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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Mirwaiz Mohammad Yusuf Shah
PTI
September 08, 2002
First Published: 21:59 IST(8/9/2002)
Last Updated: 21:59 IST(8/9/2002)

Two leaders dominated the Muslim movement in Kashmir in the beginning: Sheikh Abdullah and Mirwaiz Mohammad Yusuf Shah. The mirwaiz is a hereditary title of one of Kashmir's most important religious leaders, who is also the imam (head priest) of the prestigious Jama Masjid (mosque).

Mirwaiz had a high religious standing in Kashmir and he worked well with the Sheikh who had a charismatic personality and an ability to strike a chord with the people. Together, they built the first opposition against the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.

In October 1932, along with Mirwaiz Mohammad Yusuf Shah, Sheikh Abdullah formed the Muslim Conference along with Chaudhri Ghulam Abbbas, Mirza Afzal Beg and GM Sadiq. Later Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad joined the group.

But a year later, serious differences cropped between the Sheikh and Mirwaiz. Sheikh Abdullah had started expanding the base of Muslim Conference and wanted to turn it into a party open to people from other communities too. The Mirwaiz felt that the Sheikh was betraying the cause of the Muslims and was playing into the hands of the central powers. Following a provocative speech, clashes resulted between the Mirwaiz followers and the Sheikh's followers.

In 1933, Sheikh Abdullah formally launched the Muslim Conference with the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference making it a secular political movement in Kashmir. Muslims reacted strongly against this change in policy. For many of the Muslims, the National Conference represented the Congress and had neglected their interests.

Mirwaiz took it upon himself to resurrect the Muslim Conference and aligned with Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League. The seeds of a split in the state had been sown.

In May 1944, Mohammad Ali Jinnah visited Kashmir at the Mirwaiz's invitation.  Jinnah in his address at Dalgate, said: "As Muslims have one god, one prophet and one book, the Muslims of Kashmir should unite under one organisation for the freedom struggle.

In January 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh held elections for the legislative assembly. The Muslim Conference won many of the seats. And on July 19, 1947, the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference passed a resolution that the state should join Pakistan

"In view of the geographic, economic, linguistic, cultural and religious conditions, because Muslims constitute eighty per cent of the population, all major rivers of Pakistan have their source in the state, and inhabitants of the state are strongly connected with the people of Pakistan through religious and economic relations." The sense of alienation from the Centre and from the leaders of the state for the Muslims had set in.

Two leaders dominated the Muslim movement in Kashmir in the beginning: Sheikh Abdullah and Mirwaiz Mohammad Yusuf Shah. The mirwaiz is a hereditary title of one of Kashmir's most important religious leaders, who is also the imam (head priest) of the prestigious Jama Masjid (mosque).

Mirwaiz had a high religious standing in Kashmir and he worked well with the Sheikh who had a charismatic personality and an ability to strike a chord with the people. Together, they built the first opposition against the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.

In October 1932, along with Mirwaiz Mohammad Yusuf Shah, Sheikh Abdullah formed the Muslim Conference along with Chaudhri Ghulam Abbbas, Mirza Afzal Beg and GM Sadiq. Later Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad joined the group.

But a year later, serious differences cropped between the Sheikh and Mirwaiz. Sheikh Abdullah had started expanding the base of Muslim Conference and wanted to turn it into a party open to people from other communities too. The Mirwaiz felt that the Sheikh was betraying the cause of the Muslims and was playing into the hands of the central powers. Following a provocative speech, clashes resulted between the Mirwaiz followers and the Sheikh's followers.

In 1933, Sheikh Abdullah formally launched the Muslim Conference with the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference making it a secular political movement in Kashmir. Muslims reacted strongly against this change in policy. For many of the Muslims, the National Conference represented the Congress and had neglected their interests.

Mirwaiz took it upon himself to resurrect the Muslim Conference and aligned with Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League. The seeds of a split in the state had been sown.

In May 1944, Mohammad Ali Jinnah visited Kashmir at the Mirwaiz's invitation.  Jinnah in his address at Dalgate, said: "As Muslims have one god, one prophet and one book, the Muslims of Kashmir should unite under one organisation for the freedom struggle.

In January 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh held elections for the legislative assembly. The Muslim Conference won many of the seats. And on July 19, 1947, the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference passed a resolution that the state should join Pakistan

"In view of the geographic, economic, linguistic, cultural and religious conditions, because Muslims constitute eighty per cent of the population, all major rivers of Pakistan have their source in the state, and inhabitants of the state are strongly connected with the people of Pakistan through religious and economic relations." The sense of alienation from the Centre and from the leaders of the state for the Muslims had set in.  


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