CALCUTTA: A delegation of Confederation of Minorities and Dalit Associations met West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu on September 9 and drew his attention towards false propaganda linking Muslims with infamous ISI thereby creating ill will among Muslim and non-Muslims in the state. Delegation leader A H Imran, editor of Bengali weekly Qalam, urged the chief minister to take notice of the propaganda campaign in the media which provides a handle to police and intelligence to harass Muslim and declare Muslim localities as sensitive. He said home minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s statement regarding Murshidabad being an ISI hotbed had led the police on search missions and harassment in Muslim colonies.
A memorandum presented to the chief minister by convener Mohammad Shah Alam said while outfits such as ULFA, Bodos, Kamtapuri (Koch-Rajbongshi) were pronouncedly secessionists and only one Muslim of Bangladeshi origin had been found with ISI links, the campaign by the media with patronage by the officials projected the entire Muslim population in inimical light.
Among the delegation members were Mr K A Makkar of Majlis Mushawarat, Dr Mohammad Raisuddin of Jamaat-e-Islami, Mansoor Ahmed of Personal Law Board, Abdul Hannan of Milli Council and Prof. Aynul Bari of Jamiath Ahle Hadith.
HYDERABAD : Eminent Muslims from all walks of life and various schools of thought in Andhra Pradesh have come together and pledged to work for empowerment of Muslims. The occasion was the state convention of “National movement of empowerment of Muslim India’ held here on August 22 to chalk out an action plan to achieve the objectives of the movement for educational, economic, political, administrative, social and cultural empowerment of Muslims. It is to be recalled that the national movement was launched in May this year at New Delhi.
The one-day convention was held under the guidance of the chairman of the movement and former cabinet secretary Zafar Saifullah. Moosa Raza, IAS (retired) from Tamil Nadu, and Navoid Hamid secretary of the movement from New Delhi attended as observers while Prof. Eijaz Aslam, secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind was among those who addressed the convention. Other participants included retired chief conservator of forests A.H.Moosvi, eminent physician Dr. Ilyas Askari, former minister for former chairman of state minorities commission Ansar Baig, Prof. Yousuf Kamal, Prof. Sadiq Naqvi and secretary of Madina Educational Society K.A.Arifuddin.
Speakers presented before the convention facts about the pathetic conditions of Muslims in educational and economic fields and noted that it was the only community whose share in every area of national endeavour had come down since independence while the share of all other communities increased.
Zafar Saifullah asked the people associated with movement to prepare themselves for a long-drawn struggle to achieve the rights of the community. He said there should be no hesitation in demanding reservation as means of justice.
The draft concept paper circulated at the convention says that in terms of literacy rate Muslims in India lag for behind their compatriots. The enrolment rate stands at 62 per cent, 16 per cent behind their compatriots. The discontinuance rate for ages 6-14 is as high as 7 per cent. The percentage of matriculates in the community is below 5 per cent while in other communities it is more than 10 per cent. The surveys indicate that Muslims are shifting from government to private schools. This will have adverse impact on the already meagre literacy rate. No mechanism exists to identify the reasons and find remedies. As for graduates, Muslims account for mere 2.3 per cent as against over 8 to 13 percent for other communities. Stating that Madarsa is continuing to play an important role in the spread of literacy among the backward sections of the minorities, the paper said the relative backwardness of the community and its economic deprivation had frozen the role of the Madrasa. The attacks on its every existence and questions raised on its nationalist character have also contributed to its decline. It urged the community, particularly Ulema, to strengthen the Madrasa system with requisite reform. According to the paper Muslims account for an extremely low percentage in Government jobs. No Muslim was found in grade D in most of the departments of the union ministries. A survey of 82 public sector undertakings show that there are only 21 Muslim directors out of 449. Out of 13916 senior officers only 321 (2.3 per cent) were Muslims. The representation of Muslims in private sector is less than 2 per cent. In the armed forces, para-military forces and police, Muslims account for less than 3 per cent of total strength. In the officer categories, it is less than 1 per cent. In the overall sanction and disbursal of loans Muslims do not account for even one per cent.
It urged all political parties and the government to constitute a parliamentary committee for minorities, on the lines of parliamentary committee on SC/ST, with the mandate to safeguard all the legitimate interests of the minorities. It was also announced that the next the next state convention of the movement would be organised in Tamil Nadu. It will be followed by conventions in Karnataka, Kerala and Rajasthan.
By Syed Basheer Ahmed
Your editorials in Aug and Sept 99' issues were thought provoking and educative.
The elections in Karnataka are over. Every election gives new experience to Muslims. Let us look into the past. During the freedom struggle the Muslim league was a well knit organisation in the old Mysore also. Mr. Mahmood Shariff, President of the Muslim league, was nominated in the cabinet in the Congress Government headed by Shri.K.C.Reddy soon after independence. A year later he was invited to join the Congress. The top leaders of the Muslim league were not in favour of joining Congress. Mr. Shariff resigned. They resolved to dissolve Muslim league. The middle and grassroots leaders had no direction. All were disheartened. They were confused and joined the Congress and other parties. All Muslim league leaders contested as independent candidates in 1952. None was elected. Mr. Shariff joined the Congress and contested in 1957 elections. He was elected. The void lasting eight years caused a lot of damage. It was not possible to bring all Muslims under one leadership even though Mr. Mohammed Ali was elected as President of the Congress. It may be because of the secular credentials of top leaders at National level and state level, but Muslims by and large voted for The Congress.
The community that suffered most was the Muslim community after independence. After the regime of Pandit Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri, there were many political changes in the country. A person of the status of Dr. Syed mahmood had to think of mobilising Muslims to fight against injustices and for proper representation. Majalis-e-Mushawart was formed. He toured all over the county. Mr. Azeez Sait was the state president and my father Mr. B.S. Mahmood was his close associate. The main aim was to vote for secular minded and helpful candidates irrespective of party affiliation. The impact was almost nil.
In the late 70s Muslim league was revived. Except that Mr. Qamarul Islam could become MLA and a few were elected as corporators, it mattered very little.
Mr. Syed Shihabuddin tried to mobilise Muslims. He formed Insaf party. Mr. Nazir Ahmed was state president. This party could not be of any avail.
Aftermath of Babri Mosque destruction shook the confidence of the Muslim community. It was a bad situation for them. It took some time for them to consolidate. In mid 1993 there were meetings in Bangalore. A committee with Messers Mushtaq Ahmed, Basheer Ahmed, Siddeeq Jaffery, Hafiz Shamiul Huda and others was constituted. Some of them travelled in South India. The main purpose was to bring awareness of elections and the democratic system. Later a group of social workers, Ms.Masood Abdul Khader, Nisak Ahmed, Major Khalilur Rahman, Sadatullah Khan under the banner of Khadiman e Mulk o Millat (KMM) toured many places in the state to guide Muslim voters to get best results for Muslims in 1994, 1996 and 1998 elections.
In 1999 elections there are many permutations and combinations of political parties. A group of Muslim organisations in the name of Karnataka Muslims Muttehada Mahaz was formed a couple of months before the elections. This was again to prevent the division of Muslim votes, to unify choice for a secular minded and good candidate, irrespective of the parties or faith they belonged to. The elections were held on Sept 5 and 11 and choices were conveyed to all two days before.
All political parties have minority wings to look after the interests of minorities and muster their votes. They demand proportionate representation for minorities. Muslims constitute 12 percent of the population and there should have been 26 MLAs. There were 6 MLAs in the last Assembly. The parties offer nominations to only those who are in a winnable position. Once the candidates file nominations with ‘B’ forms, they start campaigning. Many members of the party including members of the minority communities get involved. Each candidate and the party would have spent more than Rs.10 lakh till the penultimate day. In case the Mahaz opposes such candidates, it would amount to trying to wash away all the efforts of the minority wings to enable the candidates to get a reasonable number of seats for minorities apart from causing confusion and monetary loss.
Let us take the instance of Bangalore city where the two secular parties gave 2+3 seats for Muslims. The percentage of population of the Muslims in these constituencies is more than 20 and with the support of party votes it was presumed that the candidates would sail through. One among the three candidates is the president of a big Mosque committee, other two are corporators who have done good work in their wards. The lady corporator who is the Deputy Mayor is the only Muslim lady who could get a seat from any political party and was mainly instrumental in resolving the 30-years-old disputes of Jayanagar graveyard and Eidgah.
A slogan was raised in respect of these three candidates that if Muslims vote for them the votes will be divided and the candidates of the communal party will get the advantage. The same argument may hold good in respect of other two candidates also. If this is the ultimate truth no Muslim should contest elections. How absurd!
With all the sincerity and good intentions the interest of the community is bound to suffer if reactions are given without understanding the political scene properly. Muslims are active members of all political parties. Apart from muscle power, money power and communal factor play important role in elections and politics. The social organisations may have to be always on the alert. They should tutor all the citizens in general and Muslims in particular to exercise their franchise without fail. They should have a dispassionate survey of activities of political parties and the political activists of the respective areas. They should be able to identify sincere and secular minded politicians in all the secular parties much before the announcement of elections. They could hold discussions with minority wings and important leaders of the community. In case any such appropriate candidate is financially weak the organisations should be able to give full support. Any political party will be bound to appreciate the intentions and give tickets to such popular candidates. This way the Muslim community is sure to get proper and good representation and also help in electing good candidates from other communities in the best interests of the people and nation.
(The author is the member of the Karnataka State Minorities Commission.)
CALICUT: A public lecture on the topic “Gospel of Jesus Christ” was conducted by “Niche of Truth” on eve of Onam at Kala auditorium in Kothamangalam, a Christian located area in South Kerala. Writer M.M. Akbar, spoke on the topic. A question and answer session was held after the speech and many including the authorities on Christian scripture asked questions. Kothamangalam, being a Christian located area, is hearing this type of speech for the first time. In his speech, Mr. Akbar cited that Prophet Jesus (A.S.) always stressed worship of One and Only God throughout Bible and there is no single word asking to worship him instead of worshipping God.
“Niche of Truth” often conducts Da’wah squads throughout Kerala especially Christian and Hindu Majority areas of South Kerala, where the Islamic message of Oneness of God, Prophethood and the life hereafter has not reached yet. For the same purpose, it is giving a special training and many doctors, engineers, students, labourers, teachers etc., attend class. It could remove various misunderstandings about Islam among non-Muslims during their visit of each and every house for squad-work.
LUCKNOW: Maulana Rabe Hasni Nadwi, principal of the Nadwatul Ulama here lambasted the government and its intelligence agencies for suspecting the integrity of the madrasas and alleging them to be dens of the infamous ISI. He said nearly 40,000 ulema had laid down their lives for the freedom of the country and they came from these very madrasas. He was speaking at a seminar on the role of madrasas in the freedom struggle of the nation under the aegis of the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Foundation on August 22.
He said Syed Ahmed Shaheed was the first to raise the banner of revolt against the British and had written a letter to the Maharaja of Gwalior seeking his support. He added that the leading Islamic seminaries of Deoband and Lucknow played key roles in the struggle. He recounted that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Maulana Shaukat Ali were leading players in the freedom struggle.
NEW DELHI: The three Muslim girls’ colleges in Allahabad city have performed extremely well in the 10th standard examinations this year. There were 382 candidates for the 10th Board examinations this year. Of this 357 passed registering 94 per cent success. 201 passed in first division which makes 53 per cent. Interestingly, the non-Muslim girl students in these school excelled Muslim girls. There were 100 of them in the three schools, 99 passed the exam and 67, i.e., nearly 67 per cent were placed in first class. The percentage of first classes among Muslim girls was 48 per cent. The results of the three colleges, Ansar College of Mau Aimmah, Kidwai Memorial College and Ghaus Gilrs College were compiled by the Nusrat and Ahmed Rasheed Sherwani.
CHENNAI : The Students Islamic Organisation of Tamil Nadu felicitated the top scorers from among Muslim Community on Sept. 12. Two girl scores from other communities were also honoured.
Nawab Mohamad Abdul Ali, Prince of Arcot, Mr. H. Abdul Raqeeb, Zonal Patron of Dr. Maj, M. Jailani, New College Principal and Dr. K.V.S. Habeen Mohamed, Joint Secretary Islamic Foundation Trust, feliciated the students, who had come from all parts of Tamil Nadu.
Appointed: Dr. B. Sheik Ali has been appointed the Editor in chief of Daily Salar, Bangalore. He succeeds Mir Maqsood Ali Khan who died last month. Dr. Ali is the former vice chancellor or Mangalore and Goa Universities. Hailing from Mysore, Dr. Ali was history professor at the University of Mysore. He has authored a number of books on historical personalities and also runs several social welfare projects in the slums of Mysore.
Appointed: British prison service appointed the first Muslim Prison Advisor. The new incumbent Maqsood Ahmed took over on September 7 by Martin Narey, director general of the service. He will liaise with the representatives of other faiths and the Muslim organisations. Ahmed’s appointment came in the wake of campaigning by Muslim organisations in Britain in the wake of twofold rise in number of Muslim prisoners, from 1840 in 1990 to 4360 in 1999. Ahmed told The Muslim News his priority areas would be taking care of dietary habits and worship facilities for the Muslim prisoners.
Reselected: Britian’s first Muslim MP Mohammad Sarwar has been reselected for nomination from Govan constituency by the Labour Party. Sarwar was suspended from party due to intra-party wranglings within the Labour. But following his acquittals from the Court, he has been selected for nomination from Govan by the Labour in elections slated for 2001.
Signs for Football Club: Moroccan football stars of the World Cup last year, Mustapha Hadji and Youssef Chippo have signed for the Coventry City football club in Britain. Known for their outrageous skills, Hadji and Chippo have signed for sterling pounds 4 million and 1.2 million respectively. Hadji had refused to sign for the French under 21 team last year.
Released: Saudi scholars Shaikh Safar al-Hawali, Shaikh Salman al-Awadh and Sahikh Nasir al-Umar who were detained five years ago for ciriticising the pro-US policies of Saudi monarchy in the wake of Gulf War were released in June, reported Impact International, London. However, there was no news yet about the release of many scores of ulema, including Shaikh Saad Ibn Zubair who still remain under political detention.
14-year old At University : A 14-year old girl has won a place at the UAE Univesity in Al Ain and is determined to qualify as a doctor by the time she is 18. Yaman Kaakeh, an American-syrian, is the youngest student in the university’s 23 year history. Having joined the university at the beginning of the month, she aims to graduate as a Doctor of Pharmacy by the time she is 18. Yaman was born in Aleppo, Syria and the family moved to the U.S. When she was two months old. Her father came to the UAE in 1997.