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New Chairperson of Minorities Financial Dev. Corpn
New Delhi:
Dr. Musarrat Shahid has been appointed the chairperson of the National Minorities Financial Development Corporation by the central government. Ms. Shahid was earlier chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Women’s Financial Development Corporation and was also president of the Mahila Congress in the State.
Woman Member on Wakf Board
Social activist, Sheema Mohsin has been nominated as a member of the Karnataka Board of Awkafs. She is the first woman member to be ever nominated on the Board in the state. The nomination came in the wake of Minority Welfare Minister Prof. Mumtaz Ali Khan’s declaration of his intent to induct women into bodies such as Wakf Board and Haj Committee. The decision has been widely hailed across the State.
Urdu scholar Ralph Russell passes away
He was known as Bartanvi Baba-i-Urdu in Urdu circles. Prominent Urdu scholar, Professor Ralph Russell, Head of Urdu department, Oriental and African Studies, UK, passed away on September 14. He was 90. He taught Urdu at the University of London for close to 32 years between 1949 and 1981. Among Russell’s many famous works is his translation of Mirza Ghalib’s poetry. He spent three-and-a-half years in India during the war and learnt Urdu to be able to converse with the soldiers ‘to awaken their political sense’. After the war, he devoted himself to the study of Urdu language and literature. He had earlier completed his education at Cambridge in 1940. His published works include, Three Mughal Poets (on Mir, Sauda and Mir Hasan) written with Khurshidul Islam, Ghalib’s Life and Letters, How not to write the History of Urdu Literature and A New Course in Urdu and spoken Hindi, besides his English translations of Urdu poetry and contributions to Urdu literary journals. He spoke Urdu in Pathan accent because he learnt Urdu from an Urdu munshi from the Pathan community. The Urdu translation of his memoirs titled, Joinda-o-Yabinda was published only recently. He established such a system of Urdu teaching in Britain, which facilitated the learning of the language across Britain. In his own words, A New Course in Urdu and spoken Hindi was designed for adults who wished to communicate with Urdu-speaking immigrants and their children, but had no time in the first instance to acquire more than the everyday spoken language. The course is in four parts, and worked on the principle of helping people to learn what they wanted and needed to know, and not burden them with information they neither wanted nor needed. Russell had pointed out that Urdu poetry, unlike poetry written in English, is meant to be primarily recited and not read (he was referring to the tradition of ‘Mushaira’ whereby a group of several poets recited their poems in front of an audience – sometimes all-night long).

Bangalore based former Chief Secretary to Government of Karnataka, T. P. Issar, who authored Divan e Ghalib : English Renderings had wide consultation with Prof. Russell prior to penning his magnum opus.

The Pakistan government had conferred ‘Sitara e Imtiaz’ on Prof. Russel in acknowledgement of his service to Urdu literature. The National Council for Promotion of Urdu in India has condoled his death.

UN Award for Chennai Youth
By A Staff Writer
At a time when youth desperately look for landing up cosy jobs, 24-year old Saleem Khan of Chennai has beaten a new path. He has chosen to take up social activism and address issues of mass woes and weal. The young man was recently presented with the Outstanding Youth Campaign Award at the Fifth Annual Youth Assembly of the United Nations for his research work on conservation of mangroves at Urur Kuppam at the point where Adyar river meets the Bay of Bengal on the outskirts of Chennai.

Saleem has acquired an M.Sc degree in biotechnology from the New College under Madras University. While working on rehabilitation of tsunami victims, he came face to face with the severe ecological problem at the coast where destruction of mangroves had led to elimination of effective natural barrier against the tidal waves. He found that the locals were not taking care of these mangroves. “I was very disappointed that very few people knew what mangroves were. Only old people said that they have seen mangroves 60-70 years back, which was also on the decline,” Saleem told the Islamic Voice.

‘Mangroves - a life saving vegetation’ was part of Saleem’s thesis for his masters in Biotechnology. He then decided to travel and put his project to practical use. Later he went around coastal areas of Tamil Nadu talking to people about the significance of mangroves.

Saleem Khan has now a campaign to educate the coastal people and is helping them to grow mangroves which could act as a natural barrier against calamities like tsunami or cyclone when high tidal waves cause devastation. His aim is to create a green mangrove belt all around the Indian coast which is nearly 7,000 kilometres.

Enthused by the UN Award for his work, Saleem opines that hard work always attracts dividends. He had submitted his thesis to the UN through its official website and was invited to receive the award. However he could not go there as the American Consulate of Chennai could not clear his visa in time. His brother Shah Nawaz Khan received the Award on his behalf. He was even feted by Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi for his effort.

Saleem continued his research at the New College under the guidance of his teacher, Professor Sultan Ahmed with the help of his colleague Sheikh Ali. He urges the state and the central governments to step into this effort by creating awareness about the mangroves and extending assistance to those engaged in the effort. He can be contacted at:  

Dr Ishaq Jamkhanawala passes away
By A Staff Writer
Dr Ishaq Jamkhanawala,  former president of Anjuman-i-Islam  passed away last month.  It is generally believed that one of the most difficult tasks is to manage human resources effectively and without controversy, and Dr Ishaq Jamkhanawala was one of the very few individuals who had been doing this extremely well since 1983, when he was elected as the president of Anjuman-i-Islam, the prestigious institution dedicated to educational and social causes, based in Mumbai.

While serving Anjuman-i-Islam as the President for more than two decades, he proved that being a ‘people’s person’ goes a long way in effectively managing more then 100 institutions and 23 Trusts. With his zeal and hard work, he had set the trend towards ‘Education that pays’, which has paid rich dividends in Maharashtra.   One aspect of Dr Jamkhanawala’s style of functioning, which had won him popular support was his constant interaction with the masses. For more than two decades when he was Anjuman president each day from 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm, he was available at his office at the Anjuman campus. Everyday People used to speak to him about their woes. Such commitment and dedication amongst the office bearer of public trust is very rare.

Under the leadership of Dr Jamkhanawala, Anjuman-i-Islam institutions gained tremend-ously in terms of public image. Anjuman-i-Islam’s  Urdu medium schools not only survived, but in turn started competing with the convent schools in terms of quality of education under Dr Jamkhanawala’s  leadership.  One of the strong supporters of women education, Dr Jamkhanawala promoted girls polytechnics at Anjuman’s VT premises as well as at Saboo Siddique Polytechnique.

A highly-qualified medical practitioner, Dr Jamkhanawala was first elected to legislative assembly from Nagpada constituency in Mumbai in 1978. He was made minister of state for urban development in Sharad Pawar’s ministry, when the latter was heading the PDF government.  He was brought back to limelight again by Pawar, when he became the chief minister in 1988.