Captain Husain khan, the Great Heroic Character of Kashmir Freedom Movement

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Professor Khalid Akbar
Necessity is the mother of invention. Similarly, nature creates and shapes exceptional personalities for exceptional tasks by throwing them daunting and formidable challenges. It is aptly true in the case of great historic and heroic warrior, Captain Husain khan who pioneered and led the armed struggle to bolster the Freedom Movement of Kashmir under the political leadership of Gazia- e- Millat Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan in 1947. Husain khan was born in 1895 in Kala Koat Poonh (later named Husain Coat after him) in the family of Sardar Hashmut khan who was a local landlord. Having a natural inclination and tilt towards adventurism and valor, he wanted to join the army, from the very outset. Therefore, he opted for the Indian Army in the pre-partition era following completing his basic education. In1914, when the First World War broke out, he showed his fidelity and gallantry in such an exceptional and unique way that he was awarded OBI Medal by the British Army. Similarly, by the order of His Majesty, George 5 th , his name was published in the London Gazette. It is worth mentioning to relate here that he was the only Indian soldier who had this rare privilege to attend the crown-wearing ceremony of a king, George on the special invitation in1937. On this occasion, the British Government conferred upon him a rifle and a costly uniform-a rare laurel granted to a handful of Indians. When the Second World War erupted, he proved his credentials in more impressive and powerful ways, earning ten remarkable medals in tandem. Participating in these destructive wars of such a massive scale and intensity not only diversified his strategic and war flairs but also hardened his nerves and sinews. In the meantime, the subcontinent was passing through very volatile and critical circumstances of its checkered history. The Muslims of the subcontinent stood up under the visionary and unassailable leadership of Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. First Islamic state emulating the principles of social justice, equity and Islamic fraternity was in the offing in the comity of nations. In these dire circumstances, warriors like Husain could not hold themselves back for a long time especially in the event of all upheavals happening around. Being seasoned campaigner and visionary, Husain knew what would become of his motherland namely, the princely state of Jammu Kashmir. So, he thought it advisable to opt for retirement in 1945 from the Indian army. In the partition plan, all the heads of the Princely States had been viciously delegated the right of deciding the future status of their states, as against the aspirations of people. Husain instinctively realized that the Muslim majority states of Kashmir would accede to India as the Dogra dynasty was biased, and partisan with regard to the Muslims. Coincidently, a massive political movement was going on across the state against the autocratic and coercive policies of Harry Singh. Moreover, the mainstream leadership of Kashmir adopted a resolution too to accede with Pakistan in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. Husain saw through the things keenly and concluded that armed struggle was the call of the time to bolster political struggle to end up this long-standing oppression and coercion. Therefore, he embarked on the clandestine but well-thought-out plan of recruiting and organizing ex-army personals and volunteers. It took him quite a time to form battalions of these veterans and volunteers. The rulers of the state were fully alive of revolt brewing up; therefore, they put the vigil on the rebellion activities of Husain and his followers but of no avail. Captain established his war headquarters in Miralgala, Bunjosa. After reorganizing, the soldiers and infusing the zeal of freedom, the real genuine concern was a scarcity of arms and ammunition and logistics. The major worry and concern was finance and sponsorship to procure them. Sadly there was no ray of hope as Muslims of this region had hardly any means of earning; and heavy taxes imposed by then rulers had drained them fully and exacerbated their economic conditions. Therefore, the captain did what was unprecedented in the history of Kashmir. He sold jewelry of his wife and other possessions of his own besides utilizing the hard-earned saving of his family to the tune of 45 thousand-then a handsome and reasonable amount which can sustain a family for years. Then, he procured arms and ammunition from Dara-e- Khyber- heaven for weaponry of all kinds. To begin with, with a handful of his soldiers, he stormed the security posts of Dogra near Pahtan forcing them to retreat and vacate their positions. It caused a great stir in the ranks and files of the forces of the enemy. Consequently, the war front of Rawalakot was beefed up and fortified by large troops and heavy weaponry as the Suddhans tribe residing here had always sustained their heroic spirits and resistance against all autocratic rulers. It was the most challenging war front for Mujaiadeen commanded by Mr. Khan. The struggle to occupy this front continued for many days. Eventually, the Dogra’s army was defeated and dug out from their hideouts. Four hundred troops of Dogra’s army were killed in this battle. The rest of the army was fleeing on their heels towards Hajira and the city of Poonch. Husain recklessly followed them with his men. His immediate target was the Poonch City. However, with the irony of Fate, a horrible bloody skirmish took place in Shaeed Ghala, near Toli Peer. Fighting fearlessly, Captain Husain mortally wounded; and on 11 November 1947, embraced martyrdom. The Captain had a compact plan and road map to liberating the whole state from autocratic rulers. It was admitted by the commander of rivals’ force-colonel lukhum Pal in his memories on the basis of blueprints recovered from him at the time of his martyrdom. He says: ‘Had Husain not been killed, he would have conquered the whole Kashmir. November 11, is the historic day that reminds us of the great sacrifice rendered by Captain Husain khan and his soldiers in liberating 4000 square miles of land known as Azad Kashmir. Undoubtedly, major credit goes to Captain Husain khan who provided leadership, material, and at the end, laid his life for this noble cause at the most critical juncture of the history of Kashmir. This day reminds us that Kashmir is still an unresolved issue and an unfinished agenda of the partition plan. Significantly, it calls for the same as sacrifice rendered by Husain Khan to unchain itself from the centuries-old yolk of slavery.

(-The writer is a Professor, Chairman English Department Government Boys Degree College Trarkhel, District Poonch, Azad Kashmir.)

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