Meeting Mir Nasrullah

Greater Kashmir

Not just a bureaucrat, a legend who carries wisdom and scholarship with himself

In the beginning of this month, I had an occasion to chat with Mir Nasrullah at the residence of Late Bakshi Bashir Ahmed, Sonawar Bagh, where we had gone to mourn the death of his respected wife, who had expired a day earlier in Delhi.

Preparations were being made to arrange “Namaz-e- Jinaza”. May Allah bestow peace upon their souls and give strength to Bakshi Saleem Sahib and family to bear this huge and untimely loss.

Mir Sahib conversationally narrated the rich medieval history of the oldest known civilizations. As for the state, more so the valley of Kashmir, he narrated a chronology of historical incidents. He spoke about the Buddhist period and said that this place has been a seat of learning, thereby inducing leading writers, especially from Central Asia, to visit the valley quite often. He spoke about Hazrat-e-Bulbul Shah’s period, dating back to the year 1300 AD. Bulbul Shah, Mir Sahib said, belonged to Central Asia and had been a saintly person. His shrine is maintained in the down town at Bulbul Lankar.

While describing “Kota Rani” as a great lady, he said, she did not yield to the pressures of Shah Mir to become his Queen and finally committed suicide. Shah Mir, who belonged to Swat (now NWFP) and had background of the martial race of Pathans, thus became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir. This was the period when our country was ruled by Muhammad Shah Tughluk.

After discussing with Mir Sahib for over half an hour or so, I could fathom his deep knowledge of our long past and its rare events. Mir Sahib also gave a background of families who flourished here over hundred years back.

Mir Nasrullah is, no doubt, a fountainhead of information relating to our olden days. Such persons are rare and found sparingly. I would suggest, rather request leading columnists like Ajaz ul Haque, Z. G. Muhammad, Dr. Javid Iqbal and Zareef Ahmed Zareef to meet such luminaries to extract and jot down details of our wealthy past and its great events so as to educate our young generation – who we were, how were we ruled over and by whom?

Mir Nasrullah comes from a well to do family of civil servants. His acquaintance with literature shows his close association with people and families possessing literary background. As we recall, one such family happens to be that of Late Khwaja Ghulam Sayedane, an authority on Urdu and Persian Literature in the country then. Late Ghulam Sayedane headed the State Education Department, probably six decades back and left a deep imprint. I recall having met Mir Sahib in 1958-59, along with Late Prof. Sheikh Ghulam Ahmed in Delhi, when both of them had been inducted in the All India Administrative Service as the first batch of in service officers from the state.


I vividly remember that my wonderful boss, the Late Sr. Amar Singh, Trade Commissioner in New Delhi was also incorporated in the first batch of I.A.S Officers. Before moving to Mussoorie, UP, their first refresher course took place in the ‘Metcalfe House’, Alipore Road, Delhi. I would look after them in ‘Metcalfe House’ and attended to their small requirements. I had just started my service career then, and was posted at New Delhi in Kashmir House, to look after the state properties in India. After office hours, I was also authorised to issue entry permits to the state, which were then in vogue. To attend to this assignment from 5 pm to 8 pm, my residential accommodation was exempted from payment of monthly rentals. During office hours, the issuance of Entry Permits was being attended to by Shri Late B. B. N. Saxena, Secy. of the Trade Commission.

This was the period when our parliament was enriched with eminent parliamentarians, like Piloo Modi and Maulana Hafiz-ul-Rehman, the then editor of Al-Jamiat. Both of them were star attractions in the Parliament those days with their rich and intellectual speeches. Late Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru would wait and listen to them with calmness.

Mir Nasrullah progressively rose to head the entire bureaucratic setup in the State by 1985 under the Late G. M. Shah, the toughest Chief Minister the State has ever had. I recall working as Food and Supplies Secretary in those days and literally burning the midnight oil to update my diary with regard to arrival of essential commodities, which would be examined by him in the morning. Accountability those days was the single norm to accomplish one’s bona fide duties and failure was met with swift and exemplary retribution. As an example a fairly-senior officer, posted by the Government of India as Co- ordinator to assist the State Government to ensure smooth and timely flow of Essential Supplies was asked to leave the State forthwith by the Chief Minister as he was not very careful about minute details on this account.