Lucknow, Sep 9 (IANS) Don't kill
cows and don't eat beef - that's the message of harmony a Muslim
editor in Uttar Pradesh has been sending out to the community
since 1998 when he began a newspaper to bridge divides in the
communally sensitive state.
The Daastaan-e-Awadh, which used to be in Urdu but is now in Hindi
to reach to more readers, is relentlessly pursuing its tagline of
being 'a messenger of communal harmony, democratic and secular
The six-page weekly newspaper published from Lucknow has been
carrying in virtually every issue articles calling upon Muslims to
join hands against the slaughter of cows that are revered by
Hindus and associated with Lord Krishna.
And the man behind it is 49-year-old Abdul Waheed.
"From news reports pertaining to politics, business, sports and
other fields, we do ensure to carry at least a write-up on the
importance of cows in an edition. In such articles, we appeal to
Muslims not to get directly or indirectly involved in killing of
cows that are considered sacred in Hinduism," the Daastaan-e-Awadh
editor told IANS.
"In our articles, we also condemn killing of cows and even term it
anti-Islamic by referring to the basic teaching of Islam that says
no one has the right to disrespect religious sentiments of
"In fact, in the write-ups, Muslims are also reminded about their
task to protect sacred entities of different religions," Waheed
This is a campaign that the newspaper began in 1998 itself when it
was launched. It has continued it since.
In the latest edition, for instance, Waheed, the author of most of
the pieces on the issue, has written on how there was a ban on cow
slaughter in the Mughal era.
"Several Mughal emperors, besides Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan, had
made cow slaughter and beef eating an offence...The emperors did
that for communal harmony," said Waheed.
"Despite a ban on sale of beef in many states of the country, I
really feel ashamed when I come across news reports pertaining to
those caught by police for killing cows in Uttar Pradesh, where
cow slaughter has been banned since 1955. I remember that on
several occasions, recovery of cow meat has led to communal
tension in various parts of the state," he added.
Interestingly, Waheed launched Daastaan-e-Awadh as an Urdu weekly
but later transformed it into Hindi as he wanted to cater to a
large number of readers.
"When the newspaper was published in Urdu, we had a limited number
of readership, which in turn was preventing us from reaching those
Muslims, particularly those of younger generation, who are not
well-versed in Urdu," said Waheed.
"It was in 2001 that we decided to bring the newspaper in Hindi
with the objective of reaching out to more and more people," he
Asked what prompted him to launch such a newspaper, Waheed
replied, "As a journalist I always wanted to use my writing skills
for bridging the Hindu-Muslim divide. It was that desire that
prompted me to launch the weekly that besides providing the news
could also bring the members of the two communities closer."
Run by over 20 Muslim employees, Daastaan-e-Awadh that was earlier
circulated only in Lucknow now has 10,000 readers in 14 districts
of Uttar Pradesh, including Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Faizabad,
Azamgarh, Agra and Shahjahanpur.
(Asit Srivastava can
be contacted at email@example.com)