Allah Rakha Sagar – II

Having spoken of the strong opposition within the party leadership to Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s plans to convert the Muslim Conference into the National Conference, Allah Rakha Sagar goes on as follows, in his interview to Muhammad Yusuf Teng in Rawalpindi in March 1983:

“But Sheikh Sahib and his supporters presented strong arguments in favour of the conversion. They, particularly Prem Nath Bazaz, would tell us that all citizens of Jammu and Kashmir, and not necessarily (only) Muslims, were the victims. They would tell us about the miserable plight of the Jammu Dalits.” (Hamara Adab – Shakhsiyaat Number, Vol. 3, published by the Cultural Academy in 1986-87)

“They also told us that if the movement continued from the Muslim Conference platform, the Maharaja and the Hindus outside Jammu and Kashmir would treat it as a Muslim rebellion against a Hindu ruler.”

Sagar also told Teng of Bakhshi and Masoodi’s betrayal:

“Notwithstanding their silence in the Working Committee meeting, they urged me to revolt against the conversion and assured me of their full co-operation. I suggested taking the issue to the provincial committees. But Sheikh Abdullah was scared of it, and put the issue to vote in the Working Committee. To my dismay, I found Bakhshi and Masoodi voting in favour of the conversion.”

In the same interview, Sagar says:

“We had thought that the change would remain confined to the state. We had decided that the Congress and the Muslim League would have no relation with the National Conference, but later saw Sheikh Abdullah dancing to Nehru’s tune. He did not like the Jammu leaders, and backed out of his promise of making Abbas the president of the party.”

Sagar had been arrested from a houseboat in Srinagar on October 25, 1946, along with Chaudhry Abbas and Agha Shaukat Ali barely hours after annual session of the Muslim Conference at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, which he had attended.

Once, during his detention in the Kathua Jail, he saw prison staff cleaning his dingy cell, and on inquiring, was told that the state’s Prime Minister (Sheikh Abdullah) was scheduled to visit.

He refused to meet Abdullah, and was later deported through Suchetgarh. He could not even take the back issues of his newspaper, the Javaid, along.

“In 1964, when Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah visited Pakistan, Sagar did not meet him. He had received an invitation to attend the reception, but he did not go. Sheikh Sahib’s procession passed through Sagar’s lane, but he did not even bother to look out of the window.” (ibid.)

The person who had highlighted the sufferings of the people of Jammu and Kashmir had turned into a recluse during his last days, confining himself to his room, and seeing no visitors – not even relatives.

When Sagar passed away, nobody in Kashmir knew that death had stifled another strong voice.