What is even more curious is that the minority is hanged every year for the same alleged ‘crime’. July 13th is a gazetted State holiday to mark the unfortunate killing of 21 Kashmiris in 1931. So many have taken a shot at laying threadbare this event but the Dogra narrative is missing and their silence deafening. This year even the KPs under APMCC have chosen to congregate at Jantar Mantar on the 13th to mark a day when violence was directed towards the Hindu minority in the Valley in the guise of an uprising against autocracy.
Going through the body of work coming out of Jammu University’s History Department, research on Dogra history is found wanting and does not go too far. In such a scenario it is praise worthy that Harbans Singh’s Maharaja Hari Singh The Troubled Years and Shailendra Singh Jamwal’s Barjor Dalal Report of the Srinagar Riot Enquiry Committee-1931 demand a fresh and unbiased look into the role played by the British and the mysterious Abdul Qadir who came to Srinagar as a cook to an European tourist and immediately started brewing trouble. His seditious speeches spread rumours and falsehoods inciting communal passions. Was he an agent provocateur, a stooge of the British who realizing the strategic importance of the Kingdom and threatened by a Nationalistic Maharaja spun a web of conspiracy. It was a black day indeed for a Maharaja who had won the people’s heart only 10 years back, because of his agrarian reforms which had prevented a famine like situation similar to the one in 1877-79. But it does not justify a continued hypocritical judgment of people.
Sometimes it is important to not let the sleeping dogs lie; to most certainly question the intent of divisive statements and literature which deepen the ideological differences ; to polish off the dust so that truth can shine; to find that voice and reply. We must attempt to clear the heavy air hanging over incidents which divide the people of the State on regional and religious basis; to restore self-esteem especially of a people who single handedly and by sacrificing much continue to hold together a pale shadow of a former glorious Kingdom. All sides must be heard to enable a closure and bury hatchets. Only then the ‘and’ which sticks out jarringly between Jammu Kashmir can be dropped.