NC's story through eyes of a loyalist
As an old-war horse of the party, Mir Ghulam Mohammad aka Saki is very critical of its present day leaders.
National Conference, Jammu and Kashmir’s largest regional political party, may never ever find a die-hard fan and loyalist like Mir Ghulam Mohammad, aka Saki, who talks, eats, drinks and sleeps National Conference.
For the last five-and-a-half decades Saki’s pro-Sheikh Abdullah stance has remained unwavering, even when in the peak of anti-India armed rebellion in the early 1990s many NC stalwarts announced their resignations after being coerced by Kashmiri militants to publicise their non-affiliation in the local newspapers.
Saki, however, remained defiant as ever.Sixty-nine year old Mir Ghulam Mohammad Saki originally belongs to downtown Srinagar’s Nawab Bazar area. As a foot-soldier and a staunch sympathiser of NC, Saki is an eyewitness to many a political upheaval and paradigm in turbulent Kashmir.During the extreme violence in 1996 Saki’s family had to shift to Bemina area of Srinagar.
He remains a darling of every leader of his party, National Conference, right from Sheikh Abdullah’s days. He admires all Abdullahs — Sheikh Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah.Saki himself belongs to a political family. His grandfather was one of the first martyrs of Kashmir’s freedom struggle. Both his father and grandfather were involved in the first Kashmir uprising.Saki’s childhood is a story of pain and tragedy, very little triumph. Those days there were hardly any school-going Muslim student in Jammu and Kashmir. But Saki is one of the few Muslim students who went to school in his era. Unfortunately, Saki lost his father in 1960.
With conviction, like any loyalist would do, Saki defends the infamous Sheikh-Indira Accord (1975) by claiming that Abdullah was deceived by then Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
Recalling Sheikh Abdullah’s death, Saki says with lot of emotions: “Sheikh Sahab’s Namaz-e- Jinazah was offered at Polo Ground Srinagar amid tears and sobs. Everyone was in tears. Dignitaries from around the world were also present to pay respect. By the time Indira Gandhi and Zail Singh (then Prime Minister and President respectively) arrived at Polo Ground, an estimated crowd of eight lakh people had assembled there. Entire Kashmir was present there. Abdul Gani Lone (slain Hurriyat chairman) and Mirwaiz Molvi Farooq (slain head priest), Maulana Yaseen Hamdani and Sadr-ud-Din Mujahid were also present. They were all in the same truck in which Sher-i-Kashmir’s body was to be taken to Hazratbal, Dargah.
”I still remember Gani Lone and Mirwaiz Molvi Farooq saying to me, recalls Saki, that “it will not send a good signal to people if we will wrap Sheikh’s body in Indian tri-color.
”But we did it, he adds, only when Indira Gandhi was about to arrive to have the last glimpse of Sher-i-Kashmir.“Molvi Farooq said to Gani Lone that with Sheikh Sahab’s death Kashmiris are left alone and are more vulnerable to India’s aggression. He also said that whatever differences we had with him (Sheikh Abdullah), in times of any aggression from the Indian side we looked up to Sheikh Abdullah to be at the forefront to take India head on,” Saki says.
Saki remembering Sheikh Abdullah’s “golden words”: “When Dr Farooq took over from Sher-i-Kashmir as President of NC, a grand rally was held at Iqbal Park, Srinagar, which was attended by more than three lakh people. Sher-i-Kashmir in his concluding remarks said that if you want to do any favour to me, remember two things: first, join National Conference en masse; and the second, uphold the dignity of Kashmir’s flag and its constitution.
”Sheikh, according to Saki, also said that “Until our flag is up, our identity, dignity, our constitution and culture and traditions are all safeguarded. You should give up everything to uphold the dignity of our (Kashmir’s) flag.”
[Editor's note: The piece was edited after being published.]