A leaf from Kashmir history

Srinagar: March 10:  It is widely believed that Sher-e-Kashmir was ditched by government of India in 1953. This chapter of his life has been widely discussed by people across the globe. However it still remains grossly misunderstood.  He is accused of having a truck with government of Pakistan. Some believe that Sheikh resisted New Delhi’s onslaught aimed at diluting the special status of Jammu Kashmir.  The exact reasons for the August 9 episode were divulged by former member of constituent assembly, Abdul Gani Goni.
In his address to the constituent assembly he not only opposed the move for ratification of accession but also sought right to secession.  He vehemently sought Sheikh Abdullah’s release. However, he later joined Bakshi’s bandwagon and became a minister.
Goni divulged vital details in an interview. He said: “By 1948 Sheikh Sahib had realized his mistake of supporting state’s accession with India. He had started dreaming of an independent state and expressed it without any reservations. During those fateful days, Moulana Azad visited Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah delivered a fiery speech at Hazratbal. Azad also wanted to address the people but Sheikh Abdullah sabotaged the move. A humiliated and angry Azad immediately left for New Delhi. Nehru rushed to Srinagar to tame his friend (Sheikh Abdullah). He was accompanied by his sister and Home Minister Dr Katju. They stayed in the Nehru Guest house. In their presence a meeting of the National Conference working committee was held. The working committee session continued for four days. The meeting discussed some vital issues pertaining to Kashmir.
A defiant Sheikh told Nehru in clear terms that he and Kashmiris were not happy with state’s accession to India. He sought an independent state much to Nehru’s annoyance. However, Nehru being a matured politician controlled his anger and urged Sheikh Abdullah to stay patient for some time.    He told Nehru: ‘I and people of Kashmir are not happy with India. Please leave us alone. We want to remain independent.’
Nehru reacted politely.  ‘A park has been named after me in Srinagar. I was under the impression that people from India would come here to enjoy themselves. Any ways, if you want to remain independent, I have no objection. I am going to London for a conference. After I return I will talk to you.’ Nehru did return from London but not to give independence to Kashmir. He had planned to cage the roaring lion of Kashmir.”
This incident has been narrated by Goni in his autobiography  Sada-e-Bazgusht on page 54. “Nobody expected Nehru to arrest and dethrone Sheikh Sahib. Soon after the working committee meeting I went to  Doda. In  Doda I heard about the arrival of a union minister Shri Mahavir Tyagi in Srinagar. He was very close to Bakshi. And what happened is history.”
The roar that created a stir in the entire sub-continent did no good to Sheikh Abdullah  and Kashmir. The caged lion fell from grace slowly but surely. Goni unveiled another side of Sheikh’s personality. Goni was the speaker of legislative assembly in 1975. One day he was informed about Sheikh Sahib’s arrival in the assembly complex.  Goni narrated the incident. “I greeted Sheikh Sahib. He was dejected. He said, ‘Show me my room.’  I informed him no room in the complex was meant for him. I further informed him that only Chief Minister can have a room in the assembly complex. I was surprised by his answer. ‘I want to see that very room.’ I was pained to see the lion of Kashmir in such a state of mind. ”
Goni paused for a moment. He was going to share a secret. “Before leaving the assembly complex, Sheikh Sahib said, ‘I have offered enough sacrifices. I cannot offer more.’ I shook hands with him and watched him leave the complex amid shock and utter disbelief.”