Naim recollects old memories of his student life at AMU and friends of that period from Tonk

One of my friends has recently visited the old historical city of Tonk, Rajasthan from where he sent me a picture of the historical Jama Masjid .

jama masjid tonk A Visit To Tonk

That picture conjured up the old memories of my student life at AMU and few friends of that period from Tonk. Some of them are no more. The most prominent amongst them was Javed Bhai, for me, and Javed Habib for others. He was fine speaker, a sincere friend, a great human being and a bold student leader. He was a true secular in sense of the word and intrepid journalist in his later life. He was also a fearless and powerful voice of new post partition Muslims who knew the rot that was stacked and what was the cure. He was the man who never hesitated in calling a spade a spade even in front of the most powerful figures of University and  country.  He died in Oct last year and in him I lost an elder brother and guide. The Muslims of India have lost a true sympathizer. He never joined active politics but he was the founder member of Babri Masjid Action Committee. He was a strong advocate of Minority Character of AMU Aligarh, protection of Babri Masjid and the Due Right Status of Urdu Language. He was not very well-known even amongst Muslims but knew well at least three prime minsters – P. V. Narsimha Rao, V. P.  Singh and A. B. Vajpayee.

Javed Habib Meeting Vajpayee A Visit To Tonk

He was well known to Prime Minister Chandrashekhar.  During the student life he knew Mrs. Indra Gandhi and took a delegation of a group of Student leaders to meet her. Being the Secretary of ‘University Ali Society’ he was kind enough to include me in that group. We had met Mrs. Gandhi to discuss the plight of Young Indian Muslims. On one occasion he had introduce me to Senior Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at a Convention organized at the ‘Graveyard of Mehdiyan’ adjacent to Ranjit Hotel, New Delhi in 1971. He wrote a book in student life – ‘Lekin Kitab Achchi Hai’, and I’d designed its cover. From Zakir Nagar, Okhla, New Delhi he was running the ‘Hujoom’ weekly in Urdu. I went abroad and we lost touch. I don’t know the fate of that magazine.

Another Tonki was Siddiqui Saheb, an ebullient, incisive and learned editor of weekly “RADIANCE.’ He was a clear thinker, philosopher and incisive writer. Radiance is an organ of Jamaat Islami Hind and it was published from Barah Dari Sher Afghan, Gali Qasim Jan, Delhi 6.

The man I loved the most from Tonk is Saleem Durrani – the famous cricketer. We loved to match him play cricket whenever he visited AMU. We would shout from the stadium boundary – ‘Saleem Bhabi, ek chakka idhar (One Sixer this side) and he would favor our call with the sixer to the new ball. He is an all-rounder, a slow left-arm bowler and a left-handed batsman famous for his six-hitting prowess. He is a blue blood and was the hero of India’s series victory against England in 1961–62. He took 8 and 10 wickets in their wins at Calcutta and Madras respectively. He had also appeared in a film, Charitra, with Parveen Babi in 1973. He was the first cricketer to win an Arjuna Award. He was awarded the C.K. Nayadu Lifetime Achievement Award by the BCCI in 2011.

Saleem Durrani A Visit To Tonk

Last but not the least, I regard Akhtar Shairani, the famous Urdu poet as my favorite.To me, the finest work of Akhtar Shairani is his poem:

ओ देस से आने वाले बता, ओ देस से आने वाले बता
किस हाल मे है यारां-ए-वतन, वो बाग-ए-वतन, फिरदौस वतन
ओ देस से आने वाले बता, ओ देस से आने वाले बता

क्या अब भी वहाँ के बागों में मस्ताना हवाएं आती हैं
क्या अब भी वहाँ के पर्बतपर घनघोर घटाएं छाती हैं
क्या अब भी वहाँ की बरखायें वैसे ही दिलों को भाती है
ओ देस से आने वाले बता, ओ देस से आने वाले बता

Oh tell me the returnee from the motherland, how are my friends my countrymen? Does there the lovely wind still blow ? Does there the mountain still envelop by the dark cloud? Does the refreshing pleasant rain still fall there? Tell me the returnee from the motherland………

Akhtar Shairani A Visit To Tonk

O des se aane wale bata‘ narrates the feelings of a poet who is staying away from his motherland is asking a visitor from his country about his beloved country and getting nostalgic about all the places, friends in his country and wonders if all the life there is still the same. The reader could easily relate to every single word of the poetry.

By Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi1 A Visit To Tonk

The Author – Naim Naqvi


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