By Nigar Ataulla
â€œ Networkingâ€?â€¦. We have all heard this umpteen times at seminars and forums. The Muslim community has many scattered links that need to be tied up. How common it is to find Muslims running from pillar to post to reach out to each other. A database of Muslim organizations, journalists, social workers or for that matter educational institutions had always been a dream of sorts. But not anymore!
The â€œMillat Directoryâ€? has come as a boon to the community in particular and society at large. The unflinching efforts of the soft-spoken Abdul Khaliq bore fruit in the form of the Millat Directory, a compilation of names and contact details of over 5000 Muslim educational and social institutions, professionals, top government officials, media professionals and organizations, hospitals, business establishments, madrasas, mosque committees, ulema, and Haj and Umrah travel agencies in Karnataka. As a one-man crusader, who strongly believes in talking less and working more, Abdul Khaliq spent two years chalking out the outline and plans for the Directory. The first edition was released in 2005.
After graduating from the Al-Ameen College in Bangalore in 1979, Abdul Khaliq joined the Bangalore-based Urdu newspaper Daily Pasban. He was also associated with the Daily Azad, Southern Speaker and Alambardar. He set the trend of investigative reporting in the Urdu media in Karnataka. His column, â€œ Mai Dekhta Chala Gayaâ€? in the Pasban, where he is chief reporter, is very popular and thought-provoking.
Abdul Khaliqâ€™s selfless zeal prompted him to set on the task of compiling the â€œMillat Directoryâ€?. â€œI felt that it would serve the very crucial need of putting Muslim organizations and social activists in touch with each otherâ€?, he explains. As chief of the Bangalore-based Bedaar-e-Millat Foundation Trust, which has published the Directory, Khaliq invested his own time, money and intellect to put together the data for the Directory. â€œ I had many contacts in the media in different districts in Karnataka. . I managed to get information through them and built up the data base. It took two years to collect information for the first edition, which was published in 2005. After the first edition, we issued advertisements in different publications requesting organizations and individuals to enroll their names into the Directory. I also send out self-addressed post cards to institutions to help them update the information, change in address etc. Posters are also put up in mosques about the Millat Directory, requesting people to send information about local Muslim organisationsâ€? says Abdul Khaliq.
Priced at Rs. 100, the over 150-page Directory is the first of its kind in India, although there are a few other directories with data on Muslim NGOs and mosques etc.. The 2007 edition of the Directory was released recently in Bangalore by K. Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
The Directory has proved to be of immense use to the community as it comes as a handy â€œsearch helplineâ€? on media organizations, Muslim educational institutions, hospitals, orphanages and many other groups. Although the focus is Karnataka, it also covers many important Muslim institutions across India. â€œThe Bedaar-e-Millat Foundation Trust aims at creating awareness among Muslims about educational and other such community organizations,â€? says Abdul Khaliq.
Efforts have already begun to keep updating the information for the next edition. The Millat Directory is a worthy effort that can be emulated in different states in India by Muslim organizations. Abdul Khaliqâ€™s single-handed effort for Karnataka can surely be emulated by Muslim social activists and organizations in other states.
(Abdul Khaliq can be reached at [email protected] Ph:9448067369)
Nigar Ataulla can be contacted on [email protected]
[Photo: Abdul Khaliq with Millat Directory]