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Saturday, 4 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 124 of 2019

0433hrs:

Wild Berries from the Southern tip of Poonch at Chechan - "Aakhrey" in local parlance

I began preparing for my latest trip to Muzaffarabad on the 29th of April but I could not leave Dadyaal before 1500hrs (3pm) on (Thursday) the 2nd of May. It took a further 36 hours to arrive in Muzaffarabad, just over an hour ago at c. 0300hrs (3am). Its a long story which I'll try and tell in pictures:

Midday at Azad Pattan (yesterday)

Nightfall at Kokraal - Mong (yesterday)

I missed the Tithwal March towards the LOC in Neelam on 'May Day', which I understand invoked - yet another - brutal response from the AJK police. Political activists have been severely injured and others arrested for protesting against the 'super-imposed' restrictions on freedom of movement in Jammu & Kashmir. Having spent so much time travelling and repairing our vehicle on multiple occasions, I am yet to fully acquaint myself with what happened.

I'm even more gutted for missing out on the following yesterday: 





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In due course, we will compare many aspects of governance in the Dogra era (c. 1820 to 1947) to what we've experienced post 1947. Perhaps most often quoted is the following agreement in 1904, made between the Maharajah of Jammu & Kashmir and the British Indian Empire, which can be formally described as the 'Upper Jhelum Canal Water Agreement':

Source: 'Kashmir: Taareekh ke Ainey me (Urdu) by Professor M. Arif Khan - Page 67 

Let me translate the above:

Through the important articles (and clauses) of this agreement, the Maharajah managed to secure his legal and constitutional rights in totality. knowledge-able sources while referencing articles (and clauses) in the agreement describe it thus:

1) In the spirit of the 1904 agreement, Upper Jhelum Canal and the land secured for it will always remain the property of the 'Darbaar' (viz. The State of Jammu & Kashmir).

2) All materials secured for the construction of Upper Jhelum Canal - for example - gravel, stones, sand etc. will not be taxed as long as they are utilised within the State. All material that is used (exported) outside the State will be subject to collection of royalty by the State.

3) Crops, properties and agricultural land that are affected will be compensated (collected through the State) accordingly.

4) To facilitate travel for the residents of the State - to and from the State - bridges and pathways will be constructed in appropriate places.

5) Within the State, the availability of water will remain continuous and without charge (free).

6) Any officer of the Department of Irrigation - for the purpose of canal regulation - can assign (exercise) judicial powers of the State government. However, only on the condition that any decision of such an officer can be appealed against and heard by the Chief Judge in Jammu, whose decision will be final subject to approval (assent) of the Maharajah Bahadur.

7) The State's tehsildaar or any officer of higher rank can at any time examine the (water) headworks at Mangla.

8) While conducting the survey of Upper Jhelum Canal, all practical steps possible will be taken to ensure every place considered sacred by the public will be protected and preserved.

9) During construction of the canal within the State territory all such laws related to food and beverage products will be followed.

10) If the Darbaar (The State of J & K) wishes to build (any) industry then electricity etc. will be provided free.

End of translation...

Note: Any words in brackets are for added clarity in the translation.

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This following picture tells more than a thousand stories:



We have an old proverb that spans most of the Urdu/Hindi speaking world (including us): "Behens ke aagey bheen mat bhajhao." It translates as, "Do not play the flute in front of a buffalo." What is implicitly meant is that there's no point explaining something to the targeted audience. In our case, the lack of telecommunications on or near the LOC is not something the Pakistani State would be particularly concerned about. Hence, the creative style of activism on the part of the AJK public to make their point.

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