“Muslim youth need to dream big,” say founders of Misaal initiative

Screenshot of the website Misaal

Misaal is a platform committed to inspire and influence young Indian Muslims by sharing success stories of people from the community who achieved incredible milestones and emerged as pioneers and champions in various fields.

Shalini S, TwoCircles.net

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At a time when Covid-19 lockdown forced all of us to stay indoors and positive stories were in short supply, three Muslim youth came up with an initiative called Misaal to highlight success stories from the Muslim community. Three youth Aman Mansuri (25), a consultant at BCG, Amim Fatmi (25), associate manager at TCS and Shaista Khan (25), a venture capital associate who are alumni of India’s premier institutes like IIT Roorkee, IIM Ahmedabad, XLRI Jamshedpur, NIFT Delhi and NIFTEM started Misaal.

Misaal is a platform committed to inspire and influence young Indian Muslims by sharing success stories of people from the community who achieved incredible milestones and emerged as pioneers and champions in various fields.

Aman Mansuri

Misaal in Urdu means ‘a good example.’ We wanted to find out the Misaals of our community and share their experiences to hone the self-confidence of the youths and introduce them to the world of possibilities,” Aman told TwoCircles.net.

The trio acknowledged the privilege they had in getting into institutes of national importance, however, they say that they were perplexed by the lesser ratio of the Muslim students in such institutions. “I had only two female Muslim students as my batchmate,” said Shaista. “If I made it to the list, so can others, and this is what the initiative is about,” she added.

Misaal believes that the first step to achieving something is to dream big.

“Muslim youth need to develop big aspirations and not restrict themselves. Currently, the major focus among the community’s youth is on quick income generation. This, coupled with a widespread lack of awareness about the opportunities leads many to drop out and overall poor education levels,” said Amim.

“While there are many reasons for lack of aspiration, the most important one is the lack of visible role models who can serve as positive examples to the youth,” added Aman.

Amim Fatmi

Aman shared an anecdote wherein the only prominent Muslim figures that his friends knew of were late Indian president Dr A. P. J Abdul Kalam and the first Minister of Education of independent India, Abdul Kalam Azad. “This obliviousness about the contemporary prominent Muslim figures was alarming,” the trio said.

Misaal has posted a total of 14 episodes starting August 16, 2020, to date. Each episode is of 25 – 30 minutes long entailing relatable lived experiences in which successful people from the Muslim community share their inspirational stories. Some of the prominent figures featured on their YouTube channel are Shahrukh Alam, a lawyer at the Supreme Court of India, Quaiser Khalid, IGP, Maharastra Police, Shabina Akhtar, founder of eNewsroom, Talha Abdul Rahman, an Advocate on Record, Supreme Court, and Dr Mohammad Hussain, founder of Baroda Muslim Doctors Association.

“I am very glad that I was contacted by Misaal to share my story as an inspiration. I am more than happy to contribute in whatever way I can in this endeavour,” commented Parveen Khanam, Assistant Vice President, Genpact, who had shared her story on the platform.

The trio identified the lack of guidance and inspiration among the Muslim youths as a problem and have set out to provide a solution through Misaal. To make a positive difference among their community’s youngsters, they want to create an efficient system working on three levels, “To inspire the Muslim youths by sharing the stories of high-achieving Indian Muslims and to provide mentorship and scholarships, and to upskill them through workshops.”

Shaista Khan

“We are in the initial phase where we are trying to create a fraternity. So far it’s been only a one-way communication but going forward we want to engage on a personal level with our audience and address their needs,” said Aman. “As things start to settle well, we will gain grounds and start conducting mentorship programs and workshops extensively,” added Amim.

The trio believes that educated Muslims can build a progressive society and eventually help build a better and stronger nation. The trio says in unison, “Padhega Muslaman, tab hi badhega Muslaman aur phir badhega Hindustan” (Only an educated Muslim can make for a progressive Muslim community and in turn making a better India).

The Misaal episodes are available to watch on their YouTube channel and they can be approached through other platforms on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.