Saturday, November 21, 2009


Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dated November 22, 2009 by Zahir-ud-DinRobert Thorp gives his life for Kashmir
Robert Thorp was the first person to question the sale deed of Amritsar. According to him, the British government had committed a wanton outrage and injustice by handing over Kashmir to the unjust Maharaja. This cost Thorp his life.
On November 22, 1868, a body was recovered from Srinagar. The deceased was later identified as Robert Thorp. Poisoning, the people believed, was the cause of death. Thorp was laid to rest at Sheikh Bagh Christian graveyard. It took the locals some time to realize that with the death of Thorp, a strong pro-Kashmir voice had fallen silent. Kashmir had lost their savior. The epitaph reads: “Obit- Robert Thorp- Veritas- He gave his life for Kashmir.”
Thorp’s mother, Jana was a Kashmiri and lived with her family at Sugen Yarinar in Budgam district. Robert Thorp’s father, E-Thorp was an officer in the British army and would come to Jana’s village very often. One day when Jana was herding her buffaloes, Thorp saw her. He fell in love with her. Jana’s relative, Habibullah Teli was a soldier in the British army. Thorp approached Teli and he consented to their marriage. Jana’s descendents, who still live in the village, say Thorp embraced Islam and the marriage was solemnized near a rock in the village. Jana was taken to England by her husband. After some time Robert Thorp was born.
In 1865, Thorp, a young army officer visited Kashmir. Foreigners could not stay in Valley for more than two months. 37-year old Thorp stayed longer to study the appalling condition of the people of his mother’s birthplace. He raised his voice at the time when there was total sanction on information reaching the government of India. Thorp took it on himself to inform and educate the British people about the situation in Kashmir by writing to the British Press without caring for consequences. Thorp felt the British were responsible for the plight of Kashmiris, as it was they who had sold it to the Maharaja under the “Treaty of Amritsar.”
Later, Thorp published a book titled “Kashmir Misgovernment” and dedicated it to the people who, according to him “do not approve of cruelties upon human beings, and to those who are exalted from the moral, religious and social point of view and do not like oppression”.
Thorp was ordered to leave Kashmir. Undeterred, Thorp returned to Srinagar on November 21, 1868, and next morning after the breakfast he died, possibly because of poisoning. Thorp was found dead on the Suleman Taing Hill.