Tabassum Hasan: A mascot of Hindu-Muslim unity and a united opposition

A file photo of newly-elected Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) MP from Kairana, Tabassum Hasan

Tabassum Hasan, the newly-elected RLD MP from Kairana, has emerged as the face of a united opposition. She hails her victory as one of good over evil and love over hatred.

When Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) candidate Tabassum Hasan reached a village in Jhanjhana during the election campaign in the lead-up to the Kairana bypoll, the people of the predominantly Jat village started to gather around her on their own. Even women, who had not attended any election meeting till then, came to hear her talk.

Tabassum stayed in the house of Surendra Malik, who has family connections with the Hasan household. When water was offered to Tabassum, who always wears a scarf, she politely refused. Fifty-year old Tabassum had been struggling to save the Hindu-Muslim unity, as she was observing roza in the boiling summer heat.

A person present in the meeting said, “Behenji, you didn’t have to come here. Rest assured, we understand it all.”

Tabassum replied, “I have come to tell you when my husband died in an accident, his head was resting on the knees of a Jat, who was crying profusely. The two Jat friends of my husband, Munawwar Hasan, were with him till his last breath. Please do not withdraw your support.”

Contesting the by-election in Kairana on an RLD ticket, Tabassum has now won the election. She defeated the BJP candidate, Mriganka Singh, by more than 45,000 votes. Tabassum’s husband Munawwar Hasan is the only leader who had graced all the four houses of India. Their son, Nahid Hasan, is an MLA from Kairana, which he won on a Samajwadi Party ticket.

Tabassum Hasan is now happy. She says, “When I recall all that, my heart cries. I have struggled a lot. When MP saheb (Munawwar Hasan) died, everything came to an end all of a sudden. My son Nahid was studying abroad and I was in mourning (Iddat), when the time for the nomination for election came. Everyone wanted me to contest. Nahid was young at that time. And at that time too, many roadblocks were posed. A lady police officer herself came to our house for filing the nomination. Kairana made me an MP in 2009.

The reason of Tabassum Hasan’s victory, as the candidate of united opposition, are Nakud and Gangoh, which were included in Kairana seat under new delimitation. She has won a significant chunk of votes from this area. “In fact, I am the daughter of that area and Kairana’s daughter-in-law. My maternal side has gifted this victory as Eidi to me. This is their love for me.” she said.

Wasim says that his sister has struggled a lot and he is happy to see her appearing on TV and speaking for what’s right after she won the election. “Now she has matured a lot. The best thing about my sister is that she never tells a lie. She is not crooked as most political leaders are, she is simple and straight,” he lovingly adds

Tabassum belongs to Dumchheda village of Nakud. She has studied till intermediate and is second eldest of the seven siblings. Her father Akhtar Hasan was the block head and her family is well-respected in the area. Her brother Wasim Chaudhary says, “When she got married, I was only 12. My life has been influenced by her. She has been a serious and reserved person right from the beginning. It is a coincidence that her father-in-law’s name is also Akhtar Hasan. Akhtar Hasan, who was the Congress MP from Kairana, died recently.

Interestingly, the name of Tabssum Hasan’s mother is also Akhtari Begum. Wasim says that his sister has struggled a lot and he is happy to see her appearing on TV and speaking for what’s right after she won the election. “Now she has matured a lot. The best thing about my sister is that she never tells a lie. She is not crooked as most political leaders are, she is simple and straight,” he lovingly adds.

Tabassum was elected member of Parliament for the first time in 2009. At that time she had not even stepped out of the house because she was observing Iddat (after husband’s death Muslim women observe Iddat, during which she does not meet anyone else than the blood relations).

“I can’t tell you how hard Nahid worked at that time. He used not to sleep for 48 hours. He had to discontinue his studies. “ Wasim informed. Tabassum has a daughter also, Ikra Hasan, who is studying law. At present Tabassum is a member of the district panchayat. But now she will resign from the membership. Her brother Wasim has been a member of the panchayat four times. He is Tabassum’s youngest brother and during Kairana bypoll, Wasim was her chief election agent.

Her victory in this election is being discussed everywhere. Even the world media is covering it. “When my husband had the membership of all the four houses, the foreign media covered it and I really liked it. It is a feeling of deja vu,” she says.

Tabassum mentions her son Nahid very frequently. The mother-son duo has made another record. They are the only mother-son legislator-and-MP in Uttar Pradesh. For Tabassum, her victory is one of good over evil, of love over hatred, and it is dedicated to brotherhood and peace.

(Translated into English by Pragati Saxena).

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