Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Great India-1

Great India-1

His name was Abdul Kadir Bawazeer, a Gujarati of Arab origin. He was popularly known as Imam Saheb, as he served as Imam in South Africa. Gandhiji was also addressing him as Imam Saheb. He was a trader by profession and had a good life of luxury. 

He used to accompany clients to Gandhi's office in Johannesburg. Gandhi initially found him obstinate, but liked him more and more as he came closer. He had no education but had complete confidence in his arguments and judgment. He proved himself as steadfast as a rock in Gandhi Satyagraha. 

When Gandhi moved to Phoenix, he left all his luxuries and went with Gandhi. His wife (Haji Saheba) and two daughters (Fatima and Amina) lived a simple and vegetarian life in Phoenix Ashram with Gandhi. They were great support to Gandhi in press work. He was Gandhi's best friend in South Africa. 

In 1914, when Gandhi decided to returned to India, Imam Saheb also moved to India, though South Africa had practically become his home. They built a house near Gandhi Ashram and settled in Ahmedabad. 

When his daughter Amina got  married, Gandhiji wrote the kankotris (invitation cards) as inviter, identifying him as Imam's "sahodar" (brother). Aminaben married to Shri Gulam Rasul Kureshi.

Under the influence of Gandhi, GRK also participated in freedom struggle. He was arrested and sent to jail in Visnagar. When Aminaben went to meet him with her two children, they were waiting outside the jail, standing under a banian tree. The family meeting was allowed once in a month. The door of the jail opened and GRK came out. His son, Hamid was only 5-6 years old. When he saw GRK with unshaven faced, with a beard, little boy hid behind his mother. 

"I want to join freedom struggle with you", Aminaben demanded before her husband. 

Yes, you can, GRK replied. 

Who will take care of our children, if I go to jail? Aminaben asked. 

Leave them under the banian tree, the society will look after them, he replied.

That was the spirit of our freedom fighters and their trust over the Indian Society during Gandhian days.

Hamidbhai and Pratimaben's son (Great grand son of Imam Saheb) Shri Akil Abdul Hamid Kureshi is the sitting judge of Gujarat High Court.

Our Salute to the great freedom fighters of Great India.

Jai Hind.

4 November 2015


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