Daanish Bin NabiSrinagar, March 20:
Senior journalist and writer Maqbool Sahil passed away Tuesday evening in Srinagar.
According to local residents Sahil fell while walking in Lal Bazar area of city. People rushed him to the hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Doctors said he died due to massive heart attack.
Besides writing for Rising Kashmir, Maqbool was working as senior editor with Kashmir Parcham and Buland Kashmir, Urdu publications of Rising Kashmir.
On March 10 Sahil was given the "Best Staffer Award" on completion of 10 years of service with Kashmir Media House group. A prolific writer and poet, he had written many books. He had the distinction of being the only Kashmiri author to remain twice on the panel of authors at the prestigious Jaipur Literature festival.
In 2017, he participated in the Jaipur Literature festival for his collection of short stories “Qadam Qadam Tazeer”, which depicted the ongoing conflict in Kashmir.
Earlier in 2012, he was one of the panelists at Jaipur fest during a special session held on Kashmiri prison dairies over his book “Shabistan-e-Wajood”, which recounts the three-and-a half years he spent in prison following accusations of holding secret documents and spying for Pakistan. “Shabistan-e-Wajood” was awarded the 2009 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) prize.
Born in 1968 at Adhal village of south Kashmir’s Kokernag area, he belonged to a a clan of Khokhar Rajputs. His father Mohammad Jamal-ud-Din Khokhar called him Sahil which later became his pen name.
Maqbool graduated with Bachelors in Science from SP College and started from local daily, “Morning Times” where he worked from 1986 to 1989. He worked for Jamaat-e-Islami’s “Azaan” as front page calligrapher and had good command over Kashmiri, Urdu, Pahari and Dogri languages.
He also worked for Radio Kashmir Srinagar and DD Kashmir in mid-1980s and worked on Pahari programme “Lishkara”. He was associated with the programme for 25 years and it is aired on DD Kashmir and DD One.
In 1989, he joined Urdu newspaper “Daily Aftab” as Assistant Editor. In late 1989, he was asked to interview noted film-maker Muzaffar Ali at Srinagar’s Centaur Hotel. Impressed by his command over Urdu, Ali offered him a role in his film “Zooni” that he was directing in Kashmir. Bollywood bigwigs Vinod Khanna, Dimple Kapadia and Jackie Shroff were part of this project.
However, due to militancy, the film crew returned to Bombay, leaving the project halfway. They hoped that they would finish the film when the situation in the Valley returns to normal, but due to volatility they abandoned the project.
Maqbool went to Mumbai in January 1990 and learnt acting, photography and cinematography. Chandigarh-based producer Rajnesh offered him a role in a Punjabi movie. In 1998, he was offered a role in “Mere Apne”, which also featured Amrish Puri. But the film also could not be completed.
Maqbool returned to Kashmir in 1992. By now the situation in the valley had turned worse, and he started as journalist. He worked as a freelance photographer with a magazine and New Delhi-based news channels. Jeevan TV Kerala, Indian Express and BBC News were some of the media houses where he worked. At BBC, Maqbool worked with its South Asia correspondent David Lion and war correspondent, Martin Bell, who covered 17 wars for BBC most notably being the Vietnam war in 1960s.
Maqbool joined popular Urdu weekly “Chattan” in 1999 where he would write investigative pieces. In a major twist of fate, Maqbool was arrested in Srinagar in 2004 for his alleged links with Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI.
He was slapped with four Public Safety Act (PSA) cases.
One of Maqbool’s books, “Shabistan-e-Wajood” (Jail Diaries), got international recognition and bagged Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) award in 2009.
He was also given State Academy award for his Pahari collection Parchawana and his other works include Khamosh Talazum, Kadam Kadam Tazeer, and Kashmir Conflict History. His funeral prayers will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) at his ancestral graveyard in Kokernag.
Family sources informed Rising Kashmir that after completing all the legal formalities at SKIMS hospital, Maqbool’s body was taken to his ancestral village at Adhal in Kokernag. They said the Nimaz Jinazah will be held at Adhal tomorrow morning. Rising Kashmir Editor-in-Chief, Syed Shujaat Bukhari, who is currently out of station, said that it was a personal loss and has offered condolence to the family.