Imam Bashir Ahmad Rafiq’s Biography
Chapter 33: Meeting Dr Ashiq Hussein Batalvi
Dr. Batalvi was not really a religious person and he claimed that he was secular. He bitterly opposed the activities of the Mullahs in Pakistan. Once, while talking to Hadhrat Chaudhry Muhammad Zafrulla Khan on the subject of the life and character of the Holy Prophet (saw), Chaudhry Sahib related certain heartrending incidents in Huzoor’s life concerning his attributes of forgiveness and of overlooking the faults of others. During the conversation concerning the Holy Prophet (saw), certain words emerged from Dr. Batalvi’s lips that had a trace of insolence. At that point, Hadhrat Chaudhry Sahib stood up and said to Dr. Batalvi:
“Don’t ever come to see me again.”
After Chaudhry Sahib had gone Dr. Batalvi was most remorseful and said that he had not really meant to be disrespectful towards the Holy Prophet (saw) but the wrong words had involuntarily emerged from his lips. He said:
“I am deeply ashamed and remorseful. Please approach Chaudhry Sahib and seek forgiveness for me.”
I went to see Chaudhry Sahib and told him that Dr. Batalvi was extremely ashamed and remorseful and that he could not ever imagine impudence concerning the Holy Prophet. This was a silly mistake and all of us make mistakes sometime or another. At my repeated requests, Chaudhry Sahib agreed to see Dr. Batalvi who attempted to clarify his position and explain that due to his secular disposition; on occasion he uses inappropriate words that created the wrong impression. He said that otherwise he was an arch lover of the Holy Prophet (saw). Fortunately, the matter ended there.
Around that time, Hadhrat Chaudhry Sahib gave me a voluminous manuscript and told me that it covered his interview carried out by Columbia University. They had interviewed a number of renowned personalities amongst which he was one. They had recorded the interviews spread over a year. The Columbian University had by then put it on tape. Chaudhry Sahib said that he had no need for it. A few days later when I met Dr. Batalvi, I told him about the manuscript and he insisted that I should lend it to him for a few days. After 15 or 20 days, when I asked him to return the manuscript he made it plain that he would not return it but would, after editing it, print it in book form. When I complained to Chaudhry Sahib, he asked me not to insist on the return of the manuscript. He told me that if necessary he would procure another copy for me. Later on, Dr. Batalvi showed me the edited manuscript, which he wanted to have print in Lahore in the shape of a book name ‘The Forgotten Years’. The book was published after Dr. Batalvi had passed away.