Political historian Ashiq Hussain claims nothing stirred in Kashmir when Maqbool Bhat was executed in 1984 as Maqbool was not considered a hero. In this piece, the author recollects memories of the day of the hanging and how the cultish figure of Maqbool Bhat was renewed post his hanging.
The following extract – translated by poet and writer Huzaifa Pandit – is from the booklet – Main Kaun Huun (Who am I). Written while on trial for the Ganga Plane Hijacking case from the ramparts of Lahore fort prison, the booklet is an important declaration of the Kashmiri right to self-determination and a rebuttal of the two-nation theory that allows Kashmir little role and agency.
Maqbool Bhat's legendary figure far exceeds his small village in Trehgam Kupwara, however, people in his village retain only a handful of his memories and the young remember what has been handed out through anecdotes, Nayeem Rather reports.
In this second and final part of our cover story on Maqbool Bhat, we trace his struggles in Pakistan, the controversial Ganga Hijacking, the subsequent political subterfuge, his trail and jail term in Pakistan and his final cross over to Indian held Kashmir and his eventual hanging by the Indian government.