Constituent Assembly Debates

First speech ever in J&K Constituent Assembly: Maulana Masoodi’s

A group photograph of the Members of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir

The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir met for the first time in the Constituent Assembly Chamber, Srinagar, on Wednesday, October 31, 1951.

After reading out the announcement of commencement of business by Hirananad Raina, the Secretary Constituent Assembly, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah invited Maulana Masoodi to take the chair as temporary president.

Messages of goodwill, from leaders across the country, for the Constituent Assembly and the people of Jammu and Kashmir was first item on the agenda. Maulana Masoodi asked Secretary Hirananad Raina to read out the messages.

After the goodwill messages were readout, Maulana Masoodi made an elaborate speech in the Constituent Assrmbly, mainly to welcome the members but he also dwelled on the importance of the day. Maulana’s speech is thus recorded as the first detailed speech ever made in the Constituent Assembly.

Below is the full transcript of Maulana Masoodi’s speech in the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir on October 31, 1951:

Comrades and Friends : Before taking up the business of the day, I would like to say a few words of welcome to you all. It is really fortunate that on this historic occasion when you have assembled here, I have been granted the privilege of not only extending welcome to you but also offering my sincerest congratulations.

The hour, when you have assembled here to decide the fate of this country demands that we with due humility bow our heads before the Almighty and thank Him for the blessings. He has bestowed on us. He has given us this unique opportunity when we have assembled here with full power to give practical shape to our wishes and desires which we cherish for our motherland.

Gentlemen, to understand the significance of this occasion, you should think of those bygone days when this country was under the clutches of slavery and helplessness for centuries together, Even when you and I were not on the scene, millions of people might have been born whose hearts must have throbbed with hopes and desires to raise their country from its present miserable plight to a status which nature has destined for it, but their helplessness stood in the way of the fulfillment of their cherished desires. They suppressed the seething fire of their desires in their bosoms for years together. Dejections cooled down the flames and turned them into ashes which blew with sighs.

Those people passed away without seeing any change. Would you imagine; if some of them could come back; if time could ebb back; and if they could witness the scene of this House, where you have assembled with sovereignty and will full confidence of the nation, what would have been their feelings. This occasion is of great importance to us today.

Before making the best of this opportune time we ought to think as to what the past events and history demand and to day too, what this occasion demands of us. The first thing towards which I wish to draw you attention is that a Constituent Assembly is a creation of the new age, and the best instrument

invented by the new age of progress for ascertaining the collective will and ambition of the people. But in reality the framing of a new Constitution at the time of a newly won freedom is not a new thing, and so the Constituent Assembly must have existed alongside with the changes of Governments. With the change of the old regimes, the founders of new regimes must have pondered over the shape of the new edifice to be raised over the ruins of the old structure. May be that all such bodies were not given the name of a Constituent Assembly, and the number of gatherings, which regularly met under this name hardly exceeded a dozen. But there is no gain saying of the fact that every new party which came into power must have tried to hammer out a Constitution for shaping their future according to their heart’s desire, though not in accordance with the present standards. In this manner at the termination of each old regime and beginning of the new, the presence of Constituent Assembly has been an essential concomitant of revolution.

Today we have assembled here to fulfill this need. To frame a new Constitution in a Constituent Assembly is an important as to rebuild a house after dismantling an old one. Here the weather considerations are also to be borne in mind especially when the time for snowfall is approaching. If a person dismantles his house on the eve of a snowy season with the view that it is too weak to resist the near future it becomes all the more essential to rebuild it.

The problem of Kashmir resembles a house dismantled in a snowy season.  For the last four years one part of Kashmir is in the hands of the enemy. At the time of enemy attack the dilapidated structure of the old order could not withstand the torrent and tumbled down depriving the country of any befitting

constitution. For the last four years we have been managing things by collecting remnants of house of old order and building a few tiny huts thereof as refugees.

But if at all, a mild breeze blew the roof fell down, then the door and then the walls with the result that we could not do what we wanted as there was no scope in that constitution. The dilapidated condition of this house of constitution created obstacles for us at very step. After four years we felt the need to throw aside the rubbish and set up a new system. To finalize this new system we have assembled here.

Let me remind you of the sentence of Sher-i-Kashmir which he repeated, at Lake Success, Delhi and in different meetings in Kashmir which runs as : “No power on earth can decide the fate of Kashmir and its future: neither the U.N.O. nor Security Council, nor the Government of India or Pakistan can impose any decision. It is the right of the people of Kashmir to decide and they alone can do it”.

In the light of this saying of Quaid-i-Azam, I want to impress on you the fact that we have assembled here to decide the fate of Kashmir, no matter whether or not the world recognize our Constituent Assembly. It is said that our decision regarding Kashmir would be an obstacle in the path of that plebiscite which the U.N.O. contemplates. But the world has seen that the U.N.O. could not decide anything during these four years. This type of attitude has made it more complicated. It seems clear that just as the efforts to decide Kashmir issue have failed at New York or Lake Success Conferences; it will meet the same fate at Paris also. I find no immediate prospect of a free and impartial plebiscite in Kashmir as our opponent, Pakistan, is not willing to accept those essential conditions that we have put forth so often.

So there is no way out to decide this issue other than the decision of this Assembly. This Assembly will decide the fate of the nation. There can be no other just decision but the decision of this Assembly and no decision other than this can either be applicable or thrust on us. This Assembly enjoys the confidence of every adult man and woman, and is well equipped with full powers to decide whether Kashmir will accede to India or Pakistan.

The elected members of this House know, the manifesto that we put forth at the time of election which said that the National Conference demands vote for the confirmation of its policy and the steps it had taken during the last four years and intends to take in future. Is it not a fact that during the elections the National Conference openly declared that it had completed the accession of Kashmir with India and she seeks the vote of the electorate for the ratification of this step along with other measures adopted by it. We asked for votes in clear terms from people and the result was that from amongst the voters of that area about whose sympathies and support Pakistan was shouting from house top, not a single person could be found whom the voters could set up as a candidate to stand against the National Conference. This is the decision of voters in confirmation of the steps taken by the National Conference. This Assembly has come into being according to the decision of the voters; so whatever decision will be taken in the House will be the final decision of the adult men and women of this country. If the decisions of this assembly are not final, then where is the other Assembly that will decide the future of this country? Inspite of these facts we agree, as the attitude of the Government of India is that we would not be an obstacle in the path of U.N.O. and there is no need for us to be an obstacle in their path because that path is a far fetched one.

That path is of international haggling and beyond our reach. As far as the people of Jammu and Kashmir State are concerned, their path is of their own liberty. They will follow that; they will achieve that; and they will save themselves to become a stake of a chess-board. Those diplomats should assure themselves that we would not be an obstacle in their way, but we would not allow them too to be an obstacle in our path. Gentleman, in my opinion these are a few things which you should keep in view while taking your first step. Another thing which you should keep in view is that the result of the decisions you take here will not affect our country only for a year or two or ten or twenty years. But will leave an impression on the whole future history of Jammu and Kashmir. Now you have to shoulder many great responsibilities for you have the pride to enjoy the confidence and support of every adult person of the State.

You have been given full and final powers by the Indian Constitution and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. This is no ordinary powers, because there is no superior human power more potent then this. While you enjoy the great power of people’s confidence you have to face the great responsibilities too. Had the people not vested you with sovereign power but given you some restricted power your duties and responsibilities would also have been lighter. But by allowing you full powers and boundless confidence they have placed us in a difficult position. Now you are answerable before them, before those nations of the world who look unto you this time and before God who afforded you this opportunity.

Anybody may deny the importance of this fact outwardly but the reality is which every heart feels that the powers you brought with you here are of very great importance and is final. I hope that you keeping all these things in view would begin you work. You will add to the distinctive successes of the National

Conference with your had work, ability and struggle and prove that the Nation Conference was not only a party of agitators; a party of emotional orators and of hooligans who would fill the jails, but that when time demanded it could shoulder the responsibilities of running a Government and framing a constitution as efficiently and ably as it had led the sensational movements. You, by means of you attitude and ability and by using parliamentary ways in a polished manner can be an example and a light house tower for the generations to come. I am sure you will keep all these things in view.

Not taking more time of the House in my speech I finally thank you for the honour you did me today by giving a chance to stand before you here. In my opinion everybody amongst you is worthier then myself to fulfill the duties assigned to me today. Besides, it is you comradely honour that you have singled me out and bestowed this honour upon me I do not find suitable words to thank you for this honour, so I use the simple and formal words “thanks” but I hope you will accept these sentiments in the spirit in which these have been offered.


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