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Reformists plan to visit 40 cities
Breaking new ground with Ziyarat tour
A tour of 40 cities Ziyarat by reformists Bohras is jointly organized by Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community (CBDBC), Bombay, Bohra Youth Association (BYA), Udaipur and Fuli Bai and Zehra Cyclewala Charitable Trust, Surat. The Tour includes Ziyarat at Surat, Ahmadabad, Khambat, Jamnagar, Godhara, Sidhpur, Patan, Jawra, Ahmadnagar, Morbi, Rampura, Ujjain, Burhanpur, Aurangabad and Mumbai. On 23rd May 2014 morning Bhai Tayyebi Zamindar, senior reformist and staunch Gandhiwadi from Ahemdabad and I, Saifuddin Insaf, General Secretary of CBDBC, reached Surat in the morning.
Later along with Zehra Ben Cyclewala, I went to Dawoodi Bohra musaferkhana to book the rooms for expected reformist Dawoodi Bohras. The watchman of musaferkhana first insisted on Bohra cap and rida. I asked him when Narendra Modi went to Arabic university did you ask him to wear a Bohra cap? When we met the manager in his office, first he insisted on e-Jamat card and we asked him the same question, then he said that rooms were not available due to seasonal rush but promised us to allot few room by evening.
At 4 p.m. Zehra Ben, Tayebi Zamindar and I addressed a very well-attended Press Conference at Kwality Restaurant near Rang Upwan, Surat.
The Press Release stated that, "It is a big achievement that through their constant struggle and sufferings since last 40 years the reformist Dawoodi Bohras have succeeded in putting an end to the militancy, violence and brutalities of Kothar-instigated Bohras. As per the 900 years tradition and tenets of the community everyone who was born as Dawoodi Bohra has his/her birth-right to make use of the community’s properties like masjids, mazars, jamatkhanas, musafirkhanas, qabrastan etc. without any undue restriction. The reformist Bohras are Dawoodi Bohras by birth and they are fighting to liberate their fellow religionists from the clutches of a tyrant religious establishment. Awareness has come in the community and this Ziyarat Tour is undertaken to demonstrate that it is now time for Dawoodi Bohras to assert their rights and live with dignity.”
I said in my address to the print and electronic media present, that various splits have taken place in Islam on the issue of succession. But the present dispute between the brother and son of late Sayedna Burhanuddin Saheb has arisen because since last 100 years the succession has been monopolized within one princely family and huge unaccounted wealth has been accumulated at the center through extortion and exploitation. Thus the current dispute is not a dispute over succession but a bloody battle for the control of this wealth. It is certainly not for the religious post of a Dai.
Tayyebi Zamindar emphasized on the role and support of the media in the success story of the Bohra reformists while Zehra Cyclewala praised the support of the media, police, judiciary and non-Bohra supporters in her long drawn struggle against the Bohra religious establishment which she fought for more than 28 years single-handedly.
The news of this press conference was reported by almost all daily newspaper and TV channels continuously for two days. This generated a lot of interest in Bohras of Surat particularly and of Gujarat in general. Zehra Cyclewala’s phones started ringing till midnight congratulating and wishing her success.
On 24th May 2014 the reformist Dawoodi Bohras from Udaipur, Rajkot and Mumbai arrived in Surat and at 10 a.m. a meeting of reformists was held where it was decided that the Ziyarat tour will first cover the important mazars in Gujarat and Saurashtra, then in Madhya Pradesh and finally in Maharashtra ending the tour in Mumbai after Ziyarat of Sir Adamji Peerbhoy.
On the same day at 5 p.m. a group of 42 reformist Dawoodi Bohra zaereen started moving towards Qubba Sharif at Zanpa Bazaar, Surat for Ziyarat of seven revered Dais buried in line in one Qubba along with their family members. All Fatemi Imams and Dais prior to last two Dais are laid to rest in qabrastans both in Yemen and India, as these Imam and Dais loved their followers and considered themselves one among them.
More than 400 Muslim men and women joined the reformists in their walk. The area of Zanpa Bazar is dominated by Dawoodi Bohras so hundreds of them peacefully, anxiously stood on both sides of roads watching the determination of their liberators. All along I was inviting them to join and perform Ziyarat without restriction of dress-code and jamat-cards. They kept on saying “Mubarak Thai” with raised hands. There was no hatred, no resentment from any corner. Of cours, there was heavy police deployment all along the route.
The crowd came inside the compound through the main gate along with reformist Bohras. They were nervously welcomed by the Surat Jamat members and other big shots. Buniyat women and Shabab musclemen in big numbers were gathered there, but they remained silent observers.
One of the Jamat members requested the reformist men to wear cap before entering Qubba. When questioned who has given this instruction; as so far Mufaddal Saifuddin is not a Dai, as dispute is yet not resolved. Mufaddal Bhaisaheb can embrace half-naked Ramdev Baba but you would not allow a Dawoodi Bohra without a cap, why? He had no answer. He then politely said, “I request you to tie a handkerchief, please.”
When reformists were inside Qubba doing Ziyarat a press person wanted to take photographs but he was stopped saying that it is a disrespect to take photographs here. Outside at the entrance there was a photograph of Mufaddal kissing one grave. Referring to that I asked, "when Mufaddal saheb disrespected, why did you not kick him on his backside?” No reply. Then photographs were taken and no one dared to object.
When the reformist men and women came out after Ziyarat, I asked, "where is the grave of Sayedna Burhanuddin Saheb's mother, Husaina Aai Saheba? If the person whom she had given birth had never visited her, at least let us do her ziyarat." Her grave was there at the extreme border of Qubba compound and that too without shelter, under the hot sun. There was no cover over her lowly grave. The reformist Dawoodi Bohras did her ziyarat before leaving.
It was time for Zohar namaz so reformist men and women observed prayer along with orthodox in the masjid. When our group left while I was busy talking to some of the Bohras gathered there so I alone was left behind. Suddenly three heavy-weight Bohras came to me and said, “Come along, we will sit in the office and talk.” I looked in their eyes there was no mischief so went with them. The sign outside indicated it was Burhani Guards office. They made me comfortable, offered cold drink and then asked me tell us what is going on in Bombay with regard to court case?
I told them that “Mufaddal is a scoundrel, even if he wins by manipulation he will be a worst oppressor the community has ever met. If he loses it will be difficult to push him off and part with power and wealth, without bloodshed.”
On 25th May 2014 at 10 a.m. the reformist Bohras went to Nausari Bazar for Ziyarat of Mulla Vahid Bhaisaheb. The same day at 5 p.m. a cultural program was held at Sulymani Hall at Cinema road, Surat. The audience was entertained by songs performed by a live orchestra, poetry and jokes. In between Advocate Bhushan Ojha, a High Court lawyer was felicitated for his support and help to Zehra Cyclewala in court cases; Mrs. Jaya Ben Joshi, who had joined Zehra Cyclewala in PIL in Gujarat High Court to stop behind-door handover of two public roads to Dawat Property Trust; Mr. M. G. Kaneria, former Assistant Police Commissioner for his unbiased and straightforward role in burial of Zehra Cyclewala’s mother, Fulibai in 1991; and Zehra Ben Cyclewala was felicitated for her consistent brave fight for her rights, by CBDBC. Tyebi Zamindar and I were also felicitated.
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