Saturday, 19 November 2016

QK Archives: Maulvi Jee and Jabran Adeel

Maulvi Jee and Jabran Adeel
Rahimullah Yusufzai
Originally published by THE NEWS circa 2004

Two widely mourned deaths of a very old and young man

PESHAWAR: Two Peshawarites, one very old and the other young, died recently and both were widely mourned. Syed Amir Shah Qadri, or Maulvi Jee as he was affectionately called, passed away at the ripe old age of 85 and yet his demise was deeply felt. Jabran Adeel, 33, couldn’t accomplish all that he was capable of, but his death still cast a gloom.

The choice of the venue for the two funerals said it all. The Nimaz-i-Janaza for Maulvi Jee was performed at the vast Wazir Bagh because there were few places in Peshawar that could have accommodated the crowd of mourners who wanted to pay their last respects to the revered old man. And the spacious Jinnah Park was chosen to hold the throngs of people who wanted to share Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haji Mohammad Adeel’s grief on the untimely death of his dear son Jabran. Peshawarites no doubt formed the bulk of the mourners at both places, but people came from all over the Frontier and beyond.

A lot has been written about Maulvi Jee, extolling his qualities of head and heart and recalling his services for the country and Islam. The “Barakan Walay Syed,” as he was often referred to by his fans in his mother tongue Hindko, belonged to the Barelvi school of thought, but the faithful from every sect gave him respect. He had varied interests, authoring books, publishing a religious journal, patronizing social, cultural and literary organizations, promoting sectarian tolerance, and occasionally dabbling in politics from the platform of late Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani’s JUP. It was, therefore, hardly surprising that his death was mourned by so many people.

Dying young is rightly described as a tragedy, more so if the person passing away is talented and full of promise. The same can be said about Jabran Adeel, who lived a full life but left this world before making use of his true potential. He hadn’t married yet and was only beginning to make an impact in politics and business. He had been elected the Peshawar city district vice-president of the ANP, the latest version of the nationalist movement to which his father and grandfather had devoted all their lives. He was already doing political work in PF-4, the old provincial assembly seat of his father who had shifted to the neighbouring PF-6 constituency in the last general elections and lost to an MMA candidate.

Jabran Adeel had twice won election as an executive member in the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI). His win was remarkable because it was achieved despite opposition by the powerful Bilour group. In due course of time, he would have contested election for a provincial assembly seat and for a major SCCI office.

His interest was not confined to politics and business. He was a painter, winning an All Pakistan painting contest. He loved photography and had an artistic mind, creating furniture and taking interest in arts and the crafts. He was part of an STN project to make a film on his beloved Peshawar. It was titled “Pushpapur to Peshawar.” He had filmed the city with his digital camera and selected only five minutes footage from a video-tape spread over16 hours. He was also a good speaker and debater. His skills as a speaker were acknowledged when he conducted the proceedings of a Peshawar function organized by a traders-run NGO, Ittefaq Kidney Centre with former corps commander Lt Gen Ali Mohammad Orakzai as the chief guest.

Jabran Adeel spent five and a half years in the US, qualifying in economics and business administration from the Boston University. He took active part in students’ politics and even tried to contest the election for the union’s president despite being very young. He could have stayed back in the US and hunted a job, but he opted to return to Pakistan in 1996. It was the start of a new life for the young man, who could adapt himself to enjoy the company of both the rich and the powerful and the poor and the weak.

Those who knew Jabran Adeel found him a humble man, who was both religious and secular. His grieving father said Jabran was modern and liberal and yet he prayed regularly and kept books on Sufism in his personal library. He said he was surprised to find out after his death that Jabran regularly interacted with known Frontier intellectuals Abdullah, Prof Mussarrat Shah and Abasin Yousafzai.

The cause of his death isn’t known. Doctors have speculated that it was cardiac arrest or his lungs got punctured. He did suffer from pollen allergy but his condition wasn’t diagnosed as asthma. One would have to conclude that Jabran Adeel was destined to die young, leaving a lively and friendly man such as Haji Adeel dejected and withdrawn. Those who lose young sons and two prominent men immediately come to mind, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and Dr Ashfaq Ahmad, have known this pain before it inflicted Haji Adeel. May God give them and all other fathers the strength to bear such an irreparable loss!
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