Molvi Bashir Ahmad Vakil and Munshi Naseer-ud-Din   – III

With its popularity and membership increasing, the Reading Room Party decided to widen its reach, and sent its leaders to other parts of Kashmir to awaken people.

Apprehensive that such activity could turn into a movement, authorities decided to clamp down.

On July 13, 1931, over a score of people were killed outside the Central Jail in Srinagar where Abdul Qadeer was being tried behind closed doors for his fiery speech at the Khanaqah-e-Mu’alla..

In the ensuing turmoil, the cousins tried their best to keep people in control.

Molvi Bashir later got an opportunity to serve the administration in the capacity of Naib Tehsildar, and the flame in him continued to light many a lamp.

In 1947, when Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah became the emergency administrator of the state, many people, including Bashir and his elder brother, MA Sabir, were taken into custody for their pro-Pakistan politics.

On learning of his sons’ arrest, Molvi Abdullah rushed to the emergency administrator, but the latter ordered his peon to throw him out of the room.

Molvi Abdullah Vakil passed away shortly afterwards due to cerebral hemorrhage.

When Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah visited the family to pay condolence, Vakil’s sons, including Bashir, sought permission to shift to Pakistan, which he granted.

Though Naseer stayed back, Sheikh Abdullah did not allow him to join government service, and he edited the Sadaaqat for some time when Maulana Masoodi, its editor then, was arrested along with Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah

But he had to go underground because the government ordered him to be arrested too, and resurfaced only when the leadership was released.

He also became the Associate Editor of the Haqeeqat run by Prem Nath Bazaz, but registered protest when a distorted version of the regimes of Kashmir’s former rulers began appearing in the newspaper.

In his Jang-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir  (page 138), Naseer writes: “Soon after publishing these articles, Bazaz went to Delhi with Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. There he introduced Sheikh to Congress leaders and succeeded in indoctrinating him.”

He also wrote to Sheikh Abdullah and urged him to abandon his idea of running the movement on “National Lines” as it would, according to him, prove detrimental to the interests of Muslims.

Soon after, Sheikh Abdullah launched the Hamdard jointly with Bazaz, bringing Naseer also into the team, but the association did not last long      and the latter pulled out of the newspaper.

After the Muslim Conference was converted into the National Conference, Sheikh Abdullah was desperate to muster the support of the masses, and the end of the Haqeeqat became inevitable.

He removed Naseer as the president of the newspaper’s editorial board, leading to the eventual death of the popular daily.

In the early1940s, he and others met Muhammad Din Fauq and Professor Salik of Lahore on their Kashmir visit, and the duo asked him to talk to Sheikh Abdullah about reviving the Muslim Conference.

Naseer and his associates talked to Sheikh Abdullah for several hours at the Exhibition Grounds. He was satisfied by their arguments, but refused to accept the leadership of what he described as a communal organization.  He offered to work for the organization as an ordinary member.

Munshi Naseer also edited the Al-Barq for quite some time and tried      his best to serve people through his bold editorials.