Chronicling life and the cultural history of a region

Book: Nigarishat-e-Javed
Author: Javed Iqbal
Publisher: Muhammad Jawaid Iqbal & Sons Publications, Dahuwa Bari, Bishanpur Bazaar, Bahadurganj, Kishanganj (Bihar)  855101
Pages: 152
Price: Rs. 150 (Soft cover)  

Asif Anwar Alig

Nigarishat-e-Javed, authored by a former school headmaster, Javed Iqbal, from a tiny village in Kishanganj, records not only the landmarks of the writer’s life, but also the recent cultural history of Purnia - Kishanganj region.

It contains accounts of his Hajj pilgrimage as well as of his travels to Delhi, Chandigarh, Simla and Kashmir.  

The author’s sense of belonging to a school, the establishment of which he was a witness to, his student days there and, years later, his second coming as its headmaster, come through clearly. The section on the sufis of Kishanganj and Purnia is of particular interest to people interested in the religio-cultural life of Muslims in this region of Bihar, bordering Bengal and Nepal.

It traces a century of sufi life in the region. Sufism guided locals to learn Islamic values. The influence of sufi scholars from Khwanqah Sufia Baigana and Khwanqah Hafania as well as other centres popularised Islam in the region. The author shows how such centres spread the message of peace and harmony by showing light to a society wallowing in ignorance. Sufi khwanqahs transformed the local society into a vibrant culture.   

Sufi Hazrat Allama Maulana Shah Mohammad Ayyub Abdali from Islampur, Patna came here to establish Khwanqah Sufia Baigana, which changed people’s lives and trained sufis like Hazrat Hakim Tajammul Hussain Firdousi and Mohammad Ahsan Miyan, who in turn spread Islamic teachings in remote rural areas. The latter offered a big tract of land and a house converted into an Islamic library. It attracted people from Nepal, parts of Bihar and Bengal for enlightenment. Visitors represented all sects and religions.

 Years later, Khwanqah Sufia Baigana produced its eminent disciple Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Yahya (1951-2011), who became its custodian, preached Islam and continued social reform till his death.

Maulana Yahya appeared on the scene when Kishanganj area had been plagued by animal thieves, grain looters and ruthless murderers. He founded a non-political group, Karanti Dal (Revolution Party), on 26 January 1983 to check the menace.

This group had a great impact on the masses who sought a decent life. To make matters worse, there was police-criminal nexus.

Maulana Yahya led a reform movement that changed things for the better. People saw in him a reincarnation of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Criminals made several attempts on his life and false criminal cases were lodged against him. Police harassed him, instead of curbing crime.

Many notorious criminals and robbers bowed their heads before him and his associates and gave up their life of crime.

Javed Iqbal sketches the maulana’s personality as a simple man of average height, dark complexion, soft spoken, with an inborn quality of impressing hundreds of thousands of people in gatherings and in individual contacts. He practised medicine to treat patients with allopathic and conventional medication.

Khwanqah culture brought ample reform to Purnia and Kishanganj region. This book is an impressive addition to literature on the region’s Islamic history. Chapters on Hazrat Maulana Manawwar Hussain, Dr. Afzaal Hussain Firdousi, Hazrat Maulana Imamuddin and Hazrat Maulvi Majidullah etc. show how their initiatives brought metamorphosis in the region.

Purnia’s Khwanqah Hafania is a centre of Islamic learning. Personalities like Hazrat Maulana Kafiluddin, Hazrat Zafeerul Hassan, Hazrat Khwaja Abdul Jabbar, Hazrat Maulana Abid Anwar, Hazrat Maulana Anwar Alam, Hazrat Sufi Raqimuddin, Hazrat Mohammad Islamuddin, Hazrat Zaheer Anwar and Hazrat Akmal Yazdani had their association with this khwanqah and spread Islamic values. It has been patronised by scholars like Professor Azduddin Khan of Aligarh Muslim University.

This reviewer’s father, late Mohammad Jamshed Alam, was a dedicated disciple of Khwanqah Hafania. He was deeply involved in preaching the message of Islam and practised it until breathing his last on July 6, 2007.           

Javed Iqbal also records his impressions from his Hajj pilgrimage. This book is also a handy ritual guide for future Hajj pilgrims. He expresses feelings of elation on praying in front of the holy Kaaba in Makkah and in the Prophet’s (pbuh) mosque in Medina. These are humble expressions of gratitude to Almighty Allah by a Hajj pilgrim.

It has a detailed chapter on his alma mater, High School Sontha, which became an Intermediate College recently. He talks about his association with it from joining it as a student to passing matriculation in 1966, to his second coming in 2006 as its headmaster till superannuation on 30 January, 2011 in a nostalgic way.

Personalities like founder headmaster late Advocate Abdul Hameed Siddiqui of Mohra, who left behind a lucrative career as a barrister to establish this school, besides late Mohammad Noorul Hassan of Punas, late Abubakar Mohammad Azam of Sontha, late Maulvi Ashabuddin of Siktihar, late Qurban Ali of Darnia, late Mehander Pandit from Dohagaon, Mr. Bhoganand Jha of Barbatta, Mr. Abdul Hafeez of Dohar and late Mr. Upendra from Puthimari were pioneers whose untiring efforts brought success to the institution.

Javed Iqbal also talks about the school’s current employees, Mr. Mazharul Haque, Mr. Qayamuddin, Mr. Khushi Lal Mandal, Mr. Abdussalam Noor, Mr. Nazir Hussain, Mr. Naval Kishore Yadav, Mr. Mohammad Rafiq Alam, Mr. Mohammad Shakeel, Mr. Shayeq and Mr. Anand Kumar lauding their contribution.  

The reviewer is assistant professor and media relations specialist at the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education. He worked earlier as an executive producer in ETV Networks. He may be contacted at

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2014 on page no. 21

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