The Bohras: Bound by Terror
Asghar Ali Engineer
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 14, No. 23 (Jun. 9, 1979), pp. 964-966
Published by: Economic and Political Weekly
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4367667
Page Count: 3
http://kolkatacries.blogspot.in/2011/02 ... uggle.html
Alavi Bohras are different branch and they to confess to Dawoodi violence
http://www.alavibohra.org/introduction% ... Bohras.htm
http://www.udaipurblog.com/attempt-to-d ... aipur.html
When Amtullah bai, the daughter-in-law of Sir Adamji died on 12th July 1930, Taher Saifuddin Maula refused her burial in the Bohra Kabrastan at Charni Road, then her body was buried in the nearby plot behind Sir Adamji Peerbhoy Sanatorium owned by Sir Adamji's family. Taher Saifuddin Maula sent four Bohra fanatics in the dead of night who dug her grave and threw the naked body on the footpath in front of the Sanatorium. Bombay Samachar wrote a front page Editorial with the photograph of the body lying on the footpath. Morarji Desai who was the Home Minister of Bombay Province then was first person to see it. So he moved a motion in the assembly for prevention of excommunication stating that "Bohra Mullaji's powers are "Monstrous" (Shaitanic).
The establishment has a militia group called Burhani guards or Shabab that terrorizes reformists in India
The Dawoodi Bohra (Youth) group alleges that the Shabab group attacked their people inside the mosque, while Shabab claims that those who have been subjected to attack had actually dishonored their Spiritual Leader Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin’s grandson who was present in the mosque
http://udaipurtimes.com/intra-community ... -detained/
Mr. Chagla asked what is the Raudat Tahera, the Plaintiff responded it is the mausoleum of his revered father, 51st Dai Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, and the 52nd Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA. Mr. Chagla asked if the Plaintiff was involved in the construction, the Plaintiff responded “very much so.” Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff how often he visited, the Plaintiff responded “almost every day.” The Plaintiff volunteered that he is now prohibited to visit by the Defendant and on his instructions, and the Plaintiff is very much hurt about it. Mr. Chagla asked whether there was a single instance where the Plaintiff was prevented from visiting, the Plaintiff responded that his sons visited a few months ago and were beaten and pushed, along with some bleeding. The Plaintiff said that his security has advised him not to visit, since the people on the other side were in that state of mind. Mr. Chagla put it to the Plaintiff that his statement that he was prevented from visiting the Raudat Tahera is incorrect. The Plaintiff did not agree and stood by his statement.
Two inquiry commissions have been appointed to look into the malpractices and violation of human rights of Dawoodi Bohras. The first commission was appointed under the chairmanship of Justice Nathawani by the Citizens for Democracy and the second one was appointed under the chairmanship of Justice Tevatia by Indian Peoples’ Human Rights Commission. After the eye-opening exposure by these two Commissions’ reports, Muslims started distancing themselves from the tyrant and idolater Bohra priesthood and started forming an opinion like the one expressed by Mr Yunus Chitalwala. Loss of Muslim support compelled the Bohra priestly class to seek support of Hindus and hardcore Hidutwa leaders like Narendra Modi, LK Advani, Bal Thackeray etc.
To establish his absolute authoritarian control over the Bohra community, Syedna Taher Saifuddin went to the extent of claiming that he is “Elahul-Ard” (God on this earth) (na’udhu billah) and that he has powers equal to that of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and that he is accountable to no one and that he is master of the soul, mind, body and properties of his followers. He made it compulsory that every Bohra should call him/herself as “Slave of Sayedna” (Abd-e Sayedna / Amat-e Syedna) and perform “Sajda-e ‘Ubudiyat” in front of him. He also claimed that he is “Qur’an-e Natiq (speaking Qur'an) (na’udhu billah) and that the Quran in the present book form is a dead book (na’udhu billah).
Taher Saifuddin called himself “Da’i-ul-Mutlaq” (Absolute Da’i) and Sultan of the Bohras. He introduced an oath (Misaq) which is compulsory for every Bohra to offer to the Da’i. The harsh conditions in Misaq made it an instrument of punishment. He started a practice of “Jama’at kharij” (excommunication), thus enslaving the entire community.
He also introduced a system of seeking his Raza (permission) for all religious as well as secular matters. Namaz, Hajj, Zakat etc., which are obligatory according to Islam and Quran for every Muslim, were declared unacceptable to Allah if done without the prior permission (Raza) of Syedna.
Very systematically, the class of Bohra ulama (learned persons) was eliminated by awarding the titles of Mullas and Shaikhs to undeserving and ignorant persons who could offer huge sums of cash to the Da’i.
By consolidating his absolute authority and becoming from Da’i-ul-Mutlaq to Qaderul-Mutlaq (Absolute in might), he took hold of all the trusts, properties and wealth of community and adopted a luxurious life of living in palaces, high-flying and big-spending.
His son and 52nd Da’i, Mohammad Burhanuddin, not only followed his father but deviated further and used this centralized structure to his advantage making it more and more authoritarian by introducing a particular dress code for Dawoodi Bohra males, females and children, E-Jamaat cards which is a deadly weapon of Jamaat kharij - called “Baraat” - in its latest version. Thus, the Ismaili mission which played a very important role by attempting a creative intellectual synthesis of philosophy and the teachings of Islam has now been reduced to a cult.
http://www.milligazette.com/news/4583-b ... -to-a-cult
In his address to the Udaipur conference, noted Islamic scholar and social activist Asghar Ali Engineer, general secretary of the Central Board of the Dawoodi Bohra community, recounted how the Syedna and his cronies in the Kothar, the Bohra religious establishment, have consistently sought to scuttle the reformist movement, not hesitating to use force in many cases.
In an interview with this writer, Engineer spoke of the total control that the Syedna imposes on his followers, including demanding that they prostrate before him, although in Islam prostration is to be made only before God. He referred to Syedna Burhanuddin's father, Tahir Saifuddin, the 51st dai-e mutlaq, wherein in a statement made in the Bombay high court he even declared himself to be 'God on earth' (ilah ul-ard), a claim that is unambiguously un-Islamic. He added that the Bohras are made to believe that if they disobey the Syedna,they will certainly be bound to hell.
Over three days, dozens of Bohra men and women expressed their anguish at the oppressive and corrupt practices of the Syedna and his vast family of a thousand members and at the persecution that they continue to unleash on those Bohras who dare to question them.
Abid Adeeb, president of the Udaipur Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat, spoke of how the present Syedna levies a number of taxes on the Bohras that had no sanction in Islam. Through his representatives or amils, he said, the Syedna extracted several crores of rupees from his followers annually, demanding payment on almost every conceivable occasion. Even prayer spaces in Bohra mosques in the month of Ramzan are now up for sale, he revealed. As a result of this, he said, the Syedna now presides over a multi-billion dollar empire. Adeeb opined that opposition to the Syedna's crass exploitation was mounting among many Bohras, but that they were too scared to speak out.
Those who dared to do so, like the reformist Bohras gathered at the conference, are immediately excommunicated. Their social ties with their community are severed. Adeeb recounted numerous cases of excommunicated dissidents being forced by the Syedna and his cronies to divorce their spouses. The reformists had taken the issue of barat, the power of excommunication that the Syedna claimed for himself, to the courts several years ago but, Adeeb lamented, the case was still pending. He noted that various political parties were hand-in-glove with the Syedna, owing to the vast economic clout that he wields and the votes he can deliver, because of which these parties are, he alleged, indifferent, if not hostile, to the demands of the reformists. He pointed out that the Syedna even had close links with Narendra Modi, despite the fact that Bohras, along with other Muslims, had suffered immensely in the anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002 which the Modi government had instigated.
He also claimed that the Syedna routinely paid various Sunni Muslim institutions money so as to project himself as a pious Muslim as well as to buy their support and their silence on his un-Islamic practices and exploitative ways. Likewise, he said, the 'mainstream' media, which routinely sensationalises Muslim issues, had largely ignored the scandals that abound in the Bohra religious establishment.
'The Syedna spends vast sums of money to place advertisements for himself in the newspapers, and I would not be surprised if the Kothar pays some media persons hefty sums to keep off writing on the corruption of the Bohra religious establishment or to praise the Syedna,' he added.
She recounted the torments they have had to suffer over the years as a result, including being beaten up by Burhanuddin's men, being forcibly divorced from their spouses, banned from Bohra mosques and denied access to graveyards. She pointed out that the present Syedna had invented new titles for his sons and daughters, styling them as 'princes' (shehzada) and 'princesses' (shehzadi), which was a complete departure, she said, from precedent. He had, she added, appointed key members of his family as amils in towns with a sizable Bohra population, and many of them had amassed vast fortunes by levying a host of taxes on Bohras and through shady deals.
http://www.rediff.com/news/special/spec ... 110304.htm
As community leader, Saifuddin controls the mosques and religious institutions affiliated to the Dawoodi Bohras.
Saifuddin’s sermons have been disturbing, said a Mumbai-based Bohra woman in her mid-30s, who wished to remain anonymous because she did not want to be seen speaking publicly against her community’s leader.
“If he had his way, he would want us to just stay at home and tend to our families, and nothing else,” she said. “And this is causing a real division within the community. Disagreeing with the Dai on such fundamental matters is regarded as some sort of betrayal.”
India’s Dawoodi Bohras had to change with the times, she said. “Otherwise we’ll be stuck in the same regressive customs while the rest of the country moves ahead.”
Videos of Saifuddin’s sermons, in which he reportedly urged men to throw women out of the house if they did not wear the hijab, have recently been taken down from YouTube.
http://www.thenational.ae/world/south-a ... bohra-sect
Mr. Qutbuddin said in December 1965, Burhanuddin had performed in secret the official ceremony called ‘nass’, for conferring the position of ‘Dai’ (spiritual head) on him. He later learnt from his uncle that the reason for this confidentiality was the Syedna’s apprehension of violence in the community.
“When asked why the ‘nass’ had not been made public, the Syedna told my uncle that if he had done so, swords would have clashed,” Mr. Qutbuddin said in his deposition.
He told the court that the Syedna appointed him ‘mazoon’ — second in command to the ‘Dai’ — and said that he was “much more” than a ‘mazoon’. “The Syedna said I was a beloved son. This carried the meaning that I was his successor,” Mr. Qutbuddin told the court.
‘Attempts on life’
While a section of Bohras have already accepted Burhanuddin’s second son Syedi Mufaddal Saifuddin as the new Syedna, the community is divided over the successor. Mr. Qutbuddin who has filed a suit in the High Court alleged that Syedna Saifuddin, under the influence of his father-in-law Yusuf Bhaisaheb, hatched schemes to malign him.
He said there were two attempts on his life in one each in Indore and Yemen, but refused to disclose the source of his information.
http://www.thenational.ae/world/south-a ... bohra-sect
http://dawoodi-bohras.com/news/83/97/Sa ... e_comment/
Courtesy: Mid-Day, Monday March 6, 2000●January 11, 2008
At the KC College public meeting (last month), they came with black masks. On Saturday (March 4, 2000), at the Kalina campus, though their faces were uncovered, they refused to give their full names. Yet, it is their steadfastness that keeps the Bohra Reformist movement alive.
"If our wives weren't reformists, we wouldn't be able to fight," said those attending the seminar on Bohra reform organised by the Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community.
The reason for this is two-fold: Reformist Bohras face social boycott that divides families, and is more difficult for women to bear; second, women are devout. That's also why, say reformists, when women find that the person they worship almost like God has feet of clay, their rebellion is permanent.
Shahnaaz married into a Reformist family, but faced no official boycott until her daughter's marriage. Her Bohra neighbours realised she was one of "those" when the wedding card didn't carry the slogan `Abde-Syedna', meaning `slave of Syedna', nor did it prescirbe the dress code for invitees.
Since then, the boycott has been complete. Fortunately, her daughters stood by their parents. The eldest refused all offers from orthodox Bohra families, unwilling to obsereve the restrictions they were subject to. The younger, still in shcool, remains unfazed by her friends' sudden cooling off, and is amused by the way her classmates kiss the Syedna's picture before starting an exam.
One woman joined the Reformists when her husband died. "Are you willing to support me," She asked the Syedna's Amils or priests, "a widow with two kids," when they objected to her moving in with her Reformist sister.
While her children became Reformists, her sister's son went back to the Syedna because he wanted to contest elections. Having failed to convince his mother to join him, he now speaks to her only on the phone.
That even second generation Reformists are not immune to the pain of social boycott became clear while talking to a woman from Malegaon. There are about 20 Reformist families there, and 40 orthodox. "They are growing, but we've remained where we were," she rued.
Orthodox Bohras from outside sometimes marry their daughters into Malegaon's Reformist families, for lack of an educated match in their circle. Those daughters are promptly ex-communicated. Longing to re-establish live contact with their families, they get a chance to do so only when it's time for their daughters to marry. They send their girls back into the orthodox circle they grew up in, only to find it to be of no use: they themselves continue to remain ex-communicated. "we meet clandestinely, wearing black burkhas, or in common friends' homes," she said sadly.
Moiz Mediwala meets his brothers in hotels when he happens to be in their city. The only one in his family to revolt against the "exploitation" by the priesthood, Mediwala and his parents were forced to live in separate wings of their ancestral home in Jamnagar. When Mediwala did not stop writing against the priesthood, he was assaulted, twice almost fatally, and even implicated. The magistrate acquitting him advised him to file a defamation case, but Mediwala preferred to accept a job transfer to Udaipur and turn his back forever on his hometown, not going there even when his parents died.
"The Amils told my family to call me, but I knew they would insist on my begging forgiveness before allowing my parents to be buried in the Bohra cemetery."
More heartbreaks were in store: his wife left with their two little daughters when the Amils' pressure on her father became unbearable, and was forced to divorce him.
The man who has pursued the Syedna with defamation suits and other litigation over the last 22 years is Rasulbhai Engineer of Lathi, Saurashtra, who managed to get legal permission to pray in the local Bohra mosque.
"I had two ambitions in life: to see my daughter happily married, and to see the Syedna in jail," says this frail 87-years-old, who was once given an Assembly ticket by Morarji Desai. The first has been accomplished; he's still running around for the second. He's set his hopes on a forthcoming case in which, he says, the Syedna will not be able to avoid appearing in court "and standing in the dock like any accused."
Rasulbhai claims to have spurned six offers of money from the priesthood to withdraw his cases. He has set just one condition: lift the social boycott on the Reformists.
But there have been Reformists who've left the fold. The biggest such exodus was in '98 in Udaipur, where about 200 of the 400-odd Reformists there, belonging to two leading Reformist families, crossed over when the Syedna visited this Reformist bastion after 25 years.
"To expand their business, they deceived the community they had led," says Fakhruddin Habib, a third-generation Reformist trader from Udaipur's Bohriwadi.
What of the allegation made by the Syedna's followers that the Udaipur Reformists attack the Syedna's followers, and levy the same taxes as the Syedna does? "If someone comes at me, am I supposed to sit quiet?" asks Habib angrily. Mediwala points out that ..... (words missing) unafraid of fighting, unlike the Gujarati Bohras, who were Brahmins.
"Yes, we pay the same taxes, but while I pay Rs 300 annually in Udaipur, I would have to pay Rs 3,000 if I was one of the orthodox, apart from the chillar I would have to keep shelling out throughout the year. Orthodox Bohras have no idea where their money goes. But in Udaipur, we know the money is being used to run our mosques, library, banks, school, medical centre and free blood bank," says Mediwala proudly.
http://dawoodi-bohras.com/news/69/97/Fi ... e_comment/
http://www.anindianmuslim.com/2007/09/b ... clash.html
http://dawoodi-bohras.com/news/58/97/Ca ... e_comment/
http://dawoodi-bohras.com/news/59/97/Ca ... e_comment/