The Legazy of Azaadi: The History of Kashmir Revolution

kashmir azadi

“Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life”. – Bob Marley

From my birth, I have always learnt that Kashmir is the heaven of the world after it was quoted by Jahangir as “Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto”. Later, many British rulers trespassed Kashmir and Maxmillar framed Kashmir as the Heaven of India. But the question lurked inside my mind, since I am from the 90s, that if Kashmir is the heaven of India, then why there’s so much agitation going on as if it’s much darker behind that limelight? Slowly, after gathering some valuable resources from different books and many of my friends, a very clear picture got framed before me that Kashmir indeed is the heaven but it’s turning into hell because of the country I am living in and mostly because of its cold, barbaric leaders which never cared for the Kashmiris rather they used it to show the world that Kashmir is the economy of India.

Jammu & Kashmir never accepted to be under India neither Pakistan. Whether it was during the protest of the silk weavers in 1857, or silk factory labour unrest in 1924, or the protest against the autocratic rule of Maharaja Hari Singh, Kashmir has always resisted against every rule for the demand of plebiscite which they placed in 1953. Plebiscite for the Kashmiris was the single way to have a leader who can think of Kashmir and Kashmir only. They resisted every move of India with Protests, slogans and even armed rebellion. The Indian politicians have always placed a picture of the revolutionaries as militants and placed a picture as a place which is cursed and those who demand for an Independent Kashmir are terrorists since they believe that Kashmir is India’s and it can be squeezed to its end. Kashmiris from the time of Independence have seen that they are being backstabbed over and over from the autocratic rule of Maharaja Hari Singh to the Army Rule of “so – called” Indian democracy.


At the time of partition, when Jammu & Kashmir was being ruled by the autocratic Maharaja Hari Singh, Sheikh Abdullah went against the two nation theory due to the problem of Kashmir and the demand of the Kashmiris still it happened due to the handshake of Congress government and the British government! Thus, right after that Pakistan presented a very clear picture before the Indian government that they want Kashmir due its Muslim Majority. Naturally, Kashmir denied as their demand was and still is for an independent Kashmir. The Maharaja signs a standstill agreement with both Kashmir and India but in the same picture, Pakistan sends Armed Tribals to take over Kashmir which leads to the first unrest and that too in a brutal manner. Due to this Maharaja appeals for help to India for help, and India agrees to help but only with the condition that Kashmir has to stay in India and Hari Singh signs the Instrument of Accession without asking the Kashmiris about their wish creating a mess of the demand of the Kashmiris.

In the same year, Jawaharlal Nehru was elected as the first Prime Minister of India and he took the “Kashmir Problem” to the United Nation (UN) giving hope to the people the Jammu and Kashmir that maybe now their demands would be fulfilled but no, Nehru backed out from the Plebiscite. He said that the Plebiscite has been confirmed to both the Sheikh Abdullah and to the Kashmiris. In 1949, Jammu & Kashmir was ripped into two pieces: One to be ruled by India and other by Pakistan. They were promised that their demands would be taken care of but even after 70 years there’s no sign of any fulfilment rather the number of killing increased in high number. India went against the UN resolution and gave special power to J&K making Sheikh Abdullah as J&Ks first Prime Minister and right after that he was arrested since he opposed the Indian government regarding their involvement and why did the government go against UN resolution or to be precise, where is the promised plebiscite?

The country issues the “puppet regime” in the Constituent Assembly to colonise Kashmir in a far more colder way. Right after that, India replaced the Prime Minister position of J&K with that of Chief Minister of J&K. After Abdullah’s arrest in 1955, Mirza Mohammad Abdul Beg formed the Plebiscite Front demanding for the Plebiscite Rule. What India sees is freedom as terrorism and freedom fighters as terrorists. It’s an irony that right before that India fought against the British for freedom and now they avoid freedom of Kashmir and Kashmiris.


Indira Gandhi, saw the Plebiscite Front as a deep threat and banned the Front in 1971 placing a very desperate and evil picture of Indian politics. Sheikh Abdullah after several years of jail compromised with the Indian government and sold the Kashmir Self Rule to India giving him more comfort to sit on the hot seat of Chief Minister and be its leader under India. He created the National Conference (NC) and became Chief Minister in 1977. His rule had a two way structure. For the whole country it appeared as a smooth road but deep down inside his rule had a clear declining picture due to ongoing youth protests for selling the self rule and emptying the resources. People protested for the Plebiscite and utilised Plebiscite Front through education and culture. Artists made songs and creative area published many books with human right activists participating with their own purpose. Safdar Hashmi protested against Indian government for Kashmir through his plays spreading the concrete view of youth protests.

The perfume of “Azaadi” rose further after education started inserting into everyone’s mind and the idea of South Asian freedom movement played its own part inside them. Countries like Libya marched for freedom and that gave the world a hope just like presently Iranian revolution gives many people the hope that more than any other alternative the fight for freedom can provide us the courage and development in its entirety.


Movies started appearing in big screens of India where it was continuously shown that Kashmir is an inherent part of India and Pakistan is demanding for them while on the same frame it showed Kashmiris as barbaric terrorists. But Bollywood or any other industry, never showed the price J&K is paying for the rule of India and Pakistan holistically. Authority of a country which has fought for freedom from a century never came into focus. The same agitation, we as 90s kid, saw in movies and news channels started because the Indian political movement dragged and trapped the rising Muslim United Front (MUF), which was developing at that very period due to its policies in the interest of Kashmir, and they were not given to contest elections as the government saw them as a front of the Kashmiris.

People started protesting against the politics of National Conference (NC) and that was the agitation all about. They revolted against the NC and maintained complete shutdown of shops and offices. Rallies were organised and several educated youths came in front to fight for freedom. Everyone joined in the revolution from men, women and children. Freedom became an inspiration and revolutionaries as idols. Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was established at that very time and its leader was killed by the armed forces. Majeed Wani, the leader’s death initiated a never ending struggle. After that several other revolutionaries like Maqbool Bhat etc., of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front were arrested to be hanged till death in Tihar Jail and that became the cause of the youth participation in huge number making the revolution more concrete. Youths from economically good background and those who said that “they never want to kill anyone rather they want to free Kashmir. It’s a fight against the autocracy and for a freedom which J&K never actually received”.


Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad became the next Chief Minister of J&K. For Kashmir, he was a demon who believed in squeezing Kashmir while for India he turned into a gift. He utilised his power to develop Kashmir but sooner or later Kashmir understood the double game of Mohammad since he exported more than 30% of Kashmir’s belonging and providing a blur pictures of economy to the uneducated Kashmiris thus squeezing out the economy for his own benefit.

Kashmir revolted yet again and then from 1990 – 96 started the governor’s rule after which the NC placed the issue of eroding autonomy before the Parliament to gain support and as usual both the houses denied it. A blur picture came in front of the nation that Kashmir has accepted the rule of India and now the conditions have become normal. More export started, tourist number increased placing the fight of freedom as a mere hoax before the nation.


The election process kept on going in the same manner. Before election, one party takes the issue of Plebiscite and to fight for it and right after that they backstab the Kashmiris by different means. J&K still sees the Army Rule in their own land ruling with full throttle. From Kunan Poshpora to Shopian Rape, the PSA and AFSPA took the massacre to a new increased level. In 2014, after NC came a new party named – People’s Democratic Party which formed an alliance with both Indian National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). PDP first came into power in 2003 by forming an alliance with INC.

Just like the previous government, the BJP – PDP alliance saw nothing for the Kashmiris instead they kept the word “profit” reserved for the Central government. They keep on squeezing Kashmir to fulfill the need of the Center while the Kashmiris die for their rule. The barbarism took a new turn. The long reigning Public Security Act (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) still reign over Kashmir and everyday one Kashmiri dies or gets blind for a bullet or pellet respectively.

The PSA arrests anyone to take into detention in the name of terrorism. AFSPA, as we all know, can kill anyone and they don’t have to give any explanation to the government or the people and they utilise it to commit extrajudicial killing, rape and torture anyone. Recent Amnesty report says that. “widespread use of the draconian laws, where the PSA leads to prolonged detention and AFSPA empowers armed forces to use force to the extent of causing death without any accountability whatsoever. In creating the myth of normalcy, apart from making elections the benchmark, the JKPSA is used to trap people “out of circulation” in detention centres without any legal obligation of following the standard procedure under the criminal code. According to one estimate 16,000 people have been detained under this law between 1991 and 2013”.


Shopian Rape, Kunan Poshpora Rape and Tufail Mattoo murder is just a small picture of the reason of protest and agitation going on in Kashmir. Hiba Ansari, a 19 month old child, has been shot by a pellet gun making her blind. Doctors have said that her right eye is badly injured which can cause complete blindness. Army Rule triggers the fight for Azaadi in a much more personal manner for every Kashmiri because the utilisation of power is barbaric and no human being can endure the level of barbarism they are committing from the late – 80s. It’s deeply saddening that the country presents a democratic picture before the nation but on the same time, it uses barbarism to control revolution of more than a century. Revolutionaries are named as militants and a revolution as terrorism.

The police stations of Kashmir are filled with files having pleading letters by the parents of innocent Kashmiris to free their son or grandson. Today when a Kashmiri steps in his teenage, he is far more vulnerable than a prey before a tiger. Human rights activist take their letters to UN and Indian government but both the institution sees them as an unsolvable garbage making Kashmir a heaven under the cocoon of a brutal, cursed hell.

Kabir Deb is a published writer and poet. Born in Haflong and completed his Masters on Life Sciences from Assam University. His work has been published from different national and international magazine like Different Truths, Counter Currents, Reviews, Cafe Dissensus, Spillwords magazine and his works rely on political activism.


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