MILLIONS of AMU students and alumni around the world sing the university tarana every year. It brings back so many Aligarh memories to me and countless others. The tarana itself is a fine piece of Urdu poetry and the story behind it is an interesting one.
One of AMU’s most famous student and an Urdu poet of the highest calibre, Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz, attended the university between 1930 and 1936.2 It was 1936 that he penned his famous poem Nazr-e-Aligarh.1 Majaz first recited it the same year in the Union Hall, in the presence of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) A.B. Ahmed Haleem.
Haleem stopped the recital and walked out when Majaz reached the lines “YahaaN ham ne kamandeN daalii haiN, Yahan hum ney shabkhooN (night raids) maaray haiN; YahaN hum nay qabaayeN nochii haiN, yahan hum nay taaj utaarey haiN” (Trans: We have scaled buildings here and ambushed here, We have torn garments here and removed crowns here).4
The huge gathering of students asked him to continue but Majaz did not. He had to relent later, and completed it in the Union Hall’s lawns (between Morrison court and Union building).3 Continue reading “The Story behind AMU Tarana”
MUQEEM Ahmad comes across as a quiet man but is a mason par excellence. A resident of Amroha in UP, Muqeem singlehandedly renovated and at times recreated structures and floral designs on some old Imambadas and the Shia Jama Masjid in the town.
THE picture shows the biggest Gurudwara under construction on Thandi Sadak in Amroha, UP. But it has a background that needs to be shared. The land on which the Gurudwara is coming up was a Waqf Noorul Hasan, Danishmandan, property once. After a prolonged case that dragged on for 10 years (1980-90), the dispute was amicably resolved between the Sikh and Muslim communities in 1990. The Shia community donated the space reserved for an Imambara to their Sikh brethren. The Sikh community returned the favour by donating 12 bigha of land nearby for the Imambada.
Rudauli is a town 40 kms away from district Faizabad. Amongst its inahabitans is Mohammad Salman who lives in a thatched house in Ghosiana. Salman was taking care of his family as a tailor until paralysis hit him. For three years now he has been confined to bed. To make matters worse the hospital bills at Lucknow’s KGMU hospital piled up. So much that the family has no more money for his medication.
Salman’s wife is working as a domestic help to make ends meet. His eldest daughter Kaneez Fatima got married three years ago. Kaneez’s seventeen years old brother Ali took up tailoring after his eighth standard. Fifteen years old Aasmaan Baano is the youngest in the family. She too stopped going to school after her eight standard due to lack of funds. Continue reading “Young Ayesha has a dream”
Every government in India has either created new welfare schemes or continued with existing ones. That these schemes have failed to reach the masses can be gauged from the following four stories.
“I’ve only heard of schemes”
Salauddin Qureshi’s family seems to be living a normal life. The truth is otherwise.
Living in the Urdu Bazar area of Darbhanga, Bihar, Qureshi, like many others, sleep every night on hope. His modest one room abode is home to eight members of the family. Salauddin finds it difficult to manage meals but makes sure that his children attend a barely functional government school.
Government schemes have not reached this family and neither is the government listening to Salauddin’s woes. The village head has nothing for him and the society shows no respect. “In such circumstances, I struggle to find a job,” says Salauddin. “If I miss one day of work, my kitchen stops. It’s not easy to earn two meals a day and at the same time send your kids to school!”
“Girls are not a burden but poverty has forced us to think differently! I wish God ends this life and spare us from further misery. I’m not a pessimist but somebody has to come forward and see our plight. So far I’ve only heard of schemes – we’ve never benefited from them. I send my kids to school so that they learn a few wordly tricks and get out of this mess.”
Salauddin’s wife Shajra Khatoon shares her own struggles. “The day seems to last a eternity. Till the time he is not back from work, I keep thinking whether the kids will have anything to eat for the day. As adults we can control our urge but how does one handle hungry little souls in your arms. Sometimes it’s mere request and assurances that the kids have in place of a meal.” Continue reading “Government Welfare Schemes for whom?”
Amidst the usual interest and misrepresentation of facts related to Indian Muslims’ population, the following figures tell a different story altogether.
As per the latest Census of India (2011) the Growth Rate of Indian Muslims have gone down sharply from 29.52% (2001 Census) to 24.60%. The areas with the highest literacy in India are the state Kerala (93.91%) and the Union Territory (UT) Lakshadweep (91.85%). It’s interesting to note that Kerala’s Muslims account for 26.56% of the total population, in Lakshadweep they are in absolute majority at 96.58%. Incidentally Kerala also has the Best Sex Ratio (1084 females per 1000 males). Continue reading “Indian Muslims’ Growth Rate Drops Sharply”
The outcome of the recent assembly elections in Maharashtra is surely a sign of changing times. Against odds, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen won three seats. The result meant that Owaisi brothers have finally succeeded in expanding the party’s base outside its stronghold in Andhra Pradesh.
Fighting elections in the name of religion is nothing new in India, neither is the exploitation of a persecution complex in minorities. What’s new is the emergence of a Muslim led and governed party. It reflects the level of dissatisfaction of the Muslim minority with mainstream political parties. Continue reading “How AIMIM is Challenging the Traditional Turf”
Three news items caught my attention recently: A suicide bombing in Afghanistan killed 89 people, blowing of religious places by ISIS in Iraq and a letter by a prominent cleric in India to the ISIS chief. All three incidents involved Muslims!
This is the state we are in today as a community. Even during the holy month of Ramadan we’ve not given peace a chance.
While nobody claimed the bombing in Afghanistan, it’s mostly Taliban behind such attacks in the country. Which Muslim would do that in such a month! If it’s indeed Taliban then they have further alienated themselves. This has been a trend of sorts during the last few years in Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading “Let’s be just Muslims Again”
SADIA DEHLVI is an Indian author and activist. Her most recent book is ‘The Sufi Courtyard: Dargahs of Delhi’. Her first book was ‘Sufism: The Heart of Islam’. In a telephonic interview with Inam Abidi Amrohvi, Muslims Today, Sadia speaks on Sufism, women’s rights and Indian Muslims in general.
How satisfied are you with the progress of Indian Muslims during the last 20 years or so?
Well that’s a very tough question because lot has happened during the last two decades, and I think Muslims have progressed a lot.
When I was growing up, I remember, there was hardly a Muslim middle-class. Just after the partition when we had the landed elites and the poor, you never came across Muslims who were doctors, lawyers, engineers, young politicians, etc. I distinctly remember, I had gone to boarding school in Shimla and I was the only Muslim girl there.
When I look now, I see that things have changed a lot for the better. Today, you see a whole new generation of Indian Muslims who are educated and empowered in the true sense. They are engaged in sports, film industry, media, legal, arts and medical profession. So there has been a tremendous growth during the last twenty years, undoubtedly. But, on the other hand it’s not good enough. We should have progressed much further and become a bigger part of India’s growth story. A lot needs to be done at the grassroot level. You know there are many issues at stake. I find that there is a tremendous thirst for knowledge, to work and be financially independent, in the poor people I work with in the Muslim community, especially amongst the women. So there is a tremendous change in their mental attitudes which is a good sign. They want to progress and are looking for opportunities. Unfortunately the opportunities are not enough. Continue reading ““Sufism is Not an Innovation but a Classical Tradition of Islam””
MJ AKBAR is a prolific Indian author and journalist. His most recent book is ‘Tinderbox: The past and future of Pakistan’. In an exclusive interview with Inam Abidi Amrohvi, Muslims Today, Akbar speaks on issues that plague the Indian Muslims.
Education has been the bane of Indian Muslims. Has the situation improved both in terms of the infrastructure and mindset?
Yes, and I feel education begins with the mindset. I noticed this in the 1990s, after the high tension of the Babri Masjid episode. I think there was a very strong sense, within the Muslim community of India, of having being let down by politicians who created a hype which led to a high spurt of emotionalism. The community in particular felt abandoned mainly after the Congress government promised to protect the mosque and then quietly went to sleep on the day of the demolition.
I feel there come crisis points in the lives of people which wakes them up. There was a crisis point for example, in 1991, when the economy was hit in India. Similarly, the mosque demolition, too, made Indian Muslims realise that the future lay not in the politics of manipulation (what we have seen being done by those who seek Muslim votes) but in the basics, which is education, from education the economic empowerment. Education is the primary means of economic empowerment. The opportunity base in India is huge.
One of the more important things I see in all the investments of the community, is the education of the girl child. We are already seeing the change in rising literacy levels and the economic opportunities created as a consequence of these investments of the last 20 years.