From riots to Education: Changing face of Gujarati Muslims
By Abdul hafiz lakhani Ahmedabad:
The wind is fast changing in Gujarat after the infamous 2002 Gujarat riots. Muslims had focused heavily on the ignored sphere of education before the genocide of Muslims broke on them in that fateful year.But after the riots, realising that they had no government support, the Muslims geared themselves up to face challenges boldly by improving their educational standing. . “Muslim boys and girls diversifying into other educational fields is a good sign,” added J S Bandukwala, a retired Physics professor from M S University who runs Zidni Ilma Trust, which promotes professional and technical education among poor Muslim students.Ultimately the best we can do is to go for quality education, business, a more scientific approach and a serious attempt to make secularism operate in the country. There is no use blaming others. Except that we feel justice must be done for the tragedy of 2002. he added.
In 2002, there were 200 Muslim educational trusts in Gujarat. Now, there are more than 800.”The reaction of the Muslim community has been very positive,” says social scientist Achyut Yagnik. “Muslim women are also talking about more education. It’s all about moving forward with education”
“He is right. Everywhere I went, Muslim men and women spoke about the importance of education. In Godhra, I met telecommunications engineer Mohammed Yusuf, 51, who spent a year in prison after being falsely implicated in bomb attacks.
He is a soft-spoken man with a flowing beard.”For long, we have lived as frogs in the well. Now we need to get out, educate and inform ourselves, know what our rights are, find our place in the world and defend our rights,” he says. Baroda based Activist, educationist and well known Businessman Zuber Gopalani recently in a function which was held in Ahmedabad cleary exhorted Muslims to send their siblings in English medium schools. He adviced gathering to invest in education for their children even in financial constraints.
Even some ulema are talking about the need for girls’ education, not only for its own sake but also to empower the community as a whole. “There is definitely a rising trend of Muslim students, both boys and girls, getting admitted to medical institutes in the last couple of years”, points out Dr Jayshree Mehta, dean of the SBKS Medical Institute and Research Centre at Waghodia in Vadodara district.
For instance, some people associated with the Tabligh Jamaat are now setting up Muslim schools in different parts of Gujarat.
According to Rajkot based Faruk Abdul Ghaffar Bawani who works for medical students says that there are 1350 Muslim students who have got admission in various courses of medicine .He collects funds from wealthy Muslims and distributes them among poor and needy Muslim medical students.