We miss him today. On this day, July 7, 2013, my father, Prof Manzoor Fazili, passed into eternity. Having remained a college teacher for most of his life, with about six years at the PG Deptt of Political Science, University of Kashmir, he was more concerned about imparting education and achieving high values in life. At a time when many of his contemporaries in educational institutions would like their sons and daughters to be engineers and doctors he preferred something different for his own children. The result is quite clear as all of my siblings are in the teaching profession, and I have the distinction of being in the media, both the fields having a close relationship. And we have a lineage from both the fields.
A couple of months after his death, his last book, “Ryesh Waer”’—the valley of saints….Sheikh Nooruddin” was released at the University of Kashmir. The book, based on the philosophy of the patron Sufi saint of Kashmir, was his most cherished job, involving a serious research work, although he was mainly interested in the State politics of India, and particularly satiated by politics, history and social philosophy of Kashmir. He had undertaken an enormous quantum of seriousness with the “Ryesh Waér”. Prof Fazili was an ardent writer on political and historical issues. He did not stop writing books or newspaper columns, in which he deliberated upon social and cultural issues, particularly after retirement from services in 1991. I can say with a certain amount of confidence that he first started writing in the 1960s after becoming a college teacher. The first book was about Introduction to Political Science presented in Kashmiri language back in 1969. His close friend Ghulam Nabi Gawhar, known as Gowhar Chacha in our family, had put it like this: Manzoor gave me two surprises in his life: First, about the publication of his book in Kashmiri language (1969) and, second that he was suffering from the dreaded disease (2012)”.
Having written some books in Kashmiri and later in English, on social or cultural aspects, apart from serious political and historical issues over a period of four decades, he also contributed by way of columns in one or two English dailies—The Kashmir Times from Jammu and Greater Kashmir, Srinagar. There was an abrupt discontinuity in these writings about a couple of years before he was confronted with the dreaded diseases. The discontinuity was a matter of question for many. But it was our senior most journalist and guide of most of us all in the field of journalism, Mohammad Sayeed Malik, who once pointed it out to me. He was curious to know about the reasons for this discontinuity. Thanks to him, I mustered courage to know the reason from my father on my next trip to Bandipore as usual. The answer as he would always put it was “simple”. He was “working on a serious topic” and needed to work with a greater concentration on “the last book, later published as Ryesh Waer”. He took his time to work on this topic from 2010 and by the end of 2011, he had the final typed copy in his hand and had started making corrections. We have seen him engrossed in the corrections, or editing, even as he was undergoing the rigorous exercise of treatment in Delhi early in 2012. Thus, the work was finally complete, but his demise in July 2013 delayed its publication.
But for the dreaded disease that snatched him from us within a period of one and a half years, we were divested of his expert political and historical observations over the developments, which have taken place over the years that followed. He would have finest observations over the political atmosphere that the country is faced with and its influence on the Constitutional position of Jammu and Kashmir bereft of its special status and downgrading it to two UTs. We all miss that amid a barren political landscape at a time when Kashmir like most parts of the rest of the world is battling hard against Covid-19, first of its kind after a gap of a hundred years.