By: Zaman Bajwa
75 years ago, a resolution was passed under the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference with an agenda to vindicate the voices of Kashmiris in front of the Maharaja. The Kashmiris came to the conclusion that they wanted to endorse the state of Pakistan rather than India. The unanimous decision made by the Kashmiris is presented in history under these golden words, “This convention of Muslim Conference has reached the conclusion that geographical conditions, 80 percent Muslim population, important rivers of Punjab passing through the state, language, cultural, ethnic and economic relations and contiguity of the state with Pakistan make it imperative to merge with Pakistan.”
Going decades back to the Partition of the Sub-continent, the 3rd June 1947 plan presented by the then viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten was flawed in its inception. It did not resolve the issue of dividing assets between the two newborn states where one was undoubtedly more powerful than the other in every respect that a sane human mind can perceive. The biggest issue was that of the princely states where the rules regarding the right of accession were vague and there was no clear path if any country resorted to violence to achieve its political aims.
By 1947 around all of 564 princely states of British India had decided their fate either in favor of India or Pakistan with the exception of one. That one princely state was ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh of the Dogra Raj at that time of partition. The main impediment behind this exception was the over-ambitious desires of the Maharaja to carve out independence for his princely state namely Jammu and Kashmir but soon he realized it was a mere utopia to aspire for independence at that juncture. After the realization, Maharaja’s biases were attracted by Congress leadership with whom he had some personal relationships too, pawing a path for India’s enforced occupation of the territory without inquiring about the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Many geopolitical and geographical factors support the thesis that Kashmir shares more connectedness with Pakistan as compared to India
Maharaja, on the behalf of the people, signed an instrument of annexation with the Indian government which accorded Kashmiri some space to breathe. Fortunately enough, not the whole of Kashmir fell into Indian jaws as Muslims residing in the west of Jammu revolted against the Maharaja led to the most prominent Poonch uprisings which were backed by Pashtun fighters from Pakistan who stepped in to aid their fellow Muslim brethren leaving this land to be liberated falling under Pakistan’s management until the whole conflict was resolved through the will of the people.
On the other hand, UN intervention established the temporary cease-fire line between both parties to the conflict and acknowledged Kashmir as a multi-lateral issue, and UN Commission on Pakistan and India on August 13 1948 proposed UNSC Resolution 47 and established the fact that the fate of Kashmir would be decided by a plebiscite in which the Kashmiris will self-determine their faith. Then in July 1949, an UN-brokered agreement led to the acceptance of the currently established line as a cease-fire line; not legally but operationally. Moving forward various dialogues occurred between the two states but none resulted in any substantial breakthrough.
Many geopolitical and geographical factors support the thesis that Kashmir shares more connectedness with Pakistan as compared to India. These lines of commonalities are found ranging from religion, social, cultural, and linguistic factors. This beautiful valley is home to many famous Holy mosques and ancient shrines like Hamdan mosque, Hazratbal mosque, and Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali’s Charar-e-Sharif which depicts the faith in the very foundation of this heaven on Earth. The majority of practicing Muslims in Kashmir belonging to both sects of Islam, Sunni and Shia offer their religious rituals despite the aggression of Indian forces.
Linguistic factor plays a key role in the projection of one’s ideas and desires. Like Pakistan, Urdu, Shina, Balti, Potohari, and Pahari are spoken languages in Kashmir along with their mother language Kashmiri’. Shina and Balti connect the people of Kashmir with the Northern part of Pakistan and Potohari and Pahari link Kashmir with the Punjab belt of Pakistan. The culturally rich Kashmir is famous for its healthy appetite Bakar-Khani and Red beans which are also cooked in many parts of Pakistan. Moreover, Korma serves with dry fruits and kulcha is special cuisine that connects both regions. Not to miss, the Pink tea of Kashmir is a special addition to appetite, especially in winters in both regions Kashmir and Pakistan.
In particular, both areas share a similar traditional garment which is the Shalwar kameez. Kashmir still retains the legacy of its pure Kashmiri Pashmina Shawls dating from the 16th century which is sold and worn by women and men across Pakistan and Kashmir. Apart from that hospitality is very common among the people and for which they are considered very good hosts. Traditional gatherings of families and communities add beauty to their simple lives. The majority of Kashmiri students are enrolled in Pakistani-known universities and colleges. They aim to return and prosper in their homeland with academic knowledge.
July 19 is celebrated as a reminiscence of those majority voices of Kashmiris which were suppressed by the interested based vision of Maharaja and rising fascist Hindutva, extremist Hindu ideology. Those Kashmiris oriented their fate towards a state born for Muslims as both of them share more commonalities. Kashmiris hold the desire to be part of greater Pakistan which was shattered and ended up in years of struggle for freedom and manumission. It’s the 75th anniversary of that decision and desire for Kashmir Accession to Pakistan, More than ninety thousand Kashmiris sacrificed their lives for this cause. We should keep these struggles alive by acknowledging their sacrifices and continuing their dream of a state of Kashmir free of Indian aggression and barbarianism.
In the words of Faiz Ahmed Faiz,
Bohot Hai Zulm Kay Dast-e-Bahana Joo Kay Liye
Jo Chand Ahl-e-Junoon Tera Naam Lewa hain
Note: The writer is Islamabad based freelance journalist and Executive director of YFK International Kashmir lobby Group