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Maulana's Super 30 model for Muslims in Mumbai soon

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By Mohammed Wajihuddin

Mumbai: Senior Muslim cleric Maulana Wali Rahmani doesn't confine himself to just running madrassas or preaching about religion. He also nurtures the IIT dreams of Muslim youths. The maulvi runs the Patna-based Rahmani 30, which gives free coaching to Muslims who want to crack the IIT entrance exam, much along the lines of the famed Patna-based Super 30 programme, which helps underprivileged youths make it to the IITs.

And Rahmani is now bringing his dream project to Mumbai. He agreed to do this during a recent meeting in the city. "My dream is that prototypes of Rahmani 30 should be opened in different parts of the country," said the maulana, who is also the secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

As per the plan, around 30 students would be chosen from across Maharashtra , and accommodated and coached for two years at a soon-to-be-decided location in the city. "Money should not be a problem if we get good results," said businessman Ateeq Agboatwala, who is leading the initiative in Mumbai.

Maulvi's effort shifts focus to IITs from ITIs

Last week, after the inauguration of Mumbai's first Darul Qaza-Shariah court-at Anjuman-i-Islam near CST, Maulana Wali Rahmani was almost mobbed. As other speakers, including Muslim politicians, left the stage almost unnoticed, a crowd of Muslim intellectuals, senior clerics and lay persons surrounded the tall, frail Rahmani, shaking his hands and seeking his blessings. Rahmani, considered a pir sahib (saint), obviously commands respect in the community.
His Patna-based coaching centre, Rahmani 30, has succeeded in helping several Muslim students crack the IIT entrance exam and gain admission to institutes across the country.

Rahmani 30 is run along the lines of the well-known Patnabased Super 30 programme, which gives free coaching to underprivileged students and sends around 30 of them every year for the IIT entrance exam. In the Rahmani 30 scheme, Muslim youths who have completed Std X take a written test to qualify for a free, two-year course on how to tackle the IIT exam.

Educationists are heartened by Rahmani's vision. "If we have at least 10 maulvis like Rahmani sahib, Indian Muslims would not need government doles," says Anjuman-i-Islam's President Dr Zahir Kazi. Sources said that businessmen and philanthropists would help fund the project in Mumbai.

Rahmani's journey would not have been possible without the unreserved cooperation he has received from Bihar director-general of police Abhayanand , who was associated with the Super 30 programme till 2008 but has since left to nurture his own initiatives. In 2008, Rahmani approached Abhayanand with a request that an institute similar to Super 30 be started for Muslim students. Abhayanand accepted, but also wondered whether Rahmani would "interfere" in candidate selection . Rahmani reportedly said that he didn't know much about "physics, chemistry and mathematics", so Abhayanand had a free hand in choosing students.

The first Rahmani 30 batch began classes in July 2008 with 10 students on board. In the very first exam, in 2009, they struck gold: all 10 made it to the IIT-JEE exam merit list. Since then, the success rate has been impressive . Those who couldn't clear the IIT exam, joined other engineering colleges. Some joined statistical study institutes.

"The success rate of Muslim students in competitive exams is good. The problem is getting them to be candidates. Rahmani 30 has succeeded in conveying that this is also possible," explained Rahmani.

Before Rahmani plunged into the difficult world of preparing aspirants for the IIT entrance test, Muslim youths mainly confined themselves to joining the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to become plumbers, technicians and mechanics. "The IITs have been almost beyond our boys' reach," said Kazi. "They were satisfied to be trained at ITIs and get small jobs in India and the Gulf. Even the government was happy to sell them the ITI dream. Rahmani sahib has changed the game. Now the buzzword is IIT, not ITI."

(Courtesy: The Times of India)
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