Looking from within, the 1931 uprising was preceded by many important developments like Shawl baaf Agitation,silk factory agitation,Kashmir committee formation, Mulki agitation, which suggest that emancipative forces were already at work in Kashmir, but according to Khalid Basheer Ahmed,the deep resentment of the masses building up as it were for long exploded on 13 July 1931 .There were mostly seven immediate causes responsible for the outburst
1) Land grabbing from Muslim: According To G M Lone, A leading land-holder in Udhampur Jammu embraced Islam. The Hindu Tehsildar sanctioned a fresh mutation of his lands, eliminated his name and mutated the same in the name of his brother. He filed a suit which was dismissed with the remarks that unless he re-entered Hindu faith, he was not entitled to any property. This was done in accordance with a decree issued by the Dogra Government on 31st December, 1882
2) Banning Friday sermon at Jammu : On 29 April 1931 ,Muslim at Jammu while offering Eid prayers , the Dogra DIG Chowdry Ram Chand and another police officer ,Babu Khem Chand ,told the imam Atta Ullah Shah Bukhari (or Mufti Muhammad Ishaque ) to stop the mandatory Friday khutbah in which he spoke about the cruel king of ancient Egypt Pharoah as indicated in Quran and accused him of making the political speech against the king . A young man Mir Hussain Bakhsh stood up to defy the ban and addressing the people told them that the Government had been guilty of interference in their religion. The cry was taken up by the congregation,they marched in a procession to the city’s main Masjid where brief meeting was held condemning the incident. Chowdary Gowhar Rehman, secretary of newly established Young Men’s Muslim Association took a serious exception to this religious interference and held a protest meeting (Weekly The Kashmiri Musalmaan, Lahore ,10 May 1931).
The meeting was addressed by Chaudhri Ghulam Abbas Khan, Sardar Gauhar Rehman Khan, and Mistri Yakub Ali. Holding protest meetings from now on became quite frequent. The Muslims brought a complaint in the court of Additional District Magistrate under section 296 Ranbir Penal Code against the Hindu inspector for disturbing a religious assembly which was dismissed, as the Hindu Magistrate held that Khutba was not a part of the prayers. A large crowd of Hindus who were present in the court premises raised the slogans: “Khem Chand Zindabad” and “Hindu Dharam Ki Jai”.
3) In another incidence, the upper caste Hindus in the Dagora Village of Samba stopped Muslim from drawing water from a tank for performing ablution for Eidprayer.
4) Another incident, on 4th June in the Central Jail Jammu. According to daily “Inquilab” dated 1/7/1931, one Fazal Dad Khan, a police constable from Mirpur, was sitting on a cot when a Head Warder, Balak Ram, reprimanded him for being late on duty. In the meantime came one Labhu Ram Sub-Inspector who threw away his bedding in a fit of recklessness. It contained a copy of Panjsurah (five chapters from Holy Quran). Fazal Dad approached the Young Men’s Muslim Association. (Khan,Freedom movement in Kashmir, p.126)
5) The fourth incident took place in Srinagar on 20th June 1931 when leaves of the Holy Quran were found in a public latrine. No Muslim could ever dare do that.
Mirwaiz Muhammad Yousuf Shah at a public meeting held at Hazratbal said: “If we are arrested there is nothing for you to fear. If ten of us are arrested, the other ten must be prepared to take our places”.
6) These unfortunate incidentsat Jammuinfuriated theMuslim all over the state especially valley where a protest meeting was held at Khanqah e Moula on 21 June 1931 where tens of thousands of Muslimsassembled. Seven representatives were elected to take the movement forward in this meeting, the members included Saad-ud-Din Shawl, Mirwaiz Moulvi Yusuf Shah, Mirwaiz Ahmadullah Hamdani, Aga Syed Hasan Jalali, Khawaja Ghulam Ahmad Ashai, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and Munshi Shuhab-ud-Din.
Abdul Qadir Khan : According to historian Zahir ud Din ,when meeting was about to close ,Abdul Qadir Khan ,who was a Kashmiri as per him, Abdul Qadeer Khan delivered his historic speech at this function. When the leaders dispersed a young man appeared on the podium and started chanting slogans against Hindus. He said: “Listen. Time has come when we have to act. Requests and memoranda will serve no purpose at this point of time. It will not end tyranny and it will not end desecration of Quran.
Stand up upon your legs and fight the tyrant rulers.” He pointed towards Raj Mahal (Palace) and said: “Raze it to the ground.”(Sheikh Abdullah, Aatish e Chinar, 61).
There are many versions about Abdul Qadir Khan, some believe Abdul Qadeer, an employee of an English army officer, Major Butt of the Yorkshire Regiment then posted at Peshawar, hailed from Swat. He had come to Srinagar with his employer who was a casual visitor on leave from the army wanting to spend the hot summer in the cool climate of Kashmir. He was staying in a house boat in Naseem Bagh. For most of the writers, he was an Afghan who cooked meals for an Englishman in Srinagar. Author Shabnum Qayoom writes that he came from Meerut, UP and was inspired by a British officer (Qayoom says in his Kashmir Ka Siyasi Inquilab vol 1 page 50).Most recently, a man from Islamabad Pakistan Abdul Saboor Khan, claimed to be son of Abdul Qadeer, and, he talked to a Valley based columnist, Peer Mairaj-ud-Din in 2007. The Islamabad columnist (quoted above) had a detailed interview with Saboor Khan. According to him Qadeer was a Kashmiri and worked as a cook with a British. “We are descendants of Afghans who migrated to Kashmir some three hundred years ago and settled at Gutli Bagh near Ganderbal. Our relatives still live there”, he said.
Qadeer married a woman from Bandipora who later gave birth to Saboor Khan. Saboor was very young when Qadeer died and “was buried at a place between Gonikhan and Lal Ded hospital.” No effort has been made by any quarter till date to locate his grave.
Zahir ud Din brings another anecdote to prove his claim, Professor Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Shah of Hathi Khan Mohalla, who passed away last week, said that before joining higher education department he was in police for a brief stint. “One day I was going through a file when a man with a whitish complexion walked into my office. My colleagues simply ignored him. After some time, he introduced himself as Qadeer’s brother. I looked at him curiously. He was wearing a ring on right ear. Qadeer was a household name in Kashmir then. I offered him a chair and ordered tea for him. He had come to my office regarding some problems in his job; he was an employee in the police department. Since in Kashmir a non-state subject can’t get a job, particularly in those times when the state subject law was strictly enforced, it is clear that Qadeer was a Kashmiri. “Imyself wonder that how can a non-Kashmiri who don’t know Kashmiri language influence thousands of Kashmiri Muslim who are not well versed with Urdu or Pashtulanguage.
7) Gazi Abdul Qadir Arrested: – The fiery speech of resulted in Qadeer’s arrest and trial. His speech was recorded by the CID and when he returned to Naseem Bagh in the dead of night, he was followed by the Gestapo and arrested on 25th June from the house-boat of his employer and charged under section 124-A (treason) and 153 of the Ranbir Panel Code. It must be noted along with CID, The district magistrate had deputed city magistrate, Pandit Sat Lal to attend the meeting in his official capacity. During the four hearings on the 4th, 6th, 7th and 9th, a large number of Muslims would assemble in the compound of the Court to witness this trial and to express their solidarity with their hero .Finding the atmosphere quite volatile the session judge shifted the venue of trial from the court to central jail which was more secure to control the crowd but the masses insisted on open trial.
According to Fida Hassnain,on the 13th of July 1931, the trial of Abdul Qadeer Khan Ghazi was held in the Srinagar Jail premises. The Deputy Inspector of Police came to the site of the trial with one Inspector, two Sub Inspectors, five Head Constables, and 44 policemen. Out of this force 22 policemen were armed with rifles and the rest with clubs, while the Inspectors had revolvers. In addition to the above reinforcement, the Jail forces comprised 119 policemen armed with bamboo canes and 19 policemen with rifles. Before the arrival of the Session Judge, a large gathering of the Muslim had gathered on the road leading to the Jail compound. When the Judge arrived in his car, escorted by the police they shouted these slogans: ‘Our brother from Raibareli! Release Abdul Qadeer!Our brother from Rawalpindi! We will go to the jail. Imprison us instead’
Polymath Molvi Abdullah Vakil ,Mohsin e Kashmir took over as defence lawyer along with team Comprising of Pir Kamal ud Din ,and adv.Ghulam Mohammad .In the meantime jail official informed the governor ,Raizada Trilok Chand about the matter . By 12:45, the Muezzin gave call to prayer and the people started the Zuhar prayer. As this stage, at 1:00 pm. Muslims began lining up for their noon prayers.The police arrested five men and this incensed the people further. One of them, named Khawaja Abdul Khaliq Shora, stood up and recited the Azan loudly. A policeman promptly shot him dead ,such was the euphoria that he was quickly replaced by another person who continued with the call to prayer and he too was shot dead by two rows of police men and in this way 17 daredevils were martyred and 5 more among the hundreds injured the succumbed to injuries later on . This was first Adhan of the world which took 22 lives to be completed. Protesters made a flag of the soaked shirt of martyr, lifted them on charpoy and proceeded towards Jamia masjid. It was here that one of the martyrs and now you proceed who had not as yet breathed his last, had reportedly told Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. “I have done my duty and now you proceed ahead!” ,now in 2018, I personally believe that call of the martyr is yet to be fulfilled and Dr Farooq and Omer Farooq must come forward to fulfil otherwise this call of Martyr will haunt them or generation together. The Hindu, Daily Tribune, dated 28th July, 1931, admitted the loss of 21 Muslims in the firing the scene was very grim. There was wide condemnation to this state led massacre.
Next day on 14th July, HariSingh appointed an enquiry commission under chief justice JK high court Barjour Dalal and a non –official Muslim and Hindu each as commissioner .Khawaja Saad ud Din Shawl was selected as commissioner but he tendered his resignation then Ghulam Ahmed Ashai was substituted in his place ,but he too resigned cited the formers reason that they did not believe the enquiry commission.
Martyrs of 13th July 1931
- Khaliq Shora
- Akbar Dar
- Ghulam Ahmad Rather
- Usman Misgar
- Ghulam Ahmad Bhat
- Ghulam M Halwai
- Ghulam Nabi Kalwal
- Ghulam Ahmad Naqash
- Ghulam Rasool Durra
- Ameer-ud-Din Makayi
- Subhan Makayi
- Ghulam Qadir Khan
- Ramzan Chola
- Ghulam Mohammad Sofi
- Ameer-ud-Din Jandgaru
- Mohammad Subhan Khan
- Mohammad Sultan Khan
- Abdul Salam
- Ghulam Mohammad Teli
- Fakeer Ali
- Ghulam Ahmad Dar
- Abdullah Ahanger
At the suggestion of Khawaja Noor Shah, all the martyrs were buried in the compound of Ziarat Naquishband Sahib, Khanyar .As per Fida Hassnain, The soldiers arrested about 700 Muslims in the city. The next day the leaders of the Muslims, namely Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Chaudary Ghulam Abbas, Moulvi Abdul Rahim, Sardar Gohar Rehman were arrested and Sheikh Sahib was locked in a solitary cell of the Hari Parbat Fort. As a protest against these atrocities the whole valley of Kashmir observed Hartal for 19 days.
The Maharaja had failed to curb this upsurge and as such he decided to make changes in the administration. He appointed Pandit Hari Kishan Koul as the new Prime Minister of the State and issued orders for the release all political prisoners except Abdul Qadeer Khan Ghazi who was given five years rigorous imprisonment and later murdered in the jail only.
Clashes between Punjabi Khatris and Muslim : Some of the Muslim who had gone to Maharaja Bazar to get white clothes for shrouds for the martyrs , a Khatri trader allegedly passed some obscene and uncalled remarks for martyrs leading to clash between the two sides and according to ,Khan ,Freedom movement In Kashmir ,pp.133,Kahmiri Pandit made a common cause with the KhatriHindus against their own Kashmiri Muslim and a fracas broke between Hindus and Muslim .On 14 August 1931, a call given by the All Indian Kashmir Committee. Ahrars voluntarily entered Kashmir and one Ellahi-Bakshi was killed by Dogra police at Kashmir border. His slogan was “Kashmir Chalo”. He was the first Muslim martyr from India to lay down his life for Kashmir.
Propaganda that Hindus were looted and murdered:
1) Let me quote Pandit politician and historian who rejected the communal nature of the movement, In his work: “Inside Kashmir” (1941), Prem Nath Bazaz writes:
“The driving force behind the mass agitation till the 13th July was the discontent among the rank and file of the Muslims. The attack on the jail was in no way directed against the Hindus, and those who laid down their lives at the jail gate did so fighting against an unsympathetic government… It was a fight of the tyrannized against their tyrants, of the oppressed against the oppressors”.
2) Another Pandit, an authoritarian figure on Kashmirhistory By P N K Bamzai, he states in his book, History of Kashmir,
“It is from that date that the people took upon themselves the task of securing for themselves the right of democratic self-rule”
3) Gwashi Lal Koul, a journalist turned historian who wrote extensively during that period does not mention loot of Pandit property in his book, Kashmir then and now
3) Koul was among leader of his Panditcommunity, he claims to have been himself victim of mob fury two days later but he does not refer to any loot or arson in his book,Kashmir then and now pp.101.
4) Pandit Jailal Kilam , a prominent leader of Hindu Yuyak Sabha wrote a book ,History of Kashmiri does not loot of Pandit property or attack on Pandits.
5) Abdul Majid Zargar while questioning this 29 year old sustained propaganda states,”Many books have been written by Pandits between 1931 and 1947 but no one among them mentioned any large scale riot or killing on that day.
7) According to, WeeklyAmar, August31,1931 , Sutherland Prime minster of J K Wakefield visited Vicharnag ,where report of alleged loot of Pandits happened ,Sutherland made a significant point that “Not a single Pandit complained of being looted”
6) I too was wondering about this propaganda, it must be mentioned here that during this period ,Pandit Hari Krishan Koul was the Prime Minster of Jammu and Kashmir and Pandit Sat Lal was magistrate of Srinagar city , whole police department was dominated by Pandits but still to this date they are not able to produce a single evidence regarding this propaganda .For last 88 years ,they haven’t disclosed the identities of a single person who has been killed, or harmed .They haven’t produced a single document like FIR’S ,Complaints etc. I have come to conclusion this is another feather to the propaganda list of few Pandit organisation otherwise pro Kashmir Pandits never claimed this.
7) Galancy report suggested that the removal of Prime Minster of JK, Pandit Hari Krishan Koul as demanded by Muslim as genuine and Hari Singh removed him on same day.
The inquiry commission: An inquiry commission under Barjor Dalal submitted a report on the riots of July 1931. Although Muslim leaders had already rejected because of its bias. Dalal termedHindu leaders as Representatives but Muslim leaders as so called representatives, he also termed banning of Friday prayer as accidental, he didn’t entertain the plunder of Muslim shops,and much more . Barjor Dalal’s report of the Srinagar riot enquiry committee – 1931) concluded that the riots were the desired outcome of intrigues the British indulged in from 1847, but Maharaja Gulab Singh astutely overcame.
TRUCE Agreement: Hari Singh organized the visit of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Tej Bahadur Sapru. They tried to dissuade Muslims of Kashmir about their struggle, campaigned in valley and asked people to cooperate with the Maharaja’s government. And through the intervention of a liberal Muslim politician from British India Meher shah, an agreement was achieved between Muslim leaders of Kashmir and the government. The agreement is known as Temporary truce. When terms of this truce were announced to people in Jama Masjid on August 28, 1931, they were very angry and the truce ended as public was poised to take the struggle to its logical end and get rid of occupational ruler.
“1931 rebellion was a grand success as most of the demands had to be conceded by Dogra rulers. The proprietorship of the land, lost in Mughal days, was resolved; the confiscated mosques were handed back to Muslims; freedom of expression and association with certain limits was granted and legislated assembly established, though the majority of its members was nominated by the Maharaja; more opportunities were afforded to the Muslims to enter state services”
In the course of sporadic uprising throughout the latter half of 1931, the Dogra army was busy employed in quelling the disturbances; the Kashmiris bared their breasts to the bayonets and guns of the army man. It was reported that not a single bullet had been found in the back of scores of dead bodies examined and post-mortem”
(The author is a student of Kashmir History and can be reached at: [email protected])