Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine


 JAMADI-AWWAL / JAMADI THANI
JUNE 2004
Volume 17-06 No : 210

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Book Review


For Plurality's Sake
Rafah Zoo Levelled in Israel Raid
Fair Trade Practices Outlined
BIFT-ABDUSSALAAM PLAB Loan Scholarship
Inviting Contemplation of Nature
Saffronised History under the Scanner
Nursing - A Noble Profession

For Plurality's Sake

Reviewed by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

Khaki and the Ethnic Violence in India
BY Omar Khalidi
Three Essays Collective
57 C LIG, Motia Khan,
New Delhi - 110055.
Pages 126, Price Rs. 150

Years ago, during an informal chat, former union minister Rasheed Masood (who was not a minister then, but just the Member of Lok Sabha representing Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh) told me that he was instrumental in getting 50 Muslim youth from his constituency recruited into the Central Reserve Police Force. It was the outcome of fortuitous circumstances as his childhood buddy was a commandant general of the Force. But it did not even take six months for 35 Muslim youth to flee back to their villages. Reason: Rigmarole of training in a desert in Rajasthan. So disgusted was the commandant, that he blacklisted those villages for future recruitment.

Asim Raza from some village near Varanasi met me around 1991 in Delhi. He was with Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force guarding India’s borders with Bangladesh. Asim belonged to an Ahle Hadees family and was up against ‘insurmountable difficulties’ given the punishing schedules of training what with skipping namaz at least three times a day, having to forgo Friday prayers, running six kms with a loaded rifle on the back and choosing to be vegetarian due to uncertainty of the mode of slaughter. My counselling with him to stay with the force met with no success. Asim dropped out.

Juxtaposing these instances with oft-repeated Muslim grievance of being discriminated against in matters of recruitment, I find the Muslims short on action and loud on rhetoric of bias. Omar Khalidi delves deep into the issue and has generated a rich fund of information on the subject, enough to substantiate under-representation of ethnic minorities in India’s security forces and police forces that fall under the jurisdiction of states. Official denials and secular and non-partisan character of the Indian forces notwithstanding, Khalidi finds enough evidence to suggest a deliberate policy of keeping the Muslims away from armed forces. Muslims constituted as much as 38 per cent of armed personnel before independence. But that was mostly because the military in those days drew its personnel mainly from martial races, i.e., Sikhs, Pathans, Jats, Rajput and Dogras. Following independence, this policy underwent some alteration. A good number of Muslim personnel opted for Pakistan. The founders of India took upon themselves to impart wider representation of social demography. Though Sikhs still retained a high representation, Muslim loyalties came to be suspected and hence unfit for recruitment on previous level. Constant military engagement with Pakistan too came in the way of ‘Indian Muslims’ patriotism being taken at the face value’. Yet the instances such as use of armed forces in storming the Golden Temple and Charar e Shariff dargah in Jammu and Kashmir and refusal to deploy it during Ayodhya crisis serves as an index of the State policy on internal deployment of these forces.

But military’s professionalism and distance from people – life in cantonments – has ensured that its personnel developed impartiality and fairness in their approach. Same cannot be said of police who have to deal with people on a day- to- day basis and who are amenable to societal influences just as any common individual.

A lot of data from secondary sources talks about the policy of barring entry of Muslims into the police force, though no concrete evidence has been marshaled. Accounts of circulation of a secret GO in this regard have been legion. Khalidi too talks about it and the closest he gets is a quotation from former Madras Home Minister P. Subbaroyan which refers to a secret GO asking to restrict recruitment of Muslims. The statement was made on the floor of the Madras State Assembly.

But wider social represen tational character is no guarantee that police would operate in a totally non-partisan manner. Andhra Pradesh has nearly 16 per cent personnel of the police force drawn from the Muslim community and Delhi had as many as 22 per cent Sikh personnel. Yet there had been extreme bias in their operation as seen by police attitude during frequent riots in Hyderabad in the 80s and massacre of Sikhs in Delhi in 1984. Contrary to this, the police force in Kerala and West Bengal and even under Mulayam and Laloo Yadav have behaved in the most secular manner . This speaks of political orientation of the state government. Ethnic balance is therefore less likely to impart some modicom of fairness if the powers that be were bent upon using the police force as a tool of suppression of people.

Flawlessly written and impeccably edited, the book is highly recommended for researchers on the subject of attitude of India’s security and law and order forces in maintaining communal harmony and amity in the society. It is a valuable addition on the subject.

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Rafah Zoo Levelled in Israel Raid

Among the casualties of the Israeli raid into the Rafah refugee camp has been the local zoo - the only one in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army probably took about 10 minutes to turn it into a wasteland, with tanks churning the whole area into an expanse of mud and twisted metal. There were ostriches, kangaroos and crocodiles, but the zoo’s pride was its jaguar - he is missing now. An ostrich is rotting in the rubble and its stench hangs over the ruins. Mohamed Jumaa and his brother, Fateh, spent more than 10 years building Rafah zoo. The Jumaa brothers say that their zoo was important, it was somewhere for children to go in what is the most deprived corner of the Gaza Strip. One of the kangaroos was hurt when the tanks came, but survived, and the other is on the loose somewhere in Rafah. So are all the monkeys and one of the pythons. The fox got away, but when he turned up in a private house the frightened owner attacked him with a saw - later, the vet had to amputate a leg. When the aviary was smashed, the parrots, cockatiels and lovebirds took flight.

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Fair Trade Practices Outlined

Trade and Professions
Author:Imam Al-Ghazali
Tr. By Iqbal Ahmed Shariff
Al-Ghazali Institute,
94/1 - Tank Garden,
Someshwarnagar, Bangalore - 11
Ph: 090-26566956
Page 54, Price Rs.40

Business is not merely buying or selling a thing. Similarly, occupations that people pursue are not merely exchange of services against money. Scores of factors regulate conditions under which goods are supplied and services offered. How many of us know that a butcher should not be given the skin of a sheep towards the remuneration for cleaning it, nor a maid be given the flour of the wheat for grinding it. This is prohibited under the Islamic principle that the product of labour should not be given as remuneration. A cow cannot be leased out, but it is permissible to draw milk under a lease agreement. Similarly, product of wheat (such as flour, dough, roti or bread) should not be exchanged with wheat. On the same lines, a salesman appointed in a showroom should not be offered percentage on the price of the materials sold by him, but should receive a fixed sum towards remuneration. The book under review is a translated version of a chapter from Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali’s (died 1111 AD) famous treatise Kimiya-e-Saadat. Some of the principles explained in the book may be a revelation for the lay businessman involved in trading or offering services. Islamic trade practises are entwined with values such as kindness, honesty, integrity and gratitude. Greed and profit should not alone guide a trader. The book is for sure a primer on Islamic economics, as its title claims. However translation leaves much to be desired and editing is poor.

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BIFT-ABDUSSALAAM PLAB Loan Scholarship

Bangalore: Muslim doctors aspiring for higher studies in the United Kingdom may apply for PLAB Loan Scholarship (upto Rs. One Lakh) which is being managed by BIFT from its IMEL (Islamic Medical & Engineering Library) section at Darus salam, Bangalore. We are pleased to announce that this year, so far, eight doctors have been awarded under this scheme. For further details, please visit the BIFT library or contact: 080-56695810.

For free postal course on ISLAM, please write to: ISMIKA, P.B. No. 511, Bangalore – 5.

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Inviting Contemplation of Nature

Quran, Mussalman aur Science
Dr. Md. Aslam Parvaiz Islamic Foundation for Science and Environment,
665/12 Zakir Nagar, New Delhi - 25
Page 110, Price Rs. 50.

The book very gently puts across the point that the axis of Muslim education among Muslims has turned away from Quran to fiqh (jurisprudence) during the last 800 years, hence all the stress on frivolous issues and sectarian differences. But Dr. Parvaiz has taken a long drawn out route to drive the point home. Several books published earlier have already highlighted the Quranic approach in inviting contemplation at phenomena of Nature, away from the trivial issues prone to differences of opinion that are the stuff of fiqh. Chapter Naya Ahadnamah indeed lends the new perspective on ‘knowledge based economy and power structure’. References in the running text cause the reader to stumble. Standard research footnotes would help.

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Saffronised History under the Scanner

History in the New NCERT Text Books.
A Report and an Index of Errors,
By Irfan Habib, Suvira Jaiswal and Aditya Mukherjee
Indian History Congress,
Netaji Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata - 700020.
Page 130, Price Rs.50

Empires could be defeated, but their legacies linger long after they have quit the scene. The Sangh Parivar was humiliated at the hustings, but the venomous history, it’s historiographers have scripted, would continue to poison the young minds thereby fuelling hatred against minorities. The six-year reign of Hindutva historians at the academic bodies such as NCERT is likely to be felt for several years to come. A generation of youth has been fed upon biased and fictitious history. The book under review is a compendium of inaccuracies, distortions, omission of contributions by what they dub alien rulers and exaggerations of their lapses and lies, falsehoods and half-truths by a clique of pseudo-historians who were at the helms in the 1998-2004 interregnum. The scrutiny was carried out on four books of history released by the NCERT viz, Makkhan Lal, India and the World for 6th standard, Makkhan Lal, Ancient World for 11th standard, Meenakshi Jain, Medieval India for 11th standard and Hari Om, Contemporary India for 9th standard. The three historians who took up the assignment, agree that it is a version of history that could only promote Hindutva agenda in India. It is sought to be done by downgrading the contributions of civilizations, notably the Dravidian, which preceded the Aryans’. Several notable contributions of India are attributed to Vedic civilisation which has been doled out antiquity by bucketloads. Abhorrent practices such as sati and jauhar come in for appreciation and rigidities of casteism (not inequities) draw mild criticism. Muslim contributed nothing to India and Muslim separatism has been projected as the bugbear. There is no mention of reformers such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Jyotiba Phule, Keshav Chandra Sen and there is deliberate effort to present Jawaharlal Nehru in unfavourable light in order to devalue his personality. Modern values such as secularism, gender equality, human rights do not get even a passing reference. The work is marvellous though it just touches upon the inaccuracies and briefly etches to relief the hedging, fudging of facts and deployment of subterfuges. It is recommended that the book finds wider circulation in order to know as to how the Hindutva forces utilised the six-year opportunity to taint the history with their own biases. n

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CAREER GUIDANCE

Nursing - A Noble Profession

The multi-speciality Indira Hospital at Mangalore was initated by the fore-runners of the famous Indira Travels of Mangalore and has an impressive set up of sophisticated medical equipment that contributes to the multi-farious specialised service that the hospital provides to the people of Dakshina Kannada.

The 150-bed Indira Speciality Hospital follows the highest standards for medical treatment at considerably lower cost for the benefit of the people.

The Hospital was set up with the help of medical specialists headed by the founder- chairman, Syed Alimuddin, Directors, Dr. P.K. Usman and Dr. Syed Nizamuddin, who are also the initiators of the Indira Education Trust and the Indira Nursing School. The Trust was founded in May 2003, with the primary objectives of:

1. Providing systematic Medical Education at affordable costs, especially to Muslim students.

2. Striving to enhance the quality of Medical Education and also to establish and promote Research Centres to ensure comprehensive improvement to teaching techniques.

3. To constantly serve the cause of Medical Education with the finesse of Medical professionalism.

The foremost vision of the Trust is to provide affordable Nursing Education to the needy students from poor and under privileged families. The Trust has an impressive build up of vital infrastructure and offers subsidies in fee structure to the needy students.

The unique feature of the Trust is that the Nursing School, Hospital and Hostels are situated in the same campus. The first batches of GNM Course students have already been admitted. The admissions are now in full swing for the 2nd Batch GNM Course commencing shortly. Muslim Students who wish to take up Nursing as a career are encouraged to apply. Special concession is given to Muslim students.

The other courses that are set to commence include, OT Technicians Course, X-ray Technician Course. Lab Technician Course, Medical Records Maintenance Course and Pharmacy Assistant Course.

Contact: Chairman, Indira Education Trust Indira Hospital Annexe Falnir Mangalore – 02, Tel: 824- 2431222/333/444, Fax: 824 –5260888 Email: info@indirahospital.com

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News Community Roundup Editorial Letters Trends Karnataka Polls - Commentary Elections-2004 Muslim Perspectives Fast Forward Book Review Features Children's Corner Just For the Young Miscellany Quran Speaks to You Hadith Our Dialogue Question Hour Religion Facts on Faith Quran and Science Role Models Reflections Crossfire Journey to Islam Matrimonial
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