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Monday, May 25, 2020

My Nānihāl … 3

As I had written earlier (and am repeating it again in this post) Nana Jan' and Nani Jan's children were: Shamim (died young) -  Vasim, Married to Asad Ali Qidwai (No children) - Kishwar. Married to Azhar Kidvai (they had Kehkeshan died as an infant, and Me) - Syed Arif. Married to Safiya. (No children) - Syed Asaf.  Married to Sarwar (Amir, Khalid, Nuzhat, Tariq, Belal, Shariq).


Abi, Ammi Jan (my Khāla), Me, Abbu Jan (my Khālü), Ummi
My parents and my khāla/khālu have been mentioned several times in this blog as well as in my other blogposts in Koee Mayray Dil Say Poochay so you can look at those posts there.

Arif & Safiya (Mamooñ Sahab & Mammi Jan)
Sarwar & Asaf (Jan Mammi & Mamooñ Jan)

Mamooñ Sahab was my favourite Mamooñ probably because I had always seen him even after coming to Pakistan when he'd visit us or I would, occasionally, go to his house after school. He was a classmate of Syed Mohammad Jafri and Shaukat Thanvi and often came to our house with Jafri Sahab whose poems I always loved.

Mamooñ Jan lived in India so I was not in touch until he finally shifted to Pakistan a year after Mamooñ Sahab died (19th March 1955). That was the day when Aqeel (Kirmani) Bhai (son of Shahabuddin Kirmani) was to get married … but the wedding had to be postponed. My father took Mamooñ Sahab to the military hospital and was asked (strangely) to sign the death certificate as a Doctor because the doctors there refused to sign it. This has been a source of worry to me, always.

Mamooñ Jan came here after his elder brother died and Ammi Jan (mainly) insisted that he come here. So he arrived here in 1956 and lived here. Mammi Jan always remembered India and they all used to travel to Delhi where her family was … until perhaps it was no longer possible.

Amir, Khalid, Belal, Tariq, Shariq, Nuzhat
Amir married Nuzhat (aka Nukki and was always called that because Amir's sister - my wife - had the same name). His children are Ali bin Amir and Ayesha binté Amir.

Khalid married his cousin, Sajeda, She left for India fairly soon after Khalid's death. No children.


Our Wedding
Nuzhat and I got married on May 8th 1970 … and had a really quiet 50th Wedding Anniversary this year, thanks to COVID-19 :) Maybe we'll have a party some day if this problem ever goes away.

Shariq, Mufti Sahab (Me!), Tariq, Belal, Amir, Khalid
Nuzhat, Mamooñ Jan, Jan Mammi, Ali bin Amir, Nuzhat Amir, Sajeda Khalid
Here is our whole group. Because I had long hair, Ghulam Farid Sabri - the elder brother of our wonderful Qavvāls, the Sabri Brothers group - always called me Sufi Sahab.

Khalid who died early - Missed by all of us!
Khalid died on December 10th, 1977

He was in and out of the hospital several times with a constant pain in his head. His Brain Biopsy (the piece had to be sent to UK to test) had said he had a Tumor that was not touching his Brain. There was no reason to worry. Medication would put him right.

Dr. Juma, a brilliant Brain Surgeon, was his Doctor, initially. He had soon left JPMC and was replaced by Dr Bhatti, who didn't agree to the Brain Biopsy result and decided that he was going to operate.

Dr Juma came back and visited his old patients. I was there and Khalid spoke to him. Dr. Juma said to me that there was no need for an operation at all and he would talk to Dr. Bhatti.

Two days later, while I was bathing at Mamooñ Jan's home, Shariq came and said Khalid was very ill and we should get there. The rest of the family was already there. Nuzhat and I left with Shariq.

I jumped over the wall at JPMC and entered his room. I was told that his feet were turning blue. I looked around. There was Dr. Bhatti, a couple of nurses, and two assistants there. I noticed that the breathing tube that was going into Khalid's mouth had a doctor's foot covering it. I shouted and said this ... but no one listened. I was then told a few minutes later that Khalid had passed away.

The next morning Dr. Juma phoned up and said that Khalid had been killed but we should not go to court as they will go through this several times and Khalid's parents will have to listen to all this and cry all the time. We'd never win the case because people will say parents always worry. There will be nurses, assistants, and Dr. Bhatii who will be there to deny that all this ever happened. 

We never said this to his parents, because it would hurt them a lot more. Throughout their lives they lived thinking how terrible it was to lose a son.



Tariq is married to Zarafshan. His children are Summaiya and Onaisa.

Belal is married to his cousin, Nusrat. No children.

Shariq was married and is now divorced. His son is Rayan.


Newborn Ragni
Ragni Marea Kidvai now lives in Brooklyn and has a child who is just over 6 months old. We were there when he was born. Now we get to see him only on the screen. He is named Meka Elijah and his nickname is Beanz (because of Ragni's great love for Sabeen Mahmud who had that nickname).

Meka Elijah Beanz on his First Eed


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Sunday, May 10, 2020

My Nānihāl … 2



Syed Iftikhar Husain was my Nana Jan. His father was Afzal Ali who traced his roots back to Hazrat Ali's son, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyah. He was the third son of Hazrat Ali', and was born to his 6th wife, Khaula Binté Ja'fariya, who was the daughter of Jafar Hanafiyah. 

Muhammad's surname was taken from his mother's family of Banu Hanifa. When I was helping edit Ziauddin Kirmani's book on the Prophet ('The Last Messenger with a Lasting Message') he mentioned that a group among some Muslims did not like Muhammad at all. This is because he was sent by Hazrat Husain to Khalifa Yazeed after hearing that Yazeed was very immoral and extremely nepotistic. He came back and told Hazrat Husain that while Yazeed was nepotistic, he was not - otherwise - an immoral person. In addition, when Hazrat Husain wanted to go to Karbala, Muhammad advised him to not go. But Hazrat Husain did go and was killed at the Battle of Karbala.

While all the sets of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyah's children write Syed before their name, considering that Hazrat Ali's children should all be Syeds, many people agree that word 'Syed' was only applied to Hazrat Ali's children from Bibi Fatima, since she was also the daughter of the Prophet. This, certainly, is also a controversial notion: Hazrat Usman (written in Arabicized English as Uthman) was married to two of the Prophet's daughters. His children most generally don't write Syed.

(I have really no idea what all this means because the Arabic News when Gandhi died mentioned him as Syed Gandhi and also mentioned Nehru Ji as Syed Nehru when he met their King.)



Afzal Ali had three sons (Ba∂ay Abba, Altaf Ali, Iftikhar Husain) and three daughters. The daughter's names are not mentioned in the shajrah that I have. They were called dukhtar here (and bibi in their husband's shajrah). Not much use: All names must be written, if you decide to write your shajrah on the net or on paper!



Ba∂ay Abba … that's what Ummi and Māmooñ Jan called him! I couldn't remember his name. I now know from an old shajrah that he was Riaz Husain Alvi and was born on 5th April 1848.

He was a really strange person and stayed separately in an outhouse that he preferred. He was also a bit of an Afeemchi (=Opium taker). Apparently he gave up before his later life, well before he was married. He did travel for Hajj with one of his maternal aunts but came back to his outhouse.

Ba∂ay Abba did go out often for a walk … and fell in love with a Mughal neighbour's daughter (who didn't know about this, of course). He would walk past her house where she used to swing in the garden.

One evening - imagine this is just over 150 years ago!!! - he was walking past her house and 'grabbed' the Mughlani from her swing and took her to his outhouse. Her servant informed her father who came to Nana Jan and was terribly upset and angry.

Nana Jan said that he is my eldest brother and while I apologise to you here, there is very little I can do. Nana Jan finally put his cap on the father's foot (an old tradition of respect and pleading) and said if you agree I will ask him to marry her right away. This was agreed upon.

Nana Jan went to his elder brother's outhouse and said that he has to marry the girl right away. I am sure Ba∂ay Abba must have been thrilled and agreed … so they were married. Wow!

Ba∂ay Abba had a son by this wife who was named Agha (to make sure that her Mughal relationship was confirmed somehow in the shajrah). His first wife gave birth to Moonis, Mateen, Musharraf. He also married again - after his first wife's death - within his own biradari, and had three children from his second wife: Murtaz, Murshid-un-nisa, Mursil-un-nisa.


Altaf Ali (another Deputy Collector!) was very disturbed at his father's death. He lived peacefully until his own death. He was a wonderful person and a blogpost about him will be put up soon.



Nana Jan had three older sisters. 


The eldest sister, Ummé Mumtaz, had a son, Qazi Iftikhar Ahmed, who was married to Wasi-un-Nisa. Among her children are Shakeela, Jalees, and Saghira. They will be mentioned in this series on another blogpost.


The second sister, Umme Ahmad Ali Alvi, was married in to a rich family who settled in a large gāuñ where a train stopped. She had two sons: Mumtaz Ahmad (Kallan) and Iftikhar Ahmad (Chuttan).

The story that we heard was that her sons would go to the station when a train came in. They would see if there was someone whose family or friends hadn't arrived to receive them. If there were people like that, they'd be brought to their home for dinner. Later they would trace their families/friends and leave them there.

The family was extremely strong Muslims. After the cooks had prepared their meal they'd serve it and then join them and eat with them.

When her husband died there was a battle over property. Finally the sons agreed to divide it 'in half' , and, as a result, almost everything was halved 'properly'. If for example there was a teapot, it had to be cut in half and divided. To me this sounds like a legend but some members of my family believed this to be true. This part of the story was always told to the children so that they understood how not to behave :)


The third sister, Umme Shafique, also Nana Jan's favourite sister, was married to Maqbool Hasan Alavi. Children: Nisar-un-Nisa, Inam-un-Nisa, Shafique Hasan.
— Nisar Fatima was married to Shahid Husain Kidwai, a close friend of Nana Jan. Children: Zakia, Razia, Reshad, Attiya, Fuad.
— Inam Fatima was married to Sheikh M Habibullah, another close friend of Nana Jan. Children Ali Bahadur, Inayat (once written as Enaith), Isha'at, Tazeen.
— Shafiq-ul-Hasan was married to Asrar-un-Nisa (aka Saira). Children: Qamar, Shams, Suraiya, Najma (aka Safia)

This sister's children will be on another blogpost.


Nana Jan's children were: Shamim (died young); Vasim. Married to Asad Ali Qidwai (No children); Kishwar. Married to Azhar Kidvai (they had Kehkeshan, a daughter who died in infancy; Me); Arif. Married to Safiya. (No children); Asaf. Married to Sarwar (Amir, Khalid, Nuzhat, Tariq, Belal, Shariq).


My next blogposts will focus on my immediate family
followed by my cousins and their children.


Aisha Amir Ahmed
Farhan Hafeez Kermani
 Muneeza Shamsi
Shama Habibullah
Tanveer Fatima,
Iram Ansari
Tauqeer Kirmani
Sami Ansari
Roohi Abbasi

Thank you all for your help.



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Wednesday, May 06, 2020

My Nānihāl … 1



Syed Iftikhar Husain
(s/o Afzal Ali)
was my Nana (= Maternal Grandfather)

Born: Allahabad 10 January 1868
He was also called Junaid Ahmad (his Aqiqah name) 
Died: Lucknow 24 April 1932 
Buried at Shah Karamat Ali's Dargah in Kakori

From Ummi (My mother: Sohail Fatima Iftikhar aka Kishwar Jehan) all I learnt about Nana Jan was that he was very particular about food and spoke very little. 

From my khaala (Vasim Fatima) I heard only that Nana Jan was very affectionate.

I know very little about him. What I have heard about him come mainly from my Mamooñ Jan (and father-in-law) … Syed Asaf Husain, and three of his children who must've heard many stories from him. MJ was a tremendous story teller with a brilliant memory … and he loved his father. He always said that Nana Jan was brilliant and very honest.

Nana Jan learnt Law but was never a practicing Lawyer. He was in the Indian Civil Service. However, he refused to obey the orders of his Commissioner in Lucknow (which said he was to convict all the people brought to him during the Khilafat Movement). He was then transferred to the Judicial Services. He became a Registrar of the Lucknow High Court. Later on he became a Judge of the Rajestan High Court.

A story that MJ told us all (and was also something that Ummi had said to me) was that Nana Jan was a FreeMason once, but had left the organisation and was no longer one.

My elder mamooñ, Mamooñ Sahab (Syed Arif Husain) was a person that I loved immensely. I used to spend time with him often when I left school. One day I asked him, "FreeMasons can't really leave, can they?" … and he laughed and said "Asaf says this because that's what our father may have said to calm him. Of course they can't leave." Sadly, MS died on 19th March 1955 of a heart attack.

Nana Jan and Nani Jan had an eldest daughter, Shamim, who died very young (14th June 1912). Akbar Allahabadi, a friend of Nana Jan, wrote her Tarikhé Vafāt:

شمیم خلد شدہ گفتِ فضلِ رحمانی

A newborn daughter, Tasneem Fatima, died in infancy.


Nana Jan died much before I was born … and I am older than my cousins. So none of us have any real memories of him except through our parents. (While I refer to him as Nana Jan in this post, in real life I called my wife Nuzhat's nana Nana Jan).


Nani Jan (Haseen Fatima) died when I was less than 3 years old but I remember her extremely well. I used to tell her stories that I insisted were real but they were really children's fantasies with family characters thrown in as birds.

Her death scene I remember so well about who was at her bedside: Abi (my father) reading a verse from the Quran; my aunt weeping. There were many people around at the time that she died.

One day, when I was around 11, I drew a map of who was sitting where. Ziauddin Kirmani (Māmooñ Abbu is what I called him) was visiting us and he had been there at Nani Jan's funeral. He was astonished to see how I could remember almost everyone and where they sat outside.

I was sent to Abi's cousin's house and when I got back they had buried her. I went into the bedroom and saw an empty bed. I asked and was told that Angels had taken her away to cure her. For a full year I thought all deaths meant that Angels had taken the person away.

Nani Jan passed away on 29th August 1943 and is buried at Takia Sharif next to her father, Muzaffar Husain Sahab, who was a Deputy Collector.

(My wife and I have always wondered why 
there were so many Deputy Collectors those days.)


Nani Jan had an elder brother, Mustafa Husain, who was the first Bar-at-Law from Kakori. She had a younger brother but I can't find his name so far. If I do, I will post it here.

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