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'Let's pray Maulana Azad's dream of united India becomes a reality'
Says veteran British-Asian journalist Yavar Abbas as Tom Alter stages 'Maulana Azad' in front of a huge crowd in Malegaon
Sunday January 5, 2014 3:10 PM, Staff Reporter

Veteran British-Asian filmmaker, writer, broadcaster and journalist Yavar Abbas on Saturday said the partition of pre-independent India proved disastrous for the sub-continent and urged a huge crowd gathered for Tom Alter's popular play 'Maulana Azad' to pray and work for the united India as envisioned by the great Indian leader.

Yavar Abbas

[Photo Caption: Veteran British-Asian filmmaker, writer, broadcaster and journalist Yavar Abbas delivering keynote speech in Malegaon ater Tom Alter's play 'Maulana Azad' in Malegaon on January 04, 2014. Also seen are Saeed Alam, Shamsuddin Agha, Akhtar Rangoonwala and others. ( photo)]

"Almost all the concerns raised by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad about partition have been proved right. The country in general, and the Muslim League and the Congress in particular didn't pay heed to his worries. But, the prevailing situation in the sub-continent clearly shows that the Maulana was right and those who accepted the partition were at fault", 93-year old Yavar Abbas, who had worked for the BBC's Urdu service for more than 70 years, said after the special show of Tom Alter's famous play 'Maulana Azad' in Malegaon.

'Maulana Azad', the two-and-half hour play is a solo scripted and directed by Saeed Alam. The play was staged in Malegaon as part of the All India Urdu Book Fair organised by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) under the HRD MInistry.

Appreciating Tom Alter's performance, an emotional Yavar Abbas broke down and could just say he didn't find suitable words to describe his feelings.

The play revolves around Maulana Azad's conversation with Humayun Kabir who was the editor of his biography 'India Wins Freedom'. Maulana Azad dictated his biography to him in Urdu, which Kabir translated in English.

A pin-drop silence with occasional applauds prevailed as Tom Alter performed for about two-and-half hours as Maulana Azad. After the curtains fell down and lights turned off, a standing ovation greeted the veteran bollywood actor for his class performance.

"For me, India's independence has no meaning if it is at the cost of partition. Its ok if India is not granted independence for few more years", Tom Alter reproduced Maulana Azad's now famous view on the partition amid applauds.

Tom Alter as Mualana Azad

The play brings the entire political life of the Maulana before and after the independence with the help of various books of and on the Maulana to fore including his views about the Congress stand on partition, Nehru's affection for Lord Mountbatten's wife, Sardar Patel's role during 1947 Delhi riots, his visit to Mohd Ali Jinnah's mausoleum and the treatment meted to him by the Pakistan government, Maulana's days in Ahmednagar prison and his 'occasional' directions to Humayon Kabir to refrain from printing some pages of the book for thirty years.

Tom Alter was especially at his best to depict the Maulana's gestures when he was informed of his wife's death in Ahmednagar prison. Also class was his performance when he described the Maulana's views on Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Mahatama Gandhi.

"Tom Alter has brought to life the Maulana we find in books and memories", Salim Qayyum, a local businessman said after the show.

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