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An essay and debate competition on
'Muslims in Jharkhand'

INTRODUCTION
'It is when calamity seems to be incomprehensible that it kills the soul. As soon as we have a glimmer of understanding - either deductive or intuitive - of why it happened, we are able to deal with our despair and we are no longer paralysed' (EPW, Sept. 21, 2002, p.3921). Of late many research studies have been conducted in order to understand communal violence in India. One important finding of such studies is that regional factors play important roles in our understanding of the position of Muslims in Indian society.

Subsequently, two years ago a historical study was started sponsored by SEPHIS that tried to understand the position of Muslims in the new State of Jharkhand. It was found that Muslims in Jharkhand have a unique history characterised by communal harmony. National, international and State level developments have however cast a shadow over these kind of local histories.

It was resolved therefore to organise an essay and debate competition in which young people in Ranchi were requested to provide their opinion on the present position of Muslims in Jharkhand. We asked them to write on the influence of national happenings such as those in Gujarat and on international happenings such September 11, 2001 on the lives of Muslims living in Jharkhand. We also requested them to comment on State policies such as the Domicile Policy and the general position of Muslims two years after the creation of the new State. Lastly, we also wanted them to write on the position of Muslim women in Jharkhand.

We received almost forty essays discussing one or more of the above topics. The general arguments of the essays do correspond to the overall findings of the research study. Almost all essays argue that though Jharkhand had its own versions of communal disharmony, generally the State is an example of communal compatibility. Historically, Muslims have in general been living peacefully together with other groups in particular with the adivasis.

This history of peaceful co-existence is an important weapon that makes it seem unlikely that in Jharkhand communal problems will disturb day to day life. Yet, the essays also bear witness of certain tendencies that might threaten the peaceful status quo. Besides, the essays agree that most Muslims in Jharkhand live in very poor conditions similar to other less privileged communities in the State. Some feel that it is the Government policies that are insufficient to uplift the Muslims but others argue that there are internal problems in the Muslim community that contribute to their backward position in the society.

TOPIC DEBATE:

Proposition I: The problems of Muslims in Jharkhand are caused by the fact that Muslims are discriminated against by the Government and other religious groups in Jharkhand

AGAINST THIS

Proposition II: The problems of Muslims in Jharkhand are related to shortcomings within the Muslim community itself.

PROGRAMME

MUSLIMS IN JHARKHAND

Essay and Debate Competition
Date: 12 October
Time: 12:00 to 4:00 P.M.
Place: Satya Bharti

12:00-12:30 Registration and Coffee

12:30-13:00 Introduction to the topic of the day:
Dr. K.R. Sinha-Kerkhoff
Mr. Tanweer Ahmed

13:00-13:20 Topic discussion by: Dr. Abdul Qayum Abdali

13:20-13:40 Topic discussion by: Prof. Abuzar Usmani

13:40-14:00 Topic discussion by: Prof. Ahmed Sajjad

14:00-15:00 Presentation of nominated essays

15:00-15:30 Debate competition

15:30-15:40 Evaluation by:
Mr. Md. Khurshid Perwez Siddiqui
Dr. Abdul Qayum Abdali
Mr. Samrul Haque

15:40-16:00 Certificate and Prize distribution

Organisers: Dr. K.R. Sinha-Kerkhoff; Mr. Tanweer Ahmed and Mr. Masoom
Conductor: Mr. Ejaj Anwar

Organised by Student Club Ranchi
Funded by SEPHIS


OUR SPEAKERS, ORGANIZERS, JUDGES AND CHIEF GUEST

- Dr. Ahmad Sajjad is Professor and Head Post-Graduate and Research Department of Urdu, Ranchi University, Ranchi Jharkhand. He is also founder and chairman of Markaz-E-Adab-O-Science (Charitable Educational Registered Trust) and Vice Chairman of the Board of Islamic Education, Jharkhand. He is member of several other organisations and former President of Idara-e-Adab-e-Islami Hind. He has widely published and carried out extensive research on the position and history of Ansaris in India in general and in Jharkhand in particular. Contact address: Tarique Manzil, Bariatu Housing Colony Ranchi 834009 Jharkhand (India). Phone: 0091651 540543 or 543838. Email: rch_anas@sancharnet.in Web site: www.markazadab.org

- Dr. Abdul Qayum Abdali B/II/II A.R. Apartment Gudri Chowk, Ranchi 834001. Phone: 202465. Dr. Abdali is Lecturer Dept. of Urdu, Doranda College Ranchi. He regularly writes articles for Prabhat Khabar on the topic of Muslims in Jharkhand.

- Prof. Abuzar Usmani is Former Head of the Dept. of Urdu Vinoba Bhawe University, Hazaribagh. He is a well-known scholar of Urdu and has tried hard for the development of Urdu and its preservation. Address: Sattar Colony, Bariatu, Ranchi 834009. Phone: 541647.

- Md. Khurshid Perwez Siddiqui at present is Working Editor with Farooqui Tanzeem Urdu Daily. He passed out in Urdu from Magadh University in Bodh Gaya. Since the last forty-two years he has published over fifty research related articles and also poetry, book reviews and short stories. He has widely published in Urdu on issues related to Muslims and their history in Jharkhand He also is author of many unpublished articles in Urdu, Hindi and English on adivasis in Bihar/Jharkhand. Address: Farooqui Tanzeem, 4/E Nalni Palace, Purulia Road, Ranchi 834001. Phone: 304117 (o) 475426 (R)
Fax: 209166. Email: ftanzeem@yahoo.co.in

- Samrul Haque passed out from St. Xaviers College and worked as a journalist, editor and sub-editor for Ranchi Times, Ranchi Express Weekly and Muslim India. He founded the Chotanagpur Mail, the first Urdu magazine of Ranchi in 1949. Between 1954 and 1995, he worked as a journalist with Aljamiat, a daily from Delhi. Address: 14 Church Road, Ranchi.

- Dr. Kathinka Sinha-Kerkhoff is a senior research fellow with the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) and affiliated to the International Institute of Social History (IISH). She has widely published in international academic journals. Presently she is involved in research on the Indian diaspora as well as in research supported by SEPHIS, which compares the Muslim minority after 1947 in Bihar/Jharkhand with the Hindu minority in several districts of Bangladesh. Email: Kathinka@inranchi.com

- Mr. Masoom received his M.A in anthropology from Ranchi University. At present he is working as research asst. for SEPHIS. Address: D' Capery Hostel, Joratalab Road, Ranchi 834009. Email: masoomhere@yahoo.co.in

- Mr. Md. Ejaj Anwar is working as a Computer Registration officer in C.C.L. He did M.A. in Urdu and is a good Urdu writer. He has published several of his articles in newspapers and has a good knowledge of Gazal and Urdu literature. Address: Bariatu Basti, Bariatu, Ranchi 834009.

- Md. Tanweer Ahmad, has completed is M.SC in Zoology and is on the verge of completing his PhD in Zoology. He has published research papers and also completed his B. Journalism. Md. Tanweer mad is President of the Student Club Ranchi and is involved in a great many of extra curricular activities. Address: S/o Md. Mustaque Ahmad, Bariatu Madarsa, Bariatu Basti, Bariatu, Ranchi 834009. Phone: 540633/540955.

- Dr. Sayeed Akhtar did his MBBS from Rajendra Medical College, Ranchi. He joined the Central Institute of Psychiatry in Kanke as Medical Officer and subsequently did MD in Dermatology and DNB in Psychiatry. Currently, he is working as Chief Medical Officer in C.I.P. He has great interest in
development activities among the less privileged groups. Dr. Akhtar lives in Bariatu.

(Kathinka Sinha-Kerkhoff, kathinka@inranchi.com)

(Nov. 7, 2002) q

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