Remembering Sana Ullah Dar

Nazir Ahmad Nazir

Sana-Ullah-DarOn 17th of June this year, Advocate Sana Ulah Dar left this world forever after suffering from a bout of illness at SKIMS. Born in 1936, he received his early education from Kakapora and then from Middle School, Pulwama. He qualified Matriculation from National High School, Karan Nagar, where he topped the list of successful candidates and then had his Graduation from S P College, Srinagar. Thereafter, he left for Aligarh Muslim University for Post Graduation in Economics and LL B courses. Throughout his educational career, he remained a meritorious student. Although mild and modest with down-to-earth nature, he was a man with many virtuous qualities.

During Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad’s regime, he was offered many posts even at below intermediate qualification level. However, he rejected all offers as he nurtured a desire to serve the people especially the poor and downtrodden.

Dar joined politics at a tender age and fought his first election unsuccessfully in 1957 as an independent candidate from Pampore constituency. Such was the enthusiasm of his supporters that people often came en-masse, dropped money in the ballot boxes instead of votes. In those days, contesting elections independently against Congress party amounted to fighting for the cause of freedom. However, Congress had allegedly suppressed the people’s voice by rigging ballot boxes clandestinely, declaring Dar Sahab’s opponent as triumphant. This event fanned a feeling of hatred and mistrust amongst the people who subsequently lost faith in democratic exercises.

Since his early childhood, Dar Sahab felt the pain and agony of people and had always an urge to lend a helping hand to them. Dar Sahab once narrated that when he was a primary school student at Kakapora, he saw women getting slipped often on both sides of the river Jhelum while fetching water or crossing boats as there was no bridge. He felt pained at the sight and vowed to get a bridge constructed. Soon his dream got fulfilled and resulted in construction of bridge near Samboora that connects its entire population with District Pulwama, ending the suffering of villagers. Pulwama-Srinagar road via this bridge has become the key route now.

He used to request people not to waste the talent of their children by making them mere shepherds or land-tillers. “Let them study and excel in different fields,” was his message.

He was an upright, sincere, brave and an outspoken person. Once during the regime of G M Shah, he as a minister for Industries and Commerce endorsed a file to the then Chief Secretary Mir Nasrullah. However, the Chief Secretary apparently delayed the case and paid little attention. Then, during the course of a cabinet meeting Dar stood up from his seat and while looking towards the Chief Minister sarcastically said, “Sir, May I know who is our Chief Secretary?” This caught everyone present in the meeting by surprise and the Chief Secretary felt the pangs of guilt. He almost apologized and promised to depose the file sent to him within no time.

Dar Sahab was a disciplined and sophisticated man with decent etiquettes. He would never tolerate indecency. He always thought that to achieve something great for public interest, power is indispensable. Be it on economic, social, religious or political front, one has to have authority. He was first elected to state legislative assembly in 1983 on a NC ticket.

One of his major contributions to the society is Lassipora Industrial Complex, a very big project that spreads over about 10 thousand Kanals of land and has generated tremendous employment avenues. He also got the cost of silk cocoons enhanced so as to benefit the poor farmers/ growers who used to get exploited. Apart from this, he provided jobs to thousands of people and served selflessly to common men irrespective of their party affiliations. Construction of District Hospital, Industrial Complex at Pulwama other than that of Lassipora, Degree College Pulwama, Pahoo and Samboora bridges are some of the major developmental activities that were executed during his tenure. Prior to this, lot of development that also involved establishing of Shaheed Park, Rest house, construction of roads and official buildings, power infrastructure, lift irrigation schemes took place during the time he worked as an MLA. A number of people too got accommodated during this period. Pulwama has been a totally neglected area and no further development seems to have taken place since then.  He was a man with vision, emancipation and high thinking, but the drawback has been probably his truthfulness and clear cut stand against corrupt, unscrupulous elements which always made him suffer.

As a lawyer too he was extraordinary. He started his practice in early 1960’s when he was 28-years-old, from Shopian, Pulwama and then J&K High Court Srinagar. However, due to political activities, this didn’t remain a consistent job for him. He never charged his clients exorbitantly and many times provided free legal aid to the poor.

Dar Sahab’s political career spans over a period of nearly 58 years with many ups and downs. His pragmatic decision-making and outspokenness have propelled him to success a number of times. This was a quality that made him distinct from other politicians. He was really an asset for the society. His death has left a vacuum not only for the people he represented but for entire Kashmir. May Allah rest his soul in peace.

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