“These Taziaz and processions are just frivolous things and nor are these part of our deen. Muslims should not pay attention to petty issues like these. But, alas! These petty issues are becoming major problems and have now led us even to bloodshed.”
Excerpted from Hyat-e-Ameer-e-Shariat by Janbaz Mirza. Published, January 1970, by Maktaba Tabsarah, Lahore. This speech was delivered on 27 August 1957 in a small town Kanda Sargana near Multan.
In his autobiography, Azad made a prescient observation about Pakistan breaking into two, which came true of course. There are however, a number of predictions, all seemingly accurate, which are associated with Azad that seem to reinforce further his image as the sage of the age. He is said, amongst other things, to have predicted Pakistan’s dependence on western powers and growing discord between the religious right and liberals in Pakistan in an interview conducted in April 1946. The only problem is that the latter list of predictions has been transmitted to us through a dubious source. This source was Agha Shorish Kashmiri, a committed Ahrari leader who opposed the creation of Pakistan (and ironically, played an important role in fomenting sectarian trouble against Ahmadis and Shias in Pakistan). No one other than Kashmiri seems to have seen a record of this interview and there is no primary source to confirm this interview. The said interview does not appear in any of Azad’s papers or in any record of his life as preserved in India. In the view of this writer therefore, that interview was a concoction and a distortion invented by Agha Shorish Kashmiri in the 1970s when he wrote an Urdu biography of Azad.
Agha Shorish Kashmiri proposed the name of Maulana Yousuf Banori as the convener of the Majlis e Amal Tahaffuz e Khatm e Nubuwwat
Pakistan (The Organization for the Protection of the Finality of
the Prophet Hood).
Agha Shorish Kashmiri, an essayist, journalist, activist for declaration of Ahmedis as non-Muslims, bigot and a lifetime member of the Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, in 1972 wrote a book eulogising Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, the anti-Shia and anti-Ahmedi organisation, was very close to Maulana Azad pre-partition along with Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind. It had also famously denounced Jinnah as Kafir-e-Azam and Pakistan as Kafiristan. Their sordid role in both pre- and post-partition eras is well documented in the Munir-Kayani Report 1954 but declassified documents show that they deliberately started the sectarian madh-e-sahaba movement in Lucknow at the Congress’ behest to divide the Muslim League’s constituents in that city. Dr Ayesha Jalal’s book, Self and Sovereignty, gives a thorough and well-sourced account of these activities.
Coming back to the book Shorish Kashmiri wrote, in it was an interview that Shorish claimed to have gotten from Maulana Azad in 1946. Since Maulana Azad had passed away by then, there was no way to confirm or deny this claim. Shorish claimed that the interview was taken around Fajr time over two weeks in Simla during the Cabinet Mission Plan negotiations. There are many gaping holes in the interview itself. At one point, Azad refers to several coups against civilian governments by military regimes in the Muslim world. Till 1946, there had been no coup in any Muslim country. Only in Turkey did a Kemalist government overthrow a monarchy. At another point, Azad says that H S Suhrawardy was not enamoured with Jinnah. Interestingly, in his India Wins Freedom, as dictated to Humayun Kabir, he claims the exact opposite and places Suhrawardy in Jinnah’s camp and Nazimuddin as the disaffected Bengali leader. Azad “presciently” speaks of “foreign debt” being incurred but that in any event was not a foregone conclusion in 1946.
Well I hate to break it to all of you – Agha Shorish Kashmiri was a fraud and the interview itself was most probably cobbled together through excerpts from Azad’s book “India Wins Freedom” and his famous address to the Muslims left behind in India in Jamia Masjid- both easily available texts. Before I come to the actual nature of the forgery, let us re-cap for a second what this creature Majlis-e-Ahrar was and just how deep its motivation ran in discrediting Pakistan and the leadership of Mr. Jinnah who Majlis-e-Ahrar considered an outright Kafir. Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, a group of Islamic fanatics closely allied to the Congress party, was one of the most rabid anti-Pakistan movements around.
Their leaders Maulana Mazhar Ali Azhar and Maulana Ataullah Shah Bukhari were foul mouthed bigots who resorted to choicest abuses from the pulpit against the Muslim League and Mr. Jinnah. The elections of 1946 resulted in their complete rout and after Pakistan was created, this group was in the forefront of the conspiracies against the state. Agha Shorish Kashmiri was one such Ahrari remnant who was in the forefront of anti-Ahmaddiya rioting in Pakistan and whose hatred for Pakistan was boundless.
In my boyhood days I was closely watching the activities of the Jaish-e-Ihrar-e-Islam [though I never did agree with their philosophy of brandishing Ahmadis as non Muslims, because personally I believe that anybody who has once recited the Kalema, is a Muslim. Its for Allah, the Almighty to decide whether he is a real Muslim, a fake or a non Muslim]. So with this in my mind I had a sort of academic attachment with the Ihraris. A good friend of mine was a staunch supporter of the Ihrars and it was mainly due to him that I attended many functions, meetings and indoor chit chats of the Ihrars in Lyallpur [now Faisalabad].
It was also the time when I learnt of Shorish Kashmiri and started reading his weekly ‘Chattan’ at a public library. Shorish was a prolific writer but more than that, was a remarkable speaker. I remembered, once he started his speech in Faisalabad’s Dhobi Ghat and it went for 4 hours. There was pin drop silence, not a single soul moved – so great and so strong was the spell of Shorish’s voice. It almost mesmerized the audience.
Shorish himself was a strong supporter of the Pakistan movement but at the same time was am ardent admirer of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, whom he considered an Islamic scholar next to Imam Ibne Taimmiya.
Now politically Ihrars were a religious party, but politically inclined toward the United India policy of All India Congress. Their principal manifesto was fighting against the Ahmadis whom they disdainfully called as Qadianis. Everything what the Ihraris wrote, spoke and preached was meant against the Ahmadis. I personally believe in the last prophet hood of our holy prophet [PBUH] but I also believe that brandishing a Muslim whether a Shia, Sunni, Ahmadi, Lahori, Qadiani, Brelvi, Deobandi, Ihrarai, Ismaili, Bohri or what ever denomination a sect may be having, should be left to the individual concerned and his Allah.
But the Ihrars were so much prejudiced against the Ahmadis that they were always in the forefront of calling them Non Muslims and if possible to kill them even.
With such background of Shorish, another special trait of him was that he blindly loved and kept the Maulana in high esteem.
Those Shias who cite and eulogize such thugs (Ataullah Shah Bukhari) have no moral ground to object on Deobandi ASWJ hate speech against Shias