Toath, an epitome of simplicity

Almost everyone dreams of a palatial house, beautiful car and good bank-balance. People strive and struggle for these things in their lifetime. Some work hard and achieve it through legal ways and many indulge into corrupt practices to have bangla, gadi and bank-balance. There is a group of people who can afford to live luxurious lives but they prefer to be modest and simple. These are the people who are remembered for ages.

When my maternal grandfather left us forever, last year , I was sure he would have left a lot of money in his bank account although he had not constructed a house or never brought a car for himself. When I came to know that he had left mere Rs 90,000 in his account, I was astounded. Abdul Khaliq Wani, my maternal grand-father had retired as Relief Commissioner in 1991 which was a post equivalent to Secretary to Govt. Before his death Wani sahib was drawing a pension of Rs 93,000 per month, as he had been inducted into IAS from Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) many years before his retirement. I came to know that he was  supporting many families every month with his pension which he never disclosed to anyone, but after his death some beneficiaries revealed the truth.

Abdul Khaliq Wani was born at Shalimar Srinagar on March 1st 1933. His father Abdul Salam Wani was also an educated man who worked in the Agriculture Department during the time of Maharaja Hari Singh. Abdul Khaliq Wani did his initial education in Shalimar and then went to SP College Srinagar from where he completed his graduation in 1955. In 1957 he completed his MA (Economics) and LLB from Aligrah Muslim University (AMU). During those days MA, LLB would be completed in 2 years only as students would attend both the classes simultaneously in morning and evening shifts. My grandpa had told me this story long back as I would often have long chats with him whenever I visited my matamal.

Abdul Khaliq Wani didn’t construct any house for himself. He lived in the same old house which was built by his father in the year 1942. During his service Wani Sahib had been traveling in his official car but after retirement he didn’t get a car as he didn’t know  driving. He could have afforded to keep a driver like his colleagues, but he preferred to travel in public transport for 30 years i.e. from 1990 to 2019. He would come to my place in a bus or sumo taxi carrying fruit packets  with him.

Service career

Abdul Khaliq Wani Sahib after completing his education started his career as Naib Tehsildar in 1959 and was promoted as Tehsildar in 1964. He was posted as Tehsildar Sumbal, Kulgam, Anantnag, Kishtwar and other tehsils. In the early 1970’s he was promoted as Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR). He served as ACR Baramulla, Anantnag and ACR (Nazool). In 1977 he was sent on deputation to Food Corporation of India (FCI) as Divisional Manager Kashmir.

In 1979 Abdul Khaliq Wani was promoted and posted as Deputy Commissioner Rajouri where he served for 3 ½ years. His work in Rajouri is still remembered and those were the 3 golden years for Rajouri. From Rajouri he was transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner Pulwama in 1983 and then he was posted as Deputy Commissioner Anantnag. In 1986 Wani sahib was posted as DC Baramulla and then transferred and posted as Administrator Srinagar Municipal Committee (SMC) in 1988. The post of Commissioner was created later on when Srinagar Municipal Committee was elevated to Srinagar Municipal Corporation. For some time Mr Wani served as Secretary Ladakh Affairs in 1989. When Kashmir was on boil in 1990 he was posted as Relief Commissioner. He retired from Government service on February 28th 1991. Wani Sahib never left his birthplace Shalimar and continued to live there until his death, in the same house where he had spent his childhood.

His classmates

Late Abdul Gani Lone, Mufti Abdul Gani ex DIG, Justice G A Kuchai for High Court Judge, Late Mohammad Yousuf Shah former Registrar Cooperatives, Hamidullah Khan ex Divisional Commissioner were his classmates at SP College and later on at Aligrah. There are some people who have very meager knowledge of Kashmir’s modern history, they attribute Abdul Khaliq Wani with Khaliq DC. For information of readers Khaliq DC whose real name was Malik Abdul Khaliq was posted as DC Anantnag in 1964. Abdul Khaliq Wani, my grandpa was Tehsildar during that time. Kaliq made MLAs are attributed to Khaliq DC but as Wani sahib was also known as Khaliq DC in some areas of Kashmir, some people started believing he was the same man who would reject nomination forms of candidates during assembly election in 1960’s and Congress to get their people elected to J&K Assembly.

Conclusion

I have discussed Wani sahib’s personal and professional life above. As far as his spiritual life is concerned I can only say that he hardly ever missed his Tahajud salah (pre-dawn prayers). I know for at least 30 years he would regularly offer Tahajud but when I confirmed from  my elders they say he had been offering the pre-dawn namaz since his youth. Even at Aligarh he would offer 5 times namaz and tahajjud. He would never ever disclose this to people and the spirituality was a secret deal between him and Almighty.  During my detention post 370 abrogation he once came to see me at the detention center. I would never imagine that would be my last meeting with him. Wani sahib, whom we called Toath, went to heavenly abode on October 26th 2019 and the most unfortunate part was that I could not participate in his funeral prayers as I was released the next day from 3 month long detention.