DR ASGHAR Ali Engineer is a reformist-writer and activist. He is known for his work on liberation theology in Islam. He is also a leading voice against communalism in India and South Asia. In an exclusive interview with Ali Hasan, Dr Engineer speaks at length about the issues affecting Indian Muslims.
MT: How do you see the progress of Indian Muslims during the last 20 years?
AA: Though there is some progress in last 20 years but it is far from satisfactory. Muslims are 15 per cent of India’s population and yet nothing more than a mass of ignorant and illiterate people. They are bringing in more money from the Gulf countries than the Christians do from western countries. Whereas Christians are successfully running and controlling educational institutions, Muslims have not improved their literacy by even one percent.
Our leaders, too, hardly do anything to address these problems. Continue reading ““Government has forgotten the communal violence bill””
KOSI Kalan, a town in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, witnessed communal violence earlier this month. It resulted in three people losing their lives and several got injured. The normal life was affected and the market reopened only after 22 days on the 22nd of this month.
On 24th June, when the passenger train from New Delhi arrived at Kosi Kalan Railway Station, people heard a different noise that was strangely attracive. It came from a compartment from which a team of young and energetic youths was coming down. They were singing ‘Insaan ka insaan se ho bhaichara, yahee paighaam hamaara’. (A popular hindi song promoting love and harmony from the movie Paigham.) The group also distributed pamphlets to general public on roads to spread message of humanity, peace and harmony. Continue reading “In the name of harmony”
THE months of June and July are probably two months of the year in which most of the government scholarships for minority students open. It happens year after year, and yet, the percentage of Muslim students applying for it increases by a fraction compared to the scholarships available. The Government of India, in the past five years has more than doubled the scholarships after Justice Sacchar Committee report.
Mass awareness of the various scholarship schemes is the need of the hour for our community. Lots of parent and students worry as they seem to apply but don’t receive any funds. Some just blame the system and that the babus in the Minority Department demand “suvidha shulk” to process the scholarship.
But there is a way out! Students can apply for scholarships online. Once they submit the various documents online and get a application Id generated, then no one can stop them from getting one. And those who come across “suvidha shulk” problem can contact me, and we will do something together.
I have compiled details of various government scholarship schemes available to the students (from Class 1 to College):
a. For Post Matric Scholarship – http://momascholarship.gov.in/postmatric/
b. Merit – Cum – Means Scholarship – http://momascholarship.gov.in/minority_scholarship/
c. Pre – Matric Scholarship – http://www.minorityaffairs.gov.in/prematric
(Download the Application form and then apply)
d. Free Coaching Tuition Assistance – http://www.minorityaffairs.gov.in/free_coachin
e. Government Order Copy to the UP State Government: http://minoritywelfare.up.nic.in/2012-13/post/post%20matric%20online.pdf
(Ajaz Farooqui is part of a charity trust which works for the upliftment of Muslim minorities in India)
“Throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”
—Barack Obama, 44th President of USA
THE year 1979 holds special importance. It was the year that saw two significant happenings in the Muslim world. The events occurred in two states holding contrasting views on Islam but triggered by a common enemy, the US. One was the hostage crisis in the Shiite ruled Iran, which was covered quite extensively by the press, the other being the lesser known and reported uprising at Islam’s holiest shrine in Mecca, the city under the control of Sunni Muslims.
There was a fundamental difference though between the two events. The embassy takeover in Tehran was a student initiative against the US for its meddling in the country’s politics. The siege of Mecca was the rebellion of a Muslim group against the policies of the ruling family in Saudi Arabia which were influenced by the US.
IT WAS 1935. The union hall of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was brimming with excitement. A young man in sherwani stands up to recite a poem ‘Inquilab,’ in his inimitable style –
“KohsaaroN ki taraf se surkh aandhi aayegi
Ja-baja aabaadiyoN meiN aag si lag jaayegi
Aur is rang-e-shafaq meiN ba-hazaraaN aab-o taab
Jagmagaaega watan ki hurriyat ka aaftaab”
[A red storm is approaching from over the mountains
Sparking a fire in the settlements
And on this horizon, amidst a thousand tumults
Shall shine the sun of our land’s freedom]1
The hall reverberates with a thunderous applause. Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz by now was already making waves in the literary circles. Continue reading “Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz – A Journey of Love, Hope and Nationalism”
The commentator on the telly said, “Ye naujawan kaafi dinon se bhartiye cricket team ke darwaaze pe dastak de raha tha. Aaj aakhirkaar inko mauqa mil hi gaya.” [This young man has been knocking on the Indian team’s door for quite some time. Finally, he has got the opportunity!] It was December 31, 1984. The English side was touring India.
The young man was a tall, lanky, and shy 21 years old working as a clerk at SBI in Hyderabad. The Englishmen had never heard of him. And so did I! The young batsman showed tremendous concentration and skills. The experts were reminded of the wristy Gundappa Viswanath! He went on to score a hundred in his very first match. A remarkable achievement by any standard. More was to follow. Continue reading “Mohd Azharuddin – The Rise And Fall Of An Indian Idol”