1930: Freedom Movement Launched

The Reading Room got new chairs, tables and magazines after its founders Munshi Naseer Ahmad and Moulvi Bashir Ahmad begged in Eidgah. They collected 90 rupees.

But to their dismay, they saw people gambling and gossiping in the room.  Something had to be done immediately, and the duo seized upon God-sent opportunity. A woman had passed away in Kachgari Mohalla. Her brother-in-law was Naseer’s friend, and the latter, along with his associate, Bashir, talked to him and expressed the desire to host the rasm-e-qul of the deceased. He agreed after being apprised of the plan. Around two hundred invitation cards were sent out. Tea and bread served at the rasm-e-qul cost the duo around Rs 9. The gathering was told to resist Dogra oppression, and maintain utmost secrecy. This is where the freedom movement was formally launched.  It was May 8, 1930. Three more individuals, GN Gilkar, Muhammad Rajab and Muhammad Yahya Rafiqui joined the group.

The “five man army” then decided to awaken people in every nook and corner of the Valley. Munshi Naseer was told to go to the rural areas. Others were entrusted the job of working in the city.

Here the role of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah merits special mention. He had completed his M Sc from the Aligarh Muslim University on April 12, 1930 and had been appointed as a school teacher. He pursued his career seriously and did not join the Reading Room Party, notwithstanding repeated invitations from its founders. But after much persuasion, particularly from Naseer and Gilkar, Sheikh Abdullah finally joined the party and took over its leadership.


1953: Washington Cables US Embassy in Pak

“Yesterday, the UK informed (the State) Department (of) its view (that the) recent change in government in Pakistan and subsequent agreement between Mohammed Ali and Nehru to meet after (the) Coronation gives grounds for hope for some progress in settlement of Indo-Pak disputes including Kashmir by direct discussion.

The UK thinks (that) action on (the) Kashmir dispute in (the) Security Council should be deferred so (that the) two Prime Ministers’ discussions may take place in (the) best possible atmosphere.

We have agreed (to) approach (the) Pak Foreign Office along (the) foregoing lines following (the) prior approach of (the) UK High Commissioner.

Approach your British colleague immediately (to) ascertain whether he has received (any) instructions regarding (the) foregoing and, after his visit, go to (the) Foreign Office and state (that the) British have expressed (the) foregoing views and requested our support of them, and that we do support them. (The) approach should be informal.