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INTERVIEW: Farooq Ahmed And His Passion For Rewriting History

Farooq Ahmed. Image Credit: TwoCircles.net

A book, “Manipuri Muslims: Historical Perspectives 615-2000 CE,” authored by Farooque Ahmed was released in Imphal recently. The author talks to Anjuman Ara Begum of TwoCircles.net about Manipuri Muslims and about his work.

Qs. What inspired you to write such a book?

Ans: I was keen to know about my community or, more precisely, to know about myself in Manipur and also to know the history of Muslims in Manipur. I always looked for history books on Manipuri Muslims but always felt frustrated as there is no comprehensive literature on this topic. After completing my M.A in political science, I started reading history books on Manipur and I read many books like Manipuri Muslims by Khairuddin Khalakpam which was published in 1997, Meitei Pangal Horompam published in 1991, Janab Khan’s book called Manipur Maylon and a translation of Janab Khan ‘Nongsamei’ published in 1993. I was not happy with the history of Manipuri Muslims as no literature was comprehensive. Meanwhile lots of literatures and accounts on Manipuri Meitei are well documented and readily available in the market for reading. These factors inspired me to write a comprehensive book on Manipuri Muslims.

Qs. What are the facts of the history of Manipuri Muslim you found?

Ans: These are called ‘Puwa’ or the royal chronicles of Meitei kings. One such account of “Puwa’ mentioned that Muslims came to Manipur in the reign of King Naophangba but there is controversy among the historians regarding his death. After reading L. Joychandra Singh’s book on royal chronology, I came to know that his reign was in between 594-624 CE. During this period a Muslim saint arrived in Manipur. Muslim settlements in Manipur began with this saint Sa’d ibn abi Waqqas who preached in 615 CE. He was the maternal uncle of Prophet Muhammed. In 1606 CE, a large group of Muslims mainly soldiers settled in Manipur and married Meitei women which was followed by another group settlement of Muslim soldiers in 1724. Such waves continued till 1886. In between 1661- 1679, Saa Suja and Mirja Baisanghars, two Moghul princes, arrived in Manipur and settled here. History of Muslims in Manipur is not confined to clan formation but something much beyond that. This is what I want to present.

Qs. How long you took to complete this research and publication?

Ans: It took about 15 years. I studied Political Science by mistake as my interest is always history. Pharos media publication published the book.

Qs. What are the feedbacks you got on this book?

Ans: Many appreciated my research and reviews on my book are also published. I feel happy. Scholars also informed that more research on this topic is required and my book encourages them.

Qs. What about your education? You said you studied Political Science by mistake?

Ans: I was born in 1975 and completed my schooling from Don Bosco in Imphal. Then I did B.A Honors in Political Science from Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi and completed my M.A from J.N U in Political science. I completed my M. Phil before coming back to Manipur and I am a Ph. D scholar now at the Manipur University. I have submitted my thesis and I have worked on ethnic conflicts in North East India.

Farooq Ahmed

Qs. What is your current engagement?

Ans: At present I am working on two projects sponsored by ICSSR and ICHR as project director. The research is going on the topic of historical study of clan formation among the Manipuri Muslims.

*The interview is taken by Anjuman Ara Begum, TwoCircles.net

*Farooq Ahmed can be reached at farooqa88@gmail.com

(Courtesy: TwoCircles.net)

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