View Full Version : The History Column - from the past and not so recent past of Indian Muslim history

23-06-09, 04:11 PM
The History Column: Spies amidst saints & scholars
By Ayub Khan, TwoCircles.net

TwoCircles.net introduces “The History Column.” This fortnightly column will feature narratives, incidents, stories, from the past and not so recent past of Indian Muslim history. Columnist Ayub Khan is a student of history and Political Science.

One of the reasons of the colonial British Empire's ability to rule over India was its elaborate spy network which kept a big brotherly eye on all leading and aspiring public figures. Naturally the Indian Muslim scholars and divines were also on its watch list. It goes to the credit of the British Raj establishment that it was able to infiltrate some of the innermost circles of many prominent Muslims. They were non-discriminating in their choice of targets. Deobandis, Barelwis, Ahle Hadith, as well as figures from the modernist and rationalist were all on their radar.

Mr. Mazhar Ali Thanwi was in the Criminal Investigation Department and used to voluminously record the speeches of anti-establishment speakers at mosques and other places. Shorish Kashmiri, a leading nationalist speaker and author, in his biography records various instances where he encountered Mazhar Ali. Kashmiri alleges that Mazhar Ali often used to exaggerate what was said in the speeches in his reports to the police department. For his services to the empire Mazhar Ali was conferred with the honorific title of Khan Bahadur. Mazhar Ali also happened to be the brother of prominent Deobandi scholar Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi.
There were reportedly several spies among the disciples of Sufi Pir Jamaat Ali Shah of Punjab. During the Shahid Gunj Mosque (Lahore) protests of 1935 he was made the Amir-e-Millat and Muslims of all schools of thought accepted his leadership. But indecisive by nature, he wasn't able to do much apart from making sensational speeches. At one point he had claimed that he would jump from the Badshahi Mosque if Shahid Gunj is not returned to the Muslims. With most other leaders of the movement in prison the Muslims turned to him for guidance but there was none forthcoming. Shorish Kashmiri, who take part in the movement, observed that there were several British agents among the Pir Saheb's disciples. Right at the moment of taking action they advised the Pir that he had never missed a Hajj in his adult life and should perform that year as well. The Pir Saheb went into a Muraqeba only to emerge and say, 'The call has come. I am going for Hajj.' Thus died the Shahid Gunj movement.

Another curious case of spying is that of Maulvi Anis Ahmed (BA). He was reportedly a graduate of both Aligarh Muslim University and the Deoband Islamic seminary. He first spent some time with Sheikh ul Hind Mehmoodul Hasan, famous for his Red Scarf movement, and reported on his activities to the CID. He later shifted base and moved to Azamgarh. He became a student of famous Quranic exegete Maulana Hamiduddin Farahi at the pretext of learning the Holy Qur'an. According to Farahi's biographer, Anis Ahmed was an accomplished scholar with at least four tracts and books to his name: 1) Taleem-e-Quran Ka Asar Sahaba Par (The Impact of Quranic Teachings on the Companions) 2) Kaleed-e-Qur'an 3) Anwarul Qur'an 4) Urdu translation of Maulana Farahi's exegesis of Qura'nic chapters until 1916.
Anis Ahmed was well versed in Urdu, Arabic, and English as is evident from his scholarly work. Those close to Maulana Farahi claim that he used to be in regular correspondence with Anis Ahmed on scholarly matters even after the latter had left Azamgarh. How such a person become a spy is unclear. But keeping in mind the dirty tactics used by the Raj it might not be surprising if he was coerced or forced into doing so.

Kashmiri, Shorish. Bo-e-Gul, Nala-e-Dil, Dood-e-Chiragh-e-Mehfil. Lahore. Chataan Publications (2004).
Islahi, Sharfuddin. Zikr-e-Farahi. Lahore. Darul Tazkeer (2002).

Ayub Khan can be reached at [email protected]

02-07-09, 07:54 AM
The History Column: An Indian Muslim revolutionary in America
By Ayub Khan, TwoCircles.net

TwoCircles.net presents “The History Column.” This fortnightly column features narratives, incidents, stories, from the past and not so recent past of Indian Muslim history. Columnist Ayub Khan is a student of history and Political Science.

It was a hot summer night in 1927. An elderly and weak looking man entered a community hall in Marysville, California. The gathered crowd of over 800 Indians became ecstatic and greeted him with a thundering applause. Strings of sparkling tears rolled down the face of the elderly man. He went up to the stage and began speaking with his usual forceful delivery but suddenly stopped. He couldn't utter a word. There were wails and sighs from the audience. The elderly man composed himself and smiled; it's glow sent a cheer through the audience. But he did not speak.
A voice that has shaken the corridors of British colonial authorities was soon going to be silent forever. This voice belonged to the great, but almost forgotten, hero of Indian independence movement Maulana Barakatullah Bhopali. Maulana Bhopali's life is one full of dedication and service-a fiery journalist, a brilliant orator, an erudite Islamic scholar, a nationalist to the core, an author of several books, a polyglot who knew more than seven languages, a prime minister of India's government -in-exile. He was all this and more.

Maulana Barakatullah passed away on his way to San Francisco on September 20, 1927 and was buried in the Old City Cemetery of Sacramento. His funeral was attended by Indian Americans of all religious persuasions and they hoped that the Maulana's remains would eventually be transferred to India once it attains independence. But, alas, the wish remained unfulfilled and the Maulana rests in peace in a particularly beautiful section of this historic cemetery.
Maulana Barakatullah Bhopali was born somewhere between 1859 and 1861 in the princely state of Bhopal in India. His father Maulvi Muhammad Shujaat Ullah was a Madrassa teacher originally with meager resources and income. A bright student Barakatullah successfully completed his religious education at Madrasa-e-Sulaimaniya and qualified as an Alim in 1878. He served as a teacher at the same school from 1879-1880. He was able to utilize the intellectual milieu of princely Bhopal and was likely to have come in contact with the scholar-prince Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan Qanauji. He is also reported to have met the pan-Islamist and reformer Jamaluddin Afghani in 1882 and was much impressed of his ideas.

In 1883 he disappeared mysteriously from Bhopal and ended up in Bombay where he enrolled himself in Wilson High School in Khetwadi. Despite being a mature student he did not mind attending the elementary grades. At the insistence of a certain Mr. Scot he began taking private lessons in English from him in return for teaching Urdu. Within three years he was proficient enough to qualify for the university entrance examination.

He went to London in 1887 and served as a private tutor teaching Arabic, Persian, and Urdu. He himself learned German, French, and Japanese. He was invited by the British convert Abdullah Quilliam to work at the Muslim Institute in Liverpool in 1895. He subsequently taught at the Oriental College of University of Liverpool. He later distanced himself from the Muslim Institute over its style of functioning.

While in England he came into contact with Indian revolutionaries at India House. In response to the then British Prime Minister Gladstone's racist comments about India he launched a flurry of articles and speeches criticizing the policies. As a result his activities were severely restricted.

He left for New York in 1899 at the insistence of Muslim scholar and activist Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb. In his six year stint in New York he churned out a prolific number of articles related to Islam and India which were published in Webb's The Muslim World and also in mainstream newspapers such as the Forum. To earn an income he taught Arabic. He developed contacts with the Indian community in other cities of US and Canada and sought to instill the revolutionary spirit in them. While in America he kept in touch with fellow revolutionaries in India and had a scholarly exchange with the poet and nationalist leader Maulana Hasrat Mohani. In these letters he stressed on the need for Hindu-Muslim unity in the freedom struggle. He became a founder member of the Ghadr Party started by the Indians in San Francisco.

Maulana Barakatullah reached Japan in 1909 and was appointed a professor of oriental languages at the University of Tokyo. He brought out a journal The Islamic Fraternity which was known for its anti-colonial content. After its suppression he brought out another newspaper by the name of El Islam which was banned in British India. As a result of his activities his appointment at the university was terminated in 1914. This, however, did not unnerve Maulana Barakatullah. He treated the world as his playground and moved his activities elsewhere.
He accompanied the Turko-German Mission to Kabul in 1915 and joined Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi and Raja Mahendra Pratap to form the Provincial government of India. He served as the Prime Minister of the government-in-exile. In 1919 he met Lenin and sought his help in India's struggle for freedom. Throughout the the early 1920s he travelled widely in Germany, France, and Russia organizing the expatriate Indian communities on the revolutionary path.

His 1927 visit was his second one to the New World and would prove to be his last. He was suffering from diabetes and had a host of other ailments but his love for the nation was such that he undertook the long journey from Germany along with long time friend and fellow revolutionary Mahendra Pratap. He arrived in New York in July 1927 and stayed at a hotel in Times Square. On 15th July 1927, he was given a reception by the Indian community at Ceylon Indian Inn on 49th Street. He also met the Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. The two also spoke at a joint gathering of African-Americans and Indians. He also travelled to Chicago, Gary, and several other cities of the Midwest renewing his links with the Indian and Irish communities among whom he had many friends.

He arrived at the Yugantar Ashram, the Ghadr Party's headquarters in San Francisco and was pleased with its work. He then proceeded to Marysville where he was destine to give his last public speech. Throughout this trip his constant companion was Raja Mahendra Pratap who was himself not keeping well and aging. According to Mahendra Pratap's autobiography the Maulana last words were: "I have been sincerely struggling all my life for the independence of my country. Today, when I am leaving this world, I have regret that my attempts did not succeed. But at the same time I am also satisfied that hundreds and thousands of others have followed me who are brave and truthful...With satisfaction I place the destiny of my beloved nation in their hands."

Maulana Barakatullah Bhopali was an epitome of sincerity and dedication towards one's nation. A die hard to the core he never married as he considered it be distracting from his duty to the freedom struggle. It is an irony that this legendary son of the Indian freedom movement is reduced to the margins of Indian history. His name doesn't find a mention in the country's text books nor does his portrait grace the famed halls of the Indian parliament. There is, however, a university named after him in his native Bhopal.

Maulana Barakatullah's sojourns in America also testify to the long standing links which Indian Muslims have maintained with the new world. Contrary to popular perceptions Indian Muslims did not begin arriving in America in the 1960s but at least sixty years earlier. The registers of cemeteries across California will verify this fact.

Maulana is buried at Old City Cemetery (http://www.oldcitycemetery.com/) of Sacramento, his grave is in Section A50.

Map of the cemetery: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Old+City+Cem...
http://twocircles.net/2009jul01/history_column_indian_muslim_revolutionary_america .html

07-08-09, 01:12 PM
Kashmir Lal Zakir : Fakhr-e-Haryana and Fakhr-e-Urdu
By Balraj Puri,

When I read that Haryana government honoured Kashmiri Lal Zakir, as Fakhr-e-Harayan and Ghalib Institute, New Delhi, facilitated him on his 90th birthday and Syed Nooruzzaman, a columnist in Tribune, called him Fakhr-e-Urdu, I, too, shared a sense of pride. For I have known since before 1942 when he agreed to be a regular contributor to the literary section of the Urdu Weekly Kashmir Sansar (later its name was changed to Pukar to oversome some technical problem) that I started in June 1942.

I was fortunate to maintain contact with him and enjoy his affection ever since. I was so famibiar with some of his poetry that at one Mushaira, whenever he recited first line of a verse, I , sitting on the stage could speak out the next line.

But it was no less an occasion for a feeling of guilt for me particularly and for all Urdu lover of the state in general. Coincidentally, I expressed this feeling at a function organized by the new team of office bearers of Anjuman-e-Tareqqi Urdu (Hind) to honour me. I had been its president since its inception and despite my repreated entreats, the President and General Secretary of the national organization had not accepted my resignation till then. Veteran Urdu writer Sham Sunder Anand Lehar, the new president of the
Anjuman, also wanted to felicitate me for being honoured with Padam Bhushan Award.

While giving an account of achievements and failures of the Anjuman during my stewardship, I specifically mentioned my deep regrets over my failure to felicitate Kashmir Lal Zakir, who belonged to Jammu and had won acclaim as a leading Urdu writer not only in India and Pakistan but also in the entire Urdu world.

Main reason for my lapse was that Ghulam Nabi Azad, the then Chief Minister, who had agreed to felicitate Zakir and release his latest book dedicated to him (as his uncle Ghulam Rasool Azad, a great educationist of his time, was Zakirs friend), could not spare time or realize its importance aas he considered his other engagements deserved higher priority.

Needless to say it was our loss and not of Zakir. Having started his literary career in early forties in Jammu and published in prestigious literary journals like Humayun and Adabi Duniya from Lahorealong with illustrious writers like Krishan Chander, Sadat Hussan Manto and Upendra Nath Ashok. In present times, he is a name to be reckoned with as a Urdu writer.

He has served Haryana, in his capacity as Secretary of Haryana Urdu Akademi since 1987. Among its seminars that I attended was on Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, who was a descendent of Altaf Hussain Hali and belonged to Panipat. I was looking forward to attending another seminar that the Academi had proposed to orgainse on the role of Urdu press in the first war of independence in 1857. Somehow it got postponed. The publications of the Akademi include, Role of Meos in the 1957 revolt.

Zakir has authored 29 novles, along with many books of poetry. Despite his organizational responsibilities of running multifacet activities of the Akademi, he has not ceased making his contribution to Urdu literature to which his anxious readers look forward to. May this versatile litterateur live long and continue to enrich Urdu literature a symbol of composite culture of India. And may Urdu lovers, Urdu organizations, Urdu department of the University and Culture Academy realize how much they have been missing by no owning a great writer who is honoured every where except in the place of his origin, where
Urdu is also supposed to be the official language.
http://twocircles.net/2009aug07/kashmir_lal_zakir_fakhr_e_haryana_and_fakhr_e_urdu .html

11-08-09, 07:55 PM
A program on Indian Muslims in the Massachusetts State House
By TwoCircles.net staff reporter,

Boston: For the last few years, India and the US are coming closer but still not much is known in the US about Indian minorities and their status. Dr. Omar Khalidi, author of “Muslims in Indian Economy” talked about the condition of Indian Muslims in a program organized by the Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA) in Boston, Massachusetts.

The program about Indian Muslim was organized last Friday in Massachusetts State House, which is where state Senate, House of Representatives and Governor’s office are located. This is the first time that any program on Indian Muslims has been organized in any US state’s highest seat of power.
Seema Salim, president of IMC-Boston started the program by giving a brief introduction to IMC and its Boston chapter’s activities. Dr. Omar Khalidi of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) gave a brief but comprehensive account of the history and present condition of the Muslims of India.

Kashif-ul-Huda, Editor of news website TwoCircles.net talked about the idea behind launching a news website focusing on Indian Muslims. He discussed challenges and strategies for the community media.
Dr. Hyder Khan, vice president and founder member of IMC-USA gave a detailed account of how IMC came into being and its advocacy activities on behalf of Muslims and other marginalized communities of India.

In its seven year short history IMC-USA has a number of achievements to its credit. Dr Hyder Khan said that three most successful stories of IMC are - denial of visa to Narendra Modi in 2005, removal of Sadhvi Rithambra from speaking from a municipal platform in Florida in 2007, and the successful campaign to have innocent Muslim youth released from police detention in Hyderabad in 2008/2009.

Saman Salim, a political science student and an intern at the State House hosted the event.

IMC-USA has chapters in ten US states and successful organization of this program in Boston, which is called ‘Cradle of Liberty’, shows the wide reach of IMC which has grown in influence from its inception in 2002.
Boston has played important role in American Revolution and the US independence struggle. It was the site of the famous Boston Tea Party incident. Massachusetts is also home to the famous Keneddy family and Senator John Kerry who was the Democratic candidate for the US Presidential elections in 2004.

IMC-USA kicked off its Indian Independence related activities with the renown play based on the freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's autobiography in Chicago and Detroit. Following this educational event at the Massachusetts State House, IMC-USA is holding events in San Francisco Bay Area and in New Jersey and will particiapte in 62nd Indian Independence Day festivites in various cities. These diverse activities of IMC across the States shows the wide reach of IMC.
http://twocircles.net/2009aug11/program_indian_muslims_massachusetts_state_house.h tml

19-09-09, 12:28 PM
The fall of Delhi in 1857

By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net

It was all over by Sept 20th 1857. Indian forces had retreated from their positions. Mughal Royalty abandoned the Red Fort and people started leaving Delhi in large numbers to escape from looting by the British forces. Same day, last Emperor of India Bahadur Shah Zafar was arrested by the British forces, his three sons murdered in cold blood and their severed heads presented to the King. Delhi had fallen and with it any hope of keeping the foreign occupation out of India. Though some Indian forces continued fighting the occupying powers as late as 1859 it was not until 1947 that Indians will again take charge of their country.

We have all read and heard about the great war of 1857, but unfortunately, most of it is British account or by Indians who wanted to please their British masters. Hardly any research has been done to present the Indian perspective of this war of 1857. Dr. Shamsul Islam, a professor of Political Science in Delhi University has spent more than a decade collecting materials that give detail information of day to day happenings in the Indian camp.

He has published a number of books in Hindi and English presenting original materials and shocking the readers with what he uncovers. A different image of 1857 and particularly the siege of Delhi appear as we read the letters written by spies and traitors present in Delhi but working for the British. These spies were put in service as soon as the native soldiers of British forces declared mutiny. These spies provided valuable information from within the city to the British forces on Delhi Ridge. These letters were translated by the British forces and preserved in different archives and collections which Prof. Shamsul Islam through his painstaking research has collected over the years. He has cross-checked the facts and events mentioned in these letters and now we have an alternate record of a very important part of the Indian history. When these letters are read along with letters and reports by the British forces they provide a valuable insight into how the great war of 1857 was lost by the Indian forces.

British Memorial of 1857 war at Delhi Ridge

In 1972, Government of India offers an amendment

British Forces

First reading the British accounts, we find that British forces were demoralized with lot of confusion and indiscipline among the ranks. Consider this, writing in early September 1857 one Officer writes “We had been the Besieged and not the Besiegers.” On Sept. 6th we find William Hodson, the intelligence chief ready to give up. He writes, “If the campaign lasts very long I shall be forced to go home next year.” Nevertheless British forces stormed Delhi by breaching Kashmiri Gate, a plaque commemorating the names of those who attacked it still stands at Kashmiri Gate but we don’t know the names of those who defended the gate from attacks by the British forces. Though British were able to enter the city thanks to the breach but still they met strong resistance. British historian of this period, John William Kaye wrote, “it was plain that we had received a severe check,” he adds that the British troops, “were much exhausted by fatigue, and much depressed by the mortality that surround them.”

On Sept. 16th, Major General Archdale Wilson describes his and his forces condition:
“Our Force is too weak for this street fighting, when we have to gain our way inch by inch, and of the Force we have, unfortunately, there is a large portion besides the Jummoo troops in whom I can place no confidence…. I find myself getting weaker and weaker everyday, mind and body quite worn out… We have a long and hard struggle before us.”

On Sept 19th, a day before the Fall of Delhi, Hodson makes this observation: “We are making slow progress in the city. The fact is, the troops are utterly demoralized… For the first time in my life, I have had to see English soldiers refuse repeatedly to follow their officers.” How this demoralized and indiscipline army able to win Delhi is what Prof. Islam uncovers in letters from spies working for the British.

British Memorial lists important battles of the Siege of Delhi

British Agents

These spies not only provided information about Indian troops preparations and movements to the British but also advised them how and when to attack. They also acted as agent provocateurs for the British masters. These British agents were everywhere in the city and some in the circles closest to Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Dr. Islam identifies three important British agents in Delhi- Rajab Ali, who was awarded Rs. 10,000 for his services during the siege; Jeewan Lal, whose family was always attached to the Mughals, in fact one of his forefather was prime minster of Aurangzeb, was made honorary Magistrate and a Municipal Commissioner for providing critical information to the British during the siege; Mirza Ilahi Bakhsh was very close to King Zafar, one of his daughters married Zafar’s son Mirza Fakhru. In reading through the letters we find Mirza Ilahi Bakhsh planning the fall of Delhi by other nobles of the city including queen Zeenat Mahal. He on one occasion saved the life of Jeewan Lal when rebels arrested him for spying for the British. He also successfully convinced Bahadur Shah Zafar not to leave the city with Indian forces and brought about the surrender of the King and the princes.

There were many other spies working overtime for the British forces and Hodson writes that they were employed to sow the seeds of dissension within Indian Forces, between Delhi residents and defenders of the city and also between Hindus and Muslims.

British marker at Kashmiri Gate

Indian Forces

Ironically, letters of British spies provide lot of information about activities in the Indian camps. We find Bahadur Shah Zafar actively involved in the civil and military arrangements in Delhi. We find Indian forces very well organized with proper command and control. Corrupt people being punished and grievances of the people redressed. We find Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and even Indians from South and some Whites fighting for the Indian cause. We find a proper Military Council that managed the affairs of the war and planned strategies. Military Council was also responsible for maintaining funds; 12 member Council had representation of a civilian Delhi resident as well. This council was democratic with representation of Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs; Mirza Mughal who though had a seat in this council was not able to have influence in the debates since other members distrusted him for charges of funds embezzlement against him.

Bakht Khan Rohilla, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian forces (1857-1859)

Indian forces were divided in sections with doctors attached to each section and fighting organized so that each section gets proper rest without hindering the war effort. They made new advances in making ammunitions and also came up with a rocket gun which was personally inspected by the King on Sept. 6th and employed into the service the next day. Families of those who died in battles were given Rs. 3 monthly pension.

King Zafar seems to be in full command when he orders a ban on cow slaughter. He also removes some of the princes from collecting funds when they were found to be involved in embezzlement. Collection of funds was levied on all irrespective of caste and religion. Funds thus collected were distributed according to the discretion of a committee constituted for this purpose.


British built a memorial on the Ridge that they occupied during the siege. This memorial still stand there today near University of Delhi campus honoring those who faught for the British cause, listing names of important British officers and counting wounded and dead both natives and British and a listing of importation battles during the siege that lasted from May 20th to Sept. 20th 1857. India is yet to built a memorial for the patriotic sons and daughters who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation. In 1972, Indian government put up a board there that says that what British inscriptions called ‘enemy’ are actually brave Indian soldiers who fought for national liberation.

Indian soldiers are still called "mutineers" in official Red Fort museuem

And British version of events of 1857 war is still supreme in India. (Poster in Red Fort museum)

It is strange that more than 150 years since the Fall of Delhi and even after 60 years of India’s independence we are yet to identify Indian heroes and recognize their sacrifice. While we know that Major William Hodson’s grave is maintained in La Martiniere College in Lucknow, we don’t know what happened to Bakht Khan Rohilla, commander-in-chief of Indian forces who kept alive the resistance against British occupation forces till 1859.

Relevant books by Dr. Shamsul Islam:


Rebel Sikhs of 1857, Vaani, Delhi, 2008.
Jeewan Lal: Traitor of Mutiny, Vaani, Delhi, 2008.
Letters of Spies: And Delhi was Lost, Vaani, Delhi, 2008.


1857 ke Baghi Sikh, Vaani, Delhi, 2008
Ghadar ka Dalal: Munshi Jeewan Lal, Vaani, Delhi, 2008.
Jasosoon ke Khatoot: Aur Dilli Haar Gayee, Vaani, Delhi, 2008.
1857 Kee Heratangez Dastanen, Vaani, Delhi, 2008.

[All photos by TwoCircles.net]

25-09-09, 06:40 AM
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a renowned scholar, poet, freedom fighter and leader of the Indian National Congress in India's struggle for Independence. He was well versed in many languages viz. Arabic, English, Urdu, Hindi, Persian and Bengali, and a prolific debater - as depicted by his name, Abul Kalam, which literally means father or lord of dialogue. His forefathers came from Herat, Afghanistan in Babur's days. His mother was an Arab and the daughter of Sheikh Mohammad Zaher Watri and his father, Maulana Khairuddin, was a Bengali Muslim of Afghan (probably Tajik) origins. Khairuddin left India during the Sepoy Mutiny, proceeded to Mecca and settled there. He came back to Calcutta with his family in 1890. Azad was a descendant of a lineage maulanas
Azad began publication of a journal called Al Hilal (the Crescent) in June 1912 to increase revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims. The Al Hilal reached a circulation of 26,000 in two years. The British Government used the Press Act and then the Defense of India Regulations Act in 1916 to shut the journal down.

Azad roused the Muslim community through the Khilafat Movement. The aim of the movement was to re-instate the Khalifa as the head of British captured Turkey
Azad found the revolutionary activities restricted to Bengal and Bihar. Within two years, Azad helped setup secret revolutionary centers all over north India and Bombay.

25-09-09, 06:42 AM
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a renowned scholar, poet, freedom fighter and leader of the Indian National Congress in India's struggle for Independence. He was well versed in many languages viz. Arabic, English, Urdu, Hindi, Persian and Bengali, and a prolific debater - as depicted by his name, Abul Kalam, which literally means father or lord of dialogue. His forefathers came from Herat, Afghanistan in Babur's days. His mother was an Arab and the daughter of Sheikh Mohammad Zaher Watri and his father, Maulana Khairuddin, was a Bengali Muslim of Afghan (probably Tajik) origins. Khairuddin left India during the Sepoy Mutiny, proceeded to Mecca and settled there. He came back to Calcutta with his family in 1890. Azad was a descendant of a lineage maulanas
Azad began publication of a journal called Al Hilal (the Crescent) in June 1912 to increase revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims. The Al Hilal reached a circulation of 26,000 in two years. The British Government used the Press Act and then the Defense of India Regulations Act in 1916 to shut the journal down.

Azad roused the Muslim community through the Khilafat Movement. The aim of the movement was to re-instate the Khalifa as the head of British captured Turkey
Azad found the revolutionary activities restricted to Bengal and Bihar. Within two years, Azad helped setup secret revolutionary centers all over north India and Bombay.

“In 1912, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al Hilal to increase the revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims. Al-Hilal played an important role in forging Hindu-Muslim unity after the bad blood created between the two communities in the aftermath of Morley-Minto reforms. Al Hilal became a revolutionary mouthpiece ventilating extremist views. The government regarded Al Hilal as propogator of secessionist views and banned it in 1914. Maulana Azad then started another weekly called Al-Balagh with the same mission of propagating Indian nationalism and revolutionary ideas based on Hindu-Muslim unity. In 1916, the government banned this paper too and expelled Maulana Abul Kalam Azad from Calcutta and interned him at Ranchi from where he was released after the First World War in 1920.”
(Source: Indian Heroes: http://www.iloveindia.com/indian-heroes/maulana-abul-kalam-azad.html)

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, born in Mecca, whose birth name was Abdul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin, belonged to an orthodox Muslim scholarly family. His mother was an Arab, and his father Moulana Khairuddin a Bengali Muslim. Moulana Abul Kalam Azad was born on November 11, 1888. An accomplished scholar in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and English Moulana was also a writer especially interpreting and analyzing Holy Quran, Hadith, the rules of Fique. He is said to have rejected the orthodoxy of “Taqliq and accepted modern principles of “Tajdid”. Moulana was imbibed into ideologies of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

Moulana Abul Kalam Azad was an ardent freedom fighter and was close confidante of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. In the pre Independence era, he joined the National Congress and participated in Non-Cooperation Movement, he was a president of special session of the congress and was an active participant of various anti imperial movements resulting confinements of Jail terms. After Indepence he held the prestigious post as Education Minister and other important portfolios. He passed away on 22 February 1958 and was posthumously awarded the India’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna in 1992.

13-10-09, 05:17 PM
Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Jinnah in 1918 - tried and contest general election in UK as a Labour canditate, but was unssuccessfully.

I think he was the first Indian to contest general election in UK.

He returned back to India - with some new idea. And this was the galvanising factor behind Jinnah.

13-10-09, 05:30 PM
Is this part of the little India-Pakistan feud we're having on this forum?

If so, please continue.

13-10-09, 06:19 PM
Jinnah Advice to Kashmiris

Srinagar - Way back in 1944 a delegation of some kashmiri youths had met Jinnah in Nishat area of Srinagar. One of the members of this delegation was Mohammad Yusuf Khan who is now 85. According to him, at that time Jinnah had told the delegation members that ' You should not raise the slogan of Pakistan because your ( Kashmir's ) accession to Pakistan is not good. The political struggle that we ( Muslim league ) are doing is the politics of British India and hence you should not get involved in it. You have a state; your Raja is a Hindu. Because of our struggle and campaign we are in a great dilemma. Therefore you also should not be a victim of another dilemma. Your slogan is all right and therefore you ahouls be firm on your slogan of Azad Kashmir.
According to Yusuf Khan, before partition of India Jinnah had no plan to include Kashmir as a part of Pakistan. At the time when the delegation had met Jinnah, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had been leading a campaign against Dogra Maharaja but, according to Yusuf Khan his (Sheikh Abdullah's) inclination was towards Jawaharlal Nehru. In the second decade of 20th century election had taken place in 16 or 17 Indian provinces under the Government of India Act in which Congress had secured a majority. The state government discriminated against Muslims because of which they (Muslims) felt that their social and economic rights are not safe under Congress. Thus the politics of the Valley was divided between pro-India and pro-Pakistan camps. Yousuf Khan was an active member of pro-Pakistan Muslim Conference. When Jinnah had come to Kashmir in 1944, Khan had received a head injury in a clash with the supporters of Sheikh Abdullah. He had met Jinnah along with the delegation with his injury. Khan had met Jinnah for second time at Bombay's Malabar Hills. Khan said that by the time his friend K.H. Khurshid had become Jinnah's secretary. Subsequently, he had become prime minister of Azad Kashmir also.
Khan in no case is prepared to believe that Pakistan was the demand of Jinnah. He is sure that demand for Pakistan was thrust on Jinnah by Congress. He also agrees with the views of Jaswant Singh and Advani that Jinnah was purely a secular political leader.
The Milli Gazette, 1-15 October 2009.

21-10-09, 03:38 PM
The day that changed Kashmir's fate 62 years ago

By Sarwar Kashani, IANS,

Srinagar : On Thursday, it will be 62 years since tribal invaders descended on Jammu and Kashmir from the Pakistani side, laying the seeds of a dispute that would turn the region into one of the world's most enduring flashpoints.

London-based Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Choudhry describes Oct 22, 1947, as a "black day". He says Jammu and Kashmir would never have been a subject of dispute had Pakistan not launched "unprovoked tribal aggression against the people of the state" more than six decades ago.

Choudhry, who belongs to the Kashmir National Party (KNP), says Pakistan unleashed "extremist war in (the) name of jehad in 1947 to advance (its) political agenda" in the state that was yet to decide on whether to accede to India or Pakistan after the blood-stained partition of the subcontinent.

"If there was no tribal invasion, then there might have been no Kashmir dispute," Choudhry told IANS in an e-mail interview. "Oct 22 is a black day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. The attack of the tribesmen forced the ruler of the state to seek help from India and subsequently accede to India."

Kashmir was one of the 565 autonomous states of British India that had a choice to accede either to secular India or Muslim-dominated Pakistan after the end of colonial rule. The accession, however, was the prerogative of the ruler, not of the population. Most of these princely states acceded peacefully, except for Junagadh (Gujarat), Hyderabad, Tripura and Jammu and Kashmir.

Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir, then ruled by a Hindu maharaja, proved to be and still is the biggest bone of contention between India and Pakistan - the two countries that rule the state in parts but claim it in full.

Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of the state, who was dreaming of Kashmir as an independent nation, had signed a standstill agreement with India and Pakistan to buy more time to decide on the political affiliation of his state. As history has it, the agreement was violated by Pakistan that tried to force the issue, encouraging first a local uprising and then an invasion by tribesmen backed by its army.

On Oct 22, 1947, thousands of Pakistani tribesman from the North West Frontier of Province (NWFP), known as Lashkars, invaded the state, letting loose a rein of terror.

Nearly 1/3rd of the territory now known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, or Pakistan-administered Kashmir, fell to the raiders before the maharaja pleaded to India for help. Indian troops, airlifted into the Kashmir Valley on Oct 27, succeeded in blocking the tribal army's advance beyond Baramulla, a frontier district in the north of the valley.

BBC's Andrew Whitehead, who has chronicled the tribal raids in his "A Mission in Kashmir" (2007), gives an account of one of the survivors of the invasion. Sister Emilia, a nurse in a Christian missionary hospital, spoke about the time "when the faith and vocation of the missionaries had been put to their greatest test", Whitehead writes in his book.

"There were rumours that they (tribesmen) were coming - we were thinking they won't do nothing to us. The Monday after the feast of Christ the King they reach here. Then they started to shoot. They came inside. We were working still. Our dispensary was working still. The hospital had patients. They were on the veranda of the hospital, going from one ward to another," Emilia is quoted as saying in the book.

"Sister Emilia and other nuns were lined up in the mission grounds, sure they would be shot. They were saved by a man who turned out to be a Pakistan army officer in civilian clothes who had been given the task of instilling a semblance of military coordination among the invaders," Whitehead writes.

The tribal army, although indisciplined, was a formidable fighting force. But at Baramulla, as the Pathans dispersed in search of loot, it lost its momentum. Many Kashmiri Muslims initially viewed the tribesmen "as liberators", but their "appetite for loot" cost them that support.

The tribesmen managed to advance to the outskirts of Srinagar before the maharaja came off the fence and signed up to India. It was a profound political and military setback for Pakistan's ambitions in Kashmir.

Kashmir remains one of the world's most enduring geopolitical faultlines, complicated by the rise of Islamic radicalism and the three wars India and Pakistan fought over the land.

(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at [email protected])
http://twocircles.net/2009oct20/day_changed_kashmirs_fate_62_years_ago.html#commen t-49739

21-10-09, 07:38 PM


The idea of the thread is great but the last post is a bit misleading perhaps but wont comment its nice to read about my forefathers who actually worked for Muslims having a land where they can live according to the laws of Allah:Swt:

On a side note and its a general observation.
Funny that the Indian Muslims actually think they will be spared after Rest of the Muslims are wiped out.

21-10-09, 09:07 PM
Muslim print journalism in India: A review and suggestions for improvement

By Omar Khalidi for TwoCircles.net

Newspapers and magazines everywhere have played a major role in informing the readers and influencing public opinion since the press began in India in the nineteenth century. Like in all other aspects of modernization, Muslims lagged behind almost every group in journalism. This article reviews English language Muslim press in India since independence and suggests concrete steps for improvement.

Leaving aside Muslim journalism in Persian and Urdu for the time being, we know of a handful of English newspapers and magazines the community members ran since the last hundred years. Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar’s (1876-1931) Comrade and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948)’s Dawn, which was founded in Delhi in 1941 come to mind. Comrade was like a flash in the pan, as it published for barely 3 years, 1911-14. Dawn departed to Karachi at the dawn of independence and Pakistan’s creation.

Between August 1947 and early 1950s, there was no English press devoted to Muslim issues. From around mid 1950s to mid 1960s only two low circulation magazines covered stories of Muslim interest: one was Victor Courtois, (d. 1960) a Belgian Catholic’s paper published from 1955 to 1960 in Calcutta and Siraat of Indian Union Muslim League, published in Madras in the 1960s. The Jamaat-i Islami’s Radiance was launched in 1963. The Jamiat al-Ulama collected 600,000 rupees in the 1960s to start an English daily newspaper but failed to accomplish the goal.

For the next two decades, Radiance shined over as the only paper in English focusing on Muslim issues, albeit from a Jamaat-i Islami perspective, until Syed Shahabuddin, a retired IFS officer and politician (b. 1924) began his Muslim India in 1983, which folded up in December 2002; then The Milli Gazette resumed it in 2003 only to close it in January 2005. Given Syed Shahabuddin’s amazing energy, it is unsurprising that he revived Muslim India, a second time in 2008.

In mid 1990s, Muslim elite in Delhi led by Sayyid Abulhasan Ali Nadwi, Syed Hamid and Hakim Abdulhamid and some businessmen tried to launch a daily newspaper in English. The effort was fruitless. Instead, Syed Hamid began a tabloid One Nation Chronicle in October 1989 in Delhi but it failed to make a mark and changed as a fortnightly under a new name Nation and the World and it is still published. A Bangalore-based businessman A.W. Saadatullah Khan started a fortnightly Islamic Voice in 1987, which began an online edition in 2004. At the dawn of the twentieth century Zafarulislam Khan began The Milli Gazette in New Delhi in January 2000. The most recent additions are the Eastern Crescent, run by Markaz al-Maarif of Assam since 2006 and Eastern Post of Kolkata which began in August 2007.

Regardless of its intellectual and physical qualities, Radiance remains the oldest surviving magazine. Its subtitle “Views weekly,” aptly sums up the majority of its contents, “views,” which are just that, not always backed up by data. Muslim India’s contents are not original but copied from other sources. Islamic Voice is advertisement intensive, with some original and copied articles. The Milli Gazette publishes longer pieces, but like other magazines discussed here, they are devoid of statistics. Given that India is a vast country and the resources of the magazines meager, it is understandable that Islamic Voice and The Milli Gazette’s contents are south and north intensive. The emergence Eastern Post is welcome addition for the coverage of West Bengal for its large Muslim population.
Journalism in Theory

What does one expect from any journalistic writing? A minimum is a story based on the simple, eminently logical, straightforward principle of who, what, where, when, and why? Does the press devoted to Muslim issues in India follow the principle? If not why not? What can be done about it? The present writer has read almost all magazines listed here from Radiance since 1963 to Eastern Post, which started in 2007. I find that all the magazines do an extremely poor job of reporting factual news by not strictly following the ideal journalistic norms of who, what, where, when and why.

Lack of professionalism in Writing

A majority of the times, there is little clarity in the news. Often names of places are assumed to be known even if they are obscure villages in a vast country like India. No indication is given of their location within a state, much less within a district. Maps are of course rarely provided. Dates are routinely absent. Many stories begin with words like “recently,” “sometime back,” “some years ago,” with no attempt at precision. Life spans of even the most famous persons are seldom given. Terms, concepts, ideas, abbreviations, and acronyms often go unexplained or unexpanded. Headlines often do not explain the content and usually written without adequate background. Most of the stories are without statistics, much less statistics over time for comparative purposes. Original source of articles are often missing or deliberately not included to give the impression that these articles are original to the magazine.

Themes and Topics of Muslim Journalism

Regarding topics and themes within the papers, there is an excessive preoccupation with the “Islamic, Muslim World,” meaning mostly the Middle East and within it, the Palestine issue. Nothing original is written about these topics as none of the journalists has a first hand experience of the region. There seems to be little realization among the editors and management that nobody cares to read unoriginal writings about places far off from India.

All of the Muslim magazines lack journalists in the field to cover even the important events and developments in their own immediate physical neighborhood. This was dramatically illustrated when both Radiance and The Milli Gazette failed to cover Batla House police encounters of unarmed civilian Muslims in September 2008 in New Delhi. It is shocking that neither of the two magazines had staff to be deployed in an area literally walking distance from their offices. Instead both merely copied the findings of NGOS and Jamia Millia Islamia faculty findings.

What can be Done?

Suggested Topics for Investigative Journalism


I have been an avid reader of Radiance, Muslim India, Islamic Voice, and The Milli Gazette. The editors and management of all four magazines are my friends and I have written for all four. So what I say here is on the lines of Allama Iqbal’s famous line, “Khugar-i hamd se thoda sa gila bhi sun lay,” hear the complaints of an avid admirer! My major works, Khaki and Ethnic Violence in India, 2003 and Muslims in Indian Economy, 2006, are replete with references to all three print magazines. I have cited them so many times—wherever appropriate, of course---that at least one reviewer of my book complained of my reliance on Radiance, of course forgetting that I have cited Economic & Political Weekly, Organizer and numerous other Indian journals as well. My plea therefore is for the magazines cited here to consider the following topics for investigation:

1. Compare development—number of schools, hospitals, roads, irrigation and power, water and sanitation---in Muslim majority districts or taaluqas/tahsils with Hindu-majority districts and subdistricts. An excellent comparison would be Murshidabad with Birbhum, for example. Or Muslim majority taaluqas of Bidar, Karnataka with Hindu-majority taaluqas in the same district.

2. Investigate the working of Haj Committees, Urdu Academies, Minorities Commissions, Madarsa Boards, and Waqf Boards—both at national and central levels.
3. Monitor the performance of Muslim members of state legislatures, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Do they speak out or they are absent from attendance of the legislatures? If present, are they speaking out at all? How many bills did they introduce or participate in debates?

4. Scrutinize the activities of Muslim organizations and individuals who collect money from Muslims. Do Muslim organizations give accounts of zakat, fitraht, khairat, sadaqat, or goods---skins of sacrificial animals collected every year. Asking for accounts is to make the organizations and individuals accountable to the community. An organization with transparent accounts is likely to attract more funds, not less.

5. Audit the performance of Muslim educational institutions receiving funds from the state. For example, what is the intellectual and scientific output of Aligarh and Jamia faculty members since last six decades? Have they published any of their research in peer-reviewed journals of national and international reputation? What in particular is their contribution to studies on the economic and political situation of Indian Muslims?

6. Don’t forget that all reportage must be based on the simple, eminently logical, straightforward principle of who, what, where, when, and why? They will vastly improve the quality of the contents.

These are suggested topics. Further topics and themes can ensue if the brains of the community and its well-wishers everywhere can participate in an open conversation free from personal vendettas and selfish agendas.

Omar Khalidi can be reached at [email protected]

http://www.twocircles.net/2009oct20/muslim_print_journalism_india_review_and_suggestio ns_improvement.html

28-10-09, 09:40 PM
Urdu speaking "Tamil Muslims" of Vellore, Tamil Nadu
By Shafee Ahmed Ko, TwoCircles.net

Some of my North Indian friends arrived from Delhi to Chennai for a tour of Vellore Dist (Formerly: North Arcot Dist) to visit some of the shoe and leather industries at Ambur and Vaniyambadi.

I had to lead four of them who could not understand the local dialect. Every where we went, we enjoyed the warmth of hospitality and, Urdu spoken was invariably in a quite queer some but pretty enjoyable. In one of the factories we were offered tea in a jar like cup, and when it was too much I said,” Nakko……Nakko…..uththa Nakko”,meaning “thoda kaafi Hey” –Okay small is enough. One of my friends of north India had recorded all peculiar terms. In other occasion it was, “Uno ab Aangay nai kaththay……saban aangay kaththay”, meaning that, “fellow does not come now, he will come tomorrow”. We hurried to baron’s house and, we had good lounge to relax and to wait. A small boy peeped in and said,” Abbajee pani naalokku hein. Aaaththain Bolay” meaning father is bathing in water and “will come now” meaning to wait for a little while. One of my friends asked me in chaste Urdu,”How can he bathe in "milk" obviously it is by water…..translating “Pani Naalokku Hein?” Yes, the Urdu is being in such a way and so is Tamil both go intrinsically. One can say it a slang or colloquial but none bothers.

The impact of regional language Tamil is so a strong and off setting that the Urdu language got a hold and mutilated. If any one speaks in unsullied Urdu, he/she must be on the public speaking platform or he/she has all set friends from North to speak in chaste form.

"Muhammad Ali Khan, the Nawab of Arcot and the Carnatic" (1770), Tilly Kettle, in the V&A, London [Photo by Jamie Barras]

We all wondered how Urdu language became a compulsive order for Muslims whose mother tongues ought to be Tamil. No doubt Tamil is the mother tongue of Labbai (Labbaik) Muslims because their sur names all start from Tamil origin. For example the sur names (family names as in Kerela) such as Nattamkar (Nattai aanmai karar, meaning ruler of the region) Chinna Pakkir (Petty Beggar),

Kandirikkar (Kanda podikkarar, meaning-Kandagam podi- Sulphur powder maker –more precisely fire cracker manufacturer) Vanakkar (Banam karar-fire crackers) Chin Gani (Wee Ghani), Jalladai karar (Sieve maker) Oosi Veedu (Home where needles are sold) Aanaikar(Mahout) Kotlu karar (the people who sell cots), Pambu Kannu (Snake’s Eye)Yey.Paa,Tamil Alphabet meaning Yezhu Paanai (Seven Pots) Valaiyal Karar(Bangle makers). Almost all the Labbai community has surnames of Tamil origin denoting that their mother tongues presumably should be Tamil. Six or seven decades ago elders spoke only in Tamil at Ambur, Vaniyambadi, and Vellore. Even today the Labbais of Pernampet, Valathoor, Melpatti, Visharam etc.are speaking in broken but their offspring speak in Urdu.

One more set of Muslims, Dhakkanis(from Deccan ) have no surnames. Father’s name acts as surname and their mother tongue obviously is Urdu. But there is no distinguishable difference in the spoken Urdu between Labbais and Dhakkanis. It’s appreciable waves that inter Labbai and Dhakkani marriages are taking place. And good renaissance in offing in understanding that “One Kalima and One Allah” is the main concept of Islam. More wed locks have been in vogue between these two sets.

It has been bugging in my mind to persevere in a sense of strict decorum how come that Urdu has crept in the majority of Tamil speaking pelt such North Arcot especially Ambur,Vaniyambadi,Tirupattur.

It has history. Tippu Sultan, the grim freedom fighter of India,who admitted no compromise, ruled from Vellore. Chanda Sahib had fought in Ambur (Battle of Ambur). Both might have brought their armies to Ambur. There is a hillock evidently nearby Ambur, Hillock of Omarabad. Even now the barracks are there atop the hillock. This army (Lashkar) might have stayed a longer period speaking Urdu in Vellore and Ambur. There were four light-bearing stones in the main bazaar of Ambur to commemorate the visiting spot of Tippu Sultan. And this is no more in the sight.

Apart from this fact Arcot Nawab had ruled Walajah, Arcot (Aaru + Kaadu= River and Forest) for a longer period and implying Urdu to find a convenient language for the mass.

Present Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali [ TCN photo]

Most of the Labbais are known to be the converts from the south west, south east coastal right from Andhra Pradesh and, above all the trading immigrant Arabs were intense in Malabar, Kerela. The Kerela Muslims do not speak Urdu or Arabic but their physical structures are more akin to the Arabs, quite fair in colour and robustness, suggestive inter Arab marriages. Similar to Tamil Labbai Muslims, Muslims from Kerela also have sur names. These Muslims from Kerela might have married adjacent areas of Tamil Muslims and people of their choice.

Labbais of Tamil area were frequenting to Deccan neighborhood for the traditional business of skin, beedi leaves, tanning barks and marketing beedis. They either settled or brought spouses to Tamil area to breed Urdu. In other word, there were families migrated to these quarters and vice versa.

All the more, Urdu medium schools had been founded nearly a century ago in Vaniyambadi, Ambur, Vellore and Islamic Lessons (Deeniyat) became a compulsory from the parent and only after reciting the whole Holy Quran the boys or girls were computed whether fit for admission into a proper school. This also paved a good way for the revival of Urdu propagation. It really sounds good but in the present day scenario, an English Convent determines the future of students, and parents are pleased when ward speaks in English, especially in front of the guests, but what remains as a fact is, "it is reinforced year after year". Unlike the olden Muslim dedicated elites, those schools run as convent types are either lack clarity of the subjects or exclusively orthodox where there is a job to learn stressfully Arabic and English.

To speak concisely, Islamiah High School, Islamiah College, Madrasa-e-Niswan Vaniyambadi, Mazharul-uloom-high school, Mazharul-uoom-College, Hasnathus Jaria Girls’ High School, and college greatly rendered for the development of Urdu language.

Past three decades young men participate in Tabligue Jamaat. The Urdu erudite scholars arrive Ambur,Vaniyambadi,Vellore and conduct "Dawa" tours regularly. Most of the discourses are in Urdu. These young men also participate in oratory talent in Urdu. In Vellore, the century old Baquiathus Salihath,an Arabic School, has been rendering Islamic teaching in Urdu. These factors might be an added virtue for the development of the language in the area.

Ambur has remarkable history in producing Urdu scholars like Danish Farazi, an All India renowned poet, whose books are recognized by the government of India, Kavesh Badri, Kaukab, Raghib are some of the ardent Urdu poets widely known among the Urdu fraternity of India. There were regular “Mushaira”, poetic forums running whole of night. Alas, these great souls are all no more, leaving the locale in desiccated state.

Despite critics, people speak,”Kiya Ona” –meaning “What do you want”, I can only say,“Bahuth Shukriya, Badi meharbani”, great, thanks-Good hospitality!
http://twocircles.net/2009sep26/urdu_speaking_tamil_muslims_vellore_tamil_nadu.htm l#comment-50661

04-11-09, 02:56 PM
Vande Matram: A poem that became a war cry

New Delhi : India's national song 'Vande Matram', which came under attack Tuesday at the Darul Uloom Deoband seminary, evolved from being just a poem into a cry for freedom from British rule.

According to historian Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, the Sanskrit poem was written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in the early 1870s. It was included in Chatterjee's novel "Anandmath" in 1881.

Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore sang it before a Congress gathering in 1896.

'Vande Matram', which translates to "Mother, I bow to thee", became the rallying cry for Indians fighting colonial rule.

According to the human resource development ministry, the song was adopted as the National Song at the Varanasi session of the Congress party Sep 7, 1905.

According to Bhatacharya, it attained mass popularity only after 1905, when Bengal was sought to be partitioned.

In his book, he says that the first two stanzas of the song have to be distinguished from the full text.

"...This distinction between the originally composed song and the additions made later to fit into the narrative of the novel is important, because it was the latter part which contained those explicitly Hindu and idolatrous imageries which were objected to by many outside the Hindu community," his book says.

04-11-09, 03:13 PM
Maulana Abdul Karim Parekh passes away
By TwoCircles.net staff reporter

Nagpur : Renowned Muslim scholar and translator of the Holy Qur'an into Urdu, Maulana Abdul Karim Parekh passed away in a private nursing home here in the early hours Tuesday following a brief illness. He was 85. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon.

His translation of the Holy Qur'an was first published in Urdu, and has underwent more than 40 prints. It is now available in many different languages, including Hindi, English and Gujarati. His Qur'an translation carries Introduction and Foreword by Late Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi.

Maulana Parekh had a thorough understanding of Islam besides a deep knowledge of other religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. He had command over Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Arabic, Gujarati and Sanskrit.

The Maulana was the founder treasurer and an influential member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) till recently. He quit the board due to ailing health condition. Within a span of two days, it is another shocking news for AIMPLB following the demise of its former Vice-President Maulana Mukhtar Ahmad Nadwi Sunday.

Maulana Parekh was a respectable figure among all religious heads and was conferred the Padma Bhushan award in 2001 for his contribution to the society. He was also conferred with several other awards, including the Pride of India Award from the American Federation of Muslims from India.

In his condolence message, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said in Parekh's death the country had lost a great humanitarian and an ideal symbol of secularism.

He is survived by four sons and five daughters.
http://twocircles.net/2007sep11/maulana_abdul_karim_parekh_passes_away.html#commen t-51424

05-11-09, 10:18 AM
Vande Matram: A poem that became a war cry

New Delhi : India's national song 'Vande Matram', which came under attack Tuesday at the Darul Uloom Deoband seminary, evolved from being just a poem into a cry for freedom from British rule.

According to historian Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, the Sanskrit poem was written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in the early 1870s. It was included in Chatterjee's novel "Anandmath" in 1881.

Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore sang it before a Congress gathering in 1896.

'Vande Matram', which translates to "Mother, I bow to thee", became the rallying cry for Indians fighting colonial rule.

According to the human resource development ministry, the song was adopted as the National Song at the Varanasi session of the Congress party Sep 7, 1905.

According to Bhatacharya, it attained mass popularity only after 1905, when Bengal was sought to be partitioned.

In his book, he says that the first two stanzas of the song have to be distinguished from the full text.

"...This distinction between the originally composed song and the additions made later to fit into the narrative of the novel is important, because it was the latter part which contained those explicitly Hindu and idolatrous imageries which were objected to by many outside the Hindu community," his book says.

Muslim clerics support Vande Mataram fatwa, BJP calls it 'anti-national'


Deoband/Lucknow : The Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind Tuesday supported a decree against the national song "Vande Mataram" on the grounds that some of its lines were "against the religious principles of Islam". The move drew fierce criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which termed the move "anti-national".

The resolution asking Muslims not to sing the national song was passed at the national convention of the Jamiat, one of the largest groups of Muslim clerics in India, held at Darul Uloom Deoband, one the largest Muslim seminaries in South Asia, about 150 km from the national capital.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram was present at the convention, which was also attended by some Hindu priests.

Muslim clerics had issued the fatwa, or decree, against the song in 2006. They contended that "Vande Mataram" means "Mother (India), I bow to thee!".

Terming the decree against the singing of the national song as "anti-national", the BJP said Islamic organisations should desist from issuing such fatwas that are against the nation's interest.

"We oppose the fatwa and will not tolerate such religious decrees at any cost. They are against our national values," BJP national general secretary Kalraj Mishra told reporters at a press conference in Lucknow.

"As such fatwas stand against national integrity, we all should stand united against them," he added.

The BJP also strongly criticised the Congress ministers for participating in such a convention where the fatwa against the national song was issued.

"Participation of Congress ministers like Home Minister P. Chidambaram is unfortunate. It clearly reflects approach of the Congress party that it doesn't mind compromising with anti-national organisations just to appease the minority community," said the BJP's state unit president Ramapati Ram Tripathi.

"Interestingly, the Congress leaders are singing the national song since 1896 and had even organised a programme in 2006 on its 100th anniversary, but now it's truly shocking and surprising as they themselves are supporting anti-national organisations that are against Vande Matram," he added.

However, Muslim clerics were firm on their stand.

"Some of its lines are of course against the religious principles of Islam. We cannot bow before anybody other than the Allah. It is un-Islamic," Moulana Muizuddin of the Jamiat said.

"Islam teaches us to worship only one god, Allah. We are Indians and there are other ways to express our feelings for the nation rather than bowing before it. Loving your country doesn't only mean worshipping it," Muizuddin told IANS.

"We love our mothers. Islam doesn't even permit bowing before mother. We love the Prophet but we cannot even bow before him."

Maulana Salman, who teaches at the Deoband seminary, said: "We are true Muslims and true Indians. There is no doubt about that. But we no longer remain Muslims when we offer our prayers to anybody else than the Allah. Patriotism is not only about singing songs. We are and will remain Indians without singing Vande Mataram."
http://twocircles.net/2009nov03/muslim_clerics_support_vande_mataram_fatwa_bjp_cal ls_it_anti_national.html#comment-51461

05-11-09, 11:05 AM
Im searching for the 1800th century and Tipu Sultan :up:

05-11-09, 02:54 PM
Muslim clerics support Vande Mataram fatwa, BJP calls it 'anti-national'


Deoband/Lucknow : The Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind Tuesday supported a decree against the national song "Vande Mataram" on the grounds that some of its lines were "against the religious principles of Islam". The move drew fierce criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which termed the move "anti-national".

The resolution asking Muslims not to sing the national song was passed at the national convention of the Jamiat, one of the largest groups of Muslim clerics in India, held at Darul Uloom Deoband, one the largest Muslim seminaries in South Asia, about 150 km from the national capital.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram was present at the convention, which was also attended by some Hindu priests.

Muslim clerics had issued the fatwa, or decree, against the song in 2006. They contended that "Vande Mataram" means "Mother (India), I bow to thee!".

Terming the decree against the singing of the national song as "anti-national", the BJP said Islamic organisations should desist from issuing such fatwas that are against the nation's interest.

"We oppose the fatwa and will not tolerate such religious decrees at any cost. They are against our national values," BJP national general secretary Kalraj Mishra told reporters at a press conference in Lucknow.

"As such fatwas stand against national integrity, we all should stand united against them," he added.

The BJP also strongly criticised the Congress ministers for participating in such a convention where the fatwa against the national song was issued.

"Participation of Congress ministers like Home Minister P. Chidambaram is unfortunate. It clearly reflects approach of the Congress party that it doesn't mind compromising with anti-national organisations just to appease the minority community," said the BJP's state unit president Ramapati Ram Tripathi.

"Interestingly, the Congress leaders are singing the national song since 1896 and had even organised a programme in 2006 on its 100th anniversary, but now it's truly shocking and surprising as they themselves are supporting anti-national organisations that are against Vande Matram," he added.

However, Muslim clerics were firm on their stand.

"Some of its lines are of course against the religious principles of Islam. We cannot bow before anybody other than the Allah. It is un-Islamic," Moulana Muizuddin of the Jamiat said.

"Islam teaches us to worship only one god, Allah. We are Indians and there are other ways to express our feelings for the nation rather than bowing before it. Loving your country doesn't only mean worshipping it," Muizuddin told IANS.

"We love our mothers. Islam doesn't even permit bowing before mother. We love the Prophet but we cannot even bow before him."

Maulana Salman, who teaches at the Deoband seminary, said: "We are true Muslims and true Indians. There is no doubt about that. But we no longer remain Muslims when we offer our prayers to anybody else than the Allah. Patriotism is not only about singing songs. We are and will remain Indians without singing Vande Mataram."
http://twocircles.net/2009nov03/muslim_clerics_support_vande_mataram_fatwa_bjp_cal ls_it_anti_national.html#comment-51461

Why is 'Vande mataram' issue being reopened: Salman Khurshid


Hyderabad : Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid Thursday criticised the endorsement of a fatwa against the singing of "Vande mataram" by Muslims, saying some people were trying to create problems by raising the issue again.

"Does this country not have enough problems that some people want to create more problems? I don't know why this issue is being reopened," he told reporters here.

The clerics' body Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind at its national convention at Deoband this week had endorsed an earlier fatwa issued by Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband.

Khurshid said the issue was resolved over 50 years ago by treating some stanzas of the song as the national song. He said there was no need to take a fresh look after every 50 years.

"During the independence movement, all national leaders, including leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind Hind sat together and resolved that some stanzas of 'Vande mataram' would be treated as the national song and would be sung voluntarily. Nobody was forced to sing it and this is something which was there in the resolutions of both Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind and the Congress party," he said.

"People had faith in the song. It inspired people. It was not treated as a song of one particular religion. It was treated as part of India's ethos and part of the independence movement. I don't know why this issue is being raised again," he said.

"Fifty years ago it was agreed that two stanzas will be sung and that is what we sing today. There are two to three other stanzas that are not sung. Somebody has a problem with them is a hypothetical question because we have taken only two stanzas and this was done by our ancestors, freedom fighters and national leaders, including Muslim leaders," he said to another query.

He defended Home Minister P. Chidambaram addressing the Jamiat convention saying he could not be blamed for the resolution passed during the meeting after he had left it.
http://twocircles.net/2009nov05/why_vande_mataram_issue_being_reopened_salman_khur shid.html

05-11-09, 03:14 PM
Why is 'Vande mataram' issue being reopened: Salman Khurshid


Hyderabad : Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid Thursday criticised the endorsement of a fatwa against the singing of "Vande mataram" by Muslims, saying some people were trying to create problems by raising the issue again.

"Does this country not have enough problems that some people want to create more problems? I don't know why this issue is being reopened," he told reporters here.

The clerics' body Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind at its national convention at Deoband this week had endorsed an earlier fatwa issued by Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband.

Khurshid said the issue was resolved over 50 years ago by treating some stanzas of the song as the national song. He said there was no need to take a fresh look after every 50 years.

"During the independence movement, all national leaders, including leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind Hind sat together and resolved that some stanzas of 'Vande mataram' would be treated as the national song and would be sung voluntarily. Nobody was forced to sing it and this is something which was there in the resolutions of both Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind and the Congress party," he said.

"People had faith in the song. It inspired people. It was not treated as a song of one particular religion. It was treated as part of India's ethos and part of the independence movement. I don't know why this issue is being raised again," he said.

"Fifty years ago it was agreed that two stanzas will be sung and that is what we sing today. There are two to three other stanzas that are not sung. Somebody has a problem with them is a hypothetical question because we have taken only two stanzas and this was done by our ancestors, freedom fighters and national leaders, including Muslim leaders," he said to another query.

He defended Home Minister P. Chidambaram addressing the Jamiat convention saying he could not be blamed for the resolution passed during the meeting after he had left it.
http://twocircles.net/2009nov05/why_vande_mataram_issue_being_reopened_salman_khur shid.html

'Vande mataram' not un-Islamic, say two Muslim groups

Bhopal : It is not un-Islamic to sing "Vande mataram", two prominent Muslim groups in Madhya Pradesh said Thursday, two days after the clerics' body Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind approved an earlier fatwa against the national song.

Claiming to have translated the song into Urdu, the All India Muslim Tehwar Committee (AIMTC) and the National Secularism Front of India (NSFI) say it is simply a prayer to keep the nation safe.

"It is not against Islam or un-Islamic. This is the reason why several Muslim freedom fighters chose to lay down their lives singing 'Vande mataram'," claimed AIMTC chairman Osaf Shahmeeri Khurram.

Khurram said "Vande mataram" is not a prayer to a mother goddess. "It is a prayer to the almighty to keep the nation safe and thus there should be no problem in singing or reciting it," he told IANS.

"Even Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind chief Mehmood Madani's grandfather Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani and his father Asad Madani who was also a Congress MP had sung 'Vande mataram' on various occasions," he claimed.

"Had 'Vande mataram' been un-Islamic then Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, Maulana Obeidullah Sindhi or martyr Ashfaqullah would not have laid down their lives singing 'Vande mataram'."

Khurram, who claims that his organisation has 350,000 members in the country and has branches in 610 districts, asserted that the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind and Darul-ul-Uloom in Deoband - which had issued the original fatwa - were ignorant of the facts.

NSFI president Irshad Ali Khan Afridi also said "Vande mataram" was not un-islamic. "The controversies arise only because people who issue such diktats have failed to understand it. They are, it seems, not aware of the facts," Afridi said.

"Why did no cleric oppose music director A.R. Rahman when he sang the song which not only became quite popular but also took him to new heights of his career?" he asked.
http://twocircles.net/2009nov05/vande_mataram_not_un_islamic_say_two_muslim_groups .html#comment-51512

06-11-09, 02:23 PM
'Vande mataram' not un-Islamic, say two Muslim groups

Bhopal : It is not un-Islamic to sing "Vande mataram", two prominent Muslim groups in Madhya Pradesh said Thursday, two days after the clerics' body Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind approved an earlier fatwa against the national song.

Claiming to have translated the song into Urdu, the All India Muslim Tehwar Committee (AIMTC) and the National Secularism Front of India (NSFI) say it is simply a prayer to keep the nation safe.

"It is not against Islam or un-Islamic. This is the reason why several Muslim freedom fighters chose to lay down their lives singing 'Vande mataram'," claimed AIMTC chairman Osaf Shahmeeri Khurram.

Khurram said "Vande mataram" is not a prayer to a mother goddess. "It is a prayer to the almighty to keep the nation safe and thus there should be no problem in singing or reciting it," he told IANS.

"Even Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind chief Mehmood Madani's grandfather Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani and his father Asad Madani who was also a Congress MP had sung 'Vande mataram' on various occasions," he claimed.

"Had 'Vande mataram' been un-Islamic then Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, Maulana Obeidullah Sindhi or martyr Ashfaqullah would not have laid down their lives singing 'Vande mataram'."

Khurram, who claims that his organisation has 350,000 members in the country and has branches in 610 districts, asserted that the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind and Darul-ul-Uloom in Deoband - which had issued the original fatwa - were ignorant of the facts.

NSFI president Irshad Ali Khan Afridi also said "Vande mataram" was not un-islamic. "The controversies arise only because people who issue such diktats have failed to understand it. They are, it seems, not aware of the facts," Afridi said.

"Why did no cleric oppose music director A.R. Rahman when he sang the song which not only became quite popular but also took him to new heights of his career?" he asked.
http://twocircles.net/2009nov05/vande_mataram_not_un_islamic_say_two_muslim_groups .html#comment-51512

Muslim leaders condemn Salman Khursheed for his views on Vande Matram


Deoband: Reacting over Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed’s statement that there is no impediment in singing national song (Vaande Matram), Mohtamim of Darul Uloom Wakf Deoband Maulana Mohammad Slim Qasmi said, “The minister is misinforming because of his own ignorance.”

National president of All India Al-Qur’an Foundation Maulana Nadeemul Wajidi said, “Mr. Salman Khursheed is not a religious leader to be believed in this issue. He is one of political leaders who follow the direction of the wind. He has nothing to do with religion.”

Expressing similar opinion, Na’ib Mohatamim of Darul Uloom Wakf Deoband, Maulana Mohammad Sufyan Qasimi said, “Mr. Khursheed ought to know that national song would have become national anthem had it been flawless.”

Former general secretary of Farrukhabad Congress Committee, Shahid Mehmood Khan said, “By supporting the song, Mr. Salman Khursheed has only proved that he is a spokesman of Jansanghi lobby present in Congress.” The minister had pleaded that national leaders like Nehru, Azad, and others had sung it, implying that they would have not sung if the song were anti-Islamic.

Challenging Mr. Salman Khursheed, Shahid Mehmood Khan questioned, “He should clarify which parts of the song were deleted by Pandit Nehru and Maulana Azad?” In fact, objectionable portion was deleted in Congress session in 1937. He further said, “Indian Muslims follow the Constitution and respect it. Nowhere in the Constitution is written that inhabitants of India shall have to sing this song.”

But Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has his own logic, “If you are to live in India, you have to say Vande Matram (!), else the same will be repeated that has been happening.” In his editorial in Samna, Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Bal Thackeray proscribed, “If Indian Muslims believe in accordance with the Shari’ah that they cannot bow to anyone other than Allah, not even to the motherland, then, such diction is same as that of sedition.”

In Moradabad, the founder of Loktantra Bachao Morcha, Haji Iqbal said, “whenever Muslim leadership did something good for the country, Hindu terrorists targeted places of Muslims’ worship. Deoband is once again on their target and Congress Party has always been sheltering them.” He warned that if Hindu terrorists are not restrained, serious problems will pop up before the country.

A fake confrontation is being nurtured here on purely unconstitutional grounds. But Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman seems hitting the middle ground when he reminds, “Supreme Court has delivered the verdict on this issue that singing national song is not compulsory.”
http://twocircles.net/2009nov06/muslim_leaders_condemn_salman_khursheed_his_views_ vande_matram.html

07-11-09, 08:54 PM
Muslim leaders condemn Salman Khursheed for his views on Vande Matram


Deoband: Reacting over Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed’s statement that there is no impediment in singing national song (Vaande Matram), Mohtamim of Darul Uloom Wakf Deoband Maulana Mohammad Slim Qasmi said, “The minister is misinforming because of his own ignorance.”

National president of All India Al-Qur’an Foundation Maulana Nadeemul Wajidi said, “Mr. Salman Khursheed is not a religious leader to be believed in this issue. He is one of political leaders who follow the direction of the wind. He has nothing to do with religion.”

Expressing similar opinion, Na’ib Mohatamim of Darul Uloom Wakf Deoband, Maulana Mohammad Sufyan Qasimi said, “Mr. Khursheed ought to know that national song would have become national anthem had it been flawless.”

Former general secretary of Farrukhabad Congress Committee, Shahid Mehmood Khan said, “By supporting the song, Mr. Salman Khursheed has only proved that he is a spokesman of Jansanghi lobby present in Congress.” The minister had pleaded that national leaders like Nehru, Azad, and others had sung it, implying that they would have not sung if the song were anti-Islamic.

Challenging Mr. Salman Khursheed, Shahid Mehmood Khan questioned, “He should clarify which parts of the song were deleted by Pandit Nehru and Maulana Azad?” In fact, objectionable portion was deleted in Congress session in 1937. He further said, “Indian Muslims follow the Constitution and respect it. Nowhere in the Constitution is written that inhabitants of India shall have to sing this song.”

But Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has his own logic, “If you are to live in India, you have to say Vande Matram (!), else the same will be repeated that has been happening.” In his editorial in Samna, Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Bal Thackeray proscribed, “If Indian Muslims believe in accordance with the Shari’ah that they cannot bow to anyone other than Allah, not even to the motherland, then, such diction is same as that of sedition.”

In Moradabad, the founder of Loktantra Bachao Morcha, Haji Iqbal said, “whenever Muslim leadership did something good for the country, Hindu terrorists targeted places of Muslims’ worship. Deoband is once again on their target and Congress Party has always been sheltering them.” He warned that if Hindu terrorists are not restrained, serious problems will pop up before the country.

A fake confrontation is being nurtured here on purely unconstitutional grounds. But Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman seems hitting the middle ground when he reminds, “Supreme Court has delivered the verdict on this issue that singing national song is not compulsory.”
http://twocircles.net/2009nov06/muslim_leaders_condemn_salman_khursheed_his_views_ vande_matram.html

'Vande Mataram' should be respected by all Indians: Congress

New Delhi : The Congress party Friday said 'Vande Mataram', around which a controversy has arisen after a Muslim clerics organisation endorsed a fatwa (decree) against it, should be respected by all Indians.

A day after Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid hit out at Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind which asked Muslims not to recite "Vande Mataram", Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said endorsement of the fatwa against 'Vande Mataram' is the view only of "some organisations" and "not the opinion of the whole community".

Khurshid, while slamming Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Thursday, said: "This country has enough problems and some people only want to create more."

Meanwhile, the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) burned Home Minister P. Chidambaram's effigy for addressing the national convention of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind at the Dar-ul-Uloom seminary at Deoband where the clerics passed their resolution against 'Vande Mataram'.

The outfit also submitted a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil, demanding a ban on the seminary for the "anti-national acts of the body" and apology to the nation by the home minister "for endorsing the resolution."

The VHP's national adviser B.L. Sharma "Prem" alleged that the fatwa against 'Vande Mataram' would boost the morale of the separatists and anti-nationals of the country.

The Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind Tuesday supported a decree of the Deoband seminary against 'Vande Mataram' on the grounds that some of its lines were "against the religious principles of Islam".
http://twocircles.net/2009nov06/vande_mataram_should_be_respected_all_indians_cong ress.html

07-11-09, 09:45 PM
Pakistan, the Battleground of History?

Soroor Ahmed

That Pakistan is in turmoil does not make a big news now as it has often been so in history. The region, which forms the present-day Pakistan, especially its northern half, has always worked as the battlefield for all the invading forces on way to Delhi. Sometimes in the history the conquering army had to retreat after stiff resistance, especially west of river Indus. The marauding Moghuls right from the 13th century to 15th century dreamt of reaching Delhi, but they failed. Only Taimur, though not a pure Mongol, succeeded in capturing Delhi in 1398. But then he returned to his country after pillaging and looting. Possibly he had too big an empire to handle. Taimur has the rarest distinction in the history: the only emperor who had captured both Moscow and Delhi. His empire spread from the western China in the east to Ankara in Turkey and Damascus in Syria in the west––with Samarkand as its capital. And it is this region which is passing through a
tumultuous phase now.

After Taimuir it was Babur who managed to overcome the battlefield of western India, that is Punjab, to reach Delhi. He was a different man. He wanted to settle and establish empire rather than go back, though he was also from Samarkand. After him conquerors like Nadir Shah in 1739 from Persia and Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1761 from Afghanistan came all the way down to India’s capital. They too were not interested in establishing empires.

Post-1761 the Indian sub-continent did not face any invasion from the Khyber Pass. In fact effort was made to reverse history––conquer Afghanistan from the east. The British tried more than once, but succeeded only partially and had to pay a huge price for this misadventure.

However, in 1979 the then Soviet Union tried to rewrite history. It sent over one lakh army to capture Afghanistan and put a figurehead, Babrak Karmal, as the ruler. Russians were not much interested in Afghanistan, nor were they––unlike the other invading armies of the past––looking towards Delhi. In contrast they were eyeing Baluchistan with the aim to utilize its ports––Gwadar and Makran. These ports, along with Karachi, are now being used by Chinese as transit points for trade with the Middle East and Africa.

The Russian action alarmed Pakistan and it started helping the Afghan Mujahideen against the invading army. After the loss of about 13 lakh Afghans and thousands of Russian soldiers the latter had to withdraw. Initially the United States––bitten in Vietnam as late as 1975––was shying away from supporting any such Afghan groups. However, when they observed that the Mujahideen are putting up a brave front the US did supply some arms to them but that was at much later stage. In fact volunteers from38 Muslim countries converged to the border of Pakistan to fight the war against the Russians in Afghanistan.

The rout of the then Soviet Union and its subsequent dismemberment gave the United States an opportunity to boast that in fact all this was possible because of it. The truth is that the United States had little to do with the whole operation in Afghanistan and not a single US soldier died in defeating the Russians. The US did not want to give credit to any one else for the defeat of Communist empire. So all those books and articles claiming US involvement in Afghan Jehad are sheer exaggeration and distortion of history. Most of these writers are paid to write such absurd pieces as it would show the US in a good light.

The West saw the reversal of history in the defeat of Russians. Seldom had the invading forces from north of river Oxus––border between Afghanistan and the then Soviet Union and now Central Asian Republics––been beaten back. without reaching the western part of the Indian sub-continent. And seldom in the history had any part of the sub-contnent managed to control Kabul. Even the British India failed in this objective though it tried four times.

This reversal of fortune was too much for the West. But the lack of poor political sense and myopic policy of those who matter in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the latter years once again changed the course of the battle-game.

Since Islam was used as a rallying point to beat back the godless Communist Russia in 1980s the new emerging powers of the West tried to use the same slogan to fish in the trouble waters of the land of five rivers––Punj-ab––of Pakistan. This notwithstanding the fact that those indulging in these acts have nothing to do with Islam. In between several side-shows also went on which too contributed to create mess in the region.

Now an impression is being created that those indulging in terror attacks in Pakistan are planning to turn their heat towards India. An exaggerated fear is being whipped up among the common masses and ruling elite by the media.

What appears tragic is that the whole situation has been given a new twist. If India is kept in the grip of fear it would be in the interest of the same western powers. Their arms sale would boost and India would go further deep into their camp. And this is happening. With Afghanistan destroyed and Pakistan thrown in turmoil it is natural for India to look for help. This development would certain limit the space for China to manouvre.

As per plan things are going on well for the western powers. While the invaders of the past always had an eye on Delhi and further east and south, the Russians in 1979 wanted to reach the warm water of Indian Ocean so that they could control the Middle East Oil Theatre. They did not want to disturb friendly India and look beyond Baluchistan in Pakistan.

In contrast the present occupants of the land west to Khyber Pass never want to conquer the sub-continent physically. They only want to extract maximum economic gain by keeping the pot boiling. The upheaval in Pakistan is certainly the direct fall out of their action. And they are pleased to see that India too is, of late, not free from trouble. The challenge posed by the Maoists may have nothing to do with them, but then they may end up being beneficiary. After all weak governments in the region is always in the interest of this distant masters of the region.

Call it an accident of history or a well-planned design, the truth is that perhaps never in 62 years of history both Pakistan and India have faced identical challenges from the armed groups.

08-11-09, 09:30 AM
Book on Malabar Revolt released; historians differ on the nature of the revolt

By TwoCircles.net Staff Correspondent,

Kochi: Two famous historians in Kerala expressed their countering views on the Malabar Revolt on the occasion of the release of a book on the topic. Dr MGS Narayanan said that the revolt was communal whereas Dr M Gangadharan maintained it was not so. Both were speaking at the release of the Malayalam version of Dr M Gangadharan’s book ‘Malabar Rebellion 1921-‘22’ published by the DC Books.

Dr MGS Narayanan opined that the traditional Muslims supporting the Khilafath Movement conducted the revolt avoiding the Congress’ fundamental principle of non-violence. The mutineers hoped to defeat the British by working against the nationalism of the Congress. DR Gangadharan’s finding that the revolt was triggered by anti-British sentiments and not communalism is dangerous. If we keep such fake theories even now, tomorrow will be in danger. Such revolts may happen in future also. All Muslims are not terrorists. But the demand for Mopla state should be opposed as the demand for Hindu state by the RSS, he added.

Whereas Dr Gangadharan said that the revolt came up as a response to the British policy of harming the activists of the Khilafath movement. Majority of the scholarly Muslims had kept away from the revolt. It is true that religious feeling gave unity to the revolt. But burglars and robbers committed many atrocities in the shade of the revolt. The fact was that such incidents got included as part of the revolt. The approach that those who harm Islam should be killed rose up during the revolt. The revolt made different experiences in different parts of Malabar. Even though there were communal riots outside Kerala, here majority wanted communal harmony. All should remember that history was not single-faced, he added.

K Venu released the book and Dr Shamsad Hussain received the first copy. AP Kunhamu translated the book to Malayalam. Civic Chandran, KA Shaji and AM Shimnas also spoke.
http://twocircles.net/2009nov07/book_malabar_revolt_released_historians_differ_nat ure_revolt.html

09-11-09, 12:46 PM
'Vande Mataram' should be respected by all Indians: Congress

New Delhi : The Congress party Friday said 'Vande Mataram', around which a controversy has arisen after a Muslim clerics organisation endorsed a fatwa (decree) against it, should be respected by all Indians.

A day after Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid hit out at Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind which asked Muslims not to recite "Vande Mataram", Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said endorsement of the fatwa against 'Vande Mataram' is the view only of "some organisations" and "not the opinion of the whole community".

Khurshid, while slamming Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Thursday, said: "This country has enough problems and some people only want to create more."

Meanwhile, the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) burned Home Minister P. Chidambaram's effigy for addressing the national convention of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind at the Dar-ul-Uloom seminary at Deoband where the clerics passed their resolution against 'Vande Mataram'.

The outfit also submitted a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil, demanding a ban on the seminary for the "anti-national acts of the body" and apology to the nation by the home minister "for endorsing the resolution."

The VHP's national adviser B.L. Sharma "Prem" alleged that the fatwa against 'Vande Mataram' would boost the morale of the separatists and anti-nationals of the country.

The Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind Tuesday supported a decree of the Deoband seminary against 'Vande Mataram' on the grounds that some of its lines were "against the religious principles of Islam".
http://twocircles.net/2009nov06/vande_mataram_should_be_respected_all_indians_cong ress.html

Vande Mataram -- A Historical Perspective
By A Staff Writer [TCN some time ago ]

“Vande Mataram has been a disputed hymn throughout the freedom movement until now. As this song is basically polytheistic and atheistic, and there cannot be any compromise with such ideologies, the Muslims never accepted it. The Muslims as well as the Muslim League vehemently opposed it. Even Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru didn’t consider it as a national song and Subhash Chandra Bose as well opposed it even though he was a Bengali. The Indian National Congress had deleted some of its parts declaring them to be disputable and communal. All India Students’ Union too didn’t consider it suitable for recitation during students’ congregations declaring that it incited communal hatred.” (Statesman, December 12, 1938)

“An eminent Bengali socialist leader, M.N. Roy has stated that the Muslim criticism of the Vande Mataram is based on right fundamentals. Mr. Ram Manohar Lohia, another great socialist leader, too had come down very heavily on Anand Math (the novel which contained Vande Mataram) stating that the novel was a blot on our national struggle as it contained a declaration which welcomed the arrival of the English who would protect
the life and property of the Indians from the Muslim rulers. In this way the novel is a source of humiliation to our national struggle.” (Jarida Ansari, August 18, 1938)

“Bankim Chandra Chatterjee who wrote the novel Anand Math completed his B.A. with a scholarship from Haji Mohsim Fund. And by authoring this novel, he was ungrateful to his benefactor.” (Zamindar, Lahore, October 20, 1937)

These are some of most important views from the time of our national struggle when the use of the hymn Vande Mataram was at its peak. This song forms part of a larger Bengali novel “Anand Math” which was written by a Bengali, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee which was basically meant to instill inspiration in the Hindu populace to work for the destruction of the Muslim rule in Bengal. Accordingly, Vande Mataram continued to be used a slogan to oust the Muslim rule and to erect a Hindu one.

The hero of the novel, Bhawananda is an ascetic. He recruits men for his mission. He meets a youth, Mahender. He then tries to explain him the meaning of Vande Mataram and warns him that unless the Muslims are banished from the Indian soil, his faith shall be in constant danger. Mahender asks him if he would face the Muslims alone. Bhanwanand replies asking would not the 30 crore voices with 60 crore swords in both their arms be enough for the mission. (vide the third stanza of Vande Mataram) When Mahender is not satisfied even then, Bhawanand takes him to Anand Math (the title of
the novel). The Brahmachari of the Math takes Mahender inside the Math. The Math is half-illuminated with a narrow entrance. He enters the Math where he sees a big idol of Vishnu flanked by Lakshmi and Saraswati on either side. The Brahmachari introduces it to Mahender as the Mata and asks him to say Vande Mataram. He then takes him to another room where a magnificent idol of goddess Durga is kept. Here the Brahmachari prays the goddess chanting: “we worship ye, O Mata Durga, who posses ten hands. Ye are the Lakshmi whose abode is lotus. Ye are the bestower of knowledge.” (vide the fourth stanza) Now Mahender receives the inspiration and takes a pledge

The eighth chapter in the third part contains incidents of arson and bloodshed which inspires the Hindus to render the lives of the Muslims difficult. Voices are being raised to loot the Muslims and kill them. The atmosphere is filled with Vande Mataram. As a result, the Muslims try to take shelter far and near. The devotees of the Mata ask: “When would the time come when we would destroy the mosques and construct the temples of Radhi and Mahadev? To this the hero of the novel replies: “Now the English have arrived who will protect our life and property.”

The last sentence calls for our attention. How can a song which welcomes the arrival of the English on the Indian soil as our guardians be sung by the Indian children, leave alone the Muslim? The Muslim opposition to its singing is basically rooted in this contention. Praising the Indian soil and bowing ones head in front of her assuming her to be goddess Durga does not favour well with the Muslims. The anti-Muslim perspective of the Bengali novel, Anand Math and Vande Mataram, reveals the fact that the task of instigation of hatred in the Hindu youth against the Muslim rule of Bengal was achieved with this very hymn. The way the song was made to be sung worshipfully by a Hindu
youth in front of the goddess Durga in a Math reveals the fact of its Hindu religious perspective which can never be in harmony with Islamic ideology. This is the reason why Vande Mataram is disputed from the time of the national freedom struggle to the present. Even the Gujarat High Court has long back stayed its compulsory recitation by the Muslims.

The Muslims are of the view that every aspect and phenomenon of the Indian soil should be loved, but it cannot be worshipped. And a nation cannot be assumed to be a god or goddess on the lines of the Hindu mythology.

09-11-09, 12:53 PM
Women’s College of Aligarh Muslim University
Aligarh Movement: Struggle for Women’s Education and establishment of Women’s College

By Afzal Usmani

After establishing the MAO College at Aligarh, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and his associates in Aligarh Movement started to realize the need for women’s education. In 1896, the annual executive session of Muslim Educational Conference was held in Aligarh and a proposal to start a women education section in Muslim Educational Conference was accepted and Justice Karamat Hussain was appointed as its Founding Secretary. Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, Sahabzada Aftab Ahmad Khan, Janab Sultan Ahmad and Haji Ismail Khan were asked to assist Justice Karamat Hussain.

In the annual session of Muslim Educational Conference of 1898 in Lahore, a separate department of women’s education was established and Sahabzada Aftab Ahmad Khan was elected its Secretary. This started a wrath from the conservative Muslims but a dedicated team of Janab Ummid Ali, Ghulam-us-Saqlain and Haji Ismail Khan wrote several letters and article in Aligarh Institute Gazette and other reputed journals to defend the decision of Muslim Educational Conference to start a women’s educational movement. Justice Amir Ali presided over the annual session of MEC in 1899 at Calcutta and the idea to start girl’s schools is all of the state capital was accepted. It was also agreed that the Ulema will be consulted to develop the curriculum of the schools and the modern subjects of Science and Social Science will also be included the syllabus. In the session of December 1902 in Delhi under the leadership of H.H. Sir Agha Khan, young Shaikh Abdullah was appointed as Secretary to look into the women’s educational project and was asked to start the activities very aggressively.

Shaikh Abdullah’s leadership shaped the women’s educational movement and played a very important role for the future of women’s education in India. Young Shaikh Abdullah and his team started writing articles in favor of women’s education in different journals. A special issue of “Aligarh Monthly” in November 1903 was published on women, entitled “Hum aur hamari khawateen”. Articles related to women’s education and their problems were written by, Syed Ghulam Neerang, Syed Sajjad Haider Yaldaram, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Maulvi Muhammad Akhtar. To further promote the cause of women’s education, in 1904, Shaikh Abdullah published a journal “Khatoon” from Aligarh which enabled the foundation of “Female Education Association”. The journal was continuously published till 1914 and the articles of Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, Mualvi Zakaullah Khan, Justice Karamat Hussain, Shaikh Abdul Qadir, Syed Ahmad Dehlavi, Maulana Aslam Jairajpuri, Muhammadi begum, Nazar Sajjad, Nafees Dulhan (wife of Maulana Habibur Rahman Khan Sherwani), Z.K.S. (daughter of Nawab Muzammilullah Khan) and Sughra Humayun Mirza were regularly published to this journals. In the annual session of 1905 at Aligarh, Begum Zahra Faizi (Murood-Janjeerah Bombay) lead the women education section and with the help of President of the session, Khalifa Muhhamad Hussain, Minister, State of Patialah, a resolution to start girls school under the Islamic tradition of ‘purdah’ and with modern science and sports activities were approved. This was the idea of Shaikh Abdullah which he had spread among the supporters of women’s education.

Founders Shaikh Abdullah alias Papa Mian and Begum Waheed Jahan alias Aala Bi

Shaikh Abdullah led a delegation to Lt. Governor of United Province and also wrote a proposal to promote women’s education to Begum Sultan Jahan, ruler of Bhopal. Begum Sultan Jahan accepted the proposal and One Hundred Rupees per month grant was allocated to Shaikh Abdullah for women’s education. He faced a strong and stiff resistance from the community, but his commitment paid and finally he managed to start a girl’s school with 5 students and one teacher at a rented facility in Aligarh town on 19th October, 1906. His wife Begum Waheed Jahan, alias ‘Aala Bi’ provided him the strongest support. After 3 years, school received more support and popularity so they moved to a bigger rented facility in the area of ‘Bani Israilan’ of Aligarh town.

The building where the school was started in 1906

In 1908, Shaikh Abdullah bought Fourteen Beegha (14 Beegha) of land which was known as “Rai Bag” at that time. Shaikh Abdullah wrote to United Province state government for help the state government allocated Seventeen Thousand Rupees (17000/-Rs) for building of the school and a regular grant of two hundred fifty (250/- Rupees) were allocated for Girls School. On 7th November, 1911, foundation stone for the school building was laid down by H.H. Lady Porter, wife of Lt. Governor of United Province. A building for hostel was also constructed, which was named as “Waheedia Hostel”. The school and hostel buildings were inaugurated on 1st march, 1914 by H.H. Begum Sultan Jahan, ruler of Bhopal. In 1916, foundation stone of another hostel, “Sultania Hostel” was laid down by Begum Sultan Jahan, the ruler of Bhopal. In 1917, for the first time, the girls of this school appeared in Middle School Examination and one of the students, Hanifa Begum secured First Position and a scholarship was awarded to her. In 1919, the first batch of this school appeared in Matriculation examination of UP Board and all of them were successful. Begum Sultan Jahan, the founding Chancellor of newly formed Aligarh Muslim University was Chief Guest in the annual function of 1922 and emphasized the need of women’s education and requested AMU authorities to adopt this school as the role model of women’s education.

In 1929, the school became Intermediate College and in 1930, during the Vice-Chancellorship of Sir Ross Masood, Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad made a recommendation and girl’s college became women’s college under the affiliation of Aligarh Muslim University and till date is an integral part of Aligarh Muslim University. In 1932, Begum Khatun Jahan, daughter of Shaikh Abdullah, who had just returned from England after completing her M.A. in Education from Ladies University, was appointed as Principal of Women’s College. In 1935, graduation course of B.A. was introduced in the college. UP Government helped to establish new hostels and Science laboratories. In 1937, Shaikh Abdullah’s another daughter Mumtaz Jahan was appointed as Principal and she served for more than 30 years as Principal of women’s college.

Mumtaz Jahan Haider, Principal 1938 - 70 with Nawab Chattari, Chancellor AMU Aligarh

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad visited Aligarh in 1949 to address the annual Convocation. He paid a visit to women’s college was very much impressed by the progress of women’s college and announced an annual grant of Nine hundred thousand rupees (Rs. 900,000/-) and assured to get a regular due share from all the grants which the government of India will make to Aligarh Muslim University.

Women’s College provides extensive instructional and residential facilities for girl students. A Career Planning Centre has also been established for counseling and career planning of women students with University Grant Commission’s assistance. Women’s Polytechnic is running several diploma level courses in Electronics and Computer Engineering, Information Technology, Costume Designing, Secretarial Practices etc. These courses are a part of vocationalisation scheme. The University has a Grievance Redressal Cell for matters exclusively relating to the women, part from General Grievance Cell for looking into the complaints of staff and the students. It has a Coaching and Guidance Centre for training and grooming of students, especially for the weaker sections of the society, and for preparing them for various All India Services. Women's College provides undergraduate teaching to women students in the faculty of Arts, Social Science, Science, Life Science, and Commerce.

The college has recently started a post graduate course in Home Science. An Institution with international standard of undergraduate teaching, students of women's college are always front runner. Every year a number of girls are selected in M.B.A., M.C.A., MIBM, MBBS, B.Tech. and other competitive tests of AMU and other institutes of India.

The women’s college campus includes an academic complex of class rooms and seminar rooms, an auditorium, a well equipped library, administrative buildings, and several residential hostels for about 1500 students. A career planning centre for women has been established in the college premises. A wide range of opportunities are available to College students for co-curricular and extra curricular activities. A large number of clubs and societies are run by the students. There are facilities for cultural events, N.C.C., Yoga, Teakwood, Volley Ball, Table Tennis and Basket Ball.At present a total of around 2699 students are enrolled in women's college. There are around 95 faculty members in the college. The following subjects are taught in women's college campus: English, Urdu,. Hindi, Sanskrit, Arabic, Linguistics, Fine Art (Faculty of Arts), History, Economics, Education, Political Science, Islamic Studies. Sociology (Faculty of Social Sciences), Botany, Zoology, Biochemistry, (Faculty of Life Sciences), Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Geology, Geography (Faculty of Science), Home Science (Faculty of Agriculture), Theology (Faculty of Theology) and Physical Education. Prof. Bilquis N. Waris is the Principal of the college since 2008.

The following people have served as Women’s College Principals; Mrs. Mumtaz Jahan Haider Mrs. Khatoon Jahan(1931-38), (1938-70), Dr. Razia Khan (1970-83), Prof. Miss A. Thomas (1983-87), Prof. Zakia A. Siddiqi (1987-96), Prof. Shan Mohammad (Actg-1996-97), Prof Shaista Bano (Actg-1997-2000), Prof. Amina Kishore (2000-07) and Prof. Arunima Lal (Actg -2007-08).

From the very beginning, the women’s college alumni were at par with their fellow University alumni in all fields whether education, sports and live traditions of Aligarh Muslim University. The residential life in women’s college hostels and their activities are still remembered by their alumni and that mesmerized them even after many years of their departure from the college. They often share the nostalgic moments and events in their gatherings. The traditional introductions in the college campus for the fresher’s and on Saturday night in hostels have similar stories as of their counter part in the Muslim University campus. They are not far behind in allocation of Honorary Titles and nicknames to the fellow alumni and their teachers. Teasing fellow male visiting University students in women’s college campus is one of their favorite games. While we were participating in the annual literary and cultural activities of Abdullah Hall in women’s college campus, our fellow women’s college alumni punctured our bicycles and we were forced to walk from women’s college to our hostel on our way back. They even did not spare their male teachers too. I came to know from my elders who had served as faculty in women’s college, had to walk to their residence quite often.

There is a long list of prominent alumni who graduated from Women’s College and made a reputation in their respective walk of life. Begum Khatun Jahan, Mrs. Mumtaz Jahan Haider, Khursheed Jahan and Birjis Jahan (daughters of Shaikh Abdullah, Papa Mian) were among the early alumni of this college. Later the ranks were joined by literary giants like Ismat Chugtai and Dr. Salma Siddiqi, a prolific fiction writer, biographical sketcher and daughter of Prof. Rasheed Ahmad Siddiqi, famous painting artist based in United States of America, Zarina Hashm, Nayyar Sultana, a well know actress of Pakistan and well known Hindi and Sanskrit writer, Mrs. Kusum Ansal. Begum Abida Ahmad, wife of President of India, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, Mrs. Salma Ansari, wife of present Vice-president of India, Mr. Hamid Ansari also belongs to the same fraternity. Dr. Qudsia Tahseen, first female of Aligarh Muslim University to become a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore is a proud alumni of Women’s College of Aligarh Muslim University.


Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad and Begum Abida Ahmad Arriving at Aligarh

Women's college at AMU

AMU Girls' High School

Centennial Celebration in 2006

Centennial Celebration in 2006

Prof. Zakia A. Siddiqi (Left), Principal (1987-96), receiving guests of centennial celebration in Feb 2007

Kusum Ansal inaugurating the centennial issue of Women's College Magazine "Emergence of the new Women" at the centennial celebration in Feb 2007

Prof. Miss A. Thomas (Principal - 1983-87) receiving H.H. Giani Zail Singh, President of India at Aligarh during his visit to attend annual convention of AMU

[Photos courtesy of Rahat Abrar]



http://twocircles.net/2009jul11/women_s_college_aligarh_muslim_university.html#com ment-51931

09-11-09, 07:20 PM
Sunday, November 8, 2009
India's Muslims lack an enlightened leadership
By Amulya Ganguli, IANS,

Indian Muslims continue to suffer from the misfortune of being led by people with a limited vision whose initiatives appear to be aimed at fostering a ghetto mentality instead of encouraging the community to become a part of the mainstream.

As much is evident from the latest resolutions of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, which can only serve to strengthen the stereotypical images of Muslims being out of step with the rest of the country. This impression is confirmed not only by the familiar objections to the singing of "Vande mataram", the National Song, but also in such mundane matters as watching cinema and television as well as important subjects such as the women's reservation bill.

A perusal of the Jamiat's resolutions can make one wonder whether its members live in the present times or in some bygone age. There is little doubt that if the strange directives of the organisation are seriously followed by India's Muslim population that number 150 million - the second highest in the world after Indonesia, a wide gulf will open up between them and other citizens with the latter looking down on the minorities as incorrigibly retrogressive.

To start with the Jamiat's objections to "Vande mataram", the outfit shows no recognition of the fact that it is with Muslim sensitivities in mind that only the first two stanzas of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's stirring hymn is regarded as the National Song. The reason is that after praising the beauties and bounties of the motherland, the poem goes on to describe Mother India as a goddess. Since this is known to be unacceptable to Muslims, this portion is not regarded as a part of the National Song.

As Union Minister for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid has pointed out, the matter was resolved on these lines half a century ago during discussions in which the Jamiat took part.

Incidentally, in the case of the National Anthem, too, only the first two stanzas are sung although the exclusion of the rest is due to the length of Rabindranath Tagore's song, "Jana Gana Mana".

Yet, by continuing to voice their objections to "Vande Mataram", the self-appointed guardians of Muslims can only provide grist to the mills of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other Hindu fundamentalist outfits, which love to portray the Muslim as unpatriotic.

It was to deflate the RSS and others of its kind that the celebrated music composer, A.R. Rahman, sang "Vande mataram" as a salutation to the motherland, "Ma tujhe salaam" (Mother, I salute thee). But this evocative rendering does not seem to have made any impression on the Jamiat, as it didn't on the Darul Uloom seminary, a congregation of clerics, which also described the song as anti-Islamic. As long as such backward-looking elements issue their retrograde edicts to guide Muslims, the chances of their joining the mainstream seem remote.

Arguably, the primary (and unfortunate) aim of these organisations is to keep the separate identity of Muslims alive so that they would continue to be able to influence the community via mean-minded tactics. But the process cannot but be damaging to the national fabric.

The same retrograde purpose can also be discerned in the directives against cinema and television lest these modern innovations undermine a Muslim's moral sense. It may not be besides the point to say, however, that these diktats sound too much like the fatwas of the Taliban to be dismissed as the antics of small-minded people. The same holds true for the directive to Muslim youths to say "salaam" instead of "hello".

If these follies relate mainly to the community, the Jamiat's opposition to the women's reservation bill has a wider connotation, for it virtually seeks to prohibit Muslim women from taking advantage of these measures which are already in force in the panchayats. What is disconcerting about the Jamiat's objection is its view that the proposed bill will bring "women into the mainstream and create social problems and issues including their security".

However, the argument gives the game away, for the Jamiat is admitting that it does not want members of the community to enter the mainstream. Although the context is the women's bill, the entire thrust of the various resolutions is aimed at encouraging separateness by rejecting issues which have a wide measure of national consensus.

Besides, the arguments themselves are pointers to an antediluvian mindset. For instance, the reference to "social problems" is a clear hint that the Jamiat wants women to remain confined to the kitchen. It believes that if they leave the shelter of their homes, the women may endanger their own "security" and create "social problems" by being at odds with their men folk.

Equally unacceptable is the Jamiat's advocacy of Islamic teachings as the "best solution" to the problem of AIDS, an idea which is not dissimilar to the Catholic church's resistance to the use of condoms and preference instead for abstinence. Clearly, the clerics of most denominations live in the earlier centuries.

Given the general backwardness of Muslims, directives of this nature can be hugely damaging. The only saving grace apparently is that few members of the community seem to listen to them, for their innate common sense dictates what is good and what is not.

There is little doubt that Muslims have been ill-served by their leaders. While the Muslim League brought a political disaster on their heads in the subcontinent in 1947 by its divisiveness, organisations like the Jamiat, which is observing its 90th anniversary, and the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is 54 years old, are not exactly known as beacons of progressiveness. It is a pity that an enlightened Muslim leadership is nowhere in sight.

(7th November 2009 - Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. He can be reached at [email protected])


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Dear Mr. Amulya Ganguli,

I have read your article on Muslim 'leadership'.

I jot down few points that have come to my mind while reading.

1. Jamiat and Darool Uloom had a long history of both religious as well as politico-social vision, impacting Muslim existence.

It is not that out of lack of vision that they had stood against partition, against Jinnah and had supported Congress. They did make a big mistake, in fully depending on Nehru's persona to feel that a 'secular' Brahmin is and will be ready to find a place for the Muslim in United India. Congress leaders, let Muslims down, by prioritizing complete, unhindered, exclusive, unshared power in Brahmin hands and allowing India to be partitioned. The vision of Nehru and Patel was flawed, as whatever high minded they appeared, their priority was to first get power at all costs ---- even at partitioning the country. ( The same charge can be equally levied on some other prominent leaders from the sub-continent --- like Bhutto and Mujib who wanted themselves at the helm of affairs, even if their country is all cut up and divided.

So you should not blame the Darool for lack of vision. You may blame them for simplemindedness and being unlettered in ways of Chanakya politics. Their priority, rightly or wrongly, had remained the consolidation of their religious heritage, and they had never prepared themselves to rule the country. They were fully aware that they the clergy, may fight in defending their community, but for actual take over of India and governing it, they were never equipped and they had never made an attempt to equip themselves.

It is evident that the thought of regaining Muslim paramountcy over India, would definitely has been always lurking in the community sub-conscious, but even people like Sir Syed, who tried to copy Brahmins, educating themselves in the art of governing a country, through cooperation with the British, had a very vague and unorganised attempt. Anything resembling a definite vision of Muslims in the world, was first presented by the Aurangabad-born Syed Abul Ula Maududi. He had a vision not only for India but formulated a detailed vision for Pan-Islamism. He wrote and wrote and wrote openly. And his writings had great influence, both in India and In the Muslim world, especially post WWII when one after another colonial powers relinquished their hold on their Muslim colonies. The two liberating ideologies that fought for space in the Muslim world, were Communism and 'Islamism'. With a Soviet base favouring Communism, the liberated Muslim countries fell for it and Islamism could only remain as the agitating opposition.

Regretfully, in actual life, Mualana Maudoodi too became the victim of the Brahminical conspiracy of dividing India, and departing from Darool line, he chose Pakistan as his new 'karam bhoomi', to put his vision into action. Thus he left India and Indian Muslims in a limbo. His followers here tamely chose to keep out of politics.

2. When Muslim vision is visualized and promoted by secular thinkers, they feel Muslims should join the mainstream by relinquishing their 'Islamic' trappings. This is a tall order. There is some genius in belonging to an all-encompassing religion and not compromising with others, unless on one's own terms.

3. I must admit that unlike 3% Brahmins in undivided British India, Muslims at about 30% of the total population, if following Amulya Ganguli's advice, had joined the mainstream and shun the exclusivism ( ironically, a la Brahmins), that was and is anathema to Islam, they would have better chances to identify with the aspirations of Dalits, OBCs and Tribals. Unfortunately, that was not possible due to the elite being more feudal-minded than egalitarians.

4. The question remains who will bring Muslims into the present mainstream.

There are two opposing groups, the Islamicists, and the Progressive. The Islamicists have mass following, but only now, grudgingly, and ironically after 9/11 if not after Babri, are opening up to the outside world realities, starting with a home-grown secularization of Madarsas. This has alarmed Brahmins both in Congress and in Saffron camps. The Afghan element is hugely disturbing to India, and there is a feeling, that Home Minister Chidambaram's attendence at Jamiat meet, was to send a message to Taliban that India is fully cooperating with the hard-core religionists who are the inspirations for Taliban, having learned their religious ropes at Madarsas around North Pakistan refugee camps, when Afghanistan was fighting a liberation struggle with the Soviets.

The Muslim progressives are pathetically out of tune with the community. They have no voice, no trust, no leverage, except their role in Media, where they appear to take up issues pertaining to Muslim security, but at the same time making impractical demands on Islamists for 'dubious' and 'symbolic' reforms.

Unless both of these camps find a common ground, there is no question of an 'effective' Muslim leadership to emerge in peaceful India. Wars and civil upheavals have other dynamics. And that will certainly suit the Brahmins.

(An open question --- will Brahmins make peace with the Muslims? Shah Waliullah, a seer, is reported to have said, that renaissance of Islam in India will come at the hands of Brahmins. Dr. Mohammed Iqbal was one such Brahmin, who though a third generation Muslim, never forgot his Brahmin roots')


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

09-11-09, 07:30 PM
About the Mohammad Ali Jinnah episode from the J Singh

Monday, November 9, 2009
History Is Always Dug Up Later
By Soroor Ahmed

When Urdu translation of Jaswant Singh’s book Jinnah: India, Partition and Independence was released in presence of the author himself on November 1 in Patna some handful of Muslim apologists for the BJP and its alliance partner, the Janata Dal (United), questioned the relevance and timing of this event. As the function turned out to be a huge success and managed to draw columnists like Prabhash Joshi and M J Akbar, politicians like Digvijay Singh and Arif Mohammad Khan, Gandhian like Dr Razi Ahmed and activist like Teesta Stelvad these critics were left with no other option but to create confusion over the date, month and year of the whole exercise. What is the need to dig up the history 62 years after the partition was their common refrain.

Those who tried to run down the impact of the function, are neither historians nor political scientists but they just have their own score to settle. They are men of limited ambition and want to emerge as replacement for Dr Ejaz Ali, a Rajya Sabha MP, who was suspended from his own party, Janata Dal (United), only 10 days before the occasion simply because his action was embarrassing the BJP. So the criticism of Dr Ali and the function was made only to please chief minister Nitish Kumar and his BJP friends and they had nothing to do with the larger ramifications of the show.

What the detractors failed to recognize is that history is always dug up years, decades and centuries after the event. Historians are unanimous that history written in the later years often have less rancour and biasness than compiled at the time of the great upheaval or just after it. For example, history books written by German and British historians between 1939 and 1945 had different things to say on the same issue as the nationalist sentiment was running high on both sides in those tumultuous years.

And then history book compiled in the immediate post-war years by both the Germans and British have one thing in common: they all pilloried the Nazi Germany and demonized Hitler for obvious reasons. Now both the victor and vanquished spoke the same language. The objectivity was at its lowest and nobody was prepared to listen to or read the Nazi German side of the story.

But now decades later when some one from Britain or other Allied powers like the United States, Russia or France come up with slightly more balanced view on what actually happened in those years nobody would accuse him of being the Nazi agent. Now some people do read with rapt attention the exaggerated stories of the Holocaust. To some extent historians of today have come to realize that several facts related to it were grossly blown out of proportion for some ulterior motives, for example, to create a state for the Jews or to hide the war crimes of the western powers. Since there is no bitterness and animosity left among different countries and communities people are prepared to accept some hitherto hidden facts.

Similarly when Jaswant Singh, though a founder-member of the BJP, did try to unveil some of the facts he was in position to do so as in spite of tension between the governments of India and Pakistan there are ,more sensible people who want to know and understand the real story. The number of those carried away by the emotion of the holocaust of partition has certainly subsided.

Today only those people will oppose such move who had some secret interest in keeping these facts in the dark. Therefore, it is the BJP, which reacted more sharply than the Congress either when the book hit the stand on August 17 last in New Delhi or on November 1 in Patna––or anywhere else in between.

Jaswant’s book does not exonerate Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Instead it also exposes the role played by the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the then home minister, Vallabh Bhai Patel. What is strange is that the Sangh Parivar reacted more sharply than the Congress. Jaswant was thrown out within 48 hours without anyone reading the book. True, the Congress leaders were also peeved at Jaswant’s view on Nehru and Patel yet the Sangh Parivar top brass was furious as if the first Prime Minister and home minister of the country were their own men and, therefore, their misdeeds should not be known.

Jaswant’s book may just be an extenstion of what Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who served as the Congress president for the longest time before independence, had already written in India Wins Freedom decades ago when the emotion was really running high and the number of objective readers in the sub-continent was much less.

The manner in which the Sangh Parivar reacted against Jaswant Singh book and the way in which the Janata Dal (United) emerged as the only NDA constituents––may be apart from Shiv Sena––to support the BJP on the issue only go to prove that there is certainly some hidden agenda which the former external affairs and finance minister of India exposed. True neither Nehru nor Patel were the RSS men, but may be for their own selfish interest they managed to did what the Sangh Parivar wanted to do. Therefore, suppress any voice which is trying to make public this darker unknown side of history.

(Soroor Ahmed could be contacted at [email protected])

12-11-09, 10:22 AM
Dr. M. A. Ahmad Ali, a wizard of surgery

A boyhood friend remembers the wizard going down the memory lane

By Shafee Ahmed Ko., TwoCircles.net,

Dr. M. A. Ahmad Ali, a renowned gastroenterologist and proctologist of Chennai, has been honoured as Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) by the Tamil Nadu M.G.R. University.

Since I was associated with Dr. Ahmad Ali right from boyhood, I feel it privileged to remember his boyhood days.

Dr. Ahmed Ali and I were class mates right from Mazharul Uloom Elementary School, and Mazharul Uloom High School Ambur of then North Arcot Dist Tamil Nadu. Though he could not enjoy all the luxuries from his family as a boy, a thirst for knowledge was great in him. He had great photographic memory.

It was the Meelad celebration of our School and its date was approaching fast. Our Urdu Munshi made an assignment to few students, to get ready by memorizing ten pages of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) out of twenty pages from an Urdu book, at a given short period of days. On next day, Ahmad Ali came out in the class to recite all the 20 pages to our surprise and Urdu Munshi was so happy and he rewarded him with full of blessings and with a chalk piece. Ahmed Ali was genius in Mathematics but a dull boy in play grounds. He had multiple promotions in the school days.

During the school days he was a voracious reader. I remember he used to tell me that he could read 60 pages in Tamil, 50 pages in English, 40 pages in Urdu and 30 pages in Hindi all per hour. If he took a magazine, I remember he would read every part of it from A to Z.

He passed all the classes including Pre University in Islamia College, Vaniyambadi, in distinction and joined the prestigious Madras Medical College, Chennai.

He was nick named in Pre University class (PUC) as “Scoundralia PUC ka” as he could recite all the botanical and zoological terms from the flick of his memory such as “mimosa pudica”. In this period he was reading a book titled “Man, Microbe and Maladies”.

After a graduation in medical field, he was elevated from lecturer post to professor in surgery and he obtained doctoral honours such as M.S., M.Ch (Medical name, Magister Chirurgiae or the English form of Master of Surgery.) PhDs as gastroenterologist and proctologist and now the Doctoral honour as D.Sc.

He was the only son to his parents. Very obedient son was he that he had obtained a job in Albany Hospital New York, and gave up the idea of joining it just because his mother never wished her son to be far away.

It so happened in one of the surgical patients who underwent surgery with a senior surgeon in Chennai. But the lump detected in the abdominal cavity of the patient stayed as such intact even after three openings. The patient remained in the hospital helpless. As an ultimatum Dr. Ahmed Ali was approached. First Dr. Ahmed Ali took permission from the senior surgeon and conducted surgery in the presence of his senior. The lump was removed within hours. His respect to his senior was remarkable. There are numerous cases so complicated which went so easy in the deft hands of Dr. Ali. Masha Allah, he is so skilled in the surgery, he makes a professional cuts on the human body as if an artist plays with his brush. Such complicated cases are under record as rare cases in professional authorities.

One of his students Dr. Hari Mohan writes as follows, “One never missed an occasion to be in the theatre when he operated as his skills were superb and a delight to watch, cracking jokes he would go about the most complicated ones with practised ease”

Professor Dr. Ahmed Ali remains a devoted Muslim, follows all the principles of Islam in devotion to Allah. His philanthropic approach is appreciable. He has brought laurels to the town of Ambur and many more should be inspired by him.

12-11-09, 12:33 PM
Assalamalaikum wa rahtmullahi w abarakatuhu

this reminds me of a poem.....
‘’”” Nahi hai RAM aur Rahmaan Alag””””
Logone diya hai tumhe bahut naam alag,
Sab Kahte hai mera hai bhagwaan alag,
Wo kahte hai mera hai RAHMAAN alag,
Ye kahte hai mera hai RAAM alag.....”””””””

Ek ne sazda kiya, ek ne jhukaya sar alag,
Unka kahna hai unka hai darbaar alag,
Dono ka ha rasta ek, par bandage hai alag,
Ek hi hai bhagwan wo hi khuda na koi alag,...”’’’’’

RAM ke bina Kaise ho RAMZAAN alag,
ALI san a ho kabhi DIW- ALI alag,
Log kaise kahte hai ki mera hai bhagwaan alag,
Mera hai kahna wahi RAM, wahi RAHMAAN,
Ek hi hai wo sirf hai uske naam alag,,,,””””””””

12-11-09, 12:46 PM
Assalamalaikum wa rahtmullahi w abarakatuhu

this reminds me of a poem.....
‘’”” Nahi hai RAM aur Rahmaan Alag””””
Logone diya hai tumhe bahut naam alag,
Sab Kahte hai mera hai bhagwaan alag,
Wo kahte hai mera hai RAHMAAN alag,
Ye kahte hai mera hai RAAM alag.....”””””””

Ek ne sazda kiya, ek ne jhukaya sar alag,
Unka kahna hai unka hai darbaar alag,
Dono ka ha rasta ek, par bandage hai alag,
Ek hi hai bhagwan wo hi khuda na koi alag,...”’’’’’

RAM ke bina Kaise ho RAMZAAN alag,
ALI san a ho kabhi DIW- ALI alag,
Log kaise kahte hai ki mera hai bhagwaan alag,
Mera hai kahna wahi RAM, wahi RAHMAAN,
Ek hi hai wo sirf hai uske naam alag,,,,””””””””

Seriously you believe in that stupidity brother

12-11-09, 03:03 PM
Assalamalaikum wa rahtmullahi w abarakatuhu

this reminds me of a poem.....
‘’”” Nahi hai RAM aur Rahmaan Alag””””
Logone diya hai tumhe bahut naam alag,
Sab Kahte hai mera hai bhagwaan alag,
Wo kahte hai mera hai RAHMAAN alag,
Ye kahte hai mera hai RAAM alag.....”””””””

Ek ne sazda kiya, ek ne jhukaya sar alag,
Unka kahna hai unka hai darbaar alag,
Dono ka ha rasta ek, par bandage hai alag,
Ek hi hai bhagwan wo hi khuda na koi alag,...”’’’’’

RAM ke bina Kaise ho RAMZAAN alag,
ALI san a ho kabhi DIW- ALI alag,
Log kaise kahte hai ki mera hai bhagwaan alag,
Mera hai kahna wahi RAM, wahi RAHMAAN,
Ek hi hai wo sirf hai uske naam alag,,,,””””””””

If you belive in this than you are stupid No 1

12-11-09, 03:16 PM
:salams akhi Ruslan, keep up the good work! ma Sha Allah. :wswrwb:

13-11-09, 05:07 PM
Jamia Millia holds memorial lecture on Bi-Amman, mother of Ali Brothers

By TwoCircles.net News Desk,

New Delhi: The First Bi-Amman Memorial Lecture was held today at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi. This was to commemorate the 85th death anniversary of the veteran freedom fighter, Bi-Amman (1852-1924), mother of great freedom fighters Ali Brothers.

Bi-Amman was one of the few women Muslim Congress leaders in pre-independence India. She was the mother of famous Ali Brothers. Her son Mohamed Ali was President of Indian National Congress and First Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, founded under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Mohammed Ali was also the Editor of Comrade and Hamdard and the most forceful speaker in the First Round Table Conference at London 1931.

“Although Bi-Amman herself was an illiterate, she worked very hard to create harmony among Hindus and Muslim. She also traveled all over the country to forge the secular spirit. Motilal Nehru, Annie Beasent, Subrhamanya Iyer, Sri Shankaracharaya of Madurai, Sarojini Naidu were her close associates and records of their correspondence on many strategic issues are available in historical records,” said Rakhshanda Jalil, Director, Media & Culture, Jamia Millia.

The First Bi Amman Memorial Lecture was addressed by the Former Indian High Commissioner and veteran journalist, Mr. Kuldeep Nayyar. The Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Mr. Najeeb Jung presided over the program. Prof. Narayani Gupta, well known historian and Venkitesh Ramakrishnan, Deputy Editor, Frontline spoke on the occasion.
http://twocircles.net/2009nov13/jamia_millia_holds_memorial_lecture_bi_amman_mothe r_ali_brothers.html

14-11-09, 06:35 PM
All For a Song: Vande Mataram and the Jamiat’s Patriotism

By Yoginder Sikand, TwoCircles.net,

The furore stoked by the media over a recent declaration by a faction of the Jamiatul-Ulema- e Hind declaring the singing of the song Vande Matram to be un-Islamic has, not unexpectedly, been seized upon by vociferously anti-Muslim elements to press their claim of Muslims being ‘anti-national’. The fact that this song is undeniably religious in nature, and that the novel of which it forms a part is unabashedly anti-Muslim is well-known, making the reservations that many Muslims (along with other monotheistic Indians) about it quite understandable. What many Muslims are asking, a legitimate question that the media has failed to seriously raise, is why one’s attitude to a song (and that too in a language that few Indians understand) should be made the litmus test of Indian patriotism. What many Muslims also demand to know is how long they must continue to be forced by Hindu communalists to bear the burden of being compelled to prove their patriotic credentials.

At the same time, however, many Muslims are also asking why the Jamiat decided to rake a controversy about the Vande Mataram at this particular juncture. Was it to do with the ongoing rivalry within various factions of the Jamiat leadership of late that has delivered a major blow to the image of the organization among Muslims? Was it a clever ploy on the part of Mahmood Madani, the head of the Jamiat faction that passed the resolution, to grab media attention and to present himself as spokesperson for the Muslims of India? Was it a reflection of how out-of-tune the Jamiat’s diehard mullahs are with contemporary social realities?

The Deobandi mullahs of the Jamiat may be irredeemably conservative, even obscurantist, on a whole host of issues, but one thing that they cannot be accused of is disloyalty to India. The role of leading ulema of the Jamiat in the anti-colonial struggle and in opposing the creation of Pakistan is a story of which the Jamiat is justly proud of, and one that should serve to silence critics who are now raising questions about its patriotic credentials. The pro-Hindu slant of our education system has, lamentably, led to this glorious story being wiped out of our school textbooks, leaving the vast majority of Indians completely ignorant of a very vital chapter in the country’s history.

A recently-reprinted Urdu booklet published by the Jamiat provides the best guide to the Jamiat’s committed patriotic stance since pre-1947 times. Those who, ignorant of the Jamiat’s history, charge it for being allegedly anti-national simply for its position on Vande Mataram would do well to read it (Sadly, the Jamiat, despite the massive funds at its disposal, has not translated it into English or various other Indian languages). The booklet’s title ‘Hamara Hindustan Aur Uske Fazail’ (’Our India and Its Glories’), brilliantly encapsulates the Jamiat’s firm commitment to Indian patriotism.

The booklet consists of two essays, one by the late Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani, former Jamiat President (and, incidentally, paternal grandfather of Mahmood Madani, head of the faction of the Jamiat that recently issued the statement about Vande Mataram), and the other by the late Maulana Syed Muhammad Miyan, one-time General-Secretary of the Jamiat. The essays were first published sometime in the early 1940s, in opposition to the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan and to rebut the claim (one that continues to be made today by Hindu chauvinists) that Indian nationalism is necessarily synonymous with ‘Hindu nationalism’ and that the Indian Muslims simply cannot not be loyal to their country.

Maulana Madani begins by arguing that India has a special place in Muslim tradition. Hence, he stresses, the Muslims of the country should consider themselves ‘particularly honoured to have been born in India’, and that they must also work for the welfare and unity of the country. Contrarily, to demand the partition of India, he argues, would be to defy the Divine Will itself. He writes that Muslim tradition has it that God directed Adam, the first man and the first prophet, to be sent down to earth to India. It was thus from India that the human race sprang from Adam’s progeny. This implies, he writes, that the Indian Muslims must consider India as their ‘ancient home’ (watan al-qadim). In addition, he refers to the Quran as mentioning that God has sent prophets to every nation, taking this to mean that prophets must have also been sent to India as well. This, he says, is further suggested by the fact the numerous Muslim saints have ‘discovered’, through ‘spiritual encounters’, the graves of various prophets in India. Since, as the Quran says, the primal religion taught by all the prophets of God, including those who were possibly sent to India, was one and the same—al-Islam (’The Surrender’)—it is obvious, he suggests, that from ancient times onwards, even prior to the advent of the last prophet, Muhammad, Islam has been present in India. In fact, Maulana Madani argues, ‘it is an unchallengeable fact that from the very beginning India has been the land of Islam (islam ka watan)’.

India, Maulana Madani insists, is as much the motherland of the Muslims as it is of other communities in the country. He goes so far as to claim that Muslims do, or at least should, display an even greater concern for India’s welfare than other communities because while many Hindus burn their dead and throw their ashes into rivers, and the Parsis let vultures feed on their dead, the Muslims bury their dead in the bosom of the earth, in the very soil of their motherland. In contrast to the Hindus and the Parsis of the country, the mortal remains of the Muslims remain in India in their graves and shall remain so till the Day of Judgment. The Hindus believe in reincarnation of the dead, and there is no guarantee that their dead would be reborn in India, while the Muslims believe they shall remain in their graves till the Day of Judgment. Hence, Maulana Madani argues, it is only the Muslims who remain faithful to India even after their death. This itself means, he writes, that Muslims are, or should be, even more attached to India and concerned about its welfare than people of other communities.

No community can, therefore, claim a monopoly of Indian patriotism, Maulana Madani insists, challenging Hindu assertions to the contrary. Just as the Aryans, the Huns and the Greeks came to India and settled here and made this their home, he writes, so did the early Muslims. The only difference between the Muslims and the others is that the former arrived in India earlier. In fact, Maulana Madani argues, the Muslims, as a whole, can be more legitimately said to be the original inhabitants of India, since the vast majority of the Indian Muslims are descendants of converts from India’s pre-Aryan aboriginal people. Hence, he asserts, it is completely misleading to claim that India is not the land of the Muslims or that it belongs to the Hindus alone. The welfare of all the communities of India, including the Muslims, depends on the overall welfare of the country, and this is yet another reason why the Indian Muslims must love and serve their country, he argues.

Maulana Miyan’s piece, titled ‘Sarzamin-e Hindustan Ke Fazail’ (‘The Blessings of India’), echoes the same views as Madani’s, stressing the claim that the Indian Muslims are bound to ‘love’ and ‘serve’ India primarily because Islam commands them to do so. Like Madani, Miyan claims that India has been accorded a special status by God Himself. He bases his thesis on an Arabic text written by the eighteenth-century Indian Muslim scholar, Ghulam Azad Bilgrami, which puts together reports attributed to the Prophet Muhammad that are said to refer to the ‘glories’ of India.

Quoting Bilgrami, Miyan writes that while Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are, undoubtedly, the ‘most holy’ places in the world, Muslim tradition has it that India, too, is a ‘blessed land’. According to narrations from such several early Muslim figures as Imam Ali (cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet) and Ayesha (one of the Prophet’s wives), Adam was sent down to earth to India, to the island of Serendib or modern-day Sri Lanka, while Eve was sent to Jeddah. Adam then travelled to Arabia, where he met Eve at a place near Mecca. After building the Kaaba at Mecca, Adam took Eve with him and returned to India, where they settled down and had children. The incident involving the sons of Adam, Cain (Qabil) and Abel (Habil),occurred, or so Miyan says, in India. After Abel was killed by Cain,Adam had another son, Sheesh, who, according to some accounts, is buried in the town of Ayodhya, which is sacred to many Hindus today. Adam is said to have undertaken forty pilgrimages (haj) from India to Mecca on foot. He is also said, some ulema claim, so Miyan tells us,to have died in India and to have been buried here.

This close connection between Adam and India points to what Miyan claims to be the obvious fact that Muslim tradition accords to India the status of a ‘blessed land’. This suggests, Miyan writes, that India had a special place in God’s scheme of things for the world, which Muslims living in the country need to recognise. The fact that Adam first appeared in the world in India means that the world’s first dar ul-khilafa (’abode of the Caliphate’) was India, because this was where God’s first khalifa or deputy was sent down. The island of Serendib or modern-day Sri Lanka, which can be said to be, in some sense, part of ‘greater India’, was the first place in the world where God sent his revelation. Adam, the first man and the first prophet,was made out of ‘Indian soil’. Since Adam is the father of all human beings, including all the other prophets and the saints, the rest of humanity was also fashioned out of the ‘mud of India’, or so Miyan claims.

To reinforce his argument of India being accorded the status of a ‘blessed land’ in the Islamic tradition itself, Miyan notes that some Muslim scholars believe that the oath of ‘alast’, which the Quran refers to, also took place in India. On that occasion, God gathered all the souls of men who would appear in the world till the Day of Judgment and addressed them, asking them if He was not their Lord. All the souls answered that He indeed was. This shows, Miyan writes, that India was the country where the ‘slaves’ of God first acknowledged Him as Sustainer, from which started the long chain of spiritual advancement of humanity. Through this incident the land of India was ‘brightened by the light of all the prophets’, Miyan writes.

According to the Quran, Miyan adds, at the time of taking the above-mentioned oath, another oath was taken from all the prophets, in which each prophet testified to the prophet who would succeed him.

Since the chain of prophets ended with Muhammad, every other prophet testified on that occasion to Muhammad being a prophet, reposing faith in him and promising to help him. This second oath, too, was taken in India, Miyan claims. Hence, Miyan writes, ‘India is that holy (muqaddas) land where the chain of religious instruction (rashd-o hidayat), and knowledge of the closeness of God (ma‘arif-e qurb-e ilahi) and salvation in the hereafter (nijat-e akhiravi)’ had their origins.

The claim of God having chosen India to send Adam to has other crucial implications, Miyan suggests, which reinforce the special place that India is said to occupy in the Muslim tradition. Miyan writes, echoing a view held by many Sufis, that the first thing God created was the noor-e muhammadi or the ‘light of Muhammad’. This light was first put into Adam and was then transferred through all the prophets till it reached the Prophet Muhammad when he appeared in Mecca. Because Adam lived in India, the first time that the noor-e- Muhammadi appeared on earth was in India, and the last time that it appeared was in Arabia, this establishing a firm spiritual link between the two lands.

All these ‘facts’, Miyan argues, stresses the need for the Indian Muslims to ecognise that ‘it is our good fortune that this India is our beloved country’. Because India is said to have held a special place in God’s plan for the world, Miyan argues, God has blessed it with numerous assets. The source of all good things is heaven, and whatever good things are found on earth are a limited reflection of their heavenly counterparts. All good things that are found in the world were first brought by Adam to India, from where they spread to
the rest of the world, or so Miyan claims.

Besides the alleged Adam connection, Miyan marshals other ‘evidence’to put forward his claim of India’s special status in Islamic terms. Thus, he writes that some Muslim scholars believe that Noah built his ark in India, and that India was unaffected by the Great Flood in Noah’s time. In addition, several companions of the prophet, thousands of Muslim saints, martyrs and pious ulema made India their home and died and were buried here. All these facts clearly suggest, Miyan contends, that from the Islamic point of view the ‘greatness’ of India is ‘undeniable’. Hence, he stresses, it is the religious duty of the Muslims of India to work for the sake of the unity and prosperity of the country as a whole. Hence, too,he suggests, the claim of Hindu chauvinists that only Hindus can be genuine Indian patriots and that Muslims, by definition, cannot, must be challenged and countered.

Not being a national chauvinist, I do not agree with all that Maulanas Madani and Miyan wrote in fulsome praise of India. Nor do I share all of their interpretations of alleged Muslim traditions about India. Some of them I find, to put it mildly, completely outlandish. Be that as it may, they certainly serve as a resounding answer to those who have now pounced upon the Jamiat’s resolution on the Vande Mataram song to brand the Jamiat, and, with it, the entire Indian Muslim community, as ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘anti-nationalist’.

================================================== ======

Yoginder Sikand works with the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Social Policy at the National Law School, Bangalore ...

http://twocircles.net/2009nov13/all_song_vande_mataram_and_jamiat_s_patriotism.htm l

19-11-09, 11:18 AM
Indian historians are absolutely dishonest or simply opportunistic: AG Noorani

By M. Noushand for TwoCircles.net

A.G. Noorani is a famous author of history books and a lawyer at Supreme Court of India. He recently visited Calicut to receive CH Muhammed Koya Foundation Award for eminent writers. He talked to M Noushad.

You are a regular reviewer of history books. How do you assess the academic quality of history writing in India in comparison and contrast with the history projects in foreign countries, especially the west?

Most of the history writing in India is dazed with nationalism; the history of the freedom struggle minimizes the role of everyone except Gandhi, Nehru and Patel. The role of great nationalists like Maulana Mohammad Ali, MA Ansari, Hakim Ajmal Khan and many others is ignored. Even Maulana Azad is not acknowledged as much he deserves. It feels like the freedom movement began with Gandhi. Gandhi came only in the second decade of the 20th century. The freedom movement was built up by, let us say, Raja Ram Mohan Roy to begin with. Leaders like Dadabai Navaroji and Surendra Nadh Banerji were there. Who talks about Badaruddin Tyabji? He had a very interesting debate with Sir Syed Ahmed Khan on why Muslims should join the Congress. I have written a biography of Tyabji, which is published by the publication division of India. There were many great leaders.

In Indian history writing, I am afraid, there is no critical scrutiny. There is either idolatry or denigration. Both are wrong. There must be informed and documented criticism.

Is this subjective history writing caused by Indians' natural tendency for hero worshipping?

That's right. There is a lot of Bhakti and cult of Bhakti in India. But in Pakistan it is much worse, though I must tell you that terms are changing in Pakistan. They published some criticism of mine in Pakistan on Jinnah and a book I have written on Jinnah will be published before long.

Muhammed Ali Jinnah has been debated in Indian media even now. The founding father of Pakistan is haunting BJP for quite some time. Why do you think Hindutva leaders like LK Advani and Jaswant Singh are attracted to Jinnah?

Both Advani and Jaswant are motivated. Lal Krishna Advani was advised that if you praise Jinnah, you'll get a moderate image. Advani is a rank opportunist; he praised Jinnah, not because he believed it; even not to please Pakistanis but to have an image in India. Jaswant Singh's book seemed to me absolutely lacking objectivity. Of course, he has departed from the national consensus that Jinnah doesn't mean much. His book doesn't deserve any comment.

One important thing is that the people who either praise Jinnah or attack Jinnah should submit themselves to a careful scrutiny of records on Jinnah. For example, the two-nation theory: he said the Muslim homelands are in Punjab, frontier and all that. What about Kerala? Islam first came to Kerala, and it's believed that the first mosque here was built in the time of the prophet himself. Is it not a homeland? I am a Bombay man. Is not Bombay my homeland? Two-nation theory was built on falsehood, that these are homelands because you are in majority. Remember, there is homeland for Hindus also. There is greater respect for minorities in India that there has ever been in Pakistan.

As far as Muhammed Ali Jinnah is concerned, I am afraid, both Indian and Pakistani historians have agreed on one thing: Jinnah was politically born in 1940s when he demanded partition. There was a great Jinnah before that - from 1906 to 1936. In 38-39, he was treated shabbily by Gandhi as well as Nehru. And he became bitter. That shabby treatment doesn't justify bitterness. The fact remains that he did much harm to India, he harmed the Muslim community in India. However, people don't realize that he harmed Pakistan also. Because, the Kashmir settlement was possible on the 1st of November 1947 when Mountbatton offered a plebiscite in Kashmir and Hyderabad. Jinnah was very fond of Hyderabad and he refused. Had he done that there would have been no cold war between India and Pakistan; everything would have been settled there. Sardar Patel was prepared and Nehru would have been prepared, had he but agreed to plebiscite in Hyderabad. This is Jinnah's shortsightedness. There is a couplet by Ghalib: “Lazim nahi ke Khizer ki ham payravi karen, jana ke ek buzurg hame humsafar mile”. It is not necessary that we should worship the wise man Khizer, but realize that he was the companion on the journey. So we must treat all the elders with respect, but we must take them to critical scrutiny.

While dissecting the role of Indian nationalist leaders in partition, do you think Indian historians have been honest? A typical and very common style is blaming Jinnah and the British.

Very many of our historians are either absolutely dishonest or simply opportunistic. You see the point is, in India, the State controls the universities. The State has a grip over the institutions of learning, the so-called think tanks - some of them may be autonomous by name - and other centres of research. You can't invite foreign scholars for conferences without clearance from the Home Ministry, as well as the External Affairs Ministry. This is particularly strong on certain sensitive things, like Kashmir.

We must honestly acknowledge the historic role played by our leaders in partition. I'll give you an instance: when there was a proposal for United Bengal, there was an agreement drawn out between Sarat Chandra Bose, the elder brother of Subhash Chandra Bose and HS Suhurawardi, the League Chief Minister of United Bengal. They say we'll neither join Pakistan nor India. It was sabotaged by Gandhi, Nehru and Patel. Gandhi demanded terms for Hindus in Bengal which he would not have considered for Muslims in United India. That's history. I respect Gandhi as he knew that he was playing with his life. He chose the path of martyrdom and I salute him as a martyr for the protections of Muslims. But his historical mistakes should be realized. They all realized their mistakes. Jinnah praised secularism in his famous speech in 1947 August; Nehru fought for Muslims after partition. Nehru was secular as the word go. But his secularism had a funny Marxist twist. He said there are no religious differences in India, there are economic differences. So, if you solve the economic problems, religious problems will also be solved. He was wrong. People in our country, irrespective of their economic status, are conscious of religious identities. We have to attempt to address that emotion as well as economic problems. Nehru was consistently secular, Patel was not. Patel was rabidly communal, I use the word rabidly. He even attacked the integrity of Maulana Azad in December 1947.

AG Noorani with Barkha Dutt in Kerala to receive CH Muhammed Koya Foundation Award for eminent writers.

You mentioned Kashmir. You have written that the self-rule should be linked to the constitution and the cry for Azadi needs a sound response.

Kashmir is a sensitive issue. The fact is that the people of Kashmir are totally alienated. But as Prof. Hiren Mukherji said, even the best of us do not realize the depth of alienation. After a week's stay I returned from Kashmir, only two days back. I can tell you that the alienation there is total. Even people who make pro-Indian noises admit that there is alienation. At the same time, it's not that the people want to go to Pakistan. The pro-Pakistani settlement has declined. They talk of Azadi in a vague way. Azadi really means independence.

But I think we should give them the self-rule within the Indian union. You cannot settle this unilaterally, we need to involve Pakistan also. The Musharraf formula broadly was acceptable to New Delhi. It sounded mainly total self-rule to both parts of Kashmir, subject to central linking. A kind of joint mechanism involving two parts of Kashmir. The Line of Control (LoC) is to be opened up completely. As Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said, it's a line on the map. So there would be movement of goods, men and literature; demilitarization would come only after settlement. Here I must attribute to Dr. Manmohan Singh. I do not believe that Mr. Vajpayee was at all sincere in this matter; and he was head-locked. Otherwise he wouldn't have held the Agra summit. Dr. Singh is sincere, but Pakistan let him down by the Bombay blast in 2006, then by the clumsy handling of judiciary crisis by Musharraf. In Mumbai blast Pakistan has to give a full account to India.
I must say that Dr. Singh is sincere in his Kashmir interventions in spite of the problems he faces from his colleagues in the cabinet and members in the party.

But the valley is still erupting with violence, especially after the Shopian tragedy.

The point is justice. Do you remember the people of Nepal erupted with violence over Hritik Roshan affair? They had nothing against Hritik Roshan. But India had handled it and continues to handle it in a very clumsy fashion. India had always been bad at behavior with neighbors. Look at Sri Lanka. Who armed the LTTE? We have to answer this. You know LTTE used to issue communication from Chennai on their offences here and there. India did that in Bangladesh. We have not been innocent in many things. I mean the Pakistani charges against us may not be correct. And certainly Pakistan has a lot to answer for, including the blast in Indian embassy in Kabul. I am sure certain elements in Pakistan are responsible for it, then you have the crime of Mumbai. Even if the attackers were non-State actors, Pakistan cant escape from its responsibility.

You've been a very strong defender of secularism for a long time, especially during the BJP regime's fascist interventions. What do you think would be the task ahead for the civilian society - including Hindus, Muslims and Christians - to undertake in the fight for India's pluralism?

Well, it has to be in both ways: the majority community has to show greater understanding of Muslims and other minorities. But the Muslims in turn, must discard the leadership of fake self-styled leaders. You take the case of Syed Shahabuddin. He has done enormous harm to the Muslim community. I had great hopes for him, as he was an educated man on the foreign services; but he has turned out to be a complete disappointment. For example, on the Babari Masjid, when he set up the action committee of Muslims, he asked for a boycott of official functions, including the Republic Day. The point is that you alienated the vast majority of non-Muslims. The best research on Babari Masjid's history, archeology and law was done by non-Muslims. What's the contribution of Muslim leaders? Nothing. All that they have done is that they promoted themselves. After 1992, Shahabuddin's leadership has completely collapsed. He broke from Janata Dal and couldn't cooperate with any other party. I am sorry for wasting time discussing this; I just want to show how Muslim leadership engages with sensitive issues.

The Babari Masjid was protected by an act of Indian Parliament as a heritage structure, an ancient monument. We should have taken a secular stand as the word go. There is a mosque and there is the chabutara. Let them build a temple on the chabutara, I have collected and published documents on Babari Masjid, I have studied it.

What the Muslim leaders should remember is that there are no separate electorates. We've joint electorate and everybody has to seek vote from everybody. Even BJP has to seek vote from Muslims, that's why they have people like Shahnawaz Khan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. They all need your votes. If you allow yourselves to be led by leaders who have no concern for you, then nobody can't help it.

In Kerala, you have Muslim League, which is rooted in this soil. It was not a plant imported as per the orders of Liaqat or Jinnah. The local leaders in Kerala like Syed Bafaqi Tangal and CH Muhammed Koya could connect the party with Congress and take it to mainstream politics. That's a very constructive point. Kerala is a blessing that you've temple, mosque and church in the same street and different communities live together.
After his disastrous involvement in partition, the last message Jinnah gave to Muslims in India was not to engage in unnecessary fights with Hindus. He asked to concentrate on education, technology, business, industry so that there is a hopeful future. And while setting up educational campuses, I think, they must not be isolated. Living in ghettos will make you perish. For the survival of Indian pluralism, Muslims must bring in Hindu students, Hindu teachers and cooperate with the State in building up these centres.

The only people who tried to create difference in Indian mind are RSS and BJP. Many riot enquiry commissions have found that they have been inciting hatred and violence in majority community's mindset. Since partition to 1961, there was hardly any riot. It began with Jabalpur riots, then in Bhiwandi, Jamshedpur, Ahmedabad, countless other cities. There has been no end.
Don't you think the Congress was unsuccessful in controlling the communal violence, and thus they too are responsible?

Absolutely, yes. The Congress is opportunistic and I'll tell you the Babri Masjid would not have been demolished without the complicity of that dishonest man PV Narasimha Rao. He knew what is happening and he complied. And so did SB Chavan. But where were those Muslim leaders in the cabinet? People like Salman Khurshid and Ghulam Nabi Azad, the contractors who take Muslims' responsibility?

The 2009 Lok Sabha results apparently showed that the power and charisma of BJP are fading away. How do you assess the future of BJP as a party?

BJP's future depended entirely on two men's partnership: Lal Krishna Advani and Atal Behari Vajpayee. Vajpayee is a man of many qualities, I am sorry he is unwell. Advani is totally, completely discredited. Now he is fighting to retrieve the position. But his credibility is gone. In 1991, he won the New Delhi constituency by narrow margin. He was certain to lose from New Delhi, but there was a lady called Manju Mohan, the wife of Janata Party leader Surendra Mohan, who foolishly contested elections only to split the anti-BJP vote. Had she not stood, Advani would not have won even by the narrow majority. That damage to his prestige apparently caused him to take up Radh Yatra again. He is an utterly unprincipled man, he has waged through human blood, he destroyed a heritage building, he created communal tension and some of the Muslim leaders played into his hand.

Do you think the current crisis in BJP is an organizational one or ideological?

It is a fatal illness; the young leaders hate one another more than they hate the Congress. The BJP may not remain as a core, but remember even before partition there was an anti-Muslim constituency in the country, after partition it got aggravated by riots, Babari Masjid, Shyama Parasad Mukharji and immature Muslim behavior.

BJP began its march in 1989 with Babri Masjid. It has been played out; 20 years later it is finished. The point is that the Hindus are a great people. They have produced great men who fought even their own community for their principles: men like Jayaprakash Narayan and Jawaharlal Nehru. You would not find such men in Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Though there are several setbacks for BJP in Hindi heartlands and even in Maharashtra in recent elections, new outfits of Hindutva are active: like Sri Ram Sena in South Canara, Sanathan Sanstha who managed blasts in Goa. And Gujarat is still ruled by Narendra Modi.

The BJP represents a constituency. That constituency existed even before independence. Men like Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Bipin Chandra Pal and several other leaders were people who were inciting Hindutva. You study the politics of Malaviya and Goonje. RSS was born in 1925. In fact the first person who advocated partition of India was Lala Lajpat Rai. He did that in 1924. Savarkar wrote his essay on Hindutva in the same year and in 1939 he demanded Hindu nation. Later only the Muslim League reacted. Jinnah was such a fierce nationalist that he was constantly opposed for that reason by Punjabi Muslim leaders like Muhammed Shafi and Aga Khan. Jinnah was in those days, a mediator between Hindus and Muslims. Unfortunately the Hindus let him down and he became an advocate of Muslim rights. He took some of the further steps to acquire Muslim support. Nehru was the man who told the Cabinet Mission Plan that Jinnah had no place in this country. He said this in 1946. So how would you expel him form the country? Partition was the answer. Jinnah was prepared for the Cabinet Mission Plan, on Indian unity. Not only Nehru, Gandhi also sabotaged it. Vallabhai Patel sabotaged it. The only man who wanted the Plan to succeed was Maulana Azad. He knew that partition would ruin the country and the Muslims.

http://twocircles.net/2009nov16/indian_historians_are_absolutely_dishonest_or_simp ly_opportunistic_ag_noorani.html#comment-55015

20-11-09, 06:45 PM
Maulana Mazharul Haque: A forgotten leader of Bihar

By M. Zajam, TwoCircles.net

Maulana Mazharul Haque, the man who was a firm believer in complete Independence being "the birthright of every Nation", has his birth place in office of a government run school that doubles as food storage.

Maulana Mazharul Haque was born to a rich landlord, Sheikh Ahmedullah, in Brahmpur, Thana Maner of Patna district on December 22nd, 1866. His primary education was at home by Maulvi Sajjad Hussain, but he passed his matriculation from the Patna Collegiate in 1886. He joined Canning College in Lucknow for higher studies but same year left for England to pursue a course in Law. He started legal practice in Patna after his return from England in 1891.

He made a significant contribution to relief efforts launched during the famine in Saran district of Bihar in 1897. Maulana Mazharul Haque's public life actually commenced with the creation of the Bihar Provincial Conference, a move he supported as he believed in the need for the constitution of Bihar as a separate province.

In 1906 Maulana was elected Vice Chairman of Bihar Congress Committee. Mazharul Haque helped organize the Home Rule Movement in Bihar and was its President in 1916. He actively participated in the Champaran Satyagraha for which he was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment.

Subsequently, when the Non Cooperation and Khilafat Movements were launched, Mazharul Haque gave up his lucrative legal practice and his elected post as member of the Imperial Legislative Council and turned all his efforts to the freedom struggle. By now, he was a firm believer in complete Independence being "the birthright of every Nation".

Mazharul Haque was also a fervent believer in democratic decentralization and he organized the Panchayats in Saran district towards meeting this vision. He also made many requests for better educational facilities in Bihar, especially for free and compulsory primary education.

Maulana Mazharul Haque actively participated in anti-purdah movement launched in Bihar in response to the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1920. Mahatma Gandhi sought to bring women also into mainstream politics, to strengthen the resistance against British rule as well as empower them to play a more active role in society. The purdah system espoused by Muslim and many Hindu families, especially in Bihar, meant that women remained behind men in all spheres of life.

In 1919, he gave up and burnt his western attire to adopt traditional Muslim attire. He was given title of “Desh Bhushan Faqir Mazharul Haque”.

1920, he donated his 16 bigha land on Patna- Danapur road for Sadaqat Ashram and Vidya Peeth which served as college for students who left government colleges in response to Non-Cooperation Movement. Sadaqat Ashram played important role in Independence movement in Bihar.

Maulana also launched his weekly magazine “The Motherland” from Sadaqat Ashram. He also jailed for his articles in this magazine. Sadaqat Ashram continues to serve as headquarters of Bihar Congress. But it is a tragedy that even Congress do not remember the person who has given so much to the party. Till few years back, even Maulana picture was now where to be seen in the ashram.

Maulana was firm believer of Hindu-Muslim unity. His famous quote sums up his conviction, “Wheather we are Hindu or Musalmaan we are in the same boat, we must sail or sink together”.

When in London, Maulana established Anjuman Islamia. This brought Indians of various religion, region and sects under one umbrella. This was also place to discuss about India’s problem. Mahatma Gandhi first met Maulana Mazharul Haque in Anjuman Islamia, London.

Person who gave everything for the country has not got due recognition. Maulana donated the house where he was born, to start Madrasa and middle school within same compound in 1926. Idea behind establishing both in one campus was to promote communal harmony.

Now the very place where he was born is a principal office of government middle school. On the entrance door of principal office, a line is written in Hindi “Janam Kachh Maulana Mazharul ”(Birth place of Maulana Mazharul Haque). If you enter in the office apart from a picture of Maulana Mazharul Haque along side Dr. Rajender Prasad picture will not give any indication of place being birthplace of a person of such stature. Principal office house the ration for mid day meal scheme for the school apart from general school office stuff.

But this is an improvement from before. Before this school structure was build in 2004, place he was born was used as a toiler for villagers after original structure fell down. Because of the effort for few locals, this place was cleaned up and school building was build and place was marked as birth place.

On December 22nd politicians do come to shower words of praise on Maualana’s contributions but the pity condition of place has not moved anyone. Their promise has remained promise till date.

While talking to TwoCircles.net, Md. Yusuf Khushidi, former HOD Urdu department, Patna University said, “Locals have been demanding to build Library or Technical Institute in that place to commemorate but so far nothing has materialised.”

Yusuf Khhurshidi who belongs to Brahmpura added, it is unfortunate that for a person, who sacrificed every thing for the country has been forgotten so fast. Maulana foresightedness can be judged by the fact that Maulana had emphasized on the communal harmony, democratic decentralization and education right from early stage of his life. Maulana was also in the forefront in establishing Bihar state which was carved out of Bengal.

Echoing Yusuf Khurshidi sentiments, Dananjay Yadav also demanded a memorial should be built for the one of the tallest visionary leader of Bihar.

Maulana’s family is living a struggling life in obscurity. It is disheartening to see family of a person who sacrificed everything from career to wealth for the sake of county is left high and dry.

Next birthday of Maulana Mazharul Haque is a month away. I am sure VIPs will be lining up to pay respect especially in election year. Few fascinating speeches will be delivered and few promises will be made. Politicians are known to have short term memory. So those promises will be forgotten sooner than later.

People in India too have selective memory, only very few are remembered for their part in freedom struggle and rests are still struggling to get freedom from obscurity.

20-11-09, 06:47 PM
“In 1912, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al Hilal to increase the revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims. Al-Hilal played an important role in forging Hindu-Muslim unity after the bad blood created between the two communities in the aftermath of Morley-Minto reforms. Al Hilal became a revolutionary mouthpiece ventilating extremist views. The government regarded Al Hilal as propogator of secessionist views and banned it in 1914. Maulana Azad then started another weekly called Al-Balagh with the same mission of propagating Indian nationalism and revolutionary ideas based on Hindu-Muslim unity. In 1916, the government banned this paper too and expelled Maulana Abul Kalam Azad from Calcutta and interned him at Ranchi from where he was released after the First World War in 1920.”
(Source: Indian Heroes: http://www.iloveindia.com/indian-heroes/maulana-abul-kalam-azad.html)

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, born in Mecca, whose birth name was Abdul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin, belonged to an orthodox Muslim scholarly family. His mother was an Arab, and his father Moulana Khairuddin a Bengali Muslim. Moulana Abul Kalam Azad was born on November 11, 1888. An accomplished scholar in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and English Moulana was also a writer especially interpreting and analyzing Holy Quran, Hadith, the rules of Fique. He is said to have rejected the orthodoxy of “Taqliq and accepted modern principles of “Tajdid”. Moulana was imbibed into ideologies of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

Moulana Abul Kalam Azad was an ardent freedom fighter and was close confidante of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. In the pre Independence era, he joined the National Congress and participated in Non-Cooperation Movement, he was a president of special session of the congress and was an active participant of various anti imperial movements resulting confinements of Jail terms. After Indepence he held the prestigious post as Education Minister and other important portfolios. He passed away on 22 February 1958 and was posthumously awarded the India’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna in 1992.

Maulana Azad was among top intellectuals of 20th century: Prof. Wasey

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net

Bhopal: “Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, India's first Education Minister, was among the top intellectuals of the first half of the 20th century who made a lasting impression on the life of Indians irrespective of caste, creed or religion.

As the first Union Education Minister he shaped India’s Education Policy and took on the task to bring about revolutionary changes in the education system of the country which the British had set up to suit their own needs”.

The above views were expressed by Prof. Akhtar-ul-Wasey, Director of Dr. Zakir Hussain Islamic Research Institute, Jamia Millia, New Delhi, in his keynote address in the two-day national seminar which concluded here.

India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sarojni Naidu while acclaiming the greatness and intellect of Maulana Azad had acknowledged his maturity of thoughts and vision when he was still a minor, Prof. Wasey recalled.

Reminding of Azad's unique intellectual achievements, Pandit Nehru had said: “…..He was great in many ways. He combined in himself the greatness of the past with the greatness of the present. He always reminded me of the great men of several hundred years ago about whom I have read in history, the great men of the Renaissance, or in a later period the encyclopaedists who proceeded the French Revolution, men of intellect and men of action. He remembered also of what might be called the great quality of olden days - the graciousness which we sadly seek in the world today….It was the strange and unique of the good qualities of the past, the graciousness, the deep learning and toleration and the urges of today which made Maulana Azad what he was.”
Prof. Wasey stressed that though Maulana Azad had traditional Madarsa-based education but he had deep insight of modern education also. He strived hard to make education scientific oriented in free India as he considered it vital for the development of the country and its people, he added.

The national seminar was organized by the Department of Languages in the National Council of Education Research and Training , (NCERT), New Delhi here at Regional Institute of Education. Scholars from all over India converged here to present their in-depth papers on Maulana Azad, who was a great freedom fighter, a great scholar, philosopher, statesman and an eminent educationist. The scholars shed light on his myriad personality which brought out many facet of his life not known to many people at large.

Prof. Ateequllah of Jamia Millia Islamia University in his paper “Maulana Azad Aur Sir Syed” said both Azad and Sir Syed had different approach but their mission in life was same to uplift the Indian masses from the quagmire of illiteracy and throw away the yoke of British rule to breath in free air.

Maulana Azad was proactive and had the courage of conviction to preach unity of mankind, at a time when religion was used by fanatic elements to separate man from man and ideals of nationalism were used to separate nations from nations, Prof Ateequllah emphasized.

Prof. Wahab Qaisar of Maulana Azad National Urdu University,(MANUU), Hyderabad, while commenting over Dr. Jamshed Qamar’s paper on “Maulana Azad Aur Ranchi” said that Maulana Azad’s stay at Ranchi for about four years after he was declared persona non grata by the British Government and expelled from Bengal proved to be the workshop of education for him where he established a Madarsa and formulated its syllabus with emphasis on modern education along with traditional religious learning. This workshop came handy to the Maulana when he became India’s first Education Minister to formulate nation’s education policy.

In the seminar about one half a dozen research papers were presented on the life and works of Maulana Azad. Some of the topics included: “Maulana Azad Aur Nehru”; “Maulana Azad Aur Iqbal”; Maulana Azad Aur Sir Syed Ahmad Khan”; “Maulana Azad Ki Sahafati Khidmaat”; “Maulana Azad Ki Tahzeebi Shanaqt”; “Maulana Azad Aur Kalkatta”; “Maulana Azad Aur Asri Taleemi Masaeil”; “Maulana Azad Ek Mufakir, Ek Adeeb”; “Maulana Azad Ke Taleemi Nazariyat”; ”Maulana Azad Ghubar-e-Khatir Ki Roshni Mein”; “Maulana Azad Ki Mazhabi Khidmaat”; "Maulana Azad Ki Manwiyat Asre Hazir Mein"; “Maulana Azad Bahaisiyat Shaeir”; “Maulana Azad Aur Ranchi” etc.

Well-known litterateur Prof. Abdul Qavi Desnavi inaugurated the seminar while Principal of Regional Institute of Education, Bhopal Prof. A. B. Saxena presided over the inaugural function. Prof. Ramjanam Sharma, Head department of Languages, NCERT, delivered the welcome address. Poet Naseem Ansari and poet Shahid Meer rendered poetic tribute to Maulana Azad during the seminar.

Prof. Kamla Prasad, Prof. Afaq Ahmad, Prof. Abdul Qavi Desnavi, Prof. Wahab Qaisar, Prof. Afaq Husain Siddiqui, Rizwan Qaisar, etc. chaired the various sessions of the seminar.

Those who presented their papers in the seminar included: Prof. Ateequllah (Jamia Millia), Prof. Wahab Qaisar, Maulana Syed Sharafat Ali Nadwi, Dr. Qamar-ul-Huda Fareedi, Dr. Nusrat Jahan, Prof. Abdul Qavi Desnavi, Prof. Afaq Ahmad, Prof. Khalid Mahmood (Jamia Millia), Prof. Mohammad Nauman Khan (NCERT), Dr. Mohammad Ahsan (MANUU, RC, Bhopal), Journalist Arif Aziz (Bhopal), Dr. Jamshed Qamar (Ranchi), Prof. Zaman Azardah (Kashmir), Dr. Farooq Ansari, Dr. Shameem Ahmad, Kausar Siddiqui, Dr. Tariq Saeed, Iqbal Masood (Bhopal), Dr. Arjumand Bano Afshan (Bhopal), Dr. Mohammad Moazzamuddin etc.

It may be pointed out here that Maulana Azad’s birth anniversary which falls on November 11 has been declared “National Education Day”. This has been rightly done as the Maulana was instrumental in India’s educational progress. He was also a great institution builder. He established the University Grants Commission (UGC), the National Academies – the Sangeet Natak Akademy, Sahitya Akademy, Lalit Kala Akademy, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. He strengthened the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and oversaw the establishment of a chain of top class technical institutions that now represent the best in the Indian Education System. Under his distinguished leadership, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur was established in 1951, which was followed by a chain of IITs at Mumbai, Chennai, Kanpur and Delhi.
http://twocircles.net/2009nov20/maulana_azad_was_among_top_intellectuals_20th_cent ury_prof_wasey.html

21-11-09, 02:59 PM
Nehru’s ghosts
Hindustan Times, November 15, 2009

by Meghnad Desai

It was Gandhi’s idea that India should have a single national language, and that it should be Hindi/Hindustani. The idea of Hindi as the sole national language offended many in the South.

Their languages not only had different scripts — not Devnagari in which Hindi was being projected — but also completely different vocabularies which, while loosely connected to Sanskrit in some cases, had their own histories. Languages were not just cultural artefacts but also a passport to jobs, especially in government offices. Indians from the South had taken to English as their passport to any place in India before 1947. The Constitution resolved to have Hindi as the sole national language of India, but allowed for a transition period of 15 years while English shared the stature of national language.

This led to a widespread protest in the South. In April 1962, C.N. Annadurai spoke in the Lok Sabha, three years before the deadline for the adoption of Hindi, for self-determination of Dravida Nadu, the homeland of the Dravidian people. This was “a country,” he said, “a part [of which] in India now, but which I think is of a different stock, not necessarily antagonistic”. He demanded separation, though reassuring his fellow MPs that “our separation is entirely different from the Partition which has brought about Pakistan”.

He cited the view of many in Madras province that they were ruled by “northern imperialism”, and warned that “the natural unity that we found when we were opposing the British is not to be construed as a permanent affair”. Some months after he spoke, the India-China border conflict united the entire Indian nation from north to south and east to west. The government also passed a law making it illegal to argue for secession. Later, English was given an indefinite extension as a joint language with Hindi for official purposes, and individual states could also use their local language. The Hindi language issue was settled amicably.

Newly independent India also faced the problem of reconciling the various provincial ‘nations’, which historically had often been enemies of each other and nurtured old resentments. These were in addition to the over-arching Hindu–Muslim differences. The problem was to convince every citizen that they were all equal in the new free India. The 17th century Maratha warrior, Shivaji, for example, was a hero in Maharashtra, but was feared and loathed in Bengal and Gujarat for his frequent raids. Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughal emperors, ruled India for 40 years and his rule is the last by an Indian ruler over such a large swathe of the Indian subcontinent till 1947. Yet, he is condemned as intolerant, tyrannical and almost un-Indian by the secularists. Muslim kings began to be divided into ‘good’ (in other words, tolerant of Hindus) and ‘bad’ (taking the propagation of Islam as their mission). No similar classification was made for Hindu kings since if they displayed anti-Muslim sentiments, as some Rajput kings did — the Sisodias, for example, who defied Akbar’s policy of Hindu-Muslim reconciliation — they were praised for their valour and patriotism in standing up to the Mughals. While Nehru was alive, the Hindu-Muslim cleavage was kept under control and a syncretic Indian history was constructed… But provincial quarrels were another matter…

The Partition experience was so fraught that any further redrawing of boundaries was thought unwise. A Congress committee comprising Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Congress party president Pattabhi Sitaraimayya was formed, and reiterated caution. But the demand for a Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh to be formed out of the northern parts of Madras province and Hyderabad was acknowledged. Nehru was still doubtful. He feared Balkanisation, but his hand was forced when Potti Sriramulu — an activist for the establishment of Andhra Pradesh — went on a fast and died. This led to a violent reaction which could not be resisted. Andhra was created in 1953.

The States Reorganisation Commission was appointed to propose other such linguistic states. It reported in 1955 and had several suggestions on the redrawing of boundaries to form unilingual states. Many such demands were granted. Long-time residents in a province suddenly found themselves part of a minority language group as the dominant language group won majority status. The rights of all people as Indian citizens to live and work anywhere had to be maintained by curbing attempts by majority linguistic groups to impose ‘non-tariff barriers’ on the employment or advancement of minority groups.

It is a sore point which flares up again and again even 50 years after the establishment of such states. The most contentious was the division of Bombay province between a Marathi-speaking state — Maharashtra — and a Gujarati-speaking one — Gujarat. In this case the multilingual, cosmopolitan city of Bombay was at issue. Marathi-speaking people were the largest single group, but not a majority.

There were other minorities who had significantly contributed to Bombay’s economy and culture: Gujaratis, Hindu as well as Muslim; Parsis who also spoke Gujarati, but in their own special way; Punjabis who then dominated the cinema industry; people from the southern states who had migrated in search of jobs; Sindhis who had just migrated from Sind; Christians of all denominations including Goan Catholics, Kerala Syrian Christians, Anglo-Indians; and, of course, a small enclave of foreigners settled permanently. Bombay was unique until Independence, but democracy made number counting important. There was even a proposal to make it a city state. Nehru refused a division in the mid-1950s, but had to concede when a popular agitation in Maharashtra led to a severe election loss for the Congress in the 1957 elections. The two states were inaugurated in 1960 with Bombay going to Maharashtra.

The provinces knew little about each other once you got beyond the English-speaking elite. Their arts and their histories and their literatures had to be given room to flourish, but in a way which enhanced India’s unity, not detract from it. They had cohabited in the same territorial space and, in some sense, shared a common religion or social system — such as the caste system — but there were historical memories of old wrongs and perceived or imagined differences in economic circumstances between neighbouring linguistic groups…

Democracy has been both a problem — since numbers matter and majorities batten down on minorities — and a solvent, since no linguistic community, even a majority one, is so homogenous that it can win power on its own. Alliances have to be made across linguistic groups as across castes and classes. India’s democracy bears a chaotic look because it has had to cope with such multiple class and social cleavages, as well as sub-nationalities within a Union.

Meghnad Desai is a member of the British Labour Party.

This is an edited extract from The Rediscovery of India (Penguin)

The views expressed by the author are personal

01-12-09, 08:40 AM
Early on December 14, 1971, a message was intercepted by the Indian intelligence that an important meeting was scheduled in the Governor House, now ‘Banga Bhaban’, in Dhaka that morning. Four MiG-21s from Eastern Air Command were scrambled to attack the then East Pakistan Governor House. The MiGs came screaming down and accurately fired rockets into the Darbar Hall.

The then Governor of East Pakistan immediately resigned and rushed to Hotel Intercontinental (now Sheraton), to seek shelter under the UN Flag.

01-12-09, 09:19 AM
MK Gandhi

MKGandhi served in the British Ambulance fighting the Zulus as their colonisation by the british was not complete when MKG was in Southern Africa. He was so fond of the queen that he did serve in the non-commissioned rank being a Sergeant Major. His disdain to the lower strata of the society was typical. He protested him, being son of a businessman India being equated with the Kaffir's of South Africa, the blacks used to be called so those days. Nothing surprising, he called the children of lower castes 'harijan' as if their fathers have not fathered them. May be, his un-utility in post independence India, made one of him to shoot him. After all, Sawarkar and Godse are now freedom fighters of India.

01-12-09, 10:29 AM
Against Partition: April 1946 Interview with Abul Kalam Azad


by Matbooat Chattan Lahore

Congress president Maulana Abul Kalam Azad gave the following interview to journalist Shorish Kashmiri for a Lahore based Urdu magazine, Chattan, in April 1946. It was a time when the Cabinet Mission was holding its proceedings in Delhi and Simla. Azad made some startling predictions during the course of the interview, saying that religious conflict would tear apart Pakistan and its eastern half would carve out its own future. He even said that Pakistan’s incompetent rulers might pave the way for military rule. According to Shorish Kashmiri, Azad had earmarked the early hours of the morning for him and the interview was conducted over a period of two weeks. This interview has not been published in any book so far — neither in the Azad centenary volumes nor in any other book comprising his writing or speeches — except for Kashmiri’s own book Abul Kalam Azad, which was printed only once by Matbooat Chattan Lahore, a now-defunct publishing house. Former Union Cabinet Minister Arif Mohammed Khan discovered the book after searching for many years and translated the interview for COVERT

Q: The Hindu Muslim dispute has become so acute that it has foreclosed any possibility of reconciliation. Don’t you think that in this situation the birth of Pakistan has become inevitable?

A: If Pakistan were the solution of Hindu Muslim problem, then I would have extended my support to it. A section of Hindu opinion is now turning in its favour. By conceding NWFP, Sind, Balochistan and half of Punjab on one side and half of Bengal on the other, they think they will get the rest of India — a huge country that would be free from any claims of communal nature. If we use the Muslim League terminology, this new India will be a Hindu state both practically and temperamentally. This will not happen as a result of any conscious decision, but will be a logical consequence of its social realities. How can you expect a society that consists 90% of Hindus, who have lived with their ethos and values since prehistoric times, to grow differently? The factors that laid the foundation of Islam in Indian society and created a powerful following have become victim of the politics of partition. The communal hatred it has generated has completely extinguished all possibilities of spreading and preaching Islam. This communal politics has hurt the religion beyond measure. Muslims have turned away from the Quran. If they had taken their lessons from the Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet and had not forged communal politics in the name of religion then Islam’s growth would not have halted. By the time of the decline of the Mughal rule, the Muslims in India were a little over 22.5 million, that is about 65% of the present numbers. Since then the numbers kept increasing. If the Muslim politicians had not used the offensive language that embittered communal relations, and the other section acting as agents of British interests had not worked to widen the Hindu-Muslim breach, the number of Muslims in India would have grown higher. The political disputes we created in the name of religion have projected Islam as an instrument of political power and not what it is — a value system meant for the transformation of human soul. Under British influence, we turned Islam into a confined system, and following in the footsteps of other communities like Jews, Parsis and Hindus we transformed ourselves into a hereditary community. The Indian Muslims have frozen Islam and its message and divided themselves into many sects. Some sects were clearly born at the instance of colonial power. Consequently, these sects became devoid of all movement and dynamism and lost faith in Islamic values. The hallmark of Muslim existence was striving and now the very term is strange to them. Surely they are Muslims, but they follow their own whims and desires. In fact now they easily submit to political power, not to Islamic values. They prefer the religion of politics not the religion of the Quran. Pakistan is a political standpoint. Regardless of the fact whether it is the right solution to the problems of Indian Muslims, it is being demanded in the name of Islam. The question is when and where Islam provided for division of territories to settle populations on the basis of belief and unbelief. Does this find any sanction in the Quran or the traditions of the Holy Prophet? Who among the scholars of Islam has divided the dominion of God on this basis? If we accept this division in principle, how shall we reconcile it with Islam as a universal system? How shall we explain the ever growing Muslim presence in non-Muslim lands including India? Do they realise that if Islam had approved this principle then it would not have permitted its followers to go to the non-Muslim lands and many ancestors of the supporters of Pakistan would not have had even entered the fold of Islam? Division of territories on the basis of religion is a contraption devised by Muslim League. They can pursue it as their political agenda, but it finds no sanction in Islam or Quran. What is the cherished goal of a devout Muslim? Spreading the light of Islam or dividing territories along religious lines to pursue political ambitions? The demand for Pakistan has not benefited Muslims in any manner. How Pakistan can benefit Islam is a moot question and will largely depend on the kind of leadership it gets. The impact of western thought and philosophy has made the crisis more serious. The way the leadership of Muslim League is conducting itself will ensure that Islam will become a rare commodity in Pakistan and Muslims in India. This is a surmise and God alone knows what is in the womb of future. Pakistan, when it comes into existence, will face conflicts of religious nature. As far as I can see, the people who will hold the reins of power will cause serious damage to Islam. Their behaviour may result in the total alienation of the Pakistani youth who may become a part of non-religious movements. Today, in Muslim minority states the Muslim youth are more attached to religion than in Muslim majority states. You will see that despite the increased role of Ulema, the religion will lose its sheen in Pakistan.

Q: But many Ulema are with Quaid-e-Azam [M.A. Jinnah].

A: Many Ulema were with Akbare Azam too; they invented a new religion for him. Do not discuss individuals. Our history is replete with the doings of the Ulema who have brought humiliation and disgrace to Islam in every age and period. The upholders of truth are exceptions. How many of the Ulema find an honourable mention in the Muslim history of the last 1,300 years? There was one Imam Hanbal, one Ibn Taimiyya. In India we remember no Ulema except Shah Waliullah and his family. The courage of Alf Sani is beyond doubt, but those who filled the royal office with complaints against him and got him imprisoned were also Ulema. Where are they now? Does anybody show any respect to them?

Q: Maulana, what is wrong if Pakistan becomes a reality? After all, “Islam” is being used to pursue and protect the unity of the community.

A: You are using the name of Islam for a cause that is not right by Islamic standards. Muslim history bears testimony to many such enormities. In the battle of Jamal [fought between Imam Ali and Hadrat Aisha, widow of the Holy Prophet] Qurans were displayed on lances. Was that right? In Karbala the family members of the Holy Prophet were martyred by those Muslims who claimed companionship of the Prophet. Was that right? Hajjaj was a Muslim general and he subjected the holy mosque at Makka to brutal attack. Was that right? No sacred words can justify or sanctify a false motive.

If Pakistan was right for Muslims then I would have supported it. But I see clearly the dangers inherent in the demand. I do not expect people to follow me, but it is not possible for me to go against the call of my conscience. People generally submit either to coercion or to the lessons of their experience. Muslims will not hear anything against Pakistan unless they experience it. Today they can call white black, but they will not give up Pakistan. The only way it can be stopped now is either for the government not to concede it or for Mr Jinnah himself — if he agrees to some new proposal.

Now as I gather from the attitude of my own colleagues in the working committee, the division of India appears to be certain. But I must warn that the evil consequences of partition will not affect India alone, Pakistan will be equally haunted by them. The partition will be based on the religion of the population and not based on any natural barrier like mountain, desert or river. A line will be drawn; it is difficult to say how durable it would be.

We must remember that an entity conceived in hatred will last only as long as that hatred lasts. This hatred will overwhelm the relations between India and Pakistan. In this situation it will not be possible for India and Pakistan to become friends and live amicably unless some catastrophic event takes place. The politics of partition itself will act as a barrier between the two countries. It will not be possible for Pakistan to accommodate all the Muslims of India, a task beyond her territorial capability. On the other hand, it will not be possible for the Hindus to stay especially in West Pakistan. They will be thrown out or leave on their own. This will have its repercussions in India and the Indian Muslims will have three options before them:

1. They become victims of loot and brutalities and migrate to Pakistan; but how many Muslims can find shelter there?
2. They become subject to murder and other excesses. A substantial number of Muslims will pass through this ordeal until the bitter memories of partition are forgotten and the generation that had lived through it completes its natural term.
3. A good number of Muslims, haunted by poverty, political wilderness and regional depredation decide to renounce Islam.

The prominent Muslims who are supporters of Muslim League will leave for Pakistan. The wealthy Muslims will take over the industry and business and monopolise the economy of Pakistan. But more than 30 million Muslims will be left behind in India. What promise Pakistan holds for them? The situation that will arise after the expulsion of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan will be still more dangerous for them. Pakistan itself will be afflicted by many serious problems. The greatest danger will come from international powers who will seek to control the new country, and with the passage of time this control will become tight. India will have no problem with this outside interference as it will sense danger and hostility from Pakistan.

The other important point that has escaped Mr Jinnah’s attention is Bengal. He does not know that Bengal disdains outside leadership and rejects it sooner or later. During World War II, Mr Fazlul Haq revolted against Jinnah and was thrown out of the Muslim League. Mr H.S. Suhrawardy does not hold Jinnah in high esteem. Why only Muslim League, look at the history of Congress. The revolt of Subhas Chandra Bose is known to all. Gandhiji was not happy with the presidentship of Bose and turned the tide against him by going on a fast unto death at Rajkot. Subhas Bose rose against Gandhiji and disassociated himself from the Congress. The environment of Bengal is such that it disfavours leadership from outside and rises in revolt when it senses danger to its rights and interests.

The confidence of East Pakistan will not erode as long as Jinnah and Liaquat Ali are alive. But after them any small incident will create resentment and disaffection. I feel that it will not be possible for East Pakistan to stay with West Pakistan for any considerable period of time. There is nothing common between the two regions except that they call themselves Muslims. But the fact of being Muslim has never created durable political unity anywhere in the world. The Arab world is before us; they subscribe to a common religion, a common civilisation and culture and speak a common language. In fact they acknowledge even territorial unity. But there is no political unity among them. Their systems of government are different and they are often engaged in mutual recrimination and hostility. On the other hand, the language, customs and way of life of East Pakistan are totally different from West Pakistan. The moment the creative warmth of Pakistan cools down, the contradictions will emerge and will acquire assertive overtones. These will be fuelled by the clash of interests of international powers and consequently both wings will separate. After the separation of East Pakistan, whenever it happens, West Pakistan will become the battleground of regional contradictions and disputes. The assertion of sub-national identities of Punjab, Sind, Frontier and Balochistan will open the doors for outside interference. It will not be long before the international powers use the diverse elements of Pakistani political leadership to break the country on the lines of Balkan and Arab states. Maybe at that stage we will ask ourselves, what have we gained and what have we lost.

The real issue is economic development and progress, it certainly is not religion. Muslim business leaders have doubts about their own ability and competitive spirit. They are so used to official patronage and favours that they fear new freedom and liberty. They advocate the two-nation theory to conceal their fears and want to have a Muslim state where they have the monopoly to control the economy without any competition from competent rivals. It will be interesting to watch how long they can keep this deception alive.

I feel that right from its inception, Pakistan will face some very serious problems:
1. The incompetent political leadership will pave the way for military dictatorship as it has happened in many Muslim countries.
2. The heavy burden of foreign debt.
3. Absence of friendly relationship with neighbours and the possibility of armed conflict.
4. Internal unrest and regional conflicts.
5. The loot of national wealth by the neo-rich and industrialists of Pakistan.
6. The apprehension of class war as a result of exploitation by the neo-rich.
7. The dissatisfaction and alienation of the youth from religion and the collapse of the theory of Pakistan.
8. The conspiracies of the international powers to control Pakistan.
In this situation, the stability of Pakistan will be under strain and the Muslim countries will be in no position to provide any worthwhile help. The assistance from other sources will not come without strings and it will force both ideological and territorial compromises.

Q: But the question is how Muslims can keep their community identity intact and how they can inculcate the attributes of the citizens of a Muslim state.

A: Hollow words cannot falsify the basic realities nor slanted questions can make the answers deficient. It amounts to distortion of the discourse. What is meant by community identity? If this community identity has remained intact during the British slavery, how will it come under threat in a free India in whose affairs Muslims will be equal participants? What attributes of the Muslim state you wish to cultivate? The real issue is the freedom of faith and worship and who can put a cap on that freedom. Will independence reduce the 90 million Muslims into such a helpless state that they will feel constrained in enjoying their religious freedom? If the British, who as a world power could not snatch this liberty, what magic or power do the Hindus have to deny this freedom of religion? These questions have been raised by those, who, under the influence of western culture, have renounced their own heritage and are now raising dust through political gimmickry.

Muslim history is an important part of Indian history. Do you think the Muslim kings were serving the cause of Islam? They had a nominal relationship with Islam; they were not Islamic preachers. Muslims of India owe their gratitude to Sufis, and many of these divines were treated by the kings very cruelly. Most of the kings created a large band of Ulema who were an obstacle in the path of the propagation of Islamic ethos and values. Islam, in its pristine form, had a tremendous appeal and in the first century won the hearts and minds of a large number of people living in and around Hejaz. But the Islam that came to India was different, the carriers were non-Arabs and the real spirit was missing. Still, the imprint of the Muslim period is writ large on the culture, music, art, architecture and languages of India. What do the cultural centres of India, like Delhi and Lucknow, represent? The underlying Muslim spirit is all too obvious.

If the Muslims still feel under threat and believe that they will be reduced to slavery in free India then I can only pray for their faith and hearts. If a man becomes disenchanted with life he can be helped to revival, but if someone is timid and lacks courage, then it is not possible to help him become brave and gutsy. The Muslims as a community have become cowards. They have no fear of God, instead they fear men. This explains why they are so obsessed with threats to their existence — a figment of their imagination.

After British takeover, the government committed all possible excesses against the Muslims. But Muslims did not cease to exist. On the contrary, they registered a growth that was more than average. The Muslim cultural ethos and values have their own charm. Then India has large Muslim neighbours on three sides. Why on earth the majority in this country will be interested to wipe out the Muslims? How will it promote their self interests? Is it so easy to finish 90 million people? In fact, Muslim culture has such attraction that I shall not be surprised if it comes to have the largest following in free India.

The world needs both, a durable peace and a philosophy of life. If the Hindus can run after Marx and undertake scholarly studies of the philosophy and wisdom of the West, they do not disdain Islam and will be happy to benefit from its principles. In fact they are more familiar with Islam and acknowledge that Islam does not mean parochialism of a hereditary community or a despotic system of governance. Islam is a universal call to establish peace on the basis of human equality. They know that Islam is the proclamation of a Messenger who calls to the worship of God and not his own worship. Islam means freedom from all social and economic discriminations and reorganisation of society on three basic principles of God-consciousness, righteous action and knowledge. In fact, it is we Muslims and our extremist behaviour that has created an aversion among non-Muslims for Islam. If we had not allowed our selfish ambitions to soil the purity of Islam then many seekers of truth would have found comfort in the bosom of Islam. Pakistan has nothing to do with Islam; it is a political demand that is projected by Muslim League as the national goal of Indian Muslims. I feel it is not the solution to the problems Muslims are facing. In fact it is bound to create more problems.

The Holy Prophet has said, “God has made the whole earth a mosque for me.” Now do not ask me to support the idea of the partition of a mosque. If the nine-crore Muslims were thinly scattered all over India, and demand was made to reorganise the states in a manner to ensure their majority in one or two regions, that was understandable. Again such a demand would not have been right from an Islamic viewpoint, but justifiable on administrative grounds. But the situation, as it exists, is drastically different. All the border states of India have Muslim majorities sharing borders with Muslim countries. Tell me, who can eliminate these populations? By demanding Pakistan we are turning our eyes away from the history of the last 1,000 years and, if I may use the League terminology, throwing more than 30 million Muslims into the lap of “Hindu Raj”. The Hindu Muslim problem that has created political tension between Congress and League will become a source of dispute between the two states and with the aid of international powers this may erupt into full scale war anytime in future.

The question is often raised that if the idea of Pakistan is so fraught with dangers for the Muslims, why is it being opposed by the Hindus? I feel that the opposition to the demand is coming from two quarters. One is represented by those who genuinely feel concerned about imperial machinations and strongly believe that a free, united India will be in a better position to defend itself. On the other hand, there is a section who opposes Pakistan with the motive to provoke Muslims to become more determined in their demand and thus get rid of them. Muslims have every right to demand constitutional safeguards, but partition of India cannot promote their interests. The demand is the politically incorrect solution of a communal problem.

In future India will be faced with class problems, not communal disputes; the conflict will be between capital and labour. The communist and socialist movements are growing and it is not possible to ignore them. These movements will increasingly fight for the protection of the interest of the underclass. The Muslim capitalists and the feudal classes are apprehensive of this impending threat. Now they have given this whole issue a communal colour and have turned the economic issue into a religious dispute. But Muslims alone are not responsible for it. This strategy was first adopted by the British government and then endorsed by the political minds of Aligarh. Later, Hindu short-sightedness made matters worse and now freedom has become contingent on the partition of India.

Jinnah himself was an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. In one Congress session Sarojini Naidu had commended him with this title. He was a disciple of Dadabhai Naoroji. He had refused to join the 1906 deputation of Muslims that initiated communal politics in India. In 1919 he stood firmly as a nationalist and opposed Muslim demands before the Joint Select Committee. On 3 October 1925, in a letter to the Times of India he rubbished the suggestion that Congress is a Hindu outfit. In the All Parties Conferences of 1925 and 1928, he strongly favoured a joint electorate. While speaking at the National Assembly in 1925, he said, “I am a nationalist first and a nationalist last” and exhorted his colleagues, be they Hindus or Muslims, “not to raise communal issues in the House and help make the Assembly a national institution in the truest sense of the term”.

In 1928, Jinnah supported the Congress call to boycott Simon Commission. Till 1937, he did not favour the demand to partition India. In his message to various student bodies he stressed the need to work for Hindu Muslim unity. But he felt aggrieved when the Congress formed governments in seven states and ignored the Muslim League. In 1940 he decided to pursue the partition demand to check Muslim political decline. In short, the demand for Pakistan is his response to his own political experiences. Mr Jinnah has every right to his opinion about me, but I have no doubts about his intelligence. As a politician he has worked overtime to fortify Muslim communalism and the demand for Pakistan. Now it has become a matter of prestige for him and he will not give it up at any cost.

Q: It is clear that Muslims are not going to turn away from their demand for Pakistan. Why have they become so impervious to all reason and logic of arguments?

A: It is difficult, rather impossible, to fight against the misplaced enthusiasm of a mob, but to suppress one’s conscience is worse than death. Today the Muslims are not walking, they are flowing. The problem is that Muslims have not learnt to walk steady; they either run or flow with the tide. When a group of people lose confidence and self-respect, they are surrounded by imaginary doubts and dangers and fail to make a distinction between the right and the wrong. The true meaning of life is realised not through numerical strength but through firm faith and righteous action. British politics has sown many seeds of fear and distrust in the mental field of Muslims. Now they are in a frightful state, bemoaning the departure of the British and demanding partition before the foreign masters leave. Do they believe that partition will avert all the dangers to their lives and bodies? If these dangers are real then they will still haunt their borders and any armed conflict will result in much greater loss of lives and possessions.

Q: But Hindus and Muslims are two different nations with different and disparate inclinations. How can the unity between the two be achieved?

A: This is an obsolete debate. I have seen the correspondence between Allama Iqbal and Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni on the subject. In the Quran the term qaum has been used not only for the community of believers but has also been used for distinct human groupings generally. What do we wish to achieve by raising this debate about the etymological scope of terms like millat [community], qaum [nation] and ummat [group]? In religious terms India is home to many people — the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs etc. The differences between Hindu religion and Islam are vast in scope. But these differences cannot be allowed to become an obstacle in the path of India gaining her freedom nor do the two distinct and different systems of faith negate the idea of unity of India. The issue is of our national independence and how we can secure it. Freedom is a blessing and is the right of every human being. It cannot be divided on the basis of religion.

Muslims must realise that they are bearers of a universal message. They are not a racial or regional grouping in whose territory others cannot enter. Strictly speaking, Muslims in India are not one community; they are divided among many well-entrenched sects. You can unite them by arousing their anti-Hindu sentiment but you cannot unite them in the name of Islam. To them Islam means undiluted loyalty to their own sect. Apart from Wahabi, Sunni and Shia there are innumerable groups who owe allegiance to different saints and divines. Small issues like raising hands during the prayer and saying Amen loudly have created disputes that defy solution. The Ulema have used the instrument of takfeer [fatwas declaring someone as infidel] liberally. Earlier, they used to take Islam to the disbelievers; now they take away Islam from the believers. Islamic history is full of instances of how good and pious Muslims were branded kafirs. Prophets alone had the capability to cope with these mindboggling situations. Even they had to pass through times of afflictions and trials. The fact is that when reason and intelligence are abandoned and attitudes become fossilised then the job of the reformer becomes very difficult.

But today the situation is worse than ever. Muslims have become firm in their communalism; they prefer politics to religion and follow their worldly ambitions as commands of religion. History bears testimony to the fact that in every age we ridiculed those who pursued the good with consistency, snuffed out the brilliant examples of sacrifice and tore the flags of selfless service. Who are we, the ordinary mortals; even high ranking Prophets were not spared by these custodians of traditions and customs.

Q: You closed down your journal Al-Hilal a long time back. Was it due to your disappointment with the Muslims who were wallowing in intellectual desolation, or did you feel like proclaiming azan [call to prayer] in a barren desert?

A: I abandoned Al-Hilal not because I had lost faith in its truth. This journal created great awareness among a large section of Muslims. They renewed their faith in Islam, in human freedom and in consistent pursuit of righteous goals. In fact my own life was greatly enriched by this experience and I felt like those who had the privilege of learning under the companionship of the Messenger of God. My own voice entranced me and under its impact I burnt out like a phoenix. Al-Hilal had served its purpose and a new age was dawning. Based on my experiences, I made a reappraisal of the situation and decided to devote all my time and energy for the attainment of our national freedom. I was firm in my belief that freedom of Asia and Africa largely depends on India’s freedom and Hindu Muslim unity is key to India’s freedom. Even before the First World War, I had realised that India was destined to attain freedom, and no power on earth would be able to deny it. I was also clear in my mind about the role of Muslims. I ardently wished that Muslims would learn to walk together with their countrymen and not give an opportunity to history to say that when Indians were fighting for their independence, Muslims were looking on as spectators. Let nobody say that instead of fighting the waves they were standing on the banks and showing mirth on the drowning of boats carrying the freedom fighters

12-12-09, 07:18 PM
Telangana and Muslims

By Ayub Khan for TwoCircles.net,

As the Telangana cauldron boils over moves are already afoot to paint the dispute in communal colors and make the region's Muslims the proverbial sacrificial lamb. The mainstream media has been a party in this mis-characterization of the entire Muslim community as opposed to the the separate state. The two most widely repeated allegations are : 1)The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is stridently opposed to the concept of a separate Telangana; 2) Telangana Muslims have not played any role whatsoever in the movement for separate state. However, an analysis of the historical and contemporary trends reveals that both these assertions are incorrect.

Since the amalgamation of the erstwhile Hyderabad state in the Indian union in 1948 and the its subsequent breaking apart in three linguistic states the Muslims of the region has suffered the most. They were resigned to the their fate and accepted the new regional configuration. They sought to protect and advance their interests in the existing framework. In this endeavor sections of the leadership sought support in all political and social organizations which appeared to be non-communal.

MIM Stance

The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen once it was revived after a nine year hiatus in 1957 declared itself neutral when the first signs of the Telangana issue began to be observed during the 1960s. The party did send some signals that Muslims could be worse off in a separate state due to the communal character of some of the leaders of the separatist movement.

However, it announced that the party would give political support to anyone who would support its 14 point charter which included: the appointment of a committee to enquire into Muslim backwardness; an assurance that no changes will be made in the Muslim personal laws; recognition of Urdu as the second regional language; representation of Muslims in services proportionate to their population; allotment of houses to constructed by the State Housing Board on the basis of Muslim population, etc.

With no overtures coming from the Telangana movement leaders the MIM made a demand, praised by political scientists as a brilliant one, that in the case of separation Hyderabad and Secunderabad should be constituted as a Union Territory.

The Majlis' cold stance over Telangana is also related to the personal antipathy between its and the movement's leaders going back to the 1950s. Dr. Chenna Reddy, the erstwhile Congress chief minister and at one point Telangana movement leader, had been instrumental in weeding out Muslims from the state services and had uneasy relations with the Muslim community. Their relations were further worsened when the movement agitation turned into communal conflagrations in which the Muslims faced the brunt.

Since the revival of the movement under the banner of Telangana Rashtriya Samiti in 2001 the MIM has once again repeated its earlier stance that it would remain neutral in the issue and would offer support provided that Muslim interests are protected. Their overtures did not get a positive reply from the TRS and the late Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi said that Hyderabad be turned into a Union Territory and Warangal, the capital of Kakatiya Dynasty, be made into a capital of Telangana.

In the current scenario MIM's stance is that the party would remain neutral in the dispute and would be willing to offer any support only if there is a clear cut offer for Muslim development and the protection of the sectional interests of the community.

Muslim Support for Telangana

Distinct from the MIM stance there has been a parallel historical trend in the Telangana region Muslims who support bifurcation. The All India Majlis-e-Tameer-e-Millat under the leadership of the late Khaleelullah Hussaini and Ghouse Khamooshi believed that Muslims would indeed be better off in a separate Telangana state. Speaking in 1970 its then Secretary Taheer Ali Khan told a German scholar, 'I can't speak to a minister from Andhra, he does not speak our language.'

Politicians like the Congress' M.M. Hashim, a close confidante of Chenna Reddy, former MP and home minister, also urged the Muslims to support Telangana. 'We must not make the mistake of remaining aloof...We must fight for Telangana,' he had said in 1970.

Consequently, a section of Telangana Muslims always remained wedded to the concept of a separate Telangana.

While the issue remained forgotten during the 1980s and 1990s it was Muslim leaders like the late Amanullah Khan, who quit MIM and formed the Majlis Bachao Tehreek, who kept it alive by speaking out for separate statehood in public forums. The Majlis Bachao Tehreek now supports separate Telangana.

At the revival of the movement since 2001 many Muslims joined the party. This is evidenced by massive support shown towards its leaders like Nayeeni Narasimha Reddy who was elected from the Musheerabad assembly constituency. TRS chief K. Chandrashekhar Rao numerous promises to the Muslim community also had a brief spell on the community. He promised to make Urdu a second language and gave adequate representation while allotting tickets. He did appoint one Muslim Al Attas to the legislative council but otherwise did not keep his promise of giving adequate tickets to the community. Doubts about the party's sincerity were further raised over the inclusion of communal minded elements in the party. One particular prick in the eye was Ale Narendra, the MP from Medak, who had many a part to play in the stoking of communal violence during the Ganesha festival riots. He later quit the party and was elected on the Congress ticket. Another eyesore was a party general secretary who was the Hyderabad pranth chief of RSS and has never actually quit the Sangh. Apart from hi profile leaders several other RSS and VHP activists are members of the TRS.

Despite the obvious unease a section of the Muslims have remained with the TRS. When a hunger striking KCR was hospitalized a delegation of Muslim leaders comprising Iqbal Ahmed Engineer (columnist and intellectual), Mushtaq Malik (Tehreek Muslim Shabban), leaders from the Jamaat-e-Islami affiliated MPJ, etc. visited him and offered their solidarity to the separate state cause. They later organized a protest in the city center of Charminar. Several such demonstrations, organized by Muslims, were held in all ten districts of Telangana.

What Now ?

When the separate state of Telangana is carved out, whenever that is, the Muslims would be at a demographic advantage. Their proportion will increase to 12.43 % from 9.16 % in a United Andhra.

District Hindu Muslim %Christian Total
Mahbubnagar 3193932 296975 8 18800 3513934
Rangareddy 3063118 408281 11.43 89893 3576064
Hyderabad 2121963 1576583 41.16 92915 3829753
Medak 2334169 296486 11.1 34651 2670097
Nizamabad 1983275 338824 14.44 16204 2345685
Adilabad 2207843 236844 9.51 14751 2488003
Karimnagar 3251834 213811 6.12 20576 3491822
Warangal 3028537 177217 5.45 33354 3246004
Khammam 2406066 137639 5.29 30777 2578927
Nalgonda 3040212 170553 5.25 32452 3247982
Total 26630949 3853213 12.43 384373 30988271

Census of India, 2001

While Telangana Muslims gain demographically the same would not be true for Andhra Muslims. Their numbers would reduce to 7%. Since there is no emergent political leadership among Andhra Muslims how they will fare in a new Andhra remains to be seen. Their security in the coming months and years of heightened tension remains an issue of concern. There is a high chance that might be targeted as they are an easy scapegoat.

In terms of political representation the number of Muslims in legislatures is also expected to grow. The relevance of MIM would also grow given the importance of small parties in small states as experienced by Jharkhand in this fast paced era of coalition politics. It currently has seven MLAs and one MP. Other parties like Majlis Bachao Tehreek might also be able to make some progress in winning assembly seats.

The gains in terms of representation might be offset by the chance that a separate state gives to BJP. In the present assembly there is only one BJP MLA. In a separate Telangana their numbers might also increase especially if KCR forms a coalition with the NDA---an idea which he is not averse too.

Leaving apart the respresentation gains there are number of questions which need to be answered. What will be the status of Urdu in Telangana ? Would it be given a second language status ? What would happen to the reservations currently offered to the state's Muslims ?

Even more importantly what would happen to the communal peace. The relative peace of the last two decades has largely been due to the availability of jobs and the good economic scenario. In the separate state there is a chance that there will be a capital flight both by the Andhras and the MNCs. Historical experience has shown that the potential for violence is most potent in times of economic downturn.

The writer is a Phd candidate in Political Science at a Canadian University

12-12-09, 07:25 PM
Hyderabad will be Telangana capital, says TRS chief


New Delhi: Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrashekhar Rao Saturday asserted that Hyderabad would be the capital of the proposed state of Telangana and rejected suggestions that it could be the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh as well.

Rao told NDTV news channel that people from Andhra Pradesh were welcome to live in the city after the creation of Telangana.

He rejected making Hyderabad a joint capital, like Chandigarh.

"When people from other parts of India can comfortably live in Hyderabad, then why not people from Andhra?" Rao asked.

"Hyderabad is such a place ... such a good society. It allows everybody, absorbs everybody," said Rao, who fast-unto-death forced the Indian government to announce it was ready to move to form a Telangana state.

"In Hyderabad, not just Andhras, but Maharashtrians, Kannadigas and Kayasths from north India live."

He accused the Andhra Pradesh people of "exploiting" the employment opportunities of Telangana region.

"Ultimately our people were pushed to go to the Gulf countries. The agony of Telangana is that 35,000 Telanganas are in jails in Gulf countries," Rao said.
http://twocircles.net/2009dec12/hyderabad_will_be_telangana_capital_says_trs_chief .html

14-12-09, 01:07 PM
Muslims should work for empowerment of all segments of society: Hamid Ansari
By TwoCircles.net staff reporter,

Patna: “There is sufficient evidence to show that Urdu suffered from deliberate official neglect in some of the states. Jawaharlal Nehru complained about it to the Chief Ministers as early as 1954. Half a century later and belying the requirement of Article 350A, large segments of a generation have grown up without knowing their mother tongue. Equally glaring is the failure of Urdu-knowing people to nurture the language, particularly among the youth” said Vice President of India Hamid Ansari.

He was delivering Khuda Bakhsh memorial speech at Khuda Bahksh Oriental Public Library in Patna on Saturday to mark the 100th death anniversary of Khuda Bakhsh Khan.

The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari delivering the ‘Khuda Baksh Memorial Lecture’

Recalling an international conference on Urdu language in 2003, he said: “The conference recommended that in order to protect Urdu in its land of birth, while it flourishes abroad, a national movement for the revival of Urdu commanding strong political will is the need of the hour.”

The vice president came especially to attend the event and for that state capital was decorated. There was high alert security at Bailey Road, Frazer Road, Gandhi Maidan, and Ashok Rajpath through which the motorcade of the Vice President passed.

Calling low percentage of education in Muslims as the cause of economic crisis he said: “The patterns of differentiation in the employment of Muslims in the public and private sectors as well as deprivation from other forms of state largesse, identified by the Sachar Report and other studies, combined with low performance levels in education, has caused economic hardship and given a fresh impetus to the demand for reservations, notwithstanding its evident limitations. Some of the state governments have seen merit in it and responded in varying degrees. The Ranganath Mishra Commission, whose report is yet to be made public, is said to have recommended specific steps based on assessment of backwardness irrespective of religion.”

On AMU he said: “The demand for minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University has been a persistent one but it seems to have lost its centrality in community perceptions with the emergence of good quality minority-run institutions of higher and professional education in several states. It remains to be seen whether the new attempt to reincarnate AMU in different parts of the country serves the purpose of the minority community's education, he added.

Hamid Ansari also said that there is a need to ensure for Muslims social, economical and educational security along with physical security.

He accepted that Indian Muslims are facing lots of challenges which should be addressed with enthusiasm and good policy.

“Muslims should maintain good and candid interaction with fellow citizens without a syndrome of superiority or inferiority. They should make efforts for the empowerment of all segments of the community, particularly women who constitute half the population of them and equal responsible for social development as Muslims men. They should try to get self-empowerment in areas where competence already exists making the best use of government assistance that is available and creating capability to benefit from the opportunities being offered by an expanding economy” he added.

On Muslims Personal Law, he said: Article 44 of Indian constitution does not demand a mechanical application of a single family law to the entire nation by one stroke of legislation since it goes against its rationale and ignores ground realities. This is supported by the Supreme Court's observation that a uniform law though it is highly desirable, enactment thereof in one go may be counter-productive to the unity and integrity of the nation” he added.

Governor of Bihar Devanand Konwar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also spoke on the occasion while library director Imtiaz Ahmad welcomed the vice-president. The program was attended by many scholars, intellectuals, dignitaries of the city.
http://twocircles.net/2009dec13/muslims_should_work_empowerment_all_segments_socie ty_hamid_ansari.html

15-12-09, 04:46 PM
21st June 1824 was the last day the sun set on an independent Assam when Burmese army defeated the army of Swargadeo Chandrakanta Singha at Hadirachoki. Mingimaha Tilowa became the ruler of Assam towards the end of June 1824. From the time signing of the Yandoboo treaty on 26th February 1826 and thereafter the annexation of Assam by the British.
Assam was previously called a Cindrella province.

23-12-09, 10:05 AM
Patna’s Hebat Jung Masjid, Qabristan being put on sale, wakf board seems powerless
By Manzar Bilal, TwoCircles.net,

Patna: Today the Begumpur locality in Patna City area in Bihar’s capital city of Patna has no Muslim family as resident but has many Muslim heritage sites including palace still standing, reminding one that a Muslim nawab or emperor must have lived here once.

Yes, Begumpur was headquarters of Nawab Hebat Jung government. Nawab Hebat Jung was governor of Bihar during the Moghul period from 1716 to 1734. He was killed by an Afghan when he was offering prayer in 1734. The area was named after his wife Begum Sahiba. Though habitations over centuries have covered up many historic sites here Hebat Jung Masjid, Hebat Jung Qabristan (graveyard) and Hebat Jung Mazar (tomb) – that is inside the graveyard -- also are still standing as witness to the Muslim footsteps here.

All these three places are located at a four-acre piece of land which was given under the protection of Bihar Waqf Board long ago. But unfortunately the Waqf Board failed to do any thing to protect these heritages, which resulted into falling down of the Masjid and boundary walls of the graveyard.

With the passage of time Muslims started to leave the area and finally it became a non-Muslim colony with Muslim name. Till before the 1992 nation-wide communal violence there were some Muslim families who would take care of the Masjid and graveyard but when violence broke out they were forced to leave the locality and migrate to some other place. Since then the Masjid has been deserted. More than half part of the Masjid has fallen down and the graveyard has become dens of tramp people. But the mazar has survived the onslaught of trespassers and neglect of the Waqf Board thanks to some local Hindus who believe their wishes are fulfilled at the mazar.

For the last few days there was news in almost all Urdu newspapers that some people are trying to sell this property illegally as this is the property of Waqf Board. To get to the fact, TCN visited the locality. We realized that it was the result of powerlessness as well as carelessness of the Waqf Board which gave a chance to ill-intention people to dare to think about its sale.

Talking to TwoCircles.net, Dusrab Gob, a local Hindu resident said: “Since last 35 years, I have been spending my most of the time at this Mazar but never saw any official of Waqf Board who came here to see the condition of this important place. But for last few days some people who claim to be descendants of Nawab sahib are busy in cutting off trees and I heard they are planning to sell the land.”

Another resident Ram Gopal said: “As it is the property of Waqf Board, they should take legal step for its protection. First time some people came here late night with ten young men to map the land and after few days they started to cut the trees. We are poor, so, we cannot fight with them but if Waqf Board takes any action we will fully support it as we give much respect to the Mazar.”

Syed Ausaf Imam, the Motawalli (caretaker) of Hebat Jang Masjid, said: “I have been informing the Waqf Board about all these things. Waqf Board wrote to the district collector on 01/07/2009 and again on 16/10/2009 and appealed the authorities to take action in this regard but so far no action has been taken.

When asked about those persons who want to sell the land, he told: “I do not know them but they are criminals who thought that they would sell the land with the help of Motawalli by giving them some share. But come what may, I will not let them succeed in their plan and I will use my all sources to save this property. I am sure that finally I will win the case because I have all the papers of the land.”

“According to 1999 Waqf Act, Waqf Board has no power to take any action on its own. It can only appeal and nothing else” said Imam, who is also descendant of Hebat Jung, in helpless tone.

“There is a need to make Waqf Board powerful so that it can protect the historical and religious places” he said adding “We also requested Chief minister Mr. Nitish Kumar to use his personal power to protect this historical place, but we are yet to see any development in this regard.”

He said that he has informed the SP and DSP about the matter and they promised to inquire into it and take action against those who were involved in cutting and selling the trees of the graveyard.

When TCN talked to chief executive officer of Bihar Sunni Waqf Board, Mr Abul Hassan about the matter he put all blame on Motawalli Syed Ausaf Imam and said that it is the result of his carelessness.

“There are so many properties which Waqf Board has to take care and Motawallis should be first person to act in this regard because Waqf Board can work only with their support. But unfortunately, Mr. Syed Ausaf is occupying the post but not ready to go to the place even with police” said Mr. Abul Hassan.

Abul Hassan, CEO of Bihar Sunni Waqf Board

“We have asked him time and again that if he is not able to perform his duty, he should resign. But neither he leaves the post nor carry out his responsibility” he added.

Mr. Abul Hassan showed us a bundle of letters which have been written to SP about the matter. “This is the only thing the board can do” he said.

“Now the police have started patrolling the area. They have visited the place. Therefore, criminals have got frightened and they have stopped visiting the place” he informed adding “We are trying our best to save the land and hope to get success.”

Islam as well as the 1995 Waqf Act does not allow anyone to sell Waqf properties. But so far none has been booked or charged in this land grabbing case. It is yet to be seen as to who succeeds in the case -- criminals or Waqf Board.
http://twocircles.net/2009dec21/patna_s_hebat_jung_masjid_qabristan_being_put_sale _wakf_board_seems_powerless.html

07-01-10, 01:53 PM
Moradabad: Named after Prince Murad, son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Moradabad was established in 1600. Situated 167 km (104 miles) from the national capital, New Delhi, on the banks of the Ramganga River (a tributary of the Ganges) Moradabad is among the Muslim majority districts of Uttar Pradesh. Recognized globally as the leader in brassware artifacts

12-02-10, 11:10 PM
Nehruvian Foreign Policy: Misplaced Criticisms
By Ram Puniyani

Shashi Tharoor (9th Jan 2010) while speaking at a meeting organized by Indian Council of Foreign Affairs, endorsed the views of Lord Bhiku Parekh on Nehru’s Foreign. Lord Parekh described it as being based on moral self righteousness, and Tharoor added on to say that it was a moral running commentary. One will surely support any objective criticism of the policies of India’s founding father and founding architect. That should be a exercise in learning as to what went wrong and how we should desist from such policies in future. Fair enough. We can not treat any body to be above criticism. Tharoor faced with the reaction form his party, quickly sought an apology to save his skin, as Congress does have a fare bit of blind veneration of Gandhi and Nehru. One will not criticize Tharoor for criticizing Nehru for that matter.

At the same time one also has to see what is the worth of this criticism, does it hold some water or is it just to run down the morals and objectivities which were the base not only of freedom movement but also the initial foundation of India’s foreign policy. While Tharoor’s statement was criticized merely from the angle of veneration to Nehru-Gandhi, the deeper issues remained unaddressed. And what needs to be taken note of is that Parekh-Tharoor line is projecting values totally opposed to the interests of the emerging Indian nation, as it came in a particular historical context of the decade of 1940s. One has serious doubts about the understanding of these worthies about the situation and problems which Gandhi-Nehru faced to ensure that India not only becomes free from the shackles of imperialists but also that it creates better atmosphere for Indians in particular and newly liberating countries from Asia in general. BJP, lost no time in upholding Parekh-Tharoor line and went on to add that Nehru floundered on the issue of Kashmir, his non- alignment created many problems and in the matters of his policy towards China he failed.

Tharoor’s statement that it was a moralistic running commentary gives an impression that morals should have no place in the political World! And that morality is against the self interest of the nation! On the contrary one can say that it is moral values alone which have been the foundations of anti Imperialist struggles all over. It has been the efforts of people to get their moral rights, rights as human beings, rights as nations which ensured the liberation of the vast mass of humanity form thee exploitative-oppressive yoke of colonialism-imperialism. Britain and other colonial powers and their continuation in the hegemositic policies of United States have been the major oppressive force in the World so far. When Vietnamese people were fighting the insane bombings by United States it was the morality of Vietnamese people which gave them strength to overcome the brutal aggression and come out victorious. It was the morals of Indian masses which gave them all the strength to overcome the yoke of colonialism.

As far as Gandhi is concerned, he was hardly there, when the foreign policy took concrete shape. The one major contribution he made was statement about the rights of Palestinians who were displaced by the Israel. He could see beyond the obvious to say that the policy of Israel is ‘Jewish terrorism’, which is the real problem. The armed Zionists who were intimidating the Palestinian villagers were a matter of concern for him. He also went to say that it is wrong to impose Jews on Palestine. This was his contribution in laying India’s policy vis a vis Israel and Palestine! It is highest morality and astuteness to take the sides of victims of injustice. India did stick to the policy of shunning Israel overtures, till last few years when shaking hands with her began and was made more respectable by BJP led NDA in particular, which not only praised the Israel in more ways than one but was also willing to collaborate with Israel on many counts.

As far as Kashmir is concerned there is a misconception that India surrendered 1/3rd of Kashmir to Pakistan due to Nehru’s faulty approach. This betrays a total ignorance and misrepresents the past. One recalls that at the time of Independence, Kashmir refused to merge with either India or Paksitan. It is the Independent Kashmir which was attacked by Pathan, Kabayali, Tribal supported by Pakistani army. So the question of India loosing one third of territory does not hold any water. When the accession treaty was signed India sent its army to dispel the Pakistani invaders, but by that time they had already occupied 1/3 of Kashmir. Now continuation of war would have meant a lot of civilian casualties. UN at that time was an arbiter of sorts, which was to be approached for mediation. It is another matter that since US had its designs to keep its presence in the region, directly and by proxy, it kept backing Pakistan all through. Thanks to Soviet veto that the status quo was maintained.

It is another matter that the proposal of UN to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir, to ascertain the choice of Kashmiri people in an honest way could never take place. Later the global politics, as divided between the US dominated imperialist block and Soviet led Socialist block came to be supplemented by the Non Aligned group of Nations. It is Russian veto, which saved Kashmir from coming into the total control of Pakistan. Pressure of non-aligned block had its own value. The unstinted support to Pakistan by United States has been due to US strategic interests, and to think that a war in Kashmir would have solved the problem is far from correct.

As far as Non Alignment is concerned, it can be regarded as the best contribution to the global politics. From amongst the nations enslaved by Colonial powers, India was amongst the firsts and was also a big Nation so it was natural that it devices a self interest, autonomy in foreign policy, which can also show the light to all the countries. In a way non alignment was the external manifestation of internal sovereignty. That was the phase of global politics where the easy option for countries was to ally with US-UK axis. As history shows us most of the countries which aligned in such a way turned into banana republics or had the fate of countries like Pakistan. They were used by imperialist powers for their strategic and economic interests. No internal development, no progress of democratic institutions! In practically all countries which got freedom, and allied with US, the progress came to a halt. The trajectory of Pakistan says it all. You ally to US, be its military base, buy readymade goods and material, the basic development remains unattended.

Nehru did have the vision that only a self reliant economic infrastructure can be the guarantee for the progress of the nation. And here the external policy was an adjunct for internal goals. It is in this direction that he decided not to remain subservient to either of the blocks, while seeking their help in the development of industrial infrastructure of the country.

Foreign policy is deeply linked to economic policies. Nehru’s policy in the area of education and industrialization can be faulted for various reasons, but what is above reproach about his policy is about remaining non-aligned, due to which, the nation gets the technical and other help from who so ever gives you can tie up with for the particular issue.. So while Soviet block came forward to lay the industrial infrastructure, US help was taken for Green revolution. The nation has to thank Nehru for ensuring that, today it is a Industrial power to reckon with, it is power with its own scientific manpower, it is precisely due to this that it was not lagging behind in IT revolution, as the infrastructure for this was already their.

Surely Nehru should be faulted for his failure to ensure the implementation of land reforms, and for not undertaking more policies which would have resulted in equitable distribution of wealth and resources. One cannot support the shelving of land reforms at any cost as it is the base for democratic programs. One cannot support the policy leading to enrichment of a handful in the name of development. Neither can one support the policies which led to the marginalization of workers, dalits and Adivasis in the whole process of development. So criticism is OK but from which angle the criticism is done is more important.

With the collapse of Soviet states the World not only lost an important pole of opposition to the US hegemony, it also led to a global scenario where being subservient to US is regarded as the only way to survive, the Non Aligned movement has been marginalized. Surely it has been one of the major policy which came to aid India’s development, it also ensured that not only that India remains insulated from being intimidated but it also gave strength to the other developing nations to chart the course of self reliance and dignity.

As far Nehru’s China policy is concerned the critics feel that since Indo-China war took place in 1962 and India had to bite the dust, it was Nehru’s policy which is to blame for this debacle. Since China was an isolated country, since there were many other unresolved issues on India-China border, China did took us by surprise and a short and decisive blow was inflicted on India. Nehru had entered Panch Sheel (Five Principles of Dignity) which included mutual respect of each other’s sovereignty, non interference, and territorial integrity amongst others. This was also the principal which later on was used by US and Chine to sew up their relations. As such Panch Sheel should be the basis of relations between any two neighbors. While one swallow does not make the summer, one setback does not taint the whole policy. The relations with the mighty neighbor have to be based on Peace, and that’s the only guarantee for the mutual development of the nations. After the painful episode of 1962, China and India have been both ‘progressing’ materially and the ground for peaceful relations is very much there.

While Tharoor’s press conference seems to have exonerated him from the axe of the blind venerators of Gandhi-Nehru, the deeper issues raised by Parekh-Tharoor and also BJP line on these issues is what needs to be debated and proper perspective of Gandhi-Nehru ‘moral running commentary’ needs to be understood in the light of the holistic needs of the nation at that point of time.

(Ram Puniyani could be contacted on [email protected])

23-02-10, 06:46 AM
The Thackerays’ primitive charisma

The Senas have nothing constructive to offer Marathis. So what’s their appeal? The Mumbai Marathi, better at renaming things than building something himself, is disinherited from his city, and the Thackerays give him an illusory sense of power


Politicians respond to constituencies. Their positions are deliberate.
What is the Thackerays’ constituency? Mumbai’s Marathis, whom the Thackerays speak for.
The cast: (clockwise from top left) Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray (AFP) and his estranged nephew Raj (Rajnish Kakade / Hindustan Times), founder of MNS, together control 42% of Mumbai’s votes (Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint); and north Indian taxi drivers have had to bear the brunt of their hate campaigns. Hemant Padalkar / Hindustan Times.

Congress does not represent Marathis in Mumbai, and they have surrendered this space politically to the Thackerays. This can be seen in their organizational structure (www.mumbairegionalcongress.org).
Neither the Mumbai regional Congress committee’s president Kripashankar Singh nor its treasurer Amarjit Singh is Marathi.

Of Mumbai Congress’ 18 vice-presidents, 12 are not Marathi. Of its 19 general secretaries, 13 are not Marathi. Of its 13 secretaries, eight are not Marathi. Of its seven executive members, none is Marathi.
Of Congress’s seven members of Parliament from Mumbai, six are not Marathi.

Of its 17 MLAs, 12 are not Marathi. Of its two housing board chairmen, neither is Marathi.
This surrender hasn’t come because Congress does not want Marathi votes, but because it cannot get them. Congress is inclusive by nature and cannot offer Mumbai’s Marathi what the Thackerays can, which is anger and resentment.

When Raj Thackeray left his uncle and launched his party it was inclusive, because he initially read the Mumbai Marathi wrongly. His flag makes space for the green of Muslims and the blue of Dalits. Marathis didn’t find that inclusiveness appealing and his party struggled. But after his calibrated violence against migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, in which people were killed by his boys, Raj demonstrated his nastiness and Marathis gave him their approval and their vote. Between Raj (24%) and Uddhav (18%), the Thackerays control 42% of Mumbai’s vote, which corresponds to the city’s Marathi population. In the last election, not one opposition seat in the island city of South Mumbai went to Shiv Sena. They all went to Raj after his violence, and that is the reason why Uddhav is currently acting the way he is. The more unhinged the message, the more appealing it is to the Marathi.

Elected to power in 1995, Shiv Sena renamed Bombay. This began the series which has gifted us Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. The Indian’s renaming of his cities is thought to be a positive assertion of identity, but it is actually negritude. Shiv Sena’s renaming did not stop there. It renamed Victoria Terminus (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) and Prince of Wales Museum (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangharalaya). Why is the Marathi angry with the British, who gave him his fine city?
The answer is that he isn’t. Those things were renamed because the British are gone and cannot defend themselves. Their property was available for the Marathi to stamp his ownership upon.

So the question is: Why does Mumbai’s Marathi want to assert himself? The answer is that he is disinherited from his city.

Of the 30 companies in Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex, the number of those owned by Marathis is zero. Of the 50 on the National Stock Exchange’s Nifty, the number owned by Marathis is zero. The Marathi is quite good at renaming things others built, but at building them himself he’s less able.
Three-fourths of India’s capital transactions happen in Mumbai but the participation of Marathis in this activity is irrelevant. There is a reason for this. If we observe Marathi society we notice the total absence of mercantile castes. Into this space the British imported the multi-religious trading community of Surat—Vohra, Khoja, Luhana, Memon, Jain, Parsi and Vaniya. They control the economy of Mumbai and its capital markets, and occupy the city’s best real estate.

Lower down, space opened up for others with enterprise, like the Bhaiyya, Bihari and Sikh taxi drivers of Mumbai. They are actually very good at their trade, hard-working and honest. Against them, the Marathi displays his valour and, like all Indians, he can be quite brave in a mob.

Face value: (clockwise from top left) Members of a fan club gather outside a multiplex screening of My Name is Khan (Shirish Shete / PTI); the film’s lead actor Shah Rukh Khan returns to the city after the world premiere of the movie (Punit Paranjpe / Reuters); Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray at an exhibition of cartoons by his father (Santosh Hirlekar / PTI); and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi rides a suburban train on 5 February. Hemant Padalkar / Hindustan Times.

The second big industry in Mumbai is media, especially Bollywood. Bollywood is dominated on the trade side by Punjabis and Sindhis, on the talent side by Punjabis and Urdu-speakers. The participation of Marathis is not of consequence. In some ways it is negative.

If we think about it, popular entertainment can only be produced on the cusp of immorality. Bollywood liberalizes India through its content which slowly pushes that cusp outward. Bollywood is based in Mumbai because it is India’s most liberal city. But the Marathi peasants who now control the state respond to their constituency in the village, which is illiterate and moral. As home minister, R.R. Patil banned this city’s unique dance bars where young women entertained men. Such acts pull the cusp inward.
The Marathi isn’t bothered about My Name is Khan being released, and by itself the matter is irrelevant, but he’s impressed by Thackeray’s ability to make Shah Rukh Khan grovel and to disrupt Bollywood’s business. It reassures him that Marathis control Mumbai.

Shiv Sena’s issues are always those where they can demonstrate to Marathis their ability to block events—we won’t allow Australian players, we won’t allow Valentine’s Day, we won’t let Pakistanis come in and so on. Shiv Sena has nothing constructive to offer Marathis, nor is it expected: Someone else will do all that.

All these events blocked eventually come to pass anyway, because the control is cosmetic, and it wilts when the state decides to apply rule of law. But that moment of theatre—when the media exhibits anguish—produces the spotlight that nourishes the Thackerays. This is the pattern to Shiv Sena’s actions.

It might appear that these actions are irrational, but the Thackerays’ method is cold and reasoned to squeeze out advantage. Witness the discipline of Raj. He works his strategy with great care. On national television he speaks Marathi no matter what language he is questioned in. The Marathi loves this because it reflects his defiance.

There is a second reason why the Thackerays are compelled to make a nuisance of themselves every so often. Unlike other parties, Shiv Sena has a physical presence in neighbourhoods. These offices, run by local toughs, are self-funded, meaning that they approach businesses and residents for “donations”. This activity can be smooth only so long as Shiv Sena radiates menace. The party is not effective if it isn’t feared, and the grass roots reminds the leadership of this.

The Marathi pattern of resentment we have observed is visible elsewhere in time.

India’s nationalist debate a century ago was dominated by the Marathis: Tilak, Gokhale, Agarkar and Ranade. All four were Chitpavan Brahmins, whose members are fair-skinned and unique for their light eyes (like cricketer Ajit Agarkar and model Aditi Govitrikar).

Going against the current noise about Marathi in schools, Chitpavans actually demanded to be educated in English. By 1911—100 years ago—Chitpavans were 63% literate and 19% literate in English. This gave them the edge over other Indians.
All four were on the most influential body in western India of the time, Poona Sarvajanik Sabha. But English education had not exorcized the native instinct. There they unleashed their pettiness on each other. Agarkar and Tilak fought over leadership. Tilak was forced out in 1890 after quarrels over social status and money. Gokhale took his place but was opposed by Tilak who said the job required 2 hours of work daily and so it couldn’t be done by a college principal. Ranade was attacked in Tilak’s newspapers and Gokhale quit in 1895 because he couldn’t work with Tilak’s friends. A jealous Tilak sabotaged the Congress session held in Pune the same year.

When the Gujaratis—Jinnah and Gandhi—entered Congress, they immediately eclipsed the Marathis, because they had the trader’s instinct towards compromise. The Marathi Brahmin’s energy was then channelled into resentment, this time against Muslims.
RSS, founded in 1925, is actually a deeply Marathi organization. Hindutva author Savarkar, RSS founder Hedgewar, the great Golwalkar, his successor Deoras and current sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat are all Marathi Brahmins.

Marathi resentment cuts down its own heroes. The first was Shivaji. Marathi Brahmins refused to crown him though he controlled dozens of forts in the Konkan. This was because he was a peasant from the cultivator caste and not a Kshatriya. He had to invent an ancestry, perform penance and bring in a Brahmin from Kashi before he could crown himself in 1674, with the title Chhatrapati, meaning leader of Kshatriyas.

The second was Ambedkar. A first-rate mind, he is seen by Marathis for his caste. The term “Ambedkarite” refers purely to the Dalit movement. Educated in America unlike Jinnah and Gandhi, he absorbed the pragmatism of John Dewey at Columbia. Ambedkar was methodical, unemotional and persuasive in all that he wrote. Europeans would classify him as an Aristotelian, against the Platonism of Gandhi. When the merchants of Mumbai voted for the city to join Gujarat during the reorganization of states, Ambedkar wrote a response that skewered their claims with finality. He did this without being parochial. He was above his caste, above his community.

Mumbai’s Marathis should be proud to own Ambedkar’s message of a universal civilization, but they cleave to the primitive charisma of the Thackerays instead.

Aakar Patel’s book on the changing world of Indian servants will be published by Random House India in 2011.

Send your feedback to [email protected]

25-02-10, 06:48 PM
Caste Among Indian Muslims: Causes And Consequences

By Masood Alam Falahi,

(Part - I)
Definition of caste and class:

According to the sociologists, caste is a segmental division by birth and every caste is high and low in caste hierarchy. It is bounded by lack of unrestricted choice of occupation, restrictions on commensality and social intercourse, endogamy/restrictions on marriage and every caste is interdependence.

An open society is called a class. This is a system of social hierarchy in which the status of a person is based on his achievement. In general the basis of social class is the status of the people which is gained by wealth, income, occupation or other things e.g. education.[1]

In Indian context there is no difference between caste and class, because there is an overlapping between class and caste and vice-versa in India.

Before the advent of Islam, the Arabs considered the Non-Arabs, inferior to them. Even Arab world was divided into a society of upper and lower class. Quraish considered themselves high and others low. We can find such evidences in pre- Islamic era.

Caste in the light of Islamic teachings

Islam is an egalitarian religion. It does not believe in casteism, racism or any kind of discrimination on the basis of nation, family, caste and creed. The Holy Qur'an itself says in Surah Al-Hujrat:
“O mankind, indeed we have created you from a male and a female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [2]

The Holy Qur’an also says:

“The believers are but brothers. [The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion)].” [3]

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is said to had declared:

“There are two things which can lead people to infidelity, one is weeping loudly on the dead body and another one is to consider others as low on the basis of their birth (caste).” [4]

A great Islamic scholar and Muhaddith ‘Iamam Nawwi’, put this hadith under the chapter of “Declaring of some one as low on the basis of caste will lead people to infidelity.[5]

The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said in the Hajjat Al-weda’ (the last Haj of the Prophet (PBUH):

“There is no superiority of Arab over non-Arab, of non-Arab over Arab, of white people over black people, of black people over white people. Superiority is only on the basis of piety”.[6]

This concept of equality found expression much later in Article 1 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), 1948 which declared “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Prophet Mohammad married “Hzrat. Zainab Bint-e Jahash Rz.”[7] (the daughter of his real aunty from paternal side) with his free slave Hzrat Zaid bin Harthah Rz. and Hzrat Zabaya’h Bint-e- Zubair Rz. (the daughter of his real uncle from paternal side ) with Hzrat Miqdad Kindi Rz. ( whose family profession was weaving).[8] After that he said:
“I married Zaid bin Harthah Rz. with zainab bint-e-Jehash Rz. and Zubaa’h bint-e-Zubair Rz. with Miqdad, Rz. that people should know that the biggest superiority is the superiority of Islam.” [9]

There are many great prophets’ companions who got confirmation of getting paradise in this world i.e. Hazart Abu Bakr As-Siddique, Hazrat Umar,Hazrat Uthman, Hazrat Ali, Zubair bin Awwam, Sayeed bin Zaid, Abu Obaidah bin Jarrah, Talhah bin Obaidillah and Abdur Rahman bin ‘Awf – May Allah be please with them-. But no one’s name came in the Quran. If any one’s name came that he is a slave “ Hazrat zaid bin harethah Rz.[10]

On the day of Makkah (Mecca) victory, the prophet ordered Hazrat Bilal Habshi Rz. to call Aazan, on the roof of Ka’bah. Before it he already made him muwazzin of prophets’ mosque in Madinah.

When Islam came in India, because of these teachings of equality and brotherhood, many Hindus, especially Dalits and other ‘low’ castes, embraced Islam being victims of the Hindu caste system. As late as the early twentieth century, a Christian scholar T.W. Arnold remarked about the conditions of Dalits and ‘low’ castes thus:

“[…] In Travancore certain of the lower castes may not come nearer than seventy four paces to a Brahman and have to make a grunting noise as they pass along the road, in order to give warning of their approach.”[11]

Arnold writes about the spread of Islam in Bengal, quoting from Sir W.W.Hunter’s
Book “The religions of India” and another book “Wise” (p.32):

“To these poor people, fishermen, hunters, pirates and low-caste tillers of the soil, Islam came as a revelation from on high. It was the creed of the ruling race; its missionaries were men of zeal who brought the Gospel of the unity of God and the equality of men in its sight to a despised and neglected population […] It brought in a higher conception of God and a nobler idea of the brotherhood of man. It offered to the teeming low castes of Bengal, who had sat for ages abject on the outermost pale of the Hindu community, a free entrance into a new social organization.”[12]

Arnold further adds:
“It is this absence of class prejudices which constitutes the real strength of Islam in India and enables it to win so many converts from Hinduism.” [13]

The first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, says about the spread of Islam in India:
“The impact of the invaders from the north-west and of Islam on India had been considerable. It had pointed out and shown up the abuses that had crept into Hindu society –the petrifaction of caste, untouchability, exclusiveness, carried to fantastic lengths. This idea of brotherhood of Islam and of the theoretical equality of its adherents made a powerful appeal, especially to those in the Hindu fold who were denied any semblance of equal treatments. From this ideological impact grew up various movements aiming at a religious synthesis. Many conversions also took place but the great majority of these were from the lower castes, especially in Bengal. Some individuals belonging to the higher castes also adopted the new faith, either because of a real change of belief, or, more often, for political and economic reasons. There were obvious advantages in accepting the religion of the ruling power.”[14]

Islam spread in India due to its message of equality and brotherhood. The majority of Indian Muslims are descendants of ‘untouchables and low’ caste converts, with only a small minority tracing their descent to Arab, Iranian and Central Asian settlers and invaders. Although Islam is fiercely egalitarian in its social ethics, insisting on the radical equality of all believers, Indian Muslim society is characterized by numerous caste-like features, consisting of several castes –like groups (jatis, biraderis). Muslims who claim foreign descent, such as the Sayeds, Shaikhs, Mughals and Pathans, claim a superior status for themselves as ashraf or noble’. Descendants of indigenous converts are commonly referred to as ‘ajlaf’ or ‘base’ or ‘lowly’ and ‘arzal or Dalist’.

In the centuries of Muslim rule in India, the ‘ashraf’ and ‘high’ caste Hindu converts played a key role in the state administration, as advisors, ministers, governors, army officials, and estates managers, as well as sufis and ‘ulama. On the other hand, despite their conversion to Islam, the social and economic conditions of the mass of the ‘ajlaf’ and ‘arzal’ Muslims hardly changed and they remained tied down to their traditional occupations as artisans, peasants, labourers and sweepers. Many great ‘ulama and intellectuals, past as well as present, belonging to the various Muslim sects and formations , including Shia and Sunni, Aligarh Tahreek, Deobandi, Barailvi, Ahl-e-Hadith, Jamaa’t-e-Islami and the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) supported the caste system either in the name of the supposed superiority of the sadat / ahl-e-bait (people tracing their origin to the Prophet’s daughter, Hazrat Fatima Rz.) or the belief that only a person of Quraish descent (Sayeds and Shaikhs) could be the Caliph or through caste-based kufu (endogamy).

Origin of casteism among Indian Muslims

Now the million dollar question which still remains unanswered here is that if there is no existence of casteism in Islam then how and when casteism started reflecting in lives and culture of Indian Muslims?

According to the Holy Qur’an, the founder of casteism, is Satan ‘Iblis’( his real name is Azazeel ). When Allah ordered angles and Jinns, to bow down in front of Adam. The angles bow downed in front of Adm, but Iblis refused it. When Allah asked him that why didn’t you do it? He replied to Allah showing his creation (caste) superiority. The Holy Qur’an says:

“[Allah] said,” What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you” [Satan] said, “ I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay [i.e., earth].”

In one place the Holy Qur’an quotes his argument:
“He said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.”

The nature of fire is to go to up and nature of clay is to go down. This was the argument of Satan. Allah didn’t like his caste based argument and sent him out from paradise. Allah says:
“[Allah] said, “Descend from it [i.e. Paradise], for it is not for you to be arrogant therein. So get out; indeed, you are of the debased.”

In fact, the Arab world was divided into a society of upper and lower class in pre- Islamic era, as already highlighted above. When Islam started spreading in the land, it by rule prohibited casteism and declared it as Haram. Islam proclaimed equality among every human being. It emphasized on the deeds of a person to decide one’s nobility, no one was high or low except on the basis of good deeds and bad deeds.

But after the period when Arabs were led by Prophet and rightly guided caliphs Hazart Abu Bakr As-Siddique Rz. and Hazrat Umar Al-Farooque,Rz.this illegal thing raised its head in Arab society again. In the period of Hazrat Usman Rz., a Jew Abdullah bin Saba embraced Islam and he started tribe based discrimination among Muslims. He objected on Hazrat Usman’s ability to get caliphate on the basis of tribal affiliation and argued that since Hazrat Ali Rz. was cousin of Prophet and belonged to his family, he was more desirable of the post. His thoughts spread among whole of the Persian area like a wild fire and infected the already jealous people of the area who had problems with Arab. As a consequence of this, Hazrath Usamn Rz. was murdered.

It was Iran where the “Sho’uobiyah” movement was launched against Arab Muslim. The followers of this movement preferred pre-Islamic Iranian history, traditions etc. on Islamic teachings.

It was Iran where many scholars supported caste system. Mr.Dileep Karanth writes referring a noted sociologist Mr. Ghaus Ansari:

“Even the reputed Muslim scholars of Persia, like Nasir-ud-Din at-Tusi preached the division of society; his classification of society remained the same as it was during the Sasanian period. In his book, Akhlaq-i-Nasiri (which was finished shortly before the fall of the Caliphate), at-Tusi considers that each of the social classes should be kept in its proper place. A seventeenth-century work, Jami-i-Mufidi, again retains the same four-fold division of society, but it puts forward a slight change in giving precedence to warriors at the top and reducing the relative rank of priests to that of second in the hierarchy. In addition to these philosophers, the noted statesman of Persia, Nizam-ul-Mulk, in his Siyasat Nama, instructs his subordinates to maintain the people in their proper ranks.”

The incident of Hazrat Usman’s murder marked the beginning of caste system among Muslims. Subsequently it increased and gripped majority of followers of Hazart A’li Rz., also known as “Shiats”, whose majority started claiming themselves of high caste as “Sayids”.

According to Shiat’s theology, if a Sayed girl’s nikah (marriage) has been done with non Sayed with permission of her and her parents. Even in this condition her nikah will be invalid. Sayed girl’s nikah should be with Sayed only.

Casteism among Shiats is visible everywhere. An ‘alim (religious scholar) belongs to the Sayed caste will wear black turban, but an ‘alim belongs to other caste can’t wear black turban. He will wear the turban of different colour.

We can see the seeds of caste system turning into a full bloomed venomous tree in Umayid period. For example:
1. The governor of Iraque Hajjaj bin Yousuf ordered that no non-Arab can be an Imam in Kofah.
2. The governor of Basrah Bilal bin Abi Burdah whipped a great non Ararb a’alim (religious scholar) ‘Abdullah bin ‘Awn’ because he married an Arab lady.
3. A Bedouin of Bano Sulaim (name of a tribe) married his daughter with a non-Arab new Muslim. Mohammad bin Basheer Al-Kharji went to Madinah and complained to the governor of Madinah “Ibrahim bin Hisham bin Isma’il bin Hisham bin Mughirah. The governor separated between wife and husband and whipped that new Muslim and shaved his beard and eyebrow.

The Abbasid dynasty finds its root of establishment in caste system itself. The main campaigner of this dynasty was Abu Muslim Khurasani, ( Khurasan : a city in Iran) who already had a grudge against the teaching of Islam. Nafs Zakiyah –one of Hazrat A’li Rz. family- accepted this fact. He, once in his letter to Abbasid Caliph Mansoor, wrote:

“The caliphate is our right. You claimed it through us. You took the support of our shiats to gain it. You got it in behalf of us only.”

Even Caliph Mansoor recognizes the facts that the Abbasid movement raised the honor of Ahle Bait ( Sayid/the family of Hazarat A’li Rz.). He replied to Nafs-e-Zakiah:

“….We. (Abbasid movement)…. Raised the superiority of the elders of Ahle Bait.”

The caste system was on its highest of peaks, during this period. Even Abbasids and Fatmites (people of Ahle bait) commented on each other caste on a regular basis, trying to prove one another of a lower status.

The three imams Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifah, Hazrat Imam Shafy’ee, Hazrat Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, used to live in the remote areas of the city of Prophet ‘ Madinah’ where caste system ran in every vein. It even reflected in their fatwas. But as Hazrat Imam Malik lived in the heart of Madinah, he took his stand totally against casteism.

Compilation of Fiqh was started during the Abbasid period and so one can find a numerous of fatwas dominated by caste system.

Still we can find casteism among Arab. Dr. Yosuf Abdullah al-Qardawi – a known Islamic scholar residing in Qatar - writes about the caste system in Egypt. According to him:

‘If any girl is married in other caste/tribe, the people used to say that “the crocodile ate her.”

Once he writes that when he was caught by Egyptian police, the head of intelligence of Al-Mahallatul Kubra “ Mohammad Shadeed” ordered him to put his shoes on his turban. He told him that turban is symbol of Islamic education and humiliation of it (turban) is humiliation of Islam. But the intelligence head laughed loudly, abused him and told one of his men to put the shoes on his turban. Dr. Qardawi asked him that he can do, if this is black turban. The intelligence head didn’t reply him.

This incident shows us the importance of sayed in Egyptian society.

He also writes that in Qatar and Kuait there are Muslim tribes (in Kuwait their name is Bedouin and Qatar their name is Al-Hawlah) who are living there without citizenship. They are facing a lot of problems for marriage, haj and travels.

Still some of Arab has feeling of Arab nationalism or superiority of Arab. When Saddam Husain was hanged, an Indian journalist Burkha Datt asked a person in Baghdad “how do you feel?” He replied ‘It is bad, he was an Arab and he was a Muslim.’

He used Arab word before Muslim and Islam. Arab were in opposition of Ottman caliphate because of they were non- Arab. By this way Ottman caliphate was destroyed.

Mr Dileep Karanth writes under the sub-heading of “ Caste in the Islamic World”:

“We have already seen from the examples of the Ashraf's practices regarding marriage, or admittance to mystic brotherhoods, etc., the Ashraf also retained their own stereotypes and prejudices which cannot be traced solely to Hindu influence.

But that is not the whole story. Even if the caste structure was largely a relic from the pre-Islamic past, new castes also sometimes came into existence. The Maratha Bugtis in Balochistan are an interesting case of what may be a caste forming even under Islamic rule. Theirs is a clan claiming descent from Marathas captives of war brought back by members of the Bugti tribe, who served the armies of Ahmad Shah Durrani (Abdali) after the fateful battle of Panipat.

In time they underwent 'Bugti-ization'and became Muslims. Although for all practical purposes they may now be considered Bugtis, and are even in the forefront in education and employment, they were once considered little better than bonded labour. They could not own or buy land. Up to two generations ago they could be 'bought' for twenty or thirty rupees. Their women were fair game for Bugtis.

The Maratha Bugtis took jobs as unskilled labourers, which their tribal overlords disdained. Over the years they have come to occupy higher positions, and their prosperity is resented by the Bugtis. It is interesting to note that this caste-like phenomenon has endured for more than two centuries, even in a region largely devoid of Hindus.

The Maratha Bugtis were not alone in their position as a group living in the Islamic world, with their inferior position determined by heredity. The Haratin or Harratin of southwestern Morocco and Mauritania are "a socially and ethnically distinct class of workers". They are descended from slaves, but are now serfs, "without the privileges of freedom". (One of the people who is trying to help them to become independent is Abdel Nasser Ould Yessa, whose life and work is discussed at the following web site:

The facile practice of regarding all hierarchies in the Islamic world as a substratum from pre-Islamic societies does not always work. Hierarchies (in other words, castes) exist even in places like Yemen and the rest of the Arabian peninsula.

As a perusal of the informative entry on "Bedouin" in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica reveals, Bedouin society in twentieth-century Arabia was also divided into various groups. While the nomads have been settled after the formation of the modern states, the societal hierarchical and patriarchal structure has been retained. The Bedouin tribes were classified on the basis of the species of animal on which they depended. Camel nomads were highest in prestige. They were spread on extensive territories in the Sahara, Syrian and Arabian deserts. Sheep- and goat-herding nomads, rank below, and live closer the cultivated zones in Jordan, Syria and Iraq. The noble tribes are proud of their ancestry, and are divided into "Qaysi" (northern Arabian) or "Yamani" groups. In addition to the noble elements, the Bedouin society also includes vassal tribes, which are "ancestorless" (i.e., tribes whose heredity is not prestigious). These groups are subservient to the noble tribes and include professional groups such as artisans, blacksmiths, entertainers, etc.

Caste-like phenomena are attested in other regions of the Arabian peninsula, even among the sedentary populations. Paul Dresch has studied the situation in Yemeni tribal society at the beginning of the twentieth century. He observes that two groups of people are widely regarded as not belonging to the tribe, but are still endowed with rights and obligations. The first of them is the Sayyids – a group claiming descent from the prophet, and the Qadis. (The Qadis are also a group defined by heredity. While elsewhere in the Islamic world the title Qadi refers to judges, in Yemen it only denotes a member of this class, whether judge or not. The Qadis or mashaykh are also said to be descended from the Prophet Hud. The mashaykh do not enjoy as much prestige as the Sayyids. ) Below the tribesmen rank the 'weak' people (dua'fa) (sing. da'if). Weak people have no prestige. They include people of various trades, some respectable and some not so respectable.

Artisans and merchants in the traditional towns tend to be highly organized into castelike guild groups that are ranked largely according to the nature of their craft. In many areas those who ply so-called respectable trades are sharply differentiated from the bani khoms, or sons of the five, practitioners of the five despised trades of barber, bloodletter, butcher, bath attendant, and tanner. In the Hadramaut artisans who handle clay, such as masons and potters, also fall into the despised group, as do sweepers, fishermen, and some others, depending on locality. Poor farm laborers also occupy a low status, but it is higher than those of the despised crafts.

The akhdam, in many areas the lowest group, are so isolated from society that they have been compared with the untouchables of India. Found especially along the Tihama coast and in southern Yemen (Sana) but also in the Hadramaut, they are often distinguished socially by their negroid appearance and often follow the despised trade of sweeper. The akhdam appear to be descendants of slaves, although not all former slaves occupy such degraded positions. Slavery existed in the territories of the Aden Protectorate until the 1930s and persisted in Yemen (Sana) until 1962.

The Sayyids in Yemen did not allow intermarriage with other Yemeni castes. This superiority was challenged only by expatriates in Singapore in 1905, and again under the Irshadi movement in Java in 1915.”

The second part of the question as to how Indian Muslims adopted this Casteism in their society is yet to be answered.

The Indian Muslim history states that Muslim traders landed in South India i.e. Kerala, Malabar etc. Raja Dahir’s army captured seven Islamic ships which were coming from Sarandeep and there were Muslim male and female in it. Because of this Mohammad Bin Qasim attacked North India and captured Sind and its adjoining places.

The Arab Rule was on Sind till 995 AD. Casteism was still nowhere among Muslims, during that time. Even no caste system existed in the period of non Arab Muslim rulers like Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi, (d.18, April, 1030AD) Sultan Shahabuddin Ghauri (d.16 March, 1206AD) and Sulatan Qutbuddin Aibak (d.12 Oct.1210AD). It’s noticeable that Sultan Mahmood Ghaznawi appointed his slave “Ayaz” the governor of Punjab, and gave the title of Raja (king) to a Hindu barber and appointed him his army chief. Sultan Shabuddin Ghauri appointed his slave Qutbuddin Aibak the governor General of India. Qutbuddin Aibak appointed his slave Shamsuddin Iltutmish governor of Gwalior, Barn (Buland Shahar) and Nazim (manager) of Badayun. He even freed him and married his daughter to him.

The casteism among Indian Muslims was actually started by slave of slave Shamsuddin Iltutmish [d.10 April 1236AD] (Shamsuddin Iltutmish was slave of Qutbuddin Aibak and Qutbuddin Aibak was slave of Shabuddin Ghauri.)

It’s already mentioned above that in the Abbasid period the compilation of fiqh was started, and there are many caste based fatawas in it. When the non-Arab Muslim rulers conquered India, the Muslim scholars, Sufis etc followed their path and entered along with them. They brought a totally new tradition, culture and literature. Among many books, Fiqh books (jurisprudence books) also came with these scholars. The Hanafi Fiqh was the official book for religious matter. The Indian land was already diseased by caste based society system, making it the best suitable place for the caste based fatawas. As a result Muslims inherited casteism in their society as well, like Hindus.

[1] Srinivas,M.N.:Religion and Society among the Coorgs of South India, pp 24-31,Ghurye,G.S.:Caste,Class and Occupation,Ch.11, Varna and Caste, pp.194-98,Ch.13,Features of the Caste System , pp. 230-40 , Ghurye, G.S. :Caste and Class in India, Popular Prakashan, Mumbai,1950, Quoted in Sharma, Amit Kumar: Structure of Indian Society, A Sociology Text Book for Class XII,Ch. 4 Caste Class and Tribe in India,pp.35-39.

[2] The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-H ujrat, Verse: 13.English translation by Saheeh International- Jeddah, printed at the expenses of Awqaf Expenditure Channels, Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, State of Qatar.

[3] The Holy Qur’an ,Surah Al-Hujrat, Vrese: 10.Op.Cit.

[4]Al-Qasheri, Al-Imam Muslim bin Hajjaj: As-Sahi Ma’ Sharah-e-hi Al-Nawwi.( Hadith Collection by
Imam Muslim), Reyasat Al-Idarat Al-Buhoos Al-Islamiat. Kitabul Iman, Babo Itlaq Ismil Kufr ‘Ala
At-Ta’n Fin-Nasab W An-Niyahah.Vol.I, Part II, p.75.

[5] An-Nawwi: Al-Imam, Muhiuddin sharf: Sharhus Sahih Le Muslim, Kitabul Iman, bab-o- Itlaq-e-Ismil
Kufr A’la at-ta’n fin Nasab w An-neyahah al’a almyyit, pub. Reyasat-o-Idaratil Bohooth al-Islamiayh,

[6] Ash-Sahibani, Al-Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal, Al-Musnad, (Compendium of hadiths) Al-Maktabt Al-
A’rabia,Al-Maktab Al-Islami,Vol.V,p.411

[7] Rz. Means raza Allaho ‘anho / ‘anha (May Allah be pleased with him /her.)

[8] Al-Aa’zmi, Habibur Rahman: Ansab-o-Kafayat Ki sharyee hathiayat (Caste and kafa in the light of
Islamic teachings), Al-Majmaulilmi, Markaz tahqeeq w khidmat-e-Ilmiayh. Mau Nath Bhanjan, Maum
UP, India ed. 1st 1999, p.68

[9] Al-Khurasani, Saeed BinMansoor bin Shaibah Al-Milli: KItabus Sunan, bab-o-Ma jae Fil Munakehahm,
Al-Majlis al-Ilmi ( samlak Dhabel, India, ed. 1st ,edited by: Habibur Rahman al-A;azmi,p.146-147
Hadith No. 585

[10]The Holy Qura’n, Chap. Al-Ahzab, Verses: 37.

[11] Arnold, T. W.: The Preaching of Islam, Low price publication, Delhi, ed. 2nd 1913. p.269

[12] Ibid, pp.279-80

[13] Ibid., p.291

[14] Nehru, Jawaharlal: The Discovery of India, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, Teen Murti House, New Delhi, 1982, p.265.

[15] The Holy Qur’an,op.cit. Surah al-A’raf, verse No.12
[16] Ibid, op.cit. Surah Sad, Verse No. 76.
[17] Ibid, op.cit. Surah al-A’raf, verse No.13.
[18]Hashmi,Qazi Mohammad Tahir ‘Ali : Kufu wa Nekah Bela Tamyeez-e-Zaat Paat, (endogamy and Marriage without seeing caste) Quoted in Mazhar Moin: Islam Aur Zaat Paat( Islam and Casteism)
[19]pub.Adbistan 43, Reti Gun Lahore Pakistan,p.358
[20]Mahnamah Ma’arif (knowledges Monthly), Azamgarh,June 1928AD, Vol.21,Issue No.6.
[21]Ghaus Ansari,Muslim Caste in Uttar Pradesh (A Study of Culture Contact), Lucknow, 1960, Page 30, Qouted in http :// www. infinityfoundation.com /mandala /h_es/h _es _ karan_caste.htm
[22]Al-Baseet Qouted in Al-‘Aini, Al-Imam badruddin Abu Mohammad Mahmood bin Ahmad: Al-benayah fi Sharhil Hidyah(known as Al-‘aini Sharhul Hidayah),pub.Nawal Kishoor Lucknow.Vol.2 p.102
[23] Al-Undulusi, Abu Umar Ahmad bin Mohammad bin Abde Rabbehi: Al-I’qdul-Farid, Vol.2 p.233.
[24] Ibn Sa’d, Al-Imam Mohammad: At-Tabqat-ul- Kubra,Dar-o-Bairoot, 1958 AD,Vol.7,p.263
[25] Al-Asfahi, Abul-Farj:Al-Ighani (The songs), Vol.14 pp.335-336.
[26] Nadvi, Maulna Shah Mui’nuddin nadvi:Tareekh-e-Islam (The History of Islam) ,pub. Darul Musann-e-
Feen, Azamgarh, UP, 1983AD, Vol.3, p.35.
[27] Ibid, Vol.3 p.40.
[28] Ibid, Vol.3, pp.35-39.
[29] Monthly, Burhan (Evidence), Delhi, February, 1973 AD Vol.7, Issue No. 2, pp.122-123.
[30] Monthly Ma’arif (knowledge / information), Azamgarh, June 1928AD, Vol.21,Issue No.6.
[31] Al-Qardawi, Yosuf Abdullah: Ibul Qariyah wal Kuttab,( The son of village and elementary school)
[32] Malamho Seerah w maseerah, darush Shorooq, Cairo,Egypt, ed.1st 2004, Vol.2, p.358
[33] Ibid, Vol. 1 pp.355-356
[34] Ibid, Vol. 2 p.101
[35] NDTV 24 *7
[36] Marginality and Modernity: Ethnicity and Change in Post-Colonial Balochistan, Paul Titus, (ed) ,
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 1996, pp. 54-55. Qouted in http:// www. infinityfoundation.com
[37] "Haratin" http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=40019 Qouted in http:// www. Infinity foundation.
com /mandala/h_es/h_es_karan_caste.ht
[38] Qouted in http:// www. infinityfoundation.com /mandala/h_es/h_es_karan_caste.htm
[39] Tribes, Government, and History in Yemen, Paul Dresch, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989, p. 117. Qouted in http:// www. infinityfoundation.com /mandala/h_es/h_es_karan_caste.htm
[40] Area Handbook For The Yemens, Richard F. Nyrop, et al., 1977, p. 74. Qouted in http:// www. infinityfoundation.com /mandala/h_es/h_es_karan_caste.htm
[41] Area Handbook For The Yemens, Richard F. Nyrop, et al., 1977, p. 77. Qouted in http:// www.
infinityfoundation.com /mandala/h_es/h_es_karan_caste.htm
[42] Tribes, Government, and History in Yemen, Paul Dresch, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989, p. 27. Qouted in
http:// www. infinityfoundation.com /mandala/h_es/h_es_karan_caste.htm
[43] Farishta, Mohammad Qasim: Tareekh-e-Farishta(History of Farishtah), Urdu tran. Abdul hai Khaja M.A.
[45] Maktab-e-Millat Deoband, UP. 1983, Vol.2, p885-886,
[46] Mubark Puri, Qazi Atahar: Khelaft-e-bano Umayyah Aur Hindustan,( Umayyid Caiphate and India)
[47] Nadwatul Musannefin, Urdu bazaar, jame’ masjid Delhi-, 1st ed. 1395 H.A., August 1975 AD. P.96-97,
[48] Najeeb aabadi, Akbar Shah Khan: Ayina-e-Haqeeqat Noman,(The mirror of reality) Tahqeeq-o-Takhrij:Abdur Rasheed Bastawi, pub.Shaikh Al-Hind Academy, Darul Oloom Deoband,ed. June 1997AD. Vol. 1 Part. 1, pp.111-124
[49] Ikram, Shaikh Mohammad,: Aab-e-Kauthar, Adbi Duniya, No.510,Matya Mahal, Delhi, ed. 5. pp.23-24.
[50] Al-Yaqoobi,Al-Imam Ahamd bin Abi Yaqoob: Tareekh-e-Yaqoobi, Dar-o-Bairoot,1960AD, Vol. 3, p.34
[51] Al-Belazri, Al-Imam Ahmad bin Yahya: Fotooh Al-Buldan, Tahqee w Taleeq: Abdullah Anis Al-Tabbakh w [52] Umar anees al-Tabbakh, dar al-Nashr Lil Jameyeen 1957 AD, Vo. I, Part.5, p.615.
[53] Najeeb aabadi, Akbar Shah Khan: Ayina-e-Haqeeqat Noman ( The mirror of reality), op.cit,. Vol. 1 Part.
1, pp.171.
[54] Ibid, Ch.1, 2- 3 and 5, Vol.1 part 2 p.579.

(Masood Alam Falahi is a research scholar in University of Delhi and could be contacted at [email protected])


25-02-10, 07:00 PM
Part - 2

Indian Muslim history provides a number of proofs that from Shamsuddin Iltutumish, the casteism existed among Muslims not only till the end of Muslim dynasty in India, but it is alive now also. The Indian Muslim history is full of example referring to many Muslim rulers who promoted casteism. In spite of this fact, there are many Muslim rulers who never valued casteism.

In Muslim Ruler’s period, Muslims were divided in Ashraf, Ajlaf and Arzal. Syed, Shaikh, Mughal, Khan and Malik etc. were considered as ashraf. Julaha, Kunjra etc. were considered as ajlaf and bhangi, doom and Khatik etc were considered as Arzal(Dalit).

Except Ashraf all other groups were neglected by Muslim rulers. The Indian Muslim history is full of these kinds of examples. I will provide only few examples in brief.

Sultan Shamshuddin Iltutmish: He didn’t allow ‘low caste’ Muslims to get the post of Khachgi, Musharrafi, or Mudabberi (high posts) in his period. He inquired the castes of his officials and dismissed 33 ‘low caste’ people from their posts.

Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban: He was the follower of Sultan Shamshuddin Iltutmish in caste system. He also didn’t allow ‘low caste’ Muslims in his kingdom to get government job. He is known to openly proclaim that his blood used to boil whenever he used to see any ‘low caste’ person.

He also appointed a committee from all over India to enquire about the caste of his officials. A noted historian, Prof. Khaliq Ahmad Nezami (Deptt. Of History, Aligarh Muslim University) writes:

"Sayyid Ashraf Jahangir Samnani(d.1405 A.D.) writes in one of his letters that Balban had made very thorough enquiries about the families of all his officers and government servants. Expert genealogists had assembled in Delhi from all parts of the country to help him in determining the family status of the persons."

Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq: Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq became king after the death of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq. He was surrounded by casteist ministers and u’lama and by their support he became king. So naturally he supported caste system and promoted casteist people.
We can imagine the badness of his casteism in his period by the word of Maulana Sayed Ziauddin Barni. He writes: “ All Sayids got new life.”

The governor of Lucknwati ‘ Ilyas’ rebelled against him, captured Lucknwati and collected the army in Akdalah. But Firuz shah didn’t attack on Akdalah because he feared that innocent people, i.e., Ulama, Sufis and sayid will die as a consequence of the war.

In Suri dynasty especially in the period of Sher Shah and Salim Shah casteism became strong. Sayids got more importance than other caste.

Sikandar Lodhi: Sikandar Lodhi (d. 7 Zi Qadah,923 HA / 22 Nov. 1517 AD) was no less of a caste-supporter of his time. His heart was filled heavily with great respect and admiration for Sayeds. One of the incidents mentioned in Waq-e-Aat-e-Mushtaqi A clooection of incidents) can be referred to verify this:

“The Sayid of ‘Koyel’ was suspected in the corruption of government money. Though there were strong evidences against him, when he was brought before Sultan Sikander Lodhi, the king not only pardoned him but also allowed him to take money with him.”

Taimur Lang: When he with his mighty army attacked and took over India, numerous episodes of brutal killings happened throughout India, killing thousands of innocents at his sole direction. Interestingly enough, here too once more, a king with caste driven mentality made an exception in case of Sayeds and religious group. Nonetheless, he was a strong believer of worshipping Sufis and making dua’ (prayer) for Sayids.

The famous historian of Taimuri Family ‘ Mohammad Hashim’ known as Khafi Khan, writes in his book “ Muntakhab-Al-lubab”( A selected collection of events) that Taimur Lang use to give great honuor and respect to Sayids. He was known to proclaim that ‘on the day of judgment when every one will take the sleeve of his recommender, he will take the sleeve of Sayids.

In Suri dynasty, especially in the period of Sher Shah and Salim Shah, casteism grew its roots stronger and wider than ever. Sayids, like always, inherited importance over other castes.

Sultan Jalaluddin Akbar: Akbar is favourite among Indian historians as a great secular emperor. However, his secularism didn’t stop his thoughts to get corrupted by caste based discrimination.

He, like his predecessors and other Muslim rulers, is known to give special honors to Syeds. So much was he into casteism that once he refrained from capital punishment for one of his Sayid rebellion ‘ Shah Abu Al- Mua’li’ because of the sole reason of him being a Sayed.

So much was he in praise of caste driven society that he went to the extent of issuing a highly discriminating governmental order stating that:

“The low castes should be stopped in the cities from gaining education. Because (of their education) fasad (corruption) was born.”

His ruling era saw a lot of capable New Muslim Rajput and Indigenous Muslims, only to work at lower positions. Akbar, being a great caste supporter, never allotted any important post to them, quite contrary to the treatment he gave to non-Muslim Rajputs who enjoyed the benefit extended by the mighty emperor to hold important positions. The biased emperor even made one of the Non-Muslim Rajput his army commander.

Sultan Aurangzeb Alamgir: Aurangzeb Alamgir is considered the biggest Islamist by Muslim scholars and people in general. But one can observe the same degree of caste based discrimination during his rule as what was prevalent in times of Akbar. He also continued the biased tradition cum-discrimination policy of appointing Rajputs as his commander, and ensured that no important post was allotted to New Muslim Rajputs and Indigenous Muslims. There was also no change in the condition of poor, low caste and un-educated people during his rule.

The Fatwa Alamgiri / Al-Fatawa Al-Hindiah (The collection of fatawa) was compiled in his period under his own order. It got publicity and became famous primarily due it’s name itself, “Fatwa Alamgiri”. This book also reflects on casteism being practiced during Alamgir’s time, in name of kufu (endogamy). Surprisingly, there was no opposition by this great ruler against the same.

Sultan Bahadur Shah Zafar: The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was nothing but a puppet in the hands of British rulers. Though he was surrounded by a lot of problems otherwise, nothing still stopped him from exercising his caste mentality. He was a strong supporter of caste system. When the Ghadar / rebel of 1857 AD started, he ordered Nawab Sayid Hamid Ali Khan on 24th of May 1857 AD to prepare an army of 500 people. The Dehli Urdu Akhbar(Delhi Urdu News Paper) reported it as below:

“It is heard that Nawab Itemadud -Dawlah Sayid Hamid Ali Khan Bahadur went to the court of Sultan (king). The king ordered him to prepare an army consisting 500 people. He also mentioned that there should be only Shaikh, Sayid, and Pathan, the noble and brave caste, rather than any low caste.”

He used to make sure that the noble caste people are appointed as his officials.

Rebel against the kings who were opponent of casteism

The Indian Muslim history provides facts that the majority of rulers and governors in general were the biggest supporter of casteism. If any ruler tries to give the post to any low caste person, then his government was turned down by those casteist people. The daughter of Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish the founder of casteism “Sultanah Raziah”(d.25 Rabi’a Al-Awwal 638 HA / 14 Nov. 1240 AD) appointed a slave ‘ Jamalud-din Yaqoot Hamwi’ amirul Umra ( the governor general). But Turk and Afghan leaders consider him as low caste, so they killed him and reveled against Sultanah Raziah. Finally she was killed by her brother Muizud din Bahram Shah.

Sultan Mubarak Shah Khilji (d. 5 Rabi Al-Awwal 721 HA/ 3 June 1321 AD) appointed a slave “Malik Shaheen / Wafa Al-Malik / Wafa Beg” his successor at the time of his journey to Dewgir. He made a new Muslim “Khusroo Khan” ( who belongs to a Dalit caste “ Barwa / Barwari” (i.e. chamar ) of Gujrat) governor of Dewgir. He made Malik Kafoor ( new Muslim who belongs to Dalit caste Barwa) manager of properties of South (Dakan) and he made his brother “ Hisamuddin” governor of Gujrat.

The ministers of Sultan Mubarak Shah Khilji, considered it his nourishing of low castes and conspired to murder him and appoint Malik Asadud Din (cousin of Sultan A’lauddin Khilji). When the king knew about this conspiracy he killed Malik Asadud Din and other ministers.

Mohammad Tughlaq was also against caste system and the true Muslim ruler who gave justice to every one. He appointed many indigenous Muslims i.e. ‘low caste’ Muslims in his kingdom. Because of this the ministers, ulama’ ,Sufis, casteist people opposed him and reveled against him all over his dynasty, even they joined hand with non Muslims. According to some historians, in the last his kingdom turned down through his murder. There were ulama’, Sufis, ministers including, Sayid Khaja Nasiruddin Awdhi (Chiragh Dehlawi), Sayid Ziyauddin Barni, Firuz Shah Tuglaq etc. They appointed their casteist person Firuz Shah Tuglaq as king. In his dynasty, the casteism increased.

The role of Indian U’lam/scholars and Islamic organizations/sects in promotion of casteism.

Allah says in the holy Qura’n:
“….Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge….”.

The prophet said:
“Allah will not finish knowledge directly from the people. But he will finish the knowledge by finishing u’lama (scholars). When there is no ‘alim will be remain, people will make illiterate people their leaders. They will ask them the questions and they will reply without knowledge. Then they will be misguided and will misguide the people”.

This is the importance of ‘ulama, but when it comes to caste system, majority of ulam’a prefer to either keep quiet or go totally against the Islamic spirit and its teachings. Maulana Sayid Ziauddin Barni - the court historian of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq and Sultan Firooz Shah Tughlaq- was himself one of the biggest supporters of casteism.
He used to advise the king a lot of caste based instruction. He writes in Fatawa Jahadari (The rules of the kingship):
“The teachers of every kind are to be sternly ordered not to thrust precious stone down the throats of dogs or put collars of gold round the neck of pigs and bears – that is to mean, the ignoble and the worthless, to shop-keepers and to the low-born, they are to be taught nothing more than the rules about prayer, fasting, religious charity and the Haj pilgrimage along with some chapters of the Qur’an and some doctrines of the faith, without which their religion can not be correct and valid prayers are not possible. But they are to be taught nothing else, lest it will bring honour to their mean souls. They are not to be taught reading and writing, for plenty of disorders arise owing to the skill of low-born in knowledge. The disorder into which all affairs of the religion and the state are thrown is due to the acts and words of the low-born, who have become skilled. For, on account of their skill, they become governors (wali) revenue-collectors (‘amil) auditors (mutasarrif), officers (farman-deh) and rulers (farman-rawa). If teachers are disobedient, and it is discovered at the time of investigation that they have imparted knowledge or taught letters or writings to the low-born, inevitably the punishment for their disobedience will be meted out to them.”

According to Islamic teaching, the good deeds and the bad deeds are gained by human himself, during the course of life. But Barni evolved a theory of his own stating that it is fixed by birth. In support if his thought he writes:

“The merits and demerits of men have been apportioned at the beginning of time and allotted to their souls. The acts and deeds of men are due to Devine Commandment; whenever Almighty God instills goodness or wickedness, virtue or voice in a man, He also endows him with the faculty of giving expression to the goodness or wickedness, virtue or voice….

This aptitude for arts, fine and coarse, is hereditary. It has been inherited by the descendants from their ancestors and in every generation the descendants have, in accordance with their quickness of intelligence and acuteness of mind, added some things that are fine and desirable to the profession of their ancestors, so that every art, craft and profession on the production of which mankind depends, has attained perfection.
And as excellences have been put into those who have adopted the nobler professions, they also are capable of virtues- kindness, generosity, valour, good deeds, good works, truthfulness, keeping of promises, protection of other classes, loyalty, clarity of vision, justice, equity, recognition of rights, gratitude for favours received and fear of God.

They are, consequently, said to be noble, free-born, virtuous, of high genealogy and pure birth. These groups alone are worthy of offices and posts in the government of the king, who owing to his high position as the supreme commander, is distinguished as the leader and chief of men. As a result of their actions the government of the king is strengthened and adorned.

On the other hand the low-born who have been enrolled for practicing the baser arts and minor professions, are capable only of vices-immodesty, falsehood, miserliness, misappropriation, wrongfulness, lies, evil-speaking, ingratitude, dirtiness, injustice, cruelty, non-recognition of rights, shamelessness, impudence, blood-shedding, rascality, jugglery, Godlessness. So they are called low-born, bazaar-people, base, mean, worthless, plebeian, shameless and of dirty birth. Every act which is contaminated with meanness and based on ignominy comes elegantly from them.”

He went to the extent of advising King to not to appoint these ‘low’ people in his kingdom on any post, as their appointments are worthless and against God-will’s and wisdom of God. Finally the king will be punished on the Day of Judgment.

The Holy Qur’an says:
“Indeed the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”

In commentary of it, Barni says defending himself:

“It ought to be known that in the impure and impure-born and the low and low-born, there can be no piety. If they see piety in baseborn bazaar-man, then indeed the blood (‘arq) of his ancestors must have constituted some noble blood.”

This is the basic verse for equality in Islam. But shamelessly it was misinterpreted in the interest of the governing classes.

It is above mentioned that Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq appointed ‘low’ caste men in his kingdom. Barni has abused him and his officials for it. He used to call his officials as ‘mean, buster boy etc. He also joined hands with enemies of Mohammad Tughlaq to replace him by Firooz Shah Tughlaq.
In the last years of his life, Barni realized that whatever he has done for the sake of money and post was indeed wrong and so he is getting punishment for it. He wrote:

“We (ulama) - who studied and had I’lm (knowledge) which is the base of honour, became hypocrites for the sake of wealth. We are among friends of the king. But we misguided him, advising him wrong about illegal punishment. In fear of soul and wealth which will be dead and finished, we were afraid of it and avoided to advice right path to the king. In the lust of wealth we were with the king in illegal and un-Islamic punishment. We were helping him in violation of Islamic teachings by preaching incorrect hadiths. I don’t know the condition of others if they have suffered like me or not. The result of whatever I did and said is making me experience insults and sufferings in this old age. I am needy of every door and I am without honour. If this is my punishment in this world, then I am afraid of what will happen at the Day of Judgment and which kind of punishment I will be put to suffer.”

Sultan Firooz Shah Tughlaq appointed Sayid Husain Jalaluddin Bukhari (Jahaniyan-e-Jahan Gasht (d. 1st Zil Hijjah 785 HA/ 25 Jan.1384AD) Shaikul Islam of his kingdom. He is famous still now as a great sufi and religious person. He was another big caste supporter and firmly believed in untouchability. He used to preach that providing knowledge beyond that of the Quran and the rules of prayers and fasting to the so-called razil castes is like scattering pearls before swine and dogs! He reportedly insisted that other Muslims should not eat with barbers, washers of corpses, dyers, tanners, cobblers, bow-makers, arrow-makers and washermen, besides consumers of alcohol and usurers, adducing the fake traditions (hadiths) falsely attributed to the Prophet Muhammad to back this argument.

The famous court ‘aalim (scholar) of Akbar period, Abul Fazl was also one of the firm believers in caste system. When he used to discuss juridical matter with others and the opponent used to present evidence from other jurist (faqih), and if jurist happened to belong to any ‘low’ caste, then Abul fazl used to reply him:

“I will not accept the sayings of that sweet man, shoes maker, leather seller”.

The famous historian Mohammad Qasim Farishta Hindu Shah was another man with power supporting caste system. He also used to insult and call names to ‘low’ caste Muslims as Sayid Ziyauddin Barni used to do. He abused Mohammad Tughlaq Shah and his ministers who belonged to low castes.

The great Indian scholar Shah Waliullah Dehlawi who is accepted by all Indian Muslim sects and cults supported caste system in the name of ‘kufu’ (endogamy). He misinterpreted a strong hadith which is about equality in Islam. He also used a weak hadith to prove his stand.

After declination of Mughal dynasty, there are many Muslim intellectuals and ‘ulama (scholars) who are famous for their efforts done for Muslim community. But the same time majority of them believed in caste system. Their aim was only to develop so called upper caste Muslims. Here we can discuss some of them in brief.

Sir Sayid Ahmad Khan: Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan,(1817-1898AD) the founder of the Aligarh movement/ Muhammadan Anglo-Indian Oriental College / Aligarh Muslim University, hailed as the Father of Muslim India. But his biased mentality never allowed him to think about whole of Indian Muslims. His aim was to develop ruling classes i.e. upper castes, nawabs etc. He always used to abuse ‘low’ caste Muslims, calling them bad-zaat (low caste)’
He is known for saying that ‘low’ caste Muslims were not suitable for the country and the British government. But upper caste Muslims were suitable for both. The upper castes Muslims were propagating the justice of British government among the Indian people.

He tried to convey this message by his book “ Asbab baghawat-e-Hind”(The causes of Indian Revolt) to the British officers that in the 1857 AD revolt, no upper caste Muslim participated in it, only ‘low’ caste Muslims took part in it. In his word:

“Julahon ka tar to toot gaya tha jo bad zaat sab se zeyadah is hangamah mein garm josh the”

“The power of weavers was broken completely, who (low caste) were involved the most in this revolt.”

He appealed to the so-called ashraf not to oppose the British government, suggesting that thereby they would be able to win the favour of the colonial authorities.

He opposed the entry of so-called razil in legislatures and government employment. He argued that examinations for the higher government services (civil services) should not be held in India because that might lead to people from so-called razil castes entering government services and thereby ruling over the so-called ashraf.

He also opposed the high education for ‘low’ caste Muslims. He opened Aligarh Muslim University, just for upper caste Muslims and Hindus. He used to say that Aligarh College is not for weavers. So much he emphasized on casteism that there was mentioned in the character certificate of Aligarh Muslim Unversity till 1947 AD, that:

“The holder of this certificate belongs to the ‘sharif khandan’ (upper caste) of his district.”

In 20th of April 1894, Sir Sayid delivered a speech about the education of women in Jalandhar, Punjab. In this speech he spoke only about the education of upper caste girls.
In an address at the foundation laying ceremony of ‘Madrasa Anjuman-e-Islamia’ in Bareli where children from the so-called ‘low-caste’ communities used to study, he said that he finds no use in teaching English to them. In his words:

“It is better and in the interests of the community that they are engaged in the old form of study… It appears appropriate if you teach them some writing and math. They should also be taught small tracts on everyday affairs and through which they know basic beliefs and practices of the Islamic faith.”

Even by one of his writing, one can conclude that he did not accept ‘low’ caste Muslims as Muslims itself.

There were three categories in Aligarh College according to economic status and every category had separate mess menu named as “the best”, “the better” and “the low”. The category system created the greatest caste / class feelings among the young students. Once, a warden punished a second class hostel student and asked him to eat food with third category, but he refused to obey. Such was the affect on young minds.

The cooks and servants though used to pray with the students in the mosque, but after prayer they were not allowed to get close to the students. As a student of Aligarh Muslim University, I saw some reflection of these un-Islamic things breathing still there.

Sir Sayid because of his casteist nature, he didn’t even avoid criticism on Hazrat Abu Baker and Hazrat Usman (May Allah pleased with them) the first and third caliphs, who got knowledge in their lives through the prophet that they will go to the paradise.

People like Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan

Maulana Abdul Karim was appointed in British period to investigate the problems of Bengali Muslim’s education. He recommended that the ‘low’ classes should be given education only till primary level.

A famous scholar Sayid Amir ‘Ali opposed the equal education for upper caste and low caste Muslims. He suggested the separate education for low caste Muslims. He told that Madrasa and Maktab (elementary school) should be their centers.

The famous scholar Maulana Khaja Sayid Husain Nezami the editor of Monthly “tableegh-e-Niswan” (Women’s preaching) also opposed the English education to low caste students.

The author of the famous book “Siratunnabi” (The biography of prophet Mohammad peace be upon him) Maulana Shibli N’omani – whose ancestor converted from Hindu Rajput into Islam- also had casteist mindset. Mr. S.M. Ikram writes that he humiliated his own step mother calling her names like “ chhawni / arbabe chhawni” (It is a camp like army camp where Nawab used to live out side the house) because she was from low caste. Maulana Sayid Sulaiman Nadwi also mentioned the same thing, but he also says that in the last Maulana Shibli asked for forgiveness from her mother and she forgave him.

Contemporary ‘Ulama: Now I will analyze the works of numerous contemporary Indian ‘ulama, who are held by their followers as great intellectuals, people like Maulvi Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi and Maulvi Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Maulvi Sayid Abul A’ala Maudoodi, Maulvi Sayid Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Husaini Nadwi etc. I am shocked to discover that most of them actually championed the notion of caste superiority based on birth and gave fatwas about this that went totally against the Quran. This they did by recourse to the notion of what in Arabic is called kafaa, using which they set down rules about possible marriage relations between groups whom they ranked hierarchically. Thus, they argued that Muslims of Arab origin (Sayyeds and Shaikhs) are superior to non-Arab or Ajami Muslims, and so while a man who claims Arab origin can marry an Ajami woman, the reverse is not possible. Likewise, they argued, a Pathan Muslim man can marry a Julaha (Ansari) Mansuri (Dhunia,) Rayin (Kunjra) or Quraishi (Qasai) woman, but an Ansari, Rayin, Mansuri and Quraishi man can not marry a Pathan woman since they considered these castes to be inferior to Pathans. Many of these ulama also believed that it is best to marry within one’s own caste.

Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan Barelwi : He (d.4 Oct.1921 AD) is the founder of Barelwi sect. He was so respectful towards the Syeds that he wrote that even if a charge of theft and fornication is proven against a Syed, the Qazi shouldn’t have the Niyyah (intention) of applying the ‘Hadd’(Islamic punishment).

We can never find any evidence from Quran and prophet tradition for his claim. Against his argument, there is a well known prophet tradition, in which he said about the punishment of stealing.

“By Whom (Allah) in His hand is my life. Even if (daughter of Mohammad) Fatimia did it (theft), I will cut her hand also.”

Hazrat Fatima Rz. is the one from whom the Sayid caste traces its chain. But Allah’s prophet practiced what he said above, then how can it is possible that the Qazi shouldn’t have the Niyyah of applying the ‘Hadd’ on Sayid.
He claimed that even though Mughal and Pathan are Ashraaf they are not the Kufu (equal/endogamy) of Syeds. He went on to write:

“The original good (communities) have good qualities (and manners) and it is the opposite among the razeel (low caste). It was due to this that rulers of the past did not allow the Razeel to get higher education. Now see how the barbers and manhars have spread the various forms of fitna by acquiring education…”

According to him Sayid, Shaikh, Mughal and Pathan are upper caste and others are razeel castes. He also says that only Quraishi (who belongs to Quraish tribe of Makkah) should be a Caliph.
He writes that even if low caste men i.e. people of Weaver, Shoe maker, Leather maker, Tailor castes etc, are ‘alim (scholar), still they are no kufu of Sayid women.

He also argues that if low caste man marries with upper caste woman, that nikah will not be valid and there is no need to break this nikah. It will be invalid automatically. He argues that if the father or grandfather of a minor and immature girl married his daughter with a new Muslim (‘low’ caste), for the first time it is permissible. If he will marry his another daughter with any ‘low’ cast, then this nikah will also be invalid.

There are many ‘ulama even some low caste ‘ulama in Barelwi sect who support caste hierarchy and caste based discrimination. For example Maulan Sayid Hasmat Ali, Maulana Mohammad Amjad ‘Ali Maulana Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan Na’yeimi , Maulana Mufti Jalaluddin Ahmad Amjadi , Maulana Arshadul Qadri, etc.

The second largest group of Indian Muslims “Deobandi” sect is also not clean from the caste system. Like Aligarh Muslim University, Darul ‘Uloom Deoband was established for the welfare of upper caste Muslims specially sayids and Shaikhs. This is mentioned in the writings of Maulana Qasim Nanawtwi(d.15 April 1880).

Mrs. Barbara Daly Metcalf writes quoting the statement of Maulana Qasim Nanawtwi from “ Rooda darul ‘Uloom Deoband (Reports of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband)’ p.11:

“God entrusted religious learning to these four Qaum..... [ashraf qaum] must acquire learning not merely for glory but for their livelihood as well."

She writes about the aim of Deoband Madrasa:

"The ideologies of the Deobandis were particularly congruent to the interests of the ashraf."

In the beginning, low caste students were not allowed to take admission in Darul ‘Uloom Deoband’. We can still find the column of caste in Darul ‘Uloom Deoband’ admission form.

The first Mufti of in Darul ‘Uloom Deoband’ Mufti ‘Azizur Rahman Usmani (d.1347 HA /1928-29AD) has given many fatwas based on caste. He says that if Sayid mature girl marries herself with ‘low’ caste boy without her parent’s permission, that nikah will be invalid. But if the low caste girl marries with upper caste man without permission of her parent, then that nikah will be valid.

A low caste girl and an upper caste (Sayed) boy were once engaged in adultery. But, according to Mufti ‘Usamani, the boy was better than the girl because he belonged to upper caste.

The current Mufti of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband’ Mufti Zafiruddin Miftahi supported him in these above fatwas, and wrote on his lines.

The famous Deobandi ‘alim Maulana Asharf Ali Thanwi (d.4 July 1943 AD) shared the same mindset. He declared Sayid, Shaikh Mughal and Pathan noble caste, and weaver, oil presser razeel (low) caste. One of his murids ( followers) started to note down his sayings. He started using respectable word for him like using Urdu word “farmaya” (said) while quoting him. Thanwi became angry and ordered him to announce in the mosque after Maghrib prayer:

“O brothers! Because I belong to that caste (Weaver), so because of cowardness, I thought myself to be above my teacher’s favours.”

He mocked weavers at many place, like once he said:

“The weaver prayed three days only and considered himself a sacred person.”

In his views and in many leading Deobandi ‘ulama’s views, new Muslims were not equal to old Muslims (upper castes).

He also supported the most controversial book “Nihayatul Irab fi Ghayatib Nasab” by Mufti Mohammad Shafi Usmani. In which Mufti Usmani (d.6 October 1976AD) abused low castes. There are a lot of Deobandi ‘ulama supporting casteism in the name of kufu /endogamy etc. like Maulana Qari Mohammad Tayyib the first president of All India Muslim Personal law Board (d.17 July 1983 AD) the former manager of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband.

Mufti Muhammad Shafi, (d.6 October 1976AD) of Deobandi school who later on became the Grand Mufti of Pakistan, has written a book entitled “Nihayat al Arab fi Ghayat al Nasb” in which he has made several statements which emphasizing the glory and magnificence of Ashraaf and ruled that customary concept of Kufu / endogamy doesn’t violate any of the Islamic principles. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi , Maulana Sayid Husain Ahamd Madani,(d.Dec. 1957AD) and Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyab Qasmi have approved Mufti Shafi’s stand on casteism and dismissed the critics as those were influenced by the West’s God-less ideologies. It is to be noted that there was a disturbance in Deoband when this book was released and Mufti Shafi took refuge at Darul Uloom to escape the hostile crowd.

The famous Tablighi Jam’at Deobandi ‘alim, Maulan Mohammad Zakaria (d.1982AD), has also supported Mufti Usmani. He wrote a lengthy book in support of Mufti Usmani. Even he has written some caste based things in Fadhayel-e-A’amal(Advantage of good deeds), a famous book of Tablighi jama’at.

Maulana Maudoodi, (1979AD) the founder of jama’at-e-Islami is also happened to be the supporter of caste system.
The present Jamat-e-islami president Maulana Sayid Jalaluddin Ansar ‘Umri is also a castiest. He advocated in Radiance Views Weekly the mouth piece of Jama’ate-Islami India that some caste is low and some is high.
The mouth pieces of Jama’ate-Islami i.e. news papers and magazines “Dawat”, “Radiance” are publishing caste based matrimonial in its regular issues.

Jama’at-e-Ahl-e-Hadees is a sect in India which claimes to be the most radical about Qur’an and prophet tradition. But its ‘Ulama have also given fatawas in favour of caste system.

The famous Ahle hadees ‘alim Shaikul kul Fil Kul Maulana Sayid Nazeer Husain Dehlawi (1805-1902AD) invalids a nikah between ‘low’ caste boy and an ‘upper’ caste girl. The second famous Ahle Hadees ‘alim Maulana Sayid Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan Bhopali made joke of weavers.

The high officials of umbrella organizations “The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board” which claims to speak on behalf of all Muslim sects, castes and creeds in India, is also involved in promoting caste system among Muslims. It also upholds the Hanafi position on kafaa determined by birth. In May 2001, it issued a Compendium of what it called Islamic laws (Majmooa’-e-Qawaneen-e-Islami) mainly related to personal law issues. The Compendium specifically refers to kafaa, and insists that birth, and, therefore, family status, which also includes caste in the Indian context, is a basic ingredient of it. It says that a non-Muslim convert to Islam is of the same kafaa as an original Muslim, but in the footnote it says that this applies to Arabs only. Presumably, therefore, according to this bizarre interpretation, an Indian male non-Muslim convert cannot marry a woman from an original Muslim (Sayed and Shaikh) family. Interestingly, the Board suggested that the Indian courts should accept this Compendium to govern Muslim personal law-related issues. Given the Compendium’s sanction of birth-based kafaa this suggestion is quite unacceptable. It would mean giving legal sanction to caste inequality. It promotes casteism on the name of ‘kufu’.

A contemporary Indian Deobandi, Maulvi Qari Habeeb Ahmed, claims in his booklet “Islam Aur Taraqqi” (Islam and Progress) that God has made some castes as superior or sharif and others as inferior or razil, and he claimed that there is Divine wisdom in this that must not be questioned. His fanciful argument is that if God had made the ‘low’castes superior they would be filled with false pride and would forget him. And if God had made the so-called ‘ashraf’ ‘low’ they would suffer from an inferiority complex and jealousy, which would undermine their faith in Him. The fourth President of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board and Vice Chancellor of the Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow, Maulvi Sayyed Mohammad Rabe Hasani Nadvi, permitted the author to publish this booklet after reading it.

Similarly, in his “Maasharti Masail Din-e-Fitrat ki Raushni Main” (Problems of life in the light of natural religion [Islam]) another contemporary Deobandi writer, Maulvi Muhammad Burhanuddin Sambhali, who teaches at the Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow quotes from a medieval Hanafi text, the “Radd ul-Mukhtar” to declare that it is not advisable (makruh) that people who engage in ‘lowly’(razil) occupations, such as tanners and fishermen, as well as people afflicted by leprosy, should enter mosques. He claims this is the shariah position, arguing that if such people enter mosques it would cause hardship to others.
There is no any evidence in in Qur’an and prophet’s traditions in support of this claim. But there are many prophets’ traditions against this claim.

This book received a foreword by the second president of the All- India Muslim Personal Law Board and former Vice Chancellor of Nadwat ul-Ulama, Maulvi Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadvi (d.31 Dec.1999AD), after listening to the book from the author.

In 1999 Maulvi Qazi Mujahid ul-Islam Qasmi,(d.4 April 2002AD) one of the best-known Deobandi scholars, the third president of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board and head of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, organized an international conference on ijtihad in Patna. One of the issues discussed at the conference was ijtihad on the question of kafaa/endogamy, but finally it was decided under Qasmis' leadership that the Hanafi position on the issue, except the question of kafaa between new Muslims and old Muslims, was correct and needs no reform.

Unlike these casteist ‘ulama, there are many ‘ulama in evey period who opposed caste system which includes Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq, Qazi Sanaullah Pani Pati Hanafi, Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehlawi, Maulana Shari’atullah, Maulana Shahw Isma’il Shaheed, Maulna Sayid Ahmad Shaheed, Maulana Sayid

Sulaiman Nadvi, Maulana Habibur Rahman Azmi, Maulna Sanullah Amrit Sari, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad ‘Uthmani, Maulana Hafiz Sayid Mohammad ‘Ali Husaini,Dr. Sayed Abid Husain, Dr. Fazlur Rahman Faridi, etc.

(Masood Alam Falahi is a research scholar in University of Delhi and could be contacted at [email protected])


02-03-10, 05:02 PM
Babur and sons of Babur

By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net

Thanks to the propaganda of the Sangh Parivar, Babur, founder of Mughal Empire has become a controversial figure in Indian history. Babur was an invader but he was also the founder of a dynasty that gave shape to an India that we are rightly proud of. Be it the architecture, arts, literature, music, or dance, it is difficult to imagine present day India without the Mughals.

When Babur invaded India, Islam in this region was already about a thousand years old. Muslim rulers were established in many parts of India. In fact most of the battles the Mughal army partook in were against Muslim kings and sultans. Deep south, in Malabar, Mapillas were locked in a bitter battle against the Portuguese invaders who were threatening their economic and social life, completely ignorant of Babur or the Mughals.

Babur is more than an invader or just a founder of the most magnificent dynasty of India. Babur maintained a meticulous diary for most of his life and a majority of it has survived. Published as Baburnama, the memoir offers a rare insight into the mind and the complex personality of Babur. Written in what can only be called a very modern style, devoid of highly ornamental language of his time, free of hyperbole and exaggerations, it is a book that can be easily read and understood by a modern reader. Babur appears a very honest writer writing in detail about his loves, sicknesses and defeats. He makes no attempt to hide his weaknesses and when he boasts about his achievements it seems he sincerely believes in his greatness too.

However, the Baburnama is not simply a memoir of an emperor or the chronicle of his life. It is the first of a kind of autobiography, a piece of travel writing, a scientist's observations, a military document and a peek into the inner workings of one of the most brilliant minds of that time.

I started reading the Baburnama (The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor translated, edited and annotated by Wheeler M. Thackston) to find out what the driving force for Babur to come to India was. Babur made attempts on India five times. In his own words he “craved India” and felt that he had achieved a great feat when he finally succeeded, but nowhere does he give a reason why India was so important to him that he kept coming back to the land.

Writing about his conquest of India, Babur says that he is the third "padishah" after Mahmood Ghaznavi and Muhammad Ghori to conquer India, however, he quickly adds that his victory is much greater since he had almost no land of his own, and his army, which comprised of twelve thousand personnel by his own count, was much smaller than his predecessors. Also, when he arrived in India there was a well entrenched kingdom ruling a large part of India under Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi. As if humbled by his own achievement he lays all his success on God's "generosity and favor."

Babur had been a religious person in his youth. He was punctual about his prayers and stayed away from alcohol for a long time. But once he started drinking, there was no stopping him. In many pages he faithfully records what drinks and narcotics he consumed and where. It is not until his battle with Rana Sanga that he started talking in religious terms and that may not be because Sanga was not Muslim but because his army truly feared Rana Sanga and his men. After defeating Rana Sanga, Babur officially added the title of “Ghazi” to his name.

Though that does not mean that Babur suddenly turned religious or became a fanatic. In fact, in the whole Baburnama there is only one place where he mentions anything about destroying temples or idols. In Urwahi near Gwalior he was appalled to see Jain statues that were “shown stark naked with all their private parts exposed,” wrote Babur. He liked Urwahi but noted that “it’s one drawback was the idols, so I ordered them destroyed.” But in fact these statues continue to exist to this day.

Babur did destroy a religious building; it was the tomb of famous Sufi, Shahbaz Qalandar. His reason for destroying it was simple - “On a spur of the Maqam mountains is a rather low mountain that overlooks the whole plain; there, on an airy hill that commands superb vistas, was Shahbaz Qalandar's tomb. I went on an excursion to examine it. It occurred to me that a heretic wandering dervish had no business having a tomb in such a pleasant spot, so I ordered it reduced to rubble.” After destroying the tomb he sat there and consumed narcotics.

The period when the Mughal army was around Ayodhya is missing from the Baburnama. Only physical evidence can tell us whether Babur indeed had a temple destroyed to construct the Babri Masjid, but if one reads his memoir it is difficult to think that he would do such a thing.

One aspect of Babur that has not been given due attention is that he recorded the flora and fauna of all the places he visited. His observations are like a scientist. This shows in the very accurate descriptions of his observations and the inclusion of full measurements. He mentions distances and also gives us a method on how he calculated the distance. The Baburnama is also a good source of knowing measurements prevalent in India during medieval times. He gives us units of measures for weights, distance, time, and numbering; when there are several units for the same type of measurement, he gives us information on conversions. I call him a scientist because he not only observed and accurately documented but also suggested ways to improve the existing system. He made suggestions that improved the Indian system of time announcements through ghariyals.

Babur was a good commander that lived with his people, treated his subordinates well and proved himself to be a leader. Whenever his army wavered he brought back their confidence with inspiring speeches. He was an excellent military strategist and never went into a battle without adequate preparation.

Why would a figure like Babur become a symbol and tool for the Sangh Parivar to beat down the Muslims of India with? One, because the now destroyed masjid was named after him and two, he is the founder of a dynasty that made the syncretic tradition of India very strong. By attacking Babur they show that Mughals were foreigners and invaders thereby rejecting all their rich contributions to the Indian culture. By calling all Muslims “Sons of Babur” they remind everyone that just like Babur, Muslims do not belong to India.

Babur died in Agra but is buried in Kabul. The dynasty that he founded lasted for over 300 years and it ended in 1857 when the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was dethroned by the British and sent off to Yangon in present day Myanmar. Like the founder of the dynasty, the last Mughal Emperor, Zafar, is also buried outside the political boundaries of present day India.

Sons of Babur by Salman Khurshid

Babur, born and buried in a foreign land was indeed a foreigner, but what about his descendants that the world remembers as the Mighty Mughals or Magnificent Mughals. Salman Khurshid, present day Minister of India responsible for Minority Affairs and Corporate Affairs, wrote a play called Sons of Babur (Babur ki Aulad, translated in Urdu by Ather Farouqui) to explore the "Indian-ness" of the Mughal dynasty.

The play uses a very creative way to bring to life famous Mughal emperors in order to explore major incidents of their lives and also to give the present day reader or viewer a perspective on the lives of these historical figures. Suddenly, these characters that have so far been hidden behind stacks of books become human and we can ask them uncomfortable questions like why were Mughal princesses given in marriage to Rajputs? Was the Mughal rule religious in nature? Did Mughals truly consider themselves Indian?

Searching for answers will help us understand why the Mughals were always accepted by the Indian population as their rightful rulers. How else can it be explained that the Indian soldiers of the East India army raised the banner of revolt and right after headed directly to the Red Fort in Delhi to proclaim their loyalty to Zafar? Why did the Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs jointly fight for the restoration of the Mughal rule? How can Aurangzeb's land grants to temples be explained? The friendship of Rajputs and Mughals that started during the reign of Akbar continued through Aurangzeb's reign and the Rajput remained loyal till the end.

Salman Khurshid, though an active politician, does not hold back his pen as a writer. The book asks uncomfortable questions and passes remarks on politicians, intellectuals, and historians alike for their failure in portraying history as accurately as possible.

The fall of the Mughal Empire was lamented by both Hindus and Muslims and even now Indians remember the era of the culture and times of the Mughals, fondly. We take pride in the architectural marvels that they created. Simple but elegant mixtures of Indian and Islamic traditions. We savour the dishes perfected in Mughal kitchens that now sell all over the world as Indian cuisine. We enjoy ghazals and Bollywood songs written in Urdu, a language that became literary under the Mughal patronage. We also enjoy the music and dance that reached its pinnacle due to the works of Mughal artists. We can't imagine an India without any of these elements and we can thank Babur for trying his luck for the fifth time.


The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor
Translated, edited, and annotated by Wheeler M. Thackston.
The Modern Library. New York. 2002.

Babur ki Aulad
By Salman Khurshid. Translation by Ather Farouqui.
Rupa. Delhi. 2008


16-03-10, 10:21 PM
Assassination of Shahid Azmi - He Lived for a Cause
By A Staff writerAdvocate Shahid Azmi killed by an unknown assassin in Mumbai, was one of the few lawyers who could empathise with the accused, particularly, those labelled "anti-nationals.

From the slums of Govandi to become a high profile advocate, Shahid Azmi had come a long way. One of the few lawyers who could empathise with the accused, particularly, those labelled "anti-nationals", the soft-spoken Shahid was often reluctant to charge legal fees. "They were all victims of the system," he often reasoned.

Thirty-two-year-old Azmi, who was the defence lawyer for 26/11 accused Faheem Ansari, was involved in a number of contentious cases that pitted him against the state and the police. In his brief but upcoming career, Azmi has represented those accused in the 26/11 attack, the train blasts in Mumbai, Malegaon blasts, among others.

Three men had entered Azmi's office in Kurla on February 11 on the pretext of meeting him and two of them fired at him from point blank range.

“This can't be an ordinary murder. Azmi did not have enmity with anyone,” said P. Sebastian, human rights lawyer. Sebatian said there was no reason why the underworld would want to eliminate him. “He didn't come in their way. They would not get involved. It is a way to silence people who fight for justice,” he added.

Mostly he took cases of innocent Muslims who were harassed and then arrested and tortured by the police. In the case of the fake encounters and murder of Ishrat Jehan he played a pivotal role to get justice to the bereaved family.

His successful pleading in the Ghatkopar blasts case of 2002 led to the abrogation of POTA. Of the 18 charged he got nine discharged. Police inspector Sachin Vaze killed Khwaja Yunus and disposed off the body. The remaining eight were acquitted by the POTA special court. Apparently free from narrow sectarianism his work and cause irked the Hindutva groups.

Azmi got the three big trials of 2006 — the July 11 Mumbai train blasts, the Malegaon blasts, and the Aurangabad arms haul — stayed by challenging the use of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. “MCOCA is only applicable in cases of organised crime, not terror,” he said. He argued that section 2(1)(e) of the MCOCA, which includes “promoting insurgency”, was unconstitutional.

The catch was that if use of the law were to be struck down, the cases would fall flat as the confessions of the accused were only admissible as evidence under MCOCA. The High Court rejected Azmi's application, but Supreme Court stayed the trials in February 2008.

Similarly his argument that MOCOCA can be applied in cases of organized crimes but not terror ultimately became instrumental in Supreme Court staying the three cases of 2006: 11/7 Mumbai serial blasts in locals, Malegaon bomb blasts, and the Aurangabad arms haul. The section 2 (1)(e) of MOCOCA focuses on "causing insurgency" could not be justified just on the basis of confession unless corroborated by circumstantial and hard evidence. It was a moment for reforming the harsh laws.

Shahid’s was successful in preventing the screening of the film Black Friday in order not to prejudice the mind of the public in the 1993 trial. This was also a welcome move in the judiciary system. In the 11/7 case, Azmi filed a petition in the high court in July 2008 alleging torture of the accused in Arthur Road jail. The High Court ordered an inquiry which found the allegations to be true.

Azmi, who lost his father when he was six, completed his matriculation in 1992. He paid for his education by working at a zari workshop. He had witnessed the alleged atrocities on Muslims during the 1993 Mumbai riots. This forced him to quit studies and he decided to rebel against the system.
A fearless lawyer, he refused to erase his past. For, it was instrumental in shaping his life, step by step. Scarred by his past, he decided to join the system to beat the system and reform it in his own capacity.

The young lawyer, who grew up in a slum, had stood out among India's legal fraternity. Aged 15, he was arrested for allegedly plotting to kill a right-wing Hindu leader in the wake of Hindu-Muslim riots in Mumbai.

He was found guilty of attending terrorist training camps in Kashmir and spent seven years in jail – time he used to study. Before being acquitted by the Supreme Court he had shared a cell with Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Maulana Masood Azhar – two of the three terrorists who were released in exchange for hostages when an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked en route from Kathmandu to Delhi in 1999.

He was lodged in Tihar jail. He was released on July 7, 1999. During his years in jail Azmi met one person who, he later said, changed the course of his life – Dr. Dineshchandra Saxena. Saxena was arrested for contempt of the Supreme Court.

A lawyer must be people's lawyer, is what Saxena used to tell Azmi and that is something Azmi remembered and followed religiously. In jail, Azmi completed his graduation and acquired a diploma in creative writing and a post-graduate diploma in journalism and mass communications.
After his release he decided to acquire a degree in law. He was an avid reader and writer. He wrote extensively on legal issues and contemporary politics for various publications.

Kartikeya, a court reporter for The Times of India, who knew Azmi well, said: "He was a success story – a terror suspect who had become a respected lawyer. He'd become a hero among Muslims for speaking out against atrocities against the community. His murder is a huge shock."

Speaking before his death, Mr Azmi said: "I had seen policemen killing people from my community. I have witnessed cold-blooded murders. This enraged me and I joined the resistance."

Lawyers, even those who worked closely with Azmi, are at a loss over why a hit was ordered on one of their own. “He was soft-spoken and friendly. His murder is every unfortunate,'' said Aabad Ponda, a defence lawyer.

Shahid Azmi often joked that he would be felled by bullets. And death, ironically, came exactly the way he had predicted — while sitting in the same chair where he often laughed off his premonition. He would shrug, saying, "I've died a hundred times and if death did come knocking, I would look it in the eye.”

21-03-10, 05:42 PM
Haroon Rashid: The man who brought an 'Inquilab'

By Danish Khan,

When Haroon Rashid, editor of Mumbai-based Urdu newspaper Inquilab, passed away on March 4, 2000, there were condolence messages from people from all walks of life. Right from Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then prime minister, to the not so well-known social workers in the interiors of Maharashtra.

However, there was a letter in Urdu written by a veteran Bollywood actor that really got me interested. And mind you it was not a mere two line condolence, but a proper letter in chaste Urdu. I am not sitting in moral judgment, but I had never thought that the actor in question would prefer or would be comfortable to write a condolence in Urdu.

It was perhaps the charisma of Haroon Rashid, that the actor thought it would be apt to share his thoughts with the family in Urdu. It was the same charisma through which Haroon Rashid had managed to bring about a great awakening among Muslims by making them realise the importance of education. An editor would any day prefer to rub shoulders with the high and mighty, and concentrate on networking rather than focusing his energies on making education popular among his brethren.

His mission: Education

However, Haroon Rashid was a man with a mission. A firm believer in Sir Syed Ahmed's policy of getting Muslims educated, he used to travel the length and breadth of Maharashtra exhorting the virtues of books and pens. He used to place special emphasis on the education of girls and delivered several lectures stressing its importance. He used to give prominent display to news items pertaining to educational achievements of Muslims. His columns and writings were very popular among the masses and he never used to miss a chance to laud the achievements of Indian Muslims in any field.

It is to the credit of Inquilab and Haroon Rashid that Muslims in Maharashtra got drawn to education in a big way. Students from Urdu-medium schools now regularly feature in the merit list and are going for higher education. He used to be in regular touch with school principals, activists and educationists and discuss ways and measures to get more Muslim children into schools.

During SSC (class X) and HSC (class XII) results he used to take the seat numbers of students in the small locality at Charni Road, Mumbai where he stayed. As newspaper offices used to get board results in the morning, he would know how the boys and girls had fared. Later, he used to come with boxes of sweets and personally give them to those who were successful. That was the only time when most of the youngsters would like to come in touch with him, for it was much better to stay away than to answer his queries on school and studies.

The boys, including this blogger, used to be careful to ensure that he doesn't catch them playing or just hanging around indulging in plain teen speak. I remember getting caught once. While I was busy trying to locate the rubber ball (a gully cricket match was on) all my friends had disappeared seeing him entering the compound and I found myself coming face-to-face with him. "Kya Ho raha hain?" (What's happening). "Ji, kuch nahin, padhai ki aaj maine," (Nothing. But I studied today), I answered. "To sab bhaag kyun gaye?" (Why have they all disappeared), he asked before he went away.

As a young boy, I enjoyed reading the columns of M V Kamath and Lajpat Rai in Mid Day, a tabloid based in Mumbai. I used to religiously cut the clippings, as both these writers would try to cut each other through their writings. Once, when I had an opportunity to meet Haroon naana (as I used to addressed him) I asked him why would M V Kamath and Lajpat Rai write the way they did. He gave a small smile, and after that I was witness to a barrage of opinions and reflections from him over the next few years, as I started meeting him almost every day at his house.

His personality: stylish, smart, sophisticated

Haroon Rashid had a towering personality and did not suffer fools gladly. Widely travelled and well read, he had a passion for collecting watches. He had hundreds of books in his personal library. As a child, I remember trying to locate books through their titles stacked on the bookshelves. They were so many that after every few days I used to forget which part of the bookshelves they were kept on. Sadly, he lost his collection when his house was burned down in the 1993 Mumbai riots.

Haroon Rashid also became immensely popular due to his oratory skills as much as his writings. He was stylish, smart, sophisticated and knew how to keep his reader and audience engaged. Whether you understood Urdu or not, if you listened to him he would leave you spellbound. He was a much sought after speaker and would get the audiences enthralled by his fiery speeches.

He did his schooling from Anjuman Islam High School, Bombay and went to Aligarh Muslim University for further studies. When he came back to Bombay, he preferred to be called Haroon Rashid instead of Haroon Ismail Khan, his birth name. He was inspired by the famous Caliph and also thought Haroon Rashid was more trendy. His major break was Urdu Blitz where he used to write on sports and later rose to become its editor. After Blitz, he joined Inquilab, where with his passion for journalism he took it to greater heights.

During the Kargil war, there were all kinds of patriotic songs played everywhere. I had accompanied him to Pune for a family event, and suddenly he decided to fax an editorial to Bombay. "This is not the time to play just any plain patriotic songs. Instead, there are several songs that talk about our strength and military might, which would raise the confidence of our forces and the common man," he announced. He explained to me that it was a time to take on the enemy and hence the songs on the radio should be in sync with the quest for victory. He was a workaholic, and would rush back to office after coming home in the event of major news.

As a young boy his advice was invaluable to me. He told me each person should make his own destiny and there are no shortcuts in life. Just as he had made for himself.

Haroon Rashid was born in district Ghazipur of Uttar Pradesh. At a function to honour him after his death in Mumbai a prominent politician remarked: "Ghazipur is famous for its opium factory. After meeting Haroon Rashid one has the same nasha (intoxication) as opium."

Ten years after he passed away, I am still in a trance.

11-06-10, 05:01 PM
India relaxes norms for Indian citizenship to Pak nationals

By TCN News,

New Delhi: Two days after the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh visited Kashmir extending hands of friendship to Pakistan, the Government of India today relaxed norms for Indian Citizenship to certain categories of Pakistan Nationals staying in India.

Union Ministry of Home Affairs has asked to the State Governments/UT Administration to consider cases for extension of the Long-term Visa (LTV) of certain categories of Pakistani nationals without insisting of validity of passports as per the provisions of the Gazette notification issued on May, 15, 2010 as such Pakistani nationals have come to India permanently with the intention to attain Indian citizenship. “However, only such Pakistani nationals are eligible to be considered for grant/extension of LTV who have come to India on or before December, 31, 2010,” says the Central Government release.

The matter was examined in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Law and it has been decided to grant exemption to such Pak nationals from the provisions of Rule 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. Accordingly, an order to this effect has been notified on May 15, 2010.

The following categories of Pak nationals are covered to enable them to qualify for extension of Visa:

(a) Member of minority communities in Pakistan (Hindus & Sikhs)

(b) Pak women married to Indian nationals and staying in India.

(c) Indian women married to Pak nationals and returning due to widowhood/divorce and having no male member to support them in Pakistan and

(d) Cases involving extreme compassion.

“In addition to abovementioned four categories of Pak nationals, grant of LTV is also being considered in the case of male Muslim community members being originally Indian citizen who went to Pakistan after partition leaving behind family in India and returned back to India on a valid passport issued by the Government of Pakistan and settled in the State of Kerala so that they can acquire Indian Citizenship,” the government said.

http://www.twocircles.net/2010jun10/india_relaxes_norms_indian_citizenship_pak_nationa ls.html#comment-134408

12-06-10, 03:48 PM
Mandela v/s Gandhi/Nehru/Patel

While Mandela united a divided nation, Congress trio divided a united nation

There is conventional myth that Gandhi inspired South Africa’s freedom movement and South Africans are generous in acknowledging the debt. However, Gandhi who is such a powerful symbol of justice and fairplay for the discriminated worldwide unfortunately could not do justice to his own nation.

Gandhi, unfortunately joined Nehru and Patel, (the trio that was most powerful after ostracizing Maulana Azad within the inner coterie) and historically stands as THE symbol that failed the United India and agreed to divide the nation.

The relevant question is if the Indian Muslims were as bad and oppressive as the Afrikaans were in South Africa that a case can be made out for partition.

Did Muslims divide the country into castes as the Brahmins had religiously divided over thousands of years?

If Muslims were supposed to be foreigners, were not the Brahmins too from Caucasian region. Urdu poet Iqbal indulges in a nostalgic trance when he fondly asks Ganges to remember the times when Brahmin caravans descended on its banks:

Ae a'abe roode Ganga, woh din hai yaad tujhko

Utra tere kinare jab caravan hamara

Sixty years is long time in a young nation’s freedom history and instead of it getting united, it is continuously threatened with fragmentation and divisions. Something is wrong somewhere in the Idea of India that the Brahmins are imposing on the multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-language continent size nation that is incongruent with building of a strong and united nation.

Is there a Mandela like figure born among us even in this moment in time that arises to unite the nation and put it on the path of peace and prosperity? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is making some moves to improve relations with our neighbours, Pakistanand Sri Lanka. However, unification at least in economic terms to the fullest extant possible, can only become the foundation for a later unification of India, in its real ethos.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
[email protected]

12-06-10, 03:50 PM
Who rules India? Who owns India? By Ghulam Muhammed

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Who rules India? Who owns India?

With World Cup 2010 opening this Friday in South Africa, world media attention is focused on practically all facets of South African life. The young leaders of ANC’s youth wing, replied to a BBC reporter that while Africans rule the country, they do not own it and now it is their aspiration is to own it too. The statement refers to national wealth in Gold, diamond mines and vast agricultural lands that is still in the hands of European whites and consequently it is that group, though no longer ruling the nation, has full control on its economy, through ownership of most of its economic resources.

In India, we had been fortunate that a wave of nationalization and state investment policies under India’s first Prime Minister and his advisers, had consolidate the rule and ownership in the hands of Indian people. However, after the entry of Manmohan Singh, first as Finance Minister and later as Prime Minister, and the phase of liberalisation ushered under his watch, the ownership of India is passing into the hands of other than Indian State or the majority of its suffering masses. The transfer of PSU, to private hands is nothing but transfer of India’s resources. As the liberalisation policy goes through its various versions, the nation is gradually passing into the hands of foreign investors, who will first own India’s resources and corporate assets and later will demand to rule the country. In fact, it is already happening and foreign countries especially US and its corporate section work in tandem to impose their own interests on Indian government policies, be that in signing of civilian nuclear sale agreements, the banking and industry, commerce and insurance, defence and security. While US President Obama is haranguing against British Petroleum, to pay to all that have suffered the consequences of the off-shore oil spill, the Indian government apparently tied up in invisible bondages of its leadership, is cowering under differing statements, when people realise that not only the government but even judiciary is under cloud to claim adequate compensation for Bhopal victims. Imagine Indian state paying damages of up to Rs. 4 lakhs to Railway accident victims, while it settles with the US Company for a meagre sum of around Rs. 40,000/- for the life of its own people. All judicial and diplomatic remedies are there, but the government is hampered by its subservience to foreign interest. (Is it for the reason that majority of the Bhopal victims are Muslims and the communalized government machinery is loath to stand up for Muslims?)

Practically every sector of our national polity is under threat. There is a danger that the 63 year old freedom of India will only be a paper freedom, where Indians will be forced to sign on blank papers.

The way a loot is going on to use government power to sell off, or hand over effective exploitation of our mining and forest resources, without any care for the local population’s present and future well-being and their rights on the land that they have inhabited since ages, Indian government is nothing better than any foreign colonial government that legitimised such loot and took care of toadies and middle-man. The Naxal movement appears to be a desperate attempt to seek justice, but the methods they have chosen and the people behind the movement are not clean and Indian people will be seriously short-changed.

Among the middle-men and toadies, are a very select group of communities who are very strategically placed to enrich themselves at the cost of other less fortunate communities. The danger is that all have-nots will resort to unconventional methods to right the wrongs and the majority of people will suffer without any hope to get any redressal from such upheavals. The economic and political scenario is so bad that only anarchy appears to be the nation’s destiny. The people at the helm of affairs, with exception of few, are all corrupt and deceitful. And even those that are honest, welfare minded and humane, are so caught up in the system of corruption that the way forward is most treacherous and dangerous. Only people’s awareness of the dire and alarming portents for the future under current regime can, if at all, hope to support a silent revolution to set India to make course correction.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
[email protected]

29-06-10, 07:49 AM
1857: first war of Independence?

y Maulana Muhammad Wali Rahmani,

Historians and historiographers are expected to study and narrate an event objectively and without showing loyalty to any affiliation – regional, communal or philosophical. People need pure and plain history, not a history coloured with saffron, red or green. But the history of Independence war in India is replete with violations of ethics of historiography.

Veer Savarkar was the first author who described the war of 1857 as the first war of Independence. This is entirely untrue. The war against India’s British government began much much earlier. Such wars were fought under the leadership of Tipu Sultan, Sirajuddaula, Mir Qasim and others.

The arguments in favor of the popular perception about the war of 1857 do not hold ground in light of the historical facts hidden deliberately from the public eye. To say that the war of 1857 was the first Independence war because the Indian nation took part in it is not a strong point. Because, Tipu Sultan, Ali Wardi Khan and Sirajuddaula, though individuals, led an army against the British army and their people were behind them too. The number of casualties in the war between Sirajuddaula and the British army was much higher than that in the war of 1857.

Similarly, the argument that pre-1857 wars were led by nawabs and kings, and thus they were not popular wars is also weak in view of the historical facts. In 1857, people reinstated Bahadur Shah Zafar as the ruler so that the war could be fought under his command. Besides, big heroes of the 1857 war were nawabs and kings – Rani Jhansi, Tantia Tope to name a few. Can the Indo-China war be called a war between India’s ruling Congress Party and China? If not, and surely not, then how can the wars fought by Tipu Sultan, Mir Qasim, Ali Wardi Khan and Sirajuddaula be categorized as their personal wars? Those pre-1857 wars were fought by the people and for the people and the casualties were public not an Ali Wardi Khan or a Mir Qasim.

Here one point is important to keep in mind while studying or writing history. Whenever a battle takes place, there is a system in the place and a symbol representing the system. System may be imperial or parliamentary and democratic. Status or significance of a war cannot be determined on the ground of a system under which it is fought. To do so will be injustice to historiography and will not be accepted by the philosophy of history.

In Indo-China war, then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a symbol for India. Even though the Indian system was parliamentary and democratic but what was said about Nehru after the war is public knowledge. During Bangladesh war, then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the symbol. After the creation of Bangladesh, Atal Behari Vajpayee called him “Durga” (a reference to her bravery though she was thousands of miles away from the front). Her popularity spread thick and wide. The pre-1857 wars were fought by Ali Wardi Khan (1754), Sirajuddaula (1757), Mir Qasim (1763) and Tipu Sultan (1799) under the system of their time. There was no parliamentary system then. It was the era of nawabs, kings and feudals. Those very people were the symbol of their system and centre of public inspiration. That’s why in 1857 Bahadur Shah Zafar was accepted as a symbol.

If historians and researchers go through books and journals in Urdu and Persian published in those days, they will be exposed to facts and truth about India’s Independence struggle like never before. Very few know that Tipu Sultan was the first to raise the slogan of “India for Indians.” He launched a movement for swadeshi by writing letters to nawabs, kings, pundits and Ulema wherein he urged them to boycott British goods. He set up first of its kind homogenous arms factory. More than 95% arms and ammunition with his army was home-made. His system was more relying on Indian goods and technology than today’s system is.

Today India is bound to depend on foreign governments and companies in almost every field from science and technology to defense and research. Even for the construction of bridges and roads we look toward them.

Tipu Sultan, Mir Qasim and Sirajuddaula loved to fight against the foreigners rather than depending on them. That spirit resulted in armed struggle against British rule in Bihar, Bengal and Deccan and other states and culminated into a big war of 1857. That war began on 10th January 1857 in Bengal and through Lucknow and Meerut ended in the defeat of Indians on 14th September 1857 in Delhi.

That war witnessed Ulema fighting against the British army from the front. Maulana Qasim Nanotwi and Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi were among the leading Ulema fighting the war. The war of 1857, which is described as the first war of Independence, was in fact the last war against the East India Co. This is a fact which must not be neglected.

Maulana Shah Waliullah Muhaddis Dehlavi was the first to write on independence, safety of non-Muslims and Hindu-Muslim unity. He raised the issue of arrival of Britishors and its impacts on India in his writings and speeches.

It can be said that struggle for independence was initiated by Shah Waliullah Muhaddis Dehlavi and was later led and strengthened by Ali Wardi Khan, Sirajuddaula, Mir Qasim, Tipu Sultan and in the end Bahadur Shah Zafar.

(Adapted from his speech in Urdu By Mumtaz Falahi for TwoCircles.net. Speech given during the three-day seminar (May 3-5) held in Munger, Bihar on 'Role of Bihar and Bengal in Independence War and the Contribution of Urdu Language and Literature'. Maulana Rahmani is the Chairman of Rahmani Foundation, Sajjada Nasheen of Khanqah Rahmania and Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board.)


29-06-10, 08:46 AM
Security and safety is a core issue of Muslims in India

By Abdul Hannan Siwani Nadvi for TwoCircles.net

Whether or not quota or reservation is necessary for Muslims is still a big issue among Muslims in India. If a class rejects it, other one supports it, both having their own logics, reasons and arguments. The class in favor of Muslim reservation, says that Muslims’ backwardness can be removed by it, and the second one that rejects it, says that Muslim community can't move forward only with reservation. Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, a prominent Shia cleric, said in a public convention: “no community can move forward on crutches, we need to instill life in it.”

I think reservation for Muslims is not a main issue. Instead of wasting energy on it, Muslims must know that security and a society free from religious hatred and communalism are very basic needs for them in India, because security, guaranty of safety of life, jobs and shops play a key role in the development of any nation, or community or the country.

Quran also indicates towards it. Quran says, “When we made the house (the Ka'aba at Makkah) a place of resort and a place of safety” (Surah Al-Baqrah 125). After mentioning a place of resort Quran also described Ka’aba as a place of safety because safety is the first step toward development.

When Hazart Ibrahim (A. S) began to build Ka'aba at Makkah, he said to Allah, “My Allah, make this city (Makkah) a place of security” and then after, Hazrat Ibrahim said “and provide its people with fruits”, means security is the life of development. If any community finds avenues of development, but there is no security and no safety, so certainly this community will fail in achieving a better future.

In India where the majority of Muslims are poor security and safety is a big issue before them.

Muslims were affected by the violence against them during 53 years of independent India, and we can say with full confidence that such violence pushed them back by hundred years. The latest example is Muslims of Gujarat where they were collectively targeted by Hindutva terrorism; a majority of them are still living in camps or in slums. Fear and terror can be read very easily on their face.

In this situation, if we tell them that government has agreed to provide them with reservation and quota, it will be a big mockery of the situation they are living in.

Communal terror is a big threat to Muslim's progress in India. We know that various governments are doing their best to prevent such communal terrorism, but the Muslims are the only losers if it takes place as police turn mute spectator or go on rampage only against Muslims.

Reservation is not a big issue and backwardness of Muslims is not only because they are not getting reservations. There are so many reasons of Muslims’ backwardness across India. The Muslim leadership has to find it out first and then take a look at the real reasons that are affecting the progress of the Muslim community.

If Muslim leadership succeeds to take the government into confidence regarding the spreading communal terrorism and convince it to take steps to protect Muslims from the effects of the menace, it would mean that Muslim leadership solved a big issue of their backwardness. Safety and security is the key for advancement for any country or community.


07-07-10, 08:59 PM
Secularisation of Jamaat-e-Islami and the ghost of Abul ala Maududi

By R. Santhosh,

The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Kerala, convened a press meet in Kozhikode on 21st May 2010 and Arif Ali, the state Ameer made the following statements. “Jamaat-e-Islami has enormous obligation to Abul ala Maududi, as he is the founder of the organisation. At the same time, the organisation is founded neither on his writings nor on his vision. Instead it is founded on Quran and the Hadiths. We wanted to make this clear since a long time and now we are doing it”. Arif Ali’s remarks are of paramount significance as it is for the first time that an office bearer of Jamaat-e-Islami, that too a state Ameer, openly stated that the organisation is not founded on the principles of Abul ala Maududi, its founder and hitherto guiding spirit.

Abul ala Maududi[Photo by www.globalsecurity.org]
By asserting that the organisation is based on Quran and Hadith, and not on the ideas of Maududi, the Ameer was trying to erase the fundamental difference between Jamaat-e-Islami and other Muslim organisations. Later, though other leaders of the organisation tried to clarify that his remarks were misunderstood by the media and indeed Maududi is an important figure for them, the writing on the wall was clear. For the organisation, the founder and his ideology had become a liability, an unsettling ideological baggage that needed to be abandoned or at least covered up properly. The Jamaat-e-Islami had formally decided to do something that its founder would have despised, namely, field its own candidates and enter the political fray in the forthcoming panchayat elections in Kerala. The press meet was convened to make official this decisive moment in the history of Jamaat-e-Islami in Kerala.

Abul ala Maududi and Jamaat-e-Islami

In spite of the Kerala Ameer’s disownment of the founding importance of Maududi's writings and vision in the establishment of the organisation, it is a well known fact that the Jamaat-e-Islami was founded by Abul ala Maududi in 1941 to pursue the goal of establishing hukumat-e-ilahia or Allah’s Kingdom. He was scathing in his criticism of ‘man made and poisonous western ideologies’ such as secularism, democracy and nation-state. According to Maududi, the underlying idea of western secularism, i.e. the relegation of religion to the private sphere, is impossible as Islam simply does not accept the dichotomy between private and public spheres. On the contrary it insists that every aspect of human life has to be governed by divine principles of Islam. In a similar vein, Maududi also rejected ideas of nationalism and democracy as they defy the divine project and lay much emphasis on human will. He argued that such ideologies, bereft of any divinity and morality, would only spell doom for humanity. As an alternative to these man made ideologies that, according to him, are incapable of guiding human beings towards an ethical life, Maududi advocated the idea of ‘hukumat-e-ilahia’ and argued that every Muslim is duty-bound to strive for its realization

Maududi’s propositions were Islamist in character as they were presented as being solely founded upon immutable Islamic principles and epistemology. He was also categorical in asserting that his version of Islam is founded upon the obdurate fight with jahaliyyat (idolatry) aimed at converting the dar al-kufr (land of infidels) to dar al-Islam (land of Islam). He firmly believed that Jamaat-e-Islami would herald a new era of Islamic activism where the political system of infidels, both in undivided and independent India and Pakistan would be transformed into that of pure Islam. He was also scathing in his criticism of other Muslim organisations, which, according to him, have either failed to understand or have deliberately chosen to overlook the divine obligation of striving for an Islamic state. He stipulated that the members of Jamaat-e-Islami boycott anti-Islamic political structures and institutions (read secular) such as assemblies, armies, courts, educational system, government jobs and services, as participating in any of them would be sinful.

It is interesting to see the transformation of Jamaat-e-Islami in the post independent India. Perhaps the trajectory of Jamaat-e-Islami in Kerala provides the most spectacular illustration of the transformations and the emerging predicaments of the organisation.

Jamaat-e-Islami and the Kerala context

Ever since its establishment in Kerala in 1948, Jamaat-e-Islami has been relegated to the margins of the Muslim mainstream. Though the organisation could make its presence felt across Kerala through well organised propaganda mechanisms, its acceptance was limited to a fringe section of the middle class educated Muslims. Moreover, other Muslim organisations including Sunnis and Mujahids were vehemently critical of the organisation for following the ‘erroneous and dangerous’ interpretations of Maududi and thereby misleading the Muslim masses. Following the true Maududian spirit, the Jamaat-e-Islami activists in the initial years of its existence considered the Indian state as un-Islamic, resigned government jobs, and refused to participate in the elections. They also accused other Muslim organisations of neglecting the ultimate task of establishing ‘hukumat-e-ilahia, the ultimate obligation of a pious Muslim, by joining the political mainstream. But soon, it became clear that following an unadulterated Maududian agenda would be suicidal because the concrete socio-political context in which the organisation operated was simply antithetical to the Maududian ideals. A majority of the Muslims simply refused to buy the Maududian arguments regarding electoral democracy and nation-state. They aspired for government jobs and eagerly participated in the election processes. Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) emerged as a major political party and it played a significant role in the political mainstreaming of the Muslims in Kerala. The leadership of IUML, comprising of some of highly influential Sunni spiritual leaders, ensured limited but definite bargaining power for Muslims of Kerala. In a state where well organized caste and religious communities enjoyed considerable political patronage from all political parties, Jamaat-e-Islami’s theological arguments regarding abstinence from elections evoked very little response among the Muslim masses.

The organisation soon realized this and since the nineteen sixties, through a series of amendments and modifications, it diluted its position regarding electoral democracy and gradually, though reluctantly, reverted its stand on politics and democracy. Indeed, after the undemocratic regime of Indira Gandhi during Emergency, during which period the organisation was banned and its leaders arrested, the organisation started to openly advocate of democracy. The Babri Masjid demolition and the emergence of virulent Hindutva politics during the nineties also fundamentally altered the perceptions and strategies of the organisation with regard to the idea of secularism. The organisation was quick to realize the virtues of secularism in a Hindu majoritarian society and became its open supporter. This newly developed affinity towards secularism was used to justify its political support to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala in various elections after the nineties. Jamaat-e-Islami leaders were at pains to explain the theological intricacies of an Islamist organisation supporting a communist party in order to protect secularism!

It can be observed that the organisation had been indeed making preparations for an entry into Kerala politics for some time. Other than supporting different coalitions during various elections, the organisation had also been involving itself in a number of popular struggles across the state. Solidarity Youth Movement (SYM), an organisation founded in 2003 made itself visible in several environmental, anti-displacement, anti-globalisation struggles in Kerala. SYM, unlike its parent organisation was presented in more secular and progressive attires and liberally used the discourses of human rights, justice and environmental activism. It was also successful in roping in a number of prominent social activists into its platforms and gained considerable legitimacy. Jamaat-e-Islami was hopeful that the involvement of SYM in these struggles would eventually benefit the political aspirations of the organisation. The decision to field candidates in the forthcoming panchayat raj elections specifically stemmed from this optimism.

But ever since the organisation declared its intention to participate in the elections, questions have been raised from different quarters regarding its actual ideological position and its relationship with the Islamist positions of Maududi. Interestingly, it is the CPM that has initiated a campaign against Jamaat-e-Islami accusing it of being ‘radical and extremist’ not withstanding the fact that the CPM lead LDF did not have any qualms about enjoying the political support of the organisation in the last several elections in Kerala. The leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami were at pains to elaborate that the organisation has a genuinely democratic agenda and that the Maududian ideology is not the guiding spirit of the organisation. In the same press conference, mentioned above, Arif Ali also asserted that Jamaat-e-Islami does not have the agenda of establishing a theocratic/Islamist state and indeed this is a false propaganda spread by its detractors to tarnish the image of the organisation.

Clearly, Jamaat-e-Islami has transformed substantially. It has transformed to such an extent that its original ideologies and theological positions have become anathema and the organisation is forced at least to publicly denounce them. Perhaps this should be understood as a testimony to the resilience of Indian democracy and its pluralism, which is capable of making an Islamist organisation publicly reject its earlier agenda and accept a pluralistic and democratic way of life. This is also an indication of the non-essentialist nature of religious organisations, quite contrary to their assertions that they are founded on immutable, timeless religious principles. But one thing is for sure, the Jamaat-e-Islami, not withstanding its assertions regarding a genuine democratic agenda and progressive outlook, will continue to be haunted by the ghost of Maududi and will not be able to move away from his shadow completely and convincingly.

(R. Santhosh works with Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Mangalore University. He can be contacted on [email protected])

http://twocircles.net/2010jul05/secularisation_jamaat_e_islami_and_ghost_abul_ala_ maududi.html

10-07-10, 10:19 AM
It was the time of Haj.1926 , Maulana Mohamed Ali Jauhar had brought in 5000 boys from Kanpur to overthrow the regime of Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Abdulaziz was a British Agent (See British Historic Files., Abdulaziz was paid a salary of Rs. 500-. per month by the British Agent-General stationed in Jeddah. For further research please read R.A. Nicholson's History of the Arabs, a Standard Reference Book). But unfortunately the plan got leaked., and Abdulaziz took the necessary precautions. (Of course, in this he was helped by the British). Fact of the matter is : Abdulaziz was installed by Britain and the Jews., And his Sinful Kingdom was "maintained" too by Britain and the jews.

17-07-10, 06:31 AM
A controversy might flare up over Indian citizenship in Assam

By Md. Ali, TwoCircles.net,

In the North-Eastern state of Assam, a controversy over the issue of Indian citizenship is in making. This has to do with the updating work of National Register of Citizens (NRC), at present going on pilot basis, in two places in Assam, namely Barpeta revenue circle under Berpeta district and Chayagaon revenue circle under Kamrup district. As part of the project the citizens have been asked to attach some documents, as proof of their Indian citizenship with the standard government form. These documents include the list of NRC 1951, electoral roll of 1966 and that of 1971.

According to the government sources, the purpose of NRC is to identify and enlist Indian citizens in the state. The fact, that NRC updating work is going on, under the direct supervision of GK Pillai, Home Secretary, Government of India, shows how serious the government of India as far as this project is concerned.

The Bengali speaking Muslims along with some Bengali speaking Hindus of the state have protested vehemently against this project. And the protest is getting stronger day by day. They have virtually boycotted this project.
For instance in the first phase, out of 47 thousand forms which were distributed, only 17 forms were submitted by the Bengali speaking people.

On the other hand, all the Assami speaking individuals and organizations are happy with this step by the government. All Assam Student Union (AASU), the influential student organization in the state, has welcomed this move. In fact it is helping the state government in propagating this project in the state.

But the fact that no body, no government official, retired or working, ironically not even journalists, were ready to speak on record on this issue, only proves how sensitive the issue of Indian citizenship is in Assam. Except the representatives of the political parties in the state, only few journalists agreed to talk to TwoCircles.net, on the condition of anonymity.

TCN contacted H. S. Das Commissioner & Secretary, Tourism, Commissioner & Secretary, Finance, Assam he was not ready to talk on this issue. Even PC Sharm, former Chief Secretary who had been instrumental in formulating and framing NRC policy for the government of Assam, refused to comment on this subject, saying that ; “I don’t have any opinion on such a sensitive issue. I want to lead a peaceful life”

In order to understand the gravity of the situation, one needs to know the background in which this issue of National Register of Citizens is going on, because it will explain quite well, why the Bengali speaking population has objected to the NCR and why the indigenous Assami citizens have welcomed it.

It won’t be wrong to say that the fear of both the Bengali speaking population and Assami speaking indigenous population is playing out quite forcefully in the background of NRC project.

The turbulent history of Assam is a witness to the fact that the issue of illegal Bangladeshi migrants is a very sensitive one.

Now the Bengali speaking population which includes both Hindus and Muslims, doesn’t want to be identified as Bengali speaking citizen of Assam, because of various reasons.

One among them is the historic accord of 1985, between the Rajiv Gandhi government at the center and AASU, according to which the Assami speaking people will get extra privilege in the socio-economic development schemes of the government.

But probably the stigma of being categorized as Bangaldeshi (and then who knows of being deported to Bangladesh) is perhaps the biggest reason why the Bengali speaking Assamees, are against NCR. So in simple words, for a Bengali speaking Hindu and Muslim, NCR is an attempt to identify and if possible prove them as Bangladeshi.

And if one agrees with Abdur Rahim Khan, secretary, All Indian United Democratic Front, then the authorities are using illegal ways and means to prove genuine Indian citizens as Banladeshi.

For instance, the place of birth of all the 2 Lakhs Bengali speaking Muslims in Barpeta revenue circle, is mentioned as, “Maiman Singh, Dhaka, Bangladesh” in the government list.

Talking to this correspondent from Barpeta, over phone, Mr. Khan said “How can it be possible that the birth place of all 2 lakh people is the same place in Dhaka? It’s a complete lie being propagated by the government. The government list supplied by the district authorities identifies 25% of Bengali speaking population of Barpeta revenue circle as “doubtful” through a “D” which is there besides their name on the list.

That is not all; there are several anomalies, irregularities and discrepancies in 1951, Electoral Roll of 1966 and 1971. According to Dr. Baharul Islam, general secretary, AIUDF, thousands of names are missing from the published copies of electoral rolls of 1966 and 1971. Then many genuine citizens are being sent notices for being allegedly, a foreigner (read Bangladeshi).

AIUDF on its part has submitted many memorandums to the chief secretary of Assam, the central registrar general of citizen of India and also the Prime Minister of India. But nothing yet has been done by the officials to fix these anomalies.

Although AIUDF has not officially objected to the idea of NRC updating work but the people who are involved in these protests come largely from the same kind of political affiliations and AIUDF is supporting unofficially these protests, said a journalist who has followed this story very closely in the state but who didn’t want to be named.
All the villages of Barpeta revenue circles, dominated by the Bengali speaking population, have unanimously decided to boycott the registration process and not to submit the form. Because their approach towards the government’s effort to update NRC 1951, is largely characterized by suspicion and distrust.

They think that these anomalies and various discrepancies are there to sideline their names while scrutinizing the forms, which will lead to the ultimate elimination of their names from the NRC by the state officials.

“All these things area part of conspiracy against the Bengali speaking people of the state by the AASU leaders on whose instruction the Congress government is functioning these days”, accused Mr. Khan.

He alleged that the state administration has planned to run a detention camp where all the suspicious citizens (read Bengali speaking Assami citizens) will be kept

Expressing his views on the NRC updating work, Ishaq Ali Deewan, president of Assam Khilanjia Muslim Unnayan Parishad, said “We don’t want pilot project. NRC is poison for us. What will we do with a list in which our names won’t be there finally?”

Some are also planning to challenge the legality of this project. “The NRC is being done through a law which was passed and implemented in 2003, but it hasn’t got yet the approval of the Indian parliament. So it’s actually illegal” said Mr. Khan.

“If the state or the central government doesn’t do any thing to stop the pilot project in its present form, then on July, 20, 2010, we will file a PIL in the Supreme Court to stop this”, announced, Mr. Khan who is one of the leaders in the Barpeta revenue circle, leading the people’s protest against the pilot project of NRC.

Interestingly, the fear expressed above, by the Bengali speaking Assami population, is not without some basis. It’s substantiated and shared by a journalist in Agradoot, an Assami dialy, who preferred to remain anonymous.

“Over the years it has been the government policy to officially underestimate the exact figure of Bengali speaking population, by eliminating their names from the voter list or identifying millions of the genuine Indian citizens as “doubtful”.

He also pointed out that “to be very frank, no body wants, neither the Congress nor the BJP or AGP who claim to pro Indigenous Assami people, to solve this issue of presence of illegal Bangladeshi’s in Assam. Had they wanted, they would have sealed the border which is the first step they would have done had they been serious. And all these parties have been in power then why didn’t any one of them try to solve these issues?”

“It is very simple”, he said, “every body wants to keep this issue alive and in cash it in terms of political vote banks.’

On the other side of the spectrum is the Assami speaking indigenous population, and AASU which claims to represent them, who think that the pilot project of NRC is the ultimate medicine and will solve the problem of illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Assam.

AASU is politically very active organization of the state. It is best known for leading the six-year Assam Movement against alleged illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which culminated in the infamous Nellie massacre of more than 2,000 immigrant Muslims by the indigenous tribal people of Assam in 1983.

Samujjwal Bhattacharya, advisor to AASU, told this correspondent that “It is very important to identify the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who have become a threat not only for the security of the state. So we want that the NRC 1951 should be updated as per the Assam Accord 1985, which was a tripartite accord between the then Rajiv Gandhi Government, the Assam government and AASU. The Assam Accord says that people whose names have appeared in the electoral lists from the period of 1952 to 1971 are Indian citizens, and people who have come to Indian after 1971 should go.”

When asked about the objection of AIUDF about the alleged anomalies, irregularities and discrepancies in 1951, Electoral Roll of 1966 and 1971, and missing names of thousands of Bengali speaking people from the lists, he said; “It’s very clear, that the names of all the Indians will be there. People who are genuinely from India don’t have any thing to fear about. We will give them full protection, irrespective of their religion and language. But yes, the illegal Bangladeshis will have to leave India.”

AASU was a part of meeting on May, 6 2005, which was chaired by PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh which decided to update the NRC 1951. It was also part of the meeting chaired by home secretary GK Pillai which decided to start pilot project of NRC updating work from Barpeta and Chaygaon revenue circles.

It is very interesting to see how the fears of the indigenous Assami population is affecting the fate of Bengali speaking population particularly Muslims in the state.

AASU actually plays on the fears of the indigenous Assami population which thinks that soon they will meet the same fate as that of Tripura, where the indigenous Tripuris have become minority with Bangladeshi Hindus becoming majority.

In Assam according to last census, Muslims constitute 31% of the state population. Out of these 31% Muslims, more than 75% people are Bengali speaking whom the indigenous Assami population largely homogenizes as “Bangladeshis.”

Because they are afraid that soon they will be outnumbered by what they call as “Bangladeshis”, at any cost they want the government to throw them out of the state or deport them to Bangladesh. It’s on these fears of becoming minority that parties like Asom Gana parishad (AGP), BJP and Congress base their politics in the state.

One journalist who has followed this issue very closely told this correspondent that “now when the assembly elections are months away, it is very much possible that it’s a ploy by the Congress government to attract the votes of the indigenous Assami speaking community, a traditionally AGP and BJP vote bank, to its own side and at the same time to scare the Muslims once and then delay or postpone the project. As it will serve both the purpose of reinforcing the Muslim votes and it will also manage to attract votes of the indigenous Assami people.”

Congress has at present 14 MLAs from the Bengali speaking areas which in total constitute around 40 assembly seats

He also said that, lately there have been quite a number of meetings by the concerned officials in both the central as well as the state governments. Because the way Bengali speaking population, which constitutes more than 30% of the state, has protested against NRC till now, the Congress government in the state and at the center wouldn’t ignore them because they can not afford to antagonize the community particularly when elections are just 6 months away.

“For both the Bengali speaking and the indigenous Assami population this issue of NRC is getting very serious and sensitive. Although the state is, any way divided on linguistic cum communal lines but this issue has the potential to rip the state apart on those lines.”

He pointed out that the NRC is an issue not only for Assam, even Bangladesh is following this process very closely because after identifying the so called Bangladeshis, the next logical step is to deport them. So it’s a foreign relations issue also.

“Given the turbulent history of the state over the issue of illegal Bangladeshi population, this issue of NRC has all the recipes for a perfect disaster, and if not handled sensitively, it might explode”, he ominously predicted.

http://twocircles.net/2010jul16/controversy_might_flare_over_indian_citizenship_as sam.html

19-07-10, 07:59 PM
There is a Secret Cell in the Ministry of Home Affairs of India. This cell monitors the Indian Muslim. This cell was estabilshed on 15 Aug 1947., when Sardar Vallabhai Patel fired the Police Commissioner of Delhi (his 1st official act), Mr. Aftab Ahmed Khan and replaced it with D.P. Randhawa. Randhawa used to plan and execute riots against Indian Muslims in / around Delhi. He used to visit Muslims to re-assure them... and the very next day they would be attacked.

The cell set up by Sardar Patel is still active and working.

27-07-10, 08:30 AM
I'm a Bengali, says Tipu Sultan's descendant

By Biswajit Choudhury, IANS,

Kolkata : Bespectacled and grey hair brushed back, Husain Shah, 70, is the quintessential elderly Bengali man next door. But within him he carries a historic legacy, as a direct descendant of Tipu Sultan, the king of Mysore who valiantly fought the British.

"We are born and brought up in Kolkata now for many generations; so that makes me a Bengali," says Husain Shah of his identity. He's a businessman, the owner of an agency that supplies fuel to retailers.

Tipu was the grandfather of Husain Shah's great grandfather Anwar Shah, who has a major thoroughfare named after him in Kolkata.

Tipu, the king of Mysore, was defeated and killed at Srirangapatanam (near Bangalore) by the British army in 1799, ending thereby the last hurdle to the colonial conquest of southern India.

Shah narrates the story of how the family came to be in this city.

"After Tipu was killed by the British in Mysore, his 12 sons and relatives, a group of 300 people, were sent to Kolkata, so as to prevent the family from becoming a rallying point of revolt against British rule," Husain Shah told IANS in an interview.

"Here they were in a distant land among the people of a different language and history whom it would be difficult to provoke by invoking the heroism of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan."

And so the first family of the Mysore kingdom became a part of the mosaic of modern India's pre-eminent city, Kolkata, which as the colonial capital and a major trading centre, drew people from different parts of the country. The family members were given official pension and plots to settle in the southern fringe called Tollygunge. Like prescient investors, the deported family acquired assets in a growing 19th century Kolkata.

There is an obvious contrast between Shah's royal ancestry and his upper middle class way of life in the city today.

He lives in a fairly large flat in a new multi-storey apartment block that overlooks the Hoogly river. He moved in there only a couple of years ago and was living earlier in Park Circus, an old locality of the city. He has a joint family, with both his sons - one a lawyer and another a chartered accountant - living with him.

Shah has no memorabilia reflecting his regal ancestry. But there is a handful of gold, silver and copper coins minted in Tipu's time, which Shah, for sentimental reasons, acquired at a considerable cost from sources reached through the internet. He also has documentation related to Tipu, that is, books with photographs and a copy of the Treaty of Seringapatam that confirmed Mysore's surrender to the British.

But don't go looking for personal family memories of Tipu, as Shah says there are "none" - settled as they were in a distant place with the express intent of severing their links with the past. But Shah likes researching the historical significance of Tipu and the Mysore kingdom.

He points out that a major debate in Indian history concerns whether indigenous impulses to modernize would have taken off if the British had failed to conquer India. "The key to this riddle possibly remains in the modernizing potential of the kingdoms and elites of the time," opined Shah.

"According to Jean-Marie Lafont, a French scholar, Maharaja Ranjit Singh's kingdom in the Punjab displayed signs of such potential. It was strong and secular, with Ranjit Singh as a moderniser who made innovations to his administration and army with the help of French officers. Thus he could become such a formidable challenge to the British."

The Mysore kingdom had posed an equally stiff challenge in the south at the turn of that century.

According to a contemporary chronicler, Tipu's father Hyder Ali was from a family of migrants from north India which later settled in Karnataka.

"Both Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan made efforts similar to Ranjit Singh's to modernise and strengthen their capabilities against the British by employing French advisors. But such efforts to protect and nurture the nation's potential were not spread widely enough at the time," said Shah.

Kolkata has many landmarks commemorating Tipu, the most famous being an elegant mosque in the centre of the city. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club, catering to the city's elite since the 19th century, stands on property on lease from the descendants of Tipu Sultan.

At one time, the properties of Tipu's sons in Kolkata included sizeable chunks in the business district comprising Chowringhee, Park Street and Theatre Road, besides large tracts of land in the southern parts.

(Biswajit Choudhury can be contacted at [email protected])

27-07-10, 08:32 AM
Heart of Indian culture lies in Islam: Khurshid


New Delhi: Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Monday said Islam has played a "great role" in shaping the country's "Indianness" in terms of art, culture and social behaviour.

"Islam stands for peace, brotherhood and prosperity and in India this religion has played a great role in shaping the art, culture and social behaviour that today typically signifies the 'Indianness'," Khurshid said, releasing a book on Islam here.

He stressed on the need to "soak our souls into the idea of secularism".

Secularism, he said, was "love and respect for all religions, and include it in every aspect of our lives".

Releasing the book, "Islam aur Islami Quiz - Ilm ka Khazana" by a well-known scholar and social worker of Aligarh, Ikhlas Ahmad Sherwani, Khurshid said the world "today recognises the fact that the path of secularism that India had adopted decades ago is becoming even more relevant today when many people talk of clashes of civilisations or of ways of life".

"In India all communities are able to live constantly in peace and harmony," he said.

The book contains articles on the Islamic message of peace by world-renowned writers, including Allama Taj Mohammad Khan from the Al Azhar Islamic University of Cairo.

The book stresses that Islam does not mean violence and strife, instead it is meant to harmonise the world by spreading the message of peace, brotherhood and oneness.

Narrating his personal experiences, Sherwani said the true followers of Islam or Hinduism "never indulge in violence or terrorism. It is only a handful of people with distorted minds and a myopic vision that vitiate the atmosphere."


09-08-10, 08:01 AM
The Muslim businessmen of India

Sunday, May 09, 2010
Aakar Patel

Bombay's Mid Day newspaper group was sold by the Ansari family this week. The Ansaris had owned it for 72 years, and they were the only Muslims to own a major English newspaper. Ansaris are converts from the Vankar caste of weavers. Many are from Uttar Pradesh, which they are thought to have fled after the 1857 mutiny. The British chopped off the thumbs, the story goes, of these rebellious weavers, and so making them useless in their profession. The Ansaris moved to Bhiwandi outside Bombay, making it one of the largest weaving centres of the world.

The Ansaris of Mid Day did not make their money from weaving, but from newspapers. The founder was Abdul Hamid Ansari, who wrote and published the Urdu weekly Inquilab. Its website refers to him as "mujahid-e-azadi" or freedom-fighter. Ansari was a Congressman who joined the Muslim League as did most of Bombay's Muslims. But he did not accept Jinnah's invitation to move to Pakistan.

His cause, he wrote Jinnah in a letter of which the Ansaris are proud, was India's Muslims, and he and his press would remain here.

Jinnah turned to Mian Iftakhar-ud-Din instead, and he founded Progressive Papers which published the Pakistan Times and Imroze.

Inquilab is still popular today in Bombay, and it has about 300,000 readers. Abdul Hamid Ansari's son Khalid founded Sportsweek, India's largest sports weekly, and then the afternoon newspaper Mid Day, in 1979. The Ansaris are now an upper-class, South Bombay family, and Khalid Ansari studied at Stanford and his son Tariq at Notre Dame. I worked for them for six years, when Tariq was managing director of the firm. His father was still chairman and a very active man, playing squash at Bombay's exclusive Willingdon Club, where I would be summoned for early morning meetings.

This was my second job under a Muslim boss. I also worked at the Asian Age, a newspaper run by M J Akbar. He was a clever and charismatic man, and a first-rate editor, but not a particularly good businessman. He lost his stake in that newspaper, and now runs a small weekend publication.

Akbar was raised in Calcutta, but was a North Indian Muslim of Kashmiri and Bihari origin.

Muslims should be attracted to tijarat, because the prophet of Islam was also a trader. But because few Indian Muslims are converted from trading castes, they are not particularly good at business. They tend to be tradesmen instead: carpenters, butchers, plumbers and so on.

The Indian exception is the Shia from Gujarat. Though it is a tiny community, perhaps no more than a half a million people, it totally dominates India's other 160 million Muslims in matters of business. So it isn't so much religion that makes a difference so far as the ability to trade is concerned, but the linguistic community an Indian belongs to, and his caste.

Wipro's Azim Premji, India's second richest man, is a Khoja. An electrical engineer from Stanford University, Premji is part of Bombay's Khoja elite, whose most famous member was of course Jinnah. The Premjis owned a vegetable oil business incorporated in 1945 which Azim Premji inherited at the age of 21, after his father died in 1966. He founded the software division of the company in Bangalore at the age of 35, and that made Wipro the force it is.

Azim Premji is quite a simple man. Tariq Ansari of Mid Day knows him, and they both own holiday homes in Alibaug, an hour's sail from Bombay. Tariq said to me once that he bumped into Premji at the jetty, and asked him how he would get from there to his house. "By autorickshaw of course," a puzzled Premji told him, "don't you know the service is very good?" Azim Premji flies economy class, and lives in three-star hotels. He is worth $17 billion (Rs1.4 lakh crore). This attitude is consistent with many very wealthy Gujarati families, Hindu and Muslim, who are interested in the creation of wealth and not particularly keen on showing it off.

The pharmaceutical company Wockhardt is owned by the Dawoodi Bohra Habil Khorakiwala. Educated at Purdue University, he runs a billion-dollar firm that makes generic drugs. Though the Khorakiwalas are wealthy and powerful, they are still socially conservative as all Bohras are. The Khorakiwalas also founded the first departmental stores in India, Akbarally's. Photographed once at a function with some Bohra dissidents, F T Khorakiwala came under attack and was threatened with excommunication. So far as I know he apologised to the Syedna and was forgiven.

Another Gujarati Muslim, a Kutchchi, owns Cipla, which is also a pharmaceutical firm with sales of over a billion US dollars. It was founded by Khwaja Abdul Hamied, who got his doctorate from Berlin University in 1927. The company is run today by his son Yusuf Hamied, who holds a doctorate from Cambridge University.

I have known many Gujarati Muslim businessmen because my father ran a small textile business in Surat. Their style is open and not secretive. A good example is the landlord of the property where my office is located in Bombay. He is a Gujarati Shia, and when he comes over for a cup of tea, he discusses his businesses and their numbers, and his profitability, quite comfortably. This is a trait that Hindu merchant classes also have, and it goes against their stereotype of being deceivers. Their skill is actually the ability to see things unemotionally, and the ability, which is rare in India, to set aside honour. Their ethic is clear and tough, and the trading castes work hard to make their businesses successful. The Gujarati Shias share all of this.

There are also Sunni businessmen in India, but few. The dominant community here is again Gujarati, like the Memons of Kutchch, who do business around the world. Bollywood's Muslim producers also tend to be Gujarati, like the Nadiadwalas, who have just released the Akshay Kumar film House Full. Nadiadwalas are from Nadiad, a town in Gujarat's Charotar area, where my family is also originally from. Patels, incidentally, are peasants and not traders.

I can only think of one non-Gujarati Sunni industrialist of some scale and that is Hakim Abdul Hameed of Hamdard, makers of that delicious summer drink all Indians and Pakistanis are familiar with: Rooh Afza.

Hamdard was founded in 1906 by Hakim Abdul Majeed to make Unani (Greek) medicine, that the Arabs mastered a thousand years ago. Abdul Hameed still studies this and has produced an edition of the works of ibn Sina, the first man of modern medicine, known to Europe as Avicenna.

Abdul Hameed's brother Hakim Mohammad Said migrated to Pakistan, and he was killed in Karachi in 1998.

Pathans are famous for being skilled money lenders, but an opportunity once arose for a Kakezai to become a major industrialist. This happens in the story of the Indian business house that makes commercial vehicles, cars and tractors, and was founded in 1945. It was owned by the Mahindra brothers in partnership with, as the company's website refers to him, "a distinguished gentleman called Ghulam Mohammed". The partnership was called Mahindra & Mohammed, and its business was to make the very successful World War II car, the Willys Jeep. The name Jeep comes from GP or General Purpose vehicle. Mahindra & Mohammed began assembling and selling Jeeps in India, whose unpaved road the tough cars were built to negotiate.

The partnership between the Mahindra brothers and Ghulam Mohammed continued till Partition, when the distinguished gentleman moved to Pakistan and took office as its first finance minister.

Malik Ghulam Muhammad (his spelling appears to have changed at some point) became governor general in 1951 when Liaquat was assassinated, and Khawaja Nazimuddin became prime minister. Ayub Khan wrote about Ghulam Muhammad in his book Friends Not Masters. He describes Muhammad as a crafty old man, stricken by illness and babbling in incoherence. I was taken aback to learn, while writing this piece, that Ghulam Muhammad was only 61 when he died in 1956. Ayub hints that it was Ghulam Muhammad who facilitated Iskander Mirza's coup, and that he thought of Ayub, who was then defence minister, as being different from the other members of the cabinet, taking him aside to anoint him.

The firm Ghulam Muhammad gave up was renamed Mahindra & Mahindra, and is today a $6.3 billion company that has 100,000 employees.

Pakistan has many businessmen, most in Karachi (and many of those Gujarati), but also in Punjab. I heard Zia Mohyeddin tell a funny story about Chiniotis, and jokes about traders are apparently quite popular in Pakistan. But I came away thinking that the Chiniotis were a skilled community and I wonder what their original caste was.

The writer is a director with Hill Road Media in Bombay. Email: aakar @hillroadmedia.com


09-08-10, 08:13 AM
Story of an Indian Muslim and his business in Portugal

As chairman of a Portuguese bank that has been raising finances for Indian companies, Lisbon-based Abdul Magid Abdul Karim Vakil combines love for the land of his ancestors with perfect business sense.

In many ways, the journey that started with Vakil's father migrating from a village in Gujarat to the then Portuguese colony of Mozambique in the late 19th century has come full circle.

'We are now probably the only Portuguese bank that raises finances for Indian companies...most of them in the IT sector,' said Vakil, 68.

He has served in the Portuguese finance ministry, Bank of Portugal, Manufactures Hanover and Banco Nacional Ultramarino. Vakil, who says he was the first Indian Muslim migrant in Portugal, was in 2007 awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the Indian president.

Sitting in the sybaritic environs of Taj Mahal Hotel, surrounded by the sound of cutlery and conversation, Vakil, who visited India in July 2008 as part of a delegation accompanying the Portuguese foreign minister told IANS the story of his life's journey from Mozambique to the boardrooms of top Portuguese public sector companies.

It all started in the 1890s when his father joined his elder brother to travel from Gujarat to Mozambique.

'I am not sure why they went there. Maybe because Diu (a Portuguese colony) was close (to Gujarat) and somebody told them they could get a good living in Africa,' he mused.

The Vakil brothers prospered, moving from a small shop on the outskirts of the capital city, Lorenco Marques, (renamed Maputo) to a bigger one in the city centre and then constructing one of the first high rise buildings with a lift in 1940.

Then in 1945, his father became concerned that his three sons spoke only Portuguese. 'So he took us back to India, to our house in Vanthali. It was a grand journey in a motorcar and with a generator,' he said.

Vakil was enrolled at the local school where he learned Gujarati, Hindi and Arabic. But his stay was interrupted within two years, when in September 1947 the Nawab of Junagadh declared his state to be part of Pakistan. (Junagadh indeed remains part of Gujarat in India.)
'Suddenly, things started happening. The balance that existed before went unbalanced,' he said referring to simmering communal tensions in Gujarat.

The family decided to leave Gujarat - 'we just left in a hurry', travelled in a train to Bombay and then flew to Karachi. 'We stayed for a year in Karachi, so it was interesting to see both sides of the border.'

The family returned to Mozambique, restarting their old routine and business, before life was disrupted again when his father died in 1953.

It took Vakil 60 years to return to Vanthali, when he brought his daughter and son to his ancestral village last year.

'Our house was still standing when I took my daughter and son to visit Vanthali last year. In fact, my daughter notices that the building still had my father's name - A.Y. Vakil. The present owners were very nice, told us to 'ayo, baso'. I even met a schoolmate during the visit.'

In Mozambique, life went on.

'For a business family, my mother, like my father, stressed a lot on education. So in 1956, I went to Portugal for higher studies as a 17-year-old, even though my mother was really worried about me living alone,' he said, adding that the two main qualms were about his food habits and the possibility of his taking up with a woman there.

The prophecy was partially fulfilled when he married a Portuguese college mate in 1961. He brought his mother to Portugal and set up the first Indian Muslim household.

After getting a degree in finance from the technical university in 1964, he worked as a lecturer for three years and then plunged into the corporate world.

In 1988, he co-founded a private investment bank, Banco Efisa, which was eventually taken over by Banco Portugues de Negocious in 2001, but Vakil remained the chairman.

His connection with India was renewed when he was persuaded by the Indian ambassador to take part in the first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in 2003. Since then, Vakil, who also heads Portugal's Islamic community, has not missed a single pravasi gathering, except when he fell ill.

'I was very happy to become more and more conscious of my roots, that we are all originally from here... I have been saying to my friends. Go there (PBD) and you should meet each other,' said a visibly enthused Vakil.

Since then he has combined his emotional interest in India with sound business sense.

Banco Efisa floated an India-specific private equity fund along with the Bahrain-based Taib Bank, called The Leverage India Fund (LIF), which raised over $154 million.

Vakil has now found a new passion - leveraging Portugal's links with other countries for India. 'I tried a merger between a firm here and in Brazil. It was in the metallic industry, but it did not workout."

Now he is trying for his pet project of bringing Portugal on the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) platform.

'I had been very much interested in the concept of IBSA. In fact, I had even suggested the IBSA plus P idea, as I believe that we in Portugal have a role to play. To this, we can also add Portuguese-speaking Africa'.

'I never give up, I am rather stubborn,' he said.


15-08-10, 07:29 PM
PM intervenes, properties restored to Raja of Mahmoodabad

By TwoCircles.net Staff Writer,

Patna: Thanks to the intervention of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Raja of Mahmoodabad will smile again. His properties spreading across Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal worth Rs 30,000 crore declared ‘enemy property’ by a central government ordinance last week will be restored to him as the government will not pursue the ordinance.

At the persistence of Home Ministry President Pratibha Patil had issued Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance on August 2 nullifying the 2005 Supreme Court order that had restored the properties to Amir Mohammad Khan, erstwhile ruler of Mahmoodabad in Sitapur district of UP, after a long battle of 32 years that Khan had fought to claim the inheritance from his father who migrated to Pakistan and acquired its citizenship.

Palace of Raja Mehmoodabad [Photo by uppercrustindia.com]
The ordinance was to be replaced by Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2010 scheduled to be tabled in the ongoing session of the Parliament. But now the government will allow the ordinance to be lapsed on August 28 as the Bill has now been struck off the list of parliamentary business.

The Ordinance was promulgated last week at the behest of the Union Home Ministry, which had reportedly argued that the Supreme Court ruling has opened a Pandora’s box as owners of similar ‘enemy properties’ across the country coming forward to seek their restoration. Khan’s properties originally belonged to his father who was a founding member of the Muslim League and migrated to Pakistan during Partition. His wife, Begum Kaneez Abdi, stayed back in India. The property was identified as evacuee property after Partition and thereafter declared ‘enemy property’ in the wake of the Indo-Pakistan war in 1965.

But Khan approached the court claiming ancestral rights over the properties. After a 32-year legal battle he won the case in 2005 when the Supreme Court ruled in his favour and asked the government to hand him all his properties back. The court observed that since Khan had chosen not to migrate with his father to Pakistan and has stayed on in India as an Indian citizen, he was entitled to reclaim his rights over the properties taken over by the custodian — an official appointed by the Centre. However, the order did not go well with the Central Government.

Amir Mohammad Khan [Photo by uppercrustindia.com]
The Centre first promulgated an ordinance which even barred courts to restore enemy property to heirs and then the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill was drafted. However, Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is said to have mobilised political opinion against the Ordinance and he led a team of MPs to PM urging him to withdraw the ordinance which will create chaos in UP.

Raja of Mahmoodabad has prime properties worth several thousand crores of rupees in Lucknow, Sitapur and Lakhimpur-Kheri districts in UP and Nainital in Uttaranchal. An Oxbridge alumnus, 63-year-old Khan has the Butler Palace in Lucknow and almost half of the Hazratganj Market in the city and the Metropole Heritage Hotel in Nainital.

Soon after the ordinance the Mayawati government of Uttar Pradesh had reportedly started implementing the ordinance by ordering the sealing of buildings and land. Since the bungalows of the district magistrate, superintendent of police and chief medical officer in Sitapur are also Raja’s properties, the official machinery reportedly had begun working overtime to get possession of these buildings.
http://twocircles.net/2010aug06/pm_intervenes_properties_restored_raja_mahmoodabad .html

02-10-10, 07:28 AM
Foreigners were invited by Hindu rulers like Jai Chand. When Shivaji was fighting for the liberation of Hindus, the other Maratha rulers and Rajput kings were fighting on the side of Moghuls. Gulab Singh helped the British in their war against Sikhs. In 1857 when the war of independence was raging, the Sikhs were silent spectators

02-12-10, 08:30 AM
Challenges of the idea of India & Muslims

By Dr Wasim Ahmad,

For a Muslim who wants Paradise it should be a lot easier to give Here to get in the Hereafter. Focusing more on seeking and less on giving is a mind-set that has been created and nurtured over a long period of time by the leaders. They have drilled this psychology among Muslims to the deepest levels. I often think that if the leaders point out shortcomings in their people then those people will never clap for them. Please recall the occasions when the entire gathering burst into clapping. Most likely it was an occasion when the speaker played with the emotions of people.

The job of Muslims is tougher. We have to educate the educated first. Our educated are not truly educated. Their mind-set is not much different from the mid-set of the uneducated. If our “educated” get truly educated then it will have an impact on the masses. Then instead of waiting for leaders all of them will become leaders and will try to change the situation. They all will say good-bye to the luxury of excuses for non-performance. Our instant offering of excuses amounts to saying, “We would have performed if the environment was ideal and the situations were favourable”. It amounts to saying, “We would have offered water if you weren’t thirsty”. It defies logic. It defies reason.

When we say that “the condition of Indian Muslims would only be good if there would be reservation for them” we mean that in the absence of desired reservations for Muslims there is every reason for their bad condition. I am sure we will come up with some other excuses as soon as we get reservations and many more such affirmative actions. I wonder when someone advises that “make the atmosphere in such a way that the whole Muslim population of our country unites for this noble cause (of securing reservations)” is it really noble? What would have been noble is to unite for giving and not for demanding. What would have been noble is to pass some resolutions for duties as we do a lot for the rights. We have changed the meaning of words. Instead of changing ourselves.

Once I asked my colleagues to take to the path of research and immediately I heard that there were fewer resources and the facilities were inadequate. When I looked I found that everyone in front of me had at least one head on his shoulders. I wondered which other resources and facilities we needed. Less than ideal and unfavourable governments is a beautiful excuse that I come across every now and then. We love this luxury and savor this delicacy to the maximum. We want to change the governments before we take the first step towards changing ourselves. When I look at our expertise in manufacturing excuses and I contrast it with the outlook of the Benefactor of Humanity (pbuh) I tend to think that he shouldn’t have done anything. Because he had more excuses than we do.

India will be a more diverse society when we will not have exclusive educational institutions. Because then we will learn to accept the differences and will celebrate this variety more as we will be cohabiting with each other at a much maturer and dignified level. The exclusive educational institutions give an impression of a threat perception. This is an inherently negative trait. The very foundation of such institutions is on a mistaken notion. The exclusivism of one community causes more and more exclusivism in another community as a natural reaction. The exclusive educational institutions are a hindrance in the idea of India and may be against the very idea of diversity which we want to maintain by perpetuating these institutions.

What is meant by the “change in outlook”, I have tried to address earlier (http://www.twocircles.net/2010jul26/abolishing_our_existing_thought_patt...). What we need to do to make India a better place is to first make ourselves better persons. If we are able to do that then we will find that India has already become a better place. We don’t need to “convince the RSS minded people who are in power and are trying to bully us and our children every day and not allowing even to have peace of mind to think something positive” for anything. We only need to convince ourselves for all the good things that we currently want from others. Before we ask the RSS to “stop bullying our children everyday” WE ourselves have to stop bullying our own children – with our false notions, emotionalism, communalism, communitarianism and negativity.

In the same environment wherein we and our children do not have “peace of mind to think something positive” we are easily communicating with each other utilizing the most modern technology. Very often I have found that we ourselves are an answer to many of our questions. And very often I think that we ourselves are the field of action. Though we think that the field of action is somewhere farther away. Our children will never think positively if we do not think positively. I often recall the words of a writer: “na’ee nasl kay sudharnay ki ek hi soorat hai. Aur woh yeh ke puraani nasl sudhar jaa’ay”.

We don’t have to “combat this situation in the light of modern action”. We only have to relax. And do the toughest job on earth – change our thinking before we change the thinking of the RSS or the BJP or of anyone else. If we do that then we have already taken the first step towards the idea of India. The greatest challenge to the idea of India is that almost as a natural reflex we think that the problem lies somewhere else. It lies nowhere. It lies within. It is in each one of such. We are India and her idea. If we are ready to part with our preconceived notions and a lot of negative traits that we have grown up with then the idea of India has already taken a concrete shape.

The observation that “Allah (s.w.t.) has given Qur’an and Sunnah to Indian Muslims to give it to those unfortunate non-Muslims, but instead these people are hiding true Islamic teachings just to coexist peacefully with all un-Islamic evil ideologies and enjoy some worldly benefits” is a food for thought. Except the fact that this food has been cooked in a hurry. We have to rethink about what is hiding and what is giving. This version of Islam which is arrived at in haste is a sure recipe for disaster. This version of Islam divides the humanity in thousand and one categories and considers a huge number of the children of Adam as infidels without doing any of those things which the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did in Makkah. This version of Islam gives a confirmed ticket to a private Jannah and its followers get a walk-over. This version of Islam presupposes that there is less space in Paradise. There could be less room in our minds, in fact. We need to minimize quoting from Qur’an and Hadeeth for a while. For a while let us focus on the whole spirit of Qur’an and Islam. This is the collective spirit that we have kept in hiding – from everyone including ourselves.

Let us not ignore the fact that the humanity has come a long way. Now it is quite possible for the people of various cultures and faiths to sit together and discuss ideas openly. These facilities, openness and tolerance, and tools of communication were not available earlier. We should be thankful for the increased avenues of engagement and interaction. It is not the time to fire dogmatic missiles which cause a lot of civilian casualties. This is the time for informed discussion and dialogue. It is not the time for debates either. It is not the time to defeat someone. It is the time to win the people over. Yes, it is harder. But precisely for the same reason it is more desirable.

A respectable gentleman writes, “we Muslims can talk much”. In fact, we don’t talk much. I wish we did. I wish we did it openly and with clarity. We have a habit of remaining away from the crux of it – almost always. We use a lot of words with few meanings. No matter how much we “talk” we don’t actually talk as we fail to address the core issues. This is why the numberless articles and countless books and speeches haven’t and aren’t taking us anywhere. It only indicates that the real communication is missing. To make things worse, speed is more important for us than the direction.

But if we have an idea of India and are aware of the challenges, too, then certainly we can move forward. No obstacles are insurmountable. The human beings have proved it over the ages. Whenever we have very deeply realized our limitations we have overcome them. We are capable of translating the dream of India into a reality. It is an exciting journey of hope.

(The writer is Dept Head of Islamic Studies, Preston University, Ajman, UAE)


10-12-10, 05:37 PM
Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi and impact of his ideas on Muslim politics

By Asghar Ali Engineer,

Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi is a major figure and most controversial too, among Ulama during the Mughal period who left great impact on religious and political ideas of a section of Muslims not only during the Mughul period but also on subsequent periods, particularly during 19th and 20th centuries. He had both followers as well as opponents among Muslims in India. It is, therefore, quite interesting to throw some light on his ideas.

Akbar’s policies led to acceptance of religious pluralism and integration. Akbar happen to come under the influence of Mulla Mubarak’s two sons Abul Fazl and Faizi. Both brothers were persecuted by orthodox Ulama and ultimately found refuge in Akbar’s court. Both belonged to wahdat al-wujud school of Sufism. Wahdat al-Wujud (Unity of Being) is the most liberal Sufi school.

Wahdat al-Wujud emphasizes that there is one being and we are all its manifestations. Thus all human beings are one in origin despite different religions, cultures and languages. The second major doctrine of this school is sulh-i-kul i.e. total peace and peace with all, a doctrine that eliminates all conflicts and discrimination on all grounds. Akbar was greatly influenced by both the doctrines and he had inquisitive mind which wanted to know basic tenets of all religions.

Thus Akbar was convinced of truth of all religions and played major role in bringing people of different faiths together. India has been a country of great diversities, religious diversity, cultural, racial and linguistic diversities. It never was mono-religious in its history. Any tendency to assert truth of only one religion thus gives rise to conflict and separatism in India. The religions which arose in India – Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism besides several tribal practices also accepted diversity of views. The famous doctrine that ‘truth is one but it is manifested in different ways’ was also product of this diversity.

Akbar’s greatness lay in the fact that he understood and accepted this Indian reality although he himself belonged to Islamic faith. As a just ruler he should have been neutral but Akbar was not only neutral but also accepted truth of other religions. He never considered people of other religions as kafirs as many orthodox theologians would do. Qur’an also never called people of other religions ‘kafirs’. On the contrary it asserted that a true Muslim is one who shows equal respect for all prophets and also said that ‘We have sent guides to all the nations’.

Thus every nation (or tribe or country or qaum) has been blessed with a guide from Allah and thus have been given truth from Allah. Qur’an addresses only those Arabs of Mecca as kafirs who denied truth preached by Muhammad (PBUH) although they had no truth of their own or any revealed scripture. And Qur’an preached doctrine of co-existence even with those kafirs who did not persecute Muhammad and his followers. It propounded doctrine of ‘for you is your religion and for me is mine’.

However, for various reasons this liberal and open approach of the Qur’an and Prophet (PBUH) did not always find acceptance with some narrow minded Muslims and they denounced not only non-Muslims but also those Muslims as kafirs who did not agree with them on theological matters. These theological differences are so sharp until today that every sect of Islam considers the other sect as having gone astray and ‘kafir’

The Sufis, especially those belonging to Wahdat al-wujud School, did not agree with such exclusionary approach and always recognizing truth of other religions. Akbar was also subscribed to this approach under the influence of Faizi Brothers. But he went a step further and floated his own creed which he called Deen-i-Ilahi. I think it is not for a ruler to start his own creed. It will always be seen in the perspective of political interest and not a matter of heart and soul or something spiritual.

It was not for nothing that all prophets in the Qur’an (with two exceptions) were from amongst poor shepherds or from amongst ordinary people having no such interest. A founder of religion cannot be seen as one having some political interest. It is not then surprising that even those closest to him did not accept his Akbar’s Deen-i-Ilahi and it soon died down. It did not survive after Akbar’s death.

However, this does not detract from Akbar’s greatness and his attempt to integrate people of India and adopt an exclusionary approach. But, as pointed out earlier, those with narrow theological approach to religion did not like Akbar’s policies and wanted to assert superiority of Islam, especially as it belonged to the ruling class. It must be pointed out here that religion should be treated primarily as spiritual approach creating humility and spirit of truth and should not be allowed to become an instrument of power.

The theologians, however, take religion as a source of power and matter of sole truth which creates attitude of arrogance. Sheikh Sirhindi and his followers belonged to this school of thought. They believed their version of Islam was the source of sole truth and all those who differed from them had gone astray. Sheikh Sirhindi considered it as his mission to revive true Islam. As he was borne on the eve of second millennium of Islamic calendar, he was referred to as mujaddid alf-i-sani i.e. renewer of second millennium.

Thus Khalid Umri from the school of Ahl-i-Hadith says that the ulama lost their influence in Akbar’s court and this encouraged the Hindus to assert themselves and this prepared the way for founding the creed of Deen-i-Ilahi. Mulla Mubarak and his sons Abul Fazl and Faizi inculcated ‘anti-Islamic’ attitude in Akbar in order to serve their own interests and to seek closeness to Akbar. Abul Fazl and Faizi made Akbar hostile to ulama and to take revenge[1].

The orthodox ulama saw these developments in Akbar’s court as corruption (fasad) and condemned it. Khalid Umri considers Deen-i-Ilahi as harmful and writes that this Deen-i-Ilahi brought harmful changes in Akbar’s court and then whole country was affected by it and the ulama prepared themselves to confront this situation and the way they tried to revive religion and then he quotes Qazi Aslam Saif:

Prostration for respect (isajda-i-ta’zeem) before Akbar was made obligatory. Names like Muhammad and Ahmad were banned. Circumcision was not allowed. Cow slaughter was banned and pork was permitted so much so that breeding of dogs and swines were considered part of culture. The Shari’ah rules were ridiculed. Shi’ah beliefs and innovations were permitted. Temples were patronized and respected and mosques were locked. The Ulama and Mashaikh (elderly divine persons) were persecuted and harassed. The Sufis were treated with contempt and a campaign was launched to create contempt against them.

The dangers of Akbar’s Deen-i-Ilahi were felt throughout Islamic world and some servants of Allah showed courage and declared their opposition to Deen-i-Ilahi. They worked for renewal of faith and tried to promote tawhid and sunnah with firmness and courage.

One can see in these lines the highly exaggerated opposition to Akbar’s liberal and integrative policies. The account given by Qazi Aslam Saif is far from true. No ruler can afford to lock the mosques and allow pork while banning cow slaughter. Or ban the names like Muhammad and Ahmad. This only shows the depth of opposition to liberalism and inclusive and integrative policies.

It was in such atmosphere created by the ulama against Akbar that Sheikh Sirhindi launched his campaign against Akbar, on one hand, and, Sufis like Abul Fazl and Faizi, on the other. The Sheikh’ and his followers wanted to revive strict application of orthodoxy and this is what they mean when they refer to Kitab wa Sunnah (i.e. the Qur’an and the Prophet’s sayings and doings – sunnah). They forget that there have been different interpretations of Holy Book and also there is no unanimity about hadith.

What Sirhindi was opposed to was liberal approach to religion and hence he firmly opposed the doctrine of Wahdat al-wujud (unity of being) which opens the doors to all religions and makes them acceptable and respectable. He came out with his own doctrine of Wahdat as-shuhud i.e. unity of witnessing or appearance. Wahdat as-shuhud strengthened orthodoxy.

Though Emperor Jahangir did not advocate Akbar’s Deen-i-Ilahi, he did adopt liberal approach. But unlike Akbar, Jahangir had not much love lost for Sufism or for religion as such. But he too, continued with the practice of sajda-e-ta’zeem. He once summoned Sheikh Sirhindi and expected him to perform the sajda’. However, the Sheikh refused and greeted the emperor with Islamic way i.e. As Salam-o-Alaykum (peace be upon you).

This offended Jahangir and he imprisoned the Sheikh in Gwalior fort where he spent more than two and half years However, the Sheikh had following among a powerful group of courtiers who pressurized Jehangir to release him and he was released honorably. Sheikh Ahmad had created spheres of influence among courtiers and their followers. The Kitab and Sunnah discourse had their own attraction and many people thought, as it often happens today too, their problem is because they do not follow Qur’an and hadith.

Since Sheikh Ahmad was opposed to the doctrine of Wahdat al-wujud, it resulted in separatist politics too. The ruler, according to him should rule as per Qur’an and Sunnah ignoring Indian realities. It was negation of Akbar’s inclusive policy. Rule according to Qur’an and sunnah could be valid in Muslim majority countries but not in countries like India where Muslims were a small minority.

Jahangir and Shahjahan too understood Indian reality which was much more complex and more or less followed the policy of integration than separation. But things changed with Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb was a very shrewd ruler. He wanted to seize power from Darashikoh whom Shahjahan had appointed his heir apparent. Dara Shikoh, like Akbar, was under the influence of Sufi Islam. He had studies Hindu scriptures in Sanskrrit and also translated Upanishads in Persian under the title of Sirr-e-
Akbar (The Great Mystery). He also wrote a book Majma’ul Bahrayn (Co-mingling of Two Oceans- Islam and Hinduism). He compares teachings of two religions and finds great deal of similarities.

Thus Darashikoh had gone a step further than Akbar and had he come to power he would have followed policies to bring people of India together irrespective of different religions. Aurangzeb was disciple of son of Sheikh Sirhindi and had imbibed Sheikh’s outlook through his son. Also, Sirhindi, as pointed out before, had influence over several courtiers and wanted to get their support for seizing power from Darashikoh and following Sirhindi’s policies suited him politically too.

However, Aurangzeb was politically very shrewd and he won over some important Rajput Sardars like Mirza Raja Jaisingh and ruler of Jodhpur on his side and made Mirza Raja Jaisingh his army chief. Thus on one hand he encouraged Islamic orthodoxy to win over the Ulama and those nobles who were under the influence of Sheikh Sirhindi, and influential Rajput Sardars, on the other. But on the whole Aurangzeb’s rule resulted in separatism rather than integration. Later on he also re-imposed jizyah on non-Muslims which alienated many Hindus.

None of Aurangzeb’s sons proved to be strong enough to ensure stability of the empire and Marathas who had challenged Aurangzeb’s rule under the leadership of Shivaji, began to attack Delhi and indulged in plunder and loot. Jats and Rohillas too attacked Delhi and resulted in anarchy. This prompted Shah Waliyullah to invite Ahmadshah Ab- dali to come and teach Marathas a lesson.

Shah Waliyullah, it is important to note, was man of vision. He tried to bring about reconciliation between the doctrines of wahdat-ul-wujud and wahdat al-shuhud to unite Muslims following two different schools of thought. However, despite Shah sahib’s sincerity, it did not work Also. Inviting Abadali was not a politically wise decision. Whatever Shah Sahib’s intention – to weaken Maratha power, it did not work out that way as world of political power struggle has its own dynamics and Abadali was, after all, a foreign invader. He came, looted and plundered and killed and went away.

Shah Waliyullah was a great thinker and observer of socio-political scene but could do little to change the balance of political power. He was not like other theological thinkers who confine themselves to theology but a keen observer of social scene and an analyst. He could analyze the causes off decline of Moghul Empire but it was not in his power to reverse the trend.

His followers were divided into two groups those who accepted composite nationalism and prominent in this group was Deoband School and Jami’at al-Ulama-i-Hind. Jami’at, in fact opposed separatist politics and challenged two nation theory and stood behind Gandhiji’s leadership. Maulana Qasim Ahmad Nanotvi had issued a fatwa urging Muslims to join Indian National Congress and collected similar fatwas from other Ulama and published under the title Nusrat al-Ahrar. Thus right from the beginning these Deobandi Ulama stood with composite nationalism.

As opposed to this group of Muslims there were those who came under direct or indirect influence of Sheikh Sirhindi and adopted separatist politics. Among them there were both theologians as well as intellectuals. However, here some qualifications are necessary. All those who rejected composite nationalism and opted for separate nationalism were not necessarily influenced by Sheikh Sirhindi. Jinnah, for example, had his own reasons to opt for separatism. He in fact shifted his position from composite to separate nationalism. It was more for personal than ideological reasons. He probably might not have even heard of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi.

But among theologians and secular intellectuals there were those who came directly or indirectly under the influence of Sheikh Sirhindi and became separatists and rejected composite nationalism. Also, there were those who admired Sirhindi but did not necessarily agree with separatist politics. Iqbal was among them. Iqbal was undoubtedly admirer of Sirhindi but his political position was much more complex.

He was and was not separatist in politics. He neither adopted clear separatist stand nor denounced it. Iqbal had great attraction for power. He wanted to see Muslims of Indian sub-continent empowered. Also, ideologically Iqbal was internationalist and rejected nationalism as narrow and unacceptable. He considered Muslims an international community both politically and spiritually. He said in one of his poems that nationalism is the shroud of millat (i.e. international Muslim community).

Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, on the other hand, considered Muslims a millat only in spiritual sense but accepted composite nationalism in political sense. He separated spiritual from political. Muslims of Indian sub-continent greatly admire Iqbal’s poetry as he wants to see Muslims of subcontinent duly empowered and criticizes mullahs for whom Islam is only saying Namaz in mosques, nothing more.

It is interesting to note that there is qualitative difference between Jinnah’s separatism and Iqbal’s seeing Muslims politically empowered. Jinnah was hardly ideologically committed to Islam or even interested in Islam. His was purely political fight and partition came about on certain political questions, constitutional arrangements and sharing power.

For Iqbal it was not merely a secular question of constitutional arrangement or share in political power. More than anything else it was question of Islamic vision. According to Iqbal Muslims will not accept Nehruvian atheistic socialism but would like to have an autonomous region to experiment with Islamic socialism. Thus Iqbal’s was a unique and complex position. He was against narrow secular nationalism and critiques western concept of nationalism in his poetry.

He was also not, at the same time, a separatist like Maulana Maududi who rejected any concept of secular politics and modeled his concept of Islamic state on communist model, one party system with caliph, the ruler having all the powers. The Islamic party Maududi calls as hizbullah i.e. party of Allah. He advised his followers in India too not to participate in secular politics.

Iqbal, on the other hand, was much more open and does not devise any closed political system although he talks of experimenting with Islamic socialism. Maulana Maududi’s system is too conservative whereas Iqbal’s is quite revolutionary. Iqbal is much more open to other faiths and his vision is much broader and modern. Iqbal is a category by himself. He is neither a separatist nor a nationalist.

Thus it would be seen that there are different categories of separatism among Muslim political system builders. There is no single system available. In most of the Muslim majority countries one finds authoritarian regime, more feudal than based on modern political or Islamic theories. In fact throughout history it was personal authoritarian rule rather than based on any Islamic theory and the same continues until today.

There is no Islamic political system in any Muslim country including Pakistan. Partition itself was on secular lines and it was Zia-ul-Haq who declared Pakistan as ‘an Islamic state’ though he himself was not clear what it meant except that he enforced hudud laws. His rule itself never derived legitimacy from any Islamic source. He was, at best, a military dictator.

Also, in the globalized world, separatism is loosing its political significance. Large number of Muslims is migrating to other non-Muslim countries and today a significant number of Muslims live as minority and Islamic separatism has no meaning for them. It is composite nationalism which would serve their purpose. Thus those who opposed separatism in Indian sub-continent were more relevant and realistic. Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi has very narrow circle of followers.

Sheikh Ahmad’s theology poses another major problem. Even if Islamic polity is to be based on Qur’an and Sunnah, which interpretation would be acceptable?
http://twocircles.net/2010dec09/sheikh_ahmad_sirhindi_and_impact_his_ideas_muslim_ politics.html

19-12-10, 04:12 PM
Barrister Nuruddin Ahmed (1904 – 1975)

By Naved Masood

“We succumb, as all too often, to the erudite advocacy of Shri Nuruddin Ahmed the learned counsel for the appellant and allow the appeal and order that the appellant be set at liberty” (Justice H.R Khanna in Lalji v State of UP decided on 14.8.1973 SCR 1974 1)

Anybody going through the law reports of the Indian Supreme Court during the late 1950s and the early 70s will be struck by the fact that the lawyer most frequently figuring in criminal cases was a certain “Shri” Nuruddin Ahmed – the discerning reader will further discover to his surprise that where this gentleman appeared for the appellant the appeal was, more often than not, allowed; conversely where the respondent (the party winning in the High Court) had the good fortune of engaging the barrister, chances were that the appeal was disallowed. This is not a matter of folklore – it is what is borne out by records.

Nuruddin Ahmed gave up a lucrative legal practice in 1973 and went to his grave two years later, and nobody since then – not even Ram Jethmalani supposedly the most celebrated criminal lawyer of the country in post Nuruddin era – has been able to match that record. After careful consideration this writer makes bold to assert that no Muslim professional (doctor, lawyer, engineer and the like) in the post independence India has managed to achieve such professional eminence in his/ her field as this handsome old Delhi wala of noble descent and high intellect. What follows in the rest of this piece is an effort to discharge in very small part a debt which the Indian Muslims owe to an extraordinarily gifted jurist who happened to be a true believer to such an extent that when he died he was the highest individual current account holder in the country – as a staunch Muslim he could not earn interest on his bank deposits.

Nuruddin Ahmed was born in 1904 in one of the noblest families of old Delhi with wealth and erudition. His father “Principal” Mushtaq Ahmed Zahidi was member of the Indian Educational Service and a contemporary of Sajjad Haider “Yeldrim” – Yeldrim’s legendary daughter Qurrtulain Haider has written a lot about her Mushtaq “chahcha”. Nuruddin had his early education in St Xavier’s school Delhi along with classical education at home with the result that his knowledge of Latin and English was matched by his deep insight in Persian and Arabic poetry. After two years of post school education at St Stephens’ College, Delhi he left for Cambridge where he did B.A Honours or Classic tripos from Corpus Christi College. He went to London to study Law and was called to the bar from Inner Temple. He opted to join legal practice instead of taking the ICS examination. On return he joined the Lahore High Court under the tutelage of Mian Mohammed Shafi along with his friend Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, later to be the President of India. Despite his early success at the Lahore bar, he chose to move back to Delhi along with his English wife who had embraced Islam and developed a flair for Urdu. In no time he became a leader of the trial court criminal bar – from late 1930s his services were also in great demand in murder trials all over Western UP and parts of Punjab which now form the State of Haryana. At the same time, he rendered yeoman service to the social life of Delhi Muslims with his activities ranging from improving the upkeep of Mazars and better management of waqf properties to improving educational standards in Muslim schools and financial assistance to literary figures in indigent circumstances.

Following communal rioting in Delhi in the wake of partition his property in Karol Bagh area suffered extensive damage. Ever the maverick, he chose not to migrate to Pakistan; he decided to settle down in the UK and was perhaps the first migrant to have established a successful practice at the Privy Council handling criminal appeals from the Malay Peninsula and countries like Nigeria. It was his old admirer Jawaharlal Nehru who persuaded him to return to his country which he did in the mid 1950s. He left the trial court practice and decided to concentrate on criminal appellate work in the Supreme Court – so spectacular were his forensic skills that within a few years he virtually monopolized the entire criminal appeal work from all over the country – clients and their lawyers had an implicit trust on his abilities and fairness. It can be safely said that in the last fifteen year of his practice there will be hardly any important rulings on various branches of criminal law that arose from cases where he had not appeared for some party – no other lawyer in the country can claim similar distinction in any branch of law. He had become a legend in his life time. This writer clearly remembers the time when as a law student on a visit to the local court he heard a burly Jat peasant whose son’s bail application was rejected in a murder case being consoled by the lawyer stating that at such early stage of the trial even if “Mian” Nuruddin had come from Delhi to plead the case the outcome would have been no different!
On his return to Delhi from self-imposed exile he found his beloved city reeling under a massive onslaught of refugees with its older parts – the walled city – bearing the brunt of outmigration of Muslims. He was a member of the Delhi Municipal Corporation for four terms and served as Mayor of Delhi from 1960 to 1965 – a most popular and respected Mayor he proved to be. He did much to salvage mosques and waqf properties. Consolidation of the campus of Jamia Millia and enabling Hakim Abdul Hamid Sahib acquire land in Tughlaqabad for the future Jamia Hamdard can be counted amongst his major contributions to Delhi Muslims.

It is unfortunate that this writer has not so far been able to locate his photograph for, Barrister Nuruddin was a picture of male handsomeness and Raj Chatterjee an old Delhi raconteur recalled after his death that “he had a ‘presence’ as few man had!”. Equally, he was a magnificent orator in Urdu and English; his forte being an impressive voice which I believe can be termed ‘baritone’. Being an old Delhi wala his mastery over Urdu prose was complete, His tour de force was the public speech that he delivered in the public meeting held in 1964 on the grounds of the Red Fort on behalf of the general public of Delhi to mourn the death of Pandit Nehru. It is difficult to narrate even the gist of the speech which was broadcast live on the All India Radio. Its effect was visible on the mammoth crowd. The speech had a dramatic influence on a crowd which was already in a somber mood and we have on good authority that virtually the whole throng was in tears by the time Ahmed was done with his speech.

It is general knowledge in older circles of Delhi that among his friends and acquaintances he was charm and humour personified. His mastery over the colloquial Delhi Urdu was complete and his lighter conversation was peppered as much with apt Arabic and Persian couplets of Hafiz and Jahiz as with almost unprintable Delhi banter. Late Prof A.M Khusro an inveterate wit himself, once told this writer that he and P.N Haksar will invariably go to a party if they knew that “Barrister Sahib” will be there for then a most enjoyable evening was assured!

I had just one meeting with Nuruddin Sahib in 1975 when I was a student of Law in Aligarh and was in a dilemma whether to be a practicing lawyer or be in the Administrative Service. He gave me a patient hearing, asked a few questions concerning the Penal Code and the Evidence Act and observed that both administration and law are “noble callings”. He mentioned that he had just given up active practice and advised me to come to him after completing my law degree with the caveat “if I am still around” – in the event he was “not around” and I had made it to the IAS before completing my course. His parting advice is worth repeating – “Mian Sahibzade, jo bhee karein akl-i- halal aur bebason ko mut bhooliye ga” - its rough translation will run something like this “ Young man, whatever you choose to do, don’t forget probity and the helpless (needing your help)”.

It is widely known that he was a generous person and took special care to ensure that his acts of charity did not become public knowledge and prove awkward for the beneficiaries. He was known to be extremely punctual with his prayers – reference has already been made to his sole dependence on current account for fear of transgressing the Islamic injunction against earning interest. A chronicler of Old Delhi, R. V Smith, mentions that while returning from Supreme Court every day he will stop at the Dargah of Shah Kalimullah “Wali” between the Red Fort and Jama Masjid where his British wife was buried to offer fateha. In short, his words and deeds were consistent with the pristine Indo-Islamic trait called wazadari. He had two sons and a daughter, all settled abroad. His daughter is the famous Artist, Calligrapher and Philologist Dr Ameena Ahmed Ahuja who has written about inheriting the ‘poetic sensibilities’ of her father.

No biographical account of Barrister Nuruddin will be complete without mentioning his second wife the late Saeeda Bano whom he married a few years before his death. Older generation of Indians would remember Saeeda Bano as the Urdu news reader on All India Radio. She was married in an aristocratic family of Lucknow; the marriage broke down thanks to a suspicious husband after a fairly long time. The story of her life is very aptly recounted in her Urdu autobiography dagar se hat ke – off the beaten track. She came in contact with Nuruddin Ahmed after her retirement, the two lonely hearts decided to marry. Though he was staying alone in his sprawling bungalow at Alipur Road, he chose to put up his second wife in a house in East Nizamuddin locility – possibly, he was torn between the conflict within between the memories of a dear beloved and a new found fascination. Honouring this dilemma, Saeeda Bano never insisted that they lived in the old house. But the dilemma appears to have taken its toll and he died of a sudden cardiac failure. Saeeda Bano poignantly mentions that hearing the sudden death of his friend President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed rushed to the Willingdon Hospital and asked Dr R.K Caroli, the Cardiologist, who was in ‘the know of things’. The reply of Caroli was revealing, “Sir, he used his heart most injudiciously”.

We must end our narrative on a pensive, thoughtful note – how is it that nobody in the Indian Muslim community has known that one of their members was arguably amongst the best criminal lawyers of his time anywhere in the world? Of course, one obvious reason is that like most successful and hence busy lawyers he just did not have the leisure to leave any publication – his attainments are buried in the dusty law reports. But then, the larger issue is how come there is no mechanism that our illustrious members remain so generally unknown. The reasons appear to be complex and this is no place to dilate on the subject, suffice it to say that we have reached a state of disinterest where beyond personal loss and gain (worldly and other worldly – the latter to ensure the former!) nothing else matters. Writing about the greats, past and present, is perceived to be a sheer waste of time unless we gain something ‘tangible’ in the process. Let us hope that the present piece demonstrates that there is some gain after all in such an enterprise.

07-01-11, 07:14 PM
Too much interesting


08-01-11, 05:24 PM
Did Jews force British grant independence to make “Jews of India” rulers ?
Arnold Spencer Leese (1878-1956), one of the most respected British citizens, a determined fighter against British rulers being manipulated by Jews to join the war against a fellow Christian Germany, has written an article, “Destruction of India - its cause and prevention”.

In this we get the shocking information that the so-called independence given to India (1947) was a conspiracy of the Jews then controlling Britain to weaken the British Christian rulers on the eve of the World War-II and also to favour their Brahminical cousins by making them rulers of independent India.

The article is included in The Leese Collection (2007) published by the Historical Review Press, Uckfield, Sussex, England.

Jews controlled Britain: Our Editor was given a copy of the book when he met the owners of the Historical Review Press at Uckfield, Sussex.

Leese says Britain then was fully under the control of the Jews. Nay. London was the very capital of the entire Jewish world. The British Foreign Secretary, A.J. Balfour, a Jew, handed over the Muslim (Arab) Palestine to Jews (photocopy of the Leese book available with DV, pp.220).

Leese in his chapter on India displays very intimate knowledge of the country. With a “number of conflicting religions” Hinduism is nothing but caste system. He is right.

Muslims, Sikhs praised: There was absolutely no democratic spirit. The largest minority was the Muslims, which has no caste system, forming 20% of the population. He pays tributes to Sikhs for being a great “fighting nation” famous for its military discipline. Muslims outclass the Hindus in fighting qualities.

“But the vast majority of Hindu are of servile type”, incapable for self-defence.

There is no change in the situation of this servile class even after 64 years of “independence”.

Did Jews favour Brahmin: Leese is very clear that the Jews were behind forcing Britain to grant independence to India “to weaken Britain”. However, he is not clear if the Jewish pressure on Britain was intended to make Brahmins, the “Jews of India”, the rulers of the country.

The Jews being a brilliant community might have been aware of their cousins controlling India but Leese does not say it.

He said the British brought to India civilisation, honesty, security. They stopped widow-burning (sati), eradicated famine, provided efficient railway system, postal services, a system of Justice. He is right. He warns “all this will be destroyed by dragging India into a Jew-engineered war of our own”.

Humbug of Indian nationalism: The article of Leese was written with particular reference to the White Paper which proposed democracy leading to self-rule. “The rule of India is to be handed over to Indians”, meaning the “Jews of India”.

The author has rightly said the so-called “Indian nationalism is sheer humbug, there is no Indian nation, but only a number of factions, each anxious to plunder and control others..”.

Prophetic words: How true is this statement. We in this “independent” India know the truth of this statement after suffering under the Brahminical rule of 64 years.

The author then writes some prophetic words: “The only ones who want to get rid of the British are those who hope to step into their jobs which they will not be able to keep for two months”.

Yes. The British left. And we witnessed a big bloodbath after partition. “Hindu India” then passed into the hands of Brahminic blood hounds. Ever-lasting exploitation has been the order of the day ever since the British left, making many thinking people to conclude that British imperialism was much, much better than the brutal Brahminical terrorism.

Dr. Ambedkar has dealt with this subject in his fantastic book, What Congress & Gandhi Have Done to Untouchables (photocopy available with DV).

Anarchy grips India: The author has predicted anarchy throughout India. Yes, that is what we are witnessing today.

The author says the White Paper for India was a Jewish product. The motive behind this paper was to scuttle the power of British White Christians.

The easiest way to smash the British empire was to strike at it in India by reducing the power of the British.

Annie Besant sent to India: The architect of this conspiracy was E.S. Montagu, Secretary of State for India from 1917. He “released Mrs. Annie Besant, a prominent mischief-maker and in November went to India in person”.

Annie Besant, a pretty British young women, later became the president of the Congress Party, India’s original Brahminical party, and the Brahmins cultivated her as their best friend.

She established her secretive Theosophical Society, which is part and parcel of the Zionist empire and packed all Brahmins into the Congress Party. Every big city in India had its Theosophical Society which is part of the Jewish secret societies. She groomed Brahmin leaders to take control of India as soon as the British left.

Brahmin domination: Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy, who was a top leader of the Congress Party in the then Madras Presidency, resigned from the party unable to tolerate the Brahmin domination. Leese says the White Paper and “Indianisation” of the Army are both the product of Jewish rule in India (meaning Brahminical rule).

Top Jews were sent to India: D. Mayers, Strakosch and Schuster.

Jewish master plan: Leese then puts an important question: “Why does the Jew want democracy in India while opposing it in Palestine? Because democracy would lose India for Britain and would lose Palestine for Jew, where he is small minority”.

Leese finally argues that the British rule must be continued in India in the interest of the overwhelming slave races — meaning SC/ST/BCs (65%).

This is the first time we are hearing that the pressure to grant “independence” to India came from the Jews who were then controlling Britain. The Jewish hold on Britain, however, continues even to this day.

Annie Besant mischief: It is not clear from the book if Leese had visited India. Most probably not. Had he visited India he would have found out the mischief played by Annie Besant and her Brahmin coterie.

In the book he clearly says Annie Besant was the Jewish nominee. We have evidence about her involvement in handing over the country to the “Jews of India”. She was the darling of the Brahmins. Though a White Christian she was not liked by the British Christian rulers then in India. She collected money, organised Brahmins to launch all sorts of attacks against the British.

It is from the Leese book that we learnt for the first time that the move to grant “independence” to India was a Jewish conspiracy. Why will the Jews insist upon it unless they had definite proof that the India would be in the hands of their blood brothers?

Role of Gandhi: Lot of things are kept secret. The role of Gandhi in South Africa which was then fully under Jews. Why did Gandhi shift from S. Africa to India? Did the Debeers, the world famous Jewish diamond merchants who controlled S. Africa and handled Nelson Mandela, the Jewish stooge, had any role?

Gandhi, though a Bania, was a great follower of Brahminism. His close connections with G.D. Birla and the Bajajs, both Banias who later became multi-millionaires with the blessings of Gandhi, will give us lot of clue about the role of Jews and the “Jews of India”.

Lot more research has to be done to throw light on the role of Jews and “Jews of India” in enslaving India and bringing it under the sway of Zionist Israel.

13-01-11, 03:07 PM
Nawab of Chhatari (1888-1981)

By Naved Masood for TwoCircles.net,

Nawab Hafiz Sir Ahmad Said[[i]]Khan

Zamindars in parts of Northern India[[ii]] enjoyed the right to collect land revenue in their ‘estates’ (Zamindaris). They also had to perform certain ‘managerial functions’ on behalf of the government within their ‘estates’. Most (though not all), were titled ‘Nawab’ or ‘Raja’ depending on their religious affiliations. The common public perception of the Zamindar was one of a petty tyrant to the tiller of the soil who was a lackey of the ‘sarkar’ and an impediment to any improvement in agrarian conditions. This was substantially correct as it conformed to observed facts. There were exceptions to this prototype; among the Zamindars a few displayed extraordinary managerial abilities, and fewer still who were a friend to their ‘ryots’[[iii]]. Rare indeed was the Zamindar who combined in himself the two virtues – Nawab Ahmad Saeed Khan of Chhatari was one such rarity.

Formative Years

Born in 1888, Ahmad Saeed Khan was the son of Abdul Ali Khan[[iv]] the Zamindar of Chattari then a small estate administratively in Bulandshahr District but more proximate to Aligarh city some twenty miles away. The family was ‘Muslim Rajput’ or ‘Lalkhanis’. Ahmad Saeed started his school education late as he had early religious instructions at home resulting in his being a “Hafiz’ i.e. one who commits the entire Quranic text to memory. He joined ‘English House’, the boarding for the scions of the elite away from but attached to the Muhammedan Anglo Oriental Collegiate School popularly known as ‘Minto Circle’. After passing the matriculate or tenth class in 1906 he had to concentrate on managing the affairs of his Zamindari following the death of his father. So small was his ‘estate’ that initially he was not even recognised as ‘Nawab’ and had to be content with the title “Kunwar”, it was in 1915 that he was recognized as “Nawab” for life – the title was made hereditary four years later in recognition of his proven capabilities which will find mention later.

The settlement report of Bulandshahr District (1915) takes note of the unusual interest taken by the young Zamindar in ‘agricultural improvements’ in his Zamindari. By then a good number of Zamindars were indolent absentees staying in the comfort of cities with the management of the estates being left to local musclemen or resident relatives. The cultivators were often harassed not only for realization of revenue but even for collection of arbitrary levies which sometime extended to the absurd hathiana and motorana being respectively cost of maintaining elephants and motor cars! Anyway, a feature of Nawab Sahib’s Zamindari management was his constant endeavour to develop infrastructure in his village, improvements in cattle breeds and seed quality so that the income from the estate improved. By 1920 he had managed to add many more villages to Chhatari by buying their Zamindari rights. What is more, he managed to establish new villages by bringing fallow tracts under cultivation. Indeed in later years he was to lament (in his two volumes autobiography yade ayyam) that if he had the foresight he would be establishing industries rather than acquiring more villages. The fact remains that in a few decades before abolition of the system, he was the last Zamindar in UP to have considerably added to his estate.

Public Life

The introduction of elected District Boards in the wake of the Government of India Act 1919 provided an opportunity to local elites to work for area development of their District as also to try their hand at ‘party politics’. While much development was witnessed in the southern and western parts of the country, in UP there was little progress and much politics in the Boards. One of the very few exceptions was Bulandshahr where the young Ahmad Saeed was first elected Chairman of the Board. The experience he gained in improvement of his own estate was put to very good use in the public cause and his Board stole a march over all others in the matter of opening schools, extending irrigation network, opening of dispensaries and above all starting the innovative practice of starting arrangements for marketing of agricultural produce – Bulandshahr soon became a ‘show case’ with Presidents and other office bearers of other District Boards making a beeline for the place to see for themselves how the hitherto unachieved was achieved.

His achievements did not go unnoticed and the Zamindars of the District elected him to be the member of the UP Legislative Council in 1920 where he played a pioneering role in initiating policies to develop agro-industries and institutional credit for the agricultural sector. As Minister Industries he was the founding father of establishing sugar industry and modern flour mills in the province. In 1925 he was appointed Home Member[[v]] a position which he held till 1933. As Home Member he was responsible for introducing a system of competitive test for recruitment of ‘upper subordinates’ (personnel above the rank of Head Constable) replace the earlier system of ‘recommendations’. He also took the revolutionary step of throwing open recruitment of certain ‘excluded castes’ – chiefly ‘ahirs’ and kurmis – at the upper subordinate level. In politics he was the leader of Zamindar party in the provincial legislature. Being a cross-communal alliance this party is believed to have acted as a cushion in absorbing communal tensions in the period 1925 to 1935. With a proven track record in consensus building he was an invitee to the first and second round table conferences held in London to find a solution to the political problems of India and to frame a constitutional framework for the country to accommodate the emerging political realities.

His public services and administrative competence were recognised when he was appointed to officiate as Governor of UP for a year in 1933 – this was the first time ever that an Indian was appointed to the position in any province. He was knighted in 1928 and there are indications that in 1933 there was a move to make him a ‘Lord temporal’.

Following the enactment of the Government of India Act 1935 which introduced a quasi federal polity, he withdrew from active politics but his counsel remained available in Government Committees. He was invited to be the Prime Minister of Hyderabad State in 1941, a position which he held till 1943 and to which he was reappointed in 1947 at a time of great turmoil. He made sincere efforts to facilitate peaceful merger of Hyderabad with the newly emerged Indian Union but was made to quit by the hotheads led by Qasim Razvi of the Majlis-i-Ittehadul Muslimeen with tragic consequences wrought by Police Action of September 1948.

Aligarh Affairs

He remained involved with the affairs of the MAO College and the University throughout his life from 1911 when he was first elected a Trustee of the College. He was the founder member of the Court of the University and remained associated with that body either as member or late Pro Chancellor and later still as Chancellor. His association with the Government of UP stood the University in good stead as he was instrumental in providing finances for establishment of the Ahmedi School for the Blind and in sanctioning grants for the Girls School and Intermediate College run by Shaikh Mohammed Abdullah till the institutions became part of the University in 1941.

In later years though his association with the University was in very formal and titular positions as Pro Chancellor and Chancellor, he was a symbol of continuity and a link of the past with a fast changing scenario - such linkages have their own importance in maintaining continuity and stability in institutions.

The Extraordinary Human Being

A man of innate charm and pleasant disposition, to all who had the good fortune of coming in contact with him, his humility and affection was palpable. In a speech in Aligarh Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit recounted that when she was incarcerated in Naini Central Jail for her part in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1933 Nawab Sahib came to inspect the prison as Governor and burst into tears seeing the daughter of Motilal Nehru languishing behind bars.

In his autobiography he refers to the death of his wife who left behind young children and mentions that during the course of the day he would play joyfully with the children and at night tiptoe to their room and shed tears at their loss. As long as age and health permitted, he personally led Taraweeh prayers in the mosque attached to his residence Rahat Manzil in Aligarh.

It was not as if he was just a bundle of touching emotions, unlike the run of the mill landlord he had imbibed much wisdom in his eventful career. In 1977 he invited those who had made it to the IAS and allied services over for dinner at his place; dining over, he gave us three pieces of advice which are worth repeating in full. First do not praise or run down anyone in superlatives – you may have to change your opinion. Second control your anger – it is infectious. Third learn the language of the people among whom you find yourselves – else you will be at the mercy of vested interests. It is a moot point how much of that sage advice was put to practice by us but thirty-four years down the road this writer testifies to their innate perspicuity.


[i] That his how the name was spelt in Government records.

[ii] In Punjab the term Zamindar simply connoted a peasant.

[iii] This word is an anglicized corruption of the word “reyaya” or subject of a ruler. In its corrupted form, however, the word means peasants paying land revenue.

[iv] It is a coincidence no doubt but an extraordinary coincidence that two of the most enterprising Muslims of the last century, Khwaja Abdul Hamied and the Nawab of Chhatari were born within a radius of twenty miles and their fathers bore the same name – Abdul Ali!

[v] Under the Government of India Act 1919 certain subjects were ‘transferred’ to the provinces and included agriculture, education and industries etc – these subjects were looked after by Ministers appointed among elected members of the Legislative Council; other subjects like Home and Finance were ‘reserved’ and directly administered by the Governor with the help of ‘Members’ who were de facto Ministers subject to the difference that their accountability was to the Governor and not the Council.


21-01-11, 08:09 PM
Remembering the ‘Beypore Sultan’ Vaikom Mohammed Basheer

By Najiya O, TwoCircles.net,

Kozhikode: It has been 17 years since Vaikom Muhammed Basheer left us. But that wouldn’t serve as a reason not to remember him on his 103rd birth anniversary. The ‘Beypore Sultan’ is indeed always in the minds of Malayalis. And that is precisely why literary figures and critics and even children in schools organize programmes to commemorate him every year, some even visiting his family and home at Beypore.

A stamp was issued in 2009 in honor of VM Basheer
Basheer was born on January 21, 1908 at Thalayolaparambu in Vaikom. He studied initially in a Malayalam medium school and then went to an English medium school in Vaikom. Attracted to the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and the Swadesi movement, he left school and joined the freedom struggle when in fifth form. As the princely states of Kochi and Travancore were not much in the freedom movement, Basheer went northwards to Malabar. In 1930 he went to Kozhikode to take part in the Salt Satyagraha and got arrested along with several others. Basheer was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment at the Kannur jail. He, along with hundreds of other political prisoners, was later released as per the Gandhi-Irwin Pact in 1931. Soon after his release Basheer again got involved in anti-British struggles and edited a revolutionary journal named ‘Ujjivanam’ (meaning Uprising) for which he was issued an arrest warrant. He soon left Kerala and began his long journey of seven years across the country and abroad. Basheer wandered doing all sorts of works that helped him keep away from starvation. He worked as a cook, newspaper seller, fruit seller, watchman etc. He even spent a few years at the Himalayas and the Ganges basin with Hindu saints and Sufi mystics.

When he came back to Kerala, he again got involved in political works and got arrested. He was jailed in different places and the stories he heard from the police and fellow prisoners there later appeared in his novels and short stories. He wrote ‘Premalekhanam’ (Love Letter) from jail in 1943 and published it on release. He wrote ‘Baalyakaalasakhi’ (Childhood Friend) also from jail, but published it only in 1944 after making revisions after his release. The novel is said to be ‘a piece torn from his life’. ‘Mathilukal’ (meaning Walls) is a famous work which tells the story of the love of a male prisoner and a female prisoner who never saw each other as they were on either sides of a wall.

Basheer left active politics after India won freedom. He married Fabi who was much younger to him in his forties. Afterwards, he settled down for a quiet life with his wife and two children Anees and Shahina at Beypore in Kozhikode, though continuing his writings. And the man, born and educated in Vaikom and settled in Beypore, became the ‘Beypore Sultan’. As common with great writers, Basheer too suffered from mental illness and had to undergo treatment in mental hospital twice. He died in Beypore on July 5, 1994.

The writer in Basheer was a strong critic of social customs and practices, as well as superstitions especially in the Muslim community of the time. And he said it all in the down-to-earth style unique to him only, which attracted him to the literary critics as well as the common people alike. Basheer wrote about the social conditions and situations in his own thought-provoking yet humorous style. Highly appreciated is his novel ‘Ntuppooppakkoranaendaarnnu’ (1951) which RE Asher (who translated most of Basheer’s work into English) translated with the title ‘Me Grandad ‘ad an Elephant!’. It deals with the mid 20th century Muslim community in Kerala, such as boasting about the past glory without doing much in the present, through the story of uneducated Kunjippaathumma and poet Nisaar Ahmed. Other notable works are Shabdangal (Voices), Paaththummaayude Aadu (Paathumma’s Goat), Bhaargavi Nilayam, Sthalathe Pradhaana Divyan, Muchcheettukalikkaarante Makal, Aanavaariyum Ponkurishum, Ettukaali Mammoonju etc.

Basheer never differentiated between the written language and the spoken one. He wrote in the language of his characters, who were mostly traditional rural Muslims, and a majority of them were uneducated. Their local dialects and natural style of talking were brought as such into his writings. Basheer gave importance to emotions and telling the story, without considering the grammar and structure of sentence.

Basheer was awarded the Padma Sri in 1982. He got the Kendra Sahitya Academy Fellowship and the Kerala Sahitya Academy Fellowship, besides the Vallathol Award and the Muttathu Varkki Award in 1993, and the Lalithambika Antharjanam Award in 1992.

21-01-11, 08:16 PM
Badshah Khan's hundred-year-old message of peace

By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net

"There is nothing surprising in a Muslim or a Pathan like me subscribing to the creed of nonviolence. It is not a new creed. It was followed 1,400 years ago by the Prophet all the time when he was in Mecca.” - Badshah Khan

A hundred years ago, a young Pathan of just 20 years of age, established a modern school to bring education to his people. Concerned about poverty, ignorance, and violence around him Abdul Ghaffar Khan started his first school in Utmanzai in Frontier Province in 1910 educating boys and girls. It was a successful venture that led to the establishment of several other schools. Pathans loved it and the British Raj did everything they could to stop it. Quite a contrast to what is happening today in the region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, home to millions of Pathans. Today in the same region Talibans burn the schools and American Greg Mortenson is busy building schools.

Pathans are proud people, they have been farmers, traders, and artists for generations but due to their geographic location their history is also one of violence. They love their guns now as they have loved their swords hundreds of years ago. Always ready to kill or die for honor, dignity, and promise they have always been fiercely independent. Therefore, it is quite remarkable that in a short time Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was able to raise a disciplined non-violent army consisting of thousands of Pathans who were ready to die for the cause of freedom.

Starting with his school in 1910, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan toured all districts of the Frontier Province to raise awareness about education. His tireless effort won him a place in the hearts of the Pathan and he came to be called Badshah Khan (King of Khans). His education mission soon turned into a social reform movement that included men and women, and under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi his organization Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants for God's creations) turned into a formidable army of non-violent soldiers.

Badshah Khan spent a large part of his life either in prison or in exile and until his last continue to struggle for justice and peace, never giving up the creed of non-violence. A deeply spiritual man, he found his strength for non-violence from Islam. To the non-violent soldiers of his army he gave the “weapon of the Prophet”- patience and righteousness. “No power on earth can stand against it,” he declared.

On April 23, 1930 his soldiers were tested of their patience and courage. More than 200 of them were brutally killed in Peshawar by British forces but one after another the brave soldiers of non-violence took the place of their fallen comrades to face the British bullets courageously. Eighty years after this incident, we need to learn more about Badshah Khan and his Khudai Khidmatgars to find out how these men and women were able to rise to the highest level of bravery and die for a higher cause rather than killing anyone.

Badshah Khan starting with a small school in his village was able to transform revenge-seeking tribals to an army whose biggest weapon was love and drew its strength from Islam. Just few lines of Khudai Khidmatgar's anthem is enough to show what they stood for:

“We are the army of God,
By death or wealth unmoved,
We march, our leader and we,
Ready to die.

We serve and we love
Our people and our cause.
Freedom is our goal,
Our lives the price we pay.”

A message needed more today in the age of suicide bombings and terrorism. But unfortunately, Badshah Khan and his message is largely forgotten by Pathans, Muslims, and India. India did recognize his contribution towards her freedom by awarding highest civilian award in India Bharat Ratna in 1987.

With the partition of India at the time of Independence, Badshah Khan had no option but to accept Pakistan. Just a year after independence he was arrested and remained under house arrest since 1954. Prison and exile continued to be his fate in Independent Pakistan till his death on January 20, 1988. As per his wishes, he was buried in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The two warring parties in the thick of Soviet Afghanistan declared temporary ceasefire to allow his burial.

Badshan Khan's message of peace, love, and non-violence is even more relevant and needed today than ever before, and not only to the Pathans but to the whole Muslim Ummah.


26-01-11, 07:22 PM
Tiranga: A Gimmick by RSS

By Shamsul Islam,

The RSS/BJP gang is once again on to its old pastime of whipping up frenzy against Muslims. They plan to unfurl, Tricolour, the Indian National Flag in Srinagar on January 26, 2011. It may not be out of context to know that BJP and its RSS mentors who are so zealous about hoisting Tricolour in Srinagar have least respect for Tricolour as we will see from the following documentary evidences available in the RSS archives..

Organiser, the RSS English organ in its third issue (July 17, 1947) disturbed by the Constituent Assembly’s decision to select the Tricolour as the National Flag, carried an editorial titled 'National Flag', demanding that the saffron flag be chosen instead.

The same demand continued to be raised in editorials on the eve of Independence of India (July 31 editorial titled 'Hindusthan' and August 14 editorial titled 'Whither') simultaneously rejecting the whole concept of a composite nation. The August 14 issue also carried 'Mystery behind the Bhagwa Dhawaj' (saffron flag) which while demanding hoisting of saffron flag at the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi, openly denigrated the choice of the Tri-colour as the National Flag in the following words: "the people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country."

Golwalkar, second chief of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the organization till date, while addressing a gathering in Nagpur on July 14, 1946, stated that it was the saffron flag which in totality represented their great culture. It was the embodiment of God: "We firmly believe that in the end the whole nation will bow before this saffron flag".

Even after independence when the Tricolour became the National Flag, it was the RSS which refused to accept it as the National Flag. Golwalkar, while discussing the issue of the National Flag in an essay entitled 'Drifting and Drifting' in the book ‘Bunch of Thoughts’, an RSS publication and collection of writings of Golwalkar (treated as Bible for the RSS cadres), has the following to say: "Our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating. Ours is an ancient and great nation with a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem at all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly we had. Then why this utter void, this utter vacuum in our minds?"

Importantly, nowhere in the functioning of the RSS is the Tricolour or National Flag used even today. The RSS headquarters at Reshambaugh, Nagpur does not fly it nor do the RSS shakhas display it in daily parades. It seems the National Flag is meant only to whip up frenzy against Muslims. In 1991(Ekta Yatra) it was Murli Manohar Joshi, another favourite in the RSS hierarchy, who went to unfurl the Tricolour at Lal Chowk of Srinagar, Kashmir. Uma Bharti carried a Tri-colour because it was an Idgah which was being targeted by Hindutva. On the other hand, it is important to note that the Hindutva cadres who went to demolish Babri mosque in 1992 did not carry the Tricolour. They carried only saffron flags which were subsequently hoisted there. The RSS is faced with a peculiar dilemma. For Hindus it has saffron flag and for Muslims Tricolour. This selective use of the national symbols is bound to boomerang and further expose the Hindutva camp's real designs. But one thing is sure that ‘Muslim Bashing’ remains the favourite pastime of the Hindutva gang.

(The writer teaches at Delhi University)


30-01-11, 09:43 AM
Im searching for the 1800th century and Tipu Sultan :up:

Tipu sultan was cheated by his Prime Minister Ramayya, a Brahmin, who spied for Brits.
Otherwise British army would have been crushed once again by Mysore.
When Brits came, today's India was not there. There were Mughal Empire and many princely states. States ruled by Hindu Kings had helped the Brits establish their bases in their respective states in fear of Sultans.

30-01-11, 09:47 AM
http://twocircles.net/2011jan23/bjps_rashtriya_ekta_yatra_heading_wrong_direction. html

16-02-11, 08:34 PM
BJP’s bid to rename Ahmedabad as ‘Amdavad’

By TCN Special Correspondent,

Ahmedabad: Hundreds of road signs are being changed from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to ‘Amdavad’ Municipal Corporation apparently in a bid to erase the Muslim heritage of the city. AMC is controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Ahmedabad completed 600 years of its existence on February 11, with the AMC not holding even a single function to mark the event. The city derives its name from Ahmed Shah, a Muslim ruler who founded the city in 1411, according to authentic historical sources.

All the billboards at Ahmedabad International Airport, railway station, inter-state bus terminus and at other public places, have been changed overnight with ‘Amdavad’, erasing Muslim ring from it.

The logo of the civic body has also been changed by using the word ‘Amdavad’, with no proposal in this regard put before AMC’s Standing Committee, the highest decision making body of the civic body.

All the new stationary printed by the AMC has ‘Amdavad’ in place of Ahmedabad.

However, the development has been ignored deliberately or non-deliberately by all the newspapers, except an English daily.

But city mayor Asit Vora with his roots in the RSS has no explanation about changing the city’s 600-year-old name by removing the Muslim tone from it, indicating a bid to wipe out the Muslim heritage of this largest city of the state.

With Muslims accounting for about 20 per cent of its population, Ahmedabad has been famous as Manchester of India for its textile industries. The city is also known the world over for the Sabarmati Ashram from where Mahatma Gandhi launched freedom struggle and liberated India from the clutches of the British.

In fact, ever since the Hindu right groups captured power in the civic body in 1987, they have been demanding to rename the city. BJP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and organizations connected with them had been demanding to rename the city as Karnavati as they believe that it was founded by Karna, one of the warriors in mythical Mahabharat. But their dreams could not materialize owing to opposition from Muslims as well as secular Hindus.

But now BJP with its brute majority in the state assembly as also AMC, and Muslims and secular Hindus rendered powerless in highly communalized Gujarat under Narendra Modi having won his popularity following widespread anti-Muslim riots in 2002, has now chosen a backdoor method to wipe out the Muslim identity of this historical city.

Though the name of the city in central and state government departments continues to be Ahmedabad, BJP is trying to erase its Muslim heritage from the mind of the city’s residents by popularizing ‘Amdavad’ through its documents and billboards and road signages.

Commenting on it, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) president J S Bandukwala said it indicated hatred of BJP and RSS towards Muslims.

“They cannot tolerate any form of Muslim name or historical figure’’, he stated.

“But they forget that Muslims are the second largest community in India, living in each and every district of the country. We are not going to leave India and we are here to stay. Muslims do not need saffron goodwill to survive in India.’’, commented Bandukwala.

“The RSS and Nagpur people should better get used to it’’, he suggested.

Another social activist Jabir Mansuri described the development as “communalist and dangerous’’.

But he said: “BJP is mistaken if it thinks that changing the words or removing the Muslim tone from the city’s name can erase the existence of the Muslims from the city or their connection with the city’’.

He said that there are scores of old monuments, mosques, mausoleums and even a grand fort in the heart of the city built by city’s founder Ahmed Shah and no one could erase their landmarks reminiscing of its Muslim heritage as old as the city itself.

In the past, names of several cities in the country like that of Bombay, Madras, Trivandrum, Calcutta, Bangalore, Cochin and Calicut have been changed owing to political demands or under pressure from Hindu right groups. Even Baroda in Gujarat was also changed to Vadodara.

16-02-11, 10:03 PM
Gandhi made Brahmins rulers of India
Government is also in the hands of imprudent barbarians. No one dares to question except us.

We are called sudras (sons of prostitutes) by Brahmins. Why should our sons be called sons of prostitutes? No one thinks of this disgrace. Those who survive in politics do not care about it. They implicitly obey and submit to what all the Brahmin says.

When I was leading the Vaikom agitation, Mr. Sathukutti, the son of Nilambam Zamindar, used to meet me often and discuss. He used to address me as “Naicker samy”. Not only that. He used to talk high of his birth because he was born to a Namboodiri Brahmin. He would often tell me that I should not consider him as one born to a Nayar. Yet he was a graduate BA. Who is there to condemn this mentality in our people?

Consider for a moment what these Azhwars have done. They attained moksha by prostituting their wives. This is revealed in the Purana - Bhaktha Vijayam.

One sudra, an Azhwar, gained a place in heaven by allowing his wife to lead the life of a prostitute. The Nayanmars gave their wives to Brahmins. Even to this day the orthodox people propagate these things without shame or self-respect. When I point out these things, I am accused of talking damagingly of puranas (mythologies). Who else talks boldly of these? These puranas ruin our morality. What else can we say?

Added to all these the Brahmins have stuck to the seats of government. After India was freed from British rule, power has been transferred into the hands of Brahmins. I blame Gandhi for that. A big conspiracy was hatched to keep us eternally as sudras. Today (1958) everything is in their hands. Today the President is a Brahmin. Deputy premier is also a Brahmin. The Speaker of the Parliament is also a Brahmin. Added to all these if we plead for the eradication of castes, they send us as the accused to jail for a period of three years. Who worries about all these? Most of the luminaries in public life want to safeguard the government, casteism, sastras, puranas, religion and god. They think that there is no other go for them to live.

No one who depends on votes and bribe will question the atrocities perpetuated in the name of caste, god, religion and government.

Britishers at least considered us as men with equal rights.

Today the government is in the hands of Brahmins, who call us as sons of prostitutes (sudras). That is why they have easily found safeguards in the Constitution itself. According to law those who demand casts to be abolished have to be prepared to undergo imprisonment for three years.

This casteism is a chronic disease that has eaten our society for centuries. What medicine we use for scabies and itches, cannot cure cancer. We have to operate the body and remove the portion affected by cancer. Treatment will be different for different diseases. According to Hindu law we are sudras for more than 3,000 years. We are sons of prostitutes for over 3000 years. Our Constitution gives full protection to this evil.

We must root out this evil. We must be rid of this ridicule. It is indeed the most difficult task. Unless you pour boiling water on the roots it will not die. Unless we take severe steps we cannot eradicate castes.

Not only in Tamil Nadu, but even in the whole of India there is no force that can raise a bold voice like us. Those who are after power will never dream of raising any protest. It is only those who are dedicated to serve the people sincerely and selflessly, can dare to risk their life even for the eradication of the castes. What have those who entered the legislature done so far? They cannot do anything? We can get posts by simply sending a telegram. Yet we are not prepared.

A few days ago Nehru made a sickening note about the legislatures and other elected bodies. He even threatened that he would retire and seek renunciation. What happened? (To be continued)

(Collected Works of Periyar , (pp.151to 153) (4th edn. 2007), The Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution, Periyar Thidal, 50-EVK Sampath Rd., Vepery, Madras - 600 007.)


21-02-11, 10:49 PM

Dr. Rajendra Prasad

The shrine of Somnath has risen like the phoenix from its ruins a number of times. The present shrine is the seventh temple built on the original site.

A reference of the presiding deity of the temple, Lord Someshwar is available in the Rig Veda. It was also a sacred place in the days of the Mahabharat. It was called Bhairavashwar in Satya Yug, Shravanikeshwar in Treta Yug and Shrigaleshwar in Dwapur Yug. The Prabhas Khanda in Skand Purana giving description of the Linga of Somnath says that it is a Swayambhu Linga of great prowess, as bright as the disc of Sun, surrounded by a serpent, of the size of the egg of a hen, called Sparalinga and situated underground.

The first temple of Somnath can be said to have existed about the beginning of the Christian era. The second temple replaced the first one on the very site somewhere around 649 A.D.

In 725 A.D. Junayad, the Governor of Sind sent Arab armies and both Vallabhi, the capital of Saurashtra and Prabhas were destroyed in this onslaught. The second temple was probably destroyed during this attack. Nagabhatta II, of the later Pratihara line of Kanauj, constructed the third temple, a large structure of red sandstone sometime in 815 A.D.

Zeal for Islam was the dominant role of the tenth-century Turks, as of most new converts. The great missionary creed of Mohammed, which to the Arabs and Persians had become a familiar matter of routine, was a source of fiery inspiration to the untutored men of the steppes. To spread the faith by conquest doubled their natural zest for battle and endowed them with the devoted valour of martyrs.

Lane Poole, author of Medieval India, has said that Mahommad of Ghazni, "who had vowed that every year should see him wage a holy war against the infidels of Hindustan" could not rest from his idol-breaking campaign so long as the temple of Somnath remained inviolate. It was for this specific purpose that he, at the very close of his career, undertook his arduous march across the desert from Multan to Anhilwada on the coast, fighting as he went, until he saw at last the famous temple.

Mahmud Ghazni attacked this temple in 1026 A.D. and after a week-long resistance, captured it. When the soldiers scaled the walls with ladders all they found inside were defenseless worshippers. Fifty thousand devotees praying to the linga and weeping passionately with hands clasped were massacred in cold blood. The Shiva Linga, adorned with gems and precious stones was broken and the temple burnt. After the battle, Mahmud and his troops are described as having carried away across the desert the equivalent of 6.5 tons of gold. The fragments of the idol were carried off to grace the conquerors' palace and the temple gates were set up at Ghazni.

Mahmud was hailed throughout the Islamic world as a second Mohammed and his smashing of Somnath was lauded in the Sufi poetry of Attar, Sanai and Omar Khayyam. These poets equated Somnath with the temples to the pagan goddess Al-Manat destroyed by Mohammed and viewed its destruction as the 'will of Allah' and the 'enlightened march of Islam.' The sack of Somnath made Mahmud of Ghazni a champion of the faith in the eyes of every Muslim.

Minhaj-as-Siraj tells us how Mahmud became widely known for having destroyed as many as thousand temples, and of his great feat in destroying the temple of Somnath and carrying off its idol, which he asserts was broken into four parts. One part he deposited in the Jami Masjid of Ghazni, one he placed at the entrance of the royal palace, the third he sent to Mecca, and the fourth to Medina.

The fourth temple was built by King Bhoja Parmar of Malwa and Bhima Chalukya of Anhilwada Patan during 1024-1042 A.D.

In 1169 A.D. the fifth temple, along with its integrated complex rose again during the reign of Kumarapala, the Chalukya King of Anhilwada Patan, Pasupat Acharya Bhava Brahaspati being the head of the shrine. Chalukya King Bhimadeva II added Megalanad Mandap in 1216 A.D. In 1287 A.D. further additions were made to the temple by Pasupat Acharya Tripurantaka under Sarang Deva Vaghela, King of Gujarat.

Then came the invasion of Allauddin Khilji's general Alaf Khan, who captured and once again destroyed the temple and idol in 1296 A.D. According to Taj-ul-Ma'sir of Hasan Nizami, Raja Karan of Gujarat was defeated and forced to flee, "fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword" and "more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors".

This fifth destroyed temple was repaired by Mahipala Deva, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 A.D. and the Linga was installed by his son Khengar sometime between 1326 and 1351 A.D.

In 1375 A.D., the temple was once again destroyed by Muzaffar Shah I, the Sultan of Gujarat. About 1400 A.D. it was reconstructed by the local public.

In the year 1451 A.D. Mahmud Begda became the Sultan of Gujarat. In few years he became very powerful and after continuously attacking the Hindu rulers of Junagadh for five years, he finally defeated them in 1469 A.D. and the temple once again faced destruction. The idol was removed from the temple and the temple was desecrated. The temples in the entire state were demolished and Hindus were forcefully converted to Islam.

In 1560 A.D., possibly after Akbar's conquest of Somnath, extensive repairs and renovation of the temple was carried out. During Akbar's reign the temple remained unmolested.

Thus, the Hindus rebuilt the temple several times, but the Muslims destroyed it again. The temple was last destroyed by the Mughal tyrant, Aurangzeb. In 1701 A.D. he ordered Prince Mohammed Azam, the Viceroy of Gujarat, to destroy the temple of Somnath. Aurangzeb, as history records, was a brutal ruler who left a trail of genocide and destruction, mainly aimed at converting Hindus. Aurangzeb built a mosque on the site of the Somnath temple, using some columns from the temple, whose Hindu sculptural motifs remained visible.

Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore built the temple again in 1783 at a site adjacent to the ruined temple.

Somnath, thus, withstood the shocks of time and the attacks of the destroyers. Aged, infirm, desecrated it stood up once again when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Deputy Prime Minister of India, rescued it from neglect and pledged on November 13, 1947 for its reconstruction. Mahatma Gandhi also approved of the retaking of Somnath but did not live to see it happen. Bhoomi-Khana for the Garbha-Grih was performed by Shri U.N. Dhebar on April 8, 1950 and Maharaja Jamsaheb Digwijay Singhji laid the foundation stone on May 8, 1950. The Linga Pratishtha ceremony was performed by the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad on May 11, 1951. On December 1, 1995 the President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, performed the Kalash Pratishtha of the temple's Nritya Mandap and dedicated the temple to the nation.

If Hindus honor Somnath, they should not look down upon attempts to restore Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi, but, on the contrary, help accomplish this aim. If Somnath is a matter of national pride, then certainly Ayodhya and the others deserve to be as well. If a legal process could be created to reclaim Somnath, a similar process can be created to reclaim these other three sites. If Somnath can be dedicated to the nation, so can the other sites.

28-02-11, 07:53 PM
Muslim history of Gujarat


Talk about Muslims of Gujarat and pictures of genocide of 2002 come to mind. How is that Muslims, who have lived and shaped Gujarati identity for over a millennium, are now living on the fringe of Gujarati society? TwoCircles.net series on Gujarat will trace Muslim presence and contributions to Gujarat and reveal their present condition.

By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net,

Exactly 600 years ago, four Ahmads stood by the side of the river Sabarmati with a rope in hand laying the foundation of the city of Ahmedabad. Presence of these four Ahmads was no accident; these were chosen after a vision by the newly-crowned Sultan of Gujarat Ahmad Shah I. According to his vision, the first planned city of medieval India was to be established by four persons named Ahmad who had not missed any of their obligatory prayers. After a frantic search across Gujarat four Ahmads - Sultan Ahmad Shah I, Shaikh Ahmad Khattu of Sarkhez, Qazi Ahmad Jod of Patan, and scholar Malik Ahmad came together on 7 Zil Qa’da 813 ( 2-3 March 1411) to establish a city that has survived many ups and downs in its 600-year-old history.

But Muslim history of Gujarat does not begin with the establishment of Ahmedabad. In fact, Muslims were already in Gujarat for 600 years before Allauddin Khilji’s army appeared in this region in 1297. Just like Muslims arrival in Malabar in Kerala, as soon as Islam began spreading in Arabian Peninsula, Muslims began to make their presence felt in the coastal region of Gujarat. The first Muslim foray into Gujarat appears to be in 15 hijri or the year 635 CE when governor of Bahrain sent an expedition to Thana and Bhaurch. The contact with Muslim continued for several centuries in the form of raid, trade, and migration.

Famous jali of Sidi Saeed Masjid of Ahmedabad
After Sindh, it is Gujarat where the first Muslim rule was established in Indian sub-continent. Sanjan, a small town on the coast saw the establishment of an independent principality. Three rulers Fadl Ibn Mahan, Muhammad bin Fadl, and Mahan ibn Fadl ibn Mahan ruled successively from 813 CE to 841 CE. Sanjan, which was called Sandan by Arabs find references in travelogues of Arab writers as an important port and industrial town.

Jama Masjid established by the Mahan dynasty continued to function even after the end of dynasty. Local Hindu rulers allowed Muslim population to live, trade, and pray. But Sanjan was not the only Muslim inhabitation. Historigrapher Abul Hasan Ali Masudi reached Cambay in 915 CE and he saw a large number of Arab Muslim settled in Cambay, Chembur, Thana, Sopara, Sanjan, and Bharuch. He wrote that Muslim led honourable life under Hindu kings and they had built a number of mosques where regular prayers were offered.

A number of these mosques have survived, making Gujarat site of some of the oldest mosques of India. Sanjan still has a functioning jama masjid but its date cannot be confirmed. The oldest mosque in Gujarat is the Jama Masjid of Bharuch which was completed in the year 1065. Also in Bharuch is probably the oldest Islamic structure Madrasa Maulana Ishaq built in 1038 CE. Both buildings were constructed well before Muslim ruled Bharuch.

While riches of Gujarat attracted traders and migration, it also made an attractive target for Mahmood Ghaznavi who attacked the temple at Somnath in the year 1024. About 150 years later it was Shahabuddin Ghori who attacked Gujarat but failed twice and not until 1197 when his general Qutubuddin Aibak had some success in Gujarat.

The story of modern Gujarat doesn’t begin till we see the establishment of sovereign Sultanate of Gujarat by Muzaffar Shah I by declaring his independence in 1407. Four years later his grandson Ahmad Shah I, founder of Ahmedabad, becomes the Sultan and start giving shape to a region that we recognize as present day Gujarat.

03-03-11, 08:04 PM
The making of Gujarat

By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net

Part 2 of TwoCircles.net series on Gujarat

Sultans of Gujarat ruled the region for over a period of 160 years but the marks that they left on the ground helped shape Gujarat for centuries to come. Gujarat was at its widest spread under the Sultans who governed a vast area which forms now part of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Gujarat as a state of Independent India was founded only on March 1, 1960 but its identity as a separate region with distinct language and culture was established under Gujarati sultans.

Laying the foundation of Ahmedabad in 1411, just a few months after Ahmed Shah was crowned, was not only a dream of a new regime to firmly establish itself on the ground but a plan for a new identity and new culture for a region that can declare its true independence from Delhi which was the power, religious, and cultural center of Muslim India.

In many ways, sultanate in Gujarat foreshadows the Mughal dyanasty. Like Mughal emperors, Sultans of Gujarat married Rajput princesses, helped create an environment of communal harmony, patronized art and culture to promote a common identity for their subjects.

The word Gujarat is a corrupted form of Gurjar Rashtra, a reference to its earliest inhabitants. The first mention of Gujari as a language is found in Amir Khurau’s Nuh Sipihr. But Gujarati as a language did not develop as a language till the fifteenth century.

Just like Urdu, Gujarati also developed as a language because of the effort of the preachers to reach out to common people.

The yokels who live in the wilderness
Will not understand without Gujari
I must make books thus
I must take on their speech so that they understand.
[Pir Mashaikh, a Gujari poet and Ismaili preacher]

But by 16th century it has developed into a literary language so much so that a Sufi poet says,
Like the speech
Flowing from my mouth:
Arabia and Iran join in it
To become one

The speech that flows
From the heart,
The speech of Arabia and Iran:
Listen, listen to the speech
Of Gujarat.
[Khub Muhammad Chishti (1539-1614)]

Since Gujaratis came into contact with Arabic and Persian speakers directly and even earlier than people of the rest of India, many Gujarati words are Arabic and Persian in origin. Over the years, the language has developed rules for incorporating these words into Gujarati. These words are so common and have been used for so long that native speakers of Gujaratis are not even aware of their foreign origin.

Gujarati sultans helped promote trade by setting up infrastructure and providing peace and security. Independence from Delhi raised the status of Gujarat and freed up resources for its development. Ahmed Shah not only started the establishment of a new capital but also he is the first one to set up navy in India for the protection of trading ships. Hindus were also given equal opportunities for employment, during Ahmed Shah I’s rule half of his army consisted of Hindus and some of the top posts in sultanate administration were filled by Hindu officials.

In fact, in the planning of cities, commercially advantageous central areas were given to Hindu and Jain merchants. V.S. Pramar in "A Study of some Indo-Muslim Towns in Gujarat" makes the observation that planning of city was also done taking into consideration Hindu and Jain traders practices of conducting business. So unlike Arabian land where concept of “suq” and market was well-established no such commercial structure came up in medieval Gujarat as Hindu and Jain traders conducted business from their home. Also, to further provide protection to traders, major towns in Gujarat were fortified in addition to having a citadel.

Gujarati sultans were way ahead of their time by building an administration to not only govern but develop a region. They established new urban centers but also helped promote agriculture by giving lands to soldiers as part of their salary tying them to the land and increasing agriculture output. Thus the foundation of Gujarat was laid that survived later Maratha and British rule and emerged as a state in independent India on May 1st, 1960.

[Poems from Samira Sheikh. Forging A Region : Sultans, Traders, and Pilgrims in Gujarat, 1200-1500. Oxford University Press, 2010]

18-04-11, 09:14 PM
Contribution of secular Muslim rulers suppressed in India: SC judge

By Md. Ali, TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: Indian masses are fed on a history which selectively projects the cases of religious intolerance of Muslim rulers. Contribution of secular Muslim rulers like Tipu Sultan has deliberately been suppressed, said Justice Markanday Katju, senior judge of the highest Indian court, Supreme Court of India. He was speaking at the concluding day of a conference on “Towards Knowledge, Development and Peace - Outlining Roadmaps for the Future” organized by the Institute of Objective Studies that is celebrating its silver jubilee.

"You will get to read how Mahmood Ghaznawi demolished temples and how other Muslim rulers converted Hindus but you will never get to know that Tipu Sultan used to fund 153 temples," added Katju who is also known for his deep interest in Urdu. Though the view has earlier been shared by secular historians and social scientists and civil society activists, it was perhaps first time that a senior most judge of the SC publicly expressed it.

Justice Markanday Katju speaking at the IOS conference
Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Katju also gave the example of Nawab of Awadh who was known for his secular way of functioning. Katju considered this kind of “suppression of an important part of our civilization history” as the main cause of growth of communalism in India. But he also said that India is a country which is very diverse and can’t live without secularism. Calling India as the “country of migrants” Katju regarded the Indian culture as “Sanskrit–Urdu” culture.

Speaking at the occasion, Syed Shahabuddin, senior Muslim leader and intellectual lauded the efforts of the IOS for creating a platform for the social scientists, intellectuals and those from politics to come together and plan a roadmap for change. The conference concluded with the presidential speech of Dr. Manzoor Alam, chairman of the IOS.

The conference passed a resolution demanding implementation of the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission, the Sachar Committee and Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission. It also demanded the establishment of the Equal Opportunity Commission.

The other resolutions which were passed on the occasion are as follows: -

1. The conference notes with a degree of satisfaction the rise in literacy rate as per the latest census figures but expresses its dismay on absence of enlightenment which is essential for developing a versatile personality. We do believe that though the education is spreading the world over it is not bringing refinement, broad vision, intellectual and moral richness as well as happiness in human lives. The conference urges all concerned to promote the goals of enlightenment as enshrined in the preamble of the Indian Constitution.

2. The conference resolves that the knowledge revolution will remain an empty slogan if access to knowledge remains limited to a privileged few excluding the large masses of the poor and the downtrodden. The conference also urges all concerned to give priority to the spread of education amongst minorities and the marginalized sections of the society. We, therefore, urge establishment of more and more minority institutions by the minority communities and simultaneously demand the Central and State Governments to take appropriate steps to set up adequate numbers of educational institutions of the state in the minority-concentrated areas. The conference also believes that no meaningful education would be possible without recognising due importance of primary education being imparted in the mother tongue.

3. The conference resolves that education is the key to empowerment. Knowledge alone can bring about sustainable development which must be based on generational equity and should be fully inclusive. This inclusive development, the conference, urges should be based on preservation of India's rich diversity.

4. The conference resolves that inclusive growth is not possible without equal opportunities being given to all sections of the society particularly minorities and other marginalised communities. The conference, therefore, urges the Government of India to take immediate steps to set up an Equal Opportunity Commission.

5. The conference resolves that so long we have injustices in our society, no meaningful development or peace could be achieved and therefore to attain the lofty and cherished goal of peace through knowledge and development, we must strive to eliminate all forms of injustices and create a truly just, humane and egalitarian society. The roadmap of future in a knowledge society should, therefore, be based on expansion, inclusion and excellence.

6. The conference resolves that lasting peace can be achieved through enlightenment and knowing each other and appreciating distinctive identity of each other. The goal of attainment of peace will remain a dream till we achieve peace between and within various religions, castes, tribes and groups.

7. The conference urges the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan to release all prisoners of Pakistan and India respectively who have been falsely implicated particularly Dr. Mohammad Khaleel Chisti and Sabarjit Singh. The conference urges the use of pardoning power to ensure release of the two prisoners. The conference resolves world peace can be achieved if lasting peace is ensured in the Indian sub-continent. Release of prisoners of each other country will create most conducive environment for
http://twocircles.net/2011apr17/contribution_secular_muslim_rulers_suppressed_indi a_sc_judge.html

09-05-11, 04:24 PM
Ayodhya Timeline: 1528 -- 2011
By TCN News,

New Delhi: The Babri Masjid was built in 1528 in Ayodhya town of Uttar Pradesh by Mir Baqi, a commander of first Mughal emperor Babur. Remaining nondescript and undisputed for 325 years, the mosque invited first clash challenging its propriety in 1853 and has not turned back since – the great saga of the dispute continues.

Here is the dateline of Babri Masjid spanning about 500 years.

1528: Babri Masjid was built in Ayodhya by Mir Baqi, a commander of first Mughal emperor Babur.

1853: First recorded incident of Hindu-Muslim violence over the site with Hindus alleging the mosque was built on the site of a razed Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Ram.

1859: British rulers erect a fence and allow Muslims and Hindus to worship separately in the inner and outer courtyards.

1885: The dispute is dragged to court for the first time when Mahant Raghubar Das files a suit in a Faizabad court seeking permission to build a Ram temple adjoining the Babri mosque.

Dec 23, 1949: About 50 Hindus allegedly sneak in idols of Lord Ram in the mosque under the central dome. This leads to daily Hindu prayers at the site. Muslims stop offering namaz.

Jan 16, 1950: Gopal Singh Visharad files suit in Faizabad city court seeking exclusive rights to perform prayers for "Ram Lalla". He also seeks judicial restraint on the removal of idols.

Dec 5, 1950: Mahant Paramahans Ramchandra Das files suit to continue with the Hindu prayers and keeping the Ram idols at the Babri mosque, which he calls a "structure".

Dec 17, 1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit seeking transfer of disputed site.

Dec 18, 1961: Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Board of Waqf files suit seeking possession of Babri mosque site.

1984: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) launches a campaign to open the locks of the Babri mosque so as to "liberate" the birthplace of Lord Ram and build a grand temple.

Feb 1, 1986: Faizabad district judge allows Hindus to worship at the site. Locks are opened. Angry Muslims set up Babri Mosque Action Committee in protest.

June 1989: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gives formal backing to the VHP, giving renewed life to the temple movement.

July 1, 1989: Fifth suit filed in the name of Bhagwan Ram Lalla Virajman.

Nov 9, 1989: The Rajiv Gandhi government permits 'shilanyas', or ground-breaking ceremony near the Babri mosque.

Sep 25, 1990: BJP president L.K. Advani launcheS Rath Yatra - from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, raising passions all over the country. Communal riots follow.

November 1990: Advani arrested in Samastipur in Bihar. The BJP withdraws support to Prime Minister V.P. Singh, whose government is propped by the Left and the BJP. V.P. Singh government is voted out, he resigns.

October 1991: Kalyan Singh government in Uttar Pradesh acquires 2.77 acres of land around Babri mosque.

Dec 6, 1992: Thousands massed at Ayodhya demolish the Babri mosque, triggering widespread communal riots. A makeshift Ram temple is hurriedly built. Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao vows to rebuild the mosque.

Dec 16, 1992: M.S. Liberhan Commission set up to probe the circumstances leading to the mosque razing.

January 2002: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee sets up an Ayodhya Cell in his office to talk to Hindu and Muslim leaders to resolve the dispute.

April 2002: Three high court judges begin hearings on determining who owns the Ayodhya site.

March-August 2003: Archaeological Survey of India excavates in Ayodhya on the directions of the Allahabad High Court. It claims to have found an evidence of a temple beneath the mosque. Muslims dispute the findings.

September 2003: A court rules that seven Hindu leaders should stand trial for inciting the mosque demolition.

October 2004: Advani reiterates the BJP's "unwavering" commitment to building a temple at Ayodhya.

July 2005: Suspected Islamic militants attack the site, using a jeep packed with explosives. Security forces kill five attackers.

June 2009: The Liberhan Commission submits report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 17 years after its formation.

September 28, 2010: Supreme Court gives go-ahead for Allahabad High Court judgement on Sep 30, rejecting appeals for deferment.

September 30, 2010: Allahabad High Court accepts that the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram. The majority judgment of the three-judge bench orders for the division of the disputed land with one-third for the Sunni Waqf Board, one-third for the Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the party that claims to represent the deity 'Ram Lalla'.

May 09, 2011: The Supreme Court stays the Allahabad High Court's September 30, 2010 verdict on the Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.


30-05-11, 11:33 PM
Veteran CPI-M leader and MLA Mostafa Bin Kashem jumps to death

By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net,

Kolkata: Veteran CPI-M leader and sitting MLA Professor Mostafa Bin Kashem committed suicide here on 29th May by jumping from the fifth floor of the Government Guest House for MLAs. Seventy-year-old Prof Mostafa had been suffering from urology problems. He was MLA from Basirhat Uttar constituency in North 24 Parganas district.

Yesterday he was at the Government Guest House for MLAs in Kolkata. At afternoon he jumped from 5th floor, but his body landed on the balcony of the first floor. His son Masum Bin Kashem found his body. His both kidneys were not properly active for last few years. Recently one kidney was removed. So he was depressed over it. He had written a suicide note where he clearly stated that, due to his two kidneys have been damaged he has no right to live. So he has taken this way to finish his life.

He lived in village Nehalpur Dhanyakuria under Swarupnagar police Station of North 24 Parganas district. He was also ex Member of Rajya Sabha. He was first elected Member in West Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1977 from Baduria but in 1982 he was defeated. In 1991 he was elected from Swarupnagar constituency which he held till 2006. After delimitation he changed his constituency to Basirhat Uttar in the same district and he won the seat in the 2011 assembly poll.

For a long time he was chief Advisor of West Bengal Madrasa Board. He was also attached to West Bengal Waqf Board. He established a degree college after Ex Minister & Professor Syed Nurul Hasan in Swarupnagar.

He was born in village Khaspur of Baduria area. He passed matriculation from Dhanykuria High School. He was graduate from prestigious Presidency College of Kolkata and Masters in Political Science from Calcutta University.

After completed his education he joined the service in civil defence department for few days. In 1967 he joined as a professor of Political Science at Basirhat College. He retired in 2007. He has only son & daughter and wife.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee along with several TMC and Congress leaders visited Kashem’s room in the MLA hostel and expressed condolence. Several CPI-M leaders also visited the place.

Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said, “We have lost a veteran and learned leader of our party as well as West Bengal’s people.”

He will be laid to final rest today in his native village.

31-05-11, 06:52 PM
Aliah University: Past and Present

By TCN News,

Students of Aliah University are divided on the issue of name of the historic educational institution. A section of the students, particularly those studying religious subjects, wants addition of Madarsa tag as was the case before it becoming a university. But another section of those learning modern, technical and professional courses opposes the demand on the premise that the word Madarsa sounds like a school besides carrying the risk of its students being discriminated by companies at the time of recruitment. They, however, are ready to accept a name on the pattern of Jamia Millia Islamia or Aligarh Muslim University.

Before getting the status of university in 2007, it was Aliah Madarsa. The new status made it Aliah University (in English) and Jamia Aliah (in Urdu/Arabic). However, students protested and demanded continuation of the word Madarsa in its name. The Left Front in power then did not heed the demand, but Mamata Banejee in a bid to please Muslims promised the protestors that if she came to power she will fulfill their demand, and last week she did so acting on her promise, but this instigated another protest by a new section of the students. The students of professional and technical courses do not want Madarsa tag.

This is the right time to look back at the 231-year-long journey of the institution which, never in its entire history, saw its name becoming an issue of debate, protest or demonstration. It was set up in 1780 as Mohammedan College of Calcutta, popularly known as Madrasah-i-Aliah or Calcutta Madrasah.

Aliah University: A Historical Note

Aliah University has with it the rich heritage of the 230-year old educational and cultural institution, Mohammedan College of Calcutta, popularly known as Madrasah-i-Aliah or Calcutta Madrasah, the first educational institution set up in India in 1780 by Warren Hestings, the then Governor General of India. Thus, one of the oldest centres of higher learning and culture, the institution is steeped in history. Many eminent scholars were associated with this institution as administrators, principals, teachers as well as students.

The Aliah University

Calcutta Madrasah was upgraded to Calcutta Madrasah College and then to Aliah University by the Government of West Bengal through Aliah University Act XXVII of 2007 passed in West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

The Early Years

Calcutta Madrasah was established chiefly for the study of the Arabic and Persian languages and Muslim Law so that the sons of the Muslim gentry can perform the duties as officers for running the revenue administration and judiciary. The Naib Nizam was instructed to recruit the students of the Madrasah as vacancies occurred in the Fauzdari Courts, on production of certificates of efficiency. However, within a decade Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Astronomy, Islamic Theology, Oriental Studies, Natural Philosophy, Geological Studies, Law, Logic, Rhetoric, Grammar, and Oratory were added on the list of prescribed subjects for study. In 1821, the Annual Examination of the Madrasah was held in the presence of many respectable officials and gentlemen of Calcutta. This was the first public examination held in British India. A medical class, headed by Dr Breton, Professor of Medicine, was started at this Madrasah in 1826 for the first time in British India. Dr Breton was authorized to purchase a skeleton and collect medical books. An anatomical work published by John Taylor was arranged to be translated into Arabic. The medical class continued here till the establishment of Calcutta Medical College in 1836. However, the students of the Madrasah were allowed to study medicine at Calcutta Medical College. This speaks for the high standard of education at the Madrash in those days.

The logo of Aliah University

This clearly shows that the curricula taught at this institution were a blend of theological studies, natural sciences and the humanities, as was done in the world-wide madrasah system of education which produced the galaxy of scholars who made original contributions to astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, geology, art & architecture, and so on.

The authorities tried to introduce English as a subject for study in 1826. However, not many students were found willing to learn English as Persian was still the medium of administration in India. But in 1837 the colonial government replaced Persian with English as the official language. So the Anglo-Arabic Department was opened at the Madrash in 1839 for the teaching of English. However, at the recommendation of a Committee, again in 1854, this Anglo-Arabic Department was abolished and an English school, in the name of Anglo-Persian Department, was started under the direct control of the Principal of Calcutta Madrasah. The great reformist Nawab Abdul Latif (1828-1893), a product of Calcutta Madrasah, played an important role in the establishment of this Department so that Muslim children could receive the much-needed English education.

The Crisis of 1857 and After

After the Great Rebellion or the so-called ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ of 1857, the British rulers began to have a suspicious attitude to the Muslims. Questions were raised regarding the maintenance of Calcutta Madrasah at Government cost. There were proposals to abolish the Madrash, at least the Arabic Department, retaining only the Anglo-Persian Department. However, in 1860, the Government of India, rejecting the idea of abolition, rather recommended improvement in its management. So the Madrasah continued to exist.

Students of Aliah University protesting against the change of name

In 1869, a Committee consisting of C.H. Campbell, Commissioner of the Presidency Division, I. Suitcliff, Principal of Presidency College, and Nawab Abdul Latif, then a Deputy Magistrate, was formed to inquire into the affairs of the Madrasah and suggest improvement. Some reforms were introduced at the Calcutta Madrasah according to the suggestions of this committee. Further reforms were introduced at the recommendations of the Education Commission headed by W.W. Hunter in 1884. Nawab Abdul Latif and Justice Syed Amir Ali played a very important role in these reforms. In 1896, Elliot Hostel was founded, with funds raised out of donations from the public, for the accommodation of the Madrasah students who so far had used the ground floor of the Madrasah as their hostel. In 1902 the Muslim Institute was established as a part and parcel of Calcutta Madrasah. The Principal of the Madrasah was ex-officio President and Treasurer of the Muslim Institute. Several committees and commissions were appointed in 1915, 1923, 1931, 1938-40, and 1946 for the improvement in the syllabi, curricula, and all round development of Madrasah education in Bengal, particulary of Calcutta Madrash.

The Post-Independence Period

The Partition of India in 1947 dealt a serious blow to this historic institution. According to the decision of the ‘Separation Council’, all the movable properties including the Library with its thousands of rare books and manuscripts of Calcutta Madrasah were transferred to Dacca Madrasah. Calcutta Madrasah almost ceased to exist. But responding to the demands of the leading Muslims of West Bengal, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education minister of independent India, took the initiative to reopen Calcutta Madrasah on 4 April 1949. In the following years many great scholars and educationists who also took part in India’s freedom movement served this institution as principals and teachers. The 205th Foundation Day was celebrated in 1984 with great enthusiasm. In 1985, His Excellency Shri Uma Shankar Dik****, the then Governor of West Bengal, in his inaugural speech at a belated Bicentenary function of Calcutta Madrasah, proposed that Calcutta Madrasah should be treated as an educational institution of national importance and be upgraded to a University.

Dr. A.R. Kidwai Committee, 2001

The Government of West Bengal, in 2001, constituted a Madrasah Education Committee under the Chairmanship of the great educationist and the former Governor of West Bengal and Bihar, His Execllency Professor (Dr). A.R. Kidwai. Among its seven members were Justice K.M. Yusuf and Dr. Abdus Sattar, the then President of West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education, now the Hon’ble Minister of State, Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department, Government of West Bengal. In its report submitted in 2002, the Committee made many thoughtful and far-reaching recommendations regarding Calcutta Madrasah and its curricula and syllabi. This Committee recommended that the Calcutta Madrasah should offer courses in both Islamic Studies and modern social sciences and humanities under the aegis of different units. It should continue to have scope for higher learning and research in Inslamic Studies including Kamil and M.M. courses at Maulana Abul Kalam Azad institute of Islamic studies ; modern Economics, Sociology, Political Science and History under the Faculty of Social Studies; apart from Arabic and Persian, English, French, German, Chinese, and Japanese at the School of Modern Languages and Literature; 3-year degree course in Journalism and Mass Communication and 1-year diploma course in Television Journalism at the Institute of Mass Communication and Journalism; and B.Ed, and M.Ed courses under the Faculty of Education and Education Technology. Thus Calcutta Madrasah should develop as a leading centre of higher education in Eastern India. Gradually it should be recognized as a Deemed University. Several initiatives were taken by the Government in pursuance of its recommendations. Finally, the Aliah University Act was passed by the West Bengal Legislative Assembly in 2007. The Act came into force on 5 April 2008 and then and there the History changed.

Aliah became university in 2007

Aliah University started its glorious journey from the 2008-09 academic session with great potential and immense opportunities. It is hoped that this university, harmonizing tradition and modernity, will emerge as a unique institution of higher studies and research. As per Aliah University Act 2007, Section 3 (3), it has been conferred the status of a minority educational institution. Aliah University is an autonomous university under the Department of Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education, Government of West Bengal. It is hoped that along with the people of any race, creed, caste or class, this University will play a crucial and leading role in the advancement of higher education for socially and educationally backward classes belonging to the Minorities

Vision of the University

Aliah University is marching on with a vision to recapture the ambience and dynamic cultural heritage of the madrasah system, to expand and deepen it, to evolve it further with a successful outreach into the emerging areas in each branch of modern science, technology, social studies, and humanities. We would like to instil the dynamism of the glorious heritage of the past among all our students, so that they can successfully cope with the critical needs and challenges of the present and contribute to the future advancement of science, technology, and human civilization, develop love and respect for fellow citizens of the country, and integrate themselves to the nation.

The University envisages creation of ever-expanding opportunities for higher education and research in traditional as well as newly emerging areas for the capacity-building and empowerment through all-round development of our countrymen, particularly the socially and educationally backward classes belonging to the Minorities. The University shall also develop, with its rich resources and immense potential, Centres of Excellence for higher studies in classical languages, Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic culture, comparative religion, science and technology, professional and management education. Through its Centre for Vocational Studies (CVS), the University has undertaken programmes for development of skills amongst the minorities, particularly the out-of-school people and school/college drop-outs, so that their economic conditions improve through wage / self-employment opportunities. At the initial stage, due to lack of adequate infrastructural facilities, the University had to go for public-private partnership, but now, from the 2009-2010 session, the university has started several of its academic programmes on its own. Very soon, when its new campus becomes ready, the university will go for further expansion of its teaching, research, and training programmes.

Academic Programs of the University

Aliah University has started its academic programmes from the 2008-09 academic session. At present, it offers the following courses:

5-year integrated M.A. in Arabic (with a provision of dual degree, 3-year B.A. Hons. + 2-year M.A.).

5-year integrated M.A. in Islamic Theology (with a provision of dual degree, 3-year B.A. Hons. + 2-year M.A.). (Equivalent to the combination of the existing 3-year Kamil (UG) course and the MM (PG) course)†.

2-year M.A. in English.
2-year M.Sc. in Geography.

5-year integrated M.A. in English (with a provision of dual degree, 3-year B.A. Hons. + 2-year M.A.).

5-year integrated M.Sc. in (a) Computer Science, (b) Chemistry (with specialization in Medicinal Chemistry), (c) Physics (with specialization in Engineering Physics), (d) Mathematics & Computing, (e) Statistics & Informatics, (f) Economics, and (g) Geography.

4-year B.Tech. / 5-year dual-degree M.Tech. (Computer Scence & Engineering, Electronics & Communication Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering).

5-year integrated MCA

5-year integrated MBA (with specialization in Hospital Management, Retail Management, and Financial Management)

2-Year M.A. / M.Sc. in Media Science (Journalism & Mass communication)

All these courses are being taught under the semester system, as advocated by the UGC and as it is the prevalent system in modern universities the world over. Letter-grading has been adopted in our examination system. All our courses and curricula are designed to provide an interface between the academy, the industry, and employment market.

Future programs

With the progress of infrastructure development, new faculties and courses will be introduced gradually. Along with the traditional theological courses and religious studies and the already started professional courses, Aliah University, depending on the availability of space, will offer 5-year integrated M.A. in Bengali, Urdu, Persian, Islamic History, Modern History, Sociology and Public Administration, 5-year integrated M.Com., 2-year PG Diploma in Islamic Finance and Banking and 1-year Diploma Course in Islamic Insurance under the Faculty of Commerce and Business. There has been a great deal of interest and demand in the two last-named areas; there are also worldwide employment opportunities in Business and Media. And yet, not much scope is available for formal study in this subject. Therefore, we have planned to offer these courses at Aliah University.



(With inputs from the official website of Aliah University)


02-06-11, 09:50 AM
By TCN Staff Reporter,

Patna: Noted Urdu journalist and columnist Dr. Rizwan Ahmad died on Tuesday 31st May at Indira Gandhi Institute of Cardiology here in Patna. He was critically ill for few days and was under treatment at the hospital where he took his last breath at the age of 64. He is survived by his wife and a daughter.

His funeral prayer was offered at Daryapur Masjid after Isha prayer and was laid to rest at Shahganj Qabristan in the state capital.

Born on 9th Sep. 1947 to Urdu poet Ghubar Bhatti in a village of Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Rizwan did Ph.D. from Patna University and started his journalism career in Patna with publishing Urdu daily Azimabad Express. He has been writing on political, modern and social issues in different newspapers and magazines. His famous weekly column ‘Mujhe Bolne Do’ (Let me speak) has been published and read widely.

He had been editor of Urdu daily Azimabad Express, Urdu monthly Zewar and Zaban-o-Adab, Urdu monthly organ of Bihar Urdu Academy. Besides, he worked for BBC Urdu Service and Vice of America from Bihar.

He served as Secretary of Bihar Urdu Academy, Vice Chairman of Bihar Urdu Advisory Committee, Secretary of All India Editors Conference and President of Bihar State Urdu Editors Council.

He authored 10 books on different topics especially on Urdu Adab (Urdu literature). For his works and contributions, he got several awards in his life including Ghalib Award, Nawa-e-Meer Award, Imtiyaz-e-Meer Award and Khaja Ahmad Abbas Award. Besides, Bihar, UP and West Bengal Urdu Academies also felicitated him with honor and awards.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed grief on his death and termed it as a great loss of Urdu world in general and Bihar in particular. He offered condolence to his grieved family members.

In his comment on the death of Dr. Rizwan, noted Urdu Journalist, Ashraf Asthanwi said: “Dr. Rizwan has been raising the issues related to the community and the country fearlessly for last 40 years. With his demise, we lost a fearless and selfless journalist who never compromised with his principles. His works and contribution will be remembered always.”

“When Nitish Kumar established Bihar Urdu Advisory Committee in 2008, Dr. Rizwan was made Vice Chairman of it. But when he felt the committee is toothless and that it has nothing to do with the progress of Urdu, he raised the issue. He tried several times to meet Chief Minister to convey the paralyzing status of the committee but never succeeded. Consequently, he resigned from the post” Asthanvi, who is also president of Bihar Urdu Journalists Forum, told TCN.

Mr. Asthanwi was quite upset over the attitude people showed towards this great contributor of Urdu in his last time. “I felt very sorry when I saw only about 50 people in his funeral prayer in a place where he spent big time of his life serving the community,” he said in an emotional manner.

Among the eminent personalities who expressed grief on the passing of Dr Rizwan were Rajya Sabha MP Prof. Jabir Hussain, Ashraf Freed, Editor, Qaumi Tanzim Urdu daily, and Dr. Aslam Azad of Urdu Council.


02-06-11, 05:38 PM
Farooq Ahmed and his passion for rewriting history

By Anjuman Ara Begum, TwoCircles.net,

A book, "Manipuri Muslims: Historical Perspectives 615-2000 CE," authored by Farooque Ahmed was released in Imphal recently. The author talks to Anjuman Ara Begum of TwoCircles.net about Manipuri Muslims and about his work.

Qs. What inspired you to write such a book?

Ans: I was keen to know about my community or, more precisely, to know about myself in Manipur and also to know the history of Muslims in Manipur. I always looked for history books on Manipuri Muslims but always felt frustrated as there is no comprehensive literature on this topic. After completing my M.A in political science, I started reading history books on Manipur and I read many books like Manipuri Muslims by Khairuddin Khalakpam which was published in 1997, Meitei Pangal Horompam published in 1991, Janab Khan’s book called Manipur Maylon and a translation of Janab Khan ‘Nongsamei’ published in 1993. I was not happy with the history of Manipuri Muslims as no literature was comprehensive. Meanwhile lots of literatures and accounts on Manipuri Meitei are well documented and readily available in the market for reading. These factors inspired me to write a comprehensive book on Manipuri Muslims.

Qs. What are the facts of the history of Manipuri Muslim you found?

Ans: These are called ‘Puwa’ or the royal chronicles of Meitei kings. One such account of “Puwa’ mentioned that Muslims came to Manipur in the reign of King Naophangba but there is controversy among the historians regarding his death. After reading L. Joychandra Singh’s book on royal chronology, I came to know that his reign was in between 594-624 CE. During this period a Muslim saint arrived in Manipur. Muslim settlements in Manipur began with this saint Sa’d ibn abi Waqqas who preached in 615 CE. He was the maternal uncle of Prophet Muhammed. In 1606 CE, a large group of Muslims mainly soldiers settled in Manipur and married Meitei women which was followed by another group settlement of Muslim soldiers in 1724. Such waves continued till 1886. In between 1661- 1679, Saa Suja and Mirja Baisanghars, two Moghul princes, arrived in Manipur and settled here. History of Muslims in Manipur is not confined to clan formation but something much beyond that. This is what I want to present.

Qs. How long you took to complete this research and publication?

Ans: It took about 15 years. I studied Political Science by mistake as my interest is always history. Pharos media publication published the book.

Qs. What are the feedbacks you got on this book?

Ans: Many appreciated my research and reviews on my book are also published. I feel happy. Scholars also informed that more research on this topic is required and my book encourages them.

Qs. What about your education? You said you studied Political Science by mistake?

Ans: I was born in 1975 and completed my schooling from Don Bosco in Imphal. Then I did B.A Honors in Political Science from Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi and completed my M.A from J.N U in Political science. I completed my M. Phil before coming back to Manipur and I am a Ph. D scholar now at the Manipur University. I have submitted my thesis and I have worked on ethnic conflicts in North East India.

s. What is your current engagement?

Ans: At present I am working on two projects sponsored by ICSSR and ICHR as project director. The research is going on the topic of historical study of clan formation among the Manipuri Muslims.

Farooq Ahmed can be reached at [email protected]

http://twocircles.net/2011jun02/farooq_ahmed_and_his_passion_rewriting_history.htm l

02-06-11, 05:43 PM
Veteran CPI-M leader and MLA Mostafa Bin Kashem jumps to death

By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net,

Kolkata: Veteran CPI-M leader and sitting MLA Professor Mostafa Bin Kashem committed suicide here on 29th May by jumping from the fifth floor of the Government Guest House for MLAs. Seventy-year-old Prof Mostafa had been suffering from urology problems. He was MLA from Basirhat Uttar constituency in North 24 Parganas district.

Yesterday he was at the Government Guest House for MLAs in Kolkata. At afternoon he jumped from 5th floor, but his body landed on the balcony of the first floor. His son Masum Bin Kashem found his body. His both kidneys were not properly active for last few years. Recently one kidney was removed. So he was depressed over it. He had written a suicide note where he clearly stated that, due to his two kidneys have been damaged he has no right to live. So he has taken this way to finish his life.

He lived in village Nehalpur Dhanyakuria under Swarupnagar police Station of North 24 Parganas district. He was also ex Member of Rajya Sabha. He was first elected Member in West Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1977 from Baduria but in 1982 he was defeated. In 1991 he was elected from Swarupnagar constituency which he held till 2006. After delimitation he changed his constituency to Basirhat Uttar in the same district and he won the seat in the 2011 assembly poll.

For a long time he was chief Advisor of West Bengal Madrasa Board. He was also attached to West Bengal Waqf Board. He established a degree college after Ex Minister & Professor Syed Nurul Hasan in Swarupnagar.

He was born in village Khaspur of Baduria area. He passed matriculation from Dhanykuria High School. He was graduate from prestigious Presidency College of Kolkata and Masters in Political Science from Calcutta University.

After completed his education he joined the service in civil defence department for few days. In 1967 he joined as a professor of Political Science at Basirhat College. He retired in 2007. He has only son & daughter and wife.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee along with several TMC and Congress leaders visited Kashem’s room in the MLA hostel and expressed condolence. Several CPI-M leaders also visited the place.

Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said, “We have lost a veteran and learned leader of our party as well as West Bengal’s people.”

He will be laid to final rest today in his native village.

CPI (M) MLA didn’t commit suicide, was killed, claims kin

By Zaidul haque, TwoCircles.net

Kolkata: Four days after the veteran CPI (M) leader, educationist and the MLA of Basirhat (North), Mostafa Bin Kashem was found dead on the balcony of Government Guest House, his children claim that Kashem didn’t commit suicide but was murdered in cold blood by some CPI (M) politician.

Talking to journalist on Wednesday afternoon, Masum and Shamima claimed that there were enough evidences to suggest that their father was murdered. Soon after the completion of the rituals they will lodge a complaint with the police in this regard.

Questioning the suicide theory, Masum said that his father was unable to walk upstairs without the help of his security guards because of arthritis problems, “How did he climb up at the top of cornice of Fifth Floor?” questioned Masum.

Masum was doubtful about the script of suicide note, having the actual handwriting of her father. He said that he will take the help of handwriting expert to find out the truth. Adding to the doubt was the fact that the police found two suicide notes from Kashem’s room no 411, at the MLA Hostel. One note was written on 25th May. It was found as scrap beside his bed. Another note was written on Sunday 29th May.

The family of the late CPI (M) MLA has appealed to the Chief Minister for judicial Inquiry into Mostafa Bin Kashem’s death.

But State Member of CPIM & District Secretary of North 24 Parganas, Amitabha Basu refused to consider the death as murder. Refusing to comment on the whole issue, Police Commissioner of Kolkata Ranjit Pachnanda said that if he gets any complain regarding then the matter will be investigated.

http://twocircles.net/2011jun02/cpi_m_mla_didn’t_commit_suicide_was_killed_claims_ kin.html

04-06-11, 12:45 PM
Muhammad Shibli Nomani

Born 4th June 1857 in Bindawal Azamgarh (UP)
Died on 18th November 1914 in Azamgarh (UP)
Father : Shaikh Habibullah
Mother: Moqeema Khatoon (d/o Mr.Qurban Ahmad, Phariha Azamgarh)
Wife: Majidunnisa (Married 1876-77)
Brothers : Mahdi Hasan, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Junaid, Mohammad
Children : Hamid Hassan Nomani , Rabia Khatoon , Jannutul Fatima

Teachers: Maulana Farooq Chirayyakuti, Chirayyakot Azamgarh, Maulana Irshad Husain, Rampur, Maulana Faiz ul Hasan Saharanpuri, Lahore, Maulana Ahmad Ali Saharanpuri

MAO College Association: 1882 – 1898, Professor of Persian and Arabic

Founder Editor: The Aligarh Magazine (Urdu)-1891

Famous Students:
Hamid ud din Farahi, Abul Kalam Azad, Saiyid Sulaiman Nadvi, Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Zafar Ali Khan, Sajjad Haider Yaldram, Aziz Mirza, Masud Ali Nadvi, Abdus Salam Nadvi, Abdul Bari Nadvi, Shibli Mutakallim Nadvi

Books :

Seerat-un-Nabi – 7 Volumes (co-edited by Syed Sulaiman Nadvi), Muqadmat-Seeratun Nabi, Al-Farooq : Biography of Hazrat Omar Farooq (R.A.), Al-Ghazali, Al-Mamoon , Seerat-un-Noman, Swaneh-Maulana Room, Al-Kalam, Ilmul-Kalam, Safar Nama Room-Misr-o-Shaam, Sherul-Ajam -5 Volumes, Kuliyat-e-Shibli (Urdu), Kuliyat-e-Shibli (Farsi), Mawazenah Anees-o-Dabeer, Al-Inteqad, Aurangzeb Alamgeer per Ek Nazar

Shibli Nomani (1857-1914), was an exception to the rule in that he was not in line of Delhi ulema-sufis of the Naqshbandi order, although his thoughts were influenced by Shah Waliullah. He was, however, an alim concerned with the reform of the ulema so that they could be the effective guides to the Muslim community, a scholar who wrote and published prolifically and who nurtured younger authors, leader in the movement to advance the Urdu language as a modern vehicle of expression, and an educator associated with Aligarh College and with the reformist madrasa of the Nadwatul-Ulema in Lucknow. Shibli was the Muslim Rajput from Azamgarh district in the eastern reaches of the then United Provinces. Although his younger brothers went to Aligarh, Shibli was given a classical Islamic education. His teacher was Maulana Muhammad Farooq Chirayakoti, a rationalist scholar who was an outspoken opponent of Sir Syed. This aspect of Shibli’s background perhaps explains his ambivalent relationship with Aligarh and Sir Syed. The Chirayakot connection is significant. David Lalyveld notes that Chirayakot was the center of ‘a uniquely rationalist and eclectic school of ulema’, who studied Mu’tazalite theology, the early Arab development of Greek science and philosophy, as well as such languages as Sanskrit and Hebrew.

Shibli, therefore, had reasons to be both attracted and repelled by Aligarh. Even after he had secured a post as a teacher of Persian and Arabic at Aligarh, he always found the intellectual atmosphere at the college disappointing, and eventually left Aligarh because he found it uncongenial, although he did not officially resign from the college until after Sir Syed’s death in 1898. Shibli had an original mind that combined rationalism and clarity of expression with an aesthetic sensibility. These characteristics are apparent in his writing style and they doubtless attracted him to the young Azad, and vice versa.

In early 1890s Shibli traveled extensively in West Asia, visiting educational institutions and libraries in Turkey, Egypt, and Syria for his own research and meeting scholars, including Sheikh Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) in Cairo and other Islamic reformers. After leaving Aligarh, Shibli worked for a time in the educational service of the Nizam’s government in Hyderabad, but finding that also uncongenial he returned to north India, where he became the secretary and guiding light of the madrasa of the Nadwatul Ulema in Lucknow.

The Nadwa, founded in 1893, was an association of ulema who had various institutional affiliations. One of its moving spirits was Maulana Syed Muhammad Ali Mongiri, a learned Naqshbandi who continued the mission of promoting Muslim solidarity that was initiated by Shah Waliullah. The Nadwa was formed to bring about the reconciliation of eastern and western learning of Deoband and Aligarh, as it were nd to unite the ulema in the task of spreading and defending Islam. To do this, Nadwa avoided the divisive issues and called upon the ulema to sink their differences and to improve communication among themselves by holding annual meetings. The Nadwa was not always able to avoid divisions in its ranks or at its meetings, however, as Shibli later found out. In 1898, the Nadwa founded a madrasa, the Darul Ulum, with the intention of incorporating the best of Islamic and western learning in its curriculum, in order to produce a new breed of modernized ulema. Under Shibli’s direction, the school earned a reputation for sound scholarship, published a journal, Al-Nadwa, and collected an impressive library. It also secured British government patronage to build an imposing edifice by the bank of the Gomti, and to institute the teaching of English and mathematics.

Ultimately, the Nadwa gave up its notions of uniting occidental and oriental knowledge and concentrated on Islamic scholarship, and on the dissementation of biographical and historical writing in Urdu. Shibli’s own writings set the pattern for the latter. His works included biographies of the caliphs Mamun and Umar, the jurist Imam Abu Hanifa, al-Ghazali, the poet Rumi, and the Prophet Muhammad, and two works on theology. These works introduced into Urdu the methods of Western historiography and biography, but were also defensive in that they responded to western and Christian criticisms of Islam and Muslim heroes. Shibli also wrote poetry, literary criticism, including a monumental study of Persian poetry, and numerous articles and letters. His style was clear and straightforward, with a tendency to romanticize the Islamic past in the interests of promoting Muslim pride and solidarity. In the last year of his life,1913-14,Shibli left the Nadwa under fire from an opposing faction and retired to his home in Azamgarh, where he started an academy, the Darul-Musannifin, again to promote historical scholarship and publication in Urdu.

In his two works on theology, Ilm-al-Kalam and Al-Kalam, Shibli shows both similarities and differences with the rationalism of Sir Syed. They shared similar sources and influences, but on the equation of the work of God ( science, or nature) and the word of God (religion, or revelation), Shibli parts company with Sir Syed. He states that science and religion have nothing to do with one another, being two entirely different realms. The one has to do with observable phenomena and the other with matters that are beyond the grasp of observation or experiment. As such, they do not conflict, but neither can the one be used to confirm the other.


04-06-11, 12:48 PM
Sabina Yasmin becomes first Muslim woman minister in West Bengal

By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net,

Kolkata: Young Congress MLA Sabina Yasmin today created history when she took oath as a Minister in West Bengal. She would be first Muslim woman minister in post-Independence West Bengal. Member of Rahul Gandhi brigade, Yasmin was Sabhadhipati (president) of Malda Zilla Parishad when she contested the recent Assembly poll and won.

Along with Yasmin, four other Congress MLAs, including Abu Nasar Khan Chowdhuri took oath as minister. With the inclusion of Yasmin and Khan, the number of Muslim ministers in the team of CM Mamata Banerjee has reached eight. Six were administered oath last month along with Mamata Banjerjee. Among six, one was from Congress and the rest five from Trinamool Congress.

Sabina Yasmin

Sabina Yasmin is MLA from Mothabari constituency in Malda while Abu Nasar Khan Chowdhury, brother of Ex Railway Minister late ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury, represents Sujapur constituency in the same district.

After Independence this is the first time the state Muslim community has got a Muslim woman in the council of ministers.

The first Muslim woman Member of West Bengal Assembly was Shakila Khatun. She had entered the Assembly after winning the assembly poll on Congress ticket in 1962. She had won Basanti constituency by a margin of 13978 votes. A graduate Shakila had defeated Independent candidate Phonibhushan Mondal. Basanti is now a reserved constituency for SC. In 1962, Shakila was the only Muslim woman in West Bengal Assembly. In 2011, there are seven Muslim women MLAs.

Sabina Yasmin resides at Karai Chandpur village in Malda. The 33-year-old is part of the Rahul Gandhi team. Her husband Mehbub Alam is a small businessman.

Yasmin holds Masters degree from North Bengal University. She completed her Graduation from GaurhMahavidyalay in 2000 and cleared post-graduation from North Bengal University in 2002. Six years later, she began her political career.

In 2008 she contested Zilla Parishad election on Congress ticket from Kaliachak-1. She defeated Left Front candidate Rekha Bibi by 8999 votes. After the victory she was selected as the district president (Sabhadhipati) of Malda Zilla Parishad.

Rahul Gandhi recommended her name as a Congress candidate for the recent assembly poll. She contested from Mothabari constituency and won by 6020 votes. Her rival candidate was Naimuddin Sheik of CPI-M.

http://twocircles.net/2011jun03/sabina_yasmin_becomes_first_muslim_woman_minister_ west_bengal.html

14-06-11, 09:55 PM
Mt Everest! That's the height of British colonialism

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : Have you ever heard of Chomolungma or Sagarmatha? For the uninitiated, these are the Asian names of Mt Everest. An American photographer, mesmerised by the world's highest peak since his boyhood, is calling for it to jettison its popular name as it is a legacy of British colonisation.

Jeff Botz, whose photographic project "Portrait of Everest: An examination of appearance and identity" has been on display in Kathmandu since last month, is trying to create awareness about the mountain's original identity and Britain's attempt to dominate "this small but significant piece of geography" for nearly 160 years.

After establishing its rule over India, the British East India Company began a survey of its territory in 1802, which became known as the Great Trigonometric Survey continuing for over six decades.

In 1856, an Indian overseer, Radhanath Sikdar, estimated that an obscure mountain, dismissively called Peak XV, was actually the highest peak in the world, surpassing Kanchenjunga, which was believed to be the highest mountain till then.

Nine years later, the new peak was officially named Mt Everest by Britain's Royal Geographical Society after Sir George Everest, former British surveyor-general of India.

"There was an objection by the Asiatic Society in Bengal which was ignored because of the more pressing problem of the Indian mutiny," says Botz.

The 62-year-old, who first came to Nepal in 1973 to glimpse the magic mountain, says it was known to Tibetans centuries before the British, and revered as Qomolangma, the "abode of the Mother Goddess".

"The British scoffed at the Tibetan tradition and obscured the goddess of the mountain by covering her with the shroud of George Everest, changing the meaning and uses of the mountain," he says. "This isn't a simple act of identity theft; it's character assassination."

In Nepal, the mountain is called Sagarmatha. Botz says since neither Nepal nor Tibet was colonised by the British, they have no jurisdiction over Mt Everest, which lies on the border between the two.

"I have been able to find no legal basis or precedent for any one nation creating place names and applying them to locations within the borders of other sovereign nations," he says.

In 2008, after Nepal became a republic, Botz wrote to the first Maoist prime minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, urging him to remove the name of Sir George Everest from the world's tallest mountain and assert Nepal's "sovereign right to control affairs within (its) borders" by renaming the peak Sagarmatha.

"Everest is not Everest, it is Sagarmatha, it is Qomolangma," he wrote.

"The mountain is more of an intellectual property... and intellectual properties have great value to the person or organization that claims and controls them... Your name is your brand. Name recognition will benefit all Nepali exports, goodwill, tourism, and financial wellbeing. There is nothing Nepal could do to promote its name more effectively than to assert its right to rename this mountain as Sagarmatha."

While there has been no response from the government of Nepal, the Everest community also remains unperturbed.

American mountaineer Pete Athans, called "Mr. Everest" for climbing the 8,848-metre peak seven times, says the colonisation perspective and sensitivity might have been more trenchant 100 years ago but not now.

"These days, no one considers Britain much of an occupier or coloniser and Nepal was actually never consummated as a colony," Athans told IANS.

"Sagarmatha is a nice Nepali name but many people don't recognize it. Qomolangma is a Chinese transliteration of Chomolungma. I think western Tibetans may not appreciate using their occupiers' verbiage."

Athans, now engaged in rescuing ancient artefacts found in the mountain caves of northern Nepal and preserving them, feels not too many people object to Everest, especially since Sir George was respectful of the local names and their pre-dating his work.

"I think you can use them all, at the risk of confusing your readers," he adds.

Lady June Hillary, wife of Sir Edmund Hillary who assumed the reins of the Himalayan Trust founded by the first Everest conqueror to help the Sherpas of Nepal after Hillary's death, echoes Athans tacitly.

"In our house, Everest was called all three names," she says. "So it was not an issue."

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at [email protected])

19-06-11, 07:16 PM
Mohammed Yunus (1916-2001): The Migrant from Pakistan

By Naved Masood for TwoCircles.net,

Independence and partition of India brought massive transfer of populations. Movements of refuges were on predictable, communal lines. There were just a few cases where the communal movements were in the ‘wrong’ direction. To that microscopic group of mavericks belonged Mohammed Yunus who, forsaking wealth and family prestige, left his ‘native Pakistan’ for India and turned out to be of much help to the Indian Muslims.

Yunus is so intimately identified with the erstwhile North West Frontier Province or the NWFP - now Khyber Pakhtun Khwa that it may come as a surprise to many that he was not a Pathan! Born in 1916 in Abbobtabad, his father Haji Ghulam Samdani was an extremely wealthy man owning rights over vast tracts of forest and agricultural lands in Punjab, Kashmir and NWFP. One of the biggest government contractors of his time, he owned most of the legendary ‘Qissakhwani Bazar’, the nerve center of Peshawar.

Samdani was a Mughal whose great-grandfather had migrated and settled down in Baramula, Kashmir in the latter half of the eighteenth century. One of the first from among Muslims of the region to have received western education, Samdani settled in Peshawar as a military contractor in the 1880s and never looked back. He was personally contacted by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan to bail out the MAO College after the institution was in the financial doldrums following a huge defalcation by Shyam Bihari Lal, a confidante of the founder. Apart from emerging as the wealthiest man of the NWFP, Samdani struck roots in the Pashtun area through his philanthropy and marriages including in the famous Charsadda family of the ‘frontier Gandhi’ Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Indeed Yunus was the son of that mother and thus a ‘maternal Pathan'. Some space has been devoted to the family details as this has a bearing on what Yunus made of his future life.

Mohammed Yunus
After an early education in Peshawar in an opulent but deeply religious atmosphere Yunus was dispatched to Aligarh to study in ‘Minto Circle’, more correctly the AMU Boys High School from where he passed the High School examination in 1932. He thereafter joined the Islamia College on a suggestion of its former Principal H. Martin (who was then Pro Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and is remembered as the coauthor of the famous “English Grammar and Composition” by Wren and Martin). Martin had astutely sensed that Yunus with had the right background to play a major role in the public affairs of that province at a future date. Even in his teens in Aligarh he was witty and quick with repartee which lasted a lifetime. Thus when Gandhiji visited the University in 1931, Yunus somehow clambered up the stage of the Students’ Union with an autograph book in hand. The Mahatma with a frown asked him why he was not wearing khadi to which the Peshawar lad replied without batting an eyelid that he was wearing his school uniform and obtained the coveted signature. What the young Peshawari had not disclosed was that there was no objection to the uniform being made of khadi!

Freedom struggle

He passed B.A from Islamia College, Peshawar. During the college days he was associated with the khudai khidmatgar (God’s servants) movement of the ‘frontier Gandhi’ with its emphasis on non violent resistance to the Raj, its emphasis on service of he poor and social reform. Soon after College he emerged as a prominent political activist and main spokesman of the movement who was an informal representative of Ghaffar Khan with whom he had become related (in the ‘oriental fashion’) with the marriage in 1935 of his elder brother Yahya with the only daughter of the great man. Yunus emerged as a major face of NWFP in rest of the country representing the province in Congress forums and espousing the cause of its economic development. He hosted Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Mohammed Ali Jinnah during their tour of the area and was equally active in Pashto-speaking areas across the Durand line i.e. in South Afghanistan.

He also fought shoulder to shoulder with the National Conference in the Kashmir valley for involvement of people in governance. Yunus was incarcerated in the Quit India movement (1942) and was released only three years later. His reminiscences of prisons were later published in Urdu as Qaidi ke Khat (letters of Prisoners). Following his release he worked zealously against the Muslim League and its demand for Pakistan. In 1946 elections an overwhelmingly Muslim electorate elected a Congress government in the province under ‘Doctor Khan Sahib’ the elder brother of the frontier Gandhi (NWFP was the only province where the dominant community, whether Hindu or Muslim, had voted against the sentiments of the relevant community elsewhere). The government did not survive for long as the aristocrats of the province engineered large scale defections.

Yunus decided to move over to Kashmir to be at the forefront of the agitation against the Maharaja.

Independent India

On the eve of the independence, disgusted with the volte face of the ‘blue blood’ of his community and the communal frenzy he heeded the advice of Nehru and his daughter (with whom he had grown so close as to be almost a member of the family) and decided to make the ‘divided India’ his home. In doing so he was foregoing considerable a fortune – the estate of Haji Ghulam Samdani, which despite its devolution to more than a dozen offspring, was substantial. Nehru offered him appointment in the Indian Foreign Service keeping in view the fact that his proclivity to call a spade a spade would not take him high in politics. Over the years he was envoy in Turkey, Indonesia, Iraq, Spain and Algeria and served twice in the Ministry of External Affairs. In 1971 he was appointed Commerce Secretary – a position he held with great distinction till his retirement in 1974.

After his retirement he was the founder-Chairman of the Trade Fair Authority of India, a position he held till 1977 and again from 1980 till 1985 when he was nominated as Member of the Rajya Sabha for a period of six years. In 1974 when the Muslims of India were restive about the restoration of the ‘minority character’ of the Aligarh Muslim University and the then Education Minister, Prof. Nurul Hasan had made it a ‘progressive’ versus reactionary’ affair Mrs. Indira Gandhi nominated him on the Executive Council of the University where he articulated the aspirations and views of the majority of Aligarh community. It is not intended here to give a ‘low down’ on his professional achievements but mention must be made of the great institution that he built in the form of Pragati Maidan – not only a landmark in the heart of Delhi but clearly among the worlds most prolific and efficient organizers of industry specific fares. The layout, the design of the halls, the infrastructure, carefully planned trees and shrubs all bear a testimony to his loving planning and eye for details. Above all, the initial team of personnel that he handpicked turned out to be a coordinated, well-oiled machine of highly motivated professionals. The traditions and operating procedures laid down by him and his pioneer associates survive to this day and make the ITPO – the rechristened version of the TFI – a vibrant institution. Following a setback in his health Mohammed Yunus lived an increasingly sheltered life with increasingly limited mobility finally succumbing to the inevitable in 2001.

The curious reader could well ask whether what has been stated is all there is to his life or there is something special that earns him the right to be remembered a decade after his death and perpetuate his memory beyond his immediate family. The questions are natural and they deserve an answer – the answers are all in the affirmative.

There are three main reasons why Yunus deserves to be remembered by the country generally while the Indian Muslims need to be particularly aware of his life and time. These ‘reasons’ have to do with his specific achievements and traits and are: An extraordinarily forthright and brutally honest personality, standing by the Muslim community without any political agenda or ulterior motive and a great institution-builder. His ‘baby’ presently called the India Trade Promotion Organization having already been briefly referred, the rest of this piece is devoted to the first two feathers to his cap.


Yunus had a unique personality which cannot be forgotten by anyone who came in contact with him. He was quite ‘direct’ in his conversations, something which Asians generally lack. This can be illustrated with a few anecdotes. In his autobiography Persons, Passions and Politics (1980, Vikas) he recounts the time he was Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and had to deal with the local (British) representative of the Commonwealth Graves Commission and his Boss a pompous ex Brigadier of the British Army who had arrived from London ostensibly to inspect the various war cemeteries run by the Commission but really to express displeasure about Yunus’s refusal to accede to some unreasonable request of the local representative. The Brigadier, a typical ‘Colonel Blimp’ was an arrogant foul-mouthed character still carrying hallucinations of ‘Pax Britannica’ with a disdain for the former ‘subject races’. In any case, the senior officer showed his displeasure to Yunus and asked him not to repeat ‘senseless arguments’ and added to good measure that India was being ‘more mulishly unreasonable’ than Germany and Italy were during the last war. Yunus calmly heard the man and politely asked, “is there anything further you gentlemen wish to add before I give my final response’. The imperious ‘Colonel Blimp’ responded with disdain, “I am not interested in your last responses; I want the bloody thing done by tomorrow morning before I leave for home”. Our man than spoke, “You bunch of grave-diggers, how dare you compare my country to the fascists! Leave this very instant, or I will throw both of you out of this window!” He writes, “they made themselves scarce in no time; I started to laugh, and laughed uncontrollably”.

This author knows of a similar episode on the authority of a very eminent personage (a very venerable civil servant, now in his 80s who in the best tradition of the bureaucracy is loathe to be identified; for the initiated, the narrator was then a Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat). In early 1975 the Prime Minister called a meeting to discuss the ongoing agitation against amendments made in the AMU Act 1n 1965 and for declaring the University a minority institution. The meeting was briefed by the Education Minister who explained that the agitation was being fomented by ‘reactionary elements’ within the University academics who did not wish the ‘progressive forces’ to lead the institution up the path of ‘growth and academic excellence’. Yunus, one of the invitees, interjected to ask the Minister to explain who the ‘reactionaries’ were. The reply was that they were the ones who ‘raised the bogey of Islam’. Yunus abruptly cut short the Minister and said “and Prime Minister, progressives are those who eat and drink during the month of Ramadan, do not offer Namaz and drink alcohol in the evenings in the privacy of their houses while discussing how best to further the agenda of the Minister!”. There was startled silence in the room with the Prime Minister barely stifling a smile started to furiously doodle on a pad.

Yunus increasingly acted as behind the scene spokesman of Muslims in the corridors of power with no personal ambition or even projecting himself in the public. His role in highlighting indiscriminate demolitions of houses of Muslims in the name of ‘slum clearance’ in old Delhi is not too well known but is acknowledged by, of all the persons, the ‘bulldozer man’ Jagmohan in his Rebuilding Shahjahanbad . This author is personally aware of cases where he took victims of police atrocities to the Prime Minister at a time when doing so (during the emergency) ran the risk of detention without trial. His vigorous espousing the cause of Aligarh academics and students for restructuring the governance charter of the AMU is not fully appreciated. Many who were active those days now concede that with a champion like Yunus they knew they had someone from the ‘establishment’ on their side and this prevented them from developing a negative attitude towards the secular Indian State. What is more, his transparent sympathy – and empathy – made the members of Muslim middle classes look to him as the honest broker faithfully projecting their grievances without any personal vested interest. This resulted in many a simmering discontent to escalate into public agitations.

A handsome man, not very tall but an overpowering presence, he could be assertive and polite at the same time; Yunus had an endearing personality with a propensity to laugh at himself. His fund of jokes and funny anecdotes was virtually inexhaustible. He was a great motivator of men and a good judge of character. He bore personal losses with great courage and fortitude (as was evident when his only offspring Adil Shaharyar died suddenly). The personality of Yunus can be summed up by narrating a personal experience of this author. In a function of the Delhi AMU Old Boys Association both he and Yunus arrived late and occupied the last row as the proceedings were well under way. The Organizers ran to escort Yunus to the front with our man saying that he should not move for three reasons: First seeing him people will get up and disturb the speaker, Prof Moonis Raza (VC Delhi University); Second as a late comer he was in the right place, the last row, and; (turning to me) yeh bechara bhee late aya hai soche ga mujhe saza milee or Yunus ko jaza yanee aage jagah milee!! (The sentence is not very easy to translate, but it should run something like “This poor chap (the author) is a late comer, too, if I shift to the front he will think that while he is punished Yunus is being rewarded for being late – the real pun lies in the rhyming of the words ‘saza’, ‘jaza’, and 'jagah' which cannot be translated).


24-06-11, 08:05 PM
He fought to be British MP while in Indian jail

By Danish Khan,

Decades after Dadabhai Naoroji was elected as the first Asian MP to the House of Commons, another Indian stood for elections while lodged in a jail in India. Naoroji was assisted by, among others, Jinnah in his successful campaign while Shaukat Usmani had the support of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Usmani, one of the founding members of the Communist Party of India, was arrested in the Kanpur conspiracy case and the Meerut Conspiracy case. While the masses were with Gandhi and the Congress party to overthrow the Britishers, the Kanpur and the Meerut conspiracy cases brought the communist agenda and their ideas in the public domain. People discovered the communist ideology and their revolutionary plans.

In March 1929, Usmani was arrested along with some other Communists in the Meerut Conspiracy case. It was just a way for the British goverment to lay their hands on the Communists who were giving severe headaches to the administration. During the trial the Communist Party of Great Britain decided to field Usmani as their candidate for the general election held that year. He stood against Sir John Simon from the constituency of Spen Valley.

This was a clever move on the part of the Communist Party of Great Britain. It got the much needed publicity to the British misrule in India and the Meerut conspiracy case in particular. Sir John Simon was the same person who later came to India in 1930 as head of the Simon Commission.

The British government was in no mood to let the off the comrades easily. The Meerut conspiracy case dragged on and during the 1931 British general election, Usmani's name was again put forward. He was still in jail when communists from all over Britiain converged in London to campaign for him. This time he was the candidate for the St Pancras South East constituency (now abolished). His main opponent was Sir Alfred Beit, who was a millionaire. Usmani lost again.

It was purely on ideological grounds that the Communist Party of Great Britain decided to field Usmani for elections to the House of Commons while he himself was miles away in a nondescript cell in India. Interestingly, V K Krishna Menon fought elections and became the Labour councillor from the borough of St Pancras a year later.

On the directions of M N Roy, Usmani became active in Kanpur and Benares where he had to work to make a base for the communists. He had widely travelled and had taken part in the Russian civil war in 1920. He also wrote few books. One of them is attractively titled Peshawar to Moscow: Leaves from an Indian Muhajireen's diary and was published as early as 1927. Most of his books are now out of circulation.

I do not know Usmani's date of birth but it is widely believed that he was born in 1901 in Bikaner where his father Bahauddin was a stonecutter. His real name was Maula Baksh but being an ardent admirer of Maulana Shaukat Ali he changed his name to Shaukat Usmani. He had left India during the Hijrat movement and came under the influence of M N Roy.

Shaukat Usmani died in 1978 unsung and unnoticed like many of his ilk


25-06-11, 08:10 AM
Workshop on Islamic Heritage in North-East organized at IIT, Gauhati

By Dr. Syed Ahmed,

A one-day workshop on the theme, “Islamic Heritage in India’s North-East: Assam and Manipur” was organized at the Conference Hall of Indian Institute of Technology, Gauhati, on 15th June, 2011. The workshop showed the progress report of the project, which is being funded by IGNCA.

The project, which has 2 sections – to prepare study report in book-form and video documentation in the form of documentary film, has already covered more than half of the scheduled time duration of one year. An extensive progress report was presented by Dr. Abu Nasar Saied Ahmed. He showed the photo slides and also informed about the data colleted so far. Abdul Majid screened the rough cuts of the documentary film highlighting the Islamic heritage monuments of Assam and Manipur.

Religion-wise percentage of population in North-East India














Arunachal Pradesh































































Source: Census of India, 2001

The project proposes to study the Islamic heritage of the 3 Muslim concentrated areas – Brahmaputra valley and Barak valley of Assam, and Manipur valley – of North-East India. It envisages to study and trace the origin and development of Islamic tradition in North-East India, document the Islamic religious institutions, which will include mosques maktabs and madrasas, dargahs, khanqahs, mazars, etc., study the distinctiveness in the structural design of these structures, highlight socio-economic and anthropological components in which assimilation/integration of local and folk traditions could be seen, chart out the unique features of Islamic heritage of the region, and make policy prescriptions for preservation and promotion of Islamic heritage in the region.

The main areas to be covered in the study includes: brief history of the origin of the Muslims in the 3 valleys covered, the various reasons of the spread of Islam: migration of Muslims, invitation of Muslims by local rulers, conversion at the instance of the Muslim preachers (Azan Pir, Ghiyasuddin Auliya, Hasrat Osman Gani, Shah Akbar, Shah Sufi, Shah Pagmar and Shah Sharan, popularly known as Panch Pir, Baba Langar Shah, Sawal Pir, popularly known as Bandar Pir, Komaldya Khunkar Muhammad Gain, Pir Zahir Auliya, to name a few), the social life of the Muslims, life-cycle ceremonies at birth, marriage, death, etc., dress, food habit, past-times of the Muslims, arts and crafts associated with the Muslims (e.g. brass-making by Moria Muslims of Assam, extraction of agar perfume by Muslims at Hajo) and also the devotional songs like Zikirs and Jaris sung by Assamese Muslims, Marifat and Nat sung by Manipuri Muslims,

The project also aims to study the religious literatures, Islamic architecture in the heritage builds like mosques (like Panbari masjid at Dhubri, Pao-Mecca masjid on the summit of Garuchal hill at Hajo, Burha masjid at Ambari, Asimganj masjid at Karimganj, etc.), maktabs and madrasas (Darul Uloom Baskandi madrasa, Dibrugarh Darul Uloom, Alia madrasa, Deorail Alia Madrasa, among others), dargahs and mazars (Panch Pirs’ dargah at Dhubri, Azan Pir’s dargah at Saragori Chapori and Khundkar’s dargah in Sivasagar, Mir Jumla’s mazar at Mancachar in Dhubri, Giyasuddin Auliya’s dargah at Hajo, Pir Zahir Auliya’s dargah at Ulubari in Gauhati, Shah Makhdum Shah’s dargah at Khijubari, Bahadur Goanburha’s dargah in Jorhat, among others), khanqahs, idgahs, etc., caste-like structure of Assamese Muslims and clan system of Manipuri Muslims

It will also analyze the process of integration, contributions of Muslims (like the freedom fighter Bahadur Goanburha alias Zulfikar Barua, leader of the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny in Assam, who was sentenced to life imprisonment at Andamans) and new trends and development seen among the Muslims.

The study is being conducted following an eclectic approach combining historical, ethnographic and empirical methodologies in which there will be extensive use of the tools of oral history, besides interview schedules, and questionnaire and of audio-video documentation.

The project also plans to collect and deposit at INGCA some of the rare old texts which has extensive accounts of the history of Muslim settlement in North-East India and other valuable books associated with Muslims, like Padshah Buranji, Tarikh-e-Assam written by Shahbuddin Talish, Baharistan-i-Ghaybi by Mirza Nathan, Asomiya Zikir aur Zari (1958) by Syed Abdul Malik, hand-written Quran by Azan Pir and other old translations of Quran in Assamese, Nongsamei and Pangal Thorakpa, the two archaic texts (puyas) which deals exclusively with Muslim settlement in Manipur.

The workshop was attended by the Honorary Coordinator of the North East Regional Centre of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (INGCA) (based at Gauhati), Professor A.C. Bhagabati and some of his junior associates, and those associated with the project on the above theme – Project Director and Convener of the Committee and a faculty member of Department of Political Science, IIT-Gauhati, Dr. Abu Nasar Saied Ahmed, and members which includes former Professor of Geography, Gauhati University, Dr. Mohammad Taher; Faculty member of Gauhati University, Faruq-Sad-uddin Ahmed; Head of Department of Humanities and Social Science, IIT-Gauhati, Archana Barua; Advocate, Silchar, Imdad Uddin Bulbul; Lecturer, Lilong Haoreibi College, Manipur, Dr. Syed Ahmed; Film-makers Abdul Majid and Ansimul Majid; Research Assistants Maqbul Ali, Jaidul Islam Majumdar and Abedur Rahman, and other guests.

http://twocircles.net/2011jun24/workshop_islamic_heritage_northeast_organized_iit_ gauhati.html

13-08-11, 10:05 AM
Findings of a study on Madrasas in Mewat

By Abu Zafar for TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: Mewat – the most backward district in the country – is more modern than others when it comes to madrasa education system. About 85% of the existing madrasas in the Haryana district teach both religious and modern subjects and so its graduates get both traditional jobs (at mosques and madrasas) and market jobs easily. About 90% of the local Muslim population -- which dominates (roughly 80%) the district – would like to prefer madrasas to general schools, says a study conducted by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), a government of India institution.

The study says that the madrasa education system here is more practical for providing free education than the government system. The study also says that the madrasa education is more job-orientated than modern education in this district.

According to the study, Mewat has 77 madrasas, including 18 common madrasa for boys and girls and 5 separate for only girls. Out of 77 madrasas, 65 have modern courses while 8 have additional vocational training courses, besides religious subjects.

“In primary level every madrasa provides teaching of basic Hindi, English, Science and elementary Mathematics apart from Urdu and Quran.” study says.

“The madrasa education system is more practical than the government as it gives free education to every child", says Mohammad Ishtiaq, who did the study titled 'Role of Madarsas in Promoting Education and Development in Mewat district'.

“The madrasa education system is running here since sultanate period and it is older than the Indian government”, Ishtiaq, who is professor of Geography at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and has Advanced Diploma in Cartography from Survey Training Institute, Hyderabad, told TCN.

Tablighi Jamaat, an international Islamic organization, was established in Mewat in 1926, which has deep root in madrasas.

In 1947 there were only 14 madrasas here in Mewat but of late there has been rise in the number of madrasas due to the growing demand.

According to the study, about 89 percent people of the district favour modern education with religious education in madrasas as due to poor economic condition they can't send their children to the English medium schools. But the poverty is so grim that they can’t even send their children to madrasas.

According to 2001 Census, the total population of Mewat was 9,93,617, of which 80% are said to be Muslims. According to the study, there are 77 madrasas where about 10,000 students are learning. About 55% Muslims in Mewat earn less than 5,000 in a month, says the study.

Madrasa Islamia Arabia Dargah Hazrat Sheikh Moosa in Palla village was established in 1332. Having 150 students the madrasa provides education till 5th standard.

Mohammed Asalm, who studied Almiyat, a bachelor degree level course, in Madrasa Moinul Islam at Nuh, a town in Mewat, says that he never faced difficulty in finding a job. “As I completed my course in madrasa I didn't face any difficulty and I am happy with my job”

Prof Ishtiaq also refutes the charge that madrasas are nursery of terrorism. The charge was terrible but it inspired him to do a specific study on madrasas.

“I also studied in madrasa in my childhood. If someone does anything wrong you can’t blame madrasas for it,” he further said.

“Local people of Mewat are energetic and have a challenging nature. They would not hesitate to grab the opportunity if provided in proper prospective with a view to enhance their economic condition through employment without disturbing their religious identity.” study concluded.

About Mewat

Mewat district was carved out from Gurgaon and Faridabad districts of Haryana. It became 20th district of Haryana on 4th April 2005. Mewat comprises of three sub-divisions -- Nuh, Firozpur Jhirka and Hathin. The district headquarter is located at Nuh. The district comprises of six blocks namely Nuh, Tauru, Nagina, Firozpur Zhirka, Punhana and Hathin. There are 532 villages in the district.

Geographically, Mewat district is situated between 26-degree and 30-degree North latitude and 76-degree and 78-degree East longitude. Gurgaon district bounds it on its North, while Rewari district lies to its West and Faridabad district to its East. On South, the district shares its boundary with Rajasthan. Mewat has hills and hillock of the Aravali Mountain on one hand and plains on the other.

The main occupation of the people of Mewat, land of the Meos or Muslims, is agriculture. The Meos are the predominant population group.

(Abu Zafar is a Delhi based Journalist and can be contacted at [email protected])

[Photos by Mumtaz Alam Falahi of TwoCircles.net]


18-09-11, 06:22 AM
Fall of Hyderabad: 17th September a black day in human history

By Kaneez Fathima,

17th September is a black day in the Human history. In the year 1948, this was the day when the Indian Union attacked and occupied the Hyderabad State through Military action which is called as ‘Police Action’ and originally it was named as “Operation Polo”. Lakhs of Muslims were killed in this military attack, women were dishonored. The cities, towns and villages were completely destroyed. Lakhs of Muslims were made homeless. Masjids and Dargahs were dismantled.

Until 17th September 1948, Hyderabad was an independent country popularly named as princely state with Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan as its ruler. Hyderabad was never under the British rule. Hyderabad was as large as the present country France. It had its own currency, railways, postal department, Judiciary, military etc. In fact, there were 544 princely states then spread all over the area which is presently known as India. Hyderabad was one among them. All these princely states were occupied and merged by the Indian Union after it got independence from the Britishers. But as Hyderabad was one of the largest princely states, the Indian government that was formed after the Britishers left, it wanted Hyderabad to merge into Indian union, because Hyderabad State was in between the North and South regions, therefore, if Indian Union wanted to rule over the Southern region then it was not possible so they wanted to occupy the Hyderabad state, so that they can include the whole North and South regions and rule over it. However, the VII Nizam did not agree to the proposal of Indian government and wanted some time to think about it as the Britishers had given him three choices, one is to merge into Indian Union, two is to remain independent and the third is to merge into newly formed Pakistan.

Let us examine ‘Liberation’ in what sense and from whom? In the year 1948, on the pretext of suppressing communist movement that was spread only in four districts of Hyderabad State, the Indian union attacked the Hyderabad state to overthrow the Nizam rule which was considered as Muslim rule. Though the police action was to occupy Hyderabad state but actually in the name of police action, Muslims were killed in large numbers. It was estimated officially by the Sundarlal Committee appointed by the government of India that One Lakh Muslims were killed by the Indian army and unofficial estimation is more than two lakh Muslims were killed. The Arya Samaj and other Hindu fundamentalist organizations along with Indian military were involved in the killing of Muslims. 17th September is not the liberation day but day of genocide, the implications of which can be felt even today.

The Nizam of Hyderabad State never even thought of this type of massacre, because he always considered Hindus and Muslims as his two eyes. The way the people of Hyderabad were targeted due to the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan’s innocence and lack of future understanding, he underwent shock due to that. All his dreams went scattered, his tongue went soar, because this richest man of the world would never have dreamt that his home would be destroyed so brutally in front of his eyes and he was unable to do anything.

The Indian Union’s aim was not just to exterminate the Nizam’s government, but also to erase the culture, language, history and literature of Hyderabad. So, the Nizam’s government was eliminated by one attack, but the culture, language, history and literature that has strong roots, could not be erased even after the military action of 17th September. But it has been continuously under attack. The recent uprising Telangana movement is born/emerged from the remaining of culture, heritage and language of Hyderabad, which is called Hyderabadi tahzeeb. Because of this we have given the slogan Hyderabad is Telangana and Telangana is Hyderabad.

It is time now to think as to who is benefiting by giving the slogans of ‘Liberation Day’ and who wants the state government to declare this day officially as liberation day. In the year 1948, as the Congress gave the reasons of suppressing the communist movement and occupied the Hyderabad state to overthrow the Nizam’s rule, in the present times, BJP is using the same strategy and supporting the Telangana movement and propagating that the Muslim rule will come back. One should also think as to why the BJP and TRS have been celebrating this particular day? These two parties are working on same ideological line and majoritarian ideology of these parties will make the people to stand against Muslims. The BJP is making communal statements and instigating common people against Muslims and bringing differences among the communities. So, the SCs, STs and BCs are thinking on the lines of BJP. On the one hand TRS praises Nizam for providing infrastructure and on the other hand it is depicting him as enemy of the people. This dual stand will benefit them both in getting more votes in forthcoming elections. More than this both the parties want to hide the real history of Hyderabad. History is not a monolithic one, it must be read in multiple ways and bring out the facts to construct the understanding.

This day has been celebrated by the BJP and Congress as liberation day. TDP celebrated it as a merger day and the TRS and left parties have celebrated it as betrayal day and the Muslim, SC, ST, and Bahujan organizations have named it as Invasion day. So, there is no clear understanding among the political parties as to what they should call the day 17th September as.

We can understand with the opinion of various political parties that they are not sincere towards the separate Telangana movement and are playing vote bank politics to increase their political employment.

We Telanganites are still under the suppression of the Seemandhras, so we haven’t got the liberation and freedom yet. Though India has got independence in the year 1947, Hyderabad was already independent. But after the merger, the Andhra occupied the Telangana region, diverted all the natural resources to their region and now they have occupied the Waqf lands and are ruling over us. Therefore, people of Telangana are still under the suppression of the Seemandhras. Therefore, in real sense we haven’t got freedom yet. Unless and until Telangana is formed as a separate state, we cannot say that we are free and liberated.

There was no Telangana movement at the time when the Indian Union attacked the Hyderabad State. There was only communist movement that too spread over a small part of the Hyderabad state, say in four districts. Therefore, 17th September cannot be considered as Liberation day as it had no connection with Telangana freedom. It is a black day in human history as lakhs of Muslims were massacred. Telangana people who know about the history of Hyderabad very clearly also know that 17th September is neither a liberation day, nor betrayal day but in fact it is a black day in human history.

(The author is attached with Muslim Forum for Telangana)

http://twocircles.net/2011sep17/fall_hyderabad_17th_september_black_day_human_hist ory.html

10-10-11, 06:31 PM
Remembering Sir Syed Muhammad Saadulla, the first Premier of Assam

By Dr. Syed Ahmed, for TwoCircles.net,

Sir Syed Muhammad Saadulla was one of the foremost political leaders of modern Assam and the first Premier (also referred to as Prime Minister or Chief Minister) of the Assam province, one of the major eight provinces of British India.

The family of Saadulla hails from Sibsagar and claims to be the descendant of the famous Muslim preacher Azan Pir, who came to Assam in the early 17th century to spread the message of Islam. Syed Md. Tayebbullah, the father of Saadulla, moved to Gauhati where he served as a teacher of Arabic and Persian in Cotton Collegiate High School at Gauhati town. Saadulla was born in Gauhati on May 21, 1885. He got his early school education at Sonaram High School at Gauhati. He then joined the Cotton College, Gauhati, and took his Post-Graduation degree in Chemistry from the Presidency College, Calcutta, in 1906. Subsequently he took the Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the Earle Law College at Gauhati in 1907. Besides Assamese and Bengali he was also fluent in Arabic, Persian and Urdu.

Before Saadulla started his legal profession at Gauhati Bar, he served for a short stint as Assistant Lecturer in Chemistry at the Cotton College in 1908. He practiced at the Calcutta High Court. Within a short time, he became an eminent lawyer.

Then he joined politics and became the member of the first Legislative Council in 1913. He was re-elected in 1923. Under the system of Diarchy, he served as Minister of Education and Agriculture from 1924-29. In recognition of his public services, the British government knighted Saadulla in 1928. He, as a member of the Executive Council of the Governor of Assam, also became Minister for Law and Order and PWD from 1929-30, and again served as Minister for Finance and Law and Order from 1930-1934. He was also the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee from 1933 to 1934.

The Government of India Act, 1935 was adopted by the British Parliament on 2nd August, 1935 and was implemented in 1937. The Government of India Act 1935 made provisions for a Legislative Assembly in each province. In 1937 Assam Legislative Assembly election was held. In the same year Saadulla formally joined the Muslim League in response to MA Jinnah’s appeal.

Saadaulla was elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly from Kamrup South and served as Premier of a coalition government from April 1, 1937 to Sept. 19, 1938. A Congress government led by Gopinath Bordoloi succeeded from Sept. 19, 1938 to Nov. 17, 1939. Saadulla was again re-elected as Premier from Nov. 17, 1939 to Dec. 24, 1941. He, for the third time, became the Premier from Aug. 25, 1942 to Feb. 11, 1946. From 1937-1946 there were 34 Muslim members in the Assam Legislative Assembly, out of the total 108 members (For the list of names see Appendix I).

In 1946, he was re-elected to the Legislative Assembly from Kamrup South constituency and became leader of the Muslim League in the house (See Appendix-II for the list of Muslim members of Assam Legislative Assembly). He became a member of the Constituent Drafting Committee. As a member of the committee he helped in giving special financial assistance for Assam. He also took keen interest in protecting the rights of the minority communities. After the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly or the Provincial Parliament, he retired from public life and settled down in Gauhati. Later, the family of Saadulla moved to Kacharihat and established the Syedbari tea estate that is still run by his descendants.

Saadulla died on Jan. 8, 1955 at the age of 70.

In his later political life, Saadulla was closely associated with the All India Muslim League. He attended the 10th session of the League at Calcutta in Dec. 1917, and served as a member of the Committee which negotiated the Lucknow Accord between the Muslim League and the Congress. In 1946, he attended demand for Pakistan and favoured Assam’s inclusion in Pakistan. He renounced the knighthood in response to the call of the All-India Muslim League in connection with the “Direct Action” call to achieve Pakistan. However, on partition, when Assam opted out of Pakistan, he stayed in Assam and did not migrate to Pakistan.

In spite of his impressive political accomplishments Saadulla today remains the least remembered political figure of the state as he was associated with Jinnah’s All India Muslim League and supported two-nation theory. He was and still today often charged with deliberate settlement of Bengali Muslims in Assam through the scheme, introduced by him, known as the Line System. Thereby, the contributions that he had made in building a modern Assam in his capacity as Premier of Assam is today not acknowledged by the Assamese.

An article in Muslim India (Jan. 1987) sums up the contributions of Saadulla thus: “He was an able parliamentarian, an eloquent speaker, an experienced administrator, moderate and liberal in his approach. Saadulla is regarded as one of the makers of modern Assam. As head of the Assam Government, he took particular interest in planning and development, in rural uplift, in eradication of unemployment, in land reform and in promotion of cottage industries. For the development of the low-lying regions of the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys, he favoured and encouraged immigration of peasants from Bengal and should be given credit for the agricultural development of Assam, particularly the introduction of jute in the Assam valley. His critics charge him with deliberate settlement of Bengali Muslims in Assam.”

In another write-up in The Milli Gazette (16-30 Sept. 2002) Saadulla was described thus: “Saadulla was well-known for his generosity, honesty and ability. He was a matured, widely respected and accepted political leader of his time. He was a friend and guide of the tribal people of North-east India. In his first cabinet itself, he included a tribal leader, J.J.M. Nichols Roy as one of his ministers. He was regarded as an outstanding personality both on account of his experience, ability and honesty… he was in a class different from any other politician in Assam.”


Muslim members of Assam Legislative Assembly - 1937-46


Name of Member



Sir Syed Muhammad Saadulla

Kamrup (South)


Shams-ul-Ulama Maulana Abu Nasr Muhammad Waheed

Sylhet Sadr (Central)


Abdul Aziz

South Syhlet (Central)


Abdul Bari Chaudhury

Sunamganj(Smlth) Muhammadan


Abdul Hamid Khan

Dhubri (South)


Khan Bahadur Hazi Abdul Majid Chaudhury

Karimganj (Central)Muhammadan.


Abdul Matin Choudhury

Sylhet Sadar (East)


Abdur Rahman

Habiganj (South-East)


Sayed Abdul Rouf

Barpeta, Muhammadan


Md. Abdus Salam

Sylhet Sadar (North)


Dewan Muhammad Ahbab Choudhury

Sunamganj (East)


Dawan Ali Raja

Habiganj (North-West)


Mohammad Amjad Ali

Goalpara (East)


Mohammad Amiruddin

Nowgong Mohhemedan (East)


Ashrafuddin Md. Choudhury

Habiganj (South East)


Badaruddin Ahmed

Darrang Muhammedan


Khan Bahadur Dewan Eclimur Roza Choudhury

Sylhet Sadar (West)


Fakaruddin Ali Ahmed

Kamrup North


Ghyasuddin Ahmed

Dhubri (West)


Jhanuddin Ahmed

Dhubri (North Muhammadan)


Khan Bahadur Keramet Ali

Sibsagar, Muhammadan


Matior Rahman Mia

Goalpara (West)


Muhammad Maqbul Hussain Choudhury

Sunamganj (West)


Khan Bahadur Maulavi Mahamud Ali

Sibsagar Muhammadan


Mabarak Ali

Karimganj (West) Muhammadan


Mudabbir Hussain Choudhury.

Habiganj (North East)


Khan Bahadur Maulavi Mafizur Rahman

Sylhet Sadar (South)


Munawwar Ali

Sunamganj (Central) Muhammadan


Muzarrof Ali Laskar

Hailakandi Muhammadan


Aanwar Ali Barbhuiya

Silchar Muhammadan


Naziruddin Ahmed

South Sylhet (West)


Sheik Osman Ali Sadagar

Sadagor Muhammadan Constituency. Nowgong.


Khan Sahib Maulavi Sayidur Rahman

Lakhipur Muhammadan.


Muhammad Ali Haidar Khan

South-Sylhet (east)

Source: assamassembly.gov.in/mla-1937-46.html


Muslim Members of Assam Legislative Assembly - 1946-1952


Name of Member



Muhammad Abdullah



Khan Bahadur Abdul Majid Ziaosh Shams

Dhubri (West)


Muhammad Abdul Kasham

Dhubri (South)


Abdul Bari Choudhury

Sunamganj (South)


Dewan Abdul Basith

South Sylhet (Central)


Abdul Hai

Kamrup (North)


Abdul Hamid

Sylhet Sadar (Central)


Abdul Khaleque Ahmed

Sunamganj (West)


Abdul Kuddus Khan

Goalpara (East)


Md. Abdul Latif

Karimganj (Central)


Abdul Matin Chaudhuri



Abdul Matlib Mazumdar



Abdur Rasheed

Sylhet Sadar (East)


Dewan Abdur Rob Choudhury

Sylhet Sadar (South)


Syed Abdur Rouf



Afazuddin Ahmed

Nowgong (East)


Md. Ali Haidar Khan

South Sylhet (East)


Emran Hussain Chaudhury



Maulana Ibrahim Ali

Sylhet, Sadar (North)


M. Idris Ali

Karimganj (West)


Md. Mafiz Choudhury

Sunamganj (West)


Makabbir Ali Mazumdar



Mayeenud Din Ahamed Choudhury

South Sylhet (East)


Md. Mased Ali

Dhubri (North)


Khan Sahib Maulavi Mudabbir Hussain Choudhuri

Habiganj, (South- West)


Mumtazul Muhaddisin Moulana Md. Mufazzal Hussain

Karimganj (South)


Munawwar Ali

Sunamganj (Central)


Nasir-ud-Din Ahmed

Habiganj (South-West)


Md. Nazmal Haque

Goalpara (West)


Khan Sahib Nurul Hussain Khan

Habiganj (South-West)


Khan Bahadur Muhammad Roufique.

Nowgong (West).


Sir Syed Muhammad Saadulla

Kamrup (South)


Khan Bahadur Sayidur Rahman



Dewan Taimur Raza Choudhury

Sylhet Sadar (West)

Source: assamassembly.gov.in/mla-1946-52.html

http://twocircles.net/2011oct10/remembering_sir_syed_muhammad_saadulla_first_premi er_assam.html

02-11-11, 07:21 PM
Decline of Muslims: Nothing to do with ‘neglect’ of Science and Technology

By Soroor Ahmed, TwoCircles.net,

Over 150 years after the First War of Independence in 1857, almost 90 years after the fall of Khilafat in Turkey, about 65 years after the partition of the Indian sub-continent and two decades after the collapse of another great power-the Communist Soviet Union-should the Muslims interpret history in the same old way today in 2011, as they had been doing in the past?

Unfortunately, many Muslim intellectuals the world over, are doing the same. Be it during the time of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan or the era of Saiyid Hamid, the community leaders had been blaming the neglect of science and technology as the factor responsible for their decline. The recent book Muslim Societies: Rise and Fall by Dr. Mohammad Iqtedar Husain Farooqi provides another opportunity to re-visit history.

TwoCircles.net recently published one of the chapters of that book in which the author tried to explain that the utter disregard shown to science and technology led to the decline of Muslims. To substantiate his point, he quoted several Muslim scholars, reformers, educationists and leaders.
The truth is that the fall of any great power has little, or one can go on to the extent of saying, nothing, to do with the neglect of science and technology. This assertion may sound somewhat blasphemous, nevertheless it is a historical fact which Muslims keep denying.

If in the last 150 to 200 years, various Muslim scholars have been blaming the negligence of science and technology as the factor behind the decline of the community because they witnessed the rout of Mughals at the hands of British; the collapse of Ottoman Khilafat in Turkey–obviously under the huge western impact. As if that was not enough, came the traumatic partition of India for which the community leaders, are no less responsible than others.

But the matter of concern is that Muslim intelligentsia of 21st century are parroting the same old view, when there is absolutely no scope for it now. They need to be asked one very simple question: Why the Great Communist Empire of Soviet Union collapsed in matter of months in 1989-90, when it was scientifically, technologically, educationally and even militarily the most advance country in the world–perhaps only second to the United States. The school enrollment was among highest in the world, in science it was almost on par with the United States and in the space science it had an initial edge over Uncle Sam, the country was a Super Power whose influence ran large over the world.

Not only the Soviet Union got dismembered, all those countries which followed the Russian-brand Communist ideology withered away. Several of them now do not even exist. Herein lies the crux of the problem. The fall of Mughals and Ottomans had demoralized the leading lights of the Muslims so much that their community leaders lost the very understanding of history. It was out of sheer frustration, hopelessness and despondency that they started blaming the negligence of science and technology from 15th century–or some say 16th century–as the factor responsible for their fall from grace.

Muslim leaders are not aware that in 18th century Tipu’s army fired rockets and in 1857 Akbar Khan of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s army even attempted to fire projectiles to counter the British in Delhi. They are not aware that till early 19th century, the first thing many allopath doctors from Europe would do after reaching India, was to abandon their pathy and switch over to much advanced Unani medicine practiced mostly by Muslims.

The problem with history is that it is written and interpreted in many ways. The historic interpretation made of an event by a victorious nation would be entirely different from those of defeated one. And then there is official history. Finally there is objective history often written much later keeping in mind all the aspects into mind.

The objective truth, which can be ascertained from any real historical research–not the stories and fables on which many of our intellectuals make our argument–is that till 18th century Mughal India and Ottoman Turks were scientifically and technologically superior to their European counterparts. It was not with lathis and swords, that the Turks reached Vienna in the heart of Europe by 1683. And it was not with spears and bows and arrows that the same Ottomans in the First World War (1915-16) single-handedly defeated Admiral Winston Churchill-led mammoth combined army of Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada at Gallipoli leaving over one lakh Allied soldiers dead.

The British took the help of huge amount of armed personnel from British India too. Coming back to Indian context one needs to understand that Mughal India was a great manufacturing as well as agricultural country, and the products of the Indian loom supplied the markets of Asia and Europe. This happened till 19th century. To say that Mughals or Ottomans simply collapsed because they neglected science and technology is travesty of history.

The truth is that great powers often collapse after reaching the pinnacle of their glory. It takes much time and labor to reach at the top of a mountain, but no time to fall down. In fact Mughals and Ottomans took much longer time than Soviet Union, which collapsed like a house of cards. A huge majority of those born after 1990 are not even aware that till 20 years back it was a great power. Hardly anyone now knows the name of, for example, Nobel Laureate Andrei Sakharov, the greatest Physicist of his time and the Father of Russian Hydrogen Bomb, who died only in 1989.

If the contributions of the entire Russian science can be forgotten and buried deep into the history in no time, how can one expect demoralized Muslims of post-1857 era to know their own scientific achievements of early 19th century? It was in the interest of the official British or European historians to propagate to the world that the Muslims collapsed because they ignored science and technology. It is only objective historians of that time and even today, who highlighted that Muslims were intellectually still in much advanced state even as late as mid-19th century.

If Soviet Union collapsed, it was because the commitment to the Communist ideology and the post-World War-II Russian nationalism got weakened. The machinery, including the institution of Army became corrupt. As a political ideology Communism failed to attract people.

Similarly, if the Mughals or Ottomans failed it was not just because the rulers got weakened but because the entire ruling elite became corrupt, dishonest, pleasure-loving and even licentious. The society, notwithstanding some great qualities, became stagnant. The ruling clique––or even for that matter the Muslims in general––had nothing good or positive to offer to the humanity in general. There was no motivating factor to keep the people united for any cause.

The concept of equality, justice and peace taught in Islam was seldom found among Muslims. Instead of teaching the world the moral values, they indulged in all sorts of social crimes. The ruling class, all over the country, was completely divided paving the way for the British to just make an inroad, without fighting any real big battle.

If the United States would cease to remain the world power in future–as is being predicted by many western writers themselves–it would not be because it is ignoring science and technology. In fact it would collapse because of too much development in science and technology. The Information Technology Revolution is proving a boon as well as bane for it as millions of jobs have been outsourced to people outside rendering huge army of jobless in the country.

The truth is that be it the Mughals or Ottomans–or any other powers–they lost because they failed to understand history, the changing politics, economics and sociology of the world rather than ignoring science and technology. Between 1707, that is after the death of Aurangzeb till 1757, that is Battle of Plassey, India was literally without any central power. The British literally lost the 1757 Battle but then they took the help of treachery to get rid of Siraj-ud-daulah. After that they just got a cakewalk in North and East India as they took full advantage of the growing disunity in the rank and file of the ruling elite here. It was after the conquest of parts of India that the British started growing rich and subsequently became a big scientific, technological and industrial power in 19th century.

It is after 1857 that the defeated Muslim community got divided–one took to pure religious education while the other started talking about modern scientific education. Before the mid-19th century Muslims, in general, would not make such distinction. Muslims intellectuals who love to write the same old platitudes on the fall of community should at least read Colonel William Sleeman’s work written not now, but just before 1857. He wrote that the Muslims of India were intellectually the most well-read community of the world. They would not make any distinction in imparting education to anyone, rich or poor.

William Dalrymple in The Last Mughal (2006) quoted him extensively: “Even Colonel William Sleeman, famous for his suppression of thugs and leading critic of the administration of Indian courts had to admit that the madarsa education given in Delhi was something quite remarkable: ‘Perhaps there are a few communities in the world among whom education is more generally diffused than among Mohammadans in India,’ he wrote on a visit to Mughal capital.”

Sleeman writes further about Muslims zeal for education––modern as well as religious. Regarding average Muslim he writes: “He holds an office worth twenty rupees a month, commonly gives his sons; an education equal to that of a Prime Minister. They learn through the medium of Arabic and Persian languages. What young men in our colleges learn through those of Greek plus Latin––that is, grammar, rhetoric and logic. After his seven years of study the young Mohammadans binds his turban upon a head almost as well filled with things which appertain to these branches of knowledge. As the young man raw from Oxford––he will talk as fluently about Socrates and Aristotle, Plato and Hippocrates, Galen and Avicena; and what is much to his advantage in India the languages in which he has learnt what he knows are those which he most requires through life.”

Mind it this was the time in mid-19th century when Italian and German Unifications were going on. Some nationalists tried to unite Italy into one. They gave the country the name Italia. But the people were so ignorant and illiterate that they thought that Italia was the name of some Princess or Queen. A couple of decades later these two countries emerged as colonial powers. Similarly, the French society was so illiterate at the time of 1789 Revolution that the revolutionaries had to take help of photos and symbols instead of written posters as the people in general were not able to read and write.

That was the time when Tipu Sultan got developed rocket technology. But his army failed to defeat the British because this brave man was betrayed. Similarly, the Mughals lost in 1857 because their army had not fought any real battle for last one century. Not only the rulers but the entire machinery had become soft and immoral.

If Muslims really want to understand the root of their defeat they must abandon the old interpretation and re-visit history. Great powers often collapse to scientifically and militarily inferior but emerging powers. The victors often have other good qualities, such as, they are far more motivated, and have sense of purpose and certain goal to achieve. They become scientific, technological and military power much later. The vanquished, be it the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, the Chinese, or even the Muslims, all sank into oblivion because of common inherent deficiencies.

The social awakening in Europe in 17th, 18th and 19th centuries helped overthrew the corrupt and weak ancient regimes of the respective countries. That did not happen in Turkey or Mughal India where the old order got eroded and collapsed on its own thus paving the way for the entry of bystanders.

The need of the hour for Muslims is to understand history–not just read it as story book. After all when the same ignorant Arabs got motivated by the Universal message of Islam they became world power in no time. Years later the same Arabs became scientists, navigators, geographers, philosophers, sociologists, physicians, physicists, chemists, mathematicians and what not.

http://twocircles.net/2011nov02/decline_muslims_nothing_do_%E2%80%98neglect%E2%80% 99_science_and_technology.html

22-12-11, 09:23 PM
Muhammed – A great orphan to India’s Freedom Movement

By Abdul Basith MA, TwoCircles.net,

Manakkadavan Muhammed Haji is by now 93, yet his memories are still precise while recollecting his life in pre- and post-independence India. He was born to Manakkadavan Avaran Kutty and Panangampurath Aychutty in the year 1921, the year in which the Mappila [Muslim] community of Ernad [Malabar] waged a furious historical war against the British Empire. Popularly known as the Malabar Riot of 1921, the fight was successful in posing serious threats to the British colonial desires in Malabar.

Muhammed heard about his father through those stories told by his mother during his very young age. Muhammed was just in his second month of birth, when a huge British battalion under the leadership of Captain Mackento and Special Force Commander Lancaster marched to Pookotoor. The British already having fed up with the strong defence put forward by the brave Mappilas of Ernad (Malabar region -- the present Malappuram, Calicut) was all set for a final blow at the local Mappila rebels. They imprisoned the youths and tortured them to death. Then they brutally robbed villages and raped Muslim women.

Manakkadavan Muhammed Haji (1921 -), a Freedom Fighter of India
It was since then the native Muslim youths decided to fight against the atrocities at the cost of their life. They knew they will be killed soon in their attempts to fight against an empire, whose ‘sun doesn’t ever set’. They only had a few traditional knives and the locally developed guns, yet they were firm to stand by their strong decisions. Out of despair Aychutty, had no words to say and could not stop her husband. She almost fainted realising the fact that her very first child being just two month old, was soon gone out to be an orphan.

The day Muhammed became orphan
On the day they set out to fight the British, Avaran had a final glance at his two-month-old baby. He had within his hand a few meat, rice and coconuts and asked his wife to make and distribute those traditional Kerala dishes using those, if and only if they didn’t hear gunshots. Before setting out he asked his younger brother Kunjalavi to marry and protect his wife and child, predicting that he won’t return most probably.

None heard those gunshots for a long time. Aychutty became joyous and she had almost started distributing those ‘Thenga choru’ and ‘chicken curry’ in the neighbouring households but it was when they heard a series of gunshots being fired. There Muhammed was reborn as the lone son of a freedom fighter, a martyr. Since then he was not just an orphan but ‘an orphan to India’s struggle for freedom’.

The Mappilas’ war of 1921
What happened was like this. About 2000 of those Mappila fighters including Avaran Kutty hid at Valiyathodu between Pookkottur and Pilakkal. They had planned to attack the British army from behind when all the vehicles had crossed the bridge at Pilakkal. One person, who was not present in the final meeting of the fighters, began shooting when the first British vehicle reached the bridge. The army thus noticed them and directed their machine guns to Mappilas and began firing. However, the fighters did not turn back, but rather fought bravely. More than 300 Mappilas were killed by the British army. The army too lost several of their soldiers, including Commander Lancaster and the vice-Captain.

The whole 14 of those youths including Avaran Kutty from the neighbourhood were shot to death, the green paddy fields of Pookotoor soon turned ‘blood red’. It was only after three days the relatives were able to recover their bodies and they were altogether buried in a single grave now adjacent to the Pilakkal Masjid of Pookotoor. It was later in order to commemorate them, a Pookkottur war memorial gate was set up by the authorities.

Muhammed begins life amid miseries
Life was miserable with famines and communicable diseases and the fate had a few more ironies to play with Muhammed’s life. When the Second World War was on, the British went on recruiting Muslim youths by force into the British East India Company. The situation was such that even sufficient money won’t win you bread or rice. Muhammed too joined the army to escape starvation.

Muhammed had his military training in Punjab and Kolkata. During the Second World War, when the fierce war was on; they were in the trenches in Lahore.

Muhammed the Rebel
Now he is proud to be an ex-serviceman as well, because he was one among those rebels in the British East India Company, who revolted against the British army demanding independence. Being inspired by Gandhiji’s thought of independence, it was the time when Indians within the four companies of the British army grabbed keys of the arms and ammunition rooms of the military. Muhammed, another Perinthalmanna native Muhammad, Shankaran from Calicut were about to be beaten up but spared only because the Indians in the army as a single unit resisted. It was since then 400 Indians among the battalion were sacked and Muhammed got back to his home in Manjeri [Malappuram district].

Life after Independence
In the 1960’s Muhammed moved to the Wayanad district of Kerala, as he was sanctioned with the Ex-servicemen colony land for the British East India Company cadres. He has been receiving the freedom fighters and Ex-servicemen pensions and benefits since then. With every Independence Day and Republic Day ceremonies on the doorsteps, he feels jubilant and happier, just like on an Eid or a Bakrid because those are the days he gets honoured as a proud citizen; those are the days his father’s martyrdom is remembered and honoured. He is thankful to the government and local administration for those kind ceremonial invitations where he gets honoured and privileged.

Today’s India is not of his dream
Notwithstanding all honors and privileges, is today’s India what he had dreamt of? When asked his answers weren’t all that pleasant. He feels like the community who even sacrificed their lives for the sake of a free and independent India but are often marginalised or even alienated. He feels that there are even attempts to brand the historical freedom struggle of 1921 as a riot against Hindus of the region. On corrupt acts he faced in the governmental offices, Muhammed says, the independent India is at present colonised by wicked politicians and bureaucrats.

Now with his life mate Khadeeja [73] recently having succumbed to chronic Bronchitis he is in a bid to live his rest life on her memories with his lone son Aboobacker MM and his family. Whenever he gets someone to talk on those old glory days of his father and his own struggle for independence, he often forgets to have food, water or even a sleep.

http://twocircles.net/2011dec23/muhammed_%E2%80%93_great_orphan_india%E2%80%99s_fr eedom_movement.html

26-06-13, 02:27 PM
Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee: The Hindutva Icon Who Betrayed the Freedom Struggle of India

By Shamsul Islam,

Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-1953) is a prominent Hindutva icon for the RSS/BJP camp. It was he who, on the advice of M.S. Golwalkar, founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) in 1951 and became the first president of the political arm of the RSS. He died in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on 23 June 1953, when he was under arrest. His death is mourned every year as 'End Article 370 Day' and 'Save Kashmir Day'.

This year too, meetings were organized to highlight the 'sacrifice' of Dr Mookerjee for Jammu and Kashmir. L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi addressed gatherings at Delhi and Madhopur, Punjab, respectively. Dr Mookerjee was lauded as a great nationalist and patriot. Advani in his blog (http://blog.lkadvani.in/blog-in-english/salutations-to-a-great-martyr) on 23 June 2013, under the title SALUTATIONS TO A GREAT MARTYR, apart from giving details of Dr Mookerjee's founding of the BJS, the Kashmir campaign, his arrest at Madhopur and subsequent death at the state hospital in Srinagar, declared him to be 'a great leader' and a 'great patriot right from his birth'. He went on to add that 'We in the BJP owe our position in India's politics to the sacrifices and exertions of thousands who have preceded us, and above all to the vision and martyrdom of Dr Mookerjee.'

On the same day, Narendra Modi wrote the following, which was reproduced in the blog of Advani:

“Today we remember the great Syama Prasad Mookerjee, a statesman, thinker and a patriot who devoted his life towards strengthening national integration. The founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, he left us on this day exactly 59 years back in 1953…Remembering him, Advaniji has penned a heart-touching blog today “SALUTATIONS TO A GREAT MARTYR!” which I would like to share with you.”

The rhetoric of these two ‘Iron Men’ of the RSS/BJP camp needs to be cross-checked with the contemporary documents available. The perusal of these documents clearly shows that the claim that Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee was a 'great leader' and a 'great patriot right from his birth' is a farce. Dr Mookerjee did not participate in the Freedom Struggle launched to liberate India from British rule. If patriotism means being part of the Freedom Struggle and making sacrifices, Dr Mookerjee not only kept aloof from it but also betrayed it by siding with the British rulers and the Muslim League. He was a great votary for partition of Bengal on the eve of India’s independence.

In pre-Independence times he was a prominent leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, which was led by V.D. Savarkar. When in 1942 during the Quit India movement the British rulers were asked to quit India, they responded to this mass movement by unleashing a reign of terror. While hundreds of people died in police firings, the Hindu Mahasabha, with the Muslim League led by M.A. Jinnah, ran coalition governments in Sind, Bengal and NWFP. This is corroborated by the following words of 'Veer' Savarkar (from his presidential speech to the 24th session of the Hindu Mahasabha at Kanpur in 1942):

“In practical politics also the Mahasabha knows that we must advance through reasonable compromises. Witness the fact that only recently in Sind, the Sind-Hindu-Sabha on invitation had taken the responsibility of joining hands with the League itself in running coalition Government. The case of Bengal is well known. Wild Leaguers whom even the Congress with all its submissiveness could not placate grew quite reasonably compromising and sociable as soon as they came in contact with the HM and the Coalition Government, under the premiership of Mr Fazlul Huq and the able lead of our esteemed Mahasabha leader Dr Syama Prasad Mookerji, functioned successfully for a year or so to the benefit of both the communities.”

In Sind, the Hindu Mahasabha entered into an alliance with the Muslim League and formed the government after the great secular prime minister (at that time chief ministers were designated prime ministers) Allah Baksh was dismissed by the British Governor for his support to the Quit India Movement. He headed the Ittehad (unity) Party government. It was a mass based secular party consisting of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs which did not allow the Muslim League to enter Sind, a Muslim majority province. He was murdered by Muslim League goons in 1943. Later on a coalition government between the Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha was formed in NWFP also.

In a more shocking development, the Hindu Mahasabha of Dr Mookerjee decided to help the British rulers in World War II. It was the time when Subhash Chandra Bose, known as Netaji, was organizing the INA (Azad Hind Fauj) in a military campaign to force the British out. The extent to which the Hindu Mahasabha was willing to help the British masters is clear from the following directive issued by Savarkar as President of the Mahasabha:

“So far as India's defence is concerned, Hindudom must ally unhesitatingly, in a spirit of responsive co-operation, with the war effort of the Indian government in so far as it is consistent with the Hindu interests, by joining the Army, Navy and the Aerial forces in as large a number as possible and by securing an entry into all ordnance, ammunition and war craft factories.... Again it must be noted that Japan's entry into the war has exposed us directly and immediately to the attack by Britain’s enemies. Consequently, whether we like it or not, we shall have to defend our own hearth and home against the ravages of the war and this can only be done by intensifying the government's war effort to defend India. Hindu Mahasabhaites must, therefore, rouse Hindus especially in the provinces of Bengal and Assam as effectively as possible to enter the military forces of all arms without losing a single minute.” [Cited in V.D. Savarkar, Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan, vol. 6, Maharashtra Prantik Hindusabha, Poona, 1963, p. 460]

The Hindu Mahasabha was in direct contact with the then British Viceroy and the Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces for organizing resources, both human and material, for the British war effort. It organized armed forces recruitment camps. Savarkar even called upon all those Hindus who had offered to join British armed forces to “be perfectly amenable and obedient to the military discipline and order which may prevail there provided always that the latter do not deliberately aim to humiliate Hindu Honour.” [Cited in A.S. Bhide (ed.), Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's Whirlwind Propaganda: Extracts from the President's Diary of his Propagandist Tours, Interviews from December 1937 to October 1941, na, Bombay, 1940, p. xxviii]

It may not be out of place to say here that I posted a comment on Advani's blog referring to Dr Mookerjee's participation in a Muslim League government in Bengal, as narrated by Savarkar, on 23 June 2013 at 9.14 a.m., requesting for his comment. In a short while it was removed. I reposted it at 10.43 but the same story was repeated. It is true that the blog belongs to the RSS/BJP leader, Advani, and that he has the absolute right to decide what appears on it. However, I feel that since he had put up statements he should have responded to my query, 'Was Dr Mookerjee a patriot for a democratic-secular India?’ His silence suggests to me that he knows that bluff has its limitations.

It is not that I am unsympathetic. Even a master of sophistry cannot deal with the contradiction that the Hindu Mahasabha helped to run provinces for the British rulers precisely when a much larger number of Indians was asking the British to leave India. Even Advani cannot explain away the eagerness of Dr Mookerjee's mentor, Savarkar, to aid the British war effort when countless Indians so badly wanted 'the Jewel in the [British] Crown' to be their own land again that Subhas Bose even undertook military action. We should never forget that when Hindu Mahasabha led by Savarkar and Dr Mookerjee were facilitating the colonial masters’ war efforts, the freedom fighters were raising the slogan, “na ek bhai, na ek pai’ (not a man, not a paisa for the War).

Finally, as a student of Indian politics and history, I request Advani to reveal his source of information that Dr Mookerjee was a 'great patriot right from his birth' about which no one else knows anything. I have been denied my right to be responded by Advani in latter’s blog but hopeful that this write-up will secure the explanation from RSS patriarch to enrich the nation’s memory about Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee.

[With thanks to Mr Mukul Dube for suggestions]

http://twocircles.net/2013jun26/dr_syama_prasad_mookerjee_hindutva_icon_who_betray ed_freedom_struggle_india.html

18-08-13, 12:29 PM
Jinnah: Communal, secular or simply power hungry?

Syed Kashif,

After over six decades of independence or partition of India, inspite of so many researches, still there remain various puzzles unsolved. The most significant and contentious among them is whether Mohammad Ali Jinnah was secular or communal? Interestingly, the question gets revived when people like LK Advani and Jaswant Singh, who are directly political descendent of the sect which categorically dubbed Jinnah staunch communal, visit Pakistan or even write books on Jinnah proving him secular.

Very interestingly, Mohammad Ali Jinnah joined Congress in 1906, the same year in which Muslim league was founded. Or, it was his nationalism and patriotism which tempted him to join politics. This is why he joined Congress and not League.

In 1906, he joined Congress session as personal secretary to its president Dadabhai Nauroji where he made his first speech on self-government resolution of the Congress whereby he demanded deletion of the clause of the resolution which made provision for reservation of seats in the Legislature and services for the educationally backward classes in India.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah with Mahatma Gandhi.
He also opposed the partition of Bengal and characterized the separate electorate given to Muslims by Morley Minto Reform as “obnoxious virus introduced into the body politic of India with evil design”. Thus as he did not believe in separate electorate and disliked Muslim leaders not being nationalist equally, he started thinking of its remedy. Therefore he joined League in 1913. Within the League Jinnah tried to weaken the hold of pro-British elements. He made away the illusion of the leaguers that British were their well wishers. He aroused their patriotic feelings. He greatly strengthened the nationalist forces within the organization. Eventually, under his leadership, two some extent, League became identical with that of congress.

As a result of the hard work of Jinnah, both Muslim League and Congress, for their annual session, met at Bombay in December 1915. The speeches from two platforms were similar in tone and theme. Later in 1916, the famous Lacknow pact was confirmed in their annual session at Lacknow.

Here, Jinnah made departure. He forgot his firm opposition of separate electorate. In Lacknow pact of 1916, he advocated that the Muslim representation to various legislatures “should be secured…by means of separate electorate…….”

However, since Congress accepted that demand and showed the accommodative attitude, things remained normal. Moreover, from 1916 to 1922 the annual session of both congress and league were held simultaneously and by 1922 there was no difference in their resolutions.

In 1920, Gandhiji very shrewdly supported the Khilafat movement which worked and consequently many Muslims joined congress. The movement brought top Muslim personalities to the forefront of politics. In other words, Gandhi got the credit of making Muslims nationalists which so far Jinnah was enjoying.

Though Jinnah had joined the League for making bridge between Muslims and Hindus or strengthening nationalism among Muslims as well, he himself diluted, probably unconsciously, his goal by proposing separate electorate in lacknow pact of 1916, of which he was strictly against. Here I would argue that though Jinnah would have joined League with the idea of nationalism but soon he might have seen opportunity to become a great leader or a lone representative of Muslims. But unfortunately Gandhi, through Khilafat Movement, made a blow on his purpose. Consequently Jinnah found himself rejected in his endeavors to retain a position of strength in Indian politics. Thus, he resigned from Congress in 1920. However, he continued to cooperate with it until 1937. Now he thought that to become the lone representative or champion of Muslims it would be better to remain only the member of Muslim League.

Blow to the goal of Jinnah led him to criticize Gandhiji’s religious and metaphysical approach openly. He accused him of reviving Hindu beliefs in Congress. Rather he argued that by ancient belief of ahimsa and the idea of ‘new life’ Gandhi was giving Congress a Hindu complexion. Here it is ridiculous that how could Jinnah see ancient belief in the idea of ahimsa which Gandhi simply meant non-violence.

Thus another face of Jinnah got reflected in 1924 when he bluntly asked Muslims to organize themselves under the banner of the league. In 1923, Jinnah had contested election for central legislative assembly seat as an independent candidate. After winning he had made his own party “Independent Party”, which soon vanished. This step can be seen as a chance taken to become champion which certainly did not work.

Scholars are not united on the question that when actually Jinnah resorted to Muslim nationalism. However, I would argue that the seed of ‘Muslim nationalism’ (it was just a tactic to hold power) was found in Jinnah right back in lacknow pact of 1916. Very significantly, it is true that after 1916 and even after 1929 Jinnah remained firm nationalist. We have various examples for that also. But it is worth noting that his weaker position in League (In league there was division; league of Shafi and league of Jinnah) had prevented him to exhibit himself as ‘Muslim nationalist’. In other words he remained in dilemma till 1937.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah with Jawaharlal Nehru.
By 1927 Jinnah had gained that much strength which led him to build a formula which could prove beneficiary for his leadership. After the refusal of Simon Commission, at Conference of Muslim leaders in Delhi, Jinnah, in the name of reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims, had evolved a formula of three Muslim majorities’ provinces and allocation of seats in central legislative assembly instead of separate electorate. Or, going a step ahead he evolved the above idea instead of separate electorate which was already more or less under consideration.

In fact, in 1916 Congress had showed its nod to this demand (separate electorate). Now Jinnah was ready to accept joint electorate if the above idea was accepted. But unfortunately it was categorically rejected in Nehru report of 1928. Interestingly, Nehru Report, at Calcutta, rejected all the Muslim proposals, except the one relating to joint electorate. The rejection of greater provincial autonomy became the decisive ‘parting of the ways’ for Jinnah in retrospect a major landmark on the road to Pakistan (Sumit Sarkar, Indian Democracy: the historical inheritance).

Here the question arises that why did Jinnah go ahead? Why did he formulate new idea rather than separate electorate? What compelled him to come with this new idea of three provinces though there was already issue of separate electorate under consideration? I think this very idea of Jinnah tempted Congress or Hindu leadership apprehensive about Hindus. In other words, Jinnah himself made his Hindu colleagues his opponent.

Nehru report made him upset. He lost his hope to become a champion. Thus he left India. He remained in England till 1935.
During his stay in England he met people like Liaqat Ali Khan and Iqbal who introduced him the idea of ‘Muslim Homeland’in the subcontinent. Meantime in India top leaders of Muslims like Maulana Mohammad Ali, Sir Mohammad Shafi had died. Sir Fazl-i-Huain and Agha Khan were losing their health. Thus Jinnah found the time ripe to take one more chance. He rushed back to India in 1935. However, after coming back he did not express the new idea bluntly whereas he ostensibly made effort to unite Hindu and Muslim but this endeavor was wrecked by the Congress victory in the general elections of 1937; now the Congress was strong enough to ignore both him and his League. In 1937, in his presidential address to League, Jinnah touched upon some of the suggestion made by Iqbal. However, he was not much confident about that idea. In fact he did not want to repeat the mistake of 1927 whereby he had surrendered separate electorate without taking his community into confidence.

At that time he had not only failed to buy for Muslims the friendship and the support of Hindus but had also weakened his own position as the representative of Muslims. Therefore this time he wanted to unite the whole Muslim community under the banner of Muslim League. To make his goal truth he left no stone unturned. He worked hard. He travelled all the places where minority was living. He made various provocative speeches. He openly left his idea of nationalism of which he was firm supporter. He did not hesitate to abandon his idea of uniting Hindus and Muslims. He was now no more an ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity.

To identify himself with the new role he discarded his western dress and started wearing shirwani and cap. He started learning Urdu. When he went to Punjab and North-West Frontier, he sported Punjabi Salwar to give the impression that he was one of them. In conservative areas he would make sure that his sister Fatima who did not wear the veil, was not seated with him. Consequently Jinnah’s effort started working. People did get united.

By that time the idea of Pakistan had spread across India. Now Muslim League was waiting just for more strength or ripe time. Eventually in 1940, in Lahore, League in its session on 22-24 March made the pronouncement of Pakistan. The session was attended as many as one lakh members.

In 1942 Congress demanded of the British to “quit India” whereas League said to the British that they must divide and then quit. Even after 1940 congress was in illusion that League was not much strong. It continuously ignored the League. In 1944 congress categorically rejected the Rajgopalchari’s offer to resolve the Congress-League tangle. Failure of Gandhi Jinnah meeting reminded congress that Jinnah had gained the strength.

Thus in 1945, on June 25, Congress was willing to accept the offer of Crips (which the congress had rejected in 1942) which was now renewed by Viceroy Lord Wavel in Simla. Congress was willing to accept the offer in the hope of avoiding partition while League turned it down in the hope of division. In fact, Crips Mission had offered the right of complete independence to India as well as the right of opting out of the Indian union to any province or provinces. The offer was rejected by Congress on the usual grounds and by the League for making Pakistan only optional.

Later in 1946, Cabinet Mission plan, as the new scheme came to be known. It provided for a federation with powers over only foreign affairs, defense and communication, thus reducing the power of the centre, and for the provinces to form subordinate unions of their own, thus conceding the principle of Pakistan while maintain the unity of India. Importantly Jinnah agreed and on June 6, 1946 persuaded the League to accept the plan.

In fact, though the plan had rejected a sovereign Pakistan, it had definitely conceded the demand in short term. However, in long term, there was still hope of separation for League with all six provinces intact. But there was another bad luck waiting for Jinnah. First congress accepted that plan but later argued that it would apply its own interpretation to the plan. Nehru explained the meaning of the qualified consent on July 10, 1946 by saying that Congress would apply its own interpretation to the plan and would enter the Constituent Assembly completely unfettered by agreements and free to meet all situations as they arise. In addition, there would be no grouping of provinces, he argued. After getting this news Jinnah retaliated sharply. He rejected the plan, withdrew the League acceptance and declared: “This day we bid goodbye to constitutional methods”.

Henceforth no one could convince Jinnah. Both Wavel and Mountbaton tried to resuscitate the Cabinet Mission Plan, but Jinnah had no confidence in the word or the sincerity of the congress. Eventually what happened, we all know. A united India got divided into two. Leaders made compromises to enjoy the luxury of chair at the cost of thousands of people. In the countryside people were butchering each other while leaders were busy in making efforts to attain power.

Had Jinnah not joined the Muslim League he would have been a great nationalist leader of India. Though he joined League to strengthen nationalism but he himself got trapped in the net of Muslim nationalism. Scholars see the lacknow pact as his great effort to unite Hindus and Muslims. But the fact is just opposite. It was Lucknow pact where the first brick of Muslim nationalism was laid down by Jinnah.

Jinnah pleaded for separate electorate for which just before 8-9 years he had harshly opposed. In fact, after joining league in 1913, Jinnah soon realized that he could become champion or lone representative of Muslims. Thus the demand of SE was just a tool to make the scope alive. Further in 1927 Jinnah’s demand of Muslim majorities’ provinces and allocation of seats in central legislative assembly, instead of separate electorate, raises a question.

In fact, here Jinnah had again tried to widen the scope of becoming champion of Muslims. Jinnah had set out to England after the Nehru report sharply rejected his ideas. But interestingly there he could not give up his desire to become hero. Very soon he got influenced by Iqbal and Liaqat. He rushed back with the idea of ‘Muslim Homeland’ for which he worked very hard. In fact, in the idea of ‘Home Land’ he could see a good scope for becoming champion. For that matter, in those days how provocative speeches he used to give, is worth noticing. How radically he altered his dressing and life style is also significant.

As far as division of India is concerned, Nehru was to larger extent responsible for that. Jinnah had to just become a hero. He was dying to become a great leader. Cabinet mission plan was fulfilling his purpose and therefore he had agreed. But Nehru did not agree. What he had in his mind is another issue.

If Jinnah could not achieve his goal in cabinet plan, he got the same in later plan of Mountbatten. Thus the goal for which he had been striving for years he got in 1947. And the goal was nothing but to become hero or champion. He was nationalist but only for few years. He was certainly not communal as well.

Had he been communal it would have been good for the people who are living in the present Pakistan. Had he been communal he would not have given his first speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, on being elected its first President, with full of secular ethos, on August11, 1947. Thus he was rather a guy who through ought his life, ran after power.

(Syed Kashif is a M.Phil student at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and blogs at http://kashifrazasabri.blogspot.in .)

http://twocircles.net/2013aug15/jinnah_communal_secular_or_simply_power_hungry.htm l

20-08-13, 08:19 AM
Syed Badruddin Ahmad (1901-83): Politician, writer, and poet

By Mohammad Sajjad

While looking into certain archival documents (CID files of the 1940s) pertaining to my research work I came across a name of an office-bearer (General Secretary) of the Bihar Muslim League, in correspondence with Jinnah. This name sounded familiar as I had read an Urdu memoir/ autobiography Haqeeqat Bhi Kahani Bhi: Azimabad Ki Tahzibi Daastaan (1988), authored by the same name. The puzzle was: in a thick volume of 578 pages of the memoir, there was not even a slight hint of the author’s association with or involvement in politics of any persuasion, League, Congress, …It left me a bit confused as to whether the writer of the memoir and the Muslim League’s politician I came across in the document, was one and same or they were two different people incidentally bearing similar names.

The note of dedication (Intesaab) of the memoir was quite amazingly fascinating:

“Main apni is kitab ka intesaab Patna ke us guzray huay Ganga-Jamuni samaj ki yadon ke saath ma’anwan karta hoon jo Patna hi ka nahin, pooray Hindustan ka mushtareka Ganga-Jamuni samaj tha aur jis ki taameer mein yahan ke har firqa aur har tabqa ke logon ney yaksaan taur par hissa liya tha. Is samaj mein poori qaum ek ikaai thi, is samaj mein bhai-chara aur mohabbat ka raj tha, rawadari aur yekjehati parwaan charhti thin aur ekta ke saanchay mein jazbaat o mahsoosaat dhaltay thay. Aaj phir usi Ganga-Jamuni samaj ki zaroorat hai taaki hamara mulk dubara Jannat-e-nishan ban jaaye”.

[I dedicate this book of mine to the memory of Patna’s Ganga-Jamuni culture, which belonged not only to Patna but also to the whole of India, and which was nurtured by the people of every sect and class. In this culture all the communities were a composite unit consisting of brotherhood and love, with growing tolerance and unity sharing emotions and feelings with each other. Today, we need the very same Ganga-Jamuni culture so that our beloved country once again becomes heaven for all].

As I explored more about this, it became clear to me that the two were one and same- Syed Badruddin Ahmad- who has also left a collection of poems (Kulliyat-e-Badr), not yet published. He composed poems bearing the pen-name, ‘Badr Azimabadi’. [The memoir sold many copies inland and abroad, and came out its re-print in 2003, not to say of so many Xerox copies of the book].

His father [Khan Bahadur] Syed Zamiruddin Ahmad (1862-1921) had established the Patna branch of the Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (founded in 1903 in Aligarh), on the persuasion of Abdul Haq (1872-1961), the then chief of the Anjuman. Zamiruddin was joined by Syed Mahmud, Dr. Zubair Siddiqi and also by few Hindus. It was started in the Hugh Library of Patna, and Qazi Abdul Wadud (1896-1984) after coming back from Cambridge made this branch quite pro-active and popular, shifted its library to Bankipur (Patna). Zamiruddin came from Biharsharif; was BA from the Presidency College, Calcutta, and was married (1882) in an elite family of the Sadr Gali, Patna City, where Badruddin was born and brought up to do BA from the Patna College, and then pursued MA in English literature; cutting it short, joined BL and started court practice. In 1937 he had joined politics, and became General Secretary of the Bihar Muslim League, contested Assembly election from Champaran, and came out successful. It is however intriguing that in his memoir Badruddin maintains a conspicuous silence on his political activities during 1937-46.

In March 1947, on the persuasion of Gandhiji (when he visited Patna), Badruddin joined the Congress. Badruddin’s son, Faiyaz Ahmad shared with the historian Papiya Ghosh (1958-2006): ‘[A]fter Partition Badruddin Ahmad expressed his anguish to Jinnah since he had understood the Lahore resolution [of 23 March 1940] as a demand for a confederation of Muslim and non-Muslim provinces and not partition’. Jinnah responded that even he too had not demanded it. Jinnah asked Badruddin to stay on in India, an advice which Badruddin passed on to others. Subsequently both Jinnah and Nazimuddin called Badruddin many times to Pakistan with promises of land, property, etc. Defying all these inducements Badruddin decided not to leave those Muslims rudderless who chose to stay on in Bihar.

Badruddin was also associated with the Mohammedan Education Committee, Patna (founded in March 1884; a regional response to the Aligarh Movement), which runs Mohammedan Anglo-Arabic High School as well as the Oriental College, Patna (est. 1964). He was also a member of the Senate (Executive Council) of the Patna University. He was a voracious reader with special interest in reading History and biographies; had a rich personal library. In short, after independence, Badruddin not only left politics for good, he was not even prepared to talk/write about politics. His memoir is a specimen of good prose with lot of cultural details about the urban life of Patna, comparable to an extent with Sharar’s Guzashta Lucknow.

This profile of Badruddin Ahmad narrating his ‘sudden’ turn towards the Congress, and against the League, few months before the partition, gives some clue to the historians to re-visit the historiography of India’s partition.

For more see my forthcoming book Changing Contours of Muslim Politics in Bihar: Pre and Post-independence Experiences.

Mohammad Sajjad is Asstt. Prof. at Centre of Advanced Study in History, Aligarh Muslim University.

http://twocircles.net/2013jul27/syed_badruddin_ahmad_190183_politician_writer_and_ poet.html

24-09-13, 08:36 PM
Hyderabad 1948: India's hidden massacre

When India was partitioned in 1947, about 500,000 people died in communal rioting, mainly along the borders with Pakistan. But a year later another massacre occurred in central India, which until now has remained clouded in secrecy.

In September and October 1948, soon after independence from the British Empire, tens of thousands of people were brutally slaughtered in central India.

Some were lined up and shot by Indian Army soldiers. Yet a government-commissioned report into what happened was never published and few in India know about the massacre. Critics have accused successive Indian governments of continuing a cover-up.

The massacres took place a year after the violence of partition in what was then Hyderabad state, in the heart of India. It was one of 500 princely states that had enjoyed autonomy under British colonial rule.

When independence came in 1947 nearly all of these states agreed to become part of India.


But Hyderabad's Muslim Nizam, or prince, insisted on remaining independent. This outraged the new country's mainly Hindu leaders in New Delhi.

After an acrimonious stand-off between Delhi and Hyderabad, the government finally lost patience.

In addition, their desire to prevent an independent Muslim-led state taking root in the heart of predominantly Hindu India was another worry.

Members of the powerful Razakar militia, the armed wing of Hyderabad's most powerful Muslim political party, were terrorising many Hindu villagers.

This gave the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, the pretext he needed. In September 1948 the Indian Army invaded Hyderabad.

In what was rather misleadingly known as a "police action", the Nizam's forces were defeated after just a few days without any significant loss of civilian lives. But word then reached Delhi that arson, looting and the mass murder and rape of Muslims had followed the invasion.

Determined to get to the bottom of what was happening, an alarmed Nehru commissioned a small mixed-faith team to go to Hyderabad to investigate.

It was led by a Hindu congressman, Pandit Sunderlal. But the resulting report that bore his name was never published.

But now, historian Sunil Purushotham from the University of Cambridge has obtained a copy of the report as part of his research in this field.

Pandit Sunderlal's team concluded that between 27,000 and 40,000 died

The Sunderlal team visited dozens of villages throughout the state.

At each one they carefully chronicled the accounts of Muslims who had survived the appalling violence: "We had absolutely unimpeachable evidence to the effect that there were instances in which men belonging to the Indian Army and also to the local police took part in looting and even other crimes.

"During our tour we gathered, at not a few places, that soldiers encouraged, persuaded and in a few cases even compelled the Hindu mob to loot Muslim shops and houses."

The team reported that while Muslims villagers were disarmed by the Indian Army, Hindus were often left with their weapons.

In some cases, it said, Indian soldiers themselves took an active hand in the butchery: "At a number of places members of the armed forces brought out Muslim adult males from villages and towns and massacred them in cold blood."

The investigation team also reported, however, that in many other instances the Indian Army had behaved well and protected Muslims.

The Nizam of Hyderabad was a powerful prince. In this picture taken in 1899, the Nizam, Mahbub Ali Khan, and his party pose with tiger skins.

The backlash was said to have been in response to many years of intimidation and violence against Hindus by the Razakars.

In confidential notes attached to the Sunderlal report, its authors detailed the gruesome nature of the Hindu revenge: "In many places we were shown wells still full of corpses that were rotting. In one such we counted 11 bodies, which included that of a woman with a small child sticking to her breast. "

And it went on: "We saw remnants of corpses lying in ditches. At several places the bodies had been burnt and we would see the charred bones and skulls still lying there."

The Sunderlal report estimated that between 27,000 to 40,000 people lost their lives.

No official explanation was given for Nehru's decision not to publish the contents of the Sunderlal report, though it is likely that, in the powder-keg years that followed independence, news of what happened might have sparked more Muslim reprisals against Hindus.

It is also unclear why, all these decades later, there is still no reference to what happened in the nation's schoolbooks. Even today few Indians have any idea what happened.

The Sunderlal report, although unknown to many, is now open for viewing at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (http://www.nehrumemorial.org/) in New Delhi.

There has been a call recently in the Indian press for it to be made more widely available, so the entire nation can learn what happened.

It could be argued this might risk igniting continuing tensions between Muslims and Hindus.

"Living as we are in this country with all our conflicts and problems, I wouldn't make a big fuss over it," says Burgula Narasingh Rao, a Hindu who lived through those times in Hyderabad and is now in his 80s.

"What happens, reaction and counter-reaction and various things will go on and on, but at the academic level, at the research level, at your broadcasting level, let these things come out. I have no problem with that."