Mawlana Noor Shahideen Quaid e Tehrek e Azadi: A most forgotten legend of Chitral history Part 1 (1917 to 1950)
We are told to remember the idea, not the man. Because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten. But four hundred years later an idea can still change the world.
– V for Vendetta
This article is based on various primary and secondary sources which are as followings 1. Files concerning Chitral Muslim League and Mawlana Noor Shahideen, District Records Room, Tribal Research Cell, DC office Records and records of Commissioner Malakand and we also to used various secondary sources which are papers of Amir Khan Mir and Dr Inayatullah Faizi about Mawalana Sahib (both were published in Oxford University Press Pakistan in 2008) and also concentrated different newspapers articles between 1949 to 1956. I have also collected sound oral sources during my research. Mawlana Noor Shahideen was the foremost role in the initial stages of the Chitral Uprising of 1949. Born in Chomorkhon a village away from 10 kilometers from Chitral town in 1887 during the reign of Shah Aman ul Mulk (1856 to 1892). His father name was Sufi Muhammad Din was also a famous religious scholar. His kinsmen are still living in Chomokhon and Mastuj. He got his early education from his father than his father sent him for further education to Dehli. He got enrolled in “Madrasaye Aminiya Dehli”, this seminary was founded by famous religious scholar of his time named Mufti Kifayatullah. He remained there for some years eventually he got the degree of Dars-e Nizami. On his return in1917, he delivered first Juma Sermon in Shahi Masjid Xhang Bazaar in the presence of the ruler, he criticizes the traditional system of administration and demanded immediate reform. He also condemned the taxes imposed on masses and also denounced the forced labor. Mehtar and his advisor got angered of this development and orders of his trusted official for the elimination of Noor Shahideen, but survived (TRCThis was the time when another famous religious leader Pir Bulbul Shah had revolted against the State. His main demand was to withdraw the taxation system both leaders had close ties and correspondences). After six years on his return from India, Mehtar Shuja ul Mulk abolished the Jagirdari System in 1923 and made a centralized revenue system. He was the champion of interfaith harmony and religious tolerance.
In 1924, when Mehtar Shuja ul Mulk (1895-1936) returned from a pilgrimage from Arabia. He was greeted with great pomp and show by his subjects. Tribal and religious elites also went out to congratulate him. On this occasion, Mawlana Noor Shahideen also called on Mehtar and advised him to do away with the rule of oppression and introduce Islamic laws in the State but Mehtar did not turn down the proposal but rather thought of a plan to get rid of him, given commission one of his trusted man to make an attempt of life of Mawlana Noor Shahideen. As a result, he was imprisoned and tortured severely. During the reign of Mehtar Shuja ul Mulk he was active and kept his activities secretly. He had very close ties with Shahzada Nasir ul Mulk (Mir 2008).
During the period of Mehtar Nasir ul Mulk, he was active in various activities because Mehtar himself had similar political views of Noor Shahideen. In 1943, Mehtar Nasir ul Mulk died and Mehtar Muzafar ul Mulk ascended the throne. According to eyewitness and British colonial sources that this turbulent period was the most awful period in the annals of history. The first-time Hindal Basho land concept had been envisaged and changed. According to this law if any man had no male issue than automatically State seized the deceased property. Prior to this his cousins were eligible for getting the property. Force labour had been increased dozens of honorary positions had been filled. At this critical time of juncture, Mawlana Noor Shahideen played a decisive role in the history of Chitral. He joint “Chitral Muslim League” a political organization that was established by Mawlana Qalandar Shah of the instigation of Shahzada Hussam ul Mulk in 1946. Later on Mawlana Noor Shahideen became its president with the title of “Sadar Azam” and also organized Chitral National Guard (Mir 2008: TRC 1949: DCD 1949).
On 17th September 1949, the Chitral Muslim League held a grand Public Jalsa in Chitral in which Noor Shahideen floated his well-known demand for the enforcement of Sharia, the abolishment of taxes and forced labor, the establishment of a responsible government in Chitral. His Highness Saif ur Rehman attended the meeting and announced a number of concessions in taxes, the abolition of forced labor and enforcement of Sharia law within the legal system, but on the behalf of Chitral Muslim League Qazi Sahib Nizam has rejected the offer and demanded a Zimadar Hokumat (Responsible Government). Mawlana Sahib also wanted to bring revolutionary changes in the entire set-up. He made himself as a representative of provisional and central governments. Soon after the Government of Pakistan has decided to set-up an administrative board and taken full administrative powers of Chitral, immediately after the establishment of a new set-up, the government withdraw all forced labor system, introduced administrative reforms and HH Saif ur Rehman was sent to Pakistan Administrative Academy Lahore for training. This was a great success of Noor Shahideen (Mir 2008: Fiazi 2008). In 1950 pro-Mehtar forces organized themselves under the banner of Itehadi League, headed by Aga Saadi Chugtai. On Independence Day 14 of August 1950, both rival parties took out processions to show their power. The game was won by Chitral Muslim League under the dynamic leadership of Mawalana Noor Shahideen (Faiz 2008).
Wait for next posts as Noorshahideen Part 2 and Part 3