HOJAI : Noted voluntary organisation Markazul Maarif held health camps at seven places in the state of Assam between July 26 and August 5. 2,227 patients received treatment for various ailments at Phooltali, Udali, Padumphukuri, Kapashabar, Raikhata, Kumarakhata and Udaypur.
Most of these places are said to be inaccessible areas of a backward region. A 22-member medical team headed by Dr. Afif Khan, ex-Joint Director, Assam Health services, Nagaon pitched their camps in the places. He was assisted by Dr. Ashok Ray, Dr. Kumud Hazarika, Dr. Anup Kumar Das, Dr. Iqbal Hazarika, Dr.Subrata Banik etc.
The team doctors instructed the people about preventive measures against common ailments viral fever, diarrhoea etc.
Markazul Maarif is running several schools, dispensaries, and scholarship endowments in Hojai and Nagaon districts of Assam.
Faizabad : The economic and educational condition of Faizabad Muslims is grim. According to a survey carried out by Darsgah -e- Islami Society in five mohallas of the town which served as the capital of Awadh principality before the Independence, out of the total 2088 Muslims, only 76 have secured graduation degree while 80 have studied upto 10th standard and 50 have attained PUC certificate.
The survey covered 297 families which had 616 male adults, 487 female adults and 985 children. Of the children of 5-11 age group, 194 were found not attending school. This is an age during which every child is supposed to attend a school to acquire the three ‘R’s. Due to official apathy, 183 persons eligible to vote were not included in the electoral rolls.
In a press release sent to the Islamic Voice, Mr. Irfan- Ullah of the Darsgah -e- Islami Society said birth rate was found high among these families due to lack of education. He said those who dropped out of schools between standard 6th and 8th were the highest. The percentage of those employed with the Government was negligible and most people earned their livelihood with occupations which could sustain the relationship between soul and the body but could not raise their standard of life.
The average family size is seven members per family. The five mohallas have eight Mosques and three Madrassas. Majority of families were placed under poverty line economically. While 83 families were categorised under Rs. 6 to 10000 range, another 76 families were earning income ranging from 10 to 15000 per annum. Twentyfive families were in Rs.15 to 20,000 and 27 families were bracketed under Rs.20 to 25,000 range. Only eight families said their annual income ranged from Rs.One lakh to Rs.1.20 lakh. Rest of the families were in the range of Rs.30000 to Rs.1 lakh per annum.
The pressnote urged immediate steps for modernisation of Madrassas, availability of loans on easy terms and awareness about the schemes benefitting the minorities and backward classes.
The Dersgah Society is running a Junior high school with 175 students. More information can be had From Darsgah -e- Islami Society, 322 College Rd, Faizabad-224001, Ph:05278-25460.
(Note: The Islamic Voice received only the locality wise figures under various heads. The above item has been written on the basis of computing done by our staff writer. The Society can be approached for the veracity of the aggregate figures. Editor)
CHENNAI: The Crescent Career Guidance and Coaching Centre has informed through a pressnote that two of its trainees were selected for civil services in interviews held in 1999.
The Centre has invited applications for 1998 preliminary civil service exams training which will begin in mid-December. The forms can be had from CCGCB, Crescent Engineering College Campus, Vandalur, Chennai-600048. Ph:2376035.
By A Staff Writer
BANGALORE: The Government has assured that it would bring in an ordinance to amend the Central Haj Act 1959 in order to streamline the Haj arrangements. The assurance came from Minister of state for External Affairs, Salim Iqbal Shervani, at the Bangalore Haj Conference for discussions on the Draft-Haj Act. He said the Government was keen to implement the amendment with immediate effect.
Mr. Shervani said amendment in the Haj Act were overdue as the mode of transport of pilgrims had altogether altered the arrangements. He said the sea voyages have ceased and eight points of embarkation had replaced Mumbai. Immense increase in Haj pilgrims’ quota (currently 56000) and tremendous modernisation of Hajj facilities in Saudi Arabia were urging amendments in the Hajj Acts.
It was pointed out that occupation certificate had been obtained from the Mumbai Municipal Corporation for the elegant 21 storey new Haj House. Haj Committee Chairman, Salamatullah, informed the delegates that the Central Haj Committee would like the Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral to inaugurate the Haj House. He said the question of shifting of a small canteen had held up the commissioning of the Rs. 7 crore building for over 10 years. He thanked Maharastra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi for his cooperation in securing the certificate.
Maulana Obaidullah khan Azmi, MP, urged the CHC to declare the missing pilgrims from the list of Haj 1997 pilgrims as “dead” as several legal issues such as division of assets in families, period of “iddat” for widows etc were causing concern. He said nearly 90 pilgrims were still on the missing list of the CHC and saw no possibility of their return after four months after the conclusion of Haj.
The delegates, though welcoming the gesture of the Central Government in announcing payment of compensation to the next of kin of the pilgrims, opposed demanding of compensation as it ran counter to the spirit of Haj. The proposal to provide opportunity to next of the kin to perform compensatory pilgrimage in subsequent year too did not find favour with the delegates.
The Draft-Haj Act proposes to have a two-tier structure for Haj Committee with State Haj Committees too having elected bodies and financial powers. At each level the Committees would have an elected Chairman and two nominated Vice Chairmen.
The need to train the pilgrims was stressed by all the delegates. Mr. Shervani suggested screening video films in Haj flights in order to train the pilgrims about wearing of Ihram (ritual garments), circumambulation, Sayee (running between Safa and Marwa etc. However the Conference decided to hold a special conference at Goa to specially discuss the orientation and training programmes for Indian pilgrims.
MUMBAI : Solapur Social Association’s Urdu School set a record for itself by producing this year’s topper in Maharastra SSC Board examination. Sixteen year old Tanveer Maniyar secured a record 723 marks out of total 750 and scored the highest marks in all the four languages ie. English, Hindi, Urdu and Marathi.
Tanveer says he never felt himself inferior even while studying through the medium of his mother tongue, Urdu. Tanveer also does not feel hesitation in declaring that his life was inspired by the Holy Qur’an which he studies regularly and offers five-times namaz during the day. He holds Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), to be his ideal personality from the history.
The town of Solapur is agog with stories of Tanveer’s achievement. The Solapur Social Association’s Urdu School, a 30 year old institution, however concentrates mainly on educating poor Muslims. Throngs of people have congratulated school principal, Abdul Karim Sheikh on producing this year’s topper.
By A.B. Masoud
NEW DELHI : The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has constituted a high-power committee to look into the socio-economic and educational problems of minorities. It will especially look into the lack of effective implementation of the Prime Minister’s 15 point programme on Minorities welfare (1983) and the hurdles in enjoyment of the educational rights by them.
The Committee is headed by Rev. Dr. James Massey, an NCM member. The Committee held its first meeting on July 30 which was presided over by Chairman, NCM, Prof. Tahir Mahmood. It was inaugurated by Welfare Minister B.S. Ramoowalia. The Committee will submit its report by August 15, 1998.
The Committee has begun submitting its periodic reports. This was stated by Prof. Tahir Mahmood in a press conference. He said as part of its Independence Golden Jubliee Celebration 1997-98, the commission held a two-day National conference of state minorities commissions and boards at Vigyan Bhavan on July 31 August 1. The Conference resolved to form an All-India network of such bodies.
The Commission will also hold an All India Conference on minorities and a national get-together of members of Parliament belonging to minority communities. The NCM will also issue two books entitled Minorities in India since Independence. Contributions to National Development Minorities Commission in India: History, Role and Working, Prof. Mahmood informed.
Dr. Massey said the Study Committee’s work would be based on the celebrated Gopal Singh Committee Report of 1983. He said though Dr. Gopal Singh report deals rather inadequately with the problems of minorities as only one of the weaker sections of the society but has not outlived its utility.
Besides Dr. Massey, the Committee includes noted jurist Soli J.Sorabjee, Rev. Dr. Daniel Chetty, Prof. Iqbal A. Ansari, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Prof. Angne Lal and Prof. Satinder Singh Noor.
Prof. Mahmood pointed out that Central Minorities Commission Act 1992 and the five State Minorities Commission Acts enacted during 1991-96 were not uniform. He described the UP Act remarkable for its specification of the penalties for those violating the Commission’s orders and directives. He said the Karnataka Act specifically empowers the Commission to ensure adequately representation of Minorities in the state services. The West Bengal Act has the provision that the Commission’s findings and advice shall ordinarily be binding on the State Govt. The Bihar Act specifically speaks of the Commission’s power of investigation and prescribes procedure for the same.
By Dr. Ved Prakash upadhayay
KANPUR : Dr. Ved Prakash Upadhayay, Sanskrit Scholar and Head of the Department of Sanskrit at Punjab University, Chandigarh has held that the vedas, and purnas have lot of similarities with the Holy Qur’an. He said the vedas anticipated the advent of Kalki avatar and described him as Nirashans. He said his study suggests that Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) carried all the attributes mentioned about the avatar. Speaking at the Merchants Chamber here on July 28 on the topic of “World Unity and Muhammad (Pbuh)”, Prof. Prakash said he later authored two books entitled Kalki Avatar and Muhammad Saheb. He said the Islamic Kalima and Islamic religious teachings bore striking resemblance with teachings of holy vedas. He hoped that the comparative study of religions would resolve conflicts between followers of various “ Nirashans aur antim rasool “
HYDERABAD : The relations between Muslim and Christian communities in Hyderabad went through a turmoil following an attack on a missionary school and desecration of statue of the Jesus Christ to protest against teaching of a text book containing a blasphemous chapter on the Prophet Mohammad.
The two minority communities, who had been living in a peaceful atmosphere for decades turned against each other on August 26 when a group of Muslim youth attacked Fr. Roch Memorial High School, assaulted its principal and desecrated statue of Jesus Christ at the shrine of Our Lady of Health. They were agitated over derogatory remarks made against Prophet Mohammad referring to his marriages and his migration from Makkah and false attributes to the holy Qur’an.
Though the Andhra Pradesh government withdrew the ninth class moral science text book titled Better Living from missionary schools on August 27, the Christian educational institutions remained closed for the fourth consecutive day on Saturday demanding stern action against the culprits and an apology from Muslim leaders for the attack. The Muslim leaders, on the other hand, are demanding immediate release of four youth arrested for attacking the school and adjacent church and action against the author of the book Rev Nicholas Soaros of Don Bosco High School, Mumbai and publisher Jeevandeep Prakashan of Mumbai. The state government has also ordered an inquiry how this book was being taught at the schools when the education department had not prescribed it for any school.
Though the Christian leaders agreed to reopen the schools except Fr. Roch Memorial School from September 1st following condemnation of attack by some Muslim leaders, the relations between two communities had suffered a setback. Adding fuel to the fire is Bharatiya Janata Party whose leaders shared a Platform with Christians to condemn attack on school and church.
It was 15 days ago that local Muslim MLA and leader of Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) Asaduddin Owaisi brought the matter to the notice of the Chief Minister demanding withdrawal of book from Christ Schools. He had also lodged a complaint with the police on August 25. When no action was taken against the management of the school, a group of nearly 100 youth went to the school and attacked its principal Fr. Dominic Savio and other staff members, fansacked the furniture and desecrated the statue of Jesus Christ in the adjacent Church. The principal escaped when other staff members locked him in a room to save his life. As police arrested four of the attackers at the school premises and beaten them up, Asaduddin Owaisi and two MLAs of Majlis Bachao Tehroek, Amanullah Khan and Mumtaz Khan along with their followers staged a dharna at the police station demanding release of the arrested youth and ban on the book. The MLAs were also taken into custody but ware later released while four youth continued to be in police custody.
The next day, the Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu issued an order withdrawing the book from missionary schools for hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslims. Asaduddin Owaisi blamed the belated action of the government responsible for whatever happened on August 26.
Expressing surprise and shock over the sudden attack, the Christians started protest. They alleged that there was a deep-rooted conspiracy against missionary schools as the book had been taught for nine years but nobody raised an objection. Asad said they launched a protest when they came to know of it. Describing the Christian argument as untenable, he said one wrong, even if perpetrated for a decade, does not become right.
As Christians continued to protest, some Muslim leaders of ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) took the initiative to defuse the crisis at a meeting called by TDP general secretary Lal Jan Pasha, leaders of both the communities decided to forget and forgive the unfortunate incidents. Announcing withdrawal of the book, Archbishop of hyderabad Rev S. Arulappa said crisis would be defused if leaders of MIM and MBT tender an apology through press. Leaders of the two parties, which are suspected to be behind the attack, did not attend the meeting. They have refused to tender an apology saying whatever happened was natural reaction to the derogatory remarks made against the Prophet (Pbuh).
This incident has triggered a debate among Muslims over the anti-Islam attitude of the missionary schools. Amanullah Khan has warned that if missionary schools continue to indulge in blasphemy, a big movement would be launched to withdraw Muslim students from these schools. Thousands of Muslim boys and girls study at many Christian schools and colleges famous for their high standard of education and good results.
Recently a controversy was also created by some Christian institutions by punishing Muslim girl students for applying Mehendi on their hands on the occasion of Idd. Muslim community has also sharply reacted when some schools and colleges did not allow Muslim girl students to wear shalwar and insisted that they should wear skirt. Similarly there was a protest when these institutions did not permit Muslim students to leave the premises for Friday prayers. Few Muslim organisations have already launched a campaign to persuade Muslims not send their children to Christian Schools as their education make children indifferent to Islam.
Hyderabadi Muslims played a significant role in the growth of Christian educational institutions. Children of affluent section of Muslims, particularly Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) study in Christian schools and students by paying huge donations. But of late, these institutions have reduced percentage of Muslim students following controversies over dress and Friday prayers. (EOM)