OPINION: Issues faced by Indian Muslims and Key to emancipation

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 08 February 2021 | Posted in , , , ,

By Asad Mirza

It seems as if the Indian Muslims are under a collective siege from the external as well as internal forces and pressures. External pressure is being applied from the outside to weaken it psychologically, lessen the morale of its followers and instead of allowing them to focus their energies on the community’s and country’s progress, they are thrown challenges continuously, to counter which a lot of energy and resources of the community are ill spent.

However, it would be better if the Muslim community instead of turning the issues into an existential one, introspects and analyze the factors which are responsible for the community’s current fate and dilemmas faced by it. The strategy to tackle the issues should be a multi-pronged one, with clear and identifiable inputs, ensuring maximum tangible outcomes. The problems faced by Indian Muslims are social, political, economic and religious, thus the strategy to handle them should be a multi-pronged one.

The political developments during the last five years, and in particular since last May ‘19 in India, have forced almost all Muslims, community’s intellectuals, sympathizers, leaders and well-wishers to turn into a pessimist. They brood on many recent political developments and reaction of the Muslim religious and community leaders to the issues. However, this brooding is not accompanied by any affirmative action by them. This pessimist attitude and a feeling of despondency do not bode well for the community. Instead, what is needed at the moment is neither self-pity nor brooding, but to self-introspect sincerely. Identify and analyze the issues, which afflict the community, and seek out pragmatic solutions, which may bode well for the community and the country, both.

The answer to most of the ills faced by the community lies in introspection and analyzing the issues, which have held the community despondent and backward so far, in depth and with sincerity. The first step should be to prioritize the issues. Altruistically speaking, first, the community should try to present a unified image, not fraught by sectional differences.

Issues faced by Muslims

A movement should be started within the community to eschew its sectional and denominational divide, by its religious leaders. Others see the Muslims as a monolith community, not a faction ridden one. So if we are seen as one, then we should act as one. This is easier said than done and would require a lot of efforts and tolerance amongst our clerics and their blind followers.

Secondly, the community should adopt a proactive approach not a reactionary one to handle issues at hand. At the political level, people who do not represent the community sincerely should not be promoted and tolerated as representing the community instead they should be excommunicated. Only sincere, committed and result-oriented individuals should be allowed to be part of the decision-making and delivery mechanism process on behalf of 14 million Muslims.

Thirdly, it should try to forge sustainable links with other minorities in the country like Parsis, Sikhs and Christians. It should try to learn from these minorities, as to how they have fared well in educational, social and economic sectors, utilising their community’s resources and guidance by their leaders. This collaboration will also help further the principles of tolerance and coexistence.

Fourthly, Muslims should engage in sincere self-introspection and try to reform the community of customs and practices, which are detrimental to the growth of the community as a whole, besides being un-Islamic, such as curbing wasteful expenditure on marriages and other religious functions. They’ll have to focus more on image building of the community by promoting cleanliness and education, two issues that have been stressed again and again in the Holy Quran.

And lastly, the message to change the community’s psyche and approach on issues facing it should be conveyed in a logical and easily understandable format to all, by a committee of elders representing all the factions and schools of thought of the community besides the political and social activists.

At the political front, Muslims should adopt a multi-dimensional strategy, strengthening the secular and democratic forces of the country, assured of the support of 63% secular and right thinking population of India.

Key to emancipation

As far as being an active player in the county’s political process is concerned, we should nurture and motivate our youngsters to involve themselves in the political activities, shoulder to shoulder with the secular forces. We seldom engage with our political representatives constructively. We should try to form a proactive relationship with the politicians, to ensure that besides raising our grievances with our representatives we are seen as part of the team, which delivers the results on their behalf in their constituency. We’ll have to build a committed cohort of leaders, who reflect the true aspirations of the community besides striving to empower it both educationally and politically.

A key factor identified for the plight of the community is the lack of education amongst Muslims. In reality during the last 25 years or so the educational consciousness amongst Muslims has increased and the community is much more educated than previously. However, we still have to focus our energies on and plan for educating the children at the lowest rung of the social and economic ladder. We need to strengthen our schools and colleges at village and district level, ensure delivery of quality education to all sections of the community, besides a zero dropout rate. This will need coordinated efforts and counselling, both. For this to be achieved, instead of looking up to the government, we should initiate our own efforts.

It’s a fact that Muslims have a school and college in every city and town of India. But most of them are not equipped to the modern standards or don’t have the faculty which could ensure delivery of quality education. The need is to chart out a comprehensive plan for making these institutes functional and productive. This could be achieved through an all-India umbrella body, which should be tasked to ensure how to impart quality education to all at the lowest cost through available infrastructure.

During the last 25 years or so a number of educational and social organizations managed by Muslims have sprung-up in every nook and corner of the country. But in reality, most of these initiatives are confined to individual self-promotion and lack enough professional attitude and commitment to perform and deliver. The task should be to bring all such organizations at a common platform, and pooling their human and financial resources, hammer out a deliverable strategy which is in tune with the current demands and aspirations of the people and which fulfil the community’s and society’s needs pragmatically.

Besides education, the proposed all-India body should also represent the Muslims at every conceivable charity work, whether be it a natural calamity or supporting the government’s various social drives or feeding the poor or providing care to the ailing. We need to emerge as a community, which should be seen at the forefront of every welfare event, helping out shoulder to shoulder with our brethren.

Fostering a Community psyche

The Indian Muslims, as a community, do not possess a common community psyche. They are divided in many factions and no faction is ready to tolerate the other. Community unity, in spite of factionalism is found in abundance in other minorities of the country like Sikhs and Parsis. We have to learn a lot from other minorities on how to develop a community psyche, so that each and every one considers them to be part of a larger whole, and the guiding spirit should be collectivism instead of individualism, every Muslim should be seen as contributing both physically and financially, for enhancing the community’s and lives of our brethren.

All the above is easier said than done, and the big question remains, who is going to deliver it and how? The answer lies in our religious leaders. It is a fact that a vast percentage of the Muslims, still listens to and acts upon the messages conveyed to them by our clergy. But most of the time the messages conveyed are not relevant in any manner to the development and progress of the community in the light of the Islamic teachings, but on mundane issues. Instead our clerics will have to work to contextualize the message of the Holy Quran and Ahaadith to the present era, only then they’ll be effective and remembered. For this purpose the speech before the Juma Khutba can be a very important tool.

Clergy’s role

The Muslim clergy should first try to modernize it. It would be good if it could start on a path of critical and scientific thinking or Ijtihad, on issues of importance to the community. Instead of harping back to old and irrelevant texts, it would be better if it could consider each and every issue in a pragmatic fresh perspective based on the correct interpretation of the Holy Quran and Ahaadith. As the Holy Quran is a dynamic not a static book, it offers new solutions as per the new assimilation and analytic prowess gained by its followers with every passing day.

We also bemoan the issue of lack of funding for establishing new educational institutes. Here we forget that if the Indian Muslims decide to contribute every paisa of the interest accrued in their bank accounts and the yearly Zakat to a single entity, then the fate of the community could be changed completely in the next 5 years. This sum could be utilised to establish and rejuvenate the educational institutes, orphanages, taking care of the needy and providing for medical facilities for the community and everyone else.

In addition we also have to present a modern image of the community to other faiths and countrymen. We sound hollow when we decry the increasing tide of Islamophobia in the country and elsewhere in the world. But how do we tackle the issue? In this age of information technology, many battles are being fought and won using social media tools. The latest example in this regard is the surge in Islamophobic messages on the social media and response of the Muslim nations. Due to the overwhelming response of the Muslim countries, many social media platforms had to issue guidelines on how to manage the Islamophobic content, besides immediate remorse shown and forgiveness sought by people who engaged in posting Islamophobic content on various social media websites.

Muslims and the Media

It would be better if the community should equip itself to counter the fake and biased news, first. A strong rebuttal and countering mechanism would serve the community well, as the cost for this would not be too high.

The first step towards this could be to build a monitoring team, which could keep track of all anti-Muslim news, to be fed to a team of fact checkers, who with strong research and messaging capabilities should be able to counter any anti-Muslim narrative promptly and professionally.

A central team of Media Monitors based in Delhi should keep track of state monitors and should be equipped to work out quick and coherent responses to every issue, charge or misrepresentation on various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Next, a group of community spokesmen should be trained in the language of the states to which they belong. They should be coached in language nuances, debating skills and how to engage in a coherent and conclusive dialogue with their competitors, viz. every aspect of conducting a successful verbal communication process.

Every state should have a small team of at least five people who could represent the community at every media opportunity. An effort should be made to constitute a panel of erudite and knowledgeable people to represent the community at various media outlets. The views espoused by this panel should be endorsed by leading clerics and social leaders beforehand.

All this seems achievable and commendable, but the biggest requisite for this to succeed would be the coming together of different leaders representing various sects, outfits and schools within the Muslim community at one platform. We should have a panel of academics, researchers, ideologues, businessmen and entrepreneurs, activists and ground level workers, who should be seen as the real face of the community.

Way forward

Moreover, it would be better if the Muslim community instead of turning the current concerns into an existential one, introspects and find the areas and issues, which beleaguers it and where it has floundered, besides trying to be seen as part of the county’s mainstream. Follow it with judicious and committed planning and strategizing, so that these determinants could be overcome and after the next 25 years, when we’ll be celebrating the century of our independence, we can proudly say that the community has fulfilled the aspirations of its followers and countrymen, both.

What we need is a clear-cut plan and a will to innovate and implement those programmes, which will take the community out of its slumber and apathy and take it on the path of progress. Until and unless the Muslim community as a whole decides to change its psyche and reform itself, nobody can help the community survive the present onslaught.

[Asad Mirza is a New Delhi-based political commentator. He was also associated with BBC Urdu Service and Khaleej Times. He writes on Muslims, educational, international affairs, interfaith and current affairs. He can be reached at asad.mirza.nd@gmail.com]

Mumbai’s Dongri Police Station gets its first Muslim lady in-charge officer

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 31 January 2021 | Posted in , , , ,

IMO News Service

Mumbai: Muslim women in India are increasingly breaking stereotypes and taking a proactive role in national affairs. Shabana Shaikh has made the community proud by becoming the first Muslim woman in-charge officer of Dongri police station in its history, Hindustan Times reported.

Shabana Shaikh, who is a role model and an inspiration to women in uniform, first joined the Maharashtra police in 1992. Shabana originally hails from the Akole taluka of Ahmadnagar district, and is the first Muslim woman to become a police officer from her district.

Before joining as in-charge officer of Dongri police station, Shabana had earlier served as an inspector in the special branch in the Mumbai police.

Shabana Shaikh was born in a large joint family, and has two brothers and seven sisters. She says that though her father is not much educated but he took care of his children and stressed on education by sending them to school. Shabana moved to Pune for higher education and completed her Masters from there.

Shabana Shaikh said, “I always wanted to do something different. Police service became a natural choice. I failed to qualify for the direct Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) examination for the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police. I however cracked the sub-inspector exam in my first attempt, and also completed my MA during the training itself. I also want my two daughters to join the Indian Police Service (IPS) as well.”

OPINION: Conspiracy of silence to the growing Hindu radicalization in India

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 January 2021 | Posted in , , , , ,

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Hindu radicalization is brimming at its seams but many among the community refuse to acknowledge this growing phenomenon under the Modi rule. The hallmark of the Modi government is the radicalization of the Hindu community and the victimization of Muslims in India. There is no social or institutional opposition to this blatant disregard of the constructional values that is taking place in the country. It seems there is a conspiracy of silence to the Hindu radicalization in India.

The Hindu society refuses to acknowledge that the victimization of Muslims is taking place due to the radicalization of the Hindus. They see this radicalization as a normal phenomenon and refuse to raise their voices against such open bigotry. The Hindu community fails to recognize that majoritarian communalism is against the spirit of the Indian constitution.

This Hindu radicalization is happening at two levels. First, at the societal level second among those who run the country; politicians, police, judiciary, bureaucracy media, etc.

In a general conversation among families and in private discourse the Hindu bigots justify this trend, citing similar developments in other countries. The Hindu society refuses to accept that constitutional values are being flaunted by maltreating the Muslims in India.

There is a definite conspiracy of silence among the Hindu community towards the growing radicalization within their fold. Their normal response towards the blatant bigotry against the Muslims is; look how Hindus were oppressed during the Muslim rule, then they will turn to the maltreatment of Pandits in Kashmir; after that, they may talk about the activities of the Taliban and ISIS and finally they come to Pakistan and highlight the maltreatment of the Hindus there to justify Hindu radicalization in India.

The bigotry within Hindu society is growing since 2014. It is a part of well-crafted state policy. The radicalization of the Hindus is at the expense of the victimization of the Muslims. The Hindu religious extremists have taken the law in its hands and hate crimes that began as a trickle by the fringe Hindu elements became a flood under the Modi rule.

There have been several instances where Hindu mob attacking Muslims and taking their lives. This is happening in complete disregard to the rule of law AND in complete defiance of the constitution. But there is none to uphold the rule of law and protect the oppressed.

Most perpetrators of crime against Muslims get away without any punitive action and some are even felicitated by BJP ministers. The most erroneous part is such hate crimes are slowly slipping from the front pages in the media to inside pages with small headlines to signify that there is nothing unusual in such activity. This new media culture has given a gist to the Hindu radicals to do whatever they like to do, as this is a new normal under Modi rule.

The mass radicalization of Hindus explains Modi’s enduring popularity despite his bad governance, autocratic behavior, and economic disaster. What Modi has been able to succeed is to instill in Hindu's minds to believe that a golden era that reflects their glorious, ancient tradition is round the corner. The Hindus will be redeemed of the centuries of Muslim oppression and the pampered Muslim community in India will be shown its place under Modi rule.

The state, the judiciary, and the media are all working in tandem to perpetrate Hindu radicalization. The Hindu radicalization has seeped into the veins of many Indians. The administration, the judiciary, politicians, all echo what Hindu-vigilante boldly profess while showing their hatred against the Muslims.

There are many new laws mainly aimed at cementing Hindu supremacy and restricting social and economic options for the Muslims in India. These laws are meant to send the message to the Muslim community that the constitutional guarantee no more holds true and they have to live under the shadow of the majority community.

There is virtually no criticism from the Hindu community to the laws that are made targeting the Muslim community. Even the political Opposition’s do not resist the Hindu radicalization going on under Modi’s rule. They fear the ruling government and try to soft-peddle this phenomenon as if, its normal discourse.

This is definitely a disintegration of the rule of law. The state is blatantly aligning with the Hindu religion. The President of India Ram Nath Kovind has publicly announced making a contribution of Rs 5 lakh for the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya. The government of Uttar Pradesh has opened a bank account and has urged the government employees to make a “voluntary donation” to temple construction. It is a clear cut case of the state and the religion getting entwined under the Modi rule which is against the grain of the constitution.

The government has further spurred Islamophobic instincts with changes in Muslim divorce law and bringing many new laws that are anchored in severing majoritarian interests. These laws are eagerly prosecuted by the police and the courts are allowing such anti-human laws without any legal basis. As Hindu radicalization progresses, Indian Muslims are finding hard to negotiate their life under the Modi rule and there is no sympathy towards their misery by the majority community.

The irony is many Hindus do not acknowledge that there is a mass radicalization of their community taking place at the expense of the Muslims. Even liberals among Hindus who use to go gung-ho at the Muslim radicalization are mute spectators to the radicalization of their own community. They also interpret the new phenomena with the same false equivalence of Islamic intolerance, within or outside India. They fail to bring out much-needed attention to the oppression against the Muslims that is going on in the country and maintain a stoke silence to the phenomena of the Hindu radicalization.

There is no doubt that the national consensus on maintaining religious harmony is falling apart. There are individuals and institutions that are actively engaged in dismantling the concept of peaceful coexistence in India. This is in complete disregard to the constitutional values and the rule of law in the country. Anyone criticizing such activities could be made liable and persecuted under Modi rule.

To say that every Hindu in India is radicalized will be a misnomer. Indeed, the majority are not. The Hindu society is very complex and even if the BJP may be able to consolidate many Hindu caste groups and divisions, it certainly cannot lord over the entire Sanatan-Dharma. This is not to deny the fact that those who defend Hindu bigotry in response to Islamophobia are on the rise in India. They have high-jacked the public discourse and are enjoying their time of fame under Modi rule.

There is little doubt that there is general withering away of the rule of law under the Modi regime. There are also no two opinions that victimization of Muslims has increased many folds under his rule. However, there are too few Hindus to raise a voice against the oppression of the Muslims they are singled out for persecution and this phenomenon is glaringly obvious. What does all this mean? Well, this is Post-Truth India the Brand New Republic.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. His forthcoming book is Post Truth India- Brand New Republic. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

Muslim scholars Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and late Maulana Kalbe Sadiq to get Padma awards

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

IMO News Service

The Government of India has announced conferring of the nation’s second highest civilian award ‘Padma Vibhushan’ to prominent Muslim scholar 96-year-old Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for his distinguished and exceptional service to bridge Hindu-Muslim divide through his writings focused on interfaith harmony.

The renowned Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is originally from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, but is currently residing in Hazrat Nizamuddin area in Delhi for past several decades. Khan is widely acclaimed to propagate his ideas and teachings through writing. He had in the past written Tazkirul Quran, a commentary on the Holy Quran, and also runs a popular monthly magazine Al Risala. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has been presented several awards including Padma Bhushan (2000), Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavna Award (2009), National Citizens’ Award, Demiurgus Peace International Award and others.

Late Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, a prominent Shia Muslim scholar, has been awarded posthumously the country’s third highest civilian award ‘Padma Bhushan’. Considered to be a great ambassador of Shia-Sunni unity, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq died in November 2020. He was also Vice President of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Both Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and late Maulana Kalbe Sadiq were considered close to Hindu right-wing ruling party BJP at the Centre, and were vocal proponents asking Muslims to give up their claim on Babri Masjid. They also had a neutral stand on the construction of Ram Mandir on the ruins of Babri Masjid dismantled by Hindu zealots.

The Padma awards were announced for other Muslim personalities as well. India’s fourth highest civilian award ‘Padma Shri’ was given to Ali Manikfan, Gulfam Ahmed, Lakha Khan, Ghulam Rasool Khan, Sanjida Khatun and Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir.

Ali Manikfan, a marine researcher, ecologist, shipbuilder, agriculturist and a polyglot from Minicoy Island of Lakshwadeep, was awarded for his contribution in grassroots level innovations. Gulfam Ahmed from Uttar Pradesh was awarded for his contribution in the field of Art, Lakha Khan from Rajasthan for Literature, Ghulam Rasool Khan from Jammu and Kashmir for Art, and Sanjida Khatun for Art and Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir for Public Affairs (both from Bangladesh).

This year the Padma awards will be given to 119 personalities (7 Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan and 102 Padma Shri). The awards are announced every year by the Union Government to commemorate India’s Republic Day. The awards will be presented by President of India Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremonial function at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

First-of-its-kind Gym for Women opens in a Hyderabad Mosque

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 27 January 2021 | Posted in , , , , ,

IMO News Service

There is a growing need for fitness and healthy well being of Muslim women in India. A mosque in Telangana’s capital Hyderabad realized the health concerns of women and recently set up a wellness center, including a gymnasium in its complex. The mosque Masjid-e-Mustafa is situated in Wadi-e-Mahmood, a slum area in Rajendranagar mandal, in the southern state’s capital city. 

This is the first-of-its-kind initiative taken by a mosque in the state. The gym for women, which has an expert trainer, is being funded by US-based NGO called Support for Education and Economic Development (SEED). 

The purpose of the gym is to effectively curb the growing cases of non-communicable diseases in women residing in the slum areas. A professional woman trainer will be conducting two sessions daily and help women to achieve fitness.

The wellness centre will be operated with the help of Hyderabad-based NGO Helping Hand Foundation (HHF) in coordination with the mosque committee. The HHF had last year collaborated with the mosque to open a community healthcare centre for helping women and children living in the slums. Mujtaba Hasan Askari, HHF managing trustee, while talking to mediapersons said, “The key components of the NCD programme at the mosque clinic-cum-gym are risk assessment, counselling on diet and exercise and screening for renal, liver and eye issues. Trained and professional counsellors are part of the clinic.”

A recent study conducted on Hyderabad slum-dwellers said that 52 percent women are at risk of cardiometabolic syndrome and about 30 percent women are suffering from the polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD). Among other health problems include diabetes, hypertension, thyroid and obesity.

India’s ex chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi’s new book debunking Muslim population myth to be launched in February

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 18 January 2021 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

IMO News Service

India’s former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi has sought to debunk the bogus Muslim population myth often raised by right-wing Hindutva protagonists through his new book "The Population Myth: Islam, Family Planning and Politics in India". The book analyses India’s demographics from a religious perspective, and will be launched in February.

Published by HarperCollins India, the book provides a detailed perspective on the rate of Muslim growth in India after in-depth study of population data, and national and international reports.

The book has extensively discussed on how the majoritarian fears of a demographic skew are being stoked by often using these myths. Mr. Quraishi has also used facts for demolishing these myths and demonstrating how a planned population is in the interest of all communities.

The book, which will hit the stands, focuses on how the Quran and the Hadith have shown how Islam might have been one of the first religions in the world for actually advocating smaller families, and how several Islamic countries have population policies in place.

"Indians have been fed for decades the propaganda that Muslims produce too many children in order to overtake the Hindus, that this is how Muslims plan to capture political power," argued Quraishi in his book and added, "Derogatory slogans aimed at Muslims 'hum paanch, hamare pachchees' or 'hum chaar, hamare chalees' - have been voiced repeatedly at the top political level to strengthen this narrative. On the other hand, many Muslims also tend to believe that Islam is against family planning."

Quraishi was India’s 17th Chief Election Commissioner. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1971. He is credited with introducing several electoral reforms, including creating of a voter education division, expenditure monitoring division, the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management, and launched the National Voters Day.

Future Leaders felicitated by AMP with National Talent Search (NTS) 2020 Awards

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 13 January 2021 | Posted in , , , , ,

Fidha (Kerala) from IIT Dharwad in the Senior Category and Adnan Shamshi (Delhi) of Jamila Millia Islamia in Junior Category tops the Exam at National Level

IMO News Service

Mumbai: Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), a pan-India NGO working for more than a Decade, in the domains of Education, Employment Assistance & Economic Empowerment awarded the winners of AMP National Talent Search Exam- 2020 for College going students yesterday.

Chief Guest Lt. General (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah, Former Vice Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University commended AMP for holding these unique exams and for rewarding the winners. He said “These students who participated in the exams are the future leaders of the country as they tested themselves for their skills and knowledge and will learn from their failures on the path to success.” He addressed the students on the basic characteristics of leadership and congratulated all participants.

Aamir Edresy, President of Association of Muslim Professionals and the brain behind the initiative said, “The National Talent Search Awards (NTS) are just a beginning in the long road to help students achieve their full potential. In the coming days we will help all these Students with all the initiative of AMP”. He further announced that “AMP will launch a unique mobile App specially for these students soon, through which we will provide all information pertaining to Higher Education as well as AMP Projects & Activities which will help them in completing their education and get on to the path of Professional & Personal success.”

Mohammed Lateef Khan, Founder Trustee and Chairman of MS Education Academy and a sponsor for the event, appreciated AMP for taking the lead in organizing the Talent Search Exam nationally and bringing all students together on one platform. He said the #COVID-19 pandemic made it possible that he could address students from so many cities simultaneously today, which was unthinkable before. Thus this pandemic while bringing in problems has also thrown open doors for many new possibilities.

While hosting the event, Prof. Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Project Lead – NTS 2020 and a Mentor & Trainer for last 20 years, said “The winners of this NTS exam have shown that it doesn’t matter what the background is but the students’ hardwork which matters.” He gave example of Miss Asna Fatema, the 2nd prize winner (Rs. 20,000) in the Junior category, who studied in Urdu Girls High School & Junior College, in Buldhana district of Maharshtra.

Razak Shaikh, Head – AMP Projects and the driver of the NTS exam project, said that AMP is like a funnel for gathering talent. He said the main aim of the NTS – 2020 was to make students think of competing on a National level and not be contented of excelling at the city or the state level. He further said that in the next year’s edition, AMP would be looking at a participation of at least 1 lakh student in each category.

The awards and prizes were announced by Miss Sufi Qureshi, Mr. Syed Furqan and Mr. Farook Siddiqui. The Awards were given for the top 10 winners of the exams in both the categories, with the top 3 winners, who were felicitated personally by AMP members in their respective cities. There were Cash Prizes for the first 3 Toppers in each category.

The following are the top 3 winners of the NTS-2020 awards in both the categories:

For Junior College Students (XI & XII):

1st Rank (Rs. 30,000) – Adnan Shamsi of Syed Abid Husain Sr. Sec College, Jamia, Delhi

2nd Rank (Rs. 20,000) - Asna Fatema Syed Rizwan of Urdu Girls High School & Science Junior College, Malkapur, Buldhana, Maharashtra

3rd Rank (Rs. 10,000) Varun Varshney of Saiyyid Hamid School, AMU, Aligarh, UP

For Senior/Degree College Students (Undergrads):

1st Rank - Fidha of Mallapuram, Kearala, studying at IIT Dharwad

2nd Rank - Sohil Ayub Luhar studying at K J Somaiya Institute, Mumbai, Maharashtra

3rd Rank - Alveena Khan of Government Medical College, Kota Rajasthan

There was no participation fee for the NTS 2020 exam and it was open for the students from all over the Country to mentally challenge themselves and know where they stand for the forthcoming competitive exams.

The other top scorers received special certificate along with Cash Prize of Rs 2000 each and all participants were awarded an E-Certificate. The participants will also be given access to AMP’s various projects and activities like higher education scholarships, employability training programmes, skill training programmes, campus placement job fairs & job drives, mentorship and guidance through TheIndiaMentors.com, fresher’s jobs through AmpowerJobs.com, and many other similar programmes.

About AMP

Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) is a Platform for all Muslim professionals and volunteers to share their knowledge, intellect, experience and skills for the overall development of the Society at large. AMP will shortly be completing 13 years of existence, working in domains of Education & Economic Empowerment. We have inspired and convened Professionals from all walks of life and in the process uplifted several thousand people from the underprivileged sections of the society.

OPINION: Why Muslims are Backward in India?

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 07 January 2021 | Posted in , , , , ,

By Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed

The impact of British rule on Muslims was greater. It was an advantage to the Hindus, as they were interested to learn from them whatever would contribute to their advancement. They utilized the many opportunities that the British offered in all walks of life. By getting educated in western education and culture, they became reliable subjects in the eyes of the British, and by learning the English language, they were offered services in the Government.

The East India Company passed the Permanent Land Settlement Act (1793) whereby it created a new class of Hindu collaborators, called gomashtas, or zamindars, who overcharged Muslim peasants, even during hard times, such as famines. The Hindu revenue-collectors, turned overnight into landowners at the expense of the poor Muslim peasants.

The Muslims did not learn the English language, and thus denied themselves opportunities of material as well as intellectual progress. Material, because Government jobs were open only to English-knowing persons; intellectual, because the entire body of Western knowledge and learning was shut out from them.

Some historians attribute this Muslim backwardness to the fact that Muslims were not pre-disposed to absorb “alien ideas, methods and language of the new rulers”; thus, they failed “to grasp the opportunities available in the new structure of government”

To avoid coming under the influence of the new culture, they clung tenaciously to the fundamental teachings of Islam and most of them prevented their children from attending British-patronized educational institutions throughout the different Indian provinces.

Muslims fell into a sense of humiliation and grief at the loss of their power, and as a result, they developed bitter feelings towards the British. This bitterness resulted into the 1857 Revolt that shook the Company’s rule to its very foundations.

The Impact of the First Indian Revolt on Muslim Community

Both Muslims and freedom-loving Hindus did participate in the Great Revolt, and in spite of that, the British decided to revenge themselves on the Muslim community, as the latter were regarded as the bona fide fomenters and the most beneficiaries of the uprising.

This anti-Muslim feeling was well reflected in the harshness of British reprisals towards the Muslim community immediately after the Revolt was put down. Besides the expropriation of Muslim landowners, some contemporaries bear witness to many instances of barbaric acts of ruthless vengeance being inflicted indiscriminately by British soldiers, with the connivance of their superior officers, on ordinary Muslims “mass massacres, indiscriminate hangings, inhumane tortures and large scale confiscation of properties were some of the means adopted by the British for the purpose”. To add insult to injury, even Hindus, who had an active hand in the events of 1857, pointed an accusing finger at the Muslim community and joined hands with their new masters, namely the British, in their anti-Muslim campaign.

Since the early days when the East India Company imposed its dominion over the Subcontinent, the British had looked down on the Muslim community and saw Muslims as their bona fide adversaries.

The events of 1857 were an excuse for the British to get rid of the last vestiges of the Mughal Empire once and for all, as well as curb the Muslim influence in the Indian society. Muslims faced extreme discrimination in all spheres of day-to-day life, and particularly in Government employment. The post-Great Revolt period was probably the gloomiest period in the history of the Muslim community in the Indian Subcontinent.


During the 19th and 20th centuries, Christian missionaries and colonial rulers such as the British opened schools that were based on a Western educational model and offered courses in English, science and technology.

Muslims who continued to choose Madrasas over other schools found that they lacked the training needed for well-paid jobs. One drawback is, many Madrasas refused to integrate nonreligious subjects into their curricula. As a result, a dual system of schooling became the norm: one Islam-centered, the other Westernized.

Why do parents choose Madrasas?

There are thousands of madrasas in the Indian subcontinent, Arab countries and African Muslim countries. There are about 30,000 Madrasas in each country like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Most graduates from Madrasas find poorly paid jobs in Madrasas, mosques or shrines of saints, a few others in farming. Only 3 percent attain a higher level of socioeconomic development.

The majority of Muslim families want Madrasas to offer technical courses and vocational training. However, the religious leaders who could approve changes are “set against the modern education.”

Such Madrasas contribute to a vicious circle of poverty. Free government schools could serve as an alternative, but, perhaps due to their low quality of instruction, nearly three-quarters of Muslim families expressed the opinion that if they had the financial means to do so, they would choose fee-based, private, nonreligious schools. Greatest problem with Madrasas is they emphasize rote learning over critical thinking.

Attitude of Muslims towards Western Education

The Muslims hated the Western education during the period of British India. The reason is they had hatred of the British in their taste and culture so that they had to keep a distance from Western education. And this led the community to doom. The Muslims were very much stubborn in their religious belief, practice and worship. The majority of the Muslims were devoted to trade and commerce rather than to seek employment under any regime. The Muslim’s response towards the British can be divided into four categories:

1. One group of nobles sincerely considered friendship and alliance with the British indispensable for the continued existence of the Indian states and made it their policy to be friendly with the British.

2. Second group was highly impressed by the British and their culture that it sought to organize the affairs of State and the conditions of the society on British lines.

3. A third group was loyal neither to the state nor to the British Government and followed a policy which, in its view, best suited its own personal and selfish interests.

4. A fourth group which was totally opposed to British dominance and the British connection.

Muslims in Southern India showed positive response towards English and Western sciences, while the Muslims of Northern India, to some extent also Hindus, refused to accept Western learning.

The British then onwards were highly cautious regarding Muslims. After establishing their authority, the British began to destroy the financial strength of the Muslims.

As stated earlier in 1793, the British passed the land Act, which adversely influenced the economic condition of the Muslims. They changed the relationship with the landlords, especially with regard to the Muslims, and closed the door to their landlordism.

In 1868, the British government announced assistance for persons traveling to Europe for educational and scientific purposes. Majority of Muslims living in northern India believed social contacts with Englishmen to be objectionable for their moral and religious integrity. When Syed Ahmad Khan was elected an honorary Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of London in 1864 he decided to go to England himself to see the ways of the British in their homeland. After an extensive seventeen month stay in England, Ahmad Khan returned to his home land on 2nd October, 1870 full of ideas and aspirations to lead his community to be on par with modern developments. While he was in England, he visited the top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge and certain private schools, including Eton and Harrow. These would serve as models for his own Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College. After his return to India, Sir Syed started to put into action his educational strategies in a scientific manner. In 1920 the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College became Aligarh Muslim University, an institution that had a decisive impact on the course of Islamic polity in India as well as on the educational history of India.

The Muslim community has not recovered ever since the historic defeat of Indians in 1857 Rebellion against the British. Today they are facing hard social, educational and political conditions. Muslims in India have a poor human development status.

Sachar Committee has found that Muslims are not only the victims of poverty, but have come to accept inequality and discrimination as their inevitable fate. The glaring problem is the absence of committed and authentic Muslim leadership in pre and post independent India.

As stated above Muslims in India are divided on political lines and have little or no national leadership. They are marginalized in India’s civil services and public administration. The Muslim community is also utterly under-represented in the field of journalism. Moreover, Muslims in India have bleak entrepreneurial ambitions.

Political representation of the Muslims stands extremely low at six-to-eight per cent while their population in India is over 14 percent.

And religious organizations like Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadees Hind, Sunni Dawat-e-Islami, and others, are concerned with the way Islam should be practised by the community.

The top bureaucratic positions in the country namely the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) are frighteningly under-represented by Muslims. The estimated figure of Muslims in these services stands inexcusably low at two-three percent.

Majority of the Muslims are not even eligible for these posts as very few of them are university graduates. Surveys show that about five per cent of Muslims in the country have successfully completed university education.

There are very few Muslim journalists of national prominence. Few businessmen like Azim Premji of Wipro, Yusuf Hamied of Cipla, Shahid Balwa of DB Reality and a few others, are the few conspicuous Muslim names in the corporate world.

The road ahead

Education is a great solution to problems of poverty, sickness, and empowers the Muslim community. Universities like Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia, must be able to produce some of the preeminent professionals in different fields who would not only care for their individual well-being but would also show attentiveness for the community at large.

The religious leaders must pay attention to the need of the hour to reform the various education, social, and cultural institutions they run. Just religious education is not enough, but also modern and secular, must be stressed. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the well-educated and instrumental members of the community to push for these reforms. They should make sure there is a fall in dropout rates at all academic levels. The prosperous members of the community should institute scholarships and other aides to ensure that deserving and talented young students do not drop out from school or university due to financial problems. It is time for the community members to show astonishing unanimity with each other for their own prosperity and welfare.

[Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed is Immediate Past President of Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc., Louisville, KY, USA. He can be reached on his Phone: +1 502 423 1988 or email at islamicresearch@yahoo.com]

Bihar: An Insight into the Muslim population in Seemanchal Region

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

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Muslims are splintered in India and their diversity is synonymous with Indian. There is a Seemanchal region in the state of Bihar where there is significant but distinct Muslim population that begs attention. These Muslims are quite different from the general perception about the Muslims in India.

The Seemanchal region exists in Bihar that is close to the international border of Nepal and Bangladesh. It is a landlocked region comprising four districts; Purnea, Katihar, Kishanganj and Araria. The region is insulated from the rest of the state and the country. The distance between Seemanchal and state capital Patna is about 368 km while Assam is barely 300 kilometers.

In many ways, Seemanchal is different from the rest of Bihar and the country. The most obvious difference is the demographic profile of the region. The Muslim population in Seemanchal is 47% Muslim whereas Bihar’s state-wide average of Muslim populationis 17%. Of the 1.08 crore population in Seemanchal, there are 49 lakh Muslims in this region. The proportion of Muslims in the four districts of Seemanchal are; Kishanganj: 68 percent, Katihar: 44.5 percent, Araria: 43 percent, Purnea: 38.5 percent.

While in the rest of Bihar, Muslims are largely concentrated in the urban areas, in the Seemanchal region, Muslims population is concentrated in the rural areas. Seemanchal Muslims are poor peasants and their average landholdings are small.

The other distinct feature of the Seemanchal region is that here the Hindu population is much lower than that of the Muslims and the dominant caste of the Hindus are nearly absent here more particularly is the Yadav caste.

Linguistically Seemanchal is considered part of the greater Mithila region but the region is divided on three distinct linguist differences i.e. Surjapuri, Kulhaiya and Bengali languages. The Seemanchal region is peculiar due to Surjapuris, Kulhaiyas and Shershahbadis communities.

The Surjapuri community holds considerable influence in the Seemanchal region. According to George Grierson in the Linguistic Survey of India, Surjapuris have Koch origin and they speak a dialect similar to the Koch Bengali of Malda.

Shershahbadis are of Bengali origin but have a different history. They are said to be soldiers in the army of Sher Shah Suri. They settled initially in the Gaur region in Bengal but they were displaced by the Mughals and they settled in the Seemanchal region and started doing cultivation. They converted to Islam later and followed the ‘Ahle Hadis’ school of thought whose guiding principles are Quran and the tradition of the prophet. That’s how Shershahbadis differentiates themselves from the majority of Muslims in Seemanchal who follow syncretic traditions.

Kulhaiya are said to have come from Hadhramaut region of eastern Yemen. They were brought as soldiers and worked with the Faujdars of Purnea, who ruled the autonomous region headquarter at Purnea and the surrounding places. Kulhaiyas later became an agrarian community marrying the locals and settlers from other parts of the country. As a result of the diverse linguistic influences, Kulhaiya dialect is much more mixed than the other communities. Kulhaiya had to suffer a great deal during the British rule and were declared criminal tribes by the colonial rulers.

Kulhaiya and Shershahbadis come under Other Backward Caste category but Surjapuris do not have any such reservation. The political rivalries in the Seemanchal region are centered on these three categories. In terms of political representation, Kulhaiya fare better but now Surjapuris are gradually catching up. There is presence of Ansari caste in the Seemanchal region but they are politically underrepresented.

Seemanchal region is considered to be one of the most backward areas within Bihar. The average literacy rate of the four districts (Araria, Purnea, Kishanganj and Katihar) is 35 percent against Bihar’s average of 64%. The four districts grossly lack development.

In terms of general education the region is quite backward. Pothia is the most illiterate block not only in India but in the entire Asia. In Seemanchal there is huge shortage of schools and colleges. There are only two constituent colleges in Kishanganj for a 17 lakh population. There is only one teacher in Nehru College where two thousand students study. There are no medical or engineering colleges and there are no technical institutes. Purnea University, the only university, came into existence just two years ago in 2018.

The Seemanchal region is affected by floods every year. The devastation caused by floods is huge. Most of the year, floods submerge the area. Due to floods paddy crops usually get destroyed. Sometimes even the second or third crop also gets affected due to floods. It is common to see children wading through flooded fields to catch fish with bare hands to supplement their families’ income.

The Seemanchal region is home to more than one crore population but the health care facilities there are appalling. Just like lack of government schools and colleges, there is little public health care system in place. In the absence, qualified medical practitioners quacks are having a field’s day in the region.

In terms of infrastructural needs Seemanchal is the least developed region. The main roads vanish every few kilometers and interior roads in villages are merely dirt paths. Roads are full of potholes and the bus rides are bone rattling. The rail connectivity to the Seemanchal region is pathetic. The electrical connection is very poor in rural areas and no electrical equipment works here. The condition of electricity is better in the urban areas but power shortage is the major problem in the region. Then the problems of unemployment, illiteracy are rampant in the region. Seemanchal is home to one of the poorest Muslim region in India. Here the average per capita income is 10,000 as against the state average of 14,574.

The combined effect of language, geography, religion and poverty makes the Seemanchal region one of the most underdeveloped areas in the country. Many blame it on the politics of the region which does not address the developmental problems of the region and cater to the state and center centric politics. Out of 243 assembly seats in Bihar, Semmanchal region sent 27 legislatures to state assembly. These seats are divided among the dominant political formation of the state that cares little about the development needs of the Seemanchal region.

There is a growing consciousness among the locals now to get consolidated under one political formation to make any difference to the region. However, in the absence of their own political formation, outside elements politically divide them for votes. There is certainly a need for the wakeup call in the region and this alone may give a new impetus to the development of the Seemanchal region.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He hails from Bihar. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

Muslim-Friendly Social Media OOLi Network launched

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 05 January 2021 | Posted in , , , , , ,

IMO News Service

The need of Muslim Social Media is increasing. Popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have come under fire for sustained targeting of Muslims through hate-speech, misinformation (fake news) and spread of obscene graphic content. Recent headlines such as ‘Facebook Accused of Watching Users Through Cameras’, ‘Facebook Dealing with a Hate Speech Crisis’, ‘Social Media Graphic Video Circulates’ etc are not uncommon, and have been increasing of late. Even the calls for stricter measures to control the spread of graphic content and misinformation have also increased. As major networks come under fire, many are starting to ask the question “Is it all worth it?” Many Muslims are considering dropping major applications like Facebook, yet it would be hard to imagine a world without Social Media. So, what can one do?

Social media users have been clamoring for some time for the creation of safe networks and platforms which not only regulate obscene language and images, but also promote a community-based approach. This is exactly what inspired J. J. Muhammad Shakur, Founder of OOLi Network, to create an application that has a policy and mission to provide positive and beneficial content for the Muslim community.

Muslims, who have often been the target of much hate-speech on networks like Facebook and Twitter, can now have a safe environment to share, like and post messages and ideas. OOLi Network wants to provide this specific environment for a niche community. As mentioned on their website, “Islam is a unique bond that connects Muslims all around the world and that alone is an incentive to have a social network to share content in a more filtered environment, for a better Muslim experience.”

Those used to the Facebook or Instagram interface will immediately feel comfortable using OOLi Network and may even find some aspects more user-friendly. After signing up with a phone number, one can immediately tap into the OOLi community, made up almost entirely, but not exclusive of Muslims. “Although we had Muslims in mind, we invite other communities to check out our product,” Shakur says.

While still is its early stages, OOLi Network seems to show a lot of potential and has the appeal to attract many new users. Once more users join, it is quite evident that OOLi Network will be a major networking tool for Muslims globally. And the possibilities keep expanding. “We hope to one day include a fully operational online selling platform,” Shakur continues, “and we’ve recently added a community ‘Spaces’ to help organizations, masjids and communities in general make announcements and post to the public.”

With regular updates, OOLi Network seems to be listening to its users and is keen on providing a quality visual and user-friendly experience. OOLi Network can be downloaded on both Google Play and App Store so that in a few minutes, you too can be connected to a safe environment and growing Muslim Online Community.

OOLi Network is set to change how Muslims network with one another globally. Dedicated to providing Muslims with a unique yet easy-to-use platform with a seamless, clean, simple and user-friendly interface, OOLi Network is your Muslim-Friendly Social Media. Share. Create. Post!

Tamil Nadu polls: Muslim DMK allies in Catch 22 situation as Owaisi invited for Jan 6 conference

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 03 January 2021 | Posted in , , , , , , , ,

By Danish Ahmad Khan

It seems that AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi’s political fortunes are on the rise ever since his party won 5 seats in the 2020 Bihar assembly elections. The AIMIM superemo who was considered to be a rabid rabble rouser and political pariah till recently, is now finding many takers and his communal brand of politics finding greater acceptability among the secular parties than before.

After all, what would one say when a formidable regional party like DMK is getting jittery even as vulnerable Muslims continue to fall for Owaisi’s Machiavellian politics which has only so far benefited the Hindu ruling right wing BJP at the Centre under Narendra Modi’s leadership. A report published recently in the widely read magazine ‘The Week’ said that political parties are bracing up for the state assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and an unnerved DMK has even invited Asaduddin Owaisi to attend the party’s conference being held at the YMCA ground in Chennai on January 6. The party’s decision to lay the red carpet for Owaisi has clearly upset its Muslim allies, and they are finding themselves in a Catch 22 situation.

D. Masthan, DMK minorities welfare wing secretary, has however said that Owaisi hasn’t been invited for the conference despite the raging controversy on social media with a video of Masthan, along with a few other Muslim representatives of the DMK minority wing, and AIMIM’s state president Vakkil Ahamed going viral. The Week reported that Masthan and Ahamed had recently visited Hyderabad for inviting Owaisi for the conference in Chennai. Even the viral video showed Owaisi talking over phone about DMK’s invitation in the presence of Masthan and others.

Masthan however issued a statement strongly refuting any such invitation to Owaisi. The statement said: “We have not invited Owaisi for the meeting. We have not extended invitation to any Muslim parties, which are not part of our alliance.”

The Muslim parties in Tamil Nadu have not taken kindly to Owaisi party’s rise in the Bihar elections and strongly criticized him for splitting the opposition votes. They have even accused Owaisi of being a BJP agent and call him the “B Team” of the BJP.

Owaisi’s entry into the Tamil Nadu politics is being seen as yet another orchestrated move by the Hindutva agents to divide and spread chaos amongst the Muslims in the state. Tamil-speaking Muslims are strongly opposing Owaisi, while Urdu-speaking Muslims have hinted that they are going to stand by Owaisi’s AIMIM. This has pitted Muslim alliance partners of DMK against the Dravidian party itself. The move is being seen as an attempt to bring down the morale of the Muslim cadres in the DMK as well as of other Muslim parties in the alliance.

DMK had earlier allied with a state Muslim political outfit IUML during past elections. The IUML is generally not considered to be a fundamentalist party by majority Hindus of the state as it has happily embraced the Dravidian ideologies. Owaisi’s party AIMIM on the other hand doesn’t have a base in Tamil Nadu and is largely considered to a party of Urdu heartland Hyderabad with a patently fundamentalist streak.

So far, Muslims in Tamil Nadu are religiously polarized. However, with the entry of Owaisi in the state polls fray, a political polarization of Muslims is looming large. It is feared that a division of Muslim votes in favour of Owaisi is going to be detrimental to their own interests. It’s true that Asaduddin Owaisi’s party AIMIM has been successfully winning elections in Hyderabad, but hasn’t been able to extend its reach in other parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and win seats in several Muslim-dominated constituencies in these Telugu speaking states or do something worthwhile for the welfare of Muslims in his own state. The time has now come for Tamil Nadu Muslims to stay united and not fall prey to the likes of communal politician like Owaisi.

[Danish Ahmad Khan is Founder-Editor of India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be reached at indianmuslimobserver@gmail.com]

OPINION: India Farm Laws, Minorities and the hidden agenda

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

By Er. Shaik Abdul Sattar

With the introduction and passing of the Farm bills in the month of September 2020, India for sure is going back in an age of ignorance and exploitation. Where farmers were extorted by the landlords and local money lenders with compounding interest on their hand loans borrowed due to famines, rains and wretchedness. The plight of the farmers has been well documented in movies like Do Beegha Zameen and Mother India.

The APMC markets (Mandis) were introduced to tackle this exploitation and take off the middleman, to bring the produce from farm to the market and being sold directly to the customer. With a benchmark prices set on those commodities being sold, ensuring that the farmer sells his produce at the set price without any variation an
d thus gaining the profits, and ensuring that the prices are not too heavy for the customers.

The Bills will prohibit the state governments to collect market fee and cess, which invariably would make these markets redundant. As the famers will not go to the markets to sell the goods and neither does the state governments would get any income from these markets. Now the monopoly would be with the corporates and the third parties to buy the produce from the farmers at horrendously low prices than the (Minimum support price) MSP and sell it at inflated prices in the market.

The Punjab state government knows these bills are not in favour of the minorities of this country, and it is to target another section of the minorities who have a strong grip in the agricultural aspect of this country. The Kashmiris were attacked earlier by abrogation of the article 370 and taking off its special status which would allow people from across India to buy land in Kashmir and which is what the ruling party is propagating to people in Hyderabad, when they were rallying in the municipal elections, marketing Hindus to buy and invest their money on lands in Kashmir.

Why are the farmers only from Punjab and Haryana are protesting the farm bills and why not it’s the case with the farmers from the other states of India? The simple answer to this is; Punjab is the one of the largest producers of essential food crops and commodities and it was the first state to oppose the farm bill when it was passed in the parliament. It was also one of the few states which outrightly said in the parliament that, they are not going to impose the NRC/CAB bills when they were introduced.

Now the radar has shifted to another minority section of this country the Sikhs from the Muslims, who have traditionally been the farming community. One thing is for assured that; this government knows the formula for winning the elections. which is through money and power, and it is setting up its crony corporate players in the Indian markets, who can make sure that they rule with their wealthy empire, absolute power and authority in a majoritarian democracy.

The farmers from other states should understand this con setup, by the government and come in support of the farmers of Punjab and need to stand as one. When the voices of the farmers can echo from all corners of India, then the state governments will come into action and can pressurize the party at the centre to take back these dubious bills.

[The views expressed by the writer Er. Shaik Abdul Sattar are his own, and doesn’t construe the policy of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be reached at sas_beck@hotmail.co.uk]

OPINION: Indian Muslims have only THREE political choices to make

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

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Muslims in India are at the horns of dilemma. In the given circumstances Muslims have three broad political choices; vote for Secular parties, vote for Hindutva or vote for Muslim first. In the adult franchise and secret ballot, each voter is free to exercise its mandate. Nonetheless, Muslims have to choose from these three options and each has its own narrative built around it to entice the Muslim voters.

Vote for secular parties

There are many who argue that Muslims have no other option but to vote for the secular parties even if it means no betterment for them. The argument runs that voting for a communal party will polarize the Hindu votes and this will give the RSS- BJP a permanent majority in India. It will solidify BJP’s base permanently in the democratic system of governance in India. Those having such an opinion want Muslims to vote for the secular parties as it alone can provide them the shield (suraksha kabaj) against the onslaught of the RSS-BJP combine.

Those arguing for voting the secular parties’ seem to be convinced that all is well for Muslims in India. Even it means; lynching of the Muslims by cow vigilantes, Asifa rape and murder, assault on the Muslim personal law, SC judgment on the Babari Masjid, robbing of Muslim majority status to J&K, vilification of Tabligi Jamaat members and Muslims, shaving of a Muslim’s beard in railway station, making the Muslim drink cow urine in public view, cutting a Muslims hand that had Allah tattoo, conversion law, and Citizenship laws etc. They feel there are non-issues having any implication on the Muslims of India.

Those arguing for voting the secular parties’ tooth and nail oppose the political party that’s ask to vote for Muslim first political parties. The backers of vote for secular parties tell that Muslims will be doing political hara-kiri, if they choose the communal path of politics. To them secular parties are the best bet for the Muslims in India.

Vote for Hindutva

There are some Muslims who like to argue to vote for the Hindutva party. This is to buy peace if Muslims want to live peacefully in India. They are of the view that Muslims should willingly accept the ideology of Hindutva and vote the BJP- RSS combine and permanently get rid of communal polarization in India.

The vote for Hindutva protagonists feel that Muslims interests will be best served by merging their identity with the Hindutva ideology that sees every Indian as a Hindu. In order to trade for peace, Muslims only have to change their name, dress habits, food habits, culture, language, etc. This would satisfy the invincible Hindutva bandwagon who may refrain from constant vilification, subjugation, humiliation of Muslims in this country. The argument runs, if this happens so, there will be no more communal riots in the country and Muslims will get liberated from the current siege mentality. The argument further runs that under the Hindutva rule Muslims will see a new dawn for the community and will get thumbs up.

Muslims First

Those who argue for Muslim first political strategy come up with the fact that Muslims with a population of 200 million are about 14% but have only 27 seats in the current Parliament that has of 543 members. The ratio of Muslim representation in the state assemblies is even more embarrassing. These Muslim representatives cannot talk about their community issues. The interest of their political parties runs contrary to Muslim issues and they do not allow their Muslim leaders to voice their community interests because they belong to a secular party.

According to Muslim first political strategists; Muslims consistent support to the Congress and other caste based parties has brought them down to the level described in the 2005 Sachar Committee report. Since then Muslims condition has worsened and not improved even a bit though they are voting the secular political parties. The protagonists of Muslims First argue that Muslims have been tricked into supporting “pseudo secular” parties with the allurement that these parties will protect them and make their condition conducive for their betterment. But did that really happen? The Muslim first protagonists argue.

They explain that the so called secular parties seek Muslim support not to defeat the BJP but to enlarge their power base and end up doing nothing for the Muslims. What worse situations can Muslim face that is created by the BJP rule in India?

The solution that Muslim first apologists dish out that suppose if these 27 Muslim MPs may have belonged to one political party that espouses Muslims first, it certainly may have made some difference on the national scene.

Therefore Indian Muslims are on the horns of dilemma, caught between these three different shades of political choices. If they vote for the secular political parties there is hardly going to be any change. If they vote for Hindutva, thumhari dastan bhi na hogi dastano mein (their story will not be in the stories). If they vote for Muslim first political party, they have to make a choice between rock and the hard surface.

This is a very tough choice for the Indian Muslims to make. They are caught in a tussle between majoritarian Hindutva politics and minority identity politics. The majoritarian Hindutva politics pursued by the current regime is hegemonic in nature, wrapped in the toxic ideology of Hindutva that preaches racial supremacy of the Hindus.

In contrast, the Muslim minority identity politics is the desire for their proportional representation in the mainstream democratic politics. The minority identity politics is a quest towards social justice, equality and democratic way of life. The ultimate destination for minority identity politics is their amalgamation into the larger liberal secular polity with more democratic representation.

The problem with the minority identity politics is they fail to understand the shift that India has taken since 214. The BJP’s majoritarian politics is implementing its supremacist ideology in the country. That is to say everyone who has to live in India should imitate the Hindu way of life, like one nation-one network, kind of slogan.

This is a brand new republic where there is no place to accommodate “Eshwar- Allah tero naam,” kind of diversity in India anymore. The Hindutva politics has moved far from its own ‘Jai Sea Ram’ to ‘Jai Shree Ram.’.

This is a brand new republic where the main target is to subsume the Muslim religious identity within the Hindutva umbrella. The other objective is to flatten the federal humps of India categorized in the linguistic, cultural and other specificities. The Hinduvta politics aspires to establish the supremacy of the Hindi – Hindu – Hindustan identity over all these identities of India. Any resistance to this can be tamed in a muscular way as done to J&K, with one ‘vidhan’ one ‘nishan’ argument.

The problem is with Muslim politics as it is ignorant to deal with the current political situation in India. Some think that voting the secular party will maintain their status quo. Others think that voting for the BJP alone can ensure their safety and protection in the country. However, those pursuing Muslim first strategy say that Muslims should come out from their ivory towers. Its minority identity politics that alone can safeguard their interest in the country. Their separate identity alone can defeat the forces inimical to them. United we stand, divided we fall goes the argument.

This is a sanguine story that is unfolding in India. There cannot be a photo finish to this story. Let the democracy with its entire vicissitudes give its verdict on this tale of India.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

Asaduddin Owaisi and Kamal Hassan may jointly contest Tamil Nadu polls

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 02 January 2021 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Chennai: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMM) headed by Asaduddin Owaisi's and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) headed by Kamal Hassan are joining hands in the upcoming polls in Tamil Nadu to be held in April or May 2021.

TS Vakeel Ahmed Tamil Nadu State President - All India Majlis-e-Ittihad-ul-Muslimeen said this reporter that AIMM is likely to contest in 25 assembly seats in Tamil Nadu. “The party is likely to have conferences in Trichy and Chennai in January to finalize the electoral plan,” Vakeel Ahmed said from Hyderabad where he has gone to consult party’s president and MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

Mr Ahmad said, regarding AIMM joining hands with MNM of Kamala Hassan, ‘MP Saab’ is holding a meeting with party office bearers of Tamil Nadu in Hyderabad.

Kamala Hassan has already announced that he will contest state assembly elections slated to happen in 2021 He told to make an announcement later about the constituency from which his party will be contesting.

It may be recalled that last year, Owaisi and Hassan were on the same page when the AIMM chief had backed Hassan's statement that Nathuram Godse should be called the ‘first’ terrorist of independent India.

Tamil Nadu has about 6 per cent Muslim population and in few constituencies they have dominant presence. Muslims can make their electoral presence felt if they combine with Dalit and other backward caste group in Tamil. So far Muslims have voted either for their own political parties or the Dravadian parties or the Congress. They never got any importance by siding with all these political formations. Now, in the new political matrix, Muslim feels they may get better deal in any coalition political arrangement in the state.

TS Vakeel Ahmed said, he is in talks all the Muslim parties in Tamil Nadu with the plan to unite them under one common platform. There six main Muslim political parties Tamil Nadu. Indian Union Muslim League, All India Muslim League, Indian National League, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi, Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail]

The Madrasa Education in India: Ailment and Reform

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

By Javeed Mirza

At a zoom webinar organized on 29th December 2020, a participant quoted an author who mentioned that out of the 130 outstanding personalities of the period around 1000 AD, the Madrasa education had produced more than a hundred of the luminaries. The former Indian president Dr Rajendra Prasad, the reformist leader Raja Rammohan Roy and noted writer Munshi Premchand were Madrasa products. One can laud the Madrasa system that had produced such talented gems. For many centuries Education remained a scarce commodity and was the domain of a small minority of well-to-do. The Muslim Renaissance from 800 AD to 1300 AD had spouted high development of Science, Literature and Mathematics. The West used this learning as a springboard to attain its own greater height. The Muslim Renaissance died with the decay set in by its Feudal setup that preferred ignorance to learning, as it was a better means of controlling the subdued subjects it ruled. What had developed 200 years back lurks in today’s curriculum of the Madrasa. The Madrasa education today is hackneyed, obsolete and unproductive. It demands an overhaul.

The Indian education system, a product of British educational legacy, initiated with the intent to develop willing clerks for the continuation of the British Raj, is itself in need of massive reforms. Its public (govt.) school system is beset with poor quality; its administration is flawed and rampant with corruption and nepotism. The societal evils of caste, class and religious discrimination permeate its working. A whole marginalized section of school dropouts, Adult illiteracy, co-exist with lack of girl’s education, of slum children’s education and absence of special education for the handicapped. The Madrasa education is one such marginalized education composed of the children of have-nots. Amidst the poverty that the parents face in the upbringing of their children and the absence of good quality education as well as religious discrimination in the public school system, the Madrasa offers a way out where in students get free education and, in most cases, free boarding. The Madrasa has shielded the students from becoming vagabonds and instilled in most students a sense of ethics and morality, traits that are rapidly dying and in severe shortage. But this is no answer to the students’ need for sustenance, progress and for societal advancement.

The Indian institutional set up has paid lip service to the educational needs of its massive poor. It has allotted low funds (3% GDP while western countries allocate 7%) and has skewed the funds in favor of prioritized sectors… the IIT’s, IIM’s, Central Universities and Research centers where the Indian privileged attend and shore up the system. The struggle by the SC leader Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and his supporters produced Reservation for the Dalit and the Tribal. This has enabled a small section of the underprivileged to step out of the blighted alley and join the mainstream. It is a silver lining but one that is dwarfed by the many underprivileged that see no light at the end of the tunnel. Massive unemployment rules for those who were able to get education. Poor quality of learning, absence of needed skills training, poor planning, abuse and diversification of national wealth and resources for personal gain, have hobbled the system. Madrasa reform is part and parcel of the total system overhaul that is needed.

The Madrasa establishment exists. There is a vested interest by those running the system to nurture and keep it going. It serves to preserve their fiefdom and provides them with community funding and bestows honor. This is however at the cost of the lives of the Madrasa youth as there is no directional path for them to grow except to subserve the system and eke out a low-paid living with limited opportunities like Imam, deputy imam, muezzin or as an Arabic tutor for the children of the well to do. The Indian establishment, while decrying the Madrasa establishment, is also happy to see its preservation as it forsakes the community betterment and can be conveniently manipulated by taking its leadership under its belt through coercion or co-option. It was the educated mainstream Muslim youth that spearheaded the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) movement.

The Basic ailments

a) Revision of curriculum and syllabus. There is a huge development of thought by Islamic scholars in the last few decades that can be incorporated in the syllabus and make it current. It can seek scholarship from noted institutions and enter academic relationships with them. Modern technology allows global connection. This needs to be availed and new thoughts encouraged.

b) Pedagogy is a key element of learning. Rote learning and the absence of reasoning and questioning are the opposite of the critical thinking. The latter is a pre-requisite for the problem-solving skills necessary for success in society.

c) Non-integration with modern education: The secular education promoted by the govt. allows students to continue higher education and climb the ladder. Madrasa education is cut off from the mainstream education and puts fetters on further growth of the student. Modern education, composed of pure sciences and social sciences, technology, Math, languages other than Arabic/Urdu is essential learning for all citizens. This should not be underestimated or underplayed. The Madrasa students are barred from pursuing higher studies and obtaining admission in skills learning institutions like the ITI or Polytechnic, as they do not meet the minimum threshold of passing the Xth standard.

d) Isolation from National integration: Like all religious based organizations, the Madrasa student’s interaction is primarily within his/her community and minimal interaction with non-Muslims. This fosters a disconnect with other communities and this in turn builds a wall of separateness that has the potential to build phobia and ill will.

e) Separation of gender-based education. Muslim girls’ total isolation in the Madrasa system is non-productive and staggers girls mental and social development. Girls have equal rights and equal capabilities and their Right to full learning and development of their potential should be respected and supported.


The issues outlined above need reform. Some suggestions are:

a) Madrasa Education must incorporate simultaneous learning of the Religious and the Secular. This can be done by dividing the Madrasa learning into two components and having one stream taught in the morning and another in the evening. This practice is being adopted by Muslim religious schools in the USA. The Jewish religious schools provide regular education for most of the day and have two hours daily allocated for religious education plus one day a week.

This approach will meet both the secular and religious learning requirements and equip the student with dual learning and enable higher education. If equal time cannot be allocated to secular education, then a couple of hours each day need to be allocated so there is a regular continuity of secular education. If all subjects cannot be taught, then essential subjects like English, Math and Computer skills should be taught as a starting point.

b) Most Madrasa students are from poor backgrounds. Economic sustenance is a primary need. Maximum skills-based training needs to be provided within the Madrasas with an objective of making the student ready to fill in jobs related to market based skills requirement.

c) Modern education tools must be used for building large scale education. MOOC (Massive Openware Online Courses like www.edx.org) and Free apps like www.khanacademy.org and Kolibri (www.learningequality.org) need to be incorporated in learning. Online skills-based training also exists, and it should be availed. The pandemic has further shown the relevance of developing online learning. Failing this, both the Madrasa and regular education had collapsed.

d) A Madrasa reform board needs to be established of Madrasa establishment and non-Madrasa reform seekers that will work out the details. Reform of Syllabus, curriculum and adoption of Pedagogy that is most current, innovative and productive, needs to be devised.


Even though Madrasa education is availed by around 4% of the Muslim youth, it has high significance. It involves the lives of millions of youths, their families, and their effect on interaction in the community. The propagation of Islam by the Madrasa educated Imams, having no understanding of the modern working of the society and the capitalist system, will be a hotchpotch of false understanding and imagined truths, leading to a distortion of Islam. The wastage of the talents of this huge turnover of a million or so Madrasa students each year is a blight on our society and its willingness to accept the students become alms-seekers instead of productive citizens. The concentrated memorization of 900 pages of the Quran that the Madrasa’s hafiz student does, has the potential to unleash high productive gains, if properly educated and gainfully employed.

Educational reforms, if not implemented, will limit the community and national growth. It will continue the community’s downslide that is seen for the past many decades and has been chronicled by bodies like the Sachar committee. This is not the end but the beginning. Social reforms are needed. Struggle for economic and political empowerment is needed. Educational reforms can initiate and build the crescendo for all reforms and prosperity.

[Javeed Mirza is a Social activist, Researcher and Writer. He can be contacted at javeed.mirza@gmail.com]

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