Jama Masjid’s Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari appealed today to Muslims to support AAP in the Delhi assembly elections, scheduled for Saturday. Bukhari told that it was important to ‘form a secular government’ in Delhi.
NO doubt, he can boast a rich background. His ancestry can be directly traced to the Prophet of Islam (PBUH). On the request of Mughal emperor Shahjahan, in 1656 AD, the Shah of Bukhara (Uzbekistan) sent Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, the great great grand father of Ahmed Bukhari, from Bukhara in Samarkand to accept the post of the Shahi Imam for the Delhi’s grand mosque. He was in the progeny of Prophet (PBUH) from the side of his daughter Bibi Fatima (SA) and Imam Ali (AS).
Imam Ahmed Bukhari Has Always Been a Man of Controversies.
In the 1977 Lok Sabha polls, the current Imam’s father, Abdullah Bukhari, had issued a fatwa against the Congress and urged Muslims to vote for the Janata Party (JP). Since then, the pulpit of Jama Masjid, Delhi became a dais of political oratory instead of religious sermons. Janta Party came to power in 1977and Abdullah Bukhari began to gather considerable clout. Later, when the Shah Commission was constituted to probe the Emergency and interrogated Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Abdullah Bukhari smartly assessed the situation. The public sympathies were showing the swing pendulum in favor of Mrs. Gandhi. Abdullah Bukhari asked Muslims to vote for the Congress.
Indra Ji won, ergo, so again, in a different set-up, Bukhari proclaimed himself as winner and tribune of Muslims. The election results established and reinforced the Imam’s political weight. The leaders of all parties started saluting the Imam of Jama Masjid.
Then again, for some reasons, Abdullah Bukhari got himself into the bad books of Mrs. Gandhi. It was a Friday that coincided with Independence Day. So, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi addressed the nation from the Red Fort on 15 August, Abdullah Bukhari too started giving a counter speech from the Jama Masjid. It was again a coincidence that got brownie points for Imam.
Negative politics often pays well and Ahmed Bukhari, the son of Abdullah Bukhari realized it at the expense of sentiments and economic plight of Muslim community. He realised the political and religious significance of the Shahi Imam’s post. In 1980, he entered the political fray by forming the Adam Sena. It was publicised as an organization that would protect Muslims from every danger, especially during communal riots. It failed to win popular support.
In 2000, Ahmed Bukhari became the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi.
A criminal case was lodged against him along with Habib and Nafisa on September 3, 2001 when a mob, led by Bukhari assaulted on duty police and civic agencies officials trying to remove encroachment from near CGO Complex in Lodhi Colony. On May 18, 2004, Delhi court had ordered his arrest for his role in the attack on the house of social activist Arshad Ali Fahmi.
In 2007, he had opposed the SP in the 2007 Assembly election and in 2009 Lok Sabha election. In 2012, Bukhari backed the Samajwadi Party (SP). Later on, he was found to be eulogising BSP’s Mayawati. He was quoted saying that if there’s anyone who can rule India, it is Mayawati. He claimed she would work for the Muslims, just like she had worked for the development of Dalits.
Recently Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid announced the anointment ceremony of the his younger son as ‘Naib Imam’, or the imam’s deputy. He used it to create a political controversy by inviting Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif for the function on November 22 while ignoring Indian PM Narendra Modi. It was outright foolishness on his part.
Bukhari defended his decision by saying that he had the right to choose his guests. “Modi claims to be the prime minister of 125 crore Indians but conveniently and deliberately avoids addressing Muslims. He has shown he doesn’t like us. He is the one who has been maintaining distance from the community. So, I too chose to maintain my distance.“
Muslim Community, in general, disapproved his asinine act and kept a graceful distance.
His support to AAP would be more damaging than beneficial for AAP in Delhi elections. It is known that AAP leader Sanjay Singh told that his party does not need the Shahi Imam’s support for the elections.
“We will win with the support of the common man.”
This political Imam continue to be glued to the august status of Shahi Imam while it is generally, allegedly believed that he would support any political party for his vested interest.
By: Naim Naqvi