Kashmir Through Ages –V(d) 13 July,1931 –Martyr Day

Kashmir Pen

Kashmir Through Ages –V(d) 13 July,1931 –Martyr Day

Dr. Eshraf Zainulabideen

July 5, 2018


Before we take up the immediate causes of 13 July 1931, ‘ Martyr’s day’, it is very important to know about famous Personalities, memorandum, trends, and movements of that era which led to the mass uprising. :

1)PEER GHULAM HASSAN KHUIHAMI IN 1878: The oppressive, barbarian policies of Dogras reached its heights during the Premiership of Islamophobe Pandit Wazir Pannu. It was during his time that another famine broke out end he left the people to die and did not work for their redemption or to get them out of this. According to A. Neve, Thirty Years in Kashmir, Lippincott, London, 1913. p. 30-31.”Pandit Wazir Pannu to punish the Mohammedans, who had the previous year sent a deputation to complain to His Highness of the exactions of one or two of his chief officials…..And there were gruesome stories of the rapacity of many of the officials in buying up rice and retailing at huge profits, through other contributed to relief funds. There was even a rumour that some hundreds of starving people had been purposely drowned in the Wular Lake, to which colour was lent by the student died of an eye-witness and informer within a few hours of making the report”

Afterward, a complaint was received by Dogra ruler from English government about mismanagement of affairs in the State during the famine. In this context, the written documents and printed magazine about the condition and destruction by famine and presented to Maharaja Ranbir Singh. His contemporary historian, Peer Ghulam Hassan Khuihami, “prepared a memorandum in Persian verse and submitted the same to Maharaja Ranbir Singh. It had the desired effect and the people were delivered of the tyranny of Wazir Pannu and relief measures were ordered by the Maharaja [Ghulam Hassan Khuikami, Tarikh-i-Hassan, Vol. I, p. 464].

2) ANJUMAN KASHMIRI MASSALMANANE LAHORE: -It is very important to mention the role of Mian Karim Baksh, AllamaIqbal. .Anjuman Kashmiri Masalamee was established in 1895. by one prominent Kashmiri Main Karim Bakash and his sons Main Shamus-ul-Deen, Main Jalal-Ul-Deen and Main Nizam-ul-Deen besides Ahmad Deen and Kh. Raheem Bakash. Allama came to Lahore in 1896. As such he was a newcomer in the city and nobody knew him. At Lahore, he came into contact with Mian Karim Bakash, who introduced him to Kashmiris as per the version of famous Pakistani writer Kaleem Akhtar. By now Alama had joined “Anjuman Kashmiri Mussalmanane Lahore” and remained with it for some time. Allama Iqbal’s son Justice (Rtd.) Dr.Javaid Iqbal has accepted the fact that it was “Anumjan Kashmiri Mussalmanane Lahore” which introduced his father to the Kashmiri community of Lahore. (Refer Monthly “Hakeem-Ul-Ummat” October 2007). One of the famous writers Mr.Afzal Haq Qureshi too has claimed that it was the said Anjuman which introduced Allama to the general public “Anjuman Kashmiri Massalmanane Lahore”, which later on served as a launching pad for the Freedom Struggle of Kashmir.

According to JRASB, Vol. XXIII, No. 1, 1923; Moorcraft Travels, p. 67; Thorp. Kashmir Misgovernment, p. 521; S. M. Abdullah, Atash-i-Chinar, p. 102. Saraf, Kashmiris Fight for Freedom, p. 449.,” Owing to the persistent oppression, Kashmir was subjected to (right from Mughal occupation to the Dogra Raj), it had become the habit of the oppressed Kashmiris to flee to Punjab in search of relieved conditions. Besides, since Punjab was hub of trade between Kashmir and India. Lahore and other cities of Punjab had attracted a good number of Kashmiri merchants to profit themselves from the lucrative business opportunities. As such in the nineties of the nineteenth century,there were according to some historians, about one lakh Kashmiris residing in different parts of Punjab (Saraf, Kashmiris Fight for Freedom, p. 449.). Though these Muslims were no doubt the permanent subjects of Punjab, they had never forgotten their emotional relations with the mother country, Since in comparison to Kashmiri Muslims, these Punjabi Muslims of Kashmiri origin was educational, politically and economically better placed. It was they who initiated the process of voicing the grievances of Kashmiri Muslims and thereby really blazed the trail for freedom struggle in Kashmir. Besides submitting memorandums to the Maharaja and British rulers, highlighting grievances through the press, placing its organs at the disposal of Kashmiris, pleading on behalf of the Kashmiris in official circles and courts, guiding them in the techniques and methods of freedom movement, providing them moral and financial support, the Punjabi Muslims took direct part in freeing Kashmir from Dogra autocracy. On February 18, 1896, these Punjabi Muslims of Kashmiri origin formed an association named Anjuman-i-Kashmir-Mussalmanan-i-Lahore, which aimed at uplifting the social, political and educational conditions of Kashmiri Muslims. In addition to Allama Iqbal, its founding fathers were MianKarimBaksh and his son MianShamas-ud-Din, Maulvi Ahmad-ud-Din and Khawaja Rahim Baksh (Kashmir Gazette, Lahore, December 1901.). The first meeting of the Anjuman-i-Kashmir-Mussalmanan-i-Lahore was held in February 1896. The Anjuman-i-Kashmir-Mussalmanan-i-Lahore which got defunct in 1897 was revived in 1901. Simultaneously these Muslims formed another association called Muslim Kashmiri Conference Akhbar-i-Kashmir, Lahore, June 28, 1925, p. 14.This Anjuman worked for the recruitment of Kashmiris in the army and for giving proprietorship to the peasants. SabirAafaqi, Iqbal-Aur- Kashmir, p. 42.

3) ANJUMAN NUSRAT UL ISLAM: We Kashmiri are indebted to the sacrifices of Mirwaiz dynasty of Kashmir. The Anjuman was founded by Mirwaiz of Kashmir Moulana Rasool Shah in 1899 played a revolutionary role in socio-political role in the upliftment of Kashmiri Muslims.The main cause of the Muslim backwardness as perceived by the Moulana Ghulam Rasool was the ignorance of Muslims in modern as well as religious education. It is needless to mention here that the number of Muslim educated youngsters was increasing with every passing day, thanks to the efforts of different social reformation organizations prominent amongst whom was Anjuman-i-Nusrat-ul-Islam. At Islamia High school Sheikh Abdullah met persons of political foresight. At school, he was undeniably influenced by Hafiz Mohammad Ismail, who was actively engaged in mobilizing the mass opinion of responsible government. Sheikh Abdullah along with others used to visit Hafiz Sahib‟s residence daily after 5oClock to discuss the position of illiterate Muslim masses, their poor representation in government services and their economic position. 102(102 Nasir, A. Naqash, op.cit., pp.49-83.)

4) Khawaja Saadud din Shawl: Saadud din was the son of famous jagirdhar of Kashmir was born in 1873. Khwaja Sanaullah Shawl, popularly known as Sona Shawl, one of the richest jagirdhar of his time. Saad-Ud-Din Shawl was well versed with Persian, Arabic, and English. A tutor, Behram Ji, had been specially called in from Bombay to teach him English. Saad-Ud-Din Shawl was born leader and freedom fighter like his father started freedom struggle against Dogra oppression. In 1924, when the Viceroy of India, Lord Reading, visited the region, he submitted a memorandum seeking measures to end the woes of Kashmiris. This incurred him the displeasure of the rulers, and authorities promptly ordered him into exile along with Khwaja Noor Ahmad Shah Naqshbandi, a tehsildar, who was dismissed from service. Even in his exile, he didn’t succumb, he would address gatherings at Lahore and Peshawar, apprising the world of developments in Kashmir. Finally, under the pressure of Indian organization and British India government, Hari Singh revoked his exile, and Saad-ud-Din and Noor Shah returned to Kashmir in 1927. Saad-Ud-Din Shawl died on 26 oct, 1955 at the age of 82 years and is buried in Shawl Maqbara, near Shawl Water, opposite to Sheraaz cinema, Srinagar

5) MIRWAIZ MOULVI MUHAMMAD YOUSUF SHAH:- He is one of the iconic personalities Kashmir has ever produced. He was born on 13 Shaban in 1311 Hijri at Rajouri Kadal in a highly dignified ‘Mirwaiz family. In March 1931 Yousuf Shah, an enthusiastic young man became the Mirwaiz, the chief preacher of Srinagar. He at once reversed the conservative policies of his predecessor, Mirwaiz Ahmadullah, and started sympathizing with the activities of the Reading room group. Without caring about leadership, he helped Sheikh Abdullah, who had by then become significant figure among Muslim masses, to organize mammoth public meetings in various mosques of Srinagar. In all such meetings, Sheikh Abdullah and other top leaders of the Reading Room group delivered fierce speeches exposing the hardship and depressed conditions of the Muslims. In the face of repressive rule the only forum, which was immune from attack and hence could be used for political organization, were the mosques Hussain, Majid, Geography of Jammu and Kashmir, Rajesh Publication, New Delhi, 1987, p.3.

6) CHOWDHARYGHULAMABAAS: Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas (1904-1967) was a lawyer and a leading politician of Kashmir. After his forced migration to ‘Azad Kashmir’ in 1947, he became the head of the Azad Kashmir in 1951.It is worth to mention here Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas was born in a middle-class Gujjar family of Chaudhry Nawab Khan on February 4, 1904. Commercial media of India often try to mislead their nation that Kashmir is promoted as dispute by few Wahabi ideology proxies and Gujjar are not a party to it. He reorganized the socio-political organization Young Men’s Muslim Association, which was established earlier in 1909 and was the only platform that Muslims were using to raise their political voice in Jammu and Kashmir. In order to channelize the individual efforts into collective representation and safeguard the rights of the Muslims of the Valley of Kashmir, another organization, All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference was established. Its president was Sheikh Abdullah while Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas was elected as its secretary general.

7)MOLVI ABDULLAH VAKIL: Kashmiri polymath and lawyer Molvi Abdullah was born at Gatipora Village of Shopian. His lectures motivated Sheikh Abdullah and other educated Muslim youth to struggle for justice and fundamental rights. The idea to establish the Reading Room was the brain child of Molvi Abdullah Vakil, an Ahmadi Muslim, and Khwaja Ghulam Ahmad Ashai.

8) KHWAJAGHULAM AHMAD ASHAI : Khwaja Ghulam Ahmad Ashai was a Kashmiri bureaucrat and political leader. He was Co-Founder of All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference. Ashai happens to be the first graduate from Kashmir. He secured first class in the B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) examination of the Punjab University with the distinction of topping the list of candidates in 1915.

He followed it up with B.T and Munshi Fazil. In 1918 he cleared his masters [M.A] in Persian from Calcutta University, beating all previous records, earning him a ‘Gold Medal’ awarded by the Viceroy and Governor General of British India. He started Reading room in Fateh Kadal with another polymath Abdullah vakil. Sensing the educational backwardness he preferred to volunteer himself for educational upliftment of Kashmir, Although place in the front rank of Kashmir’s political leadership was there for his taking, Ashai opted out of Politics, to join services, as ‘Assistant Secretary’ Ministry of Finance, subsequently taking over as ‘Deputy Secretary’ publicity/Ex. office member and chief whip of Praja Sabha [legislative assembly] special inspector of Muslim education and Principal S.P. College in 1947.

As Sheikh Abdullah took over the reins of power, Ashai was his one and only choice as ‘Registrar of Jammu and Kashmir University’ thus he pioneered university education in the state.

9) Sayyid Hussian Shah Jalali, Khawaja Ghulam Ahmad Ashai. Munshi Shahab-ud-din, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Sardar Gowhar Rehman were elected as representatives of the Kashmiri Muslims. For his speech, Abdul Qadeer Khan Ghazi was arrested on the 25 June 1931 under section 124-A and 153 of the Penal Code. His trial started on the July 4 in the Court of the Sessions Judge, Srinagar. A large number of people would be present to witness his trial. Four hearings on the July 4, 6, 7 and 9, were held. The public presence forced the Judge to shift his court to Jail premises on July 11, 1931.

Before the arrival of the Session Judge, a large gathering of the Muslim had gathered on the road leading to the Jail compound. The Sessions Judge ordered the people to disperse but they requested permission to offer prayers. The police arrested five men and this incensed the people further. One of them, named Khawaja Abdul Khaliq Shora, stood up and recited the Azan loudly. A policeman promptly shot him dead. Now the people got much agitated and they started pelting stones on the police. Two rows comprising five policemen each fired on the people. In all 22 persons had died due to firing in the first instance while 6 more died of police firing later. In the meanwhile, the military took over the city and killed three men in Nawabazar who were shouting slogans against Dogra Maharaja. The troops looted houses of some Muslims.



Ghulam Nabi Gilkar was the man who persuaded Shiekh Abdullah to join politics . Gilkar was the first Kashmiri to strive for the rights of his people. He started with the launch of All Kashmir Muslim Uplift Association in 1925. Two years later, Gilkar was once again out on the streets to protest issue of illegal state subject certificates. This time Gilkar founded the State Subject Protection Committee.

Gilkar became instrumental in persuading Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to join the freedom movement. When the Muslim Conference was converted into National Conference, Moulvi Abdullah Vakil, Sheikh Ahmad Din of Banihal, Ghulam Ahmad Ganaie of Bhaderwah opposed it. Gilkar, Moulvi Abdul Rahim, and Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi mustered support from the masses against the conversion.

Gilkar contested two elections for a berth in the Praja Sabha on Muslim Conference ticket and got elected on both the occasions. Later, the year when the Government of India ousted the Nawab of Junagarh, the Government of Pakistan approached Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Ahmad of Qadiyan and authorized him to take appropriate measures with regard to Kashmir. Mirza called Gilkar to Lahore. Several rallies were held at Rattan Bagh, Lahore.

Besides Gilkar the rallies were attended by Mufti Zia-ud-Din Poonchi, Chowdhury Rahim Dard advocate, Master Mir Alam Kotli, Amanullah Khan of Khor Patten, Professor Muhammad IshaqQureshi, Syed Muhammad Abdullah Qadri. Finally, Gilkar declared the government. In his first presidential address, Gilkar said, “With the end of the British rule, the Maharaja Hari Singh’s claim to rule the state (by virtue of the Sale Deed of Amritsar) has also come to an end.”

11) GRADUATES FROM ALIGARH UNIVERSITY: By the beginning of the 1930’s, as has been mentioned in the previous chapter, the first batch of Kashmiri graduates from Aligarh and other centers of learning had returned to their native state, and to Srinagar in particular, where they rapidly assumed a dominant place in local political activity in collaboration, and also in competition, with the old Muslim Leadership which was headed by the two Mirwaiz’s. Among the young graduates who came back to the vale about this time, with high expectations, were Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Mirza Afzal Beg, and G M Sadiq, to mention a few men who in their various ways would dominate the internal politics of the state for many decades.

Dissatisfied with government and disappointment caused by unemployment, these educated young men, who now formed a “middle-class intelligentsia with a middle-class political outlook”, began to organize themselves. Since the formation of political associations was banned, they started a Reading Room in the garb of which they wanted a platform to bring all the educated youth together for devising ways and means to fight out injustice done to the Muslim community in general, and the educated muslim youth in particular. Encouraged by the response of educated Muslims and the interest shown by the uneducated; the Reading Room was given a regular organizational shape. An election was held in which Mohammed Rajab and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah were elected President and Secretary respectively. Mufti Jala-ud-Din, Hakim Ali, Peerzada Ahmad Shah Fazili and Hakim Ghulam M Murtaza were elected to the Managing Committee.

The Reading Room Party, as it was called enjoyed the moral and financial backing of the Kashmiri Muslim elite and its supporters include Khwaja Said-ud-Din Shawl, Molvi Abdullah Vakil, Aga Sayyid Hussain Jalali, Hafiz Mohammed Ismail, Molvi Zia-ud-Din, Khwaja Assadullah Vakil to mention only a few. (Abdul Rashid Tasir, Tarikh-i-Hurriyat-i-Kashmir, (Srinagar, Muhafiz Publishers) Vol. I,p.77.)

12) LAHORE AND PUNJAB BASED PRESS: Now the Reading Room Party with the help of Punjab Muslim intelligentsia and Press started a campaign against the policies of the Maharaja and for the furtherance of the national consciousness among Kashmiris in general and Kashmiri Muslims in particular. It highlighted the discriminatory attitude of the state towards the Muslim Community, particularly in its recruitment policy. This press campaign through Lahore Muslims Press not only enhanced the prestige of its leaders it also accelerated the pace of consciousness among the Kashmiri Muslims.3However, “the surcharged atmospheres prevailing in the valley,” to quote Bazaz “unbalanced the Pundit Community. They became suspicious, terror-stricken and demoralized…….. They now began to look upon the Maharaja as their protector and refuge; they became the defenders of the power and thus came into clash with the dynamic times.”A stand which they (Pundits) would continue in the future politics of Kashmir a lso.34 (Saraf, op. cit., vol. I, p. 355, also see Aatish-i-Chinar pp. 55-59. Bazaz, op. cit. p. 144.)

13) Other organizations supporting the Kashmiri cause were the Anjuman-i-Himayat-i-Islam Lahore, Jamaat Ahraar, Jamaat e Ahmadiyya and leaders like. Munshi Shahab-ud-din, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, and Sardar Gohar Rehman.

14)MEMORANDUM TO LORD READING: The initial draft of the Memorandum of the Muslims, in the meanwhile, was apparently prepared by Ghulam Ahmad Ashai according to Saraf but as Saxena points out, the Muslim Reading Room Party had requested Dr. Mohammad Alam of Lahore, who was then in Kashmir, to prepare a memorial on their behalf and later, it was sent to Lahore for approval of the All-India Kashmir Committee. Later, it was brought to Srinagar by Abdul Rahim Dard, who had gone to Lahore with Dr.Alam. The political linkages between the valley and Punjab had been developed from 1910 according to Kaul, Ashok, Kashmir contested Identity, closed systems, open choices, Rawat Publications, Jaipur, 2011, pp.65-66.The All India Kashmiri Muslim Conference founded in Lahore in 1911, made its demands to the Maharaja in 1913 to improve the status of education in Kashmir. They seemed very eager to stir up the trouble.

According to, Fortnightly Report for the 2nd half of Aug. 1924, dated Sept. 2, 1924, Gulmarg. During the last week of August 1924, no less than 34 telegrams, addressed to His Excellency, the Viceroy, were received from the Muhammadan residents of Kashmir complaining of an attack by Hindus on the Khanqah Mullah Shrine. The Resident in Kashmir who was asked to report the facts, While submitting the confidential fortnightly report for the second half of August 1924, to Mr. J.P. Thompson, Pol. Secy. to the Government of India in the Foreign and Political Department, Simla the Resident had reported that on the 24th August.

In the Spring of 1924, the workers of Resham Khana (silk house) protested against the oppressive attitude of the authorities. They organized themselves and gathered at Huzoori Bagh. But the Maharaja Pratap Singh’s government put them down with a firm hand. Here many workers were injured which outraged the public. This led to the first protest march in Kashmir in which men, women, and children participated. In October 1924 during the visit of Viceroy Lord Reading (1921-26) and Lady Reading to Jammu and Kashmir secret, seventeen points memorandum signed by Kashmiri Muslims was submitted to Viceroy. When the Viceroy embarked on boat procession and passing by the Khanqah-e-Maulla, crowds gathered at the river bank, started waving black flags and raising slogans: “Injustice! Injustice!” and the memorandum were placed in the Viceroy‟s hand. (Bamzai, P.N.K., Culture and political history of Kashmir, op.cit., p.719. The memorandum was signed by Khwaja Saad-Ud-Din Shawl, Khwaja Hasan Shah Naqshbandi, Mirwaiz of Kashmir, Ahmadullah Hamdani, Agha Syed Hussain, Mufti Sharifuddin and Ghulam Ahmed Ashai. These signatories were arrested by the police.

Dr. Eshraf Zainulabideen can be reached at zainlala69@gmail.com