India is a democratic nation and Prof Sharma has the right to interpret things the way he wants
Vested interests in Kashmir and elsewhere have unleashed a vilification campaign against the Hindus of Jammu city. They have been painting them as killers of Muslims. Unfortunately, Prof R R Sharma, himself a Dogra from Jammu, a sophisticated academic and former VC of Jammu University, has, instead of countering the propagandists, also walked into the trap of those in Kashmir and their supporters in Delhi and other parts of the world, especially Europe. He has endorsed the unfounded view that Hindus of Jammu city did kill thousands of Muslims in 1947 to convert the Muslim-majority Jammu city into a Hindu-majority city.
If, on the one hand, Prof Sharma undermined Jammu, Jammu-Dogras, and Napolean of the East, General Zorawar Singh, to eulogize China, on the other, he sought to create an impression that society of Jammu province is a divided house. He has also rejected with contempt the demand in Jammu for statehood without reflecting on the reasons behind this 73-year-old demand. In fact, he has given a clean chit to the Kashmiri politicians of all hues. Anyway, India is a democratic nation and Prof Sharma has the right to interpret things the way he wants.
Prof Sharma, was what Thapar wrote and suggested based on facts? Was Jammu city a Muslim-majority city? Did the Hindus of Jammu city actually kill 70,000 to 237,000 Muslims? Did the Hindus of Jammu city expel 500,000 Muslims? What are the facts?
However, it was not appropriate on his part to base his false narrative on what controversial journalist Karan Thapar said about the so-called “killings of over two lakh Muslims in Jammu City in 1947”. What did Prof Sharma write in this regard? He wrote: “Karan Thapar is a reputed journalist. He published in The Hindustan Times of September 5, 2019, a longish article which read ‘let’s not be selective about the past in J&K’. He talks about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990. It is rightly looked upon as an ‘ethnic cleansing’. It was indeed unforgivable and unacceptable; while doing this, we also must recall what happened to Jammu Muslims in 1947 i.e just after independence. At that time, it was a Muslim majority city, but literally, in weeks, communal mass killings and forced migration turned Jammu into a Hindu majority city. Both the contemporary accounts and those of historians put the number killed or expelled in ‘hundreds of thousands. Citing Mahatma Gandhi, Thapar assesses ‘some two hundred thousand Muslims were killed or expelled”. Thapar had also quoted Arjun Appadurai and Arien Mack to suggest that the “world believes 200,000 could have been killed and a further 500,000 displaced” (Amazing Visions of Jammu: Janus Faced, Daily Excelsior, November 28, 2020).
Prof Sharma, was what Thapar wrote and suggested based on facts? Was Jammu city a Muslim-majority city? Did the Hindus of Jammu city actually kill 70,000 to 237,000 Muslims? Did the Hindus of Jammu city expel 500,000 Muslims? What are the facts? It would be only desirable to quote verbatim the relevant statistics from the Census Reports. Such an exercise will help us put things in perspective and expose the propagandists.
The total population of Jammu city in 1941 was 50,370. It was 31,506 in 1921; 38,613 in 1931; and 76.558 in 1951 (A-4 town and urban agglomeration classified by population size class in 2011 with variation since 1901 census). It needs to be underlined that while the population in Jammu city increased by 26,188 persons between 1941 and 1951, it was increased by 11,757 persons in Jammu city between 1931 and 1941. As for the total population of Jammu city/Urban Agglomeration, it was 31, 508 in 1921; 42,794 in 1931; 58,847 in 1941; and 83,847 in 1951.
It would also not be out of place to quote statistics relating to the population in the Jammu district between 1921 and 1951. These statistics will also help debunk the spurious claim that the Hindus of Jammu city murdered and expelled Muslims to convert it into a Hindu-majority city or convert the whole district into a Hindu-majority district.
The question to be asked is: How could about 35,000 Hindus in Jammu city kill 70,000 to 237,000 Muslims in Jammu city and expel 500,000 other Muslims from Jammu city? Will someone answer this simple and straight question?
The total population of Jammu district was 285,361 in 1921; 316,647 in 1931; 364,253 in 1941; and 401,532 in 1951 (A-2 Decadal Variation In Population Since 2001, Census of India 2011).
What was the total Muslim population in Jammu city, Cantonment and Town Area Committees (TACs) in Jammu district in 1941? The total Muslim population in Jammu city (Municipality) in 1941 was 15,920 (Males 9,751 and Females 6169). As for the Cantonment, it housed 8,468 Muslims (Males 6,552 and Females 1, 916). And the total Muslim population in the Akhnoor TAC was 1,564 (Males 852 and Females 712); in the Samba TAC, it was 1,246 (Males 633 and Females 613); and in the Sri Ranbirsinghpura TAC, it was 1,060 (Males 592 and Females 468). To be more precise, the total Muslim population in Jammu city, Cantonment, Akhnoor TAC, Samba TAC, and Sri Ranbirsinghpura TAC was 27,012 (Census of India 1941, J&K, parts I and II, PP. 102-103).
All these statistics speak for themselves and expose the propagandists. These suggest that Jammu city was not a Muslim-majority city. The question to be asked is: How could about 35,000 Hindus in Jammu city kill 70,000 to 237,000 Muslims in Jammu city and expel 500,000 other Muslims from Jammu city? Will someone answer this simple and straight question? I leave it to the discretion of Prof Sharma.
However, to say all this is not to suggest that no Muslim was killed in Jammu city in 1947 or no Muslim quit Jammu city. Some were killed like many Hindus were killed in and migrated to Jammu city from what we call PoJK. However, it must remain a matter of regret that the learned Prof didn’t think it proper to reflect on what happened to Hindus and Sikhs and women-folk in PoJK between October 20, 1947, and December 31, 1948. He would have done well, had he also said that PoJK was made Hindus and Sikhs-free within a short span of just 14 months (October 1947-December 1948), and Kashmir valley was rendered Kashmiri Hindus, Jammu Dogras, and Punjabis-free in January 1990. He should have also appreciated the fact that the Jammu city, which was once called the City of Temples, became a city of refugees from Pakistan, PoJK, and Kashmir, and the Dogras of Jammu city always welcomed them with folded hands.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 We cannot be selective about the past in Jammu & Kashmir – Sep 15, 2019, Hindustan Times