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Untold Story of 1965, How Kashmir Youth Had Taken To Militancy?

 

 

Punchline

Story of 1965, Retold

By

Z. G. Muhammad
Telling the whole Kashmir story after 1946 is not an easy task. For, multiple twists and turns in the narrative it will take a host of historians and astute political analysts- in fact, an institution to document the story. On 27 July 1946, the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference unanimously adopted a resolution at Srinagar demanding a totally independent state which will have its own constitution and democratically elected government. The resolution was presented by Allah Rakha Sagar in presence of delegates from all over the state at the Mirwaiz Manzil. The resolution for independence was passed at a time when Jawaharlal Nehru had already set his eyes on the State and wanted to see it as part of India.   According to   British Resident, Colonel Wilfred Webb,” Nehru had developed a definite policy for future of the State of Jammu and Kashmir once the British had departed. Under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah it was to be made into an anti-Pakistan Zone (Whatever shape Pakistan might eventually assume) (Birth of Tragedy p 48).  
The Muslim Conference discourse for independent Kashmir, and it adopted another resolution on 19 July 1947 against joining India, with its leadership in jail and those held up in Pakistan not allowed to return to the state was stifled after 29 September 1947. It was Nehru’s discourse, orchestrated by his friend Sheikh Abdullah after Indian Home Minister, Sardar Patel had ensured his release from Maharaja Hari Singh jail that overtook the discourse against joining India.
Notwithstanding, leftover Muslim Conference cadres offering resistance, it was the Nehru’s discourse trumpeted with full vigor by the National Conference leaders that had full sway on our side of the Ceasefire Line.  It was only after Nehru deposed and arrested Sheikh Abdullah on 9 August 1953, the chinks started appearing Nehru’s discourse with a   section of the National Conference questioning it and talking about the right to self-determination. The Azad Kashmir Radio building upon Nehru betraying his friend by dismissing started strengthening the discourse on the right to self-determination.  Moreover, with the founding of the Plebiscite Front, the discourse for the right to self-determination became louder and a movement for holding under UN supervision was started.   In spite of Nehru’s new man-Friday in Kashmir Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad using the carrot and stick policy failed to prevent the narrative from gathering popular support. The Front, more particularly its founding President succeeded in demolishing Nehruvian narrative and introducing the right to self-determination discourse with all its history to a section of a new educated generation- many of them joined the organization. Nevertheless, the resistance movement was fully revived after   21 March 1964, when the Action Committee, a multi-party combine born after the Holy Relic agitation adopted the resolution demanding the right to self-determination and implementation of the UN resolution in a massive public meeting at the Jamia Masjid. More than two lakh people present at the congregation had endorsed the resolution- and, the narrative was successfully passed on to a new generation.  
In the revived resistance movement 1965, emerged as in important year on two counts one, it saw longest ever organized student movement in support of the right to self-determination, two, it seeded the idea of armed struggle in a section of educated youth.
 Minus some write-ups or nostalgic pieces the period is least documented as those involved are yet to write their memoirs. Some weeks earlier, a diary by one of the actors of in the 1965 youth movement was added to Kashmir resistance literature.  ‘The Prison Diary, Kashmir Untold Story 1965-1968’ by Mohammad Youssef Bhat is based on the diary maintained by him on daily basis during his long incarceration in the Sub-Jail Srinagar and the Central Jail Srinagar.  For students and scholars working on the resistance movement and its different dimension, the book is an important primary source that provides insight into the mind of young activists of the movement. The author in 1965, in his twenties, was working as an Assistant Electric Engineer- what made this young man risk his bright career and join the resistance movement. Narrating a couple incidents in his life as a young engineer he very subtly says it was   New Delhi’s doctrine of “not-trusting Muslim officers” that had watered the seeds of rebellion sowed in him in 1953 and made him join the resistance movement. In 1953, he had seen people in his Mohalla Basant Bagh trampled by soldiers under their heavy boots.  ‘In 1963, he was working as an Assistant Electric Engineer in the Power House, Mohra Baramulla – he was the only Muslim working there. Some intelligence persons perhaps from central agencies visited the power station and informed the executive engineer that “Saboteurs from AJK were planning to blast the Power House and I being Muslim officer was being viewed with suspicion.” He writes, ‘This incident and couple of similar incidents in Jammu were perhaps turning point in his life.’
Besides being the year of students and youth movement 1965 is also important for the Operation Gibraltar and the role played by leaders like Maulana Mohammad Syed and Ghulam Mohi-u-Din Qara. The diarists, perhaps unawares about behind the scene developments between August 5 and August 1965 has not written anything about happenings during these days. Nonetheless, he tells us how young generation ‘was getting attracted towards the armed resistance – permitted under Article 3 of UN charter’.  After the Holy Relic Movement, in 1964  a  couple of students and youth organizations were born but in 1965, thinking of students and youth metamorphosed with the formation of a number of underground youth groups- popularly called “cells” such as the Narwara Cell and the Engineering College cell. These underground cells engaged themselves in planning armed resistance in the State.  The diary mention names a number of students and young men who had joined these underground groups- except a couple of them none will perhaps make even to the footnotes of our contemporary history. In his long list, he mentions names like Mohammad Hussain, G. Mohammad Handoo, M.Akbar Drabu, Ghulam Nabi Jeelani (architect), Anwar Ashai, Mohammad Ashraf,  Zaffar  Kutay and Eng. B. A. Kitchloo.
Like many others in his age group he and his friend Dr. Hamid were inspired by Sheikh Abdullah’s speeches and  had started moving with a resistance group and after 4 PM they used to gather at the Maisuma residence of Mian Sarwar. On 10 November 1965, he was arrested from his office in Srinagar and taken blindfolded to a Bagh-e-Mehtab interrogation center and then to Red 16, finally arrested put under detention under DIR for three years.
I see the jail diary of Eng. Mohammad Yousseff important on number of counts, it provides insight into the mind of a young professionals who had chosen to join armed resistance, it tells about callosity of some police officers who for scoring some brownie points had framed youth in false cases and alienated them and the diary is also important as the author for avidly listening radio and recording Kashmir related developments at the international level provide keyholes to look into Kashmir related development at the UN and global level during the period.
The 250-page prison diary in paperback connects many missing links in the 1965 narrative.
Greater Kashmir 25-09-17

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