Leaders Support Quota for Muslim Women
By Andalib Akhtar
NEW DELHI: Muslim leaders view the controversial Women’s Bill
which could not be introduced in the Parliament due to stout opposition
from Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samata Party as a conspiracy against
the Other Backward Classes(OBC) and Muslims and designed to reduce their
The bill which does not reserve the quota for the OBC (making up 52
per cent of the India’s population and Muslims (12 per cent), has been
described as a conspiracy against the two segments of the population. Nowhere
in the world the seats in the legislatures are reserved on the gender base.
He said proportionately, Muslims should have had 65 seats in the 542-member
Lok Sabha but the current house had only 29 members. He said only five
per cent of the house members were Muslims. “If Muslim women were not given
quota in the proposed 33 per cent reservation for women, the Muslim representation
would further decline.
SP members, Dr. Shafiqur Rahman Barq and Azam Khan held the demand genuine
. Congress MPs , Jaffer Sharief, P. M. Sayeed and Shakeel Ahmed openly
opposed the bill in its present form. The Committee for Empowerment of
Muslim Women which held a seminar here, demanded eight per cent quota for
Muslim women. Syed Shahabuddin, former MP, has also lent his support to
The increasing pressure from Muslim and OBC MPs led to the postponement
of the introduction of the Bill in the Lok Sabha.
IB Survey Shocks Muslim Community
NEW DELHI: The Muslim Community was shocked over a reported nationwide
secret survey conducted by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) recently to asses
if there was threat to internal security from the community vis-a-vis the
nuclear blasts carried out by India and Pakistan. The community has strongly
objected to the 28 points questionnaire of the IB which has enquired “will
Indian Muslim stand by the government in the event of a war with Pakistan”.
Muslim leaders here have described it a deliberate attempt perpetrated
by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to point Muslim community as “anti-national”
and to divide society on communal lines. Former member of Parliament, Mr.
Syed Shahbuddin called it an offshoot of ‘usual bias’ nurtured by the BJP
and its front line organisations over years against Muslims.
“They have put a big question mark on the patriotic credentials of the
community”, he said. India’s premier internal intelligence agency (IB)
recently conducted two top secret nationwide surveys at the instance of
Prime Minister’s office (PMO) to get a quick idea on how the Muslims were
reacting to the nuclear race that has begun between the two neighbours.
A set of questions were asked to Muslims. Important among them were
: Did Muslim community oppose the Pakistan test. How Muslims reacted to
Pakistan’s explosion, what is the impact of Prime Minister Nawaz Sheriff’s
speech calling for the unity of Muslim Ummah; and will the Indian Muslim
stand by the centre in the event of war with Pakistan.
Reacting over this adventure, Rajya Sabha member K.M. Khan said, “By
conducting such surveys, the BJP has ignored the contribution of Muslims
like Dr. Abdul Kalam, in fulfilling India’s dream in missile and nuclear
Charminar to Get a Facelift
By A Staff writer
Hyderabad: Charminar, the presiding icon of Hyderabad is set
to become a major tourist attraction as the state government has decided
to implement the long-pending proposal to pedestrianise the area around
the monument to protect if from air and sound pollution and also to illuminate
the area for round-the-clock shopping in the world-famous Laad Bazar of
bangles and pearls. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu recently announced
his plans to give a major boost to tourism in the State and he realised
that hard-selling the State to tourists and investors cannot be complete
without dressing up Charminar. If his plans are realised, the area around
the monument would undergo a total transformation. There will be no traffic
snarls or hold-ups, no commotion, no hustle and bustle of vehicles and
above all no air or sound pollution. At present the area is notorious for
traffic jams and the tourists find it impossible to enjoy a view of the
magnificent edifice. The tourists, infact, are surprised over the negligent
attitude of concerned authorities towards the monument which was built
by the founder of Hyderabad city, Sultan Mohammed Quili Qutub Shah in 1591
as a symbol of triumph over plague. Signalling what is in store, a thick
layer of soot has already tarnished the golden sheen of the four-storeyed
structure which has four minarets and 140 delicately carved arches. The
galleries of the Charminar were closed to the public following a suicide
of a family of five, who jumped from one of the balconies in 1986. Making
the area around the Charminar pedestrianised is inevitable to save the
180 feet-high monument from air and sound pollution. More than 6,000 buses
pass through the route daily beside hundreds of autorickshaws, cars and
other vehicles. The monument is merely serving as a traffic Island as it
stands at a cross road. Experts have already warned that the monument may
collapse due to vibrations. They pointed out that the movement of heavy
vehicles on all four sides was causing damage to the very foundations of
the monument, which was built in the age of carts. As if air pollution
and vibration was not enough to threaten the structure, new monolithic
buildings are coming up very close to the monument violating all norms
laid down for protecting the monuments. A five-storeyed building housing
the Charminar telephone exchange has come up just 100 meters away on the
eastern side, ruining the aesthetics of historical monument. Another multi-storeyed
building for housing the police control room for the communally sensitive
old city will come up 50 meters away from the monument. Surely, Quli Qutub
Shah must be turning in his grave finding the present generation neglecting
the monument he had so lovingly built. The Sultan, it is said, had destroyed
the blue print after building the structure lest someone replicated it.
The magnificent edifice is surrounded by the beautiful Mecca Masjid,
imposing building of Charminar Unani hospital, world-famous bangles market
(Laad Bazar), besides scores of shops dealing in cloth, gold and silver
ornaments and pearls. Even otherwise, the area is frequented for the special
Irani tea and typical mouth-watering and lip-smacking Hyderabadi dishes
served by a string of hotels and eateries. Even the Mecca Masjid is the
victim of negligence by archaeological department. Several new structures
have come up on the southern side of the Mosque.
The proposal for pedestrianising the area around Charminar is not new.
Infact it was mooted way back in 1983 but remained merely on paper. The
road from Naya Pul on Musi river to Falaknuma palace via Charminar is the
life line for residents of the backward old city. The 4 km long route is
very congested and even the plan to widen it has been pending for nearly
two decades. The main obstacle in demolishing the decades old buildings
in a communally sensitive area has been the fear of resistance from people.
The plan to pedestrianise Charminar area would merely remain on paper unless
a ring road was provided through densely populated areas on either side
of the monument. The recent announcement of the chief minister has rekindled
the hopes. He has already released Rs.4.32 lakh to conduct a survey for
the purpose. The Chief Minister, who is known for innovative ideas, has
already announced plans to beautify the Musi river. The river which divides
old city and the new city was flowing till early part of this century.
But today it is merely a drain in which sewerage from different parts of
the city join. It is estimated that the project to beautify Musi river
to make it a place of tourist attraction would cost Rs.75 crore. The magnificent
buildings of Andhra Pradesh High Court, Osmania Hospital, Salar Jung Museum
and several other decades old structures are located on the banks of Musi
river. The ground work on the project has already started with construction
of a channel. If everything goes well the entire river bed would be converted
into a green belt. The river and the monuments have a tremendous tourism
potential but it is only the Chief Minister who appears to be very keen
on exploiting the potential to put Hyderabad on the world tourism map.
Ambur youth rue wasted years Resolve
to begin Anew
By V. M. Khaleelur Rahman
Ambur: Leather market boom has gone bust and people in the trade
are facing unprecedented crisis in towns of Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Ranipet
and Chennai. Big industrial houses who had encashed on the boom during
the last quarter century are finding it hard to survive. The Council of
Leather Exports has miserably failed to echo grievances of the industry
and seeking redressal from the government of India. Countries like Pakistan
and China have outdone Indian exporters due to competitive prices and higher
exchange rates for the US dollar.
During all these years, the leather industry did extremely well and
made technological leap with rapid modernisation and production of high
quality leather and goods. Job opportunities for educated as well as uneducated
were aplenty. Attraction was so much that even doctors and engineers were
lured into the leather trade and industry. But all that is event of the
past. Industry has lost the glamour.
But the leather boom affected the education of Muslim boys. Most parents,
particularly from the poor and middle class families thought that there
was no necessity for giving higher education to their children as after
all they were “destined” to work in tanning or shoe units. The result was
that the Muslim community in Ambur could not produce even a single doctor
during the 25 years.
The rich were busy with their tanning and export activities and could
spare no thought for the educational needs of the community. Social and
community welfare activities were conspicuous activities. And ugly display
of wealth in marriage and other functions were the order of the day. Some
took fancy in associating themselves with the tablighi and directly or
indirectly discouraged students from seeking education.
Now when the industry is in the doldrums, some youngsters have come
out from their stupor and formed Mazharul Uloom Students Muslim Association
(MOSMA) mainly to improve the quality of education in the Muslim managed
schools and colleges and help students in seeking higher professional education.
Mr. N. Shafeeq Ahmed , a young industrialist, was mainly instrumental for
bringing the youngsters together and forming this forward-looking association.
This association has decided to help the students who have secured more
than 90 per cent of marks this year and are not in a position to meet the
expenses for their education in medical, engineering or any other college
by giving scholarships. The Crescent Engineering College, Vandaloor, Chennai
has come forward to admit a student from Ambur with 90 per cent average
marks without any donation. The Association aims at improving the quality
of education, to concentrate on learning of languages and to fulfil health
care and sports requirements of the students. Maddekar Shakeel Ahmed has
been elected the President of the association and 21 executive members
have been nominated. In the meantime, the Ambur Muslim Educational Society
is searching for an area for setting up the women’s college so that all
Muslim girls may have higher education which is nowadays not easily available
to the poor students of the society.
Muslim Personal Law and Women - A Report
By Dr. Malika B. Mistry
A national seminar was held at J.P Nayak Bhavan, Bombay University on
3rd and 4th July, 98 by the Institute of Islamic Studies and National Commission
for Women (NCW) specially with respect to Muslim women with in the Islamic
Framework. In this seminar Muslim advocates, intellectuals and social activists
participated. It was inaugurated by Mohini Giri, Chair-person of NCW. Dr.
(MS.) Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, Member, (NCW), also participated.
Rafiq Zakaria, Islamic Scholar and social worker, in his presidential
address, pleaded for a ban on triple talaq in one sitting and also for
banning of polygyny quoting from the Qur’an that it commands Muslims to
be monogamous in normal circumstances. Asgar Ali Engineer, noted Islamic
scholar and reformist, explained that Hazrat Umar had reintroduced triple
talaq in one sitting as an emergency measure and temporary measure which
the Muslim society has continued to use to exploit women.
Later three divorced Muslim women gave testimonies as to how they were
discarded in very unjust manner by their husbands using the instrument
of triple talaq in one sitting. Indeed their testimonies shocked the audiences.
Umza Nahed presented a draft of the standard Nikahnama prepared by herself
and her associates after careful consideration so as to safeguard the interests
of Muslim women. She informed that many of the Ulema have approved it.
It is awaiting the official release by the Muslim Personal Law Board. Once
this Nikahnama becomes official, automatically triple talaq in one sitting
would become invalid and polygyny would become conditional and women will
not become destitute after divorce and polygyny by their husbands. Also
Muslim women would get a decent amount as Mehr which is their right given
Bader Sayeed, Ex-Chair-person of the Minorities Commission, Tamil Nadu,
and practising advocate High Court, pleaded for codification of Muslim
Personal Law, as lack of codification makes the judges give judgements
depending on their mood and whims. For example, in the olden days under
section 125, Muslim divorced women got a pittance as maintenance but today
under the Muslim women’s protection law (1986), some times it is possible
for Muslim divorced women to get even two to three lakhs as one time payment
of maintenance. But it depends upon the sympathy, understanding and interpretation
of the judge.
Flavia Agnes, a devoted social activist and advocate solving legal problems
of women from all communities, explained that it is very difficult to restrict
the sexuality of men by law. Even if polygyny is banned by Muslim Personal
Law, still it would exist in practice. For example, among Hindus even though
bigamy is banned, still polygyny exists. Indeed it makes a pathetic sight
to see the Hindu wife trying to prove that she is the legally wedded wife
while the man sits like a lord and precious commodity whose possession
is to be proved. Instead, she advocated for safeguarding the economic rights
of women whether she is the first wife, second wife or third wife. Also
she informed the audiences that a number of secular laws already exist
which can give justice to women. For example, custody of children can be
given even to a Muslim woman with the help of these secular laws. Therefore
she recommended that while reforming the Muslim Law, these pointsshould
be kept in mind.
Qamar Jahan a Professor and a social activists from Varanasi, pointed
out that though Islam is the best religion, its followers have fallen much
short of its ideals. This is where the cause of Muslim women’s plight lies.
So reform has to come from within the hearts of Muslims, both men and women.
Also, Muslim women should become bold enough to assert their rights given
by Islam. Islam asks its followers to be courageous while many Muslims
are not. She exhorted that each and every Muslim, male as well female,
should see that injustice is prevented in Muslim society. All that it requires
is fear of Allah and a little courage. Further we should educated and empower
our daughters economically. This alone can solve the lower status of Muslim
Dr. (MS) Saiyidian stated that very soon NCW was going to approach the
Muslim Personal Law Board to bring about reform in Muslim Personal Law
within the Islamic Framework. She was optimistic that now even the Ulema
are ready for the reform.
Three BJP MPs elected to AMU Court
NEW DELHI : Out of six members, three BJP MPs were elected to
the Court of Aligarh Muslim University. The election was held in pursuance
of the motion by the Lok Sabha on July 6, 1998. Besides, BJP MPs Mrs. Sheela
Guatam, Dr, Sanjay Singh, and Dr. Ramesh Chand Tomar, other members are
Dr. Shakil Ahmad (Cong), Mohammad Shabuddin (RJD) and Abul Hasmat Khan
Expressing serious concern over the election of BJP members to the highest
decision making body of AMU, Mr. G.M. Banatwala, president Indian Union
Muslim League said this was become possible only because of ‘secular’ parties’
apathy towards Muslim issues. If they would have worked out a joint strategy,
this would not have happened, he added.
New Courses by Jamia Urdu, Aligarh
ALIGARH: The Jamia Urdu, a deemed to be University, proposes
to introduce several new courses from next year. The Jamia will offer through
correspondence diploma courses in Environmental Studies, Advanced Diploma
in Journalism, Diploma in several industrial trades, certificate course
in Hygiene, Public Health and diploma in Applied Optometry. Courses involving
practical training will be conducted only at Aligarh. A decision to introduce
these courses was taken at a meeting of the Jamia in March. Several of
the distant learning courses will be introduced through Internet, according
to Registrar S. Anwar Saeed.
Muslim Girl Tops Pune Division in SSC
By Staff Writer
Zarrin Masood Ahmed Ansari of the Anglo-Urdu Girls’ School of Pune stood
first in Pune Division and second in the Maharastra State in the Secondary
School Certificate (SSC) examinations held in March 98. She secured 94.80
per cent marks.
Ansari’s performance was a momentous occasion for her school as she
is their first student to top the merit list in the school’s 50 years of
Another Muslim girl Asma Jabeen Imtiaz Shaikh from the same school secured
9th position in the Pune SSC Division gaining 92.40 per cent marks. Indeed
it is a golden moment for the Anglo-Urdu Girls’ High School, because two
of their girls have stood in the merit list.
Also quite a few Muslim children specially girls from Urdu medium schools
have appeared in the merit list of Poona Division. Their names and position
in the merit list are as follows: Biradar Shaheda Gause (2nd), Shaikh Naziya
Abdul Hai (7th), Sayed Rubeena Mehboob (11th), Shaikh Suhail Ahmad
A. Rasheed (12th) and Jakaler Sanober Sultana M.H. (24th) all from Solapur.
Shaikh Shabana Mahmud (21st) from Walchand Nagar was the only Muslim student
from Marathi medium to stand in the merit list.
This shows that provided Muslim children work hard having faith in Allah,
they too can top even though there might be discrimination. This must inspire
our children to work hard and top in different walks of life.
Scholarship for Brilliant Muslim Students
Hamdard Education Society, presided over by Hakeem Abdul Hameed Saheb,
instituted in the year 1986 a Talent Search and Scholarship Scheme for
bright Muslim students.
Applications are invited from students who have passed High School,
Intermediate, Graduate and Post Graduate examinations in 1998 and intend
to continue their education at least upto the academic year 1999-2000.
While awarding the loan scholarships the main stress will be on Science,
Engineering and Medicine, but students of Commerce and Social Sciences
including Economics may also be considered. The purpose of the scheme is
to select extraordinarily bright Muslim students and to fund the subsequent
education of those among them who are needy and continue to show excellent
results, so as to produce leaders in various walks of life. The criterion
for selection would be merit-cum-means.
Scholarship forms can be had from the Secretary, Hamdard Education Society,
Talimabad, Sangam Vihar, New Delhi-110062. The Last date for receipt of
application forms in this office is 5th September, 1998. Examination and
interview are likely to be held in the month of October, 1998.
Haj Arrangement Award for Karnataka
NEW DELHI: Karnataka has been awarded for the best arrangements
for Haj pilgrims. Minister of State for Home and Waqf Roshan Baig received
the award on July 9 in Delhi by Union Minister of State for External Affairs.
It may be recalled that nearly 6,000 pilgrims from the state as well as
Andhra Pradesh departed for Haj from Bangalore in March this year, boarding
12 flights to Jeddah. Arrangements were made at the Quddus Sahib Eidgah
in Cantonment area for their accommodation, customs, immigrations and orientation.
Revised Draft Haj Bill Under Preparation
NEW DELHI : The central government has been preparing a new draft
Haj bill to replace the present Haj Committee Act of 1959. Minister of
State for External Affairs, Mrs. Vasundhara Raje has informed the Rajya
Sabha during the current session. In a reply to a question raised by congress
member Mr. K. Rahman Khan, the minister also informed that the government
has decided the reconstitution of the present Haj Committee which has already
completed its tenure way back in October 1996.
It may be recalled, that over the last 15-20 years several attempts
have been made to finalise alternative legislation for Haj management.
Last year, united front government has taken up such exercise but it could
not last. Mrs. Raje said the new Haj Bill, seeking to revamp Haj management,
will take cognisance of the important changes that have taken place in
the area of Haj both in Saudi Arabia and in India and attempt to put into
position a system that would serve for decades to come.
The ministry is further doing consultations with the concerned departments
and state governments to determine the most appropriate and feasible model
for Haj management, further more, the experience of other countries in
Haj management is also being taken into account.
While addressing the All India Haj conference here, Mrs. Raje assured
the delegates that the revised draft will be introduced in Parliament as
soon as possible.
NCM Presents Report
By a staff writer
NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Minorities has submitted
its latest report to the Central Government regarding the problems faced
by the minorities.
Running into 138 pages, it deals with denial of minority rights, Uttar
Pradesh Government’s educational policy, encroachment on Gurdwara land
and problems faced by the Hindu minority in the Jammu and Kashmir. The
report will need to be tabled in the Parliament before being made public.
Contempt Notice to Imams for Azan
CALCUTTA: The Calcutta High Court on July 19 issued contempt
notice against eight Imams of the eight mosques and counsel Idris Ali for
flouting the Court’s order against restrictions on azan over microphones.
Mr. Ali, secretary of the Minority Cell of the Congress(I) has been asked
to show cause why he should not be committed to prison or penalised for
willingly aiding and instigating members of the Muslim community to ignore
the court’s orders. The Imams belong to the mosques situated in Park Street,
Kanya, Benipukur, Chitpur, Watgungwe, Garden Reach and South Port area.
The Environment Bench of the High Court fined Mr. Vijay Upadhyaya, a
Samajwadi Party leader for Rs. 50,000 for committing contempt of the court
by causing sound pollution and by calling upon the minority community to
flout its directives. Mr. Upadhayaya’s statement in which he had stated
that the Court had passed an illegal order, had appeared in Bangla daily
Bartaman on July 8.
The Court also disapproved the statement by Minister Kalimuddin Shams
who had held that the court directive obstructed the performance of religious
duties by Muslims.
The Azan issue is assuming political overtones with Miss Nirmala Banerjee,
the Trinamool Congress MP openly supporting the rights of the Imams. In
a public meeting at Park Circus on July 12, she declared that she would
take steps to ensure that the azan is exempted by the court directives.
“ West Bengal is the only state in the country, where the judiciary meddled
in the religious affairs of the communities”, she added. She said the party
would move the Supreme Court against the court’s restriction on the azan
The order passed on April 1, l996 stated that no microphones could be
used from 9 pm to 7 am and that at other hours of the day, the sound should
not exceed 65 decibel limits. Later the prayer petition for exemption of
the Fajer prayers was rejected by the court on the grounds that the directive
would lose its secular character if only one particular committee was granted
such relaxations. The court also observed that there was no ban on azan
but only restriction on the sound level from the microphones. It said microphones
were not essential part of the azan.
Mr. Justice K. M. Yusuf, former judge of the Calcutta High court in
a statement says that there is no religious obligation to use microphones
for azan and the insistence on using them for morning prayers at mosque
is not based on Islamic principles. Even the general mood among the Muslims
of Calcutta is to avoid unnecessary confrontation with the court as the
directive applies to all the communities alike and even puja pandals are
also observing the rules.
A group of citizens from Delhi has regretted the politicisation of the
court directive on Azan. In a joint statement, Maulana Waheeduddin Khan,
Swami Agnivesh, Father Das Thimpu, Dr. Mohinder Singh and Dr. A. K. Merchant
have said the atmosphere of confrontation being created over the issue
would hurt the cause of religion. They appealed to the imams to cooperate
with the court and arouse cultural consciousness in the country.
Gujarat Minorities Board
NEW DELHI : Opposition parties and Muslim leaders have condemned
the Keshubhai Patel government in Gujarat for reversing the previous Rashtriya
Janata Party Government’s decision to convert the Gujarat Minorities Board
(GMB) into an autonomous corporation. They have threatened to launch a
stir against the BJP state government, if it does not revoke the decision.
The largest Opposition Party, Congress which is also the opposition
party in the Gujarat Assembly said that once again the hidden agenda of
BJP against minorities has come to the fore terming the decision a major
below to the cause of minorities. The party said that new GMB will not
be able to draw funds from the National Minorities Development and Financial
Corporation (NMDFC), for the welfare schemes aimed at the uplift of the
social-economic conditions of minorities. Besides, the GMB will not be
able to claim the capital share of Rs. 15 crore from the State government.
BJP insides said the hardliners were behind the move. They had pressurised
chief minister Keshubhai Patel to reverse the decision taken by his betenoir
Shankershingh Vaghela who had decided to create a corporation.
Earlier, the hardliner had thwarted a decision taken by the Suresh Mehta
government to set up a minority corporation.
At that time, Hares Pandya, presently the minister of state of Home,
had sought the creation of a human rights cell instead.
Rashtriya Janata Party threatened to launch an agitation if the ruling
BJP fails to restore the GMB’s status Party leaders Vishnu Pandya and Mohammad
Ali Qadri said the decision has unveiled the BJP’s secular grab.
Mr. Qadri, the chairman of the Gujarat Wakf Board asked Muslim leaders
in the BJP, including the GMB Chairman, to quit enmass from the party to
protest the decision. Mr. Ahmad Patel Congress MP from Gujarat, told the
Islamic Voice, that the move amply reflects BJP’s anti-minority commission
despite vociferous protest from all quarters, he added.
Qur'an Exhibition in AMU
ALIGARH: The Maulana Azad Library here organised a book exhibition
on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the occasion of his birthday.
170 rare copies of the Quran were on display. These included one handwritten
copy of the Quran by Hazrath Ali, the fourth caliph of Madinah, the handwritten
copy by emperor Aurangzeb and his sister Jehan Ara. Battle-dress inscribed
with the verses of the Quran and translations in various Indian languages.
Registrar Ali Shah Jafri inaugurated the exhibition.