In 1931, right after the famous Kashmir riots, wherein the Maharaja Hari Singh ordered his soldiers to shoot and kill all protesters, the Ahmadiyya Movement was deployed by the British government to infiltrate Kashmir and pretend like they cared about the plight of Jammu and the Kashmir valley, which extended over modern day Azad Kashmir. By 1933, the Ahmadi’s were forced out of the politics of the Jammu and the Kashmir valley, which was under the rule of the Maharaja Hari Singh. However, by 1947, they were back in. In 1947, the Pakistani government asked the Khalifa, Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud Ahmad to take over the administration of Azad Kashmir, which he did, he appointed an Ahmadi as the first Prime Minister, his name was Ghulam Nabi Gilkar. This only lasted for about a year. Years later, the truth came out, Ahmadi’s led by their Khalifa, Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud Ahmad only entered into the Kashmir conflict in 1931 as an attempt to make their Khalifa a hero of the Kashmiri people and thus convert them to Ahmadiyya. However, the Muslims of Kashmir rebelled to Ahmadi leadership and thus the Ahmadi’s failed. To this day, they seem to only have 1 mosque in Kashmir and one mosque in Jammu. In terms of Azad Kashmir, they seem to have 4-5 mosques that they took over in 1947 and retained.
Punjabi Muslims founded the All-India Muslim Kashmir Conference in Lahore. In actuality, it was more of a symbolic gesture than a radical call to action, and it took close to twenty years of nearly complete dormancy before the committee was revived with wide recognition and mass public it. (The name also appears as the Muslim Kashmiri Conference. For example, see Ayesha Jalal, Self and Sovereignty, p. 352).(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”, ).
A state sponsored scholarship committee consisting entirely of Hindu members had selected eleven out of twelve possible awards to be given to Hindu students, leaving only one scholarship for a Muslim candidate. The selection, which the government defended as a decision based entirely on ‘merit’, fueled the prevalent sense of injustice and inequality that led many to believe that the government was committed to truncating opportunities for Muslims before they ever entered the workforce (See IOR R /l/1/2154 in the Report of the Srinagar Riot Enquiry Committee (24 September 1931), p. 17).(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”, )
The Khalifa, Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud Ahmad visits Jammu, Kashmir.
By the early 1930’s the Dogra Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, had developed a reputation for highhanded treatment of his Muslim majority subjects. Moreover, the growth of political dissent in Muslim areas coincided with a severe international economic depression whose effects Kashmir could not escape. Heavy taxation resulting from the government’s mistaken assessment of agricultural production had left many families in hardship. Additionally, within the urban areas many qualified Kashmiris were increasingly finding themselves without suitable work, which was only adding to the popular perception of Muslim victimization. Opportunities for Kashmiri Muslims were diminishing on many different social levels and half-hearted attempts to remedy the situation were failing miserably. Still, Kashmiri Muslims bore their socio-economic plight with ‘remarkably little organized resistance’ until the summer of 1931 when things began to change (See Ayesha Jalal, Self and Sovereignty, p. 354 and Khan).(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
1931, June 5th
The underlying tensions, which had been building steadily for decades, reached their boiling point on 5 June 1931 when a Hindu head constable of police had reportedly ordered a subordinate Muslim constable to stop reading the Qur’an. After calling the recitation nonsense (bakwas), the head constable proceeded to snatch the Qur’an from the hands of the subordinate officer and throw it away in the trash (((see IORR/l/1/2064 in the Fortnightly Report for the first half of June 1931 from the Resident of Kashmir (19 June 1931). The Riot Enquiry Committee later found that the Muslim constable had in fact exaggerated the event. Officially, the Muslim constable was reprimanded for failing to put his bedding away in the early morning hours, which was beyond the permissible time, and not for his recitation o f the Qur’an. Nevertheless, the head constable’s reaction was to grab the wad of bedding and crassly throw it away. Wrapped up in the bedding w as a copy of the panj (five) surah, the first five sections of the Qur’an. Interestingly, the outcome of the incident resulted in the retirement of the head constable and the dismissal o f his subordinate Muslim officer. For the official report, see IOR R /l/1/2154 in the Report of the Srinagar Riot Enquiry Committee (24 September 1931), p. 20))(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
1931, June 21st
Towards the end of June 1931 a ‘European’s cook’ named ‘Abd al-Qadir was arrested for making a seditious speech at Srinagar’s khanaqah mu’alia (The date recorded in the Report of the Srinagar Riot Enquiry Committee for the speech is 21 June 1931, whereas the Fortnightly Report for the first half of July 1931 from the Resident of Kashmir states that the arrest was made on 1 July 1931). His radicalized intonation and violent objectives involved inciting listeners ‘to kill Hindus and burn their temples (IOR R/l/1/2064 Fortnightly Report for the first half of July 1931 from the Resident of Kashmir (17July 1931)(See Khan). The government tried to control the hype surrounding the trial by conducting the proceedings in secret within the Srinagar jail where ‘Abd al- Qadir was being detained. The Darbar believed that the privacy of a swift closed trial would prevent excessive public excitement and counter precisely what India’s newspapers had been provoking for the past few weeks. However, when whisperings of a ‘secret trial’ mysteriously leaked out the night before the arraignment, imminent disaster was unavoidable.(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
1931, July 13th
The situation became so critical the then Maharajah resorted to brutal force and seventy two Kashmiris were killed and hundreds wounded. Thousands of demonstrators arrived at the Srinagar jail on 13 July 1931 to protest the proceedings inside. As the time for obligatory prayer approached one Kashmiri stood up to deliver Adhan. The Dogra Governor Ray Zada Tartilok Chand ordered his soldiers to open fire on him. When he was killed another Kashmiri stood up to continue the Adhan from the verse where the Adhan had been broken. He too was killed. A total of 22 Kashmiris were killed trying to complete delivering the Adhan. 
In retrospect, it is understandable why so many people believed that the secrecy of the trial was simply another Dogra conspiracy to continue oppressing Muslims. Though the police had been summoned in the early morning hours, their failure to appreciate the magnitude of the situation and their overall lackadaisical attitude prevented them from arriving at the jail until the afternoon, when they came ill prepared.(( Although this account was taken largely from government documents and reports, it differs from Spencer Lavan’s independent reading o f the same reports. Lavan said that ‘the [Riots Enquiry] Commission upheld the actions of the Maharajah and commended his prompt dispatching of troops to prevent further troubles.’ See Spencer Lavan, The Ahmadiyah Movement, p. 161, in footnote 8. However, the report of the Enquiry Commission also criticized the attitude of the police and their implementation of these orders. See IOR R/l/1/2154 in the Report of the Srinagar Riot Enquiry Committee (24 September 1931), pp. 4-5.))(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
As the protest intensified, the audacity of the crowd turned into belligerence. Irascible protestors began hurling stones and bricks at the guards as they surrounded the prison and proceeded to shake the telephone lines furiously until the lines were finally cut off. The guards intermittently fired warning shots with ephemeral effects, but the crowd became more hostile and tried to set fire to the prison. The guards opened fire killing ten protesters almost immediately and successfully dispersed the crowd away from the prison. The mob carried the bodies back to the city, shouting slogans and waving banners soaked in the blood of the dead, where rioters devastated the Maharaj-ganj bazaar, which was located in the Hindu quarters of Srinagar, and looted a number of shops ((See IOR R/l/1/2154 in the Report of the Srinagar Riot Enquiry Committee (24 September 1931) for the official report on the riots. Additionally, it is worth noting that Dost Muhammad Shahid’s Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, contains some rare photographs which are located in an insert between pp. 406-407, depicting some very disturbing scenes of the victims, including children, amidst the bereaved at the Jamia Masjid, Srinagar where the bodies were taken following the riots. He has also included photographs of large crowds of women protestors demonstrating and of the Maharaja’s troops when they surrounded the mosque in the weeks following the riots. It is also worth noting that most Muslim accounts indicate substantially higher death tolls, including Shahid’s own account, which numbers those injured to be in the low hundreds)).(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
1931, 25 July
On 25 July 1931, the Lahore based All-India Muslim Kashmir Conference held a meeting in Shimla at the house of Sir Muhammad Zulfiqar ‘Ali Khan(Who was the brother-in-law of the Khalifa), to determine their course of action. Many notable dignitaries were present, including Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Sir Mian Fazl-i Husain, (the Nawab of Malerkotla) Sir Muhammad Zulfiqar ‘Ali Khan(Who was the brother-in-law of the Khalifa), (Shams a l-‘Ulama) Khwaja Hasan Nizami of Delhi, Khan Bahadur Shaykh Rahim Bakhsh, and several other Nawabs, a Deobandi professor, and high ranking administrators from both the Siyasat and Muslim Outlook newspapers. On Iqbal’s nomination, the members unanimously agreed that Mirza Bashir al-Din Mahmud Ahmad should become president, with ‘Abd al-Rahim Dard as his secretary, of what they called the All-India Kashmir Committee (AIKC)(see Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, pp. 415-416, has his account of the committee’s formation and pp. 419-421, has the full list of members)(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
This inaugural meeting at Shimla was important for several reasons. The motivating circumstances throughout the All-India Muslim Kashmir Conference’s former period of impotence had not really changed by 1931. The All-India Kashmir Committee still had no clear grounds for agency in the sense that there was no official sponsorship from any o f the three governments (Kashmir, India, and Britain) involved, no definitive goals or reasons for its existence, and no Kashmiri lobby officially asking for its help. For all intents and purposes, the AIKC was no different than it had always been during its quieter years throughout the earlier part of the 20th century. Prior to the meeting at Shimla, the committee was an unorganized group of influential and wealthy Muslims, predominantly from the Punjab, who were understandably upset about the conditions of their co-religionists in Kashmir. Nonetheless, their shared sentiment did not translate into practical power on the other side of the border in Kashmir. Shimla marked the beginning of several significant changes that altered the role of the committee and the struggle for Muslim independence in Kashmir. In virtue of the fact that the meeting took place in Shimla, instead of somewhere more convenient like the committee’s previous headquarters in Lahore, the AIKC had already taken on a more national appearance that extended beyond the Punjab. The new members who were present at Shimla, and those who joined them soon thereafter, were truly a better representation of an ‘All-India’ organization that stretched from the Frontier in the west to the Bengal in the east. The augmented geographic boundaries were a clear step towards establishing credibility. Now at the very least the All-India Kashmir Committee could produce non-Punjabi members who held meetings in one of the nation’s capitals.(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
1931–July 25th to August 13th
The Khalifa, Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud Ahmad’s objectives were to find ‘Ahmadi’ solutions to a set of sophisticated political problems. Leading a successful lobby on behalf of the AIKC in India was a challenge, but ensuring that they had a practical impact on the streets of Kashmir was an entirely different matter. Mahmud Ahmad knew that only Kashmiris could determine the fate of Kashmir. Offensively, he needed to mobilize Kashmiri Muslims against a stagnant Dogra government, while defensively, he needed to ward off the attacks and constant criticism from the Ahrari opposition. Neither of these were easy tasks. Had the Darbar been willing to respond to civil sentiments, either through the implementation of various changes in public policy or perhaps by initiating an attempt to bring about these changes in the near future, it is likely that a great deal of social anxiety could have been avoided. Resolving the problem of reconciliation after the crisis had begun was not a viable option once mainstream members of Kashmiri society had felt it necessary to resort to rioting and civil disobedience en masse. Many Kashmiri Muslims were weary of the government and were no longer willing to entertain the idea of diplomatic negotiations. Both the severity of the violence and the widespread consent that the masses expressed during the communal disturbances made it exceedingly difficult to stop the crisis by finding a tempered solution. Furthermore, reconciliation needed to take place in the backdrop of groups like the Ahrar, who based many of their activities on reciprocating a refined rhetoric of hatred back into the public ear.(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
Once again, Mahmud Ahmad’s methodology in resolving the conflict in Kashmir was to utilize the Jama‘at’s excellent contacts in the region and its superb organizational structure as an asset. The organizational structure itself gave Mahmud Ahmad a considerable advantage over his opposition, as it was drastically different from any other Muslim group of the time with the exception of the Isma’ilis. Considering that Mahmud Ahmad was personally responsible for setting up the Jama’at’s organizational structure in the first place, it is not surprising that he was quick to use the Jamaat’s institutionalized framework to enter into an international
political crisis. He had always intended for his Jamaat to compete for the dominant leadership of the Muslim world, thereby enabling the Ahmadi khilafat (which is to say his own khilafat) to reign supreme over the umma. This is why Mahmud Ahmad never had fully supported the Khilafat Movement, because it would have undermined his own claim to khilafat.(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
The AIKC needed authentication from the Kashmiri masses in order to have a lasting effect in Kashmir. Mahmud Ahmad knew that he needed to balance the support of the Kashmiri mainstream with the logistics of an international resistance. He established a Publicity Committee whose only function was to bombard the Indian Press with news and perspectives on the internal situation in Jammu and Kashmir. They publicized pertinent issues amongst Muslims throughout the subcontinent who were potentially unaware of the most recent internal developments in Kashmir or the AIKC’s response to the crisis (Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, p. 433). Then Mahmud Ahmad ordered the establishment of numerous Kashmiri Independence Offices (otherwise known as Reading Rooms) throughout Jammu and Kashmir, but shrewdly forbade his Ahmadi disciples from holding positions of leadership within them (Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5 pp. 444-445). This further created the impression of a highly organized internal resistance that was taking shape with Muslims coming together from within the state’s borders, which otherwise appeared to have been highly implausible. His strategy was devised to mislead onlookers who were trying to assess the threat of Kashmiri Muslims by showing them the borrowed framework of a well-organized institution that was already in place. Hence, government officials were thoroughly dismayed when they were confronted with an utterly unified network of Reading Rooms that were popping up throughout the state and were simply nonexistent in the weeks and months prior to the riots. This should have been impossible, and no one had predicted that the leaders of the agitations were capable of organizing themselves to a level of competence as rapidly as they had done in
Kashmir. The Darbar faced an unfolding situation that gave the outward appearance of a disgruntled Muslim mainstream that was conflating into a collective resistance with unbelievable efficiency. Realistically, the underlying structure of Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya had taken nearly 40 years to establish itself in this fashion, but for the Dogra officials who were wondering how a similar organizational structure was materializing virtually overnight, it must have been terrifying. It meant that they had grossly underestimated the magnitude of the situation that was developing in their own state and radically misjudged the threat of Muslim resistance.
With the infrastructure beginning to take shape, Mahmud Ahmad needed to find an inspired Kashmiri spokesperson who he could use as a puppet for his own cause. He summoned roughly 15 to 20 potential candidates to Qadian for a personal interview, so that he could get a better idea of whom he would be working with in the future (Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, p. 445. Dost Muhammad Shahid did not provide the names of the individuals in question, but his account inferred that they were all reasonably young activists who were already making a name for them selves in Jammu and Kashmir). When the meetings were complete and Mahmud Ahmad had assessed the situation, he asked the Kashmiri delegation if they knew of any other potential leaders from within Kashmir’s independence movement who had not joined them in Qadian. The entourage concurred that there was a Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abdullah of Srinagar who could not risk leaving Kashmir out of the fear that the Darbar would not permit his re-entry into the state. This response was provocative enough to pique Mahmud Ahmad’s interest, so he made arrangements to meet Shaykh ‘Abdullah at a border town called Garhi Habibullah. In a true Bollywood style masquerade, ‘Abd al-Rahim Dard smuggled Shaykh ‘Abdullah, tucked under a blanket and hidden in the backseat
of his carriage, across the Indian border into Garhi Habibullah (which is just north of modern day islamabad) to meet the AIKC’s new president. When the meeting with Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was over, Shaykh ‘Abdullah was smuggled back into Kashmir in the same manner in which he arrived (Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, pp. 446-447).
The scheme was a success and the agreement was simple. Shaykh ‘Abdullah’s instructions were to set up an office in Srinagar from which he could devote his fulltime attention to the independence movement. Shaykh ‘Abdullah’s task was to establish some type of newspaper or periodical to disseminate information and publicize the resistance internally. He founded the Islah newsletter, which introduced a rare Muslim mouthpiece from within the borders of Kashmir that was created purely for the promotion of the independence movement. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was aware that it was inappropriate for him to intervene as the khalifa, because the majority of Muslims in Kashmir were not his Ahmadi disciples. Likewise, at this point the AIKC was more of a facade for Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya than anything else, despite the inherent potential of its influential membership. In the historical context, a newspaper was itself a major organ for communicating ideas throughout the subcontinent during this period. It was one of the few means by which major leaders of this era could spread their ideas beyond their immediate vicinities and beyond the crowds of the local mosques who emerged following the Friday prayers For this reason, Shaykh ‘Abdullah’s easy access to the press instantly made him a major player in the eyes of the government observers who were studiously tracking the development of the situation. In fact, the impact of Shaykh ‘Abdullah’s ideas circulating through the Kashmiri press may have been more influential than Mahmud Ahmad expected, due to other historical circumstances surrounding the Kashmiri press. In the early years of the conflict, Kashmir’s reinvigorated press was taking advantage of the Dogra rulers’ recent relaxation in censorship of Muslim publications, which they had enforced up to 1932.
Shaykh ‘Abdullah fulfilled his obligations through the early 1930’s by incessantly publishing articles that made explicit appeals to the All-India Kashmir Committee, virtually begging for their intercession in the ongoing affair. This alone gave Mirza Mahmud adequate legitimacy for the AIKC and enough leeway to enfranchise his organization’s authority from neighbouring India. Now he possessed the freedom to pursue matters in Jammu and Kashmir as he saw fit while acting on behalf of the AIKC as their rightful president. In return for the internal publicity of the AIKC and the public appeals for their intervention, Shaykh ‘Abdullah, who did not come from an affluent background and lacked his own resources, received the necessary funding to run and sustain his independence movement office in Srinagar. The initial amount agreed upon at Garhi Habibullah was a base allowance of Rs. 238 per month with a potential for increase, which was a generous figure for the time (Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, p. 447. There are also several photocopies of handwritten letters from Shaykh ‘Abdullah to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, which detail other donations and have been inserted at the end of vol. 5, between pp. 630-631; see also lan Copland, ‘Islam and Political Mobilization in Kashmir, 1931-1934,’ Pacific Affairs (1981), Vol. 54, N o . 2, (Summer, 1981), p. 237. Copland’s account is vague but reasonably consistent with Dost Muhammad Shahid, although he did not cite the sources for his information; see also Janbaz Mirza, Karvan-i Ahrar, Vol. 1, (Lahore: Maktabah-i Tabassira, 1975), p. 369, for the similar sentiment that he expressed regarding their financial ties.
Mirza Mahmud had a meeting, first with the Political Secretary of the Government of India incharge of the States and latter called on the Viceroy, Lord Willigdon on 1st August 1931 and stressed the desirability of British interference in the internal affairs of Kashmir. The Viceroy demanded time for taking any suitable action. However, he liked Mirza Mahmud’s proposal for sending delegation to Kashmir comprising Nawab Zulriqar Ali, Khan Bahadur Rahim Bux, Khawaja Hasan Nizami, Dard and Maulana Ismail Ghaznavi to look into the situation. Later the name of Dr. Iqbal was included into it. Dr. Iqbal strongly opposed this proposal as it was considered to be against the larger interest of Kashmir Muslims. He thought that it was premature at that stage and would only provide a tool to the Kashmir Government to exploit the affairs in Kashmir. He, instead, proposed to send a three men mission including Mirza Mahmud, to London to explain the problem to the British public and Parliament. He promised to criticize boldly Kashmir Administration in case he found some time during the RTC (Round Table Conference). Mirza Mahmud claims that he knew well the Maharaja would not agree to the proposal so he cared not consider Dr.Iqbal’s suggestion. He was on look to find an opportunity to persuade the Viceroy to interfere in the State affairs. The Maharaja rejected the delegation proposal as was anticipated. Mirza Mahmud claims that the Viceroy came to realize that the British Government had to interfere sooner or later in Kashmir affairs.((Tarikh-I-Ahmadya Vol. VI. P. 499)).
Sir Agha Khan, Sir Shafi, Dr. Iqbal and Sir Zafarullah called on the Secretary of State for India, separately during the RTC London and discussed Kashmir issue with him. The Secretary of State for India later informed the President AIKC (Mirza Mahmud) that the correspondence had been started with the State on the issue. ((Tarikh-I-Ahmadya Vol. VI. P. 508)).
1931, August 14th
The riots marked the beginning of three long years of strife, disturbances, and political unrest throughout the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The communal tensions had taken decades to build up and took equally as long to simmer down. In the weeks that followed, Muslim shopkeepers declared a hartal (strike) by refusing to open for business, which brought much of Srinagar’s daily commerce to a standstill. Muslims continued their acts of noncompliance by refusing to take part in the official Riot Enquiry Committee, despite repeated offers from the Darbar (See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”). All of these factors came together in the Kashmir crisis in the 1930s, which amounted to a large network of global support with vast resources that applied internal and external pressure on the three relevant governments (Kashmir, India, and Britain) involved, in order to resolve the conflict in Kashmir. The inability to determine the significance and role of each key figure in the Muslim leadership must have been frustrating for government officials. This enabled Mahmud Ahmad to exercise various levels of control over the government and the Kashmiri mainstream by voicing similar concerns through dissimilar outlets, which thereby influenced a broader constituency than he normally could access through his own personal reach. His connections with revolutionary demagogues like Shaykh ‘Abdullah, who represented the Muslim sentiment of a country, to idealized literary icons like Iqbal, who represent the Muslim sentiment of an era, enabled Mahmud Ahmad to impose his influence throughout the region. Mahmud Ahmad could now personally meet with the Viceroy and threaten him with various courses of action (Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, p. 452), such as the increased civil disobedience and the mass boycott of shopkeepers (hartal) of August 1931.He would intimidate government officials by threatening to resign as president of the AIKC and requesting its supporters to comply with the Ahrar’s objectives, which presumably would have resulted in a more violent conclusion to the crisis. Mahmud Ahmad in his capacity as the president of the AIKC exerted whatever pressure he could on the British and Indian governments to intervene in
Kashmir, since he was convinced that immediate British intervention was the best political solution for the conflict. He believed that immediate British intervention would displace Dogra rule and eventually give the Muslims of Kashmir the best chance for independence. Although this was an indirect route to Kashmiri independence, it may have been a reasonable plan considering the enduring violence and tension in Kashmir in recent years. Despite Mahmud Ahmad’s attempts, the British were resolved to let the Kashmiris settle their own problems while they intervened sparingly and only when necessary. This attitude eventually exacerbated
the ideological conflict between Mahmud Ahmad and his opponents, including Shaykh ‘Abdullah, who from the beginning had insisted on the creation of an independent Kashmir.
1931, August 15th
Muslim representatives gave an address to the Maharajah on 15 August. These representatives included Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammed Yousuf Shah, Mirwaiz Hamadani, Syed Hussain Shah Jalali, Saad-ud-din Shawl, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, Ghulam Ahmad Ashai, Yaqub Ali, Munshi Shahab-ud-Din, Ghulam Abbas and Gauhar Rehman. The Government ordered the release of some Kashmir Leaders. They, however, impressed upon the Government that unless their demands were accepted, there was no sense in releasing them. The Government thereupon allowed them to present a memorandum of their grievances to the Maharaja. The initial draft was prepared by Ghulam Ahmad Ashai (Qadiani). It was carried to Lahore by A.R. Dard to be shown to the AIKC. It was still under scrutiny when Abdullah was arrested on 21 September. A public meeting was held in Srinagar and a ‘War Council’ was formed to carry out the agitation.
1931, 12-13th of September
The AIKC held meeting in Sialkot on 12-13 September 1931.
1931, 21 September
Shaikh Abdullah is arrested for giving a speech that is anti the Maharaja (See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
1931, 23 September
A crowd of 15,000 dissidents armed with staffs and axes amassed at the house of Sa‘d al-Din, one of the local Muslims who had become a celebrity in the past few weeks for refusing to take part in the Riot Enquiry Committee. This time the local Hindu population was fortunate because the rioters apparently had ‘no quarrel with Hindus, but [rather] ha[d] declared Jihad against His Highness’ government ((IOR R /l/1 /2 155(1) in Telegram No. 6 0-6 (24 September 1931) from the Resident of Kashmir)).(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
1931, 24 September
Martial Law (Ordinance 19L) was passed that gave ordinary members of the military and police extraordinary powers to control ‘turbulent persons’ by making arrests and taking possession of their property without any warrant ((IOR R /l/1 /2 155(1) in Telegram No. 6 0-6 (24 September 1931) from the Resident of Kashmir, there is a booklet of the ordinance entitled Notification o f No. 19-L of 1988.)) The ordinance even incorporated a clause, which made ‘dissuading’ others from military enlistment a prosecutable offence that was punishable by one year in prison, flogging, or both ((IOR R /l/1 /2 155(1) in Telegram No. 6 0-6 (24 September 1931) from the Resident of Kashmir)). Reactionary responses and retaliation came from both sides. (See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”). Since the ordinance permitted legal action to be taken that was based solely on suspicion, when such a case went to trial it invariably reduced to one individual’s word against the other. The AIKC sent teams of attorneys to Kashmir and instructed them to assess the situation and defend any individual who had been wrongfully
detained or whose property had been wrongfully confiscated. Although there appear to be several cases where wealthy Kashmiris had their properties or businesses seized by the Darbar, the majority of cases appear to involve lower class Kashmiris with no means of finding a recourse to legal counsel. The lawyers went to major cities in Jammu and Kashmir at their own expense as volunteers of the AIKC and invested their own time and money. Naturally, the AIKC’s legal team included several prominent Ahmadis who were primarily responding to their khalifa’s instructions, such as Shaykh Bashir Ahmad (who later became a High Court Justice in Lahore),
Chauhdry Muhammad Yusuf Khan, Shaykh Muhammad Ahmad Mazhar (who authored numerous lexicons pertaining to Ghulam Ahmad’s linguistic theory), Chauhdry Asadullah Khan (the younger brother of Zafrulla Khan), and several others. Remarkably, Dost Muhammad Shahid has recorded the details of hundreds of such cases that were acquitted or overturned due to the efforts of the AIKC’s legal team (Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, pp. 535-554. This section is further split by each individual attorney’s name and the details of their personal legal contributions) and counsel throughout the early 1930’s. Some of the AIKC’s internal support and services, such as the legal contributions, medical relief, and the scholarship funds, were unique in the sense that their interface with the Kashmiri public was deep rooted enough to directly impact the individuals who were presumably the most affected. Within the AIKC, Mahmud Ahmad had a number of other influential contacts with whom he was collaborating to support his initiatives. Iqbal’s sentimental connection to Kashmir is well known and often attributed to his family’s Kashmiri background. His lifelong contributions and poetry about the struggles of the Muslims of Kashmir and India overall have been well documented. Similarly, it is known that Mian Fazl-i Husain’s influence played an important role in stabilizing support for AIKC. As with Iqbal, Mian Fazl-i Husain’s contributions in the way of the broader independence movement have been recognized by the historians of South Asia, but their personal relations and social contacts alongside their professional affiliations are often overlooked. In the Ahmadi-specific context, Mian Fazl-i Husain claimed to have a ‘great regard’ for Maulana Muhammad Ali of the Lahori branch. Furthermore, he had been mentoring a young Chauhdry Muhammad Zafrulla Khan for some time, another devoted member of the Jama’at who had entered the movement at the hand of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
1931, 25 September
Following the Friday prayers in the town of Shopian (south of Srinagar)(Molvi Abdullah was from Shopian), a mob of Muslims attacked a sub-inspector and eight constables who had been ‘watching the prayers’ and killed one head constable. Military reinforcements soon arrived opening fire, which killed another and wounded at least seven more ((IOR R /l/1 /2 0 6 4 Fortnightly Report for the second half of September 1931 from the Resident of Kashmir, F.9-C /30 (3 October 1931); See also, IOR R/l/l/2155 (l))). Meanwhile, with the threat of the new ordinance looming, the British Resident of Kashmir was led to believe that a ‘rapid improvement’ of troop morale was taking place. His mistaken assessment only lasted until he began receiving reports from ‘Europeans’ who were complaining that Hindus were abusing their newly acquired powers. Some Hindu officers had interpreted the ordinance to justify thrashing any Muslim who failed to say, ‘Maharaja sahib ki jay’ [victory to the Maharaja]’ whenever passing a member o f military or police. Indeed this unacceptable behaviour was corrected as soon as possible, but a few Muslims in Srinagar had already been ‘severely’ beaten ((IOR R /l/1 /2 0 6 4 Fortnightly Report for the second half of September 1931 from the Resident of Kashmir, F.9-C /30 (3 October 1931); See also, IOR R/l/l/2155 (l))).(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
1931, 24 October
The AIKC held a meeting at Lahore on 24 October 1931. The Committee arranged for the publication of Kashmir news in the British press. Certain sections of the British press supported the demand of Kashmir Muslims which included the expulsion of Kaul from the State and introduction of reforms. Farzad Ali of London ‘Mosque’ organized a campaign in London. The matter was raised several times in the British Parliament. 32 The British public opinion was not much in favour of the Maharaja. He had flamboyantly delivered pro-Congress speech at the RTC, enraging his Imperialist masters. Forgetting his position as vassal, he had also been rather haughty towards the British Resident ever since he ascended the throne. On the occasion of his 26th birthday on October 1931, the Maharaja in a darbar held in Srinagar, announced the release of all political prisoners and withdrawal of Notification No.19 L as well as other emergency laws. The Muslims were called upon to present their erstwhile memorandum of grievances on 16 October 1931. The memorandum drafted by AIKC was presented to the Maharaja by an eleven-member delegation which gave an outline of the constitutional reforms.
1931, Oct and November
IOR R/1/1/2164 in Fortnightly Report for the second half of October 1931 from the Resident of
Kashmir, F.9-C/30 (3 November 1931); see also IOR R/1/1/2531 in File No. 91 -Political (17 January 1934), in which a warning was sent to B. J. Glancy of the Glancy Commission cautioning that Shaykh ‘Abdullah is an Ahmadi even though he may say that he is not. The conclusion expressed in the file was that the authenticity of the source was dubious and likely to be linked to the opposition (i.e. the Ahrar), who were threatening to publish the fraudulent letter when ‘it suits them ’, as was repeatedly the case throughout Shaykh ‘Abdullah’s career. It is surprising that his affiliations with Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya were persistently an issue with the Darbar as late as 1934, even though both Ahmadi officials and Shaykh ‘Abdullah himself consistently denied his religious commitment to the community(See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”).
In December 1931, Zafrulla Khan was elected president of the All-India Muslim League. Despite the overt animosity expressed by Ahrari protesters, Zafrulla Khan continued as president of the Muslim League until June 1932 when he resigned from the position to fulfil his next task. Mian Fazl-i Husain had been a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council from 1930 to 1935 but his
declining health had forced him to take a four-month leave of absence during the summer of 1932. Upon his recommendation, Zafrulla Khan took Fazl-i Husain’s place on the Viceroy’s Executive Council throughout the summer of 1932, which was a bold move considering Zafrulla’s age, inexperience, and lack of seniority. In his diary, Mian Fazl-i Husain admitted: “If it comes off, it will be a startling appointment.” However, Zafrulla Khan’s political aptitude and reputation were developing quickly. His closeness to such eminent personalities afforded him the opportunity to discuss the Kashmir matter personally with the Viceroy in the early 1930’s. Zafrulla Khan was an invaluable asset to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and the AIKC during the Kashmir crisis, and perhaps even more so following the partition, as we will see below.
On 30 January 1932, Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah delivered a sermon at Khanqah-e-Naqshbandia in which he accused Shaikh Abdullah of being a Qadiani. Everyone knew that I (Shaikh Abdullah) was a Sunni, of the Hanafi sect. This event took place in the dead of winter when most Kashmiris do not leave their houses without their kartgris [braziers]. During the altercations which followed his allegation, these kangris were freely used as trajectories, injuring a number of people (Sheikh Abdullah, Flames of the Chinar, p. 39).
The Glancy Commission presents its report to the British government.
1932, March 22nd
Per Lavan, Colonel Elliot James Dowell Colvin (27 July 1885 in London, England – 1950 in Delhi, India) was appointed as Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, this time on behalf of Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya, established a new scholarship fund for Muslim students studying in Kashmir. With an additional Rs. 200 per month, Shaykh ‘Abdullah could establish a suitable boarding house with a fulltime cook, which enabled 20 promising candidates the opportunity to pursue a higher education each year (See Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, p. 448), (See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”). Although this may not seem like a significant number of students at first, it was considerably larger than the government’s offer from 1927, which had created such a stir and wasfollowed by accusations of Hindu favouritism. Nevertheless, the new scholarship fund contained enough awards to woo Muslim favour in Kashmir and increase positive publicity for Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya at a reasonable price. Pragmatically, increasing revenues was never a problem for Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, His foresight and ingenuity enabled him to construct somewhat of a fund raising industry that was beginning to perpetuate itself. There was a circular return as finances were being channelled back into the same system from which they emerged. Shaykh ‘Abdullah’s frequent public displays of approval for the AIKC’s initiatives had loosened the pockets of the committee’s wealthier members, which sparked an increase in donations as well as a broader ‘All-Indian’ membership to stretch its roster. Likewise, growing numbers of underprivileged Kashmiris were willing to support a movement that was having a visible impact on the ground and producing tangible results, such as stipends for the families of the deceased and medical provisions for those injured in the riots (See Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, pp. 470-471), (See Khan “The construction of the Ahmadiyya Identity”). Consequently, the increasing confidence of lower class Kashmiris in the AIKC was attracting even more donors from above. Mahmud Ahmad appropriated funds to the Kashmiri cause from every accessible channel that was available to him, including Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya. Khalifat al-masih II established the ‘Kashmir Relief Fund’ as a mandatory charitable ‘donation’ levied upon every earning Ahmadi in his Jama‘at. Each Ahmadi was required to give at least one pai (1/192 of a rupee), on every rupee that they earned, towards the Kashmir Relief Fund on a monthly basis, which the Jama‘at continued to collect for decades after the riots (Dost Muhammad Shahid, Tarikh-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, p. 436). We have already mentioned above how there were significant numbers of Ahmadis working anonymously behind the scenes and contributing towards the hidden labour force underneath the independence movement’s various banners, such as the AIKC and the numerous Reading Rooms. However, unskilled Ahmadi
labourers were not the only ones who were compelled to give their time and efforts to the Kashmiri cause. Conversely, Mahmud Ahmad instructed skilled Ahmadis to contribute professional services to the Kashmiri cause as well. Throughout the stormiest years that followed the riots, major cities like Srinagar were occasionally subjected to bouts of martial law. Communal tensions and revolutionary threats had raised concerns amongst many members of the military and the police.
Shaikh Abdullah is released from jail (see Copland, page 245).
After totally breaking away from Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud and the Ahmadi influence, they created another organization, All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference was established on 16 October 1932. Its president was Sheikh Abdullah while Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas was elected as its secretary general. Later the organization was renamed as Jammu and Kashmir National Conference. But when Sheikh Abdullah developed his association with Nehru and the All India National Congress, Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas withdrew from the National Conference. Consequently, the Muslim Conference was revived under the leadership of Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas and Agha Shaukat Ali. The Muslim Conference demanded Kashmir affiliation to Pakistan on 19 July 1947.
Links and Related Essays
https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/29299/1/10731394.pdf—“Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the Construction of the Ahmadi Identity”
Facebook to its moderators: Look out for phrase ‘Free Kashmir’
Copland, Ian, “Islam and Political Mobilization in Kashmir, 1931-34”, which was published in an academic journal entitled: “PACIFIC AFFAIRS”, Vol. 54, No. 2 (Summer, 1981), pp. 228-259 (32 pages), Published by: Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia
Heroes of Kashmir : Molvi Muhammad Abdullah Vakil
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