Bhupinder Singh Pathania: The unsung hero
Akoul | 17 May 2017

On Monday May 17, 2017, the well-wishers, supporters and relatives bid the final and a tearful adieu to Sh Bhupinder Singh Pathania a well-known social and political personality of Ramnagar area who breathed his last at the age of 74 after a brief illness at AIIMS on May 03, 2017 when thousands of residents, bureaucrats and political personalities attended his last rites in his native village.

Sh Bhupinder Singh Pathania (74) was admitted in AIIMS Delhi but breathed his last at 1 pm while his cremation took place in Ramnagar same day.

Sh. Bhupinder Singh Pathania is survived by two sons and daughter. His eldest son RS Pathania is an MLA from Ramnagar while his second son Arjun Singh Pathania is a leading advocate in J&K High Court Jammu.

Termed as unsung hero by the former J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohamed Sayeed at a function a few years ago Sh Bhupinder Singh Pathania was considered as a saviour by the residents of Ramnagar for fighting the cause of the common man and down trodden relentlessly since his youth and had shot into prominence after he took cudgels with the state government over what is known as Mangtu Murder Case when he was a prominent student leader of the area.

A founder member of the state Congress he has to his credit of giving shape to the political careers of many political stalwarts as president of Indian Youth Congress in the state from 1967 to 1975 which include the likes of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Mangat Ram Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ch. Aslam, Peerzada Mohammed Sayeed, Ab Rasheed Mirza and numerous other leaders.

He happens to be the first president of Indian Youth Congress in the state but was mostly forgotten by those who owe their career to him thus acquiring the name of unsung hero of the state.

Sh Bhupinder Singh Pathania was a hero right from the beginning in education and political career topping the Matriculation examination in the state in 1960 and getting selected for engineering degree in Pillani, Bihar in 1962.

However he did not join as he wanted to serve his own people here and after graduating from the erstwhile Prince of Wales College (now GGM Science College) he was offered the job of DFO, Tehsildar and DSP which again he refused to take-up and instead took-up Mangtu Murder Case.

He began his political career in Ramangar and later fought elections for the state Assembly in 1996 when he lost by a meagre 100 votes.

A true example of honesty, and sincere politics Sh Pathania was a man of principals and refused to join the bandwagon of the run of the mill politicians but as circumstances and the politics of the day would have it he was side-lined for the same reasons lest he becomes a hurdle between the corruption and politics.

He also had a stint as journalist when he published his two newspapers Kashmir Express and Ganga besides writing articles in Times of India, Indian Express and India Today etc.

Known as Voice of Poor and Speechless for serving his people through his own pocket he remained a revered figure in the area and was always available for his people who would always fall upon him to fight for the right causes.

Blessed with qualities of head and heart, Mr. Pathania was a powerful orator and a prolific writer. He was gifted with a prodigious pen as good in English as in Urdu. He had published newspapers – Ganga, Kashmir Express and his columns in national newspapers were loved and liked by readers and philanthropists across the country. 'What is this man doing in politics'… These were remarks of Editor-n-Chief of Indian Express, Frank Mores.

He was also known as unsung hero and a victim of Congress culture. He joined Congress in 1958, became state general secretary in 1963, state President in 1967 and continued as State President till 1975. And since thereafter, as a member of state executive and President of district Congress from Udhampur, he served the party selflessly without even a day's break or desertion. And Congress, in lieu, did not give him even a penny worth recognition.

Congress denied party mandate to his flower-fresh son and gave it to non-entity who could get only 1000 odd votes. Nonetheless, it was BJP leadership driven by Mission 44 who trusted his son, Ranbir Singh Pathania, in 2014 elections and he smashed the Panthers Party citadel in Ramnagar, wresting it from 3-times JKNPP MLA and former Education Minister with a record margin of 18000 votes.

"I have run into and survived through good many incidents and episodes during my 55-year long uninterrupted political journey. I feel like I am standing at the turning point of my life. I knew pretty well that politics and values were bound to part ways one day – and the day perhaps has come for me to break now with the former. I would better go to my fields now and look after my broken domestic fences away from noise and din".   These were the words written on the personal dairy of Mr Bhupinder Singh Pathania.

Graduate of sixties with a merit position in the state-level matriculation examination, Mr Pathania is all known for spurning engineering seats in Pilani (Rajasthan) & Patna (Bihar), and appointments as Dy.S.P., Tehsildar, D.F.O. offered to him by the then regime in his student days. Being a founder member of Congress in the state, he was first president of Indian Youth Congress of the state. Late Mufti Mohammad Sayyeed, Late Mangat Ram Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Choudhary Aslam, Mirza Rashid, Janak Raj Gupta, Peerzada Mohd Sayyid and a host of senior Congress leaders had worked under him while he was head of Youth Congress in the state. At the national level, he had been member of National Council of Congress, and had rubbed shoulders with N. D. Tiwari, (former Union minister, Chief Minister & Governor), P R Dass Munshi (former Union Minister), Gundu Rao (former chief minister), Tulsi Dassapa (Former Union minister), Vaylor Ravi (Former Union minister), C. K. Jaffer Sharif, (Former Union minister) Ashok Bhattacharya (Former M.P.) , Mahesh Joshi, (Former minister Madhya Pradesh),  Ram Lal Parikh, (former Vice Chancellor Gujarat Vidyapeeth), Mool Chand Jain (Former minister) and a host of central congress leaders.

Truth, honesty and ebullience were writ large on his forehead. Everybody was taken aback, when in early sixties, he entered into a verbal duel with Indira Gandhi during a Congress session. Ultimately Jawahar Lal Nehru had to intervene and ask Indira to sit down as she was on a wrong track.

I am clearly reminiscent of an AIR news of 1964, 'In the interests of the party and the state and nation, a group of Congressmen led by Bhupinder Singh Pathania, President J & K Youth Congress, J&K reaches New Delhi to facilitate truce between two warring groups of congress"

A strong proponent of morality and uprightness in public life, he never compromised on principles and propriety. He shall be remembered as 'Voice of the poor and speechless' for the issues he has canvassed and service he has rendered to the people of the area.

He was known for his mass appeal as he transformed 'Mangtu murder Agitation' in 1967 into a public stir which shook the powers-that-be in the power corridors. He addressed one-lac strong crowd at Village Bharnara of Ramnagar which forced the government to kneel down and appoint a SIT which clinched the murder and agitation came to a logical conclusion. He framed an Action Committee in the aftermath of a series of dacoities in the area and the then chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, was forced to ultimately come over there and assure immediate corrective measures. He was also President of All Parties Tehsil Sangharsh Samiti which spearheaded movement for a Tehsil at Majalta and the said demand was ultimately accepted by the government in 2007. He was instrumental in mobilising the local people in peaceful satyagrahs against the establishment for their day to day issues.

His contribution, character remains immortal in the political social landscape of the state. People remember him as 'Lok Nayak' of the poor and downtrodde