In his brilliant article “A Sufi message from a Pakistani President” in the OpEd page of The Hindu (April 9), Saeed Naqvi mentions that Hasrat Mohani “… fancied that God had sent prophets to every country and the one he sent to India was Lord Krishna!” Nawab Akbar Yar Jung was a Judge of the Hyderabad High Court in the Nizam's Government. On August 11,1936, he addressed a meeting on the occasion of the Krishna Janmashtami in which he quoted the Holy Quran, 49:78, “We sent Apostles before Thee: there are some of them that We have mentioned to thee and others we have not mentioned.”

“The Hindus; they accept Ramachandra and Shri Krishna as their religious leaders. We must therefore unhesitatingly accept them as prophets. I belong to a much hated sect of people who already hold this view. I do not hesitate to accept Shri Krishna (upon him be peace) as a prophet.”

That reads as Krishna Alehsalam — a honorific not lightly used; Jesus is — Isa Alehsalam. There was a protest in Hyderabad against this speech and the Nizam reprimanded Bahadur Yar Jung. But no adverse action followed. That shows the catholicity of that government, chiefly due then to Sir Akbar Hydari, a Bohra.

I think Nawab Akbar Yar Jung was an Ahmediya. He was the father of my dear friend and classmate Prof. Rasheedudeen Khan. When as a teenager, I spent my holidays with them, Nawab Sahib used to say to me, “Mian, Main Krishna Janmbhoomi ka hoon. Yeh log nahin samjenge!” Rasheed's mother was a Hyderabadi! Sir Mohammed Iqbal called Rama, Imam-i-Hind. Nawab sahib was calling Krishna a prophet, alehsalam. For those who understand these niceties, there is a lot of difference.

B.P.R. Vithal,

Hyderabad

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A Sufi message from a Pakistani President April 9, 2012

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