My Life in Kashmir III

In the 1940s, every year there used to be a quarrel between Hindus and Muslims on Janam Ashtami [Hindu festival] and Miladun Nabi [Muslim festival] but the matter used to be clear within a week or so. The mischief was often started by the Sevak Sang …

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In the 1940s, every year there used to be a quarrel between Hindus and Muslims on Janam Ashtami [Hindu festival] and Miladun Nabi [Muslim festival] but the matter used to be clear within a week or so. The mischief was often started by the Sevak Sang (a Hindu militant political party) trained youth. Activities of Sevak Sang became more hectic with onset of 1947.

I was studying in an English medium school named Model Academy where duration of study for Junior Cambridge was 9 years (including 2 years of nursery) and another 2 years for the Senior Cambridge. In March 1947, I was in 2nd year after nursery when the school closed.

When the creation of Pakistan became sure, hatred could be noted on faces of some Brahmin Hindus. We had one Brahmin, Rambeer, in our class who was a member of Sevak Sang. I had seen him practicing Gatka (wooden replica of sword) and fight with Balum. (Balum is a long wooden rod fitted on one end with a twin-edged large dagger shaped steel piece). Final decision about independence was announced in March 1947. Next day Rambeer passing by me accompanied by a classmate, Keerti Kumar, abused Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah [founder of Pakistan]. On asking him not to do that, he took out a knife. I stood there and he tore my coat from behind with knife and went away after threatening me. He was taller, stronger and 3 years older than me. Two days later, our teacher had not come and we were waiting for a substitute teacher, when Keerti Kumar abused Muslims. On asking him to shut up, he jumped on me saying, “We will kill you Muslims and there will be no Pakistan.” I retaliated and gave him a bloody nose. Other students kept shouting “stop it” but no one intervened. After seeing blood on my shirt, a Muslim and a Sikh student separated us. Our class comprised 6 girls (one Muslim, 4 Hindu, one Christian) and 14 boys (6 Muslim, one Sikh, 7 Hindus). Later, the girls reported the matter to the Principal, who was a non-Brahmin Hindu, who held inquiry personally. All the girls, and 5 Muslim, one Sikh and one Hindu boy favoured me while Rambeer and another Hindu boy favoured Keerti Kumar. When pressed by the Principal, Keerti Kumar divulged that Rambeer had instigated him and that two days back Rambeer had cut Ajmal’s coat with knife and had threatened him. Consequently, both were suspended. My academic record at school was good and I had never quarreled before. A few days later, a quarrel took place outside the school between Hindu and Muslim students of higher class and a boy was injured. Consequently, the school was closed.

Next in this series here.

Author: Ajmal

Zack's Dad, blogger, retired Engineer