Journey of a flower seller family ends without completing Hajj

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Family and friends in Satara offer prayers for the Soudagar family that died in the road accident on Wednesday.(PRATHAM GOKHALE/HT )


Satara/Nagthane: Well-wishers had gathered in Madihal, Dharwad, Karnataka, at 8pm on Tuesday to bid farewell to a local flower trader and his wife as they left to perform the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Nizamuddin Abdulnabi Soudagar, 69, and his wife Safura Nizamuddin Soudagar, 58, did not make it to Mumbai airport to fly to Mecca. The vehicle the Soudagars were travelling in, along with their son Mansuf Soudagar, 40; daughter-in-law Nafisa Soudagar, 38; and three grandchildren Aksa alias Gulnaar Soudagar, 4; Taiba Soudagar, 6; and Ahmed Raza Soudagar, 2; crashed into a tree off the Pune-Bengaluru highway killing every passenger.

The driver, identified as Shahbaz Bhandari, aged 30, is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel, according to police. The driver survived the accident. Police are also investigating whether the driver lost control due to speeding.

Bhandari is the sole witness to the tragedy.

“Everyone from our family and colony had gathered to say bye to them as they were leaving for the most auspicious journey,” said Mehboobsuhani Abdulnabi Soudagar, 67, one of seven siblings of Nizamuddin Soudagar.

“We are legacy flower retailers. Our father, his brother, us siblings, as well as his (Nizamuddin’s) children, are in the business. I got a call at 5am, only hours after I had said goodbye,” Mehboobsuhani Soudagar said.

The bodies were brought to Madrassa Darul Uloom in Satara on Wednesday for the last rites. Family members from as far as Pune and Satara were present in Dharwad to offer condolences.


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