By A Staff Writer
Happenings within the Muslim Orphanage have followed a bizarre pattern in recent months. Sample the following:
* A memo signed and circulated by the administrator among the Orphanage staffers asked them to enroll at least 25 members each for the general body. (Remember elections for the 11-member executive committee are due next month). At least four staffers who spoke to Islamic Voice on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that they were made to sign such a memo which warned that ‘no-compliance would be viewed seriously”. It is reported that the current Administrator who failed to get a Congress ticket for just concluded Assembly election, is planning to jump into the fray for executive committee elections. However, a stay by the High Court on fresh enrolment of members has put paid to hope of a captive votebank emerging for the men eyeing the chairman’s post.
* Salary of a teacher with 26 years of experience was cut down by Rs. 4,000 giving her a rude shock. Why? One may ask. Because it had to be brought down on par with another teacher (who happens to be wife of a reporter in an Urdu daily). The management ignored the plea that the teacher whose salary was being slashed had put in 16 years of service prior to joining the M. O. Girls High School while the latter was a raw hand when recruited four years ago. Surprisingly, a former chairman of the Orphanage had hiked her salary by 60% a year after she had joined despite protest by several executive members then.
* A retiring headmaster stage-managed several farewells for himself in the school ostensibly to drum up support for himself being appointed as Educational Advisor after retirement. A local newspaper was generous enough to splash the news each time such farewells were held.
* One of the few male wardens was charged with sexual misconduct and suspended from service last year while the fact was that he was the most efficient and honest warden. Surprisingly, the charges made against him were proved to be without any basis. But he is yet to be restored to his post pending a case in the court. The question that should be raised is: Why honest workers are harassed in the first instance?
It is nearly three years since the Karnataka Board of Wakfs took over the administration of the Muslim Orphanage. The ruse was that the previous executive committee could not hold the elections for the new tenure. Since then the Orphanage administration has been following the policy of cutting down the number of inmates. Around the time it took over, somewhere around October 2010, the inmates were around 450. Now it is down to 291, i.e., 188 girls and 111 boys. Two boy-inmates had died immediately after the takeover by the Wakf Board in 2010 due to various ailments.
The previous administration under the chairmanship of Janab Ziaulla Sheriff had taken several visionary initiatives to improve the educational standards. This resulted in jump in number of enrolment of boys and girls in colleges to 45 from previous single girl.
The new administration has witnessed a procession of administrators. For the first month immediately after it was taken over, it was Mr. Salahuddin, then a KAS officer for the initial one month. (He held this as an additional charge.) Next came Mr. Khutubuddin Naikwadi, a retired official. He could not survive more than six months. For next four months it was one Mr. Muneeruddin. Again Mr. Salahuddin, who had been promoted to IAS by then, was incharge for a period of 12 months. For the last seven months Mr. Ismathullah Khan has been holding the reigns. There were umpteen changes of executive officers too. The honest and efficient were ones who were shown the door quickly.
The administration under the Wakf Board began to shunt out the inmates after SSLC back to where they had come from and asked them to attend colleges from homes, albeit paying their tuition fee. Currently 26 boys and 12 girls are said to be receiving assistance for college education, although the monitoring of their performance has suffered as watchfulness has relaxed.
The High School has barely 90 girls, lowest ever enrolment in the three classes. It is feared that the Department of Public Instructions may recall some of the teachers in view of the low numbers.
The Institution has though so far failed to turn out any students who could make it proud, but has always been centre of petty politicking with undesirable elements poking their noses under the mask of old inmates of the Orphanage.