The snow laden peaks of the eternal mountains laid upon by the hand of god on a velvet green carpet of grass studded with serene lakes and shaped by hasty torrents have inspired many a imaginative folks to say something about them. But alas! They have always fallen short of words….for no words can describe the beauty of Kashmir. The valley of Kashmir is indeed the most beautiful creation of the creator, if there is any. What makes me doubt his existence is the fact that the wind of Kashmir, which was meant to be dancing ballets over saffron fields scattering its fragrance all over the eternity, now reeks of blood.
English: Sir Hari Singh Bahadur (1895-1961), Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, 1920. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The fragrance of saffron has long been replaced by the stench of gunpowder. The valley of flowers is now studded with landmines. At a place where life was meant to be dancing, it crawls in the streets, under the shadow of rifles and howitzers. This is not the way Kashmir was meant to be.
Ever since Kashmir started to exist, it has been a dreamland. The Hindu myths say that it was initially a lake surrounded by the Himalayas. The grandson of Brahma, the sage Kashyap, drained the lake by cutting a gap in hills of Varahamoola ( Barramula). Since then, it has been an abode to those who have tried to find internal solace and peace. The solitude of mountains have seduced many a rulers of the scorching mainland India to the exotic beauty of Kashmir. Emperor Jahangir preferred to loose his heart to Kashmir rather than to his queen. Later, the fair skinned Sahibs and Mam-Sahibs threw their majestic balls and invented things like the Burra Peg and Chotta Peg (of course of the cellar vines) and Masheer cutlets.
What destroyed Kashmir was the wretched ambition of its ruler at the time of independence of India
. Kashmir, due to its population with Muslim majority, was expected to join Pakistan. In fact, Jinnah, who was suffering from TB at that time, had in his plans to take a few days’ rest in the valley, as he was quite sure that Kashmir was coming to Pakistan. The shock came when his letter seeking permission of the King Hari Singh
to enter the vale was refused by the king. Hari Singh was determined to rule on a Kashmir free from both India and Pakistan. He could not tolerate Jinnah in Kashmir even as a tourist.
A furious Jinnah rushed to the premiers of Pakistan army to sort out a way to pressurize the Rajah to join Pakistan. The Generals came up with a furious plan…to hire the tribal Pathans of Afganistan border, a clan infamous for its savageness. So a propaganda was run out encouraging the tribals to fight to rescue their Muslim brothers perishing under the Hindu rule of Kashmir. Side by side, the Muslim troops of king’s army were also to revolt.
The tribals entered Kashmir in night, 22nd of October, 1947. The Maharajah’s troops revolted….and and a 135 miles long unprotected road was the only thing which separated Shrinagar from the Pathans.
But the Pakistani strategists had already made a serious mistake. Had they hired any clan other than the Pathans, Kashmir would have been theirs. These Pathans were direct descendants of the most infamous and savage looters of human history, the likes of Ghajnavi and Ahmed Shah Abdali
. When they entered the prosperous bazaars of Mujjaffarabad, and confronted the famous beauty of Kasmhiri girls, the looter and the animal inside them arose. They raped every girl they could find and snatched every valuable thing they could snatch. The Pakistani Generals tried fruitlessly to make them advance towards Srinagar….it was lost.
Fortunately, there was still a telephone line working between India and Pakistan of which the Pakistani officials did not know. Forty eight hours after the intrusion, Maj-Gen Douglas Gracey
, of the Pakistani side was intimated for the first time about the intrusion. He was dumbstruck…and he did not hesitate. Using that very private line, he immediately called the Commander- in- Chief of Indian Army, Sir Robert Lockheart. Locheart, following ‘trust no one’ policy, called two poeple, both of them English- Gov. Gen. Lord Mountbatten and Field Marshal Auchinleck
For Indian action, wait for the next part…