31 May 2012
The co-founder and managing trustee of the Gujarat Today newspaper died yesterday. He was laid into his resting place with the evening prayer.
I wrote out the following obituary for a friend and guide I lost in him:
HE WAS UNLIKE other Muslims of Gujarat. Janab Siraj Tirmizi was brutal with truth, honest to the core and frank to the point of insulting. Never the one to align with this sect or that, he was truly a universal man.
My discussions with Janab Siraj Tirmizi usually revolved around the condition of the ummah in Gujarat, and what needs to be done about this. He was ever willing to share his ideas for a cause. While I have interacted with numerous people, I found his insights on the Muslim dilemma the most accurate. He seemed to know everyone who mattered in Gujarat, by name, and would not hesitate to reveal their true character. He was able to masterly distinguish and portray the individual characteristics of the indigenous Muslims of various regions and districts of Gujarat.
Very well networked, Janab Tirmizi, was an institution builder. Gujarat Today lives as testimony to his untiring mission to erect a mouthpiece for the Muslim voice. Dedicated to the community, he was yet staunchly secular. Deeply perturbed by the communalism of a section of the majority community he was never blind to the faults of the minority either. His solutions were constitutional and above board. His vision was one of a humanity at peace with all its constituents. He truly celebrated unity in diversity.
Gujarat – and particularly its Muslims - will miss this sane, sensible and informed voice of moderation. And so will I, personally.