‘Bring him Back’ is a film produced by Sweden based Kashmiri activist and documentary film maker Talat Bhat and Fahad Shah, who is associated with various international news platforms like Aljazeera, The Diplomat, Dawn, and Hindustan Times.
The film was screened in British parliament, Humboldt-University of Berlin, Lund University of Sweden and University of Westminster in London in 2015. The documentary revolves around Shahmali Begum (84) and her struggle to get the mortal remains of her son Maqbool Bhat back to Kashmir from Indian State while revealing about the personal life of the legendary figure and his ideologies. Maqbool Bhat was a popular kashmiri resistance leader who co-founded Jammu and Kashmir liberation front (1977) with Amanuallah Khan in London. Bhat promoted the Kashmiri nationalism and led the first Guerilla war against the colonial occupation. He demanded freedom from both India as well as Pakistan. Bhat is quoted to have said in the custody of Pakistan:
I can say without any hesitation that I have not designed any conspiracy nor have I been a part of any group of conspirators. My character has always been transparent and unambiguous. However, I have done one thing and that is rebellion against ignorance, greed of wealth, exploitation, oppression, slavery and hypocrisy. If the ruling class of Pakistan, which is a product of imperialism and is represented by the bureaucracy and the military, views this as a conspiracy then I have no hesitation in accepting the charge.”
Before an Indian court where he was tried under being “an enemy agent” he is recorded to have said
‘‘I have no hesitation in accepting the charges brought against me except with one correction. I am not an enemy agent. I am the enemy. Have a good look at me and recognise me full well, I am the enemy of your illegal rule in Kashmir”.
The man who later came to be known as the ‘Che Guevara’ of Kashmiri became a prominent figure in the freedom struggle of Kashmir. His ideals and vision for the freedom continues to drive the liberation struggle ;
For us (Kashmiris), azadi (independence) means not just getting rid of foreign occupation from our beloved motherland but also removing hunger, poverty, ignorance and disease, and overcoming economic and social deprivation. One day, we shall achieve that azadi.”
After his imprisonment by Indian forces, he was secretly hanged in Tihar jail, Delhi on 11 Febuary, 1984 at 8:00 AM without informing his family.
Even after the passing of 34 years, Indian government refuses to return his mortal remains to Kashmir. He remains buried in the jail compound of Tihar and an empty grave in Martyrs graveyard in Kashmir awaits his return. Epitaph on which reads:
The martyr of the nation, Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, Date of Martyrdom: 11th February 1984 , whose mortal remains are lying in the custody of the Government of India. The nation is awaiting its return.”
Maqbool Bhat may have died but in Kashmir, he still is alive. His words and his name continues fuel the freedom struggle in Kashmir. Kashmiri’s observe strike and hold demonstrations to demand the mortal remains of Maqbool Bhat every year on the 11th of February.