Sermons in scars

Psychological impact and imprint of tragic episodes on human mind is quintessentially lasting; the scars and sores are indelible. Kashmir history is replete with tragic episodes and events and, therefore, one can discern innumerable scars in the psyche of an average Kashmiri. These edifying and sermonizing scars convey multi-faceted message. The intrinsic sermons in these scars insinuate that Kashmiris, as a distant ethnic community wedded to the metaphysical cause of sufism, are resilient in their struggle to safeguard their individuality as a conscious brilliant and shrewd political entity. And this exquisite cathectic propensity and disposition of ours is the pith and marrow of our Kashmiryat.

Every tragic episode in Kashmir, while fortuitously raking up our memory of the past quarrels and grievances, makes us assert with Sufism-based subjectivity. Here we will cite a few tragic episodes of Kashmir resistance movement to explain how Kashmiryat, the assertive Sufi subjectivity, played a role in determining the course of our political manoeuvre.

In 1933, the politics of dissemblance and dissimulation of some hypocrites diabolized the anti-Sheikh stance of Moulvi Yousuf Shah Sahib (apropos of his diatribe on Jan. 30, 1933 in Naqashband shrine) and thus drove a wedge of cleavage between Sheikh Abdullah and Yousuf Shah Sahib− the two senior stalwarts of Muslim Conference. In a situation− when megalomania and egocentricity of resistance leaders served the purpose of a scarecrow to ward off the intellectual importunate obtrusion of sane and sagacious political ambiverts and analysts; when the politics of subterfuge of the hypocrites was becoming ostentatiously preponderant; when congress leaders were engaged in a surreptitious campaign to wean the wavering and vacillating resistance proponents away from the mainstream of Kashmiryat through mollifying nudge− conversion of Muslim Conference into National Conference in June 1939 became a stark reality, notwithstanding the aversion and defiance of conscientious dissidents.

Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah Sahib, during his 45-day stay in Srinagar in May and June 1944 could not bring round and co-opt Sheikh Abdullah who had already been estranged from Milli politics. Sheikh’s bonhomie with Congress leaders and proclivity for secular politics doomed the prospects of early deliverance to failure. Political polarization between secular hardliners and Sufi moderates became glaringly conspicuous when Sheikh’s impulsive defeatism, escapism and ideological veer and sheer made him proclaim with domineering demeanour: “who the hell you are!” While saying so he, in fact, challenged the collective conscience of the lovers of Sufism and Kashmiryat. Thus, it was in Oct. 1947 that Sheikh Abdullah visited Delhi and asked Gandhijee and Pt. Nehru to be “prompt in ordering army intervention in Kashmir” (visit Aatish-e-chinar, pages 416-418).

In 1970− when Z. A. Bhutto’s politics of self-aggrandizement and apotheosized and fetishized objective of power and preponderance forced Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman to play second fiddle in Pak politics despite latters’s victory in the parliament elections; when akhoowat-based political magnanimity became a causality due to paranoia and scepticism of contending parties− Sheikh Mujeeb’s cynicism, disillusionment, despair and despondency constrained him to yell with contempt and supercilious subjectivity: “who the hell you are!” With that his party Awami League hailed and beckoned the Indian rulers and garlanded the Indian tanks which overran East Pakistan in Dec. 1971. And that was how Sheikh Mujeeb asserted with his dissent in Decca− the bastion of his power and prominence. The secession of East Pakistan was reminiscent of the Secession of eleven southern states of US Union in 1860, leading to the Civil War there. However, there is an edifying sermon in the scar of secession.

It was easy to wither away the importance and potence of an assertive and altruistic and populistic veteran democrat Sheikh Mujeeb through diatribe and scathing sarcasm and satire; however, it was difficult to empathize and sympathize with him in moments of adversity and impairing political environment when all the anti-Pakistan elements− sychophants, stooges, toadies and lackeys found it convenient to forge an alliance with the aggressive fascist forces in neighbourhood which were poised to show promptitude in military intrusion and intervention. So, who was responsible for the ignominious debacle and discomfiture− Sheikh Mujeeb or Z. A. Bhutto; or both of them? Culpability is a question in itself. Passing the buck on one another is a diversionary exercise in self-delusion. It cannot scour off the slur. Reconciliation became a hallucinatory dream due to the hubristic, overbearing and swaggering attitude of the egotistic democrats of undivided Pakistan. We bewail and bemoan the exclusionist politics which inevitably turned out to be the pitfall in obsessive subjective assertion of the myopes of united Pakistan. 

In 1975− when the 70-year-old robust resistance leader Sheikh Abdullah felt distraught, disorientated and disenchanted too due to the Decca-fall episode; when his resolve to resist the onslaught of India in Kashmir became a myth due to his flinching faith, apologetic outpourings, propitiatory politics, escapist escapades and defeatist disposition; when abject surrender and capitulation of Plebiscite Front leaders (barring a few conscientious dissidents) was vividly conspicuous on July 5, 1975, the day of disbandment of Plebiscite Front and revival of National Conference− the 86-year-old resistance doyen Sofi Muhammad Akbar felt shocked and traumatized in the den of his Sopore cottage.

Sofi Sahib, while condemning the traitorous act, rebuked the turncoats for their anti-movement move. However, he did not yell: “who the hell he is!”, although he was the avowed and uncompromising opponent of Sheikh Abdullah. Sofi Akbar rejected and denounced Indira-Abdullah accord of 1974 with palpable scorn and rancor. Still he believed in decency in dissent. Magnanimity of the resistance patriarch was really enviable. We justifiably take pride in his demeanour. Posterity will continue to remember him with love and respect. Sheikh Abdullah’s political somersault of 1975 left an indelible scar on the mind of an average Kashmiri. The message of the sermonizing scar is loud and clear: “Repose trust in Allah Almighty and remain steadfast in your resistance campaign come what may. Beware of internal bickering mode of the movement. Foster the trends of mutual trust and understanding. Checkmate the prevarication of those who want to funk and skedaddle when the situation is exacting and daunting.”

Indian rulers, with chauvinistic mindset and imperialist fixation, reneged on their commitment and pledge in Kashmir. Their blatant betrayal and perfidy invited the wrath and reprisal of Kashmiri revolutionaries. And Maqbool Butt, as an ideal revolutionary guerrilla strategist and adventurist, embarked on a sustained campaign to unhinge and dislodge the forces of occupation from Kashmir. He, with his scintillating brain and indefatigable resolve did succeed in inspiring and imbuing the Kashmiri youth with hope and optimism. Kashmiri freedom zealots took pride in following in the footsteps of the Protomartyr who was hanged on Feb. 11, 1984 in Tihar jail Delhi, despite the infirmities of the cases he had been inculpated and implicated in.

Indian authorities, while evincing and exuding authoritarian impulsiveness, became rash and brash in facilitating the execution of Maqbool Butt thereby leaving an indelible scar on the minds of Kashmiris. There was a sermon in the scar: “surrender or struggle with indomitable and invincible will and valour for the accomplishment of the objective of Azadi.” Maqbool’s hanging was in itself a symbol of peremptory and dictatorial assertion of Delhi liege lords. It was, in fact, miscarriage of justice. It typified the travesty of truth. It was supercilious display of Chanakiyan and Machiavellian doctrine of deceit in dispensation. So your subjective politics of deceit and dissemblance triggered off insurgency in Kashmir.

And Syed-Salah-ud-din, as ideal successor of the guerrilla doctrinist and expeditionist Maqbool Butt, has the privilege to spearhead the insurrection which has literally converted the pigeon-holed Kashmir issue into a nuclear flashpoint. Salah-ud-din, as assertive revolutionary existentialist, has the guts to take on his adversaries on militant and political fronts. He will not budge unless you condescend to make amends for your follies in Kashmir. So fulfill the promise regarding plebiscite in Kashmir. Kashmiris will not waive and relinquish their inalienable right to self-determination. This is the bottom line in Kashmir tangle and imbroglio.

Excruciated, tormented, tortured and traumatized Kashmiris, who offered unprecedented sacrifices during the past 25 years, have the right to question, impugn and arraign the role of the political resistance leaders who, while violating the Qur’anic injunction pertaining to the Shoora system of a forum, felt contented with the egotistic political polarization and bickering which eventually culminated in the emergence of three independent Hurriyat factions. “Who the hell you are!” expression reminds us of the role of Sheikh Abdullah in 1947 and Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman in 1971.

Why is it so that Pakistani rulers are vociferous in their democratic assertion while dealing with their own problems and superciliously and callously indifferent while dealing with the situation in Kashmir? Who proved instrumental in coining the divisive words: “moderate”, “hardliner”? Who is mollycoddling one group at the cost of another? Kashmiris feel disgusted with the trends of dichotomic schism, scission and fission within the political resistance movement. And I identify myself with none but one Hurriyat (the united Hurriyat with widened Shoora).

Author is Chief-Patron, JK Mahaz-e-Azadi.