Modi wins hearts of Bohra community

Ahmedabad: He came, he spoke and he conquered can sum up the one-and-a-half hours that he spent at the Burhani Expo, Chief Minister Narendra Modi did a Caesar two days back. Members of the Dawoodi Bohra community participating in the event from across the country as well as globe seemed very impressed with Modi after he finished his 20-minute speech.

In between showering praises on spiritual leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb, Modi spoke at length on how the Bohra community had contributed to the state's growth and appealed to them to continue doing so.

While saying that development was the only answer to all social ills, he urged Bohras to play a bigger role in the state's development. The two-day expo is a trade exhibition of Dawoodi Bohra community, the first of its kind in the country where more than 150 exhibitors from various industries are taking part.

Modi began his speech by praising the Bohras who he said have brought a good name to Gujarat from every place they have been to. Describing Syedna Saheb as a karmasheel person the CM said that the community has been fortunate enough to get Saheb's blessings and good wishes every year.

“Today Vibrant Gujarat Summit has become a big event but few people know that first Vibrant Gujarat Summit in 2003 had started off in Surat with Syedna Saheb's blessings,” Modi said.

Earlier, Saheb's son Huzefa Saheb praised Modi for taking Gujarat on the fast track of progress. He asked the Bohras to be a part of the state's development and that the Burhani Expo will strengthen the community links. This will serve as a platform for Bohras to grow. Textiles, chemicals, hardware, pharma, machine tools, construction, glass, metal and jewellery were some of the sectors which were represented at the expo.

Modi said that Syedna Saheb’s 100th birthday (on March 25 as per Islamic calendar) was being celebrated in the state’s Golden Jubilee Year.

He said that Syedna Saheb was turning 100, and he had requested him to remain in Gujarat for his birth centenary celebrations. The CM praised the importance Dawoodi Bohra community had laid on education. He noted that while Mahatma Gandhi established Gujarat Vidyapith in 1930, Syedna Saheb’s father had established Arabic University in Surat long before that in 1920 itself.

He praised the community for having been able to keep itself away from various ills, and attributed it to the spiritual guidance provided by Syedna Saheb. He said that the Bohras, while being open to change, had managed to retain their culture and preserve the Gujarati language. He said the community had vigorously taken up the task of building check-dams in the state. He urged Bohra community women to educate pregnant women about the importance of proper nutrition to prevent malnutrition among them.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2011 on page no. 3

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