The Umar Mukhtar of Kashmir

Muhammad Maqbool Butt was the man with a mind of his own

MH Altaf Khan
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 10 2019 11:15PM | Updated Date: Feb 10 2019 11:15PM
The Umar Mukhtar of KashmirFile Photo

There is a wrong perception that resistance movement of Kashmir always lacked dedication, valour and intellect. That learned people have never been a part of this movement. Although during present days our educated youth are proving this notion as absurd but long ago Maqbool Butt’s life, struggle and sacrifice had invalidated this misinformation completely. I am privileged to have met some of Maqbool Butt’s friends and listen to what they had to say about Maqbool. Master Sikander Malik studied with Maqbool from class 1st to 10th at Trehgam High School. During a chat he revealed many hidden aspects of his life. According to him unparallelled wisdom and intellect were present in Maqbool as God’s gift. Maqbool’s  father Ghulam Qadir Butt and Mother Raja Begum were miles ahead of their times. Qadir was a tailor but his intellect and style were so famous in whole Trehgam and surroundings that no big social function in Trehgam and surroundings was held without his presence. Maqbool was a blend of his father’s intellect and style and his mother’s wisdom and humbleness. Sikander Malik further said that it was Maqbool Butt who stood first in whole area in class 8th. He stunned his teachers and fellow students by delivering a fiery speech in English on “urban life” and compelled school headmaster Farooqi cheer for him. Maqbool was a born leader, an attractive and good-looking man, a God gifted brain, a prolific speaker, an athlete and a brave soul. 

After passing out his Matric from Trehgam high school, a school that was upgraded after an agitation led by young Maqbool himself, he went to Saint Jospeh College Baramullah and Graduated from there. His adolescence day friend Khaliq Pervaiz who himself is a shining chapter of our history and has written a book, ’’Jila-I- Watan”, recalls his first meeting with Maqbool Butt. “While playing football, I saw a new boy who was not from our village; he was wearing nicely stitched neat and clean clothes. After exchanging initial greetings we became friends. Soon he joined Saint Joseph Baramullah. He was different from all other students; he would play less and instead read books. He would deliver speeches and narrate many things others didn’t know”. Maqbool’s rebellious mind, love for learning and habit of reading literature gave him a distinction over others. These qualities made him travel to Peshawar Pakistan where his uncle was already living. He got admission at Peshawar University and completed Masters Degree with honours in Urdu Literature. He went on with his journey of learning and mastered in English literature and Law. 

 For anyone else, this great journey of years should have been enough reason to take a leave but Maqbool was not here to left what he had started. He was elected president of Mahaz-I-Rai-Shumari but along political movement he kept his armed opposition intact and after the disgraceful Indra-Abdullah Accord in 1975, he once again crossed over the LoC to challenge it. His friend and fellow cohort late Aman Ullah Khan writes that when Maqbool decided to cross over to valley again, he along with many others tried to stop him. “I met him at Karachi Railway platform and asked him to shun his idea as he had been sentenced to death in valley and had young children to look after, but his reply made me shut up”. Maqbool replied, “Look at the train coming towards this platform, visualize if I just fell down from this platform by chance and train crushes me, what will my children do then. Who knows the fate and time of death my friend? 

Leave all this to Allah and let me go as Kashmiris need a soldier and martyr not a leader this time’’. Soon he was in valley working hard to revive his struggle, got arrested, spent 12 years in Tihar jail, kissed gallows on 11th February 1984 and got buried inside Tihar jail premises where he still sleeps with calm and charm. It is a common idea that literature, music and culture knows no boundaries, for me even revolutionaries know no boundaries. Revolutionaries are an admiration for all, even for their adversaries. Maqbool Butt was a revolutionary like Umar Mukhtar of Libya, Che Guevara of Argentina and Subash Chander Bose of India, who never cared about his self but of the revolution and freedom. Umar Mukhtar of Libya said “we will not surrender, we win or we die”. Che said “we cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it’’. Bose left his career and said “Give me blood and I will give you freedom’’, and in the same way Maqbool of Kashmir said “this is our war and we will have to fight it by ourselves and that when you can make yourself believe that you are free, you are free”. Aren’t these ideas identical and doesn’t the lives of all these rebels look similar in many ways. Answer is yes. My Purpose to narrate the story of Maqbool in these few lines is to convey it to every house hold in Jammu Kashmir, to every youth, to every student and even to every collaborator of forcible occupation , as story of Maqbool Butt ‘The Tiger from Trehgam’ contains it all. Our national resolve to resist, our national intellect and wisdom, our national valour and courage, our national character and above all our national pride and respect....let us all try to discover, research, read, listen and convey this story, cherish it, and feel some gratification and admiration for our Nation - Kashmir.

altafkhan111@gmail.com


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