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SEPTEMBER 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-09 No:165    *   SEPTEMBER 2000 / JAMADI-UL-THANI 1421H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

MUSLIM WOMEN IN ACTION


Stepping out of Disability
Impact of Industrialisation Ruined Families, Weakened Bonds

'Humane Touch'

Stepping out of Disability

A Bangalore NGO is bringing smile and happiness
into lives shattered by disability

By A Staff Writer

  • Ilyas has 17 agonising years of life behind him. Earlier he did not live life, but had simply dragged through it. Last May as Ilyas walked for the first time a smile of triumph and surprise crept over his face. He was clearly astonished at his own prowess. Earlier the polio-inflicted boy could hardly aspire anything in life. Reformative surgery and callipers and a morale-boosting emotional support have enabled him to virtually stand on his feet. Head held high, Ilyas has now stars in his eyes.

Ilays then (Inset) and now
Ilays then (Inset) and now

  • Umme Salma, 13, comes from a 7-member family of orphans. Polio had bleached her life of all ambitions. But Salma is no longer dogged by that destructive sense of self-pity. She has some caring hands to support whenever she falters. She gets a new set of calipers every year as she grows. And they also fund her education in Bangalore’s Jame-ul-Uloom High School. Her face glows with hope.

Umme Salma
Umme Salma

  • Atheeq Ahmed, son of a hawker, was just one year. He had club feet (feet turning inwards), a congenital disease. Last month Atheeq Ahmed was operated on for corrective surgery to straighten his feet and provided with special orthopaedic shoes.

WHAT is common between the three youngsters? Nothing but Humane Touch, an NGO kindling light into the bleak lives of the physically handicapped. Launched only last year in Bangalore by a dedicated band of social activists led by Ms. Tazaiyun Oomer, Humane Touch is borne out of the feeling that the needs of the disabled people go beyond mere food and pity. Says Tazaiyun, “Disabled think they are finished with life. My experience while working among the disabled convinced me that if disabled could be provided education, skills and necessary development needs, they could be integrated into the society without any seams. In fact they could feel life beginning anew.”

Humane Touch involved a good many Muslim women social workers alongwith non-Muslim sisters to scour the interiors of slums for the disabled kids. Ilyas was their first success story. His legs were fixed at 80 degrees due to contractures resulting from post-polio paralysis. Dr. K. M. K. Varma of Manipal Hospital came forward with help and the boy cooperated in a complicated surgery that released the contractures enabling him to walk.

Says Habeeba Zackaria, a volunteer with Humane Touch: “Mere passing on donations for the rehabilitation of the disabled does not suffice. Now we get the sense of satisfaction for being involved with the totality of lives of the disableds.”

Humane Touch volunteers regularly visit the slums of Mysore Road area in Bangalore and have been assigned 95 families (around 700 people) to look after their well-being. They counsel them on education, personal hygiene, immunisation and health hazards. It is also sponsoring education of 60 children in the Gowripalya slums. The objective behind the effort is to turn it into a model of healthy living. Observes Tazaiyun: “TB is rampant among the slum dwellers due to lack of education added to pollution and occupations such as beedi-rolling.”

Tazaiyun says: “Ignorance about disability remedial devices and treatment renders a lot of Muslims in the lowly educated class invalid for life. If a holistic approach is adopted towards disabled, they could prove a boon for the society in multiple ways. “It’s cruel to restore men to active life unless they are also taught to earn a living”, adds Habeeba Zackaria. Therefore, Humane Touch has planned to start a vocational training centre for women and the handicapped to enable them to stand on their own feet.

Humane Touch could be contacted at: Sterling Villa, 274, First Main, Defence Colony, Indira Nagar, Bangalore - 560 038. Ph: 5298833, 5298834. E-mail : to786@vsnl.com

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Impact of Industrialisation Ruined Families, Weakened Bonds

Industrialisation dispersed families hurled women into
the furnace of materialism and snatched peace

THE family is the community in microcosm. It is the root from which nations grow. It is the basic unit of society, its climate must be love and its soil character. In it human life begins and ends! It must be happy, a citadel of heart-warming peace and quiet, where affection reigns, which runs on oiled wheels of confidence and trust, security and sincerity. The more firm its spiritual and moral edifice, the more sure its joy and happiness in today’s troubled, explosive, insurrectionary atmosphere. Every human being has a greater need than ever for a home and family which will provide a haven of serenity and refuge for thought and reflection.

The West pursued a simple agricultural life before the industrial revolution. In those days the family was a centre of consideration, caring and constancy, men went out to the fields to work for a living. Women set the care and upbringing of their little ones above all else. The family circle bounded the lives of all its members.

But industry needed hands. One of the first effects of its need was the dispersal of men, women and children to industrial centres, government offices, commercial houses and other large institutions. Contributions grew in which the sole object of existence was to increase the outward comforts and luxuries of life.

The break-up of family life weakened the marriage bond. Gentleness and affection grievously diminished. Women felt lost without the single-minded devotion to their family and the upbringing of their children which had been the sole preoccupation in previous epochs. They spent their energy in exhausting factory work. The dual role of factory worker and mother proved too much. The necessary time, the adequate opportunity, for leisure of heart, for ordering family life, was missing. She must clock in at the fixed time at work; and housework lost its charm in the weary hours of exhaustion which were all she had left to give to it.

Further, the new “freedom” was so limitless that it uprooted family life, casting chastity and decency to the winds, leaving disaster and division to replace the morality of family and social unity, which had relied on religion and conscience for their sanctions.

The mounting tide of divorces is sweeping the civilised world on a dangerous course, yet it is helplessly unable to stem the flood.

The petty difference in taste between husband and wife is found sufficient ground for ending a marriage contract. Minor conflicts and incompatibilities are all treated as evidence that a marriage has irretrievably broken down and that a family unit should be split. The storm-clouds of passion and prurience, with hurricane force, blast the tender growth of family oneness; and the most sacred inheritance of the centuries falls victim to the violence of the most unstable and ephemeral desires. Yet a modicum of common sense could solve the tiff and quench the fire, while tolerance and unselfishness would stabilise the relationship on a sure foundation of principle, justice and love.

Tolstoy wrote, “One main cause of the upsurge in the divorce rate is women’s excessive freedom of choice, which the capricious and touchy feminine nature cannot carry. Of course it is also true that the machine-age does produces nervous strain, and throws men and women into relationships of intimacy and familiarity which easily cross the bounds of legitimate companionship, and may arouse jealousy within the family, while women’s employment outside the house rouses a host of further problems.”

Lawson writes: “Anyone with a grain of the terrifying figures of divorces and seek to cure them. Since most separations are due to the women’s initiative, both cause and cure must be found in them.”

(Courtesy Hongkong Muslim Herald)

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