Moulvi Muhammad Abdullah Vakil was a “controversial” but bold and dedicated freedom fighter. He was born to Muhammad Sidiq Lone of Gatipora, Shopian in the late 19th century. He privately read some books on Arabic and Persian. In 1885, he went to Qadian in Punjab and passed Moulvi Fazil and Munshi Fazil examination from Punjab University. Soon after, he joined the bar at Shopian. Later, he shifted to Srinagar and became a popular lawyer in a short span of time.
The Reading Room Party was founded under his supervision and he was also a founder member of the Muslim Conference. On March 9, 1931, Karan Singh was born in France. The state celebrated the birth of Yuvraj for several days. Moulvi Abdullah Vakil wrote a 32-page pamphlet congratulating Maharaja Hari Singh. In the pamphlet, Vakil sought free education to all, end to unemployment, ban on begging and misuse of religion, a crime-free state, improvement in health care and severe punishment to anti-social elements. (Hamara Adab, Shaksiyaat No, Vol. 3, page 184-185)
The Pamphlet had an impact. The Maharaja personally wrote a letter to Vakil thanking him for the ‘beautiful pamphlet’. Vakil used this letter of thanks very effectively to mould the public opinion. Slowly, but surely, it dawned on the people that they must fight for the change. (Tareekh Jung-e-Azadi Kashmir, by Munshi Nasir-ud-Din, page 72- 73)
Vakil also pleaded the case of Abdul Qadeer, lodged at Central Jail. He would board a tonga and attend the Court regularly on hearing days. Abdul Qadeer a young Kashmiri was arrested for delivering a fiery speech at Khankah-e-Moula, Srinagar on June 21, 1931. He was put on trial in special court in Central Jail. People took interest in his trial. On July 13 when his case was fixed for hearing, a number of people thronged the central jail. The Dogra soldiers opened fire killing several people on the spot. This incident changed the course of Kashmir history. Vakil was in the court when the July 13 incident happened.
Vakil contested 1934 elections to Praja Sabha on the Muslim Conference ticket and got elected. However, it soon dawned on him that the Praja Sabha was a farce and he resigned. While tendering his resignation, he said, “The government must utilize the funds (Rupees 42,000), meant for the running of Sabha, on education and health care of the hapless people.” Vakil also bade farewell to politics. (Tareekh Jung-e- Azadi Kashmir, page 159)
According to Allah Rakha Sagar, Moulvi Vakil was the only person who dared to oppose Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in the working Committee meeting over the conversion of Muslim Conference into National Conference. (Sagar’s interview with Muhammad Yusuf Teng)
The conversion of Muslim Conference into National Conference left a deep imprint on Vakil. He became a social worker. He also worked for the unification of the Ummah. (Although he was made an outcastefor professing Qadyani faith, he wrote in a pamphlet, “I am a Hanfi Muslim. If anybody proves that I go against the basics of Islam, I shall seek pardon from Allah and also give a fine to the tune of Rs 1000.” (Hamara Adab, Vol 3, page 189).
Vakil also wrote, “Allah chose me to launch the political movement here. I wanted to act strictly in accordance with the Quranic commandments, but that was not destined to happen. My own friends created hurdles. Ghulam Nabi Gilkar joined the movement at my behest. For political reasons, I got separated from the people close to me. We do not oppose any nationalist movement, but concern for Muslims is in our blood.” (ibid, page 191).
In 1947, Sheikh Abdullah became the Emergency Administrator of the state. Vakil’s son Moulvi Bashir (Naib-Tehsildar) and M A Saber (Editor Al Barq) were arrested on Bakshi’s instructions. Both of them were leading a protest demonstration against the accession. Vakil went to Sheikh Abdullah’s office, however, he ordered his peon to throw him out of the office. The incident has been reported in Sheikh’s Aatish-e- Chinar. (page 453-54)
The incident shocked Vakil. Hemorrhage of the brain rendered him unconscious for some time. On April 12, 1948 he passed away. He was buried in a Muslim graveyard at Barzulla. His legal heirs, however, had to make the people believe that Vakil had sought pardon from Allah, the most exalted, that he believed in the oneness of Allah and Khutmun Nubuvat (Muhammad (SAAW) is the last Prophet).
After a couple of days Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah went to Vakil’s residence to condole the death and to express sympathy with the bereaved family. His sons and other members of the family sought permission for going to Pakistan. Sheikh Abdullah granted the permission and the family left for Pakistan).
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