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The importance of public indignation

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 31 October 2012 | Posted in , , , ,

What is indeed disturbing is the absence of forceful rejection by Islamic religious institutions and figures of twisted practices and values and an open denouncement

By Tariq A. Al Maeena

In my column last week, I highlighted the dangers of extremism through the forceful application of Islamic values based on personal interpretations. The Islam of peace becomes an Islam of compulsion in the minds and acts of power-hungry deviants who manipulate religious mores with their own sets of beliefs which have little to do with the religion.

A Swiss diplomat wrote to me the following: “Once more a very true article. How can we be called to join the faith of Islam, when so much of hurtful actions happen in the name of this religion? How can an outsider believe in the compassion of Islam and its teachings, when almost every day we read about dogmatic practices?

“As an observer for many years, I see that such extremism is denounced by many writers. But to my surprise, these writers are all laymen/laywomen. By this, I mean that it is not by religious persons, not by persons who have studied the Quran and its teachings who could say with religious authority that this or that interpretation is not acceptable and as such condemn it. Look at the case of the girl in Pakistan. Only journalists have written that it was not acceptable to try to kill her, so much that now journalists are threatened by the Taliban.

Photo Courtesy: Luis Vazquez/Gulf News
“Key religious leaders, Islamic Institutions and organisations should have to come out and denounce such acts as much as private individuals do. The absence of such clear and repeated statements nourish an underlying feeling that religious authorities are not unhappy with an extreme interpretation of the script. By their silence, they seem to be condoning such vile acts. This absence of clear positioning makes a dialogue between the cultures very difficult. If we have something that we denounce on both sides, then we should jointly state it again and again and with each case renew our bond for better understanding of faiths and cultures.”

How true this diplomat’s words are.

Indeed, if one looks around at the abominable acts carried out in the name of Islam today, one would not be short of material. In many parts of the world, criminals are shielding themselves behind this religion to mask their evil intent. Usually, it involves the quest for power and the subjugation of personal rights, something far removed from the spirit of Islam.

But what is indeed disturbing is the absence of forceful rejection by established Islamic religious institutions and figures of such twisted practices and values and a public denouncement that is carried far and wide to indicate their disagreement and displeasure.
One can begin with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations with a membership of 57 Islamic countries spanning over four continents.

Although it has condemned acts of violence such as the shooting of the young girl, Malala Yousufzai, in Pakistan, many question whether it has been public enough or emphatic enough in its indignation. This is a powerful organisation and yet a condemnation through a press release is too little in the eyes of many. It could use its offices in many countries of the world to highlight the dangers of such extremists and employ the local media in those countries towards that effort as well. Their relative silence beyond simple condemnations is not worthy of such a multi-state Islamic organisation.

Then we turn to Islamic institutions like Al Azhar in Egypt or the Council of Ulema in Saudi Arabia. Al Azhar is more than a thousand years old and an established centre for great scholars of Islam. Yet, in recent times, many feel that it has not taken the lead in publicly calling for the preservation of rights of those who suffer under the hands of deviants employing a twisted ideology.

As for the Saudi clerics, many of them have been vociferous on some issues but silent on others. There have been several fatwas issued that were considered frivolous at best. Public condemnation of such extremism beyond their borders has been wanting. Housing the two Holy cities of Islam, many feel that the Saudi Ulema should take the lead in denouncing each and every vile act committed in the guise of Islam, regardless of its location. The message must be loud and clear. Silence will only encourage future criminals. Even clerics who deliver the Friday sermons at mosques must be utilised to broadcast the message of rejection of such extremist acts. This grass roots approach works best in towns and villages and its value should not be underestimated.

Islam is being abused in front of our eyes and more often than not by those who claim to be Muslims. It is essential that, as the Swiss diplomat suggested, established Islamic organisations and institutions publicly denounce acts of extremism carried out by these thugs. Otherwise, the chasm between civilisations will continue to widen.

[Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.]

(Courtesy: Gulf News)

Democracy at the heart of Islamic revival

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

By Muqtedar Khan

Newark, Delaware: A few weeks ago, I had the honor of meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi at the Egyptian mission in New York at a gathering for community and intellectual leaders to talk about the future of US-Egypt relations. I am a Muslim intellectual living my Muslim American dream – a combination of material success and spiritual revival. Yet I was moved by the promise of Mursi’s presidency, and what it means for Islam and democracy – a promise that many Arabs and other Muslims also believe in.

In the decades that I have lived in the United States, I have studied, taught and written extensively about Islam and its contemporary revival. Islamic revivalism means many things to many people. For some it means rule by Islamic law, for others, especially Muslim Americans, it is the return of the intellectual and cultural vitality of the Muslim world, freedom from dictatorships and the restoration of Islam’s democratic traditions.

I even feel that through my research and writing, I have made a small contribution to that effort. But, here in the United States, it has remained more of an intellectual puzzle than a living reality.

Many Muslim American scholars like Dr Khaled Abou El Fadl at the University of California, Los Angeles; Dr Abdulaziz Sachedina at George Mason University and myself have for over a decade made the case that Islam and democracy are compatible, and that a genuine implementation of Islamic values requires democratization. For many of us involved in such work, the Arab awakening, or Arab Spring, is finally an opportunity to prove that Islam and democracy are compatible not just in theory, but also in practice.
While many in the Arab and Muslim world are optimistic about Mursi’s election, there are many - including Egyptians, and some in the United States and Europe – who are skeptical about Mursi’s promises of equality, and concerned that he might try to bring about an Islamic state.

Yet much of what is happening in Egypt demonstrates that Islam and democracy are compatible. President Mursi has repeatedly stated that what he and Egyptians seek is a civil, not an Islamic state – one that will treat all its citizens equally, men and women, Muslim and non-Muslim. He reiterated this in his discussion with us in New York.

To me this prospect of a truly Islamic democracy emerging is the most exciting promise of the Arab awakening. Islamic democracy is like any other democracy, except that in the public sphere Islamic values form the foundation of a political conscience, inspiring the citizens and government to pursue justice and compassion.

President Mursi shared his mainstream understanding of Islam and Egypt with us, arguing that Islam respects freedom of religion. At the heart of Islam, he said, were human rights and human dignity.

He said that he was not seeking a theological state. That, he claimed, would indeed be un-Islamic. He said, “We are talking of the nation (the ummah or people) as a source of power, and this is Islam.” This is a far cry from the claims of political Islamic groups in the past that in an Islamic state sovereignty belonged not to the people but to God. When they said sovereignty belonged to God, people understood that this meant the implementation of Islamic legal principles as interpreted by a few clerics.

It appears that President Mursi accepts popular democracy as a default condition and seeks to introduce Islamic principles only to the extent the electorate will permit.

One of my recommendations to him was to make Al-Azhar University, easily the most important institution of Islamic learning, completely independent, fully endowed and disengaged from government supervision. It currently is overseen by the Egyptian state.

Such a move would, I believe, increase the authority and legitimacy of the university and its religious edicts. In an Islamic democracy, universities play the role of society’s moral conscience, and they can do so only if they are free from government supervision.

The Muslim world, I told him, badly needed an authoritative voice and at the moment there was none. An independent Al-Azhar could aspire to it. President Mursi chose not to engage this subject, perhaps because an independent Al-Azhar might become a critic of his government, or perhaps he anticipates a backlash from non-democratic states in the region that fear an independent religious authority whose voice would travel across borders and shape the opinion of people in their countries.

The challenges President Mursi faces, international and domestic, economic, political and spiritual, are daunting indeed. Yet I wish him success in his endeavors to establish an Islamic democracy in the Arab world, and in so doing to take a major step towards reviving Islamic civilization.

[Dr Muqtedar Khan is Associate Professor at the University of Delaware and a Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. His website is www.ijtihad.org.]

(Courtesy: Al Arabiya)

Let the BJP not fool itself

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

To project Modi as India’s next prime minister tantamounts to dragging down the country to the dust of shame and oblivion

By Kuldip Nayar

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is testing the water. It too realises that elections are many months away, but wants to know whether Hindutva is acceptable to the voters. Floating the name of the anti-Muslim Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, as the likely candidate for prime ministership is meant to assess if his non-secular image would attract the ordinary Hindu voter. The party has not yet got over from the defeat of the last parliamentary elections, when it thought it was all set to occupy the treasury benches but only found out that the communal tag attached to it had pulled the party down. Its Hindutva plank helped the Congress retain power.

The BJP is open to all options this time. The RSS is in the picture from the beginning. Its chief Mohan Bhagwat has not only welcomed Modi at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, but also announced that Modi would get a higher position in the BJP after the Gujarat assembly elections next month. This, indeed, reaffirms who controls the reins of the BJP. However, to lessen the party leaders’ humiliation, Bhagwat has said that the selection of the prime ministerial candidate is the prerogative of the party. Yet, on the other hand, he has rubbed salt on their wounds by making it clear that Modi is the best candidate available in the party.

Modi does not go higher in the estimate of people just because Britain says it wants to do business with him again, though it does not endorse his actions. Taking the initiative of sending its envoy, James Bevan, to Modi after maintaining the touch-me-not stand for a decade conveys London’s keenness. America or other countries may follow suit in due course of time.

Photo Courtesy: Hugo A. Sanchez/Gulf News
Yet, this does not make him acceptable to India which is the subject matter. The Gujarat Chief Minister has bamboozled the state in the name of identity as if its people have a different entity than the rest of Indians. Had Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal done it, the entire nation would have pounced upon him for leading the Sikhs to separatism.

Modi is responsible for misleading the Gujaratis, who look like re-electing him. They have been daring the country for almost 15 years that for them, the state government is more important than the nation, which is sworn to the principles enunciated in the Constitution. For the Gujaratis, equality before the law and separation between state and politics have stayed on paper because their Chief Minister, Modi, has been determined to flout the principles. This was visible in 2002 when some 2,000 Muslims were butchered because they were not considered equal and because they were sacrificed at the altar of Modi’s innovation of mixing religion with the state.

Had the guilty been punished in 1984 when the Sikhs were the victims in Delhi, the Gujarat Hindus would not have dared to indulge in ethnic cleansing. The burning of 46 Hindus in a train compartment at Godhra was a provocation. But the pogrom in Gujarat would have taken place even without the Godhra incident as a few plucky journalists have brought out in their write-ups.

The guilty in Gujarat have not yet been brought to book. There are some pending cases in which Modi’s name is mentioned. To project him as India’s next prime minister tantamounts to dragging down the country to the dust of shame and oblivion. How can a political party think of Modi even if it shuts its eyes to the murders, rapes and lootings?

The BJP has been hurt from another unexpected quarter. Party chief Nitin Gadkari is allegedly possessing bogus firms which he had created to make money while he was the PWD minister in Maharashtra. The charges against him are so serious that even the RSS sources have reportedly said that the BJP’s image has been severely dented. The Congress has been given a golden opportunity and it has already ordered what it refers to term as a “soft inquiry”. In any case, the BJP will not be in a position to roar in parliament as it did in the last session. Its image of cleanliness has got a serious beating.

The party will have to reckon with Gadkari’s episode in the next elections. Therefore, it does not have to confine its strategy of finding out whether the wind is blowing in favour of Hindutva by giving currency to Modi’s name. There are other issues which the opposition will be exploiting. And corruption, so far tagged to Congress, will be a charge against the party to which it will have to reply. One’s scams will be pitted against another’s to the confusion of the electorate.

India is a country which prides itself in the spirit of accommodation and a sense of tolerance. Unfortunately, communal riots still take place, not on the scale they used to in the 1950s, ‘60s and even later, but the nation is sensitive enough not to return those to power who have only religion to sell.

In the last six decades, India has come to settle down as a democratic, pluralistic nation. Whatever else happens it happens, democracy has got entrenched deep. Religious slogans cannot destabilise it. It may well be truism, but the fact is that there can be no democracy without pluralism. It is a pity that the BJP has not yet understood this very basic thing. It should remember that when it came to power at the centre, it had to cut off its communal fangs and give an undertaking, among other things, on giving a special status to Kashmir and not build a temple at the place where the Babri Masjid stood before it was destroyed.

In fact, Modi himself should withdraw his claim for the post of prime minister because he reduces the stature of the position as well as the chances of the BJP. If he were to say sorry and undo the wrongs he has done to the Muslims, he would perhaps come to be known as a reformed Modi. Then there may be a chance for him and his party.

[Kuldip Nayar is a former Indian high commissioner to the United Kingdom and a former Rajya Sabha member.]

(Courtesy: Gulf News)

MoUs worth Rs.93,398 crore signed on 2nd day of Global Investors Summit

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Pervez Bari

Indore: On the second day of the third Global Investors' Summit here at Indore, the financial capital of Madhya Pradesh, on Monday as many as 269 MoUs worth approximately Rs.93,398 crore were signed while captains of industrial world heaped encomiums on the state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for his leadership qualities. 

The MoUs inked included Rs.1282 crore MoUs in medical education sector, Rs.4,870 crore in food processing, Rs.20,000 crore in new and renewable energy, Rs.13,566 crore in urban development and Rs.7,800 crore MoUs were signed in the health services sector. In all, 6 MoUs were signed in medical education, 16 in food processing, 150 in renewable energy, 36 in urban development and 36 MoUs were signed in health service sector. Earlier in the day, 15 MoUs worth Rs.40,485 crore were singed in the morning session of the investors summit. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group chairman Anil Ambani, Confederation of Indian Industries president and Godrej group chairman Adi Godrej, Essar Group chairman Shashi Ruia, Bharat Forge chairman Baba Kalyani, Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani, Tata International chairman Balasubramanian Muthuraman, Force Motors' Abhay Firodia were among those who held centre stage.

Speaking on the occasion Chief Minister Mr. Chouhan said that a definite time-limit will be set for completing all the industry-related works in the state. He said that investment is needed for progress, but with a human face. He said that we need development, but its light must reach common people. Investors should come forward to build global level infrastructure in the state. He said that the path of prosperity goes through investment. Process for investment will have to be made transparent so that industrialists face no difficulty. He said that trust of entrepreneurs coming to Madhya Pradesh will not be allowed to be broken. Process of development must continue unabated and contribution of all of us is important in it.

Every village to be linked with good roads by the end of 2013

Chief Minister Mr. Chouhan assured that every village of Madhya Pradesh will be linked with good roads by the end of 2013. He said that we want to make Madhya Pradesh’s economy vibrant in which every young entrepreneur gets opportunity to set up industry. In Madhya Pradesh, agriculture growth rate is 18 percent and development growth rate is 12 percent. Best policies for industries in the country have been chalked out in Madhya Pradesh. Mr. Chouhan said that we wish to provide jobs to people through industries. He exhorted entrepreneurs to progress and also take the state forward.

Single-table concept for industries in state

Chief Minister Mr. Chouhan said that conducive atmosphere for industries has been created in Madhya Pradesh. Industrial corridors will be developed between Morena-Gwalior, Indore-Bhopal and Jabalpur-Rewa-Satna-Singrauli. Power is being supplied for 24 hours to industries. Mr. Chouhan said that investors will face no difficulty in Madhya Pradesh since there is single-table concept here under which he himself meets industrialists every Monday and redresses their problems. He said that this is an era of knowledge. There are better opportunities for investment in quality education and health sector in the state.

Ex-Prime Minister Mr. Vajpayee’s resolve to be fulfilled

Chief Minister Mr. Chouhan said that entire Narmada water available in the state will be fully utilised. Madhya Pradesh has taken a pledge to fulfil resolve of former Prime Minister Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee to link rivers. A Rs.18,000 crore project has been chalked out for linking rivers in the state. He informed that there is immense investment potential in tourism sector in the state. Schemes have been chalked out for every section of society. Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country to implement Public Service Delivery Guarantee Act.

Madhya Pradesh ideal state for investment

At the programme, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said that conducive atmosphere for industries has been created in Madhya Pradesh. Quantum of investment in the state is increasing every year. The government and administration have played important role in creation of conducive atmosphere for industries. An investor wants a transparent and prompt process and better infrastructure. From this angle, Madhya Pradesh has become an ideal state for investors. Nature has given Madhya Pradesh huge mineral deposits. The state has world-famous natural beauty spots.

Mrs. Swaraj said that religious tourism can also be a good sector for investment. She advised forming a "ministry for pilgrimage" for developing pilgrimage spots as she termed these areas are somewhat neglected.

Industries Minister Kailash Vijaywargiya said that political will and commitment to development will combine to create a new record. Madhya Pradesh is fast emerging as a powerful state. Common people and industrial world has full faith that the state’s future will be golden and bright. He said that all efforts have been made to make available modern facilities in villages. State’s rural scenario has completely changed for better. He urged industrial community to cooperate in the state’s and its people’s prosperity.

Rural Development Minister Gopal Bhargava said that industrial products’ access to village markets in the state has increased as a result of strengthening of rural infrastructure. Rural transport service has increased villagers’ access to market. The state is creating a new history. He said that migration from villages has come to a stop and now power and roads are available over there.

Indore Mayor Krishna Murari Moghe said that Municipal Corporation is committed to make available all kinds of civil and infrastructural facilities to industries. He said that atmosphere of industrial development has been created as a result of the State Government’s policies and willpower.

Member of Parliament Mrs. Sumitra Mahajan said that government and industries will have to work together for development. State’s development will lead to country’s development. He said that politics does not come in the way of development. Madhya Pradesh is a peaceful state and rich in resources. Mrs. Mahajan said that Madhya Pradesh can provide a forceful and better stage to industrial world.

Additional Chief Secretary P.K. Dash threw light on the state’s potential in trade and industry. He said that all-round conducive atmosphere for investment is available in Madhya Pradesh.

Principal Secretary Narmada Valley Development Rajneesh Vaish threw light on positive changes likely to occur in future as a result of Narmada-Kshipra Link Project. He said that Narmada-Malwa Lift Irrigation Project will turn out to be a milestone for Malwa region’s economic upliftment.

At the programme, a necklace crafted from the diamonds mined from Bunder Project of Rio Tinto was displayed. Short film “Madhya Pradesh Advantage” was also screened. Member of Parliament and Madhya Pradesh BJP president Prabhat Jha, people’s representatives and large number of investors were present on the occasion. 

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

Riot after riot: UP under Akhilesh takes a dangerous turn

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

New Delhi: "The law and order issue all over UP needs national attention," says a senior journalist from a Hindi daily published from Lucknow, and he is right. Under Akhilesh Yadav, communal violence returns with a vengeance to the state, reports Sheela Bhatt

The twin towns of Ayodhya-Faizabad have witnessed communal tension since October 24. On Friday, Kotwali and Cantonment areas in Faizabad were put under curfew.

"The law and order issue all over Uttar Pradesh needs national attention," says a senior journalist from a Hindi daily newspaper published from Lucknow.

On March 15, Akhilesh Yadav was sworn in as the chief minister of UP. Following that, in less than three months, the state saw communal tension erupting after a long time.

Comparatively, then chief minister Mayawati's regime was almost riot-free. But the ground situation is changing dramatically in India's largest state.

UP has 75 districts, out of which 44 districts always get declared sensitive by the Election Commission during elections.

Out of those, 10 are 'communally sensitive'. They are Allahabad, Kaushambi, Mau, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Faizabad, Deoria, Gorakhpur, Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar or Prabuddh Nagar. This suggests that the communal tension in UP cannot be allowed to fester.

On June 1, tension erupted in Kosikalan village, which is about 40 kilometres from Mathura.

The story from the two warring sides differs, as it is always the case in such incidents. Agency reports said tension rose when a group of Muslims praying in a mosque were offended by a youth who was allegedly urinating in the water pond kept for namazis.
Reportedly, they beat him up and asked him to leave the place. The youth left the mosque, only to return with a few supporters to argue out his case. In no time, a riot broke out and quickly spread to the surrounding area, killing four people.

More than a dozen shops were looted and houses were burnt. Only when the chief minister intervened and pulled up the local administration, could the situation be controlled.

On June 23, Ashtan village of Pratapgadh district witnessed violence on a large scale. Many houses belonging to Muslims were burnt when news spread that a Dalit girl had been raped and killed by members of the minority community.

The local administration intervened and promised that legal action would be taken and the culprits would be arrested, but during the funeral procession villagers went berserk disregarding the promises given to the local police.

There are reports that some rioters used LPG cylinders and many of them opposed the entry of the police force in the areas where riots had taken place. People even indulged in stone-pelting when the police tried to take position in residential colonies.

Pratapgadh is the home district of notorious criminal-turned-politician-turned-minister 'Raja Bhaiyya.' Some 40 Muslims' houses were burnt down in Ashtan.

More riots followed in July. According to a report in The Times of India, 'Trouble began when a group of Kanwariyas from Brahmapura were returning from Kachchla with Ganga Jal (water from the Ganga) in earthen pots. Playing devotional music on an amplifier system installed on one of the hand-pulled carts, the group reached the Shahabad locality, when some locals objected to the devotional music being played on the sound system on grounds that Ramzan prayers were being offered nearby.'

The report further said, 'The two sides were still talking it out when some mischief-mongers allegedly smashed some of the earthen pots containing Ganga Jal, leaving the Kanwariyas infuriated leading to exchange of blows. This led to heavy brick-batting, which continued till the police reached the site with PAC back-up and chased away the mischief mongers.'

The riots spread to other areas, too. One person was killed on the first day, and the area remained tense for the next 10 days

Similar is the story of Masuri village near Ghaziabad, where the situation got out of hand over a small issue, and Muslims gheraoed the police station. The nervous police shot dead six Muslim youth. Similarly, on August 17, more riots started in Kanpur and Lucknow over the violence in Assam.

On October 24 in Faizabad, the violence started because of an incident of eve-teasing during a Dussehra procession. A crowd carrying a Durga idol was headed towards the Saryu river for immersion. Some fringe elements tried to communalise the atmosphere, but the police showed presence of mind and brought the situation under control.

Hashim Ansari, 91, the oldest surviving plaintiff in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid case, has blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party for communalising the situation.

"The saffron brigade is preparing to communalise the atmosphere before the 20th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid which was razed by them on December 6, 1992," Ansari said while talking to the media.

But with equal passion BJP leader Lalji Tandon denies the charges. Today, Tandon was in Ayodhya-Faizabad and he accused the Samjwadi Party of indulging in the appeasement of Muslims. "Such a situation was not there even during 1992. The SP government is doing these things for vote-bank politics," Tandon alleged.

The BJP thinks the Samajwadi Party is appeasing the Muslims so that their votes will not be divided amongst many secular parties in tne next election.

The political signals from Lucknow are extremely disturbing.

(Courtesy: Rediff)

Nitish's Bihar at the crossroads

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

The chief minister can parry Lalu only by thrusting development on the people

By Aditi Phadnis

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is packing his bags to go to Pakistan next month. Two other leaders from Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, had won Pakistan’s heart when they went there some years ago. While Paswan described the indignities the Indian state had heaped on the Muslims of India, Yadav avoided that tempting route to popularity and was, well, just his entertaining self. He left the Pakistanis enchanted.

With Kumar, it is a different story. High Commissioner of Pakistan Salman Bashir was in Patna recently on a bandobast meeting and he gushed about the tremendous development that Bihar has seen because of the chief minister.

Not all Biharis agree, however. A Member of Parliament (MP) from the coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Uday Singh (Purnea) — incidentally also the brother of Rajya Sabha MP from Janata Dal (United) N K Singh — has gone for the Kumar administration, tearing the government’s claims to shreds. According to a sample survey done by an NGO (non-governmental organisation) Uday runs, the number of poor in the state has gone up by five million since Kumar became the chief minister in 2005.

None of the flagship schemes, like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), has been implemented with any honesty. The sample size of the survey is decent — 210,000 households of a total of 350,000 in his constituency. Singh says only 13 per cent of the households – in a region where over 80 per cent of households are dependent on casual labour for livelihood – have reported getting work under MGNREGS. An overwhelming 50 per cent of the respondents felt the condition of local health centres was quite bad. Only five per cent of the Mahadalit and minority community respondents had ever received any support from the state government schemes. In an energy-deficient state, 39 percent of the respondents in the district said electricity was a greater need than roads and infrastructure.

Kumar realises that “yeh dil mange more”. On August 15, he declared, “I will not ask people to vote for us in the next state Assembly election if we fail to provide electricity to each village in Bihar by 2015.” While Bihar’s daily power requirement is between 2,500 and 3,000 Mw, the state produces merely 100 Mw. The central government supplies 1,100-1,200 Mw of power to the state. Bihar has a deficit of over 1,200 Mw. So, the chief minister may have bitten off more than he can chew.

Last week, he cancelled his “adhikar yatra” to demand special status to Bihar, because at one place, he was attacked with plastic chairs, and at another with stale eggs. This was the handiwork of parateachers who were demanding that they should be treated on a par with the regular teachers. Bihar has recruited more than 200,000 teachers. Some, trained, were paid Rs 6,000 a month while others, untrained, were paid Rs 4,000. Although the salary has been linked with inflation, parateachers are protesting the disparity.

All this is a function of the rising aspirations of Biharis who have tasted some development and want more. Kumar was not unaware of this and tried to temper the speed at which change was sought, by indefatigable tours of the state to reach out and listen to people — striking up a dialogue.

But how quickly can you undo damage to the state structure that spans decades? The June 2012 murder of upper caste Bhumihar icon Barmeshwar Mukhiya, who led the Ranvir Sena, and was an accused in massacres like Bathani Tola and Laxmanpur Bathe but was acquitted, has brought back the spectre of the dreaded caste wars in Bihar. His killers are yet to be caught and the Bhumihars are on the war path. So, law and order, the big triumph of the Kumar government, is slipping once again.

Faced with all this, Kumar should be a troubled and distressed man. The only hope is that he continues to treat the BJP as a partner and the Opposition, thereby sealing off the Opposition space to Yadav. Hence, his opposition to Narendra Modi, his instant stinging response to the Thackerays and his continual harking to Bihari pride. Kumar knows the challenges are many, and they cannot be resolved at once. He needs to unite Bihar against returning to the Lalu Raj; not dividing it so that caste rather than religion once again becomes the lexicon of politics.

But the window is small. Yadav gains the ground he has lost with every incident of social unrest, every demonstration by angry people. The only way to beat this back is to thrust development on the people and hope they will use their intellect to decide whom they want to be governed by, not their caste. If the latter happens, everything is over for Bihar.

(Courtesy: Business Standard)

113 MoUs worth Rs. 670 crore signed on furst day of Global Investors Summit at Indore

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

Industrialists from Canada, Oman & Quebec meet Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister

By Pervez Bari

Indore: On the inaugural day of the third Global Investors Summit 113 Memorandum of Understandings, (MoUs), worth Rs.670 crore were signed between the Madhya Pradesh Government and Minor, Small & Medium Enterprises, (MSMEs), while 107 Expressions of Interest, (EOI), worth Rs.1128 crore were received here on Sunday. About 6,000 persons will get jobs in these industries.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in a bid to encourage micro, small and medium industries in the new industrial areas to be developed in the state announced a slew of incentives for them including abolition of Export Tax and reservation of land.

Meanwhile, representatives of foreign companies interested to invest in Madhya Pradesh held one-to-one meetings with Chief Minister Mr. Chouhan and discussed their proposals with him. Industrialists from Canada, Oman and Quebec met the Chief Minister on the first day.

Chief Minister Mr. Chouhan addressing the inaugural session said that small entrepreneurs should contribute to Madhya Pradesh’s progress with best of their capacity. New entrepreneurs of every village should come forward. A loan guarantee scheme will be announced at Yuva Panchayat to be held soon. Facilities at par with Class-C districts will be made available to small industries to be set up in every district. The upper limit of special subsidy on establishment of industries in thrust sectors has now been increased to Rs.30 lakh. A land bank of 20,000 hectares has been developed for industries. Now, land is also being reserved for industries in Chambal ravines.

Mr. Chouhan said as many as 27 new industrial areas are being developed in the state at a cost of Rs. 3,000 crore. A provision of Rs. 10 crore has been made for making available information about latest techniques to small industries with a view to improving quality of their products in this era of competition. Under vendors development programme, Rs. 10 crore assistance will be provided to 500 small and medium industries. Power will be supplied uninterruptedly for 24 hours to industries in rural areas. He informed that reverse buyer-seller meets will be held at Gwalior and Bhopal. Benefit of feeder separation will be extended to small and cottage industries.

He said that small entrepreneurs’ role is important in the state’s development. Global Investors Summit is a concrete initiative for the state’s prosperity. Our vision is global, but we will not let local interest to be ignored. He said that small and medium industries have played an important role in achievement of 12 percent growth rate by Madhya Pradesh. He exhorted them to work towards the state’s development with best of their abilities. He said that our vision is “production by people” and not “production for people”. He said that the best policies for industries in the country are available in Madhya Pradesh.

Industries Minister Kailash Vijaywargiya said that micro, small and medium industries have important role in the state’s economy. These industries generate less pollution and more jobs. He said that Madhya Pradesh’s industrial growth rate is 8 per cent as compared to national growth rate of 5 per cent. He said that earlier, Madhya Pradesh was unknown to world except for a little negative identity due to gas tragedy. Now, the situation is quite different. Madhya Pradesh is now known as the one of the fastest growing and politically most stable states in the country and world. Madhya Pradesh is the only state where industries are supplied power for 24 hours.

Central Information Commissioner Mr. Satyanand Mishra said that development of micro, small and medium industries will accelerate the pace of Madhya Pradesh’s development. Referring to establishment of big industries in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, he said that economic development of human resources is not ensured only through big industries. Small industries are also necessary for development. Big industries are established at high cost and generate less employment whereas small industries are set up at low cost and create more jobs. He stressed the need for large-scale training programme for preparing skilled manpower for industries.

Unprecedented work by Chouhan for small industries

Federation of Indian Industries’ Madhya Pradesh State Council Chairman R.S. Goswami described special session for micro, small and medium industries as a historic step. He said that the State Government has done an unprecedented work by promoting micro, small and medium industries. He said that nowadays power is being made available to industries round-the-clock in the state. Financial institutions’ trust has been increased and credit facilities have been improved. Besides, conducive atmosphere for small industries has also been created. About 5 thousand sick industries have been revived. Facilities provided to micro and small industries have been increased 15 times more.

Laghu Udyog Nigam to insure weavers and artisans

Madhya Pradesh Laghu Udyog Nigam Chairman Akhand Pratap Singh said that the corporation will transact Rs.1,000 crore business this year with the cooperation of micro, small and medium industries. He said that coming years micro, small and medium industries will turn out to be a milestone in the states development. Presently, business worth Rs.550 crore per annum is being transacted with micro, small and medium industries. Its quantum will be increased. Besides, suitable forum for trade of micro, small and medium industries’ products is also being made available. The corporation is insuring 15 thousand weavers and artisans.

Meanwhile, special publications were also released on the occasion including “111 Best micro, small and medium industries”, guideline booklet of Madhya Pradesh Trade Authority and guide to industries, “district-wise industrial scenario and district-wise availability of land”.
Mr. Chouhan also released publication of MP Global Foundation, a network of Madhya Pradesh’s entrepreneurs running industries in the country and abroad.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

US: At Election time degeneration of morality hits another low point

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

By Kaleem Kawaja

November 6, 2012 is election day in America. On that day ellection will be held for the office of US President, US Senators, US Congressmen and governors of various states. Also on that day many states and countries will hold election for members of state assemblies, county councils and an assortment of elected positions. Also on that day various states will hold refrandum on a variety of local and national issues. Two prominent issues are: Same sex marriage and legalized gambling.

Same Sex marriage

Presently homosexual men and women in US have all the freedom to live together and to say openly that they are homosexual. However in America marriage is still defined by the definition in Bible that it is the union of a man and a woman. In recent years homosexuality has become prevalent in US; with many political leaders, movie actors, TV personalities, athletes accademics and other celebrities announcing in public they are active homosexuals. The major media in US is avidly supporting the public acceptance of homosexuality and is advocating that the voters approve same sex marriage in this year's election time referendum

Even President Obama had declared his support for same sex marriage. The homosexual peope have formed powerful lobbying groups who are lobbying to approve the same sex marriage as a legal institution. Thus a large number of en-bloc voters vowing to approve the same sex marriage legislation, are putting lot of pressure on those political candidates and leaders who oppose legalization of same sex marriage.

In direct opposition to the votaries of same sex marriage are the religious establishments. Almost all Christian (protestant, catholic, baptist, methodist, episcopalian, mormon, anglican, seventh day adventist, christian-scientist) churches, Jewish synagogues, temples of Buddists, Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslim mosques are advocating that people reject the legisation that defines marriage as either between a man and woman, or a man and another man, or between a woman and another woman. A variety of pastors of Christian churches that represent the majority of American population who believe in religion are lobbying to reject the notion of same sex marriage as antithetical to civilized living.

The fact remains though that a large population in America are irreligious people who have no faith in religion or God per se. The number of atheists in America has steadily grown to about 40% of population as material goods and comforts have become more commonplace. Such is the dislike for the institution of religion and God in the majority of US population that they do not even think of same sex marriage as a new depth of immorality in society. Bible's description of these people as the people of Sodom and Gommorrah who were ultimately destroyed with God's wrath does not cut a dice with them. Of the two political parties, the Democratic party is an avid supporter of same sex marriage. The Republican party members though are divided; most of them oppose it while a minority supports it. 

Legalized Gambling

The other immoral issue on which referendum is taking place in US is that of establishing legalized gambling centers, or casinos in a variety of cities. The governments of various states are saying that the income to the government by way of high taxes on gambling casinos will be ploughed into improving the quality of schools. Once again it is amazing that the abhorrent institution of gambling is being sought to be legalized and glorified by its proponents as saviours of society by helping improve education. Promoting the evil of gambling in society is not being looked at as an immoral institution. Again most Christian churches, synagogues, mosques and temples and the religious leaders of various faiths are opposing this effort; but with irreligiosity on the upswing in society, the takers for the appeals of the religious leaders are in a minority.

Obviously the opening of casinos will lure many a low income people to try them as a means of getting rich quick. But as experience shows gambling onlly results in the poor people loosing whatever money they have and become poorer. Neglect of families and children by the men who are the breadwinners and who become addicted to gambling, with the easy access to gambling centers close to their residences is a curse that will cause havoc in society.

Ignoring other harmful causes of decline

In the same vein neither US politicians nor other social leaders are looking at US conducting wars on third world countries for about 12 years now, and its huge financial burden on society. Incidently US has conducted these wars exclusively in Muslim countries. Let alone the deaths of about 7,000 US soldiers and over one million people of the third world countries in these wars. For 12 years now the US economy is in poor shape, unemployment is high and the deficit in the US budget has mushroomed.

There is no question that US is a most scientifically, economically and militariy advanced nation, the only superpower on planet earth. Yet the rejection of the guidance that the institution of religion provides to society, which helps maintain basic morality and keeps the nation and people on a stright path, is having a devastating effect on US. The progress of US in various arenas has slowed down. In the last ten years while the economy of China grew by 9% and that of India grew by 5%, the US economy grew by less than 2%.

Such pandering to immortal issues for the sake of votes by the politicians of the Democratic and Republican parties is causing much tension and rift in the US society. It is causing immense harm to the institution of family which is the bedrock of the American society. It is very lamentable that as recently as 1950s, the US society respected family values, and the institution of religion and its guidance in daily ioves of the people. That made US the most advanced nation on earth. But now accepting policies that are lowering morality in the nation is also causing an overall decline in the status of US on the global stage.

[Kaleem Kawaja is a community activist based at Washington DC. He can be contacted at: kaleemkawaja@gmail.com]

This new, new world order

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 30 October 2012 | Posted in , , ,

Unless there's a fresh mindset, US power can't be sustained in this changing world

By Paul McGeough

The October surprise, a curve ball that is likely to throw a US presidential campaign off its axis, barrelled through the front door, created a storm and then, just as quickly, snuck out the back.

It was the September 11 assassination of the US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US diplomats in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Here, in a single murderous attack, was all the complexity and uncertainty of a dramatically altered foreign policy landscape - on which the President, Barack Obama, and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, were required to tap dance for voters who believed they were attending a very different performance.

For months these two had been traipsing the swing states, talking themselves hoarse about jobs and debt. Now, along with their surrogates, they had to jump the rails, forced by circumstances to address the reality of a new, new world order - not only is the Cold War over, but also the Arab Spring has sprung and US power is being revealed as an ungainly construct from a bygone era.

But you cannot say that in the US. Were Obama to argue that US power was somewhat diminished in the absence of the global gridlock of the Cold War or that imposing Washington's will on emerging democracies in the Middle East was not quite what was meant by the Arab Spring, it would blaspheme the whole notion of ''American Exceptionalism''.

Romney, too, must tread warily. Not only because of the dizzying rate of his policy reverses, but also because of his deeply personal awareness of the cost of acknowledging a truth that may dilute the Exceptionalism mantra - his every political nerve ties back to the implosion of his own father George's campaign for the presidency in 1967 when, in a moment of frankness, he told a TV interviewer that he had initially supported the Vietnam war because US generals and diplomats had subjected him to ''the greatest brainwashing that anyone could get''.

Romney's about-turns make it difficult to speculate on how he would conduct foreign policy. Rhetorically, he borrows from the Cheney-Rumsfeld school of ''how we need to sort out the world''; but in Monday evening's last campaign debate, Romney endorsed Obama's management of foreign policy - almost in its entirety.

Time will reveal his insistence that ''we don't want another Iraq'' and ''we can't kill our way out of this mess'' as cynical grasping for the last undecided votes - or not.

This seeming unanimity is read in some quarters as a bipartisan acceptance that Americans have had it with the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they want their boys home and they don't want another war, especially in the Muslim world.

Since the 9/11 attacks and more recently, there has been a marked jump in the number of Americans who think the country should mind its own business internationally - up from 30 per cent to 49 per cent, those who rate terrorism as ''very important'' have dropped by 12 per cent and more than 60 per cent want the US less involved in the Middle East.

Obama's first term was not unlike this campaign. It was meant to be ''the economy, stupid'', but his efforts to wind-down two inherited wars and, instead, fight terrorism with a dramatic shift to drone warfare as a controversial substitute for boots-on-the-ground, as well as tumult across the Arab world, made his presidency very much about the world and America's place, security and standing in it.

In a nutshell, he said he would get US forces out of Iraq and he did - although he is under attack for not twisting enough Iraqi arms to have allowed 10,000 or 20,000 troops to remain there.

Afghanistan remains a mess. It was started and under-resourced by his Republican predecessors, but Obama has allowed it to drag on for too long and at too great a cost. He took out Osama Bin Laden and whole slabs of the al-Qaeda leadership, but his stepped-up drone strikes and associated civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen are a great cause of anti-US sentiment.

On coming off badly in a clash with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, over Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, Obama allowed the skeletal remains of what some still refer to as the Middle East ''peace process'' to be parked in a cul-de-sac, but he has pushed back in the face of Netanyahu's highly public efforts to co-opt the US military in the campaign to thwart Iran's nuclear program.

Obama's rhetorical response to the Arab Spring was impressive, but he was late in endorsing the calls by Egypt's young revolutionaries for the ouster of their dictator. He was rightly measured in his response to the uprising in Libya - sharing the lead with the Europeans.

He has resisted pressure for direct US intervention in Syria - despite 30,000-plus dead, but he is troubled more by the risk of a regional meltdown and of US supplied arms ending up in the hands of the jihadists, even though the collapse of the Damascus regime would effectively destroy Tehran's regional network.

He looked away when Saudi forces went into Bahrain to help local authorities to suppress demonstrations.

But for all that, Obama has ruled a line under a discredited US doctrine of happily supporting contemptible dictators who kept the oil flowing and shored up a misplaced notion of regional stability, all of which failed to check rising rage against the US.
The killing of the US diplomats in Benghazi wrong-footed Romney twice. And despite his spearheading a relentless Republican onslaught, accusing the White House of twisting the story lest there be rents in its narrative of al-Qaeda being on its knees, US intelligence officials last week argued there still was no evidence that the attack had been planned in advance - by which they meant that while some of the attackers might have had ties to al-Qaeda, there was no evidence yet to confirm it was a planned al-Qaeda attack.

But the uncertainty about who did what in Benghazi, who they might be associated with and just how it fits into unrest across the region - and Romney's seeming abandonment this week of the issue as an Obama attack point - is an apt metaphor for US-Middle East policy in a new era.

The region no longer lends itself to simple yes or no answers - neither do Afghanistan or Pakistan, where policy sticks and carrots seemingly have no effect as fundamentalist militias nose around the country's substantial nuclear arsenal.

Romney, in the wild arcs of his rhetoric, seemingly believes that Washington can still get its way in the world and he derides Obama's efforts to engage the Muslim world, in particular, as ''apologising for America'', which, he argues, finds itself unnecessarily ''at the mercy of events, rather than shaping events''.

But the Romney riffs on the region have caused some analysts to wonder if he actually understands that the noise he hears is a revolution rumbling across the Middle East - and blaming Obama for all he perceives as wrong in the Middle East hardly constitutes a policy.

For Romney to argue that the rise of Islamist political parties represents failure by the Obama administration is absurd.

That's what happens with democracy in the Muslim world - a bit like the Christian right in US politics. They might be brought into line through aid and trade deals, but to deny them their right to participate is a failure to understand the reality of this new world order.

The New York Times' Thomas Friedman was scathing: ''[Romney believes] that America stands astride the globe with unrivalled power to bend the world our way, and the only thing missing is a president with 'will'. The only thing missing is a president who is ready to simultaneously confront Russia, bash China, tell Iraqis we're not leaving their country, snub the Muslim world by outsourcing our Arab-Israeli policy to the Prime Minister of Israel, green-light Israel to bomb Iran - and raise the defence budget while cutting taxes and eliminating the deficit.''

Even the conservative columnist George F. Will was mocking of Romney. Latching on to the challenger's vow to ''move the world away from'' Islamic extremism, Will recalled Woodrow Wilson declaring: ''I'm going to teach the South American republics to elect good men!''

The no-go area of what the analyst Andrew Bacevich dubbed the ''limits of American power'' has had little attention in the campaign.

But it did surface in The Risk of Ignoring Strategic Insolvency, by the professor of strategy at the National War College, Michael J. Mazarr. His point is that unless the US reins in its ambitions and measures its resources, US power cannot be sustained in a changing world.

Arguably Obama is trying - getting out of Iraq, winding down Afghanistan, avoiding wars in Iran and Syria … and being flogged by his political opponents as a national security weenie for doing just that.

Citing budgetary constraints, the emergence of new powers that think for themselves outside the confines of the Cold War and the failure of the Bush-Cheney full-frontal military assaults on Afghanistan and Iraq, Mazarr writes: ''The very definition of grand strategy is holding ends and means in balance to promote the security and interest of the state. Yet, the postwar US approach to strategy is rapidly becoming insolvent and unsustainable.''

So, whither the US on November 6? This week, The Washington Post endorsed Obama. So too did George W. Bush's secretary of state, Colin Powell.

He said of the Romney flip flops: ''I'm not sure which Governor Romney we'd be getting with respect to foreign policy … I don't sense that he has thought through these issues.''

(Courtesy: The Sydney Morning Herald)

IMO EXCLUSIVE: Son puts Hamdard University Chancellor Saiyid Hamid under ‘House Arrest’?

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 October 2012 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

By Danish Ahmad Khan

“The old order changeth maketh way for new” – thus goes the famous old adage. But, what about when the old order brings in an inefficient new order to assist him, and that too, showing a remarkable display of crass nepotism!

Yes, this is what actually the renowned 92-year-old Muslim educationist and social reformer Saiyid Hamid, while showing his blind love for his eldest son Syed Samar Hamid akin to the epic character Dhritrashtra, has done by bringing him in to assist in managing the affairs of Hamdard Public School (HPS) and appointing him as its Manager. Displaying a weird streak in his characteristic, the ‘new order’ Syed Samar Hamid has now put the ‘old order’, his own father Saiyid Hamid in the dock and is now keeping him under a state of ‘House Arrest’.

Born in 1920, Saiyid Hamid, after retiring from a long and distinguished career in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), was appointed Vice Chancellor of his alma mater Aligarh Muslim University. Hakeem Abdul Hameed, Founder of Hamdard Dawakhana (now Hamdard (Wakf) Laboratories) and Hamdard Education Society (HES), spotted the talented Saiyid Hamid and brought him under his aegis to manage the affairs of HES and appointed him as Secretary of HPS. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in 2005 appointed Saiyid Hamid as a Member of the high level Sachar Committee to prepare a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India. 

After his appointment, Saiyid Hamid started efficiently managing the affairs of HES, under which also runs Hamdard Public School and Hamdard Study Circle (HSC) – the Coaching and Guidance Centre for preparing Muslim candidates for Civil Services examination. Saiyid Hamid was also instrumental in getting Deemed status for Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University). Hakeem Abdul Hameed, the Founder of Hamdard University, was also its first Chancellor. However, after Hakeem Abdul Hameed’s death the mantle was passed on to Saiyid Hamid and he became the Chancellor and now continuing into the post. 

Saiyid Hamid under ‘House Arrest’

Recently, we were a witness to a pitiable and distressing scene at Hamdard Public School when I along with Mohammad Aleem and Shahabuddin Yakub had gone to meet Saiyid Hamid on 29th September 2012 for presenting him his Biography. Mohammad Aleem is the author of the biography “Saiyid Hamid – A Relentless Reformer”. Shahabuddin Yakub is the Publisher and owns Gloriords Publications, which has published the biography.

Mohammad Aleem at Saiyid Hamid's residence. Photo by Danish Ahmad Khan
We reached the Hamdard Public School about 10 minutes late and Saiyid Hamid had by then left for his residence in the School premises. After a long time, an ailing 92-year-old Saiyid Hamid had spent an hour at the School office that day. We were asked by Saiyid Hamid’s Sr. PA (Personal Assistant) Mr. Bhatia to instead meet his son Syed Samar Hamid, Manager of Hamdard Public School. Or else, if we wanted to meet Saiyid Hamid personally then we need to first take the permission of his son. We were asked to wait for a meeting with Mr. Samar Hamid, who was in the Conference Room. It was taking too long for him to meet us. Mr. Bhatia then suggested that we leave the Biography at the office and it would be later on handed over to Saiyid Hamid. But after a long wait, the author Mohammad Aleem, Publisher Shahabuddin Yakub and I decided to personally meet Saiyid Hamid at the residence without waiting further to meet Mr. Samar Hamid.

After reaching the residence within minutes, we requested by the lady staff present there to convey our meeting request to Saiyid Hamid and that we wanted to present the Biography personally to him as he was the person on whom this was written. The lady staff at the residence immediately recognized Mohammad Aleem and acknowledged that on several occasions he had extended sessions with Saiyid Hamid for seeking his opinion and conversing. However, we were told that the meeting with Saiyid Hamid is not possible now and that we have to first talk to and seek permission from his son Syed Samar Hamid. The lady staff herself called up Mr. Samar Hamid a number of times at the School office seeking his permission for a meeting with Saiyid Hamid. We were made to wait for quite a few hours for a meeting with a person, who was otherwise previously quite accessible. However, it seems Saiyid Hamid somehow heard about our presence and expressed his desire to meet us without waiting for the permission of his son. The lady staff on his request assisted Saiyid Hamid reach us for a meeting and personally receiving his Biography. He was visibly pleased to see his first-ever Biography published in his lifetime and confabulated with us and even posed for photographs at our request. Though ailing for quite some time and despite his old age, Saiyid Hamid was all ears to us, shared his experiences and talked heartily. But, the confabulations were short-lived as an infuriated Mr. Bhatia came rushing out of the office and on to the residence on the commands of his son Syed Samar Hamid and started scolding us and manhandling Saiyid Hamid.

Syed Samar Hamid
It was indeed heart rending to see the Sr. PA Mr. Bhatia manhandling and scolding Saiyid Hamid for gathering courage to meet us without seeking the permission of his son Syed Samar Hamid. I along with my father had on several occasions gone to meet Saiyid Hamid at Hamdard Public School related to some work pertaining “The Gaya Muslim Orphanage” – a 95-year-old institution in Gaya (Bihar) established by my grandfather Enayeth Khan. Mr. Bhatia used to be a PA to Saiyid Hamid and was at his beck and call when Saiyid Hamid was personally managing the affairs. Saiyid Hamid was then quite accessible and always used to meet us whenever we called on him at the School office or at his residence situated in the premises of Hamdard Public School. Mr. Bhatia used to be very polite, courteous and always on his toes whenever Saiyid Hamid summoned him. But, with son Syed Samar Hamid at the helm now things have undergone a drastic change at Hamdard Public School. It gave me a feeling that Mr. Bhatia has become powerful and dictating Samar Hamid on how to manage the affairs and handle the people visiting Saiyid Hamid. The manner in which an infuriated Mr. Bhatia came rushing out of the office and on to the residence and started scolding us and manhandling Saiyid Hamid told the entire tale – how lonely it has become for Saiyid Hamid in his twilight years, particularly when the person who is ailing and in his old age is desperately in need of a company and words of compassion.

In Islam, there are specific instructions for believers to visit the ailing and elderly and enquire about their well being. But, here a follower of Islam (Syed Samar Hamid) is keeping into ‘captivity’ another believer (his own father Saiyid Hamid) and barring other believers (I, Mohammad Aleem and Shahabuddin Yakub) from meeting him, particularly when a number of calls had been previously received about the publishing of his Biography.

All efforts are now being made to keep Saiyid Hamid isolated and in a state of ‘House Arrest’. Though, Saiyid Hamid wanted to spend more time with us, but Mr. Bhatia’s intervention at the behest of his son was enough to make him heartbroken and pensive. It was a sad spectacle and I managed hard to fight back my tears seeing his plight.

Most of the acquaintances quite well known to Saiyid Hamid, whom I recently talked to, have complaints against his son Syed Samar Hamid as well, who is not only badly managing his father but also the Hamdard Public School. They rue the fact the gone are those days when we used to easily meet the highly accessible Saiyid Hamid and seek his guidance over important community issues. Even, Saiyid Hamid readily provided the much needed advice and ably guided those who approached him.

What has Gone Wrong with Muslims and their institutions?

The ‘imprisonment’ of Saiyid Hamid by his son Syed Samar Hamid should not be seen in isolation. There is a much deeper malaise afflicting the Muslim community presently. Nepotism is the hallmark of most Muslim-managed institutions and is being blatantly practiced. This raises serious questions over their own credibility as well as those of their kin.

I got the opportunity to meet Syed Samar Hamid along with the author and publisher of Saiyid Hamid’s Biography on the same day at the HPS office. A brief interaction with Mr. Samar Hamid was enough to tell what the man actually stands for – a person full of airs, discourteous, obstinate, dictatorial, one who likes to be surrounded by sycophants, jealous of his father’s stature, suffering with inferiority complex, gripped with a sense of insecurity and one who sees Muslims in poor light. These are the qualities that Syed Samar Hamid possesses according to my perception during my first interaction with him.

When I used to visit Hamdard Public School in earlier times when Saiyid Hamid was keeping good health, he managed the affairs of HPS with the help of only one Personal Assistant (PA) Mr. Bhatia. But, now Syed Samar Hamid has two PAs to assist him – a Junior PA and Sr. PA. It seems as if a government office is being managed out of HPS. This is not enough. There is more than meets the eyes. According to Hamdard Public School website (http://www.hamdardpublicschool.org/index.php), a photograph of Syed Samar Hamid is displayed along with that of Abdul Mueed, son of Hakeem Abdul Hameed (President, Hamdard National Foundation) and Saiyid Hamid (Chancellor, Hamdard University & Secretary, Hamdard Education Society) on Our Architects Page (http://www.hamdardpublicschool.org/archi.htm). The website shows Syed Samar Hamid as Manager, Hamdard Public School. But, when we met Mr. Samar Hamid he was found sitting in the Director’s chamber with two PAs at his beck and call in addition to the services being provided by School peon. Those who had earlier visited Hamdard Public School a few years ago and those who visit now will see a great difference. During the heydays of Saiyid Hamid the HPS was well maintained, spic and span. But, it seems ever since Syed Samar Hamid has taken over the affairs of HPS the luster is now gone and the school is ill-kept and badly managed. A full-scale investigation will bring out even more skeletons out of Syed Samar Hamid’s cupboards.

The Hamdard Public School, which Hakeem Abdul Hameed established for the benefit of Muslims and which was so painstakingly nurtured by Saiyid Hamid, is now dying a slow death and is being sacrificed at the altar of nepotism. This should act as a wake-up call for Muslims. A great, modern educational institution for Muslims like Hamdard Public School needs to be saved from the vice-like grip of Syed Samar Hamid!

[Danish Ahmad Khan, a Delhi-based Journalist, is Founder-Editor of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at indianmuslimobserver@gmail.com]

Related Links:

(1.) Biography of educationist, reformer Saiyid Hamid to be launched soon, Family members opposed

(2.) BOOK REVIEW: Saiyid Hamid - A Relentless Reformer 

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