He ruled the State of Jammu and Kashmir as its Prime Minister for eleven years from 1953 to 1964. But when the history of the state was written by many his role in the development of the state got lost in the wind created by the Abdullahs’ and the Muftis’.
Guess who? Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad.
As I reiterate here that history has been selectively written and talked about, on the political legacy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, one leader has been through a lot of injustice as he hasn’t been talked about enough. B.K. Mohammad displayed a great effort for organization and capacity for sustained hard work during his years of struggle.
Going back to the post Independence Era of India in October 1947, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah was released from prison and made Prime Minister. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed was made his Deputy Prime Minister and was entrusted with the Home Affairs portfolio. In 1948 during the Sheikh’s absence from the State to represent India’s case at the UN, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed took over as the Chief Administrator.
In August 1953, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah was dismissed and arrested. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed became Prime Minister of the State. He also became the President of the National Conference by a majority vote of the State Cabinet. He is the longest-serving Prime Minister of the state as well. It is alleged that he staged a coup with the help of the Head of State Karan Singh, that eventually resulted in the dismissal and imprisonment of Sheikh Abdullah. It was during his rule that the world witnessed the formulation of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and a normalization of relations between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and India.
Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed proved to be a great administrator during his tenure and is remembered as the “Architect of Modern Kashmir” because of his constructive work in the State. He had gained tremendous popularity among people of all regions of J&K with his knack of establishing a direct rapport with people at grass-root level. His stint as the Prime Minister or Chief Minister and can generally be acknowledged as the Golden Period of the State’s post-independence history.
Bakshi came from a humble background. During his reign, there was a huge development in the field of education, medicine and other fields in the state. He had coined the term ‘Naya Kashmir’ with the vision to empower every citizen of the state. His rule is also remembered for crushing political opponents and dissent with an iron fist. He also created a system of patronage, nepotism and institutionalized corruption in the region.
Bakshi’s tenure was marred with allegations of corruptions even as he was fondly known to be an able administrator. Probably, the wrongdoings of his family members while taking undue advantages of Bakshi’s position had brought huge disrepute to his image. Bakshi strengthened his politics on the sole issue of the development of Jammu & Kashmir and its citizens.
He strived to protects their interests and looked up for their prosperous future. In 1967 Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed was elected to the Indian Lok Sabha on a National Conference (NC) ticket defeating the sitting Congress MP, Ali Mohammed Tariq, by a big margin. He remained a member of the Lok Sabha till 1971 and passed away on 9th July 1972.
His political legacy could not be continued ahead after his demise. It is said that due to the strong conviction of his 2nd wife Khursheed Jalal-Ud-Din, that his sons, never joined politics even after offers from various parties.
Pranjal Chaudhari is a digital media & governance consultant who has been working with government agencies and elected representatives in New Delhi. Pranjal has been actively writing on political and social issues pertinent to India’s current discourse.