Aiku & Akbar: Two religions, one family, and a court approval

(This episode is based on a true story of Lucknow at UP)

Crime Patrol: Tea Owner Kishen Finds 3 Year Old Imran Alone In The Garden - Episode 69 - 23rd December 2011

Crime Patrol: Judge Reveals His Final Judgement In Regards To Imran's Case - Episode 70 - 24th December 2011

Kids inform their Mother and Kishen who owns a tea stall about a kid who was lying alone in the garden thus the child doesn't reveal anything accept his name Imran and firstly, Kishen admits him in the hospital and also informs cops about the missing kid, later Cops not only searches Imran's parents in Lucknow but also all over Uttar Pradesh. Cops comes to know that there was no such missing report of a kid in the area. Kishen decides to take Imran's responsibilites and as time passes Imran turns 5 year old and a shocking thing takes place as Imran's parents identify Imran in an interview with Kishen and approaches Cops to claim Imran as their son. Imran disagrees to accept Jawed as his father and reveals that he wants to live with kishendas instead of his parents thus Jawed drags Kishendas to court. What will Kishendas do now? Will he fight for Imran?

The inside story

Lucknow, Sun Aug 14 2011: Fourteen-year-old Akbar’s appeal to the judge to let him remain with his Hindu guardian instead of transferring him to his Muslim mother has shot Aiku Lal Sandil to national headlines. However, for the tea vendor from Baradari, Lucknow, taking in Akbar wasn’t something he thought twice about. Having been raised by a Muslim man himself, Sandil couldn’t just look away when he found the six-year-old lost boy in a Lucknow park eight years ago.
“I am a Hindu brought up by a kind Muslim man. When I found Akbar, it was like God telling me that it is time to return the love and care I got from His people. I was never forced to change my religion and, having got that education from my guardian, it was my duty to take care of the child and bring him up as per his own religion,” Sandil says.
The bond the two share was acknowledged by the Allahabad High Court in January 2008 when it turned down Akbar’s biological mother Shahnaz Begum’s habeas corpus petition. Shahnaz had argued that since Akbar was a Muslim, if Sandil raised him, it would “create dichotomy and disharmony in the social sphere and in their relationship”.

 Dismissing her petition, after Akbar said he wanted to live with Sandil rather than his parents, Justice Barkat Ali Zaidi said India is a secular country where the consideration of caste and creed should not be allowed to prevail. “...If there can be inter-caste marriages... there can also be an inter-caste ‘father and son’ relationship and that need not raise eyebrows,” the judge said.

Shahnaz has now moved the Supreme Court, and last week it asked her to file an affidavit on her monthly income, the property she owns and the school where her other two children study.

What the high court found strange was that Shahnaz approached it in 2007, four years after Akbar went missing, and that she had not even filed an FIR in the intervening period.

Akbar’s parents first stepped forward to claim their son after they saw Sandil on TV, recounting his story to mediapersons at a political party’s office in Qaiserbagh where he briefly worked. “They came to me... I did not know them. Later on, the district administration decided that since they had not lodged any FIR, Akbar would live with me,” says Sandil. Later, the parents moved the high court.

A six-year-old at the time he got lost, Akbar had gone to a liquor shop with his father in Allahabad, where they lived. While the father was busy buying liquor, he strayed away and somehow landed up in Lucknow.

It was Sandil’s neighbour Kushmavati Devi who first noticed Akbar on a cold winter evening in 2003, playing with her children in a park next to Baradari. “As the children returned home, he started crying. He said his name was Akbar and that his father had gone to bring food and also that he lived in Pan Dariba. Sandil was also here and I handed over Akbar to him,” remembers Kushmavati.

With five children of her own, Kushmavati has been a foster parent to the boy. It’s at her house that he drops in for most meals.

Sandil says when he found Akbar, he had liver problems, weak limbs and an infected foot which made it difficult for him to walk. “I took him to doctors; I also massaged his limbs with medicated ointments. Once he broke his hand and I carried him as far as Etaunja to get treatment,” say Kushmavati.

Sandil recounts how he himself was brought up by Chaudhary Mujtaba Hussain, who was a member of a governing body that looked after the well-known Baradari moument. “I have seen Aiku living with my father ever since I was a child,” says Chaudhary Hasan Imam, Hussain’s son.

Hussain taught Sandil how to read and write English, Hindi and Urdu, though he never went to school. Despite his meagre income, Sandil has ensure that doesn’t happen to Akbar. “Initially, Akbar was enrolled in Prathamic Vidhyalaya, Qaiser Bagh, Refugee Camp, and two years later, he was enrolled in Queens Inter College. Recently, I shifted him to Mumtaz Inter College, Aminabad, where the classes are more regular,” says Sandil. He also pays Rs 100 a month for a daily, one-hour tuition in a nearby area.
“My income is not much but I am doing all I can to educate Akbar. I hardly save Rs 500 per month,” says Sandil.

Every Friday, Sandil also ensures, Akbar goes to the masjid to offer namaaz. “Abhi namaaz yaad to nahin hai par main jumme ke jumme masjid jata zaroor hoon (Though I do not remember the prayers as of now, I definitely go to the masjid every Friday),” says Akbar.

If the Supreme Court directs that Akbar be given to his parents, Sandil says, he will abide. “But if it is against the will of Akbar, I will not leave the child crying with his mother.”