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Saturday, 18 May 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 138 of 2019

2158hrs:

A writer should never play the fool with idleness.......

Therefore, let's retrace our steps once again and try to work out what went wrong in 1947:



Note: That is Kathua district South of Jammu in J & K.

98 year old Muhammad Siddique narrates his understanding of the events of 1947, when he was 26 years old. His family eventually had no choice but to flee across the border to the newly created Pakistan. He still resides in the city of Faisalabad, Pakistan.

I have noted 3 main parts of the conversation that need attention today:

1) @ 12:27

We heard Pakistan was being made but the Maharajah Hari Singh wanted to keep his population intact - That is, for Hindus and Muslims to continue co-existing where they were and refrain from migration. He even took forceful measures to maintain this policy.

2) @ 21:08

Sheikh Abdullah (as head of emergency administration) also insisted that Hindus and Muslims of Jammu should not separate. Further, he (the Sheikh) clarified that we are neither going to become a part of India or a part of Pakistan. We would remain a separate (political) entity. The Maharajah and Sheikh Abdullah seemed to have some mutual understanding on this point.

3) @ 26:48

Not a day passes when Muhammad Siddique does not remember his hometown (Beeru Chak in J & K). He remembers it as a fabulous country where everybody would care for each other and that included Hindus. He doesn't understand what suddenly happened that destroyed everything.

Now, if you read the white Urdu text with a blue background in the top left-hand corner of the embedded video, it translates as:

Migration from district Kathua Jammu Kashmir to Pakistan
An eye-witness account of Hari Singh's false pretensions and oppression of Muslims

There are always at least two ways of interpreting historical narratives. One way is to re-emphasise the difference and hatred of the 'other'. So, in this case a conclusion can be drawn that a Hindu ruler oppressed his Muslim subjects and this video is evidence of that. Hence, making Pakistan was a great idea because it provided a safe haven for Muslims.

The other way of interpreting this video is to try and learn what went wrong so we can avoid separating large populations of people, just because they belong to a different religion from the majority. Why did such events happen so suddenly and spontaneously?

I think the answer lies in the divide and rule policies of the British empire and unfortunately most writers tend to gloss over this aspect by taking an overt 'Muslim' or 'Hindu' stance, thereby blaming each other through vicious propaganda for decades on end. Meanwhile, the British obtained safe passage from the fire they created and have subsequently enjoyed immunity from all responsibility thereafter.

Hence, my pursuit of trying to understand the British attitude to an emerging neutral sovereign State of Jammu & Kashmir in the 1940's.

What steps did they take to forestall it?

Why did they drag the aspirations of both the autocrat and his subjects under the bus named India and Pakistan?     

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