By Masoom Moradabadi
After a long time, I spent a few hours in Rampur. I have some profound childhood memories associated with this city. This town of proud Rohilla Pathans is also the birthplace of my father and grandfather.
Comparing to the hustle-bustle of Delhi and Moradabad, the life in Rampur sounds to me very calm and peaceful city. Whenever I come here, I feel tranquil and relaxing. I have hundreds of relatives and friends in this city who have an intense love for me.
Although today I came here to attend the funeral of a close relative of mine, I availed some time to assess the [political] situation in the city. For this, I talked to the supporters and opponents of Azam Khan. Both have their points. While Azam Khan’s supporters praise him for the progress and development of the city, his critics say that whatever Azam Khan is facing he owes it to his own arrogant behaviour.
The fact, however, is that, at the moment, Azam Khan and his family are passing through a very difficult time. Some of the allegations for which they are being punished appear to pretty ridiculous. It seems that what they are being subjected to is merely hostility and animosity against Azam Khan.
As a journalist, my acquaintance with Azam spans over a period of three and a half decades. My first meeting with him took place in 1984 in this very city of Rampur when I interviewed him as an emerging young Muslim leader. Those were the initial days of my career in journalism.
I was impressed by his courteous behaviour for, after the interview, he took me on his Rajdoot motorcycle to catch a bus to Delhi. This was the period when outside Rampur, Azam Khan was not such a known personality. However, the fact cannot be denied that through very hard work he created a niche in politics for himself and established himself as a Muslim leader. But this is also a bitter truth that due to his bad temper and sharpness of his tongue, he has lost several of his sincere friends and well-wishers.
The residents of Rampur also allege that like other politicians, Azam Khan was surrounded by a group of active sycophants and opportunists who have distanced and separated his well-meaning friends from him.
Every human being is a mixture of good and bad. In view of the difficulties surrounding Azam Khan, as a member of the [Muslim] community he needs our strong moral support because from the actions of the present government it seems that it is hell-bent on destroying and ending his political career and the manner in which law is being misused against him is definitely not an example of impartiality.
So far 87 cases have been registered against Azam Khan and the state government is preparing to seize the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar University established by him. This University is described as his dream materialised. In a situation like this, it is incumbent upon all of us to rise above ideological and political differences and support Azam Khan on humanitarian grounds.
Masoom Moradabadi is a senior journalist and has authored several books.