What was the actual sense and spirit of the word Kashmiriyat? Kashmiriyat in simple words means Kashmiri-ness. It was the ethno-national approach, social consciousness and cultural values of the Kashmiri people. But Kashmiriyat has been misinterpreted as Islamiyat, writes Er PL Khushu in Spade a Spade. The following article is a faithful reproduction of the same.
Bengaluru: After the Independence in 1947, India was invented on January 26, 1950, on the premise that everyone who resides in its territory will have maximum equal freedom and there will be no discrimination between its citizens. This is when the Constitution of India came into existence. But that did not apply to the state of Jammu & Kashmir, because of the Article 370 of the Constitution. This was misused in Kashmir in the garb of a proverbial word called as “Kashmiriyat”. People in Kashmir mostly the pseudo-secular political parties who have been ruling Kashmir as their ancestral right, took an umbrella cover under this concept of the word Kashmiriyat and blackmailed the ruling clan in Delhi, that Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris only and is the birth right of these so-called political dynasty based political parties and they alone have the mandate to rule Jammu & Kashmir State. These people misused it to the extent that they most of the times meant “Kashmiriyat” as “Islamiyat”.
What was the actual sense and spirit of the word Kashmiriyat? Kashmiriyat in simple words means Kashmiri-ness. It was the ethno-national approach, social consciousness and cultural values of the Kashmiri people. It was characterized by religious and cultural harmony, patriotism and prides for their culture, tradition, language and a lot other stuff of Kashmir inhabitants irrespective of their religion. It was a great secular principle that emerged during medieval times. Generally Kashmir was a multicultural and ethnic society.
But its true sense and sprit was crucified and butchered when under ethnic cleansing in 1989-1990, the original subjects of Kashmir the Kashmiri Pandits, were brutally crucified, murdered and driven out of Kashmir, under a Pan-Islamic scheme, for spreading Islam in Kashmir, as also trying to vanish the Indian hold on Kashmir. Thus turning Kashmiriyat into Islamiyat. This was not the only crucifixion and the migration of Kashmiri pundits, when pandits had to migrate from the valley on so many earlier occasions too. It happened during the rule of Bulbul Shah, the Chaks, the Sultans and the Afghans etc. All of them persecuted the community and forced them into migration. To my memory it happened in Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s, GM Sadiq’s, and even Dr.Farooq Abdullah’s regimes. So in Kashmir, Kashmiriyat is mostly Islamiyat.
With the abrogation of Article 370, these pseudo-secular dynasty based political parties have attributed this step as hurting the Kashmiriyat from a legal or historical perspective. What a lame excuse! India after the abrogation of Article 370 is fully integrated now. India is a union of many identities, but after the abrogation of Article 370, it is now a nation with one flag, one constitution and one leader. “Ek Nishan, Ek Nidhan, Ek Pradhan”. Some say that Kashmir is a border state with a history that makes it unique. But there are other border states, such as Punjab, where people lost their homes and lives during Partition. Their pain is even more poignant and heart-breaking, as the pain has not subsided. Later, Punjab was further divided into Haryana and Himachal. Were the people of Punjab asked about these changes? So if Ladakh is separated from the Jammu & Kashmir, as per the long-standing demand of the people of Ladakh, why should it be questioned? Some so-called liberals believe that a plebiscite is the only real form of consent and Kashmiris should be given a choice to secede, or to be with India, on the principle of self-determination. Going back to 1947, should we not have applied this principle to the citizens of 565 princely states who occupied 40% of India’s territory, when the British left? Kashmir was only one of these. BR Ambedkar felt that India was a nation of 3,000 Jatis. Should there have been 3,000 referendums? It was a mischievous ploy of Sheikh Abdullah abetted by Sh. J. L. Nehru to create such an ambiguous position for Kashmir, which is till date exploited in Kashmir by various vested interests, particularly two prominent dynasties who have been ruling the state through proxy, by blackmailing the Government of India under the notion and caption of Kashmiriyat, which is actually Islamiyat. It has taken long seventy years to knock down the Article 370. But better late than never.
Coming back to the word ‘Kashmiriyat,’ only Kashmiri Pandis know its solemn purpose for the pseudo-secular rulers of Kashmir, who designated themselves to rule Kashmir, through the legacies of their dynasties, ignoring the fact that Jammu & Kashmir was not the valley of Kashmir only, when it had two other regions too attached to it, viz, Jammu and Ladakh, which were ignored on all economic fronts like the development fronts, educational fronts, cultural fronts and the electoral fronts which limited the scope of these two zones to be equal partners in the governance process of the whole state. This is where the ‘Kashmiriyat’ is misused and Islamiyat prevails. Kashmiri Pandits became the targets of Kashmiriyat, in respect of their not getting nominations and selections to higher educational trainings, not getting government jobs, biased preferential treatments in the postings in government jobs, particularly in higher and strategic posts, discriminations in promotions in government jobs, selective treatments in the selection processes at the level of selections in the public service commission for the higher level jobs and the like. Who does not know that when Sheikh Abdullah got the reins of power of the state government after Maharaj’s rule , he would very boldly advise the highly qualifies Kashmiri Pandit scholars and persons of that time to locate jobs for themselves outside Kashmir, adding further insult to the injury by saying that you Pandits have a scope beyond Kashmir up to Kanyakumari, but where will Kashmiri Muslim go, capitalizing Kashmiriyat through Islamiyat, thus abetting the exodus of KPs very meticulously, posing himself to be the most secular leader in the eyes of Gandhi and Nehru. It is during that period mostly when the sweet exodus of KPs started for seeking jobs outside the state. Yet KPs proved their worth and merit outside Kashmir, by getting jobs in higher and strategic places of administration, both at the level of Government of India as also other state governments of this country. But it all happened at the cost of their forgetting their own homeland, due to Islamiyat applied through Kashmiriyat.
Bakhshi Gulam Mohamad was no exception, when he initiated the process of nominating the Kashmiri Muslim students with low academic merits, to higher educational trainings outside Kashmir, in medical colleges, engineering colleges, agricultural colleges, poly techniques etc, with hefty education loan facilities. Kashmiri Pandit students of that time with highest academic merits, were refused such educational trainings and hefty loan facilities, thus depriving KP students from having higher technical educations etc. Who does not know, when GM Sadiq was chief minister who introduced 70/30 percent ratio in government jobs between the Muslims and the Kashmiri Pandit employees, which was unconstitutional and was fought very bravely by the KP government teachers of that time in the Supreme Court of India and got it annulled. Mir Qasim as chief minister was no different in this regard and he too introduced discriminatory policies in various departments for providing promotional facilities to the Muslim employees over the KPs. Subsequent governments of Abdullah’s and Mufti’s followed in the footsteps of their predecessors in this regard for KPs. KPs cannot forget the desecration of their temples and religious places, whenever there was any problem of Israeli–Palestinian conflict, far away from the soil of Kashmir. During the Anantnag riots in February 1986, many temples, houses and other properties belonging to KPs were looted, burnt or damaged in Anantnag district. These are so many such events to be quoted, but for the constraints of space in this article
The last nail in the coffin was the final assault of Islamic fundamentalism on KPs in the year 1989-90, when KPs were killed and butchered by the terrorists, when the KPs were finally driven out of Kashmir almost empty-handed. This is Kashmiriyat which is actually Islamiyat. With the abrogation of Article 370, Kashmiriyat will cease to be Islamiyat now.
Last Updated 7:02 PM IST