Kalam – The Legacy Lives On

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher”- Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

WE all know Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam as a great scientist and visionary, but today I am going to touch upon his role as a teacher. It is in this role that he transformed many lives and became a role model of millions.

Years back when he visited Jamia Millia Islamia, he took questions from the students. The first question was, “Which role do you prefer – the president or the scientist?” He promptly replied, “A teacher.” Continue reading “Kalam – The Legacy Lives On”

A root problem needs a root answer

Girls outside a school in IndiaEducation comes in many forms when experience is your teacher. I recall the day when I was part of a delegation to some muscular regional satrap. There was only one point on our agenda: the extent, quality and depth of education among minorities, with a stress on how to do far more for the Muslim girl child. A worthy cause brought together a worthy lot: an assortment of editors, educationists, NGO heads, marginal do-gooders. We sat in the room adjacent to the satrap’s office with beatific smiles on our faces. After the compulsory wait, we entered his sanctum in a solemn file.
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How AIMIM is Challenging the Traditional Turf

An AIMIM meetThe 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.
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Indian Muslims and Elections 2014: Some Issues

THE LOK Sabha elections 2014 are different from all previous elections. This is mainly due to the fact that the BJP, the principal opposition Party in the existing Parliament, has nominated Mr. Narendra Modi as its PM candidate, a person who has the blotch of the 2002 Gujarat riots on him as he was CM then and when over 2000 Muslims were killed.

Whatever the Courts may say on technical, legal grounds, the perception remains among a considerable section of Indians and especially among Muslims, that Mr. Modi not only failed to stop the massacre of Muslims, rather he connived in it. Thus, his nomination as PM candidate filled the Muslim community with fear and apprehension and created a divide not experienced even in the elections after the Babri Masjid demolition. His speeches in the previous Assembly elections in Gujarat and during these elections have only given strength to that perception. Adding fuel to the fire are the statements of his close aides, Mr. Amit Shah, who exhorted voters in Muzaffarnagar, scene of recent communal riots, to cast their votes as ‘revenge’, and Mr. Giriraj Singh, saying that those who don’t vote for Modi will be sent to Pakistan; the statements of his opponents, like Mr. Abu Azmi, saying that Muslims who do not vote for the Samajwadi Party against Modi are not true Muslims and their DNA should be tested, have only complemented the aforementioned statements.

Continue reading “Indian Muslims and Elections 2014: Some Issues”

Kashmir: Understanding Article 370

THOSE gripped by religious nationalism are unable to understand the regional-ethnic aspirations of the people. Many an ultra-nationalists of different hues also fall into this trap quite often. With the formation of Indian nation, integration of regions like Himachal Pradesh, North Eastern States and Jammu & Kashmir created some challenging situations. Though in all these cases the challenges were met in different ways and even now continue to pose issues of serious national concerns, but those related to Kashmir require some more pressing attention. Located in a strategic geographic area of great significance, the global powers have also added their own weight behind complicating the matters in Kashmir. It remains one of the most contentious issues between the two neighbors, Pakistan and India. In addition the communal forces in India have been making it a bone of contention all through. Continue reading “Kashmir: Understanding Article 370”

Commemorative postage stamp on Sahir Ludhianvi

The President and other dignitaries at the release function.
The President and other dignitaries at the release function.

“PATLAA hai haal apnaa, lekin lahuu hai gaaRaa
Phaulaad se banaa hai, har naujavaaN hamaaraa
Mil-jul ke is vatan ko, aisaa sajaayeiNge ham
Hairat se muNh takegaa, saaraa jahaaN hamaaraa”

THE President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, released a commemorative postage stamp on late Sahir Ludhianvi on March 8th. The occasion was his birth anniversary.

Born as Abdul Hayee, Ludhianvi was a popular Urdu poet and lyricist of the Hindi film industry. He passed away on October 25, 1980, at the age of 60.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Ludhianvi was widely acclaimed as a people’s poet who wrote on the trials and tribulations of the everyday life of the common man with great intensity and deep empathy. He was recognised as the poet of the young because of his writings on love and beauty. He wrote with great sensitivity on the values and social concerns of the contemporary period.

The President added, “One of Sahir’s greatest contributions was to converge Urdu poetry into film songs.” He also fought for recognition for lyric writers through the Film Writers Association.

In recognition of his services, The legendary poet was awarded the Padma Shri in 1971.

Sir Syed Day celebrated in Maharashtra

THE 195th birth anniversary of the revolutionary Muslim leader and scholar, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, was recently celebrated in Mumbai.

The Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association (AMUAA) of Maharashtra held their annual Sir Syed Day event at Alkesh Dinesh Modi Hall, Mumbai University on October 17, 2012.

Kuldeep Nayar, an eminent Journalist, was the Chief Guest on the accassion. He emphasised on the role of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in revolutionising Education. He called on Muslims of India to wake up and don’t consider themselves as minority, “There is no minority or Majority in the country, India belongs to all who live here.” He was of the opinion that Indian Muslims can become a force to reckon with if they take up education seriously. Continue reading “Sir Syed Day celebrated in Maharashtra”

Giving them wings to fly

THE Flying Birds Group established in early 2005 at AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, has been trying to empower the youth of economically, socially and educationally backward areas of Delhi by teaching and promoting innovative use of new media tools and technologies.

Young women members of the group have been producing short documentary films on real life issues affecting them, such as girl child discrimination, need for adequate health care and education, eve-teasing, domestic violence, and changing gender roles. Most recently, they made films highlighting the need to conserve art and cultural heritage at various levels of society. Continue reading “Giving them wings to fly”

A human chain for peace in the North-East

ON the call of Mission Bhartiyam, a social outfit, people formed a human chain today at India Gate in solidarity with people of North-East and victims of riots and violence.

Program coordinator Shekhar Jain said, “We are really hurt by the recent ongoing violence and we have come forward to show that we are against all such violence and riots.” He added, “This human chain is a way to show that our unity and solidarity will rise come what may.” \

Pankaj Pathak from Mission Bhartiyam said, “Although some organisations and individuals went to Assam to help with relief efforts, we thought it will be good if we can all gather to show our unity.”

Ansaar Ahmed from NCHRO (National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations), who joined the human chain, thought it as a time of national emergency. “Our society is in danger and people must know that they are humans first, not Bodos, Hindus or Muslims.”

Large number of students joined the initiative to convey their feeling of brotherhood.  Common people present, also joined hands to show their solidarity for the cause.

Members carried many posters, pinned up on their chest, condemning the violence. One such poster read, “Na Bodo na Muslamaan, sabse pehle hai insaan.” (Neither Bodo nor Muslim, first comes the human being)

Mission Bhartiyam condemned the violence in Assam and also the difficulties North-Eastern people faced in other states because of some rumours.