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“Kashmir’s Heroes”: A leaf from history

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M J Aslam

After Indira-Abdullah-Accord of 1975, a movie in Kashmiri, Habba Khatoon, was made in 1978 on the love story of Kashmir’s last Chak Ruler, Yousuf Shah Chak & his lady-love-queen, Habba Khatoon. The movie was repeatedly telecast on Doordarshan & the people glued to TV sets to watch & re-watch the movie. The debates & discussions followed the telecast of the movie among Kashmiris, not about 1975-Accord, but about the sad love story of Kashmir’s King & his queen of 16th century.

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How “treacherously” Yousuf Shah Chak was called by the Emperor Akbar to Delhi only to banish him to Bihar where he died in exile, people stared debating. The movie triggered a hot discussion among common folks, academicians & others. Was it really Yousuf Shah Chak who was “last Muslim ruler” of “independent” Kashmir & how daringly & bravely he & his sons fought the Mughal Occupiers till end?

 

The Emperor Akbar usurped Kashmir’s sovereignty, wasn’t it so? The discourse continued on these lines. Movie was not directly about it which can be checked from you-tube but it prodded a discussion among the masses that apparently deviated the mind of the masses from 23 years’ of Kashmir Struggle.

All of a sudden, Yousuf Shah Chak & his son [Yaqub Chak] became “National Heroes” who had fought for honour, dignity, integrity & above all , independence of their “Mouj Kashir”.  It is not difficult to understand who must have coined this novel phrase of “Mouj Kashir” in common Kashmiri discourse. It is prima facie clear. It was quickly added to the debates as fuel is supplied to keep the fire alive.

So, it was Akbar, that bloody fellow, who had usurped Kashmir’s independence, people began asking in conversations and discussions? Had he not done it, we would have been a sovereign & independent nation, by now? It is recorded by a pro-NC “historian” in his book that when these discussions were going on & the movie was being watched with great interest by people, Sheikh Abdullah personally visited Patna where Yousuf Shah Chak lies buried to pay homage to “great sons of the soil”.

Ever since that day, writers, academicians & journalists, of all hues, have written a lot about the “treachery” of the Emperor Akbar & Kashmir losing its sovereignty to that treachery in 1586 and the open ended debates & discussions continue unabated till date within and beyond Kashmir, but in blind ignorance of the historical facts which are: (1) The debate was initiated post-Accord of 1975 following the telecast of the movie. Was it mere coincidence or intentional?

Were Kashmiris since five centuries ignorant of Akbar’s annexation of Kashmir in 1586? (2) Wasn’t this unnecessary debate a diversionary tactic, of course, triggered by multiple telecast of the movie in Kashmiri language? (3) Sovereignty & Independence had nothing to do with those Medieval Times of history. These concepts were first used after American Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1773.

These are the subjects of Modern International Law which has no remotest bearing on ancient & medieval times’ politics of the world. 4) People were unknowingly guided by these dominant discourses everywhere that they hardly felt concerned about what had happened? People did not seem interested in applying their mind to the repetition of 1947 political developments in 1975 that have had unending deleterious consequences for overwhelming majority of the State. (5) If Akbar “usurped” Kashmir’s Independence what about dozens of small & large provinces from South to North, East to West of Indian subcontinent, that formed Subhas (Provinces) and Sarkars (governments) under Subhas of the great Mughal Empire? (6) For the ruling elite, the Mughals, rather Muslim Rulers of India, were foreigners, invaders & usurpers who were simply following “Islamic Imperialism” in foreign land that has its roots in the Holy Quran and the Ahadith, they contend. Look at their vast literature, speeches & statement. It is in public domain everywhere. Even Swami Vivekananda Ji in his lectures has talked about “Islamic Imperialism”. (7) There is a bizarre ignorance of the historical record that had led great Mughals to annex Kashmir finally on 6 June, 1586 more to strengthen its Northern borders. “Sind and Baluchistan, with many other States, enjoyed perfect freedom from all superior control” of Mughal Empire before their annexation in 1586 to the Mughal Empire. (8) Post Accord of 1975, NC’s old political ploy of “Kashmiriyat” of 1947 got rebirth among common Kashmiris.

And, it still stays in common Kashmiri mind as a gift of colonial project of nationalism that was devised but only to split unity of then weaker nations & people to pieces. Muslims were socio-economically & politically weak. (9) It is a brute truth that so called “Kashmiriyat” a self- destructive tool of Kashmiri Muslims has no takers among non-Muslims of J & K. It is and was cousin of Indian National Congress’s “secular nationalism” invented & used a weapon for political objectives by “Awami Raj” party of the time. (10) It must be noted that during the Mughal period of Kashmir, no nicknaming of Mughal Emperors is recorded in any chronicle that constitute primary or secondary source of “historiographical information” on Mughal Period of India & Kashmir.

However, in recent past, on social & public media, canards have been spread that the Mughal Rulers were locally nicknamed as “Shikas Mughal and Poge Mughal”, and it is being done by some ill-informed Kashmiris in a futile bid to strengthen their wrong notions regarding so called “Kashmiri Nationalism” or Kashmiriyat. (11) Last but not least, Kashmir got identity, stability & name in the world because of its Aslaf , Sadaat , Sultans & Mughals.