Thousands of people attended the funeral yesterday of Mian Bashir Ahmad Laaravi, a major political and religious figure among Kashmir’s Gujjar community who passed away on Saturday.
Laaravi, a veteran Gujjar leader and Padma Bhushan awardee, passed away at his residence in Wangat village in Kangan area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. He was 98.
Born in 1923 to a top Gujjar leader and saint Mian Nizam-ud-Din Laaravi, Mian Bashir was involved in politics, having served as a minister in the cabinet of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. He quit politics in 1997 and dedicated his life promoting Sufism, of the Naqshbandi order.
For his meritorious contributions, including the extraordinary services for the Gujjar and Bakarwal community, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan – the third highest award of India – in 2008. According to 2011 Census of India, Gujjar is the most populous scheduled tribe in Jammu and Kashmir, constituting around 15 percent of the total population.
One of his sons, Mian Altaf Ahmad, was a former minister and is currently associated with the National Conference.
Anjuman Nusrat-ul-Islam, in its condolence statement, said Mian Bashir Ahmad, was an alumnus of the century-old institution and had a “close relationship with the Muhajir-e-Millat Mirwaiz-Kashmir Moulana Muhammad Yusuf Shah Sahib (RA), Shaheed-e-Millat Mirwaiz Moulvi Muhammad Farooq Sahib (RA) and the present Mirwaiz Dr Umar Farooq”.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq paid tribute to Mian Bashir for his “seven-decade-long religious, milli, spiritual and social services” while terming his demise as “the end of an era”. A delegation also visited the bereaved family.
The leaders from National Conference, Congress, People’s Conference and other political, religious and social organisations expressed condolence over the demise and paid rich tributes to the deceased.
As per sources, Mian Bashir’s Sahab’s ancestors lived in Balakot, Pakistan, and his grandfather had visited Ganderbal in the last quarter of the 19th century. Since the family entered politics and represented their constituency, Kangan – starting from his father Baba Nizamudin, himself and his son Mian Altaf, they have never lost any election. Mian Bashir has been elected four times to the J&K Legislative Assembly.