Mir­waiz left re­li­gious schol­ar­ship, po­lit­i­cal sagac­ity as big le­ga­cies

Views from Sri­na­gar

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL - [Yaar Zinda, So­hbat Baqi] [Re­union is sub­or­di­nate to sur­vival] [Author is doc­tor in medicine, so­cial ac­tivist & a se­nior colum­nist]

MDR. JAVID IQBAL IRWAIZ Yusuf Shah [1311-1388 A.H] left for his heav enly abode on De­cem­ber, the 12th 1968, how­ever in ac­cor­dance with Is­lamic lunar cal­en­dar; his death an­niver­sary is com­mem­o­rated on 16/17 month of Ra­madan across the bloody line di­vid­ing Kash­mir. As­sess­ing the life and work of Mir­waiz Yousuf Shah is re­lated to cross LoC tragedies. The line might have re­sulted in phys­i­cal sep­a­ra­tion, how­ever it has not been able to keep apart union of hearts. Peo­ple on ei­ther side con­tinue to be soul mates. The line cre­ated out of hu­man mis­ery has not been able to un­tie the knot that binds the peo­ple.

Mir­waiz Yousuf Shah re­mained on other side of the bloody line post the tragedy of 1947. That how­ever did not take away the love and es­teem peo­ple felt for the one, who had for years preached from the pul­pit of Jamia Masjid. What was be­fore his pe­riod a re­li­gious pul­pit, though linked to so­cial up-lift, be­came a place for po­lit­i­cal ser­mons, in keep­ing with Is­lamic tra­di­tions, where pol­i­tics can­not be di­vorced from re­li­gion.

Politico-re­li­gious mix is not pe­cu­liar to Is­lam, a take con­sid­ered to un­der­mine sec­u­lar val­ues. In Hin­duism, Ram Ra­jya is much prop­a­gated to mark moral­ity in pol­i­tics. Is­lam on sim­i­lar lines val­ues the mix as a mor­al­iz­ing in­flu­ence. Al­lama Iqbal re­lates, pol­i­tics de­void of re­li­gious in­flu­ence, in other words mor­al­iz­ing in­flu­ence is akin to sav­agery of Genghis: [Juda Ho Deen Say Siyasat Tou Rah Jate Hai Chengazi].

Mir­waiz Yusuf Shah up­held the Is­lamic prin­ci­ple. It started with Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) as he chal­lenged from the pul­pit the sa­tanic rule of Nim­rod. Hazrat Musa (A.S) up­held it in chal­leng­ing Pharaonic rule. And, Hazrat Issa (A.S) like­wise asked for re­vival of moral­is­tic guide­lines, up­set by Jewish Rab­bis and Ro­man rulers of Pales­tine.

The word from the pul­pit on re­li­gion is im­bibed with­out dis­sent, as it comes from a re­li­gious au­thor­ity. The same may not hold well for po­lit­i­cal dis­course, right of dis­sent is sacro­sanct. Dis­sent how­ever is not sub­jec­tive, but ob­jec­tive, meant to evolve a con­sen­sus. Shoura-e- Bain­hum [mu­tual con­sul­ta­tion] is the guid­ing prin­ci­ple, up­held by ‘Rightly Guided Caliphs [Kh­ufa-e-Rashdeen]’ right of dis­sent as well. Democ­racy in Is­lam is built around the spirit of con­sen­sus, not con­tention of party pol­i­tics.

How did Mir­waiz Yousuf Shah’s pre­de­ces­sors in the ex­alted seat of chief preach­ers of Kash­mir al­lude to po­lit­i­cal dis­course in Is­lam? It is an in­ter­est­ing propo­si­tion. Akhund [preacher] Sidiqul­lah to Mir­waiz Ah­madul­lah, his im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor, im­part­ing lessons in re­li­gion apart from pul­pit in class rooms re­mained the norm. Akhund Sidiqul­lah orig­i­nally from Tral in South Kash­mir evolved a Sri­na­gar con­stituency with grow­ing num­ber of fol­low­ers in cap­i­tal city. Over a pe­riod dur­ing Afghan rule [1750-1819 A.D] the fam­ily shifted to Sri­na­gar, set­tling even­tu­ally in Ra­jouri Kadal. Se­ries of em­i­nent schol­ars fol­lowed Sidiqul­lah—Akhund Ab­dul Salam, Akhund Abdu-Ra­sool [Lassa Baba] Moulvi Mo­ham­mad Yahiya [first to be rec­og­nized of­fi­cially as ‘Waiz’] Moulvi Ra­sool Shah, Moulvi Ah­madul­lah, fi­nally Moulvi Yousuf Shah.

Keep­ing in view the golden prin­ci­pal of Shoura-eBain­hum, Mir­waiz Yousuf Shah in­volved em­i­nent ci­ti­zens and lim­ited num­ber of the ed­u­cated in evolv­ing a nu­cleus of lead­er­ship. In 1924, he along with oth­ers signed the pe­ti­tion to Viceroy Lord Reading. Do­gra Shahi was shaken, how­ever given the pub­lic stand­ing of Mir­waiz; they could not go be­yond threat­en­ing to with­draw for­ever of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion as Mir­waiz Kash­mir. Mir­waiz Yousuf Shah con­tin­ued his ef­forts; a reading room in down­town evolved, ob­vi­ously to read the sit­u­a­tion. Apart from Mir­waiz Yousuf Shah, Mir­waiz Ham­dani—a dis­tant cousin preach­ing from pul­pit of mau­soleum of Shah-e-Ha­madan, and oth­ers—Sheikh Mo­ham­mad Ab­dul­lah, Syed Hus­sain Jalali, Saad-ud-Din Shawl, Ghu­lam Ah­mad Ashai and Mun­shi Shuhab-ud-Din ac­ti­vated the reading room.

Reading Room grad­u­ated to pub­lic in­tro­duc­tion of Sheik Mo­ham­mad Ab­dul­lah and oth­ers from pul­pit of Jamia Masjid. 1931 marked the year when long su­pressed soul of Kash­mir found ut­ter­ance. It was a red let­ter event. Alas! The unity be­came a ca­su­alty to part­ing of ways, as sec­u­lar pol­i­tics made in­roads into Kash­mir polity. Mi­nori­ties are sa­cred in Is­lam, their pro­tec­tion and well-be­ing is in­grained in the Is­lamic po­lit­i­cal set-up. How­ever Kash­mir was face to face with a sit­u­a­tion, where ma­jor­ity rights were be­ing tram­pled. Mi­nori­ties were am­ply pro­tected; some sec­tions were in fact tools in the hands of op­pres­sive regime. Hence, adopt­ing sec­u­lar polity did not line-up mi­nori­ties in ranks of ma­jor­ity. Sec­u­lar polity thus adopted a par­al­lel stage in Hazrat­bal, in an ef­fort to re­tain ma­jor­ity sup­port.

The un­for­tu­nate di­vide re­sulted in par­al­lel po­lit­i­cal streams—Na­tional and Mus­lim Con­fer­ence. The di­vide per­sisted as sub­con­ti­nent was par­ti­tioned in 1947. While Sheikh Ab­dul­lah headed the ad­min­is­tra­tion in In­dian ad­min­is­tered Kash­mir, Mir­waiz Yousuf Shah be­came a part of ad­min­is­tra­tive set-up in Pak­istan ad­min­is­tered Kash­mir—first as ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter, later he served two terms as Pres­i­dent in 1952 and 1956. The di­vide left a wounded Kash­mir that con­tin­ues to bleed with ev­ery pass­ing day.

Mir­waiz-e-Kash­mir is a pedestal of high stand­ing; the pul­pit how­ever needs to be used to fill breaches in lead­er­ship, while stick­ing to golden prin­ci­pal of Shoura-e-Bain­hum in front rank lead­er­ship, where there should be no place for the ones whose name in lead­er­ship ranks is not sup­ported by pub­lic stand­ing. Pub­lic stand­ing should be the lit­mus test of lead­er­ship—the guid­ing prin­ci­pal. Evolv­ing unity by con­sen­sus could be the ul­ti­mate trib­ute to Mir­waiz Yousuf Shah. —Courtesy: GK

Kash­miri Youth in thou­sands protest­ing in Sri­na­gar, shout­ing GO In­dia GO.

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