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COMMUNITY NEWS: 16-31 January 2000

Maulana As'ad Madani
Maulana As’ad Madani flanked by PM Vajpayee and Congress (I) leader Arjun Singh at the Eid Milan party

Ahmedabad: The Dow Jones Islamic Index has been functioning successfully for the past 15 months and has outperformed the primary index by 15 percent. This has spurred many to consider setting up a similar index in India. And the idea of an Islamic index on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is taking shape in Ahmedabad.
   A city-based stock broking firm Parsoli Corporation Limited (PCL) in collaboration with Bhubhaneswar-based Islamic Banking and Finance Network (IBF Net) is in the midst of evolving an Islamic index on the national Stock Exchange that is going to be launched in January.
   If the Islamic funds overseas were to invest in Indian stocks, a large chunk of the stock traded on the Indian market would qualify for investment due to their Shari’ah compliant nature.
   Muhammad Obaidullah of IBFNet, who is an associate professor of the International Islamic University, Malaysia, who have done extensive research in the area of Islamic banking and finance, would be assisting PCL in screening the various stocks to set up an Islamic index.
   The Indian equity market is an excellent avenue for Islamically-acceptable investments. 'Due to the absence of Halal financial assets such as deposits with Islamic financial institutions, the Islamic equity market would be an attractive investment option for the Indian Muslim investor' says Talha Sareshwala, PCL director. He estimates the funds waiting to be invested domestically could be staggering given the sheer size of Indian Muslim community, which is the second largest in the world. The company is also planning to launch a portal shortly to popularize the Islamic index on the NSE in addition to offering other investment opportunities for Muslims keeping with their religious tenets.
   Considering equally impressive numbers relating to global Islamic funds, estimated at about $ 60-80 billion and growing at the rate of 15 percent per annum, there would be massive investment opportunities. A portion of such funds could flow to Indian equities provided these conform to the norms of Islamic ethics.
   Close to 2478 companies have been short-listed out of the 5000 stock after financial screening by the PCL.

Tulsidas Ramayana in Persian Language
Jammu: Recent controversies such as Babri Masjid and the like notwithstanding, there are several living examples of what true secularism is all about.
   Every morning septuagenarian Shyam Lal Angara reads his copy of the Tulsidas Ramayana which begins with the words Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. This volume of the Ramayana written in Persian by Molvi Imamuddin, is Angara's prized possession. The book has been written by hand and then block printed. Titled Ramayan Nazam Khushtar, was first published in Rawalpindi in 1889 and printed and published by Munshi Chiragdin and Sirajuddin at Edgbaston Press in Rawalpindi. The holy book is a literal translation of Tulsidas' Ramayana and came into Angara's father Ayodhya Nath's possession while he was a student of Lahore University. When Kalyanpur village near Jhiri, right on the Indo-Pak border was washed away by floods in 1955, the only thing Angara could carry along with him was the copy of the epic. 
  The book also contains short stories called Hatim Tai ke qisse (stories of Hatim Tai). Angara says these stories were included in the book to inculcate a reading habit among children. 
   He is not the only person who reads this book. His family members who know Persian, repeat the words after him. 'They cannot read but at least by repeating the words they will understand the true meaning of secularism' says Angara.

NCHR director criticized
New Delhi: President of Babri Masjid Coordination Committee, Syed Shahabuddin, has sharply criticized the statement of Dr Sushil Kumar, director of the National Council of Historical Research (NCHR) who has said that the Babri Masjid does not hold any historical or religious importance for Muslims. Sushil Kumar had also opined that Muslims should hand over the site to Hindus for the construction of Ram Temple. 
   Shahabuddin said that it is another version of the VHP thesis on the issue of the Babri Masjid. He added that if Kumar has any credible evidence of the existence of the temple at the site as was there in the form of the masjid that was demolished he should present it to the Allahabad High Court. 

Humayun's Tomb 
Humayun's Tomb
New Delhi: The Taj Mahal is said to have been inspired by it. Except that in this case it was not a grieving husband who built it but a grieving widow. Humayun's Tomb was built by the emperor’s wife Haji Begum 1562-71, and completed nine years after he died.
   Now 429 years later, a massive restoration project will attempt to revive its original water canals, fountains and gardens. The Agha Khan Trust for Culture alongwith the Archaeological Survey of India and Oberoi Hotel is all set to restore and maintain this UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
   Also for the first time in India, a permanent site exhibition called the Site Interpretation Centre will be set up to educate visitors. 
   The restoration project came about when ASI approached the AKTC, a private philanthropic foundation which aims to improve built environments, in 1997. This is the first time when the AKTC has involved itself with an Indian monument by giving Rs 2.5 million. As part of the restoration project, research is being carried out at various research centres into what the area around the monument looked like and how the various water systems worked. Humayun's tomb, one of 22 World Heritage sites in India, has witnessed many chapters of India's past. 

Kavaratti: The tiniest union territory, Lakshadweep archipelago, is perhaps the last haven of peace and harmony in the country where crime and punishment are a rarest of rare phenomenon. More than ninety percent of the population of the archipelago is Muslim.
   Occasional petty offences here and there, civil disputes over property rights, most of which are settled out of court, and wordy duels during election times: these are just about the only problems faced by the law and order machinery of the region consisting of 36 islets -only 10 inhabited - spread over an area of 32 sq. kms in the Arabian Sea. 
   After a double murder in the Adrott island in 1990 and the police firing following a dispute over the issue of selecting a Khatib, no major crime has been reported for over a decade from the all-Muslim Dweep, according to police sources here.
   Bound by the Arabian Sea on all sides and exposed to the vagaries of the nature, the islanders cannot but live in true brotherhood. The Dweep has a district court and two munisf courts. The majority of cases reaching the courts are civil in nature. Thefts and house-breaking are quite rare. Until recently the houses did not have locks and keys. Policing here largely consists of keeping an eye over occasional visitors from the mainland or dealing with petty road offences like riding bicycles without light in the night. 

Popularizing Urdu
Hyderabad: To publicize Urdu further and make it more popular the Urdu Academy, Hyderabad, is trying to bring out an all-India directory of well-known writers, poets, authors and other important Urdu personalities. 
   The chairman of the interaction committee of all the 15 Urdu academies in the country, Syed Shah Noorul Haq Qadri said that the preparations to bring out the proposed directory will be started immediately as all the 15 Urdu academies are eager about it. Qadri is also the president of Andhara Pradesh Urdu Academy.
   Qadri said that the state government is giving due attention to the Academy and it has increased its annual grant to Rs 27.3 million. He said that a number of projects are being carried out in the state for the development of the language. The academy is planning to give five Makhdoom Awards to prominent personalities of the language. The Award consists of Rs 0.1 million. He also informed that the academy has published for the very first time a Urdu-Telgu dictionary. 

Cyber push to Indo-Pak ties
New Delhi: Warmongers on both sides of the border should be dumped into the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. These views were expressed by the chairman of All-Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation, Abdul Hameed Chapra. in a function organized on the occasion of the launching of the website The website convenor KB Tilak said, it has been launched so that intellectuals, right thinking people and the common man will use the site to give their views by which both the countries will achieve a level of understanding for mutual benefit. Unless dialogue starts at the people-to-people level, talks at the top level will have no meaning.

Mubarakpur riots
Mubarakpur: Riots that broke out in the town nearly two months ago are still haunting the people. Night curfew still continues and there is no sign of it being lifted in the near future. It was not lifted even during the Eid and Jum’atul Wida’. This unceasing curfew has badly affected the town’s Banarasi Sari business which is the backbone of the town. 
   This continuing curfew has infuriated the business community of the town. general secretary of the Yuwa Bayapar Mandal of the town, Parwez Akhtar Nomani, has appealed to the city administration to fully lift the curfew and allow the citizens and business community a breather. He said that though curfew has rocked a number of cities, nowhere it continued for so long. He added that it is a ploy to destroy the local sari industry.

No eid prayers in fatehpur
Kanth (Amroha): The district administration asked the villagers in Fatehpur Vishnoi to offer Eid prayers in groups of 10 people each. The villagers refused to accept the dictate and did not offer Eid prayers in the local Eidgah.
   Rashid Alvi, member of Parliament from Amroha, visited the village and tried to inquire the matter. Villagers told the MP that they have been offering Eid prayers here for many many years and only now this new restriction has been imposed on them. The district administration has also verified the villagers version.

Jamiat Ulama’s Eid Milan party 
New Delhi: Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind organized an Eid Milan party in a five-star hotel of the capital on 2 January. Prime minister Atal behari Vajpayee was the chief guest on the occasion who, reportedly arrived almost uninvited. 
   Mediapersons had to face great difficulty in covering the programme as the security bandobast for the the Prime Minister did not allow them to attend the programme. Security personnel did not allow journalists to proceed to the main hall where the programme was organized. Even senior journalists recognized by the PIB were not allowed to enter...

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