- the lofty notion of belonging to one region - flourished by Kashmiris,
irrespective of their faith, for centuries despite gravest provocations
lies bruised in the wake of the current phase of secessionism in the Valley.
Terrorist outfits groomed by the Jamaat- e-Islami (Jamaat) have outwitted
those who professed their allegiance to secularism.
Jamaat presents Islam as a political ideology - and not as religious pedagogy
concerned only with the relationship between man and God. Abul Ala Maududi,
the founder of the Jamaat, had no hesitation in making it explicit that
Islam was a political ideology comparable to Communism and Fascism. According
to him, it covered all departments of life, whether private or public.
Jamaat also presents Islam as a creed whose mission is to fight all other
creeds because it believes Islam to be the only true creed - all other
creeds being flawed or false. Maududi reasoned that just as God has made
the laws that govern physical nature, He has also made laws that govern
social relations. The first set of laws can be ascertained by observation
and experimentation. But God conveys the second set of laws concerning
man's duties towards God and his fellow human beings only through revelations.
Accordingly, divine messages have been transmitted to mankind from time
to time through prophets.
Quran says that God had sent prophets to all nations, the last one being
Prophet Mohammad. It follows that all religions have emanated from one
God and no religion can claim superiority over others. But Maududi adds
a caveat here, which, in turn, opens the flood-gates of discord. He argues
that no religion except Islam has preserved the divine message in its entirety
and without it being distorted by the vicissitudes of time. Hence, Islam
has precedence over all other religions.
feature of Maududi's ideology is that he singles out secularism as the
chief adversary of Islam. He argues that secularism makes a distinction
between the personal life of an individual and his public life, and banishes
religion from the latter. Hence, anyone who believes in secularism will
inevitably allow his secular values to influence his social, political
and economic behaviour and thus violate the teachings of Islam, which draw
no line between the domain of the spirit and that of the flesh.
ideologues of the Jamaat go a step further and argue that secularism is
the road that leads to atheism because when you separate your personal
beliefs from your social and political principles, the latter develop their
own momentum and eventually dominate the former.
Jamaat is not only communal in its outlook, it teaches militancy as well.
Communalism of a minority community often centres on grievances of a political
or economic nature and tends to be paranoid.
Jamaat brand of communalism, however, is not concerned about immediate
or short-term gains for the community. It projects Islam as an ideology
and calls upon Muslims to organise themselves into a revolutionary party
with the object of capturing total power. It is not bothered about jobs
for Muslims or for a share in the power pie. On the contrary, the Jamaat
requires its members not to hold any office under an unholy political system
was the first noteworthy religious figure in the history of Indian Islam
to propound the thesis that the supreme purpose of Islam is not the spiritual
salvation of mankind; but to establish the sovereignty of God on earth
or an Islamic state. All other purposes are secondary and subordinate to
that of establishing an Islamic state. Before launching the Jamaat, he
did a great deal of preparatory work which included the compilation and
dissemination of literature. This he did initially through his magazine
Tarjuman-al-Quran, which he started at Hyderabad (Deccan) in 1932 and later
shifted to Pathankot - which also became the headquarters of the Jamaat
- shortly before 1941. Chaudhary Niaz Khan had provided a building to house
the other hand, the Jamaat in Kashmir has come a long way since its inception
in the Valley was back in 1942, in Shopian (now in Pulwama district) by
Maulvi Ghulam Ahmad of Arharr, his colleague Syed Said-ud-Din (who had
been active since 1939) and four or five like-minded persons. The strategy
of Jamaat in Kashmir has had to be two-pronged: It had to follow the strategy
of the Jamaat-e-Islami (Hind) as well as to adjust itself to the native
Muslim population of the State. Following the guidelines and strategy,
laid down by Maulana Maududi at the time of the partition, the Jamaat in
Kashmir, like the Jamaat in India, had to remain contented within the Indian
Union and work for the establishment of 'Hukumat-e-Illahi' and even try
for the theocratic rule of Kafirs (infidels) rather than to yield and subject
itself to the secular life pursued by the Congress Government and supported
by other progressive and nationalist parties. Maududi, however, opted for
Pakistan and migrated from India.
in Kashmir, adherence to the guidelines was a bad strategy, as the Muslim
population - by and large - maintained that Kashmir's accession to India
was disputed. The Jamaat worked with dedication and tactfully to bring
more and more people into its fold. Right from the start, they pursued
a policy of recruiting educated young men. They laid stress on the qualitative
growth rather than on the quantitative expansion in the first instance.
Moreover, the latter was not possible in the Valley as people were more-or-less
followers of the Sufi cult. Therefore, qualitative growth was emphasized
to penetrate into educational institutions, both private and public. On
the other hand, institutions, run by the Jamaat, were established to impart 'deen-i-Taleem' to young boys in different parts of the State.
Jamaat in Kashmir severed its relations with the Jamaat-e-Islami (Hind)
in 1953 as the Kashmir unit did not recognize the accession of Jammu &
Kashmir to India. Moreover, the State unit was not averse to participation
in the elections which was contrary to the stand of the Jamaat (Hind).
The Jamaat, kept subtly creeping into the politics of the State. In the beginning,
it was not taken seriously but soon after Sheikh Abdullah came to power
following accession of the State to India, he smacked the challenge. The
Jamaat opposed the Sheikh because he represented secular forces. Though
he was deeply religious and even used religious platforms to lead his followers,
he was a Kashmiri who believed in the Sufi cult and paid obeisance at Sufi
Shrines and mausoleums. He was extremely popular among Muslims in the State.
Besides, he had a charismatic personality and he stood tall enough to be
head and shoulders above the rest of the leaders in the State. As a result,
he proved to be a great impediment in the growth and activities of the Jamaat.
the Sheikh was ousted from power in 1953, the Jamaat made a thrust ahead
with quiet determination. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, successor of the Sheikh,
extended tacit support to the Jamaat's activities. He wooed everyone who
was against the Sheikh. However, G.M. Sadiq who replaced Bakshi (barring
a brief period of 99 days when Shamshuddin was the Prime Minister) issued
a blanket ban on the Jamaat's centres of 'Tableegh' and education. But
the successor of Sadiq, Syed Mir Qasim, lifted the ban and used the Jamaat
activists for political expediency.
Jamaat always used to bear profound grudge against the Sheikh who did not
believe in the two-nation theory and was instrumental, according to fundamentalists,
in denying the right to accede to Pakistan though the State population
was predominantly Muslim.
got an opportunity to build up its following in the wake of the arrest
of the Sheikh in 1953 but did not make much headway till the seventies
when it succeeded in making inroads among students. In 1977, it launched
the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba - the students wing of the party.
his inaugural address to the first annual session of the Jamiat-e-Tulba
held at Srinagar in July 1978, the founder-president Ashraf Sahrai referred
to 'the Kashmir question' and compared the struggle of a section of the
people of Kashmir for independence to the ongoing liberation struggles
elsewhere in the world." Despite the sermons delivered at the UN headquarters
in New York on 'live and let live' he declared . . . "the Kashmir question,
the Palestine problem, the civil war in Lebanon, the freedom struggle in
Eritrea, the Philippines Muslims' demand for regional self-deterrnination,
the question of independence for the Cypriot Turks, and the issue of transferring
power to Black majorities in South Africa, Rhodesia and Namibia, threaten
armed conflagrations in the regions concerned, nay in the whole world."
further lamented that despite the change in the country's leadership following
the victory of the Janata Party, "the Kashmir dispute remained unresolved."
in the June 18, 1970 issue of Azan, the mouthpiece of the Jamaat, Said-ud-Din
wrote: " Communalism is the product of emotions and volatile love." Joining
issues with him, Maqbool Ahmed, a prominent journalist of Srinagar, wrote
in an article under the pen-name of Ayesha Batt in the July 8-9, 1970 issue
of Chinar, an Urdu daily of Srinagar: "In other words, to whip up the emotions
of a particular community over some issuc or against some particular person
is communalism. Let us accept this proposition for argument's sake. Then
why did the members of the Jamaat object to and obstruct Acharya Vinoba's
reciting the holy Quran in 1959 at Sopore? Why did they attack, in an irreligious
manner, the Acharya's beliefs and his philosophy of Bhoodan? Why were his
physical constitution and his dress vituperated and laughed to scorn? Why
did they ignite the emotions of Muslims of Sopore and provoke them to demonstrate
against Acharya Vinoba Bhave? Was not this conduct of the Jamaat and the
treatment it meted out to the Acharya the worst example of emotionalism
and volatile love?"
the 1972 Assembly elections, the Jamaat, had succeeded in securing five
seats with the alleged connivance of the ruling Congress party. Qasim had
wished to exploit the militancy of the ranks of the Jamaat to counter the
activities of the Plebiscite Front. The strategy of Qasim misfired as the
Jamaat gained maximum at the cost of the Congress. Even in the 1971 Lok
Sabha elections, it had secured as many as 14.98 per cent of the votes
polled in three constituencies in the Valley.
Jamaat opposed Sheikh Abdullah's accord with Indira Gandhi in 1975. It
was during the Emergency that the Jamaat leaders were lodged behind the
bars and 'Darsgahs' of the Jamaat were sealed. In order to thrust ahead,
the Jamaat opposed other Muslim alliances, which may have posed a threat
to its growth. Following its acquisition of five seats in the Assembly
elections, it decided to field its candidates for the civic elections of
1976 (which, however, could not be held). The Jamaat, in opposition to
the alliance between the Plebiscite Front and the Awami Action Committee
of Maulvi Farooq, had decided to pat up six candidates in Srinagar, three
in Anantnag, eight in Sopore and seven in Baramulla. The Jamaat condemned
the alliance as dictatorial and fascist. They dubbed the Sheikh as 'anything
but a democrat' which irked Mirza Afzal Beg so much that he charged the
Jamaat with unduly straying into politics and exposed the wide ideological
gap between the preaching and practice of its leaders.
the 1977 elections, the Jamaat entered into a limited understanding on
a minimum programme with the Janata Party and won one Assembly seat from Sopore, though it had fielded 19 candidates. It had even fielded a candidate
against Sheikh Abdullah from the Ganderbal constituency, which was a pocket
borough for the Sheikh. In the Assembly elections, the Jamaat could secure
only 62,652 votes from an electoral college which had more than 26 lakh
the Jamaat fielded Syed Ali Shah Geelani - one of its committed leaders
- as an independent candidate from the Baramulla constituency in the 1977
Lok Sabha elections. He secured 23.9 per cent of the votes polled, while
the winning candidate of the National Conference could get only 30.2 per
cent of the votes polled.
1983 Assembly elections, the Jamaat drew a blank though the number of votes
netted by it registered a rise. It had put up candidates on 26 seats as
against 23 in 1977. In the 1987 Assembly elections, the Muslim United Front (MUF) of the Jamaat and other like-minded parties succeeded in cornering
4 seats amidst allegations of widespread rigging of elections. A good number
of young men who had come out openly in favour of the MUF became disillusioned
and adopted the cult of gun which was soon to play havoc in the Valley.
very fact that the Jamaat fought the last four Assembly elections directly
bears out that it had given up confining itself to just social and religious
fields. The party had finally come to establish itself as a political force
to be reckoned with but it had so far refrained from a categorical opposition
to the Centre. Such a strategy led to differences which cropped up within
its rank and file. The hardliners led by Said-ud-Din and Ghulam Mohammad
Butt demanded that the party should take a clear-cut stand vis-a-vis Kashmir's
accession to India. The view was strongly supported by the Jamiat-e-Tulba,
the youth wing of the party, led by Tajmul Islam who later fled to Nepal.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani tried his best to accommodate the extremist view
in the resolutions and the programmes adopted in the party's annual oonference
the meantime, the Jamaat convened an international conference at Srinagar
with the blessings of Sheikh Abdullah. A number of delegates from Kuwait,
the UAE and Saudi Arabia, including the Imam of Kaaba, turned up to attend
it. The development helped the Jamaat in making a deep dent into the somewhat
reticent Muslim population of the Valley. The conference even passed a
resolution demanding the solution of the Kashmir problem in keeping with
the UN resolution.
The Jamiat-e-Tulba, the youth wing of the Jamaat, was also directed by the
party to hold an international Muslim youth conference at Srinagar on the
lines of lhe successful international conference of the Jamaat. However,
in the wake of the stiff opposition from the Centre, the proposed conference
was not held.
Jamaat chose certain 'model Islamic bastis' to try their fundamentalist
politics. They also established some Islamic courts and asked the people
to withdraw their suits from courts of law and bring them before the religious
courts and accept their verdict in accordance with the Shariat law. In
October 1982 they also started a programme of imparting Islamic education.
In the beginning they took up seven to eight villages in the rural areas
in each district to establish Islamic Darsgahs to impart instructions to
the young and even to the adult population.
order to cover the systematic programme of expansion and consolidation
of Jamaat's influence, the party directed its cadre to develop contacts
with non-Muslims as well. It even tried to organise womenfolk in Muslim
areas under the name of 'Shoha-i-Khowateen'. Its main activity was confined
to propagation of Islamic education and developmg social behaviour among
women in tune with the Islamic dicta.
organisational head of the Jamaat in Kashmir is called Amir-i- Jamaat and
his term lasts three years. At present, Hakim Ghulam Nabi is holding this
post. The Amir is helped and advised by a working Committee called 'Majlis
Shoora', which is also elected by the general council, comprising delegates
frombasic units, spread over the urban as well as rural centres. In 1985,
the Jamaat set up a body called 'Majlis Numayendigan' which in turn helps
the Majlis Shoora in executing the policies, framed by the latter. The
membership of the Jamaat is of four types - Rukuns (die-hards), Hamdards
(ordinary members), Muqtarsarin (influenced) and Muqtafaqin (those nearer
to the ideology). The strength of Rukuns runs into about 10,000, while
the strength of Hamdards touches around 25,000 in the State and the total
number of the last two categories was put at over 50,000 in 1986 Since
then the strength of the Jamaat in all categories has, alarmingly, increased
Jamaat used to run about 300 schools in the Valley with an enrolment of
about 40,000 students. Besides, the Jamaat and its student wing are fairly
active in Government schools and colleges and on the campus of Kashmir
University. A fundamentalist women outfit, known as 'Dukhtaran-i-Millat,'
was also instrumental in organising a protest march in February 1990 in
categories of Jamaat members are required to pay 10 per cent of their earnings
to the organisation, while the top two categories of the members are also
required to contribute the skin of the sacrificed animals to the organisation.
1989, a few months before the outbreak of large-scale terrorism, the Jamaat
decided to bid adieu to the politics of elections and directed its four
legislators to resign from the Assembly. Only three of them obliged.
the temperament of Kashmiris is difficult to understand. Ashiq Kashmiri
in the Tarikh: Hurriat-e-Islami - a history of the Jamaat in J&K -
wrote that soon after Z.A. Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, was
hanged in a murder case on April 4, 1979, the anti-Jamaat people unleashed
their fury on the Jamaat activists for three days. One person died in the
violence in which 26 mosques were burnt. He estimated a loss of Rs. 40
crore to the properties belonging to the Jamaat and its activists. The
beards of the Jamaat activists were shaven off forcibly by the agitated
Muslims. The damaged properties included 1,245 houses burnt, 466 houses
looted, 513 foodgrain godowns burnt, 22 factories burnt, 338 shops burnt,
70 orchards cut, 509 cowsheds burnt and 24 Jamaat offices burnt, 45 Jamaat
schools looted, 651 Jamaat libraries burnt, two cars, one mobike and one
after assuming office for the second time, Governor Jagmohan banned a number
of secessionist and terrorist organisations, including the Jamaat. He also
ordered the taking over of the educational institutions run by the outfits
of the Jamaat-e-Islami. But Organiser, the mouthpiece of the Rashtriya
Swayamsewak Sangh in its issue of September 15,1991 regretted that though
these institutions were taken over by the Government, there had been little
change in the staff and even the books taught in these educational institutions
remained the same. The only marked difference was the change of the paymaster.
weekly alleged that in 1988, when the situation in the Valley was fast
deteriorating and fundamentalists were openly opting for aggressive postures,
the then Chief Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah announced in and outside the
State Assembly that he would not permit the Jamaat or anybody else to use
educational institutions to 'poison the young minds'. He had even threatened
to close down all these institutions. But contrary to the bold statements,
in March l989, the National Conference-Congress (I) coalition Government
gave recognition to as many as 51 new educational institutions, out of
which 39 were those of the Jamaat outfits. All these educational institutions
used to get huge sums as grant-in-aid from the State Government.
the socio-economic roots of terrorism in the State, Peer Giyas-ud-Din,
former J&K Minister, exhaustively traces the growth of Mullaism, the
institution of Muslim priests. He says, "Islam recognized only one institution
- Imam. The term is used in the Quran. The Imam is the leader of prayers
in the mosque. When there are three persons, one of them must act as Imam
to lead the prayers. It is not considered a hereditary institution. Islam
also does not recognise the institution of 'Mirwaiz' which is in vogue
in Kashmir. It is an indigenous growth.
the early Islamic phase in the middle east these institutions Consisting
of intellectuals were pristine pure, confined to the religious aspect of
Islam Khalifa was a political head and administrator who maintained these
classes of people.
with the degeneration of Islamic empires (Khalifas) the institution of
Muslim priesthood has become a centre of vested interest, a class of exploiters
and main levers of reaction, fundamentalism, defenders of dictatorship,
imperialism and status quo. Mullas countered modernist and rational trends
of Sir Syed, Maulana Azad, Maulana Shibli, Shah Wali Ullah and Iqbal in
the sub-oontinent. In Pakistan, they were the active defenders of worst
dictatorships and even today are the main prop of the military. In Turkey
and Afghanistan, mullas opposed secularism and modernity, propounded by
Mustafa Kamal and Amanullah Khan, respectively. In Egypt, they were vehement
critics of Gamal Nasir, the main architect of Arab nationalism.
the rise of 'liberation theory' in Islam on the basis of Quran and Sunna,
the two primary sources of Islamic faith can liberate not only Muslims
but the entire humanity. The traditional and fundamentalist mullas are
on the defensive and on retreat in most of the Islamic countries such as
Algeria, Morocco, Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Turkey and Central Asian Republics.
the advent of the Dogra rule in Kashmir, the process of secularism set
in. Dogras modernised legal and judicial system on the basis of English
laws and the same were applied lo the State. Mullaism, symbolized in the
institutions of Qazi, Mufti and Maulvi, was relegated into insignificance.
Post-Independence constitutions further augmented and gave a spurt to the
process. Maulvis, Qazis and Muftis saw their fate sealed in the secular
India and looked out for merger with Pakistan, where they could rule the
roost on the basis of the Pak model of Shariat laws.
the institution of Muslim priests, has held key positions in social life
of Kashmir. Their domination for a long time was unchallengeable. The traditional
Mullaism of indigenous origin evolved an institution 'Mirwaiz', the head
preacher which does not exist anywhere in the rest of the Islamic world.
The other species who emigrated from Central Asia during 'Timur's invasion
and repression' constitute alien mullas - Andrabis, Qadiri, Suhravardy, Bukhari,
Chisti, Samnani, Fazili, Kamili, Ashai, Naqashbandi, Geelani, Qureshi, Qazis, etc. They monopolized trade, political power and priesthood.
There have been serious conflicts between Kashmiri people and alien Mullas.
local priesthood was exponent of mystic message, a Rishi order (Bhakti)
and its main proponents were Nunda Rishi, Lalleshwari and lower clergy
peers. The traditional mullas represented by ' Mirwaiz' were props of feudalism,
autocracy and acted hand in glove with local exploiters - Khawajas (big
during the Muslim Conference phase they tried to oppose and squeeze the
first people's rumblings against the establishment, opposed the National
Conference and political struggle for freedom. With the rising crescendo
of Pakistan slogan, this class identified itself with that. In 1947, they
opposed Kashmir's accession to India. The last of the barons of the Mirwaiz
family was Maulvi Farooq who was shot dead in May 1990 by Muslim fundamentalists.
However, his followers have extended recognition to his son Omar Farooq
as his successor.
assertion made by this traditional Mulla trend represented by Mirwaiz was
that 'mosque' is a weapon and this weapon is relevant in politics than
the weapons in vogue. More-or-less, this trend of Mullaism was liberal
not fundamentalist and upheld the traditional communal harmony in Kashmir
though Maulvi Yusuf Shah and Maulvi Farooq stood for religious intolerence.
alien Mullaism was quite different in its approaches and perceptions. It
had roots of fundamentalism and fanaticism. Socially, this strata felt
superior to common Kashmiri Muslims and had their adherents among traders,
feudal gentry and ruling class. They wielded power during all regimes - Pathans,
Mughals, Sikhs and Dogras. In their lap was nurtured the first
Muslim intelligentsia, though very small in number.
category of priests disseminated fundamentalist philosophy and were founders
of Jamaat-e-Islami in Kashmir. They were opposed to Kashmiri nationalism
and secular movement and displayed their vehement resistance to radical
land reforms, modern education and rights to womenfolk. Today this segment
of mullas constitutes bed-rock of secessionism and militancy in Kashmir.
They express vigorously the demand that Kashmir should be a virtual theocratic
Muslim state. Jamaat is the main lever of the Muslim United Front and its
hard-core constitutes the armed wing 'Hizb-ul-Mujahideen'. This cult of
mullas is the brain behind the 'militant' regressive social reforms putting
women in veil (burqa), restricted marriage parties, enforcement of prohibition
(liquor), punishment for teasing girls, etc. On the face of them, these
appear to be positive steps but there are instances as per their own admission
that certain section of militants indulge in molestation, rape and extortions".
about the bureaucrats who helped growth of secessionist movement in the
Valley and their connection with obscurantist, Dr. Kailas N. Pradhar.
writes, "Most of the Kashmiri bureaucrats had been catapulted to their
positions af power and influence not on their merit and ability but being
as members of a 'long oppressed majority community'. Only a few of them
came through the channel of selection, though in most cases, those selections
have been doubted by the analysts. The non-committed bureaucrats managed
acquisition of wealth through illegal means; wealth disproportionate to
the means of income and with no accountability. With wealth and administrative
power in their hand, Kashmiri Muslim bureaucrats established close links
with the sections of Kashmiri Muslims who had also acquired wealth more
through illegal and clandestine means than through the sweat of the brow
. . . The upper class moved in a subtle manner and used the art of sycophancy
which is the exclusive quality of a Kashmiri. They managed to seize the
mosque by enrolling themselves as the members of the mosque committee .
. . Members of the upper class infiltrated all committees functioning under
the broad banner of welfare and reform committees. In other words, they
neutralized what originally was an anti-capitalist, anti-bureaucratic move
. . . They became the staunch supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami and used
the instrument of religion to shield themselves from any impounding danger." (K.N.
Pradhan, Kashmir Society: New Contours, The Kashmir Times, Nov. 13,
14 and 15, 1990).
July 1991, Javid Zahid, a terrorist, in an open letter to militants from
prison said, "The time has proved that the gun has not proved solution
of the Kashmir crisis. It is today clear to every citizen of the Valley
that the barrel of the gun is pointed towards one direction i.e. destruction.
We should realize that our boat has not yet sailed. We can call the sailor
back to the harbour. We have not lost much in the Valley. It is our foremost
duty to save at least what is left and forget whatever happened. This should
be our greatest 'Jehad' (religious crusade). We have seen during the last
few years the havoc played by the gun but inspite of our best of efforts,
our efforts yielded nothing. Why? Because we took 'Jehad' as acts of terrorism.
We were motivated in the name of 'Jehad' but we realized soon that it was
an effort to motivate the youth to join the secessionist movement for other
as early as July 1970, Maqbool Ahmed wrote in a long article in the daily
Chinar of Srinagar - in its issues of July 8 and 9, 1970 - "May God save
that crusade which has a mulla as its chief." The mullas' crusade was extended
credibility by the media, which willingly advanced the 'cause' of terrorists
and their mentors - in and outside the strife-torn Valley.