By Mohammad Maqbool Ganaie

It is shocking that a Kashmiri nation with fertile mind and eloquent tongue and which has upheld the tradition of communal harmony, international brotherhood and mutual tolerance and self identity despite severe vicissitudes of history has been subjected to wretched kind of slavery for more than four centuries.
It was merely a pretence and excuse that internal differences were played up and hatred injected among the different sections of people that our Independent country was invaded by Emperor Akbar. Inspite of all the mechanizations the people of Kashmir deserve admiration and accolades for putting up a heroic resistance to the Mughal army. The heroic resistance inflieded heavy loss on the Mughal army and the Mughal Maidan of Kishtwar is famous for the same. Anyhow despite long fight, Alas! We were enslaved physically but our spirit of freedom did not surrender. The yolk of slavery makes our necks ache and our hearts cry for independence and sovereignty. No period of slavery whether Mughal, Afghan, Sikh or Dogra or the present period witnessed reconciliates with the status quo, the struggle adopted various forms of expression to pave the way for the dawn of freedom.
The acute feeling and excruciating pain for the loss of sovereignty has remained there with Kashmiri Nation. Wherever the chances arose the people gave vent to the suppressed passion for the freedom. The people of Kashmir feel elated whenever good news regarding the achievement of freedom by a slave nation is received. We extend our moral support to the struggling nations and share their joys and sorrows. We feel our own spirit of freedom is strengthened whenever there is addition of an independent nation in the comity of nations. Whether it was Indonesia’s freedom, Malaysia’s emancipation, the triumph of Vietcong, or the liberation of Libya or Algeria, or the enblock liberation of central Asian Republics or the independence of Baltic States, the people of Kashmir celebrated the liberation and shared their joy enthusiastically. Besides appreciating our own freedom Heroes we also hail the freedom heroes of their nations.
There is an historical irony or a political enigma that a particular section of our society boosting to be think tanks has always worked against the interests of kashmiri Nation and played the role of collaborators with the occupation forces inspite of the fact that the grateful nation always protected their rights and willingly accoladed them more than their due. Even presently this section is awfully busy to tarnish the image of freedom struggle and the Kashmiri nation through propaganda, media and web sites. Even during the economic blockade this miniscule section played the role of hosts to the R.S.S, Shiv Sena, Bajrangdal and B.J.P activists. It is worthwhile to mention here that there are certain honorable exceptions like P.N.Bazaz, R.N.Ravishnavi, Sham lal yacha, H.N. Wanchoo and Sampat Prakash etc. who have identified with the nation and contributed a lot in the freedom struggle. The grateful and graceful nation would not afford to ignore their sacrifices. Infact they have engraved their names eternally in the annals of Kashmiri Freedom Struggle.
It is noteworthy to mention during the Dogra rule, Sheikh Abdullah, Mirwaiz Yousuf Shah, Chaudhary Abbas, A.R.Sagar, Chaudhary Hamidullah, G.N. Gilkar, Gh. Ahmad Ashai, P.N. Bazaz kept the beacon light of freedom to glow and aloft and offered record sacrifices.
It is another story that they fell pray to conspiracies hatched by the ruling class and their collaborators and we were lead astray in 1947. Had there been collective superb vigil on the inimical forces, the conspiracies would not have been succeeded and we would have been in a better position to achieve our lost independence and sovereignty. The race for armament between India and Pakistan has resulted in backwardness and ignorance with large population below poverty line. Hundreds and millions of people would not have been without food, clothing and shelter. There would have been no conflicts, no wars and no new martyr graveyards in every nook and corner of Kashmir. However, these are ifs of history and we need to look forward to avoid pitfalls.  
The youth of Kashmir have always remained in the forefront of the resistance struggle and sacrificed their precious lives for the honour, dignity and freedom of their nation. However there have been certain young dedicated leaders who left their deep imprints on the sands of time and Muhammad Maqbool Bhat is one such leader who surpassed all others in vision, dedication, concept of sovereignty and independence. He has successfully covered many important milestones on his long journey to goal of freedom. He trod the rugged and rough path of freedom with grace and grandeur and gave right direction and right motives to fellow freedom travelers to cover the remaining distance till the final goal of independence and sovereignty is achieved. With his untiring efforts, selfless devotion, clear vision and clear concept of independence he emerged a really freedom icon for the Kashmiri nation. He was fully convinced about the sovereignty idea to be achieved at the heaviest cost. He deserves all the accolades of Homer for whatever he preached he himself practiced it in letter and spirit. To amass wealth, to build business mansions, to erect palaces for luxurious life style had no place in his agenda. Out of his three brothers two achieved martyrdom. There is no gap between the word and the deed. He initiated sacrifices from his person and family and set a unique example of lofty self sacrifices. He endeavored so much to the nation that he has become a household name in whole of Kashmir.
He had all the sound logic, cogent reason and true historical perspective to advocate his sovereignty ideal. Whoever came into his contact he was convinced of his ideological brilliance and conceptual clearance. Even his political opponents were impressed of his sincerity, devotion and dedication.
His political and literary statements were often embellished with quotes from Faiz and Iqbal. He never lacked words during discussions to put across his point. He was mostly listened with raft attention.
He was extremely comfortable whenever he held press conferences and serenely used to reply the volley of questions pressed by the journalists. Journalists who had attended his press conferences were greatly impressed by him and conveyed the same to editor Srinagar times during editors meet in Baghdad in nineteen eighties.      
He was a born revolutionary and had an intellectual association with the revolutionaries of the world. He was a man of iron will but with a very kind heart. His heart pulsated with the heart of the nation and deeply felt the pain and agony of his suffering and subjugated nation. He was fully abreast with the long and chequered history of pain and deprivations and the golden periods of our national sovereignty and independence. It was great driving force for him and his comrades to dedicate his life for the restoration of national sovereignty. He proved every word of his commitment with his precious youth and blood and victoriously smiled and gracefully mounted the gallows. He created an enviable permanent nieche among the galaxy of great martyrs of the world, like Socrates, Hazarat Eisa (A.S), Hazarat Imam Hussain (A.S) and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He was confident that his martyrdom would strength his mission and popularize it.
Much before embracing the gallows he would sing with Faiz Ahmad Faiz, “Sitouney dar pa rakhtae chalo saraun key charag     Jabtalak sihaye shab ki chalay” and surely he must have sang the same song with greater intensity and fuller devotion.
He achieved such a great status across the ceasefire line that he was offered power and pelf simply to sing their songs but he sang the song of sovereignty and independence of his nation and rejected all such offers.
Hazarat Imam Hussain (A.S) offered memorable sajda (bow) in the battle field of Karbala and eternalized and surpassed all the sacrifices in the way of Allah. Mohammad Maqbool Bhat toed the line of   Hazarat Imam Hussain (A.S) and bowed before Allah on the gallows. The jail authorities will bear testimony to the fact that Maqbool Bhat walked from his confinement cell to gallows with exemplary grace and enviable courage. His face and eyes radiated glow. There was no regrets, no sadness but the sense of triumph that the opponent forces have acknowledged the truth of efficacy and the ideology and in desperation are trying to conceal the facts. The angels were happy and jubilant over the success of Mohammad Maqbool Bhat but the nation was deeply mourning his loss. But it is an undeniable fact that his martyrdom had given birth to many junior Maqbools. His martyrdom sowed the seeds of revolution and his blood would continue to irrigate the land till the harvest of freedom is ripe and is ready to be reaped and utilized.
He hated conspirators, collaborators and double deckers within Kashmiri nation, but he showed utmost respect for the opposite opinion and thought. He announced that, “An agent is always a double agent. He cannot be true friend of any party”. His allegiance was first and foremost for the people of Kashmir. He never liked to keep his conscience hostage to perks and privileges offered by occupation forces he was well wisher of India and Pakistan but had strong objection to their occupation of his native land. He made all out efforts to see his country liberated and united and to make it a member of U.N.O. He was a noble Muslim but had deep respect for other faiths of his countrymen. He was very good writer and a journalist and worked as an editor of Newspaper for sometime. But the demands of the party and the call of suffering nation did not allow him to continue the job and he had to employ efforts and resources to make the party strong and the ideology of sovereign Kashmir appealing and popular.
He was admirer of Muhammad Bin Bella, Farhat Abbas Hochimin, Fidel Castro, Chi Guerra, Yassar Arafat for their revolutionary zeal and sacrifices for their nations.
Besides the peaceful struggle under the banner of AJK Plebiscite Front he introduced Armed Struggle under the banner of JKNLF to make the usurpers understand that his suppressed nation is free to employ any genuine means to achieve the freedom. His education to the nation proved useful and powers that be offered unconditional talks to resolve the complex Kashmir problem. The struggle enabled the nation to bring the Kashmir problem out of the cold storage and keep high on the agenda of dialogue. It has been accepted as the flash point between India and Pakistan who are equipped with most fatal atomic weapons.
Let the people mobilize all the resources to make the mission of Maqbool Bhat transform into a reality. Let India and Pakistan shun the egos, biases and listen the voice of conscience and allow the people of Kashmir to be one among the comity of nations.
We salute Mohammad Maqbool Bhat and all other martyrs for their priceless sacrifices for the cause of sovereignty of their nation.

The author is Rtd. Kashmir Administrative Service Officer, Srinagar Kashmir. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.