Vice President releases book on Sheikh Abdullah

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New Delhi, Sep 30 (UNI) Vice President Hamid Ansari today released a book titled 'Sheikh Abdullah: The Tragic Hero of Kashmir', authored by veteran journalist Ajit Bhattacharjea, at a function here.

The book is a well-documented account of the life of Sheikh Abdullah who contributed crucially to the making of modern India.

Drawing upon a wide range of sources, the author takes the reader through Sheikh Abdullah's long, tragic periods of detention until he was persuaded to return to Jammu and Kashmir as Chief Minister.

Mr Farooq Abdullah, son of late Sheikh Abdullah, Mr Omar Abdullah, grandson of late Sheikh Abdullah, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Prof Mushirul Hasan, Vice Chancellor of Jamia University and many other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

''This book is living history at its best. It is the record of happening of a generation that is all but gone. For this reason alone, it is invaluable. It is also a profoundly disturbing book. It reinforces the view that we are still in the process of learning about the momentous events relating to J and K in the early years of our independence,'' the Vice President said speaking on the occasion.

Two factors mentioned in the book were critical to the understanding of the approaches of different actors in J and K, he said, pointing out that the first related to the pre-August 1947 period in which the focus of the struggle of people of the Valley was not against the British but against the Maharaja's rule, and the second was the impact on the Jammu region of the land reforms implemented by the National Conference government.

Mr Ansari also mentioned some parts of the book which recounted some humourous episodes.

''I found two rather amusing. The first cites V P Menon's account of the instructions given by Maharaja Hari Singh to his ADC on October 26, 1947. The second, we have on the authority of Foreign Secretary Gundavia; it relates to a discussion in early 1964 between Nehru and his Director of Intelligence Bureau. The latter dilated on the strength of legal case against the Sheikh; what followed was a typical Nehruvian outburst: 'If a damned thing cannot be proved in four years and in six years, there's obviously nothing to be proved,'' he said.

UNI NAZ RSA KP2026

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