Over time many families in Kashmir have migrated from one part to another in search of habitation and livelihood. Some of such families inhibited in a remote corner of Doda District (Bhalessa). When people of Bhalessa shared a belief in 1953, that how they can represent the democratic arena. One such family was the Batt family which migrated to the Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh while a few factions stayed in Bhalessa’s Soti village. The family at Soti took up peasant work. Ghulam Rasool (Azad) was born in the year 1916 to this peasant family. Another family later which produced Munhshi Mohammed Anwer, traveled extensively from Kashmir by foot, as there was no transportation in place and the people had no access to information. Things were totally different in Bhalessa at that time. Munshi Sahib’s grandfather migrated to Changa village of Bhalessa to earn his living, accompanied by some family members. After some time, the family re-migrated to Soti (an adjoining hamlet) in search of a livelihood. Both Munshi and Azad Munshi Sahib studied at the Government Primary school in Kilhotran (the only school at that time) and then were sent to Bhaderwah for further studies. Unfortunately, Munshi Sahib dropped his studies and began to work as a labourer in the forests of Hamachal Pradesh. He got associated with Ghulam Rasool Malik who was a rich contractor of the then Doda.
Nevertheless, Munshi Sahib emerged as a big gun with a contractor ship and Azad sahib a revered educationist turned Politician. Unfortunately, Malik’s business collapsed shortly afterwards and Munshi Sahib took up work with Jodhamal in Himachal Pradesh. Azad was deputed to England for a DAATP training course, where as Munshi Mohammed Anwer was appointed as In charge National Conference Doda region. Owing to this training programme, Azad was enlightened with the educational institutions in the UK, England, Wales, Scotland, Belgium, Thailand, West Germany, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, USA and France. Lo and behold, the people like Ghulam Rasool Azad and Munshi Mohammed Anwer came on the front to work for the welfare of the area. In 1935, Ghulam Rasool Azad passed the graduate entrance examination from Jammu Centre. He graduated in Mathematics. He did his post graduation from Punjab University in 1943. During this period, he was appointed Publicity secretary of the Punjab University Students Union. To democratise the system of education and to familarise the poor farmers of Bhalessa with education, Ghulam Rasool Azad launched an intensive awareness mission to change their mindset. He would get children to make a pledge to education. In 1946, Gradually, he earned a good reputation and became his mentor and taught him a work ethic. Azad was appointed as a teacher in Shri Ranbir High School, Jammu. During his tenure, he strived hard and worked honestly. The salary was too small but Azad proved an ideal teacher. He started Jammu Provincial Teachers Association and pleaded the cause of teachers. Due to an indefinite struggle for the cause of teachers, Azad and his associates were dismissed from service in 1946 by the government. In 1947, Azad was entrusted the responsibility of looking after the welfare and prosperity of the masses of the Doda region. He reached out to every nook and corner of Doda to spread the massage of love and friendship. The need was to unite the scattered Hindus and Muslims. The government rewarded Azad for his outstanding contribution in that period.
Keeping in mind their political sense, he was appointed General Secretary National Conference in 1947 and in 1948 he was appointed as Assistant Inspector of Schools for Rajouri, Nowshera and Poonch. On the other Munshi Sahib was felicitated with the title of Chokidar of Bhalessa area by the Dogra rulers. When the Dogra rule ended and the State was handed over to the Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, Munshi Sahib was appointed the President of the National Conference, District Doda. He played a proactive role in uniting the Hindus and Muslims at that time. When Munshi became a leader, he appointed Munshi Ram Chand as his spokesman since Munshi Sahib was not in a position to speak fluently. Munshi Anwer acted as the brain and Munshi Ram Chand as his tongue to intensify their struggle for the sake of the people. Comparatively speaking, Azad was entrusted the responsibility of both educational and political governance of the state. In 1953, when Sheikh Sahib was arrested and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed was appointed Prime Minister of the State, Ghulam Rasool Azad and Munshi were living activists. Azad Sahib went to England for DAAP training and Munshi Sahib was inducted as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLC). As a member of the J&K legislative Council, Munshi Sahib acted upon the roadmap and proposal of Ghulam Rasool Azad for the immediate construction of Thathri Kilhotran road. Under his tenure as MLC, Munshi put forth the demand for construction of this road. Both Ghulam Rasool Azad and Munshi Mohammed Anwer worked as catalysts for the opening of this road and the government higher secondary school in Kilhotran. Intrestingly, the demand for construction of the road was highly endorsed by Ghulam Rasool Azad and Kotwal Chuni Lal. Munshi Sahib raised the demand in the house and the road was finally approved. In 1962, Munshi Sahib was mandated a ticket to contest election for assembly and was elected. In 1950, Azad was appointed as Field Publicity Officer, Jammu. From 1949-51 he was District Vice President National Conference of Rajouri. In the same period, he was appointed PA to the Director Education. He was appointed a member of the All J&K General Council NC. His top priory was to look after the welfare of the people, and for this he won a special place in the hearts of poor people. After his return from England, he was appointed to analyze the economic conditions of Doda, Poonch and Rajouri in 1956. He was appointed as principal of the Government Higher Secondary School, R S Pura, in 1956-1957. This was the only higher secondary school in Jammu region. Azad resigned from service soon after and contested election on the behalf of teacher fraternity. Ghulam Rasool Azad candidature from Hindu dominated Jammu and Dina Nath Nadim as candidature from Muslim majority constituency of Kashmir as MLCs from teachers quota is a glaring lesson that the leaders of the present time should emulate. To quote the couplet for these mass leaders deserve special mention here:-
“Wo loag kia they jo dushmani main waqar rakhthey they dosti ka,
Ye loag kia hain jinhain saliqa na dosti ka na dushmani.”