It is tomfoolery- share naiveté. You cannot beat us by contorting and distorting hard historical realities. You cannot delegitimize a movement- a Spartan movement as old as two hundred years marked with bravery and soaked in blood by spreading lies about it and its Spartacus.
Of late, some fringe elements of a particular community, owing their allegiance to a particular mindset have launched a vicious campaign of distorting history of the struggle of people of Jammu and Kashmir for their rights through internet and their websites. To spread canard about a struggle for freedom and rights that is older than the Chicago uprising, they shoot as many malicious mails as they can – their most favourite target readership has been journalists, writers and members of the civil society.
This malicious campaign, I believed has twin purpose. One, to create alternative narratives for delegitimizing the Kashmir Struggle and second, to divert the attention of pen pushers from main discourse towards frivolous issues. Ignore them and send their mails to the trashcan have been my approach now far past many years. A friend said it- and said it rightly that every lie about the movement and its protagonist needs to be nailed to prevent it passing into history as truth- that fascist belief, tell a lie hundred times to make it pass on as truth needs to fought back by repeating a truth hundred and one times. Notwithstanding, marking two mails as spam for past a couple of months these have been repeatedly finding their way into my mail box. One is a distorted version about 13 July 1931 and second, an old article – a figment of imagination by Khushwant Singh about Allama Muhammad Iqbal- the greatest poet of the East, ideologue of Kashmir Struggle for freedom- in a way its founding father.
One of the mails called ‘13 July 1931 as an expression of extreme form of communalism from the majority community of the valley.’ Ignoring the history of the movement that started right in 1846 with the execution of Amritsar Sale Deed and to delegitimize the sacrifices of people the mailer projects the 1931 movement as a “personal vendetta of one person (Sheikh Abdullah) used by the British for furthering their interests in the State.”
Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah undoubtedly was one of the central figures of the movement in 1931 – but it would be naïve to say that he founded the movement against autocratic rule at the behest of British. The 1931 happenings were culmination of a sustained movement launched by people against the rule of Maharajas. Seen in right perspective Kashmiris expressed their disapproval of British selling Kashmir to Gulab Singh to quote Dr. Abdul Ahad by sending ‘urzies or petitions’ right in 1846. ‘The wife of Sheikh Imam-ud-Din known as “Madar-i-Meherban” mobilized hill chiefs, khakha-Bomba tribes, farmers, workers, and shawlf-bafs’ and On entering into Kashmir, the Dogra troops faced tough armed resistance from majority community.’ The 29 April 1865 revolt by shawl-bafs joined by thousands of fellow Muslims was another bolder expression of the revolt against the Dogra rule. Twenty-eight people were drowned to death- and for these deaths none but Pandit Raj Kak Dhar and Wazir Punnu were responsible. Seeds for 1931 movement were sown on this day and its manifesto was drafted in 1924, in the shape of 17 point memorandum highlighting the discrimination that ninety percent Muslim population was suffering presented to Viceroy of India Lord Reading. In 1925, Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah founded an organization, ‘Khilafayat Committee’ for providing voice to the ninety percent Muslim population of Kashmir. History thus nails the lie that 1931 happenings were engineered by the British to further their interest.
Now for the past many years an article written by Khuswant Singh on Allama Iqbal in June 2007, in a Calcutta based newspaper is at regular intervals being mailed from different mailing address to many Srinagar based writers and journalists. The article describes Allama as recent convert to Islam. It is not of much a consequence, if he is recent convert or not, the great son of Kashmir is known through his poetry, works that cascade with love for Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and exudes with Islamic thought and philosophy. What pains besides the distortion of history, are malicious reasons attributed for his father converting to Islam. ‘Stating that Kanhaya Lal was Iqbal’s grandfather he has written that his son, Rattan Lal, converted to Islam and was given the name Nur Muhammad. Saying Rattan Lal was a revenue collector of the Afghan Governor of Kashmir the article suggests that he converted to Islam under duress for being caught in embezzling some money.’
Of all the nineteenth and twentieth century poets and littérateurs, Iqbal is most written about and researched person- he even surpasses his important contemporaries, Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah and Liquate Ali. Over five thousands books have been written about his life and works. Khuswant Singh’s figment of imagination’ better say lie that is now being used as propaganda tool by ‘polluted minds’ can be nailed from hundred and one sources. One of the most important biography of Iqbal is Zinda Rud (living stream) written by his son Javid Iqbal. The biography contains a letter dated 15 October 1925, which Iqbal had written to his brother Sheikh Atta Muhammad. In this letter Dr. Iqbal informs his brother that whatever his father had heard from his ancestors about the family being a direct descendent of Lool Haji- who had embraced Islam at behest of Baba Nasar an important disciple of Sheikh-ul-Alam is historically correct. After analyzing various sources Dr. Javid Iqbal writes that, Iqbal’s ancestors embraced Islam in ‘in fifteenth century almost one hundred years before Baber arrived in India.’ Syed Wahid-u-Din in his Rozgar Fiqar writes about the family of Dr. Iqbal, “There are evidences that suggest Iqbal’s family migrated in eighteenth century. Either it was grandfather of Iqbal’s father Sheikh Jamal-u-Din or his four sons Sheikh Abdul Rehman, Sheikh Muhammad Ramzan, Sheikh Muhammad Rafi and Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah who migrated first. During nineteenth century, all the four brothers lived in Sailkot.. Sheikh Nur Mohammad, Iqbal’s father was ninth son of Sheikh Muhammad Rafi.’….so Singh Ji’s assertions about Iqbal’s father converting to Islam by all counts are unfounded