Sheikh was on Nehru’s Kashmir mission in Pakistan


Srinagar: In occupied Kashmir, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was on Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s mission Kashmir in Pakistan to explore possibilities to work out a peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute but Nehru died while Sheikh was in Pakistan, senior Hurriyet leader, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt writes in his book ‘Beyond Me’. In his 264-page book ‘Beyond Me’, Professor Butt writes that the war between India and China the most humiliating war to recount amid noises ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’ eventually brought Jawahar Lal Nehru’s ivory towers tumbling down in pieces to earth. “Nehru’s sense of history was sharper than a few others around. He understood that belligerence against the neighbouring China and Pakistan at the same time could spell a disaster in the entire region and thus in deference to Anglo-American diplomatic persuasion as well preferred a strategic dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir dispute. The dialogue happened to produce no solution as usual,” he writes in the book that he has dedicated to his daughter Qurat-ul-Ain and his wife Tasleema and that encapsulates his life upto 1987. The book divided into 15 chapters is being released at a simple function in Srinagar on Friday. Butt writes things changed when National Conference founder, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was released from captivity. “The cage broke and the Lion of Kashmir, perhaps tamed to a purpose, was out. The Prime Minister of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru invited him to Delhi as his special guest. Did the guest entertain any idea that he might be assigned a mission to visit Pakistan to explore possibilities in an ice-breaking and de-freezing exercise whether a peaceful settlement of the dispute on Kashmir could be worked out? Abdullah’s yes spoke a volume,” the Hurriyat leader writes. “His visit to Pakistan was an event that could mark the turning point, given that he enjoyed belatedly the goodwill of the Indian Prime Minister.” He writes that to his surprise, Abdullah and the members of his delegation in Pakistan discovered a propitiously forward-looking political environment and more interestingly a will on the part of the leadership in Pakistan to accept any solution that could please the people in Kashmir. “This was a bright prospect for him to low with and to move fast. He would, therefore choose to get back posthaste to Delhi and report progress to the Prime Minister of India,” Butt said. However, he writes that destiny blocked the passage to Kashmir settlement. “The next meeting with the Prime Minister of India would never materialize, could have hardly crossed Jawarhar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India in 1964 fell to a stroke and passed away to his next abode a death blow to Abdullah’s mission,” the veteran Hurriyet leader writes.
“No political pundit could predict that a war will break out between India and Pakistan just the next year in 1965, his death and Abdullah’s mission notwithstanding.”

‘Beyond Me’ ascends and conquers as Butt talks in smiley and metaphors, writes philosophically, spiritually and for the intellect with the Islamic and Persian influence and quotes Quran and Rumi.

In the book, Butt credits the silence of Syed Ali Gilani for taking him closer to Islam. He writes that for learning Persian, he had been anxiously looking for a tutor.

“I knew a teacher proficient in Persian, Syed Ali Gilani of a village Duru in my immediate neighbourhood,” the Hurriyat leader writes. “He lived in a single-storey house, a simple, modest home of a simple, modest teacher.” When he proposed Gilani to teach him Persian at his home, he agreed.

Butt mentions how he was drawn toward Islam when he realized that Gilani, who would not join the Imam and fellow Muslims in chanting ‘Awrad’ in the Masjid that evoked an outburst from the traditionalists.

“Gilani’s silence was more eloquent than speech and the traditionalist’s outburst more euphoric than a victory scored in a battlefield,” he said. “This offered me an opportunity to get closer toward understanding Islam and I took upon myself to study Islam.”

The Hurriyet leader writes that it was after this incident that he read books by celebrated scholars like Abul A’ala Mawdudi, the founder leader of Jamaat-e-Islami and as a consequence got to know a little about Islam as a complete way of life, the divide between radicalism and traditionalism, notwithstanding. “I hold Mr. Gilani, my simple modest teacher in high esteem,” he mentions in the book.

The Hurriyat leader writes, “Freedom is a waking dream, a catchy slogan, a street roar, and a weapon to maul Indian arrogance in Kashmir. Whoever can spell out the portents of this waking dream earns applause, even without asking for it. Farooq Abdullah too got it, and got away with it.”

The Hurriyet leader refers to Sopore as a place that epitomizes resistance against excesses.

“No browbeating can break the nerve of the town’s people. No gagging can force silence. No glibness, either can sweeten their tempers,” he writes about the apple-rich town often referred to as ‘Chota London’ in Kashmir.

Professor Butt has high praise for the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

“Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader who carved a state out of a state – a historic achievement to earn an appellation of honour as the ‘father of nation’. The ‘Baba-i-Qaum’ in his career as the champion of Muslim cause, galvanized them to an ideologically oriented political movement and won them a homeland – Pakistan in the backdrop of the subcontinent irony,” the Hurriyet leader writes.