11-OCT-2019: A Lecture on 'Perceptions About Gandhiji Among India's Muslims' by Professor Mohammad Sajjad
Aligarh, October 11: "Perceptions About Gandhiji Among India's Muslims" was the theme on which Professor Mohammad Sajjad spoke today in the Seminar held in the CAS Department of History through the aegis of the Sultania Historical Society.
Vidushi Batra, the Secretary of the Society started the programme by inviting Professor Farhat Hasan (Delhi University) to chair the session. This was followed by a very engaging and comprehensive exposition on the reception of Gandhiji and his thoughts amongst the contemporary and near contemporary Muslim intellectuals, poets and writers.
The learned speaker divided the Muslim reception into three heads: those who appreciated Gandhiji, the detractors and as well as those who were appreciatively critical of Gandhian practices. He presented before the audience select passages in Urdu from various writers and critics.
Prof Mohammad Sajjad took a broad sweep on the life of the Mahatma the way they did.
The lecture was mostly based on the memoirs of those Muslims who had the privilege of knowing the greatest Indian. The autobiography (2006) of Ali Amjad (1924-2005) was made full use of to underline some of the contradictions in the life and actions of Mahatma Gandhi.
In fact, Ali Amjad's interesting autobiography published few weeks after his death in 2005, is mandatory for all those who are pursuing research in Modern India. His was a typical case of some of the "Good Muslims" leaving India for Pakistan. In fact WC Smith also raised this matter in his acclaimed book Islam in the Modern World published in 1957.
Prof Sajjad also took a dig at how Pir Munees (1882-1949) and Batak Mian Ansari (1867-1957) were marginalized by the Congress thereby giving enough fodder to Muslims who were critical of the Congress and some of those felt an attraction towards League.
Moplah uprising was taken up by the speaker to bring home his point that Gandhiji too could not escape from being trapped in reiterating ill intended stereotypes of Muslims being bully and Hindus being coward.
His lecture revolved around the three Gandhinamas in Urdu by Muslims. The case of Iftikharuddin, who had been a detractor of Gandhi but after his death lamented the fact that Gandhi was killed because of communal men like him.
Two essays of Mohd Mujeeb (1972) and Mohibbul Hasan (1967) on Gandhijee and Muslims, apart from the opening article of Zoe Ansari (1925-1991) in the Gandhi centenary volume of "Shayar" (1969) are quite enriching in order to understand how Muslims knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly, got separated from Gandhijee's constructive programme of Charka and Khadi in the long run, some Muslims thought that these programmes were antithetical to the base upon which their economies rested. This is a debatable point.
The programme ended with a brief remark by the chair of the day, Professor Farhat Hasan.
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