Jammu and Kashmir has seen many stalwarts and renowned personalities who carved out an image and place in various fields, and left behind a legacy. These include doctors, political leaders, educationists, social reformers, religious and spiritual personalities. Among those, one personality, who inspire members of different communities and religions, was Mian Bashir Ahmad Larvi, renowned religious and spiritual leader. Besides a renowned religious and spiritual personality, Mian Bashir Ahmad Larvi remained a stalwart in the politics.
A veteran Gujjar leader and the last of the grand old men of Jammu and Kashmir, Mian Bashir Ahmad Larvi, who passed away on August 14, 2021, has taken away with him a large part of Kashmir’s tumultuous history in which he played an epochal role.
Baba Sahib, as he was popularly known, died at the age of 98. Till his very end, he continued to inspire members of different communities and religions.
Born in November 1923 in Wangath Kangan (Ganderbal) in a reputable family- known for its spiritual highness and good literary background. Mian Bashir Larvi, lovingly known as Baba Saheb, was a multi-faceted personality who continued the legacy of Hazrat Mian Abaid Ullah Larvi, his grandfather and ‘Murshid’ (teacher), and his father Hazrat Mian Nizam-ud-Din Larvi (RA), who had migrated from Hazara region in the 1800s. He was from the Naqshbandi order of Sufi tradition, a convention in the family. Named after Hazrat Bahaud-Din ‘Naqshband’ Bukhari, the order is renowned across the world in Sufi Islam.
For Lakhs of his followers, Mian Bashir Ahmad Larvi was a blessing to all as hundreds of his followers throng Baba Nagri Wangath in Kangan every day to meet him and seek his blessings.
Baba Sahib believed in a spiritual vision of life and he always stood by his vision. He promoted such values throughout his life among his immediate disciples, general followers, and his well wishers spread far and wide. He relentlessly strived for social equality among the masses in general.
In 2008 Mian Bashir Larvi was conferred with the third highest civilian award “Padam Bhushan” by Government of India, for his outstanding contribution and service towards tribal Gujjars, Bakarwals and other downtrodden groups of society.
For me, Baba Ji was a sea of knowledge and spirituality. On many occasions I had opportunity and privilege to meet and interact Baba Sahib at his residence in Wangath Kangan. Each time I met him, despite challenges of age and health, Baba Ji always seemed interested about knowing the happenings around. Though he gave up politics nearly two decades ago, but he never lost sight of political developments in the country and abroad.
I always found Baba Sahib very kind and generous and was always there to help anyone approached him. While interacting with him I always found in him a sea of knowledge and spirituality.
He devoted himself completely to his spiritual responsibility, preaching hadith, tafsir and other religious teachings. Being an influential orator he left a great impression on the listeners and it was always a treat to listen him.
Baba Sahib always greeted his visitors with a smile. He was having a good sense of humor and during interactions Baba Sahib used to make everyone smile.
Mian Bashir Ahmad was very much fond of writing and reading. He used to read and go through various Urdu newspapers from valley to keep him updated.
I always found Baba Sahib as a multi-dimensional personality who led the tribal community of J&K in particular, in social, spiritual, religious, economic and political realms. He was the head and Gaddi Nasheen of the revered shrine of Baba Abaid Ullah Larvi, popularly known as Babaji Sahib (RA), at village Babanagari Wangath, in Ganderbal district of Kashmir, for around half a century till he chose his son and former minister Mian Altaf Ahmed as his successor.
Mian Bashir Ahmed Larvi was elected as an MLA in 1967, 1972, 1977 from Kangan, and 1983 from Darhal, Rajouri District. He served as a Minister in the State Cabinet in 1972 and 1977, as a Deputy Minister in 1971 and 1977, and as a Minister of State from 1977 to 1980 and over this period in politics he decided to bridge the gap between the tribal pastoralist nomads and political inefficiencies.
During his political career, he remained closely associated with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Mir Qasim and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, and various other top leaders of India that include Pandit Jawaharlal Lal Nehru, Moulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi.
Mian Bashir Ahmad has compiled a number of books in Gojri, Urdu, Punjabi, including ‘Israr e Kabari’, ‘Ashar e Nizami’, ‘Babaji Diyan Siharfian’, six Volumes of ‘Neer Sumandar ‘ Gojri series’, ‘Mata e Faqar-o-Danish’ as told to Khush Dev Maini, ‘Baba Ji Sahib Larvi’ , ‘Maaraf-ul-Tabarqat’, etc. These books mainly deal with topics of spiritualism, mysticism, sufism, Islamic theology, divine love, besides his poetic compilations representing Gujjar ethos and rich heritage. Some of his books on socio-ethnic profile of Gujjars- Bakarwals are popular among masses. One of his important contributions is his biographical account of three generations of Babaji Sahib Larvi in the book ‘Mata e Faqar-o-Danish’ published in Urdu.
Baba Sahib was often invited to grace seminars, conferences and other literary and cultural events in and outside state. He always loved to attend such functions because of his commitment to such areas of life. He attended such events not only in India but abroad also.
The role of the renowned religious personality and a great social reformer Mian Bashir Ahmed Larvi Sahab will always be remembered with great respect. With his passing away there is end of an era.
May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.