Akhtar Mohi-ud-din remembered

Famed Kashmiri poet and intellectual Akhtar Mohi-ud-Din –one of the few writers who identified himself with the ongoing struggle in Kashmir and who openly pleaded that pro-freedom leader Maqbool Bhat shouldn’t be hanged –was Friday described “a multi-dimensional personality” during a function organized by Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art Culture and Languages.
Akhtar who was born at Batmaloo here on April 7 1929, was a prominent short-story writer who passed away on May 22, 2001.
Speaking on the occasion, journalist Ghulam Nabi Khayal narrated his personal association with Akhtar. “In 1985, Akhtar and I together saw the movie Omar Mukhtar. When we came out, Akhtar said that had Maqbool Bhat not been hanged, we would have had our own Omar Mukhtar,” Khayal recollected.
The programme executive of Doordarshan, Basheer Athar threw light on Akhtar’s short stories.
“He was unparallel in his art of short story writing,” Athar said
The function was organized to observe a day in the name of Akhtar Mohi-ud-Din.
Historians say that Akhtar was a first Kashmiri writer to dedicate his novel Jahnamuk Panun Panun Naar in 1975 to the person “who would fire first bullet to set things rights in Kashmir.”
The novel was released on February 5, 1975 when former Chief Minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah signed the Indra-Abdullah accord.
Akhtar gave went to his feelings
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for Kashmiris in his verses and pieces of fiction.
In his book ‘Seven One Nine Seven Nine (71979), Akhtar depicts the plight of Kashmiris in a piece of fiction titled Jali huend dande phol (Jali’s broken teeth). His another write-up titled ‘Aatak Wad’i conveyed that “Indian soldiers looked at Kashmiris as nothing but terrorists.”
Amin Kamil, Ghulam Nabi Gowhar and Farooq Nazki were among the participants including academics, journalists, lawyers, and writers who deliberated upon the life and contribution of Akhtar Mohi-ud-Din, who returned the Sahitiya Academy Award which was conferred on him in 1968. Akhtar returned the award in protest against the Indian government’s decision to hang Muhammad Maqbool Bhat who was hanged in Tihar jail of Delhi in 1984. Earlier, Akhtar had launched a campaign to save Maqbool Bhat. When the death sentence was awarded to Bhat, Akhtar issued statements in local newspapers, urging the Government of India not to hang him. One of statements read: “Gaandhi Ji’s India will not gain anything by hanging Maqbool Bhat.”
The Academy’s secretary Zaffar Iqbal Manhas said the Academy would publish a book on Akhtar Mohi-ud-Din.