Martyr's of Kashmir -Tika Lal Taploo

Martyrs of Kashmir
Pandit Tika Lal Taploo
October 6,1930 - September 14, 1989
A man dedicated to a cause from childhood to the end unmoved by the threats and intimation allurements or allegation was born in 1930.

Tika Lal passed his Matriculation in 1945 from Punjab University and did his M.A.L.L.B from Aligarh Muslim University in 1958. He was ignored admission along with other Kashmiri Pundit’s but he started agitation and staged Dharna in front of the University campus along with other students till he was given admission. He completed his law in 1957.

Sh. Taploo joined Kashmir Bar in 1957, and since then had been working as an active Participant in Promotion of Justice. He was enrolled as an Advocate of high Court on April 1971. He was a social worker and was arrested six times as RSS activist. Got married to Smt.Sarla who was working as Govt. Teacher in 1957.

On 14th September’1989 Kashmir was plunged in grief and darkness such as it had not experienced before in living memory. The warm, gifted, humane and self-less young Sh.Tika Lal Taploo was felled by the assassins, bullets in broad-day light outside his own house in Srinagar. The Islamic fundamentalists had murdered not only Taploo but also an old faith and culture of universal brotherhood and love and tolerance which be symbolized in his life.

Sh.Taploo was attached many times before also, but he stood like a lion and iron pillar between Kashmir and the Islamic fundamentalism.

Knowing the fact that his life is in threat, he left his family at Delhi and returned Kashmir on 8th Sept’1989. On 12th September’1989 he was attacked at his residence in Chinkral Mohalla, but came out openly and challenged the militants without any fear.

Sh.Tikalal Taploo was one who Muslims more than Hindus and Hindus more than Muslims had to decades taken as their friend, sympathizer and benefactor.

Shri Taploo was an ardent champion of liberty and upholder of fundamental rights of the citizens. In 1975 when the hag hands of internal Emergency had gripped the whole nation at its throat, on the call of Lok Sangagh Samiti formed by various national parties under the leadership of Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Narayan Jee, TIKALAL courted arrest at historic Lal Chowk in Srinagar with three others colleagues. While in custody third degree methods did the police in him and his two fearless companions adopt? The police in interrogation, of Sh. Taploo had eroded all norms of civil liberties and human rights. Tika Lal along with his companion Sh.Madan Lal Khashu and Sh.Shiban Jee Pandita were treated as criminals, so much so, for producing before the Magistrate in Srinagar Court, they were handcuffed and dragged through the buessy market of Maharaja Bazar, Sarai-Bala, Amiri-Kadal, Harozi Bagh etc. On their entry in the court premises all advocates cutting across political affiliation and faiths thronged into the bar and protested against the hand-cuffing of Sh. Taploo and foiled the attempt of the police who were trying to seek further remand for inflicting more torture. After remaining in judicial lock up for months he was honorably released along with his companions.

Unlike Tika Lals temperament his dress would be simple and so was his heart. Tears of a woman or an oppressed, irrespective of their caste, would move him. As a lawyer he used to plead the cases not for his pleasure but to please the oppressed, the down trodden, the needy. Tika Lal was very popular among the classes of society that are economically backward. Material gains had very scant influence on his temperament. People especially students facing any problems having legal implications would without any formal obligation first rush to seek counsel from Tika Lal Jee. In Aligarh University while graduating in Law and post graduating in Humanities, and at Bar the ideals of simple living and high thinking, dedication in the services of the nation and fearlessness imbibed by him in R.S.S. Shakha remained with all through his life.

A man with guts and grits:

Shri Tika Lal Taploo was really a lion amongst men in Kashmir. After Sh. Har-Gopal Koul, I do not remember a man who could gain this title more aptly. Shri Tika Lal Taploo was the first Hindu to fall to the assassin’s bullet after the Terrorists had declared their psychological war at the behest of masters across the Line of actual control. It was not just a coincidence that Sh. Tika Lal ji was selected as the first target amongst lacks of Kashmiri Pundits. He was quick to denounce the bomb blast in a mosque in Chinkral Mohalla where he lived. He dared the Terrorists to have come to the den of the Lion. Sh.Tika Lal was in fact a very daunting and courageous person. Courageous as a lion, with a spotless public carrier, beloved of whole of Habba Kadal Constituency, where Muslim out numbered Hindus; where every body called him "Lala"(most probably Pushtu word for elder brother & synonym of "Dada" in Bengali "Anna" in Telugu & "Kak" in Kashmiri) in his locale and the name had even caught the imagination of his colleagues in Bar, his Political party and even in other social organization of which be was a member or a patron.

Pt. Tika Lal Taploo was given a tearful farewell. Among others Kedar Nath Sahni and L. K. Advani together with thousands of Kashmiri Hindus accompanied his funeral procession. The Kashmiri Hindu organizations had given a call for a bandh that day. The Hindu shops schools and office-establishment were closed. As the mortal remains of Dear Lalaji on his last journey wound its way through the streets of Srinagar some miscreants and hoodlums of JKLF tried to disrupt the procession by pelting stones on the procession. They however failed in their attempt to disrupt the procession. The Muslim community in general was also grief stricken but choose to stay quite because of the gun culture just unleashed in Srinagar.

Sh.Tika Lal Taploo was a "Nationalist" par excellence. He could never compromise on the question of "Bharat" and Kashmir being an integral part of it. He was a great Orator and could keep his audience spell bound by his logic and a special emphatic way of delivering his words. He was a skilled and gifted lawyer, but never did he use his skill for commercial gains. He pleaded free of charge for any downtrodden, be it a poor peasant, driver or prosecuted penniless person. He was totally dedicated towards delivering justice to one and all irrespective of their race and religion. This was one of his ways of practicing the secular character, which he always stood for and practiced till his last.

Sh.Tika Lal lived all his life in pecuniary, but money was never a consideration for him. He did his law degree from Aligarh Muslim University. His wife, Sarla, a school teacher, looked after the home front and it was "she" who was the real sufferer of all his benevolence. Whatever he earned as a lawyer, he spent on the needy widows helping them with their monthly rations, paying for school fees of their children, paying for marriage of a number of Muslim girls. Quite a number of homes, he saved from disintegration and prolonged litigation by adjudicating the family dispute out of court in a fair manner. In fact most of his actions aptly reflected the pet name “Lala” - (the elder brother) they gave him, and always rising above the base human weakness of cast, creed & religion. This is alas also the key reason for his death. His protests against " Terrorism", carried weight with the masses and had the capacity to snow ball it into a movement. This, the terrorists could not afford.

Sh. "Tika Lal Taploo" was a politician and rose to the high office of Vice President of Pradesh Bhartiya Janta Party. He was a fearless, transparent, honest and an upright politician. Never succumbing to pressures on principles, never cringing before the highest; never failing to call an ace an ace even against overwhelming odds. Whether he was in bar, where he was a loner, or in Lal Chowk amongst a multitude of people, he would never compromise on principles. He did dare to raise the cry for 'Democracy' while being maligned and dragged in Lal Chowk by the police in those unforgettable days of emergency, when the mightiest in the land had either been put behind bars or where cringing.

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Comments
It is a painful experience for anyone to loose his father in this way. This should be an eye opener for those who are preaching return without any change of hearts or safeguard at the mercy of the killers.
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