In a letter written in 1987, to the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, Qazi Nisar Ahmed, the slain Mirwaiz of South Kashmir renowned for his oratory skills had warned of emerging ‘Hindu Nationalism’.
This was when the Muslim United Front, an amalgam of various socio-religious groups, unsuccessfully contested the 1987 assembly elections.
Coming into limelight for defying the ‘caste in my plate ban’ in 1986, he openly defied the order of the then Governor, Jagmohan, and sacrificed a calf and a sheep in the town square in Anantnag.
Having returned to Kashmir in 1984 after his education, he, in a span of less than 10 years till his assassination on 19 June 1994, opened a chain of more than 30 schools in South Kashmir, none of them in his name or owned by his family. He aimed, as said while launching Idara Tehqiqat e Islami in South Kashmir, where thousands of people have completed Islamic degrees and modern education, to take Islamic education beyond certain classes of society.
His followers, who see him as a far sighted leader, believe his assassination created a vacuum, which could never be filled.
The letter reproduced below is a proof of what his followers have always believed.
February 1, 1987.
Respected Rajiv Gandhi,
The Prime Minister of India,
I hope this letter finds you in good state.
As commanded by my religion, I am wishing you good, despite the aggression you have displayed against my community, the Muslims of India. I know you came here to meet me, but my principles do not allow me to meet a man, who has been the forerunner to a vicious campaign going on India wide against the Muslims.
Your people call me Bhindrwala, Militant, whatever they may, even in opposition, they may be, but I see that they are rising into a tide, which soon will silence all other voices in India, this radicalism and fanaticism that you have been giving supporting hands to, will also denounce you and the concept of an idealist nation.
Your party is hand in glove with the upper class, which soon will turn against you, if only I live to see it. But you must remember my letter.
The vicious denouncing of Babri Masjid and other Islamic symbols in the country will soon turn into a tide. These symbols will be taken out, ridiculed and you will have minimal power to stop them. I see it coming, if your Government does not take minorities as citizens and starts respecting them.
I see India where I studied turning into ‘Akhand Bharat’ and the right wing parties, very few in number today, taking the central stage.
You should stop demonizing Muslims and Muslim preachers.
Why do you send people to me in the disguise of journalists, intellectuals, scholars? I will not be compensated. Your Government, though tried enormously, could not defeat Qazi Nisar. Qazi Nisar cannot be ruled, neither will be his people.
Qazi Nisar Ahmed
Mufti and Mirwaiz,
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