Kashmir as envisioned by Jinnah

The eminent British historian, H.V Hodson, while describing the personality of Quaid-i-Azam in his book, ‘The Great Divide’ said, “Of all the personalities in the great drama of India’s rebirth to independence, Mohammad Ali Jinnah was at once was the most enigmatic and the most important –it is barely conceivable –that a new nation State of Pakistan would have been created, but for the personality and leadership of one man, Mr. Jinnah.” Indeed, Mr Jinnah, “was as great as a lawyer, once great as a Congressman, great as a leader of Muslims, great as a world politician and diplomat, and greatest of all as a man of action.” His sudden death, soon after Pakistan came into being, indeed, was a great loss to Pakistan, while the world lost a greatest statesman.

It was because of the dedicated commitment of Quaid-i-Azam that Muslim of South Asia could get their homeland in spite of the strapping opposition, posed by the Hindu majority in united India. Since the state of Jammu and Kashmir was to become the part of Pakistan, therefore, the great Quaid had unparallel commitment with people of Kashmir and Kashmiri cause. While tracing the history, one would find that the fact remains that the first ever Muslim Political party of sub-continent the; “All India Muslim League” was formed in 1906, at the residence of a Kashmiri of Bengal, Sir Salimullah Khan. Above all, the greatest Philosopher, poet and Scholar Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, a Kashmiri himself, initially sponsored the idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims of Sub-continent in 1930, emphasizing on the amalgamation of Muslim majority states, into a single state; we had in the form of Pakistan, in 1947. It was through his efforts that Quaid could be brought back to lead the political struggle of the Muslims of Sub-continent for their separate homeland.

Sequel to the proposal of this amalgamation, as a Chairman of the India Muslim Committee, Dr. Iqbal appealed to the Muslims of the whole sub-continent that they should observe 14th August 1934 as Kashmir Day. He also made it clear that, the dream of Muslim India would be incomplete without the freedom of the Islamic State of Kashmir. In a way, it was the formal announcement of Kashmir as an inalienable part of the new ideological Muslim State in Sub-continent. Therefore, Kashmir was not an exception, once the demand of a separate homeland for the Muslims in sub-continent was being made. Kashmir was to become part of Pakistan, and the word ‘K’ in Pakistan is indeed for the state of ‘Kashmir’. As revealed through the available archives, Quaid-i-Azam, visited Kashmir at least four times. Generally, it is referred as three times only. First time, Quaid visited Kashmir 1926. Apparently, it was a private visit to spend few holidays in Kashmir, but, practically, this visionary leader had used the visit to assess the socio-economic condition of the people of Kashmir, under the cruel rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.

Indeed, except Reading Room Party, there was no political awakening in the State, nor Kashmiris could form political parties. Earlier, once some noted Kashmiris dared to submit a memorandum to the Viceroy of India, demanding reforms in the educational and economic sectors, and to redress the grievances of Kashmiri masses, Dogra Government in Kashmir victimized them and some were even expelled from Kashmir. The Quaid uneasily watched this situation and later, got a special resolution passed in the All India Muslim League Working Committee session held in Lahore in 1926. The unanimously passed resolution drew the attention of the Maharajah’s Government towards the educational and economic backwardness of the Muslims of Kashmir and requested him to improve the living standard of the Muslim masses, forming bulk of the population. Quaid again visited Kashmir in 1929, and met with some leading personalities of the state. Both these visits remained low profile, in fact to watch the situation there.

As a leader of All India Muslim League, Quaid visited Kashmir in 1936 for the third time. He was given a landmark reception by the united Kashmiri leadership of Muslim Conference, with Sheikh Abdullah and Chudhary Ghlum Abbas in the forefront. During the visit, the Quaid, told the Kashmiris: “Oh yes Muslim! Our Allah is one, our Prophet is one, our Quran is one, and therefore our Voice must also be one”. Unfortunately, three years after this visit, there came a split among the leadership of Kashmir, and Sheikh Abdullah, raised a new political party with the name of National Conference. This in fact was a tragic development in the history of the Kashmiri Muslims. Had National Conference not acted as an unofficial offshoot of the Indian national Congress, Kashmiris would not have suffered these miseries in their 63 years of post partition life.

On the joint invitation of the Muslim Conference and the National Conference, Quaid, once again visited Kashmir in 1944. This was his fourth and the final visit to Kashmir, and he stayed in various parts of the state for over a month. He met with the leadership of all political parties in Kashmir and attended functions, meeting with workers, students, lawyers, common people and journalists. His stay in Kashmir being the last but the most important had a great impact on the future politics of Kashmir. Indeed, during this visit, the “tables were turned against the banner-bearers of the Hindu Congress.” However, there developed differences between Quaid and the leadership of National Conference, once Quaid advised party leadership to remain united for the future of Kashmir.

This is a historical fact that during this visit, Quaid advised Sheikh Abdullah, not to play in the hands of Hindu leadership of Indian National Congress (INC), who are extremely cunning, and opportunist and aims to look after the interests of majority Hindus only. This was indeed, the personnel experience of Quaid, during his membership of the INC from 1905 to 1913 and then up to 1921. During this tenure, Quaid worked for the Hindu-Muslim Unity, but, disappointed, owing to the selfishness of the Hindu and later, resigned from the basic membership of INC in 1921. Quaid’s love for the people of Kashmir can be imagined from the fact that, during his visit of Kashmir in 1944; he picked up a newly graduate Kashmiri youth, K.H. Khurshid as his personnel secretary. K.H. Khursid remained as the personnel secretary of the Quaid from 1944 to 1947.

Quaid-i-Azam issued clear orders to the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army to dispatch troops to Jammu and Srinagar, once Maharaja of Kashmir allowed invasion of Indian forces, through a fraudulent accession on October 27, 1947. Unfortunately, Quaid’s orders were not implemented. However, later India took the matter to United Nations organization, where it was decided that, future of the state would be determined through a plebiscite under UN. However, this remains a reality that, Kashmir had already acceded to Pakistan, provisionally by offering the Standstill Agreement to Pakistan on 11th August 1947. The Kashmir Government made the offer to India also, but India did not respond to it whereas, Pakistan accepted the offer and the Standstill Agreement was signed between Pakistan and Kashmir.

Quaid-i-Azam tried his best to create circumstances, which could stop the annexation of Kashmir to India. The fraudulent accession of Kashmir with India in fact was the best example of deviation and contradiction of the INC from its basic stance, which says, the wishes of the masses would be taken into consideration in case of Princely states. Following the partition, Mr. Jinnah had to confront the Indo-British conspiracy with the Maharaja of Kashmir as a pawn, and the anti-Pakistan National Conference of Sheikh Abdullah as perpetrators. The odds were many and the enemies of Pakistan had joined hands to make the experiment of a free and independent Muslim state a failure. Quaid-i-Azam’s great achievement and miracle was the formation of Pakistan, which was opposed by the Hindu Congress and by the anti-Muslim elements in the British hierarchy. It was very unfortunate that Quaid-i-Azam passed away before the future of Kashmir could be decided by the people of Kashmir in a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations. Upon his death, there was great gloom in Jammu and Kashmir, where people wept bitterly and said that Kashmiris had become orphans with the death of this great leader of the subcontinent.

Kashmiri struggle was essentially based on two-nation theory. In this regard, Kashmiris have always taken into consideration the rights of the non-Muslim and minorities of Kashmir. Throughout its history, the pundits and other minorities have lived peacefully in Kashmir and have been holding high posts in the administration. The APHC, which is leading the people of Kashmir, while following the principles of Quaid, opened its doors for the assimilation of the non-Muslims too. From the aspects of geo-strategy and geo-economics, the State of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan are interlinked. Pakistan is such a state whose principal economy is agrarian based. This agrarian based economy needs a constant availability of water. Traditionally, the water catchment areas (water heads) are located somewhere in the mountainous region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir or passing through it. For centuries, water flows down to irrigate the agricultural lands of Punjab, Sindh and other parts of the Indus Valley and the locals as well as the people of Kashmir consumed its product, the food grains.

Indeed, there existed a historical mutuality between the Kashmir and the areas forming part of Pakistan. This relationship of interdependence is pre-partition of the sub-continent and even pre-canal system, hence everlasting in nature. It was indeed, in the same context that six decades earlier, on the eve of independence of Pakistan, the father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah through his visionary statement declared Kashmir as the “jugular vein of Pakistan,” and no nation can survive for a long with its jugular vein under the swords of another nation.

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