Bravehearts of Gujrat

It is about two brothers Mian Akbar and Mian Masood, born to a family of Gujrat. Their father, Mian Barkat sahib was a noble man, who was well respected for his virtues. A man of panchayat, who made his mark as early as 1920, he came through a popular vote. By dint of hard work, he became the Municipal Commissioner in year 1920, and later on the Vice Chairman of Municipal Committee thereof. Gradually rose to prominence.

Historically, Mian Barkat sahib was the one who had gotten off to a start, wherein he landed into transport business subsequently, the buses plying across the length and breadth of province Punjab. He successfully ran Gujrat Punjab Bus Service as its Chairman; there were directors of other prominent families of the district too. Mian Barkat was a kind hearted man, who always condoned the charges committed by employees of the company.

However, the company split up along the way. That is where Mian Akbar comes in. He took over the show and ran it like a maverick, removed all the irritants only to start his own group referred to as Gujart Punjab Bus Service Group-B. He also, got elected as member West Pakistan assembly in 1962, with a thumping majority.

The BD members were predominantly the ones who would choose their member of choice. Out of a whole bulk of 62 members, he had 55 seats to his credit claiming an unprecedented victory. He roared like a lion across the district there by claiming a major share of seats.

A fearless man whom I consider, one with an unshakeable resolve, he took his political opponents head on, cruising his way to victory. He was loved by many, his friends craved to be around him. A bon-vivant, chivalrous man whose flamboyance knew no bounds, he possessed a charisma which hypnotized most. In the election of 62, locally elected members now commonly referred to as Nazims, the tally of which 6 were independent 3 were supporting Ch Zahoor Ellahi and all the rest 51 voted Mian Muhammad Akbar. Mian sahib became a popular rising star, someone who was to represent the mutafarriq bradris also. A non-kashtkaar leading the way, he was a fearless intrepid son of the soil, who marched on with success and popularity for as long as he lived.

Remember, the Paganwala’s the Jaura’s were then a force to reckon with, yet amidst all resistance, Mian Akbar cruised his way to victory. He won the hearts of the many. He was a part of the tiny opposition in the year 62. The famous amongst them were Hamza Sahib, Tabish Alvari, and Khawaja Safdar. Khawaja sahib remained close to Mian Akbar, who became the guardian of Mian Akbar family after his untimely demise. Mian sahib made his mark soon. The masses had seen Nawabzada’s ruling the district for the longest period of time.

Things might have been the same if Mian Akbar had been entertained in being awarded a ticket by Amir Mohammad Khan, the then Governor of Punjab, a ticket which otherwise would have meant for him to be part of the govt. block favouring Nawabzada’s. Mian Akhtar Paganwala manipulated and managed to get a seat from Karachi instead. He introduced himself to Nawab Kalabagh as Mian Akbar’s brother. Thereby, got a seat and got elected unopposed, Mian Sahib was left high and dry. A commitment which the Nawabzada’s had made to Mian Akabr.

Who knows what luck has in store for you. Ch Zahur Elahi and Mian Akbar both joined hands, a joint campaign was launched. Mian Akbar was supposed to introduce Ch sahib in the very allaka where Ch wajahat is now contesting elections from.

A popular strong hold of Mian Akbar late. The historians say that Mian Akbar was the one who was instrumental in bringing Jaats close to the Gujjar’s. The famous Gujjar clan loved him and showed unwavering support. The unconditional and undying friendship with Gujjars carries on still.

Then the tragedy struck. On 25th of Oct 1970, Mian Akbar with his brother Mian Masood was mercilessly assassinated. A record janaza of little over one hundred thousand was recorded. The bazars remained shut for at least a week. The people were saddened for they had lost two brothers who were likeable, caring and very humane. Six small school going children were absolutely terrorized. The journey was long and perilous, the destination almost endless. Three pardanashin ladies of a fractured home were leading the show, with one young college going student, a feeble herder of the livestock that he found himself to chaperon, their only hope at the moment who lacked wisdom and experience. He went on to fight like a lone crusader unaware of the circumstances. A swash buckler if one may say so.

This journey was an arduous one. There was no stopping with nothing in sight; grieving members of the family were shaken to the core. An irreparable loss not just for the family but for the community on the whole, it came like a bolt from the blue. A cowardly abhorrent act of brutality which took lives of four men in broad day light can never be forgotten and the wounds can never heal. 25th of October 1970, is a reminder of the very barbarous act. A reprehensible act of absolute callousness which was condemned nationwide.

There has been a large group of allies, friends and loyalists, whom we hold in gratitude. The list of friends is a large one. It was through the Almighty’s will and sincere wishes of friends that the family bounced back. There was an exemplary exhibition of character on part of each member of the family. They weathered all storms together. The mothers were fiercely protective of the children, moving from pillar to post to safeguard them from the evil eye of the enemies.

The world saw the family come out of this conundrum gracefully. It has been a remarkable show of faith, trust, sincerity of purpose-ness also bearing the lingering pain with steadfastness and fortitude. Some of the great pillars of the family have departed along the way. The queens of their own world, they nurtured their children with absolute care, instilling all the values of dignity and honour, the reflection of which is seen in them. Through the difficult times, not once they were known to have crooked anybody or swindled any soul. The family is into its 100th year of its active politicking, emerging unscathed with absolutely no skeletons in their cupboards.

The world is a hard screening center to judge how they have traversed this journey. Good luck to the succeeding generations of Mian Barkat family. We have come this far, right or wrong, it is now up to the younger generation to move on. They must walk straighter and stand taller. Our good wishes are with them.

These brave-hearts are survived by Mian Haroon Masood and Mian Imran Masood of Gujrat, who are known for their welfare projects and political careers.


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