The biography, ‘Wings of Destiny: Ziaur Rahman Ansari – A Life’ published by Highbrow Scribes Publications, provides an excellent account of life Journey of Ziaur Rahman, the Son of Freedom Fighter Habibur Rahman, who also participated in Quit India Movement at the young age of 16.
It is an interesting description of life of Ziaur Rahman Ansari. He had financially tough days during his childhood but religious and literary bent of mind helped him scale it through. His Father’s frugal life impacted him deeply that as an advocate he too never charged any fee from his clients.
The book goes on to enumerate his political journey in a very interesting and integrating manner, starting from the UP assembly elections, then being picked up by Indira Gandhi herself as Lok Sabha candidate from Unnao, and further his induction as Deputy Minister in the Council of Ministers in July 1973.
The book also unravels certain different aspects of Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in June 1975, perhaps, the only account enumerating the positives and the benefits of Emergency like increase in revenue generation and fall in prices. Equally interesting is the input how Ziaur Rahman was able to strike a rapport with Sanjay Gandhi despite contrary views during the period of emergency. The narrative on his opting for an official residence, which was not accepted by anyone else on superstitious reasons, indicated his enlarged mind-set.
The books also deals well on Secularist and Nationalist neutral view of Ziaur Rahman as he rightly states that in a Secular State, everyone has the right to profess his or her religion but the State itself has no religion. His repeated triumph from Unnao constituency with an overwhelming non-Muslim population itself was an endorsement of his secular outlook. It also reflects Ziaur Rahman’s exemplifying qualities of a thinker and natural orator- Well- read and at ease with multiple languages. But his last days were traumatic and were marred by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, an incurable neurological disorder. His agony and anguish was heightened with the complete loss of his speech. In one of the Urdu couplet, he expressed the painful loss of losing his speech and coming to terms with new reality of life:
Naz Tha Taqatye Guftar Pe Jis Insan Ko Aaj Tum Uski Zuban Bandi Ka Manzar Dekho
Khurshid Anwar Arfi, a senior journalist and writer quotes, “He will be remembered as one of the greatest Indian of the post-independence era who loved and died to uphold the secular credentials of the country.”
As one dwells with the Book at depth, one realises that Ziaur Rahman had a broad vision and believed in utilitarian approach towards socio-economic development rather than benefits for few individuals or a section of the society.
Most importantly, Ziaur Rahman’s take on Private Member Bill related to judgement on the Shah Bano case has been elucidated regarding which he remained in limelight in 1985. Fasihur Rahman felt it mandatory to provide a factual account of contribution of his father towards the public life which has, at several places, been misquoted or misinterpreted based on the perception of varied genres of society.
Along with his turbulent political journey, the insights on his unwavering passion for fine arts, literature, poetry and music have been given. The three decades as President of All India Momin Conference guides the readers through evolution, historical significance, mandate and contribution of the conference in social upliftment of Muslim artisans.
Overall, an excellent read!
About the Author
A trained Environmental Scientist, Fasihur Rahman has served in both public and private sector. Between 2015 and 2017, he has taken up several assignments as Visiting Scientist at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Canada. He has written, among others, for Indian Newspapers (The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Pioneer, The Statesman); Canadian (Toronto Star, The Telegram, The Independent); United Arab Emirates (Khaleej Times); and UK (The Sunday Times).
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