Jinnah in Kashmir, 1944

On 10th of May 1944 Muhammad Ali Jinnah left for Srinagar accompanied by Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas Khan, Mirwaiz Yousuf Shah (Muslim Conference), Mirza Afzal Beg and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad (National Conference). The grandeur of the reception and the thickness of the crowds began slowly and gradually increasing at the fleet of the cars carrying the great leader slowly wended its way towards Srinagar.

At Khanabal, he made a brief halt for lunch. Mirwaiz Yousuf Sahab and Bakshi Ghulam Ahmad-inveterate foes since 1931, sat together, for the first time, in the over-powering presence of the Quaid. It was a miracle, the depth and imagination of which only Kashmiris can appreciate.

Beyond Qazigund, the throngs multiplied and the pageantry of colour and beauty was a spectacle to be cherished by generations of those who had the glory of participation and the pride to say: I SAW HIM.

Bare footed and tattered-clothed, the great majority of the welcoming had trekked on foot, many a hill just to catch a glimpse of the Man. Clad in newly washed clothes as on Eid, the pheran and the red qasbah wearing Kashmiri women, in their thousands had come out on the roads and singing songs of welcome in the Kashmiri Folk. (Koshur Wanvun).

While the frail but charismatic figure of the leader passed through the rows, thousands of men and women were unable to control their hearts when the very sight of the Quaid stirred up deep and shackled emotions resulting in tears trickling down their eyes.

Many actually wept under the sheer weight of joy. Mounds of flowers were showered. The rush of people was such that it took eleven hours to cover a distance of 80 miles which usually took 2 hours.

Many Kashmiris even touched the car as a good omen (Tobruk)

On reaching Srinagar in the even he described the reception as ROYAL WELCOME (Jinnah chose his words extremely careful). The only time he had ever said such of public rallies he was a guest of!

The Aligarh Old Boys Association (Which Comprised of the Alumni of Aligarh University from Kashmir) held a reception in Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s honour at the Amar Singh Club, Srinagar.

It was attended by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Mirza Afzal Beg, Khwaja Ghulam Muhammad Sadiq, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Karra, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Hamdani, Yousuf Buchh, Pandit Madhusudhan Kak, Shiv Narain Fotedar, Pandit A.N Raina, Pandit G.A Lal and J.N Chakku, all of the Aligarh Passouts.

There was an Exchange of Q&A between the Quaid and Mr. Hamdani (the Questions must have been already worked out by National Conference Leaders which was a norm due to the Iron Discipline of the party). The Conversation:

Mr. Hamdani: Sir, would the overwhelming Hindu majority in the subcontinent allow the establishment of Pakistan?

Quaid-e-Azam: If Mr. De Valera could succeed in separating Ireland, why can’t ten crore Muslims succeed in carving out a Country of their own?

Mr. Hamdani: Sir, If Pakistan comes into being, would it not be economically backward?

Quaid-e-Azam: (dismissing the apprehension with an emphatic NO) Nevertheless, it is better to live in a hut in Pakistan with a sense of security than to live in a bungalow in India under the Shadow of Insecurity.

Hamdani: (emphasising the Muslim-majority character of the Jammu and Kashmir State which meant their power in any democratic set up, Hamdani Asks) Sir in so far as the National Conference and the Muslim Conference are concerned, which of them can better serve the interests of the State Muslims.

Quiad-e-Azam: (Grins and gives a little smile) apparently the National Conference but can you tell how many Hindus and Sikhs are there in the National Conference?

There was no answer but someone from amongst the audience shouted: “Pandit Kashyap Bandu”: someone else added,”Sardar Budh Singh”. There was spontaneous laughter as the embarrassment of Nationalists couldn’t be concealed:

Quaid-e-Azam: (commenting) Had the Hindus and Sikhs made a common cause with you and joined the National Conference, The Maharaja could not resist your demand for responsible Government even for 7 days”

In Other function held at the Same Amar Singh Club held in honour of the Quaid-e-Azam and arranged by Khwaja Ghulam Ahmed Jeweller, leaders of all the minorities were also present. After tea, Quaid-e-Azam while leaving passed from near the Pundit guests. Pandit Shiv Narain Fotedar, (who later became a member of Indian Parliament, said tauntingly “I am the leader of the minorities but I am not the Jinnah of Kashmir”.

Without pausing for a second, forth came the retort:
“I wish you good luck.”

Ref: MY SARAF, Kashmiris Fight for Freedom

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