Syed Mohammad Raghib for BeyondHeadlines
Muslim India was my favorite Child, nurtured with love, time, energy and money for more than twenty years, with the objective of focusing on the Muslims situation in India, political, economic, social and educational of noting its struggle and endeavor, its weakness and strengths, and hypocrisy of its friends as well as its unrealizable perceptions, both internal and external. In one word, the object was to compile a record for the next generation of the events & happenings of the last quarter of the 20th century. Muslim India fearlessly brought together all available authoritative information about political under-representation, economic deprivation, its educational backwardness & social degeneration. In the process Muslim India became an institution, acclaimed for his accuracy and impartiality, as it was community, which was as proud of being Indians as it was of being Muslims, thus representing a reach cultural synthesis and confluence. Muslim India was acclaimed both for its reportage and analysis. In a way it became the fore-runner of the Sachchar Report.
In 1996, I lost my seat in the Parliament and thus ceased to have access to official information. I was also no longer in a position to bridge the financial gap. So on completion of 20 years in December, 2002, I requested my dear friend Zafrul Islam Khan, Editor of Milli Gazette, to take it over. He ran it for three years then stopped.
Pressed by some Friends & assured of their support, I began the third phase in July 2006 and kept it going until December, 2009.But the friend who had promised extensive help silently withdrew after the first year! What pained me for 20 years & I kept on distributing more than a thousand complimentary copied to eminent public figures, academicians and journalists. At one stage I appealed to them to become paid subscribers but the response was poor. I tried to raise money through enrollment of Donor-Subscribers and Friends of Muslim India going. But for how long! The real problem was non-availability of skilled staff whose cost had risen & the mounting debt.
Agonizingly, I realized that with poor health and faltering finances had no option to call it a day. So the last issue is in your hand.
I have been wondering how to keep in touch with you to share my reaction to the national situation as it develops. Perhaps occasionally through the internet, I thank all of you who have helped me all these years in one way or the other.
I pray to Allah that before long someone, stronger than me and with better command of resources shall emerge on the scene to fill the gap.
May Allah bless, Ameen
(These words are Mr. Syed Shahabuddin’s in his “The Editor’s Desk” of magazine, Muslim India, 306, December, 2009 page no.5)
To read Mr. Syed Shahbuddin sb’s Editor’s Desk, about his magazine Muslim India, “Khuda Hafiz, Muslim India” in his reputed magazine, Muslim India, 306, December, 2009 page no.5, my tear come out and I was shocked for a long time that how much our community is self centric and careless about the affairs of Muslims. Now it’s tough for me to stop my pen without hesitation to blame not only community leaders but those capitalist Muslims and intellectuals who just ignore this great work and hardly supported that magazine financially or intellectually during crisis period.
Community hardly received that kind of efforts, after partition’s shock from Muslim domain and Muslim society, but if someone comes out for community, they trampled by a group of people for their own political or social benefits, and the same thing had happened with him. Our community never approached him for help to stimulate such great magazine which still very much preferred in readers, academics and intellectual’s circle due to good information in all respect.
I hope that some people will sincerely look this issue and will revive this magazine which is very significant and as Mr. Syed Shahabuddin sb, said in his appeal that, “the object was to compile a record for the next generation of the events & happenings of the last quarter of the 20th century “. If such kind of work will stop so our next generation will be in trouble and a good planner like him will be again grief and sorrow due to non support from the community.
It’s time to think about our next generations who will be required such efforts and that resourceful information for their development and for hard competitive condition. Now, due to heavy commercialization of education and professionalism hardly any good supportive figures available around us apart from these people who always ready to support the community with all their potential. I have few names in my mind which cannot be ignored due to their past and present serving of this great work in a very positive and much dedicative way, like Mr. Wali Rahmani sb., who started RAHMANI-30, Maulana Badruddin Ajmal sb., who started free IAS/IPS coaching institute, Syed Zafar Mahmood sb., who are running ZAKAT FOUNDATION OF INDIA, and Mr. P.A Inamdar sb., who are running many educational institution and many other organization as well like Hamdard Study Circles etc. who are active to produce a dazzling next generation.
Despite all these progressive efforts, we are leg behind from our target and Muslims are worse than SC/ST. This is the sour fact which is always strike my mind and others mind as well, why we are so backward? Why our community never achieved that certain point which could make community self independence, why our politician and so called intellectuals just ignores the community to proof their loyalty towards state and some political party, and to just show they are more secular? Why our religious institutions are only centric about religious education rather than modern setup but earlier it was well setup like Al-Nizamia of Baghdad which was setup in 1065 and in just 33 years of age Al-Ghazali was appointed professor of that school in 1091, where politics, bureaucracy, math, physics, chemistry, history, astrology and other subject taught among 3000 students.
Not only that period, after 18th centaury many Muslims scholars who were basically from traditional educational background done well in Journalism, Politics, History, sociology, mathematics etc which now madrasas fail to produce such scholars, specially Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, Maulana Shibli Numani, Syed Suleman Nadvi, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Maulana Mohammad Ali, Syed Ali Mian Nadvi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, Maulan Maudoodi, Pir Meher Ali Shah, Allama Iqbal, Rafique Zakaria, and others.
Now it’s time to think work that Muslim community must take their own responsibility and efforts to generate such classic scholar as it was earlier, we have our long legacy to produce good journalist, doctors, engineers, social scientist, thinkers, mathematician and many other professional experts by own resource for next generation necessity, so the next generation will be thankful to us for a great work which is still due.
If we commit to do that with full of our dedication and well guided method then we can change the life of thousand of our people specially children which are still waiting a liberator (Masiha) and we can develop our secular India in which all religious and political option will be available for everyone without any biasness and discrimination. Government assistance is good but our own efforts should be sturdier.
Before going to conclude my writing here I would like to remind two couplet of Allama Iqbal, in which he says that “QUWAT O FIKR O AMAL PAHLE FANA HOTI HAI, PHIR KISI QAUM KE SHAUKAT PE ZAWAL AATA HAI” and in the second couplet he said that
“Khulte Nahin Iss Qulzam-e-Khamosh Ke Asrar
Jab Tak Tu Iss Zarb-e-Kaleemi Se Na Cheere”
The secrets of this silent sea, however, do not yield
Until you cut it with the blow of the Moses’ rod.
In the light of above couplet there is need to unite in all front and work for better education, political and social participation for the progress of this country and community and not to be fragmented in the name of Deobandi, Barelvi, Khanqahi, Hanafi, Ahle Hadees or Jamiat Ulema e Hind, Jamat E Islami Hind, Jamat Ahle Hadees, Khanqahi, Muqallid and Non Muqalllid etc.. Sometimes Muslim are treated as a second class citizen of this country due to fragmentation in our thought and political, sectarian division.
I hope our religious and political leaders learnt lot from the contemporary politics, social changes, current crisis from other our people who fought for their right and demand for participation and existence with dignity. Due to lack of one voice we are facing lot of problem not only in our village, city, and state but all over nation is same way. So, it’s my humble request to all those who have great ideas for community, society for their socio-political and educational development which is due since long time to come out with fresh mind and take the responsibility of community and start Muslim India in coming months.
(Syed Mohammad Raghib is a doctoral research scholar in Centre for West Asian Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org )