The demured memories
At Bhopal, he was called with the name of “Khan Baba”. He was living there in a large house in front of Masjid-e-Pindaran. In the small lawn of the house there were five to six rooms all around along with a veranda in front of it. All the time, there was a mobish scenery.
Whenever, my mother sent me to the house of my maternal grandfather which was some one or two miles away from our house, I always found him sitting on the depot of cement on either side of Masjid-e-Pindaran’s main gate. Whenever, he would sighted me from away, he would call me, “What are you doing kitten? Come here.” But I have forgotten that ever I went near to him.
My maternal grandfather was ‘Khilji’ by family. He married four wives. His eldest wife died at Ghazni before visiting Bhopal. My mother used to tell me that one of my sisters was in Ghazni. Her name was Bataki. My maternal grandmother Bushra Begum was his second wife. His third wife belonged to a family of Bannu in Bhopal. She had two sons, Sultan Alam Khan, Aftab Alam Khan and two daughters Sahiba and Shazadgai.
His fourth wife was too from Bhopal. Her son was Abdul Aziz Khan and daughter was Zulekha. Abdul Aziz Khan died at the age of 94 in February 2019 at Bhopal. He also remained the chief of Jumaat-e-Islami Bhopal. My grandmother, Bushra Begum, belonged to a religious family of Bhopal. Her father was a pesh-e-imam at a mosque. She had studied religious books and had learnt many paras of the Holy Quran by heart. She used to recite the Holy Quran in a very sweet voice and taught it to the children of the neighbourhood.
My uncles used to write ‘Khilji’ with their names with great pride. Sultan Alam Khan had migrated to Karachi and had opened a private school there and then came to Baghdada after one or two years. My mother and my younger brother Muhammad Haroon had gone to his house at Malir. 15 years ago he had passed away. Aftab Alam Khan had interest to work in the theatre. He went to Bombay without the permission of his father in his young age. Sultan uncle used to tell me that in India he played minor roles in two or three movies. In one Indian movie, “Anand” I have seen him hosting a ceremony. In that movie, Amitab Bachan had also performed. He was a tall and handsome man, fell down from the balcony of a hotel in Bombay and died.
It was the time when the people of every race and colour used to live with each other passionately in Bhopal. The ruling class of Bhopal treated its masses alike whether they were Hindus or Muslims. That was the reason that there was an exemplary environment of peace and cerenity. No sect had any annoyance against the other and professionally they were busy in their respective activities. The people of every religion followed the principle of “mutual survival”. In the service station of my father, the senior mechanic and all other workers were Hindus but my father never treated them in such a way that they ever felt annoyed.
This writing is the Part II of the English version of Dr Humayun Huma’s autobiography, ‘Da jwandoon dagha qisa da’. Nasir Wazir, a lecturer in English at the Govt Post Graduate College, Kohat has translated the autobiography from Pashto into English and now it can be read in parts in Sunrise Today.