Muslim women vowed to limit the size of the families, not to indulge in female feticide, celebrate the birth of girl child, observe her birthday with gusto and impart modern education to children at Muslim Rashtriya Manch national women conference held in Ajmer on December 3.
When the country was debating non–issues like intolerance and ‘Award Wapsi’, thousands of Muslim women, gathered at Ajmer in Rajasthan, were busy in writing a new script of change under the banner of Muslim Rashtriya Manch. Participating in the first of its kind national conference of Muslim eves drawn from all over the country, these members of fair sex deliberated for nearly four hours to find solutions to their problems like illiteracy, healthcare, employment and equality of status in the society.
A strong contingent of 126 Muslim women and men from Nagpur participated in the conference for the first time. This was the first ever national conference of Muslim women by MRM, a social reform movement launched in 2002 under the joint inspiration of Muslim religious scholars and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
leader Shri Indresh Kumar. Earlier, the MRM had organised women’s meetings at regional levels in Pune, Lucknow and Delhi.
This was more important being the first national convention and as expected it evoked an overwhelming response from Muslim women from Kashmir to Kerala and Gujarat to Manipur. Nearly, 7000 women along with some hundred male members of the MRM gathered at the holy city of Ajmer known after Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti and the only temple of Brahma, the Creator, located at Pushkar in its vicinity, to have threadbare deliberations on issues like education, healthcare, employment, status, talaq, and so on.
The proceedings began at 11 am in a specially erected huge Pandal at Azad Park in Ajmer with the recital of verses from Holy Quran. Reshma Hussain, convener of women’s wing of MRM, advocate Rubi Khan, Dr Munnawar Chaudhary and Farhad Sagar were seen managing the dais. MRM National Convener Mohd Afzal, Abu Bakar Naqvi, Shahnaz Afzal, Dr Nahid Sheikh, national vice-president of BJP Minority Morcha, Jyoti Kiran, Chairperson Rajasthan State Finance Commission, Geetatai Gunde of Bharatiya Stree Shakti, Nazneen Ansari of Benaras, Hafiza Muzaffar from Kashmir, Adv. Shahjahan Farooq Sheikh from Nagpur, Brahamakumari Dr Savita from Mount Abu and Brahakumari Punam from Jaipur graced the dais by their august presence.
The fragrance of ‘Hubbul Vatani’
The speakers emphasised the importance of education, health, cleanliness and gender equality to enhance the status of Muslim women in the society. Besides, stress was also laid on spreading the message of ‘hubbul vatani’ (patriotism) and mutual love and understanding amongst fellow citizens and self-reliance and self-pride. The participating women were told to give importance to education as it was their “fixed deposit” forever; care for their health as it was the way for a healthy self and healthy family; keep the family small to enable them to raise their children with moral ethos and values that build their character and always have a positive attitude towards life.
Addressing the gathering Shri Indresh Kumar posed certain fundamental questions to them. “What is the religion of the Sun and the Moon?” and answered that their religion was welfare of all beings even at the cost of their troubles. Like them we should also live for the needy; neglected; exploited and poor, he exhorted them. Emphasizing on need for small families, he said some politicians advocate for larger families and oppose family planning measures for their vote bank politics. He appealed to the Muslim community not to get misled by such propaganda and vote bank politics and go in for family planning for our own happiness and betterment. Making a reference to the recent controversy surrounding intolerance he said people like Aamir Khan, Tista Setalwad, Medha Patkar could only see the rot in the country.
Women Welfare Fund
Stressing the importance of education of girls Shri Indresh Kumar announced that the MRM would set up a Women Welfare Fund from Ajmer starting with Rs five lakh seed money to help the deserving Muslim girls of poor families to continue and pursue their education. An educated girl illuminates two families and thus becomes the torchbearer of humanity; he said appealing to the gathering to encourage girls in the family to go in for higher studies. He also announced that he would be inaugurating Shahid Ashfaq Ullah National Memorial Trust run and managed by MRM on December 21 in Pune. This trust will take care of the educational needs of the Muslim community, he added. He also announced to set up a foodgrain bank from Varanasi to provide food for the poor families.
Drive against Talaq
Shri Indresh Kumar came down heavily on the practice of oral talaq prevalent in the Muslim community. Quoting the Prophet he said that women are regarded with highest respect and honour in the Islamic tradition. “Heaven lies at the feet of the mother”, the Prophet would say. Why give talaq to such highly regarded soul, he asked and advised them to divorce the bottle of wine that spoiled their life and made it miserable. He announced that the MRM has already launched some periodicals from various places such as ‘Khabar Express’ from Jharkhand, ‘One Nation’ from Jaipur, ‘Paigam Madare Vatan’ from Noida, and ‘Aftab-e-Hind’ from New Delhi. The MRM plans to launch seven more newspapers from other places.
Visit to Ajmer Shrine
Taking a brief break from the proceedings, Shri Indresh Kumar paid a visit to the shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti. He offered ‘chadar’ and ‘rose flowers’ at the shrine and prayed for peace, progress, happiness and brotherhood of the people. It was a pleasant surprise for all as the same Indresh Kumar was falsely accused of bomb blast at the same shrine during the time of UPA government. Indresh Kumar was guided and assisted in the Durgah by Khadim Sayyad Fazle Hasan Chishti who presented him the ‘tavarrukh’ (Prasad). The conference adopted as many as seven resolutions. The first was related to education as it was told by the Prophet that seeking education was the duty of every man and woman. Therefore, the participants were advised to impart education to their children even at the cost of some difficulties. The second resolution was on maintaining cleanliness in houses and surrounding areas so that the environment also remained clean and neat. Another resolution exhorted them not to indulge in female feticide and celebrate the birth of a girl child and observe her birthday with gusto.
Yet another resolution urged them to limit the size of the family so that they can pay attention to bringing up of their children. Similarly the males were urged not to give divorce their wives and keep away from any kind of addiction. Two of the resolutions were regarding ‘intolerance’ and ‘terrorism’. The conference vowed to frustrate the designs of those who smell intolerance in the air of ‘our country’. Those who defame our nation are not true Hindustanis and not even true Muslims, the resolution said. Our country has been tolerant and would remain so. We will play an important role in maintaining that atmosphere of tolerance, the resolution said.
The resolution on terrorism denounced the violence in the name of religion in the strongest words. Killing of innocent people was never sanctioned in Islam. The resolution urged the mothers to stop their children getting attracted to this destructive ideology and ensure peace in the country.