BRITISH BROADCASTER YAVAR ABBAS BREAKS DOWN AS TOM ALTER BRINGS MAULANA AZAD TO LIFE
MALEGAON, Jan 6 — (Ummid.com) Veteran British Asian filmmaker, writer, broadcaster and journalist Yavar Abbas said that 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.
“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 several decades, 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 Human Resource Development 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.
There was complete silence with occasional applauds as Tom Alter performed for about two-and-half hours as Maulana Azad. After the curtains fell, 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 okay if India is not granted independence for few more years”, Tom Alter reproduced Maulana Azad’s now famous view on the Partition amid applause.
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 Mohammed 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 Humayun Kabir to refrain from printing some pages of the book for thirty years.
Tom Alter was especially at his best in depicting the Maulana’s gestures when he was informed of his wife’s death in Ahmednagar prison. Also memorable 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.