“Hamlawar Khabardar Kashmir hai Tayaar” The slogan against invasion
By: Dr Adil Rasool Malik
Kashmir has always seen struggles gripping its land and people over various geopolitical, religious, supremacy and other agendas. Historically a princely state, Jammu and Kashmir lost its status following the resistance faced by Maharaja Hari Singh from his Muslim subjects forcing him to lose a part of his kingdom and seeding the ever raging war between Indian and Pakistan.
The rise of the resistance to the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh was following the 3rd June Plan – according to which there was a proposal for formation of a separate Muslim state to demarcate it from a Hindu majority British India at the time of partition. According to reports, the plan to merge Kashmir with India was pre-decided in the circumstances of Kashmir not being able to establish itself as an independent identity. The fate of Kashmir, a Muslim dominated princely state thus stood at a crossroad in the hands of a Hindu ruler leading to wide spread revolt and unrest.
On 22nd October 1947, a few weeks after India and Pakistan celebrated their newly found independence, the chaos ensued soon. The day was marked with the Pakistani Pashtun tribal militias – comprising of local tribal groups and irregular Pakistani forces, crossing the border and creating havoc in the state. The distraught atmosphere made Maharaja Hari Singh turn to India to seek help for protecting his land and people.
The request was heeded to and help was offered by India but on the pretext of signing of the ‘Instrument of Accession’ to India. According to this legally binding document, every princely state under the British regimen had to join the newly created Dominions of India or Pakistan created by partition of British India. It was on the 26thOctober, when Maharaja Hari Singh officially signed for Kashmir to be a part of India and the help reached the ailing. The Indian troops were airlifted immediately and reached the battlegrounds on 27th October to counterattack the Pashtun tribals creating havoc.
Meanwhile, during the intervening time from 22nd to 27th Kashmiris resisted the tribal invasion that too with meagre resources, one notable example is of Late Maqbool Sherwani who delayed the march of pakhtoon tribesman from Pakistan and rebel forces in Baramulla until the Indian troops landed in Srinagar. During this period many slogans were raised favouring and boosting the resistance of Kashmiris against the tribal invasion, among those slogans the slogan like “Hamlawar Khabardar Kashmiri hai Tayaar (Beware the attacker, Kashmir is ready)” became popular overnight and was raised in every nook and corner in the valley. This development however was deemed void by Pakistan as they claimed that the accession of Kashmir to India had been done under pressure and by fraudulent measures.
During this process however, the Pakistani militants had advanced – starting from their first attack in Muzzafarabad and going ahead from there. The violence and rage also affected the communal sentiments of the community when the troops beheaded innumerable Hindus and Sikhs in the city adding to widespread looting and mass crimes.They shot everyone who couldn’t recite the kalima – the Arabic-language Muslim declaration of faith. Many non-Muslim women were enslaved, while many others jumped in the Neelum river to escape capture. The streets were littered with signs of mayhem – broken buildings, broken shop furniture, the ashes of burnt goods and dead bodies, including those of tribal fighters, state soldiers and local men and women.
The following days, saw severe clashes and loss of harmony with the Indian troops fighting the Pakistani militant troops. Reports suggest that around 1,104 Indians were killed during these war times and a total of 3,154 were wounded whereas about 6,000 Pakistani tribal militants were killed and an estimated 14,000 wounded. Various rounds of diplomatic talks and negotiations took place for over a year to find common grounds and put an end to these remorseful conditions. Finally, both the countries agreed to ceasefire, terms of which were documented in a UN Commission resolution on 13 August 1948 – according to it Pakistan was directed to immediately withdraw all its recognized and non-recognized forces and allowed India to maintain their rights over the land and maintain minimal forces to ensure law and order in the state. The formal ceasefire was effective from the 1st January 1949 putting an end to the first Indo-Pak war.
At the end of the battle, India gained control of about two-thirds of Kashmir claiming victorious in the war. However, this war disrupted the peace that was supposed to be brought with new beginnings and spread fear like wildfire – fear and disharmony that exists till date and has been the reason for the subsequent many wars between India and Pakistan over claiming rights over Kashmir.
Every year 22nd October is recognized as ‘Black Day’ marking the anniversary of the dreadful day when the first invasion by the Pakistani tribals happened and refreshes the wounds from the war for every Kashmiri. It’s now been more than 70 years, yet the pain of the Kashmiris still remains the same due to the tension in the region and the fear of getting caught amidst another war – endangering their families, land and their state. Thus it’s time we all come together and try out level best to not only instil communal peace and harmony at our individual level but also get the attention of world leaders towards this ever burning torch so that someday, someone in Kashmir can sleep without fearing for what tomorrow may be like.
The author besides being a Dentist works on various trivial social issues especially related to youth. Author can be reached at [email protected] & twitter @drmalikadil