Molvi Muhammad Abdullah Vakil may have been “controversial” for some, but was a bold and dedicated freedom fighter, born in the late nineteenth century. His father, Muhammad Siddique Lone, belonged to the Gatipora area of Shopian.
Having read Arabic and Persian texts on his own quiet early in life, Muhammad Abdullah left for Qadian (in Punjab) in 1885, and qualified the Molvi Fazil and Munshi Fazil examinations from the Punjab University.
On returning, he first joined the bar at Shopian, and then shifted to Srinagar, becoming one of his time’s leading lawyers.
The Reading Room Party was founded under his supervision, and he was also a founder member of the Muslim Conference.
On March 9, 1931, when Karan Singh was born in France, and the state celebrated the birth of its Yuvaraj for several days, Molvi Abdullah Vakil wrote a 32-page pamphlet congratulating Maharaja Hari Singh.
In it, he also sought free education for all, end to unemployment, bans on begging and misuse of religion, a crime-free state, improvement in healthcare, and severe punishment for anti-social elements. (Hamara Adab, Shakhsiyaat Number: Vol. 3, page 184-185)
This had an impact.
The Maharaja personally wrote to Molvi Abdullah, thanking him for the ‘beautiful pamphlet.’
Vakil used this letter very effectively to mould public opinion, and gradually it dawned on people that they must fight for change. (Tareekh Jung-e-Azadi Kashmir, by Munshi Nasir-ud-Din, page 72-73)
Vakil also pleaded the case of Abdul Qadeer who was a prisoner in the Central Jail. He would board a tonga and attend the court regularly on hearing days. He also contested the 1934 elections to the Praja Sabha on the Muslim Conference ticket, and got elected.
But realizing soon that the Sabha was a farce, he resigned, saying: “The government must utilize the funds (Rupees 42,000), meant for the running the Sabha, on the education and healthcare of the hapless people.”
He also bade farewell to politics. (Tareekh Jung-e- Azadi Kashmir, page 159)
In an interview to Muhammad Yusuf Taing, Allah Rakha Sagar has said that Molvi Vakil was the only person to have dared to oppose Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in the party’s Working Committee meeting over the conversion of the Muslim Conference into the National Conference.
-to be continued