Friday, September 21, 2012




Recurring floods , Cholera Epidemics, famines , lack of employment avenues , Shawl Business and  Suppression were the main reason for migration of kashmiris from valley during  nineteenth century  . By kashmiris I mean both Pandits and muslims . . These migrants settled mostly in Punjab and Delhi. Some Pandits moved further towards the princely states presently known as United provinces, MP, Rajasthan . kashmiri Muslims confined themselves mostly to areas of Punjab concentrating in and around Lahore , Ludhiana and Amritsar. One such kashmiri muslim family that moved to Amritsar was of Ahmed joo Kitchloo . Ahmed joo owned Pashmina and saffron trading business and originally belonged to a kashmiri Brahmin family from Baramulla. Ahmed joo’s Grand father Prakash Ram Kitchloo had embraced Islam.

Dr Saifud din was Grand child of Ahmed joo and son of Aziz ud Din Kitchloo . He was born at Amrisar in january 1888.Young Saif Ud Din did his Initial schooling from Amritsar and went to cambridge and Germany to complete his Doctorate .After his return to India saif ud Din Kitchloo started his Legal Practice   and married the daughter of Hafeez ullah Manto aother kashmiri Lawyer  from Amritsar. In 1919 he was elected Municipal Commissioner of the Amritsar city. He was also drawn towards the freedom movement of the country under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi He took part in Gandhi Ji's Satyagraha (Non-cooperation) movement and soon left his practice to become part of the freedom movement of the country as well as the All India Khilafat Committee.

Dr. Kitchloo had  started an Urdu daily “Tanzim” meant for  uplift of  the poor and illiterate  Muslims. He was also  instrumental in establishing “Swaraj Ashram” in January 1921 at Amritsar to train young men for the national work and to promote Hindu-Muslim unity.

As per Dr Amandeep a research scholar from Guru Nanak university Amritsar :-

“There is a new dimension to anti colonial consciousness among Kashmiris living in Amritsar just before the partition of the country . The notable amongst them are Abdul Salam Rafiqi, Dr Saifuddin Kitchloo and Abdul Majid. Abdul Majid, a Kashmiri was one of the founders of the communist party of India in Tashkent in 1925. Dr Kitchloo, the hero who inspired struggle against Rowlatt Act, went on to play a leading role in Indian National Congress movement..In 1891 the number of Kashmiri Muslims in Amritsar was 21, 261. It was one-third of the total Muslim population and one-sixth of the total population of Amritsar. By the last decade of the ninetenth century a few Kashmiri families had become rich enough to influence the politics of the Amritsar city. Among these families were Shaikh Ahmad Sadiq, chairman of the Amritsar Muncipal Committee, Shaikh Sadiq Hasan, a member of the Central Legislative and Punjab Legislative Assembly for Amritsar, Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq, a member of Punjab Legislative Council from Amritsar.The strongest opposition to Rowlatt Act passed by British Rulers in march 1891 was organised and led by Dr Saif Ud Din Kitchloo in entire Punjab. He asked people to take the vow of Satya Graha given by Gandhi to liberate their country in a constitutional way. He denounced the British bureaucracy and encouraged the people to protest against the present mode of administration. He made extraordinary efforts to forge a unity among different functions in Punjabi society and create a dynamic force against the despotic and tyrannical administration of General Dyer. Dr Kitchloo demanded Home Rule and envisaged an India having the same political powers or an autonomy like other British colonies. As the agitation against the Bills mounted Gandhi gave a call for nationwide hartal. The date was initially fixed for 30 March but was later changed to 6 April as it was thought that enough notice had not been given. Dr Kitchloo was in the forefront on both the days.Hartal was observed all over Punjab on March 30, 1919 and a mass meeting was held at Jallianwalla Bagh, attended by some 30,000 people. On April 4th, Dr Kitchloo and some activists were served with orders under Defence of India Act, prohibiting them from addressing or attending public meetings.On April 6th there was country-wide hartal. It was observed principally in Amritsar, without any effort on the part of any local leader. There was no police interference. With Satyapal, Dr Kitchloo surcharged the people of Amritsar emotionally on Ram Naumi day i.e. 9 April. For the first time in the history of Amritsar, the Muslims had joined the traditional Hindu festival. It was the Hindu-Muslim unity which was disturbing for the authorities. Dr Satyapal and Kitchloo were taken into custody and deported to Dharamsala. The move proved self-defeating. The events that followed were due to premeditated actionon the part of the Punjab government i.e. the arrest of two beloved leaders. Dr Kitchloo warned the Deputy Commissioner that their arrest could lead to violence. In the end, he wrote a letter to his wife asking her to calm the people on his behalf. But the letter, was never delivered to her.The citizens of Amritsar went in a procession to Deputy Commissioner’s bunglow. The procession was fired upon in which three to four persons were killed and many more wounded. Soon the news of these killings spread. Thousands of people in Amritsar city went on a rampage and burnt a number of buildings including the Town Hall. They looted the National Bank and killed its manager. Zanana Hospital was attacked. Miss Sharewood was assaulted. An English man was killed at Rego-bridge. The destruction and looting of the city continued till 5.00 PM. The city of Amritsar was put under the military administration of Brigadier General Dyer. Martial Law was proclaimed. On the morning of 13 April Dyer made a proclamation prohibiting processions and meetings.  At about the same time a boy was announcing by beating a tin can that a meeting would be held at 4.00 PM in Jallianawala Bagh. 20,000 people gathered in Jallianwala Bagh to protest against the barbarous actions of the Punjab regime, and to demand the release of their leaders. On the ‘presidential chair’ the picture of their leader-Dr Kitchloo was placed. Soon General Dyer entered with 150 soldiers. No notice was given to the mass of the people to disperse and within three minutes he ordered his troops to fire. In all 1650 rounds were fired from a range of forty to fifty yards. Firing lasted for ten minutes. He stopped firing because ammunition was running low.According to official estimates (The Hunter Committee Report) 379 people were killed and 1200 wounded. General Dyer was directing the shooting where the crowd was the thickest. After the massacre the wounded were left along with the dead to die in agony and no medical assistance was permitted.Subsequently a reign of terror was unleashed throughout Punjab. While scores of Punjabis were hanged, imprisoned and flogged, the British accused Dr Kitchloo of being number one in the Amritsar conspiracy case. The whole trial was a farce. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but the public opinion in Britain caused the British government to release Dr Kitchloo. The Rowlatt agitation in Amritsar witnessed umprec-edented Muslim participation. Out of the total 151 sentenced to death from Amritsar city, thirty were Muslims. The accused in the Rego bridge murder case, Mani and Muhammed Shafi were Kashmiri Muslims. Aziz another Kashmiri artisan was sentenced to death in Alliance Bank murder case. Miles Irving, DC of Amritsar in his report attributed rioting to Kashmiris.................... ”
                ( Dr.Kitchloo in New Delhi 1953)
Like Maulana Azad , Saif Ud din Kitchlu opposed the Two Nation Theory and the partition of the country.He remained steadfast in his commitment to secularism and shifted to Delhi after his house was burnt by arsonists in 1947 and later spent the rest of his years working for closer political and diplomatic relations with the USSR. He received the Stalin Peace Prize in 1952, which was renamed for Lenin Peace Prize under De-Stalinization. In 1951, a Government Act made him, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, life trustees of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust.He died on October 9, 1963. His son, Toufique Kitchloo, lived in a Lampur village on the outskirts of Delhi and one of his Daughters Zahida Kitchloo, married M. B. Sreenivasan, well known
 Malayalam Music director.
MBS as he was known to millions of his fans world over ,  produced many hits in Malayalam films. His style of music involved only minimal orchestration and were noted for their simple lucidity. He is the one who introduced the legendary singer Yesudas to film industry.

A son was also born to Zahida and  M B Sreenivasan who was   fondly named as  KABIR. But no member from this family survives today.
In 1989, Government Of India released a commemorative stamp in honour of Dr Kitchloo..

Toufique Kitchloo (son of Dr Kitchloo) has also written a book on his father titled " Dr Saif Ud Din Kitchlew Hero Of Jalianwala Bagh" .Toufique (Born 1932) has done MA in history from Delhi university and has lived in Poland,Germany and Ethopia.

( A specimen of Dr Kitchloo's handwriting)

I end this post with lines from a poem of Prof ale Ahmed Suroor..

kar Diyaa barq-o-bukhaaraat ne mahashar Barpaa,
Apane daftar me litaafat ke sivaa kuchh bhi nahin.
Ghir gaye Waqt ki Berahm kashaakash me magar,
Paas tahazeeb ki Daulat ke siva kuchh bhi nahin.
( Prof Ale Ahmed Surooor)

This lightening and heat has created
the day of last Judgement in our world,
In our dealings nothing exists beyond politeness .
Trapped we have been by this merciless time in this struggle ,
But for the wealth of our civilization, we have
Nothing to put on display in these bare hands .

( Autar Mota )
September 21 , 2012 Time 11.25 PM.... Good Night

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