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A Muslim asset in Jharkhand
Markaz-e adab-o-science

By Afsar Ali, Jamshedpur

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had issued a 15-point directive on welfare of the minorities to the central and state governments in May 1983 in which points. 11 and 12 dealt with the education of minorities. Point 11 stated that in many areas recruitment is done through competitive examinations. Often minority groups are handicapped in taking advantage of the educational system to compete on equal terms in such examinations. To help them to overcome these handicaps, steps should be taken to encourage the starting of coaching classes in minority educational institutions to train persons to compete successfully in these examinations. Point No 12 stated that the acquisition of technical skills by those minorities who are today lagging behind would also help in national development. Arrangements should be made to set up OTIS and polytechnics by government or private agencies in predominantly-minority areas in order to encourage their admission in such institutions. Later on the National Policy on Education (NPE) 1986 stressed the same.

But the ground reality says that the Govt. of India since independence has talked tall for the educational development of the minorities including the Muslims while each succeeding administration has ignored Muslims. For example the high-power panel on minorities, SC/ST, and other weaker sections, appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs and headed by Dr. Gopal Singh, had identified Muslims and neo-Buddhists as educationally backward at the national level. Subsequently, the Government extended to neo-Buddhists all the benefits which are available to yjr scheduled castes while nothing happened to the Muslims.

Some educated Muslims have stepped in here and there to establish educational, vocational and technical institutions to help Muslim youths. Markaz-e Adab-o-Science (MAS), a registered educational charitable trust, is one such institution which has opened the gates of knowledge and success for the Muslim youths in Jharkhand. 

MAS was established in 1995 by Professor Ahmad Sajjad, founder chairman of the trust by donating his life-long collections of more than eleven thousand books, files of journals, English, Urdu of Hindi clipping and files on hundreds of topics, furniture and a piece of land.

MAS, situated at Tarique Manzil, 2k/3, Bariatu Housing Colony, Ranchi, is the only educational trust in the area which has been giving all-round training to Muslims in the field of computer sciences. This trust was established in 1995 with a view to generate education, economic and social awareness among Muslim masses and to establish a multi-objective institution for preparing an effective, wise and dynamic leadership disciplined in education and to train them for different competitive fields. One of the educational missions of MAS is to popularise computer literacy on a mass-scale in the Muslim community and prepare the new generation to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The objective of this Markaz is also to provide Muslims information in connection with the broad and new opportunities in the fields of computer science and Information Technology, employment, economy with the help of career guidance, training institutes and educational aid specially to younger generation of the Muslim community.

MAS has established various institutions and the Muslim youths are benefiting from these institutions. One of them is Sajjad Computer Training and Guidance Centre (SCTGC) which provides one-year diploma in Computer Application and Multilingual DTP at Bariatu Housing Colony, Ranchi, while Sajjad Institute of Information Technology (SIIT) provides one-year diploma in Computer Application and Multilingual DTP exclusively for girls at Rahmat Colony, Doranda, Ranchi. Both institutions are approved and recognised by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu language (NCPUL) of the Ministry of HRD. 

MAS is the single centre in Jharkhand, which provides the facility of Urdu DTP training. A large number of boys and girls in hijab, in separate batches, are punctually seen using their fingers on the keyboards of computers. Besides this Indira Gandhi National Open University, Special Study Centre for Minorities, is also run here.

At present more than 200 students are getting training in different courses of IT and computer field right from the certificate ccourses to the post-graduation level. MAS has recently launched "on-line Internet training" for students after tying up the IGNOU and Urdu University of Hyderabad.
MAS has emerged as an asset of the Muslims in Jharkhand. It consists renowned personalities belonging to the minority community.

Talking to MG, Dr. Ahmad Sajjad, MAS chairman, said that it caters to the educational needs of the Muslims throughout the newly born Jharkhand. It needs support to enrich the library with basic literature, standard published papers, audio and video cassettes, CDs and softwares on Da’wa, comparative religion and literature and IT. It needs support to install an offset printing press as well as office equipment like photocopiers, fax machines, scanners, overhead projectors, air conditioners etc. for smooth running in order to achieve its goal. He said that MAS needs sponsorships for organising seminars, symposia, research projects educational and technical aids. Dr Sajjad added that MAS needs support to establish a post-graduate college of Information Technology with advance courses including software development.

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