Padma Shree Mohammad Deen was rewarded with more: blond Reshma and a Philips
Informant of 1965 war rubbed shoulders with scientist Satish Dhawan and painter M F Hussain
AHMED ALI FAYYAZ
SRINAGAR, Feb 11: Barrage of criticism to New Delhi’s ‘blunder’ of nominating an informant of security forces, Ghulam Mohammad Mir alias Moma Kanna, for this year’s Padma Shree award notwithstanding, prominent informants of Indo-Pakistan War in 1965 and the Pakistani tribesmen invasion in 1947 have also been rewarded with a little more or a little less. Mohammad Maqbool Sherwani has a community hall and a residential colony in Baramulla, besides a fashionable business street in Srinagar, in his name for helping the Indian Army repulse an armed invasion in 1947. Mohammad Deen Jagir of Tangmarg was rewarded for failing Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltor in 1965 with a Padma Shree, in addition to two-odd wishes of his life: a pretty Gujjar damsel of his locality and craze of the 1960s, a Philips transistor.
Mohammad Deen Chichi Jagir, an illiterate Gujjar youth of Darakasi village in Tangmarg, had gone to his herd in the picturesque Tosa Maidan grazing fields in Gulmarg-Poonch area when he was intercepted by a group of armed men and assigned the job of arranging Kashmiri outfits and caps for them. Rather than going to the market in Tagmarg, he informed Police about what later turned out to be the secret beginning of Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltor. Even as hundreds of such “Mujahideen” had infiltrated into the Valley and were planning a major strike, J&K Police and the Indian Army foiled Islamabad’s ambition of annexing Kashmir.
After the war ended, Chief Minister Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq did not forget Jagir. For his “great social work”, Jagir was recommended for the country’s fourth highest civilian honour, Padma Shree. From January 1952, when the national honours were reconstituted, nobody other than Sonam Norbo (Civil Service: 1961) had bagged Padma Shree in Jammu & Kashmir till Jagir created history and shared the stage with the country’s celebrated litterateurs, academics, scientists and artists. Those who were honoured by President of India with Padma Shree alongwith Jagir included renowned scientist Prof Satish Dhawan (Science & Engineering) and celebrated artist Maqbool Fida Hussain.
Later, when Prime Minister wanted to know what were his two top wishes Government of India could fulfill, Jagir revealed that marrying his village’s most beautiful but “unfortunately rich” damsel, Reshma, was the dream of his life. Within weeks, Tehsildar of Tangmarg personally went to Rshma’s opulent Gujjar parents and motivated them to tie their daughter’s nuptial knot to Padma Shree Jagir. Jagir’s second top wish---a two band Philips transistor---was fulfilled at the venue in New Delhi.
A year after judge Neelkanth Ganjoo was gunned down by JKLF guerrillas in Srinagar in 1990 for having sentenced Maqbool Bhat to death, Mohammad Deen Jagir was punished at his home at Darakasi. Militants faced no resistance when they shot him dead like a lame duck---the threat that Ghulam Mohammad Mir alias Moma Kanna of the same area refused to take.
Sons of the soil who followed Sonam Norbo (1961) and Mohammad Deen Jagir (1966) in being the recipients of Padma Shree in Jammu & Kashmir included Akhtar Mohiuddin (Literature: 1968), Dr Gh Ahmed Banday (Science & Engineering: 1970), Smt Mali Wali (Social Work: 1972), Ghulam Qadir Lala (Trade & Industry: 1974), artists of Radio Kashmir’s most popular programme “Zoona Dab” Pushkar Bhan, Somnath Sadhu and Mariyam Begam (Civil Service: 1974), legendary physician Dr Ali Jan (Medicine: 1975), author-journalist Mulukh Raj Saraf (Literature & Education: 1976), broadcaster Allah Rakha (Art: 1977), Ghulam Russul Khan (Trade: 1983), physician Dr Syed Naseer Ahmed Shah (Medicine: 1984), Begum Zaffar Ali (Social Work: 1987) and writer Moti Lal Saqi (Literature & Education: 1989).
In post-1990 turbulent era, Padma Shree in J&K state was also awarded to eminent Dogri litterateur Ram Nath Shastri (1990), BSF’s IG Ashok Patel and civil servant Mehmood-ur-Rehman (1991), social activist Shambhu Nath Khajuria (1998), Ladakhi artist Tsering Wangdun (1999), Kashmiri litterateur Prof Rehman Rahi (2000), Radio Kashmir’s popular singer Raj Begum (2002), Ladakhi artist Morup Namgyal (2004), Kashmiri poet Amin Kamil and popular singer Shameem Dev Azad (2005), social activist Ms Mehmooda Ahmed Ali Shah (2006), physician Smt Tsering Landol (2006), artist Sonam Skalzang (2007) academic Prof Amitabh Matoo and historian-critic Mohammad Yousug Taing (2008) and artist Hashmatullah Khan (2009). Year 2010 Padma Shree went to litterateurs Prof Hamidi Kashmiri and Jatinder Udhampuri in addition to Ghulam Mohammad Mir alias Moma Kanna of Magam for his unparalleled profile in providing information about armed guerrillas to J&K Police and security forces which is officially recognized as Social Work in India. Including Kanna, a total of 35 men and women have got Padma Shree in J&K state.
Four-odd recipients of the country’s third highest civil honour, Padma Bhushan, in J&K in the last 58 years are Asaf Ali Faizi (Literature & Education: 1962), T N Raina (Civil Service: 1972), Balraj Puri (Literature & Education: 2005) and veteran Gujjar leader Mian Bashir Ahmed (2008). While the country’s top most civil award Bharat Rattan has not been conferred on anybody from J&K state, former Chief Minister and Congress stalwart Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq (1972) has been the only recipient of India’s second highest civil honour Padma Vibhushan in the last 58 years.
Baramulla resident and National Conference activist Maqbool Sherwani, who misled the Pakistani tribesmen and was gunned down for helping the Indian Army and the Kashmiri militia to fail the invasion in 1947, did not get a national or state honour. He was, nevertheless, remembered when Government raised a municipal hall and a residential colony in his name in Baramulla and the fashionable Residency Road in Srinagar was officially named as ‘Maqbool Sherwani Road’.