Sunday, June 15, 2014

Poonch uprising and reasons for Pashtun's jihad

Why Poonchis revolted?
In the spring of 1947, the Poonchis had mounted a vigorous campaign against the oppressive tax regime imposed by Dogra ruler on every hearth & every window. Even buffalo and sheep were taxed besides every wife. An additional tax was imposed to finance for the salaries of taxmen, rent of tax offices etc. In July 1947, Muslims of Poonch were directed to surrender their arms only to be handed over to Hindus & Sikhs of the area.
Poonch Rebellion And Tribal Incursion Of Kashmir By Abdul Majid Zargar
In September 1947, in the southern Kashmir region of poonch and jammu, mobs of hindus , aided by maharaja’s soldiers, began slaughtering muslims. Muslim sources claim 200,000 of the region’s total muslim population of 500,000 were killed and the rest drived as refugees to Pakistan.
War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet - Eric Margolis - Google Books

British daily The London Times quoting its special correspondent in India stated that the Maharaja, under his own supervision, got assassinated 2,37,000 Muslims, using military forces in the Jammu area.
KASHMIR - THE UNTOLD STORY - Christopher Snedden - Google Books
It seems only Poonchis were armed and capable of offering armed resistance, as many of them had served in British indian army in world war, so Maharaja hari singh began with disarming them first before the crisis of partition and after partition encouraged hindu mobs , assisted by his soldiers, to cleanse Jammu from muslims.

The muslim revolt merits a special note as it was originally an autonomous jagir and more than 60,000 poonchis of Pathan Sudhan tribe had seen action in the second world war.
Strategic Studies - Google Books

My research says in 1947 there were 50,000 Poonchis who had served in the British Army. Poonch was one of the major recruiting grounds for the British. These people would always think of themselves as fighters. There were no economic opportunities and inadequate landholdings in this area. So, most of them fought alongside the British, unlike Kashmiri Muslims, who had enough land to till and were involved in economic activities. Poonchis had military and combat skills. Although the Maharaja’s forces disarmed them, they went across the border to arms manufacturers in North-West Frontier Province and Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan. They had a lot of local support; they managed to liberate their own area, defeated the Dogra army and even captured their arms.
Christopher Snedden's interview.
‘Nehru didn’t want to publicise the Poonch rebellion because it would have strengthened Pakistan’s case’ | Tehelka.com

Ties of Poonchis with Pashtun Tribesmen

In July 1947, Muslims of Poonch were directed to surrender their arms . Fearing that these will be used to carry out a massacre of Muslims, which fears later turned out to be true, Poonchis, among whom many had matrimonial relations with various pashtun tribes ,sought fresh weapons from them as they were well known for manufacture of arms. This laid the basis for direct contact between the members of Poonch resistance and the pashtun tribesmen. And when the stories of Muslim massacre in Jammu started reaching them, they offered their assistance for liberation of their co-religionists in Kashmir. And that is how an incursion started to take a definite shape
Poonch Rebellion And Tribal Incursion Of Kashmir By Abdul Majid Zargar
The martial people of Poonch , sudhans, were related to Pashtuns.
.....any Pakistani support or leadership for jammuites was probably not officially sanctioned. Rather Punjabi or NWFP muslims, with whom Jammu muslims had close ethnic, familial, cultural, geographical and economic links. For example Sudhans from poonch considered themselves to be sudhu zai pathans (pakhtoons), which for them, explained why the pathans lost no time coming to help J&K muslims. Furthermore and importantly poonch muslims had the capability, given their military abilities and experiences, and the intent, given their anti-maharaja’s grievances, to foment and sustain anti-maharaja actions themselves. They didn’t need any Pakistani encouragement or assistance.....
KASHMIR - THE UNTOLD STORY - Christopher Snedden - Google Books

The muslim revolt merits a special note as it was originally an autonomous jagir and more than 60,000 poonchis of Pathan Sudhan tribe had seen action in the second world war.
Strategic Studies - Google Books
Poonchis were in touch with Pashtun tribesmen and they directly asked them to assist them against Maharaja's dogra forces which had started killing jammu muslims.

Pashtun's reasons for assisting poonchis

The Pathans who had for months hearing hindu and Sikh outrages against their muslim brothers and sisters in the Punjab, were already gearing up for what they did best: making war. The tribesmen , mosty Afridis and Mahsuds, tied a bright strip of cloth around their rifles, a sign of their oaths not to return home until they had avenged the deaths of muslims in Punjab.
Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire - Alex von Tunzelmann - Google Books

It seems they were in the mode of avenging massacres and rapes of Muslims of east punjab
The telegram from prime minister of Pakistan to prime minister of India, October 30,1947.
For Pandit Nehru from liaqat Alki Khan,
I have received your telegrams including that of 28th October to which I reply. The position is that sikh attacks on muslims on east Punjab greatly inflame feeling throughout Pakistan and it was only with greatest difficulty the Pathan tribes were prevented from entering west Punjab to take revenge on Hindu and Sikhs…
Modern History of Jammu and Kashmir: Ancient times to Shimla Agreement - J. C. Aggarwal, S. P. Agrawal - Google Books

Syent smith , a reporter for daily express, had managed to get himself kidnapped by pathans near baramula, confirmed on his release that tribal leaders chanted prayers every night for the success of their jihad against Sikhs. ‘Every tribal leader agrees on the war aims’, wrote smith.’They are: To wipe out Hari Singh minority rule in Kashmir; to march on and exterminate the chief Sikh state Patiala and; to capture Amritsar and try-one day-to reach New Delhi”
Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire - Alex von Tunzelmann - Google Books