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COMMUNITY NEWS: 16-31 December 2000

Maulana As'ad Madani (centre) with Sonia Gandhi. His son Mahmood appears on the left. 



Setting an Example
Jaipur : The concept of mass marriage is fast catching up among Muslims in Jaipur. Various sects of the community are now opting for mass weddings like their Hindu counterparts.
    The pioneer of mass marriages, the Rangrez community (dyers), organized their third mass wedding recently in which 117 Rangrez couples were married.
    The Rangrez community has in fact set an example of austerity in marriages. Parents who are willing to solemnize the marriage of their son or daughter in the community celebration are required to pay Rs 5,500 each. Thus Rs 11,000 is collected for one couple which is shared equally by the parents of bride and groom.
    Haji Allabux, president of the Shekhawati Rangrezan Society of Jaipur Mahanagar says that the amount takes care of all expenses related to the marriage like Nazm, Dowry, two community feasts, widai, decoration, tentage etc. No separate barat processions are allowed and equal dowry is given to every bride irrespective of the financial status of the parents. Giving anything in dowry besides the dowry given by the Rangrezan society is strictly prohibited. All these make the wedding less expensive as all expenses are taken care of within the amount collected from parents.
    Ms Sayra had come to the ceremony to wed her daughter. She said that the mass wedding eliminated the difference between the rich and the poor and she liked the idea very much. Her son too was married similarly last year. Ms Sayra's daughter, Shaheen was also happy to get married here.
    Haji Peer Mohammed Dorewala, treasurer of the Rangrezan Society says that the idea of mass marriage is catching the fancy of the community as is evident from the fact the parents bring their wards for marriage here not only from every nook and corner of Rajasthan but also from off places like West Bengal, Bihar, MP, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi too.
    The vice-president of the society says that the dowry is given on a uniform scale. Besides 14 pagrees, 14 sarees, 5 utensils, a bed, bangles and mehendi, it also includes a copy of the Qur'an Sharif.
    At the community feast at least 10,000 people eat at a time. As per custom of the community, parents of the girl are requested to invite the entire community for a feast consisting of at least 5,000 persons. Had each couple married separately there would have been 117 feasts, each for 5,000 persons. The number of guests that had to be entertained rose to 10,000 this time.

VHP to open one lakh schools
Vijayawada: The All India secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) recently announced at Vijayawada that during the next three years, the VHP will open one lakh small schools with one teacher at every school mainly in tribal, rural and Muslim areas. He further said that around five thousand such schools are already working in Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and north eastern areas. He stated that the purpose of such schools is to stop cultural aggression of the West and to bring about unity and awareness among all the innocent, ignorant and poor sections of Hindus.
    In view of VHP's known ideology and mentality, it is not difficult to understand their real objectives. They are advised not to make education a means of spreading hatred and communalism by distorting history and facts and imposing one ideology and culture only. Those people who are being targeted should also be advised that they should not fear these one lakh proposed schools but should act to start one million schools themselves. These schools should teach children the lessons of love, communal harmony, teachings of Islam and understanding of the world. Such schools may be easily established in hundreds of thousands of mosques where such education could be imparted immediately. Thereafter, when proper places or schools are available, schools from mosques could be shifted to those schools or places. If this is not done these schools run by the RSS may prove harmful for the Muslim community in the days to come. Care, however, should be taken to see that in such schools modern education must also be imparted side by side with religious education.

Rahmani Foundation's laudable record 
Monger (Bihar): The well-known social welfare institution Rahmani Foundation, organized an IOL lens camp for the second time at its head-quarters at Nawab Kothi (Belan Bazar) in which lenses were implanted in the eyes of 49 patients by the famous ophthalmologist, Dr Rajni Saraf and her medical team. On this occasion Manazir Ahsan, a minister in Bihar govt. lauded the services being rendered by the Rahmani Foundation and said that implanting IOL lenses and performing eye operations for poor is indeed a great public service.
    While addressing the people, the chairman of Rahmani foundation, Maulana Muhammad Wali Rahmani said that the foundation has made great progress in a very short period. In computer science the students have achieved so much success that the name of Rahmani Computer Center has become a famous name in the city. There are also several other important programmes in connection with computer education, which will be introduced gradually. Similarly under health care scheme Hepatitis B injections will also be provided at very low rates so that weaker sections of the society may also be able to benefit from it. He appealed to the people to give their full cooperation to the Foundation.

Illegal shops on Punjab Waqf lands demolished
Faridabad: The Faridabad Nagar Nigam demolished twelve shops built illegally on Punjab Waqf Board land without obtaining NOC from the Board. These shops were built by a local congress leader, Rohtas Pahelwan, on khasra No. 1355 and No. 118/1 of Punjab Waqf Board land on a bypass road in Faridabad. Rohtas Pahelwan was not paying the rent to Punjab Waqf Board for the past many years and was himself earning around Rs. fifty thousand per month by renting out those shops. The Haryana govt. had issued a notice to him several days ago and ordered him to vacate the shops and remove the goods but he did not comply. Hence on the 5th November, SDM Faridabad and ADC together with hundreds of policemen and demolition squad reached the spot. There were heated arguments between Rohtas Pahlwan and SDM Faridabad. As soon as the concerned officers gave the 'go ahead' signal to the squad, bulldozers went into action and reduced a grand market to rubbles in a few minutes. There was a big traffic jam because of large number of onlookers and police force.
    The Pahelwan has stated that all this is being done due to political vendetta. He has decide to take out a protest demonstration and threatened to go to the court of law. During the demolition operation the rent collector of Punjab Waqf Board was also present.

Mazharul Haq University
Patna: After keeping the proposed Maulana Mazharul Haq University on tenterhook for more than eight years, the Rabri Devi government in Bihar has again initiated the move to make it a reality. The office of the proposed university that was locked for so many years was again unlocked and the university was again inaugurated by the education minister Dr Saba Ahmad. To make it a reality a two-member committee was constituted. Former state minister Prof. Lutfur Rahman and Prof. Manzoor Alam Nomani are appointed the members of the committee. 
    The state government has also initiated the move to appoint the vice chancellor and pro-vice chancellor. It has also claimed that the appointments will be complete by the end of December this year.
    Laloo Yadav, whose wife Rabri Devi is now the prime minister of Bihar, had decided when he assumed as the chief minister, to start five universities in the state including Maulana Mazharul Haq Arabic and Persian University. Though other universities were launched and now functioning, it was never made a reality and remained a mere promise. In 1992 the then governor of Bihar Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai had inaugurated the University and appointed Prof. Mukhtaruddin as its vice chancellor. But nothing was done and later on the vice chancellor-designate also resigned. Now the process of its rejuvenation is on. What will happen to it no one knows.

Minority welfare in Bihar
Patna: To ensure faster implementation of minority welfare programs being pursued by the Bihar government it is decided to form a monitoring cell in every district under deputy development commissioner. Rabri Devi government has taken this step to ensure immediate implementation of several development programs being run by the government. The minority development department of the state government has even issued notification in this concern. 
    According to the notification the concerned DDCs will be squarely responsible if there is any delay in the implementation of minority development programs. They are supposed to form monitoring cells headed by one of the officials working under them. These monitoring cells will look after all minority related programs, their progress, keeping the necessary data and providing it to the government. The overall responsibility in this respect will be of either DM or deputy commissioner of the concerned district. These officials will present their monthly reports to the government.
    It is the first occasion in last fifty years when any concrete step has been taken for the implementation of minority welfare programs. A number of programs were launched in the past for the welfare of the minorities but no step was taken to ensure their implementation. These welfare programs were seldom implemented. 
Thanks to the state minority commission chief Prof. Suhail Khan the government has at last woken up and taken a step that was due for the last many years. His useful suggestions have ensured that the programs meant for minority are implemented. The interest shown by the former chief minister and president of Rashtriya Janata Dal has also played very significant role in it.
    Hyderabad: The 400-year-old Mecca Masjid near Charminar is in a deplorable condition due to the negligence of the state government. Poor maintenance has turned this place of worship into a pathetic place. The Minorities Welfare Department that has been entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the mosque has shifted the employees of Mecca masjid either to other departments or has been making them perform other works. 
    Till November 1996 the mosque was well maintained by the Hindu Endowment Department, but on the demand of some Muslim religious organizations, the responsibility of maintenance of the mosque was given to the Minorities Welfare Department. Since then the turnaround happened. Everything went topsy-turvy. The maintenance got badly affected either due to the shortage of staff or lack of funds. Being maintained by the government there is no separate body to take care of this historical mosque and no funds could be collected from the public either for its renovation or for improvement in services. The department carried out the work not when needed but when the government released the funds. 

Delhi Mushawarat office bearers
New Delhi: All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (Shahbuddin) has elected its office bearers of Delhi chapter. Returning officer Nawed Hamid has said that the office bearers elected for the year 2000-2003 are as follows: Zafar Jung (president), Abdul Khaliq (deputy president), Choudhary Khurshid Ahmad (Vice President), Azhar Karim Qidwai (secretary), Asif Khan (Joint Secretary), Haji Bashir Ahmad (joint secretary) and Maqsood Alam (treasurer). The executive committee of the Delhi chapter will be elected from among the above office bearers.
    Delhi chapter's jurisdiction extends to Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Chandigarh.

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