A Sentimental Journey-Dalit Lady, Optimistic Muslims and Jahil Mullahs.
“The next day a Barelvi Mufti issued a Fatwa that the Nikah of all those who had prayed behind the Barelvi had become null and void!
Dozens of men, some married for years, had to renew their vows in a mass ceremony! ”
I am sure that the wives of those who had prayed behind the Barelvi Imam could not and had not taken part in the prayer. Then why their
marriage with their men was declared null and void?
A Dalit lady, Kumari Mayavati ruled theroost as the chief minister of UP. She had been elected to the office for thefourth time, with the help of Muslims and her own Dalit support. She makes apoint of visiting Sufi shrines on a regular basis.
Shehas festooned the city with marble statues of Dalit leaders including afew of her own. In addition there were rows of marble elephant, monkeys,serpents and Hanumans. All were installed in new parks and fort likeconstructions inside.
She did have highways, underpassesand overpasses built, but nowhere near the extent of Mustafa Kamal’s work inKarachi.
Idiscussed the economic, educational and political situation of Muslims with awhole range of people. They were uniformly optimistic. They pointed with prideat the resilience of Muslims of Gujarat, who had rebounded from the holocaustand were pursuing education with unsurpassed enthusiasm.
Muslimstook the first step in the recovery of was taken by Subedar Abdul Hameed whowon the highest award for gallantry in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. After the1971 Bangladesh war of independence, Muslims of India completely gave up onPakistan.
But there was a darker side of thepicture too.
Myhost asked me if I would like to meet the officially designated Qazi e Shahr,who lived in Frangi Mahal, a locality renowned for its scholars.
I was introduced as a visitorfrom the USA. I praised his collection of books, which were rather shabbilybound. He moaned that a lot had been lost to humidity and insects. I offeredthat he should have them scanned and put on the internet He was visiblyannoyed. Internet had cost dear to academia. He went on that I had invaded Iraqand Afghanistan. I pleaded that I had no influence on the US government. But heinsisted that by living there I had become a party to it
I had to tell him that by keeping Muslims fromscience and technology, his type had made them backward and weak, so theybecame a tempting target. He retorted thatscience was irrelevant asQayamat was near.
Inthat case, I told him, he should not moan the fate of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Iheard a pathetic story. A Barelvi died. A Deobandi friend led the funeralprayers. The next day a Barelvi Mufti issued a Fatwa that the Nikah of allthose who had prayed behind the Barelvi had become null and void! Dozens ofmen, some married for years, had to renew their vows in a massceremony!
We drove to my ancestral village,Dewa Sharif, about twenty-eight miles from Lucknow. Unlike 1951, it was a Puccaroad all the way. Dewa had turned from a sleepy little Qasbah to a thrivingmarket town.
Myancestral home, grandly called Naya Mahal, had been demolished. Mercifully, a part now in ruins, stillexisted and I collected three old bricks.
Dewa is a Muslim dominated Qasbah and the air resounded withAzaan call to prayers.
Theshrine, resplendent as ever in white marble, was the only structure I was ableto recognize.
I flew back to Karachi on December 28,2009, the tenth of Moharram and was greeted with the ghastly news of a suicidebomb and carnage of the Moharram procession.
Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham
All religions try to take over the establishment and if they fail, they collaborate with it, be it feudal or capitalist.
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