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Islamic Voice Logo

AUGUST 1999

MONTHLY    *    Vol 13-08 No:152    *   AUGUST 1999/ RAJJAB 1419H   email: editor@islamicvoice.com

FEATURES


Hakeem Abdul Hameed : A Tribute
Influence of Family on Education in Muslim Society
The Importance of Social Interaction
Mosque Libraries in History
Citizens Fundamental Right to Life
The Green-Eyed Monster


Hakeem Abdul Hameed : A Tribute

By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

Hakeem Abdul Hameed

Death has snatched away from India and Indian Muslims the great visionary in Hakeem Abdul Hameed, a soul that tirelessly worked for the upliftment of Muslims in the field of education and health. For over three quarters of this century, Hakeem Sahib was engaged in a struggle against odds to set up institutions that could blend the valued traditions handed down from history with the modern values. He succeeded in leaving behind a string of institutions that would continue to serve the community and the nation at large.

Research Centre

Hakeem Abdul Hameed was a simple man of frugal habits. Totally unassuming, he spoke little, but meditated more and worked even more to take the plans off the paper and onto the ground. Consequently, India's capital, Delhi, is today dotted with the modern monument that emanated from his struggle. Of these Hamdard University (officially known as Jamia Hamdard) is the most compact microcosm of his vision with Majeedia Hospital, Safia Hameediya Tibbiya College, Hamdard Pharmacy College, Rafidah College of Nursing, Hamdard Institute of Islamic Studies, Hamdard Institute of Research in History of Medicine, Hamdard Public School and Hamdard Study Circle. The beautifully laid out campuses of Hamdardnagar and Talimabad, two kilometres apart, stand in striking contrast to the ruins of old Kingdom of Tughlaq in Tughlaqabad and blend the modern with the old.

Hospital

Incredibly, all these arose out of Hamdard National Foundation which channellised the income from the Hamdard Wakf Laboratories, the known brand name for drug such as Safi, Naunehal, Rooh Afza and thousands of other formulations that brought Unani system of medicine to daily use in modern homes. As could be learnt from Hamdard people, it took the Income Tax Department some years of litigation to convince themselves that modern companies could be registered as waqf institutions and their income could be used for the general upliftment of the people. Today the concept could be seen in operation and institutions blooming out in the nation's capital. Hakeem Sahib's yet another brother, Hakeem Sayeed, who migrated to Karachi on the eve of partition also founded similar institutions and another Hamdard University. (Hakeem Sayeed was assassinated in Karachi two years ago and became the most prominent victim of the ethnic violence in that unfortunate nation.)

08hamd3.jpg

This is not all. Hakeem Abdul Hameed made a pioneering effort in modernising the Unani system. His Hamdard Nursing Home at Asaf Ali Road near Turkman Gate integrated the modern surgery with Unani medicine for the first time. Curiosity led the Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, to spend two and half hours visiting this nursing home. Prince Charles of England barged unannounced into the Hamdardnagar campus during his last visit to inspect the Unani system in operation and Hakeem Sahib with his patients. He also modernised the Hamdard Dawakhana in Gali Qasim Jan in Old Delhi, the original home of Hamdard set up by his equally illustrious father Hakeem Abdul Majeed in 1906.

Hakeem Sahib had profound interest in promotion of Urdu and took early steps to purchase land beside the Ghalib's mausoleum in Basti Hazrath Nizamuddin to locate the Ghalib Academy. The Academy was inaugurated in 1969 on the first death centenary of Mirza Ghalib. By the side of it is located the Hamdard Institute of Historical Research. Hakeem Sahib's deep insight into Indian languages was etched in high relief in a paper he presented at the Seminar on Indian Languages held under the aegis of the Institute of Objective Studies at the Hamdard Convention Centre in early 90s.

Hakeem Sahib rarely made public appearances and was media shy. Requests for interviews were politely turned down. But he regularly scanned a large number of morning newspapers and instructed systematic documentation of important clippings with in the Hamdard Library which in itself is a unique reservoir of classical and modern literature and books on all discipline. The Library hit pay dirt recently when it received the collection of Dr Cyril Elgood, a doctor of Persian Medicine who practised in Delhi during the early part of this century. (Details of this are yet to be confirmed.)

A man of refined tastes, Hakeem Sahib was a tasteful planner. The Hamdardnagar campus is therefore a major attraction for the students of architecture today. His buildings were elegant, suffused with traditional elements and yet had all the modern conveniences. Hamdard Convention Centre, the Scholars House, the circular building of Hamdard Institute of Islamic Studies and the well laid out gardens around are perhaps his magnum opus.

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Influence of Family on Education in Muslim Society

Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan

School

It is generally said that educated population is a force that can incorporate new thinking in social and economic development. Further, it has also its influence on improvement of standard and levels of living. It has to be noted that there are certain factors which can influence achievement of the children in school and also successful participation of adults in non-formal educational programmes. These factors are of great relevance to all kinds of societies. It is not very easy for people to enter into the market economy and the wider social system. But education can do wonders. It is considered that education is a prerequisite for such entry.

Muslim society in Indian context is far behind this approach. A vast majority of women and children are kept out of educational opportunities. This factor will have disastrous effect on the family. It is also observed that many people learn informally and non-formally from the family, peer groups and craftsmen of the locality.

Whether it is formal education or non-formal education, it is admitted that family provides a critical role in preparing, motivating, supporting, complementing and reinforcing those who want to learn. Families are educators. They interact with other systems in determining learning outcomes. Whenever the families intervene, their influence is more compatible with the larger system and societal goals in many developed countries as the current interest in the family and human resource development has been focused on the role of the family in facilitating success of children in a formal school system. There should be a critical area of enquiry in the Muslim society. It is so because it attempts to differentiate between the effect of schooling and the effects of the home environment. When we think of setting priorities for educational finance or strategies, the potential of the family in supporting or negating the effects of education of children is an important issue.

We observe that Muslim society suffers from poor schooling and poor home environment. This statement is subject to exceptions. Many research studies bear ample testimony to this.

Islam stands for creation of an egalitarian society. It expects that sincere efforts have to be made to equalize the educational opportunities of all children, regardless of income, family background, social status and geographical location. But, in fact the richer families, advantaged families and status conscious families have violated this basic mandate of Islam. These families have generally the tendency of concentrating wealth and other forces in their hands and widen the gap between them and the poor. The result is that social in-equilibrium continues to dominate the Muslim society, thereby demolishing the fundamental principle of Islam. This social in-equilibrium is seen both in formal school and home environment. One set of children receive very good education because they are capable of sending the children to convents and other high standard schools, right from nursery stage. Besides this, they also arrange for special coaching for their children at different levels to see that their children get exceptionally good marks so that they get into prestigious centres for learning which would ensure bright prospects. In contrast, children from poor families go to poor schools. There are none at home to prepare them. They have no money for private coaching. Thus, we see emergence and continuation of two sets of Muslim children. This is not a good trend. Success in educational system will be greatly influenced by children’s prerequisite of skills and experiences and also family’s expectation and attitudes. These influences remain in the domain of the family and its environment. Muslim society should recognize these influences and work with and through them. Family environment has profound influences on the educational advancement of the children. The advantaged families should take up moral responsibilities of helping children from poorer families to at least reduce the distance between them.

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The Importance of Social Interaction

Any movement that wishes to address society on any issue, thought, emotion or ideology will fail unless it interacts with the society. This is the “back to basics” of any movement, whether Islamic or not. For the Islamic movement it is even more so, because it is the real work of the movement in achieving a fundamental change in society.

It is only by interacting with society that we can understand the thoughts and emotions of the society and attempt to challenge and change these thoughts and emotions. If we were to sit at home and not interact then what effect would our thoughts and emotions have upon the society we live in?

Could we really say that by watching television we are challenging society or society is challenging us?

Any Islamic movement attempting to change society must attack the prevailing views and present an alternative to the current system, thoughts, emotions and rules. This is achieved by attacking the values, practices, rules and systems of the present society.

In order to change society the movement must understand what society is composed of. Society is a collection of people connected together by permanent relationships. Common interests are what spring from these relationships. If the people have differing views about their common interests and they lack common feelings concerning their interests then no permanent relationship exists between them. One would attempt to influence the other in order to achieve harmony within society and establish a permanent relationship.

As Muslims we live in the West as part of this society, yet we hold differing views and emotions to the rest of society. We have a simple choice. Either we interact with society and attempt to change the society OR the society interacts with us and attempts to change us.

If we do not interact with society how do we hope to influence the society when the society through its media and rules seeks to influence us? By sitting at home we are the ones being influenced and it is society which is interacting with us and changing our concepts. By mixing with society it is society which is influencing us and changing our concepts. By us interacting with society and challenging the ideals and values of society we take the initiative and seek to influence the society instead of accepting the society and feeling comfortable with our un-Islamic way of life. It is this feeling of being comfortable which is the hold of society upon us. By this feeling the society hopes to silence us in our challenge, by making us feel we have too much to lose if we speak out, whether we are doctors or unemployed. And if we have this feeling of being comfortable in this life then the society has achieved its aim, that of silencing us, making it difficult for us to speak the truth, openly and publicly for all society to hear.

Interaction with the society is essential for any Islamic movement that seeks to change the society and this interaction has two components, a movement which seeks a change or a society. Without either there is no interaction. And no interaction equals no change. And no change equals the continuation of the society as it is at present. By interacting with society and seeking to change the society we have started on the long path to victory for there is no victory without Allah swt and it is by seeking to rule according to the rules of Allah (swt) that we gain HIS pleasure. And Allah (swt) says in Qur’an “I have created man and jinn to worship me” and our challenge to society and seeking to change it is an act of worship. By not challenging society we are accepting the concepts that they present to us. If we do not interact, challenge, or seek to change society then how can we hope to gain Allah swt’s pleasure when Allah swt says that He only changes the situation of a people when they change what is in them. By not challenging society we are not changing but society is changing what is in us and it is changing it into the corruption of the very thing that we should be challenging.

Interaction with society is essential to gain the pleasure of Allah swt, to change the concepts of the society. Without interaction the movement will never succeed nor will it be seen as part of the society nor will society listen to it because it is apart from the society, seeking to keep itself elitist and separate from the people that it seeks to change and from the society it seeks to change. It will remain on the fringes of the society and its influence will be with the fringes of the society, be it in the elitist circles of doctors or intellectuals. The movement must interact with the society and make the society feel its presence for it to change the society and lead it from the depths of despair into the path of righteousness, or at least die trying.

To those who deny and neglect this duty of calling society to Islam, Allah (SWT) clearly outlines the punishment; “By him in whose hand lies my soul, you must command the good and forbid the evil, otherwise Allah will send calamity upon calamity upon you. Until you raise your hands in dua and Allah will not accept your dua.”(Ahmed) (Courtesy Al- Muhajiroun)

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Mosque Libraries in History

By Dr. Syed Karamathullah Bahmani

Before Islam, Arabia was more or less isolated except as a trade centre and the pilgrimage undertaken by Arabs at Makkah. On this occasion annual fairs were held where as part of entertainment poetical sessions were held at the places called ‘Ukaz’ and ‘Mirbad’ outside Makkah. Arabia was a land of poets, but at the time of the revelation of the holy Qur’an only less than 10 people were capable of reading and writing, among whom a few accepted the new faith of Islam, who became the scribes of the Prophet (Pbuh) to record ‘wahy’ (revelation). The holy Qur’an exhorted the believers to ‘read’, through its very fast revelation. The Prophet (Pbuh) promoted learning, including laying the condition of teaching 10 Muslims each to secure release of some prisoners in the battle of Badr. The holy Qur’an was collected in the form of a book as per his instructions, copies were prepared with perfection during the Khilafat of Othman bin Affan (RA) and sent to provincial governors of the Islamic state.

With the expansion of Muslim territories and more contacts with other countries, paper was made available by Muslims and later they started manufacturing paper to cater to the needs of the fast expanding Islamic influence. These businessmen - scholars-were known as ‘warraqueen’, (stationers). Muslim settlements were constructed, Mosques were built, Arabian scribes assumed significant role and prepared copies of the holy Qur’an exactly from the original ‘mushaf’ prepared by Othman bin Affan (RA) and these were kept in the Mosques. Muslims who were by then literate were sent to new settlements to teach illiterates and as such they became the first teachers and the Mosques the first schools and libraries in Islam. Mosque is not just a place where Muslims perform their prayers as the word Jami denotes a place where Friday congregation is held. The sanctity of Masjid is firmly established from the very beginning of Islam. There are many structural features found in the Mosques such as Zawiya, Maqsurah, Mehrab, Mimbar, Mi’dhana or Minarah and Dakkah, Rahla, or Rahal’s to place the copy of the Qur’an before one for recitation. Most Mosques maintain shelves for keeping the copies of Qur’an.

From the beginning Mosques were used for many purposes other than that of Salaat. The Prophet (Pbuh) held discussions, received representatives and delegations, despatched expeditions to distant places from the Mosque, visitors were accommodated and gifts, Zakat received and distributed in the Mosque. On its floors sat the preachers and teachers surrounded by children and adults for learning and instructions and the administration of justice.

Learning in Muslim society was connected with the Mosque from the beginning, starting from the learning by heart and understanding of the Qur’an. The Prophet (Pbuh) intended the Mosque to be an important centre of learning for the Muslim community. He is reported to have said “He who enters a Mosque either to teach or to be taught is like a mujahid who fights for Allah.” Dr. Hamidullah writes.

“The Prophet also taught personally, Umar (RA) and many other prominent companions regularly attended the classes and learned the Qur’an etc., Sometimes the Prophet (Pbuh) inspected the study circles in his Mosque and if he found any incongruity, he at once took steps to put it right”! These study circles, more in number in larger Mosques, attracted more and more students. The subjects like recitation, Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh and linguistics and literature poetry, philology, grammar, sytax, rhetoric, composition etc., were taught in these circles.

With the introduction of paper-making in the Muslim world the “warraqueen” stationers played an important role of copying the manuscripts for their customers. Some of them were learned and their representatives travelled across the countries in search of manuscripts for copying. These warrqueen book shops were the focal point of the students and the scholars alike. It was a common practice for many scholars to visit these shops frequently and spend long hours examining and studying the available books or purchasing them. The famous Muslim writer Jahiz even paid for the privilege of being locked in for the night in order to read and copy what he wanted.

Mosque Libraries

It is quite usual to find books in Mosques as it was a general custom to present copies of the Qur’an and place them as wakf. Monarchs and royalties used to donate more copies of Qur’an as well as books to Mosques. These books were kept in one corner of a Mosque for public use.

Mosque libraries were not necessarily established at the same time. The books were donated from time to time and when the number increased these books were arranged and kept in suitable places for easy access. Most of these collections were through gifts and donations.

As we see in the historical background the awareness and commitment to education and earning was ever on the increase in the Muslim world and the scholars engaged in their study and experiment and were contributing their works. These manuscripts were multiplied by the copyists and made available to people in different places. These manuscripts were preserved by them by different methods. Only the manuscripts /books of fundamental importance were kept in the Mosques.

Introduction of printing has resulted in rapid growth in the number of books as well as their availability. With this facility more books were coming into the Mosques as gifts. These books were mostly beautifully written copies of Qur’an and on purely Islamic topics such as Qur’anic exiguous, Theology, A hadith, Jurisprudence and so on. Books written in languages other than Arabic on these subjects were also kept in the Mosques.

Since the collections found in Mosques were copies of mushaf and some religious books there was rarely need for any elaborate method of book arrangement. Cupboards and bookshelves were generally used. In some big Mosques of historical importance, the gifts received by them were remarkable and large in number. In some cases libraries were attached to these Mosques and maintained.

There was no fixed location for the Mosque libraries. If it was a shelf or a cupboard it is normally located next to the mimbar. Some Mosques have located them in separate rooms or exclusive structures connected from inside the Mosques as well as from outside. Libraries in a number of Mosques were located on the Sahin or the central courtyard or at the main entrance of the Mosques or above the main entrance.

Books were presented and many a scholar bequeathed his library to the Mosque of his city to insure its preservation and to make them available to the learned who frequented it.

Muslim Spain which attained a high degree of culture and material prosperity founded many Mosques, most of them having a good collection of books. Many of them received private libraries of scholars as donation. The grand Mosque of Cordoba, Bayazui Mosque and the grand Mosque of Seville and others were famous. Similarly in Morocco Qarawiyyin Mosque in Fez, Abu Inan Library, Abu Yusuf Library and many other libraries were very famous.

In Tunisia Qayrawan and Qaytun Mosque libraries which were academies and later became world renowned universities Egypt was the third major north African country which had innumerable Mosque libraries. There are Shaik Ibrahim Pasha Library, Abbasiya Library, Muhammadi Library and Al-Azhar Library were among the renowned libraries of Egypt.

Similarly, Libya, Syria, Iraq and other Muslim states had innumerous libraries of which Iraq had most important collections.

These libraries, though not well organised in the modern sense of the term. We are located in different enclosures, chambers and in separate wings. These libraries were generally named after the Mosques to which they were attached. Some were named after the donors. The libraries of Abu Inan, Abu Yusuf, Mansuriyya, Zaytuna, Ahmadiya, Abdaliya, Nasriya, Farisiya, Ashraifya, Numaniya are of this type.

Mosque libraries, particularly the large ones seem to have prepared lists of books available to aid accessibility. Libraries at Qarawiyyim Mosque, Mansuriya Al-Azhar and the Qairwan Mosque were first to have such catalogue of books. The librarians appointed in such libraries were first asked to prepare an inventory of books and were supposed to check them with the list of books or catalogues already prepared, if any, to find if there were any discrepancies.

Larger Mosque libraries used to provide facilities for reading and reference and also writing. At least one room was set aside for this purpose. Sultan at Mutawakkil Abu Iran ordered construction of a Zawiyat al-Qurra or an enclosure for readers in the eastern part of Qarawiyyin Mosque which was lavishly furnished and equipped. Ahmadi Mosque, Azhar, Amr Mosque libraries had special halls for readers. In Iraq many Mosque libraries had reading room facilities.

Free access to books was common in Arabic public libraries. These libraries provided free supply of stationary and gave permission for copying out books.

Borrowers of books were urged to take extreme care of the book, not to make corrections or remarks on it. However, if such mistakes were brought to the librarians notice, it was appreciated. Issue of books was recorded in a registered and cancelled /erased on return. But most of the Mosque libraries which did not follow such rules lost their collections considerably for this reason. The donors themselves stipulated condition at the time of waqf, allowing or forbidding issue of books to borrowers.

Men of ability, perseverance and scholarly persons were appointed as librarians, known as Wakil, Nadhir, Qayyim, Mahafiz, Khazin or Amin of the library some well-established Mosque libraries had more than one librarians as in Ahmadiya library.

The position of a librarian was a prestigious one as he is knowledgeable, polite, trustworthy, alert, mature, honest experienced person who can guide, assist and locate sources of reference and knowledge to the seekers.

Unfortunately, with all those brilliant record of learning, research and developments, there were various reasons for the set back. As for the libraries, their decline and loss was due to poor maintenance in certain cases and malad ministration in others and at the same time some unscrupulous librarians were also responsible for the loss and theft of valuable books and manuscripts from these libraries.

Among the external factors the occupational forces have pillaged and looted these collections. During the Spanish conquest of Tunis in 980 (1572) the Zaytuna Mosque was desecrated and the collections were carried off by the invaders following the Muslims’ expulsion from Spain in 898 Hijra and when the grand Mosque of Cordova was converted into a Cathedral the books found in these and similar institutions were burned in public. Spanish Cardinal Ximinez (died 1517) ordered burning of 80,000 Arabic books in public square of Granada because his countrymen showed interest in Muslim studies.

In the East, the greatest damages caused by the Mongols or Tartars, who under the leadership of Hulago (1265) and later Tamerlene destroyed and set fire to city’s homes, Mosques and libraries foreign invasion on Egypt and even the world wars did not space these collections. What escaped destruction did not escape the hands of unscrupulous persons. European scholars, books dealers came to these Arab countries locating and buying, legally or otherwise, almost any manuscript they could find.

The Ottomans of Turkey also are said to have expropriated these books and manuscripts. Mosque libraries also suffered to internal disputes, civil unrest and manuscripts were also piled up into heaps and set on fire, which were soon covered with sands in the desert into a mound known as Tilal al Kutub.

Books in such libraries were also destroyed by natural calamities over the years including incidents of fire.

Awareness among Muslims in the recent times and the modern facilities available in the recent times are creating a favourable atmosphere world over for establishment of whatever is left out and accessible in the form of books manuscript and microfilms in well established libraries. Arab governments have set up agencies to locate and copy manuscripts and to provide assistance to such historical libraries in the proper upkeep and maintenance of books and rare manuscripts to preserve the Islamic heritage and to make it within the reach of everyone.

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Citizens Fundamental Right to Life

By Hasan Mansur

The Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) organised a rally recently in Chennai, whose theme was “The Muslims right to live” and among the participants were the Congress, AIDMK led by Jayalalitha, CFI, CPM and the TMC. This has roused the ire of S. Gurumurthy, the most vocal idealogue of the Sangh Parivar who has reacted to this rally in a front-page article in the New Indian Express, dated 13 July 99 entitled “The game for votes, Muslims and national interest”. This has turned into a tirade against sections of the Muslim community, questioning their loyalty and innuendoes about their anti-national proclivities. His main charges are (1) TMMK’s theme made India suspect in the eyes of the world that Muslims in India are not safe. (2) That the TMMK rally should have been chosen to be held when India was engaged in a war against Pakistan is an unpatriotic act, hence anti-national in character. (3) Those political parties that took part in the rally with the sole objective of grabbing Muslim votes, have else given respectability to “what is explicitly a Muslim fundamentalist device against the Indian nation.” (4) When Jayalalitha, the main speaker raised the slogan, “Jai Jawan”, the audience would not respond, an eloquent testimony to the treachery of the Muslims.

Time and again, the question as to who represents the nation the upper caste leaders present in all the political parties, the elite in Indian society found in the bureaucracy, police, army and the judiciary, has arisen. Or does the nation comprise the teeming millions found among the urban poor living in slums, the landless peasants across the land, the Dalits, victims of continuing age-old persecution, “.. every hour, 2 Dalits are assaulted, every day 2 Dalit houses are burnt down” (vide latest issue of Human Rights Solidarity by Asian Human Rights Commission), millions of tribals evicted from forests that are their natural habitat that give them sustenance, thousands of Muslims killed since the sixties, genocidal killing of Sikhs and the peoples of the North East and the recent persecution of the Christians? The political parties of all hues have never been accountable to these most vulnerable sections of the Indian population who constitute, “We, the people of India..”.

Those who talked of the Muslims’ ‘right to living merely betrayed their political naivete. The upper castes, the elite, have a vested interest in chattering about nationalism and patriotism, to deceive the natives and are exploiting the Indian people. The really insecure, the most vulnerable are the poor drawn from all the sections of Indian society already cited in the course of this article. The threat to right to living is experienced in their daily lives by all these, threatened by a state flexing its genocidal military muscle at the slightest hint of dissent and opposition. The Indian state given to xenophobia and genocidal killings and hysterical outpourings of nationalism and patriotism has ceased to represent “We, the people of India., “that the constitution of India speaks of.

The theme of rallies organised by the people of India should be the fundamental right to life with dignity of Indian citizens which would reflect the aspirations and hopes of all the exploited and marginalised of this country. It is sheer deception and hypocrisy on the part of the ruling class, buttressed by the upper castes in the corridors of power to assume that they are the nation and the country. These who have no concern whatsoever over crucial issues like poverty, unemployment, shelter, literacy, drinking water, health etc. have forfeited the right to talk of patriotism and nationalism. Only those who reflect and strive for the aspirations of the poor would have gainfully earned the love and confidence of the poor. The truly treacherous are those who do not have the interests of the exploited at heart.

This sinister game of arrogating to itself all patriotism while methodically pursuing its sordid game of exploiting the poor must be exposed and ended decisively. The real battle for democracy and social justice must be fought within Indian society. The battle lines should be drawn with the exploiters on one side and the exploited on the other, to end the hegemony of the Manuvadis in civil and other services and their stranglehold over Indian economy. These self-styled nationalists are all set to sell their country down the river to the Multinationals. Social action groups must identify these enemies of the people, rouse the consciousness of the people to combat and overcome all those opposed to democratic governance and social justice.

The history of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy has lessons for the people of India, how in the name of nationalism, millions were wiped out in the horrendous second world war. There are Hitler, Franco and Mussolonis in the making in this country with their war cries, flourishing the nuclear bomb, bragging that India will lead the world; the people of this country must foil all their vile plans.

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Leaves From Life

The Green-Eyed Monster

By D.A.Sait

Jealousy is appropriately referred to as ‘the green-eyed monster’ by all right-thinking people. Jealousy is a monster all right, for the way it can sap the thinking of human beings is monstrous indeed. It gives an interesting insight into the working of the human mind to track the source of this jealousy. There may be lakhs and lakhs of people, nay crores, who are unknown to you and therefore give you no cause for being jealous towards them. Jealousy, therefore, presupposes a relationship, personal or general, with the person who is the object of your jealousy. For instance, some of the people you know may be blessed with the Midas touch, turning everything they touch into gold, be it business ventures, a marital relationship or anything else, whereas you, just living from hand to mouth, find everything you touch turning into lead. You become a prey, perhaps an unwilling one, to the green-eyed monster. You rail and rant against an unjust providence, you move away from God, and ultimately deny Him. All because another has got what you do not have.

Just the reverse is the case of another who is blessed with all the good things of life, but still is not content because he knows someone who is as plentifully blessed as him has an edge over him, and this edge consists in the other man’s fame and popularity. With all that Allah in his bounty has extended to you, fame and popularity have eluded you. And this is when the green-eyed monster takes over. There is no way you can secure an edge over your rival, because the talents that he possesses you can never hope to possess. So what do you do? Try and take him down a peg or two. In other words, belittle his achievements. By this time the green-eyed monster has bitten you so hard, especially if the other man is a relative, that you do not think twice about attacking him tooth and claw, with all the means at your disposal, fair or foul, though he has done you no harm. If you cannot get at him any other way, at least throw mud at him, call him names, accuse him of nameless crimes.

Jealousy now turns into hate. And if the target of your attack is a writer, you say you hate his writing, when what you really hate is his popularity, his reputation which you could never hope to rival in any way. Many a writer has had to contend with this malady afflicting a handful of his critics. Criticism is all very well. But destructive criticism is something else again. It stems from deep-rooted hate. And such criticism naturally finds its appropriate berth in the wastes-basket of history till the time comes for it to be consigned to the incinerator, especially when the perpetrators of this vilification choose to remain in anonymity, the refuge of the cowardly.

You are so hopelessly entangled in the toils of the green-eyed monster whose offspring is hate, that you go out of your way to make out your rival to be a fraud, one who pretends to be what he is not. But you forget that Allah is watching your every move, and all your machinations are bound to end in smoke, because you chose to pit your feeble wits against the justice of the Almighty God. Finally you get your deserts before your term in this life expires. You end up losing everything you had, even the little reputation that you had enjoyed, because divine retribution has overtaken you. The wages of the sin of jealousy has found you. So, if you are a Muslim, beware of jealousy, for it is a despicable sin.

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