Though there’s no official confirmation from Dawoodi Bohra community’s authorised speakers about the baraat (social boycott/ex-communication) on Khuzaima Qutbuddin (right, in pic), the rebel who declared himself as the real successor of the late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (left), those who have faced such boycott say the practice should be done away with.
In baraat, a person can’t talk to his/her relatives, participate in marriages or bury his/her dead in Bohra cemeteries. S/he isn’t allowed in mosques too.
The progressive, Bohras, who have lived in baraat ever since they challenged certain policies of the late Syedna, called it “oppressive and elitist”, making one an “untouchable” amongst all.
“It all started eighty years ago in the form of not allowing people to give salaam if they disagreed.
That moved to jamaat kharij (not allowing people to attend community gatherings) and then to baraat,” said Saifuddin Insaaf, who is part of the progressive Bohra movement. “In a way, it makes you an untouchable in the community,” he added.
“Officially, it can’t be done, it’s illegal. That’s why it’s done indirectly, by telling people (community members) that they should not be talking to those on whom it is passed,” said Yunus Bhanoowala, a reformist.
Irfan Ali Engineer, whose father, the late Asghar Ali Engineer, was boycotted, said, “It’s no different than what upper caste people did to the untouchables or what Khaps do to their own community members. The group that revolted is getting a taste of what happened to us.”
“In any community or group, when there is unaccountable power, there tends to be a split because there is dispute in succession. What we are seeing here is the same thing,” Engineer alleged.