Golf Master exiled

Muslim Conference members, like rest of the Kashmiris, had taken the UN Resolution on Kashmir very seriously. They were preparing for a plebiscite and even reorganised and reactivated their old contacts in the Valley

Personnel of the Special Staff were known for their brutality. The very mention of its officers, especially Ghulam Qadir Ganderbali and Mir Koul, would scare even the strongest men. But, when the duo came to arrest Golf Master at his Dalgate residence, he did not show any signs of fear. He told them to wait in the lawn.

After half an hour when he finally came out wearing a beautiful suit with a number of Pakistani flags fixed to it, Ganderbali lost his nerve. “Look at this Pakistani dog,” he told his colleague. Golf Master was not ready to entertain such a comment and therefore, registered protest. Mir Koul, however, intervened and pacified him. A police vehicle was waiting outside to take him to the notorious headquarters of the Special Staff housed in Kothi Bagh Police Station. The professional golfer refused to sit in the rare and sat on the seat meant for Ganderbali.

Ghulam Rasool had given the Special Staff personnel some tough moments. They were looking for him for the past six months. He was severely tortured, but all the efforts to make him join the National Conference government went in vain. An angry Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah directed the authorities to send him to Pakistan. “All Pakistani dacoits must be exiled,” Sheikh is quoted as having said. Consequently, Golf Master was exiled.

Ghulam Rasool was a person of high taste. He had always a pack of expensive cigarettes in his pocket. His family sent his younger brother to work with a mason, who lived in their neighbourhood. The mason was entrusted with the job of constructing a wall around the Kothi Bagh Police Station. Somehow, he managed to send cigarettes to his brother through a police man.

The Golf Master went to Peshawar where his in-laws lived. He was given a good house to live in at Hasht Nagri. Soon, his elder brother sent his family to Pakistan. Ghulam Rasool had also married a lady from France. She, however, ran away immediately after his arrest. For the rest of his life, he could not ascertain her whereabouts.

In Pakistan, the internal bickering of the leadership disheartened him. The leaders from Kashmir hated their colleagues from Jammu and vice versa. This had an adverse effect on the movement. The wedge remained there during those crucial years to haunt sensitive people like Laway.  Even leaders like Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah and Chowdhury Ghulam Abbas failed to bring the leadership on a single platform. In fact, the wedge is still there unfortunately.

A disheartened Laway started looking for avenues to make a living. When Ayoub Khan assumed power, Ghulam Rasool approached him and narrated his woeful tale.  He (Ayoub Khan) directed the authorities to issue a passport in his favour. Master Golfer visited as many as eighteen countries where he taught golf and earned a big fortune.

The Master Golfer was only 44 when exiled. He shot into prominence after the revival of Muslim Conference. When the organisation took out a Milad procession in 1944, Ghulam Rasool rode a horse and made an impact. His presence made the procession a big success. After this procession, he came to be known as Salaar (Commander) Ghulam Rasool.

The revival of Muslim Conference was not that easy. The National Conference workers would sabotage every move aimed at revival of the organisation. However, persons like Laway, Yusuf Khan and others made it possible. They dared the National Conference workers and later gave them sleepless nights by taking out processions and holding regular functions especially in the city. 

 
According to Yusuf Khan of Balgarden, an editorial by Kasahap Bandhu (A National Conference worker) in Martand scared Sher-e-Kashmir to the extent that he decided not to take out Millad procession that year (1944).  “When we heard the news, we started making preparations for the procession. We got permission from Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi (general secretary) and Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah.  Ghulam Rasool rode a horde during this procession and made a strong political statement”, he said. Yusuf Khan passed away last year in September.

The Muslim Conference workers would often throng his Dalgate residence. The all important meeting to discuss the fall out of 1947 raid was also discussed at his residence. Before his exile, Ghulam Rasool was made a member of Muslim Conference Plebiscite Board. This was a body of Muslim Conference workers set up to facilitate referendum in Kashmir. The Muslim Conference members, like rest of the Kashmiris, had taken the UN Resolution on Kashmir very seriously. They were preparing for a plebiscite and even reorganised and reactivated their old contacts in the Valley.
Commenting on the activities of the Muslim Conference Plebiscite Board, Late Yusuf Khan said: “We were thrilled when the Security Council passed the first resolution seeking enforcement of right to self determination. The members would go to various places to tell people the necessity of voting for Pakistan.”

Laway like rest of the members of the board was also very active. He had good oratory skills which he used to persuade the people. Perhaps this was one of the reasons for his `push back’ to Pakistan.  
Ghulam Rasool passed away at Peshawar in mid-1970s. Gayabana Namaz-e-Jinaza (Funeral prayer in absentia) was offered at Jamia Masjid, Srinagar, which was attended by thousands of persons.
Feed back at din.zahir@gmail.com