Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

March 2008
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Thinking is Capital Asset

Five golden pieces of advice from former President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

1. Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life.

2. Thinking is progress. Non-thinking is stagnation of the individual, organisation and the country. Thinking leads to action. Knowledge without action is useless and irrelevant. Knowledge with action, converts adversity into prosperity.

3. When you speak, speak the truth; perform when you promise; discharge your trust…. withhold your hands from striking, and from taking that which is unlawful and bad…

4. What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful and to remove the wrongs of injured…

5. All God’s creatures are His family; and he is the most beloved of God who tries to do most good to God’s creatures.

Land and the Landless in India

In a country that is still based largely on agriculture, where a vast majority of people live in villages, over 170 million are estimated to be landless in India. And another 250 million own less than a fifth of a hectare. Approximately 40 million people have been displaced by land acquisition.

Land ceiling laws have been very poorly implemented: roughly 55 per cent of ceiling surplus land distributed to tribal families remains under the illegal control of landlords.

Then there is 33 million hectares of available arable wasteland. Instead of distributing this to the poor and landless, the government is trying to keep it for jathropha plantations controlled by the agro fuel industry. The landless poor migrating to cities face a daily battle for space, even in slums and on the pavements, and for the right to live and work there.

Reference: Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey, Deccan Herald, Monday Nov. 26, 2007

Water Scarcity in Indian Homes

Census 2001 reveals that six out of ten Indian households do not have water in their premises. One in two households in rural India does not have electricity. Seven out of ten households cook with firewood or dung. Remedies for these are cynically reckoned as burdensome; instead they must be viewed as investments that will deliver a more competitive economic workforce.

Reference: K. Venugopal, Do State Governments Have money to throw, The Hindu, dt. May 15, 2006

Very Funny
New York

There is this email that’s been doing the rounds

A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of maths instruction. “Al-gebra is a problem for us,” Gonzales said. “They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like ‘x’ and ‘y’ and refer to themselves as ‘ unknowns’, but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, ‘There are three sides to every triangle’.”

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of maths instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.” White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the president.

Qurratulain Haider Chair in Mumbai University
By A Staff Writer

Mumbai University’s pro vice-chancellor A. D. Sawant said a chair will be established at the university’s Urdu department in memory of the legendary fiction writer Qurratulain Haider. One of the finest Urdu novelists, Haider, died on August 21 last year after a prolonged illness at her Noida home. A Jnanpith awardee, she had authored several critically acclaimed novels, including Aag Ka Darya, a historical account of India from the 4th century BC to modern times. She later translated Aag Ka Darya into English as River of Fire.

A chair commemorating Haider, who was fondly called Aini Aapa, in Mumbai, will rekindle students’ interest in her works. “Aini Aapa spent many years in Mumbai when she worked for The Illustrated Weekly of India with Khushwant Singh. The chair will be the city’s tribute to her.

Haider’s stories are already part of the Urdu curriculum in several universities across the country. A chair will give a further impetus to understanding Aini Aapa’s works.


Basheer Peruvvalathupar-ambu, a worker in a cleaning firm in Dubai got his first Malayalam book titled Vidhiyude Nidhikal (Treasures of Fate) published in the first week of February. Basheer used to jot down his experiences of people, places and events at the end of 12-hour work shift. These were then compiled into a book. He had earlier got several letters published in Malayalam dailies from the Gulf.

A Man of Individuality
Truth does not Permit Compromise

Before Socrates was poisoned, the chief judge said to him,”I feel sorry that I had to agree with the majority. They all wanted to kill you. And you are such a strange fellow. I give you three alternatives which you did not accept.”

The chief judge had tremendous respect, but what to do? The majority was shouting, “He should be killed because he is corrupting out youth. He is giving them ideas which are against our traditions, against our religion. He is making them skeptical of the old and the ancient. He is making them explore reality on their own, and not just believe in our ancient scriptures. This man should be destroyed.”

The chief judge said, “The first simple choice is for you to move out of Athens, just outside the boundary line, and there you can make your academy. Those who want to learn can come there.”

Socrates said, “That will show my fear of death… and soon I am going to die any way. So to escape from Athens just for a few years. My being does not support such an idea. I cannot act out of fear. I would rather accept death, because you can only kill my body but not my spirit.”

The chief judge said, “The second alternative is for you to promise not to talk about truth, to stop teaching; you can live in Athens.”

He said, “Then what will be the point of living? To me, truth is higher that life. Life comes and goes; truth remains, No.1 cannot accept that. “

The chief judge said, “Then the last thing is that you can say, ‘I am sorry that I have hurt people’s feelings.’ Just a simple apology will make me stand in your favor, and you can be saved from this ugly act of poisoning you to death.”

Socrates said, “That is not possible, because I have not done anything wrong. I cannot say I am sorry. I am immensely happy, and the question of an apology does not arise. For centuries you all will be condemned because you poisoned me. And one thing I would like you to know is that your name will be remembered only because you gave the judgment for my death; other wise, nobody will remember you.”

This is the man of individuality who does not care for his life, for his body, who has no fear. He accepted death with joy.