Muhammad Subhan Hajam – III

Soon after his campaign forced the government to ban prostitution in Srinagar, Muhammad Subhan Hajam came to know that two hotels in Lal Chowk, one owned by a Hindu and the other by a Muslim, were still involved in the illicit trade.

He wrote to the proprietors, threatening to make their names public if they carried on with their immoral activities:

“I warn you to stop the detestable trade forthwith. Or I will publish your names in a poster and expose you.”

The warning had the desired effect.

Similarly, when Hajam came to know that some women were running brothels in the Buchwara and Dalgate areas, he published their names in a pamphlet, and the dens were closed down.

He was also very critical of the role of the press.

According to him, newspaper editors had sealed their mouths in lieu of handsome considerations which, he said, they received regularly from the trade kingpins.

Hajam and Politics: Though Hajam tried his best to stay away from
politics, believing that it would harm his campaign, he could not remain apolitical for long.

Forced by circumstances to make a political statement, he issued yet another of his pamphlets, Mulki Halaat Aur Munafiqeen Ki
Amn Soz Harkaat
, writing: “I have been saying time and again that
my campaign is free from politics. But I have never said that taking part
in politics is a sin. I fully understand the political situation of
my state. It is a virtue to take part in constructive politics meant
for the betterment of the people.”


A Humble Person: Deeply concerned over the deteriorating social order, Hajam regularly urged people through his pamphlets to live
strictly in accordance with the sayings of the most revered Prophet (PBUH):

“I am a humble person, in fact a sinner. I feel ashamed of
advising people. But I am a follower of the most revered Prophet (PBUH), and it is in this capacity that I dare address society.”

He said that bakers made their womenfolk sit on their shops thinking that a beautiful face would attract more customers.

He also came down hard on street goons who habitually teased fisherwomen.
“Rural women do not wear anything beneath their pherans,” he wrote. “This must be avoided.”

Rights of Labourers: Hajam did not confine himself to fighting prostitution but raised his voice against the exploitation of carpet-weavers and workers in the Government Silk Factory.

“Labourers in the Silk Factory work in miserable conditions, and for meager wages. If the factory is running on a loss, it should be closed down. The
government must have a sympathetic attitude towards its laborers. The
director has recently denied that the factory was running into losses.
The labourers have been forced to resort to agitation. I urge the government to address their problems.”

Though such words appear tame and casual in today’s terms, in Hajam’s days they could land one in serious trouble.

Taking up the issue of carpet-weavers, he wrote: “Loom-owners have been exploiting their workers. I urge the government to solve the weavers’ problems, or withdraw the concessions given to their masters.”