In 1928 ” Inqilab ” was published in Urdu from Lahore. It was edited by Abdul Majid Saliq and Ghulam Rasool Meher. Both were pupil of Allama Iqbal.
مھر و سالک دو ایڈیٹر انقلاب اخبار ایک
The newspaper in a brief period came into limelight and earned lot of respectability. In spite of weak communication the paper was giving adequate coverage to Kashmir. On the initiative of Allama Iqbal ‘ Kashmir Day ‘ was observed at All India level on 16 August 1931. It was in August Inqilab first time published the following:
اے ھری سنگہ أواز ے پیکار سے ڈر
شیر کشمیر کے تکبیر شرر بار سے ڑر
Beware of confrontation O Hari Singh
Cower the roars the Lion will bring
However it took initial few years to popularize ‘Sheri Kashmir’ and eventually became a household name. Bi-Weekly Sadaqat was started in March 1933 as official organ of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference. It was banned by then District Magistrate for one year and later the publication was resumed. The paper should have profusely used Sheri Kashmir which did not happen.
P.N.Bazaz published a 168 page book titled Kashmir Ka Gandhi in Urdu in the year 1935. The book relates to the life and works of S.M.Abdullah till June 1935. The author in the initial pages of the book refers to the Sheikh as ‘ Sher-i-kashmir’ in bold letters. There are more than half a dozen references of acronym ‘Sheri Kashmir’ in the book. Probably Bazaz may have picked it up from “Inqilab” Lahore, a paper used to reach Srinagar through passengers travelling from Lahore to Kashmir.
Relevant to the topic is a story that one Hargopal Koul ‘ Khasta’, a resident of Shari Khas, remained controversial all through his life. He was well educated and served as a middle rung officer in the Dogra government. In 1880 he wrote an interesting book in Urdu titled ” Gulza-i-Kashmir” on historical events. He was ardent crusader against cow slaughter. It was alleged that he had indulged in desecration of Holy Quran in the vicinity of Rajouri Kadal. Protests and demonstrations by Kashmiri Muslims were spontaneous. The Maharaja ordered his arrest and Har Gopal was interned in Babu Jail, Jammu in 1898. While in Jail, within one year, he dug a tunnel and staged his escape and reached Lahore in 1899. During same year he assumed the name of ‘ Sheri Kashmir obviously given by Kashmiri Pandits. While in Lahore he started an Urdu newspaper which he used as a propaganda tool against the Maharaja. During those days folk singers would sing on the streets of Srinagar.
ُ بداُوس ھر کون رد کرین کار جانکی ھیتھ کورکھ پیر و پار
One eyed Har’s evil rejected piety
That with Janki earned him exile’s ferocity
(Har Gopal had an defective eye and Janki was his brother)
At this stage Sheri Kashmir could not become popular for obvious reasons. Har Gopal had no majority acceptability. He had a baggage of desecration of Quran and preferred exile. So therefore one may say that Sheri Kashmir is a borrowed phrase.
I acknowledge the In-puts and assistance given by Mr M.Y.Taing, scholar & writter and Prof Syed Habib, a respected name and man of letters.