On every 13 July when the Jammu and Kashmir is observing a martyrs day officially, all the political parties across the political lines visit the Khanqai Mohalla in down town Srinagar to pay respect to all those who fought against the autocratic Dogra rule. Maharaja
It is reported that as many as 21 people have been shot dead on 13 July 1931 when the policemen of erstwhile Dogra rule resorted to indiscriminate firing on the people sitting outside central jail after news about the trial of Abdul Kadeer travelled across.
Kadeer was tried by the Dogra rule for inciting the political smear against the autocratic Maharaja and when the people in valley heard he might be hanged; hundreds of people sat into the premises of jail and demanded his release.
However, in past two years after BJP came into power along with PDP in the state, there is growing demand by the people of Jammu especially from the Right wing parties of not observing holiday on this day.
Last year it was probably the first time when the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was left red faced for its ally BJP refusing to visit the martyr’s graveyard in Srinagar. For BJP and right wing parties Maharaja was the symbol of resilience, a king of prosperity who uplifted this landlocked state socioeconomically.
Earlier in 2016, the BJP legislatures had moved the resolution in the Assembly and demanded the official holiday on his anniversary, the bill was, however, not endorsed though resentment was mounting from the BJP legislatures.
In Kashmir, the Maharaja was tyrant, autocratic who enslaved the Muslim population and levied taxes on them beyond their means.
In other words in the same state there are two different and opposite narratives for the same person.
While so far there was no hue and cry from the jammuties and continued to enjoy the official holiday on 13 July, the recent protests by the Jammu Bar Association for demanding the revocation of this gazetted off is setting a new narrative in the state. It is the beginning of split of the region ideologically.
It is also undeniable fact that the Maharaja had immensely contributed to the socio-economic sector of state. The schools, colleges and the hospitals are standing witness to this fact. But the Kashmir remembers him for all ills. So in Jammu, there is probably no ill-will against him and he is respected for his contribution for building up the socioeconomic infrastructure.
This history is seventy years old now and it continues to divide the state on their socio-religious and political belief.
Any divide on the political beliefs may spell a doom for the border state and its socioeconomic interdependence can’t be overlooked. People of Jammu must understand that they have highest level of economic reliability on Kashmir which has its highest consumer base.
Similarly, for Kashmiri people Jammu is the first stopover for its all needs and it can’t afford look around while overlooking its availability in the backyard for its economic requirements.
The world has been dramatically changing and the opponents in world wars have become the closest allies in the 21ist century. You can only learn from past but not let it to dictate our future. Japan on which the America dropped two nuclear bombs is now its closest ally in South Asia. India which was till 70 years back a colony of Britishers is now its close ally in Asia.
But in our society the history is more into affecting our future instead becoming a strong reason for building prosperous and trouble free tomorrow. There is no reason to carry the baggage of history which is always a mystery.
It is high time for the civil society from both the sides to come forward to chalk out progressive and prosper future for our coming generations instead and remove the pages of history that carry animosity and hatred for our future generations.
It is time when the political class must be pushed on the back seat and a civil society needs to work collectively.
Together we can grow and together we shall grow!