For most Indians beyond the state of Jammu and Kashmir [a] and its capital Srinagar is the origin of bad news – owing to acts of terrorism and alleged army excesses.
It is also bad news for the Hindu Pandits [b] – rendered refugees in their own nation and innocent Muslims of the valley – who have always voted to stay in India since elections began in this border state – in 1952.
The less said about the PDP-BJP coalition government in J & K – the better.
Families of Mohammad Iqbal (21) and Nayeem Qadir (23) – shot dead for protesting against the Indian Army for an alleged molestation of a local girl by soldiers will bury their dead in north Kashmir’s Handwara town in Kupwara district on this very day. It is an ironic twist to the centre’s confidence building measures in that border state. Immediate arrest, prosecution [or court martial if applicable] is the only way out.
Meanwhile, Pakistan plays its games of terrorism in this state in India – the only one with Muslim majority. The games are played in the border state of Punjab. The most recent was the Pathankot Terrorist Attack.
The publication date of this blog has a special significance.
April 13 – hardly remembered in India – is the anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre [circa 1919].
Official British records say 379 died and 1200 were wounded.
Eyewitnesses and independent sources aver that the death toll could have been well over 1000.
Late historian Bipin Chandra described the event thus: The brutality stunned the entire nation resulting in a wrenching loss of faith of the general public in the intentions of Britain. [Reference: India’s Struggle for Independence, Viking, 1988, page 166].
Several thousand soldiers have laid down their lives in the quest to defend India’s Kashmir territory.
The Sikhs form the majority of such martyrs.
Jallianwala Bagh is located virtually next door to the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, The Golden Temple in Amritsar.
India’s terrorism headaches begin with the letter – K. The first is Kashmir. The second is Khalistan. And the headaches are the hangover of the intoxication of 225 years’ illegal British colonial rule. Kashmir was bought and sold with Sikhs’ money in the 19th century. [c]
The headaches are being worsened every day from Pakistan. Kashmir, Pakistan has admitted, is being openly targeted through terrorism. Punjab is being short-changed through a mirage called Khalistan using, misusing and abusing misguided Sikh youths with the help of treacherous politicians based in Punjab.
It is also the Baisaakhi – an important day for the people of the Punjab. In Hindi, the word Baisaakhi means a crutch.
Truly, if India is limping due to security and terrorism wounds, the two crutches – cause and cure are located in Kashmir and Punjab.
The essay hereunder is a homage to the supreme sacrifices of the heroic people of Kashmir and Punjab whose faith in the majesty of the Indian Union continues to remain unchanged.
A Kashmiri local Muslim, an Indian reporter and a tough army major are captured by terrorists in Kashmir.
The ‘trial’ gets over swiftly.
A Jihadi prosecutor reads:
“Accused number 1 Mufti Inaayat Mansoor, despite being of local extraction, of pure Kashmiri blood has insulted the very soul of Kashmir-dom by cooperating with the police and supplying food to the army canteens.”
The judge asks the accused:
“Do you accept this charge?”
“I have not been given any opportunity of defending myself with a Jihadi lawyer,” the Mufti protests.
“Such stupidity is being indulged into only by the Indian government. Here, in this free, liberated realm of Kashmir, sadly a miniscule part of the large kingdom, we do things differently and do not waste time on silly niceties. We have all the records here – photographs of you with senior police officials on the occasion of your son’s engagement in Pulwama and carbon copies of the bills raised to supply food to the army canteen by you. And one of the other accused – a traitor journalist who has also been accused of treason in this court and is awaiting trial has provided irrefutable evidence against you. Accused number 2 and Prosecution Witness number 1 Gul Mohammad Lone, a journalist for an Indian television kennel, do you or do you not endorse the prosecution charge that Accused number 1 Mufti Inaayat Mansoor is a lap-dog of the local police that also wags its tail whenever the army flings the odd bone towards him? Please remember that your failure to endorse the charge can result in your summary execution now and the execution of wife and children after torture later.”
“I object to the use of the word kennel for my channel and the cursing of an honest fellow Kashmiri citizen as a cur. Nonetheless, to be on the fair side, Inaayat Mansoor is a friend of the police and has been seen supplying food to the Indian army that cruelly guns down Kashmiri citizens like dogs in the streets. Though I hate to admit it, I would honestly say the charges are proven.”
“Do you have anything else to say in your defence, Accused 1?”
“No your worship, allow me to plead guilty to wash my sins and also thereby ensuring my family is not harmed in future.”
“We are not barbarians like Indians. So, we grant you one single wish … before parading you naked in the streets of Srinagar before being beheaded publicly in the quadrangle outside Shankaracharya1.” That act will send a chill down the spine of all Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities. Tell us your wish, you piglet!”
“O justice personified! I am a Wazwan2 foodie. Grant me my wish to taste the best Gustaba3 cooked the traditional way … because my wife always over-cooks it at home. I have no other wish than lay down my life in the cause of Kashmir with a fervent prayer to the Almighty Allah that I may be forgiven for the sins of having betrayed the true soldiers of Islam by being good to the Indian police and earning money by being one of the suppliers to the Indian army.”
Jihadi judge [to the prosecutor]:
“This man seems to be contrite in his apology. Would you recommend a pardon for him?”
“If you say such a thing again, you stupid judge, you can find yourself in this very queue of accused as the fourth arraigned. Will you or will you not pronounce the proper, just judgement now?”
“The accused is pronounced guilty and the prosecution may deal with him as it wishes. Next case please!”
“Accused number 2 Gul Mohammad Lone … despite our stern warnings … you have been broadcasting and telecasting anti Jihad and anti-Kashmir-freedom cause propaganda on television under the orders of the enemy Indian regime ceaselessly. I recommend you plead guilty and express your last wish.”
“O embodiment of supreme mercy! No matter whether guilty or not guilty … the capital punishment is imminent. Therefore, allow me to film the ensuing final denouement against this army sergeant with my mobile phone. Someday … if it is ever used by you, it will serve as an instrument to drill patriotism into Kashmiris.”
The Jihadi looks at the prosecutor with hope. The latter shakes his head without any mercy.
“Your last wish shall be granted – provided the prosecution permits it.”
“Most respected judge! This trial is being filmed through 3 cameras that came the other day from Islamabad. So, the wish of the accused has already been granted. The prosecution advocates that the accused be beheaded in front of the Hazratbal shrine as a grim reminder to all local journalists who are against the freedom of Kashmir as to what awaits them.
Permission granted. The next case may please be presented.
“Accused number 3 Sikh Hari Singh Nalwa is an Indian army major captured in Kashmir.”
“That itself is the gravest of offences. Hey … you convict… what is your last wish?
“Have you found me guilty?”
“Rabies infested eunuch dog! Do you still entertain doubts about your guilt?”
“I was just making sure. Since you are going to torture me more before killing … you can begin doing so by kicking me on my behind.”
“We always knew that the Sikhs are sick and mad. Now we are convinced! Hey, judge ka bachchaa! Kick this fellow, now!”
The judge kicks the accused.
The Sikh soldier receives the kick appears to reel under the impact rolls and uses the opportunity to retrieve two pistols hidden in his socks and begins shooting down the prosecutor and all others.
He kills 11 persons.
The judge who begs for mercy is spared. He runs away.
“Let us leave quickly before any of the lurking enemy Jihadists arrive!”
Please let me get the footage from the cameras.
Okay, be quick about it!
Nalwa ‘hijacks’ a militant motorcycle and the three of them speed towards the city.
Hey major … if you had these guns all along … why did you not shoot them and secure our release earlier? More importantly, how did the captors not check that?
I did not kill them earlier because you mangy dog journalist may have been pardoned and could end up saying that I opened fire unprovoked on unarmed, innocent civilians later. And these chaps have no brains. If they did, do you think they would have joined these loser forces? No wonder they did not check my socks.
The speeding bike is apprehended for a traffic violation.
The police usher them into the presence of the army where the major reveals who he is.
An army officer debriefs all three.
Finally, Brigadier Robert Wadhera asks the prisoners thus:
Okay … you guys will go home and will live here. Major Nalwa will be posted elsewhere and will be lost in the crowds. Would you kindly tell us how to go about the rest of this action?
The two give their opinions.
A day later the following news item appears in the Chandigarh Edition of The Indian Express thus:
Jihadi ‘prisoners’ return home
Two persons – a local trader and a media company employee [names withheld on request] were found loitering disoriented in the streets here today.
In disjointed sentences, they were quoted as saying that they had been held captives by Jihadi elements.
The duo did not give any details as to how they had been either rescued or whether they had escaped.
Army sources said that a Sikh soldier who also had been presumed captured along with the two is still missing.
Local police officials are tight-lipped over the incident.
The same day a television channel puts out this clip showing the way the Jihadi soldiers are shot and the judge is allowed to escape by the major with his face masked.
“Your channel has obtained the footage of a heroic act by the Indian army soldier who saved the lives of two Indians. Some of the photographs of the Jihadi youths getting shot with blood spurting out of their foreheads may be disturbing.”
News anchor whom we know as Accused 2
“I was covering news in Batmalu when I was kidnapped by persons who identified themselves as an obscure group whose allegiances are not exactly known. There were two other prisoners – and third was an Indian soldier I have been prevented from identifying. He retrieved hidden weapons and expertly shot the Jihad soldiers in their foreheads … there were some 11 of them. The so-called Jihadi judge who had pronounced me and another person whose identity is being withheld on request guilty and had ordered our execution pleaded for mercy and was let off. The Indian soldier who is a Sikh was transferred on a secret assignment elsewhere to hunt for other terrorist agent provocateurs. The details are unknown. This is Gul Mohammad Lone for National Indian Television & World International Tidings – the NITWIT Channel from Srinagar.”
Two months later, agency reports datelined Ferozepur, Punjab and Lahore say:
Sikh soldier gunned down near Indo-Pak border
Ferozepur [Indo-Pak border], April 13 [Southern Features] A retired Sikh soldier Major [retd] Hari Singh Nalwa was found dead near the Indo-Pak border here with 3 gun-shot wounds Friday, police said.
One of the sons of the deceased, Harnam Singh Nalwa said he suspected that the cowardly deed was that of pro-Khalistan militant infiltrators from Pakistan.
“My father was a hero and a true Indian patriot,” Nalwa junior told SF.
“He had done many heroic things in his lifetime. After retiring from the Indian army a few weeks ago, he began helping the local police in apprehending infiltrators from Pakistan who are sowing seeds of separatism here,” Nalwa said.
“After returning home from his last posting in Kashmir, my father had told us how he had rescued a few Indian Muslims held captive by militants. He had, however, forbidden us from speaking about those incidents to anyone. Therefore, we are unable to divulge details in respect of his last wishes,” Nalwa added.
Locals in Punjab see this as yet another insult on the Sikh patriotic psyche as this brutal killing is on the anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
After having been shot, the Nalwa’s head had been chopped off by the assailants and left by the side of the body, police sources told SF.
“We are on the lookout for the killers. The guilty will certainly be brought to book,” a senior officer said.
Khalistan Commandos kill Sikh traitor
Lahore, Pakistan, [Islamic Republic News Agency] April 13:
Khalistan commandos trained in Pakistan gunned down an enemy army traitor on the India-Occupied-Punjab [IOP] army sources told IRNA today.
“This is bound to hurt the Indian army’s morale as the Sikh soldier credited with many acts of bravado against freedom fighters in Kashmir and Punjab. In a fitting manner, the Khalistan commandos killed him on the anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 which had spurred on the Indian freedom struggle. It is a sure sign that the Indian freedom is in peril thanks to sustained action by Pakistan,” a top army source said.
The Indian army soldier – one Nalwa – is said to have mowed down 11 Jihadi freedom fighters in Kashmir a few months ago.
Haji Ghulam Sheikh, a survivor from that dastardly attack on unarmed innocent Kashmiri civilians launched by dozens of Indian army commandos led by Nalwa termed the slaying “sweet revenge and correct justice.”
“I had miraculously escaped that dastardly attempt by Indian soldiers led by Nalwa. I pretended to be dead in action with a bullet wound on my left shoulder by holding my breath. Nalwa trod on the Muslims’ bodies cruelly after the slaying and exhorted others to do the same in his platoon. He stepped on me as well, twice. I held my breath with great difficulty in order to remain alive. Therefore, it is sweet revenge and correct administration of justice,” Sheikh said on phone from India.
Sheikh had been entrusted with the job of holding impartial trials against enemy elements in Indian Administered Kashmir, pronouncing sentences and supervising the administration of the pronounced verdicts’ natural ends, sources from Srinagar, Indian Occupied Kashmir add.
In 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh briefly attempted to remain neutral, independent nation nestled between the freshly partitioned India and Pakistan.
All the access roads to the realm from what had become India had been ceded to Pakistan.
Sensing a golden chance, Pakistan’s army attacked the kingdom and occupied a third of the principality.
Left with the grim prospect of being forcibly converted to Islam, after some tough talk by India’s brains’ trust comprising Home Minister Vallabh Bhai Patel and C Rajagopalachari, Hari Singh signed on the dotted line linking his kingdom permanently to the Union of India on October 26 1947. The airlifted Indian army stopped the Pak army on its tracks. Two thirds of Kashmir remained with India and a third was under Pakistani occupation when the ceasefire was announced.
United Nations Security Council [UNSC] Resolution 47, adopted on April 21, 1948.
UNSC passed the resolution under the non-binding Chapter VI of UN Charter. Later it became to be governed under Chapter VII, which is enforceable by UN.
In March 2001, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan informed the then Pakistan ruler Pervez Musharraf that as per Chapter VII rules, UNSC was well within its powers to enforce the resolution.
As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.
The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein [and] who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.
Sensing the no-win situation to the above clause, in 2003, the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf announced that Pakistan was willing to back off from demand for UN resolutions for Kashmir!
As a result of all this, the state’s western and northern districts presently known as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan continue to remain under the control of Pakistan. India terms the region Pakistan Occupied Kashmir [POK].
Pakistan claims its portion is the real Azad Kashmir. The terms of ceasefire and UN resolutions of 1948 ruled that the document signed by Hari Singh was final. Sometime in future, the document added, a plebiscite could be held if so wished by all the people of J & K – including those in the control of Pakistan – allowing Kashmiri people to decide their future. A precondition was that the army that attacked the kingdom should retreat first.
To ensure fairness, India under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru introduced Article 370 to retain the demographic proportion of the state till the final resolution of the dispute.
Some 20 per cent of Kashmiri Pandits left the valley after the 1948 Muslim riots and the 1950 land reforms.
By 1981 the Pandit population amounted to 5 per cent of the total J & K populace.
On 19 January 1990, mosques issued declarations that the Kashmiri Pandits were Kaffirs. To live in Kashmir all males convert to Islam. Else, they have to leave, the announcements said.
At least 100,000 of the total Kashmiri Pandit population of 140,000 left the valley during the 1990s.
Of the estimated 350,000 Pandits, hardly 5000 remain in Kashmir.
The United Progressive Alliance regime announced an aid package worth Rs.1, 168 crores to those Pandit families that choose to return home. Government records say 1,800 Pandit youths opted to return to the valley.
From 1846 until 1952, J & K was a princely state within the British Empire in India. The figurehead ruler belonged to the Jamwal Rajput Dogra Dynasty.
The reign began in 1846 in the aftermath of the Treaty of Amritsar that marked the end of the First Anglo-Sikh War. The East India Company annexed the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and Gilgit-Baltistan from the Sikhs. The company ‘sold’ it to Gulab Singh for 7,500,000 Nanakshahee Rupees.
It is believed that the money came from a heist of the Golden Temple treasury. The term Nanakshahee Rupees is the tale’s clear indication. Thus, the ‘sale’ was a sham.
The Shankaracharya Temple [mostly referred to simply as Shankaracharya] also known as the Jyesteshwara temple or Pas-Pahar is located in Srinagar Kashmir is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Located on the summit of the same name the shrine overlooks the city of Srinagar.
The temple was visited by the Adi Shankaracharya and has ever since been associated with him.
Furthermore, it is regarded as being sacred by Buddhists, who call the shrine as “Pas-Pahar.”
It has a history starting 2629 BC.
Records available in the vicinity say the temple was originally built by Sandiman, who reigned in Kashmir from 2629 to 2564 BC.
The records add that It was repaired by King Gopaditya (426 – 365 BC) and by King Lalitaditya (697–734).
The present structure probably dates back to the 9th century AD.
After earthquakes, its roof and dome were repaired by Islamic ruler Zain-ul-Abidin.
Sultan Ghiyas-ud-Din Zain-ul-Abidin (1423-1474) was a sultan of Kashmir in the present day Jammu and Kashmir state of India.
Islamic scholar Mohibbul Hasan whose 1959 book on Kashmir published in Calcutta and in Peshawar is quoted as authentic reference material in text books for Masters’ Degrees in Jammu University and in Pakistan has said:
“Of all the Sultans who sat on the throne of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin was undoubtedly the greatest … He acquired a halo in popular imagination which still surrounds his name in spite of the lapse of nearly five hundred years.”
He was known by his subjects, and indeed still is, as Bud Shah (the Great King).
Wazwan is a Kashmiri multi-course meal whose cooking methods are unique to the valley.
The system of preparing various dishes is highly complicated and its exponents are honourably referred to as cooking artistes’ prides of Kashmiri culture.
Most of the dishes are meat-based – lamb, chicken and fresh-water fish.
According to the Nilmatapurana, Kashmiris were heavy meat eaters.
The precise origin of the Wazwan word is presumed to have its origins in Sanskrit vide the terms Vyajjana [denoting cooking] linked to the term Vania [shop].
Conjoined, the term Wazwan also denotes the method in which the food is served – by offering to all those who eat in a feast seated in a circle.
The dishes are meant to be picked and chosen by those partaking in the feast … like one chooses goods in a shop.
The descendants of these cooks with the honorific Wazas are Kashmiri master chefs.
The ultimate formal banquet in Kashmir is the royal Wazwan.
Of its thirty-six courses, between fifteen and thirty can be preparations of meat, cooked overnight by the master chef, Vasta Waza, and his retinue of Wazas.
Gustaba is the 13th main dish in a Royal Wazwan feast.
The complete list of the dishes in a Kashmiri royal feast:
Rista (meatballs in a fiery red gravy)
Lahabi Kabab or Moachi Kabab (flattened mutton kababs cooked in yogurt)
Waza Kokur (two halves or two full chicken cooked whole)
Daeni Phoul (mutton dish)
Doudha Ras (mutton cooked in sweet milk gravy)
Rogan Josh (tender lamb cooked with Kashmiri spices)
Tabak Maaz (ribs of lamb simmered in yogurt till tender, then fried, can be served as a snack/side-dish)
Daniwal Korma (a mutton curry with lots of coriander)
Waza Palak (green spinach cooked with small pounced mutton balls known as Paliki Riste)
Aab Gosht (lamb cooked in milk curry)
Marchwangan Korma (an extremely spicy lamb preparation)
Kabab (minced meat roasted on skewers over hot coals)
Gustaba (a velvety textured meatball in white yogurt gravy,a specialty)
Yakhni (delicately spiced yogurt curry)
Ruwangan Chaman (cheese squares with Tomato gravy)
Dum Oluv (potatoes cooked in yogurt gravy)
Nadir Yakhn (lotus stem in a delicate yogurt sauce)
Hakh(with nadir/vangan) (a local variety of greens)
Nadir Palak (lotus stem with spinach)
Muji Chetintin (a sharp radish and walnut chutney)
Phirni (a dessert of semolina thickened in milk set in earthenware cups with nuts and varq-silver leaf)
The basic idea came from my friend Major PM Raveendran, a retired army officer from Palakkad.
Colleagues in Southern Features News Service – a small news agency edited by me, embellished it.