Pro-reforms Dawoodi Bohra activist urges Supreme Court to finalize hearing on members facing excommunication

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

IMO News Service

A pro-reforms Dawoodi Bohra activist has urged the Chief Justice of India for the early finalization of Writ Petition No. 740 of 1986 to impart justice to thousands of dissident Dawoodi Bohra families who have been facing excommunication for several years now. The acitivist, who has been raising his voice againt the corrupt practices of the Dawoodi Bohra high priest Dr. Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin, in a press release sent to IndianMuslimObserver.com has pleaded anonymity or else if his name is disclosed he will be facing a threat to his life.

“With due respect I beg to draw your honour's kind attention to a Writ Petition No. 740 of 1986 filed by the Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community and others versus State of Maharashtra and others. The said writ petition is pending for more than 25 years in the Hon. Supreme Court of India after its admission and initial hearing for wanting to be heard by a Five-Judges bench of the Hon. Supreme Court,” stated the letter sent to Chief Justice of India.

“This writ petition is based on the reports of two Commissions of Inquiry into alleged infringement of human rights of the members of the Dawoodi Bohra Community under instructions and in the name of Bohra High Priest. The persons who, against all opposition, conducted these inquiries were no ordinary people.  Justice N P Nathwani was a former Judge of the Bombay High Court and a Lok Sabha MP, Justice V.M. Tarkunde was a former judge of Bombay High Court and Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court, Justice Tiwetia, Kuldip Nayar, Dr. Aloo Dastur, Dr. Alam Khundmiri, Prof. Moin Shakir were committed humanists. Both the Commissions of Inquiry namely Justice Nathwani Inquiry Commission and Justice Tiwetia Inquiry Commission have proved beyond any doubt that the Dawoodi Bohra head, Syedna does excommunicate his followers even in secular and social matters violating the procedure specified by the Hon. Supreme Court. It is a shame that in this 21st centaury and in a democratic country he has reduced his followers to helpless slaves by exercising his ‘monstrous powers’,” said the press release. 

According to pro-reforms Dawoodi Bohra activist, Dr. Syedna has enslaved the entire Dawoodi Bohra community by imposing undemocratic, inhuman, unconstitutional practices and un-Islamic dogmas. In his letter to the Chief Justice of India, he has pleaded for early hearing and judgment on Writ Petition No. 740 of 1986 “so that the suffering members of the Dawoodi Bohra community are relieved from inhuman exploitation in the name of religion and gross violation of human rights and can enjoy the fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution”.

OPINION: A Passage to Srinagar

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

By Mohan Rao

I went to Kashmir for the first time the last weekend – to Srinagar and made a quick trip to Gulmarg. I spoke to everyone I met, going out of my way to do so; fortuitously I heard diverse people at a meeting I attended  - of civil society groups discussing what can be done about the situation. I am not writing about the discussions at these meetings for there will no doubt be a report.

I have come back profoundly shaken and disturbed: the trip was indeed to India- Occupied- Kashmir. I went thinking azaadi was out of question, but have come back questioning that. I don’t know what shape Azaadi will take or should. My idea of India, multi-national, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, a lovely and terrible terrible mishmash of things will have to change. 

First, the ubiquitous, visible presence of the army, deeply hated. Why are they not at the borders? What are they doing at every street corner in Srinagar, and indeed even in the rural areas? This is what I felt but every person I met had an explanation: that the army has now developed a vested interest in wanting to stay in Kashmir, that they do not want a solution to the problem because moneys are being made. Money is being made by the army, by the CRPF, and by all political groups, I was told. A very striking definition of the rich was given to me: one who has not had a killing in the family or been raped or assaulted and whose children study abroad. These people, I was told, have no stake in Kashmir, nor in resolving the conflict.

The landscape is still beautiful, the chinar trees magnificent, but Srinagar is a graceless grey city, stinking in garbage and overflowing with plastics. What struck me is how hopeless, how cynical, the young people I met are. “A black dog replaces a white dog” said one referring to the main political formations, “but they are dogs, not humans. They do not care for the people. Neither do the others who fight both – the former too are funded by the Indian state, the other groups, both by India and Pakistan”.  “In Kashmir, an Omar or Umar is hereditary – both do not care for people”.

I heard some celebratory noises during the India Sri-Lanka World Cup finals when the first two Indian wickets fell. Later, there was deathly silence. We could have heard a leaf drop. “We will celebrate any victory against India – it does not matter, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka “said a young student, adding, “We are not against Indians”.
“This had nothing to do with Pakistan, or indeed with Hindus and Muslims. This had to do with azaadi for a Kashmir – we will bring together Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and India Occupied Kashmir” I repeatedly heard. “Kashmiris should not pay the blood price for partition and the problems between India and Pakistan” I was told.

Srinagar has no streetlights, and the city is dead after dark – which is early. How can people live without the exaltation of music, opportunities for dance and indeed for vulgar consumption of culture - as in the World Cup cricket matches? A curfew was declared on the day of the India- Pakistan semi-finals. Theater? Forget it. Cinemas? Forget it. Seminars, lectures and conferences for people to know what is happening around the world? Forget it. How can one feed the hunger of the young for knowledge, for history, for art, for love? Forget it. Bookshops? Well, yes, but hardly inspiring one or two.
This is clearly not due to lack of money – Srinagar and surrounding areas seems to be seeing a construction boom, with Greater Kailash inspired vulgar bungalows coming up. There are two golf courses with ancient looming chinar trees, magnificent even in winter modesty.

The tragedy is – as in the rest of India – the tragedy of the middle classes. They have seceded from our people. I think Kashmiris are our people, and hence my sorrow.

[Mohan Rao is Professor at the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jahwaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He can be contacted at mohanrao2008@gmail.com]

Will Anna Hazare muster courage to criticise Narendra Modi in Gujarat?

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

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani 

Ahmedabad: Gujarat's prominent NGOs have invited Anna Hazare.to hold public meetings in various cities and to understand the state's development model .Anna Hazare is under fire right now from many civil rights groups for admiring Narendra Modi, whose complicity in the Gujarat 2002 riots is well known. Civil rights activists are now openly accusing Hazare of having soft corner for the Sangh.

Mallika Sarabhai
Mallika Sarabhai, renowed social activist who has been contantly raising her voice for the oppressed, said, "There has been no Lokayukta (ombudsman) in Gujarat for nearly seven years, so hundreds of complaints against corruption are lying unheard. I believe he (Hazare) is not aware of the corruption levels in Gujarat." She also voiced her reservations at the absence of any woman on the committee that will draft a stringent anti-corruption bill.

Mallika's point of view was echoed by state convenor of India against Corruption, Vinod Pandya, who feels that the Gandhian should not be voicing support without acquainting himself with the facts

The scars of more than a month long genocide of Muslims and large-scale rape still seem fresh in minds of the affected people. The state government has done everything to stifle the probe and deny justice to those people who have been affected.

A day after Swami Agnivesh urged anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare to visit Gujarat and see the truth about development undertaken by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, individuals, citizens and activists are eagerly awaiting his visit.

There are quite a few points they want to share with the Gandhian to enlighten him about the ground reality. Gaurang Raval of NGO Drishti Media, Arts and Human Rights, says, “We met Swami Agnivesh when he was in Ahmedabad last Sunday (April 17, 2011). He asked me to collect media reports published on Gujarat’s rural development in the last four months and show it to Anna when he comes here. The reports would include those on land scams, SEZ scams and the Mahuva land issue, too.”

He added, “Along with rural development, the government also needed to address social development. In the country, we rank third in crime against women and children. Even the crime rate has shot up.”

Bharatsinh Jhala of Citizens’ Resource and Action Initiative (CRANTI) says, “After visiting almost 18,000 villages, we found that in many of these areas, children did not even know what a GSRTC bus looked like. Several children were involved in accidents while travelling to by chhakdas. This is the Gujarat we want to show Anna.”

He adds, “In Bawda, dungar farmers had requested they be given water from Fatehwadi, due to water shortage on their farms. Their request was denied and their crops died. First, there is a need to stop state-sponsored corruption.”

Former president of Society for Promotion of Rationality (SPRAT) M H Jowher says, “Anna’s attention must be drawn to injustice done to minorities. After 2002, the rights of minorities have been grossly violated. Also, there is need for equality in development.”

Fr Cedric Prakash of NGO Prashant says, “In Gujarat, we have perfected the art of corruption. Is it of no concern what happened at Narmada dam? Will Anna listen to civil societies like us before fixing the Lokpal Bill?”

Seeking to draw Anna’s attention to issues closer home, 19-year-old Khayal Dave, an engineering student residing in Ghatlodia, said, “I would like Anna to talk about something affecting the city. People here need to be more civilised. There is no sense of hygiene or cleanliness, something that Gandhiji equated to godliness. If Anna points this out to Gujaratis, they will do as he says.”

Vishal Bhatt, a 26-year-old computer programmer who lives near Shyamal Crossroads, said, “We are an agricultural state. But such fertile land is being sold off for a pittance to big industries. Why not make use of barren land for such purpose? Meanwhile, the price of milk and vegetables is rising day by day. When we have no farm or grazing land left, will we go begging for milk, grains and vegetables to other states? Gandhiji spoke of being self-sufficient. Anna needs to drum this into our heads so that we realise the impact of the government’s decision on our future.”

IT professional Rahul Mehta would love to meet Anna Hazare. The 41-year-old, who has contested three elections — parliamentary, by-election to the state assembly and to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation — with the sole intention of creating awareness on the Right to Recall campaign, says: “A citizen should be able to submit his/her complaint to the collector’s office. If he wants, it should be made available on the Lokpal website for Rs 20 a page The bill also needs to include the right to recall an elected representative or public servant if 51 per cent of the electorate vote against the person at any stage.

The writer of this article, who also writes for many Urdu newspapers, believes that Gujarat is virtually becoming worse for middle class and underprivileged people. Some highrise towers, shopping malls and multiplexes are not sign of progressive state. There are thousands of people who are under Below Poverty Line in Gujarat.

Rajkot based Social activist  Farooq  Abdulgaffar Bawani clearly  belives that  Anna Hazare must come to Gujarat and expose the missdeeds of state government.minorities are the worst lot in state even after long time after riots. Women are not safe in Gujarat. Crime rate is increasing day by day in Gujarat.

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

Elite Communication prepares World's biggest greeting card at Bhopal

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

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The world's largest and biggest greeting card of 1283.1 sq. ft. has been prepared here at Bhopal. The previous record was of 1200 sq. ft.

The card has been prepared by children and citizens under the auspices of Elite Communication. This card has covered an area of half a kilometer. The theme of this card is "Eco Green Earth" (Make Earth's Environment Rich with Green). Thousands of people have witnessed the making of the world's largest and biggest greeting card.

According to Mr. Rajpreet Singh Saluja , Business Head , Elite Communication, claim this card will have a place in Guinness Book of World Record as well as Limca Book of World Record.

Mr. Saluja said, "We have thought of something different, something that will impact for another decade, something that not only we will remember but the world will also appreciate, a dream that we can relish and be proud of, we thought of "Eco Green Earth" as the motto of the welcoming decade".

He informed that the card took almost 5 days and nights in its making. Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of school students participated to make it biggest card of the world, he claimed.

Mr. Saluja added: "Let's give the future generation a vision and gift of "Eco Green Earth" where all get equal shadow without any discrimination between old & new, rich & poor, black & white, employed & unemployed and the world will be a family living together sharing joys and sorrows of life.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

Sunshine Global Education Ltd. celebrates First Anniversary with fanfare

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

By Tameemuddin Humble

M Mokarram Khan, MD, SGGC
Purnea: The Sunshine Global Education Ltd. (SGEL) celebrated its 1st anniversary on 17th April 2011 at Hotel Rajlaxmi in Purnea with fanfare. The celebrations lasted for three hours, which began from 2.30 pm and continued till 5.30 pm. M Mokarram Khan, Managing Director, Sunshine Global Group of Companies, highlighted the success story of SGEL and elaborated on the emerging trends in the educational sector in India. The presentation of business plan of SGEL was among the major highlights of the event, which was followed by the high tea.

The Sunshine Global Education Ltd. was established on 14th April 2010 with an avowed aim to make the people of India fully computer literate. The computer literacy in the country presently stands at 15%, which is significantly quite low with minimum or no penetration in the villages of India.

With a view to spread computer literacy in a big way, the SGEL published a Video Tutorial containing classes of how to operate computers. The company’s objective was largely successful as at the very onset the company’s product made education easy to be acquired through e-learning without internet access. The company also created its virtual institute to provide Education in Residency.

The anniversary celebrations started with the welcome speech of Jalal Hassan of West Bengal, Manager Operations, SGEL, and was conducted by Shams Tabrez of Jharkhand, company executive, who presented the Business Plan of the company which is based on the binary system of earning following the principle of Earn while you Learn. Mr. Tabrez told the audience about the biggest challenge computer education is facing today is its continuous and fast updating making it too difficult for a low pace instructor or an institute to cope with it, what to speak of providing this faculty of education via online.

Hardeo Misra, renowned advocate of Purnea, was the special guest at the function. He expressed his gratitude to the organizer of the function for honoring him and praised the company for helping the underprivileged class in empowering them economically and educationally. 

Top ranking associates of the company, who came from across Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal such as P R Biswas, J L Yadav and G Mahto, shared their happiness with the audience, participating from all walks of life, and expressed how they felt after joining the company which brought socio-economic development for the lacs of people belonging to the poor segment of the society through the different Plans of the company. The kits containing the literature about the company and the Business Plan CDs were presented to the associated leaders and aspiring associates.

Mr. Upadhayay, AGM Ops., expressing his views reminded the audience that the company was now seeing its best growth rate comparing the corporate sector in India. Mr. Arya, AGM Devlopment, shared with the audience his experience and sweet memories with the company.

While explaining the objectives of the company, Mr. Minhajuddin of Kolkata, Chief Operating Officer of SGEL, said that the company launched its Business Plan designed with the feel of the educational needs of the poor segment of the society at large. He said that there are many challenges and opportunities before a company dealing with the online education as on one side the students feel isolation and a lack of in-person connection, but its availability at low cost having no bar on time with its residential nature attracts a large segment of the population which wants to enhance their knowledge and skill besides earning their bread and butter.

“Through its Business Plan the company wants to make the students earner while being learner at the same time so as to be independent in acquiring skills and knowledge as it happens in the developed countries,” said, M Mokarram Khan, Managing Director, Sunshine Global Group of Companies (SGGC), while going down the memory lane narrating his experience and for what he stands for. Educational sector falls only below the IT sector in India in respect of growth rate as well as in fund favoritism making it the third largest expenditure group for an average Indian household. Mr. Khan informed the participants that the company’s future in the business of online education is very bright because 44 percent of Indian population is children who use internet for their edutainment. The company also aims at to provide vocational and professional courses online which have currently market size of Rs. 46,000 crore growing at the rate of 13 percent annually and is expected to touch nearly Rs. 150,000 crore in this decade.

The online course of computer operation which is designed by the company is available now at the cost of only Rs. 5,000 which is being provided offline by the reputed institutes at Rs. 50,000, said Mr. Khan.

The company SGEL used this opportunity of celebrating its 1st anniversary to discuss the emerging trends in educational sector with its peers and practitioners besides the capacity building of the associated leaders and workers for upcoming challenges before the company.

Mr. Khan’s speech was well taken by the audience as it was highly motivational. “The marginalized community is surging ahead with its consolidated efforts irrespective of what the Government of India plans for its socio-economic development,” concluded Mr. Khan, ending the anniversary celebrations of SGEL on a positive note.

[Tameemuddin Humble is a Journalist based at Gaya, Bihar. He is also Secretary, Muslim Empowerment Forum, Gaya (Bihar). He can be reached at tameemhumble@gmail.com]

French blame immigrants for integration failure: poll

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 21 April 2011 | Posted in , ,

France has seen intense media coverage of issues such as its ban on full-face veils, concern over Muslims praying in the street and a public debate on the role of Islam in France.

Paris: Two-thirds of French people see the integration of immigrants into France as a failure and most believe the fault lies with the immigrants, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday.

In the poll by Harris Interactive, published in the daily Le Parisien, 66% of respondents said immigrants had adapted badly to life in France and just over half felt the situation had worsened in the past ten years.

More than three quarters of the sample group said immigrants had not made enough of an effort to adapt to French society, according to the poll, carried out between April 8-10 among 1,631 people from all political backgrounds.

The results mirror those from an IFOP poll in January. They reveal deepening unease over the French integration model and reflect similar trends across Europe, where fears that foreigners are taking advantage of welfare systems is boosting support for far-right parties.

“Look at what’s happening in Finland. Look at what happened in Sweden. We are in a situation where views on immigrants are changing at a European level and people are asking to be reassured,” said Jean-Daniel Levy, head of research at the Harris Interactive polling agency.

Swedish voters elected a far-right party into parliament last year and the populist True Finns party scored strongly in Finland’s parliamentary election on Sunday.

France’s anti-immigrant National Front is eating into support for President Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right party, opinion polls show.

Anxiety about immigrants in general and Muslims in particular has featured prominently in early campaigning for the 2012 presidential election in France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim population, estimated at five to six million according to the Interior Ministry.

France has seen intense media coverage of issues such as its ban on full-face veils, concern over Muslims praying in the street and a public debate on the role of Islam in France.

“Public displays of faith are troubling to many French people ... but to suggest that this trend is artificial or fabricated by politicians is an exaggeration,” Mr. Levy said.

“These views (on immigrants) are common to voters on the right and the left, as well as high- and low-earners.

(Courtesy: National Post)

Cong ropes in Azhar to grab Muslim votes in WB

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Pallavi Ghosh

West Midnapore: The Congress has roped in Mohammad Azharuddin as its star attraction as both the Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) eye the crucial minority vote bank in West Bengal.

As the battle for Bengal intensifies, the fight for minority vote too gets intense.
The TMC and the Congress may be together to bring in a regime change in West Bengal, but they are also competing with each other for the over 27 per cent Muslim votes in the state.

It's this huge number, which Mamata Banerjee is trying to catch, especially with the Left failing to keep the confidence of the Muslims. Their grudge against the Left Front government is lack of jobs and security, something which Mamata is offering.

She has promised quick implementation of the Sachar Committee report promising jobs for Muslims. Mamata's choice of Riswanur Rehman's brother Rukbanur as a candidate from the Muslim-dominated Nadia district is an example of her aggression for Muslim votes.

All these are also worrying the Congress. So the party roped in Mohammad Azharuddin and Ghulam Nabi Azad as the key to the Muslim vote bank.

"We have always been bothered about minorities," said Azharuddin.

The Congress has realised that allies need not be friends, and with the party possessive about its appeal to the Muslims, it doesn't want to lose out in this race.

(Courtesy: IBNLive)

ISLAMIC FINANCE: The challenges ahead

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

Sukuk – A financial concept which needs to be studied in depth

By Mufti Mubashir

Sukuk (the Arabic word for legal instrument or a name for a financial certificate) is Islamic equivalent of bonds. Islamic finance does not recognize fixed income or income bearing bonds, as such sukuk securities are structured to comply with Islamic laws and investment principles, which does not allow charging or paying of interest. Financial assets which comply with Islamic finance can be classified in accordance with tradability in the secondary markets. It is asset class that enables organizations to raise capital in a shariah compliant manner.

It is well known that Islam rejects the institution of riba (interest) and gharar (excessive uncertainty) and Maysir (gambling) and Qur'an considers them as unjust and exploitative.
Deal not unjustly and ye shall not be dealt unjustly (Quran2:279)
The term `Islamic bonds' is misleading, since they are not bonds. They are pool of assets packaged and sold to investors which in turn receive periodic payments allowing the main assets to use. They might behave as bonds and are not structurally bonds. Sukuk gained mass acceptance during the last decade. It represented ownership of an asset, It is not a claim to cash flow but an ownership claim.

Sukuk owes its origin to middle ages where it represented papers representing financial obligations from trade and financial market. Sukuk is different from original in which ownership of the assets is transferred to traditional concept of securitization, a process where ownership of a underlying asset is transferred to large number of investors through certificates representing proportionate value of assets. About 1.3 Trillion assets are being managed according to Islamic investment principles, it is estimated that twenty percent of banks customers would look for an Islamic financial product over a conventional one with similar risk returns. It is said  that sukuk financing is similar to green investing.
Sukuks are important because they represent a new source of funds at attractive rates. They represent Islamic markets liquidity. Investors are tapping on this product as there is surplus cash, it allows room for wealth to be unlocked.

In modern perspective, the essence of sukuk lies in asset monetization the so called Securitization that is by issuing Sukuk taskeek. Sukuk can be structured by different methodology. There is some degree of disagreement and Moulana Mohammad Taqi Usmani president of Shariah Council in a paper titled “Sukuk and their contemporary applications” identified three key structuring elements that differentiates sukuk from conventional bonds.

A) Sukuk must represent ownership shares in assets or commercial or industrial enterprise that brings revenue or profit.
B) Payments to sukuk holders should be the share of profit of assets or enterprise.
C) The value paid to Sukuk holders on maturity should be current market value of assets and not the principal originally invested.

Primary criticism of Sukuk is that it requires payment for time value of money which is regarded as fundamental test of interest. The fixed value of returns on investment, which is similar to interest, in that investors return is not dependent on risk of particular venture. Banks that issue sukuk are investing in assets and not currency. Return of such assets take the form of rent which is evenly spread over the rental period.

Sukuk constitutes partial ownership of debt (Sukuk Murabha), Sukuk al Ijara, project Sukuk al Istitna, business Sukuk al Mushraka or investment Sukuk al   Ishithmer. Sukuk structures replicate the cash flow of conventional bonds and are listed on present exchanges LSE and Luxemburg stock exchange and made tradable through Euroclear. The most accepted structure which is tradable is Sukuk al ijara.

In emerging economies, debt markets are in early stages of development, since Islamic laws prohibit charging or paying of interest, therefore in countries which is predominantly muslim populated traditional debt markets cannot make huge profits as such the need for the alternative.

There are about 150 million to 200 million Muslims who constitute minority percentage population of India. It is biggest untapped market for Islamic investment funds, especially equities, exchange traded funds ETF’S, exchange traded commodities ETC’S. The Bombay Stock exchange BSE is currently working with number of firms who are interested in structuring shariyah compliant equity fund products. It has recently launched BSE Tasis Shariah 50 index , which will cater to Indian and international investors, regardless of faith with a new index which can be put to use  to track investments that are compliant with Shariah laws.          

Shariah Index has certainly drawn attention in and outside the country. This house has three scholars on its shariah board, Mufti Saifullah Rahmani who has to his credit publication of fifty books on shariah matters. Mufti Barkuttullah from UK, besides advising many banks is a great scholar, and Iqbal Hassan Nadvi   from Canada.

The year 2011 has been set as a target year by Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Qatar to spend one trillion Dollars on development projects. AT least 3.9 billion Dollars of Islamic bonds sales will fund the building of oil refineries and petrochemical plants, according to data collected by Bloomsberg.

Sukuk was displayed in all major headlines of the world in 2009 and Islamic products were referred to as “Coming of Age.”   It was when International Finance corporation listed a whopping US$100 million on NASDAK Dubai. Global Sukuk issuance has reached over US$30 billion mark according to Kuwait finance house reports.

Our state being as of now a Muslim majority state, there is a pressing need felt, for establishment of Islamic finance, that will be addressing tomorrow's needs today.

[Mufti Mubashir is based at Kashmir. He can be contacted at mmubashir64@yahoo.co.in]

CBI may probe AMU mess

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Anubhuti Vishnoi

New Delhi: A Rs 60-lakh bill and two probe committees later, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is considering requesting the CBI to look into graft allegations against Aligarh Muslim University Vice-Chancellor Prof P K Abdul Azis.

The first full Visitor’s inquiry committee had to be dissolved within months due to differences between panel members, retired Justice Fakhruddin of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and A H Jung, a retired Indian Audits and Accounts Service officer.

The committee was set up to probe the ‘affairs of the Aligarh Muslim University’, with specific allegations against the vice-chancellor, registrar and certain authorities involved in alleged wrongful purchases in July 2009.

The ministry then set up a second two-member panel — with Justice B A Khan and Justice A N Devicha — in February 2010. The panel recently submitted a report that does not come to any definite conclusion.

While one-panel member concluded that VC Azis did misappropriate funds, the other said it was not misappropriation but was an administrative lapse for which the varsity was also responsible.

The divided interim report has left the ministry in a bind.

“Accepting one view would mean it would ultimately be challenged in court. On the other hand, setting up yet another committee will invite considerable criticism. It is now being considered that maybe, the issue should be referred to the CBI so that it is put to rest,” said an official in the HRD Ministry.

Prof Azis now has only a year of his term as V-C remaining. Charges against the V-C include having made AMU pay his and the registrar’s income tax and purchase of furniture worth Rs 50 lakh from Kerala.

(Courtesy: Indian Express)

The reclaiming of Iqbal’s ‘dream’

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

By Dr Riffat Hassan

Today, as the death anniversary of Allama Iqbal is being commemorated through public rituals and proclamations, one should ask if today’s Pakistan bears any resemblance to his ‘dream’, which was the outcome of a lifetime of deep thinking and feeling, study, creativity and prayer. To understand this dream, one must know its historical context and remember that Iqbal lived his entire life under British rule and at a time when western imperialistic nations had colonised much of the Muslim world.

With the advent of colonialism, Muslims lost not only political power but also economic opportunity and cultural autonomy. Nowhere was this felt more acutely than in India where, though a minority in a Hindu-majority land, Muslims had had a powerful presence historically. In 1857-58, a section of the British Indian Army revolted against the British, who apportioned the greater share of the blame for this occurrence to Muslims and instituted openly discriminatory policies against them. This caused Muslim fortunes to reach their lowest ebb in the 1860s and 1870s — a fact which made many Muslims wary of associating Islam with politics and who restricted it to a practice of personal piety and ethics.

Deeply concerned about this mindset, Iqbal took pains to demonstrate to his fellow Muslims that Islam could not be limited in such a way. In his presidential address to the All-India Muslim League at Allahabad in 1930, he stated: “It cannot be denied that Islam, regarded as an ethical ideal plus a certain kind of polity — by which I mean a social structure regulated by a legal system and animated by a specific ethical ideal — has been the chief formative factor in the life history of the Muslims of India.” Iqbal reiterated the same idea in his presidential address at the annual session of the All-India Muslim Conference in Lahore in 1932: “Politics have their roots in the spiritual life of man. It is my belief that Islam is not a matter of private opinion. It is a society, or if you like, a civic church. It is because present-day political ideals, as they appear to be shaping themselves in India, may affect its original structure and character that I find myself interested in politics.”

What mattered supremely to Iqbal was “the culture of Islam” — an expression he used frequently to refer not to Muslim cultural practices but to the value-system based upon Islam’s highest ethical ideals. His dream of Pakistan was of a Muslim state in which the ethical principles of Islam and the political system which derived from them were organically related. In his view, a political system which lacked an ethical foundation would lead to ‘Changezi’, or tyranny of the worst kind.

During his lifetime, Iqbal’s great challenge was to explicate to his fellow Indian Muslims why Islam could not be limited to ethics. If he was living today, he would have faced a very different challenge. One needs to ponder what Iqbal would have said to the Pakistani leaders who are so preoccupied with politics that ethics means nothing to them.

Iqbal had pointed out insightfully, “Nations are born in the hearts of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians.” The nation that was born in Iqbal’s heart has been all but crushed by most of Pakistan’s politicians. Today, being deceitful, dishonest, untruthful, unethical and conniving has become a fine art in Pakistan, where power-grabbing by means of Machiavellian intrigues and machinations is common. It is no wonder that Iqbal has been systematically eliminated from Pakistan’s educational curriculum and young Pakistanis have little, or no, knowledge of his message. The major reason for this abysmal reality is that Pakistan’s morally corrupt and spiritually bankrupt rulers fear that Iqbal’s iconoclastic voice, which rejected every form of totalitarianism, injustice and untruth, is still powerful enough to shatter their crystal palaces. It had to be silenced or relegated to obscurity if their nefarious purposes were to be achieved.

Iqbal’s vision and voice, which changed the destiny of Indian Muslims, is what is needed today to liberate Pakistanis from the chains that bind their bodies, hearts, minds and souls. Young Pakistanis must reclaim Iqbal’s dream and undertake the responsibility for actualising it.

[Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2011.]

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