By: Zafar Sultan
The present attempt primarily addresses the responses which my last article: the Kashmir saga and solidarity day, elicited, especially from the Indian Occupied Kashmir. It did not come as a shock that many (otherwise) well-read and informed readers exhibited rather blithe unawareness vis- a -vis history of this very sensitive issue: Kashmir. In this regard, a meeting of Khurshid Hussan with Fatima Jinnah and her comments about teaching of history of Kashmir to next generations sound apropos to recall and relate here.
Yet again, an overwhelming majority of contemporary generation is (sadly) not aware of caliber of Khurshid Hussan Khurshid (1924 to 1988) and his contribution to Pakistan Movement and later to Kashmir cause. Khurshid Hussan Khurshid, commonly known as KH Khurshid, was a private secretory of Quaid -e -Azam. KH Khurshid was only 20 when Quaid – e –Azam, on his visit to Srinagar in 1944, chose him his private secretory, anticipating his exceptionally good abilities. Many might not know that Fatimah Jinnah would treat him (KH Khurshid) as his son and financially supported him to earn a degree in bar-at-law from Lincoln Inn. He served as president of AJK from 1959 to 1964, though Fatima Jinnah wanted him to stay in Karachi and continue to contribute, using Muslim League. Later apprehensions of Fatima Jinnah proved to be true and President Ayoub Khan threw him into infamous Dalai prison camp for questioning Operation Gibraltar, which is yet another saga of maltreating the iconic leaders in our country.
In October 1947, Quaid- e- Azam sent KH Khurshid to Jammu and Kashmir to play his part to prepare grounds for the state to accede to Pakistan. But, he was arrested and jailed in Srinagar by Indian government which deeply perturbed Quaid –e- Azam, subsequently prompting him to write to Pandit Nehru to release KH Khurshid. Later in 1949, he was repatriated in a prisoner exchange of Brigadier Ghansara Singh Jamwal, the last governor of Gilgit. It is widely believed that Quaid once specified: Pakistan was made by him, KH Khurshid and his typewriter. Such was the incredibly significant contribution and credence of KH Khurshid in creation of Pakistan.
But how many in AJK| and Pakistan really know about this brilliant frontrunner and his contribution? Perhaps, not many. In early 1980s, KH Khurshid was staying in Flashman Hotel, Rawalpindi where he welcomed one of his acquaintances who handed over some gifts sent to him from England. Wrapped in a Gilgiti Gown, KH Khurshid received the gifts and remarked that people of Pakistan gave him
immense regard and love. In the meeting, Khurshid recollected his conversation with Fatima Jinnah in Karachi during which she asked KH Khurshid about the number of chapters on history of Kashmir in the syllabus being followed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Expressing utter dismay and total helplessness, Khurshid confided that Kashmir did not have any indigenous syllabus; instead, the schools and colleges were following the syllabus of Lahore Board.
Deeply appalled, Fatimah Jinnah feared: how would generations of Kashmir be able to stay connected with history of Kashmir and carry on the struggle to win freedom. Heaving a deep sigh, Fatima Jinnah drew a prudent analogy, warning that next generations of Kashmir would be akin to handing over a loaded gun to a blindfolded solider. Slightly perturbed by any danger around that soldier would pull the trigger, killing even his own kith and kin. One must appreciate the political acumen and farsightedness of Fatima Jinnah. A cursory look at our present generation in AJK and Pakistan, appears to verify the apprehension foreseen and highlighted by Fatima Jinnah in 1960s.
In the same meeting, Fatima Jinnah also recalled one of her meetings with Sardar Ibrahim Khan, the first president of AJK, in which she asked him to focus on the education of women in AJK. But, according to Fatima Jinnah, Sardar Ibrahim showed gross indifference to that suggestion. Sensing value of education for women, Fatima Jinnah help establish a high school for girls in Dhirkot (AJK), using her personal sources and influence.
For many readers, the mention of Zilchu Khan, Mehr Gul and Achal Mangal came as a startling exposé; so, it is significant to leaf through the pages of history and revisit the gory criminalities committed by these notoriously barbaric invaders. Zilchu Khan, a Tartar, invaded Kashmir with seventy thousand ferocious soldiers (in 1323) during reign of Raja Sehduve, descending down Pameer.He killed wantonly and pillaged wealth and cereal. Many people from escaped to mountains and saved their lives. Zilchu Khan burnt the cereal, thereby suffocating the chances of survival for remaining inhabitants. Later, he chained around fifty thousand prisoner including women and headed back to his country through Neelum Valley where a severe avalanche buried them all.
Yet another brutal ruler, Mehr Gul Hun (375 to 426 AD) who has been buried in pages of history, invaded Kashmir during rule of Raja Asvarak. He massacred heartlessly, slew scores of Buddhists and devastated their viharas, chaityas, stupas, wats and pagodas. He also destroyed Buddhist universities, killed teachers and students. He would brag that his wishes were law and his sword was the court. His brutalities have been recorded in Raj Tarangini, Tareekhe Kashmir and Tareekhe Hassan. He was dreaded as Tri Kouta, killer of three hundred thousand. Pandit Kalahan (in Raj Tarangini) termed him as the unmatchable killer ever recorded in History. One wonders how students of history can forget such a wanton killer of Kashmiris. The unfortunate people of Kashmir also experienced outright barbarity at the hands of Raja Achal Mangal (1027 to 1063 AD) also assaulted Kashmir, unleashing bloodthirstiness. That nasty barbarian was defeated by Kota Rani (the last queen of Kashmir).She wrote letters to Rajputs of various states of Kashmir, provoking them to unite against the tyrannies of Achal Mangal: which he had exercised in Chitral. That emotional appeal truly worked, uniting warring
tribes against Achal Mangal, who was forced to flee, his army beaten and routed. Subsequently, he retreated to Gilgit Baltistan and founded a Patola Shahi Dynasty.
It is really important for all nations to get acquainted with its history and learn from the mistakes, devising a strategy to continue the struggle. In the case of Kashmir, the road to freedom is long, windy and awash with challenges, created by our people and the enemies (regional and international). In these trying times, our youth particularly needs to contribute to sacrifice and struggle, seeking guidance from real heroes of Pakistan Movement, in this case, from Fatima Jinnah and KH Khurshid.