S Hamid – I

Born into a well-off business family in Pandaan, Old Srinagar, in 1954, Abdul Hamid Wani came to be known as S Hamid because his father, Noor Ahmad Wani, would lovingly prefixing Shahzada (Prince) to his name.

From his mother’s side, he was the grandson of Sofi Muhammad Akbar, veteran freedom-fighter and close aide of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, who played an active part in the Plebiscite Front.

In the mid-sixties, S Hamid founded the Youngman’s League, regarded to be the parental organization of Al Fatah.

Despite a state crackdown after the debacle the latter group faced, political activists managed to merge all groups, including the Youngman’s League, the Youth League, and the Islamic Organisation, at a historic meeting which, according to People’s League activist Ghulam Hassan, alias Kranti, took place in the Kashmir University campus on October 3, 1974.

Sofi Akbar, who had great faith in his young grandson, is said to have rushed to him first when the Indira-Abdullah Accord was signed, and only then left for Sopore, his native town.

But what passed between the two in the meeting has remained a secret.

S Hamid played an active part in coordinating efforts that finally led to the formation of the People’s League (PL). Though it worked well, the newly-formed party could not stay united for long, and Hamid kept himself away from factional bickering.

He returned to the fold in 1988 when an armed struggle had begun in Kashmir, but due to persisting differences, he became the chairman of a separate group of the People’s League.

With the formation of the Muslim Janbaz Force (MJF), a militant group, S. Hamid became one of Kashmir’s most wanted men.

I interviewed him in February 1996 when some of his associates held talks with New Delhi.  He was disturbed by the development, but expressed his determination to take the Kashmir movement to its logical end.


-to be continued