Hunting for the publisher

Syed Zafar Mehdi

Acclaimed author of ‘My Son the Fanatic’ fame, Hanif Kureishi created quite a flutter recently when he remarked that Indian writing in English has become “boring”. It may have ruffled many feathers in Indian literary circles, but it certainly has not dampened the spirit of budding authors, who are making beelines to get their works published. With no dearth of role models to emulate and the avenues also expanding tremendously, the new-age writers are leaving no stone unturned to don the mantle of authors and grab the spotlight.
Good times ahead
Indian writing in English has improved considerably over the years. Hitherto, the scene was dominated by the Salman Rushdies, V S Naipauls, Vikram Seths, Amitav Ghoshs and Arundhati Roy, but with the new crop of authors spreading their wings, good times are certainly ahead. “It is very promising and happening. In the last decade or so, Indian writing has really come into its own,” says Bubbles Sabharwal, author of Tomorrow’s Promise (Penguin, 2008).
Nitasha Kaul, author of Imagining Economics Otherwise: encounters with identity/difference” (Routledge India, 2008), feels the arena is both “diverse and challenging”. “I hope the newer authors will continue to bridge the vastly different worlds of the Indian surroundings and the English fiction reader.”
Hunting for publishers
For any budding writer, the hunt for the prospective publisher is a Herculean task. But if some established authors are to be believed, things have improved drastically now. “It’s never easy to get published but the scene is better now than at any other time in past,” says Karan Bajaj, celebrated author of two bestsellers, Johnny Gone Down (2010) and Keep off the Grass (2008). Even publishers are not averse to the idea of launching new writers. “We have always believed in promoting young and new talent. We publish the maximum number of first time writers in the country and will continue to do so,” says Kapish G Mehra, Publisher, Rupa & Co.

Sabharwal says the publishers should be approached with determination and perseverance. “Indian publishers need to be persuaded single-mindedly. Never take no for an answers, just keep going.” According to Kaul, fiction and non-fiction publishers are not same, when it comes to treatment of work. “In my experience, non-fiction publishers tend to be more focused. Fiction publishers, on the other hand, sometimes have a larger-than-life idea of ‘what the market wants’ which is not always borne out by reality.”

After getting a publisher, the equation between author and editors largely determines the success of work. “Great editors raise profound, thought-provoking questions on your plot that help you delve deeper and deeper into the psyche of your characters. In my case, I think I understood my protagonist and his motivations much better as I worked with outstanding editors like VK Karthika and Neelini Sarkar from Harper Collins,” says Bajaj.


Changemakers, starting young

Syed Zafar Mehdi

Ishita Chaudhry of Defence Colony, now 25, leaped into the world of activism and social entrepreneurship at the young age of 17. Now, president of The Young People Foundation (TYPF), she has managed to mobilise remarkable support base of young students.

Splash of young blood

With rising awareness in the society, young students are finally coming out of closet and increasingly taking part in social and community affairs, through their association as volunteers with various Non Government Organisations (NGOs). “Whether it is a street plays to raise awareness about civic responsibilities or initiating dialogues on sexual harassment in public transport, youngsters spread the message with ingenuity and enthusiasm,” says Shiela Jhunjhunwala, who heads a South-Extension based NGO working for underprivileged people.

While many do it just to help the less fortunate or spread a social message, volunteering has also become a good way for students to build up their resumes, learn new skills or make contacts that can help them in their careers. “Young people just need a proper platform to channelise their restless energy,” believes Rahul Verma of Hauz-Khas based Uday Foundation. Uday has hundreds of young student volunteers working for it.

Born change-makers

Recently, in the slums of South Delhi, 20 street children were taught the art of writing news articles, analyse the communities’ problems and view media with a critical eye by four student volunteers. The result was Udayachal, a children’s newspaper highlighting the problems of urban poor communities and views of children on grave issues.

“Earlier girls were not even allowed to interact and there were no opportunities for them. Now things are changing,” says Tanvi Saxena, a volunteer. These volunteers create awareness on issues such as sanitation and cleanliness through Udayachal.

Mansi Bose joined TYPF two years ago, in her second year of college. She was inducted into VOICES project. “I was part of a project where I knew very few participants. I was interacting with complete strangers about issues that were completely personal. During this project I learnt something, which is what we always tell students in schools, “You’re not alone with your problems, and yours are not the only problems,” says Bose.

Mukul Jain, of Green Park thinks every youngster has a duty towards the nation. Jain had participated in Monsoon Wooding program last year, which brought together over 200 young student volunteers to distribute saplings and use street plays to give fillip to the ‘go green campaign’. “At a time when global warming concerns are taking a toll on the environment, it’s our duty to plant more saplings and promote the concept of green city,” says this student of Delhi Public School, Nizamuddin.

Some students like Prerna Bharti and Vishesh Sharma from Amity University are involved with Uday Foundation’s Story Telling Programs held in Escorts Hospital. “We conduct story telling sessions for children admitted in Escorts, and try to cheer them up,” says Bharti. “We stay in touch with those children and their parents even after they are released from the hospital,” says Sumegha Gulati, from Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, Delhi University. “These students have been involved with the programme since past 6-7 months. It is a voluntary work on their part,” says Faisal Zahoor Haq, Assistant Professor at Amity University.

Piyali Chaddha (name changed) from South Extension II, a survivor of child trafficking has become a role model now – exemplifying how a victim can lead a dignified life by choosing a life free of stigma, oppression and shame. She has joined ‘Koshish’, a unique Self Help Group (SHG) initiated by Stop Trafficking and Oppression of Children and Women (STOP) to rehabilitate survivors of trafficking. ‘Koshish’ was formed in November, 2006 and runs a cafeteria in a college of the Delhi University Campus. “I wanted to prove that we can’t just be dumb cattle. We have a voice too,” says Chaddha.

Sumit Solanki from South Extension II, a Delhi University student has been involved with Butterflies; a Green Park based NGO working for street children. “We generally collect data for research related work, and even go for field work,” says Solanki. Some like Rahul and his friends from Hauz Khas have been associated with the NGO iVolunteer, where young under graduate and postgraduate students are selected, oriented and then placed with rural NGOs across India.

In Green Park and Hauz Khas, many little school children joined hands last month in a cleanliness drive aimed at restoring the beauty of famed Rose Garden, Hauz Khas Village. “It was a humble attempt on our part to rid the garden of filth and polythene lying scattered all over,” says Ankit Singhvi, one of the volunteers.

(First published in Hindustan Times)




Miss you Chachu!

Syed Zafar Mehdi 

… It has been quite a while now, but these wounds won’t seem to heal. This pain is just too frigging real. Your graceful presence still lingers on; still your absence is sorely felt. I have tried hard to convince myself that you are gone, but though you are still with me, I have been feeling lonely, abandoned and weak. Chachu, you used to captivate us, you used to be the cynosure of eyes, the centre of attention. Now we are bound by the life you left behind. I wanna cry sometimes. I miss you.

I never thanked you for everything you did. I thought I might get one more chance, now I will never have one. I closed my eyes last night and saw you coming to me on silver wings of light, asking me what was wrong, I smiled and said nothing. When you turned around, a teardrop trickled down and I whispered to myself, everything is. Yes, in your absence, everything is. Chachu, I know you are shining down from heavens, and I know we will be together one beautiful day. But I miss you.

Every time I feel low or sad these grueling days far from the folks at home, I wish you were here to comfort me in your inimitable style. Whenever I have a long hard day at work, I wish I could smile knowing that soon I’ll be seeing you, and everything would seem better, even if it’s just for a moment. When I lay down at night, I just muse back and cherish the old memories we have had together. When I get up in the morning, I wish I could smile, knowing that this will be another day we’ll be together. I miss you Chachu. Why did you leave us like this? So suddenly, shockingly?

Chachu you had so much to live for, so much to do, then why did you bid us adieu like this. Emptiness and memories have taken your place now. But I won’t stand at your grave and weep; I know you never slept much. You are the thousand winds that blow, the sunlight on ripened grain, the diamond glint on snow. You are in my heart and mind. You are in my prayers and in everything I do. But I still miss you.

I vividly remember the days you would drop us at school every morning and bring us back home in evenings, walking all the way to our school through those long paddy fields in scorching heat. But why did you go like this, without even informing? Nothing hurts more than waiting, since I don’t even know what I’m waiting for anymore. I wish I could hold you now, talk to you, be with you somehow, somewhere.

Chachu, I will always carry the regret that I couldn’t get to see you one last time, to be with you before you took the long walk back to heavens. I couldn’t be by your side when you were lying in excruciating pain at hospital in your last days. I wish I could look into your eyes one last time and tell you how much I loved and cared. I just don’t feel like going home now. I hate desolation. In our absence, everything has lost sheen. But, life moves on. Nevertheless.

Jaate hue kehte ho qayamat ko milien ge 

Kya khoob qayamat ka hai, goya koi din aur 


Eat and indulge this Eid

 Syed Zafar Mehdi

With the second Eid of the year knocking on the heels, people are excited, especially the foodies. The Eid-ul-Adha menu is generally wide-ranging, as grand and exquisite as the customs and traditions associated with the festival that falls at the fag end of Islamic calendar. It takes great deal of care to prepare traditional Eid delicacies, and people eat and indulge with disdain on this day.

Eid al Adha is synonymous with beef and everything related to beef. A great number of delicacies can be prepared with beef, like beef biryani, beef kebabs, beef balls, beef stew and many more. Besides, tandoori chicken, shami kemabs, mutton korma, Afghani pulao, kofta, kheer, haleem will never go out of fashion as favourite Eid offerings.

We give the recipes of some popular dishes served on Eid-ul-Adha.

1.      Shami Kebab (mutton mince kebabs)

½ kg minced meat without fat.
2 tbsp chana dal (split gram) washed and soaked in water for ½ hr.
2 pieces dalchini. (cinnamon)
3 cloves.
1 piece ginger.
1 tsp coriander and cumin powder.
1 tsp garam masala.(mixed spices)
10 garlic flakes.
2 elaichi. (cardamom)
1 tsp chili powder.
A pinch of pepper.
A handful of Kothmir and chopped pudina.(mint leaves)
1 egg.
Juice of ½ a lemon.
1 finely chopped onion.
Oil for frying.
Salt to taste.

Wash and drain the mince meat. Mix the split gram, whole spices, a cup of water and salt to taste. Cook until it becomes dry. Remove from the fire and add ginger, garlic, pepper, chili powder, coriander and cumin powder and grind the mixture into a fine paste and knead into a dough. Now add the chopped mint leaves, lime juice and salt to taste. Make lemon sized balls of the dough, flatten the balls and stuff them with a little onion mixture. Dip the stuffed kebabs in the beaten eggs and shallow fry till it is cooked.

Mutton Korma (meat curry)

½ kg Boneless mutton.
½ tbsp cumin.
Coconut paste. (½ cup)
1 tbsp Ginger paste.
1 tbsp Garlic paste.
Onions. (Finely chopped 1 cup)
Poppy seed paste. (½ cup) Coriander powder 1 tbsp.
Red chili powder ½ tsp.
Turmeric powder ½ tsp.Bay leaves 2 nos.
Cloves 6-8 nos.
Nutmeg powder A little.
Green elaichi 6-8 nos.
Cinnamon sticks A few.
Oil 4 tbsp.
Salt to taste.

Dry cloves, elaichi, jeera, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg powder are to be roasted and then ground to a fine paste. Heat some oil in a saucepan; add bay leaves and chopped onions and sauté. When the color of the onion changes to brown, add ginger and garlic paste to it. Put in the boneless mutton and stir, mix in the ground masala, turmeric and red chili powder. Pour some water, add salt to taste and boil till the mutton becomes tender. Add the paste of poppy seeds, coconut paste along with the roasted coriander powder. Boil for another ten minutes. Garnish with coconut paste and serve hot.

3.      Tandoori Lamp chops



Lamb chops 1kg

Yogurt 1 cup

Salt to taste

Red chilli 2 tsps crushed

Black salt 1 tsp

Poppy seeds 2 tsps make a paste

Mango powder (amchur) 2 tsps

Vegetable oil 200gms (1 1/2 cups

Green chilies 8-10 make a paste

Ginger Paste 1 tsps

Garlic Paste 1 tsps

Tomato 1/2 kg make a paste

Onions 2-3 medium make a paste



Clean all the fat from chops and wash them. Then mix all the above ingredients and oil in the yogurt, mix well and marinate chops for at least 5 hours. Now chops are ready to cook. You can cook them in a grill or in a frying pan. Just put little bit of oil in the frying pan on low heat. Then put all the chops on it and cover with lid. After 5-6 minutes change their side and put the lid back on. Let them cook for another 10 minutes then put in a plate and garnish with green coriander. Serve with chutney or sauce.

Kabuli Pulao



Half kg  Basmati rice

1 kg Lamb or beef on the bone

100 gms Vegetable oil

2 liters Water

2 large Carrots

100 gms Black seedless raisins

Zeera (Cumin)

Dalchini (cinnamon)

Ilaichi (Cardamom)

Salt & pepper


Take 1 medium diced onion in oil. Add lamb or beef cut into 1” cubes & brown lightly. Add 2 cups of water, 1 tsp (or to taste) each of salt, dalchini, ground zeera & ground ilaichi. Cover & simmer (about an hour) until meat is tender. Remove meat from the juice & set juice aside. Cut 3 carrots into match stick size pieces. Sauté carrots & 1 tsp sugar in about quarter cub of oil. Cook until they are lightly browned. Remove from oil. Add 1 cup of raisins to the oil & cook until they swell up. Boil the meat juice & add 2 cups basmati rice.1.5 tsp salt & enough boiling water to come 2 inches over the rice. Cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender (not mushy). Mix the meat, carrots, raisings and rice together. Place in a large oven-proof casserole, cover & bake at 300 degrees of for half to an hour.

5.      Kheer – (Rice Pudding)

1 cup of cooked basmati rice (long grain rice)
8 green cardamom pods crushed
2 tablespoons rose essence
2 tablespoons ground pistachio nuts
71/2 cups of whole milk
12 tablespoons sugar

The rice is to be ground finely and placed in a saucepan with cardamoms. Add 6 3/4 cups of milk and boil over medium heat stirring continuously. Add remaining milk and cook over a medium heat until the rice mixture thickens to a creamy consistency. Add sugar and the rose water and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Serve chilled, and garnished with nuts.

6.      Haleem (Meat stew)


250 gms Mutton.
1 cup Wheat soaked overnight, drained, pounded & husked.
A handful of channa dal (split gram), soaked for 1/2 hour.
A handful of moong dal (green gram), soaked for 1/2 hour.
A handful of masoor dal (red lentils), soaked for 1/2 hour.
1 tsp coriander powder.
2 tsp Ginger-garlic paste.
4 tbsp Ghee(clarified milk)
1 tsp Chili powder.
1/2 tsp turmeric.
2 Onions, sliced and fried crisp.
Salt to taste.

Heat 6-8 cups of water in a wide-mouthed heavy bottomed vessel. Put in the drained gram, wheat and mutton along with the ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder and salt when the water starts to boil. Cook over medium fire till the mutton is tender. Then mash the mutton and add the crushed fried onion to this mixture. Heat the clarified milk and pour it over the Haleem. Sprinkle lemon-juice before serving it hot.

Young changemaker


Syed Zafar Mehdi

He is no ordinary chap. All of 17, and he is already counselling the children addicted to drugs and alcohol, and raising awareness about the same among students at his school. And unlike most other youngsters of his age, he knows how to juggle his time between studies, sports, and the social work. Meet Vidit Bahri, 12th standard student at Shri Ram School, who along with his peers at school has taken an initative to address the grave concerns related to growing alcohol abuse among minors.

Vidit has started a peer-training group in which he along with five other trainers hold workshops for children, mostly students, spreading awareness about the perils of alcohol and drug abuse. He has been instrumental inhelping many young drug-addicts come out of the deadly cobweb. “It is a matter of alarming concern and something that irks me immensely. The growing levels of drug abuse among children needs to be addressed at all levels,” says the young changemaker.

Vidit has went a step further. He has also started similar training sessions for college-going students as well. “It all started last year when I was at a family function and some boys came upto me and started talking about drugs and alocohol. Then I went to France on an exchange program and there I saw huge prevalance of the menace. Unlike here, I saw people talking about it and raising awareness in different ways, which impressed me,” says Vidit. On his return from France, he discussed the idea with his school adminstration and that is how his crusade against drug abuse started.

Each of the five trainers handpicked by him are allotted a set of students. “We basically provide all sort of information related to drug abuse and if anyone comes up asking for help, we provide counselling to them,” says Vidit. Vidit is all praise for his teachers at school who supported the cause. “It wouldn’t have been possible without them. And we are planning to take it to other schools in Delhi and Haryana soon,” says he. Vidit and his friends have also started Be Yourself program at school, under which they discuss all kinds of teenage problems and issues with teenagers. “After getting the overwhelming response for our work against drug abuse, we decided to help teenagers groping with dfferent teenage dilemmas and problems.”

Vidit has been a diligent student with consistent performances at school. He is also into music, having attended Trinity School of Music for a short while. He loves travelling and wild life and can spend hours watching the National Geography and Travel and Living on television. By his own admission, he would like to be a life guard at the Bondi Beach and save lives yet enjoy his job. To top it all, he is a great athelete, kickboxer, and football player, having represented his school soccer team at state and Inter zonal levels. “I am a sports freak, and I love to sweat it out on field, but now my priorities have shifted a bit. The work I am doing now comes first,” says Vidit.

His priorities are cut-out. “I want to study philosophy and international peace and work for the society inwhatever capacity possible. And I want to take my work to all the schools in Delhi and Haryana so that awarness about drugs and alcohol is desseminated all across,” says Vidit.

Mazloom father’s mazloom daughter

Syed Zafar Mehdi

Whenever talk veers to Karbala, we are reminded of the tales of unflinching loyalty, unrivaled steadfastness and the exalted sacrifices. We are reminded of the sweltering heat, blazing desert and the intense thirst. We are reminded of the shifting sand dunes smeared with blood. We are reminded of the helpless father carrying his infant son to the battlefield. We are reminded of the brave young warrior crashing onto the ground. We are reminded of the 13 year old orphan, whose body was cut into pieces. We are reminded of the prostrate figure lying lifeless on the banks of Furaat. We are reminded of two tender souls fighting like veteran combatants. We are reminded of the grief-stricken lady who saw her kith and kin being mowed down in cold blood. We are reminded of the ailing man wedged in heavy chains. We are reminded of a little girl clutching onto her dry water bag, crying and wailing inconsolably.

Bibi Sakina(sa) was barely four year old when the caravan set out for Karbala from Madinah. She was the heartthrob of family. Imam Hussain(as) was often heard saying, “A house without Sakina (A.S) would not be worth living in”. The beloved daughter of Imam e Mazloom (as), witnessed the gory events at Karbala unfold before her eyes. She is one of the eyewitness reporters of Karbala and its aftermath. Let us listen to one piece of the story from Sakina herself: “I was in my tent when the enemies of Allah attacked it. They were so cruelly looking for whatever they could plunder, until one of them noticed the necklace that I was wearing. He attacked me, trying to grab it from my neck. I was escaping from him until he pulled off my scarf. I fell down unconscious and all I remember was that I awoke in the bosom of my aunt, (Zainab).”

This tender soul watched in horror as every male member of her family left for battlefield, never to come back. She watched in utter helplessness and dismay as Yazid’s hoodlums pillaged the tents and ripped the earrings out of her ears. Her ears bled profusely and tears yelled from her eyes. She was not used to sleeping alone, and today there was no one left to tell her fairytales and put her to sleep. She wandered around in the dark night to look for her father. Clinging tightly to his corpse, she falls asleep.

Bibi Sakeena (sa) shared a close bond with her uncle (Ammu) – Alamdar e Karbala Jenab Abbas (as). Abbas couldn’t see the tears in Sakeena’s eyes, but little did he know that her feeble shoulders would have to bear the brunt of heavy chains. She had sent him to Euphrates (Furat) to fetch water for the inconsolable and thirsty children in tents. Abbas couldn’t keep his promise, for the first and last time. Sakeena cried loudly. Her shrieks were deafening. She didn’t crave for water; she just wanted her Ammu back.

Bibi Sakeena(sa) suffered from terrible fatigue and thirst on the forced march to Damascus, and later from cold and starvation in Yazid’s dark dungeon. She cried silently and inconsolably, caring little about her own pain. She consoled her mother when the corpse of Ali Asghar(as) – her 6-month old brother – was brought to tent, even as she struggled to hold back her own tears. On seeing any lady or child weeping, she would put her little arms around them and pacify them.

Bibi Sakina(sa) forgot to smile, after Karbala. Kufa saw her as a little girl lost in thought. Quite often she would sit up at night and stare curiously at pitch darkness. When asked if she wanted anything, she would say, “I just heard a baby cry? Is it Asghar? He must be calling out for me!” Knowing that her weeping would upset her mother, she would cry silently and quickly wipe away her tears. In the Damascus prison, she would stare at the flock of birds flying to their nests at sunset and innocently ask Bibi Zainab (s.a.), “Will Sakina ever be going home like those birds flying to their nests?”

Shahzaadi, your gut-wrenching shrieks ring loud in our hearts and souls even today. Your tale of helplessness, patience and chivalry will continue to inspire us forever. Bibi, please keep blessing us, always.

Ala La’anatul Laahi Alal Qoum e Zaalimeen!!!

Remembering a visionary, a legend and a grandpa


Syed Zafar Mehdi

“To live in hearts we leave behind,” says Campbell in Hallowed Ground, “is not to die”. Aga Syed Ali Safvi lives on. He must live on to keep inspiring us every moment. Today, on his 30th death anniversary, we pay tribute to the man who in words and deeds taught us that politics does not necessarily have to be a ‘necessary evil’. It can indeed be a weapon to improve the lives of people and pave way for positive social change.

A statesman par excellence, freedom fighter of highest pedigree, mass leader, and above all a distinguished scholar and writer. Safvi sahib remains the beacon of inspiration to local politicos, policymakers, his disciples and the man on street even today. Sticking to the sacrosanct ideals of altruism and honesty, Safvi sahib dedicated his entire life to selfless public service; thus carving a space in the hearts and minds of people in Kashmir. His political principles put him in a different category among his contemporaries. He never allowed personal considerations stand in the way of performing public duty, and in letter and spirit followed Lincoln’s words, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it”. Politics and social service may be strange bedfellows for most, but for him, they were one and same thing.

Safvi sahib’s greatness was deeply rooted in his simplicity and honesty, as Emerson seconds, “Nothing is simpler than greatness; indeed to be simple is to be great”. His ideals were superior, his demeanor was down-to-earth, and his words and deeds were in sync. Always bustling with ideas, his political acumen was admirable. He preferred pragmatism to populism and steered clear of all sadistic controversies until his last breath. Safvi sahib was blessed with “best of both the worlds”. While dutifully and diligently performing his public duties and attending to all his worldly affairs, he never skipped a prayer, even when assembly used to be in session.

Safvi Sahab was born on 23rd Ramadhan 1336 (AH), into the reputed Safvi family of Bemina, which traces its roots to Iran’s once ruling Safavid dynasty. The family has been famous for its religious scholarship since ages, and has produced several luminaries in past. He received elementary education within family, later joined Islamia School, before completing his (B.A) from Punjab University (now in Pakistan). As per the traditions of family, he simultaneously equipped himself with religious education under the able guidance of grand Islamic authorities Aga Syed Ahmad and Aga Syed Muhammad Budgami. He studied broad range of subjects like theology, philosophy, logic, history and jurisprudence from them besides receiving Quranic education from his father and noted Islamic scholar Aga Syed Taqi Safvi.

Safvi sahib was a multi-linguist, holding mastery over Urdu, Persian, Kashmiri, Arabic and English. He frequently dabbled with Persian, Urdu, and Kashmiri poetry. He was a Marsiah nigaar and Zakir e Ahlebait (as) of repute, and compiled many marsiahs in his lifetime. Owing to his deep understanding of Sharaih laws, people of the area regularly came to him with various religious matters. Being the head of Panchayat committee in Bemina, he also settled family, property and land disputes among people, and his decision was always respected. He served on boards of many religious and social organizations at regional and national level. It is widely believed that had unavoidable circumstances not forced him into politics, he would surely have left behind many more literary treasures to be cherished. But still, armed with a weapon of neat politics, he served the people of state in many capacities, and attained the status of a legend in state’s politico-social history.

Safvi sahab was born to lead. And his fervor for public service got boost when freedom movement spread its tentacles across the state in 1930s. He played catalytic role in Quit Kashmir Movement, rubbing shoulders with top-notch freedom fighters of the time. In the first ever extra-ordinary congregation of Kashmiri militants (mujahids) called at Mujahid Manzil in 1932, Safvi sahab had the privilege of leading the scout’s team as their Commander. Then, in 1951, when Constituent Assembly came into being, Safvi Sahab’s contribution to the freedom movement was rewarded and he was chosen as its Member. He had the full backing of Shia community and the then top-most Shia cleric of state Aga Syed Yousuf Almoosvi. After CA changed into Legislative Assembly, he continued representing his people of Budgam constituency, there. He served as MLA, for three consecutive terms (1952-67), and during this 15 year period he assiduously worked for the welfare of people.

His honesty, uprightness, and integrity were acknowledged by all and sundry, including the opposition camps. Besides being in legislature, he also served as National Conference Tehsil President, Budgam, and District President Srinagar. He eventually rose to become NC State General Secretary in 1964. He was also a member of Public Accounts Committee (PAC), besides being editor of newspaper Nawa-i-Kashmir. He never switched loyalties despite umpteen lucrative offers coming his way. He shunned materialistic pursuits, and lived his entire life in the same ancestral house, which stood in crumbles when he ultimately took a walk back to his Lord. A minor accident resulted in his untimely death on 29th July 1975.

A Sachs says, “Everybody dies, but not everybody lives”, and Safvi sahab is the perfect example of that. I just wonder how he would have felt today, to see these politicos “murdering” rather than “serving” the people. I am glad he is not around, though he lives in our hearts and minds.

On personal note, I just wanna say that I love you Dadu. I am proud of being your grandson and proud of the fact that you are my hero, my inspiration. I just hope I don’t let you and the family down, ever…