Utilising Zakat for Modern Education
AP Makes Major Strides
Two Trusts in Hyderabad are channelising zakat for assisting Muslim students to attain modern skills.
Muslims in Andhra Pradesh have made major strides in utilising zakat funds for the promotion of modern education. Taking a constructive deviation from the beaten path, they have begun devoting large chunks of money to fund professional courses for Muslim students and are also taking in a few deserving non-Muslim students on their rolls. Last year, the Hyderabad Zakath and Charitable Trust (HZCT) and Ghiasuddin Babu Khan Trust (GBK) ploughed Rs. 5 crore to fund the studies of 15,200 students. In the previous year, the sum ran to the tune of Rs. 2.5 crore and number of students stood at 7,702.
So far, the zakat funds were being used by the madrasas run by the professional moulvis. But these madrasa graduates used to be perpetually dependant on the community while being taught and even when they were employed. But no longer so.
The moving spirit behind the two bodies is Mr. Ghiasuddin Babu Khan, a realtor and builder from Hyderabad who has roped in his entire family into promoting modern education among Muslims. He has fixed a target for 2015 whereby the Muslims of Andhra Pradesh would be assisting 500,000 students in the State by disbursing Rs. 200 crore. He feels by that time the community would have produced 5,000 doctors, 15,000 engineers, 5,000 MBAs, 5,000 MCAs, 5,000 M.Sc, 10,000 B.Eds, 5,000 MAs, 5,000 nurses, 10,000 other graduates, 2,000 lawyers, 500 chartered accountants, and at least 100 IAS officers.
The power of a community with such a large body of professionally educated students could be imagined. How this investment in modern and professional education would turn a liability into an asset. If indeed these students are equipped with moral character, Islamic faith and ethos, aptitude for hard work, efficiency, promptitude, they would become the mobile representatives for the community.
We, a team of social workers from Bangalore spent a day with the activists working with Ghiasuddin Babu Khan at Hindupur, a district headquarter town, 150 kms north of Bangalore on July 26. It was a typical rendezvous of scholarship aspirants, their parents, counselors and secretarial staff. Sans fanfare, it was organised in a marriage function hall where the students were interviewed by a bevy of counselors. We too chipped in. In all there were about 500 aspirants. Of these, the counselors selected 437 candidates for issue of scholarship cheques. The amount to be issued was decided on the basis of the nature and fee required by the course, privately run, aided or Government institution, hostel inmates or day scholars and if the aspirant had parents or was an orphan. The amounts sanctioned ranged from Rs. 500 for PUC students in Government colleges to Rs. 12,000 for medical students in private medical colleges. Counselors had been given colour charts indicating the limits of allocation for each course and varied status.
Much groundwork had gone into preparing the Hindupur rendezvous. District Inspectors had investigated the cases and assessed the need of the students. The students had even filled out a questionnaire designed to assess their Islamic and general knowledge. Nearly 50 per cent of these questionnaires submitted at Hindupur were filled in Telugu language. Most aspirants were headed for BE courses while girls were desirous of pursuing B.Ed or teachers training courses. It appeared that conversational skills of Muslim students were poor and they were neither able to converse in English nor Urdu (which was mostly the mother tongue) nor even Telugu, the regional language. There were umpteen number of students with over 90 per cent marks. Nearly five per cent of the selected students were non-Muslims. The two Trusts are making a vast difference to the Muslim situation in Andhra Pradesh. It is evident from the fact that they have currently on their rolls 1,065 BE and 125 medical students. Others on the rolls include 395 post graduate, 213 nursing, one Ph.D research scholar, eight CA and around 9,000 students in various stages of college.
More information can be had from: Hyderabad Zakath and Charitable Trust, Foundation for Economic and Educational Development (FEED), 1-8-353 to 355, Besides Huda Office, Begumpet, Secunderabad-500003, Ph. 040-23356085, mobile: 92465-39006, e-mail: feedhyap@ yahoo.co.in, website : www.feed-hyd.org