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 Interview with Syed Shah Manzar Hussain

Syed Shah Manzar Husain,
popularly known as ‘Abbi’ – an octogenarian scholar in his own rights is based at Shah Manzil, Shah Market, Bhagalpur. He has stamped his authority in several fields like – Agriculture, Architecture, Spiritualism, Astrology, Philately, Religion etc. He is a great philanthropist in an angelic disguise. He seems to have attained the real beatitude and is miles away from the worldly affairs. One of the blessed and extremely fortunate one in this world, who claims to have met holy Prophet Muhammad (with his two friends) in flesh and blood.

He spared some time for a freewheeling interview with Sumit Gupta and talked candidly about his life and times. brings you excerpts of an interview with this royal saint. About yourself and your family background?

Manzar saab: Me……. (Laughs), what to say…. I am a faqeer (saint) my child. This faqeer doesn’t mean a beggar, rather it means being away from materialism having no greed or lust of any type, no tensions of tomorrow, just to work for the welfare of mankind and pray to the almighty Allah for the prosperity of all human beings.

As far as my family background is concerned, we were the peer (tutor) of Mughal emperors Muhammad Shah Tughlaq & Feroz Shah Tughlaq and belong to the dynasty of Prophet Muhammad (40th generation). We are the scion of famous saint peer Damaria Shah. We came to Bhagalpur in the year 1576 AD and in 1640 AD we shifted to Khalifabagh (where we are based at present) from Husainpur. Your educational background?

Manzar saab: I passed my matriculation in 1945. After that I went to Aligarh Muslim University for further studies and stayed there till my M.Sc. I studied engineering at Sindri. I was into agriculture from 1954-1962 and achieved lot of accolades in this field. Tell something about the infamous Shah Market?

Manzar saab: I planned the map of Shah Market in 1961 and started the construction work with 50,000 rupees and thus this market came into existence. During the process I had faced lot of financial problems but by the grace of almighty I succeeded, and the rest is history. Today there are more than eight hundred shops in these premises and to my estimate more than 10,000 people visit this market daily. Your contribution to the society?

Manzar saab: My family was deeply attached to education. My father Syed Shah Fakhre Alam saab, was the founder member of Sunderwati Mahila College and was also the senate member.
As far as myself is concerned I laid the foundation of Muslim Minority college and a minority junior school by the name Rahmat-e-Alam kindergarten. I have done extensive research on the masjids & mazars of Bhagalpur and also authored the book titled – Eminent Muslims of Bhagalpur. I was very much instrumental in starting the PG course in Urdu & Persian in Bhagalpur University and Urdu program from Bhagalpur radio station. Presently a charitable clinic is being run on every Sunday at my residence with my blessings. At present my nephew Dr. Syed Ehteshamuddin is the acting Vice chancellor of Bhagalpur Please share some anecdotes about this splendid library?

Manzar saab: This library Kutub Khana Peer Damaria is one of its kind in the city. It is managed by me and I spend most of my time here only. My books are my friends and I enjoy this company a lot. The number of books at present is no less than 25,000 and the oldest one dates back to 1341 AD. The library owns priceless manuscripts, books, journals which are rare to be found elsewhere. Lots of VVIPs and luminaries of art, literature, politis have visited here and given their remarks in the visiting register. I wish every lover of books should visit this library and get benefited. About the spiritual aspect of your life?

Manzar saab: There are very few people in the world who are into real spiritualism. I find myself privilege enough that Allah has been kind upon me. I claim that I met Prophet Muhammad here in this very library in flesh and blood, not in dream. He came to meet me with his two close friends - Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar. Though it sounds untrue but it’s true, believe me. He came with a marriage proposal for my younger son. Prophet has left for heaven more than 1400 years ago, I remind you my child. The incidence is of 26th May 2006 at 10 am and my son got married in that very year in December.

Another incidence happened on 22nd February 1956 when I tied myself with a rope and attached it to my tractor. I commanded the driver to pull me. Initially he was bewildered but soon followed. You will be surprised to know that the tractor didn’t pull me a inch with all its force. Very few people have got this type of spiritual power and this is all by the grace of almighty Allah. Your take on present scenario and Muslim fraternity?

Manzar saab: (Feels gloomy) see... Development is definitely all over, there is no doubt about it – but social values have decreased to extreme. There is greed, hood winking, hatred, regionalism everywhere. I think if all these continue for long our beloved country will disintegrate. I feel that any country gets destroyed by three reasons – greed, dishonesty and disobedience. History is witness of it.

As far as Muslim community is concerned they are also being victimised. You know lot being done by the Muslim scientists and scholars but today how many people know them. All the credits of their work are taken by the westerners. Let’s pray that there will be peace and harmony in our country someday otherwise I fear, that the fire of communalism, naxalism and terrorism may engulf our country which was once very aptly called – sone ki chidia. I wish & pray to Allah that I could also see the evil free society in my life time before I fall asleep forever.        

Jagdish Bajoria
Naresh Kumar Dhandhania
Syed Shah Manzar Hussain
Ashok Chaudhary
Alim Ansari
Kehkashan Parveen
Dr. Imteyazur Rehman
Talib Ansari, District Congress President
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