A spiritual icon, a social reformer
Whenever there will be a discussion on, or any research work conducted, regarding the empowerment of downtrodden sections of our society ,especially Gujjar, Bakarwal and the Phari communities of Jammu and Kashmir, the role of the renowned religious personality and a great social reformer Mian Bashir Ahmed Larvi Sahab will always be remembered with great respect.
Born in November 1923 in Kashmir at Wangt Ganderbal, in a reputable family, known for its spiritual highness and good literary background, he was fortunate enough to have spiritual guidance from his father Hazrat Mian Nizamuddin Larvi (RA) from an early age.
After rigorous spiritual training, he attained the spiritual Khilafat of Islamic Sufi order in Naqshbandiya Silsila and strictly adhered to its principles till his last breath.
Besides propagating the spiritual enlightenment among the masse, he worked tirelessly to bring social, economic, and political awareness among the Gujar, the Bakerwal, and the Pahari communities.
It is because of his dedication and charismatic power that these communities now became educationally conscious, socially alert, and politically aware to a great extent. It was the result of his efforts that the Gujjars and Bakerwals were recognised as Scheduled Tribes in 1991.
Believed the concept of people’s contact and its importance in Sufism, he travelled far and wide, met people of diverse backgrounds, propagating the concept of pluralism, shared the message of peace, love, and tolerance.
He believed in the philosophy of humanism and social service which is the core of Sufi tradition.
During the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan Wars, he worked for peace and prosperity of the State and played a pivotal role in rehabilitating thousands of displaced families, defending their rights especially in the tribal and border belts of Jammu and Kashmir. He had been elected four times to the State Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.
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 politicians that include Pandit Jawaharlal Lal Nehru, Moulana Abul Kalam Azad, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi.
He got several opportunities to lead many delegations to international forums. He withdrew from active politics in 1984, and spared all his time for social and religious activities.
Recognising his contribution to public affairs, he was awarded Padma Bhushan (the third highest civilian award) by the government of India on 26th January 2008 for his contributions to society.
He was one among the few spiritual leaders whose following not only cuts across faiths but across borders as well. K. D. Miani - a noted Phari writer, and historian, compiled the comprehensive book titled “Matta-e-Faqr-o-Danish” in which he provided the illustrated family history of Darbar Baba Ji Sahab and their religious, social, and political role towards the society.
For me, it was the moment of pleasure to sit in his company at Darul-Uloom Kousaria, New Theed Harwan where he laid the foundation stone of the Masjid-e-Shahi Hamdan
This noble soul known for his generosity and charity parted from us on the 14th of August 2021 at the advanced age of 98. Thousands of people from different parts of J&K and elsewhere attended his funeral.
Wailing and weeping his devotees, friends, and family members bid him farewell. As a mortal, the saint has been buried at his ancestral graveyard at Wangt Ganderbal.
His entire life which was the abode of humility, nobility, and love will always be a source of inspiration for future generations.
May Almighty Allah grant him the highest state in Jannah!
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher.
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.