Table of Contents
   About the Author
   The Abdullah Dynasty
   A Journey into History
   Kashmiri Pandits
   The Myth of Negligence
   Mortgaged Media
   Siege by Scandal
   The 'Inhuman' Rights
   The Valley of Oddity
   This Happened to KPs
   Exaggerated Reporting

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir


Symbol of Unity




Kashmiryat - 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Another 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.

Some 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.

The 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.

The 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 or alliance.

Maududi 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 it there.

On 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.

But 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.

The 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.

When 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.

The 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.

It 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.

In 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."

He further lamented that despite the change in the country's leadership following the victory of the Janata Party, "the Kashmir dispute remained unresolved."

Earlier 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?"

In 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.

The 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.

In 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 voters.

Earlier, 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.

In 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.

The 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 in l982.

In 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.

The 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.

In 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.

The 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 manifold.

The 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 the Valley.

All 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.

In 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.

However, 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 truck burnt.

Soon 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.

The 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.

Discussing 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.

"In 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.

But 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.

"With 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.

"With 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.

"Mullaism, 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.

"The 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 traders).

"Even 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.

"The 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.

"The 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.

"This 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".

Talking 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).

In 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 designs".

Even 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.

Crescent over Kashmir



Facebook Account Follow us and get Koshur Updates Video clips Image Gallery

 | Home | Copyrights | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Credits | Site Map | LinksContact Us |

Any content available on this site should NOT be copied or reproduced

in any form or context without the written permission of KPN.

World Kashmiri Pandit Conference 1993 Panun Kashmir
... Click here for more video clips ...