The passing of Mian Bashir Ahmad Larvi marks the end of a glorious era of value based politics and spiritual iconism. Mian Bashir Ahmad Larvi belonged to the Naqshbandi order Sufi tradition. He was a loved and respected spiritual influencer of 21st century Jammu and Kashmir.
Mian Bashir Ahmad stands out among the crowd of political elites and religious preachers for many reasons. Mian Sahib worked tirelessly for the upliftment and empowerment of the Gujjar community. He was a strong believer in emancipation and was the only leader who earned respect across the community. He stood tall against the shackles of tyranny that the Gujjar community was subjected to. Many leaders emerged from 1923-2021, but nobody could match Mian Bashir’s sincerity, zeal and dedication in pursuing the upliftment of the Gujjar community. Mian Bashir Ahmad Larvi also stands out from the rest because he never resorted to emotive and exploitative politics around the Kashmir conflict. He believed in emancipation of all the sections of the society in the true spirit of democratic secular values. Mian Bashir was an iconic figure who had equal influence in both regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
After the death of Sheikh Mohd Abdullah in 1982, Mian Bashir Ahmad is the first mainstream political figure on whose death thousands and thousands of people continue to mourn, even though a month has lapsed since he passed away. Thousands visit his grave in Baba Nagri Kangan every day. Old timers recall the emotional outburst in Kashmir over the demise of Sheikh Mohd Abdullah for seven to ten days. In Mian Bashir Ahmad’s case, the mourners are yet to reconcile. In the true spirit of a spiritual leader, Mian Bashir Ahmad gave fare more to the people and take back less. He was the epitome of peace and brotherhood, and a strong messenger of the beauty of unity in diversity.
The Hero of the Gujjar and Bakarwal Tribe
Throughout his political career from 1945 -1980, Mian Bashir Ahmad never resorted to divisive politics. On the other hand, he consistently worked for peace and tranquility in the region. During the times of war and turbulence, Mian Bashir totally dedicated himself to rehabilitation and relief work, and never identified with the politics of conflict. His son Mian Altaf Ahmad always emphasized that Mian Sahib joined politics on his own terms and retired from politics on his own terms.
Mian Sahib was a multi-dimensional personality who led the tribal community of Jammu and Kashmir in particular in social, religious, spiritual, economic and political spheres. He will be remembered in history as a freedom fighter, religious and social leader and the hero of the Gujjar and Bakarwal tribe. He remained associated with the top leaders of the country including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. In fact, Indira Gandhi is reported to have visited the Shrine of Babaji Sahib at Wanghat during her visit to Kashmir in the 1970s.
Celebrated and Popular Author
Mian ji was the renowned Sufi and author and social reformer of tribal Jammu and Kashmir. He compiled a number of books in Urdu, Gojri and Punjabi , including Israr-e-kabari , Ashar-e-Nizami, Babaji Diyan Siharfian, six volumes of Neer Sumandar Gojri series, Mata- e-Faqar-O-Danish, Maraaf –ul- Tabarqat etc. These books mainly address spiritualism, mysticism, Sufism, Islamic theology and Divine Love. Mian Bashir’s poetic compilations represent the Gujjar ethos and rich heritage. Some of his books are socio-ethnic profiles of Gujjars and Bakarwals, and are popular among masses. Mian Sahib was often invited to grace seminars, conferences and other literaly and culture events in and outside the state.
Honoured With The Padma Bhushan
Mian Sahib was elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) in 1967, 1972, and 1977 from Kangan constituency of Ganderbal district. In 2008, Mian Bashir Ahmad was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, by the government. The award was bestowed upon him for his unparalleled contribution and services towards tribal Gujjars , Bakarwals and other downtrodden groups of society.
Mian Bashir Ahmad had also the honour of representing the nation at the United States. Mian Sahib was the one of the greatest personalities of Jammu and Kashmir. He acted as the lantern for the Gujjar tribals. Mian Sahib was the most popular leader of the tribal community. It is aptly said – A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. His thoughts were always focused on the good of the people. He always wanted to live in peace, and desired peace and tranquility for others too.
Mian Bashir was the inspiration for a large number of people in Jammu and Kashmir. Mian Sahib’s family played a vital role in enriching the Gujiri language and literature. He continuously struggled for grant of the scheduled tribe status to Gujjar and Bakarwals. In this connection, he continued to lead the delegations to the Union government to apprise them directly about the issue.
Mian Sahib died at the age of 98. He was buried in his native village in the shrine of Babaji Sahib RA located at Babanagri Wangath, Kangan in Ganderbal district. His death is a great loss to the Gujjar community and also for the locals. He was a visionary whose ideals gave a strong sense of community, dignity and consciousness to the Gujjar tribal community. With the death of Mian Sahib, an era of enlightenment and education has come to an end. His legacy in terms of his contribution and teachings will continue to inspire and guide his followers and the generations to come.
Voluntary Retirement From Active Politics at 63!
An amazing political and spiritual leader, Mian Bashir Ahmad may perhaps have the singular distinction of retiring from active politics when he was only 63 years old. After his voluntary retirement, many political stalwarts approach him and pleaded with him to make a comeback. But Mian Bashir never looked back. Thereafter, he devoted himself to the cause of spiritual guidance and helping the poor. Mian Bashir Ahmad was the only religious and political leader of his times who never bowed before the powers that be. Rather all the powerful political elites would visit him to seek his support and blessings.
MIAN BASHIR’S PERSONAL DIARY
A social, political, spiritual and cultural icon, Mian Bashir Ahmad would record every single incident in his life – big or small – in his personal diary. Daily, every happening would be meticulously recorded in his personal journal. Mian Bashir was regarded across Jammu and Kashmir as the spiritual guide and a political heavyweight. He was always surrounded by hundreds of followers, who looked upon him to guide them on the path of unity and spirituality. Despite all the adulation, Mian Bashir always remained a gentle, kind and generous spiritual leader.