The magic of Urdu poetry: Republic Day Mushaira

Nowhere in the world, poetry has such importance in society as in the Indian sub-continent. After all, where would thousands sit till midnight and after to listen to the poets! There is definitely something magical about Urdu poetry.

The Republic Day mushaira brought back memories of the mushairas of the past. Continue reading The magic of Urdu poetry: Republic Day Mushaira

A Strange Clinic

Kamini Khatoon lives in Amroha, a small town near Delhi. She was suffering from body ache for many years. Khatoon consulted doctors, visited hospitals, tried allopathic and homeopathic medicines. She even travelled to sufi dargahs. The pain did not leave. Then someone suggested visiting Rahat Open Surgery, an open-air clinic under the shadow of Jama Masjid in Delhi. Continue reading A Strange Clinic

Where Do Indian Muslims Go From Here?

Delhi Muslim BoyFrom Moghul emperor Akbar to Bahadur Shah Zafar – the hero of India’s first war of independence, to Maulana Azad – the pre-eminent freedom fighter, to President APJ Abdul Kalam – the creator of India’s missile program and beyond, there is an illustrious unending string of Muslims who contributed substantially in the building of the Indian nation over the centuries. Continue reading Where Do Indian Muslims Go From Here?

A Mis-spelt Name And Some Nostalgia

Assam Temple SadhuI had taken up Sanskrit as an optional subject in school. There were, however, various options available, Arabic being one among them. But my father insisted I took up Sanskrit because you anyway learn Arabic at home from the maulvi. My father’s Muslim friends and relatives didn’t like his decision, “Why are you letting her study Sanskrit. That one is a language of the Hindus.” My father protested, “A language is a language. She’ll just learn the language. What the harm?” So I continued learning Sanskrit. We called the teacher Pujari Sir. I was his favourite student. Not because I scored the highest but because he was touched by the very fact that a Muslim girl is so willing to learn ‘the language of the Hindus’. Continue reading A Mis-spelt Name And Some Nostalgia

Blog Launched on Madarsa Reforms

This blog aims to broaden the debate on madrasas in India (and South Asia, more generally), by focussing, in particular, on the voices of reformist Indian ulema. Contrary to media depictions, a large number of Indian ulema are indeed in favour of certain reforms in the madrasas so as to make them serve their task as centres of Islamic instruction and guidance more effectively.

These voices are rarely, if ever, heard in the so-called ‘mainstream’ press, one reason being that many of these ulema write and speak Urdu, not English. This blog seeks to provide a platform for their voices to be heard beyond their restricted audience.

I hope to regularly update the blog. Do let me have your comments and also let me know how to make it more interactive!

Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasrin

Salman RushdieSalman Rushdie and Taslima Nasrin are generally hot topic in the Muslim world and outside. Both of them are from the subcontinent. But they represent two very different faces of dissidence. Looking at their examples, I shall try to draw some conclusions about dissidence. Continue reading Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasrin

Book Review: Tuhfat al-Mujahidin

Author: Shaykh Zainuddin Makhdum – Translated from Arabic by S. Muhammad Husayn Nainar)

The Tuhfat al-Mujahidin or ‘The Tribute to the Strugglers’ is one of the earliest extant historical treatises about the southern Indian state of Kerala. Its author, the sixteenth century Shaikh Zainuddin Makhdum, hailed from the renowned Makhdum family from the town of Ponnani in Malabar, in northern Kerala. This family traced its descent to migrants from Yemen, who played a leading role in the spread of Islam in southern India. Continue reading Book Review: Tuhfat al-Mujahidin

Bilkis Bano: The Face of Courage

Recently the special court in Maharashtra gave the first significant verdict related with the Gujarat violence of 2002.  12 persons were given life sentence for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano by Judge U.D. Salvi. It was highly reassuring to see the institution of judiciary finally standing up and delivering its duty in a very significant way.

But no less important was the courage, grit and determination shown by the victim Bilkis Bano. Continue reading Bilkis Bano: The Face of Courage

The Mystic Message of Tolerance

Amir Khusro Tomb DelhiIn the present atmosphere of disturbing communal propaganda, it needs to be remembered that Sufis ideals of love, peace and acceptance were primarily responsible for bringing people to the fold of Islam.

The Sufi Master of the thirteenth century Mohhiyuddin Ibne Arabi proclaimed that paradise was nothing but the Divine Form hidden in the mystics heart. “My heart has opened up in every form: it is a pasture for gazelles, a cloister for Christian monks, a temple for idols, the Kaaba of the pilgrim, the tables of the torah and the book of the Quran. I practice the religion of Love: in whatsoever directions its caravan advance, the religion of Love shall be my religion and my Faith.” Continue reading The Mystic Message of Tolerance