A Darvesh holds the reins of time like steed
He brings sun, stars and moon to book with speed
~Zarb e Kaleem"
|Mian Bashir Ahmed Larvi with the former President of India, Pratibha Patil (File Photo)|
Mian Bashir Ahmed Larvi (November 1923- 14 August 2021) whose role in society was multifold, passed away in Wangath, in Ganderbal District of Jammu and Kashmir. He indeed continued the legacy of Mian Abdullah Abad, his grandfather and his father Mian Nizamuddin, who had migrated from the Hazara area of Pakistan in the 19th century. He belonged to Naqshbandi order of Sufi tradition and worked as a politician, a spiritual leader, a legislator and an ambassador of peace. He was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award by the Government of India for his services toward society.
Background of migration
In the book 'Matah-e - Faqar- o- Daanish' ,which is an official account of the Shrine of Laar, it is mentioned that the Spiritual master of Main Abdullah Abad asked him to migrate to Wangath, which was covered with forests and very rare demographic presence, to perform his duty of spiritual guidance to those who had thirst for experiencing truth. Because Mian Abdullah Abad himself was from Tribal community he chose to serve the downtrodden and socially alienated people especially Gujjars and Bakerwal.
The presence of Gujjars and Bakarwals on hills and less productive areas made them socially alienated and economically less fortunate. Moreover the transhumance, nomadism and pastrolism created serious challenges and issues which were never addressed by the state of that time. It is in this background that the full fledged intervention was made in the society by Mian Sahib to fight against the social evils, state's exploitation and political inefficiencies by providing leadership and creating 'political consciousness' among pastrolist nomads. Through political assertions, many challenges were addressed. Mian Bashir Ahmed resigned from Farooq Abdullah's Cabinet for not providing special attention to the conditions of the Gujjars and Bakarwals. This indeed reflects his commitment for the cause of his tribe and his priorities.
Visits, Langar, and Urs
Mian Abdullah Abad first time visited Poonch-Rajouri area in 1898 for collecting a copy of Qur'an written by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In his second visit, the matrimonial relations were established with Ghulam Hussain Lasanvi. These two families along with some other prominent people established the socio-political forum of Gujjar Jat conference, which fought the injustices of Dogra rule.
Some 100 Kanal of land was given by Choudhary Buland Khan, who was maternal uncle of Ghulam Hussain Lasanvi in Mohra village. Here a Mosque and a langar was established. It was an important place of social gathering because Mian Abdullah Abad used to spent 5 months here, as the connection with Kashmir valley would be lost owing to winter snowfall. Here the social gatherings were organised. Along with Ibadaat, Zikr, and Murakba, people were learning the cores of Islamic teaching. It can be argued that in initial stages, focus was given on Sufism in general and Islamic teachings in particular.
During Urs, special focus was given on the understanding and practices of Islam. Usage of Gojri language was there to translate Salat into Gojri. In this way the Gojri language flourished. A special tradition of "Siharfi" emerged subsequently. Most of the Ash'aar had lament as the main theme, which reflects the challenges and problems faced by the Gujjars and Bakarwals.
Abdullah Abad wrote in Punjabi but breakthrough happened when Mian Nizamuddin encouraged people to write in Gojri. One of the books of Mian Nizamuddin is "Asraar-e-Kabiri" which is in five languages namely, Arabic, Persian, Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi. It shows the rich literary taste and love of the saint for multiple languages.
Poets like Khuda Baksh Zaar, Sain Faqar Din, Sain Kader Baksh, Asrar Asar, Zabhi Rajourvi, Barkat Shah and many others wrote and participated in the literary Mehfils of Laar. Later on Mian Bashir Ahmed Larvi himself compiled the Siharfi "Neer Samundar". In this book poetry of prominent poets of Gojri was published. It can be argued that Gojri language was institutionalised by Mian Bashir.
Struggle, Consciousness and legacy.
The injustices of the Dogra state on the tribals in the form of taxes and punishment were the reasons that had awaken Mian Nizamuddin who founded the Gujjar-Jat conference to provide a platform from where the voice of the downtrodden can be raised in unity. This legacy was forwarded by Mian Bashir. He fought for getting the Schedule Tribe status of Gujjar-Bakarwal tribe and was successful in doing so. Now the level of consciousness is much high among Gujjars and Bakarwals regarding the same. It can be hoped that the legacy will be forwarded by the successors along with educated and economically well off section by establishing educational institutions, sponsoring students in foreign universities and providing counselling and information, as
Wangat is not only a place of spiritual gathering. It has potential to play its role on multiple levels for those who are less exposed to education, social change and economic stability.
1.Zarb e Kaleem.
About the author: Barkat Hussain Shaheen is a research scholar from University of Hyderabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Views expressed by the author are his personal and do not, in any way, represent the editorial stance of Pir Panjal Post.