An evening with Padma Bhushan Moosa Raza

By Shafee Ahmed Ko,

Chennai: Moosa Raza former I.A.S. officer who served as principal secretary to the chief minister of Gujarat and chief secretary of Jammu & Kashmir government and as an advisor to the UP governor, secretary to the government of India the cabinet secretariat and the ministry of steels was recently awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan by the President of India.

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The office bearers and members of “Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought in Islam” felicitated Moosa Raza on the eve of Thusrday March 11th in Chennai at Hotel Marina. Mr.Moosa Raza holds the office of Southern India Educational Trust (SIET) as the Chairman.

S. Muthaia, renowned columnist, historian, Andrew T. Simkin, Consul General of the U.S.A, and Mrs. Simkin participated in the function.

The President of the Forum Zackria Badsha in his welcome address, recollected his reminiscences and, showered encomiums to the Chief Guest Moosa Raza.

Moosa Raza

The General Secretary of the Forum Faizur Rahman thanked the Chief Guest as well others for honouring the invitation. Faizur Rahman said that he was inspired by Moosa Raza for his ardent thirst for knowledge and love for poetry. He said Moosa is fluent in around five languages such as Persian, Urdu, Arabic, and Gujurati apart from English.

Being very vivacious in his reply to the welcome address Moosa Raza stressed that strong faith in God is most essential in life. He went back to his primary school days wherein he happened to read numerous books on astronomy became a star gazer but at the same time lost his faith in God being influenced by the books he read and became an atheist. He narrated how two of his school teachers changed again his life into staunch believer in Allah.

“My teacher Khaleelur Rahman, deserted by his sons, beaten by inexorable fate was laid up in sick bed in a congested Government General hospital,” he recollected. By seeing the pathetic and isolated condition of the teacher, young Moosa asked his teacher,” How you are able to be alone, Sir?”

“My teacher who appeared exuberant and joyously unrestrained” said Mr. Raza, “Alone…who said I am alone. My Allah is with me”. Moved by the confident utterance of the teacher, young Moosa felt that his teacher was at least with Allah, “But I am alone!!” Mr. Raza recalled another incidence with his other teacher Abdul Ali asked with regards to faith in God, and he got the reply that worship is not mere a ritual of genu-flexing but “Strong committed and concomitant faith”. Mosa referred to the Quran Verse (Chapter 2:177)

”It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces toward East or West; But it is righteousness – To believe in Allah (The One and Only God) and the Last Day and the angels and the Book.”
“To spend of your substance out of love for Him; for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; To be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; To fulfill the contracts which ye have made; And to be firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth the Allah-fearing (God-conscious).”

He spoke in length about the plight of Kashmir when he served as a Home Secretary of the state. He gave the history of Kashmir how the different rulers oppressed the region. He recounted, ”Moghuls, Afghans and Sikhs oppressed the Kashmiris in different manners.”

He wondered as to why the print and electronic media rush to different parts of India when calamity and catastrophe occur but consummately neglect to visit Kashmir.” Don’t visit Kashmir as tourist but visit Kashmir to understand it’s a state of difficulty that needs to be resolved” he said.

He narrated,” The people crossed over to Pakistan where the per capita was only Rs.400, while India’s per capita was 4 times more i.e. Rs.1600”. He briefed the horrible state how people could live with undersized rooms by 120 sq.ft with almost 12 members packed inside.

He further said, “The visiting officers never went to the interior rural of Kashmir and after having spent niceties in Kashmir they presented an optimistic picture to the government and crores sanctioned and were spent.” He shared his experience how he penetrated deep into the rural areas of Kashmir with T.N.Sheshan, the then Cabinet Secretary, and planned schemes for rural health development, and educational programmes.”

Moosa felt that our nation is facing a strong challenge for which we have to face it squarely forgetting different factions like religion, regional differences and linguistic feelings. “In a pluralistic India with varied culture, language, cuisines, religions one should know how to be united and unified.”

Mr. Andrew T.Simkin, the Consul General of U.S.A in Chennai, Mr.Muthaiah, a columnist and historian also spoke in the function.