21 Kashmiris (read Muslims whenever you read ‘Kashmiris’ in journalese) were ‘massacred’ by Dogra soldiers that day, not unlike the 15 Kashmiris killed by Indian security forces this past fortnight, due to their opening fire on demonstrators. This connection, of course, has ‘noted’ historians (whose only works of note according to Google have been predicting when Allah will bless Kashmir with azadi) waxing eloquent on how things have not changed – poor Kashmiris are still at the receiving end of the atrocities of Hindu/Indian governments.
Left to be tacitly understood is that these poor Kashmiri demonstrators of 1931, 1990, 2008 and 2010 - then as now, had and have all the right in the world to pelt stones at the security personnel, beat them and shoot them, not to mention riot, loot and kill people who just don’t feel like doing the same. How else can they express (and show to the world) the immeasurable frustration they feel? Listen to any of the Kashmiri separatists, representatives of the current Opposition in Kashmir (party doesn’t matter) or even any random stone-pelter talk and you will find yourself being asked to believe that even 5-6 year olds in Kashmir (who also pelt stones) have this frustration pounding in their veins. Never mind the phone tappings and video confessions of some of the same stone-pelters that explain, in nitty-gritty detail, just how these bloody protests come about.
So, coming back to July 13, 1931. The story has it that serendipitously, at a major Muslim political gathering of Kashmir on the preceding June 21st, the ‘true problems, demands and aspirations’ of the Muslims of Kashmir got expression in the speech of a totally “unknown, robust Pathan” named Abdul Qadeer Khan. This one speech, like others in the subsequent politics of Kashmir, drove the normal peace-loving people of Kashmir to a frenzy, as it talked about how the holy Quran and the teachings of Islam had been violated by the Hindu rulers of Kashmir and asked the people to fight this autocratic force. So it was at the arrest of this one person on July 13 that Kashmiris felt necessary to protest outside the Srinagar Central Jail. A few ‘notable’ people have wondered aloud just what would have happened to the struggle for Kashmir independence had not that priceless man, Abdul Qadeer Khan arrived on stage that fated day – never mind the probable theory that this ‘accidental speech’ had been meticulously planned by the British to destabilize the reign of Maharaja Hari Singh as a little punishment for his patriotic demand for Independence of India from the British in the Round Table Conference.
It is also interesting how these people have tried to have it both ways - on the one hand they vociferously shouted out Allah-o-Akbar along with their demands of justice from the Maharaja and on the other they totally denied that the subsequent protests that took place in
Hopefully now you understand why you don’t get Kashmiri Pandits when you search the web for
- Radhika Koul. The author is an undergraduate student of