Ghulam Ahmad Mir

Ghulam Ahmad Mir was born in 1928 at Haftyarbal, Safakadal (Srinagar). After passing matriculation, Mir joined the electricity department for a brief period. In 1945, he joined National Conference and participated in the Quit Kashmir Movement.  

On April 11, 1947, Prem Nath Bazaz was shot at.

 In this connection two persons – Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Muhammad Sultan Najar – were taken into custody and put on trial. The bail application was rejected and Mir continued to remain in prison. When Sheikh Abdullah became the emergency ruler of the state, the accused were acquitted by the court.

According to a prominent freedom fighter, Ghulam Nabi Hagroo, the detention proved a blessing in disguise for Mir. He studied a lot and widened his outlook. When he came out of the prison, he was a changed man.

In prison it dawned on Mir that the National Conference leadership had committed blunders at crucial junctures. He felt like a square peg in a round hole. Mir concentrated on his business for some time. It was at his medical shop that he joined hands with Mohiud-Din Karra. They launched the Political Conference in a mammoth gathering at Sehyar, Safakadal on June 19, 1953.

 Karra made his theory of “Natural Inclinations” public. He believed that Jammu Kashmir should be a part of Pakistan and not of India. The people who knew both the leaders state that it was Ghulam Ahmad Mir who conceived the idea of ‘Natural inclinations’ in the prison and that Karra only made it public.  

Karra, Mir and other leaders of the Political Conference were jailed. Qarra had won fame during the Quit Kashmir Movement for his underground adventures and this helped the newly launched organisation to grow rapidly. And, as the Kashmir watchers believe, the organisation represented a sentiment. This stands proved by Pandit Nehru’s correspondence Vol 22 which reads, “We had reports that if right of plebiscite would have been given to the people of Jammu Kashmir even during Sheikh Abdullah’s Prime Ministership, he and India would have been the losers.”

The detention of Mir and Karra ended after two years. Mir availed the opportunity and educated the people. He was re-arrested and put behind bars for seven years. The holy relic was removed from its abode at Hazratbal Shrine in December 1963. This incident created unparalleled commotion in entire Kashmir. All political and religious parties formed an action committee of which Mir became the chief organiser. The action committee continued to function upto 1965.

Mir was a bold politician. Addressing a function held in connection with the Self Determination Day on March 7, 1964, Mir said, “I support the resolution passed by the Awami Action Committee. Mohi-ud-Din Karra has deviated from the party stand and has, therefore, lost his right to represent the organisation.” Mir also lashed out at other “turn coats” (Srinagar Times, March 18, 1964).

Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was arrested when he returned from Hajj.  His arrest created a stir in the entire Valley. The authorities imposed section 144 Cr PC, but a group of the Political Conference headed by Ghulam Ahmad Mir started Satyagrah on June 5, 1965 in the historic Lal Chowk. Besides Mir four activists of the Political Conference, Ghulam Nabi Kar, Ghulam Muhammad Thagoo, Muhammad Yusuf Sheikh and Muhammad Sidiq Bangroo courted arrest. Mir’s speech, released minutes before his arrest, speaks volumes about his political vision. He said, “Brothers, sisters and countrymen. I am thankful to the Action Committee for giving me a chance to serve my people and play my part in the freedom struggle. The government has banned public gatherings, processions and rallies. This has been done to strangulate our voices. This is against the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. By arresting Sheikh Abdullah and placing restrictions on Begum Abdullah, the government has forced us to launch civil disobedience movement. When it comes to Kashmir, the double-standards of the Government of India come to fore. We have not been given an opportunity to apprise the people of India and Pakistan about the developments in Kashmir. We fully agree with Mahatma Gandhi when he said that difficulties should not scare us.

I request the people to act upon the programme of Action Committee. Remain steadfast. Victory shall be ours. I hope my organisation (Political Conference) shall live upto the expectations of the people. The conference has to play a vital role in the coming days. I appoint Pandit Shyam Lal Yacha as the acting president of Political Conference. He is a man of integrity and has offered huge sacrifices.

Kashmir belongs to us and we alone have a right to decide its fate. We are seeking the enforcement of our rights and this is not a crime. I violate the ban imposed by the government.”  In 1970, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah called a state Peoples’ Convention at Mujahid Manzil. He invited all the political workers from all parts of the state. According to G N Hagroo, this was Sheikh’s method for smoothening the way for taking a U-turn, which he ultimately took in 1975. “Matured political workers did not oblige him in this regard. Mir also smelt a rat about the plan. The secretary of the convention, Mohi-ud-Din Shah, was forced to write to Mir to clear his doubts. The letter dated May 6, 1970 reads:  
“My Dear Mir Sahib,

Ref: Your letter dated 3rd May, to the address of the chairman, People’s Convention, Srinagar.

I am to write that the document `C’, as its very title indicates, is an arrangement for the internal constitutional set-up of the State which gives broad outlines of such an arrangement, ensuring to the people of its various regions, that their interests and aspirations will be honoured and safeguarded. In this connection, I would invite your attention to article 3rd of this document, which in my view should clear your misunderstanding on the subject.

With best wishes,
Yours sincerely
Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah
Steering Committee (SIC)

Mir read a paper titled “Kashmir’s fruit industry and Karachi port”. Mir highlighted the economic and political importance of the Jehlum Valley Road. And after discussing the pros and cons of the Kashmir problem, demanded total withdrawal of troops and a referendum under the supervision of neutral states within five years. The people of Safakadal trusted and liked Mir. They forced him to represent them in the municipality. Mir, reluctantly, agreed but did not receive any salary for the job. Mir passed away on May 29, 1982 creating a void in the Political Conference which could not be filled till date.  

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