A week before the veteran leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani called Article 370 a ‘golden chain’, with which people of Kashmir have been ‘enslaved’ to Indian union. He also referred late Sheikh Abdullah as ‘opportunist’ and ‘power hungry’ politician. Pointing to the long history of betrayal committed by the National Conference, Geelani said what ‘we, as a nation are, and have been, suffering from the last six decades is because of this treacherous character of Sheikh Abdullah and his NC party’.
Let us be apolitical and don’t take sides with any party or person. Let us base our analysis on historical realities and not get swayed by emotions.
Sheikh Abdullah was the most popular leader of Kashmir. He surfaced on the political landscape of Kashmir in 1930’s in the aftermath of the spontaneous uprising against autocratic Dogra raj. Cashing on the public sentiment of A’zadi he cultivated his political stature. Gifted with a blend of political oratory and captivating reciting of verses from Holy Quran Sheikh left audience mesmerized. Sheikh drew his constituency from gullible Kashmiris, overwhelming majority of which was illiterate and religious minded.
In 1931 Muslim Conference came into existence which represented Muslims which were facing discrimination and tyranny under the Dogra regime. Qadir’s speech in Khankah in which he asked Kashmiris (pointing to Maharaja’s palace) to rise in revolt against the despotic ruler led to his arrest. On 13th July, people assembled near Central Jail Srinagar to know the fate of Qadir. Dogra police fired indiscriminately, gunning down 21 people. Carried in procession, the bodies were taken to Khankah. Before breathing his last one of the martyr’s in the bosom of Sheikh murmured: ‘Sheikh Sahab, we did our part. Take this movement of A’zadi forward to its logical conclusion’.
How did sheikh live up to the will of our martyr’s, should be criterion in judging him. Sporting beard Sheikh engraved his profile in the minds of Muslims, further. But this closeness with Islamic exterior got soon eroded and in secularist and National stripes he sported his political identity. With soul thus getting corrupted with his liking for Nehru Muslim Conference got baptized to National Conference. Qaide-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his Muslim League – which by that time had emerged the authenticatic credible voice of Muslims in undivided India – thus were relegated to a level of bête-noirs. That was the first blow Sheikh Abdullah drew to Muslim unity. Conversion of MC to NC meant the die has been cast. And in any future bandobast the state of J&K would have to club with Congress. That was the first betrayal Sheikh committed not only with his own people on whose support he developed his popular base, but also with the Muslims of the ritish India. In fact, the entire human stock.
It is to be noted, had Abdullah not got seduced to Nehruian Chankyanetee, the festering sore of Kashmir would not have embittered the relationship of India and Pakistan and people of Kashmir would not have been the worst sufferers of Abdullhian folly. The partition hysteria would not have crossed the Lakhanpur. Kashmir would have become, as per the Mount-Baten plan, the national part of Pakistan, with its unfinished agenda thus getting completed.
This change of direction of the movement took a heavy toll of people in terms of loss of life, honor, property and other “collateral damage”. The tragic part of Abdulhaian bon homie with Nehru is that while Nehru travelled hundreds of miles from India to showcase solidarity with Abdullah, when the later was kept in incarceration by Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh, however, the former watched in silence (as if deriving pleasure) as the army of Maharaja Patiala and thousands Hindu fanatic marauders joined troops of Hari Singh and made genocide of Muslims in Jammu and forced their exodus. Over two lakh Muslims were murdered and ten lakh were forced to flee to Pakistan.
(To be concluded