This is an issue that has the potential to rock not just the Parliament but the entire country. It is simmering under the logs and has not been allowed to come out in the open because the stakes are high, and neither the Congress nor the BJP would like it to be blown in public. But a team of activists, led by renowned advocate Prashant Bhushan, writer and the son of the adopted son of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Feroz Bakht Ahmad and Madhup Mohta who has remained associated with ICCR in the past seem to have decided that it is time that justice prevail and the perpetrators of “one of the biggest deception cover-up in Independent India’s history” brought to court.
This very issue, along with the cover-up game behind the causes of deaths of Subhash Chandra Bose and Lal Bahadur Shastri are two other cases that show how individuals have continued to befool the Union of India and the successive Governments have continued to befool the public at large, says Madhup Mohta, earlier associated with ICCR who first brought to light that Najma Heptulla, former Vice Presidential aspirant and now a Minister of Minority Affairs in the NDA Government, used morphed picture to depict her proximity and relation with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Incidentally, when the matter related to morphing of picture got into press resulting in an FIR, PIL and a CBI enquiry, Mohta was one of those who were punished and NajmaHeptulla escaped any action.
“The arm of law hasn’t reached her yet because she has always remained close with Governments in power,” says Feroz Bakht Ahmad, lamenting further that while he enjoys the closest relationship with Maulana Azad, it is Najma who continued to portray herself as the only surviving relative. Feroz Bakht even goes on to say that “Najma has not even remote relationship with Maulana Azad.”
Tells Mohta: “Maulana Azad had no successor. He treated his nephew Nooruddin as his adopted son. Nooruddin wanted to marry a girl who was far younger to him in age. The girl refused citing the same reason. Nooruddin wrote to the girl’s mother saying that her daughter was refusing a proposal from a man of such stature viz. adopted son of Maulana Azad. The mother persuaded her elder daughter to marry Nooruddin. Feroz Bakht Ahmad was born out of this marriage. However, despite culmination of this marriage, Nooruddin didn’t project his real family properly.”
Mohta points out that slowly NajmaHeptulla projected herself as the only surviving relation of Maulana Azad. He claims that even the erstwhile Congress government under late Indira Gandhi had a role to play in building this deception. Last 30 pages of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s autobiography were kept secret till 1988. Indira Gandhi was apprehensive that the pages might have portrayed Nehru and his role in India’s independence differently from the general perception. Hence, says Mohta, there were vested reasons to build the myth that Najma was the only surviving relative of Maulana Azad.
Owing to this build-up showing Najma as the only surviving relative, the prosecutor handed over the sealed pages of the autobiography of Maulana Azad to Najma Heptulla in 1988, which was published by her. What we read eventually in the published book was contrary to the hype and secrecy that was maintained regarding the 30 sealed pages; there turned out nothing significant at all in those remaining 30 pages.
Mohta tells that when Congress under Sonia Gandhi got to know of the forged relationship with Maulana Azad, it decided not to re-nominate Najma Heptulla to the Rajya Sabha. Najma Heptulla then looked towards BJP for succor, which not only welcomed her but was at one time seriously considering to make Najma Heptulla as the Vice President and Dr. Karan Singh as President of India. It was during that build-up for Vice Presidentship that ICCR published a book by NajmaHeptulla highlighting her relationship with Maulana Azad. The book is alleged to have morphed picture of Maulana Azad with Najma Heptulla. Mohta claims that when upon enquiry it was revealed that the photo could be fake; he summoned the printer who confessed that NajmaHeptulla had given two separate pictures and asked her to morph them together. The book was removed by ICCR and later another edition was published with the morphed picture removed. Feroz Bakht claims that he still is in possession of a copy of the earlier edition that has a morphed picture.
Elaborates Feroz Bakht: There was a picture of Maulana Azad with Shah of Iran, both sitting on a sofa. In another picture, Najma was sitting with others on a sofa. Shah of Iran was removed from the printed photo and instead the picture of Najma (from the other photograph) was used, thereby showing Maulana Azad with Najma sitting on a sofa.
While many would say that this act, if true, is a small sin, Feroz Bakht Ahmad has filed a writ petition in court which has given next month for hearing. Renowned lawyer Prashant Bhushan is appearing on behalf of Feroz Bakht Ahmad. Feroz Bakht claims that even PM Narendra Modi has been made aware of the entire situation. Bhushan is demanding a thorough inquiry through a special investigating team from CBI. FerozBakht is confident that he has a strong case and ‘even if Modi wants to save her, he can’t.’ “When CBI will start investigating, the misdeeds and cover-ups of past 60 years will come out in open,” adds he.
The real issue, points Mohta, is that the whole system is fooling the Government of India and at times those in high position fool the nation at large. The matter is in the Hon’ble court which will give its judgment as days come to pass. With Bhushan taking up the case, it is apparent that even if authorities try to cover up the case once again, it won’t be easy for them to do so.