The Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, has been elected unopposed as president of Muslim Educational Association of Southern India (MEASI), the parent body of New College (autonomous), Royapettah.
The Prince, who was elected during the 115th annual general body meeting of MEASI, will serve as president for three years.
Abdul Ali succeeded U M Khalilullah, a senior chartered accountant who served MEASI as its honorary secretary and president for two terms.
Apart from New College, MEASI also administers MEASI Academy of Architecture, Institute of Management, Institute of Information Technology and College of Education and Chartered Accountant Academy among others. MEASI, a pioneer educational Institution in Tamil Nadu, has a strength of 6,000 members on its roll.
T Rafeeq Ahmed, an educationist and a businessman, and Elias Sait, a chartered accountant, were elected honorary secretary and treasurer respectively, along with other office-bearers and executive committee members. tnn
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News / TNN / September 20th, 2017
The Public Works Department (PWD) has set the ball rolling for the restoration of the historic Humayun Mahal on the Chepauk palace complex. It is set to submit a detailed estimate of the work necessary to renovate the structure in a fortnight.
After the successful restoration of Kalas Mahal, which will house the National Green Tribunal, Southern bench, from September 2, the PWD is now focussing on renovating the structure located next to it. This is the first structure that the new Building Centre and Conservation Division, formed by the PWD, will restore.
Constructed in 1770, the single-storey structure was once the residence of the Nawab of Arcot. Spread over 66,000 sq. ft., the building also has a connecting corridor to Kalas Mahal. Officials said nearly 50% of the roof has collapsed and needs to be rebuilt. “The estimate we will present will have details on the type of special materials needed, their availability and the special rates for renovating heritage structures,” an official said.
Unlike the other buildings, separate rates have to be arrived at for sourcing special construction material, such as limestone and flooring tiles. “We also need to collate data on places, such as Karaikudi and Virudhunagar, where these materials would be available. Once the estimate is prepared, we will be able to arrive at a uniform rate for the restoration of heritage structures,” the official said.
Based on the work taken up in Kalas Mahal four years ago, the renovation of Humayun Mahal is likely to cost at least ₹35 crore. The dilapidated structure once hosted various government offices, including those of the Agriculture Department, Social Welfare Department and the Directorate of Tamil Development.
One of the main challenges is to remove the heaps of paper and rubble inside. Besides suffering the impact of the fire that ravaged Kalas Mahal in 2012, a portion of Humayun Mahal was affected due to a roof collapse and a minor fire in 2014. The search for funding is also delaying the project. Once the tie-up for funds is finalised, restoration work can begin in two months, the official added.
Meanwhile, the PWD is coordinating with various government departments to collate data on heritage buildings across the State.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / bu K. Lakshmi / Chennai – August 30th, 2017
Madras was in the eye of a power storm, 200 years ago
An ailing or aged ruler triggering a political crisis is not something new in Indian history, but what is interesting about the recent drama that unfolded in Chennai has its parallels to a power struggle that Madras was witness to a little more than 200 years ago. The drama then too had an ailing ruler, various aspirants including a ‘sister’ scheming to take over power upon his death, and a Governor keenly assessing the situation.
The only visible token of the dramatic events that unfolded in 1801 when Umdatu’l-Umara, the Nawab of Arcot, died, is a nondescript arch with the name ‘Azeempet’ chiselled on it, that still stands on Chennai’s Triplicane High Road, a few yards away from the Walajah Mosque. It is a reminder of sibling love that turned bitter and ultimately led to the dramatic fall of the House of Arcot, paving the way for the East India Company to establish itself firmly in the saddle and change the course of Indian history. Old timers remember this arch as the gateway, ‘Kaman-Darwaza,’ to the palace of Sultanu’n-nisa Begam, the daughter of Nawab Muhammad Ali Walajah and sister to Nawab Umdatu’l-Umara.
Nawab Umdatu’l-Umara, who succeeded Muhammad Ali Walajah upon the latter’s death in 1795, was very fond of his sisters, especially his senior sister (meaning the eldest of his younger sisters) Sultanun’n-nisa, also known as Buddi Begum. Sultanu’n-nisa was equally fond of her brother so much so that, out of concern for his safety, and to ward off evil, she used to send everyday a rupee coin to the Nawab, which he would dutifully tie it on his upper arm.The Nawab very often spent his evenings at the palace of his senior sister, listening to musicians, watching a dance recital or just having dinner. He had a room in her house, where the Nawab met with his officers and others. It was widely believed that Sultanu’n-nisa was the actual power behind the throne. Somewhere down the line, Sultanu’n-nisa had assumed that her son Raisul Umara would succeed her brother to the throne. But she was not the only one eyeing the throne, as the Nawab himself would lament – “I intend my son for the throne; Sayful Mulk (the Nawab’s younger brother) intends that the throne is for him; my senior sister has in mind that her son is meant for the throne after me; and the firangs (foreigners – the East India Company) are waiting for their opportunity. But it shall be as the Supreme Ruler wills.” The Nawab wrote a will on his deathbed, making his son Tajul Umara his successor, a move that enraged his sister, who felt betrayed. It was an opportunity too good to miss for the firangs, who were looking for an excuse to take over the Carnatic entirely.The English used the simmering anger of Sultanu’n-nisa and spread the rumour that a coup against the Nawab was in the offing. With the connivance of Nawab’s Diwan, Col. Barret, they surrounded the ailing Nawab with the Company’s troops.
When Nawab Umdatu’l-Umara died in 1801, a bitter Sultanu’n-nisa would not forgive her brother. She refused to let the coffin pass through the Kaman-Darwaza. It had to be left the whole night with guards in a hall opposite the arch. After failing to persuade his aunt to let the coffin through, Tajul Umara, son of the deceased Nawab, decided to break the wall behind Nusrat-mahall and send the coffin to Trichy, to be buried next to the tomb of his grandfather Nawab Walajah.
This power struggle enabled Governor Edward Clive to make a man of Company’s choice as the next Nawab, a man who was willing to sign away the Kingdom, which the young Tajul Umara, the rightful successor, refused to do. Umara’s cousin Azim-Ud-Daula was anointed as the next Nawab. Tajul Umara died within a few months. Sultanu’n-nisa and her son left for a Hajj pilgrimage and chose to settle down in the holy city of Karbala in Iraq, where she eventually died.
Two hundred years later, the arch still stands, a mute witness to the bitter power struggle that not just led to the tragic fall of the House of Arcot .
Kombai Anwar is a writer, photographer and film maker.
source: http://www.thehindu.com // Th Hindu / Home> Society> History & Culture / by Kombai S. Anwar / February 17th, 2017
Qualified reciters of the Quran from North India are in great demand in to lead the Taraweeh prayers in South Indian mosques during Ramadan
Of all the months in the lunar Islamic calendar, Ramadan stands out for its focus on spirituality. Through dawn-to-dusk periods of voluntary abstinence and prayer, the Muslim is expected to feel closer to God.
Ramadan is also believed to be the month when the Quran began to be revealed. So the recitation of verses from the holy book in Arabic assumes greater importance during this month. It is a common practice for observant Muslims to try and finish at least one complete reading of the Quran at home. This is also carried out by imams (prayer leaders) who conduct the late-night Taraweeh prayers in mosques during the month.
With the emphasis on the most sonorous rendition of the Quran, management committees and clerics attached to mosques and other places of congregational prayers in Ramadan take an extra effort to find Aalims (scholars) who have memorised the 6,666 verses of the holy book and are skilled in reciting it in a semi-musical style. A person who has perfected memorising the book is known as Hafez, and one who has mastered the art of recitation, as Qari.
In South India, Islamic institutions often invite qualified reciters of the Quran from the North specifically to conduct the Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan.
North Indians are considered to be better in Arabic pronunciation because of the semantic and phonetic affinity that their regional languages – Hindi, Urdu and Hindustani – have with the language of the Quran.
In Tamil Nadu, cities like Chennai, Tiruchi, Madurai and Salem have been hosting imams from Uttar Pradesh, Bhopal and Bihar to lead Taraweeh prayers for several decades.
“The imam’s talent is important in holding the congregation’s interest,” says Mohamed Meeran Misbahi, Secretary, Tamil Nadu Jama’at-ul-Ulema Sabai, a state grouping of Islamic scholars. The Tenkasi native has been officiating as imam at the Kader Mosque in Tiruchi’s Gandhi Market area for the past 20 years. “Many worshippers visit mosques just to sample the different styles of sermons and Quran recitation during Ramadan, so the clerics have to make an extra effort to keep the people engaged,” he adds.
On average, depending on his professional expertise, a prayer leader can earn from Rs. 8,000 to 15,000 per month. During Ramadan, the income is boosted by donations from the congregation.
The erstwhile princely kingdom of Rampur (now a part of Uttar Pradesh) has been maintaining a link with Tiruchi that started in 1952, when Saudi Arabian national of Indian origin, Moulana Qari Hafez Mohamed Ismail Sahib Mujaddidi Madani, was invited to conduct Taraweeh prayers at the Mohammadi Jama Masjid in Tiruchi by the then-Nawab of Arcot.
“My father led the Taraweeh prayers from 1952 to 1974. He died during a prayer service in 1974, and was buried in Tiruchi,” says his son Qari Moulvi Rashid Mujaddidi. The cleric, an Indian citizen, had conducted Taraweeh prayers at the Chowk Mosque from 1960 to 2006. Though he has cut down his engagements due to his advancing years and health problems, the cleric still visits the city during Ramadan, and this year, is officiating as a Taraweeh imam at a private mosque in Singarathope.
His son Salman, who is also an imam, reached Tiruchi a day before the month’s commencement (by the sighting of the crescent moon) was announced, in early June.
“I don’t speak much Tamil, but I have got only love and affection from the people of Tiruchi,” says Moulvi Rashid, who has also worked as an Arabic lecturer in Rampur. “I always tell people to come and visit Tiruchi and learn how different communities can live in harmony. ”
For Moulana Hafez Abdul Rab Qassimi, a suggestion by his friend brought him from his village Mansoorpur, Uttar Pradesh to the Bangali Street Mosque in Woraiyur in 1972. “I was a young man when I started leading the Taraweeh prayers here; now I am almost 68. I will continue to come as long as I am physically able to,” says Moulana Abdul Rab, who makes a three-day rail journey via Moradabad, Delhi and Chennai to reach Tiruchi every Ramadan.
Accommodation for the visiting imams is usually provided within the mosque premises. Congregants provide the food for breaking the fast (iftar) and pre-dawn meal (suhour).
It is Moulana Zia-ur-Rahman’s first year as the Taraweeh imam at the Tennur mosque. A graduate of Qurannic studies from Hyderabad, the 27-year-old will return to his native Leela Baran village in Bihar shortly before Eid-al-Fitr, the festival that denotes the end of Ramadan. “The atmosphere in Tiruchi is very peaceful and conducive to prayer,” says the imam.
Quest for authenticity
Despite the continuing patronage of North Indian imams, many South Indian institutions have come up in the interim to create a new talent pool of young Muslim clerics with a comparable expertise in Quran recitation.
“International qirat (recitation) competitions and a wider exposure to different styles have led to more Muslims opting to study this discipline more seriously,” says Moulana Hafiz Mufti Ruhul Haq, principal, Jamia Anvar-ul-Uloom Arabic College, Khaja Nagar.
The college offers Arabic-medium courses in Quran recitation, Islamic jurisprudence and the study of the Traditions (Hadith) of Prophet Muhammad.
“Besides mosque duties, we also train our students in computer skills in English, Arabic and Tamil, so that they can have a wider range of employment opportunities,” says Moulana Ruhul Haq. Taraweeh
The emphasis on certification has increased the number of younger clerics, with institutions attracting students not just from the South, but also the North.
Like any profession, individual talent is ultimately the deciding factor in religious orders too.
In Arabic, Taraweeh is the plural of tarweeha, which means to rest. In the context of Ramadan prayers, it means to take rest between every four rak’at (units) of praying. Services need to have more than two periods of rest in order to qualify as Taraweeh.
Taraweeh prayer units across the Muslim world range from 8 rak’ats to 20 rak’ats.
Taraweeh is exclusive to the month of Ramadan. However, unlike the compulsory (fardh) five prayers of the day, participating in Taraweeh daily is not obligatory. In fact, Ramadan-specific prayers are meant to be conducted only after the compulsory night prayer (Isha).
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> Metroplus / by Nahla Nainar / Tiruchi – June 24th, 2016