Sheikh Abdullah was a Kashmiri leader who was an integral part of removing Maharaja Hari Singh from power int 1951. In the 1951 elections of the Kashmir Constituent Assemby, all 75 seats were won by Abdullah’s National Conference.

Abdullah was decidedly anti-Pakistan, but he also wasn’t specifically pro-India. Secularist at heart, Abdullah was skeptical of India’s ability to hold itself to secular ideals after Nehru was gone. Abdullah initially rejected the option of Kashmiri Independence as it had proved impractical, specially with the tribal invasion in 1947.

However, it is rumoured that he grew to like the independence idea again, which led to a rift in the National Conference. The pro-India faction, led by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, got Abdullah dismissed from the position of power and arrested in 1953. Abdullah, at his trial, said that he stood for a single objective: the right of the people of J&K to self-determine what they wanted to do.

11 years later, in 1964, Abdullah was released by Nehru, who wanted to find a final solution to the Kashmir issue. Abdullah had long talks with Indian leaders like Nehru, Vinoba Bhave, C. Rajagopalachari. There were rumours that Kashmir might become part of a confederation between of the three units.

Abdullah was visiting Pakistan to talk with then President Ayub Khan. A meeting between Ayub Khan and Nehru was scheduled in New Delhi for June 1964. Nehru died on 27 May, 1964. Abdullah is reported to have started weeping as soon as he heard the news.

Abdullah was eventually put back under internment by Shastri, and later Indira Gandhi. Abdullah’s family continues to remain in politics with Farookh Abdullah, his son, being part of the Manmohan Singh cabinet and Omar Abdullah, his grandson, being a major figure in Kashmiri politics right now.