The patriotism of Kashmir’s Dalal Family
Bilal Bashir Bhat
Over the decades there are many people who contributed a lot in enlightening the socio-political rights of the downtrodden people of Kashmir, undoubtedly, sooner or later their contributions will be compiled and acknowledged in the history of Kashmir. Advocate Yasir Dalal is among few people in Kashmir who do not pine for any acknowledgment and is keeping his legacy alive to share his forefather’s cause and concern.
The Dalal family needs no introduction with all its members’ even women taking lead in the stratagem of popular political sentiment in Kashmir over the decades. The members including Sheikh Abdul Samad Dalal, Sheikh Rouf Dalal and now Sheikh Yasir Dalal remained subservient to larger socio-political interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
To spread the vision and to get out the masses from atrocities of Doga regime, Sheikh Abdul Samad Dalal becomes the founding member of Muslim Conference in 1932. Via his wisdom and dedication, he became Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah’s close aide. For his capabilities particularly after Mirwaiz’s exile from the Valley Dalal was conferred with the title of Mujahid-e-Millat by the people of Kashmir. It was only voice who used to come Jamia Masjid Srinagar to address the gathering, as all the setup of Muslim Conference had moved across the Line of Control (LoC).
Born in Rozbal area of Khanyar Srinagar, Dalal was offered Medical seat by the then Maharaja but he denied and proffered to be loyal to Mirwaiz in particular and the people of Kashmir in general. He later served as Joint Secretary Jammu Kashmir Muslim League, besides being a member of Anjuman-e-Nusratul Islam and founded night classes to educate working artisans of Sher-e-Khaas Srinagar. Being an outspoken, he was chosen to attend conferences where he put forth his views effectively. His better half also actively participated in addressing the people’s sentiment. He breathed his last on May 13, 1953. At a time of his untimely demise, he was only 33. He was survived by his wife and 4-yrs-old son, Sheikh Abdul Rouf Dalal.
Sheikh Abdul Rouf Dalal was nurtured by his mother Raja Begum Dalal, a teacher by profession who also went on to carry forward her late husband’s legacy and later gave this rich legacy to his lone son Sheikh Abdul Rouf Dalal. In 1975 Abdul Rouf Dalal passed out LLB and started practicing in the Jammu Kashmir High Court.
Sheikh Abdul Rouf joined Awami Action Committee (the erstwhile Muslim Conference) under the dynamic leadership of the then Mirwaiz, Molvi Muhammad Farooq. He was offered a lot of jobs including Tehsildar, DSP and others but he never opted and rose to position of AAC provisional president for Kashmir province and was actively involved in making of Hurriyat Conference founded by current Mirwaiz, Molvi Muhammad Umar Farooq. In 90’s decade, Abdul Rouf Dalal started a school in Shalimar area named Syed Merakh Memorial Education Trust. Survived by his wife and two sons namely Faisal and Yasir, Abdul Rouf Dalal passed away on 14 January, 2012.
His sons Sheikh Faisal is an engineer in Saudi Arabia while as the younger son Sheikh Yasir Dalal in 2013 quitted the job of legal advisor Jammu and Kashmir Bank aimed to carry his decades-old legacy. Advocate Yasir Rouf Dalal like his forefathers also joined the Mirwaiziens and presently serving as leader of Awami Action Committee (AAC) under the patronage of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. He also nourishes his father’s founded school at Shalimar and actively took part in Socio-political events in Kashmir, besides practicing in court. Yasir recently hit the headlines after he launched a drive to protect the sanctity of historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar where a number of miscreants were found acting cowardly aimed at weakening the centrality and significance of the grand mosque. The drive evoked a positive and appreciable response from all the shades of opinions. Yasir is seen as a shining example to fight abuses, social evils and other related vices in Kashmir.
The above brief introduction of the three generations of Dalal family exhibits that this family has worked revolutionarily and sacrificed a lot on different occasions with dedication, even today the process is continuing with full zest. Not only on socio-political fronts but on educational front the Dalal family has contributed much to enlighten the masses which simply reflect the patriotism of Dalal family.
The writer is a Kashmir based journalist can be reached at email@example.com, the story is based on the excerpts of the conversation between writer and Sheikh Yasir Dalal on the eve of his father’s anniversary.