Salman Khursheed makes announcements about minority scholarships at AFMI’s Indore convention

By Pervez Bari,,

Indore: Salman Khursheed, the Union Minister of State for Corporate & Minority Affairs (Independent Charge), has announced that from next year the Government of India’s minority scholarships will be given to one and all who are eligible. The rules and regulations are being amended for this and cent per cent minority scholarships will be distributed from next academic session. The amount earmarked for the minorities as such would not be allowed to relapse.

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This announcement was made by Salman Khursheed in the opening session on the last day of the two-day XVIII Annual International Convention on Education & Gala Award Ceremony of the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, (AFMI), here in Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, at Ravindra Natya Grah on Sunday.

Over 100 meritorious students, who have achieved educational excellence in Std. X and Std. XII Board examinations in 20 states of India, were felicitated with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals on the occasion. The No.1 student to score over all others from across India was Ayesha Haroon Rashid Tamboli who obtained 99.99% in the Maharashtra Board Std. X examinations. Apart from the medals each student received a scholarship of Rs. 5,000/- and in case of need was assured for further scholarships.

The other achievers in the SSC (Grade 10) category were: 2. M. Sumaiya Thasneem (98.20%),Tamil Nadu; 3. Sarwar Hasib (97.14%), Orissa; 4. Hasnain Rangwala (96.40%) Madhya Pradesh and 5. Saleha Iqbal Hussain (96.40%), Rajasthan.

The top five students in the HSC (Grade 12) category who were felicitated included: 1. M. Syed Khaleel Awn (98.58%), Tamil Nadu; 2. Almas Nazim Sayed (98.50%), Maharashtra; 3. Sana Firdouse (97.50%), Andhra Pradesh; 4. Nazrin P.S. (96.50%) Kerala and 5. C.M. Akbar Ali (96%), Karnataka.

Expressing happiness Khursheed said it gives great pleasure to see that in the pursuit of spreading education everywhere someone or the other is doing his bit to ignite the light of knowledge. However, he said, there still remains much to be done to extricate the Muslim community from the quagmire of illiteracy and poverty. “We have recognized our path on which we have to tread but the goal is still far ahead”, he remarked.

He made an appeal that Muslims should strive hard in every field to excel in a big way to make a lasting impression in India as AFMI has done in the USA and Canada. The aim of the Muslim youth should not be just to enter into jobs but they run an extra mile to prove their invincibility and make dedication, honesty and the will to march ahead with time and succeed as their hallmark. There should be no inferiority complex in Muslim youth, he cautioned.

When someone from the audience send a slip to remind Khursheed that Govt. of India’s minority scholarship has not been distributed by the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled Gujarat Government proclaiming that it did not have funds to put in its share, he assured to find some other ways to help the students of that state.

He revealed that after 90 districts with 25 per cent Muslim population which have been earmarked for special development by Government of India the next step would be to uplift the districts with 15 per cent Muslim population.

He also revealed that amendment in the Central Waqf Act is in the pipeline to streamline its management to boost income which is at present in very bad state. The Waqf amendment bill has gone to the Union Law Ministry to make it more stringent so that encroachers of the property are unable to grab it and hold on to it in future. In the National Minority Finance Corporation a Waqf development agency is being created to develop Waqf properties freed from encroachers on turnkey basis.

Khursheed informed that he has been interacting with the Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and in two-three months time some good news about the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia University is likely to emerge.

Prof. A. A. Abbasi, former Vice Chancellor of Indore University, speaking on the occasion said that in cities awareness about importance of education has increased and now time has come to turn our attention and energies towards rural areas and open schools in villages to educate Muslims there.

Mrs. Abida Inamdar of Azam Campus Pune, said action is needed and not conferences, workshops, conventions, seminars etc. Our target should be that in next five years no child is left out from being imparted education. “Think globally but act locally”, she remarked.

Dr. Aslam Abdullah, Trustee AFMI and Director of Islamic Institute of Las Vegas-Nevada-USA, who compeered the program, said the AFMI people have come not to guide people here in India and what to do and how to do but to unload their debt which the community had spend on them when they were studying here. He said that 600 million dollars are being spend on education in India by the NRIs from the USA, Canada, Middle East, Australia etc. but its results are not quite visible as they should have been. This is due to non-coordination and controversies which are the trademarks of Muslim society.

Dr. A. R. Nakadar, Trustee AFMI, said: “Jo Desh Apne Bachchon Ki Tarbiyat Nahin Karta Who aage Nahin Badhta; Jo Samaj Apne bachchon Ki Hosla Afzaee Nahi Karta padhayee Mein Woh Backward Rahta Hai Aur Jo family Bachchon Ko Taleem Se Mahroom Rakhti Hai Woh Hamesha Ghareeb Rahti Hai”.

Dr. Nakadar, a cardiologist who hails from Gujarat but is settled in the suburbs of Detroit-MI-USA, said the spectacular performance of the students who were felicitated in the convention reveals that there is a need to encourage and inspire the best and the brightest students of the community. AFMI has been doing just that since the inception of its awards program 19 years ago. When AFMI first sought applications there were very few students who would cross the 80 percent mark. But 19 years later many students are not guaranteed a medal even if they have scored more than 90 percent due to tough competition from their colleagues.

Dr. Iqbal Ahmed from Cleveland area of Ohio in the USA, the incoming president of AFMI for 2010 hailing from Malerkotla in Punjab, defining Islam in a nutshell said it is the development of one’s inner-self, under the guidance of Holy Qur’an and Hadith, and exploration of the creation of the universe through education. He said that when one is born one is illiterate and poor but has the potential to acquire knowledge and thereby overcome one’s poverty.

Dr. Iqbal appreciated India’s “Sarva Shiksha Abhyan” (United Nation’s Education for All) and suggested that a board be formed for creating awareness among Muslims towards various schemes conducted by the Union and state governments for minorities.

Others who spoke on the occasion included law maker & ex-minister Bala Bachchan, Justice (Retd.) A. G. Qureshi, Madhya Pradesh Minorities Commission secretary O. F. Khatani, Madhya Pradesh Youth Congress president Jeetu Patwari,

The two-day program was jointly hosted by Rahat Charitable Trust, Khargone (M.P.) and Taleem Foundation of Madhya Pradesh. The next AFMI convention i.e. the XIX edition will be held in Ahmadabad in December 2010.

Delegates from the United States, Canada and all over India attended the AFMI convention. The delegates reaffirmed their dedication to the cause of education in India and promised to do their best in furthering AFMI’s goal of bringing in the light of literacy to each and every Muslim home in India.

At the outset Maulana Aqueel Shaikh recited verses from the Holy Qur’an. The vote of thanks was proposed by Shakir Mukhi.

In the next session the former and present awardee students were given an opportunity to exchange their views about educational and career experiences. How were they motivated by the AFMI’s educational excellence programme?

On Saturday AFMI’s Sir Syed Award 2009 for contributions to the education of Indian Muslims was presented to Mumbai-based educationist Mubarak Kapdi. While AFMI’s Meer Taqi Meer Award 2009 which was to be presented to noted poet and littérateur Pt. Anand Mohan Zutshi ‘Gulzar’ Dehlvi for contributions to Urdu literature could not be given as he failed to be present on the occasion due to ill health. The award shall be sent to his home. Both the awards carried a citation, a crystal plaque, and 30,000 rupees.

The AFMI, which is a philanthropic charity organization founded by American Muslims of Indian Origin, has come a long way since its inception in 1989. As a grass roots based organization it has been working towards the goal of attaining 100 percent literacy and the elimination of poverty in the Indian Muslim community. ([email protected])