New Delhi, December 24 A day before yesterday it was December 22, the date when ‘Ram Lalla’ was installed in 1949 in the sanctum sanctorum of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya. But unlike the years before December 6, 1992, there was no protest meeting in the national capital or elsewhere. Rather, about 300 delegates from different parts of the country were engaged at the 3-day national workshop of Muslim NGOs being held here at the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) to discuss the development of the Muslim community as a whole.
This was the marked difference in the pre and post-Babri Masjid demolition days. Having full faith in the country’s judiciary, the Muslim community has left the case of Babri Masjid to the courts to decide, and then have remained busy in talking about their development. The recommendations of Sachar Committee have no doubt made them more serious in taking up such issues. Since the submission of Sachar Report to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on November 17, a number of discussions, symposia, seminars and meetings are being held in this connection in different parts of the country.
The New Delhi-based think tank, Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), has specially chalked out a plan, keeping particularly the implementation aspect of the Sachar Report in view. It has already held a serious discussion on January 20 last. Dr Ausaf Ahmad, scholar, economist and Editor of Mutalle’at, published by IOS, presented his exposition. Then the presence of Dr Abu Saleh Shariff, a member of Sachar Committee, had made the discussion not only interesting but very fruitful. IOS would hold a number of discussions before a national workshop on the issue to be organised on January 20, 2007 at the IICC.
The 3-day national workshop of Muslim NGOs, convened by the Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians (MOEMIN), began on December 22 with the thought-provoking and assurance-making address by Union Minister Jaipal Reddy. While saying that the seeds of the Renaissance were sown by the Muslim scholars as asserted by late M N Roy in his book “Historical Role of Islam”, he averred that it was high time the Muslim community in this country take up the case of its own development. Besides Jaipal Reddy, two other Union ministers---Vyalar Ravi and Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi---too graced the 3-day workshop. Vyalar Ravi refuted the allegation of BJP that Sachar Report meant for appeasement of the Muslim community. He said: “I was present at the National Development Council meeting where the Prime Minister made some remarks about the community’s development. I fail to understand as to why a controversy is made over it. What PM had said was simply about uplifting a community, now already found backward by a high level committee (HLC).”
After discussing the role of NGOs in detail for two days, the participants would finalise recommendations today and submit it to the government.
According to the MOEMIN general secretary and National Integration Council member Naved Hamid, this was the first time that a large number of Muslim NGOs from different parts of the country gathered to discuss the development of the community at large. The participants included two members of the Sachar Committee---Saiyid Hamid and Dr S Zafar Mahmood---;Gandhian and Member of Parliament Ms Nirmala Deshpande; National Commission for Minorities chairman Hamid Ansari; former minister of Andhra Pradesh M Bashiruddin Babu Khan; former Jamia Hamdard Vice Chancellor Prof Alauddin Ahmed and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Naib Ameer Maulana Mohmmed Shafi Moonis; educationist and entrepreneur A R Shervani; columnist Zafar Agha; Mankind Educational Trust Malerkotla chairman Jameelur Rahman; Rohilkhand Welfare Trust secretary Nazim Baig; N M E Society Mumbai chairman Mutva Haidar; Malegaon Arts & Cultural Association president Siraj Ahmed Dular; Kerala National Assessmant & Accreditation Council coordinator Prof H Badarudeen Rawther; and Muslim Empowerment Forum Gaya secretary Tameemuddin Humble. .
The presence of a number of women representing different NGOs highlighted the workshop. The women delegates included Ms Qamrunnisa Begum, w/o internationally renowned business tycoon B S Abdur Rahman from Chennai; Dr Ms Asma Zehra from Muslim Women Development Society, Hyderabad; Dr Ms Najma Sultana from MANUU, Hyderabad; Ms Asna Jeelani from a women organization of Hyderabad; Ms Rana Khatoon, president, Rajiv Gandhi Educational Charitable Trust, Mau (UP); Dr Ms Subayya Dawood, Principal, Melvisharam College (Tamilnadu); Ms Zaibunnisa Begum from an NGO of Kolkata; and Ms Sufiya Saqib Khan, Principal, Karamat Public School, Lucknow.
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