Nitish asks Muslims to focus on education

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 03 June 2011 | Posted in , , , , , ,

By Anwarul Hoda

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday (June 2, 2011) said that the educational backwardness of Muslims was a major challenge before the community. Addressing a seminar 'Challenges before minorities' organised by channel ETV (Urdu), the chief minister said: "It will be better if Muslims concentrate on the education of their children ... Then they will be able to solve their problems on their own."

He said that a recent survey revealed that out of the 4 percent children who are away from schools most of them come from Mahadalit and Muslim families. "The government has opened Uthan (uplift) centres for children of Mahadalits and Talimi Markaz for those from Muslim community for their education and guidance”. He said that arrangements have been made for free stay and food for these children.

CM claimed that the number of school drops out had declined from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent in the state since he took over.

Kumar said that uplift of minorities was must for the development of the country. He sought amendments to the Multi Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) to kick start it in the state. “MSDP had been launched in 7 minority-dominated districts in Bihar to ensure development of SC, ST, women and minorities”, he said and asked the Centre to grant immediate sanction to the proposal.

"I have had discussions with the Planning Commission and the Centre and they have taken my suggestions seriously and assured early action," he said.

Expressing grave concern over state of minorities in the country and Bihar, former union minister and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan demanded immediate implementation of Sachar report in Toto. Deputy chief minister Sushil Modi, Congress leader Shakil Ahmad , union minister of state Sultan Ahmad, general secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Syed Nezamuddin and others also spoke on the occasion.

(Courtesy: The Indian Awaaz)

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi gives sleepless nights to Congress Party with his Garib Kalyan Mela

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 02 June 2011 | Posted in , ,

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani   

Ahmedabad: Chief Minister Narendra Modi is all set to use Garib Kalyan Mela (GKM) as a potent tool to gobble up Congress vote bank and further strengthen BJP’s grip on Gujarat.

According to senior bureaucrats, Modi is all set to embark upon his ambitious melas. And in a very Indirasque fashion of “Garibi Hatao”, Modi hopes to woo the poor in Gujarat with these loan-cu-aid meetings and win 150 of the 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat in 2012 polls.

Of course, Modi will be generously using Central government grants for the purpose but political observers say that, as usual, it would be hyped up as his initiative to reach out to the poor masses.

More than 150 IAS, GAS and class I officials of state government, boards and corporations shall directly participate in this mass outreach programme. Modi aims to reach out to at least one crore people through GKMs and disburse more than Rs 5,500 crore among over 41 lakh people. He has planned 300 melas in two different phases across the state.

This is the second time that the festivals are being organised. These festivals in 2010 proved a big hit and fetched rich benefits for the BJP in the local body elections. Then, the chief minister had touched 39.59 lakh families. Just after the monsoon, Modi will hit the campaign trail. He will distribute agricultural kits, tools and insurance to the poor.

The state government had given financial assistance of Rs 4,859 crore to 35.59 lakh individual beneficiaries, both urban and rural, during the melas in 2010.

This time, the first phase will be in urban areas whereas the second will be in rural areas. However, the number of beneficiaries is likely to increase as the state government has listed the names of below-the-poverty-line (BPL) families online. The first phase has been planned between June 20 and July 20. As many as 60 cities and towns will be covered during the period.

The responsibility of coordinating the GKMs in the urban and rural areas and plan the programmes where Modi will hold meetings has been given to RM Patel, additional chief secretary, panchayats.

Biggest ‘Beneficiary’ Modi Himself

Modi has been the biggest beneficiary of the GKM. People are impressed with the personal contact he establishes with the audience during the public meetings. This is what Modi plans to use to his advantage.

Modi knew that the Congress had won many seats in east Ahmedabad during the previous Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections. He, therefore, held more melas in the eastern parts of the city before the 2010 elections. This won him several more seats. He now wants to replicate this experiment in the entire state.

On May 16, Chief Secretary A K Joti gave specific responsibilities and targets to departmental secretaries and three secretaries in the chief minister’s office, top sources at the CMO said.

Talking to Mirror, Joti said, “A BPL list has been prepared and put online in a bid to bring about transparency of different government schemes so that the benefits of the scheme can reach the poorest of poor.”

Medical Cover for BPL Families in Urban Areas

The state government has decided to cover all urban poor and give them benefits.  B K Sinha, additional chief secretary, urban development, has finalised and approved the list of BPL families in the urban areas. The government has decided to give medical insurance cover to all BPL families in the urban areas.

The BPL families are being given benefits under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, the scheme of the Union Ministry of Labour. The state government also plans to give micro finance to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore to 24 lakh women members of Sakhi Mandals.

Modi’s Target

» No. of families touched during local self-government bodies elections in 2010: 39.59 lakh
»  Financial assistance extended: Rs 4,859 crore
»  No. of families targeted this time: 41 lakh
»  Financial assistance targeted: Rs 5,550 crore

[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]

Indian Caste Census-2011: How will it affect the Muslims?

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

By Abusaleh Shariff & Navaid Hamid

A Cabinet press release titled ‘Methodology for conducting the Below Poverty Line Census and Enumeration of Castes’, dated 19-May, 2011 has set December 2011 as the target date to complete the census exercise. This hybrid Census of the BPL and the Caste would be conducted by the Ministry of Rural Development in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) and the Registrar General of India (RGI) and expected to be completed by December 2011. However, the so called methodology for the caste census is only a single line statement – ‘The enumeration of castes will also be done simultaneously along with the BPL census’.

The announcement about the BPL census is welcome, although there are many controversies in terms of a methodology and variables which will be used to identify the poor. What is underplayed and not adequately highlighted in this cabinet note is the fact that the Caste Census will be undertaken for the first time since the Independence. Such data are likely to be used in determining and revising the cast and class linked quotas in national and state government jobs, admissions in educational institutions such as in colleges and universities and access to targeted social services. The caste census is being conducted without adequate methodological and analytical preparedness and since caste, class and religious identities have complex inter-relationships there will be ramifications which will be difficult to resolve in future. In the following, therefore, is a brief discussion as to how will the caste census affect the Muslim community of India.

Muslims in India is a highly diverse community; while adopting the diversity emerging from the Islamic religion such as the Sunni, Shia, Bohra, Agakhani and so on; many also carried along the respective identity from the Hindu caste system even after their conversion. The social structure, therefore, amongst the Muslims is complex, and it further gets accentuated by cultural difference emanating from language and region/state of domical. For example, only about 40% of Muslims report Urdu as mother tongue. There are millions of Muslims who speak Bangla, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi and so on as their mother tongue. Of course due to dominance of Urdu in the northern parts of India especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Muslims do not report Hindi as their mother tongue and they intend to do so in future as well. Muslims besides being highly diverse are experiencing uniformly deep levels of deprivation in various social, educational and economic facets of life across all the states in India.

The collection of caste data has emerged from certain political corners and is expected to provide structured information so as to allocate or enhance respective shares in reservations for the SCs, the STs and the OBCs. The Indian Caste Census (ICC-2011) is likely to trigger a drive for Indian citizens of all castes and communities to get enrolled into deprived categorizations and this process can be labled as Competitive Backwardness. In case of Muslims there is an inherent complication; in spite of the presence of dalit type identity (being converts from erstwhile Hindu dalits) and their desire to report as such, the census enumerators may not recognize such reporting due to the ‘Census Filtering Procedures’ adopted during the canvassing. Since constitutionally there is a pre-existing- codified list for the SCs and STs, the ICC-2011 will use it. The procedures will authenticate the categorization as the SCs only when the reported religion is Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist. Therefore, all those Muslims who have dalit identities will be excluded from being identified as the SCs. Similar situation may occur in case of Christians as well. Note also that there is a pending case of judgment in this regard in the Supreme Court of India.

The Census will also collect data on selected economic and education indicators and asset ownership so as to categorize households / people into the ‘below poverty line’ or ‘above poverty line’ status. Such data long with religion and caste are expected to be used to compute the relative backwardness or forwardness of a caste group; which will have ramifications in determining the eligibility to jobs and higher level educational admissions under the quota system. In the following is a discussion as how the misclassified Caste data will not only be detrimental to the social, economic and educational development of the Muslim community in India; but also becomes stumbling block in the efforts of mainstreaming of the Muslims community in Indian economic and social spaces.

As mentioned earlier a pre-determined list will be used to identify the SCs and STs for any given geographic or administrative area; as they have guarantee and authentication under the seal of the Indian constitution since the Independence. The OBC categorisation on the other hand, is a post-Mandal scheme and supported only through government orders. The demands for ICC-2011 were made by caste groups which can be grouped as the OBCs (other backward classes). Will the ICC-2011 be based on Mandal Commission list of OBCs? The Census Commissioner during a meeting recently clarified that the Mandal Commission list will not be used during the ICC-2011. However, it will be helpful if at the outset central and independent state level lists of the OBCs are finalized and used before canvassing the ICC-2011.

Lessons can be drawn from the OBC reporting status during the NSS surveys collected annually. The NSSO 61st round data for the reference year 2004-5 suggests that only about 26% of all Hindus are considered as the High Castes or socio-economically better offs; whereas, about 60% of Muslims fall into the non-OBC and thus socio-economically better off category. This is because none from the Muslims are classified under the SCs/STs category and all such Muslims with the SC / ST identity could actually be listed as the high castes / class. This is a serious problem and an anomaly which must be addressed before any major effort to collect castes data in India.

Caste / Class Classification and Proportions of Hindus and Muslims in India (Estimates from NSS Surveys)

Religion                                        SCs+STs      OBCs  All Others (High Caste/Class)
Hindus                                         31.3 42.8     26
Muslims                                       1.3   39.2     59.5
Source: Extracts from the Sachar Report

What should be done?

In view of these facts it is recommended:

1. That the Cast Census should be undertaken only after the pending Supreme Court judgment in the matter of the recognition of the presence of ‘dalit’ identities amongst the Muslims and Christens in India is decided.

2. Now that the ICC-2011 is announced and a certainty beginning June-2011, the Muslims who intend to report their castes as dalits / SCs / STs, should do as they wish. The ICC-2011 enumerators should be instructed to collect this information as reported and not to filter out caste reporting linked to religion. Note that, practically all Muslims in India are converts and are hardly any original Muslims who migrated from out of erstwhile Indian territory now reside in India. Further, it is historically documented that most of those converted to Islam belong to low castes such as the dalits and the tribes. The ‘Sachar Committee’ (2006) on status of Muslims in India has also clearly revealed the distressing socio-economic and educational conditions of Muslims which are closer to the levels recorded for the SCs and STs belonging to the Hindu Community.

3. It will be almost impossible to prepare a list of Muslim caste/class for classifying them as Muslim-OBCs. Therefore, a ‘list of exclusion’ can be prepared so as to determine the social forwardness or backwardness of a large section of Muslims who are not reported themselves as the SC or ST. Such list of exclusion can be prepared for each state separately after consultations with the state level Muslim intellectuals and religious bodies. Thus, once a list of exclusion is prepared, all other Muslims who do not belong to this list can be identified as the “Muslim OBCs”.

[Abusaleh Shariff was Member Secretary of the Sachar Committee. Navaid Hamid is Secretary, South Asian Council for Minorities (SACM) and Member, National Integration Council. He can be contacted at navaidhamid@gmail.com]

Maulana Mohammad Naimatullah Azmi elected as the President of Islamic Fiqh Academy-India

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

IMO News Service

New Delhi: Islamic Fiqh Academy –India (IFA-India) has unanimously elected Maulana Mohammad Naimatullah Azmi, Head, Department of Hadith of the Darul Uloom Deoband as its President.

Maulana Naimatullah Azmi has been one of the vice president of the Academy earlier.  The post was vacant after death of Maulana Mufti Zafeeruddin Miftahi earlier this year.

Maulana Burhanuddin Sambhali, senior vice president of the IFA-India, presided over the meeting of the Board of Trustees. The meeting expressed profound grief over the death of Maulana Zafeeruddin Miftahi and prayed to Allah for his salvation. The meeting was held on 30 May after Maghrib prayers in the evening.

IFA-India has also decided to celebrate 20 years of its activities. IFA-India was established in 1989 by Hazart Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi (Rahamtullah Aleh) to deliberate on the contemporary issues in the light of Islamic Shariah. The meeting also discussed and approved other programme and activities for 2011-2012.

The Board of Trustees appealed to the newspapers and media to report news in objective manner, and not to indulge in unfounded and malicious gossiping in an unethical manner so that misunderstandings harming the community were not created.

Maulana Syed Nizamuddin, Ameer Shariat, Imarat Shariah Bihar Orissa and Jharkhand and a patron of the Academy, participated in the meeting. Other participants of the meeting were: Maulana Mufti Ashraf Ali Baqvi (vice president of the Academy and Ameer Shariat Karnataka), Maulana Abdul Ahad Azhari (Shaikhul Hadis, Mahad Millat-Malegaon), secretaries of IFA-India Maulana Ateeq Ahmad Bastvi Maulana Mohammad Ubaidullah Asadi and Maulana Ameen Usmani, and other members of the Board Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies) and Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi (Nazim-Imarat Sharia-Bihar Orissa Jharkhand), Maulana Qazi Mohammad Qasim Muzaffarpuri (Qazi Shariat- Bihar), and Mufti Ahmad Deolvi (Gujarat).

The proceedings were conducted by Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, General Secretary, Islamic Fiqh Academy.

Islamic Fiqh Academy (India) is engaged in research, orientation and other academic activities aimed at finding Islamic Shariah guidance on contemporary issues since 1989. It has deliberated upon more 150 contemporary issues in 20 Fiqhi Seminar held so far. These Seminars have adopted resolutions providing Islamic Shariah positions on such issues. The Academy has also translated the Fiqhi Encyclopedia, from Arabic to Urdu, published by Kuwaiti Ministry of Awqaf. It has published more than 100 books and conducted more than 40 workshops for young Islamic Scholars.

IFA-India’s work and resolutions on contemporary issues have been acclaimed in India as well as the Muslim world. Its publications have been reproduced in many countries in various languages.

Mohammed Bin Ghouse Pahelwan of Noorani Taleem Barkas wins ANDHRA KESARI.award

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

IMO News Service

Mohammed Bin Ghouse Pahelwan of Noorani Taleeem, Barkas, was recently felicitated the ANDHRA KESARI award for the year 2011-12 by the Andhra Pradesh government.

Amjed Ullah Khan Corporator of Azampura Division, Greater Hyderabad Mucicipal Corporation, and Saleh Bahamed (Incharge Maisram Division) have congratulated Mohammed Pahelwan and his elder brother Ali Pahelwan on winning the Andhra Kesari title.

Amjed Ullah Khan also demanded that the state Cheif Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy should also provide adequate help to the sportsman to boost morale.

Intn’l Conference on ‘Interest-free Institutional Mechanism (Banking, Finance and Insurance) for Promoting Investment’ from June 3-5 in Srinagar

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: A three-day International Conference on "Interest-free Institutional Mechanism (Banking, Finance and Insurance) for Promoting Investment" is being organized from June 3 to 5 at University of Kashmir in Srinagar.

The International Conference is being held under the joint aegis of New Delhi based Institute of Objective Studies, (IOS), and the Department of Business and Financial Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar.

On the opening day on June 3 the inaugural session will be held from 4.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. wherein Mr. K. Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, will deliver the inaugural address. Dr. Ausaf Ahmad, former Head, Special Assignment, Islamic Development Bank, (IDB), Jeddah, shall give the Keynote address. While the special address on the occasion will be delivered by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Chairman of IOS. The introductory remarks about the IOS shall be given by Prof. Z. M. Khan, secretary general of the IOS.

After the inaugural session total six technical sessions shall be held of which four on June 4 and two on June 5. The first technical session on June 4 from 9 am to 11 am will be on the theme “Philosophical Foundations and World View of Islamics and Finance”. The session will be chaired by Mr. K. Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha. The second Technical Session of the day will be from 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on the theme “Developing An Interest Free Economy: Legal and Regulatory Challenges”. Among the speakers will be Prof. M. Afzal Wani, Professor of Law, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi.

The third Technical Session will be from 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. on the theme “Interest-Free Financing in India: Evolving an Appropriate Framework”. It will be chaired by Mr. R. K. Dubey, Executive Director, Central Bank of India, Mumbai. Among the speakers in the session will be Dr. Tahir Beg, chairman, Institute of Islamic Economics & Development Studies, Bareilly. While the fourth Technical Session from 4.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. on the theme “Risk Management and Islamic Finance”. Among the speakers shall be Mr. R. K. Dubey, Executive Director, Central Bank of India, Mumbai.

While on concluding of the conference on June 5 fifth Technical Session will be from 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. on the theme “Interest Free Non-banking Financial Institutions and Their Regulation”. The sixth and last Technical Session shall be 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on the theme “Developing an Institutional Structure for Islamic Financial Markets”.

After the lunch recess the Valedictory Session will be held from 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. It would be chaired Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, chairman, IOS. The resolutions would be read out by Dr. Abdur Rashid, Economics Department or Prof. Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi, Islamic Studies Department for the house to debate and adopt.

Meanwhile, it may be stated here that Interest based conventional market mechanism is being widely criticized for promoting speculationary tendencies believed to have brought strife and suffering in many mature economies of the world. Moreover, this system is being criticized to have failed to ensure equitable distribution of wealth and social welfare leading to an alarmingly widening gap between the rich and the  poor. The recent financial crisis caused by sub-prime lending in the United States which finally triggered the global economic meltdown has forced the economists and financial experts to rethink about the veracity of the existing financial system. There are many who believe that the existing financial system provides a scope for manipulation, exploitation and above all has failed to result in inclusive growth.

Given this scenario, the critics of the existing financial system have started showing eagerness and inclination towards the Islamic or Shari’ah based Financial System as a viable alternative to the new global financial order. The Interest Free Finance & Banking as a basic contour of the Islamic Financial System focuses on transparency, cooperative ventures, shared risk and ethical investing having a strong potential to attract Muslim and Non-Muslim investors alike. India is a fast growing economy in the world. Its adoption of Interest Free Banking system would offer a great opportunity to attract substantial investments from counties in the West Asian Region. To facilitate this, there is need for revamping the present regulatory framework to make it more flexible and suitable for creating a scope for having interest free banking and financial system in the country.

This conference is expected to have distinguished scholars on the subject area both from India and abroad and is aimed at achieving the following objectives: To discuss and share the research experiences about the various aspects of Islamic Financial System; To discuss and deliberate upon the co-existence of Islamic & the Existing Institutional Financial System; To discuss the operationalization of the Interest-Free Institutional Financial Mechanism; and To highlight the legal and operational problems expected to be encountered by the interest-free financial system in the country.

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

OPINION: Dunyā & Dîn: Inextricably Enmeshed

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

By Waseem Ahmad

The separation of the two (along with the division of knowledge into ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ categories) is the mother of all evil. There is no other disease. Whatever we see is merely the adverse effects of this separation. This is what has messed up with the priorities and with everything. It is heartening, however, to see that there is increasing realization of this unfortunate separation. A lot still needs to be done in this regard. As we are writing or reading these lines there are countless people who are dividing Dunyā from Dîn. This is being done by the ‘traditionally’ and the ‘modern’ educated alike. Ours is a case of “is ghar ko āg lag ga’î ghar kay charāgh say”.

In many a cases we do not pause and find out what could be the solution that the ‘way of life’ might be offering for this ‘matter of life’. We think that these are ‘non-religious’ matters so where is the need, then, to look for any guidance from the Book or the Path?! We take it for granted. And we are quite sure about it. Any arguments against it seem to be illogical and nonsense, or ‘philosophical’.

The poor-due we have to give on the produce. But tilling the earth and cultivating and harvesting are the ‘matters of this world’. We are supposed to pay Zakāh but running a business to earn one’s livelihood and to be able to pay Zakāh is a ‘matter of this world’ – as different from the ‘religious’ matters. Eating Halāl is the overriding principle of the ‘way of life’ but learning the thousand and one techniques of Halāl earning may not be related to the ‘way of life’. This is our atomistic thinking at its best or worst.

Speaking truth is an express command of the ‘way of life’ but speaking the same in an assembly or parliament is not necessarily related to the ‘way of life’. Seeking knowledge is the prerequisite for discharging the responsibilities of Khalîfah on earth. But acquiring expertise in the available disciplines (leave alone founding new sciences and discovering new laws of nature) is a ‘worldly matter’, not related to the ‘way of life’.

Dispensing justice – irrespective of friends and foes – is among the cardinal principles of the ‘way of life’. But earning the tough qualifications to discharge this ‘obligation’ in order to be in harmony with the Universe does not fall under the purview of the ‘way of life’. It is instead a ‘worldly’ matter which is probably value-neutral. This is axiomatic as the ‘way of life’ is merely to guide us either beneath the earth or above the heavens!

Let us contrast our division of Dunyā from Dîn with the objectives (Maqāsid) of Sharî‘ah, which have been inductively arrived at. These objectives are ‘preservation’ / ‘protection’ of faith, life, lineage, intellect and property. It is worth pondering if we can separate Dunyā from Dîn after knowing the objectives of Sharî‘ah? Is it possible to divide the two even after noticing that the Sharî‘ah seeks to proactively ‘protect’ or ‘preserve’ the said objectives.

The job, however, does not end at enumerating these Maqāsid. It actually begins from there. Now the question that requires more research is how to implement these objectives. This research should also find out the hindrances in this path.

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

Azampura Corporator Amjed Ullah Khan protests at closing ceremony of GHMC Summer Coaching Camps (Central Zone), alleges corruption

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

IMO News Service
Amjed Ullah Khan, Corporator of Azampura Division in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, walked out in protest from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (Central) function at Victory Play Ground on May 31, 2011..

Mr Khan later addressed the mediapersons and said that the Sports Wing has become the most corrupt department in the GHMC. Since last summer the sports material is being denied to the youths of different divisions. “This summer also more than 60% of the Division’s summer coaching camp did not start and there was a closing ceremony,” alleged Amjed Ullah Khan, and added, “The material bought is of C class where as the A Class rate is quoted in the estimate.”

Mr.Khan said that the closing ceremony was not attended by the Cheif Guest Mr.Mukesh (Minister). Besides, Mrs Banda Kartika Reddy (Mayor), Mr Sameer Sharma (IAS) Commissioner GHMC, Addl. Commissioner (Sports), Zonal Commissioner (South & Central Zones) were also absent at the closing ceremony. This shows the seriousness of the officials in sports.Mr Khan said that this issue will be raised on the comming GHMC Council meeting.

Muslims' contribution to the growth of Music in India

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Kaleem Kawaja

Music continued to flourish in medieval India in spite of the acquisition of political power by the Turks, Afghans and Mughals.  It was patronized and thrived at the imperial courts of Muslim kings in Delhi and Agra and at the centers of provincial kingdoms like the Sharqui kingdom of Jaunpur, the Khilji kingdom of Malwa and the Bahmani kingdom of Bijapur and Golcunda.

In his memoirs Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, has named several leading musicians of his time including Sheikh Ghuran, Sheikh Adhan, Khawaja Abdullah Marwareed, Sheikh Nai, Sheikh Quli, Ghulam Saadi, Meer Anju and many others. It is believed that the renowned musician Baiju Bawra was among the musicians in Humayun’s court.

In the reign of Akbar there were many immortal musicians like Mian Tansen, Sujan Khan, Tantarang Khan, Bilas Khan, Baaz Bahadur, and Pirzada Khurasan. During this period some well known ragas such as Darbari Kanhra, Jogia, Mian-ki-Malhar, Mian-ki-Todi, Mian-ki-Sarang were introduced by Tansen. Similarly Nayak Bakshoo, a musician of the court of Raja Mansingh of Gwalior created many ragas like Bahaduri Todi, Nayaki Kanhra, Nayaki Kalyan, etc.

The Sufis from the countries of Central Asia who started coming to India with the establishment of the Muslim rule in North India in the eleventh century made a major contribution to the growth of musical institutions in India. Music played a central role in all of their congregations. They skillfully blended the Arab and Persian styles with Hindustani music and utilized it as a medium of communication for their messages of moral and spiritual uplift for the common man.

Among a number of Sufi sects in India the contribution of two sects, the Chishtis and the Suhrawardis is most noteworthy. The contribution of Hadrat Nizamuddin’s disciple Amir Khusru is only too well known. He broke away from the old traditions and introduced new forms such as Qaul, Qawwali, Qalbana, Naqsh-e-gul and Nigar. Khusru is said to have created about twelve new melodies, among which are Zilaf, Muafiq, Ghanam, Farghana, Zangula and Sarpada. In the court of Jalaluddin Khilji the ghazals of Khusru were regularly recited by the famous musicians.

Several new musical forms were developed during the medieval Muslim period. Two of the most outstanding forms are Dhrupad and Khayal, which are still dominant in today’s Indian music. The beginning of Dhrupad occurred in the thirteenth century and it reached the zenith of its popularity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Two renowned books of the era Ain-e-Akbari and Raga-Darpan state that most of the musicians of that time were Muslims. Kitaab-e-Nauras written by Ibrahim Ali Shah the ruler of Bijapur also mentions the popularity of Dhrupad as far as Deccan. Today the well known Dagar family is continuing to uphold the traditions of Dhrupad.

On the other hand the genesis of Khayal can be traced to the eighth century. The old musical forms of Khayal were influenced by Qaul and Qawwali. Sultan Hussain Sharuqui, the ruler of Jaunpur took keen interest in the development and popularization of this style. In the Mughal court of Mohammad Shah Rangeela his court musicians Niamat Khan and Feroz Khan composed hundreds of Khayals with a high degree of perfection. A large number of Muslim musicians were accomplished Khayal singers in the medieval period.
Another contribution of the Muslim musicians has been the establishment of the Gharana system starting in the eighteenth century. Several such Gharanas have flourished in various parts of the country. Among some of the prominent Gharanas are those of Gwalior, Agra, Jaipur, Kirana and Delhi. The Gharanas specially emphasized disciplined singing or playing an instrument according to the traditional style established by an extraordinary musician.

Among other musical forms Tarana, Thumri and Tappa are also popular styles which developed through the synthesis of the indigenous Indian music with influences brought in by the Muslims. The origin of Tarana is associated with Amir Khusru whereas Nawab Wajid Ali Shah is credited as one of the early patrons and composers of Thumri. Tappa style of singing is believed to have been the innovation of Shori Mian of Lucknow.

During the later medieval period a large number of standard works on music, both original and translations from Sanskrit, were undertaken. The three major works belonging to this period are: Raga-Darpan by Faqirullah; Tohfat-e-Hind by Mirza Khan; Naghmat-e-Asfi by Ghulam Raza.

Tracing the history of the contribution of Muslim musicians to the growth of Indian music it becomes evident that the Muslims of medieval India were what the indigenous Indian culture had made of them in the course of six hundred years. They became Indian in thought, speech and action and religion was part of the culture, but not the whole of it. It is obvious that music has been an unmatched medium to bring Muslims and Hindus together in India through the last six hundred years, and it is impossible to separate the Muslim components from the Hindu components in Hindustani music.

[Kaleem Kawaja is President of Association of Indian Muslims of America, Washington DC. He can be reached on kaleemkawaja@gmail.com]

Jagran launches Urdu newspaper Inquilab in Lucknow

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Jagran Prakashan Ltd launches its Urdu newspaper Inquilab from Lucknow on 27th May 2011. Inquilab is India’s oldest and largest read Urdu newspaper. With this launch, JPL further strengthens its position as the largest read publication group of India.

The group is launching with the newspaper’s Lucknow Edition on 27th May. Post which there are editions lined up in Delhi, other markets of UP and Bihar.

Shahid Latif is the Editor for Inquilab and has been at the helm since 2004 and been responsible for the makeover of Inquilab. Under his overall guidance, the content planning has been done for all the new editions.

Shakeel Shamsi is the Editor for the North editions. He comes in with an experience of Journalism across media types of over 25 years. He has authored over 12 books and is the recipient of the Bharatendu Award.

It will be a 12 page newspaper on Weekdays and a 16 Page newspaper on Weekends. Additionally there will be 2 supplements – one on Friday and one on Sunday. It is targeted at the upmarket urdu reading population across markets in UP, Delhi and Bihar.

Inquilab is positioned as a complete family newspaper with content for everyone. There is dedicated content space for Women, Kids and Youth. In addition to National & International News, Sports, City, and Business, the paper will cover Entertainment as well. Inquilab will continue on its editorial path of “nationalistic journalism and will also raise community specific issues.” Inquilab is known for its responsible journalism and the new editions of Inquilab will continue to reflect this in their approach.

Apart from local retail and Government and classifieds, Inquilab will provide increased reach amongst relevant audiences to larger national advertisers.

The flagship brand, Dainik Jagran has been the largest read newspaper in India for the last 17 consecutive rounds of IRS. With the launch of Inquilab’s Lucknow edition, Jagran Prakashan Limited now has 82 Editions across 4 languages covering 14 states and a readership of 62 million.

(Courtesy: AdGully)

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