Veteran BJP leader and a Cabinet Minister during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s Government Arun Shourie on April 13th through a tweet lambasted private TV news channels for not doing honest reporting on COVID 19. In his Tweet Shourie said “MP has Chief Minister with no Health Minister and no Cabinet. Principal Secretary Health is Corona Positive. 45 plus officers are Corona positive. 75 other officers from Health Department are Corona positive. Media is silent because it is paid for not reporting incompetence of Govt”.
It was expected that columnists and political commentators would try their best to reveal the facts and put the same in public domain through their blogs, vlogs, tweets and write-ups. But sadly most of the blogs, vlogs, social media posts and articles published in India that I have been going through for last 3 weeks are only focused on denigrating and defaming Muslims. I have seen articles of many veteran journalists and academicians who are constantly doing mudslinging by raking the controversy over of Tableegi Jamaat again and again.
I hardly write articles and blogs on politics and religion but feel depressed and frustrated when I see no end to this malicious propaganda. In fact during last two weeks lot of articles have been written in Greater Kashmir and other Kashmir based local dailies to counter the false narrative vis a vis Tableegi Jamat & the spread of Coronavirus in India. The national media on the other has not written much on the subject. I am also trying my best to bring the correct picture before public and this is my third article on this controversial issue.
This article is in response to K B Jandial’s article War on Virus which was published in GK on April 15th recently. The article was again published in a Jammu based newspaper under the title “Don’t bring faith to weaken war against Covid” ( April 16th). Mr K B Jandial is a retired bureaucrat from Jammu who was posted as Director Information J&K Govt for a long time. He was elevated as Secretary to Government before his retirement. After his retirement Mr Jandial writes regularly for many local dailies. Like many other columnists K B Jandial has also blamed Tableegi Jamat for spread of COVID 19 but at the same time, while concluding the article, he has tried to balance the same by saying faith, sect or caste has nothing to do with spread of COVID 19. He has accepted the fact that sporadic incidents of attacks on mosques and Muslims too have taken place in some areas that need to be strongly condemned in the same way as is being done on Tablighis.
Conversion of Moulana Elyas?
Mr K B Jandial without doing a proper research while writing the article has made a very controversial statement by saying that Tableegi Jamat founder Moulana Elyaas Kandhlawi was a Mewati Rajput who converted to Islam. Mr Jandial in his article writes:
” At a time when the Centre and State Govts and all institutions are engaged in containing COVID, Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic evangelical movement, has turned out to be a big spoiler. It was set up in 1926 by Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi, a leading Deoband scholar and convert of a Hindu Rajput family, at Mewat, a historical region between Haryana & Rajasthan. Now headed by his great grandson Maulana Saad Kandhlawi, Tablighi Jamaat is under scanner after their thoughtless defiance of norms of social distancing and suspension of all gatherings including religious congregations. Instead Tablighis went ahead with their scheduled mid-March ijtima at its global headquarters at Nizamuddin locality of South Delhi “
Why is it necessary to mention conversion of Moulana Elyas, great grand father of Tableegi Jamat Ameer Moulana Mohammad Saad Kandhlawi to Islam, who according to Mr Jandial belonged to a Mewati Rajput family? For the information of Mr Jandial and other readers, it was not Moulana Elyas who converted to Islam in early 20th century, but it was more than 300 years or more when some Mewati Rajputs, Gujjars and Jhats had converted to Islam around Rajasthan, Haryana and UP. Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmer had a great role in this. Hindu inhabitants of Mewat, although belonging to the same Kshatriya caste to which the Meos belonged before conversion to Islam, are not called Meo. Thus the word “Meo” is both region-specific and religion-specific. Apparently, Meos come from many Hindu clans who converted to Islam and amalgamated as Meo community.
Family history of Moulana Elyas
Moulana Elyas and his father Moulana Mohammad Ismail lived around Kandhlwa which is not far from away from Mewat region. Having served people of the area Moulana Elyas and his father were greatly respected by Meo community of Haryana, UP & Rajasthan. When Moulana Elyas started his Tableegi Movement in mid 1920s, he began the same with Meo community that had gone astray. Tableegi Jamat is not the name chosen by Moulana Elyas or his successors, Moulana Yousuf Kandhlawi or Moulana Inam ul Hassan Kandhlawi, but this name evolved with time. In Kashmir Tableegi’s are known as Allah Walay, in some areas they are called Jamat walay, and many call them Tableeg walay. Tableegi Jamat even now has a great influence in Mewat and surrounding areas of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan. Many reliable sources say that Moulana Elyas (1844- 1944) was not a Mewati Rajput as his forefathers are from Siddiqui Sheikh lineage who are mainly found in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Pertinently Siddiqui is a family name or surname belonging to the descendants of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA), companion of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and first Caliph of Islam. From last almost 20 generations the Kandhlawi family has been into Islamic preaching and most of the family members have been Islamic scholars (Molvis and Mufti’s). There is a well maintained family record of Moulana Elyas Kandhlawi and his ancestors.
Moulana Muhammad Ismail, father of Moulana Elyas actually hailed from Jhanjhana in Muzaffarnagar district of UP. After the death of his first wife, he married in the family of Mufti Illahi Bakhsh who was from Kandhla UP. Molvi Ismail visited Kandhla in UP frequently and it became his second home. Moulana Elyas whose actual name was Elyas Akhtar was born at Kandhala in 1884 and he later-on came to be known as Moulana Elyas Kandhalwi. The lines of descent of Moulana Muhammad Ismail and Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh become one, six generations upwards with Molvi Muhammad Sharif. The lineage runs as follows: Maulana Muhammad Ismail, son of Ghulam Hussain, son, of Hakim Karim Bakhsh, son of Hakim Ghulam Mohiuddin, son of Molvi Muhammad Sajid, son of Mufti Mohammed Faiz, son of Molvi Muhammad Sharif, son of Molvi Muhammad Ashraf, son of Sheikh Jamal Muhammad Shah, son of Sheikh Baban Shah, son of Sheikh Bahauddin Shah, son of Molvi Muhammad Sheikh, son of Sheikh Muhammad Fazil, son of Sheikh Qutub Shah. In these 15 generations (more than 400 years) we don’t find any Rajput connection attached with Moulana Elyas Kandhlawi? It would be better for writers and columnists not to create a misconception by mere copy-pasting information from some recently published news articles and columns.
Fatwa by Moulana Saad?
K B Jandial in his article writes that Tableegi Jamat Ameer Moulana Mohammad Saad Kandhlawi who is the great grandson of Moulana Elyas Kandhlawi issued a fatwa asking people not to leave Masjid or Tableegi Markaz at Nizamudin when COVID 19 had spread across India. First of all let me make it clear that Moulana Saad is not having a degree of a Mufti and thus he cannot issue a fatwa? The fatwas can only be issued by qualified Muftis who undergo rigorous studies and research post Aalim course. Moulana Saad is an Aalim and Hafiz (scholar of Islam & having memorized Quran). Thus to say he issued a fatwa is aN error.
Mr Jandial must know that it is not only the case of Tableegi people being targeted for spreading COVID 19 infection, but unfortunately Muslim community as a whole is being targeted at multiple levels be it social media or the mainstream media. During last two weeks dozens of attacks have taken place in various cities and towns of India wherein Muslims have been physically attacked and injured. Only a few days back around 10 Kashmiri Muslim labourers were thrashed and injured in Himchal Pradesh’s Pundo Barote area. Instead of providing these aggrieved labourers food and shelter amid COVID 19 crises they were beaten like animals. The pics had gone viral on Twitter and local SDM then assured action to be taken as well. All this is the outcome of hysteria created by many TV news channels & social media. On the other hand Muslim philanthropists like Azim Premji, Shah Rukh Khan , Salman Khan and hundreds of others are providing billions of rupees as charity to counter spread of COVID 19 infection in India. Chairman of reputed pharma company CIPLA Khawaja Yusuf Hamied who is a Polish born Indian scientist and a billionaire is working day and night on making a vaccine for COVID 19. Yousuf while speaking to reputed pharma magazine Pharmacy Business said that India will make the vaccine for the world in 6 months. On the other hand some communal politicians are asking people to socially boycott Muslims?
In Ahmadabad Muslim patients have been segregated in wards which was widely reported few days back. In many cities vegetable vendors and shopkeepers are not selling their products to Muslims? Tableegi Jamat has been now linked with Al Qeada & Taliban? Prof K N Pandita and S Gurumurthy recently wrote articles wherein they said Tableegi Jamat was serving as a fertile ground for the growth of Islamic religious extremists & providing terrorist recruits to Al Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups. This is completely ridiculous. Media has a right to criticize Tableegi Jamat for not following the orders of Delhi Government or violating lock-down but they have no right to vilify Muslims at this critical time. A new wave of hatred has spread across India. Instead of guiding Government how to tackle the ongoing COVID 19 crises, many TV anchors, columnists and writers, without any reliable information are making things worse by exacerbating the whole situation.