Javed Habib: a character out of a Greek tragedy

Javed Habib: A Character of a Greek Tragedy

Javed Habib: Hujoom se TanhaiTak

Compiled by:MasoomMoradabadi

Published by Khabardar Publications, Z-103 Taj Enclave, Gita Colony, Delhi 110031, Email, Mobile: 09810780563

M Ghazali Khan


Javed Habib (May 3, 1948 - October 11, 2012) was a fine orator, a gifted writer, an embodiment of simplicity and self-sacrifice, convener of All India Muslim Youth Convention (AIMY), convener of Babri Masjid Coordination Committee and editor of Hujoom.

Coincidentally, before getting a copy of Javed Habib Hujoom se Tanhai Tak I was reading Maulana Majid Dariabadi’s book Muhammad Ali, Zati Diary ke Chand Auraq and was startled to see the reflections of Muhammad Ali Jauhar and Hasrat Mohani in Javed Habib. 

Prof Akhtarul Wasey seems to agree with my conclusions in his article in the book in which he writes:

 “In my Aligarh days whenever I looked at Javed Habib’s unflinching faith in the Almighty, his contentment and his bohemian style, I wonder why I was reminded of Hasrat Mohani… Who was there among community leaders he did not have personal contacts with?... His relations with national leaders like Atal Behari Vajpaee, Chandra Shekhar, Babu Jagjivan Ram, V.P. Singh and Narasimha Rao are not hidden from anyone. Those who, due to unknown reasons, used to criticise and taunt Javed Habib, I always confronted them with the one question: Despite his access to top figures in the Parliament what has he achieved either for himself or for his family?”

Prof Wasey is one of those who had worked with Javed Habib as a student leader and in later life as well. Highlighting the financial difficulties that Javed Habib must have, faced Prof Wasey writes:

(“It is said that Allah is the Cause of causes and by looking at Javed Habib my belief in it was further strengthened. In this world where one needs resources, in Zubaida Bhabi God had blessed Javed Habib a life partner who had, almost, relieved him of financial and domestic responsibilities. Dr Zubaida Habib, who served as a senior teacher at Jamia Millia’s Teachers College, was the greatest supporter and strength of Javed Habib. Surely a life partner like Zubaida Bhabi, who had been an embodiment of contentment and patience, was surely God’s reward to Javed Habib for his virtues”.

Even greater and startling insights about this saintly activist have been provided by poet, journalist and writer Farooq Argali. Describing the post-emergency political scene and anti-Indira Gandhi movement launched by the Janata Party, he says that it was on Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna’s advice to invite Javed Habib, “a greater orator” from Aligarh and involve him in the election campaign that Jagjivan Ram sent him (Farooq Argali) to Aligarh and invite Javed Habib.

Describing a public meeting he writes:

 An election meeting for Babuji had been arranged in the sprawling field of Dalmia Cement Factory in Dehri-on-Sone. Without any exaggeration, it was a gathering of 50,000 to 60,000 people. Babuji was supposed to reach there after finishing other meetings and was delayed. The audience were losing patience. Our group, after the rally of Bhabwa, reached Dehri at about 9 PM. Javed Habib took the mike and it seemed as if he cast a magic spell upon the audience. Having spoken for an hour, non-stop, when he was about to leave the mike, the uproar of “Speak more, Speak more” and “Long live Javed Bhai”. Javed Habib resumed his speech. Babuji arrived at about 12:30pm. Spell-bound and mesmerised for the last three hours by Javed Habib’s speech, the gathering was completely silent. Those who had heard this speech delivered in a rare style will never be able to forget it.

 Argali writer that in the elections Congress was swept away. The time came for the formation of Janata Party Government at the centre. With so much backing from big politicians, If he had wished, Javed Habib could have gotten one of the highest posts or secured any other benefit for himself. Habib had different ideas. He liked Babu Jugjivan Ram’s idea of Dalit-Muslim unity. He wanted to do politics on the strength of this unity. In 1980, the 28 month old Janata government collapsed. Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister again. Babuji formed his Congress (J) party. Bahuguna went back to Congress as its Secretary General. Imam Abdullah Bukhari resumed his fanatical politics. All of the parties opened their own shops. But Javed Habib remained with Babuji with steadfastness, Argali writes. Settled in Delhi’s Zakir Nagar, Habib launched the weekly Hujoom. Habib was not only a good orator but also a writer, intellectual and journalist of a very high calibre. It was at this time that he presented the idea of an All India Youth Convention to Babuji. Babuji was thrilled. “This is a very good idea. Start working on this immediately”, he said.

 When he addressed the inaugural meeting of the Convention he said:

“Friends and elders! For the faces redolent with optimism and brains full of light that are present in this session I have two presents:one is of my tears and the other of a little smile and between these two a silence of helplessness. My tears come from my personal helplessness … my smile stems from [the dream of] a future, a possibility and the revolutionary message that was presented by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) 1400 years ago…”

Another of Javed Habib’s close friends and associates from AMU days to the launch of Hujoom and political activism, Farhat Ahsas writes:

 “In order to maintain his independence he declined to accept many high posts. Prime Minister V.P. Singh tried to give him a designation in the Minorities Commission but he did not look at it as befitting for him. I am an eye witness to this fact that one night V.P. Singh, in his capacity as the Prime Minister, phoned Javed Habib at least two-three times asking him to file papers for membership of Rajya Sabha. But Javed Habib insisted that he could go to Rajya Sabha only as an independent candidate and not as someone’s representative.

Shahid Siddiqui rightly sums up the Greek tragedy aspect of Habib’s personality:

 “Javed Habib’s problem was that he was a master of various trades. He possessed many talents but failed to use his talents fully. Otherwise, the fact is that he would have emerged as one of the most distinguished Muslim leaders of the country.”

By compiling the writings on Javed Habib of those 25writers, journalists, academics, poets, politicians and activists who had the privilege of working with or seeing  him, Masoom Moradabadi, an eminent Urdu journalist and editor of daily Jadid Khabar,  has done a great service to Indian Muslim history.

 M Ghazali Khan is a London-based journalist

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2015 on page no. 21

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