Recently, while passing by remnants of Palladium Cinema, Lal Chowk, Srinagar, I came under a sudden whirlpool of memories when this cinema used to remain daily abuzz with cinema lovers & now being occupied by CRPF men since almost three decades. But the currents of memory didn’t end there to recede to the present, I was in , as immediately an “unknown” high tide that had swept across entire political landscape of JK, inter alia, following “orchestrated release” of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah (SMA) from jail on 29-09-1947 and his appointment as Head of the Emergency Administration that was set up by Maharaja Hari Singh (MHS) “unwillingly” at the behest of Congress leaders on 30-10-1947, struck my mind to its great tumultation & inquisition.
Before narrating that historical recollection, I had, it is quite apt to recall to our minds that MHS , Despotic Ruler of JK, had virtually abandoned his thrown, his power, in Kashmir begging Kashmiris to ascend to it, who were just one “right action” away to grab the occasion but they couldn’t for pre-meditated planing of INC through courtesy of SMA &Co . MHS along-with his family and Darbar had fled to Jammu on 26-10-1947 for further shelter. Historian, Alaister Lamb writes that ” at this time SMA had organised an effective force of armed volunteers to keep order in Srinagar and, if need be, defend it; … The regular police had totally disappeared. It was widely believed, at least by the wealthier Hindus, that ferocious Islamic hordes were rushing along the Jhelum Valley Road and would at any moment enter Srinagar unopposed”. ( Birth of a Tragedy, Kashmir-1947, page 90). This fact is further corroborated by an Indian News Website of TV 18. A devout follower of SMA , it writes, “Maqbool Sherwani, whom tribesmen had asked for directions towards Srinagar, turned them towards Shadipura from Shalateng”, ( Firstpost, dated 28-10-2015) . that is, in a total reverse direction from the tribal goal of Srinagar.
Oh, yes, I was talking of the “historical recollection” that tossed my mind immediately by looking at rubble of Palladium Cinema. Yes, I was reminded of the fact that this (Palladium Cinema) is the place where once upon a time the headquarters of Kashmir’s “National Fouj” were initially created by SMA in 1947 . Later, he formally introduced “National fouj” on 15th April 1948 in Emergency Administration immediately after his return from Delhi . The chief of this ” “National Fouj, which was given the name of “Peace Brigade” , initially in 1947 , was Mr. Gh Mohi ud Din Hamdani. It was, at the outset, “inaugurated” under high sound of Buggles and Bajas inside Exhibition Grounds Srinagar by none other than Mr. GM Sadiq, a staunch communist but close aid of SMA . A few ex-army personnel (Muslims) of British-Dogra army and most of the NC volunteers were recruited in this newly invented “Kashmir Fouj”. ( Nid e Haq, Late Alhaj Munshi M Isaaq, (2014) , pages 190-192). At this time Indian Army ( Real Army) had already landed and reached territory of J & K. NC volunteers headed by Mr. Bakhshi GM , another intimate friend of SMA, took an active role in guiding Indian Army in trucks placed outside Srinagar airport to different parts of Kashmir and provided them (army) vital information about the tribesmen. (Slender Was the Thread: Kashmir Confrontation 1947-48, by Brigadier LP Sen; Greater Kashmir dated Jun 9 2016 ).
But , “the fact remains that the common people of the State were at no stage party to this plan”.( Kashmir Issue, A Historical Perspective by A M Mattu, ( 2002) page 47). So, it has been concluded on “an analysis of the events of those eventful times …. that the NC workers were following a plan. They knew they had to support accession to India even before the creation of Pakistan and India on August 14 &15, respectively”. (((http:// www. greaterkashmir. com /news/ opinion post-office-in-flames/225468.html ; “SMA had already in a secret airplane shifted his family members to Delhi”, Nid e Haq, Late Alhaj Munshi M Isaaq, (2014) , page 193))).
Several Indian Army Officers were assigned the task of “training and preparing Kashmir Fouj” against Qabaeel . Many communists who had fled AJK and Pak were entrusted with the job to “mentally and psychologically training and preparing “Kashmir Fouj” against Aggressors”. A “cultural wing of many local opportunist artists” was created to launch “propaganda programmes” against Pak and Qabaeel. . Famous communist leader Mr. P L Bedi and his wife wife, Fareeda Bedi, were given the charge to look after the “newly created cultural and propaganda departments” of Emergency Administration. Under the influence of communist members of NC, it’s Leader, renamed Amira Kadal as Lal Chowk ( parallel to Red Square of Communist Moscow). After talking over “control of things” , the “National Fouj” spread out but a reign of goondaism and terrorism in every part of Kashmir. Local police was mute spectators [for obvious reasons] …..(Nid e Haq, Late Alhaj Munshi M Isaaq, (2014) , pages 190-192).