Monday, 2 September 2013

Neela Butt yatra and ideology of an independent Kashmir, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Neela Butt yatra and ideology of an independent Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry         02 September 2013

Recently a President of one Kashmiri party which ironically claims to be a ‘nationalist’ party; and which happens to be in many groups (and each group claims to be a true follower of Maqbool Butt and working for the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir), visited a place called Neela Butt in Pakistani Administered Kashmir to attend a ceremony associated with Neela Butt and made a speech there. He was criticised in the social media and in print media for this action, as many thought it was a political somersault and back stabbing of the true ideology of an independent Jammu and Kashmir.

Many true Kashmiri nationalists challenge nationalist credentials of this party, as they believe the top leadership of this party has a long history of colluding with secret agencies of the countries that occupy Jammu and Kashmir. Both top leaders, at one time, accused each other for working for the secret agencies of India and Pakistan.

Anyhow, after the Neela Butt yatra the President of this party came under fire. Some members with conscience in protest resigned from the party; and some others acknowledged that it was a political blunder. However, in line with this party’s tradition to defend its blunders, some stalwarts with tunnel vision and blind following came to defend the party President by saying that the previous Chairman Sardar Saghir also attended similar seminars, so there was nothing wrong with that.

In view of political analysts this is another blunder. It was best to remain quiet. By saying that the previous Chairman of this party also attended similar functions prove that there is a serious flaw in the ideology and strategy of this party. It is like saying that Mr ‘B’ has stolen something because before him Mr ‘A’ did the same thing. How does it diminish the crime of Mr ‘B’? As the saying goes two wrongs don’t make one right. Wrong is wrong, stealing of Mr ‘B’ is a crime, so is the stealing of Mr ‘A’; and Mr ‘B’ should not get less punishment just because before him Mr ‘A’ also stole something.

Now let us look at what Neela Butt signifies and what damage has been caused to the cause of an independent struggle and its ideology of a democratic and secular society. Rightly or wrongly Neela Butt is remembered as a place where Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan, ardent supporter of the ideology of accession to Pakistan who claims to be ‘unpaid soldier of Pakistan’ shot the first bullet to start his ‘jihad’ against the Ruler of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and to make Jammu and Kashmir part of Pakistan.

Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan was a soldier in the Maharaja army, so he betrayed his oath by rebelling against the Ruler of the State. He conspired to make Jammu and Kashmir part of Pakistan because of the religious affinity. He and his colleagues attacked and killed non - Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir because of religious differences and promoted religious intolerance. They also invited savage tribesmen from Pakistan to attack Jammu and Kashmir. These tribesmen with help of Pakistani officials attacked Jammu and Kashmir territory and killed innocent Kashmiri people, pillaged and destroyed houses and shops, raped and kidnapped Kashmiri women and took them to Pakistan.

Neela Butt signifies all the above and much more. Every year Sardar Abdul Qayyum and his party commemorate the ‘great achievement’, as explained above and fool people in name of religion, promote violence, religious hatred and above all propagate against independence and national identity of Jammu and Kashmir.

How can true nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir forget that Sardar Abdul Qayyum called Maqbool Butt a ‘bank robber, a dacoit and a killer (daku, chor and qatil)? Also he called Maqbool Butt and his followers ‘Indian agents’; and continually opposed Maqbool Butt and his followers and promoted hatred against them.
Furthermore, he called people of Mirpur who adhered to the ideology of an independent Jammu and Kashmir as illegitimate – jahrioon ke paidaish. And despite this hostile, aggressive and full of hate background which is known to all nationalists some people with ‘nationalist’ hat on their heads proudly went to the Neela Butt and defend it as well.

Meeting Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan and or his son, Sardar Atiq Khan is no crime. Even sharing a platform is acceptable, for example, if there was a meeting to discuss plight of the Mangla Dam who were uprooted to meet energy and water requirements of Pakistan. Or if there was a meeting to discuss problems of ordinary people, there is no problem in becoming part of such meeting.

However, taking part in a public meeting to commemorate the ‘great achievement’ associated with Neela Butt is a unpardonable national crime, as it tacitly confirms everything Sardar Abdul Qayyum and his people did on that day and continue to do. Attending and supporting the Neela Butt function confirms that:

1.      Sardar Abdul Qayyum’s ideology of accession to Pakistan is true and ultimate destination of the Kashmiri people is Pakistan;
2.      His betrayal of his oath and rebellion against the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir was correct;
3.      Sardar Abdul Qayyum and his colleagues’ attack on non – Muslims and killing them, and subsequent burning of houses and looting was not a crime;
4.      Muslim Conference leaders’ invitation to the Tribesman to attack Jammu and Kashmir and subsequent killing, looting, raping and kidnapping of women was not wrong;
5.      Whatever he and his followers said about Maqbool Butt and his followers was true;
6.      Various Muslim Conference leaders’ and workers’ promotion of hate, sectarianism and violence which had its roots to the Neela Butt incident is also justified.

We all make mistakes, and people in the public life also make mistakes. What is important is our response to our mistakes. Good people acknowledge their mistakes, learn from them and try to rectify the damage caused. Bad people on the other hand, take pride in their bad deeds, show stubbornness and go out of their way to justify what they did.

If new yatries of Neela Butt don’t want to acknowledge their mistake, it doesn’t surprise Kashmir watchers, as this is an established tradition of their political guru, who despite big blunders which brought death, destruction and misery to the people of Jammu and Kashmir never accepted any liability. Only thing he acknowledged in his autobiography was that he closely worked with secret agencies of Pakistan- a country that also occupies territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Islamic scholars say, technically Prophet Adam also made a ‘mistake’ by eating the forbidden fruit. He was ashamed of his ‘mistake’ and asked the Almighty Allah SWT for His forgiveness, which was granted. The Satan also made a mistake by not accepting the command of the Almighty. However, unlike Prophet Adam, he refused to acknowledge his mistake and tried to justify his wrong action.

These two distinct and opposing behaviours characterise our attitude and response to our mistakes, and how we conduct ourselves when we make mistakes. May Allah SWT keep us on the right path, give us courage to accept our mistakes, rectify the damage caused and do such deeds that promote peace, love and harmony among the people of different faiths and sects.
Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir 

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