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AFMI awards presented
By Mohammad Ashfaque, Calcutta

Dr AR Kidwai, presenting gold medal to Ms Nesri P daghter of P Koyamy of Kerala. Dr. Najma Sultana, Secretary, Women's Welfare of AFMI and Justice K.M Yusuf are also seen   Md.Salim (MP), AS Nakadar (AFMI) Mr.M.M.Chakraborty (former vice chancellor of Jadavpur University) Dr AR Kidwai and Syed Sulaiman (from the US)

 

A program for achieving 100 percent literacy among Indian Muslims within 2005 was announced at the 9th International Educational Conference of the American Federation of Muslims from India (AFMI) held in Calcutta on 25-26 November 2000. Delegates from the US, Canada and West Germany attended the Conference. Bright and meritorious Muslim students who were among the toppers in the Secondary and Higher Secondary exams in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal were honored and awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. 28 gold, 28 silver and 22 bronze medals were awarded. 
AFMI has promised to work for the educational and economic upliftment of the Muslims in West Bengal on the same pattern as it has done in some other states. Formed in America in 1989 by Muslim Americans of Indian origin, the federation is a philanthropic organization consisting of Muslim organizations, intellectuals, academicians and active professionals in the US and Canada.
Dr AS Nakadar, secretary general of AFMI announced in the Conference that the prime aim of the projects proposed to be taken up by the federation would be the eradication of illiteracy among the Muslim children. The programs aimed at educational motivation would include rehabilitation of Muslim institutions, vocational guidance for specialized courses, scholarships to deserving and needy students to motivate them to excel in their studies, establishment of centers of excellence in the States for the benefit of the Muslim community.
Dr Nakadar explained that Muslims of Indian origin, who have benefitted from India's educational system and earned position and name in the US feel that it is their moral duty to do something to uphold the dignity and raise the self-esteem of their brethren in their homeland. Dr Nakadar said that though 130 million-strong Muslim minority constitutes about fifteen percent of India's population, a large number of these Muslims have remained isolated from the national mainstream and are prevented from climbing the economic ladder due to lack of nutrition, unhygienic living conditions, poor education and other socio-political reasons.
In his brief speech, Dr Nakadar referred to Calcutta as the 'historic city which had for long been the beacon of light for the rest of the country'. He, however, regretted that while passing through the streets of Calcutta 'he could feel a sense of helplessness and powerlessness among the Muslims of the city. He felt a sense of humiliation on their faces and a desire to acquire the dignity which they deserve.'
He asked 'how can we call ourselves civilized when countless people of our own community still do not have a roof over their head or a house which they can call their own.' Elaborating further Dr Nakadar said 'we may be in USA but our hearts are with the people in India who are suffering from social and economic backwardness. We strongly feel that though living a life of comfort and ease in America we cannot remain mere bystanders. AFMI, therefore, feels that Muslims of Indian origin in America must do something to minimize the problems and sufferings of their brethren in India.'
Commenting on the educational backwardness of the Muslims in India, Dr Nakadar lamented that 'while the world is discovering the horizon of Internet, exploring and surfing the net and taking full advantage and benefits of the developments in Information Technology, the poor and down-trodden Muslims in India are still struggling to read and write.' He added that 'education is the key to success. Without education the community shall remain restless and powerless.. Dr Nakadar said that there may be hundreds of reasons for the backwardness of the community in India but there is only one solution: to educate each one of the community. Dr Nakadar expressed the hope that if the community can be empowered with education, it will emerge powerful in the Subcontinent and play a dynamic and dominant role in all aspects of our country's life. 
Explaining the program of AFMI in India, Dr Nakadar said that the Federation has set a target of 100 percent literacy among the Muslim Indians by 2005 a goal which the community must attain, otherwise the world will ignore the community and it will become insignificant.'
Referring to the resources required for such an ambitious project, Dr Nakadar said 'that the programme no doubt requires huge resources. Our resources are limited but we have unlimited will power. It is not one organization or one man's work. We must mobilize whatever resources and manpower we can. Indian Muslims in America alone cannot do the job. Muslims in India also cannot solve the problems on their own but if all of us join hands with sincerity and motivate the community to value education, Insha Allah, we can achieve the goal' he observed.
Dr Nakadar explained that 'AFMI stands for a stable democratic, secular and progressive India where human rights of all are preserved and no one is discriminated on the basis of caste, religion, language or region. The Federation works in close co-operation with all those forces that believe in these principles.'
Dr Nakadar called upon the Muslims in India, particularly the leaders of the community, to shirk all cultural or political differences and unite to take effective steps to ensure that the community has a dignified existence and, on being empowered with education the community may command respect .
Dr Nakadar expressed the hope that this century would be a century of education for the Muslims and would prove to be a golden chapter in the history of the community. He repeatedly said that the community needs encouragement, motivation and direction to reach the destination of 100 percent literacy
Dr Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai, former governor of West Bengal and Bihar, who was the chief guest at the conference, thanked the Muslims of Indian origin in America for taking keen interest in the affairs of the community in India. He advised the Muslims to come forward to avail the benefit of developments in information, electronics and bio-technologies. He said in the past Muslims had failed to avail the benefit of the industrial revolution in the country and had thus lagged behind in spheres of economic activities. 'Let us not lag behind in the race for acquiring knowledge of the new information technologies which have become key to success' Dr Kidwai told the audience. 
Kalimuddin Shams, minister in the West Bengal government, suggested that AFMI should take the initiative to set up some schools in Calcutta. In this connection he referred to the surplus land available in Calcutta Port Area which the CPT authorities are contemplating to allot to the private sector. He suggested that the Government of India should agree to allot the land for the purpose of establishing schools for the benefit of the Muslim community in Calcutta. He assured that if initiative is taken by the AFMI he would approach the Government of West Bengal to make land available for the purpose in the city.
Justice KM Yusuf referred to the poor standard of education in some Urdu-medium schools in Calcutta and suggested steps to be taken to improve the standard of teaching in these schools so that students may really benefit. He also suggested suitable amendments in the Constitution of India by the Parliament to provide reservation for Muslims in jobs and admissions in educational institutions under Articles 15 (4) and 16 (4).
Ahmad Sayeed Malihabadi, editor of Azad Hind Urdu daily, suggested that AFMI should initiate steps for the formation of All-India Muslim Talimi Board under the chairmanship of an eminent person like Dr AR Kidwai. He also suggested that the federation should take steps for the establishment of a model school at Calcutta for the benefit of Muslim community. 
Syed Salman, Secretary of Finance, Dr Najma Sultana, Secretary, Women's Welfare, Rashid Salam, Regional President, Chicago, Dr Shakir Mukhi, Regional President, New York, Tufail Ahmad, Washington, of the AFMI were among prominent delegates who had come from America to attend the Conference in Calcutta.
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Names of the recipients of gold medals at the award ceremony of the American Federation of Muslims from India at the IX Educational Conference of the Federation held in Calcutta on 25 November 2000

Names

Place

Exam

Marks %

ARIFUR RAHMAN

DISPUR-ASSAM

SSC

81.33 

MD. ADDEEL SHARON

NAGAON - ASSAM

HSC 

82.02

MD. TAUSEEF AHMED

ILYAS AHMED

HYDERABAD - AP 

SSC

 92.00

BEGUM SABEEHA

ABDUL KHADER

VIJAYAWADA- AP 

HSC

 95.05

MD. ZAFAR AZIA RAJA

ALIGARH - BIHAR 

SSC

 81.28

TEENA C.H

COCHIN- KERALA 

SSC

 (CB) 95.06

JISHA ABUBAKER

COCHIN- KERALA 

HSC

 (CB) 96.06

SK. MOINUDDIN 

NAJMUDDIN

AHMEDABAD-GUJRAT 

SSC

 93.29

POTHIGAR NUSRAT

BANU ABDUL SAMAD

HIMMATNAGAR-GUJRAT 

HSC

 89.38

NESRI P

MALAPURAM - KERALA 

SSC

 97.00

NISHA N.H.

TRIVANDRUM- KERALA 

HSC

 93.08

SYED OMAR SAIF

BANGALORE - KARNATAKA 

SSC

 92.48 

IMRAN ANWAR PASHA SIDDQUI

BANGALORE- KARNATAKA 

HSC

 92.05

AARIFA PARVEEN A

GANI SHAIKH

SOLAPUR - MAHARASHTRA 

SSC

 93.33

SHAIKH SHAILA

HUSAIN 

THANE - MAHARASHTRA 

HSC

 89.33

BHANDARA MUNIRA

ABDUL RASOOL

INDORE- MADHYA PRADESH 

SSC

 81.06

SYED FAROOQ HUSAIN 

BHOPAL - MADHYA PRADESH 

HSC

 81.11 

SARTAJ AHEMAD

GUFRAN ALI KHAN

ROURKELA - ORISSA 

SSC

 89.06

SK. FAIZ AHMED

ROURKELA - ORISSA 

HSC

 79.11

SAIFY FAHAT

SAIFUDDIN ALI

UDAIPUR-RAJASTHAN 

SSC

 91.83

A. SAHADU SILMI

COLACHEL-TAMILNADU 

SSC

 93.04

AZEEM AHMED M.I

KOTTAR- TAMILNADU 

HSC

 94.58

SAIFULLAH KHALID

ALIGARH - UTTAR PRADESH 

SSC

 87.54

KM ARMEEN RAFI

FAIZABAD - UTTAR PRADESH 

HSC

 76.02

MONSUR AKHTER

MD. BARKATULLAH

BELDANGA - WEST BENGAL 

SSC

 89.87

MD. MAFIQUI ISLAM

BELDANGA - WEST BENGAL 

SSC

 89.87

SK. ASRAF ALI

SK AKBAR ALI

ASANSOL - WEST BENGAL 

HSC

 85.00

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