On February 14, Padmashri Muzaffar Hussain left for his heavenly abode leaving his family, friends and readers in shock and grief. He was 78 and is survived by his wife, son, daughter and grandchildren. His mortal remains were buried at Mulund East Burial Ground with full state hounors. Many dignitaries from the RSS associated organisations and family friends were present. Culture Minister of Maharashtra Vinod Tavde visited his house to convey the condolence message of the state government.
Born at Nimach in Madhya Pradesh on March 20, 1940, to an entrepreneurial family, Muzaffar Bhai was attracted to writing and journalism in very young age. When he was merely 15, once Shri Guruji, the then Sarsanghachalak of RSS, visited Nimach. One of Muzaffar”s school teachers named Shri Gaur, who was a leftist and a staunch opponent of the RSS made a plan to distribute pamphlets against Shri Guruji at the public function. He made some of his students to distribute those pamphlets at the venue. Along with two others, Muzaffar was caught by the RSS swayamsevaks doing it. Someone took him to Shri Guruji. Instead of showing anger, Shri Guruji asked him his name, school, etc and asked him whether he can recite any poem. Shri Guruji heard little Muzaffar recite Ras Khan”s poem and patted him on his head. That was turning point in the life of Muzaffar Bhai. Then he came into the contact of the then RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri KS Sudarshan. The bond between the two developed so close that the family of Muzaffar Bhai and men around Sudarshan ji mentioned them as “brothers”.
Muzaffar Bhai moved to Buldhana in Maharashtra for some time during the Emergency and then shifted to Mumbai. He claimed his rightful fame there through his writings. His columns became immensely popular and as the demand rose for his writings, he started syndicated columns with as many as 24 journals and dailies. He was master of many languages including Marathi, Gujarati, Urdu, Pakhtun, Arabi, Persian alongwith Hindi. He was also a scholar of Bhagvad Geeta and Savarkar literature along with Quran and Hadis. Actually, he could be called a Savarkar Bhakt. He was the first one to bring the fact to the world that Quran and Hadis actually supported vegetarianism and cow protection. He stood to his point of view and faced immense criticism from the Muslim community. No one from the Muslim community could counter his arguments on logical grounds. He was known for his straight-forward stand, staunch belief in Indian culture—Hindu culture, and candid thinking. He always stressed that Muslims should develop harmonious relations with the Hindus. In fact, ‘harmony’ was the life and breath of his personality. He called upon Muslims to study Quran on the spiritual basis and not on political one. He always batted to establish modern systems among the Muslims, facing staunch opposition from within. He never yielded to the forces of communalism.
He had family-like relations with Tarun Bharat group. He was Vice President of Mumbai Vishva Samvad Kendra since its inception. He played very important role in the creation of Muslim Rashtriya Manch, but kept away from organisational work, as he was more of an academic person. He was also a great orator. He was a founder member of the Rashtriya Ekjut, a group founded by Vidyadhar Gokhale, former editor and MP.
His columns in various languages providing information about development within Muslim community, Pakistan and Arab world became very popular. In the era without internet, he bought papers from all these countries and read books to get information about current affairs in these countries.
He was awarded “Padmashri” in 2002 by the Vajpayee government. In 2014, he was awarded Lokmanya Tilak Lifetime Achievement Award by Maharashtra Government. He also received many felicitations and decorations from many institutions.
His major literary contributions are Islam and Vegetarianism (Marathi), Muslim Psychology (Marathi and Hindi), Riots in Mumbai (Hindi), Minorityism – A Danger (Hindi and Marathi). His book about Laden & Afghanistan, Common Civil Code were also best sellers. In his tribute Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadanvis said Muzaffar ji will always remain an inspiration for us.
—Rajesh Prabhu Salgaonkar