The term which has been often sold to Kashmir is “Kashmiriyat”. It’s propagated by the establishment, the non-Kashmiri’s, the tourists, the armed forces, the media and of course the political handmaidens. This term has been around since decades continuously being sold to the natives as a part of their culture and without a second thought about the word itself bought by the Koshur. It appears every non-Kashmiri’s is well versed with the definition of this word except for the Koshur itself who is aloof and alien to this word. The word becomes more popular during the unrest or any untoward incident , it finds its way to noisy news debates, tweets of politicians and the hollering hyper-nationalists, who use this term to remind Kashmiri’s that their culture is kashmiriyat. By the logic of these people who jump to the word “Kashmiriyat” and try to assimilate the word to Kashmiri culture, Kashmiri’s should refrain from exercising their rights and struggle for self-determination. In other words , their definition of Kashmiriyat is “Submission”. Submit and you believe in Kashmiriyat , keep asking for rights, you don’t believe in it.
The word has so much clung to Kashmir that even Kashmiri’s use this word. However their definition of Kashmiriyat is nowhere near to the Non-Kashmiri view. The word kashmiriyat is not even a word that can be assimilated and connected to Kashmiri culture or language. It’s more similar to urdu word “Insaniyat or Punjabiyat” and does not find its origin before 1932. Even the word Kashmir is a name given by outsiders whereas natives call it “Kasheer”. So, how did a word from a non-Kashmiri language find its way in Kashmir and why was it introduced in the first place?
After Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah founded National Conference, he met Prem Nath Bazaz in 1932. The secret meeting was held in Chashma Shahi. There they formulated the blueprint of a new political ideology. If we were to say that on 1932, the first stone of conversion of MC into National conference was laid, we wouldn’t be wrong. By the time, ambitious and opportunist Sheikh Abdullah had realized that Muslim Conference was of no use. Muslim Conference had no funding.
It was a time when Indian Freedom struggle was gaining ground under the leadership of Indian national Congress and Muslim League and Kashmir was fighting to end the Dogra occupation. Sheikh Abdullah saw opportunity in aligning with Indian national congress not for the freedom from Dogra occupation but for his own means.
With the help of Prem Nath Bazaz, they started a newspaper “Hamdard” and coined a new term “Kashmiriyat” to be sold to the population of Kashmir. The term was nothing but a tool to promote the nefarious designs of National conference and use kashmiri’s freedom struggle to help Sheikh Abdullah gain political power.
Sheikh Abdullah used the term kashmiriyat for his political belief and hamdard became the mouthpiece for the new indoctrination. For years this term was sold and was bought by the nai’ve population like hot cakes. They did not know what S.M Abdullah was doing . In Fact the people of kashmir did not come in picture. S.M Abdullah used this term to use Kashmiri’s as his cannon fodder to reach his political ambitions. He literally carved a Sheikhdom for himself which not only traded the freedom of Kashmir but became the cause of unending bloodshed in one of the beautiful country on this planet.
Infact the word kashmiriyat never existed in kashmiri dictionary as its origins are non-Kashmiri. It still remains a political tool of the establishment to sell kashmiri’s a narrative which is not only imperialistic but unrealistic at the same time. And often kashmiri’s say “Koshur Miras” when they talk about their culture or refer to their values.