Category Archives: Education

Aligarh Muslim University: a great seat of learning

Aligarh, UTTAR PRADESH :

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan dedicated his life for the Hindu-Muslim unity in the country and worked all his life for the educational upliftment of the community and for the strengthening of a pluralistic society of a modern India. He stressed on making education a medium to transform people into good human beings.

The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) represents the secular Ganga-Jamuna culture and the AMU community is committed to preserve this identity of this great seat of learning. Sir Syed avoided too much emphasis on religious subjects in his writings, focusing instead on promoting modern education.

As we know, the AMU is an academic institution of international importance offering more than 300 courses in both traditional and modern branches of education. Academic excellence and cultural ethos of AMU needs to be projected and propagated worldwide more effectively in a positive way. In the fast changing technological world, the role of media has become very important in disseminating the information to have a maximum reach.The supreme interest of Sir Syed’s life was education in its widest sense. He wanted to create a scientific temperament among the Muslims and to make the modern knowledge of science available to them. He championed the cause of modern education at a time when all the Indians in general and Indian Muslims in particular considered it a sin to get modern education and that too through English language. He began establishing schools, at Muradabad in 1858 and Ghazipur in 1863.

A more ambitious undertaking was the foundation of the Scientific Society, which published translations of many educational texts and issued a bilingual journal in Urdu and English. It was for the use of all citizens; they were jointly operated by the Hindus and Muslims. In the late 1860s, there occurred some developments that were challenges to his activities.

In 1867, he was transferred to Varanasi, a city on the Ganga with great religious significance for Hindus. At about the same time, a movement started in the city to replace Urdu, the language spoken by the Muslims, with Hindi. This movement and the attempts to substitute Hindi for Urdu publications of the Scientific Society convinced Syed that he should do something.

Thus during a visit to England (1869-70), he prepared plans for a great educational institution — a “Muslim Cambridge.” On his return, he set up a committee for the purpose and also started an influential journal, Tahzib al-Akhlaq (Social Reform), for the uplift and reforms of the Muslims. A Muslim school was established at Aligarh in May 1875, and after his retirement in 1876, Sir Syed dedicated himself to make it a college.

To carry the legacy of the great reformer, the AMU has got a dynamic and intellectual person as vice chancellor in the form of Prof Tariq Mansoor, who had been associated with the university for more than three decades. Mansoor has been the principal of the J N Medical College since 2013. He had been the secretary of the University Games Committee for about seven years.

Besides being the president of the Association of Surgeons, he has been a member of the Medical Council of India (MCI) since 2015 and that of the AMU Executive Council for 12 years. Mansoor is a recipient of the senior surgical award from the Association of Surgeons of India. He is also given credit for the overall development of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College. He served as an advisor in the Union Public Service Commission and as an assessor for the MCI.

Mansoor, in his vision, posted on the University’s website clearly stated that he will implement “Sir Syed’s vision of imparting modern education and will be focusing on “preparing students to qualify in competitive exams for central services, armed forces, IITs, IIMs and leading industries. We will also aim to produce top professionals in medicine, engineering, law, management, sciences and humanities”.

Appeal to alumniIt is unique and very positive to have a team of highly intellectual and academicians of repute to run the University. It is important for the progress of an academic institution that it should run by the academicians of high repute.

In an open letter to the AMU alumni who are holding important positions in different organisations worldwide, the vice chancellor has made an appeal to them to contribute both academically and financially.

To me, this is a very good move and initiative that will certainly help the students in getting employment in national and international market. Alumni support will also help in developing the infrastructural facilities of high standard as we have seen the contribution by Frank Islam, an AMU alumnus based in the US.The way newly appointed vice chancellor has taken the initiatives so far clearly shows his vision and plan for the betterment of the university. However, it would be more interesting to see his efforts in days to come. His biggest challenge would be maintaining the law and order situation in the campus. His long association with AMU would certainly be helpful in understanding the dynamics of the campus and in maintaining the law and order situation.

However, I would suggest that the VC should have an IPS officer on deputation basis as proctor of the University with power to handle the law and order situation independently. Another issue he may face would be regionalism and groupism in the campus but I am happy to mention that he already stated clearly in his vision that he will eliminate factionalism and groupism from the campus. It is high time for the AMU community to support the vice chancellor in making the University as one of the best in the country.

(The writer, a linguist, teaches at Washington University in St Louis, USA)

source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Panorama / by M.J. Warsi / July 03rd, 2017

Ramadan on the North Dakota Prairie – Forging an American-Muslim Experience

Hyderabad, TELANGANA / North Dakota, USA :

The author, his wife and three children circa late 1970s in North Dakota.
The author, his wife and three children circa late 1970s in North Dakota.

This is Day 22 of the 2017 #30Days30Writers Ramadan series – June 17, 2017

by Syed Husain

It was in the summer of 1976, following my post-doctoral assignment at Stanford Research Institute in California, I was offered a faculty position at University of North Dakota, School of Medicine. Although it was a tempting offer, leaving San Francisco and moving to Grand Forks with three small children was a difficult thing to consider.

Recalling the Persian proverb, “Mulk-e-Khuda Tang Neest, Pa-e-mera Lung Neest” (The Kingdom of God has no limits and no broken legs do I have to limit my travel), I decided to accept this offer – though I knew a Muslim community to draw on for support in North Dakota would be virtually nil.

A leap of faith indeed, but as a Muslim, I had a firm belief in my Creator and my destiny.

As we started our journey across the country, it was full of amusement and excitement. We only had ourselves to rely on – myself, my wife, and my three children, ages seven, four and one. The passage through Yosemite with tall redwoods, the majestic Grand Tetons, the enchanting Yellowstone National Park, the amazing Mount Rushmore and the Badlands was an experience to behold.

Finally, we arrived in the small college town of Grand Forks. And, we found the people of this land of Aurora Borealis, sun-dogs, snow and tumble-weed to be friendly, hospitable and compassionate.

After settling in the faculty housing, my priority was to find out how many Muslims, including students, were on campus. As the Ramadan was approaching, I wondered if they had facilities to pray and observe Ramadan. Surprisingly, I found only one another Muslim faculty and a handful of students with no place to worship. Later, I located four more families in a radius of fifty miles from Grand Forks that became the “core group” of Muslims in the area.

In this isolation, as Ramadan arrived, we made frantic calls to Chicago, Montreal, Minneapolis and Winnipeg to confirm the sighting of the moon. To determine the duration of fast and follow the fiqh ruling, we decided to follow the times in Winnipeg, the closest city with a sizable Muslim population. Those were long days — we were fasting for 19 hours a day with the sun setting around 9:45 p.m.

The University had appointed me as Muslim Faculty Adviser, and I was able to get space in the student union for our Jummah prayers and iftars. This small community had no provision for halal meat and no place to buy spices and other ingredients to prepare our food. A good Samaritan in the community located a farmer, who helped us sacrifice a heifer or a black angus.

This farmer became the source our halal meat supply for the rest of our stay (15 years) in North Dakota. Families would share the meat and drive to Winnipeg or as far as Chicago to get condiments and other supplies. The spouses in this small core group got together and started preparing meals, iftar and sahoor for their families and for students as well on weekends. We began to feel the baraka (blessings) of Ramadan in this newly formed community.

Fasting was difficult, but we managed and grew closer as a family (and as a married couple) in doing so. When we finally made it to iftar time around 9:45 p.m. and broke our fast, my wife and I (we were the only ones fasting in our family in the ‘70s) were grateful. Our children would beg us to take them to McDonald’s for ice cream after we prayed Maghreb and ate dinner, around 10:30 p.m. at night, but it was hard to get the energy to do so.

The nights we rallied and took them were very special to all of us – small treats that meant so much to our children and to us.

The summer season in North Dakota is short, sweet and very precious. It was amazing to see farmers busy harvesting crops under floodlights into the wee hours of the night. Our neighborhood on the outskirts of Grand Forks bordered a large farming field. The rumbling noise of trucks hauling beetroot and sunflower seeds were a reminder to us to get up for our sahoor.

I recalled my childhood days back in Hyderabad, India, when at sahoor time hawkers pass through Muslim neighborhoods singing local folklore, breaking the quiet of the night as these trucks did and reminding the community that sahoor time was soon to end.

Our children (and the daughter of one other Muslim family in town) were the only Muslim students in their schools. The school authorities were kind, compassionate and understanding. They were cognizant of the Islamic principles and provided our children with a private bathing facility and a place to worship. This was back in the 1980s in an educational community that probably had never seen or interacted with Muslim kids before.

Alhamdulillah, this conducive, inclusive and inter-faith understanding of the teachers and the school district authorities nurtured a healthy, positive civic atmosphere and a sense of belonging for our children. Our children use to wait eagerly for the arrival of Ramadan and for the celebration of two Eids.

These occasions were a real source of joy to these few host Muslim families and their children and to the small group of students. We celebrated Eids in a church, in an International Students’ Home on campus and in our homes.

This was our Little Mosque on the Prairie much before the celebrated television show.

This was our forging of an American-Muslim experience in a community that sometimes didn’t understand us, but developed friendships and deep relationships with us based on love, kindness and mutual respect.

In our sojourn of 15 years (1976-1991) in North Dakota, we also saw swings in the population of Muslim students and in the community due to graduations, termination of University of North Dakota’s Pilot Training programs with Gulf Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines and faculty transfers/retirements. In recent years, the economy of North Dakota has improved greatly due to oil exploration in Williston Basin.

The city of Fargo (one of the largest cities in North Dakota, about an hour away from Grand Forks) has seen a sizeable number of Muslim immigrants arriving. The city of Grand Forks also has its share and has seen a surge in new arrivals. We wish them all a Happy Ramadan and Eid Mubarak.

Syed Husain, Ph.D. is a retired professor of Pharmacology at the School of Medicine, University of North Dakota and a retired Scientific Review Administrator at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He now has eight grandchildren forging their own American-Muslim experience.

source:  http://www.patheos.com / Patheos / Home> altmuslim / by Syed Asif, Guest Contributor / June 17th, 2017

Muslims keep alive Kolkata’s Jewish schools, stores and traditions

Kolkata, WEST BENGAL :

Muslim girls, some in the burqa and some in the regular uniforms, leave the Jewish Girls School in Calcutta.
Muslim girls, some in the burqa and some in the regular uniforms, leave the Jewish Girls School in Calcutta.

Editor’s Note : Anik Basu is a Kolkata-based independent journalist.

Kolkata, India (CNN) :

When Mitana Alexander bid goodbye to Kolkata’s Jewish Girls School in 1975, she was its last Jewish student. The bulk of the others were Muslims.

But it was not the steady influx of Muslim girls in the preceding two decades that moved Alexander’s parents to take her out of the school, she says.
They were worried because she was last remaining occupant of a Jews-only dormitory, as most Jewish girls they had known had migrated to Israkel, America or Europe “with their folks.”
“They (school authorities) had to retain a matron just for me,” recalls Alexander, now aged 50. “I would be alone in the dormitory at night and my parents started panicking. Muslims had nothing to do with my leaving.”
Author-scholar Jael Silliman, whose children are settled in the US, says development in India and the outside world in the 1940s-50s led to an exodus of Jews from Calcutta.
Author-scholar Jael Silliman, whose children are settled in the US, says development in India and the outside world in the 1940s-50s led to an exodus of Jews from Calcutta.
Distinctly Kolkata
The swelling ranks of Muslim girls in the Jewish school offer a glimpse into the deep ties between Kolkata’s Muslim and once-thriving Jewish community.
More than 1,200 of the nearly 1,400 students are Muslims, as is the school’s vice principal and half the faculty.
The change began in the 1950s, when there were not enough Jewish families needing an institution set up specifically to instil Jewish values.
As Jewish enrollment petered out, the authorities decided to admit children of other faiths. The biggest response came from the Muslims of nearby areas.
Aileen Jo Cohen (foreground) and Mitana Alexander talk to Muslim caretakers at one of Calcutta's three synagogues.
Aileen Jo Cohen (foreground) and Mitana Alexander talk to Muslim caretakers at one of Calcutta’s three synagogues.
Today, there is very little “Jewish” about the school, save for perhaps its name, the Star of David on the school gates, the school uniform and notebooks, and portraits of Jewish patrons on the walls.
Authorities have made available a “changing room” for Muslim girls whose parents frown upon their stepping out in public in school skirts.
These students leave home in the burqa, change into their uniforms once in school, and put on the burqa when leaving. “Our parents don’t like it if we bare our legs,” says senior student Zara Ahmed, 17.
“The school has come to symbolize Jewish-Muslim harmony in Kolkata,” says managing trustee Aileen “Jo” Cohen.
The harmony is visible elsewhere too; the city’s three synagogues — the smallest of which boasts of more chairs in its prayer hall than there are Jews in Kolkata — are looked after by Muslim caretakers.
Muslims also help with the dressing of bodies for Jewish burials and outside the Magen David Synagogue, Muslim bangle sellers wearing the topi (the Muslim prayer cap), have set up kiosks on the bustling footpath.
“The close ties and positive working relationships between Muslims and Jews are deeply rooted in the local context of Kolkata,” says Jael Silliman, 62, a city-born Jewish scholar and author, and a former Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Iowa.
Exiting Kolkata
The first Jew to arrive in Kolkata, on August 4, 1798, was Shalom Ha-Cohen. A native of Aleppo, Syria, Shalom was initially the court jeweler to a Muslim prince in northern India.
Shalom’s prosperity attracted other Jews from West Asia. According to community records, the population of Jews “of Arabic disposition” expanded to 600 by the 1830s. That number stood at around 4,000 when India gained independence from British rule in 1947.
However, soon after the community started emigrating en mass, beginning the end of a 200-year association with the city.
“A combination of national and global events in the ’40s and ’50s led to a very rapid dissolution of the community,” says Silliman, whose two daughters settled in the US.
With India’s independence, British settlers began returning to England, Israel came into being in May 1948, and the fledgling Indian government’s Socialist policies were perceived as not being conducive to business.
Muslim workers at the 115-year-old Nahoum's confectionary, founded and owned by Jews, in downtown Calcutta.
Muslim workers at the 115-year-old Nahoum’s confectionary, founded and owned by Jews, in downtown Calcutta.
 Today, the number of Jews in Kolkata stands at 22, the middle-aged Alexander being probably the youngest.
And it is left to the likes of the Jewish Girls School Vice-Principal Abeda Razeq to keep those ties alive.
Her father’s best friend at college was a Jew, whose family runs the 115-year-old confectionary store Nahoum’s, and their friendship, which continued beyond college, first exposed Razeq to Jewish culture.
The two families exchanged gift hampers during their respective festivals and Razeq learnt of the similarities and differences between kosher and halal cuisine.
She even helped out at Nahoum’s at Easter and Christmas: a Muslim girl at a Jewish bakery wrapping cakes during Christian festivals in a predominantly Hindu city.
The Nahoum family has shrunk to just one member now, who spends much of his time abroad, and the workers — many of them Muslims — run the show.
Razeq did her dissertation on Kolkata’s unique Jewish-Muslim relationship, and wishes she had the time to complete her doctorate on it.
“It’s a rich subject,” she says.
source: http://www.edition.cnn.com / CNN / Home> Region> Asia / by Anik Basu / June 16th, 2017

Carving out a space for himself

Pallapatti / Chennai , TAMIL NADU :

(From left) Zahid Husain, Alhaj A. Mohammed Ashraf, Mohamed Rifath Shaarook Raaj and Amanullah Shah | Photo Credit: special arrangement
(From left) Zahid Husain, Alhaj A. Mohammed Ashraf, Mohamed Rifath Shaarook Raaj and Amanullah Shah | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Mohamed Rifath has just joined a physics undergraduate course at New College, but his classmates and teachers are seeing him as a star scientist. Read on and find out why

Can you imagine a fresher receiving a rousing welcome at his college, on the day of joining? When Mohamed Rifath Shaarook Raaj recently joined the B.Sc Physics stream of New College, he was being accorded a reception befitting a celebrity. Not only that, the secretary and correspondent of the college, A. Mohammed Ashraf, had waived off his fee for the undergraduate course, and also promised that the college would take care of his education till he completed his Ph.D.

Rifath, 18 years old, is the Lead Scientist of Space Kidz India (SKI), a Chennai-based organisation promoting students’ research in science and working towards making science accessible to students. Rifath is part of a team that has designed a satellite, which is expected to be launched into space on 21 June, 2017 from the NASA Wallops Space Flight Facility, Virginia, at no cost.

Major Zahid Husain, principal of the college, said that fellow students should emulate this young scientist and that it was a great honour for the college to enrol him. The student scientist has not only taken the local educationalists by storm but even the judges and directors of Colorado Space Grans Consortium were awe-struck by his experiment. Thus his satellite (supported by his team-mates) is planned to be launched into space on June 21, 2017 from NASA Wallops Space Flight Felicity, Virginia at no cost.

“NASA and I doodle Learning Inc. conducted a space challenge called ‘Cubes in Space’. Students have to design an experimental satellite which will help develop space technology. The best-designed satellite will get a sub-orbital space flight to real space on a NASA Rocket. Being a member of the NASA Kids Club, I learnt about this challenge and decided to design together with my team, an experimental satellite that will fit inside a 4cm cube and weigh 64 grams with +/- 1 gram limit (neither high nor less since it may affect the centre of gravity). Apart from creating just a payload, we wanted to design, build and launch a full satellite within a 4cm cube with a mass of 64 grams,” he explains.

Rifath, who hails from Pallapatti in Tamil Nadu, completed his schooling from Crescent Matriculation School, scoring 62.5% in the higher secondary board exams, and wants to emulate former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

“It all started when I was chided for making paper rockets; so I was determined to make a real one. I participated in the first edition of Young Scientist-2013 conducted by Space Kidz India and met its director Srimathy. I participated till the third edition of Young Scientist, even though I didn’t win but she noticed my talent. Then, I joined the organisation. My initial project with SKI was making a balloon-satellite with NSLV (Near Space Launch Vehicle) which was a huge success and we got into the Limca Book of Records and became the first private company in India to launch an NSLV. After launching a balloon-satellite to near space (>40km altitude), we wanted to send a satellite or a spacecraft to true Space (>100km where the Karman line and official true space starts). At first, we concentrated on the standard one unit 10cm cube satellite of 1kg mass but as we proceeded, we realised the cost would be too high. As students we were strapped for money and therefore, reduced the size and mass of the Cube satellites (Cube Satellite itself is a Nano satellite but we wanted to reduce the size further).

“At first, we wanted to create something similar to Kicksats but they are not true satellites but just a postcard sized PCB with non-customisable electronics, which cannot work, without a big mother satellite — in other words, it’s just a Space toy. But we always wanted to create an independent full-fledged fully-customisable, scalable, low-cost satellite with new technology. Initially we designed a 125gram, 5cm cube satellite which is 1/8th of a standard cube satellite which will also reduce the cost of the launch. But later, due to NASA’s challenge guidelines we built a 3.8cm independent cube satellite. Previously, a 5cm cube satellite was the smallest satellite, but now we are about to break that record and it’s also going to be the first 3D-printed satellite to be launched into space.

“Here, we are only talking about sub-orbital spaceflight in which our satellite will go into space on a rocket, do the research and land again on surface/ocean in a capsule, so the students can get back their satellite, research more and create a better space system which can be used in orbital and interplanetary missions. Our aim is not to just send a Cube satellite, built from Off-the-shelf components previously available in space market, and launch that into space. Our invention is to create a new space platform. We are also creating a space platform where our future scientists can develop their own payloads, and, for example, we can use this kind of Femto satellite constellations as Ham Radio reflectors which we can use in disaster-like situations when all other communications may fail.

We may face solar flares which may destroy satellites outside earth’s magnetosphere (36,000 km altitude). In situations like these, these Femto satellites can be a backup; they can be quickly launched and protected by an artificial magnetosphere, since they are very small. This satellite is fully 3D-printed, other than electronics.”

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by M.O. Badsha / June 16th, 2017

MCEME graduates make cell-controlled lighting system

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :

Appreciating efforts: JNTU Hyderabad Vice Chancellor Venugopal Reddy interacting with students who designed the street lights control system and exhibited at Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering during convocation ceremony in Hyderabad on Thursday. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI
Appreciating efforts: JNTU Hyderabad Vice Chancellor Venugopal Reddy interacting with students who designed the street lights control system and exhibited at Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering during convocation ceremony in Hyderabad on Thursday. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

If it were left to young engineers of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering, Country’s street lights would be auto-operated. The 91st graduating batch of the college produced a GSM connected, cell phone-operated lighting system which can be turned on and off based on requirement.

The power-saving circuit built by Noushad M.E., Ashish Kaushik, Sumit Dhanda and Akhil A.R. cost ₹ 57,200. It could be used for both civilian and defence purposes, the innovators said. The model also allows operators to operate just one or two light bulbs in a whole series. “If the operator thinks that just a few light bulbs are enough for lighting any area, they could turn off the rest by texting the details into the circuit,” said Mr. Akhil A.R. The model displayed in MCEME contained a circuit connected to six bulbs.

“The model also detects faulty operations if there are any. If a light bulb goes off, it will alert the operator,” M.E. Noushad told The Hindu. Mr. Sumit Dhanda said the project will be useful in huge military campuses which use power. “If the model is adopted by city development corporations it could cut power costs by one third,” said Mr. Dhanda. The MCEME awarded its annual best project prize to the four officers at its Convocation Ceremony on Thursday.

The MCEME passing out batch had also come up with a simple solution – a microcontroller-based automatic ventilation system – for car interiors which get heated when parked in the open. The ventilator contains a small control unit and a solar-powered exhaust fan which runs on external battery.

The microcontroller which is programmed to check the status of temperature and humidity inside the car every two seconds, triggers the exhaust fan when needed, to clear out the heat,” said an officer Vipin Jaiswal and the team leader. Other members of the project were Mukesh Thakur, M. Hariharan and M.S. Shakhavat.

Military boost

The college displayed a solar rechargeable backpack for troopers among its exhibits. The backpack with solar panels can be used as a tracking devise when soldiers go for long treks in the field, graduates said. “In any dire circumstance if the user presses a button on the backpack it sends a Save Our Souls message to control base. It will help officers to track those who are in danger during combat situation,” said Pankaj Saini who was the syndicate leader of the team which came up with the model. The other members in the team were Harmeet Singh, Sachin Yadav and Sagar.

Speaking at the convocation, A. Venugopal Reddy, Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University asked the graduates to pay attention to new developments in cyber security and be abreast of technological innovations. “Your convocation is not like others’ passing out functions. You leave this institution to serve the motherland,” Mr. Reddy said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Nikhila Henry / Hyderabad – June 16th, 2017

‘All thanks to my mother’

Kalaburagi ,  KARNATAKA :

Sheikh Tanveer Asif bagged 25th rank in the civil services exams

The hard work, discipline and sacrifices that are necessary to become a member of the Union Civil Services is best exemplified by the family of Sheikh Tanveer Asif. The 24-year-old from Kalaburagi district in northern Karnataka cracked the exam in his second attempt and bagged the 25th rank.

Asif is the son of a retired police officer. After completing a course in engineering from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, he went to New Delhi to prepare for the civil services exams. During the two years he was there, his family had to manage on his father’s monthly pension of ₹14,000.

“I attribute all my success to my mother. Without completing formal education, she manages to write in two languages and speak many more. Every time I needed some money, she would mortgage her belongings to ensure that my preparations were not disturbed,” he says.

Another candidate, Naveen Y. Bhat from Mangaluru, decided to get into civil services in the final year of graduation. The graduate from Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute bagged the 37th rank. “As a doctor, I could cure patients but have a limited impact. I wanted to cure the problems of society and have a wider impact. That is why I opted for the civil services,” he says.

Movie fan

Dhyanachandra H.M., who bagged the 47th rank, watched one movie a week. Keeping abreast of current affairs by reading The Hindu every day helped the 24-year old sail through the tough UPSC exams. His father, S.L. Haleshappa, works as an assistant engineer in the Karnataka Housing Board while mother Mamata is a home-maker. He started preparing for the exams in May 2014 after completing a course in civil engineering from MIT-Manipal. “This was my second attempt. In my first attempt last year, I could not clear the prelims. But I did not lose hope,” he explained. He took Kannada as an optional paper.

“I read NCERT books and The Hindu daily. I knew when and how to study, so I could watch movies too,” he explained. His father motivated him to take up civil services. “I have given posting options as Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” he said. The family is from Davanagere. Dhyanachandra says he knows the plight of farmers first-hand. “I would like to help them. I also hope to be a role model for my brother Poornachandra who has cleared his 10th standard,” he said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Staff Reporter / May 31st, 2017

My achievement will inspire Valley’s youth: Kashmiri who got 10th UPSC rank

Handwara (KASHMIR) , JAMMU & KASHMIR :

Bilal Mohiuddin Bhat from remote border district of Handwara in North Kashmir had appeared for the UPSC examination four times.

Bilal Mohi Ud Din Bhat, ranked tenth in the Union Public Service Commission’s civil services examination for 2016, had his heart set on the prestigious administrative services since childhood.(Handout)
Bilal Mohi Ud Din Bhat, ranked tenth in the Union Public Service Commission’s civil services examination for 2016, had his heart set on the prestigious administrative services since childhood.(Handout)

Jammu and Kashmir’s Bilal Mohi Ud Din Bhat, ranked tenth in the Union Public Service Commission’s (UPSC) civil services examination for 2016, had his heart set on the prestigious administrative services since childhood. “If you are determined to push the limits, nothing is impossible,” he says. His achievement, Bhat feels, “will mean a lot to the people of the Valley and inspire the youth to make a career in the civil services.”

Someone who believes “everything is well within your reach if you are determined to get it,” Bhat is a 2013 batch Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer who has been posted as deputy conservator of forests in Lucknow since 2015. This was his fourth civil services attempt and topping it is a “dream come true,” says Bhat, delighted at this “good opportunity to serve the country.”

Last year Jammu and Kashmir’s Athar Aamir ul Shafi Khan was ranked second in the 2015 national civil services exam.

Bhat said he could not believe he had made it to the top 10 ranks when the results were announced, “but was glad” with the ranking in the “country’s toughest exam”. The news had taken a few minutes to sink in, he said.

On what his achievement meant, Bhat’s response was that it meant a lot not only to him but to the people of the Valley. “I’m sure our achievements will inspire the youth of the Valley to make a career in civil services and work for the country’s progress.” He felt he was now “responsible for working for people and among people. I want to become a good officer who has the ability to identify and anticipate the problems of the people and to solve them.”

Talking about his home in the remote border district of Handwara in north Kashmir, Bhat says it is a place of peace and solace. “My dada and dadi (grandparents) live there. I often go to visit my village to take their blessings and those of other relatives. The scent of the old house reminds me of techniques of construction which were suitable for us.”

He said the village women struggle for amenities of life, “it’s tough for them.”

When asked about the unrest in J-K, his response was,”let’s not make it political.”

After passing Class 12 in J-K, Bhat did a five-year veterinary course from Jammu and worked as an administrative officer in the J-K Administrative Services between 2011-13 as a commercial tax officer. With his heart set on becoming an IAS officer, however, he started studying in earnest for the civil services examination and in 2013 became an IFS (forest service) officer.

He comes from a family of achievers. His father, GM Bhat, retired as an administrative officer in the J-K government. “We are four brothers and a sister who is eldest among all and is a teacher. My elder brother is a joint director in science and technology in J-K, another brother is a cardiologist posted in Boston, USA. His third brother is a consultant in the medicine department, also in J-K.

On his future plans, this young topper says “I will keep working hard and serve the country to the best of my ability as a civil servant.”

source: http://www.hindustantimes.com / Hindustan Times / Home> Education / by Rajeev Mullick, Hindustan Times, New Delhi / June 02nd, 2017

MIT assistant professor completes Okha-Dibrugarh solo ride ahead of schedule

Manipal , KARNATAKA :

S S S Shameem
S S S Shameem

MANIPAL:

There was no heart break the second time round for intrepid cyclist  S S S Shameem, assistant professor  of MIT, Manipal University. Having fallen agonisingly short of attempted solo cycling journey from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, a 3,500-kms ride in 23-days in 2016; Shameem successfully completed Okha (Gujarat) to Dibrugarh (Assam) solo cycling expedition covering 3,400-kms, a journey that started on May 15 and ended on May 29.

This solo cycling expedition which he decided to complete in just 20 days was not for any record, but to spread message of unity and humanity in a greener and healthier way. Shameem’s endurance and past experience in such long distance cycling events saw him cover the distance in just 15-days. Shameem said, “I just managed those extra miles each day, helping me shave off a good five-days from my earlier journey schedule of 20-days.”

If the Okha to Dibrugarh journey saw Shameem cover 3,400-kms, for his journey from Manipal to Okha he travelled a hectic 2000+ km which saw him undertake a roller-coaster journey of 50 hours. Starting with Gujarat, and followed by Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal , and Assam; each state had its own surprising flavour. During this journey, he passed through six states and UTs, 35 districts, and many cities, NHs, check-posts.

Risk factor of cycling in particular sensitive parts of UP and Bihar was a matter of worry for him, though it turned out all safe and sound without any issues. “Constant support of parents, wishes of friends paid off, and I could finish the feat without any major challenges,” he said. Factoring the summer heat and aiming to cover sufficient distance, he spent most of the day resting while covering major part of the route during early morning, late afternoon, evening, and night hours.

The distance covered daily was around 200km to 300 km. With heat, causing irritation; modified schedules; and focus on extra mileages, Shameem could not enjoy beauty of the nature around; nor could he stop at places to interact with people as he wanted. Throughout the journey; he was getting offers for help and support from many. Since such offers would consume time, forcing him to travel additional distance to reach to them; Shameem avoided it all.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Mangalore News / by Jaideep Shenoy, TNN / May 31st, 2017

Winning laurels: For the first time ever, 50 Muslim candidates clear UPSC civil services exam

Lucknow,  UTTAR PRADESH :

50 muslim candidates made the cut in the UPSC civil services exam 2016 and 10 figured in the top 100 rank

Lucknow:

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) results on Wednesday brought cheers to 1,099 successful candidates. Among those who made the cut were 50 Muslims – the highest number ever to have cleared the exam.

Ten Muslims figured in the top 100 rank and six Muslim women also came out with flying colours in the exams. Jammu and Kashmir led from the front with Bilal Mohiud Din Bhat bagging the 10th rank and 13 others cracking the exam.

“It’s heartening. The credit goes to several non-profit and social organisations which have been relentlessly working for literacy, creating awareness and highlighting the importance of education in the community,” says Salam Siddiqui, former principal of Mumtaz Inter College. Sure enough, among the 50 successful Muslims, 16 candidates were mentored by the Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI) – a charity organisation providing free coaching for civil services exams.

The wake-up call for the community came in the form of the Sachar Committee Report, which was released in November 2006, say educationists. Painting a dismal picture of Muslims in India, concern was expressed in the report over the poor representation of Muslims in government sector jobs.

In 2016, 36 Muslims had cleared the exams, while the number stood at 38 in 2015, 34 in 2014 and 30 in 2013. Although Muslims comprise 13.4% of the total population, they have very little representation in the top government services, often due to lack of education and unavailability of resources. Consequently, the percentage of Muslims clearing the examinations remained roughly around 3% in the last few years.

In 2013, a total of 1,122 candidates had made it to the prestigious civil services, of which 34 or 3.03% were Muslims. In the 2012 UPSC result, only 31 Muslims could make it to the final list out of 998 successful candidates, which translates to 3.10%. In the civil services, Muslims comprise about 3% in Indian Administrative Service, 1.8% in Indian Foreign Service and around 4% in the Indian Police Service, according to data culled by organisations working in the field of literacy and employment.

“But when you compare these figures with the fact that Muslims comprise about 14% of the population, 3% is not a very encouraging figure,” says Agha Pervez Masih, administrator of Lucknow Guidance Centre, a free coaching centre at Halwasiya Market in Hazratganj run by the Aaaghaz Foundation.

The community, he feels, still has a long way to go and a respectable proportionate representation according to population share would be reached when 170-180 Muslims make the mark in the civil services exams.

source: http://www.hindustantimes.com / Hindustan Times / Home> Education / by M. Tariq Khan / June 02nd, 2017

Twin joys for Bidar boy

Bidar, KARNATAKA :

It’s a double reason for G Naseer Hussain to feel on top of the world. A student of Shaheen PU College here, the boy has secured 3rd rank in the CET for admission to a course in Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy and 4th rank in the CET for admission to a course in veterinary science.

Naseer is the son of Mehboob, a lawyer, and Ruksana Begum, residents of Sindhanur in Raichur district.
The student has scored 59/60 in chemistry, 58 in physics, 56 in biology and 38 in mathematics. The boy said he used to dedicate 14 hours a day for studies and attended the training programme for CET and NEET in his college. He wants to realise his dream of becoming a doctor and is waiting for the NEET result.

source: http://www.deccanherald.com  / Deccan Herald / Home> States / DH News Service, Bidar / May 31st, 2017