Kash­miris must have an in­de­pen­dent pol­i­tics, but not iso­lated

Views from Srinagar

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR - UR

MEHMOOD RASHID HE shock felt at the loss of Mus­lim po­lit­i­cal power by peo­ple like Iqbal, Maududi, Abul Kalam, al-Banna, Qutb, and many other tow­er­ing Mus­lim per­son­al­i­ties of the re­cent past was unimag­in­ably im­mense. The idea of an Is­lamic civil­i­sa­tion that once swept the world, and ruled for over thou­sand years, pro­duced two things at a time. One, a pro­found pain that made th­ese minds last­ingly rest­less. Two, an ar­chi­tec­tonic Is­lamist-pol­i­tics that en­vi­sioned a fu­ture where the loss can be re­cov­ered. Iqbal’s po­etry is drenched in this yearn­ing for a global Mus­lim po­lit­i­cal power, rooted in the lands of Is­lamic civil­i­sa­tion.

Those who take the con­text away and wish to un­der­stand a mind like Iqbal or Maududi do a great in­jus­tice to all such per­son­al­i­ties. We can be crit­i­cal of their ideas, and we must be if knowl­edge has to grow, but th­ese per­son­al­i­ties are our civil­i­sa­tional as­sets. They are our greats and if any mean­ing­ful pol­i­tics has to emerge in the Mus­lim world it has to be mind­ful of this dis­tinc­tion. The spirit and soul of th­ese great men must in­form our col­lec­tive ef­forts in the fu­ture. We can re­pu­di­ate many of their ideas, and the foun­da­tional ones too, but even for a minute we can­not se­vere from them.

It was this sev­er­ing of ties that pushed Kash­mir to dis­as­ter. One won­ders what Sheikh M Ab­dul­lah was do­ing by slip­ping into Nehru’s shadow, and at the same time pro­ject­ing him­self as a great ad­mirer of Iqbal. It sim­ply doesn’t add up. When the ideas like In­dian na­tion­al­ism, a sec­u­lar pol­i­tics, an idea

Tof a plu­ral so­ci­ety were be­ing thrust on us from the times Mus­lim Con­fer­ence was con­verted into Na­tional Con­fer­ence, we were es­tranged from the given strengths of our pol­i­tics. All the bril­liant po­lit­i­cal and in­tel­lec­tual ideals, like sec­u­lar­ism, democ­racy, na­tion­al­ism, and plu­ral­ism turned into fake po­lit­i­cal projects, once trans­ported to Mus­lim lands. Sim­ply be­cause they were op­er­ated against peo­ple’s in­ter­ests. Kash­mir is a glar­ing ex­am­ple of that. How could a mass leader, as Sheikh Sa­hab was, be un­mind­ful of such a har­row­ing am­pu­ta­tion. We were cut off from the body of which we were, and still are, an in­alien­able part. One rea­son we can lo­cate is Sheikh Sa­hab’s in­sen­si­tiv­ity to­wards the pain that the greats like Iqbal and Maududi felt. Sheikh Sa­hab could not ex­pand the frame of his pol­i­tics. He re­mained lim­ited to op­pos­ing the Do­gra rule, and in that missed the larger plot. No man alive could take the po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions as were taken by Sheikh M Ab­dul­lah. May be he never made a choice, and what was of­fered to Kash­mir’s Free­dom Move­ment as Sheikh’s choices were never his. Be­cause none of the po­lit­i­cal choices about the Mus­lim pol­i­tics any­where in the world can be real if the Mus­lim civil­i­sa­tional spread, both his­tor­i­cal and ge­o­graph­i­cal, is not live in the back­ground. The choices can still be dif­fer­ent, but in­vari­ably in­formed by the es­sen­tial Mus­lim­ness of our pol­i­tics. Those prop­a­gat­ing the idea of in­de­pen­dent Kash­mir need to guard them­selves against mak­ing such po­lit­i­cal fal­lacy. While fight­ing for the free­dom of a peo­ple, you can’t lose sight of the civil­i­sa­tional and ge­o­graph­i­cal ad­van­tages. Af­ter all what is pol­i­tics if not the strengths in­her­ent in the Lands and Peo­ples that com­prise your web of re­la­tion­ships. In any cor­ner of the world no peo­ple are com­pletely iso­lated. Kash­miris must have an in­de­pen­dent pol­i­tics, but not iso­lated. We have re­la­tions be­yond our im­me­di­ate, and im­posed, bor­ders. Back to the con­text. If any­one has to fathom the pain that the loss of po­lit­i­cal power in­flicted on Mus­lim mind, he can lis­ten to one of the mem­o­rable speeches de­liv­ered by Syed Maududi. The ti­tle of this speech is “Tehreek-e-Is­lami Ke Unat­tees Saal – 29 years of the Is­lamic Move­ment.” In that speech he talks about the times when Khi­lafat Move­ment in In­dia had failed, and Mus­lims were in a state of to­tal ruin. It was in those days that Abul ‘Ala trav­els from Delhi to Hy­der­abad, his birth place. As the man him­self nar­rates, he finds a Con­gress­man, some Dr Khare, in the com­part­ment.

‘The way Mus­lim pas­sen­gers on board were be­hav­ing in pres­ence of that Congress leader, alarmed me about the fu­ture of Mus­lims in the sub-con­ti­nent. I couldn’t be­lieve that here are the peo­ple who ruled this coun­try up un­til yes­ter­day, and here is how ob­se­quiously they be­have in pres­ence of a per­son who they pre­sume to be their fu­ture ruler. English were yet to leave, and we had al­ready started be­hav­ing like slaves .... I reached Hy­der­abad, and couldn’t sleep for nights to­gether’. This is in a nut­shell how Maududi’s ex­pe­ri­ence is summed up.

Here is an­other such ex­pe­ri­ence. When Raashid Gan­nouchi, now famed Tu­nisian Is­lamist leader, was warm­ing upto Is­lamist ac­tiv­i­ties in Paris, his brother vis­ited him. Mak­ing the mother’s ill­ness as an ex­cuse he wanted Gan­nouchi to come back, ac­tu­ally want­ing to see him out of such “idi­otic” ac­tiv­i­ties. Gan­nouchi ac­com­pa­nied his brother trav­el­ling by land through Spain. Here is how Gan­nouchi’s bi­og­ra­pher puts it:

“In the city of Cor­doba they vis­ited the grand mosque and toured with great dis­tress the relics of the Is­lamic civ­i­liza­tion. The visit af­fected the broth­ers im­mensely. Gan­nouchi wept bit­terly and so did his brother, in spite of his non-com­mit­ment to Is­lam at the time. Ghan­nouchi’s el­der brother had at a young age mem­o­rized the Qur’an but be­came less re­li­gious as he grew up. He even­tu­ally stopped pray­ing al­to­gether, and that was, ac­cord­ing to Ghan­nouchi, due to the in­flu­ence of the sec­u­lar at­mos­phere of the 1950s and 1960s. —Courtesy: GK

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