Kalbe Abid, Sadiq, Jawad and Babri Masjid

Lucknow: In an anti-climax of a typical ‘fifteen minutes of glory’ syndrome Husaini Tigers has landed itself into a fiasco. Only a fortnight back, it was agitating againsnt the US sponsored iftar (breaking of fast) at Lucknow, later distributed flowers-before Sep 24, for communal and secular amity, but now has undergone into a reverse-secular gear. Husaini Tigers is patronised by Maulana Kalbe Jawad-the Imam-e-Juma at Asifi Masjid, Lucknow.

Had anyone ever expected it? Well, none. As, Husaini Tigers President Shamil Shamsie, who is the cousin of Kalbe Jawad and the maternal nephew of Kalbe Sadiq, has devastated his own credibility and his family legacy-all in one go. Sadiq is the Vice President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB)-the apex Muslim body in the country. AIMPLB is looking after all the Babri Masjid cases. Jawad is its member.

So, Shamsie went on record to offer Rs 15 lakhs for the construction of Ram Temple, at Ayodhya, in the wake of the High Court (HC) full bench judgement, in favour of Ram Temple, at the site of Babri Masjid. Shamil Shamsie, while speaking to media at his restaurant Naushijaan, on Sep 31, had said that religious belief enabled the Hindus to win the case and Muslims association was rewarded with the pieces of Babri Masjid’s walls and bricks, demolished on Dec 6, 1992, to build the Babri Masjid, on the one-third part of the disputed site. He later castigated Shahi Imam Ahmed Bukhari for disputing the verdict and called his stand as well as UP CM Mulayam Singh’s statement decrying the verdict as “extremely unfortunate” and announced that he would oppose Sunni Central Waqf Board (SCWB)-a party to the dispute, from making an appeal in the Supreme Court against the HC verdict. He also said that he would take a delegation to AIMPLB for not appealing in the SC, and just abide by the HC order. So much so for the record.

The full bench of HC order on Sep 30 had declared that Babri Masjid site belongs to Lord Ram, as per the Hindu side belief Ram was born at the same spot, 9,000,000 years back!

The next morning, on Oct 2, there was an uproar. How could Shamil Shamsie do so? Did Maulana Kalbe Jawad, who had left for Karbala, Iraq, on Sep 30, give his nod to it? Did Kalbe Sadiq, the real uncle of Kalbe Jawad, who had undergone self-imposed medical check-up, on Sep 30, in order to skip media, and thereafter had shut his doors to anyone calling upon him, give his assent to Shamil-was the only gnawing question. It might be mentioned that Kalbe Abid, the elder brother of Sadiq and father of Kalbe Jawad, was the Vice President of AIMPLB and only after his death Shamsie succeeded him. Thus, the family has time-tested credibility with the Muslim issues.

It may be stressed that Kalbe Sadiq, in the past had spoken out-of-his-hat for quite sometime. In his typical media-grabbing style he has this time too, prior to Sep 30, given his ‘own verdict’ that he had a formula to solve the temple-mosque dispute. This had come out only because it was very widely construed that Muslim side was to win the suit. But, then who knew that ‘belief’ would topple the ‘evidence’. It has also been learnt that Congress Party Digvijay Singh had a one-to-one meeting with him-for the purported consensus on the formula. Later, Kalbe Sadiq had to make a hasty retreat when Syed Nizamuddin, the Amir-e-Sharia of Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand, gave him a dressing down.  

Kalbe Sadiq’s contribution to the cause of Babri Masjid also deserves a mention. Something which hasn’t been told to anyone for the last twenty years. “It was in 1990 when UP CM Mulayam Singh Yadav, had ordered firing on (Karsevaks) the Hindu fanatics, who were bent upon to damage Babri Masjid. Curfew had been clamped in 48 districts. In the dead of the night Kalbe Sadiq sahab came to me. I was with one of my colleagues. Utterly dejected and almost in rage he said that Muslims should surrender the mosque. I was exasperated. I would just say that he being a religious priest, can get it done through AIMPLB and that Muslims would then just follow suit. He was accompanied by one Muslim (Ex) Member of Parliament Mukhtar Anees, who had remained sitting in his car. A few days later, Mulayam Singh enquired if there was some rumbling to surrender the mosque. “I got the plot connected,” informs Zafaryab Jilani-the counsel of Sunni Central Waqf Board and convenor of Babri Masjid Action Committee.

Thereafter, Sadiq was put into an 11 member sub-committee of AIMPLB to look after the Babri Masjid cases. He refused with a ‘big no’ to appear, as a Shiite expert witness to testify before the court and give the Shiite standpoint on the issue of Babri Masjid. Something which was done by (late) Chaudhry Sibte Muhammed. Then, he would hate himself for being a member of the sub-committee and would even announce his resignation, on the eve of the outside the court deal brokered with Kanchi Kamyakoti Shankaracharya Jayender Saraswati in 2003. Never has Sadiq come forward even with a lip-service to the Babri Masjid cause. What to talk of any financial support! His resignation was rejected by the Board. Even today, no one can say if he would not try and bring out a ‘rabbit out of a hat’ to solve the Babri Masjid issue. Let us wait for that moment. Suffice it to say that Sadiq’s role is nothing but dubious.  

Coming back on Husaini Tigers, Shamsie was clearly caught on the wrong foot. His past ten years of community service stands ruined. He was in doldrums and searched a way out. He was getting indiscriminate phone calls. Same happened on Facebook and Orkut. Shamsie went into a huddle. Met his advisors who further let him down. Instead of withdrawing his statement in totality, which he was too eager to do, he made himself a further laughing stock. He instead took to RSS and Shiv Sena sponsored media for misreporting his statement-on Oct 3. He feigned total innocence on his offer of Rs 15 lakhs.

Why did Shamsie make such a unilateral statement on his own? Did anyone prevail over him? How could he ransack his own position? Everyone remembers him when he was to escort Kalbe Jawad, with his Tigers, to HC, when the latter deposed as a Shiite witness before the full bench. “The statement coming out from the family of Kalbe Jawad is what has baffled everyone. Jawad’s credibility is now at stake. This is not yet so easy a flip-flop and moreover there is yet any retraction of the stand,” said Syed Muhammed Ahmed, the UP West President of Jamaat-i-Islami-e-Hind on phone. Shamsie as a matter of fact was almost in tears. He tried calling Kalbe Jawad who expressed his deep anger to him. Jawad had said that he need not call him at all. Meanwhile, President of All India Ali Congress (AIAC) Amanat Husain has condemned Shamsie’s statement and called it “terribly bad”. He said that AIAC is patronised by Kalbe Jawad and it stands in total consonance with AIMPLB.  

The implications have gone too far and wide. The news was flashed by IANS and was carried by almost every leading newspaper in India and web-portals. Shamsie calling media as ‘safforn’ in retaliation, was quick enough to get his statement blackened out, as none published it, except a few Urdu newspapers. Shamsie’s short-lived personal glory ended in the nightmare, what his advisors have led him into. But, then, it is he who has to face the music. Now the ball is in the court of Kalbe Jawad. Would he make Shamsie step down once he lands in Lucknow after two weeks?

Jawad is widely understood as a likely successor to Sadiq for the rank of the Vice Presidentship of AIMPLB as there is no such towering Shiite personality in the country. It is expected that some wisdom would prevail on him as his father’s role is second to none in the cause of Babri Masjid. It was his father, who had played one of the most credible role in the Babri Masjid campaign, until Dec 12, 1986 when he died in a car accident. This had come when he had thrown his all- out-weight over opposition to the opening of Babri Masjid locks on Feb 1, 1986. His zeal for it, was far too committed, until his death. Some close quarters inside his family insist that he was murdered. Thus, Abid lived and died a martyr to the cause of Babri Masjid. A voice for a Ram Temple, no matter how whimsical, idiotic and joke-worthy, from the family of Kalbe Abid, definitely warrants a hiss, jeer, boo and a three hoot.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2010 on page no. 5

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