The crowd of men had started gathering right from the morning itself. They didn’t need to announce their names to others as everyone knew the other person’s name. How, you may ask? Well, this was a meeting at Malappuram district of Kerala held exclusively for those named Hamza.
Hamzas of all age groups gathered at the "Njan Hamza" event held at DTPC hall in Kottakkunnu in Malappuram district on Sunday.
The youngest Hamza was the 41-day-old son of Thotatthil Shuhaib. While the oldest Hamza in the gathering was 84-year-old Pullurshan Hamza.
The event saw more than 600 Hamzas take part and everyone from the one who delivered the welcome speech to the one who thanked the audience at the end of the event were all Hamzas.
So why did the Hamzas of Malappuram decide to come together? This was the long cherished dream of 78-year-old Hamza who runs a fancy store named ‘Lovely’ and is fondly known as ‘Lovely Hamza’.
"The idea to hold such an event struck me 15 years ago. In those times, there were no mobiles or computers and sales representatives had to go to individual stores to take and deliver orders. The representative who used to come to our area told me one day that there were many shopkeepers by the name Hamza in our area. That's when I thought that if there were so many Hamzas in one neighbourhood, what about in the municipality?”
Though Lovely Hamza went around houses and shops in his municipality, inviting Hamzas for union then, that event never took place.
"My plan was to organise the event at the municipality level. Even an auditorium was booked. The oldest Hamza who was supposed to take part was 85 years old and with great difficulty we found the youngest Hamza. He was in Class 4 then. But unfortunately, the 85-year-old Hamza passed away and we had to call off the event."
But Lovely Hamza never gave up. “Two months ago, I suddenly felt I should organise the event that I couldn't 15 years ago. When I spoke to a few people, they suggested that I should hold it at the district level. A WhatsApp group was formed and now we already have 1000 members in 4 groups. There are others who are not on WhatsApp too,” he told TNM.
The event started with gifts for the youngest Hamzas, the 41 day old and a 2-and-a-half-year-old toddler.
While the Hamzas went back home happy at meeting their namesakes, the organisers hope to enter the Limca Book of Records for the unique event.