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Maulana Sayyid Ahmad Hashmi
By Masoom Muradabadi

The saintly, dynamic religious and national leader, Maulana Sayyid Ahmad Hashmi died at a time when Muslims badly needed a sincere, selfless, bold and active leaders like him. He was amongst the very few of our leaders who worked under very difficult circumstances for the freedom of the country and particularly in the post-partition days. He had learnt from senior members of his family the way of leading a simple, honest and respectable life. The senior members of his family belonged to the class of Ulama who had made invaluable sacrifices for the freedom and development of the country and who had taught the people to continue to work and live with confidence in self and confidence in God in spite of the changed circumstances in the country and not to lead and easy-going and luxurious life.

Maulana Hashmi did not forget the lessons and teachings of his seniors and continued to lead his life accordingly till the last moments of his life. Whenever any needy person came to him to seek his help he was always prepared to help him in whatever way he could and even agreed to go with him to other places in spite of his illness, weakness etc in order to help him. If he would have so desired, he could have led a comfortable and peaceful life after retirement from Darul Uloom, Deoband; but he was one of those slaves of God about whom Allama Iqbal has said:
Aaeen-e jawanmardaan haq goi wo be-baaki
Allah ke sheron ko aati nahin roobaani
(Men of chivalry are truthful, righteous and bold
Lions of Allah are not sly and cunning (like fox).

The Maulana, who spent greater part of his life in a small house in a congested lane of Old Delhi and did not even avail of the facilities and privileges after becoming a Member of Parliament, performed his duties in a perfect and ideal manner as leader of the Muslim nation in accordance with the true traditions and values that he inherited from his seniors. Whether it was communal riots or attacks on rights of minorities, the question of minority character of Aligarh Muslim University or Babri Masjid movement, he was everywhere in the forefront with his leadership qualities.

He was a member of Parliament for twelve years but never allowed his religious and national status to be dominated by political status. He spoke with self confidence and boldness on different problems whenever the need arose. He used to travel far and wide whenever communal riots broke out anywhere and fearlessly moved everywhere, even in curfew bound areas, to provide relief and succour to the injured and affected people, to enquire into the cases at first hand and have the guilty punished and arrange justice to the aggrieved persons.

Born on 18 January 1932 at Ghaziabad, he lost his parents when he was only an infant and was brought up by his elder brother. He received his early education in Madrasa Deenya, Ghazipur, thereafter in Madrasa Aaliya, Calcutta and Darul Uloom, Deoband. He came into contact with people like Sheikhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, Maulana Hifzur Rahman and got associated with Jamiatul Ulama. After remaining for some time in Delhi, he went to Calcutta and worked as general secretary of Jamiatul Ulama, West Bengal branch. In Calcutta he started two Urdu weeklies ‘Armaghan’ and ‘Such Baat’. But later on West Bengal government filed a suit against ‘Armaghan’ and its title was forfeited.

This was the time when communal riots were widespread in the country. When Jamiatul Ulama organised a Muslim Convention in Delhi in 1965, he came to Delhi and through his efforts the convention was a grand success. He was made General Manager of Al Jamiat newspaper. Thereafter, he was appointed as Chairman of Delhi Waqf Board in 1977. He was a member of Rajya Sabha two times for 12 years from 1974 to 1986. He was one of the founder members of All India Muslim Majlis Mushawarat and remained associated with it permanently. He fought for Lok Sabha elections two times on Congress ticket but lost. He also served as member and thereafter Chairman of PAC of Railway ministry and toured Russia, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc as member of various parliamentary delegations.

In spite of holding such high positions, he remained a simple and honest man throughout. He died on 4 November 2001.

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