Ghousia Nagar Slums : Dawn Of Hope
Ayesha Hospital, Mysore : Affordable Health Care
Is Islam Incompatible with Democracy?
Leaves From Life : Confusion Worse Confounded
Dawn Of Hope
By A Staff Writer
Prof Habeeb departed from the scene but his mission continues. The man who invested his money, energy and love in the project, lives in the heart of Ghousia Nagar slum dwellers
The Ghousia Nagar Slums in Mysore are a tell-tale reminder that while wise men learn from disasters and calamities fools merely lament. Those who learn, try to reform, rectify and reconstruct. Those who lament, merely regret and retreat into their shells.
One among these men who was deeply distressed by the cataclysmic aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition was
Prof. T. Mirza Habeebur Rahman.
The man who witnessed the sufferings of the helpless Muslims, the high-handedness of the police and the administrative apathy, came out of the ivory tower of intellectualism and targeted his energies at the most painful aspect of Muslims i.e., lack of education. He did not go on a lecturing binge as most of the North Indian “leaders” do. He chose a pocket in a slum and devoted his entire attention to the educational welfare of its residents. Result: He put nearly 450 boys and girls on the course to progress till he himself breathed his last on the 27th night of the holy month of Ramadhan in 1998.
Prof Habeeb departed from the scene. But his mission continues. The man who invested his money, energy, concern and love in the project, lives in the heart of Ghousia Nagar slum dwellers. Not alone this. The poor folk have now awakened to the dawn of enlightenment that would remain with them, thanks to his successors who have taken his mantle with equal zeal.
Prof Habeeb’s work in the slums is now bearing fruit. The humble school that he started has now 448 students. The late professor had met with the stark realities of the slum life when he had entered that area of darkness merely to distribute two containers of old garments someone had sent him. Habeeb realised that distribution of food or garments would only remove the symptoms. The disease remained very much embedded in the society. And that would not go away with handouts or doles. That needed change in the basic attitude which only education can bring about.
A chemistry professor in Yuvarajas College in Mysore, he bought an old poultry farm in the middle of the slums and started a school in June 1993, only six months after the riots had ravaged the area. And when he died in the small, improvised mosque adjacent to the fledgeling Hilal Higher Primary School, the students were midway through their 5th standard. But for his efforts, these boys and girls would have been vagabonds.
Today the Hilal Welfare Trust complex is a hub of activity in the Ghousianagar slums. A nine-room school caters to the educational needs of the slums. The government of Karnataka too has chipped in by setting up an Anganwadi where 60 kids are taken care of. The Trust arranges vocational training with the help of JSS Shramik Vidyapeeth of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Tailoring and Zari work are some of the skills which are imparted. Some girls are also trained in repair of sewing machines and painting of fabric together with embroidery.
Though Ghousia Nagar has not shed its old impoverished looks, Hilal’s activities carry the promise of a new dawn in the lives of these neglected lot.
Medical camps are held here frequently too are arousing awareness about health. Streams of burqa-clad women consult doctors. Deeniyath classes are inculcating a sense of a clean and disciplined life. Local Rotary Club has provided furniture for the class rooms.
The slum with a 20,000 population has, of late, begun attracting attention of the local administration too. Lack of safe drinking water is its biggest problem. Water lorries now meet the basic necessity. Sewerage is being laid. Yet much remains to be done. Trust Secretary
Mirza Ateequr Rahman now carries the lamp his late father had kindled. He is hopeful of up grading the school up to SSLC by 2004 AD. He can be contacted at
Hilal Welfare Trust,
Poultry Farm Area, Ghousia Nagar, Mysore-570 019.
Phone:0821- 443187, 490907, Fax: 0821- 529127.
By a Staff Writer
Mysore: The Bibi Ayesha Milli Hospital here is making steady progress with the graph of deliveries performed rising month after month, caesarian births kept at a low and economic services being provided to the patients. The Hospital which was inaugurated on May 4 last year has 30 beds and handles between 40 and 50 deliveries a month.
According to Dr. H.A.K. Nayeem, trustee of the Hospital, nearly 1,000 out patients are treated every month in OPD and pharmacy drugs are sold at a discount of five per cent to the patients. While normal deliveries in city’s missionary hospitals and commercial nursing homes cost around Rs. 4,000, the Bibi Ayesha Hospital charges do not exceed Rs. 1500. Caesarians are generally avoided unless there is risk to the mother’s life. Some philanthropists have donated apparatus such as ultrasound machine and a maruti ambulance. Curiously, an organisation from Delhi that promised gifting an ambulance on the condition of adding ‘milli’ to the name of the hospital, is yet to honour its pledge. According to Dr. Nayeem, while the hospital flaunts ‘Milli’, the promise of ambulance remains a promise. Interestingly, the organisation takes the credit for the setting up of this hospital in its annual report published in Arabic and English.
The hospital was set up on a piece of 400 ft by 200 ft waqf land belonging to Syed Afzal Shah Makkan leased out by the Karnataka Board of Waqfs. The Jamait Khudadad Trust took up the work feeling the need for a hospital to cater to the low-income groups in the city who were being fleeced by the private hospitals. The families of tenants occupying the patch of land were provided pucca houses and essential services in the compound. People from indigent sections are also provided relief from the zakath funds by the Trust. The zakath funds subsidised expenses to the tune of Rs. 41,608 for 24 patients.
The original plan has provision for a 180-bed hospital and the section currently operational has only 30-bed facility with operation theatres, pathological labs, OP and other necessary amenities.
According to Dr. Ulfath Fathima, the resident medical officer, the Ayesha Hospital keeps away from unethical practices such as medical termination of pregnancy (abortions) etc.
It may be recalled that MTP is a secretive yet a remunerative practice for several commercially run nursing homes in Indian cities.
Mr. M.A.Khan is the chairman of the governing council of the hospital and Syed Zaheer Ahmed is secretary. For more details contact:
The secretary, Bibi Ayesha Milli Hospital, No. 242 Old Mysore- Bangalore Road, Behind St.Philomena’s College, Bannimantap, Mysore 560 015, Phone : 0821-371131.
It hurts the sensibilities of a sensitive Muslim when he hears the baseless charge that Islam is incompatible with the spirit of democracy. It is more disturbing when this comes from people who are genuinely secular and are well disposed towards Muslims. What they do not realise is that they are unwittingly promoting the bogey which has its origin in the political West that Islam is authoritarian and incompatible with the democratic ethos. This serious and unfair charge needs to be decisively answered so that it is laid to rest forever.
It is acknowledged on all hands, even by the most prejudiced, that the egalitarian concept is deeply entrenched in the doctrines of Islam. The secret of its swift advance across Asia and Africa lay in the appeal of this concept. Many communities which were victims of iniquity and inequality with in their faiths found salvation in Islam. The classic instances were Afghanistan, Kashmir and Indonesia which went through the Hindu and Buddhist phases and finally accepted Islam, without any coercion or violence. The spreading of Islam owes least to the Muslim rulers in India but most to the Sufi Saints who took the message of the Qur’an to the people without causing any offence to the indigenous faiths prevalent here. The society here which had suffered the worst iniquity in the form of caste described as graded inequality, that kept the majority outside the pale of civil society, found liberation in Islam. The stereotype, promoted by Medieval Church and the west of the alien marauder invading this land with a sword in one hand and the Qur’an in the other is known to be a vile slander that needs to be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. That a mere 12% of Indians is Muslim gives the lie to this slander.
Civil society as conceived by Islam confirms the absolute faith in the equality of all human beings. Since the Creator created the entire universe including humans, he could not have discriminated one community from the other. Moreover the equal status given to women is perhaps unparalleled in any other faith in the world, specially in respect of literacy, inheritance and marriage. The world today has woken up to the issue of the girl child who was accorded a privileged place in Islam. Social justice is given the highest place and those accused of guilt of being unjust are constantly reprimanded and warned of punishment.
It is acknowledged the world over that Islam is spreading at a pace today that is not matched by any other faith. This owes little to material allurements but the simple faith and self-respect it endows its adherents with What is the record of states today which profess to be Islamic? The charge of Islam being not in tune with democracy has been disproved in the case of Indonesia which had groaned under the iron will of the military dictator, Gen. Suharto for decades but was brought to hell in a democratic election by a Muslim cleric, Abdurrahman Wahid who got elected as President and who in turn had the grace to appoint his political rival, Ms. Soekarnoputri, a Muslim and woman as the vice-President, who had condemned Muslim violence against Hindus and Christians earlier. Wahid is cutting the army to size, despatching it to put down violence against minorities and has warned the former head of the army who is now a senior minister, Gen. Wiranto, that he will be held accountable if found guilty of violation of human rights. He is all set to give full autonomy or even independence to Christian East Timor.
Iran which was declared the most fundamentalist of Islamic states by the political West after the ousting of the autocratic Shah by Ayatollah Khomeni, has mellowed into a state with a benign democratic President, Mohammed Khatami, accountable to the citizens, who has accorded all rights to women and has become a byword for political liberalism which even the U.S.A. has conceded atlast. Nigeria that had gone through decades of civil war between Christians and Muslims, ruled by military dictators, has finally through elections returned to civil rule, acclaimed by Nelson Mandela and the West.
On the other hand, states like Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Egypt are Islamic more in the letter than in the spirit. The rulers are the playboys of the West, wasting away billions of dollars on ornaments, real estate in the West and indulging in pleasures unbecoming of a Muslim. Within their states, they are not accountable to their people, absolutely autocratic and totally opposed to democratic values.
Islam never espoused kingship, the Caliphate was not dynastic rule but chosen by the Faithful. The Prophet (Pbuh) was accused by his enemies of being partisan to the poor. Islam is a faith that lays stress on the welfare of the community and has framed safe guards for members of other faiths. A genuine Islamic state would ensure egalitarianism, social justice and gender justice, thus assuring itself a pride of place in the comity of nations. The citizens living in that society would bear out the exhortation of the Creator. “And the servants of (Allah) / most gracious are those / who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant/Address them, they say / “Peace”.
By D. A. Sait
History has repeated itself. True to tradition this year too Idul-Fitr became a war of nerves for the Muslims of Bangalore instead of a day of peaceful celebration. It looks as if Idd cannot be Idd for us without the addition of a copious quantity of spice to make the Idd appetising. At least that’s what many a friend has been saying of our Idd this year. One such friend said, ‘Can’t you people stop all this nonsense of having your Idd on two different days in the same city?’
‘How can they?’ Put in another. ‘Without all this hullabaloo of chopping and changing the day of Idul-Fitr every hour on the hour till day-break how can the rest of the world know it is Idul-Fitr that is going to be celebrated?’
‘Confusion has come to be recognised as an integral part of Idul-Fitr in this part of the world,’ continued the other.
What a shame! Idul-Fitr, a holy festival of the Muslims, has become the butt of a joke, having descended from the pedestal and been transformed into a burlesque, a comedy drawing peals of laughter from all over. And who is responsible for making our Idd a mockery? The blame rests squarely on the broad shoulders of the men in charge of the New Moon Committee. When they committed the same mistake last year, dilly-dallying till the eleventh hour, keeping the Muslim community on tenter-hooks and causing untold misery and frustration in their ranks, knocking the bottom out of their enjoyment of Idd celebrations the Islamic Voice had voiced its concern through articles in the post-Idd issue and suggested remedial measures such as following the lead given by a central authority like the Shahi Imam of Delhi as far as sighting of the Moon is concerned. If this suggestion had been followed this year, irrespective of whether the Moon was not sighted in this part of the world, much heart-ache and head-ache could have been averted. Instead, what followed was a maelstrom of conflicting information and views from different quarters, some fasting on Saturday, the 8th of January, others celebrating Idd on that day, some others breaking their fast in the middle of Saturday as it was considered ‘haram’ to fast on an Idd day.
What happened in my own family was something like this. My daughter who live in BTM layout rang me up to say they were going to celebrate Idd the following morning, that is Saturday, the 8th, as the mosques around her residence had decided to follow the Shahi Imam’s directions regarding moon-sighting. But the wise men of the New Moon Committee of Karnataka seemed to have been taken out of their depth and went on shilly-shallying and finally, with so many Muslim homes waiting with bated breath, came out with the verdict that Idd would be celebrated on Sunday, the 9th, as the moon had not been sighted in this part of the world. The question that arises now is whether the Shahi Imam’s moon is an altogether different one from the New Moon Committee’s moon. Idd preparations in many a Muslim home went haywire because the final verdict came too late, with the result that some decided to celebrate Idd on Saturday itself while some sticklers for the 30-day norm opted for Sunday.
As we suggested last year we are again reiterating our well-considered opinion that enough is enough, and this Idul-Fitr farce has gone on long enough and it is high time we cried a halt to this drama and trauma and made a decision, here and now, to celebrate Idul-Fitr in future on the same day through out the country, which happy state of affairs can be brought about by abiding by the verdict of a central authority regarding the sighting of the Moon. This, in turn, can bear fruit only if Muslim intelligentsia get together on a common platform pretty soon and make a decision to this effect, New Moon Committee or no New Moon Committee.