Books

The Blessed Circle

Book: Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat: Ek Mukhtasar Tarikh (Muslim Majlis Mushawarat: A Short History - in Urdu)

Author: Muhammad Alamullah

Year: 2015

Pages: 198                                                  

Price: Rs 200

ISBN: 9788172210663

 

Book: The Stalwarts: builders and leaders of Mushawarat

Comp. & ed.: Zafarul-Islam Khan

Pages: 180

Price: 180

ISBN: 978-81-7221-075-5

both published by Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, India (info@pharosmedia.com)

 

Mohd. Zeyaul Haque

 

Years ago, on a visit to Aligarh Muslim University this reviewer was told a “story” by a dedicated follower of Sir Syed. One must explain at the outset that after years of newspaper journalism one had learnt that a story was not always fiction: we also called solidly fact-based news reports, “stories.” The story that was told was a true report of a pious person’s dream.

The Sir Syed admirer said: “On Sir Syed’s death a buzurg had seen him in his dream sitting on the left side of the Prophet (pbuh) as the first caliph Hazrat Abu Bakr sat on his right. The buzurg, who did not think much of Sir Syed’s piety during his life, asked the Prophet (pbuh) in astonishment as to why he was seating Sir Syed by his side. The Prophet (pbuh) replied that Allah had honoured Sir Syed in Afterlife for he had done a lot for His Creation in his life.

Among Indian Muslims there have always been people who lived and worked tirelessly all their lives for the betterment of the Indian millat, the Prophet’s community. They laughed and cried when the millat felt joy or sorrow. They were constantly bothered and tormented by the situation of the millat in their waking hours. This obsession never left them at peace for a moment.

At this point this reviewer must clarify that he is not an Aligarian, nor a follower of the great old Syed. Another inevitable reference to the AMU founder comes here. One of his companions was awakened from his sleep right before dawn by inconsolable sobs of Sir Syed during his tahujjud prayers. He was repeatedly saying in whispers, his hands raised in du’a, tears streaming down into his thick, flowing beard, “Allah, my qaum was destroyed, my qaum was destroyed.”

Some Muslim leaders of good educational and social background came together, nearly a century after Sir Syed’s disconsolate prayers, to pick up the threads of a shattered millat. On a humid August day in 1964 these pious souls gathered at Lucknow to build a common platform for Muslim community’s leaders and activists from different fields, different political leanings and diverse schools of religious thought. The platform was called the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat.

 It was a critical moment in national life as the first prime minister of India, a strong advocate of secularism and democracy, had passed away recently, leaving the field wide open for confirmed anti-Muslim groups straining at the leash to start large-scale violence against Muslims. They had rightly calculated that with Nehru gone there would be far less resistance from the Indian state against what the American academic Paul Brass calls the “institutionalised riot systems” of the country. In the months and years ahead India had to witness massive anti-Muslim riots targeting the new class of Muslim technical professionals in the power-producing belt: Rourkela, Jabalpur, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, along the coal, electrical power, steel and heavy engineering region in south-east India. The well-planned attacks were meant to destroy the Muslim engineers and (also doctors, as in Ranchi) nip in the bud the slowly germinating Muslim middle class. A decade later the target shifted to budding Muslim business classes elsewhere.

The Mushawarat also served as an umbrella body for all, or most, Muslim organisations, sects and sub-sects. The senior leadership of the Mushawarat, for all these 50 years has been a veritable Who’s Who of Indian Muslim social, religious (and, sometimes, political) life.

 Like any major organisation, the Mushawarat too had its share of difficulties. A time came when under the stress of some intense differences of opinion, the organisation split into two in 2000. (For detail see: Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Ek Mukhtasar Tarikh [Urdu] by Muhammad Alamullah). It took years for the two factions to unite again, in 2013. Thankfully, today there is only one Mushawarat.

Over the decades the Mushawarat leadership has been known for its integrity. None of them tried to barter his position in the organisation for political gain. Hopefully, the Mushawarat will continue to uphold this tradition.

To mark the 50th anniversary celebrations of AIMMM, Delhi-based Pharos Media has brought out four books. We are reviewing here two of them. The first book is referred to above, the second (in English) is The Stalwarts: Builders and Leaders of Mushawarat, compiled and edited by Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan. Less than 200 pages each, these simply written and highly readable books are well-produced collector’s items for persons interested in Indian Muslim affairs.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2016 on page no. 21

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