Indian educationist calls for more efforts to uplift communities
Very few people have the vision and the will to reverse the tides of an adverse situation.
When India’s radical Hindu leader, L.K. Advani, launched a “rath yatra” (Indian for “rally”) that left much death and destruction in its trail, ultimately leading to the destruction of the historic Babri Masjid in 1992, Muslims rose up to face the challenge and pull the community from a state of depression onto a better way forward.
Amanullah Khan, chairman of the Muslim Education Trust, held the tide by its horn and launched the same year his education project to campaign for an awareness program to wake up the Muslim community from the slumber of ignorance and illiteracy.
“In reply to Advani’s rath yatra, we took out a National Talimi Caravan (an educational countrywide campaign) that same year that crossed the length and breadth of the country to stress the importance of education in the community,” said Khan, who recently visited the Kingdom for a meeting with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) officials.
According to Khan, the Taalimi Caravan since then has led to the opening of thousands of schools in many of the provinces, mainly the Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and the West Bengal.
The caravan, which is still ongoing, has been highly successful since many Muslim leaders, scholars and even politicians joined the call, which strengthened its significance.
“The Muslims were feeling low and dejected and hence to counter the effect of Advani’s rally, we launched this educational movement,” the likes of which is hardly to find in India after Sir Syed had launched a similar program by the end of the 19th century.
In fact, to revive that Sir Syed Movement, Khan has now initiated an All India Muslim Educational Conference and on the same line of Sir Syed, is holding educational conferences every year.
He said the first such conference was held in Delhi in 2010, followed by West Bengal (2012) Azamgarh, UP (2012), Cuttack (2013) and Delhi (2014). The 2015 conference will be held between March 1 and 28 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Amanullah’s efforts were recognized, as the IDB has run a scholarship program in India through his Muslim Education Trust (MET) since 1989 to work for the upliftment of minorities by giving top priority to education.
Khan launched the “Aligarh Bachchon ka Ghar” (Aligarh orphanage), which, over the years, has become a model orphan care center that has its own hostel, playground and other logistic facilities in its own premises.
Orphans, whether girls or boys, are fully adopted and taken care of to the same standard of children in secure families. They also attend good local schools. There are also 400 destitute children admitted as day boarders.