On the 66th anniversary of the birth of Pakistan: Pages from my father’s diary

by Rafiq Kathwari

Pakistan-flagSrinagar, Kashmir, 14 August 1947 Thursday

At Midnight two dominions of Pakistan and Hindustan will take birth: Whole day busy with tomorrow's celebrations. Pakistan Government has instructed Superintendent Post Office Srinagar to fly the Pakistan flag tomorrow on all the post office buildings. The Kashmir government does not want this to happen. They are extremely perturbed over it — feverish political activity in this connection.

Tonight is Shab-e Qadar, what an auspicious night, and tomorrow is Jumatul-wida, when legally the two dominions will start to work. In fact, Pakistan Constituent Assembly met today and was addressed by Lord Mountbatten who, as the Governor General of Pakistan, read the Kings message. Then, our most beloved leader, Qaid–e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was sworn in, and then, the First Premier of Pakistan, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan.

At midnight, my father (and a group of friends) sat attentively near the radio tuning to Lahore. The clock struck 12. The announcer approached the mike, and announced, “Pakistan Broadcasting Service.”

Pakistan has come into existence. Long Live Pakistan! Long Live Qaid-e-Azam, its architect and founder!

The proceeding started with recitation from the holy Quran, followed by Naat's. We all could not resist our tears for so much was the emotion and so piercing was every word spoken on the radio that we all of us actually went into a sort of trance. At 1 A.M. the Special Broadcast ended. After that, we talked till about 3 A.M.

Srinagar, Kashmir, 15 August 1947 Friday

Got up early at 6 A.M. From the early hour people were excited. We put on Pakistan flags, green with Crescent and a Star and a white strip representing the minorities. We also put up buntings. The Nationalist Musulmaans also decorating with red flags. Lots of excitement, some trouble, not much.

Went at about 11 a.m. to Amira Kadal — today everyone observed holiday. The whole city had a bride's appearance with green, red, and tricolor flags. Pakistan flags were hoisted on all the post offices, and that proved very great excitement to Musalmaans. Hundreds went to the post offices and saluted the flags.

At 1:30 p.m went to Jamia Masjid. Huge congregation there, a public meeting also held. We went in a procession of cars — all cars had Pakistan flags.

Returned from Jamia Masjid: I was now exhausted due to sleeplessness, hungry and thirsty. Went home. Had a rest until 7 p.m. [Two friends] came to pick me up from my home. We went to Lake View Hotel to attend the Pakistan Dinner Party. About 150 gentlemen responded. The dinner commenced with recitation from the Holy Quran, and ended successfully with more recitations under life size statues of Qaid-e-Azam.

My father, Khawja Gulam Mohammed Kathwari, kept a daily dairy from the day he entered Aligarh Muslim University in 1932 to the day he died in 1999. There will be many opportunities to share other pages.