Was Sher-e-Kashmir secular?

Narender Sehgal has authored a document `Converted Kashmir’. The document reflects his communal mindset. In his farfetched analysis of Kashmir history he has accused Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah of nurturing communal tendencies and instigating anti-Hindu riots. Differences with Sher-e-Kashmir notwithstanding, the document produced by him (Sehgal) is a brazen attempt to molest Kashmir freedom struggle. According to Sehgal, Sher-e-Kashmir was communal and acted as an agent of British government.



Sher-e-Kashmir also known as `tragic hero of Kashmir’ is cursed by Muslims for being secular to the core. But the non-Muslims never accepted him in that capacity. For them he was a rabid communalist, a product of Aligarh Muslim University, which produced the founders of `isms’ of Muslim Nationalism and fundamentalism.
In Chapter 17 of the document, Sehgal writes: “In order to establish his political base in Kashmir the Sheikh decided to collect and incite Muslim youths against the Maharaja. He gave up his service to intensify his political activities. However, Dr Gori Nath Rastogi has, in his book Our Kashmir, written that the Sheikh was sacked because of immoral behaviour. He had already received, as a gift from the Aligarh Muslim University, the seeds of communalism in his mind and the sacking from the services further inflamed him. His mind was inflamed with hatred against the Maharaja and he started plans for promoting religious passions. The British diplomacy had the need for such a person in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Sheikh Abdullah started encouraging communalism openly. He launched a movement on the basis of the demand for Government posts for the Muslims, their share in the administration and religious freedom. Inflammatory speeches from mosques began communalizing the entire atmosphere. The Sheikh also succeeded in giving Islamic hue to the entire movement. How was this dye? Gopinath Shrivastav has given information about this dye in his book Kashmir.”

Sehgal also holds Sher-e-Kashmir responsible for attacks on non-Muslims on July 13, 1931. He does not stop here. He further writes: “In order to utilize the Sheikh in the form of a British Agent the British Government found the opportune time for converting him into a British "stooge". The Sheikh himself wanted to seek blessings of the British Government and the support from a prominent Congress leader for making his campaign and movement a success. His both wishes were fulfilled by Lord Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru respectively.

A prominent weekly of Bombay, Blitz, in its April 24, 1964 issue published a comprehensive article in which Sheikh Abdullah was dubbed as a British Agent. In the article, original documents in the form of secret correspondence and letters have been published, exposing the antinational activities of the Sheikh. Dr H.L. Saxena has published the entire article of Blitz in his book The Tragedy of Kashmir. The documents published in Blitz have lifted the thick veil from the initial political life of Sheikh Abdullah. These documents indicate that he had started his political career under the protection and assistance of the British Government. What has the Blitz to say:
“Bombay: Blitz is now in possession of a mass of sensational and scalding documents which lift the heavy veil covering the early political career of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

“On studying them, we are staggered at the amount of evidence-mostly in Abdullah’s own language – which could lead to the following conclusion that:

“Sheikh Abdullah began his political career in collusion with and with the full patronage of the political service of the then British Government of India.
“It is common knowledge that the Anglo-Indian Political Service was mainly the machine of Intelligence Agents. British and Indian – specially trained and recruited by British Imperialism to keep India enslaved.

“These documents came in our possession on the eve of the Sheikh’s departure to Saudi Arabia for his professed Haj pilgrimage. We decided to await his return home before we published them, so as to offer him an opportunity to deny their authenticity and clear his name.” (SIC).

Sher-e-Kashmir is ridiculed for giving a secular colour to the movement. Noted journalist and Sher-e-Kashmir’s one time associate, Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz wrote an editorial in Hamdard on June 10, 1947. It read: “The Hindus do not like National Conference. However, some Hindus have joined it not because they love it but for the hatred it has exhibited against Muslims of India. The inclusion of a handful of Hindus in National Conference does not make it a representative of the minorities. The Hindus and Sikhs praise National Conference in public because they believe that it is working against the interests of Muslims…”

When Muslim Conference was being revived, eminent persons discussed it with Sher-e-Kashmir and urged him to join it. He agreed but refused its leadership. “I cannot lead a communal party. However, I will be there as an ordinary worker,” he said. (Tareekh-e-Jung-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir by Munshi Naseer)

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