1. MY FAMILY
Father of my grand father, having got fed up with high handedness of the British rulers of India, took refuge in state Jammu & Kashmir (here-after called state) during early 1860s where based on family background, was granted provisional citizenship of the state. He purchased a house in Jammu Tawi (winter capital of the state) and settled there. Ancestral land in central / northern India and Punjab having been snatched by (British) East India Company, Sikh and British rulers without any compensation, he started off afresh.
My grand father was born in 1869 AD. After marriage, he shifted to south India and started business in Madras, Bombay and state Hyderabad and became an international merchant. He used to visit countries in Southern Europe, Northern Africa and Far East. He could not get conventional Education due to bad days of his father but learned to speak seven languages including Arabic, English and Chinese. He purchased and built property in Jammu and came to be known as the richest Muslim of Jammu. Soon, he was granted First Class Citizenship of the state which was a rare favour to an outsider
My grand father first had two daughters then one son, my father, born on Thursday, September 17, 1908 at Breli, India. One daughter had no children. Her husband died in Egypt in 1946 when she was in Jammu to visit her parents. There-after, she lived with us. My father married daughter of his maternal uncle on Saturday, March 29, 1930. In early 1930’s, clashing with British Rulers of India, my father shifted to Egypt where his father-in-law was already living. Soon after he shifted to Palestine and established his business there.
My eldest sister was born at Cairo, Egypt on Thursday, February 11, 1932 and the next at Jabalpur, South India on Tuesday, February 5, 1935. I was born on Friday, August 6, 1937 at Jammu Tawi. My grand father was so happy that he celebrated my birth with great fervor and gifted necklaces of 22 carat gold (about 58 gm each) to his two daughters and nieces.
2. HAD SECOND LIFE
I was still an infant when I started having fever and losing weight. After couple of months an abscess was diagnosed at junction of right leg with body. That was operated upon to remove puss etc then the cut was not getting jointed due to my being too weak. There was no hope of my survival. As a last effort, the surgeon applied hot steel rod. Allah, Soobhanohoo Ta’ala, granted me second life.
Jammu Tawi was a beautiful and clean town on slant of mountain. Rains were usual and after rain roads and streets used to glitter. Town of Jummu had flowing waters on it’s three and a half sides. On two and a half sides was river Tawi and on one side was a canal fed by river Chenab. This canal had icy cold water. After passing through electric power station, the canal passed under the river Tawi where Tawi crossed the canal through a channel bridge. So, Inhabitants of Jammu were good swimmers. We used to have picnics on the banks of canal in summer. We did not go to the canal on holidays because large number of people used come from Punjab. In winter, we used to go to Tawi or on mountains across the river Tawi which had some flat areas on the top. There used to be monkeys on these mountains. Once, while we were playing on the mountain, moneys took some of our rotis (bread). In summer 1946, we tried to go to mountain passing through a tributary of Tawi at upstream but had to return failing to cross the main Tawi. On return, water level in the tributary had risen and speed of flow had increased a lot. Crossing the tributary, we lost our balence and my sister and a cousin sister were carried away by water. They were rescued about 10 meters down stream by some passersby. During picnics at canal, we used to place mangos, melons, water melons or milk bottles in the canal and they used to be refrigerated.
We used to spend our summer vacation in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, a valley of river Jehlum at high altitude. There, we used to live in a house-boat which had two bedrooms with attached bathrooms and a large drawing-cum-dinning room. A cook-boat was attached to it which housed the kitchen and residence of servants. Venders used to sell fish and vegetables on boats. Small fish they used to catch after getting the order. So, it used to be jumping fresh. Sometimes, I used to put fish in a water tub and enjoy seeing them swim.
We could sail in river Jehlum in our house-boat but generally we used to go on a nicely decorated small boat called Shikara, particularly, during moon-lit nights. While in Srinagar, we used to visit natural springs on mountains, beautiful gardens of the Mughal era and Kulgam, Gulmerg, Tanmerg, Pehalgam, etc on high mountains. The grand mosque, Hazrat Bal, was a sacred place for Muslims because hair of prophet Muhammad, SAS had been kept there.
The state comprised 6 distinct areas: (1) Laddakh (2) Baltistan (3) Gilgit (4) Kashmir (5) Poonchh and (6) Jammu. All of these had distinct culture and language but they formed a well-knit state. Gilgitis resembled Baltis, and people of Poonchh could speak Kashmiri but their culture was different to Kashmiris. People of Poonchh, in my opinion, were more aggressive and clever than even Dogras. All other Muslims were soft-spoken and simple people. Baltis were most simple and honest people in whole of the state, perhaps, due to remaining cut off from the outer world for most part of the year. Some people in Laddakh were Buddhist and the others ignorant but they used to be faithful servants. In whole of the state, Brahmins, though very soft spoken, were very clever and cheats. People in Jammu were generally prosperous next Kashmir next Poonch next Gilgit next Baltistan next Laddakh. Literacy in Jammu was more than Punjab and many other parts of India. Qudratullah Shahab (famous bureaucrat and writer) and Khushi Muhammad Naazar (poet and one-time governor of Jammu Province) of Jummu gained world fame.
Raja Hari Singh allowed Indian Hindus to settle in the state. These people established un-announced Sevak Sang (a Hindu militant political party) in Jammu and started teaching marshal arts to Hindu youth. Then every year used to be a quarrel between Hindus and Muslims on Janam Ashtami and Miladun Nabi but the matter used to be clear within a week or so. Every time the mischief was started by the Sevak Sang youth. Activities of Sevak Sang became more hectic with onset of 1947.
3. THE HATRED
The attitude of Hindus towards Muslims can be guessed by comparing the following first two incidents with the third.
(1) Once we were playing hide and seek and a boy (Muslim) rammed in to a passerby Hindu. He shouted, “Brisht ho geya, brisht ho geya (my clothes have become filthy)” and cursed Muslims.
(2) Another time after playing we went to a Hindu’s shop for drinks. In those days there were no disposable bottles/cans. Shopkeeper sold drink to one boy who was Hindu and declined to sell to Muslim boys. On Hindu boy’s request to sell drinks to us, he said, “Muslay hain, botlain brisht ho jain gi (They are Mulims, bottles will become filthy).” Then one Muslim boy asked for water, the shop keeper standing two meters away poured water on to his hands from half a meter above his hands.
(3) Hindus worship cows. Some cows used to wander about in the town. Once a Hindu was passing by a cow and the cow started urinating and his clothes were drenched with urine of cow. He said, “Pap Charri gay, pap charri gay (My sins are washed away).”
I studied in an English medium school named Model Academy where duration of study for Junior Cambridge was 9 years (including 2 years of nursery) and another 2 years for the Senior Cambridge. In March, 1947, I was in 2nd year after nursery when the school closed. When creation of Pakistan become sure, hatred could be noted on faces of Hindus. One of the Hindus in our class, Rambeer, was a member of Sevak Sang. I had seen him practicing Gatka (wooden replica of sword) and “fight with Balum. (a long wooden rod fitted with a twin-edged large dagger shaped steel piece). Final decision about independence was announced in March, 1947. Next day Rambeer passing by me accompanied by classmate, Keerti Kumar, abused Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah. On asking him not to do that, he took out a knife. I stood there and he tore my coat from behind with knife and threatening me went away. He was taller, stronger and 3 years older than me. Two days later, when teacher was not in the class room, Keerti Kumar abused Muslims. On asking him to stop, he jumped on me saying, “We will kill you Muslims and there will be no Pakistan.” I retaliated and he bled from nose. Other students kept shouting ‘stop it’ ‘stop it’ but none intervened. After seeing blood on my shirt, classmates separated us. Our class comprised 6 girls (one Muslim, 4 Hindu, one Christian) and 14 boys (6 Muslim, one Sikh, 7 Hindus). Later, the girls reported the matter to the Principal who held inquiry. All the girls, 5 Muslim, one Sikh and one Hindu boy favoured me while Rambeer and another Hindu boy favoured Keerti Kumar. On pressing by the Principal, Keerti Kumar divulged that Rambeer had instigated him and that two days back Rambeer had cut Ajmal’s coat with knife. Consequently, both were suspended. Also, my record at school was good. I used to top in all examinations / class tests and had never quarreled. A few days later, a quarrel took place outside the school between Hindu and Muslim students of higher class and a boy was injured. Consequently, the school was closed.
4. GROUND REALITY
Initially, Muslim majority provinces were to form Pakistan. States were to decide their future according to wishes of their people. Baluchistan, Sind, NWFP, Punjab and Bengal were Muslim majority provinces. Jawahar Lal Nehru in connivance with British Viceroy, Lord Mount Batten got Punjab and Bengal divided on district basis. Jammu & Kashmir was a Muslim majority state with 97% Muslims in Kashmir province and well over 50% Muslims in Jammu province. Non-Muslims were in majority only in districts of Jammu, Kathuwa and Udhampur. Jammu district had 49% Muslims. In Jammu town non-Muslims had a little higher percentage. Purely Muslim population areas in Jammu town were (1) Khalka mohallah (Khalka means at comparatively lower altitude) (2) Ustad da mohallah (3) Pthanan da mohallah. Kkhalka mohallah was much larger than the other two combined. We lived at an edge of this mohallah at a Tee of roads. The diagonally opposite houses were of Hindus. I had heard them cursing Muslims. I did not go to that area during 1947. Rawalpindi, Jehlum, Sialkot and Gurdaspur touched the state and were Muslim majority districts, and the state having Muslim in majority, Muslims of the state were sure to be a part of Pakistan.
5. PAKISTAN MOVEMENT
Muslims of Jammu used to take out processions. Once small children were included included in the procession including me. The slogans used to be “Lay kay rahain gay Pakistan” [We will get Pakistan], “Bun kay rahay ga Pakistan” [Pakistan will be founded], “What do you want ? Pakistan”, “Pakistan ka matlab kia ? La ilaha il-Allah” [The meaning of Pakistan? There’s no god except God]
During July, 1947, Muslims of the state passed “Accession to Pakistan Resolution” and 14th August, 1947 was celebrated with immense joy. On my wish, my grand father hoisted a large Pakistan flag on top of our two-storey house using steel pipe 32 ft tall.
6. THE MISCHIEF
Boundary line of Pakistan and India in Punjab was not announced till 14th August, 1947. A conspiracy was hatched by Hindu leaders, Lord Mount Batten (British Viceroy) and Radcliff (Boundary Commission appointed by British government), and district Gurdaspur was divided for providing India a clear land passage to Jammu. Mirzais (ahmadia) also played a dirty game. They sent an application to Lord Mount Batten stating that they were not part of Muslims demanding Pakistan, as such, Qadian (part of District Gurdaspur) should be separated from Pakistan. The decision to divide district Gurdaspur had no justification.
After division of Gurdaspur, Nehru, Patel and another Congress leader reached Jummu and started pressing Maharaja Hari Singh to declare accession to India. They went back after 3 or 4 days without any formal announcement. Soon after, Indian army started forced landing in Jammu. Also, militant wings of political parties of India (Sevak Sang, Maha Sabha and Akali Dal) started entering Jammu in large numbers with Balums, daggers, swords, rifles, etc under the protection of intruding Indian army.
It was announced in Jammu that all people must deposit every thing that could be used as weapon. There-after, houses of Muslims were searched and even domestic knives of over 4 inch blade were confiscated while Hindus and Sikhs walked around carrying weapons.
7. THE KILLING
By October, 1947, killing of Muslims in the villages had started. We saw villages on fire from top of our house. The number of villages on fire increased as the days passed. On sighting moon of Zil-Hajj, word of mouth was spread, “Pehlay Muslay qurbani kartay thay, iss Eid per hum Muslon ki qurbani karain gay. (Muslims used to slaughter lambs on Eid. We will slaughter Muslims on this Eid)” Few days later, curfew was cramped and attacks on scattered houses of Muslims within the Hindu areas of city started. News of Muslims killed / injured started pouring in but to assist anybody was impossible due to Indian army supervised curfew.
One night, roar of machine gun fire was heard coming from two sides of our house. Target was our house because my grand father used to finance Muslim Conference and that the large & high flag of Pakistan was still fluttering on our house top. Muslims had no weapon with them so they raised slogans “Nara-i-Takbeer – Allah-o-Akbar [Great Slogan? God is the Greatest]” and “Pakistan zinda bad [Long Live Pakistan]”.
Next morning, one of our tenants for over a decade (a Hindu) brought a bucket of milk and said, “I thought that milk from your lands may have not arrived. So, I have brought it.” None of us was in a mood to drink milk or even eat anything. Next morning Phoopho (my aunt) threw the milk in the drain outside the house. A cat came and drank some milk. After few minutes we heard some strange voice. We rushed to the door and saw the cat dying.
Our neighbour and his brother were Colonels in Maharaja’s army. They were on the border but their families were at home. Same day it came to be known that their families had planned to shift to some safer place. Our guardians requested them to take six minor children of our family with them including me.
During the next night, we were asked to quietly move to a military truck parked on the road keeping our heads low. We took with us some rice, atta, dal, one liter tin of olive oil, one single-sized razai (quilt) and some money. We reached Jammu Cantonment, Satowari, and stayed in a military residence protected by 4 military men who did not stand around the house but lived in a room about 20 meters away from the house. Only one of them had a gun while armed rioters used to come in fifties. We lived there under fear of being murdered. Sometimes, after the sunset, we used to hear “Jai Hind” and “Sat Siri Akal” (slogans of Sevak Sang, Maha Sabha and Akali Dal). Those nights particularly we used to pass under great fear, praying to Allah for help and security. Six of us used to sleep on a Namda (felt) 6 ft x 4 ft and one single size Razai over us not covering my head and feet, others were taller than me. Nights in those days were cold. Allah protected us otherwise we should have died of Pneumonia.
I and my cousin used to go for collecting fire wood. Till we returned our sisters used to stand behind the outer door and pray for our safe return. I used to break and collect wood and my cousin used to pull the bundle. Normally, we got dried cactus. My palms were full of thorn pricks.
The edibles and water being available in small quantity, each one of us used to eat one small roti or little rice with dal. When olive oil was finished, we used to eat boiled rice with boiled dal (without salt, pepper, onion, garlic, etc). When Dal was finished, we ate only boiled rice. Rice was about to finish and we were worried but Allah was kind. When I and my cousin went out looking for fire wood, a burqa clad lady came near me and whispered, “Where are you living ?” She some how knew us. She followed us keeping a distance and entered some minutes after us. Having come to know of food problem, she promised to arrange some thing. Her residence was half a mile away and an easy route. Two days later, I went to her residence with money and purchased some dal and rice.
In the end of October, the house lady informed us that Muslims in Poonchh, Mirpur and Muzaffarabad had started Jihad on 24th October, 1947 for freeing the state and that fierce battle was going on between the Mujahideen and army of the state.
8. BLOOD FLOWING IN CANAL
During disturbance days, the tap water being hardly sufficient for drinking, we could not take bath for about one month. On 6th November, 1947 (about noon), five boys headed by 18 year old son of Colonel went to take bath in the nearby Canal. We saw many clots of blood floating in the canal water. We got scared and rushed back. Reaching back, when we informed the people in the house about that, we were advised not to go out and not to open the outer door
9. MASS MASSACRE
At about 4 pm, somebody knocked at the outer door hysterically. I was standing in the courtyard near the outer door. The lady of the house asked all the female members to go to the rear room, send the boys out and lock the room door from inside. She directed the boys to give me cover and signaled me to open the door. As I opened the door, a tall young man in his early 20’s, wearing a sleeping suit rushed in, shouted, “Sab mur gayay (all died)”, fell on his face and fainted. I closed the outer door immediately. The other boys rushed to the young man, turned him over and two of them screamed, “Bhaijan ! what happened ?” Somebody sprinkled water on his face. He got up, shouted, “Sab mur gayay” and fainted again. Then he was lifted by us and taken to the room and all children were ordered to leave the room. Only wives of the two colonels and the oldest boy remained inside. In the evening, we came to know that he was nephew of Colonel. They had started for Pakistan in Qafla in the morning (6th November). All family except him was killed. He knew the way to our residence and had come hiding and running. He informed that a Qafla had also gone on the previous day. This made us think that all our relations in Jammu were dead. So, we all started weeping and there was no one to console. We did not eat or drink anything till late evening next day. In evening of the next day, the two ladies, still sobbing, consoled us and gave us some rice to eat.
A few days later, an old lady, a young lady and a teen-aged girl came. They were the mother, bhabhi [siter-in-law] and elder sister of my sister’s friend whose younger brother was my class mate. Bhabi had a deep one inch wide wound in her neck which had become septic. They were, also, in the Qafla of 6th November, the Muslims in which were murdered near the canal. The rioters were picking beautiful young girls. Old lady asked her daughters to jump in the canal and not take their heads out. Thus the younger drowned herself in spite of being a good swimmer. My friend was also killed. They informed us that Bhabhi, after being pierced with Balum, had fallen unconscious. The old lady had lied down on ground to escape being hit by bullets. Some people got killed and fell on her. She did not move and waited till rioters were gone. By that time Bhabhi came to senses. Before reaching us they wandered for few days eating tree leaves / grass and drank stagnant water to survive.
10. TALE OF AGONY
The brief of what the ladies and the young man narrated is: “The scattered Muslims in Hindu areas of Jammu city had been mostly killed by Hindus. Only very few lucky ones shifted to Muslim areas. The 3 Muslim areas became under siege of Sevak Sang, Mahasabha, Akali Dal and Indian army. Indian army had taken positions on top of high buildings around Khalka mohallah. They fired on any Muslim coming in sight and kept on firing bursts towards the Muslim area with pauses. Muslims in Jammu city had no weapons after the search but they decided to stay in their houses, their past experience being that such quarrels used to be over in about two weeks. They made holes in common walls of their houses, so that they could move to each other without going out to road or street. At some points, however, they had to cross a road or street but surrounding was all Muslim population. It was also to enable exit to Muslim families in case Hindus attacked the houses.
Only few Muslims got killed during over 3 weeks’ period. In spite of Indian army cover, Hindus did not dare to come near the Muslim areas. Then one morning, it was announced, on a loud speaker fitted on a Tonga, “This is a message from Col Peer Muhammad. Pakistan has sent buses to evacuate Muslims to Sialkot. All people desirous of going to Pakistan should gather in the Police Lines.” The Police Lines was on south edge of Jummu city near river Tawi, about 2 kilometers from farthest end of Kkhalka mohallah. Though Col (Retd) Peer Muhammad was a leader of National Conference yet people believed in him because he was a Muslim, but that was a trap. Any person, who went to see the arrangements, did not return. If somebody carried baggage, that was snatched on way by the Indian army men. Nearly, all the Muslims, except members of National Conference, reached Police Lines where they saw buses lined up with Pakistan flags on top. On Wednesday, 5th November, 1947 people were asked to board the buses and the first Kafla started. Second Kafla, starting on Thursday, 6th November, 1947, traveled bypassing Jammu Cantonment. When it reached a forest near canal, the buses were halted. The passengers of the buses noticed Indian army personnel at a distance on both sides. They thought it was for their protection. Soon they heard slogans, Jai Hind, Sat Siri Akal. Then appeared hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs carrying swords, Balums and daggers. The rioters passed though the Indian army line and headed towards buses. Seeing this, Muslims started jumping out of the buses. At that moment rifle / machine gun fire was opened by India army on both sides of buses. Men, women and children started running for their life. Many of them jumped in to the canal. While running Balums / swords / bullets pierced them.”
After reaching Pakistan, we came to know that the only living brother of my grand father had joined kafla on 6th November, 1947 and was never seen again. Further, a few persons who had gone with kafla on 6th November, some how reached Police Lines early morning on 7th November and informed Capt (R) Naseer (leader of Muslim Conference) what had happened to them. By the time a strategy could be decided, people had mounted the buses present there. Capt (R) Naseer passed by all the buses saying loudly, “Hurry up get into the buses.” But, at low tone, he kept on saying, “If you want to stay alive, come out of the buses.” Within an hour all the people came out of the buses. Then Capt (R) Naseer addressed the officers of Indian army present there, “Fire the machine guns fixed on top of the Police Lines and kill all of us. Why are you taking trouble of carrying the people to kill ? Thus, wasting petrol and time. Start the fire, I promise that not a single person will try to run.” That created a stir.
Then Sheikh Abdullah was freed from prison and appointed prime minister of state. He delivered an emotional speech. The gist was “Muslims and Hindus of the state are brothers. Hence-forth, there will be no killing. I will go round and see myself that peace and tranquility prevails.” It is said that Sheikh Abdullah, before accepting premiership, had demanded that Indian army from Nabha and Patiala must be replaced by army from Madras who were known to be neutral.
Two days later, kaflas from Police Lines started reaching Sialkot without being attacked. Our guardians came to Pakistan on Sunday, the 9th November, 1947. They were my grand parents and paternal aunt, my father’s cousin sister and two aunts.
11. PRIME MINISTER’S VISIT
Another brother of the Colonel was Additional District Magistrate. He visited us in mid-November and informed that Sheikh Abdullah had been freed from prison and made prime minister of the state on 7th or 8th November,1947. On going back to Jammu city, the ADM sent some food grain and saved us from starvation. He again visited us and informed that Sheikh Abdullah wished to see us. A few days later, Sheikh Abdullah came accompanied by the ADM. I and Arshad Hafeez were advised by the house lady to insist on going to Pakistan. On seeing us Sheikh Abdullah asked about me. I went near him, he lifted me on his arm and said, ”These 3 telegrams are from your father. If you want to join your parents, we will send you to Palestine but it is better that we bring them here and you live in your own home.” In the mean time my cousin started weeping and said, “All our relations have gone to Pakistan, we want to go to Pakistan.” I copied him. Sheikh Abdullah patted my cousin and said, “O K. We will send you to Pakistan. Do not weep. You are good boys.” Then he said to the ADM, “Why don’t they shift to Jammu ?” He informed him that there was danger to our lives. (Father had sent 3 telegrams, one each to Lord Mount Batten, Governor General of India, Mr Nehru, Prime Minister and Sheikh Abdullah, to locate and send us to Palestine.)
Some days later, we were shifted under security cover to Usdad da mohallah in Jammu and placed in the house of Col (R) Peer Muhammad. My cousin sister, being the eldest, to bank escourted by a police officer and brought some money. Thus, we were able to purchase edibles and ate properly cooked food after about two months. We lived in Ustad da mohallah for about 2 weeks.
12. OUR HOUSES LOOTED
We, accompanied by a Muslim Police Officer and a few policemen, we visited our home. Every thing in the house had been looted. Suitcases and even G I sheet boxes had been taken away. What we found there was empty large G I sheet boxes and the large brass-made double bed which had a beautiful brass canopy (item of my mother’s jahaiz). On the floor were scattered papers of our property and family pictures. I and my sister collected all these papers and photographs but we could not bring those because of weight. We saw blood at two places, on roof of our uncle and on our roof near the place were Pakistan flag was hoisted. (After reaching Pakistan we came to know that the blood on uncle’s roof was of my father’s young cousin and on our roof top was of a 16 year old son of a neighbour. Both received bullets from machine guns of Indian army. The young boy died instantly and my father’s cousin had died after 3 days without getting any medical aid.)
13. OUR JOURNEY TO PAKISTAN
A plan was made to send to Pakistan minor children and injured women, parents or guardians of whom were supposed to have gone to Pakistan. Thus, on December 18, 1947, six small buses with children (including us) and women started off to Sialkot. Total drive was about 38 Km. Sheikh Abdullah was leading this Qafla in a military jeep and the Qafla was moving under protection of army from Madras, India. Sheikh Abdullah and Indian army stopped at the border. The buses finally reached and stopped at Sialkot Cantonment. In our bus Baji Shukriah was sitting near window and I was sitting next to her.
On seeing our aunts, we were very happy. However, their state of mind, that had been under persistent tension for about 2 months, can be judged from the fact that one of our aunts (whose children were with us) came near our bus and asked my sister Y, “Have you seen X, Y or Z?” She replied, “Auntie, it is me, Y.” It took our aunt some time to realize that she was indeed speaking to Y. Then we got down and hugged our aunts. They started kissing us while tears rained from their eyes.
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