Crossing the Line

The September floods wreaked havoc across Kashmir.  Fortunately, loss of life was minimal but property worth crores of rupees was destroyed.  Thousands of people were rendered homeless.  Prayer meetings were held at a number of places to invoke divine blessings.  For the first time, the people also celebrated Eid-ul-Azha with austerity.  But the spirit has […]

Muhammad Yusuf Khan-IV

Muhammad Yusuf Khan further narrates that next year, Jawahar Lal Nehru and other Congress leaders visited the Valley. The National Conference took them in a boat procession from Veer, Chattabal, to Lal Chowk. He narrates the incident as follows: “We were very angry over the Uri incident and were geared up to take revenge. We […]


Muhammad Yusuf Khan had also been looking after arrangements in the rousing reception the Muslim Conference gave Muhammad Ali Jinnah when he visited Kashmir in 1944. Recalling the event during this interview, Khan said: “The National Conference had decorated the entire highway from Sonwar to Qazigund with red flags. This had been done with a […]

Muhammad Yusuf Khan – II

During this wide-ranging interview in 2007, Muhammad Yusuf Khan fondly recalled Jia Lal Chaudhary, a Pandit lawyer, who had virtually become the sole legal defence of beleaguered Muslim Conference (MC) workers. Pakistani Pandit:   But for this “Pakistani Batta” hundreds of MC workers would have been condemned unheard. While a group of lawyers was always ready to […]

Disputed Territory?

Does New Delhi need to acknowledge Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory? The answer lies in the history of the beleaguered state. If the Instrument of Accession is supposed to be valid and legal, then Jammu and Kashmir is automatically an internationally recognized and accepted dispute. By virtue of the Instrument, New Delhi is word-bound […]

Muhammad Yusuf Khan – I

At a seminar, Unsung Heroes of Kashmir, in 2008, Muhammad Yusuf Khan spoke of how strongly he yearned to live till the day Kashmir got its freedom. But he breathed his last just two years later, on September 25, 2010. I had the privilege of interviewing him in March 2007 during my research for Bouquet: […]

Muhammad Subhan Hajam – III

Soon after his campaign forced the government to ban prostitution in Srinagar, Muhammad Subhan Hajam came to know that two hotels in Lal Chowk, one owned by a Hindu and the other by a Muslim, were still involved in the illicit trade. He wrote to the proprietors, threatening to make their names public if they […]

Muhammad Subhan Hajam – II

Deeply perturbed over the spread of prostitution and the organized trade it had become, even in the heart of Srinagar, Muhammad Subhan Hajam once said: “There are three prostitution centers in Maisuma: one at Takia (Gaw Kadal), the second in a tailoring shop, and the third near a liquor shop. These centers enjoy the patronage […]


Whenever the radio playsshukr karo ke pade nahin hain meri maa ke dandey, Sheru laughs. The mom is always on board. When girl meets boy, and is smitten, the mom is soon let in on the secret. Mom takes keen interest. She asks many questions. How tall is he? What are his future plans? Does […]

Muhammad Subhan Hajam – I

“Is there not among you a single right-minded man?” (AI-Qur’an 11:78) Muhammad Subhan Hajam showed that there was no dearth of right-minded men in Kashmir those days, when a major portion of the state’s revenues came from prostitution. A barber by profession, and hailing from Maisuma, Hajam was a social engineer, a political thinker, a […]