26 from Maulana Mujaddidi’s Institute clear IAS *WB Budget: Rs 570 Cr for minorities

March 28, 2012 by admin  
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Maulana Mohammed Fazlur Rahim Mujaddidi

Madhya Pradesh, March 24, 2012: Twenty-six students of the Jaipur-based Crescent Academy have successfully cleared the Mains Exam of the IAS Examination, 2011, the results of which were declared on 1st March 2012.

These aspirants who have passed the examination are now a step away from their cherished goal of becoming topmost bureaucrats of the country if they are lucky enough to overcome the hurdle of the final stage of Interview. The personality test/interview has started from 19th March 2012.

Till date the Crescent Academy, in spite of limited infrastructure and resources, has been able to produce more than 62 IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, Judges and State Civil Servants throughout the country. Out of this 41 were selected in the IAS cadre while 21 in the State Civil Services Examination.

In the IAS cadre in the year 2010 ten candidates were selected from the Crescent Academy of which one was a Muslim. In 2009 nine were selected of which three were Muslims. In 2008 nine Muslims out of ten were selected to be IAS officers. In 2007, 2006 and 2005 six (four Muslims), three (two Muslims) & three (two Muslims) were selected.

Meanwhile, in the State Civil Services Examination out of 21 selected candidates so there have been 15 Muslims.

It may be mentioned here that Crescent Academy is run by an educational welfare trust registered under the Society Registration Act of 1860. Crescent Academy is a division of M. A. R. Educational Trust, established with a vision of providing proper guidance and training to the Civil Services aspirants with special emphasis on creating a sound academic environment. It was started, over a decade ago, by Maulana Mohammed Fazlur Rahim Mujaddidi, a great spiritual personality, academician and social activist of north India.

According to Maulana Mujaddidi, who is also a member of the Consultative Group for Empowerment of Minorities, Planning Commission of India, the new aspirants who want to appear in the examination of the elite services can visit the Crescent Academy’s website www.cacademy.org for details.

It may be pointed out here that Prof. Ziaul Hasan, retired Principle of Aligarh Muslim University Polytechnic, Aligarh and Mr. Mohammad Iqbal Khan, Director of Crescent Academy, Delhi, are the pathfinders of establishing, guiding and training the aspirants of various competitive examinations countrywide. They have lent their long academic and administrative experience of producing various Civil and Judicial servants for the services of the nation, And, it is a matter of pride that the Academy has succeeded in achieving its objective in such a short span of time.

- tcn

West Bengal budget: Rs 570 Cr for minority welfare


West Bengal, March 24, 2012: “Before presenting the full budget of this new Government, I would like to express my appreciation, gratitude and salaam to all the Ma-Mati-Manush of West Bengal. With the blessings, best wishes and dua of the people of Bengal, I am about to present this full budget.” This opening line of West Bengal Finance Minister Dr. Amit Mitra while presenting the first full budget of Mamata Banerjee government on Friday had words to please Muslims, but what the community got at the end of the budget speech was far below the expectations.

Dr. Mitra on 23rd March presented the Rs 3,28,468 crore Budget for West Bengal for the financial year of 2012-13. The budget has a total Plan outlay of Rs 23,371.44 crore while the estimated total deficit has been put at Rs 9 crore.

In this 3 lakh-plus crore budget the Department of Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education, the nodal department of the state government for minority welfare schemes, will get Rs 570 crore. Though it is a 70% increase in the funds allocated to the department in the 2011-12 budget — last year the department had got Rs 330 crore – the amount of Rs 570 crore is not even 1% of the total budget amount. The Muslims constitute about 25% of the state population.

“The social and economic development of the weaker sections of society, the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and Women occupy the centre-stage in the proposed plan outlay of 2012-13,” said Dr. Mitra in his budget speech but did not make any announcement for actual schemes and plans for minorities.

The government has not announced any new scheme or fund for the community. Beyond the Rs 570 crore for minority department no other fund has been announced for any other scheme for minority. The minority community was hoping separate allocation for Alia University and share in the housing projects, but they have got disappointment.

Regarding Alia University, Dr. Mitra said the government has created a large number of teaching and nonteaching posts for Madrasahs and Aliah University. “During 2012-13, this Government proposes to provide sufficient funds for early construction of Aliah University campus and Haj Tower-Complex at Rajarhat,” said Dr. Mitra but did not announce any fund.

The Mamata government has also proposed to start an Employment Bank with skill development programme under the Aliah University to impart vocational skills to the minority youth for facilitating their placement in public and private sectors. Dr. Mitra also announced to enhance pre-matric and postmatric scholarships so that around 10 lakh students studying in different schools and madrasahs are brought under the scheme.

While Muslims were demanding share in housing projects underway in large number in the state, Dr. Mitra said construction of houses for poor persons belonging to minority community under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and Geetanjali Scheme have been undertaken.

In his speech, Dr. Mitra mentioned Sachar Report. “The neglect of the minority community of the State has best been described in the Sachar Committee Report. Therefore there is nothing new to add to it,” he said.

- tcn

Expectations of Muslims from Mamata’s first West Bengal budget

March 20, 2012 by admin  
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Expectations of Muslims from Mamata’s first West Bengal budgetWest Bengal, March 17, 2012: The annual budget of West Bengal will be presented in the state assembly on 23rd March 2012. This will be Mamata Banerjee’s first budget as chief minister. She came to power in May 2011 with huge support of Muslims who for last 34 years had backed the Left Front Government, but changed their mind after Sachar Committee Report. So their expectations from Mamata are very high. TCN talked to common Muslims, religious leaders, social workers and intellectuals to know the expectations of the community from Mamata’s first budget.

Informed sections of the Muslim society want special packages for Muslim education, health and employment but at the same time they say that mere funds will not work if there is no will on the part of the government and its machinery to better the lot of the Muslim community.

Md Kamruzzaman, Secretary, All India Minority Youth Federation expects funds for Muslim education, health and employment in the coming state budget. He says 30% of the budget funds should be reserved for Muslims.

Madrasa Education
The state should announce establishment of schools and colleges in rural areas where there are no educational institution. Kamruzzaman wants facilities for science education in madrasas and Muslim schools. Some recognized government-aided High Madrasas have been upgraded to Higher Secondary (10+2) and are recognized by West Bengal Board of Higher Secondary Council but there is no Science stream at these upgraded schools, says Kamruzzaman. Minority Affairs & Madrasa Education department is concerned for Madrasas which are controlled by West Bengal Madrasa Board. They do not care for Muslim high schools. The Mamata Govt should allocate 15% funds of education budget for Minority schools.

Kamruzzaman has been attached with Madrasa movement and he is ex-president of a madrasa students union. He is doubtful if Mamata-led Government will continue some good activities of previous government regarding Muslim education. He said the Left Front Government had set up some Sishu Sikhsha Kendra (SSK) & Mardrasa Sikhsha Kendra (MSK) under the `Sarvashiksha Abhiyan’ program. Now new SSK & MSK has totally stopped. Mamata should declare her vision about establishment of more SSK & MSK. Instead of 10000 non-aided Madrasas 2000 SSK & MSK will be more fruitful for Muslims, thinks Kamruzzaman.

Aliah University
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that Aliah University will be made an International University. If she really wants so, she should sanction Rs 100 Cr for the university in this budget, demands Kamruzzaman.

He also demands 30% reservation in Government Housing projects for Muslims.

Expectations of Muslims from Mamata’s first West Bengal budgetIn memory of Haji Mohd Mohsin
This year will have 200th death anniversary of Haji Mohd Mohsin who donated huge properties to the Government and a large amount of West Bengal Government’s scholarships for Muslims are using fund from those properties. State Government should declare a yearlong program to commemorate Haji Mohd Mohsin. If Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary can be celebrated by Government and allotted funds, why not for Haji Mohd Mohsin, Kamruzzaman asks.

Infrastructure of Madrasa Service Commission
To recruit Madrasa teachers the previous government had established Madrasa Service Commission, but still it doesn’t have any infrastructure. Rs 10 Cr should be allocated for this purpose in this budget.

Mohd Shah Alam, Secretary, Amanat Foundation, demands 30% of the budget funds for Muslims.

30% of state budget for Muslims
Alam demands State budget should have funds for Muslims as per their population. Education, industries, cultivation, housing in every field, the Mamata government should give separate funds for Muslims in the coming budget. After long years Muslims have brought new government. The Government should declare 30% of budget for Muslims in all fields, like housing, industries, education etc. Actually as of now there is no clear vision of this new government towards Muslims even though they have voted Mamata to power.

Utilization of funds for MCDs
The state Government should give clear instruction in the budget for using funds for Muslims. West Bengal has 12 MCDs (minority concentration districts). The State Government could not utilise the MCD fund properly. For example, funds for MCDs are being used mostly in non-Muslim Gram Panchayats of the districts. There is no special instruction to use fund only on Muslim majority Gram Panchayts.

Housing projects for Muslims
The Government announces so many housing projects in different areas of West Bengal, but there is none for Muslim majority areas. The Mamata-led government should declare government housing projects in Muslim dominated areas and that should be reserved as per Muslim ratio. Those projects should have 30% reservation for Muslims and it should be mentioned in the budget.

Employment & Health
Shah Alam said the Government should give special care on Employment, Health & industry for Muslims. If state government announced that no fee will be taken from Muslims applying for government jobs that would be very significant. Muslims students in West Bengal are very poor. Due to application fees for Government jobs sometimes they do not submit the application. So, they do not get chance in government job. Like SC/ST state Government should declare relaxation of application fees in government jobs for Muslims.

In the fields of health, 100 rural hospitals and 200 Primary Health Centres needed in Muslim dominated blocks where Muslim girls should be trained as nurses.

Md Nuruddin, state president, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind said, we are not satisfied with the performance of the present government of Mamata Banerjee. They are going on wrong way. Most of the sufferers are framers and small businessmen. Most of the Muslims in West Bengal depend on cultivation. They cannot sell the crops in justified price due to government policy. Black marketeers capture most of them. The State Government should bring new policy to protect the small farmers, otherwise they won’t survive.

Will more important than funds
Nuruddin said intention to implement schemes is very vital to improve the position of Muslims. Huge money was allocated by Central government for West Bengal but the state government did not use them and lots of funds returned. So, fund is not a matter, important is direction to implement funds and that should be done very carefully otherwise situation of Muslims will not change. He said there is no clear direction for using funds in minority areas. So, they are not using the funds properly. In this regard allocation of funds and deadline for implementation of schemes should be mentioned in the coming budget.

Prof. Dr. Miratun Nahar, renowned educationalist and Muslim woman activist said `Government should realise Muslims are the part of state, not only as a community but as general people. I could not find any difference between previous and present government in West Bengal. All are dividing the people for political purposes. If they agreed Muslims are part of our society and without them state could not achieve their goal totally, only then people including Muslims will be benefited. Mamata-led Government while thinking about real development of the state should look after the Muslims as they are most neglected.

Ex-member of State Women Commission Prof. Nahar also said, funds for Muslims do not matter, government’s intention to implement schemes is more important. Government should give a clear announcement on the development of the backward class people as well as Muslims. If they do not, nothing will change the situation of Muslims or backward class. So, people’s mind has changed, Government’s intention should be changed for the development of the whole society. Muslims are part of it. If government really wants development of the whole state, situation of the Muslims should be changed. If the ruler thinks about it, then we will get a short picture in the coming state budget, may be in the form of special initiatives and increased funds. But I don’t have faith in the new Government, like Left Front government.

- tcn

Gujarat Riots 2002: Indian-American Muslims mourn victims, demand justice *Bihar Budget: Minority Welfare Dept. to get Rs 125 Cr

February 29, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Bihar, Economics, Gujarat, India, Issues, National, newsletter-india, Persecution

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New-Age-Islam-antiUS-rallyUSA, February 25, 2012: On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the horrible genocide of Muslims in Gujarat in February 2002, the Association of Indian Muslims of America, Washington DC, an NGO of Indian-American Muslims has lamented the prolonged delay in the Indian government’s action against the perpetrators of that horrible crime.

“In these ten years the mainstream media, a large number of NGOs and the Supreme Court in India have often stated that plenty of testimonies including eye-witness accounts from a variety of citizens in Gujarat support the often stated fact that the then government of the state of Gujarat and chief minister Narendra Modi were responsible for that murderous mayhem. Yet for ten long years the Indian government has refused to institute either an official government enquiry or legal proceedings against the known culprits,” the AIMA said in a statement.

Gujarat is a state from where many illustrious advocates of justice and non-violence including Mahatma Gandhi have risen and have preached the message of peace. Yet in the same state the mass crime occurred in which over two thousand innocent Muslims were killed and the houses of about 100,000 Muslims were destroyed, rendering them homeless.

The genocide against Muslims of Gujarat is a dirty stain on the face of secular and democratic India. “Today we Indian Muslims who live in North America mourn the hapless victims of that gory violence and once again appeal to the President and Prime Minister of India to institute legal action against the criminals and bring them to justice,” said AIMA.

- tcn

Bihar Budget: Minority Welfare Dept. to get Rs 125 Cr


BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar ModiBihar, February 25, 2012: The Rs 78,686 Crore Bihar budget for the year 2012-2013, with a state plan size of Rs 28,000 Crore will have an allocation of Rs 125 Crore for the Minority Welfare Department. BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who holds the portfolio of finance, presented the 8th budget in a row in the state assembly on Friday.

The JDU-BJP government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on 24th Feb. announced to give 25 acre land to Maulana Mazharul Haque University. The construction work will start from the next financial year, the government promised in the budget speech.

The Minority Welfare Department will get Rs 125 Cr. The amount will not cover graveyard fencing, Hunar, Taleemi Markaz schemes as they are funded by other departments.

According to the budget, the chief minister minority employment loan scheme, which came into effect in 2011-12, will get Rs 15 Cr. In the last financial year, it was allocated Rs 11 Cr. The hike will also go to minority education loan scheme, which was also started in 2011-12. Last it year it had Rs 4 Cr but in 2012-13 it will get Rs 1 Cr more, i.e. Rs 5 Cr.

However, the government has cut the fund for much-touted minority hostel modernization scheme. The one year old scheme will get only Rs 1.7 Cr while it was allocated Rs 2 Cr last year. Under the scheme, minority hostels in all districts will have generator set, TV, Refrigerator and other facilities.

The Rs 7000 Cr-surplus budget will give thrust on agriculture. After the new budget comes in place, cars, motorcycles, flats, bricks will be dearer. Moreover, cigarette and tobacco products will have tax hike between 13.5% to 20%.

Some other features of the budget are:

Rs 9508 Cr for agricultural roadmap.
Rs 2234 Cr for 21-km road along the Ganga (from Didarganj to Digha) in Patna
25000 flats in Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur.

- tcn

UK Islamic schools flourish to meet demand

December 3, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Co-operatives, Economics, Inter-Religious, newsletter-world, USA, USA, World, World

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Muslim SchoolUK, November 28, 2011: At about eight o’clock on a dull autumnal morning, a mother is preparing breakfast for her young son in the kitchen of an unassuming private house on a little modern estate in Leicester. The doorbell rings. Outside, a series of people carriers and estate cars are rolling up one by one; out of them tumbling a succession of children in twos and threes, all in traditional Islamic dress.

By 8.30, 26 children – some of them only just old enough for school, some almost grown – are sitting in tight rows on the floor of a little inner room, reciting morning prayers in Arabic and in English. By 9.30, the conservatory has become an infant classroom, the dining room has been taken over by the juniors and in the living room, year 7 and 8 girls are preparing to spread their geography projects across the laminate flooring.

By now, the mother has vanished – she doesn’t want her name or address to be used, she says, because already families are turning up at odd hours asking to look round the “school” – and Fatima D’Oyen, director of Manara Education, has taken charge with her small team of staff.

There’s no doubting that the Manara academy is a most unusual educational institution. But it’s also part of a national trend. Although the number of Islamic schools is still small – around 140 at the latest count, just 12 of them state-funded – it is growing fast. About 60 of these schools have opened in the last 10 years; several in the last couple of months. And the demand from parents seems to be huge – one school in Birmingham recently attracted 1,500 applications for just 60 places. At least five Islamic schools have recently applied to be free schools, although so far only one has been approved.

Manara is one of two Islamic schools that have opened in Leicester this autumn – although in its case, the word “school” can only be used loosely. Manara operates just three mornings a week, and its pupils are registered as home-educated.

Because Manara operates on a part-time basis, it does not need to register with the Department for Education as a school. But the rise in the number of Islamic schools has raised some concerns. Leicester City Council has called for national guidance to ensure that parents who send their children to “flexi schools” like Manara can be sure the staff have criminal record checks and their buildings are safe. And in some areas, full-time schools have opened without registration – meaning that there are no checks on the suitability of their staff or the quality of their curriculum.

D’Oyen aims to open a fully registered, full-time school next year. Until recently, she was the headteacher of another Muslim school in Leicester, but left earlier this year – and decided to start her own school. She quickly found that the formalities required were much more cumbersome than in her native US, where she had previously helped to set up an Islamic school in New Mexico.

“The Department for Education wanted everything done six months in advance; they wanted a plan of the building, they wanted to come and inspect,” she says. “They wanted to see our curriculum plans in detail – a lot of rigmarole. And we wanted to be open in September. So legally we are a private tuition service – like a supplementary school, but during the day.”

Despite its unconventional setting – D’Oyen was invited to tea with the family who live here and seized on the idea that the house could be turned into a school – the children seem contented and the curriculum varied. Manara is experimenting with Montessori teaching methods, and religious education includes moral and personal discussions as well as study of the Qur’an. The time spent by many children learning the Qur’an at madrasas – often 10 hours a week or more – can rob them of their childhood, D’Oyen believes, and she hopes to provide a more humane alternative. The pupils will learn about gardening and alternative technologies, and have access to the garden, which is used as an outdoor classroom.

“We’d like to teach a long morning, which would include some Islamic education, and then in the afternoons children would have more choice of activities – arts, crafts, PE,” D’Oyen says. “We want the children to have creativity in their lives, and to follow some of their interests.”

She foresees no problems at all in finding pupils – another Islamic school in Leicester already has five applications for each place. The demand from Muslim parents for an education outside the mainstream is growing, she says.

Others in the Muslim world agree with her. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, founder of the Muslim Institute thinktank, says there is a growing feeling among Muslim parents that mainstream schools are not serving their children well: “If schools are focused on raising standards and on ensuring that there is discipline, I think most people are happy with that,” he says. “But more and more parents are concerned about the quality of education, and about discipline.”

Yet in some areas, situations have arisen that have caused concern. A headteacher in the north of England, who asked not to be identified, described how an Islamic school had opened up two years ago without permission opposite her own primary school. “It operated for about six months without registration, and then it was forced to close. It didn’t take long before it was registered and reopened again,” she says. “Some lovely ladies came to see me and they invited me and my deputy to see what was happening there. But I have to say I found the whole thing very worrying indeed – it’s just so divisive.” She had been trained as an Ofsted inspector, she said, and did not believe that the school would have been allowed to operate in the state sector. Its buildings, even after renovation, were unsuitable, she said, and its curriculum was too narrow, with every lesson being linked in some way to the Qur’an or the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Association of Muslim Schools, set up 20 years ago to support a then-tiny band of institutions, acknowledges that in response to a growing demand for Islamic education, a number of full-time schools have opened without proper formalities.

“The Department for Education is in constant contact with us, and they do tell us if someone’s operating without registration,” says Shazad Mohammed, the director of the association. “Then we visit to stress the importance of registering – the local authorities have to know where the children are, for safeguarding purposes. We strongly discourage this – it is illegal to operate without registration.”

But it is hardly surprising that there should be some breaches, he adds – the UK has two and a half million Muslims, and the number is rising fast. The majority are aged between 13 and 25. One highly regarded Muslim school, the Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham, has introduced a lottery system to allocate places because up to 25 parents are competing for each one.

In Leicester, the city council says it is anticipating a rise in the number of “flexi schools” like Manara, and it has asked the government to address the issue. “It is anticipated that this form of education may become more common, and the local authority has asked that the Department for Education consider producing national guidance for parents and providers around the quality of provision, including criminal record checks, health and safety and planning permission,” it said in a statement.

The DfE welcomed Leicester’s commitment to working with home educators, but did not respond to requests for a comment on whether there should be more regulation of the sector.

But for Fatima D’Oyen, the road ahead seems clear. Leicester’s home education inspector paid her a visit this month, and was apparently impressed. Attempts to regulate the sector further would be counterproductive, she argues. “My perspective is that 95% of parents can be trusted to do what is best for their children,” she says. “I don’t believe it is either possible or desirable to try to regulate, especially if the desire to do so comes from racism or misplaced paternalism. The reality is that most Muslims setting up or working at Islamic schools, whether part-time, full-time, supplementary or otherwise, do so out of a sense of altruism and wanting to help children get a good education.”

- fran abrams

Government mulling quota for Muslims within OBCs: Salman Khurshid

December 3, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Delhi, Economics, Government, India, New Delhi, newsletter-india

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Muslim CommunityNew Delhi, December 1, 2011: In a significant move ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Law Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday said the government is considering reservation to backward Muslims within the 27 percent quota fixed for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and a decision on the issue will be taken soon.

Talking to reporters outside Parliament, Khurshid said a move on fixing a quota for backward Muslims within the OBC quota would come before the cabinet “soonest” but did not give a timeline.

“Of 27 percent OBC quota in jobs, the government is examining to fix a quota for backward Muslims,” he said.

He said the issue has been on the government’s agenda for the last two years and a decision was pending.

The Congress also backed the government on the move to provide reservations to minorities within OBC quota.

Khurshid pointed to the promise made in party’s manifesto for 2009 polls which talked of extending reservation to minorities to the central level.

“For having reservation within reservation for backward minorities as done in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, we are observing it as it is our commitment to do it. We are hopeful of fulfilling our commitment. We are working on it,” he said.

Asked why the decision was coming ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Khurshid said that work cannot stop if elections were round the corner.

“Should we stop working ahead of the polls in the state… Whatever we think is our responsibility, we are doing,” he said.

He said the United Progressive Alliance II government had completed half its term and has to take stock of what it has done and what is left to be done.

Khurshid also took a dig at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati saying she can provide quotas to minorities in the state.

“If she is so concerned, she could do the same for jobs in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Congress spokesman Raashid Alvi said the government was working at a fast pace to implement its promise for reservation to minorities.

“Government is working at a very fast pace to implement this part of manifesto so that they (minorities) get their share among other backward classes,” Alvi said.

The Congress manifesto had said that the party was committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of minorities were protected fully and their representation in public administration increases.

“The Indian National Congress has pioneered reservations for minorities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in government employment and education on the basis of their social and economic backwardness. We are committed to adopt this policy at the national level,” the manifesto said.

Uttar Pradesh is scheduled to go for polls next year and Congress has launched its campaign in the state. The announcement is being linked to the party’s efforts to woo minorities in the crucial election.

- ians

Government working on reservation for minorities: Congress

New Delhi, December 1, 2011: In a significant move ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress Thursday said the government was working speedily to give reservation to minorities within the OBC quota.

Congress spokesman Raashid Alvi said here that the party had mentioned in its election manifesto of 2009 too that it had pioneered reservations in government jobs and educational institutions for minorities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on the basis of their social and economic backwardness and was committed to adopting the measure at the national level.

“Government is working at a very fast pace to implement this part of manifesto so that they (minorities) get their share among backward classes,” Alvi said.

The Congress manifesto had said that the party was committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of minorities were protected fully and their representation in public administration increases.

- ians

Mayawati’s message to students

November 12, 2011 by admin  
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MayavatiUttar Pradesh, November 11, 2011: After blocking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s letter to school children, Uttar Pradesh government has decided that Chief Minister Mayawati’s letter will be read out in three lakh schools in the state today, the National Education Day.
The prime minister’s letter will be read out in schools across the country, marking the launch of the year-long Shiksha ka Adhikar campaign to spread awareness about the Right to Education Act among children and parents.
Mayawati, in her letter, has described how despite being born into a poor family, she went on to become the chief minister of the country’s most populous state four times, a task she credited to education.
“I want you to be regular in attending classes, seek solutions to your problems from your teachers so that you could develop as responsible citizens,” her missive reads.
“Despite braving hardships, I did better than my brothers in academics, finally getting a BA degree and a degree in law from Delhi University after which I became a teacher in a government school,” she said.
Her letter ends with a passionate appeal to children to use education as a tool for achieving great success in life.
- hindustan times

Pope highlights need to harmonize business and family life

October 20, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Businesses, Church, Economics, Lifestyles, newsletter-world, Vatican, World

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Pope Benedict XVIVatican, October 17, 2011: Pope Benedict XVI called for new ways of doing business, in keeping with the dignity of workers and their families, during an October 15 address to promoters of Catholic social doctrine.

“Family and work are privileged places for the construction of the vocation of man, collaborating in the creative work of God today,” he told the “Fondazione Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice,” a Vatican-based lay organization that spreads the Church’s social teaching around the world.

Its members met in Rome for a two-day conference on the relationship between family and business.

In his speech to the foundation, the Pope recalled how the Second Vatican Council “spoke of the family in terms of the domestic church, an ‘untouchable sanctuary’ where the person matures in affection, solidarity and spirituality.”

“The economy with its laws must always consider the interests and the protection of this primary cell of society,” the Pope noted.

His comments coincide with important anniversaries in the history of Catholic social teaching. Pope Leo XIII published the first modern encyclical on the topic, “Rerum Novarum,” 120 years ago in 1891.

Meanwhile, 2011 also marks 30 years since Blessed John Paul II’s family-centered apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio,” and two decades since he addressed economic questions in the encyclical “Centessimus Annus”

Pope Benedict said that although “great changes have taken place in the world” since the days of Leo XIII, the Church “always promotes the human person and the family, in their context in life, even in business.”

He stressed the economy’s need for good families, observing that “it is primarily in the family that we learn the right attitude for living in society,” including the “world of work, economics, business.”

In these fields, he said, values from family life help people to be “led by charity, the logic of generosity, solidarity and responsibility for one another.”

Pope Benedict recognized that the present economic crisis has hit families hard. He highlighted his 2009 encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” as a guide to building a more humane society and economy, based on “a new harmonious synthesis between family and work.”

“It is not the task of the Church to define the ways to tackle the crisis,” the Pope acknowledged.

But Christians, formed by the Church’s teaching, have a duty “to denounce evil, to testify and to keep alive the values that underpin human dignity and to promote those forms of solidarity that promote the common good,” helping humanity become “more and more the family of God.”

- cna / ewtn news

Villagers encouraged to grow rubber

October 19, 2011 by admin  
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Villagers encouraged to grow rubberAssam, October 18, 2011: A meeting was organised to spread awareness about growing rubber to fetch more income among the rural people in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district.

More than 160 rubber growers took part in the meeting held recently with the theme-’Plant rubber and overcome poverty’.

“Rubber compared with other crops offers maximum returns to the grower. So plant rubber for economic stability and development,” said Fr. Sebastian Ouseparambil, Director of Development Association of Nagaland.

K.G. Mohanan, Addl. Rubber Production Commissioner of Rubber Board North East regional office spoke about the daily uses of rubber and the advantages of cover crops.

Baby Thomas, Rubber Board Development officer offered all possible help for the rubber growers in Karbi Anglong.

Rajen Teron, one of the first rubber growers in Manja area, said that income from growing rubber helped him educate his children.

- fr. tom mangattuthazhe

Vietnam unleashes wave of repression against Hmong Christians, at least 49 dead

May 1, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Asia, Persecution, Sycamore, Vietnam

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Vietnam unleashes wave of repression against Hmong Christians, at least 49 dead

Vietnam unleashes wave of repression against Hmong Christians, at least 49 dead

AsiaNews) – At least 49 dead, hundreds injured and an unspecified number of arrests: this is the toll from a wave of bloody repression unleashed by the security forces against the Vietnamese Christians and animists, from the Hmong community, a ethnic minority that lives in the northwest of the country and in Laos.
The episode began April 30, at Muong Nhe, Dien Bien province, where about 8,500 Hmong gathered to pray and ask for reforms and religious freedom. The event was interrupted by a violent intervention of the People’s Army and security forces, who killed and wounded believers and made hundreds of arrests, deporting many of the detainees to undisclosed locations in Vietnam and Laos where, according to Christy Lee, Executive Director of Hmong Advance, Inc. (HAI) in Washington, DC, “they could have been tortured or killed, or simplify disappeared”. All electricity and communications with the area have been cut.
Among those arrested are some extraordinary Eucharistic ministers who serve the four Catholic communities of the region. In the area there are a thousand registered Catholics, who pray to God with discretion in what is called “white zone” in which the level of violation of religious freedom is the highest in the country. And there are Christians who have emigrated to keep the faith. Until now, Catholic priests have only been able to go twice to Muong Nhe, posing as tourists and were under continuous surveillance and followed by police officers who controlled their every move to prevent any attempt at evangelization.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Information and army officers, through the official VNA, accuse the protesters of being irredentists operating at the instigation of “reactionaries who cheat the popular credulity spreading rumours about the presence of a supernatural power and calling for a separate empire of the Hmong people. ” Hanoi has tried to close the area and drive the population from the mountains and jungle.
The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi has stated that it will investigate the incident, which occurred just two days after the report of the Commission on International Religious Freedom which asked the State Department to put Vietnam on the list of countries of “particular concern for the respect of religious freedom.”


April 14, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Economics, Microfinance

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The Bible is very clear & we can quote hundreds of Old & New Testament scripture passages, but for now just 3 from the Book of James will suffice:

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, not accompanied by action, is dead.”

- James 2:14-17

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was… but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

- James 1:22-25

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

- James 1:27

The CSF has decided to identify & focus on specific issues to be tackled in 2008, through micro-finance i.e. each one contributing just a few rupees to attack problems that society is facing. Some of these are – poverty, finance, education, disease, housing, database, resources, employment, etc.

Members / Donors (minimum Rs.2 /- per month):

The CSF encourages you to contribute first to your local parish / church & let the overflow come to us.

Only intimate us, so that we might join you in prayer -that the Lord may bless you abundantly.

Dear Friend in Christ,

We praise & thank God for the gift of you to the community. Jesus told of a parable, where the Word of God is like a seed, which falls on stony ground or is choked by the cares of this world & is unproductive. It grows a while, but does not bear fruit. Are you like that ? Are you guilty of the sin of omission -not doing the good, you can easily do ? Please ask forgiveness & get started.

Many Christian organizations are like that – often we join them, donate to them & leave it to a few office-bearers, who are happy to preside over meetings or maintain the status quo. An organization needs to be alive, growing & bearing fruit. It is said – if we can discuss a problem / issue; we don’t need to solve it ! The discussions can go on, while our lesser fortunate sisters & brothers suffer -Remember, we call God – Our Father.


Many Catholics desperately need you to act. You don’t need to donate money -You need to serve in your own small way. Contact for how you can help or put someone who can do so in touch with us. Your connections & influence are of more use to The CSF.


The Lord blesses a few with money, so that they can send The CSF to do His will. As Jesus said, the one who does the will of My Father is my mother, brother or sister. It is the will of God that you use the resources He has blessed you with to be a blessing, in blessing others. Praise the Lord -The CSF activists have been blessed by both physical & monetary blessings.
So even if you cannot get too involved, you can share the blessings that come from our ministry, by planting a seed. We encourage you to do so, at least on the following occasions:

  • Your Birthday / Anniversary / Engagements / Employment

  • Sacraments -births, deaths, communions, weddings, confirmations, holy orders

  • Feasts & Parties -Christmas or Easter get-togethers
  • In the PDF file below you can find information on co-operatives, credit societies, banks, etc.:



    The Impossible Dream and the Christian Spirit of Enterprise

    by Steven L. D’ Souza, ex IPS, ex IRS Voluntary Retd.

    (Presently Financial Consultant, Legal Advisor on Indirect Taxation, SEZ, Foreign Trade to Top Corporates Across Country and Visiting Faculty in Business Management School)

    A verse from one of the most popular songs of all time, “The Impossible Dream”, sung by Andy Withall, celebrating the irrepressible character of the eternal dreamer Don Quixote and his understudy Sancho Panza in the famous classic, “Don Quixote” by Spanish writer, Miguel Cervantes, amply describes the spirit of enterprise embodied in all entrepreneurs.


    “To dream the Impossible Dream —-

    To try when your arms are too weary,

    To reach the unreachable star!

    This is my quest, to follow the star,

    No matter how hopeless, no matter how far,”

    From biblical times, the spirit of enterprise has been venerated, and the entire Old Testament in the Bible tells us the saga of the enterprising homeless Jewish people’s quest for the golden land and paradise which now constitutes modern Israel and Palestine. Similarly, the New Testament abounds with extracts praising the spirit of enterprise. In the gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus reminds us – “Blessings on you if I return and find you faithfully doing work” – Mathew 24:46.

    The most classic example is conveyed by Jesus in the Parable of kingdom of Heaven of three men given $1,000, $2000 and $ 5000. The man whom he had entrusted with $ 5000 and $ 2000 brought back $ 10,000 and $ 4000 respectively. The man given $ 1,000 hid it in the ground. In the parable, the master praised the man given $ 5,000 for his vision and hard work and enterprise, saying “you have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities”. (Matthew Chp. 25:21). Clearly Jesus in the parable tells us that enterprise and hard work and ability to get results is the key to multiplying the gifts of God, and for creating the kingdom of God on earth.

    Much of the epistles is a narration of Apostles Peter and Paul and the early Christian’s enterprise to spread the word of God. Much of the wealth created in the world today is the fruit of the Protestant, and especially the Calvinist ethic of the spirit of enterprise as the way to God’s kingdom and to Paradise. Right from the early immigrants, to the wild west, to the present economic success of Christian countries, the outcome of vision and enterprise spread over the past 2 to 3 centuries has been a story and a saga of wealth and growth created by primarily the pioneering Christian spirit of enterprise which was later emulated by other nations across the globe.


    However from Brazil to Spain to Portugal to the benign sands of Goa, the spirit of sussegad looms large over the less successful catholic brethren. We justify this lack of enterprise by two other famous extracts from the New Testament – “For the love of money is the first step toward all kinds of sins”. Timothy 6:10; and the second extract, “It is Easier for camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” – Luke 18:25. However we forget that both extracts criticize love of money-that is greed and over ambition. The spirit of enterprise creates wealth, through vision, plan and hard work which is for the good of society. The spirit of greed tries to multiply money without fruit of hard work. An entrepreneur works day and night and creates wealth, not through stock market manipulations or real estate deals or flies by night ventures or through reckless gambles and indiscrete risk. The Bible has criticized the greedy rich man, not the hardworking entrepreneur, something we should never forget.


    Two things stand out from the qualities that embody the Christian spirit of enterprise- First, A vision and a dream – Yes; everything starts with an idea, a vision, a dream. As Langston Hughes reminds us, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly”. George Foreman who knocked out Michael Moorer, many years his junior, at the age of 45, after coming out of retirement in the 10th round, and who became oldest champion in world heavyweight boxing history winning both IBF & WBA titles wants us to remember the song of all dreamers “When you wish, whoever you are, anything your heart desires can come to you if you just don’t give up on your dream”.

    An idea with a vision and determined faith and confidence, and concrete action can help you change the world you live it. The famous inspirational Christian writer, Napoleon Hill in his world famous best seller “Think and Grow Rich” summed it up beautifully “Whatever the mind can conceive, and the heart can believe, the human spirit will definitely achieve”. The second component of the Christian spirit of enterprise is , an action plan, perseverance, dedication, hardwork to realize that dream. Both the components are important for enterprise to succeed. The most enterprising people of our times, the Japanese, have a proverb. “Vision without Action is a daydream. Action without Vision is a nightmare”.


    We can take heart from the recent example last year of Sarath Babu who grew up in Chennai Slum, gave tuitions to complete studies and appeared for CAT exams, and qualified for IIM Ahmedabad, pawning among other things his sister’s jewellery, while his mother struggled with odd jobs from selling idlis to teaching kids at night. Refusing a secure eight lakh rupees per annum job, he instead started food business with a vision of high nutritive value and low cost. He started his enterprise with small contribution from friends and bank loan. Today his monthly turnover in excess of Rs.3 lakhs, and he continues to grow, and create wealth for himself, his family and other small families and for the nation and society.


    A popular present business bestseller, “How to change the World : Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein : Updated Edition, Oxford University Press, 2007” narrates the stories of 10 visionary entrepreneurs many of them Christians . It includes people such as Fabio Rosa of Brazil who spearheaded rural electrification for poor farmers; Bill Drayton of the United States who instituted the Ashoka foundation to nurture and provided financial support to budding entrepreneurial leaders; Jeroo Billimoria who founded Childline in India, a 24-hour emergency response system to help children in distress; Erzsebet Szekeres of Hungary who championed the idea of assisted living for disabled; and Veronica Khosa of South Africa who started home-based care for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients.


    Most entrepreneurial activity, right from biblical times to present era, have prospered and grown in clusters, in groups, when like minded individuals all having vision and enterprise come together to create wealth for the community and society. It is this community spirit of enterprise that is the key to future growth and prosperity of the Catholic community in India, and other Catholic countries across the globe, The combined spirit of Christian Enterprise, should prevail over the individual laidback sussegad spirit, and the tendency for secure jobs should give way to well [planned and calculated business risks. Many such examples abound in India. The self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) started by Ela Bhatt in 1972 which has until now helped approximately 9.6 lakh self-employed women, including hawkers and vendors, home-based workers, manual labourers and service providers. Erode district in Tamil Nadu, has cluster of small and medium enterprises. Using loans given under priority sector using Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojna for generating self employment, this tiny district alone contributes 27% to the State’s GDP and 36% in services. The Kongu Vellalar Community achieved this enterprising success by modernising the traditional textile sector, and branching out into sunrise industries like construction, education, poultry feed, oil, bedspreads, etc. Presently, the Government of India in the present Union Budget has announced a mega textile cluster in Erode, as a pilot project for launching further community cluster enterprises across the country.


    Another successful example of combined spirited community enterprise succeeding even with he poorest of poor, is that inspired by Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize-winner from Bangladesh, and the founder of the Grameen Bank. He reversed the orthodox banking theory, by showing how to extend collateral-free loans systematically, on a cost effective basis to poor villagers, particularly women. As one of its first models of social business, the Grameen Foundation, in a joint venture with the French food company Danone, runs a factory to produce fortified yogurt at affordable prices to bring nutrition to malnourished children in Bangladesh. Interestingly, not only the milk used comes from local people, but also the cows that provide the milk are bought with loans from the Grameen Bank. The company’s aim is to expand the business until all malnourished children in that country are reached with this nourishing yogurt very affordable price.


    A famous example of combined community enterprise succeeding in the suicide belt of debt-ridden farmers in our own nation, is that of Vanita Pise in drought stricken Mhaswad village of Satara district in Maharashtra, who set up a self help movement of 35 self-help groups in the village, who were trained to develop entrepreneurial skills by Mann Deshi Udyogini (MDU) in a 10 day course. Using microfinance, they made everything from paper cups to Prasad. In the year 2006, Pise received the Woman Exemplar Award from Prime Minister, and the rural institute was ranked alongside Harvard Business School in Economist Magazine May 2007 Global Executive Education report.


    The time has come to shed our sussegad approach, and to combine together, as a spirited enterprising community, which does not criticize each other, but which works together as a team, to attain real prosperity and synergy. The time as come to make use of budding talent and enterprise in our own community in the vast pool of educational and vocational institutes run by us across the country. The time has come for us to start living in the present and for the future, not just talking of past glories and achievements.

    Let us be inspired by the famous words of one of the most enterprising Presidents of the World’s most prosperous Christian nation, the United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat”.


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