By Bhushan Parimoo
Every Kashmiri, in general, desires to serve Kashmir as well and as long as he or she can. At the same time a parochial element has emerged lately with intent to rewrite the history with a motive; misinform the facts and in the process obliterate the truth. In a way history is distorted with an ulterior motive as to appear accordingly in a biased colour by some of them who are at the helm of affairs .Making one to believe as Cecil Earle Tyndale- a British Missionary and Educationists headed Missionary School Srinagar once said of Shanker Kaul, a teacher in the school ” What my friend Shanker Kaul does not know about Kashmir is not worth knowing”. And pseudo –intellectuals carry it in the head and distort the history throwing caution to winds without fearing that there are people still alive who know the facts better than them. History cannot be perceived as one likes; it can either be altogether rosy or horrifying, like rose plant has a beautiful flower with it the thorn as well. Facts have to be taken in our stride in the spirit to admit what took place and how they turn about with time. Those who attempt to suppress facts and most of time get exposed places them in poor colours.
History is the most benevolent dimension of humanity; but only till such time truth is not distorted. And once that happens, there is nothing more menacing than history to bleed mankind. It is sad that truth in and about Kashmir has been waylaid. Its history has been taken hostage by distortions and hearsay. Pre 1947 history is well documented authentic and research is still on in various universities world over as this writer is well aware. Under the banner of Naya Kashmir reporters were mostly from Kashmir who did as the master told knowing full well that such reports full of misinformation and distortion? It was other day when it was said that Rajatarangni is a trash by the very scholar who has put in decades in Archaeology Department.
Another instance pertinent to recall is. A couple of years during September attending two days Seminar on Aurel Stein organised by the Department of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir The University is nestled in Zabarwan mountain under the kind watchful gaze of Mahadeva mountains that are attributed to be the original site of the famous Shankar Pal, a rock with inscriptions of six commandments of Vedic ordain on the western bank of Lake Dal. It is very much spread tastefully laid and raised every care has been made to keep its aesthetic value in consonance with its surroundings. A serene and peaceful atmosphere, one of the best spot of any university in the world spread over 1000 kanals of land in the centre of Srinagar city. Most congenial atmosphere prevails here. One longs with love to be here for years to ponder the marvels of history we have inherited thus far viz-a viz the World around. During the three-day stay interacting with various intellectuals made me to ponder why the Kashmiris are traditional wilful ignorant who relinquish the facts and betray ungratefulness in the process. Everyone from whom the present writer inquired whose land it belonged to on which this University is built upon. And when the present writer shared the facts, hardly any one appeared to believe it or feign ignorance.
After the division Punjab University Lahore became part of Pakistan. And to cater needs on this side Eastern Punjab university was established at Solan .As regards students of this state, in 1948 clemency promotions were accorded and for 1949 session examination of J&K students were conducted by the Eastern Punjab university .Need was felt that the state should have its own university. Dr Karan Singh approached Dr Radhakrishan then Vice President a leading luminary. He agreed in principle at the same time conveyed that it was has been given to understand by the State Government that time under Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah that no suitable land is available in the summer capital itself. Is it believable that at time no suitable land would have been available for a house of learning? Sheer apathetic approach of the government at the behest of the head of the Government, created a lackadaisical attitude gave enough signals the proposal to have the University a building of its own was not a priority at that time with the Government. All doors closed it was some time back in 1951 that Dr Karan Singh thought of donating their main palace building in Srinagar the Gulab Bhavan to the newly established Jammu & Kashmir University. In a letter dated August 1, 1951 to Pt Nehru wrote Dr Karan Singh “You may be interested to know that I am considering donating the Gulab Mahal Palace to the University of Jammu & Kashmir. Our University, as you know, possesses no building of its own, nor has it the necessary funds to enable it to acquire or construct a suitable building. Gulab Mahal Palace will, I am sure, be ideally suited for a university. It is a magnificent building containing numberless rooms, several large halls and possessing lovely lawns. As a matter of fact, I am sure, I am sure, with its delightful situation, it will be one of the most attractive University buildings in India. It would give me very great pleasure to see it transformed into a flourishing university, and I am sure this gift will go a long way in enabling our University to achieve its lofty ambitions. Our private property is, however, under the direct control of His Highness. He has just returned from Paris and I have sent him a message requesting him to allow me to donate the building. I am expecting a reply from him soon”. Dr Karan Singh also informed of his intention to both Pandit Nehru and Gopalaswami Ayyangar as well. Both welcomed and were pleased with the idea of Dr Karan Singh. Nehru even replied to Dr Karan Singh on August 3, 1951; ” I am glad to learn that you intend donating the Gulab Mahal Palace to the University of Jammu & Kashmir. That is the very best use you can put the building to and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated by the public”.
Dr Karan Singh had asked the Maharaja’s Private Secretary Bhim Sain Mahey to convey his desire to his father. However, Mahey never collected the courage to speak to Maharaja on this issue. Instead Gopalaswami Ayyangar wrote to the Maharaja and urged him to accept the proposal. Maharaja was furious and wrote an angry letter to his son disallowing the suggestion. y. Dr Karan Singh was anxious and restless to see his dream to have a University of its own. Concern for education for which Dogra rulers are known world over. It was Maharaja Rambhir Singh who donated a sum of rupees 5 lakhs to the Punjab University Lahore. Which was established in 1882 the fourth university in the undivided India. Other three are Madras, Calcutta and Bombay all established in 1857. And he was top of the list of the members of the Senate of the Panjab University till his last breath. He is also credited with the founding of the Manuscript Library in the Raghunath Temple which has at one time 6000 rare manuscripts duly catalogued by Sir Stein, known world over. Again it has been the Dogra rulers who gave stress to education right from primary to higher education and the first state introduced the universalisation of education. It was February 21, 1912 that Maharaja Partap Singh had expressed that “I don’t agree to postpone compulsory education brought all modernity by way of establishing colleges and schools,. Hari Singh was first in the country to have compulsory education to all school going children, Established Jabbari Schools.
For some years there was no further progress in the matter and in the meanwhile Gulab Bhavan was converted into to the famous Oberoi Palace Hotel. However Dr Karan Singh did not forget his commitment despite 24/7 malicious accusation, uncivilized propaganda, against the rulers by the new set up, eventually donated 120 acre orchard near Hazratbal to the university and the site presently marks perhaps one of the most beautiful campus any university can claim to possess.
Raised by his grandfather Raja Amar Singh it was called Amar Singh Bagh. When he offered his own 1000 kanal orchard Government had no option to refuse the offer which killed two birds with one stone, first deprived Dr Karan Sigh of a huge orchard raised about century back by his grandfather with love and care and he had a sentimental attachment to it and other got the land free of cost at a prime location for intellectuals world over who shall be visiting it world to enjoy its unmatched natures beauty. He donated it free of costs for the purpose along with all its infrastructures existed then. With it Kashmir University Srinagar was born in 1950. From the Barrack like structures university started to function. Unfortunate instead in spirit of reciprocal gesture it should have been allowed to continue its name as Amar Singh Bagh .But was changed with Nasim Bagh, the name called during the tyrants the Pathan rulers. Even there is no mention about Raja Amarsingh anywhere in the whole University complex.
(The writer is a is well-known Jammu –based Environmentalist with a special expertise in History)
What do a Marxist and a maharaja have in common?
By Gopalkrishna Gandhi
Had they not died at 81 and 55 respectively, two Indians would have turned 100 this year. And their centenaries would have been celebrated with enthusiasm — but by very different sets of people. As indeed, they are being organized, now, in their memories. No two persons could have been more different from each other than the bare-headed, bush-shirted Marxist, Indrajit Gupta, and the be-turbaned, bejewelled maharaja, JayachamarajendraWodeyar of Mysore. They were as contrastive as a sickle and a sapphire or a hammer and a diamond-encrusted walking stick.
And we can be certain that they hardly knew each other. They are, in fact, unlikely to have ever met. They could have done so, ironically enough, in England.
Indrajitbabu completed his Tripos at King’s College, Cambridge under the spell of the Marxist powerhouse, Rajani Palme Dutt, just as the young maharaja-to-be arrived in Britain to meet and get to know artists and writers. But they missed each other by a few months. Their paths were not meant to intersect in India. Indrajitbabu was no habitué of concerts of classical music over which the maharaja presided with natural flair. Correspondingly, the maharaja was never a member of the Lok Sabha to which the communist leader was elected 11 times and, as the seniormost member of parliament, was its pro tem Speaker, time and again. If they did ever actually meet, by chance, anywhere at all, we can take it that they exchanged nothing more than formal pleasantries, lapsing thereafter into silence.
And yet, history, culture and politics link the two exact centenarians, uncannily, through three distinct pathways.
First, through Moscow. For Indrajitbabu, the capital of the Soviet Union was the secular equivalent of a Mecca. The influence of Marxism which started in London, through Palme Dutt, streamed into the inspiration that the Communist Party of India, founded in 1920, had received since the time of the Second World Congress of the Communist Third International held that very year. For Jayachamarajendra too, Moscow was a pole star. And that came about through an altogether different cosmology: Western classical music. The core of that inspiration was Moscow-born and then London-based composer, Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951). Medtner became, for the young royal, a soul-drenching inspiration, leading him to finance the recording of a large number of Medtner’s compositions and then, not stopping there, to go on to found a Medtner Society in London, in 1949. Medtner’s Third Piano Concerto, Google tells us, is dedicated to Jayachamarajendra.
Second, Quit India. For very different reasons and from very distinct backdrops, both ‘CPI’s — the Communist Party of India and the Chamber of Princes of India opposed the Gandhi-led Congress movement of 1942. Indrajitbabu, as a loyal and policy-bound member of the Communist Party, stood with his party which opposed Quit India as it was directed against Britain which, in alliance with the Soviet Union, was fighting Hitler. Jayachamarajendra, crowned Maharaja in 1940, as a loyal and protocol-bound ‘21-gun salute Prince’, opposed the same movement in his state, emphatically, with other princes, in total solidarity with the British raj in the war effort. The two CPIs found themselves, in 1942, in the same trench, albeit in different parts of it.
Third, in the wake of India’s Independence, both Indrajitbabu and Jayachamarajendra, for very different reasons, got ‘stamped out’ together. This was not about them as individuals but about the institutions to which they belonged. The government of independent India, but more specifically, the deputy prime minister and home minister, SardarVallabhbhai Patel, banned the Communist Party of India in the rage of indignation after the party’s call, in its Second Congress led by B.T. Ranadive, for an armed struggle. And the princes were, of course, famously and deftly, made functus officio by him, in the calm of self-confidence, through the integration of their territories into the Indian Union. To adapt ‘Jack and Jill’, sickle, hammer, sceptre and crown, all four, came tumbling down and were compliant made with the new democratic State.
Communists are ideologically rooted, shaped and committed. But they are not robots. Marx and Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, were ideological kin, not identical twins. Josef Stalin can be left to describe himself. As were, in India, M.N. Roy and S.A. Dange, B.T. Ranadive and P. Sundarayya, E.M.S.
Namboodiripad and JyotiBasu, A.K. Gopalan and Harkishen Singh Surjeet, Lakshmi Sahgal and ArunaAsaf Ali. But who could fail to be struck by their individual personalities? All of them wrote on the same page but using type-fonts that were their very own.
Born on March 18, Indrajit Gupta (1919-2001) was ‘Sunny’ to his parents, ‘Comrade’ to his party, ‘Sir’ to deferential younger MPs across party divides and to admiring officials who worked for him when he was briefly but memorably India’s home minister. Choosing his responses to match the context, he was always himself. Brusque, even gruff with the facile, fatuous or facetious even from among his own circle, he was gentle and considerate towards all, including political adversaries. He could question his party line without flouting it. As India’s first and so far only communist home minister he opposed a move by the then governor of Uttar Pradesh to terminate the state’s BharatiyaJanata Party-led government, for the step was constitutionally open to question. And he told Opposition MPs criticizing him: “If I were in your place, I would have done the same.” In our times when unnamed donors can contribute to uncountable election expenses, Indrajit Gupta will be remembered for the key recommendation of a committee on election reforms that he chaired: “The names of donors should be invariably declared.” His sense of justice came from communism, his sense of fairness came from himself.
Except in 45 out of the world’s 195 countries, royals are an extinct or rapidly extinguishing order. They are a living archive, a breathing monument, half sepia, half colour, uncomfortable with the past, uneasy about the future. And their present? It is difficult. If a fool, a prince, be he an incumbent or ‘ex’, occasions no surprise. If a debauch, no shock. But should she or he have, as indeed so many royals have, like all humans, their own uniqueness, a spark of talent or the gift of a skill, a personality of their own, they cause some disbelief and get to be dismissed as the exception that only… and so on.
Born almost exactly a hundred years ago, on July 18, JayachamarajendraWodeyar (1919-1974), the 25th and last Maharaja of Mysore, was exceptional. His large and strong frame looked like granite sculpture. ‘Majestic’ as an adjective never had a more natural subject than this monumental king with a broader than usual forehead, a brocade turban completing the larger-than-life effect. He had exceptional attributes going for his mind, of which sound political sense ranked high. Having been loyal to the British raj, his signing of Mysore’s Instrument of Accession to independent India, was swift. Moving from being Maharaja to becoming Rajpramukh and then governor of the merged and reorganized Mysore state, Jayachamarajendra was also governor of the neighbouring non-royal state of Madras. But if this prince is remembered today it is for something that was his own personal achievement, his own individual attainment: his vaggeyakara’s passion for composing tunes and lyrics. Jayachamarajendra composed a significant number of songs in both the Carnatic and Hindustani traditions. But it is the fate of gifted princes to have their gifts seen as borrowings. The extraordinary novelist, R.K. Narayan, has this to say of Jayachamarajendra: “The so-called compositions of the Mysore Maharaja were actually composed by Vasudevachar. The Maharaja would call Vasudevachar and say I want these phrases from the Devi Ashtottram and the composer would do his bidding”.
Unconditional admirer as I am of Narayan as a writer and human being, I have to say that his assessment of the composer-King is certainly entertaining but unfair.
What do the synchronizing centenaries of an outstanding Indian Marxist and an exceptional Indian maharaja tell us today? This, that the individuality of its people, their contrasting affiliations, their passions are the soul of our republic, not monochromatic sameness trying to pass muster as unity. And that two seemingly unconnected Indians connect us today to that truth.
(The telegraph, kolkata)
Need to rework tactics on Pak, J&K
By K C Singh
Before heading to Washington to meet US President Donald Trump on July 22, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan opened up his country’s airspace to international flights, after months of closure, and rearrested Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind behind terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. President Trump promptly tweeted his happiness over the latter as that group has American blood on its hands, having undertaken the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai over a decade ago. Pakistan had earlier linked its airspace reopening to India removing its Air Force fighters from forward deployment. New Delhi had rejected that demand. Pakistan’s volte face may have been prompted by a desire to show the US its reasonableness in dealing with India. The same may be behind Pakistan’s accommodative approach to the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as it dropped from its delegation controversial pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla. Indian sensitivity on this issue was manifest when an expatriate organisation, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), pushing the Referendum 2020 over Khalistan, was banned.
If all this heralded a thawing of India-Pakistan relations, an old issue resurfaced to negate it. On July 18, Pakistan had its knuckles rapped by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Indian case filed over denial of consular access to KulbhushanJadhav, a former Indian naval officer, who was detained, tried and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged espionage and terrorist activities. Rejecting the Pakistani arguments about lack of jurisdiction, the court held Pakistan in breach of its commitments under the Vienna Consular Convention of 1963. While Pakistan claimed victory as the court did not ask for the release and repatriation of Jadhav, the court sought a review of the judgment, immediate consular access for India and Jadhav being informed of his rights accordingly.
Pakistan agreed to grant the access, but many other issues linger. First, will Indian high commission officials be in physical proximity of the detainee and relatively free to converse without close monitoring? It is unlikely that the Pakistan Army will allow this, and may in fact repeat the theatre enacted when Jadhav’s mother and wife sat across a glass partition and conversed over the intercom and under intrusive oversight of security officials. Second, Pakistan has agreed to review the judgment as per their own prescribed procedures, which may entail its submission to the Chie of Army Staff or the President. Pakistan is unlikely to concede that due to the serious procedural flaw of denying the accused access to his country’s diplomatic mission and thus provision of proper legal assistance, the entire trial was vitiated. The military court had apparently relied on a “confession” obtained by coercive means and dubious circumstantial evidence.
Pakistan’s next steps in the Jadhav affair would thus condition the course of India-Pakistan relations. On the other hand, Pakistan will also expect that India should respond to positive steps taken by it, instead of sticking to the standard Indian line that Pakistani action against jihadi groups is tactical and reversible. Imran Khan’s US visit assumes importance in this regard as Pakistan would attempt to rebalance relations with Washington, which have during the Trump presidency slipped into open distrust. India has counted on this dissonance to pillory and pressure Pakistan. The White House statement on the eve of visit reads that the bilateral meeting is to “discuss a range of issues, including counter-terrorism, defence, energy, trade, with the goal of creating the conditions for a peaceful South Asia and an enduring partnership”. Clearly, the Afghan endgame, in which Pakistan has now been co-opted by China, Russia and the US to help, has altered US perceptions on Pakistan considerably. India on the other hand has been left on the sidelines of the Afghan game as President Trump wants to withdraw US troops after a face-saving peace pact with the American presidential election approaching in 2020. Meanwhile, India and the US are wrestling with trade issues that have episodically riled President Trump enough to fire angry tweets.
Thus, a bull-headed Pakistani policy may be losing its value as the world has other distractions and likely diminishing empathy for Indian complaints over Pakistani duplicity and sponsorship of terror. The seizure by Iran of a British oil tanker, in retaliation for an Iranian oil tanker carrying oil to Syria being seized by the British near Gibraltar, ups the ante in the Gulf. Britain has already warned its tankers from transiting the Straits of Hormuz. Operation Sentinel to create a multi-national escort force is still not off and running. Iran has dropped hints it may renegotiate the nuclear deal, but it would not discuss any rollback of its influence or even presence in West Asia. On July 24, British prime minister Theresa May will resign, and the process begin to install her successor – most likely to be Boris Johnson. On the same day Robert Mueller, the former FBI head who investigated the Russian collusion charges against the Trump electoral machine, will depose before the US Congress. Mr Mueller has said he would stick to explaining his report and not launch a witch-hunt against the incumbent US President, but it would distract an already election-oriented Mr Trump. Thus, a visible bonhomie between Mr Trump and Mr Khan can result in a more confident Pakistan willing to test the post-Balakot retaliatory doctrine of India.
Therefore, India would have to tailor its Pakistan policy accordingly. During Track II interactions with Pakistanis, some uncertainty is visible over the new Indian doctrine of pre-emptive or retaliatory military action if India is attacked by Pakistan-based terror groups known to be sponsored by the Pakistani military. But Pakistan is emerging from its isolation and economic mess. If the US opens the military assistance tap and restarts financial aid under the garb of compensation for counter-terrorism operations, then Pakistan may draw the wrong conclusion. It will continue to seek strategic depth in Afghanistan by helping instal a Taliban dispensation in Kabul and await Pakistan getting off the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force, which its ally China now chairs. After that, it will stoke as 2020 approaches both the “Khalistan” issue and the ire in the Kashmir Valley. A purely security-oriented approach to the Jammu and Kashmir problem will backfire eventually, much as normality may appear possible today as Pakistan has shut off the infiltration. The lesson for India is that the geo-strategic environment is not static. Nor can be one’s tactics to deal with it.
By Nirvaan Nadeem
We all have dreams. Some of us let them slip away, others hold fast to them. My dream is to one day – after I’ve done all that I came to do in this world – live peacefully far away in the mountains, with a small family and lots of animals. To grow my own food, go on long walks and get water from the nearby stream. Communicate with the birds, talk with the sheep and laugh with the dogs. To explore myself, and the few people close to me, and love fully.
Life has a strange way of preventing you from achieving your inner most, deepest sought dreams and desires. You can fight it all you want, but all eventually fall into the cycle, the broken system that we all worship. We start off by working so we can pay for basic amenities. The scope of “basic amenities” then widens, and we need to work some more. In order to work some more we develop various personas. We cannot trust everyone, we cannot like everyone. We start viewing others as a means to an end, as “products” determined according to status, wealth and looks, not human beings. Gradually we forget ourselves and who we truly were once – perhaps as children.
It may have started as an interesting game, as a life experience or experiment, but as the years pass by our personas take over, and we actually start believing them. After all, somewhere, in the back of their minds, children know they are just playing a game, that it’s all make-believe. For us adults however, there’s no one to tell us otherwise. We believe in the absurdity of money, something which does not have any tangible existence. If not money we believe in “status”, i.e. reaching higher and higher positions of power, authority and influence. We believe in devoting our lives to buying Guccis and Versaces – mere utility products with the name of someone much more intelligent than us. We work all year so we can buy a new car which will get us to the same place in the same time, the latest mattress on which we sleep the same way, the sofa on which we’ll sit the same way, the TV on which we’ll watch the same programs, or the home which will house (hopefully) the same family.
Rather than cure the problem, we target the resultant symptoms. Every third person I come across is on anti-depressants. Every second person has sleeping problems. The rest go a week-long yoga class or “spiritual talk”, recharged for churning out the same monotonous existence for the rest of the year. Decade after decade, we go about the same meaningless existence, always trying to earn more money, get better jobs, relationships or luxuries. If we were immortal it would have all made sense. Sadly, we are not, and try as hard as we might, in the end we all see this make-believe to be just what it is: that is, make-believe.
We have the unfortunate tendency to sum up the mysterious and ineffable thing that is life into neat little boxes. Any one deviating from the norm is labeled as being mentally unstable. A friend of mine once believed in spirituality and disregarded money, and was labeled as “bipolar” by doctors. As soon as he started making money, he was re-diagnosed as “quite normal”! Another friend used to be motivated and would have done anything to make it big. She moved to the states, grew bored with the routine and decided to find some other meaning in life. She is now diagnosed as “clinically depressed”. Apparently, here, the amount of money you make is inversely proportional to the level of your “sanity”. Think outside the box but make money? You’re a genius! Think outside the box but broke? Straight to the mental asylum!
We look at the “madmen” on the streets, the “primitives” in the forests as flawed, cut off from real life. Could it be in fact the other way round? What could be crazier than spending your entire existence running after cars and TV’s, and then dying, without a shred of knowledge of the purpose of it all in the first place? Could it be the madmen and primitives are the ones on the real “true” path?
Many of the patients in mental asylums have very different views on life. For one, they are not competitive, malicious or manipulative. The reasons for their actions often are at times much more profound than the mundane ones for ours. They believe in destiny, fate, the miraculous, higher powers, magic. I often find myself thinking that if what we make of life is only dependent on our perceptions, it would indeed be much more fulfilling to live a “mad” person’s life. Many are harmless, and are only labeled as such and locked up because they threaten the very fabric of modern-day society. We feel threatened by them, fundamentally because the very things we hold on to for our dear lives, these they shun and laugh at. “Madmen” can see through our disguises, our premises, our personas and our elaborate make-believe. And yet modern society is committed to “diagnosing” and “fixing” anyone who thinks in a radically different way.
As for myself, I can only hope one day to live a free life. To one day be able to experience the true magic, beauty and wonder of life that I know is there, just drowned out in the everyday noise of my thoughts. To one day roam freely the open forests, swim with countless fish and ducks and turtles, fly amongst the soaring eagles and climb the tallest mountains. To love not only each fiber of your being but each blade of grass, each petal of a flower and bark of a tree.To smell the fresh breeze and feel the delicate dewdrops dropping on your skin. That indeed, must be the true dream of every man and woman. If only we would wake up.
“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”