Jinnah in Kashmir

  • Zahir-ud-Din
  • Publish Date: Mar 28 2016 3:43PM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Apr 5 2016 9:00PM
Jinnah in Kashmir

Nobody knows (accurately) how many times Muhammad Ali Jinnah visited Kashmir. According to some people, he visited Kashmir for the first time in 1926. However, most historians believe that he visited Kashmir three times. According to Rashid Malik, he visited Kashmir for the first time in 1928.  The former Chief justice of Pakistan-administered-Kashmir, Justice Yusuf Saraf believes that Jinnah visited Kashmir for the first time between 1925 and 1928. He further says that the tour was arranged by a renowned travel agency Thomas Cook. The Quaid-e-Azam started from Bombay and halted at Rawalpindi. There he stayed at the Flashman Hotel. He undertook the onward journey in the private car (Buick) of the owner of Wireless Motor Company. The Quaid drove the car himself. His wife accompanied him.
 
Quaid appears in Court:

Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s maiden appearance in a Srinagar court has become legal folklore, and yet another example of his razor-sharp mind and forensic prowess.
In Kashmir on a private visit during 1936, his second trip to the Valley, Jinnah had been persuaded by Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to plead a case his right-hand man, Mirza Muhammad Afzal Beg, had lost in the trial court.
Jinnah won the case in a single hearing when Beg’s client went into appeal in the High Court.
He had accepted the case only the previous day.
True to his reputation, the lawyer made a powerful impression on the bench which included the Chief Justice Sabarjor Lal.
“I am the authority,” Jinnah is reported to have retorted when the bench asked him to cite authoritative sources to support his argument.
The facts of the case (the State versus Haneefa Begum) are as follow:
Haneefa Begum’s husband had been killed in a firing incident in September 1931, and she had later opted for a second marriage, tying the knot with one Peer Abdul Kabir, a teacher by profession.
Her second marriage did not last long, and after obtaining a divorce, Haneefa entered into wedlock with a police officer, Mirza Mehar Ali.
Three years later Abdul Kabir filed a complaint against Haneefa under Section 494 of the RPC (Bigamy). Mirza Muhammad Afzal Beg pleaded the case on behalf of Haneefa Begum.
The trial court rejected Beg’s contention that his client’s nikah with Abdul Kabir had taken place when she was observing iddat.
An appeal was preferred in the High Court. And, it so happened that Jinnah arrived in Kashmir.
Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah writes in his Aatish-e-Chinar: “I met Jinnah in a houseboat at Shivpora, Srinagar, and persuaded him to accept Mehar Ali’s brief.  But he demanded a fee of Rs 1000 per hearing, which we agreed to pay.”
But Justice Yusuf Saraf of Pakistan-administered-Kashmir strongly denies this. According to him, Jinnah agreed to plead the case without accepting any fee when Mirza Mehar Ali apprised him of his links with the Muslim League.
According to Justice Saraf, Jinnah accepted the brief just one day before case had to come up before Chief Justice Saberjor Lal.
Jam-packed, the courtroom was dismayed to see Jinnah walk in without any files or books.
And the dismay turned into shock when Jinnah conceded the charges of the police.
But the very next moment, as Jinnah continued his argument, the courtroom witnessed why the lawyer was a legend.
“The iddat period is counted according to the lunar calendar if the husband dies on the first day of the month,” Jinnah informed the court. “Otherwise the woman has to count 130 days.”
  During Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s stay in Kashmir in 1936, the Muslim Conference (MC) held a Milad function at the Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, inviting the Quaid-e-Aazam to preside over it.
Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas, who was the president of the party, read out the welcome address, and hailed the Muslim League and the role of the Quaid with regard to the freedom movement in the region.
Replying in English, Jinnah expressed his support to the Muslim Conference.
“I had come here ten years earlier. I am delighted to see the awakening of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. A freedom fighter who strives for the freedom of his people round-the-clock will necessarily hail your efforts. I assure my full support to your movement,” he said.
In his address, he specifically referred to the rights of minorities.
“Make the Hindus believe that they will be safe in Jammu andKashmir, and shall enjoy equal rights,” he said.
Interestingly, this was the time when Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah had started harbouring `secular’ tendencies. He had come to be greatly influenced by the Congress leadership.
In his speech to the Milad gathering, the Quaid also made a mention of Muslim law.
“The Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the greatest law-giver and all laws given by him are based on justice,” he said.
N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, the then  prime minister of Kashmir, was said to have harboured communal prejudices and missed no opportunity to harass the Muslims. Jinnah took the matter up with the British government, and Ayyangar lost his job, much to the relief of the state’s Muslims who celebrated his ouster.
Apart from his dramatic win in the Srinagar High Court, and attending the Muslim Conference function, Jinnah did not engage in any significant public activity during this visit, and left after spending some time in what must then have been a beautiful Valley.
 
NC, MC Invite Jinnah to Kashmir:
 
 The Muslim Conference was re-christened the National Conference in 1939.
With the exception of Molvi Abdullah Vakil, almost the entire MC leadership, including Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas and Allah Rakha Sagar, gave its consent which, however, was subject to the condition that Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah would not follow the Congress agenda.
There were other conditions as well, which he did not fulfill, and measures for reviving the Muslim Conference began.
Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi, who later became its general secretary, wrote a letter to Chaudhry Abbas urging him to help revive the original party, and was told to contact Molvi Yusuf Shah as well, and eventually the Muslim Conference was reborn.
Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, meanwhile, was having a tough time at the hands of his non-Muslim colleagues in the National Conference.  He had to shave off his beard, and dispense with Milad processions.
The newly re-launched Muslim Conference sensed this opportunity, and stepped in, taking out a massive procession on the occasion of Eid-e-Milad. Its young workers also arranged a band, much to the disapproval of Molvi Yusuf Shah and Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi.
Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah watched the procession from a hotel and was stunned by its scale and excitement
The Muslim Conference was now a reality, and its young workers brave enough to resist the onslaught of National Conference activists.
 A worried Sheikh Abdullah rushed to New Delhi and called on the Quaid-e-Azam, accusing the Muslim Conference of disrupting unity among Kashmir’s Muslims, and claiming that its cadre was making his work difficult.
He invited the Quaid to Kashmir, and the latter accepted.
The Muslim Conference also invited Jinnah through a letter.
He decided to visit Kashmir in the month of May, 1944. The trip had far-reaching consequences on the politics of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
Quaid arrives in Jammu:

Quaid undertook his last Kashmir journey on May 8, 1944. This tour had far reaching consequences on the politics of the state. Unfortunately Muslims had divided into two groups. The Muslim Conference president, Chowdhury  Ghulam Abbas invited him on behalf of his organization. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah went to Delhi and extended an invitation on behalf of National Conference. The Quaid accepted the invitation and at the end of Punjab Muslim League session at Sialkote, he proceeded towards Suchetgarh. Chowdhury Ghulam Abbas, Allah Rakha Sagar and Chowdhury Hamidullah Khan received him on behalf of Muslim Conference.  Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad welcomed him on behalf of National Conference.
From Suchetgarh, the Quaid was brought to Jammu in a procession. The 18 kilometer road to Jammu city had been tastefully decorated. Thousands of persons welcomed him and waved at him.  With Chowdhury Ghulam Abbas seated next to him in an open car, the Quaid was brought to Dak Bungalow at Residency Road. As soon as Jinnah came out of the car, people showered rose petals on him. A tunnel like structure decorated by flowers had been created. Jinnah liked the tunnel very much. He smiled and said:  “Oh! This is paradise.”
The elderly people in Jammu confessed that such a rousing reception had never been accorded to the Dogra rulers.  The local newspapers especially Javaid, Pasbaan and Dour-e-Jamboor published special issues.
In the evening, a provincial session of Muslim Conference was held at Eidghah grounds. The Muslim Conference and Youth Federation welcomed the Quaid.  A number of non-Muslims attended the function. In his address, the Quaid said:  “The freedom movement of Jammu Kashmir is a result of injustice and atrocities being perpetrated on the people for the past one century. When the people are subjected to excessive repression, they revolt. Ten crore Muslims of India will not leave their brethren in Jammu Kashmir alone.  They will share the grief and happiness of the Muslims of Jammu Kashmir.”
 In Jammu, the Quaid-e-Azam interacted with a cross-section of the society, including the Muslim Conference leadership.
 He is said to have expressed his appreciation for the Javaid, a newspaper published by Allah Rakha Sagar.
Earlier, the Quaid had written to Sagar:
“I remain extremely busy. However, sometimes, I find time to go through the articles of Javaid. The newspaper, it seems, perceives the problems faced by the qaum (community). This is the reason why people like Javaid. And that has made it the most popular newspaper of Jammu.”
The letter appeared in the Javaid on January 4, 1944.
A few months later, the government declared the newspaper a C-grade publication.
Prem Nath Bazaz, the editor of the Hamdard, did not subscribe to Sagar’s ideology. Sagar was a staunch supporter of the Muslim Conference and held Bazaz responsible for the creation of the National Conference. But, his political beliefs notwithstanding, Bazaz responded to the government decision in his editorial on March 29, 1945:
“We do not subscribe to the ideology of the Javaid. But we must admit that (it) is an influential paper in contemporary Jammu (and) Kashmir. We firmly believe that this newspaper highlights the problems of the Muslims in a bold and effective manner. No other newspaper can do that. Its articles are very serious and thought-provoking. It is highly unfortunate that the Javaid has been listed amongst C-grade papers.”
Sagar has made no mention of how the Quaid’s praise of his newspaper had drawn him the ire of the state’s Dogra rulers.
After his stay in Jammu, the Quaid headed for Kashmir.
 
 Rousing  Welcome in Kashmir

Leaders of the Muslim Conference and the National Conference received the Quaid-e-Azam at Qazigund. NC workers attacked the car of Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah and Syed Meerak Shah, but Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad intervened to restore peace.
Thousands of people welcomed the Quaid at Khanabal. He had lunch at the Dak Bungalow and took a brief rest before stepping out for the multitude waiting outside, keen to have a glimpse. Scores were injured in the rush as he appeared, but soon the crowds organized into a procession for his journey to Srinagar.
Having been given the charge of conveying the Quaid from Qazigund to Srinagar, the NC had lined both sides of the highway with its party colours. Disturbed by the sight, combative Muslim Conference workers began removing the buntings and replacing them with their own, leading to confrontations with their rivals at several places. But the MC prevailed, and as the journey progressed, the NC’s streamers had been removed from most of the route.
Muhammad Yusuf Khan of Chota Bazar, a committed MC worker till his passing away in September 2010, played a vital role in his party’s exploits on the Quaid’s arrival, and later recounted some of its high moments thus:
“We had a worker from Batmaloo. He was carrying an axe. When the NC workers resisted us, he hit his own forehead. A fountain of blood gushed out. This scared the NC workers so much that they did not dare stop us. I also received a head injury and got it bandaged. The Quaid noticed it that evening at the Pratap Park. He smiled. Two years later, when I called on the Quaid in Bombay, he recognized me at once, and inquired about the injury. I was humbled.”
Along the route to Srinagar, portraits of Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal, the Quaid-e-Azam and Anwar Shah Pasha had been placed amid the decorations, and people stood on both sides, waving the Quaid on.
Accompanied by Ghulam Muhammad Sadiq and Maulana Masoodi, Sheikh Muhamad Abdullah received the Quaid at Batwara, the gateway to Srinagar city.
The journey from Khanabal had taken 11 hours.
At around six in the evening, the Quaid reached the city centre where a function had been organized at the Pratap Park. An estimated sixty thousand people were waiting for him at the colourfully-decorated venue.
 
Addresses Rally at Partap Park:


The massive gathering at the Pratap Park roared its support as the elegant and graceful Muhammad Ali Jinnah appeared on the stage along with Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and other leaders. A shower of flowers and rose-petals from the crowd greeted the Quaid-e-Azam.
A number of non-Muslims were also present. Renowned social activist, Mridula Sarabhai also participated in the function which started with Allama Iqbal’s sarey jahan sey acha, hindostan hamara, rendered by Pran Nath Jalali.  Pandit Jia Lal Kelam, a noted lawyer, read out the welcome note in English, and Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah its Urdu translation. In his speech, the latter repeatedly used the phrase “popular leader of Indian Muslims” for the Quaid-e-Azam.
The Quaid’s response was not received well by Jia Lal Kelam, who walked out of the function in protest along with his non-Muslim friends.
The Quaid had said: “I thank you for the rousing reception. This was not for Jinnah. It was for the Muslim League. You have not honoured me. You have honoured the Muslims of India.”
People by and large believe that some National Conference activists misbehaved with the Quaid and gifted him a garland made up of shoes. But veteran Muslim Conference worker Muhammad Yusuf Khan has rejected this as ridiculous.
“That was our day and we were in full control of the situation. The NC workers could not even dream of any misadventure that day.”
The Muslim Conference later held a reception at Dalgate, Drugjan. The Quaid was taken in a procession to the venue by MC workers and the public.  The Quaid showed no signs of fatigue and waved to the people who were chanting slogans on both sides of the road.

Meets Chaudhry Abbas, Sheikh Abdullah:


In the tumult and excitement of the massive turnout on his arrival, it took Jinnah an hour to cover the short distance from the Pratap Park to Drugjan where the Muslim Conference had arranged a reception for him.
According him a formal welcome, Muslim Conference leader Muhammad Ismail said that Kashmir was “fortunate to host the Quaid-e-Azam.”
Jinnah was highly impressed by the welcome address.  He honoured Muhammad Ismail by calling him Sagar, an appellation that stuck, and is still carried by his sons, Mushtaq and Mahmood.
“Muslims worship one Allah,” the Quaid said in his speech. “The Prophet (pbuh) is also common. Why should not the Muslims forge unity?”
“I request the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir to stay united. I am a Muslim and my sympathies are with Muslims.”
In Srinagar, Jinnah first stayed as a guest of Sir Maratib Ali at the latter’s residence in Nishat.
(Maratib Ali’s son, Amjad Ali, went on to serve as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, and later, the country’s finance minister. Today, the residence, Kashif, is in a dilapidated condition and houses a branch of the government’s social welfare department)
It was at Kashif that Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and Choudhry Ghulam Abbas presented their respective arguments to the Quaid.
He could not forge unity between them. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was not convinced, and his dislike for Jinnah intensified after this meeting.
After spending a few days at Kashif, Jinnah shifted to a houseboat, the Queen Elizabeth, near Lal Mandi on the river Jhelum.
He also stayed at a government guest house.
On this visit, Jinnah spent a total of two months and seventeen days in Srinagar, attending a number of functions and meeting hundreds of delegations.  Sheikh Abdullah called on him several times, but the meetings proved futile. Their differences remained unresolved.
 
Conciliation Bids

 Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and leaders of the Muslim Conference held a series of meetings with Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After hearing both sides, the Quaid found no truth in the Sheikh’s accusations.
“Look here, Sheikh Abdullah,” he said. “If you stick to what you told me in Delhi, I will tell Chaudhry to go back to the bar and the Mirwaiz to remain confined to the mosque.”
Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, it may be recalled, had accused the Muslim Conference of hampering his mission to serve the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Quaid acted impartially. He did not favour the Muslim Conference.
But valuable records (of meetings and decisions) produced by the party helped prove its stand.
Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi had not liked the conversion of the Muslim Conference into the National Conference, although he stayed at the Mujahid Manzil (NC headquarters) for quite some time afterwards.
He wrote to Chaudhry Abbas urging him to take measures to revive the Muslim Conference. After getting the nod, he left and took along (party) records that revealed that Sheikh Abdullah had almost imposed his decision (to convert the Muslim Conference into the National Conference) on most party members.
Sheikh Abdullah had basically been scared by the Milad Procession taken out by the Muslim Conference in 1943. Thousands of people had participated in it, notwithstanding the threats of National Conference workers, and Sheikh Abdullah watched it from the Punjab Hotel in Lal Chowk. Earlier, it was he who would organize the annual march, but that year, a report in the Martand had left him scared, and he decided not to. The Muslim Conference had stepped in, and the scale of the participation stunned the Sheikh. He also took out a procession but could not manage a good show.
He had then rushed to Delhi, called on Jinnah, and accused the Muslim Conference of creating hurdles in his work. He had been hopeful of a positive response from Jinnah.
But the Nishat meetings, and subsequent interactions with the Quaid, disappointed him.

At a Series of Receptions

Kashmir’s former students of the Aligarh Muslim University hosted a reception for Muhammad Ali Jinnah at the Amar Singh Club. Those who attended the reception included Ghulam Nabi Gilkar, Professor Nazir-ul-Islam, Muhammad Yusuf Buch, Mohi-ud-Din Karra, Amarnath Raina, Ghulam Muhamamd Sadiq, Jia Lal Kelam,  Janki Nath Chakoo,  Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah,  Madsudhan Kak, Ghulam Muhammad Jeweler, Ghulam Muhammad Shah and others.
At another reception hosted by Ghulam Muhammad Jeweler, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Zahra Hamdani posed three questions to the Quaid:
Is the creation of Pakistan possible in the presence of an overwhelming majority of Hindus in India?
The Quaid replied: “If De Vere can separate Ireland from Britain, why should not ten crore Muslims succeed in creating a state of their own.”
If Pakistan comes into existence, will it not be a poor country?
The Quaid replied: “No. Not at all. It is better to live in a shabby hut than live in a mansion in insecure India.”
Keeping the Muslim majority population of the state in view, which party can serve the interests of Muslims better, the National Conference or the Muslim Conference?
The Quaid replied: “Apparently the National Conference. But can you tell me how many non-Muslims are members of the National Conference.”
This left the National Conference workers speechless. Hamdani had to eat humble pie. Someone from the crowd cried “Budh Singh, Kashyap Bandhu.” This was greeted with laughter by the people present, much to the discomfort of the National Conference workers.
The Quaid said: “Had non-Muslims joined the National Conference, the Maharaja’s government would have succumbed in seven days.”
The president of the All India Kashmir Pandit Yuvak Sabha, Shiv Narain Fotedar, who later became a member of the Rajya Sabha during the rule of Ghulam Muhammad Bakhshi, said: “I am a leader of the minorities but not the Jinnah of Kashmir.”
The Quaid turned towards him, and said: “I wish you good luck.”
 
 Sheikh Abdullah’s Nationalism

Perturbed by the divide, many tried their best to forge unity between the Muslim Conference and the National Conference, but did not succeed.  Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah met Muhammad Ali Jinnah several times and discussed matters of importance. Jia Lal Kelam’s walkout from the Pratap Park rally was also discussed.
The Quaid tried to reason it out with the Sheikh:
“I have been facing similar situations in India. The nationalism slogan that you have raised will not bear any fruit. You will realize it when you face what I have been facing at the hands of people like Kelam who raise their brows at the very mention of Muslims.  You must gain from my experience. I have spent my entire life among Hindu leaders. I also used to dream of a united free India but was forced to change my stand. If you do not listen to me now, you will repent later.”
A decade later, the Quaid was proven right.
In his July 13 speech in 1953, the Sher-e-Kashmir said:
“These martyrs have prepared us for bigger sacrifices to achieve our freedom and our right to self-determination. If required, our youth would not desist from fighting a liberation war on the lines of Algerian people. I regret my mistake of coming in the way of merger with Pakistan. I had fears that they won’t treat me well, but I was wrong. Now I feel back stabbed, I no longer trust Indian rulers, we have different ways now.”
This speech, in fact, was the reason Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was arrested on August 9. People close to the Abdullah family believe that the speech was not prepared or written beforehand, but spontaneous.
Political commentators, on the other hand, maintain that its content reflected careful preparation, and was finalized a day prior to being delivered.
 
 Invitation by Hari Singh


During his stay in Srinagar, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was also invited by Maharaja Hari Singh to his palace. Initially, the  Quaid had reservations, but after consulting his colleagues, he decided to accept the invitation.
He was warmly received, and the palace servants remained at his disposal round-the-clock, but no one from the royal family met him.  After a couple of days, the Quaid  shifted to his  houseboat.  This too went totally unnoticed.

Dinner at Mirwaiz house


A few days later, Mirwaiz Molvi Yusuf Shah hosted a dinner in the Quaid’s honour. Around three hundred guests were treated to a 21-course feast of wazwan. Fateh Muhammad Sahib Karelvi (the father of Sikander Hayat Khan), Mirza Attaullah Rajourvi and Allah Rakha Sagar ate from a single plate.
The Mirwaiz gifted the Quaid a beautiful gown.
He put it on immediately and said: “Do I look like a Kashmiri now.”
The people around him replied: “Yes.”
The Quaid was greatly pleased.
The hall where the Molvi Yusuf Shah hosted the Quaid is still held in reverence by the Mirwaiz family.
 
Sathu interviews Quaid

Noted journalist, JN Sathu   interviewed Quaid-e-Azam. “I felt very nervous. I was only 20 then and it was a very big assignment,” he told Greater Kashmir in an interview in 1997. 
The Quaid asked him why Kashmiri Pundits were reluctant to join their Muslim brethren in their fight against the autocratic rule.  Sathu told the Quaid about the fears of his community. “They have the impression that  they  will        suffer    politically,  socially and economically  under the Muslim rule,” Sathu replied. 
On hearing Sathu’s reply,  Quaid jumped from his chair saying, “Yes boy, if they have such fears they are right, because we Musalmans in India share the same fears viz-a-viz the majority  community.”  Jinnah promised to take every step to impress upon the majority community to be fair to the minorities.
 “People like P N Bazaz and others can  get the  Kashmiri  Pundits to fight against the autocratic rule,” he told Sathu.
 The Quaid talked about Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Maharaja Hari Singh and other political issues. When the interview was over, Sathu’s nervousness was also gone. The Quaid had behaved like a friend.   
 
 Jinnah addresses annual session of Muslim Conference
 
Meanwhile, the Muslim Conference had decided to hold its annual session at Rawalakote Poonch.  Chowdhury Abbas had toured Poonch and all arrangements had been finalized. But the presence of Quaid-e-Azam in Srinagar forced the Muslim Conference leadership to change the venue. The session was held in Srinagar. The Quaid was invited to participate.
The session was held in Jamia Masjid. Thousands of people attended the session to listen to the Quaid. The session continued till 3 a.m. Noted journalist JN Sathu covered the event for Hamdard. The proceedings appeared in the paper same day. The Quaid was also impressed. Sathu considered it one of his greatest achievements. In those times, there were no computers. The reporter had to write on paper and then hand it over to the calligrapher. He would rewrite it on a special paper which would then be taken to the Laithu printing machine.  No photographs could be published on this machine.   This type of printing is still in vogue in Kashmir and elsewhere. Hundreds of newspapers are still printed on this machine. 

Jinnah’s address:


Quiad-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah attended the annual session of the Muslim Conference in the Jamia Masjid, Srinagar held on the Saturday  June, 17 1944. The president of this historical session was Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas Khan. It is said that roads leading to Jamia Masjid were filled with people. It is estimated that hundreds and thousands of Kashmiri Muslims came to hear the Voice of Quiad-e-Azam reverberate through the walls of the Jamia Masjid.
The audience was  jubilant and excited to see Quiad speak. Caps and turbans were flying in air. It is learnt that Sheikh Abdullah, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and Maulana Saeed were watching the proceedings from the third floor of a Party loyalist in the vicinity; it took 15 minutes for Jinnah to begin his speech amidst the huge sloganeering and cheering. Below is the English translation of the eloquent speech in Urdu:-
“Mr. President, brothers in Islam. I have no words to thank you for the honour accorded to me. I see that about one lakh (100,000) are present in this meeting and among them are people from all sections, young and old, traders, labourers and even women. Gentlemen, the condition of Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir has deteriorated so much that tears well up in my eyes. From every angle, theirs is a sad plight.
But when I look at this public meeting, I feel happy and confident that Muslims have now awakened and are united under the flag of the Muslim conference. You have been trying since 1931 and it is because of these efforts that Muslims of all classes and schools of thought are present here today. Don’t think that, it by itself is enough; you have to work hard. You know that I have been staying here since a month and during this period; men of every school of thought came to me. Whoever wished to see me, I met him readily and had discussions with him. From them, I have also heard of your problems, oppression and hardships. I have also found that amongst those who met me 9 percent  supported MC. Mr President I have come to this conclusion after meeting the people here and now it is your duty to take care of them and train them properly.
Of course, some Muslims who came to see me were of the view that Muslims should join the NC. They gave certain arguments in support of their view which I heard and considered. You know that I have not come here for the purpose of strengthening someone and weakening someone else. I have also said that your problems are different from the problems of British India but just as you have treated me as a Mussalman. It is my duty as a Muslim to advise you correctly as to which course would be proper and ensure your success.
So far as the NC is concerned, I do not know how it can succeed in its aim. Consequently, I asked their supporters as to how much time has elapsed since it were brought into being and as to whether Hindus, Sikhs and others had joined it. I told them that if in a long period of six years, Hindus and Sikhs have as a whole kept aloof from the NC, who else remains there except Muslims! I was then told that even if Hindus and Sikhs are not there, the doors should remain open for them. I told them that if after remaining open for six years, it has served no purpose, what was the necessity of keeping it open again? In my view it was a mistake, the result of which would be that Muslims would be divided into two camps which would bring about tension between them.
I did my best to make them understand the logic of the argument but I was told that we want to tell the world that there was no communalism in the state and behind the curtain of nationalism we will pursue the programme of the MC and that they were supporters of Pakistan. I say that the I.N.C had adopted the same method in British India. It claimed to represent all Indians and did a lot of false propaganda all over the world. This however, is not a fact as Congress was in reality a Hindu Organisation. The  result was that slowly the few Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and the Untouchables who had joined it separated themselves. Whenever the question of the rights of these backward minorities came before the Congress, the Hindu majority rejected it for forty years, Congress continued with its deceptive policies. Do you also want to practise this deception? When Congress deception could not succeed, how can yours? Therefore, I will advise you in the light of these facts that the conditions prevalent in the State are not different from obtaining those in British India. Therefore you will also face difficulties by adopting this course of action and will never be able to secure the confidence of Hindus and Sikhs. I would go even to the extent of saying that if in this State you adopt the policy and deception practised by the Congress, it is you who will suffer in the long run…Please do not think that we bear any enmity towards Hindus and Sikhs or that we do not respect their religion, culture or philosophy. We only want justice. We tell every nation to organise itself separately so that all of us would join our heads together to arrive at some honourable solution. There is no other way which can lead us to our ultimate goal. I, therefore, advise you that you should declare very clearly and openly that you are Muslims and that you represent all. We are always ready for an honourable agreement while maintaining our separate entity.
Gentlemen, some weeks ago, a Hindu conference was held here. The speech by Kanwar Chand, Kiran Sharda showed clearly that Hindus and Sikhs do not, as claimed demand responsible government. If they really want such a Government, it would be a matter of happiness and I would advise an agreement with them you may set up such government. You must remember that you will have to work very hard to achieve that and you will have to undergo sacrifices. Responsible government is not a cake which the Maharaja will present to you so that you may eat it. You must first organise your nation; you have to improve the educational, economic and social condition of Muslims. The condition obtaining now is that a poor labourer after working for a full month is not able to earn more than rupees 12, or six annas a day. You have to first attend to these things. Almighty has given you everything. Kashmir, which is known as a paradise, the gem in the ring as the world is, and an unparalled country, what such a country does not possess? But what you have  done? Oh Muslims! Awake, stand up and work hard and bring life to this dead nation. Improve your condition in every sphere of life. There is only one way to do it and that is unity, solidarity, a single flag, a single platform and an ideal. If you are able to achieve them, you must succeed.
Mr. President, there is everything in your hands. As soon as you discover yourself, I am sure the Maharaja will gladly grant you responsible government. Times are changing fast. The earth is squeezing. It is only an effort that is needed on your part. If you do that, other nations will treat you with respect. The position of British India is different and that of the state is also different. Even then I assure you that despite the Muslim League policy of non-intervention in the affairs of Indian States, the services and support of myself and the Muslim league is at your service. In British India our goal is Pakistan which we shall achieve. We are thankful for the support extended in the matter. Although we are determined to achieve our goal by sheer dint of our strength, still I assure you that the moral sympathies of the entire Muslims of the world are with us. Egypt, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and the Muslims of the Arab Nations support the creation Pakistan..
Mr. President, we also pray that God may give you success in the achievement of your goal. You also kindly pray for our success. I am sure that you are treading on the right path. The destination is before you all that is needed is unity, a common platform and a common flag; also needed is an honest and sincere spirit of service. I have no doubt that you will succeed.”
The speech of this great leader is visionary. It is not only historical but relevant even today.
The People and the leaders of Kashmir should and must use this priceless advice of the Quiad-e-Azam.

Muzaffarabad visit


Muhammad Ali Jinnah received a warm welcome in Muzaffarabad. On his arrival, the district secretary of the Muslim Conference, Khwaja Abdul Qadir, read out the welcome address.
The Quaid stayed at the government Dak Bungalow. The state’s assistant engineer in the district, Sonam Norbu, who hailed from Ladakh and later served as a cabinet minister during Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s rule,  cooperated fully with the Muslim Conference leadership to make the Quaid’s tour smooth.
Due to ill health, Jinnah could not attend a dinner the city had organized in his honour, but at lunch the next day, where almost everyone in Muzaffarabad had been invited, the Quaid-e-Azam stressed on unity.
“All Muslims believe in one Allah,” he said in his address. “They obey the same Prophet (pbuh). They, therefore, must also be united.”
(An incident in Uri, en route Muzaffarabad, where Maqbool Sherwani and his goons had raised slogans against the Quaid and pelted a few stones on his car, had angered Muslim Conference workers who vowed revenge, which they did when Jawaharlal Nehru visited Srinagar the next year)
During his stay in Srinagar, the Quaid had also praised Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas in his speech to the annual session of the Muslim Conference, giving the latter’s status a major boost among the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir, much to the dismay of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and his National Conference.
The Quaid had also wanted to meet the Maharaja, but the ruler avoided it even though Jinnah stayed briefly at his palace as an invited guest.
Chaudhary Abbas was with him when he set out for Muzaffarabad, and wanted to know why the Quaid seemed unusually upset, but thought the better of asking.
Late in the evening, in Muzaffarabad, the Quaid told Abbas that the Maharaja had refused to meet him. The news angered the MC leader, but he kept silent.
At the end of his tour, the Quaid issued a statement:
“The Muslims should settle their problems amicably through a dialogue. They should respect each other’s right to freedom of speech and expression.  Nobody should suppress others by muscle power. The government should not allow goons to flourish.”
The tour had a marked impact on the state’s polity and psyche. The Muslim Conference flourished and the National Conference received a setback. The gulf between the two widened further.

Jinnah  dies


Amid shock and utter disbelief, the people of Kashmir received the news of Quaid’s death on September 11, 1948.  The people wanted to do something but they did not know what exactly to do. The Muslim Conference workers decided to demonstrate their love for the Quaid by holding a Gayibana Nimaz-e-Jinaza (funeral prayer in absentia). Muhammad Yusuf Khan narrated what happened on that day in Srinagar.
 “I informed a Muslim Conference worker, Iqbal Chapri of Gagribal urging him to reach Mirwaiz Manzil immediately. I also reached Rajouri Kadal along with some of my colleagues. Surprisingly the people who used to call themselves Mujahids ran away. They were scared of announcing the death of the great leader. Meanwhile, Iqbal Chapri also arrived. I told him to hire a tonga (horse driven cart) and announce the death of Quaid. Start from Gagribal and inform the people that funeral prayer in absentia shall be offered at Jamia Masjid. I also hired a tonga and started making the same announcement.  I went around Nawa Kadal area.
 The women responded by pulling out their hair and beating their foreheads.
 Around 2 p.m I reached Zaina Kadal where the police intercepted my tonga.  I and my colleague Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din were taken into custody.  The tonga driver received a sound scolding but was let off.  Strangely enough the police did not beat me. The SHO took me for a Punjabi. He took me along to his room and got lunch for me from a hotel. In the SHO’s room I came to know about Iqbal Chapri’s arrest. Later I saw blood oozing out from his face. He had been severely beaten.  I felt sorry for him.  But Iqbal smiled saying they beat me up to pulp but I did not experience any pain.  He also informed me about the reaction of the people who, by and large, were shocked by the news. The SHO released me at 5 p.m. However, Iqbal Chapri was detained.”
 (With inputs from Tabasum Kashmiri)

(Sources: Aatish-e-Chinar, Kashmir Ka Siyasi Inqilaab, Tehreekh Hurriyat-e-Kashmir, Interviews with Muhammad Yusuf Khan, Ghulam Muhamamd Bhat (Muslim COnference workers), Interview with Late JN Sathu, Interview with Dr Jagat Mohini, Memoirs of Munshi Muhammad Ishaq and Muhammad Ismaiel Sagar.)