Friday, January 15, 2016

PANDIT SHAM LAL SARAF : A FORGOTTEN NATIONALIST AND FREEDOM FIGHTER FROM KASHMIR


                                                                                   
        
PANDIT SHAM LAL  SARAF

Jial Lal Kilam , Prem Nath Bazaz, Kashyap Bandhu , Sham lal Saraf , S N Peshin and Sardar Budh Singh were some well known Non Muslim Leaders who joined Sheikh Mohd Abdullah's Political Movement in Kashmir . Sham Lal saraf was first Tourism and Health Minister of Jammu and kashmir State after 1947.
He was a signatory to the NATIONAL DEMANDS DOCUMENT  Presented to Maharaja  of J&K in  1938. Other signatories to this document  were Sheikh Mohd abdullah , Maulana Masoodi , G M Sadiq, Mian Ahmed  Yar , M A Beg,Kashyap Bandhu , Prem Nath Bazaz, Jia Lal Kilam , Bakshi Ghulam Mohd  and sardar Budh singh. The document demanded restoration of freedom of speech , Recruitment of state subjects  in state  Jobs , elections and representation to people in Governance .

                                                                           

  (  Sham Lal Saraf , Girdhari lal Dogra  and  with Sheikh Mohd  Abdullah with  a delegation of Turkish Journalists that visited J&K in March 1952. Shri saraf is on extreme right  )

He was a member of constituent assembly of the state created by Sadar e Riyassat's Proclamation of 1951.

Adds Noted Urdu Writer Deepak Budki:

“ Son of Pandit Samsar Chand Saraf (Tickoo), he was born in Rainawari, Srinagar on July 4, 1904 and educated at CMS High School and S P College.He was married to Gunwati Budki, on March 20, 1923. He was a businessman and had two shops of handicrafts (Sudesh Arts & Crafts) one on Bund srinagar next to Shaw Bros, and one in Central market (115) which after he joined the Quit Kashmir movement were run by his brother-in- law. he was firstly associated with Hindu organization called Yuvak Sabha which later amalgamated with J&K National Conference which later associated with the National Movement of Congress nationwide. He was Member State legislature,from 1951 to 1962 and MP 3rd Lok Sabha for next 5 years. He was a Cabinet Minister from 1947 to 1962. Besides he was member of several associations and societies interested in social, cultural educational and religious movements.

During 1953 he got embroiled in confrontation with his mentor and leader Sheikh Mohd Abdullah who had delivered the notorious Ranbir Singh Pora speech after which the cabinet planned Abdullahs ouster. On the contrary Sheikh Abdullah charged him with frivolous allegations of corruption which are described by him in Atish e Chinar. The truth about corruption can be well gauged by the assets left by Abdullah and all other Ministers during Sheikh Sahabs and Bakshi Sahabs regimes as against by Shri Saraf who had just one incomplete three storyed house in Gugji Bagh.

I was fortunate to be close to him being his nephew. He would always emphasize that a person has three facets of his personality ie Physical, Mental and Spiritual and one must nurture all. He was a true Gandhian and held Nehru in great esteem, would not even bear a bad word against Sheikh Sahab. May his soul rest in peace.

I must confess that whatever I am is all because of his teachings that guided me to lead an honest life.He is survived by his daughter Sudesh Saraf (Zutshi) who lives in Delhi.”


 (Autar Mota )

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