Mumbai's Ghulam Muhammed Siddiqui Saheb is no more
Ghulam Muhammed Siddiqui (better known as G.M. Siddiqui), a writer of copious letters to the editor on all issues concerning the Muslims of India, is no more. He simply wrote his name as Ghulam Muhammed without attaching Siddiqui to it.
He wrote his letters and e-mailed them to hundreds of prominent mediapersons inside and outside India. This act of his — of making public the email addresses of the mediapersons, political representatives and thought leaders — irked many and they wrote to him asking for their names to be taken off his email list. But he would always persist, insisting that since they were public figures there should be nothing secret or confidential about their email addresses.
He was an activist. A daring activist who never shied away from speaking his mind. He never bothered about any acknowledgement from the addressees in his long email list. He sought to air his thoughts. Through his activism and sharp observations, he punctured a large number of stories in the mainstream media by pointing out the many loopholes in them.
He was not perfect in the sense that he would, on many occasions, go off on a tangent and actually believe what later turned out to be a conspiracy theory. None of this, however, could take away his sincerity in serving the community and airing valid grudges and biases in the media and political parties.
Long before Asaduddin Owaisi Sahab began articulating the Muslim point of view in the mainstream media, especially on television, it was Ghulam Muhammed who aired the Indian Muslim point of view on many issues.
We, at Arab News, would often publish him in the letters section because of his contrarian views. He wrote with passion. He wrote forcefully. He did not mince words. He was straight. He was direct. He wouldn't budge from his stated position.
He was a rarity in a world where changing positions is the norm rather than the exception. I never met him personally but we were in touch by email. That is when I learned his full name.
I just called his home to confirm that what we were hearing was true. It wasn't Ghulam Muhammed Siddiqui Sahab at the other end at his home in Mumbai's 601, Seacroft, Shirly Rajan Road, Bandra West residence. Instead, the phone was picked up by one of his assistants, Mumtaz Munshi Saheba.
"Sir died last night," she said. "He must have been 84. He is survived by his wife, Khateeja Begum, who is also ill, four sons and three daughters — Rubina, Sabiha, and Samina. The names of his two sons who are with him are Naeem and Nadeem. I don't know the actual names of the other two sons because they are abroad and we always referred to both of them as simply 'Bhai' (Brother).
"They couldn't make it to the funeral that took place after Friday prayers today (Nov. 17) at Naupada in Bandra East.
"Please pray for his maghfirat. He was a very good man and was completely immersed in newspapers. He always scanned the headlines. He was very active until the end. He developed respiratory problems in the last two or three days and then passed away last night."
May Allah bless his soul.