Under the portals of Mujahid Manzil

The history of freedom struggle carried out by National Conference is closely connected to the historical complex called Mujahid Manzil, the grand complex overlooking the western bank of Jhelum close to Zaina Kadal Bridge in Srinagar. This locality is the heart of old city of Srinagar, and its every inch is replete with various incidents making up the history of contemporary Kashmir. It was in Mujahid Manzil where the tallest among Kashmiri leaders Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah would interact with party bosses and chalk out programmes first of the freedom struggle and later on of the future course of political and economic life of the State after establishment of populist government. Mujahid Manzil has been witness to many crucial decisions of the party and the Government it formed from time to time. It was here on the spacious grounds of Mujahid Manzil where Sheikh Abdullah before flying to New Delhi on 26 October 1947 addressed a public gathering justifying the decision of accession to the Indian Union and endorsing Maharaja’s request to New Delhi to dispatch troops to Kashmir to save the valley from the incursion of the tribesmen who had been pushed into the valley by their Pakistani mentors and sponsors. Mujahid Manzil has become a symbol of Kashmir’s freedom and the place where the Kashmiri stalwart worked hard for years to bring respect and credibility to Kashmiri nation. It is difficult to recount all events of historical importance that shaped on the lawns and in the halls of Mujahid Manzil. In 1953, after the dismissal and detention of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, it was in Mujahid Manzil where a huge rally of NC workers took place and they discussed what should the party do in the event of detention of their supreme leaders. A young man stood up and said that they would decide their future with the help of arms. But late Maulana Masudi, Secretary General of NC, presiding over the rally stood up and severely reprimanded the young man for speaking of violence and arms.
During the two decades of unrest in the valley, Mujahid Manzil remained dormant. No political activity and no hustle and bustle of NC leaders and activists were seen. Keeping its historical significance in view nobody wanted that the campus should become the target of vandals and miscreants.
But today the situation has changed. Militancy has come down. People want peace so that they can carry their life’s daily chore. Youth want education, employment and progress; they have lost interest in militancy and disruptive activities as these bring untold misery to the people in general. Taking this into account, the Chief Minister has held a Friday rally at Mujahid Manzil by way of inaugurating the historical place for regular Friday interaction among party workers as was the practice during the days of Sheikh Sahib. He is within his right to nostalgically speak of how Sheikh Sahib used to interact with his party workers on Fridays at Mujahid Manzil and that he would like to follow suit. Indeed the party needs regular stimulation and guidance from leadership in the fast changing political scenario of the State. By inaugurating Friday meetings at Mujahid Manzil, not only city NC branch will get activated but it will be an incentive to NC branches all over the state to be part of Friday meetings at Mujahid Manzil and inculcate in them the tradition and norms of discipline set forth by the late leader. We need to remind our readers that Sheikh Abdullah was very strict about party discipline and knew that loose discipline would become a serious hindrance to the objectives and aims of the party. He never tolerated indiscipline. That is what brought respectability to the party, to its leadership and to the people of the State. It would be in fitness of things if the Chief Minister walks in the footsteps of his illustrious grand-father and beseeches his colleagues whether in the government or outside the government not to abandon ethical values while holding the power to govern the State. Weekly meetings at Mujahid Manzil should be attended by the Ministers, MLAS, party echelons and others as well if they can do so because it will be a constant reminder to them that they owe great responsibility to the people. It will also remind them regularly of the values set forth by the legendary leader of Kashmir. Now that next assembly election is drawing near, the party needs to be in close contact with the masses at the grassroots level. The achievements of the present government should be conveyed to the masses and Friday meetings at Mujahid Manzil are undoubtedly the means of dissemination of information.


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