Allah Rakha Sagar – I

Muhammad Ali Jinnah had written to Allah Rakha Sagar about the latter’s newspaper:

“I remain extremely busy. However, sometimes, I find time to go through the articles of the Javaid. The newspaper, it seems, perceives the problems faced by the qaum (community). This is the reason why people like it.  And this is what has made it the most popular newspaper in Jammu.”

The letter appeared in the Javaid on January 4, 1944, and a few months later, the government declared it a C-grade newspaper.

Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz, the editor of the Hamdard, did not subscribe to Sagar’s ideology. Sagar was a staunch supporter of the Muslim Conference and held Bazaz responsible for the creation of the National Conference.

But, notwithstanding these differences, Bazaz responded to the government decision in his editorial on March 29, 1945:

“We do not subscribe to the ideology of the Javaid,” he wrote. “But we must admit that it is an influential paper in contemporary Jammu and Kashmir. We firmly believe that this newspaper highlights the problems of Muslims in a bold and effective manner. No other newspaper can do that. Its articles are very serious and thought provoking. It is highly unfortunate that the Javaid has been listed amongst C-grade papers.”

Sagar had roots in a Bhat family in Bijbehara, Kashmir. His ancestors had migrated to Jammu and settled in Urdu Bazar, now called Rajinder Bazar, and prospered, purchasing most shops in the commercial centre.

He started taking part in politics and became the closet aide of Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas. He was to Abbas what Maulana Masoodi was to Sheikh Abdullah. It is believed that most of Sheikh Abdullah’s speeches were written by Maulana Masoodi, and those of Abbas by Allah Rakha Sagar.

He was elected to the Praja Sabha unopposed on the Muslim Conference ticket from Jammu (Khas) in April 1938, the victory speaking volumes about his popularity. After the win, he helped Chaudhry Abbas in his election campaign.

He had supported the conversion of the Muslim Conference into the National Conference and even delivered a speech in its favour during the party’s Pathar Masjid session. But later, he went back to the Muslim Conference for reasons he disclosed in an interview to Muhammad Yusuf Teng in Rawalpindi on March 1, 1983 (Hamara Adab – Shakhsiyaat Number, Vol. 3, published by the Cultural Academy in 1986-87).

“All of us, including Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad and Maulana Masoodi, were against the creation of the National Conference, but the only person who opposed it in the Working Committee meeting was Moulvi Abdullah Vakil….”

-to be continued

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