Kashmir: Past, Present, Possibilities

By Zafar Sultan.

Stretched across 8400 square kilometres, the state of Jammu and Kashmir lies between India, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and state of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan situated  at the back WA Khan Plateau and Chitty Boi Glacier .The history of Kashmir is long-standing, gripping and gory, at the same time.

According to Geologists, Kashmir is the mother of Himalaya, and overseer of ancient human civilisation. Some historical references suggest that the civilisation of Kashmir is even older than Harappa, Moen Jadaro, Babolonian civilisations. Rig-Veda: mother of Kashmir history, believed to be written 12oo BC.

Geologists claim that twenty billion years ago there were only two continents in the world, the northern and southern, separated by the Panther Ocean. The northern continent comprised China, Kashmir, the Indian subcontinent, the central eastern Asian states and Russia, whereas, the southern continent contained Europe and Africa.

The current authentic history of Kashmir is 3000 years old .The first Kashmiri ruler was a Tibetan, Raja Gawind while the last independent ruler was Yaqoob Shah Chak. The civilizational analysis of all these eras has been done by various contemporary researchers.

The people of Kashmir profoundly owe to Pandat Klehn for writing the epoch making Raj Tarangni so that they may present their glorious historical and cultural heritage to the world.

Interestingly, Doctor Radha Krishan, the former Indian president once mentioned that India has to rely on mythical books and religious books: Ramayin and Maha Bharat for its history but Kashmiris are privileged to have a written history of 5000 years.

G M, Syed, a noted Kashmiri researcher and intellectual, laments that it were Kashmiri leaders who became of a rai·son d’ê·tre of all   atrocities which befell Kashmir. The ignominious invaders Meher Gul and Zilchu Khan who massacred the Kashmiris, had indigenous support. Similarly, the Mughals, the Afghans, and the Sikhs (who were no less cruel than Meher Gul and Zilchu Khan) were also invited to invade Kashmir by none others but   the Kashmiris.

Subsequently, during Dogra Raj, the Kashmiris were the victims of Dogras and their cronies: the feudals. History stands witness that majority of those feudal were Muslims who remained optimistic about reinstatement of Dogra Raj and their property. They were in constant touch with Sheikh Abdullah and the Congress.

The current Kashmir issue surfaced on 1947, on Independence Day. On 12 October  locals Kashmiris launched armed struggle against the Dogra Raj, that  continued till 31 December ( for 15 months). During this valiant struggle Mujahedeen conquered around ten thousand square kilometres, fighting against  Dogras and Indian army.

Following the sad  demise of Quaid e Azam, the Pak army took the control of those areas but in a state of hurry and confusion vacated the areas hardly earned through bodies and blood of Mujahedeen. In some areas there was un-invincible defence. Moreover, the act of tribal to desert the fight without any plans gave the Indian army the opportunity to reoccupy around 6000 square kilometres.

On the remaining 4000 and 100 square kilometres area, an independent government was formed on 3rd October 1948, with Sardar Ibrahim its first president. Primarily, the AJK government was established to: sustain the struggle to independence, liberate the occupied territory, with the help of the people of Kashmir valley, Jammu and northern areas, and, to present the Kashmir issue, through the government of Pakistan, to the international community to help arrange plebiscite in Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolutions.

The Kashmiri presidents Sardar Ibrahim and later Sardar Qayum Khan vowed to protect and promote the Kashmiri literature, include history of Kashmir in syllabus, and keep the generation of Kashmir connected with Kashmir cause. But these promises were never actualised.

In the syllabus of Kashmir there is no mention of Kashmir issue. From grade one to eight, books by Punjab Text Board are taught whereas the syllabus of grade follows Lahore board. The Kashmir department in AJk University is affiliated with the University of Punjab which does not appeal the students, for the degree doesn’t hold any career promise to them.

It is a sad fact that none of the rulers of Pakistan made sincere efforts to engage the international community to get the Kashmir issue resolved. While there is no denying that wars of 1947 and 1965 were fought to liberate Kashmir but due to lack of planning, haste and insincerity of civ-mil leadership, they failed to win freedom.

On 5th February Kashmir Solidarity Day is observed AJK and Pakistan to express support to Kashmiri brethren. But would mere on a day to celebrate and make speeches help liberate Kashmir or garner the international opinion in its favour?

Sadly, lack of a coherent approach of the political leadership and rulers of Pakistan, absence of any viable strategy have dwarfed the Kashmir issue. The infamous four point formula of Musharaf, and Attique Mush formula, Zardari plan to freeze Kashmir for thirty years, and gross indifference of other political leaders including the Kashmiri leadership to Kashmir have confused our new generation as regards its significance, struggle and solution.

Too the Kashmiri leadership, by and large, is oblivious to the historical, civilizational and cultural realities of Kashmir.

Appallingly, that the number of seats for Pakistani based Kashmiris has been increased which has marred the strength and position of Kashmiris. Presently, the elected(selected) members from Sindh, KPK, Punjab select the rulers, towing to the nods of Kashmir Council and minister to Kashmir affairs .Similarly,50 per cent quota in government jobs  has been reserved for refugees who has little or no concern about the Kashmir  cause. Is Kashmir Solidarity Day an answer to the deprivations of the Kashmiris? Do Kashmiris have any strength and liberty to chalk out and pursue a plan to freedom and prosperity?

The writer is an academics and can be reached at sliklight55@gmail.com

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