U.S. diplomacy with Pakistan as the State Department has struggled to maintain the U.S.-Pakistan alliance amid concerns over the rise of the Taliban regime. In one August 1997 cable, U.S. Ambassador Thomas W. Simons advises, “Our good relations with Pakistan associate us willy-nilly, so we need to be extremely careful about Pakistani proposals that draw us even closer,” adding that, “Pakistan is a party rather than just a mediator [in Afghanistan].” [Doc 24] In another 1997 cable, the Embassy asserts that “the best policy for the U.S. is to steer clear of direct involvement in the disputes between the two countries [Pakistan and Iran], and to continue to work for peace in Afghanistan.” [Doc 22]

As to Pakistan’s end-game in supporting the Taliban, several documents suggest that in the interest of its own security, Pakistan would try to moderate some of the Taliban’s more extreme policies. [Doc 8] But the Taliban have a long history of resistance to external interests, and the actual extent of Pakistani influence over the Taliban during this period remains largely speculative. As the State Department commented in a cable from late-1995, “Although Pakistan has reportedly assured Tehran and Tashkent that it can control the Taliban, we remain unconvinced. Pakistan surely has some influence on the Taliban, but it falls short of being able to call the shots.” [Doc 7]

Highlights

  • August 1996: Pakistan Intelligence (ISID) “provides at least $30,000 – and possibly as much as $60,000 – per month” to the militant Kashmiri group Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA). Despite this aid, the group is reaching out to sponsors of international terrorism including Osama bin Laden for additional support, and may in the near future become a threat to Islamabad itself as well as U.S. interests. HUA contacts have hinted they “might undertake terrorist actions against civilian airliners.” [Doc 10]
  • October 1996: A Canadian intelligence document released by the National Security Agency and originally classified Top Secret SI, Umbra comments on recent Taliban military successes noting that even Pakistan “must harbour some concern” regarding the Taliban’s impressive capture of Kabul, as such victory may diminish Pakistan’s influence over the movement and produce a Taliban regime in Kabul with strong links to Pakistan’s own Pashtuns. [Doc 14]
  • October 1996: Although food supplies from Pakistan to the Taliban are conducted openly through Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISID, “the munitions convoys depart Pakistan late in the evening hours and are concealed to reveal their true contents.” [Doc 15]
  • November 1996: Pakistan’s Pashtun-based “Frontier Corps elements are utilized in command and control; training; and when necessary – combat” alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. [Doc 17]
  • March 1998: Al-Qaeda and Pakistan government-funded Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA) have been sharing terrorist training camps in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan for years [Link Doc 16], and HUA has increasingly been moving ideologically closer to al-Qaeda. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad is growing increasingly concerned as Fazlur Rahman Khalil, a leader in Pakistan’s Harakat ul-Ansar has signed Osama bin Laden’s most recent fatwa promoting terrorist activities against U.S. interests. [Doc 26]
  • September 1998 [Doc 31] and March 1999 [Doc 33]: The U.S. Department of State voices concern that Pakistan is not doing all it can to pressure the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden. “Pakistan has not been responsive to our requests that it use its full influence on the Taliban surrender of Bin Ladin.” [Doc 33]
  • September 2000: A cable cited in The 9/11 Commission Report notes that Pakistan’s aid to the Taliban has reached “unprecedented” levels, including recent reports that Islamabad has possibly allowed the Taliban to use territory in Pakistan for military operations. Furthermore the U.S. has “seen reports that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with materiel, fuel, funding, technical assistance and military advisors.” [Doc 34]

Read the Documents
Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.
Document 1 – [Excised] to Ron McMullen (Afghanistan Desk), “Developments in Afghanistan,” December 5, 1994, Unknown Classification, 1 p. [Excised]Just as the Taliban are emerging as a major player in Afghanistan, a source [name excised] is troubled over Pakistan’s deep involvement in Afghan politics and Pakistan’s evident role in the Taliban’s recent military successes. His concerns include, “that the GOP [Government of Pakistan] ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] is deeply involved in the Taleban take over in Kandahar and Qalat,” and that Pakistan’s efforts to further its agenda in Afghanistan will sabotage U.N. peace efforts currently being led by Mahmoud Mesteri, Special Envoy for Afghanistan for the U.N. Secretary General.

________________________________________

Document 2 – Islama 00975
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Northern Afghan Strongman General Dostam Meets Taliban Representatives” January 29, 1995, Confidential, 2 pp. [Excised]

Unnamed Pakistani officials meeting in Islamabad with General Abdul Rashid Dostum in December 1995 allegedly advise Dostum to “not worry about the Taliban, because Pakistan can take care of them.” Dostum reportedly agrees to Pakistani requests of cooperation with the Taliban in opening trade routes in Afghanistan for Pakistan.

Dostum also meets with Taliban and Pakistani officials in Mazar-e-sharif in December. He is told by Taliban officials that they have “no territorial ambitions in the north and that Dostum should not oppose them.” Despite these promises, in May 1997 the Taliban would seize control of Mazar-e-sharif, taking Dostum’s properties and forcing him into exile.

________________________________________

Document 3 – State 243042
U.S. Department of State, Cable, “A/S Raphel’s October 4 Meeting with Assef All on Afghanistan,” October 13, 1995, Confidential, 7 pp. [Excised]

Pakistan Foreign Minister Assef All tells U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Robin Raphel that “the main Pakistani message to the [Rabbani] opposition was to unite against the Kabul regime, but not to attack Kabul.” Furthermore, “All did not deny that Pakistan had significant contact with and gave some support to the Taliban. However, he said that little outside material support was necessary as the Tall ban [sic] had widespread support throughout the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan.”

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Document 4 – Islama 09675
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Pakistan Afghan Policy: Anyone but Rabbani/Massoud – Even the Taliban,” October 18, 1995, Confidential, 6 pp. [Excised]

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Qazi Humayun tells American officials in October that “Pakistan now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of backing the Taliban.” Pakistan’s already hostile relations with the Kabul-based Rabbani government had recently grown dramatically worse as an angry mob destroyed Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul in September, injuring Ambassador Humayun and killing one other Pakistani official. The Rabbani government in Kabul claimed the mob was holding Pakistan responsible for the Taliban take over of Herat. Humayun doubted such an angry and well-organized mob could form in Kabul, a city with weak ties to Herat, without being backed by the Rabbani government. In a separate document U.N. officials independently agreed with Humayun, claiming “the loss of that city to the Taliban could not have provoked any spontaneous outbursts.”

Although admitting to supporting the Taliban, Ambassador Humayun “opined that in many ways a Taliban government in Kabul would be even worse than the present one. Adding that a state under such ultra-conservative religious leadership would not make a good neighbor.”

________________________________________

Document 5 – USUN N 004283
USMission USUN (New York), Cable, “Letter of GOP Permrep to SYG on Afghanistan,” November 1, 1995, Unclassified, 3 pp.

A reproduction of an October 25, 1995 letter from Pakistan’s U.N. representative to the U.N. Secretary General on Afghanistan, this cable is indicative of Pakistan’s public statements regarding its policy on Afghanistan. “We would like to once again reaffirm the continued neutral stance maintained by Pakistan in the Intra-Afghan rivalries. We continue to support the ongoing efforts of the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference for peace and conciliation in Afghanistan.” Pakistan maintains that it is neutral in Afghan politics.

________________________________________

Document 6 – Islama 11049
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan: Russian Embassy Official Claims Iran Interfering more than Pakistan,” November 30, 1995, Confidential, 3 pp.

According to an unnamed official at the Russian Embassy in Pakistan, the Pakistani government continues to provide the Taliban with “modest financial assistance,” logistics support, fuel, military training and chooses to ignore a “booming smuggling trade – mostly electronics,” that creates huge profits for the Taliban. In spite of this support from Pakistan, the source claims the Taliban’s funding mostly comes from Afghan traders and that aid from Pakistan to the Taliban is much more conservative than aid from Iran to the Rabbani government.

_________________________________________

Document 7 – State 291940
U.S. Department of State, Cable, “Discussing Afghan Policy with the Pakistanis,” December 22, 1995, Confidential, 11 pp. [Excised]

State Department officials in Washington D.C. question the wisdom of Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy of supporting any group opposed to the Kabul-based Rabbani government, including backing the Taliban, a group that remains “an unknown quantity to many of Afghanistan’s neighbors and therefore much more frightening than the status quo.” Providing astute advice to the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, Washington advises “We see little likelihood the Taliban would be willing to transfer power to a transitional body acceptable to other Afghan powers. If so, then an unrepresentative Tajik [Rabbani] regime in Kabul will have been traded for an unrepresentative Pashtun [Taliban] authority. Although Pakistan has reportedly assured Tehran and Tashkent that it can control the Taliban, we remain unconvinced. Pakistan surely has some influence on the Taliban, but it falls short of being able to call the shots.”

Although “Pakistan has followed a policy of supporting the Taliban and [is] attempting to forge a military and political alliance among the Kabul regime’s opponents,” the U.S. does not support a Taliban takeover and is seeking to remain a more neutral player. Unfortunately a strong U.S.-Pakistan relationship has led “Tehran, Moscow and New Delhi [to] assume incorrectly that the U.S. is party to Pakistan’s support for the Taliban and shares its antipathy for Rabbani and Masood…. Pakistani policy has undermined the credibility of our U.S. support of the U.N. special mission.”

___________________________________________

Document 8 – [Date and Title Unknown] Mori DocID: 800277
Secret, Noforn [Excised - Released by U.S. Central Command]

Unnamed and undated, this U.S. intelligence document confirms that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with both financial and military assistance, but speculates that because “Pakistan fears a complete Taliban victory may incite irredentist aspirations within its own Pashtun population [Pakistan] will likely attempt to pressure the Taliban into moderating some of its policies.”

Additionally, the document claims that Russia “has pledged to use military force should the Taliban push into northern Afghanistan,” and that India continues to supply weapons to anti-Taliban forces.

___________________________________________

Document 9 – Islama 01403
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan: Taliban Official Says Divisions Within Movement Growing; Predicts “Fight with Iran,”” February 19, 1996, Confidential, 8 pp. [Excised]

A Taliban official [name excised] discusses the Taliban perspective regarding Pakistani aid to their cause. Claiming Pakistan has only given the Taliban ammunition once, “at the very beginning of the movement in 1994,” the official explains that due to recent military successes resulting in the seizure of materials, including fuel and ammunition, the Taliban does not need direct supplies from the Pakistanis. He provided one important insight however, commenting that Pakistan “used Afghan traders to channel money to the Taliban, avoiding wherever possible a direct link with the movement.” Pakistan has previously denied providing the Taliban with large sums of aid, instead asserting the movement remained primarily supported by Afghan traders. This Taliban official implies that Afghan traders supporting the Taliban may actually only be serving as a conduit for Pakistani government funding.

___________________________________________

Document 10 – DI TR 96-008
Central Intelligence Agency, “Harakat ul-Ansar: Increasing Threat to Western and Pakistani Interests,” August 1996, Secret, 4 pp. [Excised]

Possibly in an effort to avoid being placed on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Pakistan is withdrawing some of its monetary support to Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA), which the CIA describes as “as Islamic extremist organization that Pakistan supports in its proxy war against Indian forces in Kashmir.” The CIA is concerned over HUA’s recent increase in its use of terrorist tactics against western targets and civilians and its efforts to reach out to sponsors of international terrorism such as Osama bin Laden and Mu’ammar Qadhafi, who “may further encourage the group to attack US interests.”

ISID (Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence Directorate) “provides at least $30,000 – and possibly as much as $60,000 – per month to the HUA,” but “antigovernment sentiment among HUA leaders is already strong and could grow further” if Islamabad further isolates the group by decreasing support. HUA’s recent shift from its limited focus on India to include western targets may indicate the group will also start to aim at Islamabad as “a senior HUA leader has publicly advocated an Afghan-style change of government in Pakistan that would remove the political, bureaucratic, and military hierarchies.”

One further interesting note in the document is that “HUA contacts of Embassy New Delhi have hinted that they might undertake terrorist actions against civilian airliners.”

____________________________________________

Document 11 – NID 96-0229CX
National Intelligence Daily, Central Intelligence Agency, Monday, September 30, 1996, Top Secret, 5 pp. [Excised]

Four days after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, the CIA comments on the Taliban’s mixed policies regarding terrorist organizations operating in Taliban-controlled territory, noting that the “Taliban has tolerated some terrorist groups while shutting down others.” “Taliban has closed militant training camps associated with Prime Minister Hikmatyar, factional leader Sayyaf, and Pakistan’s Jamaat-i-Islami. Taliban has not closed other camps associated with Usama bin Ladin, Hizbi Islami (Khalis), Paskistan’s Jamiat-Ulema-i-Islam, and Harakat ul-Ansar, including the HUA’s main training camp in Khowst.”

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Document 12 – Peshaw 00916
U.S. Consulate (Peshawar), Cable, “Afghan-Pak Border Relations at Torkham Tense” October 2, 1996, Confidential, 6 pp. [Excised]

A “reliable contact of the consulate” [name excised] witnessed “30-35 sealed ISI trucks and 15-20 fuel tankers” waiting to cross the Afghanistan-Pakistan border at Torkham. “Between afternoon tea with the officers in charge of the ‘ISI convoy’ and recognizing the type of vehicle license plate numbers on the convoy vehicles, [name excised] was very certain of the convoy’s affiliation.” The cable does not specify what was contained in the ISI trucks or where after entering Afghanistan the convoy was heading.

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Document 13 – Islama 08637
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan: Foreign Secretary Mulls over Afghanistan,” October 10, 1996, Confidential, 2 pp.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Najamuddin Shaikh insists that in spite of the rumors, Pakistani aid to the Taliban is not increasing and that Pakistan continues to push the Taliban to cooperate with other factions in Afghanistan rather than unilaterally conquer the country. U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Thomas W. Simons comments that the Foreign Secretary “went to great pains to reassure us that Pakistan is not throwing its chips in with the Taliban. In any case, [the U.S.] will continue to urge Pakistan to avoid the temptation of siding with the Taliban, but instead work to persuade the Taliban that a durable peace is possible only through genuine national reconciliation involving all Afghanistan’s ethnic and religious groups.”

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Document 14
Privy Council Office (PCO) [Ottawa, Canada] [Released by the U.S. National Security Agency], “IAC Intelligence Assessment – IA 7/96,” “Afghanistan: Taliban’s Challenges, Regional Concerns, October 18, 1996,” Top Secret – SI, Umbra, 12pp. [Excised]

A Canadian intelligence document released by the National Security Agency summarizes the situation in Afghanistan a month after the Taliban takeover of Kabul and accurately projects that the Taliban’s recent acquisition of the capital “could now more starkly divide [Afghanistan] into two distinct parts – Pakistan-supported Pushtun/Taliban forces in control of Kabul and most of the country, and Tajik/Uzbek/Shia forces of Dostam, Masood, and the Hezb-i-Wahdat’s Karim Khalili in the Panjshir Valley and north.”

Pakistan is isolated in its support of the Taliban advance, as “there is clear signs that, aside from Pakistan, Afghanistan’s near neighbors – Russia, Iran, India, and the Central Asian countries – harbour real concerns over the regional impact of the Taliban’s accession to power.” However, even Pakistan “must harbour some concern” regarding the Taliban’s impressive capture of Kabul, as it may diminish Pakistan’s influence over the movement and may over time produce a Taliban regime in Kabul with strong links to Pakistan’s own Pashtuns, perhaps eventually calling “for creation of a ‘greater Pushtun nation.”

To India’s dismay, Kashmiri militants will likely be encouraged by the Taliban’s recent successes, as many “see their struggle as much in a religious as seccessionist [sic] perspective.”

The Top Secret SI, Umbra classification designates the information in the document originating from highly-sensitive communications intelligence. UMBRA is the highest-level compartment of Special Intelligence (SI). For more information see previous Archive posting, “The National Security Agency Declassified”.

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Document 15
From [Excised] to DIA Washington D.C. [Excised], Cable “[Excised]/Pakistan Interservice Intelligence/ Pakistan (PK) Directorate Supplying the Taliban Forces,” October 22, 1996, Secret, 1 p. [Excised]

This U.S. Intelligence Information Report concludes that the ISI is much more involved with the Taliban than Pakistani officials have been telling U.S. diplomats. U.S. intelligence indicates that the ISI “is supplying the Taliban forces with munitions, fuel, and food. The Pakistan Interservice Intelligence Directorate is using a private sector transportation company to funnel supplies into Afghanistan and to the Taliban forces.” Although food supplies from Pakistan to the Taliban are conducted openly, “the munitions convoys depart Pakistan late in the evening hours and are concealed to reveal their true contents.” The document does not comment on whether Pakistani officials have been concealing this information from the U.S. or if the ISI, Pakistani intelligence, has been keeping its support of the Taliban hidden from other Pakistani government offices, in effect causing Pakistani diplomats to pass along false information to the U.S.

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Document 16 – Islama 001054
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Pakistan Counterterrorism: Ambassador’s Meeting with [Excised] on State Sponsor Designation,” February 6, 1997, Secret, 1 p. [Excised]

The U.S. Embassy confronts an unnamed Pakistani official on the unsettling triangle possibly developing between Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA), Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Both bin Laden and the HUA have been granted sanctuary in Afghanistan and are linked with terrorist training camps in Khost, near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. The U.S. fears there could be “a linkup between HUA, an organization Pakistan supported and bin Laden; it could have very serious consequences.”

The Pakistani official replied that the “HUA had been under very strong scrutiny for “more than a year,” and there had been “positive progress” in monitoring and controlling its activities. The HUA, he maintained, was under “enough control” that its activities would not create problems for Pakistan. Similarly he continued, “we won’t allow our territory to be used by Osama bin Laden for such activities.”” According to the official, Islamabad is in control and the ISID (Inter-services Intelligence Directorate) does not operate in Afghanistan on a separate agenda that is independent of Islamabad’s policies.

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Document 17
From [Excised] to DIA Washington D.C., “IIR [Excised] Pakistan Involvement in Afghanistan,” November 7, 1996, Confidential, 2 pp. [Excised]

Similar to the October 22, 1996 Intelligence Information Report (IIR), this IIR reiterates how “Pakistan’s ISI is heavily involved in Afghanistan,” but also details different roles various ISI officers play in Afghanistan. Stating that Pakistan uses sizable numbers of its Pashtun-based Frontier Corps in Taliban-run operations in Afghanistan, the document clarifies that, “these Frontier Corps elements are utilized in command and control; training; and when necessary – combat. Elements of Pakistan’s regular army force are not used because the army is predominantly Punjabi, who have different features as compared to the Pashtun and other Afghan tribes.”

According to the document, Pakistan’s Frontier Corps provide some of the combat training in Kandahar or Herat provided to Pakistani madrassa students that come to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban. The parents of these students apparently know nothing regarding their child’s military involvement with the Taliban “until their bodies are brought back to Pakistan.”

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Document 18 – Islama 09517
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad) Cable, “Afghanistan: Taliban Deny They Are Sheltering HUA Militants, Usama bin Laden,” November 12, 1996, Confidential, 7pp.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Thomas W. Simons Jr. and the Taliban’s “Acting Foreign Minister,” Mullah Ghaus discuss the presence of Osama bin Laden and Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA), Kashmiri-based anti-India militants training in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan. Responding to media reports that HUA militants are training in “two camps vacated by “Afghan Arab” militants in Afghanistan’s Paktia (Khost) province near the Afghan-Pakistan border, and intelligence reports that bin Laden “is in or near the Taliban-controlled city of Jalalabad, in Nangarhar province,” Ambassador Simons expresses strong concern that the Taliban seemingly are developing policies to shelter terrorists. Ghaus flatly denies that HUA militants or bin Laden are in Taliban territory, “There are no foreigners in Khost province – only Taliban,” and “bin Laden was invited to Afghanistan by (Hezb-I-Islami Leader and ousted Prime Minister) Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar left Kabul when we took it over. Maybe bin Laden went with him,” “I assure you that [bin Laden] is not in areas controlled by Taliban administration. This is an objective of our movement.”

Ghaus insinuates that the Taliban would be more willing to do something about terrorist entities operating in Afghanistan if the U.S. provided them with funding.

According to The 9/11 Commission Report (pp. 63-65) when bin Laden first returned to Afghanistan in May 1996 he maintained ties to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as well as other non-Taliban and anti-Taliban political entities. However by September 1996 when Jalalabad and Kabul had both fallen to the Taliban, bin Laden had solidified his ties to the Taliban and was operating in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan. Furthermore the 9/11 Commission Report observes that, “it is unlikely that Bin Laden could have returned to Afghanistan had Pakistan disapproved. The Pakistani military intelligence service probably had advance knowledge of his coming, and its officers may have facilitated his travel… Pakistani intelligence officers reportedly introduced bin Laden to Taliban leaders in Kandahar, their main base of power, to aid his reassertion of control over camps near Khowst, out of an apparent hope that he would now expand the camps and make them available for training Kashmiri militants.”

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Document 19 – Islama 009994
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad) Cable, “Afghanistan: British Journalist Visits Site of Training Camps; HUA Activity Alleged,” November 26, 1996, Confidential, 4pp.

An unnamed British journalist reports to the U.S. Embassy that her visit to two terrorist training camps in Paktia province, near the Afghan-Pakistan border on November 14, 1996 revealed that both camps appear occupied, and her “Taliban sources” advise that “one of the camps is occupied by Harakat-ul-Ansar (HUA) militants,” the Pakistan-based Kashmiri terrorist organization. Whether or not HUA’s presence in training camps in Afghanistan is known or supported by Islamabad or Pakistani intelligence is not commented on in the document. The reporter’s sources inform her that the other camp is occupied by “assorted foreigners, including Chechens, Bosnian Muslims, as well as Sudanese and other Arabs.”

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Document 20 – Islama 00436
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad) Cable, “Scenesetter for Your Visit to Islamabad: Afghan Angle,” January 16, 1997, Confidential, 12pp. [Excised]

A background document for an upcoming visit of Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robin Raphel, the cable summarizes the political and military state of affairs in Afghanistan. Pages 7-9 address Afghan-Pakistan relations, concisely observing that “for Pakistan, a Taliban-based government in Kabul would be as good as it can get in Afghanistan.” As Pashtuns opposed to India, the Taliban permit Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA) the Kashmir-based militant anti-Indian group to use Taliban-controlled military training camps in Khost near the Afghan-Pakistan border. The document observes that Islamabad probably understands that supporting the Taliban increases the strength of extremist Muslim political movements within Pakistan, but “probably believes the Taliban will eventually become more moderate,” and considers the overall extremist issue “a problem for another day.”

Regarding support, “Pakistani aid to the Taliban is more significant and probably less malign than most imagine.” Military aid is probably moderate, “consistent with the Pakistani military’s budget realities,” and that military advice “may be there, but is probably not all that significant since the Taliban do quite well on their own.” On the other hand, “Pakistani political and diplomatic support is certainly significant,” as sources have informed the U.S. Embassy that Islamabad plays an “overbearing role in planning and even executing Taliban political and diplomatic initiatives.” Pakistan also grants the “Taliban free access to the Pakistani market to buy whatever they want, including subsidized wheat flour. This is an enormous advantage over the other factions” fighting for political control in Afghanistan.

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Document 21 – Islama 01873
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad) Cable, “Official Informal for SA Assistant Secretary Robin Raphel and SA/PAB,” March 10, 1997, Confidential, 13pp. [Excised]

Updating Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Robin Raphel on the situation in Afghanistan, the Embassy advises that fighting is more than likely to continue as Iran and Russia continue to supply Ahmed Shah Massoud in the north, while “Pakistan appears to be reviewing its Afghan policy, but important agencies, such as ISID [Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate], still appear committed to and even supportive of a Taliban victory.

The Taliban continue to protect Osama bin Laden, although “some high-level Taliban say they would send him to Saudi Arabia if it would accept him.” Furthermore, the Taliban “appear to have worked out some sort of deal – perhaps brokered by the ISID – that allows Harakat-ul-Ansar, the Kashmiri militant group, to use camps in Khost, and they have not followed through on a promise to allow a U.S. team to visit these camps.”

The Embassy recommends a policy of “limited engagement to try to “moderate and modernize” the Taliban.” Full engagement would be against American interests as it would associate Washington with a “movement we find repugnant,” however a failure to engage the Taliban at all would further isolate Afghanistan.

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Document 22 – Islama 02001
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan and Sectarian Violence Contribute to a Souring of Pakistan’s Relations with Iran,” March 13, 1997, Confidential, 16 pp. [Excised]

Discussing the detrimental impact of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban movement in Afghanistan on Pakistan’s relationship with Iran, American officials conclude “the best policy for the U.S. is to steer clear of direct involvement in the disputes between the two countries [Pakistan and Iran], and to continue to work for peace in Afghanistan.” Providing a history of strained relations between the nations over Afghanistan, the document comments that “Pakistan has consistently denied that it is the Taliban’s godfather, although GOP [Government of Pakistan] officials in private sometimes acknowledge that they have close links and are providing them with foodstuffs and fuel.”

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Document 23 – Islama 06882
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan: Pakistanis to Regulate Wheat and Fuel Trade to Gain Leverage Over Taliban,” August 13, 1997, Confidential, 9 pp. [Excised]

Partially as an effort to gain more leverage over the Taliban, but also as a means to restrain drug trafficking and increase revenue, Pakistan has placed stricter regulations on wheat and fuel trade with Afghanistan and plan to demand hard currency in exchange for wheat instead of accepting “powder,” or drug payments. Although Pakistani officials claim that these new regulations are an effort to exert greater influence the Taliban, Pakistan continues to unilaterally back the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. U.S. officials inquiring into the selling of Pakistani wheat in areas of Afghanistan not controlled by the Taliban are told, “the GOP [Government of Pakistan] is only dealing with the Taliban,” and that Pakistan’s “objective is not political, but economic and narcotics-related.”

Note: the document refers to regulating wheat and POL trade. POL stands for Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants.

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Document 24 – Islama 007343
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan: [Excised] Briefs Ambassador on his Activities. Pleads for Greater Activism by U.N.” August 27, 1997, Confidential, 5 pp. [Excised]

(Previously released and included in previous Archive posting, “The Taliban File Part III”, March 19, 2004.)

The source for this information remains excised throughout the document, but describes efforts to encourage multi-ethnic negotiations in Afghanistan that would work towards establishing a durable peace in the region. Pakistan urges the U.S. to back the “vacant seat policy,” regarding Afghan representation at the U.N., and Taliban representatives Mullah Hassan and Mullah Jalil promise the source that if U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi returns to Afghanistan, Mullah Omar will meet with him, but due to “the schedule” he was not able to meet with Brahimi during his most recent trip.

According to the source, the Massoud-led anti-Taliban alliance is weak and “if the Taliban would simply cease all military activity, the alliance would fall apart.” He later adds that the Taliban will successfully take over the country, but “when faced with the challenge of governing the entire country, [the Taliban] will yield to technocrats.”

U.S. Ambassador Thomas W. Simons admits that “Pakistan has a ‘privileged association’ with the Taliban, but not control over them; Iran, and perhaps Uzbekistan and Russia have similar privileged associations with other parties to the conflict. But where does that lead us in terms of practical steps?” The Ambassador advises, “Our good relations with Pakistan associate us willy-nilly, so we need to be extremely careful about Pakistani proposals that draw us even closer. For, at the second level, Pakistan is a party rather than just a mediator.” Regarding Pakistani aid to the Taliban, the Ambassador shows little interest in discussing the accuracy of the 20 million rupee estimate given by the ISI, responding that such a figure “did not include access to Pak wheat and POL [Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants], or the trucks and busses full of adolescent mujahid crossing the frontier shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and going into the line with a day or two of training.”

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Document 25 – United Nations Outgoing Code Cable – Special Mission U.N.SMA (U.N. Special Mission to Afghanistan), “Present Pakistani Initiatives in Afghanistan” October 30, 1997, [Classification Unknown], 3 pp.

(Previously released and included in previous Archive posting, “The Taliban File Part III”, March 19, 2004.)

Head of U.N. special mission to Afghanistan (U.N.SMA) Norbert Holl and Pakistan’s special envoy on Afghanistan, Iftikhar Murshid, discuss a meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Mullah Rabbani, a senior-ranking Taliban official. The Prime Minister gets Rabbani to agree to a collective meeting of the various warring factions in Afghanistan, and declares it a breakthrough as Rabbani didn’t insist on addressing the POW issue before meeting. Murshid is less optimistic, as “the POW issue had always come up in the final instance and that therefore omitting it at this time should not be overestimated.”

Pakistan is pressuring the U.S. and U.N. to vacate the anti-Taliban alliance from Afghanistan’s U.N. seat. Holl feels Pakistan would never agree to an oil embargo against Afghanistan, even though such an embargo is a proposed step intended to compel cooperation among the Afghan factions, something Pakistan claims to support. Although the Taliban’s supplies of POL, (Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant supplies) are subsidized by Saudi Arabia, Holl believes “Pakistan would never agree to impede the POL transit.” Rather than isolate the Taliban in order to endorse compromise, “GOP [Government of Pakistan] would sign a new contract with the Taliban today, 30 October, for the supply of 600,000 tons of wheat.”

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Document 26 – Islama 01805
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan: [Excised] Describes Pakistan’s Current Thinking” March 9, 1998, Confidential, 9 pp. [Excised]

(Previously released and included in previous Archive posting, “The Taliban File Part III”, March 19, 2004.)

In a March 9, 1998 meeting between the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad’s Deputy Chief of Mission Alan Eastham and a source who appears to be Pakistan Foreign Ministry official Iftikhar Murshed, the officials review several Afghan-related issues including U.S. concerns over Osama bin Laden’s recent fatwa. The U.S. embassy is concerned over Pakistan’s connection to bin Laden’s statement, as the fatwa was signed by Fazlur Rahman Khalil, a leader in Pakistan’s Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA). The source claims Iran is a great influence in northern Afghanistan, while “downplaying the Pakistani leverage on the Taliban.” He maintained that the Taliban has “more than enough ammunition,” and “no arms and ammunition from the Pakistani government have gone over the border in the past three or four months.”

Even though the source claims “Pakistan has ‘little leverage over the Taliban,’” he provides the State Department with some of its first details on how “Pakistan was in the business of providing arms-related supplies to the Taliban… [and] could refuse to provide the Taliban fuel since the Taliban load up their planes in Pakistan.” Pakistan provides support to the Taliban, but has little, if any control over their actions. “If Pakistan held up wheat consignments to the Taliban, the Taliban would say ‘what the hell! We can smuggle enough wheat into Afghanistan to feed ourselves.’”

According to the source, Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan can be controlled by Pakistan if the Pakistani government chooses to do so, as “Pakistan, in the past, has shown that it can control this border. In fact, there are only just over 40 “jeepable” border crossing points. These points could be monitored if the Baluchistan and the North-West frontier provincial governments got serious about the issue of smuggling.”

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Document 27 – Islama 004546
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad) Cable, “Afghanistan: [Excised] Criticizes GOP’s Afghan Policy; Says It Is Letting Policy Drift,” June 16, 1998, Confidential, 2 pp

(Previously released and included in previous Archive posting, “The Taliban File Part III”, March 19, 2004.)

A Pakistan government source who is “a longtime and bitter political opponent of [Pakistani Prime Minister] Nawaz Sharif” laments on the lack of a firm “sense of direction” in Pakistan’s Afghan policy and the failure of the Pakistani government to take serious efforts to control its border with Afghanistan. According to the source, who appears to be former Interior Minister Nasrullah Babar, “the Bhutto government’s efforts in regard to Afghanistan could be criticized on many fronts, but “at least the policy was coherent – we tried to build the Taliban up and then tried to push them to negotiations (in October 1996) after they captured Kabul.” Under the “Nawaz Sharif government, there has never been a sustained effort to bring the factions to the bargaining table.”

The source “personally supported the deployment of ISI officers operating out of the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul, and from Herat, Kandahar, and the Jalalabad consulates.” By operating out of these diplomatic posts, the government of Pakistan could better monitor the activities of the ISI in Afghanistan. He suggests that ties between Pakistani and Afghan Pashtuns are strengthening, which may pose a threat to the continued sovereignty of Afghan government in Kabul.

Although the source is biased against Nawaz Sharif the document notes that his points nevertheless “reverberate because they have been underscored by more neutral observers who agree that the present government is letting its Afghanistan policy drift. The result is confusion as evidenced by the GOP’s [Government of Pakistan's] declaratory policy, which is in favor of negotiations, and a countervailing policy of ISI support for the Taliban.”

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Document 28 – Islama 05010
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Bad News on Pak Afghan Policy: GOP Support for the Taliban Appears to be Getting Stronger” July 1, 1998, Confidential, 2 pp. [Excised]

(Previously released and included in previous Archive posting, “The Taliban File Part III”, March 19, 2004.)

According to a variety of Pakistani officials and journalists, including Ahmed Rashid, Pakistan has “regressed to a point where it is as hard-line as ever in favor of the Taliban.” Pakistani government officials have given up “the pretense of supporting the U.N. effort,” and have become unabashedly pro-Taliban. The Pakistani government, including the Prime Minister, recently approved six million dollars in additional aid to the Taliban over the next six months. The U.S. considers the additional funding a regressive step as the “trend-line had generally been in a more positive direction.”

Rashid reports that he heard comments from Pakistani officials arguing that “the Taliban are capable of taking over all of Afghanistan; their regime is qualitively (sic) better for the Afghan people than that of their opponents; [and] the outside world should try to understand the Taliban mind-set before condemning them on such issues as human rights etc..” Such opinions are echoed by another Pakistani source whose name is excised in the document, “If it were not for the war, the Taliban would be making progress on women’s issues. They would be making such progress now, but the U.N. has failed to help them, despite Taliban requests.” The same source also commends the Taliban for bringing stability to Afghanistan while explaining how “the Northern Alliance is totally unreliable. They refuse to keep their word.”

The cable speculates the spike in pro-Taliban Pakistani feeling can be attributed to the political fallout of recent nuclear testing and increased regional tension. These developments have increased Pakistan’s need for a pro-Pakistan, anti-India regime in Kabul.

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Document 29 – Islama 05535
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “In Bilateral Focussed (sic) on Afghanistan, GOP Reviews Pak/Iran Effort; A/S Inderfurth Expresses U.S. Concerns About the Taliban” July 23, 1998, Confidential, 16 pp. [Excised]

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shamshad Ahmed discusses joint Pakistan/Iran talks on the peace effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan. During the meeting, “Ahmed denied that the GOP [Government of Pakistan] is providing anything but “oil and wheat” to the Taliban. In addition, he asserted that the type of assistance that was given by Pakistan to the Taliban was also provided [to] the northern factions.”

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Document 30 – Islama 005964
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan: Evidence Not There to Prove Assertions that Pak Troops Have Been Deployed to Assist Taliban in the North,” August 6, 1998, Confidential, 5 pp. [Excised]

There is no evidence to support claims that recent Taliban military victories are the result Pakistani troop participation in Taliban battles. Members of the Northern Alliance told the U.S. Embassy that it “was inconceivable that the Taliban could ‘do it all on their own,’” but U.S. efforts to substantiate these claims failed to produce supporting evidence. Although the participation of large numbers of Pakistani troops seems unlikely, it remains possible that Pakistani military advisors were involved in training Taliban fighters. Taliban ranks furthermore continue to be filled with Pakistani nationals (an estimated 20-40 percent of Taliban soldiers are Pakistani according to the document), which further solidifies Pakistan-Taliban relations, even though this does not indicate not outward or official Pakistani government support. Osama bin Laden is mentioned as supporting pro-Taliban Arab fighters from an office in Herat.

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Document 31 – Islama 07242
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan: Tensions Reportedly Mount Within Taliban as Ties With Saudi Arabia Deteriorate Over Bin Ladin,” September 28, 1998, Secret, 8 pp. [Excised]

Primarily discussing the Taliban’s firm opposition to surrender Osama bin Laden and Saudi Arabia’s recently failed attempts to negotiate bin Laden’s expulsion from Afghanistan, the document concludes with the following thoughts from U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan William Milam, “If Pakistan – the Taliban’s closest international supporter – throws in its weight behind Saudi Arabia on the bin Laden issue, the pressure on the Taliban may become unbearable. As of this time, Pakistan has not yet made its position clear.”

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Document 32 – Islama 01320
U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, “Afghanistan: Taliban Seem to Have Less Funds and Supplies This Year, But the Problem Does Not Appear to be that Acute,” February 17, 1999, Confidential, 2 pp. [Excised]

Suffering under sanctions imposed in response to nuclear weapons testing in May 1998, Pakistan has reduced aid to the Taliban, although sources indicate Pakistan “continued to write a check worth a million or so dollars every couple of months.” This decrease in support is not a political move by Pakistan, but appears to be a purely budgetary decision. Unlike certain other documents on Pakistan aid to the Taliban, this cable reports that there is little evidence of direct military aid from Pakistan to the Taliban, as Pakistan only admits to sending flour and fuel.

Additionally Saudi Arabia, concerned over the Taliban’s sheltering of Osama bin Laden, has been successful in reducing private Saudi donations flowing into Afghanistan. However the Taliban, through their access to drug trafficking, income from transit taxes, and continued, although limited support from Pakistan as well as the “capture of a fair amount of equipment during their successful late 1998 military campaign,” does not seem to be in any immediate trouble from the recent decrease in funding from Pakistan. The cable also mentions that Osama “bin Ladin has also provided the Taliban with some money, but probably not enough to make a significant difference in their case balance.”

The Taliban’s main opponent, Ahmed Shah Masoud continues to be very well funded, from Iranian, Russian, Uzbek and Tajik sources and although the Taliban show no immediate sign of weakening from the drop in funding, U.S. Ambassador Milam notes that “slight variations in funding and supplies can mean the difference between victory and defeat” in such small-scale, low-tech conflicts such as the war between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban.

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Document 33
Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl F. Inderfurth to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, “Pushing for Peace in Afghanistan,” March 25, 1999 [approx], Secret, 6pp.

Despite diplomatic approaches, continued fighting in Afghanistan is likely as Pakistan continues to provide aid to the Taliban in their quest for complete control of Afghanistan, while Iran and Russia support Ahmad Shah Massoud and the Northern Alliance. Pakistan’s alliance with the Taliban is stronger than Iran or Russia with Masoud as “Iran and Russia are more likely to end diplomatic and covert support to Masood than Pakistan would be to end its support to the Taliban.”

The document portrays a slightly stronger Pakistan-Taliban alliance than previous declassified State Department materials. Pakistan not only provides aid to the Taliban, but “will continue to seek and support a Taliban military victory.” Pakistan is an isolated country in international dealings on Afghanistan. The UN’s informal “Six-Plus-Two” group overseeing efforts to diffuse the conflict in Afghanistan includes the six nations with borders along Afghanistan – China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – as well as the two mediating powers Russia and the U.S., but according to the document may as well be changed to an “”Eight Minus One” (Pakistan) process, emphasizing the isolation of Pakistan.”

Furthermore, “Pakistan has not been responsive to [American] requests that it use its full influence on the Taliban surrender of Bin Ladin.” The Department believes “that Pakistan can do more, including cutting POL supplies that mostly flow into Afghanistan from Pakistan.” “Continued Pakistani resistance and/or duplicity” may lead the U.S. to push for U.N. Security Council involvement, or for the inclusion of India in the “Six-Plus-Two” negotiations.

Current U.S. policy towards Afghanistan consists of supporting diplomatic approaches such as “Six-Plus-Two,” and doing what is possible to moderate the behavior of the Taliban. “At the end of the day, we may have to consider the Taliban to be an intrinsic enemy of the U.S. and a new international pariah state. We are not there yet and we do not want to be there. We will continue our policy of trying to mitigate Taliban behavior where and when its ill advised policies cross our path.”

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Document 34 – State 185645
U.S. Department of State, Cable, “Pakistan Support for Taliban,” Sept. 26, 2000, Secret, 4pp. [Excised]

Responding to reports that Islamabad may be allowing the Taliban to use territory in Pakistan for military operations, in September 2000 an alarmed U.S. Department of State observes that “while Pakistani support for the Taliban has been long-standing, the magnitude of recent support is unprecedented.”

In response Washington orders the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to immediately confront Pakistani officials on the issue and to advise Islamabad that the U.S. has “seen reports that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with materiel, fuel, funding, technical assistance and military advisors. [The Department] also understand[s] that large numbers of Pakistani nationals have recently moved into Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban, apparently with the tacit acquiescence of the Pakistani government.” Additional reports indicate that direct Pakistani involvement in Taliban military operations has increased.

In an effort to promote a cease-fire and discourage Pakistan from continuing its efforts to support a military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan by arming the Taliban, Washington candidly states that the U.S. will not accept a Taliban military victory in Afghanistan, but clarifies that the U.S. is “not divorced from reality,” recognizing that a solution must be found through a broad-based peace process which includes all relevant Afghan political factions, including the Taliban. The U.S. does not “believe that Masood is the answer.”

Note: This document is cited in The 9/11 Commission Report, Chapter 6, Footnote 68 as “DOS cable, State 185645, “Concern that Pakistan is Stepping up Support to Taliban’s Military Campaign in Afghanistan,” Sept. 26, 2000.”

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Document 35
Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Carl W. Ford, Jr. to Secretary of State Colin Powell, “Pakistan – Poll Shows Strong and Growing Public Support for Taleban,” November 7, 2001, Unclassified, 3pp [Excised]

A poll compiled by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research after September 11, 2001, but before the commencement of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, shows the Pakistani public has become more pro-Taliban than it was before the September 11 attacks. As the Musharraf government begins to implement policies distancing Pakistan from its longstanding alliance with the Taliban, the Pakistani public is becoming more sympathetic to the Taliban.

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Was Indira Gandhi a Marathi pandit?


Was Indira Gandhi a Marathi pandit?

According to a retired professor of Lucknow Indira Gandhi descended from Marathi Brahmins settled in Kashmir, It is stated that even Kashmiri Pandits are Marathi Manush and so were Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi..
 FEW MAY know it but the late Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi had a close connection with Lucknow. They have relatives in this city and have lived here and attended dinners and lunches in the state capital of Uttar Pradesh.

Even as the UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi was paying her respects to the Late Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary in the UPCC head office in Lucknow a team of Lucknow Talk reporters (a local fortnightly newspaper) was busy sifting through old and yellowed photographs of Indira when she lived with her father in the city.

In the process they met several Kashmiri Pandit families who were close to the Nehru-Gandhi family and who have played a major role in national and state politics in the early years following the countries independence.

They came across Gopal Chakbast the grandson of the late poet Braj Narain Chakbast whose father was a distant cousin of late Indiraji and who produced several rare photographs of her and her aunt Shiela Kaul who was also a veteran politician and Central minister from Lucknow.

They also came across Dr BN Sharga formerly of Shia College Lucknow University, who claims to be (in relationship) the father-in–law of Sonia Gandhi and says he can prove it with the family tree of the two families.

Dr Sharga also had a very revealing statement to make.

“If Raj Thackeray was a student of history he would never have raised the issue of Marathi Manush,” says Dr Sharga, “for even Kashmiri Pandits are Marathi Manush and so were Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi too”.

According to Dr Sharga he has written this is detail in his book Sharga Puran which traces the ancestry of Kashmiri Pandits. In the fourteenth century Kashmir came under the rule of a ruthless sultan of the name of Sikander Budhshikan or Sikander the Idol Breaker. During his reign thousands of Kashmiri Hindus were converted to Islam at the point of a sword. In the end only 11 Brahmin families remained in the valley who took refuge in the forests to escape the wrath of the Sultan. At this stage to increase their numbers the Kashmiris appealed to Marathi Brahmins for help and intermarried with several girls from the region of Maharashtra. At the same time several Marathi families were settled in Kashmir to increase the numbers of the Brahmins there.

Their descendants later adopted surnames like Zutshis, Shungloos and so on. All Kashmiri Pandits today are therefore Marathi Brahmins too.

 

Similarly Dr Sharga claims that even the families like the Kauls, the Nehrus and the Shargas and many others all are Marathi Brahmins too.

“There should be a quota for Kashmiri Marathi Brahmins in the state of Maharashtra, if Raj Thackeray is serious about protecting the rights of the Marathi Manush,” he says.

“I have raised this issue to show how absolutely useless this kind of talk is,” says Dr Sharga, ” As all Indians, no matter where they come from Kashmir or Uttranchal or even the border states have intermarried Maharashtrian Brahmins and we all are Indians as well as Marathis at the same time, so when Raj Thackeray calls us North Indians he is merely insulting his own relatives. Thackeray should realise that we are all Indians,” he concludes.

In fact we should be grateful for the planned development which was kick-started by Late Indira Gandhi’s father Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru which gave industry an impetus in all parts of India and led to the creation of jobs everywhere in the country, he adds

By:Ajit

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17-year-old flogged Swat girl is not Taliban’s only victim in recent past


17-year-old flogged Swat girl is not Taliban’s only victim in recent past–>

Sat, Apr 4 03:05 PM

Peshawar, Apr. 4 (ANI): The videotaped footage showing a teenaged girl being whipped by the Taliban wasn’t the only barbaric instance of this sort by the radicals in the recent past.

Last year, the Swat Taliban awarded punishment of public flogging to about 25 men and 50 women, after the Pakistan Government authorized the militant group to hold courts and deliver justice.

In an incident that took place in October last year, a woman and her father-in-law were flogged in Ser-Taligram village near Manglawar for allegedly having illicit relations.

The woman had been divorced by her husband, but her father-in-law kept her in his house.

On Friday, various TV channels aired footage of 17-year-old girl’s whipping by Talibani militants, which was reportedly filmed by someone with a mobile phone.

“To be honest, we didn’t want to send it to our TV channels for use due to fear of Taliban and also on account of concern that this would bring a bad name to Swat and endanger the peace accord,” The News quoted a local TV channel reporter, as saying.

The girl belonged to Kala Killay village in Kabal tehsil, who was accused of having a relationship with an electrician.

The Taliban spokesman in Swat, Muslim Khan, apparently mixed up the two incidents of public lashing of women in Swat on Taliban orders, by saying that the girl videotaped during her canning was convicted of having illicit relations with her father-in-law.

But the fact that remains unchanged is that Taliban courts punished the two women.

Among the other cases, Taliban publicly whipped two butchers in Ningolay village for selling meat of dead animals. They also awarded lashes to two men in the same village for committing unnatural sexual offences.

Two Taliban fighters were also publicly whipped 40 times each in Bar Thana village in Matta tehsil after being found guilty by a Shariah court for extorting 360,000 rupees from a goldsmith hailing from Chupriyal village. (ANI)

ANI
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‘US will not get involved in Kashmir issue’


‘US will not get involved in Kashmir issue’

Washington, (IANS) The United States has made it clear that it would steer clear of the Kashmir issue as it seeks to involve India and other key stakeholders in the region in its new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

‘We don’t intend to get involved in that issue,’ President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Gen James Jones, told reporters Friday when asked if the US expected to address issues between India and Pakistan, particularly Kashmir, as part of its new regional approach.

‘But we do intend to help both countries build more trust and confidence so that Pakistan can address the issues that it confronts on the western side of the nation,’ he said referring to Pakistan’s tribal areas which Obama and other US officials have described as terrorist safe havens.

‘But no, Kashmir is a separate issue,’ Jones said. ‘But we think that the times are so serious that we need to build the trust and confidence in the region, so that nations can do what they need to do in order to defeat the threat’ posed by Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist groups.

‘As America does more, we will ask others to join us in doing their part,’ he said referring to Obama Administration’s plans to ‘forge a new contact group for Afghanistan and Pakistan that brings together all who should have a stake in the security of the region.’

The proposed group will include America’s NATO allies and other partners, the Central Asian states, Gulf nations, Iran, Russia, India, and China, Jones said noting, ‘All have a stake in the promise of lasting peace and security and development in the region.’

Arun Kumar
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Barack Obama admits Bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan


Barack Obama admits Bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan

Press Trust of India

World’s most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, is hiding in Pakistan, the United States on Friday admitted for the first time, implying that he was still alive. President Barack Obama, while unveiling his administration’s new strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are hiding in Pakistan’s “unruly” tribal areas. He said Al-Qaida is planning attacks against the US from its “safe havens” in the tribal areas, which his government is determined not to let it happen. Declaring an all out war against Al-Qaida and its other affiliate terrorist organisations, Obama said the outfits leaders have now moved from Afghanistan to the safe havens in Pakistan. “Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaida is actively planning attacks on the US homeland from its safe-haven in Pakistan,” he said. “I the Afghan government falls to the Taliban or allows Al-Qaida to go unchallenged that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can,” he said. Observing that the future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbour, Pakistan, President Obama said, “In the nearly eight years since 9/11, Al-Qaida and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier.” “This almost certainly includes Al-Qaida’s leadership: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri,” he said. The terrorists have used the mountainous terrain as a safe haven to hide, train terrorists, communicate with followers, plot attacks, and send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan. “For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world,” he said. However, Obama said this is not simply an American problem. This is a global problem, he asserted. “It is, instead, an international security challenge of the highest order. Terrorist attacks in London and Bali were tied to Al-Qaida and its allies in Pakistan, as were attacks in North Africa and the Middle East, in Islamabad and Kabul. “If there is a major attack on an Asian, European, or African city, it too is likely to have ties to Al-Qaida’s leadership in Pakistan. The safety of people around the world is at stake,” Obama said. “For the Afghan people, a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralysed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people especially women and girls. “The return in force of Al-Qaida terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence,” Obama said. Insisting that as President, his greatest responsibility is to protect the American people, Obama said the US is not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future. “We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists,” Obama said.

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Bin Laden hiding in Pakistan’s Hindu Kush mountains: Report


Bin Laden hiding in Pakistan’s Hindu Kush mountains: Report

March 15, 2009 19:23 IST
The United States is said to have tracked down the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden [Images], in the impenetrable Hindu Kush mountains in Pakistan’s scenic Chitral region, according to a media report.

America won’t say it officially, but the world’s biggest manhunt for bin Laden who murdered nearly 3,000 people on 9/11 has zeroed in on Chitral’s stunning peaks and valleys, the New York Daily News reported.

The region has been sealed off to outsiders and is now regularly buzzed by American spy drones, it said. Six US and foreign officials have also confirmed that the Hindu Kush mountains in the Chitral region have been eyed as bin Laden’s hideout since 2006 by Osama hunters aiming for the big kill.

A lengthy review of evidence, including recent Predator fly-bys, bin Laden’s tapes since 9/11 and interviews with three dozen experts on al Qaeda, Pakistan and special operations, point to these vast mountains as Osama’s likely haven, the report said.

Two senior foreign officials said the nearby town of Kalam also is suspect. In fact, drones were first spotted spying on Chitral last summer and were seen again as recently as February 2. It is so far from US-run airfields that drone sorties are limited to just a few hours due to fuelling issues, the report said. Moreover, Islamic militancy is taking root in several Chitrali valleys leading to Afghan border, prompting Pakistan to decree them off-limits to foreigners, local sources said, reinforcing the suspicion Osama is nearby.

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