Some people believe that if you repeat a lie enough times it becomes the truth. Making the rounds on the internet these days is a “suddenly discovered” interview of Maulana Azad which he allegedly gave to Agha Shorish Kashmiri of Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam in April 1946.
Well I hate to break it to all of you – Agha Shorish Kashmiri was a fraud and the interview itself was most probably cobbled together through excerpts from Azad’s book “India Wins Freedom” and his famous address to the Muslims left behind in India in Jamia Masjid- both easily available texts. Before I come to the actual nature of the forgery, let us re-cap for a second what this creature Majlis-e-Ahrar was and just how deep its motivation ran in discrediting Pakistan and the leadership of Mr. Jinnah who Majlis-e-Ahrar considered an outright Kafir. Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, a group of Islamic fanatics closely allied to the Congress party, was one of the most rabid anti-Pakistan movements around.
Their leaders Maulana Mazhar Ali Azhar and Maulana Ataullah Shah Bukhari were foul mouthed bigots who resorted to choicest abuses from the pulpit against the Muslim League and Mr. Jinnah. The elections of 1946 resulted in their complete rout and after Pakistan was created, this group was in the forefront of the conspiracies against the state. Agha Shorish Kashmiri was one such Ahrari remnant who was in the forefront of anti-Ahmaddiya rioting in Pakistan and whose hatred for Pakistan was boundless. The internal struggle in Islam has always pitted liberal Muslim leadership against the clergy especially in the subcontinent. The difference in the closing days of the Raj was that through a freak chance, liberal and secular Muslim leadership in form of Jinnah was isolated from the Hindu leadership i.e. Gandhi and Nehru led Congress which in turn used the fanatical Muslims making common cause with them against British raj.
Maulana Azad was the blue-eyed boy of the Ulema who opposed the Muslim League. Azad was a religious scholar of renown, a salafi who followed Ibn-e-Taimiyya. He commanded respect amongst the Ahraris and he was admired by the nationalists. That Azad was a smart politician is evidenced from his support for the Cabinet Mission Plan, where he alone in the Congress was ready to work it to its logical conclusion. He was also an intelligent man who did predict the separation of Pakistan’s Eastern Wing in his book “India Wins Freedom” as dictated to Humayun Kabir in 1957. He did not however make the predictions that are being attributed to him in the so called interview.
Now let us see the obvious gaping holes in this so called interview:
1. First of all the interview finds no mention in any of the official works on Azad. It is only found in Agha Shorish Kashmiri’s book on Abul Kalam Azad which was financed and published by Kashmiri himself.