Friday, March 27, 2015



 Krishna Misri ( Zadoo ) was barely 14 when she got herself enrolled as a volunteer in the Women’s Wing of the National Militia set up by the supporters of the National Conference to fight Invading tribal raiders in 1947. This resistance group was also known as the Women’s Self-Defence Corps. (WSDC) . The slogan coined during those turbulent days was:-


“Hamlaavar khabardaar hum Kashmiri hain tayaar “ 


(“ Beware you, aggressor, we Kashmiris are prepared to fight back“)



For the first time, Kashmiri girls drawn from Hindu and Muslim households bore arms and were trained in firing guns to drive away tribal raiders. Krishna Misri was one such brave girl. The girls were trained to fire 303 guns, stun guns and pistols at Chandmaari, Srinagar and later at Badami Bagh, Srinagar. Some elders say that  National Conference workers activists raided the armoury of the Maharaja and distributed the arms to volunteers.


Krishna Ji’s brother, Pushkar Zadoo too achieved martyrdom along with Maqbool Sherwani, Master Abdul Aziz and Som Nath Beera during those turbulent days. At that crucial time, Maharaja suddenly left Srinagar and there was practically no administration. It was reported that the advancing tribal raiders were approaching Srinagar city via two routes; one Bandipora -Safapora road and the other Pattan- Baramulla road. The city had already plunged into total darkness with raiders destroying the Mohra powerhouse. The climate was getting colder day after day and winter was fast approaching. Fear and panic prevailed all over. Against this background, volunteers from the men and women Militia marched through the street of Srinagar city along with guns, building confidence in the population terrified by reports about the advancing tribal raiders. They guarded bridges, roads and vital installations in the city and its outskirts. Krishna Misri and her team of volunteers were also deployed to provide logistical support to the Indian forces as they were new to the terrain and the local language. These volunteers also did enormous social work in the camps set up for the hapless refugees who poured into Srinagar city to save their lives and honour. The raiders had almost destroyed the entire Baramulla town. Stories of rapes, brutalities, death and destruction in and around Baramulla town in particular were heard from all corners. These volunteers collected cash donations, rations and warm clothes for the refugees. They also kept visiting refugee camps and the city hospitals to provide moral support and first aid to the molested, raped, and abducted hapless women who were brought from the areas ravaged by the raiders. Begum Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah supervised all the social activities and relief work of the Women’s Self-Defence Corps.

Miss Mehmooda Ahmed Ali Shah ( sister of Dr Naseer, noted physician of Kashmir ), Freda Bedi ( mother of Indian actor Kabir Bedi ), Begum Akbar Jahan ( wife of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah ), and Zainab Begum ( sister of late G M Sadiq former chief minister, J&K ) were also associated with WSDC Militia. It is worthwhile to make special mention of an illiterate but determined girl from a milk seller’s family in downtown Srinagar Named Zoon ( Zoona Gujri ) who too took to the streets and led the march past of WSDC Militia. A contingent of WSDC Militia was led by Zainab Begum.


                                                                ( Pushkar Zadoo )
                         ( Krishna Ji standing extreme left with her family members  )
            ( Krishana Ji welcoming Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah  and Begum Abdullah to her college )

As a veteran of the Women's Militia, Krishna Misri remained an active member of various social and political organisations. As a member of the Citizen’s Council, she visited Haji Peer pass in 1965 which was conquered by the Indian army. Along with other women volunteers, she carried out relief and rehabilitation work in Haji Peer where Gujjar families particularly women and children were in distress and pathetic condition.


And Poet Agha Shahid Ali has dedicated a beautiful English poem to Krishna Misri. The poem appears on Page 184 in Agha Shahid Ali's poetic collection,"The Veiled Suite".Krishna Misri retired as Principal of Government college for Women, Srinagar and presently lives in Delhi.




( Avtar Mota )

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