Prof. Habib Ullah Jeelani
This is, by far, one of the harshest realities and cruelest ironies of history that when the time came for the big day of freedom to dawn upon the subcontinent way back in 1947, Kashmir that time got submerged in the murkiest and muddiest waters of conflict. Its sovereign status was malignantly subverted as a sequel to the Instrument of Accession, albeit subject to approval by the people of Jammu & Kashmir, through the provision of plebiscite, which has not happened till date. And since that day forth, the intricate Kashmir imbroglio has been awaiting and eluding a permanent and durable solution, pending which tens of thousands of precious lives and scores of prominent personalities belonging to this hapless region were lost forever.
Pertinently, one prominent and towering personality who laid down his life at the altar of ongoing freedom struggle was Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq, whose martyrdom ceremony is observed every year on 21st May as a token of deferential reverence to him for his outstanding contribution to the historical cause of freedom and right to self- determination.
Moulvi Mohammad Farooq will be remembered for the role that he vigorously played in championing the legitimate and widely-acknowledged cause of the people, ever since he made his debut in politics.
History stands an authentic and eloquent testimony to the fact that this revolutionary leader who stood deeply committed to the sublime cause of freedom was subjected to unprecedented brutalities and atrocities at the hands of the powers that be. He suffered life-long hardships, prolonged incarceration and ultimately he embraced martyrdom at the hands of heartless and diabolical forces deadly against and intrinsically antagonistic to the sublime cause of freedom and right to self- determination.
It may be recalled that Moulvi Mohammad Farooq came forward to galvanize and mobilize the people of Jammu & Kashmir and inspired them to ventilate their deep anguish and shock over the agonizing incident that took place in December, 1964 when the most sacred relic of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was mysteriously displaced from the holy shrine of Hazratbal. It was on this somber occasion that Moulvi Mohammad Farooq emerged as a frontline leader of Kashmir and was unanimously elected as chairman of a new party christened as ‘Awami Action Committee’ which was an amalgam of 23 political and religious organizations. This newly formed party assumed wider popularity and dimension with the passage of time as its creation was based upon a revolutionary concept, indeed.
An illustrious scion of a high-profile Mirwaiz dynasty of Kashmir, Moulvi Mohammad Farooq, happened to be an accomplished Islamic scholar and cleric who had deep understanding of the holy Quran and Alhadis. He was an outstanding orator gifted with the mellifluous voice and mesmerizing accent to deliver the sermons and speeches on the occasions of religious importance and especially in Friday congregations. There is no denying the fact that his charismatic personality and captivating oratorical attributes won him enormous accolades and encomiums from the people of all walks of life and all shades of thought and opinion.
There are no two opinions about the fact that if such a leader of towering stature and Himalayan determination had been alive today, he would have brought both India and Pakistan closer into the embrace of reconciliation—a sine qua non for the durable and dignified resolution of long-standing Kashmir issue.
Volumes may, of course, be scripted & spoken, eulogizing the historically significant and substantial role played by this high-profile leader in championing the just cause of right to self-determination as duly endorsed and acknowledged by the world community as a whole.
However, to wrap it up, the best and most befitting tribute that could be paid to the memory of this multi-dimensional personality would be to strive inexorably towards the set goal of the right to self-determination for the people of J&K as envisioned by him. It seems to be inevitable that given the way this extraordinarily courageous and charismatic leader nurtured with his precious lifeblood the crucial cause of freedom movement of J&K he is apt to go down in history as the hero and darling of the present as well as the coming generations. Further, given the international support and opinion in favor of the inevitability of the resolution of the crucial Kashmir problem, hanging fire since 1947, this leader of a revolution will continue to shine on the historical horizon of J&K for all times to come.
Prof. Habib Ullah Jeelani