Zul-Qada / Zul Hijja 1422
Volume 15-02 No:182
New Delhi : "Save the image of India" seems to be the latest task on the agenda of the Government of India and it has suddenly woken up to the fact that Muslims form an intergral part of the country whose support is so crucial to them. Even the hardcore conservatives within the Government are not averse to the idea of seeking service of Indian Muslims to save, rather boost the country's image abroad. A look at the list of the composition of delegations prepared by the Ministry of External Affairs recently, to be sent abroad to convince the world leaders in favour of India, shows a very generous sprinkling of Muslim names. From Muslim Parliamentarians to the head of religious institutions, the delegations constitute almost 50 per cent Muslims, while their representation in other areas is even less than one per cent. Out of 37 delegates in seven groups, 17 are Muslim. Also they head the four delegations. Interestingly, no Hindu leaders known for their communal bias are part of any delegations. The four-member delegation for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Sudan is headed by Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson Dr. Najma Heptullah. The other Muslim members of the delegation are Md. Hamid Ansari, Vice Chancellor AMU and Tanveer Ahmad, Chairman Central Haj Committee. The six-member delegation for Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei is led by former union minister C. M. Ibrahim, MP. The other two Muslim members of this delegation are Mohammad Anwarul Haq MP and Prof. Akhtarul Wasey of Islamic Studies Jamia Millia Islamia. For South Africa, Nigeria and Senegal, the delegation is headed by Shariefuddin Shariq, MP.
For Oman, Qatar and UAE, the delegation is headed by Sikandar Bakht MP, E. Ahmad, MP, and Siraj Hussain, Vice -Chancellor Jamia Hamdard are the other members of the delegation.
Bangalore: It was creativity for a purpose. An Art and Crafts Exhibition by the young students of Oasis International School in Bangalore was a refreshingly different affair. Each class had a theme keeping in tune with their subjects in their science classes. And that is not all. Quotations from the Quran related to each theme that the children could comprehend and relate to, were exhibited.
One classroom was converted into the Solar System with the planets dangling from the ceiling. The kids had created the planets from colourful beads and paper. With reference to sources of energy, a replica of a windmill stole the show, made meticulously by the kids of the school. Kites, hot air balloons and candles formed part of the exhibit. The upper kindergarten kids had designed rabbits with cotton and wool and butterflies from thermocol balls.
The Oasisites of the Montessori section had their own Iceland to boast of. Oasis follows the philosophy which says 'Remember the Creator before every action and remember Him before every Reaction'. Their purpose of relating the Creator with the things around was an eye opener and left the visitors reflecting on the verses of the Quran where it is said that: "He has created the heavens without any pillars that you see, and has set on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with you. And He has scattered therein living creatures of all kinds.
And We send down water from the sky, and We cause plants of every goodly kind to grow therein. This is the creation of Allah. So show me that which those besides Him have created(31:10-11).
Oasis school can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Nagpur : Nagpur city is in the news for all the good reasons. Iqbal Ahmed from this city has turned into a celebrity with his thumb-nail sized Steam Engine which is the world's smallest working steam engine and has found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, England, breaking the present record which was held by Ray Miner's engine from Iowa, United States of America. This thumb-nail sized engine is 6.8 mm in height, flywheel diameter 6.8mm, flywheel width 1.2mm, and 16.24 mm in length and weighs just 1.72 gms. This has been machined and crafted on a big 6 feet lathe machine and is a rare miniature engineering feat created by Iqbal. Andrew Simpson a resident from England visited Iqbal and taking the world's smallest steam engine in his hand, exclaimed, " Thank God, I am the first lucky European to see the smallest engine of the world." The Guinness Book of World Records accepted this thumb-nail sized engine as the smallest "Handcrafted" steam engine of the world with the comments, " welcome to a very few selected band of Guinness record holders. It is a cute little engineering masterpiece, the wonder of the world of Iqbal and India".
Ernakulam: An interest-free investment company, Alternative Investments and Credits Limited (AICL) has been floated by a group of Islamic scholars, businessmen and professionals. The company has a share capital of Rs 5 crore. Chief minister of Kerala, A K Antony inaugurated it recently by handing over the RBI licence to the Chairman of AICL, Prof. Siddique Hasan who is also the president of Jamaat-e-Islami in Kerala. The AICL will invest in ventures with profit-making entrepreneurs, profit-and-loss-sharing (PLS) ventures, mutual fund and leasing and may engage in activities such as foreign exchange dealings, financial and industrial consultancy and investment advisory. It proposes to float a parallel Charitable Trust to ensure availability of interest-free loans to the under-privileged communities. The Zakat share of the AICL will be transferred to the Trust. The Trust will aid activities such as housing, education and health projects and eradication of poverty. Among its directors is chartered accountant C. H. Abdur Raheem, NRI businessman P. N. Ali, medical practitioner Dr P. C. Anwar, contractor and engineer M. M. Jamal, former NRI and educationist A Mohammad Ali, engineer and industrialist K. V. Mohammad Zakir, industrialist M A Moosa, chartered accountant P. A. Hameed and P Unneen, managing director of a private hospital.
For details contact the company office at: 34/2444, Sunny Estates, Mamamgalam, Cochin-682025, Ph: 0484-337604, Email: email@example.com
Mumbai: Most of the political parties in India have a Minorities Cell. For a change, the Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML) is the only party in the country to have a Hindu Cell. "And why not?" asks the Mumbai president, Muhammad Farooque Azam, "These other parties just use the Hindus, but the poor and downtrodden among them get no succour at all and we want to help them." Azam's statement is a novel variation of the often-repeated allegation from nationalist parties that their rivals "use the minorities without doing anything concrete for them."
Asked why have a Hindu Cell at all in that case, Azam points to the Minorities Cells of the other parties and adds, "If the other parties like the Congress and the BJP can have Minorities Cells, why shouldn't we have a Hindu Cell?" The president of the Cell is Shiv K. Singh, who says that he is a Brahmin Hindu and came to Mumbai from Bihar in 1974, worked in a shipping company and after it turned sick, joined the IUML.
Of the 33 candidates, the party has fielded for the forthcoming elections, 6 are Hindus. Says Singh: "I looked at all the other parties closely and found that they are just not what they claim to be. Corruption is a common problem everywhere and I decided to sample the Muslim League. I have no complaints at all after joining it.
Kilakarai: A special lecture on "Importance of Muslim Census" was delivered by Dr S M M Mohamadali, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Service Movement (TNMSM) at the Juma Mosque in Kilakarai. The Muslim Service Movement is working towards organising Muslim census in Tamil Nadu. Those who are keen to join this service can contact:
Prof (Dr) S. M. M. Mohamadali, No 27, Narasimhapuram, Mylapore, Chennai-600004. Tel: 044-4936115.
Chennai: The Seethakathi Trust in Chennai has organised the Islamic Tamil Essay Contest in memory of Sheik Sadakathullah Appa. The topic this year is "Women's Status in Islam'. A cash award of Rs 20, 000 will be given to the best entry. Entries can be sent to the Secretary, Seethakathi Trust, Islamic Research Cultural Centre, Seethakathi Manimadam, No 272 (688),
Anna Salai, Chennai-600006. The last date is March 31, 2002.
Jaipur: In the all-pervading atmosphere of discrimination against Muslims and targeting of the community at all levels, participation of Muslims in the process of governance becomes all the more necessary.With this objective in mind, the Services Guidance Bureau, established by retired civil servant and former chairperson of the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC), J.M. Khan has launched coaching classes for competitive examinations here after a gap of several years. The Bureau was established in the early 1980's, but was not operational due to paucity of space.
Though the Bureau had acquired from the Rajasthan Waqf Board a decrepit building - Nanaji Ki Haveli located near the Muslim Musafirkhana, its use was earlier limited to housing the students preparing for competitive examinations. A recent attempt by the management committee of Musafirkhana to acquire control over the building led to a flurry of activities and the founding members of the Bureau approached the Waqf Board and chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, with the plea to protect the haveli for the use of poor and deserving students.
Nanaji Ki Haveli has now been given to the Services Guidance Bureau for its philanthropic work. However, its maintenance will be looked after by Muslim Musafirkhana. It has been spruced up and furnished to accommodate the students. The fresh phase of work by the Bureau began with the inauguration of the coaching classes for the Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Examination.
Speaking to this correspondent, J.M. Khan said that about 10 students would stay in the 12 rooms in the haveli, while 85 candidates had registered themselves for coaching for the ASI exam. The coaching provided by the Bureau earlier had enabled 130 candidates to succeed in various competitive exams for the Central and State services over a period of 15 years. They included 17 candidates selected to the Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS), and 7 to the Rajasthan Accounts Service.
Besides a meagre sum of Rs. 10,000 per year from the Dargah Committee of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti's Dargah, the Bureau has no permanent source of income. It does not charge any fee to the students enrolled with it. It was allocated a one-time grant of Rs 3 lakhs by the union ministry of Social Justice in 1998. The Central Waqf Council too has rendered some financial help to the Bureau. While former State minister, Abdul Rehman Chaudhary, announced an annual fund aid of Rs 11,000, industrialists Salim Kagzi and Rehmat Khan have decided to contribute Rs 25,000 each. According to Khan, the Bureau would shortly launch computer training courses. With a view to improving the candidates' command over the language, English improvement classes would also be organised. At a later stage, the Bureau proposes to launch coaching for students of secondary and higher secondary classes as well.
The Chairperson of the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission and former Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Syed Sagheer Ahmed, called upon the aspirants to State services to adopt the values of honesty and integrity.
With its motto of 'Education: The Key to Progress', The American Federation of Muslims from India (AFMI), USA, in association with the Haji Gulam Mohammed Azam Trust, Pune, and the Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society, Pune, organised the 10th Educational Conference at Pune in december.
Connecting itself with the educational, social and economic upliftment of the Indian Muslims, the AFMI, established in 1989, has accorded the highest priority to the eradication of illiteracy among the Muslim children. This, it does through supporting projects aimed at rehabilitating institutions that provide vocational guidance.
The conference reflected upon the Constitutional rights of the minority educational institutions and the concessions and other facilities accorded to other backward classes (OBCs).
Dr. A.S. Nakadar, Secretary-General, AFMI, and Editor, Muslim Observer (USA) pointed out that, "While the rest of the world is at the pinnacle of success and prosperity, why must the Muslim community alone be left behind? Even today, 60 per cent of Indian Muslims are illiterate.
AFMI presented "The Pride of India Award" was given to Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait. The "Sir Sayyad Ahmad Khan Award' was given to Saiyid Hamid, Chancellor, Hamdard University, New Delhi and the "Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi" Award was given to Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi.
"Education of Muslims is important, but education of girls is more important. Masjids should become Maktabs. Grass-root level education is necessary," said Maulana Qasmi.
Chennai: The Muslim Educational Association of Southern India (MEASI) organised an all India Educational Conference at 'Association Gardens' here on January 17. The conference was part of the Centenary celebrations. Dr. Najma Heptulla, Deputy Chairperson-Rajya Sabha, A. M. Khusro, former member, Planning Commission, Government of India, Prof. Tahir Mahmood, former Chairman, National Commission for Minorities and Abid Hussain, former Indian Ambassador to United States participated in the conference. "Islam did not discriminate against women's education. The Holy Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammed placed great importance on education and equal treatment of women," said Dr Heptullah. She also stressed on the fact that the teachings of Islam have to be observed in letter and spirit and Muslims had a duty to present the image of Islam to the world outside. Delivering the keynote address, A. M. Khusro said a majority of Muslims in India are socially, economically and educationally backward and to uplift them using conventional methods would take considerable time, and appealed to the Muslims to take up Information Technology to enhance modern education. He commended the role played by Nadwatul Ulema in imparting modern education along with the religious curriculum and advised the Ulema to encourage the study of social sciences in the madrasas. Prof. Tahir Mahmood focused on the misuse of the rights of minorities. "Though the Constitution had ensured minorities the right to education, these provisions have been misinterpreted against minorities," he said. Former Indian Ambassador to United States, Dr. Abid Hussain in his presidential remarks urged the younger generation 'to have big dreams' with a mission in life.
The Muslim Educational Association of Southern India honoured ten eminent Muslim personalities as part of the Centenary celebration of MEASI and the Golden Jubilee Celebration of New College on January 16. The governor of Tamilnadu C. Rangarajan presented the MEASI honours to President of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi, former Ambassador to United States Dr. Abid Hussain, Dr. Najma Heptulla, A. M. Khusro, Prof. Tahir Mahmood, Lt. General M. A. Zaki, Cardialogist, Dr. M. Khalilullah, Himalaya Drug Company Chairman Meraj Alim Manal, Journalist M. J. Akbar and social worker Jouher Osman Ali Khan. An exhibition of Islamic Culture stole the show at the 'Association Garden' campus.
New Delhi: Hindu fundamentalist organisations in the country have chalked out plans to establish 14,000 'Ekal Vidyalya' or religious schools across the country. The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has announced its plan to set up thousands of such religious schools. Confirming the decision of setting up 'Ekal Vidyalyas', an office bearer of the VHP told this correspondent that his organisation had planned to open 8,000 - 9,000 such Vidyalyas all over India by the end of March 2002.
These 'Vidayalyas' will be set up in the rural and remote areas of the countryside, particularly the areas where people are ignorant of the communal Hindutva ideology.
"What is wrong with spreading the Hindutva concept of education. If we will not spread Hinduism in India where else will we?" questions Acharya Giriraj Kishore, vice-president of VHP.
Thiruvananthapuram: It is pathetic to the core! The pitiable manner in which the authorities have averted regulations with respect to job reservations to Muslims and other backward classes in the government organisations in Kerala has come to light. The Enquiry Committee instituted by the government of Kerala was headed by Justice (Rtd) Narendran with T M Savankutty, former chairman, Kerala Public Service Commission and K V Rabindran Nair, former chief secretary, as members. But the findings with respect to the Muslim community are alarming. Out of the 18,525 vacancies filled by the forward caste communities, about 7383 vacancies were from the Muslim quota. The under-representation was different for various categories classified on the basis of salary. The eligibility in second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth groups were 21 per cent each, whereas the actual posts held by Muslims was only 10.66, 9.85, 11.63, 9.94 and 9.71 per cent respectively.
In government positions alone, 3768 vacancies were denied to Muslims. In the government sector undertakings, the position was all the more shocking and the representation was only 8.67 per cent. The shortage of vacancies was to the tune of 2649 in numbers. In the case of universities, 97 vacancies have been denied to Muslims. Muslim organisations in the State have demanded for special recruitment of Muslim candidates to fill up this backlog .
A study by the Pune University's Department of Communication and Journalism on the "Representation of Islam in the Mass Media" reveals that most media students feel the representation of Islam has to be fair and objective. It also reveals that media generally promotes stereotypes and traditional images of Muslims and this must be discouraged. The study was carried out among the students of journalism and mass communication (who in most cases will be journalists very soon), by Prof. Keval J. Kumar, a teacher of Journalism in the same department.
The study covered 70 students who were doing post-graduate studies in Journalism. Barring four, all students were Hindus. Of the four, one was a Muslim, one Parsi, one Sikh and one of them described himself as an atheist. The survey was carried out between January 10 and 18, 2002 in the backdrop of growing tension between India and Pakistan after the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament House on December 13, 2001 and in the backdrop of American pounding of Afghanistan in the so-called war against terrorism.
Most interesting are the responses sought by the study asking the students to write down five words or phrases which in their view 'best described Islam'. Only very few words were negative. "Orthodox or traditional" received maximum number with 16 mentions, "Burqa" 11, "Allah/God", "Religious" 10 mentions, "Fundamentalists" 9, "Fanatic" 8, "Jehad" 8, "Terrorist" 5, "Namaz", 4, "Aggressive", "Fatwa", "Koran" 3 each, and "Id", "Biryani" and "Green" 2 each. Other positive words mentioned were "God-fearing", "beautiful", "cultured", "surrender", "Peace-loving", "warm-hearted" "purity", "healthy" and "welcoming."
Asked about the representation of Islam in popular cinema, most respondents said the popular cinema equated Islam with terrorism and insurgency, presented them as terrorists, fundamentalists and traditional. Most of the time dons in the movies are shown as Muslims. As for the representation of Islam on popular Indian TV channels, Star News, Zee News and DD and Aaj Tak were perceived to be "objective" by those viewers who followed these channels regularly. They did not spot any extreme views on these channels. But there were some dissenting voices too. Some said the views expressed on Star TV were mostly anti-Muslim. Zee News was described as one sided.
Among entertainment channels, Star World was perceived to be promoting stereotypes about Islam, Sony TV represented Islam as traditional in cultural terms, Star Plus, Sony, Zee provided a limited view pertaining to just attire and culture, and Star Plus serials were based on Muslim families of the elite class. One respondent described CNN as "very biased" and almost against any religion. One respondent described both BBC and CNN as 'tending to be biased'.
Asked about the representation of Islam in magazines, 34 per cent mentioned India Today as the one being read regularly and described it as objective, fair, moderate and neutral. Outlook was being read regularly by 17 per cent and views were similar.
In response to what image came to their mind when the word Islam is mentioned to them, 70 per cent said it was "Muslim praying in a mosque", "a white mosque with devotees praying", or "Jumma Masjid of Delhi". Burqa was mentioned by four, "men with turban and beard and long flowing dresses", "women with head covered" and "a burqa clad woman with hordes of Muslims praying in Makkah". For eight respondents, the first image was that of a green flag or a Pakistani flag or the Pakistani nation itself. But some mentioned 'a mosque with Osama bin Laden with a gun, 'a terrorist with gun', 'orthodox people forcing their own men to do strange things in the name of religion', 'image of irrational, unreasonable fanatics, fighting supposedly for Islam.
Another question was to mention three Islamic nations-. 57 mentioned Pakistan, Afghanistan 34, Iran 29, Saudi Arabia 25 and Iraq 17. Hardly any nation from African continent was mentioned. The study concludes that since majority of respondents appear to equate Islam with these three nations, their perceptions of the religion are determined by the orthodoxy represented by Pakistan's Deobandi madrassas, the Talibanisation of Afghanistan and Wahabism of Saudi Arabia.
Prof. Keval Kumar told the Islamic Voice, the study falls in the category of 'reception studies' and questions were open-ended in order to elicit the perceptions of the students as they felt about the media representation of Islam. He said most equated Islam with Pakistan and this conditions their notions of Islam. He said, media alone is not responsible for reinforcing stereotype images. Other sources such as textbooks, community leaders as well as the cultural and political environment is sowing the seeds of distrust and hatred. Kumar said: "we get the media which we deserve". In order to get the media that does justice to our multi-cultural communities, we will need to re-appropriate the media so that they serve the public rather than their own commercial interest.
Thiruvananthapuram: It seems like a dream come true! The 50 lakh project of the Muslim Service Society (M.S.S) of the Thiruvananthapuram District Committee has taken shape in the form of a multi-storeyed Medical Aid cum Guidance Centre. The complex was recently inaugurated by P. M. Mohammed Koya. While president of the State, M.S.S, K. V. Kunjahammed presided over the function, the Blood Donors Forum was inaugurated by K Mohan Kumar, MLA, and Corporation Councillor, Lathika launched the Cancer Care Scheme. The Medical Aid cum Guidance Centre located close to the Medical College in the city is equipped with 42 beds in dormitory style and 10 independent rooms.
Bangalore: It was 25 years of glorious service and so there was every reason to celebrate! The Amanath Co-operative Bank Limited celebrated its Silver Jubilee recently. Inaugurating the celebrations, Chief Minister of Karnataka, S. M. Krishna commended the role of the bank in rendering micro credits and termed the scheme as a "unique example in community development that has helped the weaker section of the society". The bank reflected a tremendous growth, with meagre deposits in 1977 to Rs 413 crore currently and 34,000 depositors.
Chairman of the bank K. Rahman Khan in his welcome address stated that "the bank has achieved the top status among all the co-operative banks in the state and was the only bank to have obtained scheduled status among the co-operative banks in the state. Managing director of Infosys Technologies Nandan Nilkeni lauded the initiative taken by the team of the bank towards computerisation of the systems. M.K.Bhattacharya, regional director Reserve Bank of India, C. K. Jaffer Shariff (M.P), C. M. Ibrahim (M.P), attended the celebrations. A sum of Rs. 1 lakh was handed over towards the Chief Minister's Relief Fund by Rahman Khan and a souvenir was released by Cooperation minister D. K. Shivkumar.
Bangalore: The winter chill did not stop the citizens from this city to warm up to team up for a better Bangalore. Janaagraha, the campaign for participative government started rolling out in December 2001. In its initial mission to get the voice of the citizens into the municipal budget, Janaagrahis all over the city have been documenting the condition of roads, footpaths and drains in their areas. They have also contacted their corporators, seeking co-operation in reflecting citizen's concerns. Representatives of these resident associations will then be able to sit together and begin to prioritise which work needs to be taken up first. Janaagraha volunteers will moderate the process. Janaagraha's mandate is to reach out to communities and corporators through a positive, collaborative, non-confrontational approach. With the kind of start that the campaign has had over the last fortnight, it has clearly touched a chord, with a fresh approach to bringing citizens and the government closer.
For more information, contact: Janaagraha at 3542381/3542382/3330668. To join the webgroup
To commemorate the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Seethakathi Trust founder B S Abdur Rahman, the Thassim Beevi Abdul Khader College for Women organised a two-day seminar and Quran recitation competition. Students from various schools, colleges and madrasas participated in the competition and the first three cash prizes of Rs 10,000, Rs 7000 and Rs 5000 were sponsored by the founder.
Distinguished Tamil scholar Prof. Dr K Abdul Gafoor, 78, passed away at Thuckady in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu. Gafoor was the first Tamil professor to be appointed as the principal of the college in Madras University during the vice-chancellorship of Dr A Lakshmana Swamy Mudaliar. For 35 years, he taught Tamil at Jamal Mohamed College, Trichy, Islamia College, Vaniyambadi, Kader Mohideen College, Adirampattinam and Government Muslim College, Madras. Gafoor was popularly called "divinely inspired poet" and the Madurai Kamaraj University conferred on him the title-"Tamil Savant" in 1993.
Former chairperson of the State Minorities Commission Mrs. Bader Sayeed was unanimously elected as chairperson of the Tamil Nadu Wakf Board.