By Ahmed Sohail Siddiqui
Who would have predicted that the date of birth of the eldest son of Maulana Abdul Waheed Siddiqui would be the date that would give rise to the formation of a new nation Pakistan – the home of the Muslims who were forced into partition? Ahmed Mustafa Rahi was born on 14th August 1930.
Since his childhood Rahi sahib had his upbringing in the company of great personalities like Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madni [rh] Shaikh ul Hind who gave him the title “RAHI”. As a boy he led students of DarulUloom Deoband University in protest marches in Campus against the British from where he graduated.
After his graduation in the turbulent years of Freedom movement 1940-50 for the Muslims of Indian Sub-continent, he joined his father in 1951 to launch Urdu Daily Newspaper Nai Dunya as its Editor, Printer and Publisher. Nai Duniya was the most fearless Urdu Daily Newspaper from New Delhi carrying the slogan Jamhooriat ka Alamdaar meaning the flag bearer of Democracy.
At the age of 21 Mustafa Rahi plunged in Indian policits in Delhi as the Editor Publisher of a Newspaper that was anti-Establishment and refused to bow before any power. With love for reading and writing and a good command of Urdu Adab, Media and history he associated with the literary circles. The special issues of his daily NaiDunya on Salahuddin Ayyubi won the hearts of passionate Urdu readers forming a loyalty for him & his publications. In a short span of time NaiDunya became a favourite of all those who believed in democracy and worked against the discriminative policies of the Government.
The Akali leadership solely relied on NaiDunya for its success in Punjabi Suba Agitation. This became a sore eye of the government which was apprehensive even before commencement of the publication and demanded a deposit surety for Rs 20,000.
This bias against the first ever Indian Urdu Newspaper to deposit such a huge surety amount raised many eye brows. From Feroze Gandhi to Justice Sacchar every one jumped in support of NaiDunya forcing the government to withdraw the surety clause. But Pandit Nehru was uncomfortable with Maulana Abdul Waheed Siddiqui’s writings and speeches that encouraged fearlessness among the Muslims to join democracy and align with Sikhs, Lohia and Dalits to fight together for their constitutional rights.
A section of the Congress party incited Nehru against NaiDunya and as a result both father and son – founders of NaI dauniya were arrested put to third degree tortures.
The Newspaper was again asked to deposit 20,000 rupees as surety. As soon as this news became public the committed readers of the newspaper organized funds and in 24 hours collected 20,000 rupees. The government was taken aback when the deposit was made in such a short span and sent intelligence officers all over to search the source of the funds.
However the tortures Mustafa Rahi underwent in the prison strengthened both his writing and oratory skills. People who heard him were spell bound by his knowledge and his magical voice.
For over a decade Feroze Gandhi regularly visited the office of NaiDunya like all other Urdu poets of that era.He developed a close affiliation with Mustafa Rahi sahib. In 1963 the daily NaiDunya breathed its last under the political conspiracy that forced its closure. The witch hunting by the government put the family of Rahi in deep financial crises forcing them to sell their houses and jewelry.
However the spirit and strong will of Mustafa Rahi remained intact as he continued to be the editor and publisher of several Urdu Dailies such as Roznama HIMMAT Delhi and Roznama TAQAT.
He had several friends from different walks of life who were both his admirers and well wishers. Some of them are Hakeem Abdul Hameed Saheb of Hamdard; Dehlvi’s of Shama Group, Haji Anees saab Editor of Filmy Sitarey, M.L. Fotedar, Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Feroze Gandhi, Sardar Swarn Singh, I.K.Gujaral, Sonia Gandhi, Russian Diplomat Meer Qasimof, K.N.Singh, Jitendra Prasad, Khursheed Alam Khan, Syed Zahoor Qasim the scientist, Mujtaba Hussain the Urdu Padma Shree, several union ministers, editors and diplomats.
He edited and compiled 20 books printed in Urdu on Islamic subjects.He wrote a biography of H.N.Bahuguna his friend “Adhoori Kitaab” which was inaugurated by the then governor of Uttar Pradesh.
After the closure of Daily NaiDunya his family regained strength and started HUMA & HUDA monthly magazines that created a revolution in the Urdu world. In 1973 NaiDunya was revived in the weekly form by the youngest son of Maulana Abdul Waheed Siddiqui which continues till date facing several challenges from different governments.
Mustafa Rahi sahab is the pioneer of Islamic Journalism through his services as Editor of HUDA Urdu Islamic Digest [1967 to 2015 till his last] a publication respected and enjoyed by its readers across the globe. He also launched the Hindi edition of Islamic Digest HUDA in 1986.This Hindi publication ‘TAHA’ worked with the new generation of Indian Muslims and gained immense popularity for its mission which continues till date.
The TAHA magazine was a huge success with several editions being reprinted even today.
His interview for HUMA Urdu Digest with Mrs. Indira Gandhi remains unparalleled in Urdu Journalism. This interview helped the congress to return to power in 1980 with 49 Muslim M.P.’s, highest ever in Lok Sabha.
Apart from his literary pursuits he was active in other fields. He was nominated to AICC [Minority Cell subcommittee under Aziz Imam as its Chairman]; was DPCC Convener of Publicity and Public relation cell; a member of the Delhi wakf Board and also a member of the centenary celebrations’ committee of DarulUloom Deoband formed for the completion of 14Th Century in Islamic Hijra calendar.
He was awarded as the as best Journalist by Urdu Academy Delhi govt. and was honoured by various Deeni-Milli organizations of the capital.
He never claimed Worldly posts or riches for himself but always gave others the opportunity. His importance was destined as both his date of birth and date of his demise are important dates marked down in History ie. 14th August 1930 – 6th December 2015. His life and contribution to literature, media News Journalism will be an inspiration for generations to come.
Ahmed Sohail Siddiqui is the Chief Editor, of www.bismillahnews.in; HUDA &TAHA Islamic digests, New Delhi