Kashmir's Giant Passes Away

Category: Asia, World Affairs Topics: Kashmir Views: 11691

It is He (God) who hath power over all things.

And now he belongs to the ages. 

That characterization celebrates the recent death of Dr. Ayyub Thakur, a giant in Kashmir's turbulent history. He will not have lived in vain if Kashmiris are crowned with self-determination over their future political destiny, like East Timorese, Montenegrins, or Eritreans. 

Dr. Thakur was a family friend, a scientist, a statesman, and a gemstone in the human rights community. I knew him for three thrilling decades. 

His formula for Kashmir was simple but powerful. The aspirations of the Kashmiri people must be ascertained under the umbrella of United Nations Security Council resolutions. He believed in a democratic consensus among Kashmiris across both sides of the cease-fire line. He adamantly opposed all forms of non-democratic opposition. The moral high ground was everything to him. 

Dr. Thakur achieved legendary status in organizing conferences under the aegis of the World Kashmir Freedom Movement in 1991 at Washington, D.C., in 1993 at Istanbul, Turkey, and in 1995 at Leicester in the United Kingdom. He was President of the WKFM, and enjoyed a network of human rights friends and statesman that criss-crossed the globe. He lectured about Kashmir in every esteemed forum that comes to mind, including the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. 

He held a Ph.D. degree in Nuclear Physics from the University of Kashmir. He taught both there and at the King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As a student and teacher, he was incarcerated as political prisoner of the Government of India and suffered torture for his beliefs. He was exiled in 1981, to launch a career as an international statesman in support of the Kashmir cause. In retaliation, India impounded his passport in 1993. He became India's chief nemesis. They accused him of terrorist links. They accused him of secessionist plotting. They registered criminal cases against him and sought his extradition from the UK. All of India's fulminating was without result. Dr. Thakur's impeccable character, without more, discredited the wild indictments. 

In Great Britain, Dr. Thakur employed exquisite skill to unify Kashmiris across customary boundaries under the All Parties Kashmir Coordinating Committee. In 1997, the British issued him a travel document. 

Dr. Thakur was a Trustee of the UK-based charity, Mercy Universal, which he had founded in 2000. Its humanitarian work for the poor, sick, and needy has been shining. He was the Director of the Justice Foundation, which he founded in 2003 as a registered UK company to advance the Kashmir cause through public advocacy. 

Dr. Thakur's final illness set in last November at the sprightly age of 55. He was treated for severe lung disease in the United States by doctors hailing from Indian occupied Kashmir. They advised rest. He was irrepressibly restless in boosting the Kashmir cause, and in orchestrating a forthcoming International Kashmir Conference in London in late February 2004. He died as a genuine martyr in Kashmir's annals of martyrology on Wednesday, 10 March 2004 at 10.20 a.m. (London time). 

Since the birth of the WKFM in 1990, Dr. Thakur subordinated his marvelous array of academic and professional pursuits to the Kashmir cause. On that score he was Kashmir's great hero. Magnanimity, charity, and resolution were his signature despite agonizing hardships. 

India retaliated against Dr. Thakur's family to silence his strong and persuasive voice. Both his parents died lamenting his absence for more than 10 years. During an even longer period, Dr. Thakur's family members, relatives, and friends were tortured and harassed by the Government of India. But Dr. Thakur would never place personal considerations above the lofty aspirations of the Kashmiri people. 

Dr. Thakur knew that Kashmir could move the world only by moral argument and peaceful advocacy to awaken the conscience of leaders and citizens everywhere. Kashmir sports neither oil nor diamonds to command attention or sympathy. Kashmiris repudiate weapons of mass destruction. What they possess as substitutes are brave hearts and the righteousness of self-determination. Dr. Thakur built upon those pillars to keep Kashmir on the international agenda. 

Words inevitably cheapen the impeccability of his character and accomplishments. His legacy lives as much in the heart as in the head. If there are better ways to express my reverence for Kashmir's glittering obelisk of freedom, I summon them all. 

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai is executive director of the Kashmiri American Council. He can be reached at [email protected]

  Category: Asia, World Affairs
  Topics: Kashmir
Views: 11691

Related Suggestions

The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Older Comments:
Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un.

May God grant him Heavens. He was a brave and courageous fighter for the oppressed people of Kashmir who are living under brutal occuplation by Hindu fascists.

This article reminded me of the Muslim Leaders of the past. We Muslims need leaders like Dr. Thakur. May Allah, swt, forgive his mistakes and enters him into Paradise.

Dr. Thakur was born in a region, known as Paradise on earth, and now he is gone to the real Paradise.