Jobs @ MG
ĎA.P. Muslims are marching aheadí
Babu Khan is among a handful of Muslim politicians who believe in ethics
and seem to be ready to sacrifice for their well-established ideas, and
are ready to sacrifice in the process even a ministerial berth. Known as a
straightforward and clean politician he is respected even by his opponents
and the leaders of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) whose government he left when
it struck an electoral alliance with the BJP in the state and the centre.
When the TDP threw its lot with the NDA he was a minister in Chandrababu
Naiduís government in Andhra Pradesh and was looking after the important
portfolio of heavy industry. A two-time-minister, he immediately resigned
his post despite pressure from Naidu himself. He refused to remain in a
government that had any truck with the BJP. As a punishment he was denied
the party ticket in the next assembly elections. But he is still all
praise for Naidu and says that he is a practical man and has taken a
number of steps to uplift Muslimsí economic and social condition in the
state. Syed Ubaidur Rahman of the MG talked to him recently on a number of
|How would you describe Muslims
condition in Andhara Pradesh?
Muslims are now in a much better condition in the state than
earlier. They are economically more stable, politically more
conscious and are able to play much better role than they played
earlier. They are participating equally in the development of the
modern Andhara. The development is phenomenal and encompasses all
the areas. In the field of education their development is
astronomical. You cannot compare the Muslims of today to the Muslims
of Andhara a decade or so ago. They have developed a number of
educational institutions on their own. A number of professional
institutions have also been opened by them over the last decade. Be
it management, computer sciences or engineering these institutes
provide excellent academic facilities to the Muslim students that
could not have been imagined earlier.
How this turn-around was possible?
Though Muslims in other states particularly in other South
Indian states have set up a large number of professional institutes,
no single state was able to do as brilliantly as we did in Andhara.
Here people have contributed generously to the cause. They have come
forward and extended their whole-hearted assistance for this
purpose. Well-off Muslims came forward to launch such projects and
others assisted them. Muslim organizations have also contributed
greatly in this cause. Every Muslim organization has contributed in
the establishment of professional institutions in Andhara Pradesh.
But it was not the people's effort alone. It would probably have not
been possible had the state government not extended its assistance
for the Muslims of the state. Chandrababu government has done great
job in the phenomenal development of the Muslims of the state. He
has emphasized greatly on the development of Muslims. In fact his is
the only government in the country that has charted out a complete
policy on the development of the Muslims in the state. AP is the
only state in the country to have developed an exclusive Minorities
Development Department. It has also given great attention towards
the economic and educational development of the minorities in the
state. Substantial attention has also been given to Urdu and a
number of Urdu primary, middle and junior colleges have been opened
by the government. It has also opened three ITI colleges and
polytechnic institutes exclusively for Muslims.
Though it is true that Muslims have established a number of
professional institutes in Andhara, but isn't it equally true that
Muslim students aren't able to get admission in these institutes due
to the hefty donations they are charging?
It may be true in some cases, but all is not as you mentioned.
There should be at least fifty percent Muslim students in these
professional colleges. Others cannot fill these seats. I was myself
education minister in Chandrababu government and we tried to ensure
that it does not happen. In fact, I tried and was to some extent
successful in delaying the admission of common students in minority
colleges run by Muslims.
What are you doing after you left the government?
I am trying to do something for the community in the state and
the country. We are running several academic institutes besides a
number of social organizations in and around Hyderabad. Besides we
are running a Zakat Foundation. It works to create awareness among
Muslims regarding payments of zakat. A large number of Muslims do
not know anything regarding how much and what to pay in zakat. We do
not collect zakat nor we intend to do. This organization helps
widows and other needy people. Besides, it runs several schools.
I am also trying to strengthen United Economic Forum in whole
country. We recently held a conference of the Federation in Bhopal.
We have several state chapters and I am struggling to establish it
in states where it has not been established so far and strengthen
where it has already been established. We have our plan for the
development of the community in the country. We were trying to meet
the Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and had got an appointment with him
as the Lok Sabha speaker GM Balayogi had ensured, but did not go as
he was very busy on recent Tehelka controversy. We would have
presented a memorandum to him and would have asked to prepare a
clear policy for the economic and educational development of the
Muslims in the country. The Forum will cater to the economic and
educational development of Muslims in the country.
Are you aiming to emerge as a Muslim leader on the national
I am not at all interested to emerge on the national scene. But
I want to work for the community in my own capacity. I am involved
in these works for last several decades and will always be working
for community's advances insha Allah. q