Safar / Rabi-Ul Awwal 1422 H
Volume 15-05 No:185
Qazi Mujahidul Islam has left this world and left us poorer. I could not stop my tears when the news of his death struck me. I valued him for his reservoir of knowledge of things, religious and modern. He was not an aalim (scholar) in the traditional sense of the word. Our first interaction with Qazi Mujahidul Islam took place way back in 1983 at a students’ camp at Gumbaz (Tipu Sultan’s mausoleum) in Srirangapatna. We quizzed him about current issues agitating the young Muslim professionals such as banking, shares and stock exchanges, insurance, euthanasia (mercy killing), organ donation, use of media etc. To our great surprise, we found him much more aware of not only issues, but aspects of the latest developments and terminology. And not merely this. He offered us a perspective on ethical ramification of the dilemmas they caused. Going beyond this, he presented an enlightened view of Islam and quenched our thirst for marrying Islamic and modern urges. In April 1988, he invited me to a function in Phulwari Sharif near Patna. The Imarat Sharia where he was chief qazi (judge) for nearly two decades was commissioning its Sajjad Memorial Hospital. The Hospital was small, but the gathering was big. This spoke about Qazi Sahib’s fame. Imarat was the most credible name among Muslim organisations in Bihar. And I believe the credit largely goes to Qazi Saheb and its founder Maulana Abul Mohasin Sajjad, after whom the hospital was named. The Imarat’s court carried legitimacy because of its popular acceptance.
Dr. Manzoor Alam of the Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi persuaded Qazi Saheb to move to Delhi around 1991 and they along with others founded the All India Milli Council. This made Qazi Saheb more mobile and he began visiting Bangalore and Mysore very frequently. They together set up the Islamic Fiqh Academy which brought Muslim intellectuals and the religious scholars of repute together to discuss and issue an opinion on all such issues that were thought by us to have no Islamic solution till we had our first encounter in 1983. He began to edit Bahs-o-Nazar, the journal that compiled the debates (not verdicts or fiats) of the Academy’s conferences. It was for the first time in India that some consensus was being built up on contentious issues. Though everyone among the ulama faced the dilemma similar to us, but every single of them was afraid to take position, lest he be criticised or maligned. Qazi Saheb’s leadership lent these opinion a great weight and frequently drew a number of foreign participants. Qazi Saheb was up-to-date with information. Every time he met me in Bangalore, he would remember the last dispatch of mine he heard over the BBC Radio’s Urdu or Hindi service. A small transistor always kept company with him. He was remarkably conversant with English and the media in that language and urged us to own, participate in and write for the media without going into the shariat standpoint or debates about legality of photo, cinematography, cartooning, caricaturisation etc. He would even tolerate the liberties and licences that it demanded. We interviewed him for one of the earliest issues of the Islamic Voice wherein I described his beardless face (he was not naturally endowed with facial hair) as ‘boyish appearance’. I was fighting shy of meeting him next time he came to Bangalore a few months later. But he found me out and charmingly said : Aapne kiya kuch likh dala mere bare mein (what all you wrote about me). An average aalim is never so comfortable with such descriptions and personal remarks. Qazi Saheb was aware of the power wielded by modern technology, media, institutions and new and emerging concepts. Someone among us enquired with him about the Shariah position of cartoons which combine caricaturisation, pun, satire, sketching of human figures et al. Qazi Saheb told him to go ahead and not to bother about the Shariah position as such issues awaited wide discussion and consensus. And such wait was worthless if one has to begin.
Qazi Saheb was a thoroughbred jurist. He would get to the bottom of the issues within a jiffy and pronounce his opinion. He was almost a mobile encyclopedia of jurisprudence and keeping company with him was a joy. While the ceaseless flow of words would enlighten us, his humour would lighten the session. That Qazi Mujahidul Islam is not within us now, saddens me without measure. May his soul rest in peace. Ameen!.Top
Horticulturist Abdul Rauf A. Shaikh is a household name in North Kanara district of Karnataka. He is fondly called as “The Pineapple King” as he and his family grow highly sweet pineapples on virtually hundreds of acres of land. It was a pleasure meeting him when myself and our editor A. W. Sadathullah Khan visited Sirsi, 100 kms west of Hubli last week in connection with the inauguration of the north kanara Muslim united forum.We decided to see Abdul Rauf when someone told us about the once humble farmer’s legendary success in raising pineapple crops.
Rauf’s is a story of huge success. He gave up studies after 8th standard on not being able to collect Rs. 35 for books. All that he could manage was Rs. 15. Orphaned at 11, he bequeathed 13.5 acres of grandfather’s land in the picturesque Banavasi village under the foothills of the Sahyadri mountain ranges. Though the area receives copious rains, his piece of land was not so blessed. It hardly retained any water. Rauf began to grow kulthi (gram dal), chilli, cotton, ragi and some paddy by channeling rain run-offs from far off fields. But rains often failed and he was forced to work as a farmhand on a paltry payment of 75 paise. That was way back in 1962. Such hard were the circumstances, Rauf says, he even had to seek clothes from others for daily use. All this, however, fostered a keen sense of hunger and need in him. Fate however smiled on Rauf in early 70s. He bought three acres of land. In 1981 he acquired around 100 acres. Now he and his large family owns hundreds of acres of land in this scenic region and raise a rich crop of pineapple, pepper, arecanut, bananas, etc. His farms send out nearly 150 truckloads (i.e., 1500 metric tons) of pineapple to Goa, Delhi, Punjab and Gujarat annually. University of Agriculture Sciences at Dharwad has honoured him with M. H. Marigowda State Award for the best farmer for the year 2000. Chitradurga’s Sri Rajinder Mutt has conferred on him title of Kayakar Ratna. The Mysore based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) has certified him for growing the largest pineapple (seven kgs.).
Though fate was not kind enough to help him study more, Rauf’s fondness for new technology knows no bounds. He successfully experimented with cultivation of pepper in plain lands which is otherwise a hill plantation crop. By employing drip irrigation, he has shortened the cropping season for pineapples from 18 to 14 months. He even supplies fertiliser from drip irrigation tubes. His experimentation with pepper also met with success in that he began to get the first crop from pepper creepers within six years against 12 years. Evn pineapple yield has gone up. Earlier, an acre of land yielded 20 metric tons of pineapple in two years. Now it yields 40 metric tons in 14 months. Abdul Rauf is now 57 and lives in the quiet village of Banavasi and enjoys a wide reputation as a benefactor of farm labourers. All the 250 men and women who work under him trust him for his honesty and kindness. When not needed, they leave their money with him and remain assured that it could go nowhere. Rauf told us he follows the Holy Prophet’s advice of paying the due of the labourer before their sweat goes dry. A friend of former Karnataka Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, Abdul Rauf says it was Hegde who first formed the Kamadhenu Cooperative Society in his region (Hegde belongs to Siddapura taluk in North Kanara district), while he was finance minister. Later Rauf’s friend C. C. Malgund and Kandappa Gowda started a cooperative society for growing pineapples. At that time it was not remunerative. Just as Rauf says he learnt a lot from his friend Malgund (whom he deems his father in horticulture), he does not hesitate for a moment in passing on useful technological tips to others. “Knowledge is a common heritage of humanity”, says Abdul Rauf with all the humility at his disposal.
He can be contacted on phone: 08384-74242, 7268 (resi), 74068 (off), 74258 (shop).Top