Monday, February 22, 2016

Maulana Azad, Nahru-Gandhi compatriot, "remains" neglected, no major leader cares to visit mausoleum

By Our Representative
A commemorative event organized by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi, on the occasion of the 58th death anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (February 22), speakers made it an occasion to remind the Government of India the great patriot, who stood by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru during the freedom struggle, remains “neglected”.
Organized at the mausoleum, situated in Jama Masjid complex in Delhi, the speakers particularly sought the intervention of Najma Heptulla, Minority Affairs Minister, Modi government, present on the occasion, to ensure that his legacy remains alive and flourishes.
Speaking on the occasion, Heptulla stated that Azad “visualized a new world of free nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America without economic exploitation that sucked out their lifeblood.”
Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Azad’s grandnephew and social activist, said it was a matter of concern that people like Maulana Azad, among many other patriots, remain “completely forgotten and sidelined”.
Insisting that India needs politicians of the stature of Azad whose knowledge in philosophy, Islamic ideology and Indian culture was encyclopedic”, he lamented that top people from the government refuse to visit the mausoleum on remember Azad, because it remains “a picture of neglect”.
He added, the mausoleum is surrounded by “filth and dirt all over, besides illegal encroachment by the tehbazaari (squatters)”, and the government has paid “no attention to this.”
Following my PIL in the Delhi High Court in 2005 to open the lock of the mazar and prevent illegal squatters from encroaching its walls, the mausoleum was opened. However, even today it remains neglected to visitors at the Jama Masjid complex.
On a black marble a part of Maulana’s historic address of 1940 has been inscribed: “I am proud of being an Indian. I am part of the invisible unity that is Indian nationality. I am indispensable to this noble edifice and without me this splendid structure of India is incomplete. I am essential element which has gone to build India. I can never surrender this claim.”
Bahar Barqui, a senior lawyer, pointed towards what he called a “serious void of devoted Muslim leadership”, regretting, there is none who emulates Maulana Azad in order to “truly represent Indian Muslims.”
He added, “Though born in a predominantly Hindu environment, Azad was bold enough to propagate nationalism to Muslims at variance with the prevalent political consciousness based on communalized politics.” 
Social activist Maulana Aleemuddin Asadi said Maulana Azad’s writings must be “made popular”, adding, “The only solution to the communal virus today is to follow the Azad formula.”
He insisted, “Maulana’s watchword was assimilation at all levels. Muslims of India must understand that their existence is linked to that of the Hindus and that the Hindus must cooperate with the Muslims for if the Muslims of India remain backward, India can’t progress.”
Well-known journalist, Shahid Siddiqui, editor of “Nai Duniya”, said that the Muslim community in India unfortunately gets “carried on by issues like the Shah Bano Case, the Talaq issue or the Babri Masjid imbroglio, and it must make it a point to follow Maulana Azad for its educational uplift.”
Floral tribute to Maulana Azad was paid by ICCR director-general C Rajashekhar, recalled, Maulana Azad’s wanted to “preserve India’s unity as an undivided nation”, even though failed because he got little support from his compatriots”, adding, he would overhaul the CCCR library to convey the vision of Maulana Azad to the youth.
ICCR is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India, involved in India’s external cultural relations through cultural exchange with other countries and their peoples. It was founded on 9 April 9, 1950 by Maulana Azad, who was also Independent India’s first Education Minister. Heptulla was associated with ICCR in the past as its head.

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