Bihar’s Muslim achievers are storming in. Make way

Bihar Anjuman, an Islam-based non-profit in the eastern state, admittedly came to being to fulfill a Quranic command. It is to be found in the third chapter of the Muslim holy book: “Let there arise out of you a group designed to carry out Allah’s order in inviting people to what is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. And it is they who are the successful.” (The Qur’an 3:104)

The non-profit used this verse as a call to action. “Let’s put our unspent energy to constructive use,” Bihar Anjuman states. It spurs Muslims to move forward, not sit back and lament. A majority of India’s Muslims experience low literacy and high poverty rates.

Bihar Anjuman’s website gives a quick clue to what’s going on. Its home page pops up with some really exciting offers. Take this one: “Rahbar Coaching Centre, Rafiganj (Aurangabad): Classes start 2nd April 2010.”

Or this one: “We’re hiring part-time teachers for Science and Maths (teach 3 hours, before or after school hours, to earn Rs. 3,000 per month).”

This is even better: “Female teachers required, in Samastipur district of Bihar, for all subjects (primary and basic school CBSE and Islamic curriculum): Salary Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,000.”

And this one no less significant: “Coaching project to reduce school drop-outs:”

There’s also a package deal: “Project Proposal: Madarsa RAHBAR-e-Banat:
Free holistic education to poor girls (Islamic + contemporary education + vocational training), with residential facility.”

The non-profit also helps Muslims find a match through its free matrimonial service.

Its main objective is to bring together “Muslims from all walks of life to interact and act jointly with an objective to educate, motivate, inspire and instill confidence in our young generation”.

Breaking the glass ceiling

This year, Bihar’s Muslims have created a record of sorts. Muslim candidates have scored in the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) examinations, 2010. Of 362 successful candidates, 37 are Muslims. That’s about 10.22%, statistically significant.

Muslims make up 13.4 per cent of India’s population, yet hold less than 5 per cent of government posts and make up only 4 per cent of undergraduates in universities, according to a November 2006 government report. Click here.

The total number of students appearing for Bihar’s civil services exams was 893. So, even the failure rates of Muslim candidates have dropped, it can be inferred.

In the administrative services category, 12 Muslim candidates were selected among 164. (They are Mohammad Ishtiyaq Ajmal, Mohammad Mustaqeem, Mohammad Shafeeq, Mohammad Mustaqeem, Mohaamad Irfan Alam, Ishtiyaq Alam Ansari, Ehsan Ahmad, Iftikhar Ahmad, Mohammad Ziyaurrahman, Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Mohammad Sibghatullah and Mohammad Zafar Hussain.)

While in the Bihar Police Services, 8 Muslim students were among the 40 successful candidates. (Mohammad Aftab Alam, Noorul Haq, Shaharyar Akhter, Shamsh Afroz, Nisar Ahmad Shah, Mohammad Shahban Habib Fakhri, Anwar Javed Ansari, and Mohammad Tanweer Ahmad.)
In the list of 27 successful candidates for Commercial Tax Officers, there are five Muslims. (S.M. Irshad Arif. Majid Ahmad, Amir Nayyer, Asadullah Ghalib Ansari and Mukhtar Akram.)

There are 8 Muslims among 41 selected for the post of additional electoral officers. (Suhail Ahmad, Muneer Shaikh, Mohammad Ghazali, Javed Iqbal, Mohammad Nazrul Haq, Sarfraz Nawaz, Mohammad Ashraf Afroz, and Parveen Jahan.)

Among the 19 selected as labour superintendents, a couple of Muslims made the cut. (Mohammad Aftab Alam and Javed Rahmat.) Mohammad Sattar Ansari is among the 12 selected to be excise inspectors. Likewise, Asghar Alam Khan is the lone Muslim among 19 selected for Bihar Education Services.

Muslims don’t need to be Nobel winners to change things. They just need to be educated and gainfully employed. Small steps forward make a big difference.

Educated Muslims not just do well for themselves; they also open a whole new door for many others. They serve not just this country good but also their parents and children. They bring dignity to a community whose ways are doubted and capabilities are questioned.

They will pull generations out of poverty. When one generation of Muslims breaks the barriers of disadvantages, life becomes easy for many others that follow. But it is important to remember what makes this possible — access to education.

My message to young Muslims: try. Imagine a man about to drown. He doesn’t give up. If you fail, try once more. Every failure must be followed by a renewed shot at success. If we become worthy sons of the soil, we only help ourselves.

I am stubborn in my belief that, with a little help, we shall overcome. We will overcome.

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