It was Saturday, 7th June 1952 when the Constituent Assembly met in the Assembly Chamber Rajgarh Palaces Srinagar at 11o clock.
Mr. Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq, then President Assembly (Speaker used to be called as President Assembly) began proceedings of the day by calling Hon’ble Prime Minister Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah to table the resolution and Prime Minister got up and said “Sir, I rise to move the following resolution, let the house that National Flag of the State Jammu and Kashmir shall be rectangular in shape and red in colour with three equidistant vertical strips of equal width next to the staff and a white plough in the middle with its handle facing the strips.
The ratio of width to the length of the flag shall be 2:3”. 21 members including Sheikh Sahib, Mirza Afzal Beigh, Krishan Dev Sethi, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, Sayed Mir Qasim, Isher Dev Mani, Sardar Harbans Singh Azad, Anwar Shah Masoodi and Koshak Bakola made historic speeches with each taking pledge to protect the constitutional status and integrity of J&K.
Records of the Assembly reveal that not even once any member used the word ‘J&K State’ but every time mentioned J&K as a ‘country’ and also promised to reunite both sides of Kashmir and make it a Nation which would accommodate the sentiments and aspirations of people irrespective of their caste, creed, and religion. Interestingly Syed Mir Qasim brought an amendment that word ‘National’ be deleted and replaced by word ‘state’ as he apprehended that people may misinterpret it as National Conference Flag. After brainstorming deliberations the resolution was passed along with the amendment unanimously, amid thumping cheers.
Mr. Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq, the President of the Constituent Assembly, requested all the members to get up from their chairs for a minute or so to honor the State Flag and every member followed with pride. Then Mr. Sadiq asked Sheikh Mohammad Akbar, then MLA Tangmarg, to recite the poem “ Lehra Ae Kashmir Ke Jande” written by Moulana Massodi, to honor the flag, and every member, and those present in the jam-packed galleries got up and sat down only when Mr. Akbar had finished the poem.
Lehra Ae Kashmir Ke Jande [English Translation]
Let this flag of Kashmir be unfurled,
The flag of our people,
Of young and old alike,
Of the strong and the non-violent,
And of our poor peasants
Whoever ploughs the land.
Let this flag be always flying
Over our valleys and our lakes;
Till the day of judgment
Let it raise its proud head
May this flag forever fly
Over the meadows and the mountain tops
Over pastures green and rushing streams
And Limitless expanse of land;
May it ever fly over the houses of the poor
And adorn mansions of the rich.
Let this flag be ever flying
In the four corners of this land;
Till the day of judgment
Let this our symbol be.
This red flag of Kashmir
This beloved flag of ours
And of our peasants, too;
Which brings succor to the poor
And the down-trodden
And gladdens every heart
May it fly forever
In every nook and corner,
Until the day of judgment,
May I behold thee!
[Translation by Syed Junaid Hashmi]
Mr. President congratulated the nation for getting its own State flag and adjourned the house till Tuesday 10th of June 11o clock. Right from that day till date BJP and other anti-Kashmiri forces have been bent upon to implement their slogan “Ek Nishan Ek Vidhan Ek Pradhan” in the State. Undoubtedly Kashmiris have sacrificed for a bigger cause seeking plebiscite but need is to understand that colonial attitude of Delhi; very eager to snatch anything left behind with Kashmiris, including their own flag and Article 370.
They have been as usual arguing that a separate flag and a separate constitution means a state within the state and strongly seek their abolition, claiming J&K to be India’s integral part, forgetting the historical perspectives, promises made by various PMs of India to Kashmiris and huge sacrifices of people of State. It’ll be wise enough for people of State especially those who want Kashmiris’ sacrifices to yield something, not to allow New Delhi and other radical forces undermine the constitutional and emotional significance of State Flag.
It is a known fact that this state flag is now seen only in Secretariat and on the vehicles of few Ministers and thus its significance being reduced. If honor and status of the State Flag is somehow truly restored, it will certainly not only stop GOI from its aggressions and invasions towards Kashmiris but will also act as strong evidence to prove that relationship between Delhi and Srinagar is not of the same nature and status as that exists between Delhi and other States.
To defeat the colonial designs of Delhi and promote the Kashmiri patriotism and nationalism the State Flag and the Anthem can act as a binding force between various political thoughts and organizations of J&K, who always claim everybody to be wrong, except themselves. Let us all be united to celebrate 7th June every year as “State Flag Day” as it’ll make everybody to remember that we’ve different identity, culture, and feelings from those who treat J&K as their colony.
Engineer Rashid is a Kashmiri politician and Member of the Legislative Assembly in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (Indian administered Kashmir). He represents the Langate constituency in Handwara.
This article first appeared in Greater Kashmir