My Life in Kashmir IV

Initially, Muslim majority provinces were to form Pakistan and the rest India. States were to decide their future according to wishes of their people. Baluchistan, Sind, NWFP, Punjab and Bengal were Muslim majority provinces. It was decided to divide Punjab and Bengal …

See Zack’s note about this series. It also has an index of this series.

Initially, Muslim majority provinces were to form Pakistan and the rest India. States were to decide their future according to wishes of their people. Baluchistan, Sind, NWFP, Punjab and Bengal were Muslim majority provinces. It was decided to divide Punjab and Bengal on district basis. The state of Kashmir was overwhelmingly Muslim. See this post for the population figures according to religion. In Jammu town, Muslims were a minority. Muslim population areas in Jammu town were (1) Khalka mohallah (Khalka means at comparatively lower altitude) (2) Ustad da mohallah (3) Pthanan da mohallah. (Air Marshal (Retd) Asghar Khan [Chief of Pakistan Air Force and politician in later years] lived in Pthanan da mohallah). Khalka mohallah was much larger than the other two combined. We lived at an edge of this mohallah at a T-junction of roads. The diagonally opposite houses were of Brahmins. I had heard them some of cursing Muslims. I did not go to that area during 1947.

Rawalpindi, Jehlum, Sialkot and Gurdaspur touched the state and were Muslim majority districts, and the state being overwhelmingly Muslim, the Muslims of the state were sure to be a part of Pakistan. Muslims of Jammu used to take out processions. Once small children were included in the procession including me. The slogans used to be “Lay kay rahain gay Pakistan” [We will get Pakistan], “Bun kay rahay ga Pakistan” [Pakistan will be founded], “What do you want ? Pakistan”, “Pakistan ka matlab kia ? La ilaha il-Allah” [The meaning of Pakistan? There’s no god except God]. During July 1947, Muslims of the state passed “Accession to Pakistan Resolution” and 14th August, 1947 [the date of the founding of Pakistan] was celebrated with immense joy. On my wish, my grandfather hoisted a large Pakistan flag on top of our two-storey house using steel pipe 32 ft tall.

Boundary line of Pakistan and India in Punjab was not announced till 14th August, 1947. In the final boundary commission award, district Gurdaspur was divided which provided India with a clear land passage to Jammu.

After announcement of division of Gurdaspur, Nehru, Patel and another Congress leader reached Jammu and started pressing Maharaja Hari Singh to declare accession to India. They went back after 3 or 4 days without any formal announcement. Soon after, Indian army started forced landing in Jammu. Also, militant wings of political parties of India (Sevak Sang, Maha Sabha and Akali Dal) started entering Jammu in large numbers with Balums, daggers, swords, rifles, etc. under the protection of intruding Indian army.

It was announced in Jammu that all people must deposit everything that could be used as a weapon. After a few days, a search of houses of Muslims was conducted and even domestic knives of over 4 inch blade were confiscated while Hindus and Sikhs wandered around carrying all types of weapons.

With the start of October 1947, killing of Muslims in the villages had started. We saw villages on fire from top of our house. The number of villages on fire increased as the days passed. On sighting the moon of Zil-Hajj [the Islamic month in which Haj is performed and animals sacrificed on Eid in commemoration of Abraham’s offer of sacrifice of his son], rumors spread, “Pehlay Muslay qurbani kartay thay, iss Eid per hum Muslon ki qurbani karain gay” [In previous years, Muslims used to sacrifice animals; this year, we’ll sacrifice Muslims]. A few days later, curfew was imposed on the city and attacks on scattered houses of Muslims within the Hindu areas of city started. News of Muslims being killed or injured started pouring in but nobody could go out to assist anybody due to curfew which was being supervised by the army.

One night, roar of machine gun fire was heard coming from two sides of our house. Target was our house because my grand father used to finance Muslim Conference [a political party of Kashmir] and that the large and high flag of Pakistan was still fluttering on our housetop. There were shouts of Muslims raising slogans “Nara-i-Takbeer – Allah-o-Akbar” [God is great] and “Pakistan zindabad” [Long live Pakistan]. Next morning, one of our tenants for over a decade (a Brahmin Hindu) came to our house with a bucket of milk and gave it to our aunt saying, “I thought that milk from your lands may have not arrived. So, I have brought it of my own cow for the children.” None of us was in a mood to drink milk or even eat anything. Next morning, my aunt threw the milk in the drain outside the house. A cat came and drank some milk. After few minutes we heard some strange voice. We rushed to the door and saw the cat dying.

Next in the series here.

Author: Ajmal

Zack's Dad, blogger, retired Engineer

7 thoughts on “My Life in Kashmir IV”

  1. oh my, its quite one thing to see the re-enactment in movies and another to see/hear one’s parents telling their memories. it is very important though, for the accounts to be passed on… not so the hate is spread from generation to generation, but so that each generation learns from the mistakes of previous ones.

    cant wait for the rest of the series.

  2. Barsaat:Thanks and you are absolutely correct.

    yasmine: Today’s post (#5) came out a day early because we obviously don’t want you to die of suspense 🙂

  3. OOOh my GOD ! I cant belive this .
    I at first had read these sort of things in stories and i thought that they are just fictional…
    i couldnt belive this…
    Thanks Alot Ajmal Sahib.
    Why dont you publish you thoughts ?

  4. Zack, you must be very proud of your father and your background. What an incredible history! I am amazed and touched. Your father is a very brave man. I am looking forward to the rest of the story.

Comments are closed.