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What Days They Were: Memoir sheds light on events before India's partition and its aftermath

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Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

BHOPAL: Kazi Jalil Abbasi was a leader, freedom fighter and politician who witnessed key events of twentieth century--not just as an observer but as someone who took active part in public life, participated in movements and after independence went on to fight elections and become a legislator, minister and Parliamentarian.

When a large number of Muslims from Uttar Pradesh including elite and the community leaders, were leaving the country, he remained committed to his political ideology, kept opposing communalism and led from the front--fighting and raising his voice democratically in independent India.

Uttar Pradesh, the heartland and the most populous state in the country, had been the battleground for Congress and Muslim League before 1947. It had seen competitive communalism, inter-religious tensions and riots. On the ground, situation in UP was complex and different from other states.

Kazi Jalil Abbasi's autobiography is insightful and reveals a lot about the period and the struggles. Abbasi was born in Bayara in Basti district in1912. He studied in different schools in Gonda, Unnao and Basti before he joined the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) from where he was expelled.

All these circumstances, his idealism, role in freedom struggle are part of the book. He was against the political stand of Muslim League. The books also provides information about Congress' organisation and the politics in UP, its leaders. There are interesting anecdotes about top leaders, ranging from Rafi Ahmad Kidwai to Indira Gandhi. 

The autobiography titled 'Kya Din The!' was originally published in Urdu. Arif Ansari has now translated it in English. Ansari is settled in Washington DC. The book that runs into nearly 350 pages is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the era, important events and the post-partition situation in Uttar Pradesh. Notionpress has published the book and it is available online

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Journalist for more than 20 years. Had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, later Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post, writes for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.