He was exiled abroad 20 years ago on May 25, 1981 to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to keep Kashmiri’s self-determination candle burning brightly. He has discharged his leadership role with resolve, vision and determination . He is Dr. Ayub Thuker, a personal friend who has earned blessings from the hearts of those individuals who understand the importance of global relations and international diplomacy in Kashmir conflict.
Dr. Thuker’s accomplishments dazzle like a shooting star: forcing Kashmir onto the international stage over the fierce objections of India; sacrificing all personal considerations to advance the cause of 13 million people of Kashmir; and, awakening Kashmiri adults and youths alike to their duty to pursue self-determination through peaceful protest, perseverance, and persistence.
Dr. Thuker recognized what Napoleon has said that, “There are only two powers in the world…the sword [of the oppressor] and the spirit [of the oppressed]. In the long run, the sword is always defeated by the spirit.”
Dr. Thuker began rallying the Kashmiri youth and students since 1960’s as a doctoral student in Nuclear Physics at the University of Kashmir. He founded the Students Islamic Organization Jammu and Kashmir in 1974, and continued as a generous patron until 1977. He then climbed to the presidencies of the acclaimed Kashmir University Students Union and Kashmir University Research Scholars Association.
Dr. Thuker as a student leader was in high demand at international youth and student conferences, for example, at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1977, Dacca, Bangladesh in 1978, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1979. During the latter, Afghanistan was debated. A chorus denounced the Soviet Union’s illegal occupation. Dr. Thuker then arose after a condemnatory resolution was passed and gently chided the hundreds of attendees that Kashmir was like Afghanistan but thousands of times worse on a scale of atrocities and savage denial of self-determination mandated by United Nations Security Council resolutions. His stunning powers of persuasion and eloquence resulted in a parallel reprimand of India despite the anemic protests of members of the Indian delegation.
Dr. Thuker was fearlessness epitomized. He scoffed at Indian threats aiming to silence his self-determination activities as a nuclear physics Assistant Professor at the University of Kashmir. Indeed, they strengthened his determination, and organized a later canceled international conference of youth and students in Srinagar, the Capitol city of Kashmir. He holds his unceremonious discharge and expulsion as a Professor in 1980 to punish his unstinting self-determination energies as a badge of honor.
I had been pushed into exile in Saudi Arabia in August 1980 for the alleged crime of promoting the right of self-determination that the United Nations Security Council itself at the behest of India had proclaimed belonged to the people of Kashmir. The Government of India had issued a warrant for my arrest for inviting international dignitaries to a conference to pass a resolution urging implementation of the Security Council resolutions.
While in Jeddah, I related Dr. Thuker’s plight to the President (Chancellor) of the King Abdul Aziz University, who was moved to arrange his appointment as an Associate Professor of Nuclear Physics in 1981 for two years. Dr. Thuker’s contract was extended in 1983 for next two years but he declined this extension, despite continued insistence from the President, to throw even more of his steel-like tenacity behind self-determination by establishing a Kashmir Center in London. Money he disdained as an irksome distraction. He never was tempted by the biblical Golden Calf.
In London, Dr. Thuker’s primary objective was to galvanize expatriate Kashmiri community from both sides of the Cease-fire Line. He commanded the respect of countless Members of the House of Commons and Lords. And, he created international bridges to every continent and every peoples including dozens of the Head of the States, to win them over to the Kashmiri cause, a pivotal component of shaming, embarrassing, and nudging India into honoring its Security Council obligations that it voluntarily accepted as the fairest way to resolve the Kashmir dispute, according to India’s political icon Jawaharlal Nehru.
Dr. Thuker established the World Kashmir Freedom Movement in London with twofold objectives: exposing India’s human rights atrocities against Kashmiri civilians; and, assembling support for self-determination through peaceful political channels and means. He is also pursuing those lofty objectives as Chairman of the International Institute of Kashmir Studies.
A landmark international conference he organized in July 1991 in Washington, D.C. — featuring luminaries from the United States Congress, Britain, and the European Parliament–called for tripartite Kashmir negotiations including authentic Kashmiri leadership. In a dash of courage, Dr. Thuker urged Kashmiri militants to renounce force no matter how compelling the self-determination aspiration. Revenge and force destroy the soul and the moral foundation of a new dispensation in Kashmir.
Dr. Thuker understands that the world does not stand still, even if it may have done so for Joshua in the Old Testament. Thus, he is encouraging the All-Parties Hurriyet Conference to re-think its approaches, strategy and structure.
In sum, Dr. Thuker’s life has become a synonym for heroism, courage, and moral power. Diligence, excellence and depth mark his scholarship. His humanitarian impulses and activities are admirable. His aspiration to master the objectives of human rights, human dignity and democratic values of his fellow country-men and to advance their achievements is unequivocal. He enjoys a unique and penetrating mastery of striking a constructive dialogue with friends and foes alike. I am confidant that the day is not too distant when he will be laureled with a celebrate in Srinagar for the victory of the people of Kashmir.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai is the executive director of the Washington, DC-based Kashmiri American Council.