By:- SAADAT NASIR WANI SOGAMI
A bright pleasant morning, with no headphones on to hear Sia scream, today, just the lovely music of the birds chirping around the lush green paddy fields, this sky wears a colour that I probably have never seen before something between the shades of blue fusing placidly with the green and giving rise to a totally new feel. I can see women with small sticks of wood laden on their heads moving around , I see men rushing to check on to the paddy fields if the soil needs water or not. I love to walk on the partings that are made as a mark of separation from others’ land. I love people recognizing me as the great grandson of Ghulam Nabi Wani Sogami Sahab the great leader who represented them for a long time. Meanwhile, I find myself out of the paddy fields and walking on of the many roads connecting different villages. A web of roads exists in Lolab which were created by SOGAMI SAHAB in this far flung area back then. I see a group of children coming right from the front, so cheerful and full of life, I have been walking since two hours now, but surprisingly enough each and every cell of my body is still ready to continue this beautiful morning walk, and as I move on and on and on, I see these children very closely and they somehow seem to admire the camera hanging round my neck, I pass a smile to them and feel them catching it, and sending me a pleasant one back. Time passes and now I am tired finding a place to sit and take some rest and a companion to talk. From a little distance I see a very old man (Baba) with a hunch back heading to sit under the shade of a tree; selfishly I join. We greet and go in a discussion, he tells me about the time, when GH. NABI WANI SOGAMI had served the people of Lolab, and how Lola b had actually made a transition from being a far flung cut off area to a staring tourist location. GH. NABI WANI SOGAMI had joined politics at a young age of 14 years, that was the time when India was still under the British rule and our State was fighting against Autocratic Rule. He was a legendary politician who fought along Sher-I-Kashmir and his other colleagues and was a part of the Quit Kashmir Movement. After Independence he was Member of the CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY, and has served the state as an MLA as well as a Minister. Baaba still remembers him for introducing the concept of rain water harvesting to the people of his area, by creating water reservoirs and that is how till time the rice is cultivated in the Kandi belt of Kupwara, he had also dreamt of getting beautiful Lolab valley on the tourism map. He got Rest Houses and Dak Bungalows built all around the Lolab Valley and that’s how tourists started trickling to this area. Since Lolab has a great tourism potential, the previous Govt. Headed by Mr. Omar Abdullah created a dedicated development authority to tap its potential and Sogami Sahib’s own grandson Mr. Nasir Aslam Wani Sogami was instrumental in furthering his dream.
I feel the success of all this sparkling, when I see people coming with their families to see this
famous LOLAB valley , about what a traveler from the far lands once framed LOLAB – (Land of love and beauty ) . I remember how in every political gathering my father Nasir Aslam Wani Sogami quotes his grandfather and assures the people of Lolab, a better LOLAB to live in. Despite of many transitions , I personally don’t feel that Lolab has reached somewhere around where it should have been , there are yet may hurdles to cross, there are many landmarks to reach, yet a lot has to be done , to take it to the level , that the great leader of his time GH. NABI WANI SOGAMI SAHAB had dreamt of. Baaba , and I are still deep in a conversation , a tear is about to roll off my cheek , I am trying to hold on but I can’t , as Baba tells me about this incident where GH. NABI WANI SOGAMI had been a part of the Quit Kashmir movement and was jailed, he was so young that when a handcuff was tied round his wrist it fell off as the hand was too small, and then Maharajas army men came up with some straw that was tied around his wrist and he was sent to jail. He was introduced to the people for the first time when, SHER-I-KASHMIR SHEIKH MUHAMMAD ABDULLAH had come to hold a political rally for the first time in LOLAB and there was a rumor that a child had spoken in this rally and SHEIKH MUHAMMAD ABDULLAH while placing his hand upon the head of this child had said, that one day he will be a great leader and his words were prophetic. It is 12 noon now, I have been out since 6 in the morning, the sun is getting harsher, Baaba kisses me upon my forehead and I leave back to my ancestral home in Sogam.
This conversation has struck a chord and strengthened my bond with this land and its people. A strange feeling of oneness with them. For now, I see a huge rush of responsibilities coming up to my shoulders, simply to trace the dreams of my great grandfather into reality and this responsibility is a multi person task which can easily be achieved upon uniting and contributing thoughts to make Lolab a better place to live in. I assure to contribute my bit, will you?
Ending by what Sir Allama Iqbal quotes: “Pani tere chashmoon ka tadapta hua seemaab, Aye vaadiye Lolab ”.
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