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.
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
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.
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
"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.
first and last a "Swayam Sevak", a fearless volunteer
of his mother land, who backed by his sincerity honesty,
singleness of purpose and a lions heart believed in the
greatness of India and its people. Proud of being a "Kashmiri",
proud of being an Indian and proud of being a "Hindu".
Sh.Tika lal was never a coward, never a tyrant, never a
communalist and above all never a Hypocrite. I remember
the thoughts, which came to me instantly, when I heard of
his martyrdom, that, Tika Lal could never have a better
death. He lived bravely & he died a brave death. In
his death as in his life he bewildered everybody. Even the
assassin could not face him and shot him from behind. It
is said nobody was mourned so much as was Tika Lal Taploo
except for Sheik Mohd. Abdullah. Thousands of men &
women, young and old, friend and foe; mighty and poor -
cried and wailed together for their brave "Lalla".
But "alas Lalla attained his martyrdom and we were
left Orphaned" as one of his Comrades in Arms Sh. Som
Nath Suri has rightly said.
years have passed, since this cowardly act; the entire Hindu
Community and all the nationalist elements in the valley
have been forced out of the wailing Valley. "Kashmir"
abode of Kashyp Rishi has become a heaven for Terrorists
& Insurgents. Kashmiri Hindus have been hounded out
of Kashmir just like Jews in Nazi Germany. This is a modern
day Holocaust. The state and central administration policy
of not acknowledging the abject and dismal condition of
Kashmiri refugees is unconscionable. Pt. Tika Lal Taploo's
death has left Kashmiri Hindu really orphaned. There does
not seem to be anybody championing the cause of Kashmiri
Hindu with the same vigour, energy, passion, dynamism and
selfless dedication as did Lallaji.