Syed Mir Qasim

Syed Mir Qasim
Syed Mir Qasim

Mini Biography :

Syed Mir Qasim was the Chief Minister of Kashmir from 1971-1975 and well-respected throughout India as a gentleman politician and statesman. He was noted for his tenacious courage and cool sagacity. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Syed Mir Qasim as a “great nationalist who worked selflessly in public interest and for peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir.” Indian Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi noted that “in the death of Qasim, the country has lost one of its pre-eminent political personalities, who symbolised our ethos of secular nationalism.” Well-respected across the political spectrum, Syed Mir Qasim’s advice and counsel was sought out by every Indian Prime Minister from Nehru to Vajpayee.

Syed Mir Qasim’s political career first began during India’s freedom struggle against Britain, when he became a leader of the non-sectarian, pro-democracy Quit Kashmir political movement. His advocacy against monarchical rule resulted in his imprisonment as a political prisoner by the Maharaja of Kashmir Hari Singh.

After India’s independence, Syed Mir Qasim drafted the Kashmiri constitution and went on to serve in various State and Union positions. He is credited for having established the Indian National Congress (also known as the Congress Party and abbreviated INC) in Kashmir. Syed Mir Qasim most famously offered to resign from the office of Chief Minister in order to encourage and institutionalize the landmark Indira Gandhi-Sheikh Abdullah Accord in 1975.

Syed Mir Qasim suddenly died in an ambulance near India Gate in New Delhi on December 12, 2004 — 33 years to-the-date from when he became Chief Minister in 1971. In accordance with his wishes, he was buried in the remote village of his birth in Kashmir. Notably, given the general level of violent upheaval in Kashmir, his funeral was attended by thousands without incident. He was posthumously awarded India’s highest civilian award by Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2005.

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