Archive for December 2010

Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his Jamia Masjid Speech

Quiad-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah attended the annual session of the Muslim Conference in the Jamia Masjid, Srinagar held on the Saturday 17th June, 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 Quaid rose to speak from the Jamia at 10 in the night. The audience jubilated and excited to see Quiad speak. Caps and were turbans 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 come 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 her 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 99% supported MC. Mr President I have come to this conclusion after meeting the people here and now it is your duty to 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 strengthen 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. He 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 maintaning 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 you 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-interventional the affairs of Indian States, the services and support of myself and the Muslim league 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 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.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Kashmir 1944

On 10th of May 1944 Muhammad Ali Jinnah left for Srinagar accompanied by Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas Khan, Mirwaiz Yousuf Shah (Muslim Conference), Mirza Afzal Beg and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad (National Conference). The grandeur of the reception and the thickness of the crowds began slowly and gradually increasing at the fleet of the cars carrying the great leader slowly wended its way towards Srinagar. At Khanabal, he made a brief halt for lunch. Mirwaiz Yousuf Sahab and Bakshi Ghulam Ahmad-inveterate foes since 1931, sat together, for the first time, in the over-powering presence of the Quaid. It was a miracle, the depth and unimaginability of which only Kashmiris can appreciate. Beyond Qazigund, the throngs multiplied and the pageantry of colour and beauty was a spectacle to be cherished by generations of those who had the glory of participation and the pride to say: I SAW HIM. Bare footed and tattered-clothed, the great majority of the welcoming had trekked on foot, many a hill just to catch a glimpse of the Man. Clad in newly-washed clothes as on Enid, the pheran and the red qasbah wearing Kashmiri women, in their thousands had come out on the roads and singing songs of welcome in the Kashmiri Folk. (Koshur Wanvun). While the frail but charismatic figure of the leader passed through the rows, thousands of men and women were unable to control their hearts when the very sight of the Quaid stirred up deep and shackled emotions resulting in tears trickling down their eyes. Many actually wept under the sheer weight of joy. Mounds of flowers were showered. The rush of people was such that it took eleven hours to cover a distance of 80 miles which usually took 2 hours. Many Kashmiris even touched the car as a good omen (Tobruk) On reaching Srinagar in the even he described the reception as ROYAL WELCOME (Jinnah chose his words extremely careful). The only time he had ever said such of public rallies he was a guest of! The Aligarh Old Boys Association (Which Comprised of the Alumni of Aligarh University from Kashmir) held a reception in Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s honour at the Amar Singh Club, Srinagar. It was attended by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Mirza Afzal Beg, Khwaja Ghulam Muhammad Sadiq, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Karra, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Hamdani, Yousuf Buchh, Pandit Madhusudhan Kak, Shiv Narain Fotedar, Pandit A.N Raina, Pandit G.A Lal and J.N Chakku, all of the Aligarh Passouts. There was an Exchange of Q&A between the Quaid and Mr. Hamdani (the Questions must have been already worked out by National Conference Leaders which was a norm due to the Iron Discipline of the party). The Conversation: (1) Mr. Hamdani: Sir, would the overwhelming Hindu majority in the subcontinent allow the establishment of Pakistan? Quaid-e-Azam: If Mr. De Valera could succeed in separating Ireland, why can’t ten crore Muslims succeed in carving out a Country of their own? Mr. Hamdani: Sir, If Pakistan comes into being, would it not be economically backward? Quaid-e-Azam: (dismissing the apprehension with an emphatic NO) Nevertheless, it is better to live in a hut in Pakistan with a sense of security than to live in a bungalow in India under the Shadow of Insecurity. Hamdani: (emphasising the Muslim-majority character of the Jammu and Kashmir State which meant their power in any democratic set up, Hamdani Asks) Sir in so far as the National Conference and the Muslim Conference are concerned, which of them can better serve the interests of the State Muslims. Quiad-e-Azam: (Grins and gives a little smile) apparently the National Conference but can you tell how many Hindus and Sikhs are there in the National Conference? There was no answer but someone from amongst the audience shouted: “Pandit Kashyap Bandu”: someone else added,”Sardar Budh Singh”. There was spontaneous laughter as the embarrassment of Nationalists couldn’t be concealed: Quaid-e-Azam: (commenting) Had the Hindus and Sikhs made a common cause with you and joined the National Conference, The Maharaja could not resist your demand for responsible Government even for 7 days” In Other function held at the Same Amar Singh Club held in honour of the Quaid-e-Azam and arranged by Khwaja Ghulam Ahmed Jeweller, leaders of all the minorities were also present. After tea, Quaid-e-Azam while leaving passed from near the Pundit guests. Pandit Shiv Narain Fotedar, (who later became a member of Indian Parliament, said tauntingly “I am the leader of the minorities but I am not the Jinnah of Kashmir". Without pausing for a second, forth came the retort: I wish you good luck.(reference (1): Yousuf Saraf "Kashmiris Fight For Freedom)

Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Kashmir 1936

Muhammad Ali Jinnah had arrived in Kashmir during the summer of 1936 (he had made a few visits before) . He must have been happy seeing the change of the political system and the power of Kashmiris movement for Freedom from the Tyranny of the Dogras. As 1931 had been a turning point in the Self belief and Self Determination of the oppressed and subjugated Kashmiris.

There is this legendary case which is still fresh in the old folk of Kashmiris. Many elderly persons talk on the parapets of Kashmir about how Jinnah with his charm and charisma single handedly changed the verdict without even studying the case. The Case was of Hanifa Begum versus the State.

One Mirza Ali, Sub Inspector, and his wife Hanifa Begum were booked under Section 494 Penal Code. He was accused of marrying an already married woman. Jinnah was hesitant to take up the case because he was on holidays but the accused (Mirza Ali) persuaded the Quaid by narrating his contribution to the Freedom Struggle and him being a Staunch Loyalist of Muslim League. It is said that Mirza Ali was instrumental in destroying the vital Sanghram Bridge in order to obstruct the movement of Dogra Soldiers. Quaid Agreed to take up the case but refused to take any Fee. Quaid told him to give him the Case-Papers one day advance of the date fixed for prosecution. As Quaid wanted to spend his holidays and Mirza Ali was puzzled and dumbfounded. It is obvious that Quaid-e-Azam had solved the case the moment he heard the facts about it.

Hanifa’s First Husband had been killed in a police firing in 1931. She had them been married to one Abdul Kabir and subsequently to Mirza Ali. Kabir had filed a complaint after a lapse of three tears. As Islam provides a waiting period of Four Months and ten days or 130 days for a widow to remarry this is known as “Iddat”. Kabir’s defense had plead that the complainant’s marriage had taken place during Iddat and was therefore invalid had been rejected by the sub courts. The trial court had acquitted Mirza Ali for want of knowledge but Convicted Hanifa Begum. It appeared on facts that it was a lost case for Hanifa. But there was huge excitement amongst the people especially in the legal circles as to why Jinnah a Great Barrister taken up such a hopeless and lost case, that too without charging a penny.

The Court was flooded with people from every section. Students skipped classes, Government Employees took up leave, and Shop keepers closed their shops just to know how Jinnah would create a Miracle. Quaid-e-Azam came without any books, a very unusual sight in those days. Hearts sunk and pulse shot up to find him without any case-law. His address was brief and specific. He surprised everyone when he by conceding for the purpose of argument that the relevant date advanced by the prosecution was correct. People were shocked and their heart beats were pumping hard. The court had a gloomy silence. They exchanged bewildered looks, but what he said next made everyone awestruck. The Audience gave a huge roar when Jinnah argued that the period of four months and ten days can be counted in months, only when death occurs on the IST of the lunar month but otherwise it had to be counted as 130 days. By the latter calculation the marriage of the lady with the complainant (Abdul Kabir) was within "Iddat" and hence not a valid one.

What actually happened in the court during arguments is not known but is remembered as a legend that after the Quaid-e-Azam said that counting of months applied only when death takes place on the appearance of the crescent moon and in all the other cases, it was to be 130 days, the Chief Justice asked:

“Mr. Jinnah is there any authority?”

Jinnah: “My lord, I am the authority”,

Jinnah won the case and the rest is History!

© The Kashmirian.

Kashmir...I Love You!

Kashmir...I love you! I remembered you Tears couldn't help holding but pour out the pain that i have been living with all my life Words have failed me once again... I don't even know how am I supposed to feel? Should I be sad? For the land where 60 years ago my dad was born Is now in the hands of Indians? Should I be angry? For some people are celebrating one of history's biggest crime Of invading a land of other people and claim it their own? Should I be hopeful? that even after 64 years Kashmiris are still standing,fighting, and never loosing faith in their freedom.. Even if they live in the other parts of the world When asked "Where from are You?" They say "We are From Kashmir,Not India" Should I be a Heartbroken? Even after 60 years the land is still occupied and brutalised with a million soldiers Holding guns at my sisters,mothers and my people? Should i be a Pessimist? that India’s occupation is being called "legitimate" and "Integral Part?" and that the leaders of the world are congratulating it for its independence and its riches that all the Muslims and the sane have done nothing to aid their brothers and sisters? Should I be sorry? for all the million obvious reasons for living my life normally as always for forgetting and moving on? Should I be ashamed? because not only the land is not free but us here and there? Longing to meet by the gates of Jhelum Longing to be together,Free Kashmir... I don't know which of these feelings should prevail but I can't help but say I love you... I love you Land of the Saints and the resilient.

Kashmiri Am I.

No one can take away from me My identity, For it is mine. Kashmiri am I. I am the river that flows ...Through my land. I am the mountain Noble and magnificent Rising up out of chaos and destruction. I greet the morning sun That shines down on my fertile valleys I am the red rose and yellow tulips That grow upon my bloodstained hills I am the battle cry of freedom That echoes through my corridors And every fiber of my being. Kashmiri am I. I am the proud owner of apple orchards and cherry blossoms and honey bees,wild and free. I am the David child wielding a single stone Against the Indian Goliath. I am not afraid, For truth is with me and God is on my side. My brethren are the bulbuls,hoopoes and kingfishers That fly unhindered above my rivers I am a Kashmiri,Therefore, I am. No one can take my identity Away from me, Not tanks or guns or bombs Meant to desecrate me and kill me, My country lives in me. I am the cry of liberty, No matter what they take from me, They can't take away my identity Or my dignity. Kashmiri Am I.

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