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In his book Shaakh-e-Nihal-e-Ghum, an autobiographical memoir, Ali Amjad Sahib takes those of his readers, familiar with the period, the places and the people, into their memory lanes. His simple and successful style of Urdu writing from, apparently, his admirable memory, to say the least, is fascinating.

Amjad Sahib was born in India when the country was under the British rule. The political mood was simmering with slow but steady movement towards the freedom of India from colonialism. Far away, Russian revolution, to add icing on the cake, fired up by Communism was showing a vision of utopian society. The influence of Communism travelled fast and far and percolated into the minds of many intellectual and progressive Indians.

His bringing up in and outside his family soon gravitated Amjad Sahib to Communism, as early as he reached his adulthood. He too was excited with the idea of changing his environment and, perhaps, transforming it into an egalitarian society. He became a committed Communist and put his activities through trade union centred in the industrial town of Jamshedpur. He was imprisoned a number of times for advocating and advancing his cause and creed.

While reading the book I expected Amjad Sahib to express his views on certain issues of paramount importance such as Hindu-Muslim relations as he went through that period of his life, as a political activist, when his country was divided. Furthermore, his accounts instead of arguments and his silence instead of his viewpoints on Communism that fashioned a major part of his active life in India leave the book with a gaping hole. Â

Long before his death Amjad Sahib appeared to have discovered his world too complex to comprehend and to change and thus he lost his way in the political wilderness resulting into despair and disappointment. He had to compromise and come to terms with the reality and routine of life and thus, at last, he persuaded himself to knit into his family ties in Karachi.

Perhaps, Amjad Sahib wrote the book to reach out to the extended members of his family, his wide circle of friends and his well wishers. The book records his life, which originated, as he himself reveals, from small and sleepy Chapra and finally, so far of course, branched out to smart and sprawling San Diego. Is it a triumph or a tragedy, he does not say?

Nothing could better describe than when Amjad Sahib ends his book in a couplet, with its first line: Hai kahan tammanna ka doosra qadam yarab (Where is now the next step of my aspiration, oh Lord) âEUR" as if, the tide has gone out of the winds.

M Nauman Khan, West Wimbledon, London.

Note: Shaakh-e-Nihal-e-Gham is published in Karachi and Patna with some differences. Patna edition has no family photo album. Jabir Husain Sahib who has published the book, through Urdu Markaz, Patna, at his request to Ali Amjad Sahib, got some narratives updated on Ali Ashraff Sahib and Zuhra Daudi, who also passed away and that bits of narrative are missing in Karachi edition. 
Amjad, Ali (I1)
2 After the death of his first wife of Mohammad Masud, within 20 dinon k andar hamary abbu Mohammad Masud ki doosri shadi unki choti saali Rabia se huwi. Khatoon, Rabia (I810)
3 Biography
Daudi, Zahra (I25)
4 He died at the age of 7 Alam, Akhtar (I808)
5 He died young, at the age of 36, when he fell from a horse. He is buried in the family graveyard in the neighborhood of Karimchak, Chapra, Bihar. Sattar, Abdus (I121)
6 He is also known as Shaikh Ma'azuddin the First. He probably was the first to settle in Mahndawa, Bihar in India. Family: Shaikh Fariduddin / (F57)
7 He passed away at the age of 2 years Sulman, Anas (I839)
8 He was an advocate/lawyer as a professional. Bari, Abdul (I414)
9 He was an Urdu Scholar who published a collection of 5 anthologies of Urdu poems and he converted to Sunnisim.
Hussain, Syed Yousuf (I1126)
10 He was born in Patna, and moved to Chapra, Bihar. He was practicing lawyer. His yearly income was Rs.80,000. As his practice flourished, he built a house on a 2 acre land and named it "Bungalow."

Quoted by Ali Osaid Jafri, in his book "Bayan Apna," pp 9-10 
Family: Maulvi Athar Hussain / Bibi Sharfun Nissa (F50)
11 URAINVI, Akhter Ahmad (I656)
12 Jab Doosri ammi ka inteqaal huwa to sb se baray betay ki oomer 4 saal thi. Lehza shaadi ki zaroorat mehsoos huwi aur teesri shaadi hamari ammi Uzma khatoon se huwi  Khatoon, Uzma (I417)
13 Lost touch with Ahmad Hussain Family: Syed Yousuf Hussain / NA (F775)
14 Married Name: Roquea Ghulam Mustufa Hussain. HUSSAIN, Roquea Wezarat (I616)
15 Masoom's Father Jaffery, Hussain (I258)
16 Maulana Mohamad Shafi, was born in Daud Nagar, a village near Muzaffarpur (Bihar). He graduated in Law from Calcutta University in 1897 and established a successful practice in Muzaffarpur. In 1919, he left his practice and joined the Indian National Congress at Gandhiji's invitation and led several movements against the British Raj. He was later appointed Vice President of the India National Congress. There was another prominent political activist with the same name Mohamad Shafi from Punjab. Similarity in name often created confusions and my dada chose to add “Daudi” to his name in 1927 and today this title has continued as part of the family surname. He died in Muzaffarpur in 1949.

Source - Memoirs By Tanweer Daudi 
Daudi, Maulana Mohamad Shafi (I890)
17 She died during childbirth at the age of 16 Rabia, Bibi (I24)
18 She died in childbirth during the delivery of the 3rd child that was a daughter. Khatoon, Mehmooda (I807)
19 She died of TB. Asghar, Maimoona (I22)
20 She died very young when she was two years old. Hajera Ahmad. (I664)
21 She had two other kids - Shifa (expired 6 years) and Ibrahim (expired 6 months) Sulman, Khadija Binte (I687)
22 They had several daughters. No information Available. Family: Mohammed Ali Asghar / Zainab Hussain (F774)
23 This is the Hathwa connection. Hussain, Syed Yousuf (I1126)
24 When his father died at a young age, Ali Asghar was raised by his uncle,(his father's youngest brother), Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar. Maulvi Ghaffar was an Islamic scholar and he translated the Hadith by Sahih Bukhariin Urdu which was published under the name of "Saliqa." He was a bibliophile and had a vast collection of books.

Ali Asghar received his early education with Allama Hafiz Nazeer Hussain Dehalvi, and later on with Allama Shafi Kashghari of Turkey. He had a photographic memory and was a scholar in his own right. He translated Al Beruni's "Kitabul Hind in Urdu, which was published by Baba-e-Urdu, Maulvi Abdul Haq's press, Anjuman-e-Taraqia Urdu in Hyderabad Deccan, India.

He also translated Herbert Spenser's Principles of Psychology. He is also reputed to have translated selected works of Leo Tolstoy.

In 1921, he hosted Mahatama Gandhi, Professor Acharia Karpalani, and Mahadev Desai at his "Bungalow," 
Asghar, Ali (I20)
25 At least one living or private individual is linked to this note - Details withheld. AGARWAL, S (I415)
26 At least one living or private individual is linked to this note - Details withheld. SETH, Aseem (I412)

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