Headlines

SDPI's demonstration against the production and use of Endosulfan in India

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 27 April 2011 | Posted in , , ,

By Musab Rafiq Agwan

The Delhi unit of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) held today a demonstration at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi demanding nationwide ban of endosulfan. Party workers from different parts of the national capital and nearby states assembled at the site and appealed the central government for complete ban on the production and use of endosulfan in the country and for endorsing the global ban on this harmful pesticide by singing the UN Convention on Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in the ensuing Conference of Parties at Stockholm the next week.

Speaking on this occasion the convener of the SDPI’s Delhi unit and a known environmentalist A.R. Agwan gave details of the environmental and human hazards of this chlorinated hydrocarbon as persistent pollutant and called for a country-wide ban on it following the already executed ban in Kerala and Karnataka states in India and several countries of the world. He said that the article 21 of the constitution ensuring right to life is being violated by the government which seems so far to be insensitive to the misery of common people.

Advocate K.M Ashraf, the Kerala state president of SDPI, lamented that over 9000 persons have been reported succumbed to the poisonous effects of the pesticide and other 5000 are reported to be totally crippled due to its insensible use still the central and several state governments are dilly dallying for taking due measure against it. On this occasion Ansar Indori, the SDPI incharge of Uttar Pradesh, advocate Aslam Ahmad the party leader of Delhi and the party representatives from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana also expressed their views. The national president of Ambedkar Samaj Party Bhai Tej Singh joined the demonstration along with some of his rank and file and endorsed the demands extended by the SDPI in this regard.


A memorandum signed by the SDPI’s general secretary A. Saeed was submitted to the Prime Minister of India and authorities putting the SDPI’s clear view that the endosulfan is a highly toxic chemical, used widely as a pesticide but with toxicological properties comparable with the likes of DDT and Endrin, which have been banned in the country and is slated for a global phase out. It is a chemical which can cause endocrine disruptions, reproductive system disorders, central nervous system disorders, liver and kidney dysfunctions in many studies on animals and human beings. It has been shown to display genotoxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects. It is extremely sad to note the attempts from industry and associated scientists to label endosulfan as a “safe” and “soft” chemical by alienating themselves from new scientific findings and the realities.

The memorandum submitted to the prime minister also puts on record that endosulfan has been banned across 81 countries in all the continents after elaborate studies. In our own country Kerala and Karnataka have banned this chemical after finding health and environment damages. Under these circumstances and on behalf of the victims of endosulfan Social Democratic Party of India humbly requests the central government to take adequate steps for an early imposing of a ban on edosulfan in the country instead of unnecessary further studies. The SDPI strongly recommends for providing must immediately and unconditionally compensation to the relatives of the deceased victims and to the surviving victims.

The SDPI also requested the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the memorandum for his personal intervention in the matter to ensure that the ministry does not succumb to the pressure of corporate lobby, as the chemical corporations are much worried about their profit than the safety of farm workers and consumers.

Interfaith program Message Of Peace to be held at Patna May 1

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 26 April 2011 | Posted in , ,

IMO News Service

The Islamic Dawah and Research Foundation, Patna, is going to organise an Interfaith Program ‘Pyame-Aman’ (Message of Peace) at Patna on May 1, 2011. According to the organizer of the program M. Naushad Ansari the holding of such a n event is a historical moment for Bihar as this unique interfaith program intends to bring together people of all faiths such as Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Atheism etc.

The program will be held from 4 pm to 10 pm at Anjuman Islamia Hall, Muradpur, Near Patna Market.

The speakers at the program include Acharya Kishore Kunal, President, Dharmik Nyas Parishad, Bihar; Khurshid Imam, Software Engineer, Bangalore (He would be speaking on the topic ‘Misconceptions about religion of GOD’); Ahsanul Hoda, President, IDRF, Patna; Acharya Shri Sudarshan ji Maharaj, Gurgaon; Dharmacharya Swami Harinarayanand, General Secretary, Bharat Sadhu Samaj.

[For further details, Contact: M. Naushad Ansari. Mobile # 09036935053, 09334127275, 09334412342, 09204444974]

OPINION: Qur’an’s Collective Spirit & Today’s Context

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , ,

By Wasim Ahmad

Pope John Paul II kissing the Holy Quran
It is an extremely important question and an uphill task. We as a people need to start the expedition of finding out that spirit. The collective spirit of Qur’an is lost as our focus is on individual verses. Our immediate quotes from Qur’an have done much harm. They have taken us farther and farther from the crux of it. When we quote one verse we forget all the remaining ones. This is why we do not move forward in our understanding of the Book. This is symptomatic of our collective life. We are lost in the details.

Qur’an is not concerned about numbers as much as it focuses on quality, for instance. Now this aspect of Qur’an needs to be contrasted with our outlook and our focus. If our focus is on numbers then it means that we need to review our outlook. We need to dwell on the concepts of ‘minority’ and ‘majority’ a bit more in the light of Qur’an.  If we keep focusing on the numbers disregarding the Qur’anic world-view then how will it be unjustified to say that our Right Hands are empty? Keeping this perspective of Qur’an in view we have to review the ‘minority character’. Here we need to stop for a while and reflect.

Qur’an assigns a lot of duties to its upholders. Imbibing this collective spirit of Qur’an the Believers should be more concerned about others than themselves. As opposed to this spirit of Qur’an we are busy talking about and demanding our rights. If our ‘Ulama, too, stand for ‘minority’ and ‘majority’ as it is perceived by the multitudes it is very much surprising. They were, in fact, expected to wean us away from ‘minorityism’. Here again we need to pause and ponder.

If Qur’an does not contradict itself and we keep contradicting ourselves without really worrying about it then how can we argue that we are holding Qur’an in the Right Hands? In my communication with many ‘modern’ educated Muslims through various Networks I have noticed that we contradict ourselves a lot. When we do that then I am not sure what we stand for. But Qur’an stands for something and this is precisely why it is consistent. If we want to be in harmony and consistent with Qur’an, we will have to stand for something. And that something we need to figure out.

Not trying to reach out to the collective spirit of Qur’an we have our priorities messed up. We don’t know what needs to be done and why and how. For instance, the focus of Qur’an is on giving and not on seeking. Now we need to contrast this focus of Qur’an with our own current focus. There is a need to review the resolutions passed in our conventions and symposia. With what message do the audiences leave the venues? They go back with a resolve to contribute or with the resolutions of demands. If they go back with the resolve to contribute are they aware about why and how will they do so?

In our efforts to reach out to the collective spirit of Qur’an we have to find out how much it focuses on community and how much on the individual. And then contrast it with our current focus. We have to review if we are aligned with the spirit of Qur’an in this respect. If someone argues that we are more focused on the collective entity or the community as opposed to the individual – disregarding the collective spirit of Qur’an – how will we react to this observation? Will we agree or disagree and why or why not?

Qur’an guides us to clear and higher purposes behind all our actions. It defines the final goals before the outset. In other words, it gives a clear vision. Contrasting it with our current focus we find that a lot many things that we do have no clear goals and no well thought out objectives behind it. We do things but we do not know why we are doing them. This approach of ours needs to be contrasted with the spirit of Qur’an. We need to reach to some conclusions in this regard and take corrective measures if the findings are not quite encouraging.

From the particulars we have to derive the universals. This is inductive reasoning, al-‘aql al-istiqraa’ee. And this is what Qur’an emphasises upon by constantly asking us to reconsider our preconceived notions shunning our casual approach. If, however, we as a people easily get carried away from the main subject then it clearly indicates that we haven’t grasped the inductive intellect well. We get lost in particulars without reaching to universals. This is proved by the fact that we start discussing a subject but do not worry about taking it to the logical conclusions. Hence, we do not reach to the idea in the real sense of the word. But still we keep lamenting about lack of implementation (of what?).

If Qur’an does not divide knowledge into ‘religious’ categories and ‘secular’ and it does not divide life into ‘deeni’ and ‘dunyaawi’ spheres and we keep dividing them, then how can we argue that we are in harmony with the collective spirit of Qur’an? We have dismembered Qur’an by focusing on the parts and ignoring the whole. By focusing less on its soul and more on the body. We need to make a (paradigm) shift here. We have to make maximum efforts to reach to the crux of the Book.

[Wasim Ahmad is Department Head of Islamic Studies, Preston University, Ajman, UAE. He can be contacted at malikwasimahmad@gmail.com or +971505363235]

The Return of X-2: A Note on Urdu crime writer Ibne Safi’s Wonderland

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 25 April 2011 | Posted in , ,

By Amrita Dutta



A man who wrote 245 books, created two popular crime series, spawned a generation of imitators, and discovered Zeroland. The phenomenon of Urdu crime writer Ibne Safi


Karachi waited eagerly in November 1963. Banners and posters went up around its poky lending libraries, and word spread beyond the border to the north Indian heartland. It was the return of Ibne Safi, prolific and popular Urdu crime writer, from the depths of a mental breakdown that had lasted three years. With him returned, between the lurid covers of the slim volume of Daerh Matwaalay, the much-loved Ali Imran, a goofy, rich and spoilt young man, who is actually X-2, chief of the secret services of an unspecified country somewhere in Hindustan.


If you were an Urdu reader in the subcontinent in the 1960s, three years would have been too long to wait for your fix of Ibne Safi. In his 28-year-long writing career, Asrar Ahmed aka Ibne Safi (1928-1980) wrote 245 books, at the astonishing rate of two-three a month; and the strain of his productivity led to his mental collapse in 1961. Priced at 9 aanas, the novels were devoured by readers from Karachi to Kanpur, from schoolboys who would slip them between textbooks, away from the eyes of disapproving parents; and mullahs who would queue up at bookshops at the launch of every new book; to a certain 14-year-old in Meerut, Surendra Mohan Pathak, who hid himself in a cowshed near his home to read the contraband volumes.


If, like Mohammad Hanif, a teenager in Hyderabad, Pakistan, in the Sixties, you could not afford a new novel, you could get your hand on a grubby dog-eared copy through a network of aana-libraries, which loaned the books for a few aanas each. “On days a new novel would release, people would pay up to Rs 5 per hour to read them. And simply stand there and read. It was like an addiction,” says Hanif, now an IT professional in Kuwait. Proof that the addiction survives is in the Ibne Safi novel that he still takes to bed every night, and the exhaustive website that he runs on the crime writer (ibnesafi.info).


Earlier this week, in the hope of adding to his Indian readers, the Chennai-based Blaft Publications and Tranquebar Press brought out English translations of four novels of the Jasoosi Duniya series: Doctor Dread, Smokewater, The Laughing Corpse and Poisoned Arrow. Last year, Harper Collins released Hindi translations of a set of Imran novels; and Random House India translated another Imran novel in English.


Ibne Safi was born in Nara village, Allahabad, in 1928, to a family of landlords, and grew up into a precocious reader of epic fantasies like Tilism-e-Hoshruba, and the adventures of H. Rider Haggard . As a young member of the Urdu literary circle of Allahabad in the 1950s, he wrote poetry, wore his hair long, dabbled with communism and worried about the smut that had swamped popular literature of the time. At a gathering of poets and intellectuals, when someone claimed that nothing but sex could sell in Urdu, he decided to start a homegrown crime series to disprove that thesis. In 1952, at the age of 24, he wrote Dilaer Mujrim, featuring Inspector Faridi and his sidekick Hameed, the first of the 120 novels in the Jasoosi Duniya series . (Not all his plots were homegrown; he admitted to lifting from English writers.) The same year, he left with his family for Pakistan, where he would live the rest of his life.


He was as much of a phenomenon in India as in Pakistan. An abiding memory of his son Ahmed Safi is of his father working through the night. “I remember him lying on a bed, on his left, propped up on a pillow, and writing. The paper he would write on was held by a clipboard, beneath which was a sheet of carbon paper, and another blank page. When he had finished, the carbon copies of an entire novel would be mailed to Allahabad to his friend Abbas Hussaini, who published them there, almost simultaneously,” says Ahmed, a mechanical engineer in his 50s in Karachi. “His Indian readership was bigger than in Pakistan, and his books were translated into Hindi and Bengali.”


By the 1960s, Ibne Safi was a brand. And like any famous brand, he spawned a library of knock-offs. “A lot of people stole characters from his series and started writing novels based on those. This happened mostly when he was ill for three years (1961-63). They came up with similar names. Enn Safi, Ibban Safi, Naghma Safi, Najma Safi and many such Safis surfaced,” says Ahmed. “My father once wrote in a preface, ’You can be a successful mystery writer in Urdu but you’d have to declare my father as your parent to do so.’” Magazines like Mujrim, Tilisme-Jasoos and Jasoosi Panja took his idea, but could not run too far with it. Though his plots were simple, he also showed the way to more serious writers. “My first impulse to write about crime came from reading him,” says the grandee of Hindi pulp fiction, Pathak. “He picked up the idea of a police procedural, because, obviously, there were no private detectives in India or Pakistan. In fact, they didn’t exist till a couple of years ago.”


Ibne Safi’s sleuths were impeccably moral men, driven by a strong sense of nationalism, a long way off from the amoral, realistic universe of Pathak’s criminals. There was Colonel Faridi, an immensely wealthy aristocrat who studied criminology in Oxford, and whose passion led him to join the police force. He lived in a palatial home, drove Lincolns and Aston Martins, and was unmoved by the attractions of the many femme fatales that crossed his path. Imran was his bumptious alter ego whose ludicrousness was a camouflage for his real identity. According to Shamshur Rahman Faruqi, who has translated the four novels for Blaft, it was the kind of fiction that “instantly appealed to the instinct of the average middle-class Muslim (and Hindu) in India and Pakistan”. Both come together in one novel Zameen ke Badal, where they go in search of the mysterious country of Zeroland.


The world of Ibne Safi, peopled by a cast of quixotic characters, and exotic locales, though, is hardly revelatory about the times he lived in. “He never wrote about the local thana and its setting. It was modeled on Scotland Yard,” says Pathak. The novels are usually set in an unnamed country, which could either be India or Pakistan, where a jangbaaz foreign power (strong suggestions of America) sets traps for his crime-busters, and where they take on larger-than-life baddies with monikers as flamboyant as their crime: Gerald Shastri, scientist and scholar who invents a method to turn men into gorillas; Sing Hee, half-Mongolian, half-Chinese, who can dodge any bullet with ease; Humbug the Great, a spy with a hump, whose mission is to foment a revolution in Imran’s country.


Filmmaker Mahmood Farooqui, a fan of the writer, remembers it as a curiously modern world. “There was nothing orthodox about it. It was about a high-end life, about night clubs and cafes with names like Arlechhino, attractive Anglo-Indian women and men in felt hats. What, indeed, was a felt hat?” he says. For a reader in a small town in India, a Technicolor world had been switched on.


In the last few years, Pakistan has seen a revival of Ibne Safi’s works, with many critics insisting that he be re-evaluated as a mainline literary icon. Faruqi is not too convinced, and finds in his writing neither the sophistication of plots nor of detection. Pathak agrees, but adds of the man who wrote untiringly from his house in Nazimabad, Karachi, “What he taught me was how to say it well, how to make a simple line sparkle with wit. No one had done that before.” (Courtesy: EVE, Indian Express)

EXPOSING BAD MEDIA PRACTICES: Rediff extensively quotes OKHLA TIMES on Jamaat story

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

[After the Internet spread it has become easy to take original stories from other writers or portals and then rewrite them. This has become a norm for writers of all hues these days. But, what becomes painful is that in this cut & paste and rewrite job, which is done quite efficiently and portrayed as ones own work, the original author is at a loss because his/her hard work goes down the drains. These unethical journalistic practices are highly condemnable and it’s about time that those indulging into such bad practices should be exposed. Here’s a classic case when a scholar Yogi Sikand indulges into such acts with élan and finesse, when he picks a story from OKLA TIMES run by a young Muslim Journalist Mr. Asad. True, such practices are not unwarranted nowadays, but the original writer of the story should be given due credit. I myself know of some websites run by Muslims such as TwoCircles.net & Ummid.com, which indulge in such practices and don’t give credit to the original source from where the stories have been picked. I, myself, collate important stories which should be highlighted and give due credit to the source from where it has been taken. Due courtesy is what the writer after all wants. – Danish Ahmad Khan, Executive Editor, IndianMuslimObserver.com]

By Tarique Anwar

Jamaat-e-Islami Hindi (JIH) backed Welfare Party of India is grabbing headlines. Since its official launch on April 18, 2011 many articles have been written on the party that claims to practice value politics. Though mainstream media including the Times of India and the Hindustan Times didn’t give much coverage but Internet users have been debating the issue with a lot of interest.

A recent article in Rediff titled: “Muslims debate need for new Islamist-backed party” by Yogi Sikand (April 22, 2011) delves deep into the issue by taking quotes from different articles published in some portals. The author has extensively quoted from two articles published on the eight months old community portal, OKHLA TIMES whose editor was recently shortlisted for XCity London Award 2011. These articles were: All is not well with Jamaat and Critics give Jamaat a tongue lashing on Facebook.

The 2,229 words article spread in 29 paragraphs also carry quotes from the comment section of OT. However, it is only in the 27th paragraph that the author, who right now is based in Bangalore and claims to be an authority on Muslim issues in India, wrote: “Several of these comments on the WPI, whether for or against, were hosted on www.okhlatimes.com... In an article on the WPI hosted on the website, a commentator noted that from discussions about the party on Facebook, for instance, 'it could be made out' that the Jamaat 'is fast losing its respectability.' In another article on the WPI on the same website, tellingly titled, 'All is Not Well With the Jamaat-e Islami Hind', Asad himself wrote. The website is run by Asad, a young Muslim man based in Okhla…”

Earlier, Yogi had posed an OT article on The Moderates group without mentioning the community portal. That article on Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) was written exclusively for OT by a Bangalore-based senior journalist M Siraj on request. When OT editor protested to it in an email posted to Yogi he didn’t reply. Later on the same article was also posted by www.ummid.com without giving courtesy to OT. It had appeared as if the article was written by ummid.

A senior journalist Danish Ahmad Khan said: “After the Internet spread it has become easy to take original stories from other writers or portals and then rewrite them. The problem is that the so called writers, intellectuals and editors don’t even follow the basic ethics of journalism of attributing the rehashed articles. They present it as if it is theirs. Many websites being run by Muslims that claim to be a respectable one are doing the cut, paste and rewrite work efficiently. Even self acclaimed writers are involved in such acts. By doing so they are misleading the readers and stealing the hard work done by others. This should be stopped and such self-acclaimed owners of these websites and writers, intellectuals should be exposed. Of late search engine giant Google has gone tough on such websites that have become easy source of minting money by providing third-rate stuff.”

Coming back to Rediff, a regular OT reader Amit Shekhar also a senior journalist was delighted with the turn of event. He said: “This is an achievement for OT that in a very short period of time has been noticed in the mainstream media. OT has made its presence felt.”

On March 14, 2011, www.exchange4media.com also did a story on OT titled: “Okhla Times Editor shortlisted for UK award.” Set up eight years back, exchange4media publishes niche, relevant and quality materials for the marketing, advertising and media professionals. Besides, the portal also brings out a monthly advertising, marketing, broadcasting and media magazine called PITCH. Also, Indian Muslim Observer portal managed by a senior journalist Danish Ahmad Khan carried a story on OT.

Moreover, a London-based website: www.journalism.co.uk also ran a story: “Full shortlist unveiled for City University alumni award” (March 16, 2011).

(Courtesy: Okhla Times)

‘Gameplan Gujarat: Finish off Modi legally, not politically or physically’

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

With more and more people admiring Narendra Modi and following him nationwide, the game plan is possibly to finish Mr. Modi legally and not politically or physically. Intelligent people are busy in writing scripts, positioning key people, influencing some others, and making chess board strategies.

While Gujarat and the people of Gujarat are continuously focusing on 2020 and working hard to add prosperity of this nation,  but recent episode of IPS Sanjiv Bhatt’s affidavit needs to be looked at in perspective. This detail is based on Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT)’s leaked report few months back (now they are challenging SIT’s integrity also, they may ultimately demand Sharia court).

SIT Chairman Raghavan notes: ‘The inquiry clearly established that a meeting was in fact held at the chief minister’s residence on the night of 27.02.02 after the chief minister’s return to Ahmedabad following his visit to Godhra earlier in the day.’ (Page 3 of chairman’s comments)

According to SIT report before Supreme Court the meeting lasted for about half an hour.

There were eight confirmed participants:
1. Chief Minister
2. Acting Chief Secretary
3. Additional Chief Secretary (Home)
4. DGP
5. Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police
6. Secretary (Home)
7. Principal Secretary to CM
8. Secretary to CM

When inquiry officer of SIT examined Narendra Modi on 25 March 2010, Modi admitted that he had called a law and order meeting at his residence on 27 February 2002, after his return from Godhra where he had gone to inspect the Sabarmati carnage. Asked about who was present, Modi named the seven officers, apart from himself, listed above. Modi also said, “Sanjiv Bhatt, the then DC (Int.) did not attend, as this was a high level meeting.”

Before the SIT, three of the senior officers present — “pleaded loss of memory due to passage of time”.-Four other officers — have categorically denied that the CM had instructed the police not to control Hindu mobs for a window of time. One officer, who is presently on deputation to the Central ministry of commerce, has denied attending this meeting at all.

Wrapping up his observation, the inquiry officer of SIT states: “It can be concluded that a law and order meeting was in fact held by Modi at his residence late in the evening of 27 February 2002. However, the allegation that the chief minister instructed the chief secretary, DGP and other senior officials to allow the Hindu community to vent their anger on the Muslims in the wake of Godhra incident is not established.”

Senior IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt claims on his own that he was present at the meeting convened at the CM’s residence. Sanjiv Bhatt, presently a deputy inspector general, was posted as a deputy commissioner of police in the State Intelligence Bureau at that time.

Sanjiv Bhatt told the SIT that it was DGP who had insisted on his presence at the meeting. According to Sanjiv Bhatt, since the state intelligence chief was away on leave, the DGP had wanted somebody from the intelligence department to be present to provide answers on the intelligence failure behind the Sabarmati carnage at Godhra and tackle any other intelligence related query that might have come up at the meeting.

Sanjiv Bhatt, however, refused to say more. He told the SIT that since the probe against Modi was merely at a preliminary stage, he would not like to speak up. However, if a criminal case was registered he would be duty bound to testify and tell the truth. (Given the purely exploratory nature of the SIT’s mandate, as a serving officer, Sanjiv Bhatt’s rationale was that speaking out at this stage would jeopardise his career without necessarily having any impact.)

Other seven officers at the meeting have denied to support Sanjiv Bhatt’s claim that he was present in the meeting. While three officers have pleaded loss of memory, then DGP has categorically denied Sanjiv Bhatt’s presence. Others too have not supported Sanjiv Bhatts’s claim.

SIT has concluded on page 149 of his report, “Since Sanjiv Bhatt’s presence at the meeting is not proved his statement has to be ignored.”

The SIT has stated that, “Sanjiv Bhatt is considered an unreliable witness, especially because no official, who is known to have definitely attended the meeting, has spoken of his presence there. Also he was considered too junior to have been invited to such a high-level meeting.”

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

Dilemma of Muslim students coming out from schools and universities

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , ,

By Abdul Hannan Siwani Nadvi

Importance of education is unarguable. Islam is the first religion that acknowledged the world about knowledge and education. The first four verses of Qura'an reveled to Prophet Mohammad (Sallal laho alaihe wasalam), states only about education and knowledge.

Allah says; Read [O Muhammad!] in the name of your Lord who created. (96.1) He created man from a clot. (96.2) Read, and your Lord is the Most Honorable (96.3) who taught with the pen. (96.4)

In these four verses, Allah says nothing why He selected Prophet Mohammad (Sallal laho alaihe wasalam)  as His messenger, or what he has to do, Allah keeps silent at this moment.

He starts delivering His message to Prophet Mohammad (Sallal laho alaihe wasalam) with word “Read”. It means reading and making literate is a very most and significant tool in changing the phenomenon of the world.

This time, education is the most and significant topic of discussion in every country. Getting education and establishing world-class educational institutions has become a distinction in this era. Even the trend of going abroad, taking admission in famous and prominent schools and universities, and studying there is advancing very rapidly.

This is a very good sign and it shows that world has conceded the endowment of education.

Now, when it has been established that education is very must for every individual; question arises; which education is the best for human beings? Which education should be taught in schools and universities? Does modern educational system which is continuing in schools and universities, is the best educational system? Does the syllabus is being taught in schools and universities playing a role in damaging Muslims identity in India?  Does current modern educational system depriving Muslims from Islam?

Such as, there are endless questions about modern education and its systems that are being applied into schools and universities.

First we see which education Islam likes.

Qura'an sheds the light with details on the education that is the best for all human beings and humanities. Qura'an encourages human beings to get all education that makes them closer to Allah, helps them in protecting society from bad elements and makes them a civilized nation and citizens.

Here is a misperception rules in Muslim community that Islam dislikes technical education, in other words modern education, or the education which is going on in schools and universities this time.

This perception and notion have been made by Muslims themselves because they kept themselves away from Qura'an and Islam. Muslims do not read Qura'an, as they understand reading the Qura'an would leave them away from modern education, and thus, they could not become a successful engineer or doctor or advocate, or architecture etc.  

Now; let us see what Qura'an says.

Do they not look at the camels, how they are created? (17) And at the heaven, how it is raised? (18) And the mountains, how they are rooted (and fixed firm)? (19) And at the earth, how it is outspread? (20) (Surah. AlGhashiyah)

In these verses, Qura'an asks Muslims and everyone to look camel, heaven, mountains and earth that how and why it is created and made useful for human beings. These verses of Qura'an ask Muslims to do research, open research institutions and teach their children the education that makes them closer to Allah.

Qura'an wants that human beings do develop themselves, fly into sky, use laptop, mobile, I-Pad, I-Phone, and take benefits from all technologies are available in this planet. In response of using these technologies, human beings prevent themselves from joining any partner with Him, protect themselves from all sins that make Allah angry, and be thankful of  Him that He awarded them these graces and facilities so that they can live in this world peacefully and establish the system of justice for all humanities.

These and other Qur'anic verses reject Muslim's misperception about modern education. So, this education is not banned in Islam. However, the system of this education Muslims are getting in schools and universities in India is a questionable.

Eventually, young Muslim generation that is going to schools and universities to take modern education turning them out from Islamic teachings as well as the tendency to keep Islamic identity alive is also decreasing in young Muslim generation.

This young Muslim generation is unaware about Islam, rights of parents, rights of neighbors, rights of common man; Islamic history; Islamic teachings; Islamic role and regulations; Muslim's history; how Islam spread in Mekkah; how it reached to other countries; what had happened with Muslims in Spain; how Muslim rulers established Islamic system; who are Muslims scientists; how many Muslim scientists were; what were their contribution in science; how the fall of Muslims started; how many years Muslims ruled on India; how Islam arrived here; what Muslim rulers did in this country; what were their history; what Muslims did with other nations and vice versa? What is the economic system of Islam? What are the rights of Muslim women in Islam? And such as a lot of questions and information this Muslim generation does not know.

Today, Muslim names have much familiar in every professional field, but hardly their attitude and their culture shows that they are the followers of Islam.

AMU, JMI, Jamia Hamdard and other Muslim universities had been established to arrange a best platform of modern education to Muslim students, producing an Islamic atmosphere in their campuses so that Muslim students able to play a role in society with Islamic identity.

This concept, however, has changed. These Muslim universities in making of its secular image, failed to create the generation that be Imam in modern education as well as they be a true follower of Islam too.

Most Muslim students, who come out from these universities do not know ABCD of Islam. The young Muslim generation that is studying there is growing up in the atmosphere that is turning them out from Islamic atmosphere and Islamic education.

Every year, Muslim universities produce thousands of Muslim students, but they go where; joining of this new blood with Indian society why leaves no effect on Muslim's situation.

This time Muslim's presence in medical, technical, IT and other professional fields is on rise. Their situation is transforming very rapidly. Young Muslim generation is thinking very positively. Educational rates have increased in Muslim community. Muslims, specially, poor Muslims have learned the tactic to fight against poverty and illiteracy.

The situation, which was after the independence, is not now. On various levels, Muslims gained their confidence.  But, the saddest angel of it, this young Muslim generation is not getting proper education that teach them about Islam, Muslims and Islamic history enabling them to play a role in technical fields.

Many Muslims, this time, are working in professional fields and they have respect and place there. However, they unable to present the true image of Islam in their respected fields, they never went to Masjid to offer prayers there, even Friday prayer. They do not know what are Zakat, Namaz, Haj etcetera; so, how we expect some hopes from them?

None of them can be seen as a defender of Islam and Muslims. Even many of them support anti-Islamic movement, or anti-Islamic ideologies, and sometimes, they pose more dangerous than Hindutva goons; why is it happening? Why Islam and Muslims find no sympathizers even from young Muslim generation.

The reason is very clear. These young Muslim girls and boys have no knowledge about Islam and Muslims. They spend five years or seven years in schools and colleges; where they get technical education; but, there is no arrangement of delivering the education about Islam and Islamic history to them.

My so many friends who are the students of these universities and colleges, they neither perform prayers five time a day, nor keep fast during the month of Ramzan. Their life style lands me in shock; what education they got; how they can defend Islam and Muslims in that atmosphere? How we expect from them that they will present the true picture of Islam and Muslims before other nations?

Muslims, as a Muslim community and as a believer of Islam hardly survive in this country, if this situation remains to continue.

Staying of young educated Muslim generations away from Islam and Islamic history is not a good sign for Indian Muslims.

Our ancestors didn't fight for the generation that is Imam in modern education; while it knows nothing about its history, its religion and its identity.

The need of the hour is that Muslim intellectuals should think on these angles -- why this kind of negligence, specially about Islam is increasing in Muslim students; which kind of Muslim generation growing is; how this young generation can be a fruitful for Islam, Muslims and the country?

[Abdul Hannan Siwani Nadwi is based at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He can be contacted at ahannan111@yahoo.in or on his mobile # +966 (0) 546411482]

New Visual World a Dream Come True

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

We are living in a new visual world, a world which is different from the one that exists side by side but remains unnoticed. The new visual world actually shaped when the internet opened the gates of communication highway and the e-mails and voice-mails dominated the cyber space. This format is now being replaced by the new visual world.

In the new visual world communication is taking place through the webcams and in an array of activities its application is found. Whether its business, board room meetings, social networking, medical surgery, court room trials, every this mode of communication is gradually becoming popular.

The mobile telephone based on 2G, 3G and now the 4G is enhancing the speed of communication of the new visual world. As we are able to see one another on a more frequent using such technology, the new visual world is bringing world closer, catapulting a global society.

As we have started to live under the shadows of cameras, the new visual world is changing our life style. We cannot escape the eye of the camera, whether it’s a mall or a superstore, bus station, railway platform, airport or even traffic signals, we are under the vigil of the camera.

In a super store, Mother Merry cannot breastfeed her toddler, because the camera watches her act, and to some the images generated may be liable porn. Similarly, many offices have cameras to monitor the work their staff and in such a case, one may have to sit tight, because each member is under the surveillance of the camera.  

Notwithstanding the constraints, the new visual world has come to stay simply because the communication is now happening through touch screens and the keyboards. The visual technology is helping simulate the experience that a phone conversation or an e-mail exchange may not generate. In such mode of communication, one does not have to travel a distance to make the face-to-face appearance and such visual interaction saves time and energy.

It’s a life experience that’s happening and there is no escape from this reality. There are many who see this visual process a intrusion of the only remaining personal space in their lives and such people do not subscribe to this mode of communication. They are challenged by two sets of people, one those who are tired of every other form of communication and want to try visual options and other the young Turks who are growing with the changes and the new visual world is part of their life style.

The new visual world has thrown open a window of opportunities but it’s filled with challenges. It requires the basic skills of visual communication and if one doesn’t have the skills to face the camera, chances are to be dubbed as ineffective communicator. So in order to be an effective communicator and to make an impact, one needs to adapt to the requirements of the new visual world. One has to show maturity towards embracing the new technological changes. Those doing so alone can surge ahead; the rest may lag behind or fall by the wayside. Time and tide waits for no one.

The social impact of the new visual world is tremendous. Slowly a world of visual communicators is emerging, as one sees people of different cultures and backgrounds more visually and interacts with them more frequently. As more people see one another, and more direct contact taking place, the fears, inhibitions, prejudices, concerns, ignorance or other negative feelings are getting mellowed.

Whether there is a greater acceptance of diverse audiences and the new visual world is welcoming the visual differences is something debatable. However, the fact remains there is no escape from such a reality. This is definitely a sign of change.
 
At another level the new visual world is pushing the cart of globalization. As people get opportunities to interact among many cultures, a globally interactive society is emerging. In this endeavor the young Turks is taking the lead. After all, children are not born with a natural fear of likes and dislikes, they learn from the environment they live. The new visual world provides them their own experience to decide as those who look so different have so many things in common with them.

This brings us to the point that the more we see one another, the more we may understand each other and such interaction may bring us closer together, leading to a global society. In such case, the space for nationalism is shrinking, and globalization s surging ahead.

This is not to suggest that prejudices are disappearing and we are moving towards a perfect harmonious world. It’s only to underline the fact that the no matter what maybe the prejudices, one still have to interact with different people on a daily basis. The new visual world is making people to accept those people whose lifestyles and backgrounds those are different from their own.

Is the new visual world is better for our future generation or does it have negative influences on their minds that’s something being debated. There are many who are opposed to the ideas of the new visual world. They argue that children are exposed to pornography and other such vices in a tender age. Children’s creative activities are stifled as their attention is diverted in such unmeaning activities. A child has to have sound body and mind and the development of both is getting undermined by this new visual world.

The other arguments put forward are that every individual can not be visually appealing and the new visual world is creating a new divide that is based on looks and not on merit. One has to be over conscious all the time in terms of diet and dress to match the expectations of the new visual world.

Some are commanding to control this new trend. They say come on, where are we going, stop this highway to nowhere. However, there many who live by the slogan, it’s my life and I don’t give a damn to those who do not like the way I like.  It’s such kind of people who are making the new visual world’s dream come true.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba@yahoo.com]

Terrorism originates from the Western Colonial Powers

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , ,

By Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja

Terrorism originates from the Western colonial powers but none would dare to concede it for the FEAR of unknown in contemporary history. When the European businessmen explored  new world markets for diminishing resources and their armed forces invaded and occupied the vast Islamic world, there were no television, internet, video cameras and stone throwing public and voices of reason to call them foreign mercenaries, aggressors and terrorists. The colonization scheme of things was not outcome of the Western democratic values to spread freedom, liberty and justice but ferocity of violence and killings of millions and millions of human lives for the Empires to be built on colored bloodbaths. The European crusaders crossed the channels and unknown time zones to subjugate the much divided Muslim people as part of their nationalism perception and values that Muslims were inferior to the European race and could be used as raw material to erect the new Empires.

Many centuries past, if there was a UNO, it would not have dared to call the European intruders as terrorists because it would have been their own organization as Muslims lived in slavery and denial of basic human rights and identity. In an information age, knowledge–driven global culture of reason, ignorance is no longer a requisite to learn from the living history. History speaks of the Al-Andalusia Arab civilization as the longest advanced civilization lasting for eight centuries in Europe.  Now, the Europeans identify themselves as civilized people but the effective date for the claim remains a mystery. The previous Empires knew their geography and limits, but the newly articulated American Empire in its infancy, is challenging to the limits of the Laws of God and appears obsessed with “fear” of being replaced by the new emerging economically productive nations of Asia such as China, Japan and India and combination of others. President George W. Bush invoked the “War on Terrorism” as a dictum of power, not reason and wisdom, to camouflage the prospective future with acts of barbarity and to dispel the notion of accountability in global affairs. Historically, people and nations pursuing this path of behavior have ended up in self-delusional and self-destruction.

The 9/11 attacks in the US were carried out by individuals and not inspired or supported by the religion of Islam or Muslims. Some hourly paid intellectuals turned guardian of the approved truth, allege that Islam breeds terrorism. The Western mass media complements the self crafted notion to poison the public thinking and perceptions and source of judgments against the Arabs and Muslims as “terrorists” making the treacherous claim as if Islam was at the threshold of the paradigm. The US Neo-Conservatives gang helped to rob the mankind of its human heritage. The perception of ‘radical Islam’ was invented and enhanced by the ‘fear’ of terrorism as if Arabs and Muslims were born in the eye of the storm and terrorism was an exclusive domain of the Islamic religious tenets.

Gwynne Dyer, the London based prominent writer (The International Terrorist Conspiracy”) points out that “Terrorism is a political technique, not an ideology and any group willing to use violence in pursuit of its political goals may resort to it.” He explains that “there are left-wing terrorists and right-wing terrorists; national terrorist and international terrorist; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and atheist terrorists. In theory, you could have a “war against terrorism”, but it would involve trying to kill everybody who uses this technique anywhere in the world. The United States is not trying to do that, so it is not fighting a “war against terror.”  In reality, what the United States leadership is doing is fighting its own articulated war against the people and nations who had no animosity, nor did any perceive capability to threaten the US as a global power.

British author and producer Adam Curtis (The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear: BBC documentary challenging the American version of the “War on Terrorism”), spells out the myth with clarity: “international terrorism is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media.” Remember, after the 9/11 attacks, the US official statements made no mention of involvement of the government or people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in the accused list of the 9/11 perpetrators.  In 1997, many leading architects of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), did include the name of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, PLO as selected targets to impose the American liberal democracy and throw out the authoritarian regimes. It was a strategic stunt to inject the fear into people’s mind. Paul Craig Roberts, co-author of the Tyranny of Good Intentions, in his recent article (“The High Price of American Gullibility”, ICH), makes a logical assertion: Bush’s rhetoric “you are with us or against us” is perfectly planned to influence the common masses. Emotional appeals to fear and to patriotism have led close to half of the population to accept unaccountable government in the name of “the war on terrorism.” What a contradiction it is that so many American have been convinced that safety lies in their sacrifice of their civil liberties and accountable government.” Obviously, human intelligence, emotions and perceptions, superficially turned antagonistic with compelling impulse of media propaganda strategies to view Arabs and Muslims as the qualified candidates for extreme militancy.

Truth is one and indivisible. When it comes to terrorism and the Arabs or Muslims, the North American and European mass media portrayals enforces two distinct order of truth - one for the general public and one reserved for the Muslims. In all human affairs, facts are considered to reach the conclusion. End cannot be assumed to play with the facts, nor based on dogmas to explain the facts of human life. Under the guise of the Anti-Terrorist legislation, America, Britain and Canada have misused the logic of power to arrest, defame and punish people of Arabian and Islamic origin who had no linkage to the terrorism myth. The strategy dictates that selected groups should be detained and tortured indefinitely, to drain out their moral, intellectual and creative energies, making them incapable to survive socially or professionally credible citizens of the country. Consequently, the public will view them as crazy and undesirable people to be counted as numbers and digits in economic terms, but not dignified human beings.

[Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including: "Muslims and the West: Quest for Change and Conflict Resolution", University Press of America; How America Lost the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and Mujahideen Won; To America and Canada with Reason, VDM Publishers, 2009; “President Obama – War is War, Not Peace”, 2009; “Global Peace and Conflict Management- how wrong thinking and wickedness duped the humanity” “Images- the Militant West”, and “ President Obama and the Remaking of America.” “Egypt Wins Freedom.” He can be contacted at kmahboob@yahoo.com]

Dawat-ul-Sunnah World Islamic Conference held in Srinagar, Religious scholars from outside country participate

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Bashir Assad

Srinagar: A grand Dawat-ul-Sunnah International Islamic Conference, first of its kind in the state, was held here at Srinagar today. The conference was organized by Tehreek Karwaan Islami in which about one lakh devotees from all parts of the Kashmir reached Srinagar to attend this grand Islamic Conference.

The conference was attended by not only the Ulema of J&K State and country but also from various parts of the world. The conference commenced with Quraan Khawaani and Naat Khawaani. Later the religious scholars delivered their conscience inspiring and thought provoking speeches with regard to Islam, Faith and Teachings of Prophet Mohammad (SAW).

These religious scholars in their speeches said that the Islamic teachings are very much relevant in this modern and scientific age also. They also highlighted the teachings of Prophet and appealed the people to follow the teachings of Prophet in letter and spirit, which is the only solution for the human sufferings. They said that “Aulia Kirams” have always shown the path of truth, brotherhood and tolerance that is why these Aulias travelled thousands of kilometres to reach the people and apprise them about the teachings of Islam and Prophet Mohammad (SAW). The Ulemas said these Aulias sacrificed everything to achieve this goal. They unanimously demanded establishment of Shiekh-ul-Alam University in valley forthwith and also appreciated Moulana Ghulam Rasool Haami for translating this dream into reality.

Addressing on the occasion, the Ameer of Tehreek Karwaan Islami Moulana Haami said that with the full support of people from all shades of life this Tehreek is progressing to achieve the objectives of universal brotherhood, peace, unity among people of all faiths by spreading the teachings of our Prophet (SAW). He promised that Shiekh-ul-Alam University will be established soon and said 200 Kanals of land has been donated by the people in Ganderbal particularly Wakoora. He expressed his gratitude to these people for the purpose. He also thanked the Ulemas who attended this conference.

The ambassador of Tajkistan in India Mr. Syed Ahmad Beigh Sayeedi on the occasion said that such conferences prove helpful in spreading the message of Aulia Kirams in real sense. He said Tajkistan is in near future organizing a conference on Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (RA) and said that the shrines of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani and other Aulia Kirams have been renovated and maintained in a befitting manner. He invited the people to visit these shrines in Khatlan.

The Ulema who spoke on the occasion include Moulana Javid Rabani, Moulana Wali Mohd Rizvi, Moulana Fazal Haq Qadri, Al-Shiekh Shah Al Hamid Shafaee, Moulana Abdul Rashid Dawoodi, Syed Nadeem Kirmani, Syed Basharat Hussian Rizvi, Qazi Abdul Quyoom, Moulana Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Ghulam Kibriya Chasti, Moulana Ghulam Rasool Haami, Moulana Taj Mohammad Azhari, Moulana Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Naqeeb, Moulana Riyaz-ul-Haq, Syed Ahmad Biegh Sayeedi (Ambassador) and Moulana Abdul Gafoor Ibrahimi (Saudi Arabia).

[Bashir Assad is a senior Journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He is now Bureau Chief (J&K) of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at bashirassad@rediffmail.com]

Okhla-based AIEM vows to spread quality education

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By M Saifullah Rizwan

All India Educational Movement (New Delhi) held its 9th Annual General Meeting on April 17, 2011 in E-3, Abul Fazal Enclave, New Delhi-110025, its headquarters. The meeting was chaired by its vice president Brigadier Israr R. Khan. Members from all across India had turned up to attend the important meeting. The general secretary Amanullah Khan presented the report of activities during the year 2010-2011. Also, the financial report of the year was presented in the meeting. In the 2nd All India Muslim Educational Conference held in Shibli National College, Azamgarh on March 6-7, 2011, Khan had mentioned to establish Shibli Educational and Social Welfare Society for the Educational and Social betterment of the Muslims of Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh.

Also, it was decided to take out Educational Caravans at city, town and village levels to facilitate enrollment of Muslims children in Educational institutions. Moreover, the body had also decided to pay attention to quality education. Besides, decisions were taken to work on different matters related to Right to Education Act 2009. Other important decisions included to form a Monitoring Committee to work on Governments’ Educational Schemes and Programmes, development of Shibli National College, Azamgarh towards making it a minority University, establishment of All India Muslim Education Fund and to organize the 3rd All India Muslim Educational Conference at Kolkata.

The AGM was important in the sense that the governing body of AIEM elected general secretary Amanullah Khan the president. Besides, Nizamuddin Molla was made the general secretary and Naseem Tahir the treasurer.

After a detailed review of activities of the outgoing year, the members authorized the Office Bearers to chalk out the Programme for the year 2011-12 and allocate budget for the same. However, the house suggested the following agenda for the year: Holding a conference on Sachchar Committee Report; creating awareness utilization of Government Scholarship for Minority Community Students; Monitoring information of Government schemes of Educational Development; Coordinating implementation of Right to Education Act 2009 and compulsory Primary Education Act 2010 in proper perspectives; Working on awareness of education of girls and women; Coordinating in matters related to affiliation of Muslim Managed Schools; Opening International and Guidance cell at the Headquarters and help opening such cells in states.

A budget of Rs.10,00,000/- was proposed and the office bearers were authorized to finalize the budget and its allocation. At the end, the chairperson Brigadier Israr R. Khan appreciated the untiring efforts by the outgoing president Saiyid Hamid and general secretary Amanullah Khan and the sincere support extended to them by the members. He expresses strong hope that under the leadership of newly elected Governing Body AIEM will achieve great success and serve the community in larger areas.

[Rizwan is Executive Secretary, The Student Islamic Trust. He can be reached at: saif.itm@gmail.com]

(Courtesy: Okhla Times)

A complex Kashmir society: North wails slain militants, South cries for governance

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,


By Bashir Assad

Srinagar:  From massive participation in Panchyat elections to pro-freedom demonstrations and from complete shutdown on death anniversaries of slain militants  to protests demanding better civic facilities, from killing people on basis of differences in opinion to demand for nabbing the killers-everything  goes simultaneously in Kashmir. A complex conflict zone   presents an equally complex Kashmir society which forces the observers and analysts to redefine Kashmir.

When the government in the month of February decided to hold Panchayat elections in the state after a pretty long time, taking cue from the summer 2010 unrest, observers even political parties were apprehensive of a complete boycott of the elections in Kashmir valley, however, government wittingly or otherwise went for it which proved path breaking in the backdrop of overwhelming participation of the voters in Kashmir. Those who opposed participation of people in panchayat elections were taken aback and those who advocated participation abruptly started doing politics over the enthusiasm of voters in the trouble torn valley. However, the government or the political parties engaged in power politics could not read between the lines which, of course is writing on wall for them. There is a growing opinion in Kashmir that democracy at the highest level in assembly has failed to provide a breathing space to aam aadmi  when it comes to sadak, bijli aur pani in the state.  It is this widening distance between the rulers and the ruled that forced the entire population to participate massively in civic polls. Neither rulers nor the separatists could understand their compulsions.  “We don’t have proper roads, drinking water facilities or other amenities. At least, these local representatives can strive for these on behalf of the villages”  is the explanation that almost every voter offers to his participation in the panchayat elections. This simple explanation is a befitting answer to both-rulers and separatists-who should hang their heads in shame.

However, the complex Kashmir society on Saturday had one more lesson for its masters when Baramullah town in North Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on death anniversary of two slain HM militants who were killed by the security forces on this day some four years back. On the other hand Anantnag town in South Kashmir was on roads protesting dilapidated conditions of these roads, erratic power supply and non availability of other civic facilities.

A complete shutdown was observed across the Baramulla district of north Kashmir today (April 23, 2011) to commemorate the death anniversary of two famous Hizb commanders killed in a gun-battle with forces four years ago. Almost all schools, colleges, shops and business establishments remained closed for the day.

Meanwhile hundreds of people including men, women and aged Saturday (April 23, 2011) took to streets in Anantnag town raising anti-administration slogans and criticising the government for non-performance. The protesters blocked the main road leading to the town due to which there was a huge traffic jam for about three hours. However, protesters latter dispersed from the spot   after the assurances held out by the district administration and traffic resumed on the roads.

Is this confusion confounded by conflict or helplessness of the people that forces them to adopt the ostrich-like attitude? Let thinkers decide.

[Bashir Assad is a senior Journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He is now Bureau Chief (J&K) of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at bashirassad@rediffmail.com]

IndianMuslimObserver.com Chief Editor Abdul Rashid Agwan receives IOS Silver Jubilee Award

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 22 April 2011 | Posted in , ,

By Danish Ahmad Khan

New Delhi: Abdul Rashid Agwan, the Chief Editor of IndianMuslimObserver.com, has recently been conferred the IOS Silver Jubilee Award at a public function in New Delhi for his significant contribution towards ‘public cause and common good’. Mr. Agwan is among 30 prominent personalities of the country who received the award. He was honored with a memento, a Shawl and the certificate of appreciation “as a gesture of recognition of his extraordinary services to public cause and common good” at a function held at India International Islamic Cultural Centre on Sunday, April 17, 2011.

Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), which gave the awards on the occasion of its silver jubilee celebrations, is an internationally acclaimed academic body based at New Delhi with chapters across several states in India. The IOS, which is currently being headed by its Chairman Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, was established in the year 1986 with a view to promote empirical and conceptual research. The IOS carries out research on ideologies and problems relevant to Indian polity, society, economy, religion and culture. It primarily focuses its attention on the problems of Muslims and other minority groups. The studies include the problems of development processes, community relations, social tensions, status of women etc. Its achievements and programme have received recognition from the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. The IOS is in Consultative Status (Roster) with ECOSOC of UN.

The IOS has not only tried to fill the academic vacuum in approaching societal issues faced by Indian people in general and Muslims in particular, but has also provided a platform for serious intellectual endeavor in the areas of Social Sciences and Humanities, and became a trendsetter in the fields of conceptual and investigative research on the Qur’anic approach to human problems and the problems of Muslims in India..

Besides Mr. Agwan, other prominent personalities who were also felicitated on the occasion included Maulana Dr Saeedur Rahman Azmi, the Chancellor of Integral University and principal of Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow (in chair); Maulana Jalaluddin Umri, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Hind; Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, Vice President of Welfare Party of India; and Dr Anis Chishti, the leader of Payam-e-Insaniyat.

While speaking on the theme of the ceremony “Towards Knowledge, Development and Peace: Outlining Roadmaps for the Future”, Abdul Rashid Agwan put forward a critique on the notional understanding of the civilization, which according to him comes in the way of advancement of knowledge, sustaining development and preservation of peace around. He said that it is wrong to believe that human civilization is vertically divided into many ‘civilizations’ on religious lines, as Hutington and others  have argued, rather civilization appears and disappears in a particular lot of human society or in a region due to certain universal factors. “So long as we will go on propagating that there are many civilizations in the contemporary world which are competing and clashing with each other for dominance, we cannot have an objective knowledge, a sound development and a lasting peace,” said Mr. Agwan.

Abdul Rashid Agwan is a well known activist working in the field of human rights, interfaith relations and community development for more than three decades. He also happens to be the founder general secretary and the first director of the Institute of Objective Studies, and played a key role during its formative phase.

Mr. Agwan has to his credit over a dozen books and around 70 papers and articles on environment, education, community development, interfaith relations, etc published in different journals and newspapers. He co-edited a five-volume rendering ‘Encyclopedia of the Holy Quran’. Besides being a writer and author, Mr. Agwan is a noted social activist and community leader. He runs expert and consultancy organization Centre for Advancement of Voluntary Efforts, New Delhi, which enjoys membership of around 200 NGOs. He also runs expert NGO Network www.muslimngos.com. He is also associated with several well-known Muslim organizations in different capacities including Universal Knowledge Trust, Foundation for Social Care, Milli Education Trust, All India Educational Movement, etc.

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