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Taking Stock
Mission lost in wilderness - VI
By Rizwan Ullah

Rizwan UllahAmong the contemporaries of Maulana Azad we find Maulana Hasrat Mohani who has a clear vision about his objective. Although he vassilates between the Muslim League and the Congress, but he single mindedly worked for the end of British Raj. He disentangles himself from the past and goes a step ahead of Maulana Azad, shakes hands with the founders of the communist party of India.

Through his emphasis on Swadeshi and the boycott of the British goods, which later formed the agenda of the Congress Party, he wrought an economic blow to the alien rulers and was retaliated with long terms of intermittent imprisonments. What is intended to convey here is the fact that he had a mission before him and he was pursuing it in his own way, supporting it through his writings but a regular press could never fit into his scheme of things as he was in the thick of political activity which had clouts in almost all organizations and movements with similar ideas and commonality of views.

But at the same time he was not oblivious of what was happening in the Urdu press and at times he lamented on the state of affairs in the Urdu Press. Urdu-i-Moalla is a witness to this fact. The paper in its life span of about two decades saw many ups and downs. Originally, Urdu-i- Moalla was a literary sort of magazine and the academic clime of Aligarh must have suited it. But as the days passed and Maulana Hasrat Mohaniís activities burgeoned in Kanpur it was but natural that the magazine should also shift there, and in Kanpur it was but natural for the magazine to wear a political colour which after several hiccups finally breathed its last.

Thus Maulana's mind must have been freed from the distractions that a paper entails. By that time, that is in 1920s, other papers had come up but, as I have already said in the absence of any authentic and dependable history of Urdu journalism in India it is difficult to judge their role and see if there was a systematic consistency in their policies. However, this much is clear that by that time Muslim opinion had been split between the Muslim League and the Congress. But it is doubtful that the people were really aware, with a conviction, of the direction of the path they were made to follow and the final destination. It was a great tragedy. Confusion is the worst enemy of a people groping for a direction.

Dr. Mohammed Iqbal was a towering personality among his contemporaries (a few of them have been mentioned in this series of articles). Several generations of Muslims of this subcontinent have been hypnotized by him, and a great many of them have not yet been able to come out of that mesmerized state of mind. He was a philosopher living in a world of his own creative imagination completely different from the material world in existence. The compulsions of practical politics and the headache of a newspaper were beyond his mettle. His views found expression in his poetry, his discourses, letters and various other writings. As we have a cursory look at them we find that they are full of paradoxes: He is proud of being a Brahmanzad (a Brahmanzad prodigy) but longs for a puff of air from the Holy Land. His Mard-e-Kamil is a substitute for Nietzschesís superman but he is brought up in a spiritual atmosphere of Rumi's traditions.

His Shaheen is flying high and never makes an aashiyana, obviously shaheen is a Qalandar who does not care for worldly things but rejoices pigeons blood and weeps over small birds only to warm up its blood. He advises the Kisan to burn down every corn of grain if his field does not yield for a living, but has anyone heard of a farmer burning down his farm? Rather he prefers to commit suicide even to this day. He believes that being a Muslim the whole world is open for him, but every Muslim knows what luck would be awaiting him if he dares cross into a Muslim country. Thus Dr. Iqbal does not seem to have a blue print for a Muslim nation. However, that Dana-i-Raz (the visionary- breathed his last while the world of his imagination, was almost at the threshold of its creation when the caravan of Indian Muslims tired and tattered had its "tryst with destiny".

Was that "destiny" an objective of any mission? I believe not. If there was any mission at all, it was lost in wilderness. The morning borne out of Khoon-e-sad hazar anjum (the blood of a hundred thousand stars) in the words of Iqbal was darker than the nightmarish rights of the past. The Urdu press found itself in a shocked state of bewilderment, no strength in its knees to enable it to stand up. The history of the Urdu press repeated itself in every detail within the span of a century.

Now another half century has passed. Technology has virtually brought many facilities at our doorstep yet we have not woken up to the most urgent necessity to inform our countrymen about the huge contribution of the Urdu press in support of the freedom struggle and also the sacrifices of our Ulama for the sake of that cause proportionately many times more than others. The generation of leaders who had fought side by side is no more and their new generation is in no mood to look back.

Today the past history of our far fetched affiliations with West Asia is haunting us and we are hounded by a vicious section of the mad media constantly misinforming the ignorant masses and showing Muslims generally in bad light. It amounts to creating disruption in a civilized society. It is a disservice to the Indian people. In the absence of an effective check on it the Muslim segment of the society should take upon itself the responsibility to bring forth facts and inform the people. For this effective means must he structured before it is too late.
(Concluded)
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