Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

November 2005
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People Track

A Seat in the Senate
By M. Hanif Lakdawala

What makes Prof Tahir’s election to the Senate unique is that he was not dependent on the Muslim votes.

When we talk about mass movement, the involvement of the professional Muslim is very limited. But there are few individuals who are behind the scenes and away from the limelight, but are contributing to the cause of their peer and colleagues.

In the current election to the Mumbai University Senate, Prof Mohammed Tahir was elected from the teachers’ constituency. He is the only Muslim to get elected out of the 25 seats reserved for the teachers.

As a professor at the Akbar Peerbhoy College of Commerce and Economics, which is serving the most deprived section of the Muslims, Prof Tahir has been guiding many students of commerce during their graduation.

In his younger days, he would often find himself at the forefront of agitations of the teachers, having been the Joint secretary of Bombay University and College Teachers Union (BUCTU).

For Prof Mohammed Tahir, teaching is more a passion rather than a profession. That is the reason he refused to utilise his leave for the last Senate elections. “My first commitment is towards my students. A teacher cannot be successful unless and until students respect them for their knowledge, commitment and sincerity,” he says.

What makes Prof Tahir’s election to the Senate unique is that he was not dependent on the Muslim votes. In fact his victory was taken for granted because of his popularity amongst the teaching fraternity.

“Teachers voted for me because they very well know that when they need me I am always available. Irrespective of the affiliations I am always on the forefront when any issues pertaining to teachers or students are raised”, said Prof Tahir.

There are quite a few teachers whose second priority is their job. Many of them have a full-fledged career outside teaching. That is the reason why students do not respect such teachers. Prof Tahir through his association with BUCTU is trying to persuade the UGC teachers to devote quality time to their teaching jobs. “Unfortunately we have many teachers who perform the mechanical job of teaching and rush out of the college to their non-teaching profession. Teachers are mentors. Such non committed teachers can never do justice to their profession,” he said.

El Baradei- Tall and Shy

United Nations nuclear watchdog Chief, Mohamed ElBaradei and his agency have won the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.

ElBaradei is a former Egyptian diplomat who joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1984 and held a series of high-level policy positions in the organisation before becoming director 13 years later.

He secured a third term at the helm of the agency after the US eventually agreed to back him, although relations between Washington and the IAEA have not been without tensions in recent years. For although ElBaradei has agreed with the current administration on a number of key nuclear-related issues, he is not afraid to speak his mind. He has particularly lambasted what he sees as double standards on the part of countries which have nuclear weapons, but which seek to prevent others from procuring them.

Born in Egypt in 1942, ElBaradei studied law at the University of Cairo. He began his career in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1964, and worked in Egypt’s permanent mission to the UN both in New York and in Geneva. ElBaradei holds a doctorate in international law from New York University’s law school. In 1980, he became a senior fellow in charge of the International Law Programme at the UN’s Institute for Training and Research. Since taking over from Swedish diplomat Hans Blix in 1997, ElBaradei has employed diplomacy to deal with nuclear rows over Iraq, North Korea and Iran, and insists that even in the most difficult situations, progress can be made. ElBaradei’s views on Iraq inevitably contributed to tensions with the US, and his approach to Iran has not convinced many members of the Bush administration.

Most recently, it is his focus on Iran — and IAEA efforts to establish whether that country has a secret nuclear weapons program — that has kept him in the international non-proliferation limelight.He married Aida Elkachef, a kindergarten teacher, and had two children: Laila, a lawyer, and Mostafa, a biotechnologist. Tall and shy, ElBaradei joined the IAEA in 1984 and rose from within the ranks of the 139-nation agency.

Dr. Aftab Ahmed was awarded the Seva Ratna Award - 2005

Dr. Aftab Ahmad has set up the Prophetic Medicine Research Centre in Bangalore. He can be reached at [email protected]


Khalid Ahmed was re-elected the chairman of the Karnataka Wakf Board for the second term on October 6 by the new 12-member Board which was constituted last month