Emergence, Development and Role of Jamaat-i-Islami Jammu and Kashmir (JIJK)


Dr Mohd Shafi Bhat*


Political Science at Govt. Degree College,  Bijbehara, Anantnag J&K



JIJK is one of the most influential Islamic organisations in Kashmir. Its literature as well as ideologues has exercised a powerful impact on Kashmiri Muslims. As an ideological party, the ways and methods adopted by Jamaat-i-Islami to realise its objectives, are governed by the ideology it upholds. It believes in and practises all peaceful, democratic and constructive methods for propagating its faith and realising its objectives. As a modern popular reformist movement organisation based on Islamic ideology of Quran and Sunnah, JIJK has developed a distinct style and methodology in propagating the message of Islam and in affording proper guidance to the Muslim community in implementing the values and laws that characterize the Islamic system of life. Through it’s well-studied and elaborately planned programmes, JIJK strives to prove that the Islamic ideology and the Islamic way of life is the most practical and befitting solution to the woes of the present day world. The present paper attempts to trace the formation and development of JIJK, from its inception to the present phase, when it is active in establishing its strong knit in the state, besides playing an active role in the politics of the state. The paper begins with the brief history of JIJK, ideology, creed, methodology, Jamaat’s views on Sufism, articulation of Kashmiri identity, Jamaat’s role during Holy Relic Agitation 1963, role in electoral politics, tie up with armed struggle which started in 1989 as well as its role and relevance in the socio- political set- up of the state.



Formation and Early History of JIJK

The Jamaat-i-Islami, the first organised Islamic reformist movement in the Indian subcontinent, was formed on 26th August 1941 in Lahore under the leadership of Syed Abul Aaala Maudoodi. The Jamaat addressed all Indian’s regardless of caste, creed, and religion It appealed to all sections of humanity to eschew the path of violence and mutual hatred, terrorism and oppression and to settle down to the task of building a righteous society on stable and abiding foundations. From its very inception, Jamaat-i-Islami advocated the cause of the righteous way, the way of peace and abiding well-being. The doors of the organisation were thrown open to any citizen who accepts the sacred motto that there is no lord except Allah and Prophet Muhammad is His Messenger in its entirely and all its implications and is ready to work for the establishment of the divine order (Islamic way of life) in the land. JIJK rejects the un-Islamic principle that end justifies the means, instead the Islamic movement profess the way adopted by the prophets, the way of peaceful and non-transmission of ideas.


Till the attainment of freedom and the partition of the country, the activities of Jamaat were confined to propagation of ideas mainly literature and publications in Urdu. The circumstances did not allow the organisation to win the Muslim society to its way of thinking, since it had been divided between the national movement and the Muslim communal politics.



Even so, the unique approach of this new organisation made a deep impression on a substantial section of the educated intellectuals particularly the middle class. They were enthused to recognise in Islam a complete, divinely ordained way of living that can replace the many man-made materialistic systems. At the same time, the Jamaat-i-Islami faced stiff opposition from both the superstitious sections given to irrational and exploitative practices, and the nationalistic and communalistic sections.


When India was partitioned into India and Pakistan, the Islamic movement responded to the new realities by splitting into two independent organisations. In April 1948 (at a meeting in Allahabad) the Jamaat-i-Islami Hind was formed with Maulana Abullais Nadvi as its Amir (President). The workers of the Jamaat-i-Islami Jammu and Kashmir choose to remain as an independent organisation called Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-i-Islami.1 This party came into existence at a time when India got divided and some parts of the sub-continent, including Kashmir, remained undecided at that time. Jamaat-i-Islami of Jammu and Kashmir assumed an independent and separate existence of its own because of the special political conditions of the state. Jamaat-i-Islami Jammu and Kashmir was founded by an educationist, a school teacher and Hafiz-e-Quran Qari Saif-ud-Din Tarabali and Mohammad Hussain Chisti in late 1940’s in Srinagar under the inspiration of the ideology of Maulana Syed Abul Aala Maudoodi. They had continued for some years studied Maudoodi’s Islamic literature and thus prepared grounds for the establishment of study circles. These study circles later on paved the fertile way for the formation of Jamaat-i-Islami in Jammu and Kashmir.2


Jamaat-i-Islami of Jammu and Kashmir is based on Shariat (Islamic way) but propagated democratic means of peaceful persuasion to achieve its goal. It confined its activities to influencing people through Islamic literature, especially Maudoodi’s literature, publications, establishing libraries, organising discussions and a network of Madrassas. Jamaat-i-Islami was organised as an independent organisation and party in 1952-53.3 In 1957-58, Maulana Ahrar led a single man delegation to Jammu province, visited almost all the districts, created a nucleus of sympathisers, and opened many rooms in which the party literature was kept available. During the initial stage, the Jamaat-i-Islami faced odds of opposition in the state.  It was dubbed as the group of opportunists. After its evolution of independent constitution (1953), it spread a wave of schools throughout the Jammu and Kashmir. In those institutions besides the religious (Islamic) education the students were taught Urdu, Arabic, English languages and Mathematics as compulsory subjects from the primary standard. However, in 1975, during Sheikh Abdullah’s government, these schools which had numbered 170 with a roll of around 25,000 students, faced crackdown. The party was also banned. Its offices were sealed; thousands of its workers were put behind the bars. The ban was lifted in 1977 and the party became active again.4



The basic objective of the Jamaat-i-Islami is Iqaamat-i-Deen (establishment of Islamic system based on Quran and Sunnah). The real motive of which is solely the achievement of divine pleasure and success in the hereafter. The term Iqaamat-i-Deen means that true Deen which Allah, the Lord of the worlds, had been sending through his prophets in different ages and different lands and which he revealed in its final and perfect form for the guidance of all men, through his last prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and which is now in the world the only authentic, pristine Deen and the only one which is acceptable to Allah, the name of which is Islam. This Deen (Islam) encompasses the exterior and the interior of man as well as all individual and collective aspects of his life. There is not even a single aspect of human life ranging from beliefs, rituals and morals to economic, social and political aspects, which may be beyond its pole.5


Just as this Deen ensures divine pleasure and success in the hereafter, it is also the best system of life for the proper solution of all worldly problems and righteous and progressive reconstruction of individual and social life is possible only through its establishment. Iqaamat (establishment) of this Deen means that it in it’s entirely and without any discrimination or division, should be sincerely followed single-mindedly. It should be enforced and given effect to in all aspects of human life, individual as well as corporate, that the development of the individual, the reconstruction of society and the formation of state should all confirm to this very Deen (religion). The ideal and the best practical example of the Iqaamat of this Deen (establishment of Islamic system) is that which was set up by Prophet Muhammad and the rightly guided Caliphs (vice-regent).6



Jamaat-i-Islami Jammu and Kashmir has developed a distinctive style and methodology in propagating the message of Islam in the indigenous society and in affording proper guidance to the Muslim community in implementing the values and laws that characterize the Islamic system of life. Through its well-studied and elaborately planned programmes, the Jamaat-i-Islami strives to prove that the Islamic ideology and the way of life is the most practical and befitting solution to the woes of the present day world. For the attainment of its objectives, the methodology of Jamaat-i-Islami shall be as follows:

a) The Quran and the Sunnah shall form the basis of all the activities of Jamaat-i-Islami. All other things shall be kept in view secondarily, and only to the extent to which these could be accommodated in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah.

b) In all its actions, the Jamaat-i-Islami shall be bound by moral limits and shall never adopt such means or ways which are against truth and honesty or through which may come about communal hatred, class struggle and Fasad Fil Arz (Fasad Fil Arz signifies social chaos, discord, anarchy, corruption and mischief in the land).


c) For the achievement of its objectives, the Jamaat-i-Islami shall adopt constructive and peaceful methods. This means that it shall reform the mental outlook, character and conduct through propagation (of Islam), instruction and dissemination of Islamic ideas, and thus shall train public opinion in order to bring about the desired righteous revolution in the social life of the society.


d) The Jamaat-i-Islami shall work for the achievement of its objectives and shall not have recourse to the methods of underground parties or movements. The party will preach its message to all mankind irrespective of the differences of caste, creed, language, colour, race or nationality in keeping with the universality of Islam.7                   



The basic creed of Jamaat-i-Islami is La Ilaha Illallah, Mohammadur Rasoolullah, i.e., the Divine Being is solely Allah, there being no lord except Allah, and that Mohammad is Allah’s messenger. The meaning of this first part of this creed, i.e., the exalted Allah being the only God and no one else being a God, is that the very same Allah is the Rightful Deity and law-giving sovereign of all human beings who is the creator, the sustainer, the controller, the lord of all and of the entire universe as well as the sovereign and the author of all the creations. He alone is deserving of worship and He alone is the Rightful one to whom obedience and allegiance are due, and no one in any of these capacities is His associate. The meaning of the second part of this creed, i.e., Mohammad (P.B.U.H) is the messenger of Allah is that the last prophet, through whom the authentic guidance and complete code of life to be followed till the last day was sent from the Rightful  Deity and sovereign of the universe for all human beings inhabiting the face of the earth and who had been commissioned to act in accordance with this guidance and code and present a complete model, is Hazrat Mohammad.8



Jamaat-i-Islami is an ideological party in the widest possible sense and not merely a political party. It is firmly of the conviction that Islam is an all-pervading and comprehensive order of life and the Jamaat-i-Islami intends to promulgate and translate that order into action in all spheres of life. According to Jamaat-i-Islami, the root cause of all trouble in man’s life is his forgetfulness of Almighty and omniscient Allah, his disregard of divine guidance as revealed through the Prophets and his lack of concern about his accountability in the world hereafter.9 As a matter of fact, whatever and whenever any type of evil has plagued human life, this very decision from the divine guidance has been the basic cause of the malady. No scheme of reform in human affairs can bear fruits unless and until obedience to God, belief in man’s accountability after his death and adherence to the divine guidance as revealed through the Prophets are, sincerely, made the basis of the entire edifice of human life.10 Without bringing about this fundamental change, every attempt to reform society on the basis of any of the materialistic concepts of justice will only result in some other form of injustice.


As an ideological party, the ways and methods adopted by Jamaat-i-Islami to realise its objectives, are governed by the ideology it upholds. It believes in and practises all peaceful, democratic and constructive methods for propagating its faith and realising its objectives. Immoral, undemocratic or violent methods are not adopted and are regarded as irreligious methods. It does not believe in rowdyism, hooliganism, or any such abhorable tactics for the propagation of Islamic teachings.11


Jamaat-i-Islami is an Islamic organisation aimed at transformation of society into a disciplined society. For this purpose, it adopts a disciplined tract based on Islamic Sharia. Their manifesto has been to establish, in letter and spirit, the sovereignty of Almighty God and to get His laws implemented universally instead of man-made defective laws. Jamaat believes that man should apply the criterion supplied by God to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust. Such are the determinants of a sound life and can be realised only when the Islamic system (Deen) is established.12 Deen is very comprehensive and it includes man’s inner and outer life and his individual as well as social life. It provides solution to temporal problems of mankind. The practical specimen of Deen is found in the life example of Prophet Mohammad and the Caliphs (vice-regent). Hence, a plea for the establishment of Nizam-i-Mustafa.13


Jamaat-i-Islami believes that Nizam-i-Mustafa or socio-economic and political system can be established only by peaceful and non-violent methods. It does not subscribe to armed revolution for the achievement of political goals. It has declared its belief in democratic and constitutional methods for bringing about any kind of revolution. It does not believe in the mischief or riots on the earth. Jamaat-i-Islami is committed to the establishment of an Islamic state. Islamization of the state means the establishment of a system in which an individual is required to conduct his social, economic and political life according to the principle and terms of Quran and the Sunnah. It believes that religious and politics go together. There is no dichotomy between religion and politics according to Islam. Religion and politics are the two faces of the same coin.  Religion serves man’s soul, politics serves man’s body. Body and soul make a man.14


Jamaat-i-Islami and Kashmiri Sufi identity (Kashmiriyat):

The Jamaat as a popular Islamic movement, to some extent opposed the Sufism, which believes in the miracles of saints. Jamaat insisted that Muslims should closely abide by the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. However, it did not condemn the schools of jurisprudence, although it insisted that Muslims need be bound by the precedents of the medical Faqihs and could exercise their independent judgement (Ijtehaad) in accordance with the Quran and Hadith in order to apply Islam to matters on which the scriptural corpus was silent. For the Jamaat-i-Islami, Islam was an all-embracing world-view that governed every aspect of believer’s personal as well as social life.15The establishment of an Islamic state, ruled in accordance with the Shariah was seen as central to the Islamic mission.


Jamaat-i-Islami opposed to Sufism but only to what it found as an un-Islamic elements in popular Sufism. For them, Islam was a call for political assertion in a context of perceived Muslim powerlessness as well as a call for personal piety and dedication to the God’s will. Jamaat-i-Islami steered clear of open confrontation with the defenders of the cults of the saints. Its approach in nullifying Shirk and advocating Tauhid was of tactical compromise. It refrained from openly condemning popular Sufism as un-Islamic although this way implicit in the way that it understood Islam.16 Instead of directly attacking Sufism, the early ideologies of Jamaat-i-Islami in Kashmir attempted to present a form of Sufism which they saw in accordance with the Shariah and a means for Islamic revolution to bring state of society under the Islamic law. For instance, in late 1994, while addressing the first large organized rally of Jamaat-i-Islami in Srinagar, Said-ud-Din, the then Jamaat’s Amir (President),declared that the Jamaat’s message was not a new one, but rather a revival of the original mission of Mir Syed Ali Hamdaani, which had aimed at rescuing the Kashmiris from Shirk and Biddat and to Usher in the Islamic revolution, for He had taught that Islam was not to be restricted to just a few limited rituals. Thus the image of the Sufis of Kashmir was sought to be subtly transformed from world-renouncing mystics into ardent activities of the Islamic revolution and brave crusaders of true monotheism.17

The Jamaat-i-Islami’s attitude to the cults of the Sufi shrines did not seem to have made for its popular acceptance. While sections of the Kashmiri Muslim middle class could readily identify with the Jamaat’s message of reform, tied in as it was with an activist spirit for political assertion, it proved incapable of reaching out to vast numbers of ordinary Kashmiris in whose lives cuts that centred on the shrines of the saints continued to play a pivotal role.18Despite its gradual growth from the 1950 onwards, the Jamaat had to contend with considerable resistance from several quarters within the Kashmiri Muslim community. Many Muslims associated with the popular Sufi tradition saw it as a part of a wider Wahabi nexus. Its message of Islamic reform, with its insistence that Muslims should go directly to the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet for guidance, by passing the authority of the Sufi Saints and denying the intermediary powers that were attributed to them, was seen as an attack on cherished beliefs by practitioners of the cults that had developed around the graves of the Sufi. It was also felt to be a threat to the authority of the custodians of the shrines, the class of Pirs, who commanded great respect among the ordinary folk. Allegations were levelled against the Jamaat-i-Islami by what is called monopolists of religion, promoting wrong beliefs (bad ateyqad) and of denying the Sufis (Auliya ullah ke Munkar). However, the Jamaat-i-Islami responded to these allegations with tact. It saw many of its critics as simply motivated by a threat of their own interests because of its increasing influence. Qari Saif-ud-Din noted that some selfish Mullahs, for whom religion is a means for livelihood, were opposing the party for their own petty interests. The political opponents of Jamaat-i-Islami were branding it as anti-Sufi in order tomalign its image, fearful of its growing popularity.19


Despite their opposition to popular Sufism, Jamaat-i-Islami recognised its potential as a resource for political mobilisation. This was most clearly illustrated in the controversial affair of a sacred relic, the hair of the Prophet (Moi Muqaddas) housed at Hazratbal (Srinagar) which suddenly disappeared from its repository in late December 1963. The relic was an object of the deep reverence and devotion among the Kashmiri Muslims, a tangible connection between them and the Prophet. Although theft of Holy relic was looked upon un-Islamic by Jamaat-i-Islami, they swiftly responded to the mass movement that erupted in the wake of its disappearance. Soon the agitation for the recovery of the relic developed into a popular upsurge for freedom and political self-determination for the people of the state. Jamaat-i-Islami, among other Muslim religious groups was most active in leading the agitation.20The incident of the missing relic brought back the Mullahs after five decades to the centre-stage of politics. Kashmiri political leaders set up the Awami action Committee to carry on the struggle and put forward their demands in which Jamaat-i-Islami was represented by Qari Saif-ud-Din spearheading the agitation for the recovery of the holy relic and linking it to a broader struggle for political self-determination. Senior Muslim leaders including Jamaat leaders toured the Kashmir valley to mobilize public support, demanding that the matter of the missing relic be urgently taken up in the UN Security Council and that the UN dispatch a team to investigate the whole affair and to pressurise India to abide by its promise to allow the Kashmiri’s to determine their own political future.21  In this way, although opposed in principle to the popular Sufism, Jamaat-i-Islami showed itself quite willing to selectively draw upon it for enhancing their own popularity and political interests.22


Restructuring Kashmiri Identity:

Jamaat-i-Islami stresses the religious identity of Kashmir’s. Jamaat-i-Islami also lays stress on conceding the right of self-determination in compliance with the provisions of 1948 UN resolutions. It makes a point that accession was not permanent and India with the passage of time, made it as a permanent feature of Indian constitution. To Jamaat, it was Jawaharlal Lal Nehru who in a broadcast on Nov 2, 1947, stated “we have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world”. Over the years, terms of the accession have been diluted and Article 370, which defines the special status of Kashmir’s relations with India, last most of its protective clauses with the centre acquiring powers to make this Article defunct.23


Jamaat-i-Islami believes in establishing a truly responsible government in the state on the principles of Islam. The most important issue in Kashmir politics has been the issue of accession of the state to India. Jamaat-i-Islami considers the Kashmir issue a living issue and wants to solve the tangle as soon as possible because this problem involves, among other problems, so many humanitarian problems. The Jamaat-i-Islami wants the government of India to fulfil its promise of seeking the consent of the people of Kashmir regarding the accession of the state with India or Pakistan and as such as it does not consider the accession of Kashmir to India final and irrevocable. It defines the Kashmiri identity by virtue of the majority of the population being Muslim. It is argued by Jamaat-i-Islami that the Kashmir rightly belongs to Pakistan and that the partition of 1947 has left this matter unresolved. Thus, Jamaat-i-Islami asserts the pro-Pakistan and pro-Islamist identity of Kashmir’s.    


Jamaat-i-Islami stresses that Kashmir history was written anew in which the 1931 movement was characterised as an Islamic movement by the Muslim majority populace to free Kashmir from Dogras and to make it a part of the Islamic world. Jamaat-i-Islami sees the struggle as a war between Muslims and others, does not accept the notion of a separate Kashmiri national identity, and propagates that Kashmiri Muslims are a part of the worldwide Ummah (unity). It seeks to displace the Kashmiri struggle for a free Kashmir in favour of an Islamist agenda incorporating Kashmir into Islamic Pakistan as a part of the broader Islamic project. Islamic agenda of Jamaat-i-Islami focuses mainly on Kashmiris freedom from Indian control (regards its control as occupationary); the struggle is Jihad, the goal of which is merger of Kashmir with Pakistan and establishment of an Islamic state.24 For Islam to be preserved and promoted, it is necessary for Kashmir to be separated from India and be with Pakistan. This is the initial step towards eventual unity of all Muslims. Thus, Jamaat-i-Islami holds that Kashmiri identity will only be preserved and safe in merger with Pakistan. The freedom struggle is movement for Islamization of Kashmir. The movement is not a war of liberation but a Jihad (Holy war) between Islam and forces of disbelief (Kufr), and justified it on Indians denial of right of self-determination. However, this Islamic ideology of Jamaat-i-Islami has been severely criticised by many Islamic scholars and has been described as un-Islamic.


Jamaat-i-Islami negates the supra-religious Kashmiriyat as the basis of Kashmiri identity. While banking on territorial, sub-nationalism stresses religious component of Kashmiri identity which contrives them to join Pakistan in true tradition of the Millat (The Muslim Unity). Jamaat-i-Islami foments on, in part with Pakistan, Islamization of Kashmiri identity. The Islamic identity of Jamaat-i-Islami got inspiration from the Islamic revolution in Iran, the emergence of militant Islamic groups fighting against the Soviet Occupation in Afghanistan and the enormous increase in the schools, madrassas and institutions geared to Islamic teachings. For instance by 1975, Jamaat-i-Islami had set 125 Islamic schools with an estimated enrolment of 17,000 students. The youth wing registered its presence on the University and college campuses in Kashmir valley by articulating the demands of students and by organising debates, lectures and seminars on religo-political themes’.25


Jamaat-i-Islami and Kashmir issue or Kashmiri’s Right of Self-determination:

Jamaat-i-Islami rejects secularism and socialism. It denounces what it calls Indian Colonialism and Brahmanical imperialism in Kashmir. Specifically, Jamaat-i-Islami of Kashmir sees itself as a part of a wider Islamic movement encompassing the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen (Muslim brotherhood) in the Arab World particularly in Egypt, Jammat-i-Islami of Pakistan and Islamic revolution in Afghanistan. Jamaat-i-Islami holds that the most important issue in Kashmir politics has been the issue of accession of state to India. Jamaat is of the view that Jammu and Kashmir state is a disputed state. The accession of the state to India is temporary and as such is subject to the ratification by the people. Jamaat holds that this condition has been recognized by the United Nations also. On the basis of United Nations resolution, Jamaat-i-Islami maintains that the people of Kashmir still retain the right of self-determination to determine the issue of accession by the people themselves is a right which the government of India should concede to them so that Kashmir issue is resolved once for all. Jamaat-i-Islami holds that the right of self-determination is a basic thing and no one can deny it. Unless and until the Kashmir issue was decided according to the wishes of the people of the state, India has no right even to convene any conference or hold any meet to organize any sport of international level on the territory of Kashmir. It was on this contention that on October 12, 1983, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, leader of the Jamaat State Legislative Party, reiterated at a press conference that the international cricket match between India and West Indies was illegal as it was held on the disputed territory of Jammu andKashmir state. He added that since the Kashmir issue was unresolved, the match amounted to a blatant violation of international law.26


Jamaat-i-Islami is of the contention that the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India is not final. It was personal desire of the Maharaja Hari Singh to accede to India and the people’s views were not taken into consideration. Since 1947, the Kashmir has been converted into its colony by India. Jammat-i-Islami is in favour of the theory of self-determination for the settlement of the Kashmir problem. Jamaat holds that accession was temporary and provisional. But with the passage of time, India made the accession permanent and regards Kashmir as its integral part which is totally baseless. Jamaat-i-Islami also opposed the Sheikh Abdullah who made the power. It is to be mentioned here that the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah in 1953, gave an opportunity to the Jamaat to build up its strength, but its success came mostly with the organization of madrassas on a large scale. While speaking on the Governors address in the State Legislative Assembly on September 12, 1977, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a member of the Jamaat-i-Islami said, “Accession of Kashmir to India made in1947, under extraordinary circumstances, was temporary and provisional. It was founded on the provision that the people of the State will be given an opportunity to decide freely whether they would like to join India or Pakistan, as soon as normally is restored in the state”.27 In the 26th annual conference of the Jamaat-i-Islami, a resolution was passed regarding the Kashmir issue. The resolution stated that, “This all State Conference of Jammat-i-Islami Jammu and Kashmir reiterates the demand that, in the wider interest of mankind and in accordance with the spirit of Shimla Agreement, some solid, definite and direct steps may be taken for solving the Kashmir issue so that permanent peace is ensured in the sub-continent, friendly relations are established between the two brotherly countries and the families divided in the two parts of the state unite again. In this behalf, greater responsibility lies with the government of India”.28


The state Jamaat-i-Islami holds the view that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has historically remained independent except in the anarchical condition of the late18th of the first half of the 19th century or when imported in the vast empires set up by the Mauryas, the Mughals, and the British. All these empires included not only present day India and Pakistan but some other countries of the region as well. Until 1846, Kashmir was part of the Sikh empire. In that year the British defeated the Sikhs and sold Kashmir to the Gulab Singh of Jammu for Rs.7.5 million under the Treaty of Amritsar. Gulab Singh and his successors ruled Kashmir in a tyrannical and repressive way. The people of Kashmir, nearly 80% of the population being Muslims, rose against Maharaja Hari Singh’s rule. In 1934, the Maharaja gave way and allowed limited democracy in the form of a Legislative Assembly. However, unease with Maharaja’s rule continued. According to the instrument of partition of India, the rulers of princely states were given the choice to freely accede to either India or Pakistan or to remain independent. However, they were advised to accede to the contiguous domination, taking into consideration the geographical and ethnic issues. The principally Muslim population, having seen the early and convert arrival of Indian troops, rebelled and things got out of the Maharaja’s hands. The people of Kashmir were demanding to join Pakistan. The Maharajas, fearing tribal warfare eventually gave way to the Indian pressure and agreed to join India by signing the controversial Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947. This was spelled out in a letter from the Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten, to the Maharaja on 27, Oct 1947. In the letter, accepting the accession, Mountbatten made it clear that the state would only be incorporated in to the Indian union after a reference had been made to the people of Kashmir. Having accepted the principle of plebiscite, India has since obstructed all attempts at holding a plebiscite.


In 1947, India and Pakistan went to war over Kashmir. During the war, the Kashmir issue was taken to United Nations on January 1, 1948. On January 1, 1949, the U.N. helped enforce ceasefire between the two countries.  It was an outcome of a mutual consent by India and Pakistan that the UN Security Council (UNSC) and UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) passed several resolutions in years following the 1947-48 war.  The UNSC  resolution of  April 21, 1948,  which is  regarded as one of the principle UN resolution on Kashmir,  stated that  “both  India  and Pakistan desire  that  the  question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should  be  decided  through  the  democratic  method of free and impartial plebiscite. “Subsequent UNSC resolutions of August 3, 1948, and January 5, 1949 reinforced UNSC resolutions. Since the so controversial accession was made, Jamaat-i-Islami is demanding that the plebiscite be held to determine the will of the people so that people can enjoy the right of determining their fate, which is a basic right. It passed several re-solutions for the right of self-determination of the Kashmir people.


Construction of Kashmiri Muslim Identity:

Jamaat-i-Islami’s concept of Muslim identity (nationalism) is drawn from the Islamic Holy constitution. Jamaat-i-Islami believes that when Islam began, almost every existing society was descended from the same race.  The first and main concept behind the idea of nationalism introduced by Islam was to break up the classes that make someone superior to others by virtue of wealth. To denounce the distinction that existed between the noble or clergy of the layman, adhering to certain socio-political and ideological thought.  This is the most important factor in the concept of Islamic Identity. The other two major factors , language and  historical heritage,  are carefully designated,  the Arabic language  was chosen to be the official language of the Islamic holy constitution and  the  historical  events  were  chosen  to  represent  the  history of mankind with, of  course , the events associated with the  prophets  lifetime. This socio-political and ideological thought with one official language and common historical heritage, constitute a certain political unity and entity dubbed as the Islamic nation. This distinctive identity, following Quranic verses and Sunnah, is referred in Quran and declaration of Madina (verse - 1). Declaration of Madina states that, “This is a Declaration (Kitab )of Mohammad, the Messenger of God, to operate amongst the faithful (minimum) and the submission to God ( Muslim) from amongst the Quraysh and the people of Yathrib (Madina) and those who may follow and join them (by being Muslims) and take part with them in Jihad, verily they constitute one nation distinct from all other people.”29 This distinctive identity of Muslims, as advocated by Jamaat-i-Islami is also mentioned in Quranic verses. It is mentioned in Quran that, “Verily, this notion of yours constitute our nation and I am your God, therefore worship me alone.” 30 It is also stated that, “Verily this nation of yours constitute our nation and I am your God, be cautious of me (God).”31


Jamaat-i-Islami holds that the Declaration of Madina and the two Quranic verses assert one absolute fact that the Muslims by the definition of their constitution are always our nation or our distinguishable political unity (Ummah). The adherence of the system, the language of their (Muslims) Islamic Holy constitution and the historical events related by the Holy Islamic constitution are the major attributes of this, the history of their prophet and his companies’ significantly distinguished Muslims from all other nations. Thus, a Muslim who has accepted Islam as the systematic theory for his life must consider himself accordingly as integrated part of this earthily, the Islam nation. Even though he may live outside Islamic territorial jurisdiction, he nevertheless owes certain duties and obligations towards his nations as the Nation does to him. The membership in a society based on shared race, colour, geographical site, language and historical heritage does not constitute as great as bond or produce a homogeneous a society as the attribution of an ideal belief. Muslims belong and adhere to a certain systematic theology, one nation. The nationality of those who vehemently submit, dedicate and devote their lives to the Islamic system revealed by God to the prophet Mohammad must be Muslim. Their patriotism should be oriented to their system in the first place to fulfil the most important aspect of nationalism, the brotherhood (common identity) of Islam.32


The concept of nationalism or Muslim identity was originally crystallized by the Islamic Holy constitution to fuse all contingent and divergent ethnic groups existing into our socio-political system for the world. Jamaat-i-Islami believes that the believers of Islam, according to the Holy constitution of Islam, should identify themselves only as a Muslim which is the only citizenship to which they must be affiliated, the word Muslim, used in the Islamic Holy constitution to identify the believers of God, has been the attribute of such believers even before the last Islamic message existed. All prophets mentioned in the Holy Quran and their followers including Jews and Christians were dubbed as Muslims. The Holy Quran declares the fact and emphasizes that Muslims is the only identity which God himself attributed to those who submits to this alone since the revelation started. The Islamic State must attribute all its citizens to Islam as the only identity, which distinguishes them forever from all nations. It is mentioned that in Holy Quran that, “ And exert yourself in the cause of God with ultimate on cleavable effort, He has appointed you and will never deceive you by means of religion (Islam) the tenet of your Father Abraham. He (God) has named you Muslims in this message as the named His Worshipers long ago.”33


Jamaat-i-Islami and Electoral Politics;

Jamaat-i-Islami is a well-knit, well-organized and disciplined politico-religious organization. It has developed an infrastructure for widening its base and preaching its ideology in almost all the areas of the Kashmir Valley. In early 1900s Jamaat-i-Islami established a network of schools under a separate trust (Falah-i-Aam Trust) with the objective of spreading its influence. The product of these institutions further inflates its support base. The Jamaat-i-Islami, at present is also running a weekly (Moomin) as a part of its campaign ideology. In addition it has been running study circles in different parts of the valley.


Jamaat-i-Islami did not took part in electoral politics for twenty years. It first took part in the Panchayat elections of 1968 and since thus the party took part in every election that followed Parliamentary Elections of 1971, Assembly Elections of 1972, Bi-Elections of 1975, Parliamentary Elections of 1977, besides Panchayat Elections of 1977 and the Municipal Elections of 1978. In 1971 Parliamentary Elections, it filed nominations for all the three seats in Kashmir valley and one in Jammu. Jamaat-i-Islami contested for 22 seats and won five seats. In Bi-Elections of 1975, following the Kashmir Accord, Jamaat-i-Islami was the only party to contest against Sheikh Abdullah and Mirza Afzal Beg, candidates from Ganderbal and Devsar constituencies respectively, but the party could not make any headway. The party could not fight the Parliamentary Elections of 1977 because it was banned but it fielded an independent candidate. The Jamaat-i-Islami did not enter into any electoral alliance with any party during this election. Janta Party had sought its alliance but it could not materialize as Janta Party wanted Jamaat-i-Islami to fight the Elections under the flag andsymbol of Janta Party, which was not acceptable to Jamaat-i-Islami. However, the party supported the Janta Party candidates in the constituencies where it had no candidates of its own. The party approached Maulana Farooq of Awami Action Committee to seek his support but Maulana Preferred to support the Janta Party rather than Jamaat-i-Islami. The youth Organization and Islamic Study Circle were the only organisations that supported the Jamaat-i-Islami.


In 1983, Jamaat-i-Islami contested for 26 seats but could not win a single seat and was completely routed. Though the party was very popular in areas like Baramulla, Anantnag and Pulwama, it did not take fare well in the elections there also. In the quest of achieving its goal of capturing political power, Jamaat-i-Islami entered into an alliance of likeminded religious groups operating in the Kashmir Valley. The outcome of the alliance was the formation of Muslim United Front (MUF) in September 1986. Besides Jamaat-i-Islami, the MUF included Ummat-i-Islami, led by Qazi Nisar, Muslim Ithad of Maulana Abbas Ansari, People’s Conference of Abdul Gani Lone and National Conference (Khalida Faction) although it joined the Hashim United Front, Jamaat-i-Islami maintained its banner of the new outfit only for fighting the elections of the State Legislature. The Assembly Election of 1987 was described by MUF as a contest between Islam and Secularism.  During the election campaign, the politics was described as an inseparable part of religion. However the issue of accession was not raised in the election manifesto. The election of 1987 was described as the fight for the restoration of Kashmiri special identity, dignity of the people of state. The cassettes played in the election campaign glorified Islam and spoke of Nizam-i-Mustafa. Jamaat-i-Islami criticized the secular system as according to Jamaat-i-Islami it neither allows Islam to flourish nor ensures safety and security of life of Muslims. Secularism has become mere a sling, propaganda or a window showpiece. The election manifesto of Jamaat-i-Islami revealed that Jamaat-i-Islami stands committed to:

a)      play a forceful and fearless oppositional role in the Assembly till it has assumed the power to rule;

b)      play an effective oppositional role in the Assembly with a view to end the political uncertainty in the state and to ensure the preservation of its identity;

c)      expose all such conspiracies in and outside the Legislature as would, dangerously and unconstitutionally, be practiced to convert the majority character of the state into minority one and oppose any such measure as will permit the settlement of non-state subjects in the state;

d)      present its constructive suggestions for purpose of bringing about good relations between India and Pakistan and, in this respect, propose  both the countries to settle down all their disputes amicably for ensuring a peaceful feature;

e)      continue its efforts to make Jammu and Kashmir a welfare state and to strongly oppose all such measures as will damage the character and infuse the faith of the people thereof;

f)       oppose all the black laws which empower the government to curb the freedom of people;

g)      continue its struggle for the eradication of such laws as are detrimental to the freedom of speech , expressions and the press;

h)      protect the rights of the minorities and to strengthen the brotherhood and communal harmony in the state.34


Jamaat-i-Islami, 1987 Elections, Rise of MUF and the Question of Kashmiri Identity:

The events following 1975 period and the forces that got created during this phase were bound to influence the state in a decisive manner. One of the significant developments in the politics of the state of Jammu and Kashmir was the emergence of religo-political organization called Muslim United Front (MUF). It came into existence in September, 1986. In the beginning it was a conglomeration of fourteen parties and groups, all of them bound together by their single claim that they are dedicated to the preservation of Muslim identity of Kashmir. But most of these groups and parties had hardly ever figured in the state politics of Kashmir and they had no contribution in political, socio-economic spheres of Kashmir. In fact they were the most unknown forces in the public life. Soon after its formation, there occurred difference and disagreements among its constituent parts over certain important issues such as the accession of the state to India, but some of its parties like the People’s Conference, Indian Muslim League and National Conference (Khalida faction) left it in its early formative period. In fact, prior to this, the fundamentalist groups which joined the Front had operated separately and had never projected collectively as an alternative to the National Conference (NC). In view of certain new developments around the mid-1980s, these groups came to believe that the situation was quite favourable for strengthening their position and becoming a formidable rival to the running National Conference in the Kashmir Valley, if not in the state. The Rajiv-Farooq Accord of 1986, which was the combination of the political dialogue between Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah, was labelled as a step to diminish the spirit of Kashmiri Muslim identity. This also provoked anti-India attitude which percolate even down to the common people particularly in the Muslim dominated Valley.


Besides the Accord, the growing scenario in India in general and the neighbouring state of Punjab in particular, the occurrence of communal riots in Anantnag in February, 1986 and the processions of Kashmiri Pandits against Kashmiri Muslims in New Delhi contributed in the formation of MUF. This led them to think that their further existence was not safe under the present system. They thought to organize themselves and fight those forces who were bent up to extinct their identity. So in order to protect the Muslim identity, its culture and to safeguard its religion, the Muslims of Anantnag formed an organization called Ummat-e-Muslimah and this contributed one of the important members of Muslim United Front (MUF). The MUF had its own constitution. The flag of MUF consisted of Holy Quran and rehal in its middle. Based on the principles of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, the MUF stood for the protection of the Muslim identity. The aim of the Front was not to associate with any un-Islamic organization and take part in any kind of political activity thereof. It kept a way open for itself to indulge into political activity at any time it like to do. The front also aimed at reviving the basic teachings of Islam in Kashmir andremoving unnecessary controversies among different schools of thought.35


MUF organized itself to struggle for the protection and safeguarding the Islamic brotherhood and the social, cultural and political identity of Muslims. The Front aimed to take all possible and practical measures to see that the spirit of unity among Muslims remained alive, that the brotherhood and unity among the Muslims at every stage of their collective life was promoted and every such attempt as may damage the Muslim unity was vigorously foiled. Moreover, the Front aimed to promote co-ordination among its member organizations and provide for effective measures to be taken to solve controversial issues in time in the interest and for the protection of Muslims community as a whole. It included in its objective the organisation of an effective social reform movement with a view to establish an Islamic society based on the Islamic values. With regard to minorities, the Front shall be under obligation to see that the Muslims are protected according to tenants of the Holy Quran and to continue its organized struggle against any such attempt calculated to crush the Muslims and deprive them of their social, religious, cultural and political rights shall continue to remain an important objective with the Front.


The major groups which had   been banned organized under the umbrella of Muslim United Front in September 1986 were Jamaat-i-Islami, Umaat-e-Islam, and Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen.  The other constituents of the MUF were the Tahafuz-e-Islam units of different districts in the valley. These units were essentially Jamaat-i-Islami outfits. Initially, the People’s Conference and some other units like National Conference led by G.M.Shah had also expressed its solidarity   with   the Front. However,  later  on  they  fell  out  on  the election-eve because  they  could  not be  adjusted under the growing influence of the Jamaat-i-Islami. Jamaat-i-Islami was more interested in ascertaining the co-operation of Qazi Nisar and Molvi Abbas Ansari to extend possible help, support in achieving its political objectives.  Since Qazi Nisar  and  Molvi Ansari  considered  Shrines  as  effective powerful  centres,  they  were found  more  suitable  to the  Jamaat-i-Islami  than A. G. Lone and G. M. Shah.  The Jamaat had not been acceptable to the people in general in Kashmir mainly because of its too radical approach to religion. For instance, it is not beholden to Shrines, an attitude totally unacceptable to Kashmiri in general and Muslims in particular. It is this weakness which the highly scheming Jamaat leadership had sought to cover by roping in leaders like Qazi Nisar and Abbas Ansari who regarded Shrines as effective power canters. During the 1987 Elections, with the exception of Qazi Nisar and Abbas Ansari, the Front virtually remained a Jamaat affair. Jamaat-i-Islami had taken a quota of 24 seats on its own name and 16 other constituencies in the name of its satellite organizations.

The MUF remained dominated by the Jamaat-i-Islami. After a minute look  at  the  ideology  and  constitution  of  MUF and  Jamaat-i-Islami, one may conclude that  MUF  was  another name of Jamaat –I - Islami.  However the two organizations were different from each other. MUF was a broad based organization which was brought into being for the achievement of that very objective which the Jamaat -i-Islami had failed to achieve single handed and the objective being to fight for rights of Muslims and resist repression of Muslims. However, the Front declared that it was not formed with a view to harass non - Muslims. In the light of repressions wrought on Muslims during the Governors rule, the need to protect the identity of Muslim community, their social and cultural life in the state of Jammuand Kashmir, was felt inevitable. The basic constitution of MUF was that religion is an integral part of politics and the MUF evolved an Islamic ideology. Hence Islamization of Kashmir. Islamization provided not only as a potent issue but also a powerful instrument .36The establishment of Nizam-i-Mustafa was the ultimate aim of the MUF. Like Jamaat-i-Islami, MUF declared that it shall be guided in its mission, its outlook and line of action by the principles of Holy Quran and the Sunnah. The MUF, like Jamaat- i- Islami also did not believe in the parliamentary democracy, secularism and socialism.37

 The 1987 elections were fought on emotive issues like Kashmiri identity, Muslim solidarity, Nizam-i-Mustafa, end of family rule and settlement of Kashmir issue. The Muslim identity was mobilized by MUF, a broad coalition of Islamic groups, in which Jamaat-i-Islami played a significant role. The main objective of Jamaat-i-Islami in this election was to safeguard the interests of Kashmiri Muslims. Kashmiri youth formed the bulk of the support base, primarily because the Jamaat-i-Islami had deeply penetrated educational institutions (as it continues presently). The ideology of Jamaat-i-Islami fevered upon reviving the fundamentals of Islam and ushering the Nizam-i-Mustafa, and an Islamic state. It insisted that Kashmir’s accession to India was not final and demanded self-determination while openly advocating accession to Pakistan. The Jamaat-i-Islami sought to Islamize the Kashmiri’s identity in a radical and fundamentalist manner.

The MUF does not recognize the finality of Kashmir’s accession to India. They hold the view that accession is of temporary in nature. Thus MUF challenged the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. For them Kashmir is still a dispute territory  and  this  dispute  could  only  be  solved  only  by  India and Pakistan in consultation with the people of Kashmir. MUF openly declared that the war for securing rights to Kashmiri Muslims were not against Hindus, Sikhs or Congress. This is a fight for restoration of rights of Kashmiri Muslims. MUF demanded that people of Kashmir should be given the right to exercise their right to self-determination, a right which they have been promised by both India and the United States Organization as far back as 1948. But when the Muslims fight for their rights, the fight is being dubbed as a game of secessionists and fundamentalists. On the basis of programme  which  the  MUF  presented  to  the masses, it standed committed to protect Islamic brotherhood, national, cultural and religious identity of Kashmiri Muslims,  maintain  peace  and  communal  harmony  in  the  state  and treat the minorities as a sacred trust in the hands of MUF, ensure practically the implementation of the Shimla Agreement,  removal  of  political  uncertainty in  the   state,  resolve  all  outstanding  issues  between  India  and  Pakistan  in consultation with the people Jammu and Kashmir state, ensure permanent peace and restoration of  basic civil rights of  the  people and to hold elections with the principles  of  democracy  and Islamic law of Awkaf-i-Islami  and  control  of  the assets thereof. Although the support base of the Jamaat-i-Islami came close to disintegration after the execution of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Bhutto by 1987, the Jamaat was strong enough to alarm the Indian authority. Having run in 1972 election, when it was allowed to take five seats because it was not seriously considered a contender for power, the Jamaat had been thrown into disarray by the 1979 upheaval. Under the leadership of the Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Jamaat-i-Islami steadily worked towards restoring its influence and propagating religious education through madrassas. This proliferation was intended to give depth to the Jamaat-i-Islami’s support base. Kashmiri madrassas ( schools or Muslim religious seminaries) run by the Jamaat-i-Islami  became a potent  influence on young  minds  and played a critical role in nurturing  the religious  mind-set of  young Kashmiri’s by  the close of  the 1989, when the insurgency erupted in Kashmir.


Jamaat-i-Islami and tie up with Armed Struggle

The year 1989 began on a deceptively hopeful note. The violent agitation that began in 1989 had largely local roots, thus sharpened resentment against Indian leadership. After 1989, the social fabric of Jammu and Kashmir underwent a drastic change. Kashmir has seen many political movements, upheavals and turmoil but hardly has there been an iconoclastic upsurge. The upsurge or militant uprising left its impact on every aspect of life. Language, literature, poetry, culture and folk fore could not keep itself away from its magnetic field. The dismissal of Farooq Abdullah in  July  1984, the forced marriage  of  National Conference  and Congress in November  1986 and the March 1987 elections that were blatantly rigged  against  the  eleven-party MUF contributed  to the alienation turning to violence. Most tragically, Kashmir’s in general  were  convinced  that  freedom which the Indira-Sheikh Accord of 1975  and  subsequent  elections  had promised, was inaccessible. The people had decided that freedom would never be given to them. To win it, they had to seize it. This gave rise to different groups with different conceptions of Kashmiri identity. Jamaat-i-Islami used its militant wing, Hizbul-Mujahedeen, to pursue its pan-Islamic and pro-Pakistani ideology in Kashmir.

 Jamaat-i-Islami of Jammu and Kashmir actively involved itself in the militancy through its armed wing, the Hizbul Mujahideen. The Falah-e-Aam Trust was created in 1988 to run Jamaat-i-Islami Schools following a ban on the Jamaat. Jamaat-i-Islami rejected the entire political framework as hopelessly corrupt, denounced Indian authority over Kashmir as illegitimate and thus launched a struggle to overthrow it. However it should be noted here that the hiatus  between  the Indian state’s  democratic federal  principles  and  Jamaat-i-Islami’s rejection of Indian  secularism and  socialism  has been  evident  since the inception  of  the Kashmir question. Thus Jamaat-i-Islami by fating its pro-Pakistan militant wing, emerged as a dominated political ideology to fight for the cause of self-determination for Kashmiri’s. Hizbul Mujahedeen backed and supported by Jamaat-i-Islami of Jammu and Kashmir, thus emerged as the representative of Jamaat and crusader for merger of Kashmir with Pakistan. Jamaat-i-Islami thus stood for the Islamization of Kashmiri identity.

 Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM), the militant wing of Jamaat-i-Islami, took advantage of the existing Jamaat-i-Islami of Jammu and Kashmir network and apparatus to attract young minds in the valley of Kashmir. In December 1989, its leadership, particularly Jamaat-i-Islami launched a massive recruitment drive. In late 1990s, HM cadre accounted for 65 percent of violence in the valley. It was primarily directed against pro Indian political activists, security forces and even those advocating independent Kashmiri identity. HM was aimed at secession of Jammu and Kashmir through armed struggle and merger with Pakistan. HM operated in Kashmir  valley as well  as  in  other  parts  of  India  in the  pattern  of the  pan-Islamic  organization. Encouraged by the increased armed strength of HM and continuing support from Pakistan and fundamentalist organizations, the Jamaat-i-Islami Jammu and Kashmir started consolidating its grip over the organization.  Since early 1990, the HM craved exclusive control over the armed struggle in Jammu and Kashmir. As a result it started to outmanoeuvre other outfits. This led to frequent clashes with other organizations particularly JKLF.


The militant movement was an indigenous, mass movement, of (different objectives with different ideologies), was captured by a smaller, well-armed, well trained and committed group of militants who perceived it in terms of waging an Islamic jihad (holy war). The insurgency, which was a result of socio-economic conditions of Kashmiri’s that motivated the Kashmiris to resort of violence. The political context in the Kashmir valley was qualitatively different from that in Jammu and Ladakh. Historically, the non-Kashmiri regions had sought complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the Indian Union. They had consistently and stringently opposed Kashmir’s special status enshrined in Article 370 of the Indian constitution. On the other hand, Kashmiris guarded its special identity as an instrument for mobilizing the people. Mobilization also took place by issuing statements, distributing pamphlets, seminars and by other means as well. Thus within a short span, the underground militants siege had transformed into a popular mass movement. Mirwaiz Molvi Farooq observed that, “people have realized that the secular, nationalist parties are all lies. They are not in power to help the qaum or awam. They are here only for self-aggrandizement and for power. People had lost faith in democracy and were attracted by the militants and their armed solution to the problem; because they felt that they at least were prepared to die for Kashmir”.38


Jamaat-i-Islami of Jammu and Kashmir remained, at least at the political level a marginal force in the Kashmir till1980s, but with the launching of the armed struggle in 1989 it came to play a central role in Kashmir politics. It forcefully sought to present the armed struggle  as  a  jihad  between  Islam  and  disbelief  (Kufr),  thereby challenging  the Kashmiris nationalists definition of the  struggle  as one  between  the Kashmiri nation and the Indian state. The Jamaat-i-Islami sees the struggle as a war between Muslims and others and is bitterly critical of the notion of separate Kashmiri national identity. Rather, it insists that Kashmiris are simply a part of the worldwide Mushin Ummah, not a nation of themselves, for, according to it, Islam and nationalism are incompatible with each other. Hence, it argues that the mission of the Kashmiri struggle to set up an Islamic state and to make Kashmir a part of Muslim Pakistan. The Jamaat-i-Islami’s efforts at restructuring the framework of discourse within the Kashmiri struggle sought to express itself has, from the early 1990s, been given further impetus by the growing intervention in Kashmir of Islamist groups based in Pakistan.39 These groups tend to see the Kashmiri struggle not simply as a jihad between the Muslims of Kashmir and the Indian state, but as a holy war between the Muslims of world on the one hand and the Hindus as on entire community, in league with other disbelieving  enemies of Islam, on the other.


From the 1990 onwards, the Kashmiri struggle underwent through a dramatic change. It seeks to locate this struggle for discursive hegemony within the broader socio-political context to see how and why the Kashmiri nationalist discourse is increasingly giving way to an Islamic one, with the nationalist goal of a free Kashmir into Pakistan and in favour of the Islamic agenda of incorporating Kashmir into Pakistan and establishing an Islamic state, their pride and part of a wider global project. JIJK thus presents its Kashmir case for a jihad in Kashmir and thus advocates its case for the accession of Kashmir with Pakistan. The armed struggle  launched by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front( JKLF) for the independence  of Kashmir  found mass   support   among Kashmiri Muslims,  disillusioned with Indian rule and with  the  subversion  of  democratic  institutions  in  Kashmir. The MUF initially hesitated in joining the armed struggle, directing its four representatives within the state assembly, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chief ideologue of Jamaat-i-Islami, to retain their seats so as s to be able to air the grievances of the people. However, the rising tide of the JKLF-led struggle  soon  proved  too  much for  the  MUF  high command to  ignore and in 1989 it instructed its members in the assembly to resign and join the armed struggle , Jamaat-i-Islami now decided to fully immerse itself in the militant movement and in 1990 it set up its own militant wing, the Hizbul Mujahedeen(HM). Given the immense popularity of JKLF among the Kashmiri Muslims and the mass support for its goal of an independent, democratic and secular Kashmir, Jamaat-i-Islami and Hizbul Mujahedeen had to struggle against great odds in putting forward their agenda of making Kashmir a part of Pakistan and establishing an Islamic state. Despite the immense odds that the Jamaat-i-Islami had to contend with, mobilised people through publications, mass meetings, public rallies and the work of the activists, to convince  the Kashmiris that the solution to the crises lay in the project that they were advocating , a counter to both India and demands for independent nationhood. In this manner, a shift was sought to be made in the terms within which the liberation struggle was being waged. Islam, not Kashmiriyat, and accession to Pakistan, not an independent Kashmir, were now presented as solution to the Kashmir question. The destruction of Babri Masjid (1992), rapid rise of Hindutva forces and dangers to Muslim lives, dignity and identity, further conceived the argument of Jamaat-i-Islami that the struggle being waged in Kashmir was one between Kufr (disbelief) and Islam.40

 The HM and its parent political party, the Jamaat-i-Islami, held the view that the Kashmiri identity had always an Islamic stand. Through the prism of religion, history was written anew, in which the 1931 anti-monarchy agitation was rechristened as an Islamic movement by the Muslim majority populace to free Kashmir from Dogras and to make it a part of Islamic world. Sheikh Abdullah was projected as a willing victim of the Hindu Congress’s conspiracy and the National Conference, under the influence of communists and Qadianis, had forced the Kashmiri Muslims to accede to India. The central purpose of recasting the discursive framework was to question, discredit and displace the political agenda of Kashmiri nationalists led by the JKLF and provide a religious rationale for advocating Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Thus, Jamaat-i-Islami focuses on placing the Kashmiri struggle within an Islamist paradigm. One of the Chief ideologue of Jamaat-i-Islami S.AS. Geelani believes that the Muslim worldwide Ummat (unity) is one monolithic ideological community, pontificated together on the basis of aquida (common belief) and Iman (faith), which sees no difference of colour, race, language, caste, tribe or family. Territorial nationalism is the bane of Muslims. He insists that nationalism is a poisonous philosophy which the enemies of Islam have deliberately sought to infect Muslims in order to divide and weaken them.41Islam makes a clear distinction between Watan Dosti (love for their country), which it allows, and territorial nationalism or Watan Parasti (nation worship), which it clearly forbids. Nation worship based on the principle of my nation, right or wrong, leads to group prejudice, a quality of jahiliya, an age of utter darkness. Geelani’s critique of territorial nationalism is aimed at justifying Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan on religious grounds.42


Jamaat-i-Islami sees Kashmiri Muslims through the Islamic lens. The Muslim Qaum (nation) does not take into account the state’s Islamic or linguistic minorities. Kashmiris are considered as the elements of the Muslim Ummat and this justifies Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan as being in the Ummat’s interests. The highly emotive terminology of jihad (holy war) was used for mobilizing the cadre in the name of Islam. A Mujahid was described as a conscious young man who believes in Islam and is ready to sacrifice his life and property for Nizam-i-Mustafa.  The motivational literature mobilizing the cadre used symbols and metaphors of Islam extensively. Jamaat-i-Islami leaders used Islamic fables to mobilize the people. In fact, the Islamist framework had successfully altered the terms of the militant’s movement’s discourse in establishing an alternative school of thoughts and a pre-accession body. However, it was precisely due to strict adherence to Islamic ideology that the Jamaat-i-Islami found militant wing Hizbul Mujahedeen difficult to expand its social base and lacked popular support in the valley. Kashmiri people supported the HM in the fight against India but its pure ideological polarization between the JKLF’s goal of Kashmir banega Khudmukhtar (Kashmir will be independent) and the Hizbul Mujahedeen’s demand of Kashmir banega Pakistan (Kashmir will become Pakistan) divided the militant ranks sharply and intensified the fragmentation of the movement.


JIJK and Pakistani Quest for Identity:

Jamaat-i-Islami, upholding the medieval thought  structure  as  its  guiding  star, stands for tolerance, non-violence,  mutual  accommodation  and  good-will.  However the organization directly linked with the Jamaat-i-Islami of Pakistan, consistently worked for realization of Pak-objectives in Kashmir, both political and religious.  With Muslims  as the  predominant section of  the populace, it  made  inroads into  the entire polity of Kashmir with a design to realize secession of Kashmir from the Indian Union by whipping up religious ferny for Jihad. The establishment of massive plethora of schools led to the creation of mass school teachers, falling into the trap of Jamaatist programme. Highly motivated and viciously biased, they brain-washed the growing mind-set of the blooming buds at an early age. Jamaat-i-Islami cared more for the Islamic identity of Kashmiris and less for the Kashmiri identity (Kashmiriyat).43 They showed more concern for Islamization of Kashmir and wanted to join Pakistan for religious affinity. The main reason of Kashmiri separateness, from Indian Union, according to Jamaat-i-Islami of Kashmir (JIJK) is that, “India has gone out of its way to protect and nourish the Kashmiri identity. The alienation of Kashmiris is because of the treatment meted out of them by the Indian leadership since 1947. Kashmiris feel that the Indian behaviour has been atrocious in that it has chosen to ignore them completely.”44



Jamaat- i- Islami has been making a concerted effort to reorient the outlook of Muslims. From the historical point of view, it becomes clear that the origins of JIJK were located in the growing urge in the early decades of the twentieth century among the Kashmiri Muslims for democratic freedom, socio- economic emancipation and assertion of their identity. JIJK saw the salvation of people in Islamic system alone, an Islam cleansed of the trappings of centuries of the local cults and superstitions associated with what was seen as un- Islamic, an activist and politically assertive expression of the religion that they could relate to in the rapidly changing circumstances of the modern world. With its advocacy of a universalistic vision of Islam coupled with its enthusiasm for modern education, JIJK promised a pristine Islam as well as a form of religion that could cope with the demands of modernity and facilitate entry into modern structures. JIJK believes Islam as the best of all religions and real emancipator of man. Islam presents to all mankind a social system of justice and piety based on creed and morality. In post- 1947 phase, JIJK mobilised people through its chain of schools, libraries, vast literature in every nook and corner of the state. Because of its stand on the political status of Jammu and Kashmir, JIJK gained immense popularity in Kashmiri society, especially in the wake of political events of 1953 and 1963 respectively. Disillusioned with Indian rule over Kashmir, JIJK began veering for the right of self- determination for Kashmiri’s. Immense popularity and mass support for JIJK cannot be accounted for in terms of religious sentiment, for JIJK’s political stance on the Kashmir issue has also been a major factor for its ready appeal in Kashmir. JIJK’s tie up with armed struggle in 1989 has proved to be of great import for its future role in the state. The marginalisation of JKLF and emergence of pan- Islamist groups has paved a way for JIJK to play a crucial and active role in the politics of the state. From the last few years, JIJK is more concentrating in gaining its lost ground and have shifted their policy on Kashmir question by calling for political means to be explored to solve the vexed Kashmir problem.



1.       Ashiq Kashmiri, Tehreeki Islami Jammu Wa Kashmir: 1947 Se 1989 Tak, Srinagar: Markazi Maktaba Jamaati Islami Jammu Wa Kashmir, Vol. II, 1991, pp. 35- 36

2.       Shafi Shadai, Ek Tehreek, Ek Tehreek, Srinagar: Talau Publications, 2010, Vol. I,  pp. 11- 12

3.       Qari Saif ud Din, Wadeye Purkhar, Srinagar: Markazi Maktaba Jamaat- i- Islami Jammu Wa Kashmir, 1979, pp. 31- 32.

4.       G.M.Wani, Kashmir Politics: Problems and Prospects, New Delhi: Asish Publishing House, 1993, p. 114

5.       Constitution of JIJK, Article 2

6.       Ibid

7.       Constitution of JIJK, Article 4

8.       Ibid, Article 5

9.       G.H.Shah, State Politics in India, New Delhi: Independent Publishing House, 1989, p. 36

10.     Constitution of JIJK, Article 6

11.     Ibid

12.     Ashiq Kashmiri, Tehreeki Islami Jammu Wa Kashmir: 1947 Se 1989 Tak, Srinagar: Markazi Maktaba Jamaati Islami Jammu Wa Kashmir, Vol. II, 1991, p. 13

13.     Ibid, pp. 14- 15

14.     Y.R.Sharma, Political Dynamics of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu: Radha Krishnan Anand, 2000, Vol. I, pp. 157-158

15.     Lakshman, Trouble in Paradise, Illustrated Weekly of India, March 10, 1985, p. 9

16.     S.A.S. Geelani, Nawai Hurriyat, Srinagar: Talau Publications, 1998, p. 10

17.     Ibid, pp. 12- 14

18.     Y.R.Sharma, Political Dynamics of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu: Radha Krishnan Anand, 2000, Vol. I, pp. 258-259

19.     Aparna Rao (Edited), The Valley of Kashmir: The Making and Unmaking of a Composite Culture, New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2008, pp. 635- 636.

20.     Narinder Singh, Political awakening in Kashmir, New Delhi: H.K.Publications, 1992, pp. 81- 82

21.     S.A.S.Geelani, Rudadi Qafas, Srinagar: Al Huda Publishing House, 1993, Vol. I, P. 5

22.     G.H.Shah, State Politics in India, New Delhi: Independent Publishing House, 1989, pp. 38- 39

23.     Narinder Singh, Political awakening in Kashmir, New Delhi: H.K.Publications, 1992, pp. 78- 79

24.     Maya Chadha, Ethnicity, Security and Separatism in India, New Delhi:OUP, 1997, p. 61

25.     G.M.Wani, Kashmir Politics: Problems and Prospects, New Delhi: Asish Publishing House, 1993, p. 114

26.     G.H.Khan, Freedom Movement in Kashmir, New Delhi: Light and Life Publishers, 1980, p. 468

27.     Majid Siraj, Towards Peace in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, New Delhi: Manas Publications, 2001, p. 17

28.     Qari Saif ud Din, Wadeye Purkhar, Srinagar: Markazi Maktaba Jamaat- i- Islami Jammu Wa Kashmir, 1979, pp. 59- 62.

29.     S.A.S.Geelani, Nawai Hurriyat, Srinagar: Alhuda Publishing House,  1993, 9. 21

30.     Al Quran, Chapter No. 21, Verse No. 92

31.     Al Quran, Chapter No. 23, Verse No. 5

32.     Verghese Koithara, Crafted Peace in Kashmir: Through a Realist Lens, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2004, pp. 57- 58

33.     Al Quran, Chapter No. 22, Verse No. 78

34.     Narender Singh, Political Awakening in Kashmir, New Delhi: H.K.Publications, 1992, pp. 86- 87

35.     Y.R.Sharma, Political Dynamics of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu: Radha Krishnan Anand, 2000, Vol. I, pp. 155- 156

36.     S.A.S.Geelani, Tehreek- i- Hurriyat: Jawanaani Millat Ke Naam, Srinagar:Tehreek-i- Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir, 2000, pp. 189- 190

37.     Y.R.Sharma, Political Dynamics of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu: Radha Krishnan Anand, 2000, Vol. I, pp.258- 259

38.     Tavleen Singh, Kashmir: A Tragedy of Errors, New Delhi: Viking Publishers, 1995, p. 113

39.     Zafarul Islam Khan, Wounded Valley: Kashmir Valley Today, New Delhi: News From India Publications, 1995, p. 45

40.     Yoginder Sikand, Changing Course of Kashmiri Struggle: From National Liberation to Islamist Jihad, EPW, January 20, 2001, pp. 218- 220

41.     S.A.S.Geelani, Hijrati Shahadat, Srinagar: Al Huda Publishing House, 1993, Vol.     I,pp.3- 4

42.      S.A.S.Geelani, Rudad- i- Qafas, Srinagar: Al Huda Publishing House, 1993, Vol.I, p.3

43.     Aparna Rao (Edited), The Valley of Kashmir: The Making and Unmaking of a Composite Culture, New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2008, pp. 635- 636.

44.     Ibid, pp. 637- 640


Received on 16.10.2012

Modified on 22.10.2012

Accepted on 10.11.2012           

© A&V Publication all right reserved

Research J.  Humanities and Social Sciences. 3(4): October-December, 2012, 479-492