Juhu Muslim cemetery is home to the graves of legendary artists of the yesteryear’s including Mohammad Rafi, Madhubala, Naseem Bano, Ludhianvi, Naushad, Ali Sardar Jafri, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, Jan Nisar Akhtar, Talat Mahmood and Parveen Babi.
However, it’s been reported that almost 21 tombstones have been turned around in the last 5 years.
This includes the tombs of Madhubala, Rafi, Naushad and Sahir Ludhianvi. Apparently, their relatives were uninformed of this while their remains were disposed off to give way to another layer of graveyards.
With increasing Muslim population in the Juhu area of Mumbai, there is an acute shortage of grave space.
Considering its high-profile stature, everybody wants to be buried at the Juhu cemetery. As a result, to create more space for the newly dead, the tombs are being turned over to create a second layer. Aamir Khan’s father Tahir Hussein is the latest to be buried on this second tier.
According to the president of Muslim Majlis, the Islamic law or Sharia does not permit the construction of memorials to the dead. They believe that once a corpse enters these gates, it becomes their property.
Their argument is that every Muslim is equal before God and no concessions can be made for artists or celebrities.
However, this uninformed significant step has angered these artist’s relatives – and well, why not?
Madhur Bhushan, sister of Madhubala, asks why were they allowed to construct a memorial in the first place? Madhubala’s memorial was artistically carved in pure marble. It bore aayats from Quran with verses dedicated to her memory.
Rafi’s fans have been coming to the cemetery twice a year since time immemorial. Ever since the granite plaque has been removed, the fan club has identified the nearest coconut tree to pay homage to and pray.
Demolishing the tombs overnight without taking the relatives into consideration is undoubtedly unfair and disrespectful.
A grave cannot be someone’s property. It still remains a memorial for their family members and loved ones. The very purpose of erecting tombs is to pay homage to passed souls. At least the remains in the form of old bones and skulls must be interred in the new grave.