True to his distinctive characteristic of habitual quietness Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat in his autobiography ‘Beyond me’ has conveyed a lot about his personal life without making much noise. In a unique style of his trademark articulation professor has used words in a much philosophical way to relate his personal experience of transition from rustic village childhood to higher echelons of knowledge and societal order. He has been quite generous while using words and his mastery of relating things in a matchless style while describing characters and describing evolving situations around him during last five decades of his active life.
I know Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat for the last more than four decades. I vividly remember that winter December Sunday of 1975 when I first met Professor Bhat at his Botaingoo house.
His personality at first sight—a lanky disposition with unique facial makeup and expressions made me little uncomfortable. However, when I was serenely reciting the lines “For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever” from Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘The Brook’ titled as ‘The Stream’ in our course book ‘Spring buds’ the Professor with exceptional smile asked me to explain the meaning of these lines. Obviously, I was, then, unable to describe such significantly meaningful lines to the expectation of the learned Professor. His version of describing the poetic lines was full of foresight and knowledge. This brief encounter with Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat made me discern huge intellect within his apparently frail structure and change my perception about him and his understanding within no time! During later years of my interaction with Professor, I found him a profound thinker with innumerable inborn traits of negotiating many intricate issues with very little ease. His communication skills are remarkable and no one can match his ability to strike a chord with anyone, even his worst adversaries.
Back to his book. Professor Bhat has tried to do justice with almost all subjects of his life. Childhood, college days at Sopore and later his difficult experience at the then much-admired seat of learning—S.P. College; his days at Aligarh Muslim university (AMU). He has candidly accepted and mentioned of his failure at the Bar and option for the much respectable profession of teaching that too with the mention of a meaningful dream and it’s sagely interpretation by a wise village elder. His involvement with teaching has been dealt in detail, particularly at Degree College Sopore and Baramulla where to my best knowledge his socio-political mindset particularly with regard to Kashmir got mutated to the extent of a liberal autonomist (there is a very thin line between separatist and autonomist). In between he has mentioned about all of his sympathizers, companions and acquaintances so eloquently with a masterly touch of his pen. However, he has sized up several of his contenders with exceptional erudition and wit to discourage, in his own words, “submission to unreasonable authority”.
Obviously, the much of Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat came to light because of his political adventures or misadventure in the eighties and in his book ‘Beyond me’ he has not mentioned his politics, except few glimpses of his encounter with the political situation during his teaching days. Since his termination from government service his life and career (political career to be precise) has experienced many ups and downs. His rise to the political horizon of Kashmir that too in the backdrop of his acrimony with Syed Ali Shah Gilani needs a detailed description and for that he owes us another slice of his memoir. Interestingly, Professor Bhat and Gilani belong to the same catchment area—Zaingeer. In the last chapter of his book titled ‘My wondering—a flash back’ Professor Bhat sums up his experience of life—success and failures. In his own words, “I could not, therefore, collect pearls; yes few shells fell to my lot. ----------To ascend and to conquer was indeed, beyond me.” Professor opts for an easy escape and absolves himself of expectations and responsibilities. However, his memoir covering politics and Kashmir issue has to be more explicit. A political situation that governs the fate of millions has to be described in clear terms, mentioning of failures and shortfalls and not to enjoy an easy escape by humbly writing. BEYOND ME.