Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, the long time president of Hyderabad based Muslim political party, Majlis-e –Ittehad ul Muslimeen (MIM/Majlis) died on 29 September 2008 at the age of seventy two (b-1936). The Hindu daily called him a ‘colossus’ and the Deccan Chronicle remembered him as the symbol of an ‘era’. Similar responses came from other newspapers. Compared to the English, the Urdu press was cautious in appreciating him, where as the attitude of English press itself was surprising. Here was a man who was always ignored by the press or only talked about his negative aspects was suddenly respected.
Soon a few articles in Urdu newspapers were published and innumerable condolence meetings were conducted at every nook and corner of the old city of Hyderabad. There was a discussion everywhere about the personality of Owaisi (he was affectionately called ‘Salar-e-millat’—commander of the community—or ‘Salar’, a title given by a poor Muslim who used to regularly contribute two rupees every month for the party), and his contributions to the Muslim situation of Hyderabad. These meetings and discussions gave a different picture of Owaisi’s personality and his contributions. The content of these meetings, discussions and personal views are summarized in the following pages. It is an attempt to look at this grand figure of Hyderabad from the perspectives of Hyderabad Muslims who supported, opposed or watched Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi and his party.
Muslim's Concerns and Owaisi's Responses