Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kejriwal: A Hindu by faith, a Muslim by practice By Syed Zuber Ahmad --MUSLIM MIRROR

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/kejriwal-a-hindu-by-faith-a-muslim-by-practice/


Kejriwal: A Hindu by faith, a Muslim by practice

January 27, 2014 in Home SliderIndian MuslimViewpoints | 254 Comments
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Arvind Kejriwal














By Syed Zubair Ahmad,
When Arvind Kejriwal was delivering his inaugural speech as Chief Minister of Delhi I was sitting in another  room and listening to him. All of a sudden I heard him saying ‘Mai Allah Ka Shukrya Ada Karta Hun’, I got confused and went to the room where the TV set was on. O my God, it was Kejriwal who uttered this sentence of gratefulness. I did not hear such words of praise of Almighty even from the mouth of a Muslim politician in India.
When I see Kejriwal’s sacrifice and his struggle for the cause of common man, when I see his austerity, his simple life style, his honesty and his straightforwardness i assume him  a Muslim by faith because whatever he calling for or doing is absolutely the teachings of Islam.I don’t think any religion of the world advocates in such a clear terms except Islam  about what Kejriwal is practicing and doing  for the welfare of humanity although all religion of the world teach us to be good and to do good.
Prophet Muhammad said: ‘The best among the people is the one who does good to the people’. It’s Kejriwal who is doing good to the people, who is striving for the betterment of people, who is fighting for the upliftment of the people from  long time.
Prophet Muhammad said that ‘Your worst enemy is your ego’.
Kejriwal in his inaugural speech as the CM asked his supporters to shun all kind of ego otherwise a new movement may start to end our ego.
Prophet Muhammad said ‘Those who take bribe and those who give bribe, both will go to hell’. It’s Kejriwal who is fighting against all kinds of bribe and corruptions. It is Kejriwal who took oath from the people to neither take bribe nor give bribe to anyone.
Prophet Muhammad said ‘Cleanliness is the part of Imaan. When Kejriwal was income tax commissioner he used to clean his  table, when he became politician he took the broom and started cleaning the system.
Prophet Muhammad said ‘Simplicity is the part of Imaan.’ Look at the simplicity of Kejriwal. He is the simplest person by any standard.
Once Prophet Muhammad was sitting on his foot, one of his companions asked ‘why are you sitting like this? The prophet said ‘I am a servant of Almighty Allah and I sit like a servant’. Kejriwal always says ‘meri koee auqaat nhi’  ‘meri koee haisiyat nahi’ I am nothing, I have no status.
Prophet Muhammad said ‘The best form of jihad is to say the truth before the oppressive rulers’. Kejriwal is telling the truth before the rulers.
Muslims believe that the time of death is fixed, and no power of this world can put off  it for a moment. By refusing his security Kejriwal has proved that he also believes in the fixed time of death. He told media persons that if God wants to kill him, no one can save him. And if does not want, no one can kill him.
Islam is the greatest advocate of brotherhood, and it declares all mankind the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. Kejriwal gave the massage of brotherhood by singing the song…insaan se insaan ka ho bhaee chara yahi paigham hamara’
Kejriwal is one of the few Hindu politicians in my knowledge who don’t follow the unethical policy of Chanakya who advocated to ignore all kinds of ethics to grab the power at any cost.
The way Kejriwal and his ministers are roaming freely and contacting people in a move to redress their grievances and solve their problem reminds us the Caliphs of Islamic history when Muslim Caliphs used to roam into the streets to know the problems of the masses.
If Kejriwal really wants to eliminate the corruption from the society he must know that legislation can never and will never end the corruption from the society. The legislation on rape is before us. In spite of most stringent legislation after 16 Dec incident last year the crime against women rose to 400% in Delhi itself.
Kejriwal needs to apply the following model to end the corruption from the society if he really wants to do so.
During one of his frequent disguised journeys to survey the condition of his people, Caliph Umaroverheard a milkmaid refusing to obey her mother’s orders to sell adulterated milk. The mother reportedly told her daughter to add water to the milk as Caliph Umar is not there looking at them. The girl shot back that though Caliph Umar is not looking at them, Allah is always watching over everyone. Next morning Omar sent an officer to purchase milk from the girl and learned that she had kept her resolve; the milk was unadulterated. Umar summoned the girl and her mother to his court and told them what he had heard. Then he offered to marry the girl to his son Asim as a reward. She accepted, and from this union was born a girl named Layla that would in due course become the mother of Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz  (682 A.D.) who is known as Omar II in the Islamic history .
Caliph Omar II was the mightiest ruler of his time on the planet whose authority was spread in three continents – but  Umar died in Ra jab 101 AH at the age of 38 in a rented house at the place called Dair Sim’aan near Homs in Syria . He was buried in Dair Sim’aan on a piece of land he had purchased from a Christian. He reportedly left behind only 17 dinars with a will that out of this amount the rent of the house in which he died and the price of the land in which he was buried would be paid.
Once his wife found him weeping after prayers. She asked what had happened. He replied: “I have been made the ruler over the Muslims and I was thinking of the poor who are starving, and the sick who are destitute, and the naked who are in distress, and the oppressed that are stricken, and the stranger that is in prison, and the venerable elder, and him that had a large family and small means, and the like of them in countries of the earth and the distant provinces, and I felt that my Lord would ask me about them on the Day of Resurrection, and I feared that no defense would avail me (at that time), and I wept.”
The Facebook page of Kejriwal describes him as Gandhis’ Talisman. If  Kejriwal really wants to solve the problems of the masses then he must follow the advice of   Gandhi .Just after the independence in his speech delivered in Kolkata  Mahatma Gandhi said ” that if India finds a man like Omar ibn Khatab all the problems will be solved”.
Gandhi was the greatest supporter of Caliphate Movement and was much influenced by the second Caliph Omar.
Anyway what is supposed to be done by Muslims, Kejriwal is doing,what is responsibility of a Muslim is being performed by Kejriwal , that is why i say ‘Kejriwal is a Hindu by faith and Muslim by practice’  because Islam is a all about  worshiping  God and serving  the  humanity .
     

Monday, May 23, 2016

Abolish personal laws: Patriarchy remains deaf to the Quran’s call for justice, equality and compassion By Sadia Dehlvi - The Times of India

My comments on TOI article by Sadia Dehlvi: Abolish Personal Laws

Ghulam Muhammed
•Mumbai•1 min ago

TOI should be lauded for giving Shadia Dehlvi the chance to go public with so much of Islamic sharia issues. Let general readership study the issues and come out with some consensus as to why State, a secular State, and that too now in the stranglehold of a theocratic ideology obsessed Hindutva rulers, should be looked as the ultimate source of reform in all myriad religions inhabiting India. Too much stress on micro issues has robbed Sadia Dehlavi of the foresight to concentrate on macros. So-called reformists openly acknowledge their failure, when they hark the State to come to the aid of the party. They should fight patriarchy socially rather than politically, giving the political class a chance to make a mess of religion as they have made the mess of politics.


Abolish personal laws: Patriarchy remains deaf to the Quran’s call for justice, equality and compassion


May 24, 2016, 2:00 AM IST  in TOI Edit Page | Edit PageIndia | TOI

Whenever Muslim women approach the judiciary in a quest for justice, Muslim orthodoxy rallies against the abolition of Personal Laws. Their rhetoric of ‘identity under attack’ resumes. Clearly, Indian Muslims have moved beyond the politics of identity; choosing to express themselves through contributions to science, architecture, law, medicine, film, theatre, music, literature and other fields.
Debates over the validity of pronouncing talaq, divorce, three times in one go or over three months offer no solutions. Both methods find permissibility in schools of Islamic fiqh, jurisprudence. Unilateral divorce allows men to commit grave injustices by stripping women of honour and dignity, inalienable rights both in Islam and the Indian Constitution. It is unwise to expect reform from the community whose religious leaders have historically treated women as subjects and not equals.
Islamic law is a human endeavour that evolved over centuries with multiple schools holding diverse opinion. The principles of Islamic jurisprudence are weighing the benefit and harm of legal rulings in societies that jurists live in. Barring the foundational five pillars of Islam, nothing in Islamic law is definitive. Salafis and Wahhabis reject classical Islamic jurisprudence and philosophy. Their myopic literalist interpretations of Islam cause gross violations of human rights.
Sharia has always been flexible in adapting to changing times and situations. Umar, the second Caliph of Islam and companion of Prophet Muhammad, dropped sharia punishments for theft when famine struck Arabia. He realised people were stealing to survive. The eighth century Imam Shafie, founder of Shafie jurisprudence, changed many of his fatwas on migrating from Iraq to Egypt. Had sharia lacked movement, Islam would not thrive in India.
Islam is dynamic, understood and practised in a variety of ways in different cultures. Patriarchy remains deaf to the Quran’s call for equality, justice and compassion that extends to all humanity. Excluding women from leadership, patriarchy is blind to the Quran celebrating the wise consultative rule of Queen Sheba and her diplomatic engagement with Solomon.
Patriarchy fails to recognise the Quran honouring women as recipients of wahy, Divine Revelation; as experienced by Moses’s mother and Mariam, or Mary. Some famous early and medieval commentators of the Quran, such as Imam Hajar Asqalani and Imam Qurtubi, include Mary amongst the prophets.
The Islam of Prophet Muhammad disappeared within 40 years of his death with powerful and oppressive patriarchal tribes regaining power. The poor, women and slaves embraced by Islam were again marginalised. Islam’s paradigm shift in empowering women and slaves had created great difficulties for the Prophet. He sought political counsel from women, welcomed them in his mosque; encouraged women like Haqibatul Arab to deliver khutbahs, sermons. He appointed Umm Waraqa the Imam of her mosque, and sent a muezzinone calling to prayer, from Medina to her village.
Some Islamic scholars, including the famous 9th century Imam Tabari, drew upon this precedent to proclaim it lawful for women to lead mixed gender prayers. American Muslim feminists are reclaiming this tradition despite the controversies it evokes.
Islam abrogated the concept of God as Father, saying, ‘Nothing is like Allah’. God transcends gender and is best understood as Noor, Compassionating and Illuminating Guidance. ‘He’, is used in the Quran and its translations because Arabic grammar is gender specific with no pronoun for the neuter gender. In most languages including Arabic, Persian and Urdu, the feminine is applied for ‘Zaat e Elahiya’, Divine Essence.
The word rahm, womb, is derived from God’s primary attributes Rahman and Rahim, Mercy and Compassion. Prophet Muhammad often likened God to a Mother who forgives her children. Traditional Arab poets addressed God in the feminine, literature that would probably be termed blasphemous today.
The Quran advocates equitable treatment of slaves and encourages freeing them, but does not specifically ban slavery. Responding to prevailing 7th century Arabian evils, Quran forbade the inheriting of women, female infanticide and abuse of slaves. Muslims across the world welcomed the abolition of slavery, believing it to be in accordance with Quranic guidance.
Islamic scholars have responded creatively with Quranic verses sanctioning armed struggles. Invoking the principle of ‘asbab e nuzul’, cause of revelation, they rightly limit this relevance to ‘just wars’ against oppression fought by the first Muslims. Instead of similar creative engagement with regard to oppressive canonised laws for women, patriarchy maintains the status quo. Women’s rights can no longer be defined by political Islam or Arab culture and histories.
In matters of inheritance and nafaqa, maintenance, Quran guarantees a minimum financial protection for women but does not cap the maximum. Offering more financial and emotional security to women can never conflict with Islam. Prophet Muhammad famously said, ‘None of you believes till you love for the other what you love for yourselves.’
Sharia law denies the right of punishment to individuals, leaving this responsibility to the state. Sharia endorses responsible citizenry, making it mandatory for Muslims to comply with laws of the lands they inhabit.
Traditionally, women pilgrims travelling to Mecca required to be accompanied by a mahramhusband or other male relatives with whom marriage is forbidden. Negotiating modern challenges, many Islamic scholars have ruled it permissible for women to travel alone. They declare the state as mahram, for in ensuring security, the laws of the state replace the role of the ‘protective bodies’. This principle should extend to the Indian state.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

Friday, May 20, 2016

How Millions of Madrassa Graduates Could Help ‘Made in India’ Revolution? By Tariq Farooqui - Caravan Daily

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How Millions of Madrassa Graduates Could Help ‘Made in India’ Revolution?

in Editor’s PickIN FOCUS 3 mins ago 0 0 Views
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India is home to thousands of madrassas who teach, 

besides Arabic and Islamic studies, modern subjects, 

English, mathematics and computer studies.

Image credit: Tehelka/Vijay Pandey

Besides English, Arabic is the only foreign language that has a complete infrastructure for learning and teaching right down to the village level in India. There are hundreds of thousands of madrassas all over India offering not only religious education but also teaching modern subjects of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Hindi, English and computer studies etc. These students could help Indian companies reach out to the Arabic-speaking world of nearly 400 million people and more than $ 6.0 trillion dollar economy
TARIQ FAROOQUI | Caravan Daily
In January 2008, I had been in Algiers, Algeria on a business trip. One more Indian, a solid tire manufacturer from Pune and a handsome IITian in his early ‘40s, was also staying in the same hotel.
Next day sitting in the hotel lobby I watched him interact with his clients on adjacent table. It was a total disaster. Neither the Indian manufacturer was good in French or Arabic nor were his dealers able to communicate in English.
In the evening, in a casual chat, he talked of limited capabilities of English in most of the Arabic-speaking world, except perhaps in the Gulf countries, hindering business growth. At the level of dealers of spares parts, cloths, solid tires, industrial and construction goods etc., though, Arabic is compulsory even in Gulf countries.
In the end I asked him, “Why don’t you hire an Arabic and English-speaking salesman in India to cover the Arab world?” He paused for a moment, gave me a meaningful look, and asked, “Are Arabic speakers available in India?”
I said, “Yes”. He asked, “Where?”
I advised him to go to the biggest mosque in Pune and meet the Imam. “The Imam will certainly get you a person fluent in Arabic and reasonable level in English.”
He nodded in understanding. I returned to Riyadh the next day by morning flight.
Last Saturday, I got a call from the same person, calling from a hotel in Riyadh. He lovingly invited me to have dinner with him.
On the dinner table, he introduced a bearded man in his mid ‘30s, his sales manager for the Arab world. He revealed that taking cue from our casual conversation in Algiers eight years back, he had indeed hired an Arabic teacher from a madrassa in Pune who was good in English as well. He trained him in sales and marketing and the same person was now sitting with us on the table.
He looked like any good sales professional. He had apparently made the Arab world as the chief revenue generating region for his solid tire company, accounting for more than half of the company’s revenue.
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A group of Muslim madrassa students wave Indian flags in

 eastern Indian city of Kolkata. Image credit: Sheikh

 Azizur Rahman/VOA

My friend said that he had hired three more Arabic and English speaking salesmen from the madrassa for his expanding business in the Middle East and they were all doing very well. He was indeed now on the lookout for a fourth one, a Persian and English speaker for Iran and Tajikistan.
The madrassa-educated sales manager also happily shared how the fortune had changed for him. He had never imagined eight years back to own a middle range new car, a good apartment in a middle class neighborhood of Pune and a good status in society.
What was even more heartening that the manufacturer had changed his attitude towards Muslims in general and madrassa students in particular due to utility and hard work of four madrassaeducated salesmen.
Earlier, he used to look towards Muslims with suspicion and hostility but now with immense appreciation and strong sense of partnership. Closeness in business had clearly removed his doubts and developed a situation of mutual respect and interdependence. It was for those reasons that he had now four employees. Eight years back there wasn’t a single one.
Few people realize that besides English, Arabic is the only foreign language that has a complete infrastructure for learning and teaching right down to the village level in India. There are hundreds of thousands of madrassas all over India offering not only religious education but also teaching modern subjects of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Hindi, English and computer studies etc.
Unfortunately, few of them have official recognition and receive no government aid. There are millions of students getting education in madrassas. Students educated in madrassas have few opportunities of using their knowledge and skills and usually are self-employed in low income small business and trading.
If madrassas are recognized, given necessary aid and support from the government, they could produce quality Arabic and English-speaking graduates who can take ‘Made in India’ products all over the Arabic-speaking region and beyond.
Most of the 22 Arab countries importing most of their industrial and food stuffs. Madrassa students, if properly trained and given opportunity, could be very effective in the vast Arab region of 380 million consumers and with $6.0 trillion economy.  Even dubbed Indian movies in Arabic make huge business. Arabization of software, games, and comics etc also has massive potential. At the moment, Egypt is nearly alone in this business.
Unfortunately, right now, Indian manufacturers are too focused on targeting the United States, a $15.0 trillion economy, to pay attention to the $6.0 trillion economy next door.
tariq farooqui
Tariq Farooqui is a senior Indian management professional based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Director of Bait Ul Baraka Contracting. The views are personal. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The war within - The breakdown of Arab states - THE ECONOMIST

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21698652-europe-and-america-made-mistakes-misery-arab-world-caused-mainly-its-own

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The breakdown of Arab states

The war within

Europe and America made mistakes, but the misery of the Arab world is caused mainly by its own failures

May 14th 2016 | From the print edition
  • Timekeeper
WHEN Sir Mark Sykes and Fran├žois Georges-Picot secretly drew their lines on the map of the Levant to carve up the Ottoman empire in May 1916, at the height of the first world war, they could scarcely have imagined the mess they would set in train: a century of imperial betrayal and Arab resentment; instability and coups; wars, displacement, occupation and failed peacemaking in Palestine; and almost everywhere oppression, radicalism and terrorism.
In the euphoria of the uprisings in 2011, when one awful Arab autocrat after another was toppled, it seemed as if the Arabs were at last turning towards democracy. Instead their condition is more benighted than ever. Under Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt is even more wretched than under the ousted dictator, Hosni Mubarak. The state has broken down in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. Civil wars rage and sectarianism is rampant, fed by the contest between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The jihadist “caliphate” of Islamic State (IS), the grotesque outgrowth of Sunni rage, is metastasising to other parts of the Arab world.
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Bleak as all this may seem, it could become worse still. If the Lebanese civil war of 1975-90 is any gauge, the Syrian one has many years to run. Other places may turn ugly. Algeria faces a leadership crisis; the insurgency in Sinai could spread to Egypt proper; chaos threatens to overwhelm Jordan; Israel could be drawn into the fights on its borders; low oil prices are destabilising Gulf states; and the proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran might lead to direct fighting.
All this is not so much a clash of civilisations as a war within Arab civilisation. Outsiders cannot fix it—though their actions could help make things a bit better, or a lot worse. First and foremost, a settlement must come from Arabs themselves.
Beware of easy answers
Arab states are suffering a crisis of legitimacy. In a way, they have never got over the fall of the Ottoman empire. The prominent ideologies—Arabism, Islamism and now jihadism—have all sought some greater statehood beyond the frontiers left by the colonisers. Now that states are collapsing, Arabs are reverting to ethnic and religious identities. To some the bloodletting resembles the wars of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Others find parallels with the religious strife of Europe’s Thirty Years War in the 17th century. Whatever the comparison, the crisis of the Arab world is deep and complex. Facile solutions are dangerous. Four ideas, in particular, need to be repudiated.
First, many blame the mayhem on Western powers—from Sykes-Picot to the creation of Israel, the Franco-British takeover of the Suez Canal in 1956 and repeated American interventions. Foreigners have often made things worse; America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 released its sectarian demons. But the idea that America should turn away from the region—which Barack Obama seems to embrace—can be as destabilising as intervention, as the catastrophe in Syria shows.
Lots of countries have blossomed despite traumatic histories: South Korea and Poland—not to mention Israel. As our special report (see article) sets out, the Arab world has suffered from many failures of its own making. Many leaders were despots who masked their autocracy with the rhetoric of Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine (and realised neither). Oil money and other rents allowed rulers to buy loyalty, pay for oppressive security agencies and preserve failing state-led economic models long abandoned by the rest of the world.
A second wrong-headed notion is that redrawing the borders of Arab countries will create more stable states that match the ethnic and religious contours of the population. Not so: there are no neat lines in a region where ethnic groups and sects can change from one village or one street to the next. A new Sykes-Picot risks creating as many injustices as it resolves, and may provoke more bloodshed as all try to grab land and expel rivals. Perhaps the Kurds in Iraq and Syria will go their own way: denied statehood by the colonisers and oppressed by later regimes, they have proved doughty fighters against IS. For the most part, though, decentralisation and federalism offer better answers, and might convince the Kurds to remain within the Arab system. Reducing the powers of the central government should not be seen as further dividing a land that has been unjustly divided. It should instead be seen as the means to reunite states that have already been splintered; the alternative to a looser structure is permanent break-up.
A third ill-advised idea is that Arab autocracy is the way to hold back extremism and chaos. In Egypt Mr Sisi’s rule is proving as oppressive as it is arbitrary and economically incompetent. Popular discontent is growing. In Syria Bashar al-Assad and his allies would like to portray his regime as the only force that can control disorder. The contrary is true: Mr Assad’s violence is the primary cause of the turmoil. Arab authoritarianism is no basis for stability. That much, at least, should have become clear from the uprisings of 2011.
The fourth bad argument is that the disarray is the fault of Islam. Naming the problem as Islam, as Donald Trump and some American conservatives seek to do, is akin to naming Christianity as the cause of Europe’s wars and murderous anti-Semitism: partly true, but of little practical help. Which Islam would that be? The head-chopping sort espoused by IS, the revolutionary-state variety that is decaying in Iran or the political version advocated by the besuited leaders of Ennahda in Tunisia, who now call themselves “Muslim democrats”? To demonise Islam is to strengthen the Manichean vision of IS. The world should instead recognise the variety of thought within Islam, support moderate trends and challenge extremists. Without Islam, no solution is likely to endure.
Reform or perish
All this means that resolving the crisis of the Arab world will be slow and hard. Efforts to contain and bring wars to an end are important. This will require the defeat of IS, a political settlement to enfranchise Sunnis in Iraq and Syria, and an accommodation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is just as vital to promote reform in countries that have survived the uprisings. Their rulers must change or risk being cast aside. The old tools of power are weaker: oil will remain cheap for a long time and secret policemen cannot stop dissent in a networked world.
Kings and presidents thus have to regain the trust of their people. They will need “input” legitimacy: giving space to critics, whether liberals or Islamists, and ultimately establishing democracy. And they need more of the “output” variety, too: strengthening the rule of law and building productive economies able to thrive in a globalised world. That means getting away from the rentier system and keeping cronies at bay.
America and Europe cannot impose such a transformation. But the West has influence. It can cajole and encourage Arab rulers to enact reforms. And it can help contain the worst forces, such as IS. It should start by supporting the new democracy of Tunisia and political reforms in Morocco—the European Union should, for example, open its markets to north African products. It is important, too, that Saudi Arabia opens its society and succeeds in its reforms to wean itself off oil. The big prize is Egypt. Right now, Mr Sisi is leading the country to disaster, which would be felt across the Arab world and beyond; by contrast, successful liberalisation would lift the whole region.
Without reform, the next backlash is only a matter of time. But there is also a great opportunity. The Arabs could flourish again: they have great rivers, oil, beaches, archaeology, youthful populations, a position astride trade routes and near European markets, and rich intellectual and scientific traditions. If only their leaders and militiamen would see it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A MAJOR BOOST FOR A MINORITY - By Mudar Patherya - MumbaiMirror - A TOI publication

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/columns/columnists/mudar-patherya/A-major-boost-for-a-minority/articleshow/52289254.cms

MumbaiMirror

A MAJOR BOOST FOR A MINORITY

Mumbai Mirror | May 16, 2016, 11.34 AM IST

A major boost for a minority
By MUDAR PATHERYA

The story of how a Hindu businessman from Kolkata made the educational funding of Muslim girls his priority started with the chance reading of the Sachar Committee Report in November 2006.

Manoj Mohanka of Charlestown Capital Advisors read every page of that near-400 page thesis, beginning with curious engagement, moving to interested attention and finally turning to wide-eyed amazement.

The report has since been accepted as a definitive insight into Muslim poverty in India extending our understanding of the community beyond the stereotyped 'politically pampered' and 'lazy'. Because as businessman Mohanka discovered, our friend Rajinder Sachar, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court was telling a different story. That the Muslims of the country had been consistently discriminated against, the freebies given were not as much to liberate as to keep them enslaved and how the great national educational sweep had passed its largest minority by. Mohanka did not quite encounter that blinding flash on the road to Damascus. Credit to his intellectual honesty that he thumbed through every page of this report. But the reality also is that by the end, Mohanka yawned, turned the lamp off and tucked into bed.

And might have said 'How terrible' but for a possibly unconnected development that transpired two months later. For a couple of years until then, Mohanka had been sending polite emails to Professor Muhammad Yunus (of microfinance fame) to lecture at the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.

The Professor had politely declined each time. Then someone from Stockholm rang to tell the professor that he had won an award named after the inventor of dynamite, the world went ballistic (couldn't resist this pun!). Mohanka regretted that his chance of ever getting the good old professor for a lecture had gone when he got a call from Dhaka with a polite message - 'I am coming to India and thought that since you have been pursuing me for the last two years, you should have the first right of refusal for my first lecture in your city.' You could have knocked Mohanka down with a feather.

So as it turns out, Prof Yunus comes, speaks and canny Marwari financiers can't believe their ears. Yunus lent to the weakest; they returned money fastest. Yunus did not seek collateral; his default rate was less than 1per cent. Yunus funded those with not an entrepreneurial platelet to start a business; when the money reported a surplus, the first thing they did was educate their children. Mohanka said wow, went home, got some calls for an evening well-hosted and tucked into bed. Mohanka emerged soon from that slumber.

He connected the two dots - that Sachar Report and the Yunus experiment. And this he resolved: he too would start his microfinance version; he would fund Muslim girls; he would invest in a social enterprise with the highest return. Education. Mohanka began to fund academically-solid Muslim girls in non-madrasa environments who wanted to study ahead but lacked the financial resources.

He would fund them for as long as they intended to study. Whatever it took. Secular liberalness? Not quite. Mohanka says that the logic was so clearly bottom-up that he is surprised that most have been missing the plot for years. When you educate a Muslim girl, you lay the foundations of educating her family; when you educate her family, you begin the long haul of getting Muslim boys (their children when they have them) off bylanes; when you get them off the bylanes, you make them economically productive; when you make them economically productive, you embark on the long road of cranking up the engine of the country's 14 per cent population.

Mohanka collaborated with the chairman of the Waqf Board in Kolkata to send the message out. Mohanka tracked the academic performance of his funded students each quarter; he interfaced with them every 90 days; when he realised that parents were taking them off schools to put them on a job, Mohanka incentivised school attendance.

When he realised that he was up against a social wall, he used his charm so that parents would sustain the education. And when one of his best bets, a promising young woman who was pursuing a Masters came to say she was backing off because her husband to-be had denied her the permission to study, the student and sponsor wept.

But there were times when Mohanka got lucky. Like when two Hindu well-wishers (Suresh Neotia and Arun Poddar) joined in, kindling the first hope that this could well snowball into a movement. Mohanka continues to study CVs, selects students with care, tracks academic trajectories and by his own confession, says he could do more.

But that is where the moral of the story lies: when we cannot scale, we think the game is not worth playing at all. If only we believed that the best game is played by those who played it differently and reasonably rather than never having played at all.

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