Table of Contents
   Index
   About the Author
   Preface
   Foreword
 KASHMIR: PAST
   Kashmiri Hindus: Origin ...
   Sultan Zain-ul-abidin
   The Sayyids as Oppressors
   Chak Fanatics
   The Mughals
   The Afghans
   Sikh Rule
   Dogra Rule
 KASHMIR: PRESENT
   Post-1947 Scenario
   Jammu and Ladakh ...
   Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad
   Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq
   Sayyed Mir Qasim
   Sheikh Abdullah Sows Seeds ...
   Farooq Abdullah ...
   Ghulam Mohammad Shah ...
   Rajiv-Farooq Accord
   Proxy War Declared
   Muslim Fundamentalism
   Terrible Plight of Minorities 
   13th November, 1991
   Epilogue
   Appendix
   Download Book 

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

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Symbol of Unity

 
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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Sayyed Mir Qasim

With the demise of G.M. Sadiq, it was Mir Qasim who took over the reins
Mir Qasim
government in December 1971. In the very life-time of G.M. Sadiq he tried to dislodge him from the seat of power, but could not succeed in face of Mrs. Gandhi's rebuff to him and all his supporters demanding a change of leadership in the state. Mir Qasim could not abandon the Congress mantle, but continued to be in the party. His relations with the Chief Minister were not very cordial after his attempt at staging a coup against him.

Mir Qasim had leftist leanings. He was connected with the Communist Party of Kashmir, which had arranged for his studies at the Aligarh Muslim University and even financed him till he completed his studies. 1 He started his career as the Personal Assistant of Mirza Afzal Beg, who beat all records of sectarian and communal politics. Having come into contact with him. Qasim's leftist orientation melted away. He joined the band-wagon of all National Conference leaders, who were all through rooted in the visceral hatred of the Kashmirian Hindus. He was the same Congressite like many others, oriented the Muslim way, working for sectarian ends, with the Muslim interests close to his heart.

The Kashmirian Hindus having been bereft of large chunks of land without compensation were subjected to another swoop when Mir Qasim as the head of the Congress regime snatched small holdings from them fixing nominal compensation which too was misappropriated and eaten away by the Islamised revenue hierarchy. To benefit the neo-rich peasant, the legislation was so sectarian and unjust that in case the government acquired a portion of land in public interest, the compensation was to be paid not to the owner of the land, but to the tenant, who was a Muslim.

Mir Qasim continued with the discriminatory policies of the previous governments of all hues. He, in fact, added new chapters to the book of discrimination against the Hindus by initiating moves and measures smacking of blatant communalism The 70% reservation for the Kashmirian Muslims 2 was meticulously stuck to, but 30% reservations for the Kashmirian Hindus were eroded only to benefit the Muslim majority. The admission of the Hindu brights to multifarious study proerammes and professional trainings were trimmed to incredible limits. Despite incredible rise in the standard of life and living of the Muslims in general, Mir Qasim conformed to the thesis of his Muslim predecessors that they were all backward and bereft and hence needed all concessions. subsidies and aids only to ameliorate their lot

Mir Qasim as the head of the Congress regime was identified with corruption and nepotism. The entire supply of eggs to the city of Srinagar was diverted to the site where his mansion was under construction in a posh colony of the city of Srinagar. All his near and remote relations are on key positions, not because of their unassailable academic achievements, but because of the political clout they wielded.

Mir Qasim followed the foot-prints of his predecessors, who shamelessly exhorted the Muslim Congressites not to sponsor the cases of the Kashmirian Hindus for a transfer to a nearby village or locality, for a job slot in the government, for long-term loans from a bank or a co-operative society or for any other such relief.3 Disillusioned and dismayed, they abandoned all pretensions to secular thinking and conduct assuming the same role-model that was played by other rabid Muslim elements assiduously working for a communal divide right at the grass-root level. This is how the top Congress leader sowed the seeds of religious discord and religious hatred leading to the undermining of the secular value structure.

Mir Qasim was no different stuff from many others, who were deeply rooted in antipathy and hatred towards the Kashmirian Hindus. He leapt to hear a Muslim and moved earth and sky to solve his problem. What his attitude unto the Kashmirian Hindus was stands illustrated by the instance of a teacher, a Hindu, an M.Com, B.Ed. who was appointed on adhoc basis as a lecturer in teaching of commerce by the Principal, College of Education, Srinagar. The post was referred to the State Public Service Commission, which has the history of changing gold into dross and dross into gold. As expected, a Muslim, M.Com, was recommended for the post and government orders were issued.

The Principal of the college did not allow the lecturer to join the post on the plea that he had no diploma in teaching, and in the college, methods and not the subject of commerce were to be taught. Meanwhile a deputation comprising Hindus and Muslims called on Mir Qasim, who was sitting in his bed-room and pulling at a hukka in a rustic fashion. The entire gamut of the problem was lucidly explained to him. Mir Qasim was curious to learn the name of the person appointed to the post and the delegation cautious enough not to reveal the name. The Chief Minister repeatedly asked about he name of the person appointed to the post and the delegation members assiduously concealing it. Revealing his mind, Mir Qasim, a Congressite and minister in Sadiq's regime, openly said that if the person appointed was a Muslim, he could not help them. The Hindu teacher was very well known to Mir Qasim and had taught all children in the family including Qasim's spouse.4

Such were the secular credentials of Mir Qasim, who vied with the Congress and rose to be the Chief Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In word and deed, he smacked of communalism and sectarian politics. There are instances galore to establish how blatantly he worked to side-line the Kashmirian Hindus only to leave them high and dry. They were the same Hindus who had rallied under the banner of Democratic National Conference, which was treacherously blasted leaving the top leader of the stature of Late Moti Lal Misri in wilderness, frustrated and betrayed. Mr. Misri was the hero of 1947, a stormy petrel, a brilliant thinker and writer. It will be pertinent to put that he was the ghost writer for Mir Qasim in the exchange of letters, which he had with Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

Mir Qasim played quite a dirty role in the Kashmiri Pandit Agitation which was the spontaneous reaction and resentment against the Islamised police force presided over by the people donning Congress mantle. He took it as a simple case of elopement resulting in marriage. A Muslim girl from Bhaderwah had also eloped with a Hindu boy. How was she recovered and returned to the care of her parents ? How do Muslims of all hues assume a uniform pattern of behaviour when it is the case of a Hindu girl even though kidnapped by a Muslim criminal ? Qasim's hands are soiled in the blood of the innocent lives which were lost in communal frenzy generated by men in corridors of power. The Kashmirian Hindus were protesting and agitating non-violently and they were arrested under Defence of India Rules.5 They were given an inhuman treatment bordering on barbarity. The Congress lumpens in collusion with the rabid Muslims threw acid on the Kashmirian Hindu women, protesting against the police barbarities. Where was Qasim ? In fact, he had already switched over his loyalties to the communalists masquerading as Plebiscite Fronters, who had started making inroads into the state set-up.

G.M. Sadiq and Mir Qasim keen to perpetuate their personal rule in the state did not spare even D.P. Dhar, who was their life-breath and invested their political ventures with direction and strategy. He was the sentinel of the Indian security guarding the Indian interests at every step. His sterling qualities as a strategist became known when he put down the uprising following the dismissal of the Sheikh in 1953. He saved Sadiq Government from getting toppled when Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad had the go-ahead signal from the majority of the legislature members. He was the fulcrum of the Democratic National Conference highlighting secular and democratic agenda. At the behest of Pandit Nehru, the Democratic National Conference was wound up to the detriment of the new forces emerging and unfolding with a renewed political agenda for the entire state.

Though the agitatmg Hindus were deadset against D.P. Dhar, yet he was not for unleashing a reign of terror against them. That fruitful dialogue directed to the resolution of the thorny problem was what he stressed and highlighted. Despite all hurdles he maintained links with the Kashmirian Pandit leadership. He could not be kept at bay like Pandit Shiv Narayan Fotedar, an accredited leader of the Kashmirian Hindus holding the chairmanship of the Legislative Council.

D.P. Dhar's constant dialogue with the Hindu agitationists was misconstrued as hbnobbing with them only to keep up the tempo of the agitation. Losing his cool and balance Mir Qasim is reported to have labelled D.P. Dhar as a communalist forgetting that the nomenclature sat well only on him and men of his ilk.

D.P. Dhar's role unto the Kashmirian Hindu community was not savoured well by most of the Hindus, who levelled many an accusation at his doors and despite it, he had to face the Muslim hatred and was more often than not subjected to mortification and scornful insolence. He ushered in a golden era in the field of education when he had the portfolio with him. It was immediately snatched away from him when he dared call an explanation from Mrs. Sajjida Zamir Shah, sister-in-law of Miss Mahmooda Ahmad Ali Shah, the virtual ruler of the state in Sadiq's time, for not allowing a Kashmirian Hindu girl to join her college despite formal government orders. The Home Department was also-snatched away trom him at the behest of a near relation of G.M. Sadiq. Rooted in the hate-syndrome of the Kashmirian Hindus, the Muslim Congressites finally led to his exit from the political scene of Kashmir only to emerge as the dazzling star in the firmament of the Indian politics. Tle farewell arranged in honour of D. P. Dhar in the Emporium Garden, Srinagar was the hall-mark of the Muslim hatred unto the Kashmirian Hindus of all hues. A barrage of disrespect, humiliation and contumely was let loose on him. He was denounced as an IB. Agent as if he had been an agent of a foreign power. D. P. Dhar was made the butt of scathing criticism even by Sheikh Abdullah, who hated him the most for his integrative policies.

Mir Qasim played a treacherous role by mis-informing Mrs. Indira Gandhi about the change of heart that Sheikh and Beg had undergone. The crux of his intent was only to abdicate in favour of the secessionists and separatists. By paving way for the Muslim vacillators, Mir Qasim identified himself with the forces of disintegration and disunity thereby destabilising the entire state fraught with tremendous perils for the total polity of India. Sheikh Abdullah and Mirza Afzal Beg never reconciled to the merger of the state with India. No autonomy as guaranteed under Article 370 could satisfy them. Their inner mativations were only to capture power willy nilly and convert it into an instrument for dissemination of secession and disintegration by rousing and fuelling communal passions against what they called the Hindu India.

Qasim failed to measure the psyche of the two secessionists, who in their vengefulness, were out to communalise the entire polity of Kashmir leading to deeper repercussions on the Indian fabric. The process of 'normalisation' and 'democratisation' had already allowed freedom to secessionists and communalists to sneak into the state administrative setup. The Jamat-i-Islami also earned Qasim's patronage enabling it to gain political credibility by getting five seats in the legislative assembly. What ensued with the in-coming of Sheikh was total reversal of his earlier commitments to secularism, democracy equal rights for all irrespective of religious and creedal differences. Qasim termed the transfer of power as a new deal for the state.6 What exactly came out of the deal was only fostering of regional chauvinism with perceptible overtones of communalism. The Congress as an All India Party was uprooted from the state 7 and Sheikh had been all along opposing Sadiq and Qasim for introducing Congress into the political life of Kashmirians.

Notes and References

1. Interview with P. N. Jalali and Brij Lal Koul, two veteran communists of Kashmir and freedom fighters.  2. Government order defining the sharing of services and admissions issued by G. M. Sadiq, Minister of Education, J & K Government.  3. Interview with Rishi Dev, veteran Congress leader.  4. Interview with Prof. R.L. Thussoo.  5. Wail Of the Vale, issued by the Hindu Action Committee.  6. Qasim-lndira Correspondence.  7. lbid.  8. Sheikh Abdullah, Aatish-e-Chinar.

Kashmir: Past and Present

 

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