By Shafeeq Hudawi, Twociricles.net
For Bappu Haji, charity has never been an option; it is more of way of live. Nearly 40 years ago, Haji built a school for underprivileged children in Adakkakkundu, a remote hilly hamlet in Malappuram district in Kerala, and today the school is home to 3,000 children who would have otherwise found it difficult to attain formal education. Speaking of the school, Haji says Crescent Higher Secondary School has now become a part of his family. “These are my children. I hardly feel that I am left without children when I engage with these kids, as it lends me immense pleasure,” he tells Twocircles.net.
But Haji did not stop at this. For the past decade or so, he and his association, Coordination of Islamic Colleges (CIC), have been working towards realising Haji’s long cherished dream. The area, flanked by greenery, is now turning into an educational hub and the air is filled with the noise of labourers and equipments working day and night to complete a multi-storey building, the future site of a Rs.40 crore educational project.
Under the project, the headquarters and the PG campus will be built at Adakkakundu.
At the site, Haji, now 80, spends three hours a day inspecting the work being done. His posture and curiosity speak volumes about how is keenly waiting for the project to be completed. Mind you, he is neither an engineer, nor an architect and has little understanding of how to lead an educational institution. Haji dropped out of school after Class 4, but this never stopped him from helping others pursue their dreams.
“The day, when these walls go alive with hundreds of students, will come soon,” Bappu Haji says adding that he uses to pray for the day to come before he dies. The project cost of Rs 40 crore has been raised by contributions from all over the world, and while Haji has not contributed financially, he has donated something even bigger: he donated 15 acres of hereditary land for the building. Infact, he approached the Muslim leaders including IUML state president Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal expressing his willingness to contribute for any Islamic institution in the state.
What draws Haji towards the initiative is the greed to empower the Muslims in Kerala. “Education means strength and power. And it’s the need of the hour to have institutions of international standards both in academic domain and infrastructure,” he says.
Haji along with CIC functionaries like Abdul Hakeem Faizy Adrissery and Ibrahim Faizy Rippon dream of replicating the iconic Al Azhar University of Egypt in this hilly hamlet.
When the project gets materialized, it will facilitate higher studies in Islamic education for more than 1000 students, studying in around 50 institutions, run by CIC across Kerala. The PG complex at Adakkakundu will have advanced studying facilities, which include, classrooms, administrative block, labs and libraries.
“Women Islamic education is one of the main focuses of the complex. An exclusive part will be allocated for Wafiyya courses, which are aimed at graduating Muslim girls,” says Ibrahim Faizy.
The idea of donating resources for social welfare and charities has a rich tradition in Haji’s family.His grandfather Ahmed Haji had contributed three acres of land for Adakkakundu Jama Masjid mosque.
Haji’s charity works are often beyond caste, creed and religion. The samaritan has become a role model for others by resolving to generously allocate a major portion of land to build decent accommodation for 12 tribal families, who find it extremely hard to build one on their own.
Driven by the philosophy that peace of mind comes by helping the deprived, Bappu Haji has built a geriatric care centre at three acres of land. Named Hima, the centre boasts of of ten houses, each with one hall, bed room and kitchen.
“Some of the inmates are talkative while others are least interested in group activities. Unlike the typical geriatric care centres, the inmates are free to select the companions and houses of their choice,” says Faisal Wafy, a teacher of Adakkakkundu Crescent Higher Secondary School, who assists Bappu Haji.
The idea to build the centre gained momentum during his Wayanad, the hill station. At the prime tourist destination in northern Kerala, Haji saw some hapless geriatrics, who were baffling at beds, put in a manner similar to that of an hospital ward.
“That was an eye opening event. That day, I felt that I would be more at peace if I could help the geriatrics, thrown out by their kith and kin, and provide them with an homely atmosphere at the eve of their,” he reminisces. For Haji, helping others is the only way of life.