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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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Blogger Fhk said...

Interesting like always

06 May, 2020 16:57


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