Hajj 1427 report – Day of Arafah

Arafah, KSA – More than 3 million muslims reached the plains of Arafah on Friday to seek forgiveness from God for their past sins & promised to turn over a new leaf in an emotionally charged atmosphere. The grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia advised muslims to return to the precepts of the Quran & Sunnah for success in this world & the Hereafter. He also advised them to stay united in the face of challenges facing the Muslim world. He mentioned that the enemies are causing untold misery & suffering in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechenya, Somalia & Palestine. He advised people to stand firm in the face of such injustice and asked them to overlook their personal differences which led to disunity.

The pilgrims retired to the valley of Muzdalifah after sunset & spent the night in Zikr ie remembrance of God. Tomorrow, the pilgrims will start the ritual of ‘Stoning the devil’ in
the valley of Mina.

Hajj 1427 report – Day 2

Mina, KSA – Pilgrims reached the tent city of Mina and spent the day in preparation for the ‘Day of Arafah’. Traditionally, the stay at Mina was used to rest the camels and quench their thirst. However, as no camels are used anymore, the pilgrims utilised the time to refresh themselves and stocked up on supplies. The Saudi authorities have mounted a huge logistical operation to ensure that the pilgrims dont face any difficulties in the coming days. Their efforts will be tested in the next few days especially during the ritual of `Stoning the devil’ when pilgrims throw pebbles at a wall symbolizing the devil where Patriarch Abraham (Alaiye Salam) & his family were tempted by Satan.

Hajj 1427 Day 1 report

IndianMuslims.in welcomes another contributor to the IM Blog. Abdul Matin has gone for Haj this year and he will report on a daily basis through his mobile.

Makkah, KSA – Large crowds of pilgrims converged upon Islam’s holy city as the ‘Day of Standing’ on the plain of Arafah, which falls on Friday, drew close. Makkah resembled a global village on Wednesday with people of all nationalities as diverse as the Bosnian & Ethnic Chinese Muslims. It was heartening to see both Sunni & Shia, Kurd & Turkmen and other people standing shoulder to shoulder without any problem. A feeling of universal brotherhood was in the air & people who were intractable enemies were now bosom friends. However it was the Turkish Muslims who are in the spotlight this Hajj due to their massive presence in Makkah. It signifies the return of Turkey to the Islamic fold after decades of experimentation with the European way of life. Turkey’s Muslims seen to have realised that Europe will not accept them even if they discard their religon & have come back in large numbers to their basics. The Haram Sharif or Grand Mosque was packed with pilgrims performing the rites which celebrate patriarch Abraham & his wife Hagar’s sacrifice in the path of God.

Muslim men & women circumambulate around the Kaaba, which was built by Prophet Abraham along with his son Ismail. This ancient place of worship is the direction muslims face while performing their prayer & it signifies the unity of muslims. Male muslims wear 2 pieces of unsewn cloth & women wear modest clothing which erases any barrier of class or wealth which may have existed previously.

Saudi authorities are doing their best to help more than 2.5 million muslims complete their pilgrimage safely. Their preparation will be tested after friday and the following days when the ritual of ‘Stoning the devil’ takes place. The authorities seek to prevent any problems during this ritual, God willing.

Muslims moved to Mina (few kilometeres from Makkah) to spend their day in a tent and remember God in preparation for the ‘Day of Arafah’.

IITs & IIMs exclusively for Muslims?

Few of the Muslim MPs have demanded opening of separate IITs and IIMs for Muslims

A senior HRD official, present at the meeting, said, “The MPs said since IITs and IIMs have less than 2 per cent of Muslim students, the HRD Ministry should create IITs and IIMs exclusively for Muslim children.”

Well the big question is what can those institutions of higher learning do to the conditions of Muslims in India today. Muslims today are lacking in basic education. For some reason or the other modern education was termed secular and anti-Muslim and thus abandoned. This step over the years has weakened the Muslims educationally and thus financially. Religious leaders never realised the importance of modern education and anyone trying to transgress the boundary was termed a ‘kafir’. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was castigated by the religious schools for his attempt to start a Muslim university which today is one of the most important centers of learning. Worldly education was always a part of the curriculum of the Madarsas.

Farsi was previously taught, during the time of Mughals, because it was the language in which the business of the state was conducted. But sadly over the years the curriculum hasn’t been revised. But then how many Muslims go to Madarsas, just 4%! Its not about the Madarsas but its about the mentality of people which was highly biased against the modern education just because the religious leaders rejected it as anti-Muslim. They never realised that this rejected might have serious consequences later. The partition also was a serious blow to the economic condition of Muslims in the north (interestingly the economic and social condition of Muslims remain far above than that of their North Indian counterparts).

Kerala’s model should be a source of inspiration to the Muslims.

In 2001, only 55 per cent of India’s 71 million Muslim males were literate, compared to 64.5 percent for the country’s 461 million non-Muslim males. But in Kerala, the literacy rate for both sexes, is 100 per cent. What is even more impressive is that the first district in the country to become fully literate is Malappuram, a Muslim majority district where the community constitutes 67 per cent of the population.

A survey conducted in Kerala in 1991 showed that Muslims constituted 27.6 per cent of lower primary students, 27.78 per cent of upper primary students and 17.9 in high schools. Roughly, 25 per cent of students up to the secondary level are from the Mus lim community. It is a fair reflection of their demographic percentage in the state. Even more encouraging, there is no gender gap in the figures.

Other south Indian states have fared much better

It has been a similar scenario for Muslims in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. In Tamil Nadu, despite Muslims being only 6 per cent of the population, they are now major stakeholders in private sector education with 27 degree colleges, 12 engineering colleges, 13 polytechnics, and 12 higher secondary schools. In Andhra Pradesh, Muslims across the state run about 1,000 secondary and high schools, 35 engineering colleges, two medical colleges, 12 nursing colleges, 13 pharmacy colleges, three hotel management colleges and 30 arts and science colleges. Karnataka Muslims run three medical colleges, six dental colleges, 30 arts and science colleges, 15 MBA institutes, 10 MCA institutes, 50 teacher education centers, 12 nursing colleges and 20 pharmacy colleges.

Syed Iqbal Hasnain in the HT, 19th December 2006.

Coming to the demands of the MPs. My basic argument is that education should be promoted at the lower level and merit should alone be the criterion of admission at higher institutes of learning. And plus are all the achievers only from IITs or the IIMs? No! You need sound basic education to excel in life. You can do without IITs.

Reservations, as far as I can see, cannot be the solution to the problem of backwardness. They alienate the reserved community. The initiative has to come from within the community. The Government should make sure that inane inclusions like these

On Rajasthan, the textbook says that certain minority groups living in the border districts of Barmer and Jaislamer, who have relatives in Pakistan are engaged in anti national activities, should be monitored carefully.
On Mahatma Gandhi, the political science textbook says that at first he was a supporter of the British. It was only later that he turned against the empire.

should be crushed with force. Changes like these create a feeling of being a victim in the minds of Muslims which creates a divide between the communities. I do not support exclusive schools and colleges for a particular community because they just are a blow to the secular ethics of this country.

If they can eat the cow, they can do anything

A senior police official argues that there are “absolutely no biases” within the force. That is far from the truth, says Ram Punyani, an activist working on communal issues. At a workshop conducted for lower-ranking policemen, Punyani said it was found that all of them read Saamna (a daily published by the Shiv Sena, a fundamentalist political party). One of the policemen said, “If they can eat the cow, they can do anything.”

Its very interesting to note the break-up of policemen in various states and the associated violence.

and then the big question Will more Muslims in India’s police forces help combat communal violence?

PRAVEEN SWAMI in the Frontline

Two of the States with the best record of containing communal violence in the post-Independence period – West Bengal and Kerala – have a poor record on ensuring adequate representation of Muslims in the police. While a little over a quarter of the population of West Bengal is Muslim, the third highest figure after Jammu and Kashmir and Assam, just over 7 per cent of its police force is drawn from the Muslim community. Kerala, where almost 13 per cent of the police force is Muslim, does somewhat better – but this figure still falls well short of proportional representation. Indeed, the percentage-point gap between Muslim representation in the police force and among the general population is worse in West Bengal and Kerala than in Gujarat and Maharashtra. This hammers home the fact that more representative police forces are not necessarily less partisan.

By way of contrast, Andhra Pradesh has succeeded in ensuring more-than-adequate representation for Muslims in the police, but not in containing communal violence or bias. Of the Andhra Pradesh Police’s 77,850 personnel, 10,312 are Muslims, making it the only State where the community has a greater representation in service than the population as a whole. Yet, the city of Hyderabad has seen some of the worst and most sustained urban communal violence in India, and the police in Andhra Pradesh have often faced allegations of bias. Despite the high representation of Muslims in the Andhra Pradesh Police, Muslim political organisations have sometimes charged the force with using concern over terrorism as a means to harass the community as a whole.

As the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy’s notes point out, the murder of Hindus provokes considerably more police interest than the killings of Muslims. During 1980, 89 Hindus and 275 Muslims died in communal violence. The police arrested 5,457 Hindus and 5,743 Muslims for their alleged role in the rioting. “This shows,” the notes pithily point out, “that for each Hindu who was killed in the riots, 5743/89 = 64 Muslims were arrested, whereas for each Muslim casualty [sic; fatality] 5457/275 = 20 Hindus were arrested.”

To attribute these actions only to police bias, though, fails to explain why some States have done so much better than others in containing communal violence. There is, after all, no a priori reason to believe that an “average Hindu” constable in Delhi is less hostage to communal biases than his “average Hindu” counterparts in Ahmedabad or Mumbai – and yet, India’s capital has seen no anti-Muslim pogrom of significance since 1947.

Similarly, there is no evidence that the police forces of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been subject to ideological transformation since the rise of Laloo Prasad Yadav or Mulayam Singh Yadav. Although both States have seen episodic communal violence in recent years, the police have succeeded in ensuring that the clashes did not escalate into the generalised pogroms that these States witnessed regularly two decades ago.

The whole point is that more Muslim representation in Police doesn’t matter if Muslims are not at the higher level. You can’t expect from a Muslim constable to raise his voice against atrocities against a particular community. The Gujarat pogrom was conducted on a very planned basis which took the top officials into confidence. The truth of matter is that the police cannot be impartial in spite of efforts to make them just because they are in a society which in heavily divided on religious lines. The army fairs much better because they are away from society and feeling of patriotism and discipline is deep rooted in them. The police force is a loosely held organization, compared to the army, which has his biases. They can easily be influenced by political leaders for their ulterior motives. Any attempt to politicize the army could be lethal for the existence of peace in the country and this is precisely the reason I condemn the recent attempt by Sonia Gandhi to address the chief of army at an army club on vijay divas.

And This Is Why We Need This Blog-II

We may talk at length about how India is changing and also express hope that situation might improve with time but the ground realities always present a dismal picture. It’s always the poor who are at the receiving end, irrespective of religion. People generally ask me whether I have even been discriminated against but the problem is not with the higher professional class, its with the lower class. Repeated riots and targetting of the minorities by extremist organizations have left the community in dire needs of reforms both internally and also from the Government. Continue reading And This Is Why We Need This Blog-II

Bosnian war criminal gets 24 yrs jail, what about rioters in India?

The appeals chamber of Bosnia’s war crimes court has sentenced Bosnian Serb Nedjo Samardzic to 24 years of imprisonment for persecution, sexual crimes against women and massacre of the Muslim populace.

The sentence has come after the 13-year jail term earlier pronounced was overturned due to a procedural error and a re-trial was ordered. However, umpteen massacres including Neilly, Maliana, Firozabad, Gujarat, Bhagalpur and riots in Mumbai and other cities in India have never seen such convictions.

The cases drag on for decades and the main perpetrators including policemen, politicians and communal elements have escaped due to shoddy prosecution, slow court proceedings and lack of government interest in ensuring justice to the victims.

The war crimes occurred in 1992, just when Mumbai had two series of riots within a couple of months but the riot accused are yet to be punished though accused of Mumbai blasts that occurred later have been tried and sentenced.

This is something our political parties, judiciary, activists, press and media has to ponder. Why Muslims would not feel alienated when perpetrators of crimes against them seem to enjoy a sort of immunity from law.

Sudhakar Rao Naik, who let Mumbai burn, died without facing any trial and Bal Thackeray, who ordered his Shiv Sainiks to teach a lesson to Muslims has yet to face the proverbial long arm of the law. The Srikrishna Commission report is lying in the cold storage.

Naturally, this feeling of ‘deprivation and discrimination’ turns ordinary law-abiding citizens lose faith in the fairness of state. And where are the Muslim MPs? Can’t they come together on this issue across party lines. Is anybody listening?


Is Minorities’ Affairs minister’s anti-reservation stance justified!

The Union Minister for Minorities’ Welfare Abdur Rahman Antulay’s remarks that reservation in jobs can’t ensure progress for Indian Muslims, has angered several Muslim groups and organisations.

‘Is Antulay unaware of the benefits derived by the SC/ST and other backward castes in the last 50 years and is he oblivious to the fact that after 26 years a Muslim, Irfan Sheikh, of Pune could qualify for IPS from the state’, writes Urdu daily Inquilab, which questions why the 350 vacant posts of Urdu teachers are not filled in Mumbai despite all protests.

“It is because appointments in general category are banned and there is no Muslim belonging to SC or ST, causing this awkward and pathetic situation’. The SCs and STs who teach Marathi are thus recruited in Urdu schools as a result, laments the paper.

Inquilab advises the former Maharashtra Chief Minister and now Union Minister AR Antulay to at least do something positive for Muslims in his old age rather than scuttling whatever might be a possiblity/chance for Muslims (getting some kind of a benefit through reservations).

Adnan (www.indscribe.blogspot.com)