Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Malegaon to Mumbai: Grand rally demanding reservation for Muslims in jobs culminates

Under scorching sun, they marched for days. Carrying the national flag and banners with messages demanding reservation, the group had begun the long and arduous walk from Malegaon.

Their demand was to press for reservation for Muslims in government jobs.

Under the aegis of Muslim Reservation Federation (MRF), this group that comprised elderly persons, youths and even children, completed 300 km.

The rally had evinced interest in media as well as among society. Braving the heat, they had walked for ten days. The march culminated in Mumbai. Contrary to earlier promise, the Mumbai police cancelled the permission for gathering in Azad Maidan.

The MRF activists reached Somaiya ground amidst strong police presence. Here, leaders of different political parties welcomed them. Residents of Mumbai and nearby towns had also come to express solidarity with the cause.

While most of the political parties largely accept that minorities are under-represented in jobs and support the demand for quota in admissions to colleges and in employment, no outfit is ready to give an assurance that they will implement the reservation within a timeframe.

 In a state, where both the NCP and Congress claim to be 'secular' parties, and expect Muslim vote election after election, there is no clarity on whether they intend to provide the benefits of reservation to Muslim minority.

Balasahab Thorat, on behalf of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, met the MRF leaders. Thorat said that he would take their memorandum to the Congress leadership and would apprise Chief Minister. He made promises about 'considering the demands'.

Still, the march succeeded in its objective. It did create a stir. In a democratic set up, any group has to raise its voice. Reservation is not impossible. There are constitutional ways. In Karnataka, there is provision as per which Muslims are getting reservation. Under the Kerala [the state has 24% Muslims] model, Muslims get 12% reservation.

In Madhya Pradesh, dozens of Muslim castes are under OBC category and hence able to get jobs.

But, the situation is different n Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and several other states.

At national level, UPA had promised that it would take steps to ensure reservation for Muslims as per Sachar committee recommendations.

But the promise has remained a promise. Two terms later, the Manmohan Singh government is yet to take a decision on Sachar panel's recommendations regarding reservation in jobs. MRF chief Asif Sheikh Rashid spoke at length during his speech at the programme.

Sheikh reminded the audience that had there been substantial Muslims in police force, the one-sided firing and destruction of Muslims' property in Dhule riots, wouldn't have happened. He also said that while the Dalit Sikhs and Buddhists are entitled to reservation under the SC category, the Muslims aren't. Definitely, this is a discriminatory practice.

It was a presidential* order in 1950 that created this strange situation where Dalits are treated differently because of their religious affiliation. In fact, RTI applications regarding this order, have met with a stonewall. Muslim Reservation March has ended but it is the beginning of a movement, said speakers.

Thousands of Muslims were present at the ground. The speakers said that if not 20%, the government can at least announce at least 10-15%, rather than dithering on the issue. Interestingly, on way, the rally was welcomed at all the cities on the route--Nasik, Igatpuri up to Bhiwandi, Thane and finally, Mumbai.

Not just Muslim organisations but even Shiv Sena, BJP, Congress, RPI, MNS, Jan Rajya Aghadi, [minority wings of some parties] garlanded the MRF workers. At the Sumaiya ground, speakers repeatedly raised the issue of implementation of either Sachar panel or Ranganath Mishra commission reports.

Abu Asim Azmi, the Samajwadi Party (SP) leader said that Congress has failed to provide jobs to Muslims who are at the lower rung as far as socio-economic conditions are concerned. Mubarak Kapri was also present. The MRF has said that the march was undertook to secure rights of Muslims.

Even if economic condition is the base, Muslims are amongst the poorest in the country and there must be a decision now to ensure that a large chunk of Indian population doesn't remain backward for long. As it hurts the nation as well. 'Tahaffuzat' [reservation] are necessary for empowerment and Maharashtra government must make an annnouncement before 2014, they said.

The community is educational and economically backward, and hence needs reservations, just like Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). This was just a first step and the agitation would be intensified until the government agrees to the demand, they said.

[*Article 341. President of India Rajendra Prasad had signed the order]

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

BJP or Congress: Who will win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, form the next government at the Centre?


Speculations have already begun as to who is going to form the government after the upcoming 2014 general elections?

The recent survey conducted by AC-Nielsen that was shown on TV channel, 'ABP News' (formerly Star), has led to a fresh debate over prospects of the two major coalitions.

Whether it's going to be Congress-led UP that is projecting its youthful face Rahul Gandhi [along with Manmohan Singh as future PM once again] after having ruled the country for the two consecutive terms or BJP-led NDA which is banking on Narendra Modi?

The results of the survey [opinion poll] are quite interesting. It was conducted between May 1 and 10 and it predicts the number of seats to various parties, if the polls were held now, given the current mood of the electorate in the country.

I saw the survey on TV and here are my observations. First, let's see what are the results of this survey. Have a look at the figures and then we can analyse. First, Uttar Pradesh [UP] that sends the maximum number of seats [80] to the Parliament:

Samajwadi Party {SP] 24
Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] 23
Bahujan Samaj Party [BSP] 21
Congress 6
Rashtriya Lok Dal [RLD] 5

For, Maharashtra [48], the statistics suggest:

Congress 12
BJP 17
Shiv Sena 12

West Bengal [42] is another major state.

Left Front [CPM-CPI-Forward Bloc] 18
Trinamool Congress [TMC] 14
Congress 9

Bihar [40] is also a key state and any major change in number of seats can turn the tables for either of the coalitions. The premise was that JDU and BJP are still together here while Congress and RJD are not in an alliance. (If there is an alliance between Congress, RJD & LJP, it'll be bad for NDA, suggests the survey)

JDU 24
BJP 10
Congress 3

In Delhi, the survey gives five seats to BJP and two to Congress. What about Aam Admi Party (AAP)? Zilch! The survey shows that as per the mood in the country, NDA will be ahead of UPA. The bigger coalition is more likely to form the government, isn't it?

Predicting the Picture: How the Lok Sabha 2014 would look like:

NDA 206
UPA 136
Left 34
REST 167

So shall we accept this survey and the projections?

The survey shows Congress' vote share at 20% and that of BJP at over 31%. Really! That seems a bit far-fetched. Congress is definitely not having a great time due to the scams but these figures are still not too convincing.

Even if BJP gets 206 seats, will it be able to find the allies? It must be remembered that this survey shows the figure of REST [THIRD FRONT] at 167 and along with Left Front their strength will be over 200. So apart from NDA and UPA, there will be a huge block, and this hints at a real 'khichdi' or the fractured mandate.

What can be faulty in these projections

The survey shows Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi enjoying 36% support for the post of Prime Minister (PM) compared to Rahul Gandhi (13%), Manmohan Singh (12%), Mulayam Singh (5%), Nitish Kumar (3%) and Sushma Swaraj (2%). [Rahul plus Manmohan makes it 25, which is not too bad, given that it is urban centric poll]

As always, the surveys are mostly conducted in Cities. In urban areas, BJP has traditionally been strong and hence they surveys often go in BJP's favour. In UP, the BJP may not get as much seats. For the last 20 years, such polls have generally given more seats to BJP.

In last election, all channels predicted 140 seats for SP in UP Assembly but it went on capturing more than 200 seats in the Vidhan Sabha. The reason is that a section of SP or BSP voter isn't as vocal about his preference. Muslims often say that they would vote for Congress but end up voting for the third parties just like Dalits voted en masse for BSP but not many of them accepted it in front of others.

We keep hearing a lot about NaMo factor but Congress won the Karnataka election. It also won the polls in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Clearly, the corporate support and the excessive hype in media hasn't materialised as much on the ground.

What can happen in a year?

Elections are almost a year from now. In the current situation, Congress is not going to have Parliamentary elections along with Assembly elections by year end. The 16th General Elections are likely to be held in May 2014.

By then, it expects to gain by Right to Food  Bill and other popular schemes. It has changed its campaign style also. Have you noticed the recent advertisements on TV, targeting the young generation? On social media i.e. Twitter and Facebook, it has locked horns with RSS and BJP that once ruled online opinion.

Of course, there is a disillusionment [largely in urban India] with regard to Congress due to a spate of scams. It is also battling incumbency, which will be a major factor. But one must remember that despite all these factors Congress has consistently been winning state elections.

The BJP has its own woes

The problem for the BJP is that it can't just rely on Congress doing bad. The BJP has to increase its number of seats significantly. Where will it get them? In MP, Chhattisgarh, it has reached its peak and the scenario isn't as rosy for it. Party workers openly say that the tally will go down in these two states.

In Karnataka, it has no good prospects either. If Rajnath Singh fails to revive BJP in UP, the figure of 206 looks far ahead. Congress may lose seats in Andhra Pradesh. It is going to a be vital state. But will Nara Chandrababu Naidu ally with the BJP. No chance.

Can there be such a major shift?

The 2009 elections had given a mandate to Congress-led UPA. Congress had more than 200 seats while BJP had just 115. Can there be a complete reversal? If it happens, then only the BJP can hope to get more allies and be able to form the government.

If the BJP alone gets 180 plus and with its allies, reaches 220-225, then it will be in a position to form the government. The SP-BSP may have 40-50 seats, and along with Left, RJD and a few small parties, make it 100 seats. It is this vote coming from UP, West Bengal or Southern India which hurts the BJP-led coalition, the most.

The 'key' States and the parties to watch out

Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu will be the key states. J Jayalalitha's AIADMK can play a major role. If she manages to win Tamil Nadu, then BJP can expect to garner her support. Not Naidu, but Jagan Mohan Reddy is another person who may go to the BJP. The role of BJD supremo Navin Patnayak will also be crucial.

Can West Bengal's voter again turn towards the Left? There are several questions. The voters' mood will be more visible by the year-end. The Left is against Congress. The 'secular' SP and BSP are rivals but at the Centre both these anti-Congress parties, also support the UPA.

Majority of voter lives in Rural India, not Cities

The agencies conducting these polls remain urban centric. Less than 1/3rd of constituencies were touched. Just 33,000 voters were quizzed. The sample size needs to be much bigger in a country like India. Here people play games with the surveyors [or questionnaires] and even give wrong answers. The feeling is that, 'Why should I tell them what's in my mind?'

India is too big and complex. It is next to impossible for any mathematical formula to make a guess or predit the results at the national level. Here, there are four and even five cornered contests in many constituencies, and people don't vote for a Prime Minister, rather, they go for party. Predictions of victory and loss are really tough.

While the BJP and Congress have now formed a mindset that it's time that either of them should govern the nation, not these smaller parties, reality is different. In case, both Congress and BJP remain under 150 or around, you can not rule out chance of Mayawati or J Jayalalitha, emerging the dark horse.

In fact, where the Congress is losing, the BJP is not gaining. The gainer is a regional party. An astonishing 47% vote is going to the regional parties, says R Jagannathan, in an Analysis here.

Let's wait and watch.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Criticism of Saudi Arabia regime either for destruction of Islamic heritage or on human rights, other issues remains a taboo in Media!

Just a few days back a group of leading Shia clerics held a press conference in Lucknow. Amongst other issues, they spoke on the continuous destruction of Islamic heritage in Saudi Arab.

The news was almost blacked out in media except a small and different sort of version which appeared in a few Urdu newspapers.

This is not the first time that such a thing has happened but it is definitely disturbing. Can't you criticise a government or a regime? Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not. It's an individuals right.

In this press conference, scholars expressed their opinion about the Bashar Al Assed regime's excesses in Syria, castigated the Taliban and also expressed their apprehensions about certain issues regarding Saudi authorities. One may or may not agree to them but they are surely entitled to speak their mind. 

1. When Muslim minority expects media to listen to its grievances in a Hindu majority country, why shouldn't we at least hear the concerns of a minority among Muslims--the Shias. This is a strange paradox. I surely fail to understand it. Even English, Hindi media avoids it.

2. I am proud that in my country, a large section of Hindus and other communities speak in favour of Muslims when Babri Masjid was demolished. But it is embarrassing that mosques, more than thousand years old that have link with earliest Islamic personalities including the Prophet's family or companions, get destroyed without whimper in this 'Islamic country' under the garb of 'expansion' or 'development'.

May be a few things could be tolerated but they are not accountable to anyone, it seems. Had it not been Turkey putting its foot down and insisting that Saudis adhere to the past agreements, the situation could have been even worse.

3. On one hand, the Saudi government has done a great job in ensuring that millions of Haj pilgrims from across the world, get facilities. The infrastructure in the holy cities of Mecca and Medinah has been improved vastly in the last few decades. For this they ought to be praised.

4. I am a Sunni and don't have any close Shia friend either. But this muzzling of any dissenting voice seems odd. Saudi Arab is a monarchy though kingship is not in sync with Islamic principles. For a non-Arab it may not be too relevant whether they are monarchs or champions of democracy and justive but for the fact that the same regime then preaches and imposes rules and bizarre codes on citizens as per its own interpretations.

5. Sauds changed the name of Hejaz or Arab to 'Saudi' Arab, ie, the Arab of a family--the Sauds. The Saudi state and its allies in Gulf always seem more concerned about their own hold to power [naturally], as also the regional balance of power, even though, they are aware that they enjoy a clear authority and [will always have] because of holy sites. Still, they remain obsessed with the idea to contain Iran.

6. Because of the custodianship of the holy Islamic sites, they get enormous respect which they will always have but it doesn't mean that they can not be criticised for their erratic actions. Strangely, there is a silence among Muslims when it comes to Saudi policies, either with regard to women which are clearly divergent from the spirit of Islam, to the way they have destroyed Islamic heritage in the holy land.

7. In fact, apologists would be quick to say, 'See how much they have done for Muslims', or 'They are giving more rights to women' [Inayat, aapka Shukriya Janab] and that 'millions are employed there'. The Sheikhs' political positions is also often in contrast with views of an ordinary person on the Muslim street.

8. The way buildings were destroyed is well-known but kept hush hush. Little is discussed or spoken about in Urdu or Muslim media either. In fact, an effort seems to be going on to put Saudi sheikhs at a much higher pedestal. Is it because Petro dollars [Riyal] dazzle the eyes and then nothing else is visible?

9. From the days, when centuries old inscriptions of 'Ya Muhammad' PBUH محمد  were changed to 'Ya Majeed' مجید [One of the names of Allah] with just a few dots here and there, to razing umpteen houses of Sahaba, the demolitions, the destruction of Jannatul-Baqi, and even the ultimate fear, we have seen Saudi regimes' acts.

10. For years, this blog has not taken sectarian positions. I still don't. I have not in support of any sect nor against it. But regimes and its policies must be censured. This is no blasphemy. When either Shias or any other group speaks, why they are not heard? Muslim mind should not be servile or slavish to a regime. At least, the genuine concerns of the Muslims worldwide and their groups should be voiced, not suppressed.

If you venerate Saudi rulers and blindly support their each and every act, you are free to do so, but just remember they are not divine. Its a person's right to idolize the 'Is Zameen ke Badshah' and differ with the rest, just like many disagree with the Saudi regime on a host of issues. That's all.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

TV channels injecting hate in society, harming national interest: Created hysteria to gain TRPs over Sarabjit Singh's incarceration and death

Sarabjit Singh's death was an extremely sad incident but the manner in which News channels used the story of an Indian prisoner lodged in Pakistani jail, to rouse passions much before his death [and even afterwards], needs to be addressed.

1. Firstly, the same TV channels never showed any attention when Indian prisoners were released from Pakistani jail only a few months back. The 10 Indian prisoners were released from Karachi's Landhi jail and came here through Wagah.

2. When 311 Indian fishermen were released by Pakistan some months back [in June 2012] there was no coverage in Indian media. Shouldn't there have been live coverage or TV crews ready to get their reaction? Our jingoistic TV channels and even newspapers largely ignored this news. India also releases Pakistani prisoners quite often. But do we see such reports?

3. All goodwill gestures either by India or Pakistan are never shown. Only the bad news  gets telecast. As a result, the perception is created that Pakistan is really our worst enemy and can do nothing good. [Perhaps, channels in Pakistan do the same about India] This hurts our diplomacy and government level efforts.

The cacophony wrongly gives impression that our government is weak and also sends an incorrect message. This puts undue pressure on the government. Rather than peace efforts, this jingoism goes against the interests of everybody.

4. Who fought for Sarabjit Singh all these years? We forget that in Pakistan there were activists who kept demanding his release as well as other prisoners. It is forgotten that Pakistan has a person like Ansar Burney, a former minister, who has the guts to constantly speak for human rights. How may do we have among our senior politicians in India?

5. We forget that lawyers in Pakistan were fighting his case all along. In India, we hound and mock at people who are peaceniks. TV anchors make fun of those who speak sense. Perhaps, Sarabjit would have been alive had the channels not created this hysteria. As per reports, there was hope that after election, the new government would release him.

Surjeet Singh was freed from a Pakistan jail last year
6. Justice Marktandey Katju had earlier also appealed to Pakistan government to release Indian prisoners, and it was his efforts that a Pakistani Dr Khalil Chishti was released. It is goodwill and diplomacy that works, not hate. Hate only begets hate.

7. In the clamour over Sarabjit Singh, our media forgot that sometime back Surjeet Singh was also released from Pakistani prison. There must be ways to secure release through diplomatic channels and other non-government efforts, rather than shouting on TV and preaching hatred. There are numerous others rightly or wrongly convicted in jails but there is no 'TV focus' on their release.

8. Sarabjit Singh's death is unfortunate. If it was a case of mistaken identity, it is even more sad. But the truth is that he was convicted of bomb blasts by a court. In India, what we do to terror convicts? Its not just about  Ajmal Kasab, we also hanged an 'Indian', Afzal Guru, without informing his family. But in Sarabjit's case, he was given funeral with state honours. His kin get job and huge amount of cash.

Pakistan Muslim League leaders on Diwali, seek 'ashirwad'
9. It is a fact that news channels created such a situation that the entire nation was fuming. There was absolute hatred for Pakistan.

In this tsunami of hate, a Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah perished. He was killed in the Jammu jail. Was his death reported by media in the same manner, here or there? Did his kin get any compensation!

10. Few among our TV channels and mainstream papers have their correspondents in Pakistan. We only show stories on our channels that are about the bad aspects of the neighbouring country. Why we never see any other aspect. Why these channels never show Diwali, Holi celebrations in Pakistan? Or any other story except the ones we see that focus on discord and disharmony.

11. The reality is that negative news is carried and amplified to such an extent that it regularly puts our own government on a sticky wicket. Can spies be owned up? No. Stupid TV anchors who 'demand answers' on prime time news, don't realise how their actions, are hurting lives of people and our international relationships.

12. Rather than being journalists, they act as Generals ready for war, even going beyond them in rhetoric. By just focusing on negative, they jeopardise all the peace efforts from both sides. For them news of Pakistani soldiers taking care of a minor girl who had strayed into their territory but taken care of and sent back safely, is not news.

The TV channels love war like situations without realising the effect it has on a large number of people. They arouse sentiments of people by harping on particular issues. It seems that for them, no 'other side' of the story exists.

The goodwill measures taken by both countries should be shown on TV and they must be appreciated, as they can go a long way helping in release of other prisoners and also for resolving other contentious issues in the long run. Unfortunately, these channels try to mould public opinion in the wrong way.

This is the biggest irony of Indian media. Can the state allow the channels to hijack the agenda just because they feel a particular issue can bring more eyeballs and hence more revenue? Time to ponder for all of us.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Muslim boy emerges topper in engineering entrance exam in Madhya Pradesh

When the results of the engineering entrance examination conducted by Professional Examination Board (PEB), Madhya Pradesh, were announced, Moin Khan emerged on top of the merit list.

Khan, who hails from Indore, secured 187 out of 200 marks. That he came first in the Pre-Engineering Proficiency Test (PEPT, also called PET) examination, in which more than 1,00,000 students participated, is impressive indeed.

It also signals that Muslims in Madhya Pradesh (MP) who were comparatively behind other states, are now making fast strides in education. While a student emerging as topper has a symbolic value, it also inspires thousands of other students.

They also feel that if they can put in hard work and labour, they can succeed and achieve high marks in the competitive exams and hence have a good career. Though Muslim youths have been performing well in exams in other states, the scene was not too good in MP.

But in the last two years, there has been a marked change. Not just High School and Intermediate, Muslim students are now figuring at the top in the results of competition exams also. Madhya Pradesh is the second largest state in the country in terms of area.

As far as population is concerned, it is much bigger than France & Britain, and not far behind Germany. It's definitely an achievement to outperform lakhs of students. Four among the ten youths in merit list of the PET were from Indore.

Moin Khan loves cricket and idolizes Virat Kohli for his passion towards the game. Apart from Pre Engineering Test (PET), a Muslim student, Nazar Mohammad, appeared in the top ten list in the Pre-Pharmacy Test (PPT) Exam, the results of which have also been announced. Nazar Mohammad hails from Rajgarh near Indore.

Read an earlier post on Muslim Students Excelling in Competitive Exams

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Remembering Syed Amin Ashraf: Selection of couplets of the prominent Aligarh-based Urdu poet

By Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

A few months have passed but literary world is still in a state of mourning due to the demise of prominent Urdu poet Syed Amin Ashraf.

Ashraf, 80, was a leading Urdu poet, who avoided popular 'mushairas' and this is perhaps the reason that he didn't get the fame which he deserved.

But his command over language and idiom, had made him one of the foremost 'shayars' of the era in the country.

shahar-dar-shahar shab-e-taar* ka pheraa hoga
ham na honge, to andheraa hi andheraa hoga

[Syed Amin Ashraf]

Syed Amin Ashraf was born in Kachhauchha Sharif in UP, on June 20, 1930. A professor of English in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Urdu poetry was his first love. Though he began writing poetry in the decade of fifties, his first collection of poetry [divan] was published only in 2000.

This suggests how Ashraf sahab was indifferent towards publication of his own poetry.

In fact, he was the most important poet in the region. But he mostly remained confined to literary magazines and attended only select gatherings and 'mushairas'. Eminent Urdu writer Rashid Anwar Rashid recently wrote in Ajkal that, 'Only after Shaharyar's demise, Syed Amin Ashraf got recognition as the most important poet in Aligarh'.

Rashid is not off the mark. It is true that Shaharyar was a legend in his own right but his association with movies, particularly, his lyrics in Umraojan, made him a household name. Besides, Ashraf, wasn't a person who was interesting in pushing himself ahead. 

Some of his couplets:

halqa-e-shaam-o-sahar se nahiin jaane walaa
dard is deeda-e-tar se nahiiN jaane walaa

dekhtaa huuN muntashir shiiraaza-e-kaar-e-jahaaN
saa'at-e-naa-aafriida ki jhalak hai aur maiN

agar hazaar baras kii bhii zindagi hotii
to aarzuu yahii hotii ki aur jee lete

Ashraf sahab was aware of his literary standing. He said it it numerous couplets. In literary journal Kitabnuma, Dr Iffat Ara, wrote an obituary and she has also made a selection of his well-known 'ash'aar'.

munavvar aur mubham iste-aare dekh leta huuN
maiN sote jaagte, dilkash nazaare dekh letaa huuN

nasha-e-she'r uRaaye liye jaata hai mujhe
jaise rahvaar-e-sabaa, taKht-e-SulemaaN jaise

mauj-e-nasim ban ke ravaaN kuu-ba-kuu hue
ham bhii shariik-e-qaafla-e-rang-o-buu hue

Human beings don't get everything they wish for in life. An emotional, yet 'wazadar' person, he kept his pain to himself though it occasionally gets visible in his poetry. He did have a contended life and happy marital life. Yet, those who knew him, were aware about what he pined for and what kept him sad.

Jo milna hai vahi mil kar rahega
savaal-e-besh-o-kam bhii be-sabab hai

Amin Ashraf retired in 1990. It was only in later years that he took interest in publishing his works. Because of his command over Persian, one finds an enchanting quality in his couplets. Some of his couplets remind you of the legendary Irfan Siddiqui.

Ameen Ashraf maiN khud na-aashna lekin ye shohrat hai
butaan-e-shahar mein ek yaar-e-jaani main bhii rakhtaa huuN

koii sabab hai jo rahtaa hai Khauf-e-naadiida
muhiib saaya sa larzaaN hai farsh-e-jaaN par bhii

A 'qalandar' in the true sense, he lived life on his own terms.

ye maana aib bhii haiN saikRoN, kis meN nahiiN hote?
ameen ashraf, magar tujh sa qalandar ho nahiiN saktaa

A couplet from the 'naat' genre:

Ye dil diwana hai uska, jo diwana Muhammad ka
AzaaN koii kahe, ruuh-e-Bilaali aa hii jaati hai

After his first collection 'Jaada-e-Shab' was published in 2000, the second divan 'Bahar Eejad' came out in 2007 and Qafas Rang appeared in 2011. He had a large social circle and not just because of poetry but also for his innate humane qualities that he would be remembered for a long time.

Yehi voh rishte haiN jo saath saath rahte haiN
Khud apnaa sayaa hai, yaadeN bhii haiN, muqaddar bhii

After his death in Aligarh on February 7 this year, across India programmes were held to pay homage to the poet. As per his wishes, his mortal remains were taken to his hometown and buried in the hospice premises of Sufi saint Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Samnani RH.

Syed Ameen Ashraf is no more. But his legacy lives on. He will always be remembered as a poet and an extraordinary human being. He always encouraged youngsters and treated everybody with respect. An extremely humble and modest person, he enriched classical Urdu poetry with his own experiences and unique idiom.

[*shab-e-taar; dark night, darkness]
[Some couplets have been obtained from Dr Iffat Aara's article in Kitabnuma. Thanks are due to her. Photo courtesy Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences]