Special Reports

Azamgarh hosts Muslim Educational Conference

Azamgarh: Tarique Azam, an IIT Madras graduate and a native of Azamgarh (presently living in Malaysia) sponsored the two-day second All India Muslim Educational Conference in Shibli Academy, Azamgarh. He chaired the inaugral session on 6 March. Dr. Iftekhar Ahmad, Prinicpal of the Shibli National College, welcomed the delegates of the conference and talked about excellence in education. Amanullah Khan offered a detailed introduction of the All India Educational Movement and its program of establishing information centres in various parts of the country and establishment of an educational fund.

Azamgarh hosts Muslim Educational Conference

In his inaugural address, Tarique Azam talked about the mission of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who sowed a seed which today has become a giant tree. He lamented that though inspired by Sir Syed, Allama Shibli Nomani established the National School in Azamgrh in 1883. It has indeed become a towering tree in the form of Shibli National College but not many more such trees could be established since. He pointed out the shortcomings of Madarsa education and lack of vocational skills in their students, so necessary to lead an honorable life. He termed the government system of education as “total collapse”. He lamented the control of 20 percent population over 89 percent of the national economy and said that education is the only way by which poor and downtrodden can come up in life and play a positive role in the world. He announced establishment of coaching and guidance centres in different parts of the district starting from the one in Shibli National College itself on that same day (6 March).

Rizwan Falahi, who had come from UK, emphasized imparting the kind of education which recognizes the supremacy of Almighty Allah. Maulana Mustaqeem Ahsan Azmi, president Jamiat Ulama-e Hind Maharashtrea, emphasized the role of Madarsa education in a Muslim society and gave a detailed account of the Jamiat’s legal defense of Muslim youths incarcerated in different jails of the country.

Professor Ram Puniyani, formerly of the IIT Bombay, narrated in his keynote address the situation which led to the partition of the country and pointed out the sinister hegemonic design of the British as well as modern capitalist forces in controlling the resources of the world. He described two types of terrorism: one which is born out of the womb of injustice, poverty and persecution and the other when people are brainwashed in factories of extremist/fascist forces. He quoted Swami Vivekanand who had said, “Islam didn’t spread through sword but the downtrodden suffering masses in India accepted Islam influenced by its philosophy of equity and brotherhood.” He pointed out the positive influence of reservation obtained by Dr. Ambedkar on the life of Dalits and regretted lack of such opportunities for Muslims. He also pointed out the ghettoisation of Muslims through fear psychosis developed as a result of engineered communal riots. He advocated a United Charter of Human Rights to uphold the dignity of human beings.

Abrar Ahmad Islahi of the Makkah-based Muslim World League, gave an account of the British design of curricula aimed at subjugating the vanquished Muslims. Though Sir Syed Ahmad Khan had tried to counter this sinister design by establishing a university but it could not spread as desired. He emphasized on the acquisition of all kind of knowledge and said that Muslims never differentiated between types of education. He gave examples of philosophers like Ibn Sina and Razi who were produced by Islamic education. According to Mr. Islahi, 100 percent Muslims should be able to impart not only modern education but they may be able to perform all kinds of duties expected from a Muslim, e.g., conducting funeral prayers etc.

Mr. Javed, former minister of Maharashtra, stressed on the need to include Muslims in the OBC list and said that this can be done by state governments.

In his presidential remarks, Professor Ishtiyaq Ahmad Zilli said that it was Allama Shibli who gave importance to the reform of the madarsa syllabi. He explained the importance of holding this educational conference in Azamgarh. Dr. Ahmad Safi Ansari, Manager, Ziauddin Khan Memorial School of Badharia conducted the proceedings.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2011 on page no. 17

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