Remembering Mirza Afzal Beg
HERE I SHARE SOME PLEASANT AND UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES SHARED BY DR MEHBOOB BEG, WRITES SABEEN BEG WANI
Mirza Mehboob Beg born on 4th September, 1948 is the middle son and the political heir of Afzal Beg and has grown under the towering persona of his father. The impact refuses to die and still kindles within him like a sacred fire. He shares with us some anecdotes out of his vast treasure and I (Sabeen) have tried to infuse life to those memories!!!
While reminiscing he recalls an incident in 1978 (after Beg sahib’s separation from the Sheikh sahib) when he and Fakhr-e-Kashmir were sitting in the lawns of their residence at Raj Bagh. Suddenly there was a knock at the main gate, a postman stood there with a telegram in his hand. It was from Mirza Ghulam Qadir Beg (Afzal Beg sahib’s elder brother) and read, “congratulation on your separation from Sheikh sahib.” At this Beg sahib asked me (Mehboob Beg),”What do you say to this?” I replied,”I don’t agree with that.” He said, “then just tell him that”. This showed that he had a perfect blend of heart and mind! Both had equal credence where none tried to supersede.
He never wavered when it came to his decisions, they were always hard-boiled!!! When Beg sahib on the call of his party gave up his ministry under Maharaja Hari Singh, the maharaja called him personally and said, “I want your acumen in my ministry, so please rethink.” To this Beg Sahib said, “I reciprocate your feelings your highness but I have to go back.” It was an
olive stick which needed a firm head to say no. Many leaders like Ahmed Yar Khan refused the party diktat and fell to the world of power politics!
Once at Mujahid Manzil, the head quarter of National Conference (NC) the Young Man’s League (associated youth wing of NC) associate Rasheed Dar (former legislative council chairman) gave an anti-party statement. So in the natural course of action Beg sahib summoned Dar and sought an explanation. He struggled hard with an explanation and at last said, “You were not here so I didn’t consult anybody.” Beg sahib countered with a query, “why didn’t you consult Sofi Muhammad Akbar (veteran leader from Sopore)?” To that Dar found himself again scampering for cover. Beg sahib then turned to me and said, “Mehboob what
does he want to say?” I replied, “probably he means that Sofi sahib is too old to be consulted.” Dar jumped to this explanation and endorsed it vehemently.
To this Beg sahib told me, “son don’t get flattered. One sentence does not make a man.” Now the youth leader Dar turned to me and said, “Now you have quietened down.” Apt came another expression from the legendary Beg sahib, “but it can unmake a man. ”Such repartees’ sat easily on him.
When Beg sahib winded up the popular Plebiscite Front (PF) he was met with stiff opposition. Once a worker immersed in fury over the decision was trying to barge in late at night at his residence at Sarnal popularly known as Raishumari house and meet Beg sahib when Beg sahib had retired to bed. I tried to stop him as I wanted him to take rest. On hearing the
commotion outside Beg sahib asked me to allow him in as he had every right to question his leader and his decisions. So when he was brought in he posed a question, “why did you dissolve PF?” Beg sahib as cool as a cucumber asked him to have tea and calm down. Then Beg sahib asked him whether he did his paddy. To this the worker got further agitated and
said, ”I am asking something important and you are asking such light questions.” Fakhr-e-Kashmir said “Yes I am coming to that only. First you answer my query.” He retorted, “you have a rural background you know that the irrigation canal got breached and paddy requires 24-hours irrigation so I had to do away with it.” Beg sahib said, “does that mean you have left your land cropless?” Worker answered,” of course not. I put on other crops like maize how could I leave it undone!!!” To this Beg sahib said, “similarly we were faced with the same scenario. We were faced with the political uncertainty with Pakistan breaking into two hence an ideal picture was not possible. But I didn’t just gaze at the situation but tried to save whatever I could. In the circumstances I did the best I could.”
Another example he used to give in this context was that nobody likes to see ones house on fire! But mere watching the house turning into ash would not help. It is always better and productive to save whatever possible even if it is a mere brick!!! Ideally there should have been no fire but since a mishap occurs always do the next best thing.
Digging further into his much valued memories Mehboob Beg says that when the Plebiscite front was dissolved and National Conference revived Abdul Rehman Saudagar (a committed worker of the front) choked down while bringing down the flag of the PF from the party headquarter. On witnessing this I approached Beg sahib and said, “this is great injustice you
have done to them. Look at your workers’ feeling emotionally so overwhelmed.” To this he said, “he is lucky that he can release his emotions through tears while I don’t have the privilege to do that”. He knew what it meant to lead and show the way undeterred even if he felt the pinch!!!
Acquiring power after accord Beg sahib saw to it that the youth involved with the Plebiscite Front got rehabilitated. Some were given government jobs, some got their business started while still others were politically groomed by the Beg sahib. This proved his ‘just’ side to the core. Understanding the crux of democracy he relied heavily on feedback. At every event he used
to take feedback from all the sections of the society- media, workers, bureaucrats, non-workers. The feedback sessions used to continue till the wee hours of mornings at times! Thus he always had his hand on the pulse of the common men.
Mirza Mehboob Beg remembers how even when in jail, Beg sahib used to send him money and a list of all the workers amongst whom he wanted the money to be distributed. He further asked him to get a receipt in return (always kept each penny accounted) and give them money well before Eid so that they could celebrate the festival with flavour and fervour. This showed his deep chemistry with his workers. His care and concern for his workers was unmatched.
He never took anything for granted and was a doer in every sense. When the then prime minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Bhutto gave a call in Kashmir for a shut down against the accord; Beg sahib educated his every worker as to how to make the call irrelevant. To this workers said that he needed not to worry as people were behind him and Sheikh sahib. But Beg sahib advised them never to take things for granted. “Just crowing the words that it won’t happen will never convince me- one should always try his best and then hope for the best, but yes ‘try’ one must always before ‘hoping’.”
And yes one thing which he prized the most was ‘merit’. His love for intelligent, hard workers was well known. He always appreciated and backed merit. Once he was monitoring the applications alongwith his PA the late Jalal-ud-Din. There were as usual piles of applications. Suddenly an application written in a beautiful pearl-like handwriting caught Beg sahib’s eye and asked his PA to pass him that application. He said that it was a routine application and not anything special which sought Beg sahib’s special attention. Beg sahib answered, “just appreciate his handwriting and don’t be blind to it.” And he immediately
sent the job order at the given address.
Even when it came to his family he always got attracted to the chid with merit. He always appreciated the merit amongst his children and encouraged them to hone their skills with vigour. And he never missed an opportunity to stimulate a thought process by throwing a question. He wanted the mind to think and ponder like it was meant to and not fall to the bait of ‘spoon feeding’.
Mehboob Beg remembers when he accompanied Beg sahib to London in 1976 with the commonwealth delegation. “In the airplane Beg sahib was friendly with me asking about domestic updates!!!! But as soon as we touched the ground his professional self took over and he acquired the business like tone as I had accompanied as his assistant. He enquired about his schedule for the day and made me shift the gears. It was only when we retired for the night his ‘fatherly’ emotions came into forefront otherwise he meant business and stressed that we had not come on a picnic but a professional visit.” It is so true since it is easy to confuse the purpose of ones’ visit. During the visit Mehboob Beg further remembers when Beg sahib lost his balance on an elevator and he quickly supported him from behind. Mehboob Beg sahib goes onto say how he felt relieved after that as he felt his presence in the delegation had been justified and there was a purpose in him being there. Once sitting at the dining room with his family he came to know that his wife’s (who was also his cousin from the Beg clan) niece was getting married and the ceremony was taking place. So he enquired from his wife as to why she wasn’t there. To this she said, “Alhuri Bilhur” “when they don’t come to visit me why should I bother, it is tit for tat”. First Beg sahib kept quiet but later on being pressed for an answer said,” this is sheer tragedy that this piece of wisdom is half done since it is followed by forgiveness which according to Quran is ‘Afzal’.” This showed his deep understanding of religion which found its way in its true spirit. Hope this zeal of his safeguards him forever.
(Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 16 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OP-ED
Kokernag/ Sinthan Top, July 15: With famous health resorts like Gulmarg and Pahalgam overcrowded by ever increasing tourist rush, the government is yet to bring Daksum, Sinthan Top and other scenic resorts More
- Srinagar City
SAYS GOVERNMENT ‘IMPOSING VIRTUAL MARTIAL LAW’
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, July 15: Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti has strongly condemned the police action on peaceful demonstration by its youth wing at City centre of Residency More
3 SRI LANKAN NATIONALS HELD; OFFICIALS OF JKML UNDER SCANNER
S N HUSSAIN
Kishtwar, July 15: Police on Friday busted an international gang of alleged Sapphire smugglers here by arresting four persons, including three Sri Lankan nationals. Some top officials of Jammu and More
Srinagar: Victor Force in association with Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) of Rajasthan and ''Pritam Spiritual Foundation'' organized a four days free artificial limb distribution camp More
JKTA, HBOA welcome announcement on impending foreign flights
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, July 15: The Valley-based tourism traders’ bodies have welcomed the announcement Chairman, Airports Authority of India, V P Agarwal recently made regarding impending operation of international More