Dr Bharti Gupta
The book “Swatantarta Sangram Mai Jammu Kashmir Ka Yogdaan” (Contribution of Jammu-Kashmir in Independence Struggle) is highly important in the present time as it bridges the gap in literature with respect to the independence struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The book picks up important dots of the history of J&K from ancient, medieval and modern time and connects them in a proper flow. To a novice it offers as a capsule of important historic information. The flow of the storyline comprising of 11 chapters published by a reputed publisher namely Vaani Prakashan keeps a reader glued to the book. For the enthusiasts of the history the book carries all the relevant information needed to be aware about the major landmark points of history. These dots are stimuli to the enthusiasts to go deeper into the context if desired by further readings.
The chapter one is on the Proud History of Jammu-Kashmir. There is reference to geographical areas of Jammu-kashmir being mentioned even in Ramayana and Mahabharata. The remains of Harappan civilisation are testimonial to the historic connection of this land. Jammu-Kashmir influenced others like Shankracharya due to the great personalities like Rishi Kashyapa, Vasugupt and Sharika Devi.
The chapter also mentions about the progressive profile of the place in terms of the advancement in the field of education as in ancient time in Jammu-Kashmir there were two universities namely Sharda Peeth and Bhadra Kashi. The places like Purmandal and Uttarbehni gets their mention in the scriptures like Purana. It emphasises that this land was birth place of many literary works like Neelmat Puran, Samaymartka, Rajtarangini, etc.
After the brief on ancient connection of the place the first chapter moves to the 19th century by throwing a brief light on how Gulab Singh became Raja Gulab Singh and thereafter Maharaja Gulab Singh followed by the transfer of power to his son Maharaja Ranveer Singh and then to Maharaja Pratap Singh.
The chapter two is on the Invasions by Foreign aggressors. The chapter details about the series of the invasions experienced by the Bharat. This was initiated by the first foreign attack from Iran by the Hakmani rulers in the 6th century B.C. followed by the Yunani’s attack lead by Sikander, then Shakas in the first century B.C., then by Huns and Arabs. This chapter emphasises upon the valor of Vikramaditya and Skandgupt in braving the odds of these attacks. Besides, the book also emphasize on the natives of Jammu-Kashmir like the prince Sangramraja, Raja Suraj Dev and his queen Neela and Raja Vikramdev.
The third chapter is on the Struggle of Mughal Era. This emphasises that on the role played by the native kings and heroes to keep the Mughals at bay. It entails about Banda Bahadur hailing from Rajouri. The chapter specially mentions about the braverly of Kokila Devi of Kishtwar who struggled with the army of Mughals.
The fourth chapter is on Interference of Britishers in Jammu-Kashmir and Resistance by the Kings. This chapter gives information on the Tataya Tope and his associates seeking hide out in Udhampur of Jammu-Kashmir. This chapter entails about the consistent resistance of Maharaja Gulab Singh, Maharaja Ranveer Singh and Maharaja Pratap Singh to the Britishers’ efforts for establishing British resident in Jammu-Kashmir. This chapter sheds light on the good rule and reforms of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh who acceded to throne on 23 September 1925. The chapter gives reference to the Great Game of Britishers under which they applied many pressure tactics upon Maharaja Hari Singh and augmented anti Dogra sentiments .
The Chapter five is on the Struggle of Jammu-Kashmir with Britishers. This particularly emphasises on the role of Dogra Sadar Sabha. The different instances of struggle suggest that the emotions of the masses were with the national spirit seeking independence from the Britishers. The chapter details on the role of youth of Jammu who were heroes of the time in the freedom struggle of India under the influence of national leaders like Gandhi and Lala Laj Patrai. Jammu-Kashmir was also not behind in freedom literature, Lala Mulkraj Saraf had started weekly newspaper namely Ranveer; There was Dogra Gajat too of Dogra Sadar Sabha.
It is a notable fact mentioned in the chapter that Bhagat Singh and his associates made Vedmandir, Jammu as one of the centres for freedom activities. The Maharaja’s army also participated in World War-II. After the war, those brave men also served in the Azad Hind Fauj of Subash Chander Bose and had faced atrocities inflicted on them as prisoner of wars. Besides, the brave hearts of Jammu-Kashmir also became part of freeing Goa from Portugal.
This chapter is the longest one and it opens eyes on how the people of Jammu-Kashmir were attached to the national struggle of Independence which has never been surfaced due to the over popularisation of the Quit Kashmir movement of Sheikh which was not a national struggle for independence but was initiated against the Dogra Hindu ruler to settle his own personal interests under the patronage of the national leadership of Nehru.
The chapter six on Maharaja Hari Singh and Accession of Jammu-Kashmir emphasises on how Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu-Kashmir had to pay alone the price of his being vocal on the side of India in the Round Table Conference at London in 1931 as a representative of the princely states participating in it. The book reveals that he was under tremendous pressure to merge with Pakistan by Britishers. It further shares that Maharaja bore alone the cost of not merging with Pakistan. The chapter reveals many facts pertaining to the conditions under which the instrument of accession was signed by Maharaja and about Nehru’s negotiation for transfer of his powers to Sheikh Abdullah.
The chapter seven is on Horrors of Partition and attack by Pakistan. This chapter reveals about the mischievous misadventure of Pakistan just after the partition of 1947 as it attacked Jammu-Kashmir on 22 October 1947 with the aim to annex Jammu-Kashmir. The chapter eulogizes the bravery of Brigadier Rajinder Singh and Brigadier Usman in defending the motherland.
The chapter eight is on Struggle against Terrorism. The preceding chapters sets in flow the events which contextualize the emergence of terrorism in Kashmir in 1989 and reveal the horrific atrocities faced by the people of the state due to terrorism which necessitated creating Village Defence Committees.
The chapter nine is on “Freedom is still half done”. This chapter focuses that India’s many religious landmark places are under illegal occupation of Pakistan. It emphasizes immediate need to merge POJK and COJK with India. This chapter also stresses upon the need to remember the sacrifices of the brave hearts who defended the boundaries of the motherland in varied times of aggressions and sets the tone for the next chapter number ten on One Step Forward towards Future. The tenth chapter entails about the inclusion of article 370 and 35 A in Indian constitution with its repercussions like development related policies could not be extended to Jammu-Kashmir; and moreover this also rejected many individuals of their basic rights. The partition based such provisions were always resisted by the nation loving people of Jammu-Kashmir. The chapter throws brief light on the contribution of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukerjee and Pandit Prem Nath Dogra in their struggle for the complete unionism of India. The chapter also leads to the event of 5th August 2019 when Central government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narender Modi repealed the article 370 and 35 A. The book focuses on the various benefits accrued to Jammu-Kashmir post repealing these constitutional hindrances in the complete immersion of Jammu-Kashmir with rest of India.
The chapter eleven is on Our Responsibility. In the context of the information of the sacrifices of the various brave hearts that made Jammu-Kashmir merge with its real destiny, this chapter brings awareness about what we owe to those who gave us our present existence in terms of our various responsibilities so that the future of India shines forever.
Overall the eleven chapters of the book bring to the surface a fact which has not been talked of or say marginalised and the fact is that the people of Jammu-Kashmir are nation loving people and to them their nation always mean the land having the same cultural affinity that was struggling under the Britishers for Independence. The revelation was not ever considered important as the focus of the earlier central governments always remained to appease and popularize a selected few for the sake of their political gains at the cost of the motherland. This is evident in the partition which India suffered in August 1947 and in the illegal occupation of the motherland as POJK and COJK. To correct these historic wrongs it is needed to strategize and to have political will and common will of the masses to get back the lost dignity by merging the lands. These eleven chapters are briefs of the history and the authors namely Virender Kondal, Sindu kapoor and Rasal Singh from University of Jammu, Cluster University of Jammu and Central University of Jammu respectively belonging to the elite class of literary genre can create further the voluminous details on each chapter for the history enthusiasts.
(The author is Assistant Professor, Central University of Jammu)
Dr Bharti Gupta