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Published in the 1-15 May 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

INTERVIEW: Maulana Kalbe Jawad 

Shia Board "a conspiracy"

Maulana Kalbe Jawad Shi’a religious scholar, Maulana Kalbe Jawad, while reposing full faith in All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said that the aim of various new Law Boards formed recently was to create rift among Muslims. AIMPLB has been doing whatever it can do in accordance with its limited power. Its stand on Shah Bano case and Babri Masjid problem demonstrated its importance and protected the honour and prestige of Muslims. People who are criticising AIMPLB today neither know how many members are there on the Board nor they know the composition of the Board from sectarian point of view. They even do not have any knowledge about its area of jurisdiction.

Like every year when Maulana Kalbe Jawad arrived Allahabad at Mohammad House to address the Ashrah set up by late Iqbal Husain Alvi, this journalist also reached Allahabad from Faizabad to have a detailed discussion with him. It has become almost impossible to have a detailed conversation with the maulana in Lucknow because of his busy schedule. There are a lot of admirers of the maulana in Allahabad also. However, he managed to save some time for me.

When asked about recent Shi’a-Sunni riots on Moharram and the formation of Shi’a Personal Law Board in Lucknow, a city which is famous in the whole world for its refined culture and civilisation, he said that we and our maulvis and religious leaders do not feel even slightest hesitation in bringing disrepute to the community for their petty interests. The Lucknow riots were a result of short sightedness on the part of the maulvis who instead of doing religious duties, took pride in indulging in political activities on behalf of some political parties.

He added that Muslims have been made to fight against each other for centuries. Earlier the Britishers provoked us to fight against each other and later the Congress Party did the same and now the RSS and its political wing BJP is doing the same. Earlier political leaders made people fight against each other but now maulvis are being made to do this job. The maulvis who performed religious duties till yesterday are now busy in selling religion.
When asked if ulama and maulvis should avoid indulging in politics, he said that it is better if they distance themselves from politics because the character and activities of molvis have great impact on society. 

When asked that even his uncle Maulana Kalbe Sadiq is not in agreement with his views and that he is among the supporters of Mulayam Singh and has always worked for his party, he said that as regards Ammu Jaan, he never took up the membership of any political party nor did he work for any anti-Islamic party.

Your uncle Dr Kalbe Sadiq does not participate in your programmes and campaigns. Does it not indicate that there are differences in your and his ideologies and working styles? 
Certainly not, he said. Give me any instance, when he opposed me. He is so busy in his work in the educational field that he cannot find time even for opposing me.

Your ‘Anjuman Paasdaran-e Husain’ is criticised on the ground that there are no serious and experienced people in it and that most of them are young and immature persons who take unwise decisions and adopt improper steps.

Youngmen are needed to bring about any revolution. In Iran also a senior and mature leader (Ayatulla) Khomaini had overthrown the Iranian government with the help of youngmen. The senior and elderly people did not bring Lucknow’s Sibtainabad Imambara under our control. It were the youth who liberated Sibtainabad which was under the occupation of others for several decades. Serious people know only to sit idle and criticise others. They think that following the instructions and advices of Atal Behari or Tandon is serious business.

What are your views on Shi’a Personal Law Board? 
In 1986 when there used to be only one (Shia) member, Maulana Kalbe Abid in Personal Law Board, no body raised any objection at that time but today when there are six (Shia) members, a separate Shia Board has been formed. This shows that the aim of the new Board is not to solve the problems of Shias as a whole but to solve their own personal problems. After a pause he said that our fight or opposition is against the majority who have power and who are controlling the government. Under such circumstances, AIMPLB is doing whatever it can. The Board had already made it clear that sectarian problems will not be solved by the Board and therefore we should not expect these things from this Board. 

He added that all the Sharai problems of Shias are solved in the light of marja’ (precedents) or Shia Personal Law Board. The new organisation has now started questioning the need of referring to the precedents. In view of all these developments one is not wrong if he thinks that this is a conspiracy against marja’. Instead of seeking the views of eminent and learned ulama, scholars and jurists of Iran and Iraq who have the honour and privilege of being called marja’ or judge of the problems of Shia’s, shall we now seek the views of these office bearers of Shia Personal Law Board?

How far are you satisfied with the newly-formed Shia Waqf Board? 
Till date there was no occasion to be satisfied or dissatisfied. If the president and members of Shia Waqf Board do something, something can be said after judging their performance but for the present nothing is perceptible except their inaction or at least their slow movement.«

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