Thursday, December 31, 2009


By V.M. Khaleelur Rahman,

Chennai: Sama Urimai (Equal Right), a five-month-old Chennai- (India) based Tamil monthly magazine founded and edited by Mr. S. M. Hidayatullah, a well known leader and social activist, is fast becoming popular, thanks to its excellent editorials and thought provoking articles from eminent personalities like Mr. Kaviko Abdur Rahaman, a noted Tamil poet and Chairman, Tamil Nadu Waqf Board, who is its honourary editor. Its Executive Editor Mr. Aembal Tajammul Mohammed and Asst. Editor Mr. Abdul Khader are also endeavouring their best to make this periodical more and more useful to the society, particularly the Muslim community.

I like to give a glimpse of its latest editorial published in its December 2009 issue to readers for their information and appraisal of its authenticity.

“Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have deposited billions of Dollars in American banks and the accruing interest amount is quite large but they do not accept the same as it is haraam (prohibited) in Islam. The unfortunate state of affairs is that this forsaken huge money is diverted to Israel for purchase of arms and ammunitions. Saddam Hussain warned the Arab countries 13 years ago and wanted them to withdraw the amounts from the U.S. banks and deposit them elsewhere. Taken aback with this warning, America conspired and put an end to Saddam Hussain.”

The monthly has also said that there is also grapevine about the interest free deposits in some other countries being utilised for anti Muslim activities and suggested that the interest amount should be taken and given for charitable purposes. It says that there are even fatwas to this effect. Its further contention is that Islamic banking sytem can be the best solution for this and that we must join together to achieve it as it is the urgent need of the present time.

Another article in the issue which makes one ponder over is the write-up of the poet Mr. Kaviko Abdur Rahman in his column “Kaviko Page” which reads as follows:

“It happened ten years ago. Place: Viyasarpadi, Satyamurthi Nagar. One Abdul Majeed passed away. He had married a Hindu girl. In spite of that some Jamaat people wanted the mayyit (dead body) for burial in a Muslim graveyard. But it was turned down by his in-laws who were Hindus. His body was taken to the cremation ground and cremated.

What happened recently is: A woman passed away and her body was buried in a qabristan (graveyard) in Royapettah. Some people opposed it on the suspicion that she was a Qadiyani. Her body was taken back from the grave. She was buried in a cremation ground.

Another incident: He was a namesake Muslim, not by practice. He never prayed, never fasted and had no sign of Islamic values in him. He used to drink, gamble and even indulged in prostitution. He passed away. His body was taken to a qabristan and buried without any hesitation or opposition. It is not an incident. Such things happen in large numbers.”

Kaviko has not commented anything but just reported the happenings of the past and the present and made people search their hearts for truth and decide what should be our stand on issues like these.

The Tamil magazine is the mouthpiece of Islamia Ilakkia Kazhagam (Islamic Literacy Movement). I like to mention here that this movement organized one-day Islamic Tamil Literary Conference on December 13, 2009 in Sadaq Arts and Science College in Chennai by inviting Governor of Tamil Nadu Shri Surjit Singh Barnala and other eminent personalities. Many programmes such as seminars on different topics like theology, history, science etc. and patti manram (literary debate) were conducted by different Tamil scholars and were highly successful. Many leading literary and social activists were honoured in the conference. The noted revolutionary Tamil poet M. Mehta was honoured with Umar Pulavar Award consisting of Rupees one lakh given by Partheebanoor Marhoom Mohammed Mustafa Education Trust. Previous recipients of this award were Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Dr. Kalaigner M. Karunanidhi and Dr. Kaviko Abdur Rahman.

Islamia Ilakkia Kazhagam is an active welfare organisation which has conducted public meets to create awareness for better educatinal and economical improvements, helped people for giving tuition to +2 students, contributed much for achieving reservation for Muslims in Tamil Nadu by conducting a big Islamic Tamil Literary Conference, encouraged jamaats to start Baitul Maals by donating Rs.10,000/- to every jamaat which comes out with a Baitul Maal. So far it has helped more than 60 jamaats in different places in Tamil Nadu.

The Movement has also distributed pamphlets on Islamic thoughts meant for the reformation of the society. One of its write-ups says in bold Tamil letters as follows:

Prophet Mohammed (sal-am) who said Haj is one time in life performed Haj only once. When the divine verse "And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind for him who can find a way thither"(3:97) was revealed, people asked: “Is it for every year?” It was asked several times. Prophet Mohammed said, “No, only once.” At that time a divine verse was revealed which reads: “O ye who believe! Ask not of things which if they were made known unto you would trouble you but if ye ask of them when the Quran is being revealed they will be made known unto you. Allah pardoneth this, for Allah is forgiving, clement.” (Al-Quran 5:101). Prophet also said that “Give up what I have not said. People before you perished because of this. You follow what I have said as much as possible and give up what I have prohibited.” (Ali ibn Abi Thalib, Abu Huraira, Ibn Abbas - Sahih Bukhari, Abu Dawood etc.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009



          M. Mohammed Hashim sahib, President

           N.Mohammed Sayeed sahib, General Secretary

           M. Rafeeque Ahmed sahib, Convenor

It is heartening to know that an important meeting of Vellore district Masjid Muthawallis was held at Melvisharam in Tamil Nadu on 21st December 2009 and a common platform was formed with a view to reform the community and be helpful to it. Three industrialists M. Mohammed Hashim sahib of Melvisharam, N. Mohammed Sayeed sahib and M. Rafeeque Ahmed of Ambur were elected as President, General Secretary and Convenor respectively of the organisation and some others as Committee members.

We congratulate all concerned for this formation and hope that the Muslim community which is educationally and economically backward will receive the required support and guidance from this organisation. We suggest to the organisation to take up the following agenda and do the needful:

1. To create awareness among Muslims for the importance of higher professional education and help the meritorious poor and needy students to get it.
2. To reform the community from evils such as dowry, triple divorce etc. by imparting Islamic values and thoughts to them.
3. To make Jumma sermons in masjids useful to the society and achieve the above objectives.

One of the issues discussed in the meeting was the recently enacted registration of marriages Act 2009 of Tamil Nadu.

We all know that the Tamil Nadu government has brought in registration of marriages Act 2009 vide its G.O. Ms. No.987, Home (Courts –IV), effective from 24th November 2009 for all religious communities in accordance with the Supreme Court invocation and in consonance with the U.N. General Assembly convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women held in 1979 and ratified in 1993. It is said that our country agreeing in principle that registration of marriages was necessary had expressed its reservation as ours is a plural country with different customs, traditions, castes, creeds, religions and educational levels.

In spite of the reservation expressed by India in the above convention, the supreme court in Seema vs Ashwini Kumar case noted with concern that in large number of cases some unscrupulous persons are denying the existence of marriage as there is no official record of the marriage in most states and hence invoked the need for registration of marriages throughout the country. All the states including the union territories felt that it is highly desirable particularly for the prevention of child marriages which are prevalent even now in almost all parts of the country.

According to reports available, most of the states have framed rules regarding registration of marriages with varying degrees of emphasis. While in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat etc. registration of marriages is compulsory, it is not so in some other states like Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Meghalaya etc.

It is also a fact that Muslims in India particularly in Tamil Nadu have been maintaining records of marriages since pre-partition days. One feels that if the registration of marriage is nothing but just giving information about every solemnised marriage, it should be welcomed as it will be beneficial to the Muslim community.

The Corporation of Chennai records all birth and death details given by hospitals, individuals etc. and make them available in its website. Anybody can have the certificate of birth or death from the website anytime and use it. Things are so simple now, thanks to the technological advancement. If marriages are registered, it will be on record in the website and be useful to all. Generally speaking the registration of marriages Act seems to be beneficial to the community as it is meant to eradicate many evils of the society such as child marriages.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009





Leather market in Chennai is somewhat active now as there is some demand for items like E.I. tanned goat skins, wetblue goat and sheep skins, sheep nappa for garments etc. Leather goods, garment and shoe manufacturers are in the market covering their requirements. While tanned goat skins are sold at slightly higher prices due to its limited availability, other items are sold at almost unchanged prices.

It is learnt that while tanned goat upper, suede and lining are sold at around Rs.50, 45 and 30 per sq. ft., wetblue goat suede and lining are sold at around Rs.40 and 25 per sq. ft. respectively. Some business is also taking place in goat crust garment suede at around Rs.46 per sq.ft. Tanned goat skins heel grip and Rejection are sold at around Rs.20 and 18 per sq.ft.

Wetblue cowhides are slow in movements even in popular centres like Erode, Ambur and Ranipet. Many shoe units are interested mostly in higher selections in this item which are not easily available and there are only a few takers at reasonable prices for lower selections available in plenty.

Many overseas tanners and agents are more interested in selling their hides and skins to India. A recent offer in wetblue goat skins is given below to indicate the state of affairs in the present market.

Wetblue ivory coast goat skins, tanned with Italian supervision,
Abour 30,000 skins, average size about 7 sq.ft. per skin and
About 10,000 skins, average size about 8 sq.ft. per skin
Thickness 0.8/+ mm - Lining / partial shoe upper selection.
Price : US$0.65 per sq.ft.

As far as export of finished leather is concerned, only a small volume of business is taking place as regular customers in Europe, Far East and other countries are not in full swing in their purchases. Exporters are quoting at around US$1.50 and 1.40 for goat upper and suede leathers and US$1.10 /1.00 / 0.90 for goat lining leathers TR1 /TR2 /TR3. Goat garment suede leathers are quoted at around US$1.60 (All prices are per sq.ft. C&F by sea).

The shoe and garment units are trying their best to increase their production and export as much as possible in the present difficult situation which has to be appreciated very much. Their service is great in keeping thousands of skilled and unskilled employees particularly in rural areas in their units without much retrenchment.

Many analysts and industrialists say that the leather and leather products industry deserve more and more support from the government to enable it to march forward and reach the targets in growth and export at the present difficult time when there is stiff competition from different countries like China in the world market.


The Dubai crisis has shaken the world including of course our country India at the time when according to many reports it is recovering from the global recession and improving its economy. The Dubai crisis is that a government owned flagship firm Dubai World is in the doldrums with a debt of US $59 billion for which it has sought time till the middle of 2010 for payment. It only proves that all glitterings are not gold and we should be careful while dealing with other countries. Nobody expected that a Dubai based and government owned company like Dubai World would face the sort of crisis we are witnessing today.

Many economists and analysts have taken a serious note of the Dubai crisis. A Saudi economist says that it is a very serious and severe problem that is likely to shake up the Gulf financial system as a whole and analysts from the Bank of America caution that if the Dubai crisis spread to other emerging markets, the world economic recovery could see a major setback. The lesson we must learn is that a very big company in an advanced or oil rich country need not necessarily be a sound one.

The hon'ble finance minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has said that “ it will not affect India much as our stake is so small and the amount involved compared to the world economy is miniscule “. It is also noteworthy that 40% of Dubai’s population is of Indians even though our country’s financial exposure is not much. The assurance of the hon’ble minister to the country that “the government is keeping a close watch and will act to prevent any fallout” speaks a volume. It means that we cannot rule out its adverse effect at least to some extent on our country.

(Indian Leather, December 2009)

Sunday, November 15, 2009




The Council for Leather Exports (CLE) deserves praise for taking a right decision at least now to work for revision of the existing norms for identification of finished leather for export. Better late than never. It says in a recent circular that it has been working for the revision of the norms as tanning technology and leather finishing processes have undergone many changes since its coming into force in 1992 and the revised norms would facilitate export of finished leathers from ports without any problem.

According to the CLE, the revised norms framed by the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) in consultation with the leather industry and other stake holders and sent to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in August 2008 have not been approved and notified despite its following up with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and DGFT because according to available information the Department of Commerce, which referred the matter to other departments like Animal Husbandry , Revenue, Industrial Policy and Promotion and also the Bureau of Indian Standards and received their feedback, is planning a joint consultation meeting of the said departments shortly before a final decision is taken on the revision of the finished leather norms for export.

Tanners and exporters are desperately waiting for the export friendly revised norms as the problems faced by them at the customs are galore and terrible and their disappointments know no bounds. As I said earlier in one of my articles in Indian Leather, there are many tanners who do not want to enter into contracts for exports as they do not know if their goods will be passed or not for export or show-cause notice issued. They don't want to take risk at all. Their argument is that a leather is a leather and there should not be any meaningless and rigid norms to define and approve it by the customs.

No doubt the government has come out with many measures and is implementing them to increase industrial growth and export but delays in taking decisions on issues such as the revision of the norms etc. disappoint and discourage the tanners and exporters. When I asked a tanner about export possibilities, he said "the situation is not conducive as the export prices are unworkable and the treatment at the customs humiliating, there is no understanding that we are exporting only leather and nothing else. We cannot waste time, take risk and run every time we do some new “light colours” to the CLRI to get a certificate ( paying the fee of Rs.2041/- per testing ) to the effect that the goods we are exporting are in conformity with the existing norms as otherwise pay fines".

Another exporter also narrated his experience with the customs: “We had an export order for goat suede leathers in many colours. We made the goods ready and submitted our documents to the customs for export. We had problems in shipping them as three of the colours were considered “light” and not approved. It will be clear even to a layman that they were only finished leathers. But according to customs authorities "light colours" do not come in the category of finished leathers as per the existing norms. We cannot dictate colours to our customers. We have to prepare goods according to their requirements. The problems are serious. You can imagine the predicament of the tanners whose goods were not approved for export.”

It is also learnt from reliable sources that many export contracts remain unexecuted because of the problems. There is a 20% decrease in the export of finished leathers. It will go down further if the problems persist unsolved. Small tanners are the worst sufferers now. They feel that they are let down by the CLE and other associations. It is a fact that there is nobody to represent their case.

Many tanners and exporters I interviewed are of the opinion that the Council for Leather Exports and other leather related associations should highlight the problems faced by tanners ( at the time of export at the customs ) to the government and demand for immediate suitable changes in the existing norms for identification of finished leathers so that every exporter – small or big – is able to do business smoothly without any problem and increase their production and export so vital for the country particularly at the present time of recession.

( VMK in Indain Leather, November 2009 )

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Respected ladies and gentlemen,

I am thankful to Janab Kaka Sayeed Ahmed sahib for giving me an opportunity to be present here ( Jamia Darussalam, Oomerabad). I start my speech from the place where Collector sahib (Mr. Dharmendra Pratap Yadau, honourable Collector of Vellore District) ended his speech by saying that parents do not even care if their children are going to school or not. If attempts are made to send their children to school, they oppose it.

This is the state of the Muslims who complain that they are not given their fundamental rights. They must remember that it is their responsibility to bring up their children well giving them good education in order to make them good citizens of this country. I want to draw their attention to the importance of education and hope that they will realise their responsibility and do the needful.

The century in which we are living is the century of education and science. Your happiness and power depend on the education and technology you have. I want to quote the example of the Jews here. If you read their history, you will come to know that they suffered zulm for long because of their own making. But they did not underestimate the importance of education even in these circumstances. The result of their principled life is that they received 180 Nobel prizes in 105 years and Muslims only 3 although the population ratio of Jews and Muslims is 1:100.

Some years ago American Jews collected one million dollars and donated it to their Spiritual Priest in Israel for constructing a grand place of worship there. The Priest said that who are we to construct a palace for that great Almighty who can be prayed anywhere and anytime but to understand him education is necessary and therefore you can establish an educational academy from this amount so that no Jew is ignorant. The result of their thinking and endeavours is that this small country is so powerful as to dictate its terms to the superpower America. Please think it over. Why is it that we could not do it despite far better available resources with us?

Madrasas have been playing an important role in the country for long. They are giving Islamic light to one and all. Their identity is necessary. It was not difficult for the Commission to recommend establishment of schools but it did not do so rightly. We have seen the state of affairs prevailing in government schools in some places. There are many vacancies for Urdu teachers in U.P. but teachers are not appointed. In M.P. and other places there are many schools where there are Urdu teachers but they do not know proper Urdu. I want Madrasa Board to avoid such things in schools, which will be managed by our Ulema, and there will not be any interference in them by the government.

Whenever Madrasa Board is discussed, some people give the example of Bihar. But they forget that the Chairmen of the Board were responsible for their mismanagement. Such people will create problems anywhere, even in your places.

Even if there are any mistakes in the Central Madrasa Board, we should try to rectify them instead of outright rejecting them. I tell this because I have the interest of the community at heart and I want to see all of them getting good education. You can see more Muslim children doing cleaning works in hotels and petty shops. I know that it is their difficulty. Is it not necessary for us to think about them for their bright future and arrange for their education? If you have any plan for this, please tell us as otherwise accept our proposal for Madrasa Board. We do not want big institutions like Darul Uloom and Nadwatul Ulema in this scheme. Let them have their own ways. We want small madrasas to be benefited by the Madrasa Board by becoming its members.

I have taken the oath that I will bring the educational awakening in the community and Insha-Allah I will endeavour my best for it. I am visiting your area since yesterday. It gives me great pleasure to know that there are people in our community who have established and are managing many institutions efficiently. Not only this. They have good plans for doing a lot for the community in future. If we have more people like Kaka Sayeed Ahmed sahib, we can benefit a lot. I am not disappointed with the community. Insha-Allah our community will make progress educationally and economically. It is unfortunate that in North India we do not see efficient people coming forward to establish and run good educational institutions as in South India.

I am happy to see this institution (Jamia Darussalam). I pray to Allah for its further progress. We require more and more people like Maulana Kaka Sayeed Ahmed sahib for marching forward in the educational development of the community. I believe that education is the key for happiness and there is no alternative to it.

(Re-produced from Al-Ameen, monthly newsletter edited by VMK)

Thursday, October 22, 2009



The leather market is on the move as ever but of course with a slow pace. While big exporters are having some orders, small exporters are endeavouring their best to get contracts for survival. The general feeling in the market is that getting orders at workable prices for shoe as well as garment leathers is not less than a Himalayan task. The overseas customers are choosy in their operations as their demand is restricted and confined to only some limited quantities in certain high quality leather items produced by well established leading tanners and exporters. The days of having orders for any items and by any exporter are gone.

The fact is that good demand exists only for certain items like sheep cabretta, nappa, lining etc. Goat upper and lining leathers are also in demand to some extent. In cow hides while there is good demand for higher selections, lower selections are very slow in movements despite considerable price reductions. The business concluded during the past one month for export can be considered only as insignificant. As reports indicate there is about 30% reduction in the total exports of our country. In spite of best efforts by the government and industry, growth and exports are not on expected lines.

The following are the price indications for some leather items which are of permanent interest and contracted regularly:

1) F/C goat upper leather, 3/5 or 4/7 sq.ft. ABC Price: US$2.00 / per sq.ft. C&F by sea
2) F/C goat lining leather, 3/5 or 4/7 sq.ft. TR1 Price: US$1.10 per sq.ft. C&F by sea
3) F/C sheep nappa leather, 5/7 sq.ft. ABC Price: US$2.50 per sq.ft. C&F by sea
4) F/C sheep lining leather, 4/7 sq.ft. TR1 Price: US$1.30 per sq.ft. C&F by sea

There are also reports of foreign customers preferring non L/C business at terms unworkable for exporters here. Indian exporters are also facing a stiff competition from their counterparts in countries like China, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Some exporters are also facing either delayed or non-payment of their export bills. The Council for Leather Exports can do well to publish the list of the overseas importers who are not trustworthy and creating problems in business as it will enable exporters to be cautious while negotiating contracts.

In the local market many small tanners have given up making E.I. tanned and crust leathers due to present unfavourable, rather difficult situation. They say that not only the business is unworkable but getting payment is also not easy as they have to wait for at least 3 to 4 months for cheques.

Tanners in places like Erode who are mainly producers and suppliers of wetblue cow hides are also in a tight corner with huge unsold stocks at their disposal. Shoe manufacturers who used to cover their requirements from these centres are now slow in their purchases.

As far as the shoe sector is concerned, there is good demand for shoes and shoe uppers from some of the regular customers but the business atmosphere is not what it was before. An industrialist pointed out that “we are yet to come out from the impact of the recession and perhaps it will be there till the world scenario changes for the better.”

Some shoe manufacturers are also planning to open their show rooms for marketing their products under their own brand names. It is well known that some big export oriented shoe units have already established and are running their show rooms successfully in some places in our country.

Thanks to the controversy surrounding the external affairs minister Mr. Shashi Tharoor on his jovial and not serious "cattle class" comments about the economy class in flights, heated discussions are taking place about the important but neglected subject "austerity" which was once a laudable concept of Mahatma Gandhiji for liberating our country from the foreign yoke, maintaining its cultural and traditional heritage, safe-guarding its unity in diversity and making it self-reliant and self-dependent. Though we did not forget the name of this great man, the father of Indian nation, we forgot his ideals and started doing things in all spheres contrary to his noble thoughts and practices perhaps under the wrong impression that changed times do not require past notions. He was the real leader of the masses by leading a simple life with high thinking in accordance with our national ethos. It is necessary for our governments at the centre and in the states to revive his philosophy and see to it that at least some of his ideas like establishing cottage industries in villages are implemented for the benefit of the people. India is a country of villages. There are millions of people in our country whose daily earnings are unimaginably very low. The leather and leather products industry has the capacity and potentiality of playing an important role in this arena. Some inroads have already been made in some places. But it has to be done in a big way.

One feels that the austerity measures proposed by the union government for the ministers for preferring economy class etc. are in the right direction and should be welcomed by one and all particularly in the present recession hit period. It will be in the interest of the leather industry to follow it not only in foreign travels but in everything. A good planning and its proper implementation without any waste is also a part of austerity. We see even the developed countries like the U.S. and U.K. trying their best to cut their wasteful expenditures. During a discussion a tanner pointed out that there is an urgent need for all of us to be austere in every walk of life and more so in the industry related matters. The Council for Leather Exports and other trade associations can do well to plan and propagate austerity measures which are necessary for the leather and leather products industry. (VMK in Indian Leather, October 2009 issue)

Monday, October 19, 2009


CHENNAI : The well-known large format book retailer LANDMARK organised a debate on the media at its Nungambakkam store on Thursday, 14th October 2009 with Sanjay Pinto,Head of the news operations of NDTV 24x7 in Tamil Nadu , efficiently moderating it. Media persons Sunil, Murari and actress Khushboo were in the team supporting the media and politician Jayanthi Natarajan, advocate Geetha and former commissioner of police Natarajan were in the team opposing the media.
Sanjay told the audience that Landmark has decided to arrange such programmes on important burning issues in future. The show was well arranged and also timely. As we know the media refers to various means of communication such as television, radio and newspaper. We also know how the present day media whether electronic or print is playing its role in its presentation of news and views.

Jayanthi Natarajan bombarded the media saying that it distracts, distorts and magnifies reality and creates its own “reality “. She pointed out various stories including Aarushi’s to tell the unfortunate state of affairs prevailing in the media. Her remark that in some states in our country the media provides “packages” for supporting a candidate in election and in one case it was Rs. 6 lakh was a news to the audience. In this part of the country nobody can think of it as all leading political parties have their own channels to propagate their policies. According to her the media has lost its credibility by presenting sensational news about sex, rape, murder etc and making a mockery of the freedom of expression guaranteed in the Constitution of our country.
Advocate Geetha criticised the media for its meaningless hype on non-issues, projecting women badly, indulging in character assassination of individuals, highlighting superstitious beliefs as if truth, etc. She also said that there are some newspapers in states like Gujarat and Maharashtra which are openly violating all moral, legal and constitutional ethics. She felt that market forces are guiding and monopoly houses are controlling the media and it projects things as it wants for its own selfish and commercial purposes.
K. Natarajan, former commissioner of police, made a forceful argument quoting Dr.A.P. J. Abdul Kalam that the media is degrading itself by highlighting things detrimental to the society.
Actress Khushboo said at the outset that she should have been in the other group. Branding the media as commercial and money making without observing journalistic ethics said that it is not what it was before. Her remark was that even in the Pakistan initiated terror attacks in Mumbai, the national channels were covering mostly the Taj incident. However she said that we cannot deny the importance of the media in the country. The two media persons Sunil and Murari expressed the view that the media reflects the society and what it wants. There was also mention about the Pulitzer Prize given for achievements in newspaper journalism, literature and musical composition to draw the attention of the audience to the fact that Joseph Pulitzer, a “yellow journalist” was the person who initiated the Pulitzer Prize. Perhaps it was thought that the media has no alternative to what they are doing now to keep readers under its spell and increase readership. But this cannot be an acceptable argument.
We all know that journalistic ethics are based on truthfulness, honesty, impartiality, objectivity, fairness, accountability etc. But perhaps only a very few newspapers and channels follow them. The minorities particularly the Muslims are the worst sufferers of the media presentation. Even a small lapse done in a corner of the country by a Muslim is blown out of proportion and presented in such a way that he represents the whole community. I do not want to go into details just because it will be a propaganda again against the community. The whole world knows how Muslim issues and news concerning them are projected in the media. If we turn the pages of Saamna and other such periodicals and newspapers and see the channels of this category under the control of the dividing forces, we can understand how venomous they are. It is not possible for the people to take up their issues to the counts as it is not only time consuming but also waste of money and energy.
If a Muslim writes an article against the principles dearer to his community or Islam in the name of reformation or progressive thoughts, it will be immediately published in some newspapers and periodicals but take it from me any article in praise of our principles will have no takers in the media. The reason for this is communalism in some cases and hunger for sensationalism in the other. Take the latest issue of the hijab. There are attempts to distort its importance in the guise of discussing the fatwas of Al-Azhar University, Cairo and Darul Uloom, Deoband. But they forget that the more you impose something on people the more there will be opposition to it.
The government should try to make the electronic as well as the print media follow the journalistic ethics for the betterment of the people and country.
We welcome the Landmark’s decision to conduct debates on important issues in future. Such debates are the urgent need of the present time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009



Chennai: The Hijra Committee of India organised a day long Exhibition cum Seminar in Chennai yesterday on October 17. Many speakers from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other states stressed the need for adopting a lunar calendar based on the teachings of Islam. They termed the calendar they evolved scientifically and on the basis of the Islamic principles as 'The Calendar for Mankind'.

Dr. Koya Kutty Farooqui, Dr. A. Mohammed Ali (Former Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies International Islamic University, Malaysia), Saifuddin, Maulvi Mohammed Zubair, Captain Siddiqui, Masood and others expressed their views on the importance of the scientifically evolved lunar calendar during the seminar.

The speakers were of the opinion that there is no need to depend on anybody for starting the fasting during the month of Ramadan, celebrating the Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha or deciding any other important thing as Allah had fixed everything when the skies and the earth were created and it is our duty to follow them.

According to them the argument that we should do our religious duties only after seeing the moon with our eyes and start the month cannot be correct in the present modern scientific world. They insisted that we should take advantage of the astro physics, easily available to us now without necessarily seeing the vanishing moon after Maghrib prayers.

Musthafa Mohamed of the Hijra Committee explained that there are many verses of the Holy Quran and Ahadees (sayings of Prophet Mohammed - sal-am) which encourage us to adopt modern technologies. He quoted the Ayat of the holy Quran 2:189 which says inter-alia " they ask thee ( O Muhammed) of new moons. Say, they are fixed seasons for mankind and for the pilgrimage".

The celebration of Eids on different days even in a state and sometimes even in a town or district based on our sighting of the moon, according to the Hijra committee, is against the Islamic concepts and hence we should all celebrate the Eids on the same days and do all our religious obligations as per the lunar calendar. In his opinion even the NASA is following the lunar calendar system. Dr. Koya Kutty Farooqui was also with him explaining many things in this regard.

A calendar is a system of organising days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes. There are different varieties of calendars based on either solar, lunar or luni-solar systems and the popular among them are the Gregorian, Julian, Islamic, Hebrew, Iranian, Hindu and Chinese calendars. The example of a lunar calendar is the Islamic calendar whereas the Persian calendar is of solar system. There is also a luni-solar calendar based on the combination of both solar and lunar reckonings. The example for this is the calendar of China and the Hindu calendar in our country India. It is said that the Islamic calendar is used by most Muslims in the world.

The calendar which we use is called Gregorian. It has the international standard and is used almost everywhere in the world for civil purposes.

The Hijra committee is mobilising opinions in favour of a standard Islamic lunar calendar to carry out everything including Eids on the same fixed dates as per the calendar without landing in confusions under the existing practice of sighting the moon and celebrating the Eids - a practice not attested by the holy Quran or Ahadees.

Musthafa Mohamed also cited a letter written by Pandit Jawaherlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, had written to Prof. Meghnath Saha, Chairman of the Calendar Reform Committee (CRC) to evolve a scientifically advanced calendar wherin he had said, "Government have entrusted to the CRC the work of examining different calendars followed in India and proposing an accurate and uniform calendar for the whole of India based on scientific study. I am told that we have at present 30 different calendars. Of course they are the natural result of our past history and partly they are due to the former political divisions in India. Now that we are independent, there should be a uniform calendar for our country's civic, social and other purposes, and our calendar should be evolved scientifically. For government and public work, we follow the Gregorian calendar, which is used in the greater part of the world. But even that calendar has its own defects. The fact that it is largely used does make it important. It has many virtues, but certain defects in it make it unsatisfactory for universal use. I do hope that our scientists will give a proper lead in making that attempt a success."

The Hijra Committee is of the opinion that the community, ulema and intellectuals should discuss this vital issue threadbare and celebrate the Eids on fixed dates and carry out all other religious obligations with unity as per the Islamic lunar calendar system.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The importance of Islamiah College, Vaniyambadi

The Islamiah College, Vaniyambadi is the first Muslim college established by the Muslim community in Tamil Nadu more than 90 years ago with the noble objective of imparting modern education to the people living in and around Vaniyambadi. It has rendered great service to the people of all castes and religious communities. The Muslim educational society which established and has been administering this college along with many other primary and higher secondary schools is more than 100 years old. It is hoped that its centenary will be celebrated soon. We cannot forget the great people who founded the society and many institutions including the College in Vaniyambadi.

Friday, September 18, 2009




The much awaited Foreign Trade Policy 2009-2014 which was announced on 27th August 2009 by the honourable union minister for commerce and industry, Mr. Anand Sharma is intended to bring the declining exports back on the growth path. It has a number of measures such as tax sop, interest reduction, dollar credit for exporters etc. According to available reports, India’s exports have declined by about 30% due to the world recession particularly in the U.S. and Europe. He blamed the decline to the protectionist measures adopted by some of the developed countries. To set right this the government has decided to add 26 additional countries in Africa, South America and CIS under Focus Market Scheme. According to the announcement, the policy seeks to help Indian exporters expand their business in existing markets, make inroads into new markets, upgrade technology through cheaper imports of capital goods, and reduce transaction costs and time. While announcing the policy, the honourable Minister has said that “we cannot remain oblivious to declining demand in the developed world and we need to set in motion strategies and policy measures which will catalyse the growth of exports” and hoped that the country would achieve an export figure of $200 billion in 2010-11 as against $168 billion in 2008-9 as the industry has achieved a 7% growth in July 2009 which is a sign of recovery being on the way. He further said that the policy would give special thrust to the employment-oriented sectors that had witnessed job losses in the wake of recession, especially in the fields of textiles, leather and handicrafts.


Another important aspect of the policy is that a committee comprising Finance and Commerce Secretaries and Indian Banks Association Chairman was constituted and it would meet regularly to ensure that the dollar-credit needs of the exporters were met in a timely manner. There is yet another new approach in the policy and that is the government would promote “Brand India” in at least six “Made-in-India” shows to be organised across the world every year.


The experts and industrialists are of the opinion that the policy is well chalked out to arrest and reverse the declining trends of exports and provide additional support especially to those sections which have been badly hit by recession in the developed world as the minister rightly pointed out. According to the minister, the government will review the policy after two years and take further measures as per the situation. He was optimistic of doubling our country’s exports of goods and services by 2014 to the extent of $336 billion. The government target of export growth is at 15% per annum for first two years and at 25% per annum for the last three years.


The government has also decided to extend the Duty Entitlement Passbook Scheme till December 31, 2010. The other booster schemes which were announced earlier for the benefit of exporters and are in force now will also continue. Many organizations have welcomed the policy. While welcoming it FICCI President Mr. Harsh Pati Singhania has said that “Even though drawing up a new foreign trade policy in the current difficult times is a tough task, the Commerce Minister has presented a reasonably good blueprint for taking our exports to $200 billion in next two years”.


There is no press release from the Chairman of the Council for Leather Exports till the time of writing this write-up. However there are mixed reaction to the policy in the leather industry. Although it is generally welcomed, some small tanners feel that the measures are mainly for the big industrialists. Many small tanners are not willing to try for new export contracts for finished leathers and take risk particularly at the present difficult times as the norms for identification of finished leathers are rigid and they are not sure if the sort of goods they will produce as per the requirements of the customers will be passed for export or not. The recent custom problems encountered by some have dampened their spirits. Another section feels that there is an urgent need for the government to allow E.I. Tanned hides and skins for export without any restriction temporarily at least for 5 years for the benefit of small tanners and exporters who have suffered heavy losses, to overcome recession and also to increase our growth and export. But others, particularly leather products manufacturers, consider this argument as unacceptable and going back from the progressive industrial policy the government has adopted.


The Council for Leather Exports is doing its best to increase our country’s growth and export in leather and leather products in many ways. It has planned to organise a Road Show in Spain during 10-13 November 2009 as part of the Annual Action Plan for 2009-10 under the Mission Mode Scheme of the ILDP. The Council states that the Road Show will be in the form of presentation-cum-Interaction session in which India will be presented as an attractive destination for business and joint venture collaborations. The opportunities available to the Spanish companies in Indian leather industry will be highlighted during the sessions. According to the Council, at present Spain holds 6th rank in India’s export from the leather sector. Therefore for India, Spain continues to be one of the important and potential markets for enhancing the business opportunities and attracting joint venture and technical collaborations into the leather & leather products industry. Another important event the Council has decided to arrange is the combined buyer-seller meet on 3rd and 4th December 2009 in New York (coinciding with New York Shoe Expo) and on 7th and 8th December 2009 in Chicago, both in footwear, leather garments, leather goods and accessories. These meets are very important because of the fact that the USA is the largest market for leather products in the world accounting for 20% share in the global import trade of US$127.73 billion in 2007 and our country’s share of leather and leather products is 9% in its total export of US$3.5 billion. There is no doubt that the union government has presented a well planned foreign trade policy 2009-14 to the country in order to overcome the global recession and increase our growth and export. (V.M. Khaleelur Rahman in Indian Leather, September 2009)



The heavy rains that lashed Ambur and its surrounding places for more than three hours last night and the flood that followed has caused heavy damage to life and property. The tragedy has shocked the people of Ambur as it was unexpected and unprecedented. I appreciate and thank Vellore district collector and other officials for their timely rescue operations. Several welfare organisations are also in the field. It is hoped that the TN government will go to their rescue immediately.

(VMK in Deccan Chronicle dated 17 September 2009)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Mr. Jaswant Singh's expulsion from the BJP for writing a book on Jinnah is surprising all secular and democratic people. One can appreciate or criticise his remarks based on facts. It is well known that Jinnah was once called as the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. He was also a staunch Congress leader. Situations changed him and made him an All India Muslim League Chief.

It is very unfortunate that Mr. Jaswant's 30 years of dedicated service as a leader has no value for the BJP leaders who passed a resolution to expel him. One can understand where the party stands and how its leaders analyse issues!

The fact is that the strong leaders who wanted to grab power were not willing to co-operate with Mr. Jinnah and his party and pushed him to a corner to demand Pakistan. No doubt he fought for Pakistan and got it with the consent of all leaders.The loss in every respect was immeasurable. It was his great blunder. No Indian will ever pardon him for this and more so Indian Muslims whose dedicated freedom fighters including ulema had to undergo great hardships during the freedom struggle. Many of them were even hanged to death by the Britishers.

One feels that Mr. Jaswant should have criticised him more for this tragedy. Even today we are suffering because of the division of the country. We would have been stronger if the country had remained one India. The only leader who was opposed to the division of the country till the end even when all agreed to it was Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Even after partition he maintained his stand as the opponent of the partition.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009




The national budget announced on 6th July 2009 by the hon'ble Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee is "people friendly" as it is stimulus-oriented focussed on consumption to sustain growth. Taxpayers who hail from different fields of activity received the benefits which they rightly deserved. The following are some of them:

Income tax exemption limit was raised by Rs.10,000 for men and women and Rs.15,000 for senior citizens. i.e. exemption limit for men and women is Rs.1.60 lakh and senior citizens Rs.2.40 lakh.
Interest on study loans after 10th standard is now tax deductible.
10% surcharge on above Rs.10 lakh is abolished
Wealth tax is now payable only for over Rs.30 lakh instead of Rs.15 lakh.
Advance tax is applicable only for tax liability exceeding Rs.10,000 against Rs.5,000 earlier.
There are also many other benefits such as cuts in customs duties for some life-saving drugs and medical equipment, abolition of commodity transaction tax on derivatives trading etc.

One can also invest up to Rs.1 lakh in some approved schemes under Section 80c and save taxes up to about Rs.30,000. The investment is deducted from taxable income.

Many disadvantages are also galore in the present budget. For example most gifts in kind worth over Rs.50,000 are to become taxable after 1st October 2009, excise on several household items to be increased from 4% to 8%, customs duty doubled on import of gold and silver bars, 5% duty on set-up boxes, MAT up from 10% to 15% , service tax on legal consultancy to firms, etc.

As far as businessmen are concerned, the benefits are in the form of extensions as detailed below:

Sops announced for exporters in December 2008 have been extended up to 31st March 2010
Tax Write-off on R & D expenditure has been extended to all manufacturing units.
Section 10A and 10B tax holiday for STPs and EOUs has been extended up to 31st March 2011.
Credit on Minimum Alternate Tax can be carried forward for 10 years instead of 7.

According to the Council for Leather Exports, the following benefits are there in the recent budget.

1) Inclusion of new inputs for manufacturer-exporters of leather garments, footwear (including non-leather footwear) and other leather products under the 3% Duty Free Import Scheme (DFIS). Though the Council had submitted exhaustive list of inputs for inclusion and also sought amendments in existing descriptions of inputs, only certain items have been included.

2) Amendments have been made in the list of machinery notified under list 34 of serial no. 257 of Customs Notification No. 21/2002 dated 1.3.2002, as amended from time to time, which allows import under 5% concessional duty (basic customs duty). These amendments were earlier sought by the Council so as to avoid customs interpretation problems.

3) The 2% interest subvention scheme for certain labour intensive sectors including the leather sector has been extended from Sept. 30, 2009 to March 31, 2010. This will facilitate reduced interest rates @ BPLR minus 4.5% for the leather sector on pre-shipment and post-shipment rupee export credit. The RBI is expected to issue the notification in this regard in due course.

4) Additional Benefits (coverage) under Export Credit Guarantee scheme have been extended till March 2010. As per current package of ECGC, the percentage of cover is enhanced by 5% under Export Credit Insurance Policies issued to exporters and by 10% under Export Credit Insurance Covers for Banks. Thus, the total coverage for the exporters will be 95% and for the banks to 85%.

5) The Excise Duty Exemption is being extended to Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) compound manufactured by a job worker, for further use in the manufacture of footwear, on par with PVC Compound.

6) Exemption of Service Tax on foreign agents’ commission and transport of goods through road. In respect of foreign agents’ commission, the exemption would be to the extent of service tax on commission up to 10% of FOB value of exports i.e. 1% of Service Tax +applicable cess. Thus there would be no need for the exporter to first pay the tax and later claim refund in respect of these services.

7) The refund of Service Tax for other services have also been notified, by replacing the refund scheme notified earlier vide Service Tax Notification No.41/2007 dated 6.10.2007 .

8) Fringe Benefit Tax on the value of certain fringe benefits provided by employers to their employees has been abolished. The Council had included this request in its pre-budget proposals.
9) To facilitate flow of credit at reasonable rates, Rs.4,000 crore provided as special fund out of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) to Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). This will incentivise Banks and State Finance Corporations (SFCs) to lend to Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) by refinancing 50 per cent of incremental lending to MSEs during the current financial year.

The industry is thankful to the government for the above benefits available in the budget but regrets that it is lacklustre as there is nothing special for the nationally important export-oriented and labour intensive leather and leather products industry which is endeavouring its best to face the present challenges in the recession hit world market and move forward producing and exporting more and more which is really a Himalayan task and hence governmental support is badly needed in the present circumstances.

Mr. Habib Hussain, Chairman, Council for Leather Exports rightly expressed his disappointment by saying that "the budget has just been a continuation budget. The existing stimulus package measures are continuing. The industry needed a big stimulus shot but nothing has been done. We now have to look forward to the foreign trade policy" which is expected shortly.

Mr. Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman of Farida Group also expressed more or less the same views and said that there will be some incentives in the focused product scheme, import duties and import licences.

It is hoped that the forthcoming foreign trade policy will be based on the recommendations of the Council for Leather Exports and other associations and be of much help to the leather and leather products industry in its attempts for increased growth and exports. (Indian Leather, August 2009)


Thursday, July 23, 2009



The Deccan Chronicle in its issue dated 22nd June 2009 has published a pleasant news on its front page under the heading "Dream come true - VIT gives Nisha key to success". The story runs like this. S. Jennifer Nisha (17), daughter of a road-side hawker Shahul Hameed whose income is about Rs.1000 per month, hailing from a conservative poor Muslim family fought against all odds to become a district topper at the Melur Government Girls' Higher Secondary School by securing 1142 marks. Ms. Christopher Jeyaseelan, a tuition master gave her free tuition and encouraged her.

As her family background did not permit her to persue higher education, she was asked to undergo a teacher training course but VIT's STAR scheme which meets the entire education expenses of selected toppers, came as a blessing to her. Her school headmistress Ms. Roselin Mary took her to the VIT counselling for government school toppers in Madurai and she was one of the 12 successful candidates out of 38 poor rural toppers from the southern districts. She has chosen to study EEE in her engineering course.

The appreciable thing in this report is that a Muslim girl is helped by her non-muslim teachers and VIT comes to her help in making her dream for higher education come true. It shows the excellent atmosphere prevailing here for brilliant students -whatever may be their caste, creed or community. This is a shining example in the midst of reports of so many exploitations that we read in newspapers and come across in person.

It will be better if the Omeiat Journal makes a survey about scholarship schemes if any available in other institutions particularly run by Muslims for the benefit of the poor and needy.

We should be proud of students like Nisha and be thankful to her teachers, institution and VIT which encouraged her voluntarily with all interest and enthusiasm the like of which is rare now-a-days. One hopes that it will inspire students to study well, guide teachers to do dedicated service and influence institutions to serve better.

(Omeiat Journal July 2009)

Thursday, July 9, 2009




The leather and leather goods industry which has seen many ups and downs depending on the international trends and financial crises and which came across the impact of the sudden worldwide slowdown due to the American economic doldrums is recovering fast. There are renewed activities in leather centres like Periamet, Pallavaram, Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Ranipet, Melvisharam, Erode, Dindigul etc. Many leading shoe manufacturers are in the market covering their requirements particularly in wetblue cow hides which witnessed more slowdown at recent times. There is upward tendency in the prices of wetblue hides and skins although the demand is particularly for higher grades and better qualities of these items. There is 10 to 15% increase even in prices of raw hides and skins throughout the country depending on quality, selection and pelt, according to reports reaching here.

The problem of measurement buyers face while purchasing wetblue hides and skins continues unabated. In almost all centres measurement of wetblue hides and skins is done manually and not by measuring machines. Many say with disgust that even in the present technologically advanced period, the archaic manual system is continued despite problems and protests from different buying sources. There is an urgent need to ponder over this burning issue. The associations concerned can take initiative in this regard and install measuring machines for job works wherever and in as many places as possible for smooth transactions in accordance with the need of the hour.

In the Periamet market arrivals of E.I. tanned hides and skins are restricted as many small tanners have stopped productions due to unworkable prices and uncertainty in the market. Td. goat skins, 4/7 sq.ft., Grain selections are sold at around Rs.48 to 50 per sq.ft., Garment suedes at around Rs.37 to 39 per sq.ft. and A suede, Shoe suede and Heel grip are sold at around Rs. 35, 32 and 29 per sq.ft. respectively. There is interest for Rejection items at around Rs.19 to 22 depending on the quality and selection.

Leading shoe units are going well trying to avoid layoffs as much as possible. It is well known that a sort of camaraderie is in existence between employers and employees in most of the units in leather and leather products industry in Tamil Nadu and this has given a room for smooth adjustments in pay scales etc. to the satisfaction of all concerned.

There are enquiries from the Far East as well as European countries for finished leathers for shoes such as goat glazed kid leathers, milled upper leathers, suede leathers and the prices quoted for them are at around US $ 2.00, 1.80 and 1.70 per sq.ft. C&F by sea respectively. As usual goat lining leathers are also of interest to regular customers in countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hong Kong, Singapore etc. at around prices US $ 1.00 to 1.10 depending on marks. Demand for garment leathers is limited.
Some business is also reported in sheep cabratta leathers at around US $ 2.10 and lining leathers at around US $ 1.30 per sq.ft. C&F by sea.

Visit of Indian Delegation to Iran and Turkey from 10th to 13th August, 2009

The Council for Leather Exports has done well in proposing to organise a visit by Indian Leather Delegation to Iran and Turkey from 10 to 13 August 2009 to make a survey of the existing market situation and assess the market potential for securing raw hides, skins and leather from these countries. The Council has given all the necessary information along with a Format for company profile to enable interested members to apply to the Council and join the delegation.

A leading shoe industrialist said that such delegations are necessary to refurbish the development of the leather industry.

(V.M. Khaleelur Rahman in Indian Leather, July 2009)

Monday, June 29, 2009



On the question of Common Civil Code (CCC),one feels that the judiciary has not created a conducive atmosphere for its enactment. Rather it continues to give a gratuitous suggestion about its necessity. It is this attitude which has made the minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians worry.

In a plural society like India only plural laws can give a strong feeling of nationality. Ours is a country of people belonging to different faiths and cultures and of course they must have the laws of their respective choice. The different personal laws in vogue now should continue to exist for the purpose of unity and solidarity of the country. If a CCC is imposed on the unwilling minorities, it will not only be of no use, but also weaken our country. The best way is to make the different personal laws uniform as much as possible. There is no attempt in this respect by any quarter just because the uncalled for obiter dicta of the Supreme Court is being exploited by communal parties to their selfish political ends and the Muslim intellectuals who have the interest of the community and country at heart have lost their grounds for reforms of the Muslim personal law in the midst of rampant communal atmosphere.

There is an urgent need for creating a right atmosphere in the country where people can feel free to think and decide their issues. Moreover there is mention of a uniform civil code in the Directive Principles of the Constitution and not of a common civil code.

It is well known that the Hindu laws are not the same everywhere in the country. The tribals also enjoy their own laws and they continue to receive support from all politicians. As the first step let the Hindu laws be made uniform.

This writer asked many ulemas about this issue. They say in so many words that they cannot oppose a common civil code if it is within the framework of the Islamic laws but there is no possibility of this and hence their opposition. It is wrong to say that Muslims oppose a CCC. They only oppose any imposition of unwanted laws on them because they feel and rightly so that Islam provides better laws which are not only for them but for all human beings of all times. On the contrary the laws found in the Indian personal laws are not perfect.

The Muslims should consider that the Holy Quran has given excellent laws about marriage, divorce, inheritance etc. which are indeed far better than the modern laws and so they should adopt them in spirit and letter.

A majority of Muslims oppose the unilateral and instant triple divorce system and prefer the rational Quranic laws. The Ulema belonging to the Ahle-hadees school of thought simply consider this system un-Islamic and invalid. All other Ulemas also consider the instant triple system an act of the days of ignorance (Ayyamul Jahiliyya) but "occured" if it is practised even though it is not an approved system in the light of the holy Quran and Ahadees. All Ulemas say that divorce should only be the last resort and there should not be any hasty decision.

There are many books written on this subject. Moreover almost all Muslim intellectuals, including Justice V. Khalid, former judge of the Supreme court, disapprove this system and consider it un-Islamic.

Islam provides laws for all situations and it is our inability to make use of them properly. And it is this inability of ours which often lands us in trouble. If Muslims follow the Islamic laws in spirit and letter, not only they will be benefited, but even people belonging to other faiths will come forward to follow them because of their fairness.

V. M. Khaleelur Rahman in Radiance dated 4-10 January 2004


Saturday, June 27, 2009



The Prime Minister Mr. I. K. Gujral's remark that he has never consulted any palmist or astrologer so far (The Hindu, Jan. 4) must have brought some cheer to the people, often informed of the superstitious beliefs and practices of our Ministers and politicians by the press, television and radio. If the rulers and political leaders of our country are wise, we can find solutions to many of the ills of our society.

The press would do well to publish more and more reports of this sort to create a scientific temper among the people, particularly the poor masses, who are often exploited by quacks and other tricksters because of their deep-rooted superstitious beliefs which are detrimental to their well-being.

The Prime Minister's frank and bold expression should inspire other Ministers and political leaders to follow his shining example and be rational in their behaviour and approaches to various national problems so that they are easily solved and our people become rational and modern. The adage is yatha raja tatha praja - as the king so are the subjects

V.M. Khaleelur Rahman in The Hindu dated January 6, 1998)

Monday, June 22, 2009



1. HEART: Prophet Mohammed (Sal-am) said, ‘Listen carefully, there is a lump of flesh in the body. If it is set right and made good, the entire body becomes good and healthy, but if it becomes diseased, the entire body becomes diseased. Remember well: it is the Heart.’ (Muslim, Bukhari: Nu’man ibn Bashir)

2. LIVING IN GOD’S PRESENCE: Someone asked: ‘How can one purify and develop himself, O Messenger of God, pbuh? He replied: ‘He should always remember that God is with him wherever he is.’ (Tirmidhi: Abdullah ibn Busr)

3. SEEKING GOD’S LOVE: Hazrat Mohammed (Sal-am) said: ‘ Anyone who possesses three qualities finds thereby the sweetness of faith: that he loves God and His Messenger, pbuh, more than everything else; that when he loves a human being he loves him for God’s sake alone; and that he abhors returning to unbelief from which God has rescued him, as he abhors being thrown into fire.’ (Bukhari, Muslim: Anas)

4. FINDING GOD BY SERVING MANKIND: Prophet Mohammed (Sal-am) said: God will say, ‘Son of Adam, I fell ill but you did not visit Me.’ He will say, ‘O Lord, and how could I have visited You! You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say, ‘Did you not know that My so and so servant had fallen ill and you did not visit him? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?’‘Son of Adam, I asked you for food but you did not feed Me’. He will say, ‘O Lord, how could I have fed You! You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say, ‘My so and so servant asked you for food and you did not feed him? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that with Me?’‘Son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink but you did not give Me.’ He will say, ‘O Lord, how could I have given you to drink! You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say, ‘My so and so servant asked you to give him to drink and you did not give him. Had you given him to drink you would surely have found that with Me’. (Muslim: Abu Hurayrah)

5. OUTWARD RELIGIOSITY AND OSTENTATION: The Messenger of God, pbuh, said: Many a one fast, but gain nothing from their fasting except hunger and thirst, and many a one pray all night, but gain nothing from their night prayers except sleeplessness.’ (Darimi: Abu Hurayrah)

6. HYPOCRISY: The Messenger of God, pbuh, said: ‘Three characteristics are the signs of a hypocrite, even if he fast, performs the Prayer and claims that he is a Muslim: when he speaks, he lies, when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he betrays his trust.’ (Bukhari, Muslim: Abu Hurayrah)

7. MERCY TO GOD’S FAMILY : The Messenger of God, pbuh, said: ‘Allcreatures are God’s family; and God loves them most who treat His family well and kindly.’(Baihaqi: Anas)

8. The Messenger of God, pbuh, said: ‘Only those who are merciful will be shownMercy by the Most Merciful. Show mercy to those who are on earth, He who is in heaven will show mercy to you.’ (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi; Abdullah ibn ‘Amr)

9. THIS TOO IS CHARITY : The Messenger of God, pbuh, said: If a Muslimplants a tree or sows a crop, then whatever bird eats of it, or a human being, or an animal, it counts as charity for him. He also said: ‘Whatever is stolen from it, that too counts as charity.’ (Bukhari, Muslim: Anas, Jabir)

10. GOLDEN RULES FOR HUMAN RELATIONS: The Prophet (Sal-am) said: ‘No one among you attains true faith, until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself.’ (Bukhari, Muslim: Anas)

11. CARING FOR THE FAMILY: The Messenger of God, pbuh, said: Anyone who desires his earnings to grow and his life to be prolonged should treat his relatives well.’ (Bukhari, Muslim: Anas)

12. Hazrat Mohammed (Sal-am) said: ‘One who breaks the ties of relations with his relatives shall not enter Paradise.’ (Bukhari, Muslim: Jubayr)

13. The Messenger of God, pbuh, said: ‘A person who merely reciprocates when doing good, is not really the one who maintains ties with his relatives, but the one who does good and maintains relations even if others do not do good, is a good relative.’ (Bukhari: Abdullah ibn ‘Amr)

14. CARING FOR CHILDREN: The Messenger of God, pbuh, said: ‘No father can give a better gift to his children than providing them with a good education.’ (Baihaqi: Ayub ibn Musa)

15. CARING FOR WOMEN: Prophet Mohammed (Sal-am) said: ‘The most perfect in faith among the believers are those who possess the best morals, and the best among you are those who are kindest to their wives.’ (Tirmidhi: Abu Hurayrah)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Muslims, Tamil Literature and Islam

Muslims, Tamil Literature and Islam

I read with interest the article "Indian Muslims: Colouring of Local Culture" by Mr. F.A.A. Rahmancy in the February 23 - March 1 issue of One Nation Chronicle. His attempt to bring the similarities of Hindus and Muslims in literature, music, customs, and habits etc. into focus is , of course, laudable. But I feel that certain remarks like Mughal kings had court dancers (many of them were Muslims) and they performed Indian dances, are like saying that we can see people of different religious groups drinking and dining happily in a bar and in no other way good.

India is a multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-cultural and also multi- religious country. It is like a beautiful garden of different flowers. It is not a country of one culture. Its beauty lies in its unity and diversity.

The Dravidians say that their culture is different from that of the Aryans and North Indians. but the Hindus and Muslims of Tamil Nadu are living like brothers. Their language is the same- Tamil. The contribution of Muslims to the enrichment of the Tamil language is significant. Even in the 17th century there had been Muslim Tamil poets like Omer Pulavar and Mastan Saheb. Their works "Seera Puranam" and "Gunangudi Mastan padagal" are unforgettable and popular. There have been many Muslim poets and writers in Tamil. Late Maulvi Abdul Hamid Baqavi has translated the holy Quran into Tamil and his work is the most popular one. His son, A.K.A Abdus Samad, M.P is a great Tamil scholar, the power of whose pen and tongue is well known in the Tamil world.

Ka. Mu. Sharif who was closely connected with the Tamil film industry as a song writer till some 15 years ago is now a highly religious person.He has written many books on Islam and Tamil literature. He is an erudite Tamil scholar respected by Hindus and Muslims alike.

Another person popular for his new trends in Tamil poetry is Kaviko Abdur Rahman, Professor of Tamil in Islamiah College, Vaniyambadi. His new style of Tamil poetry "Puthuk Kavithai" is so attractive and sweet that even the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Mr.M. Karunanidhi, himself a great Tamil scholar, is one of his admirers. Thus the list of Tamil poets and writers goes on. The mother tongue of more than 75% of Muslims inTamil Nadu is Tamil, although about 25% speak Urdu.

Rehmancy's contention that Muslims in Tamil Nadu do not wear Kurta-pyjama is wrong. This dress has been in vogue in North Arcot, Madras and some other places of Tamil Nadu for several decades. I have been seeing it from my boyhood. He further says " an old devout Muslim of Rae Bareli recited the Ramayana with respect and devotion". Even today in Tamil Nadu the former judge of the Madras High Court, Mr. M.M. Ismail, is invited to deliver lectures in different places on the Ramayana. His knowledge of this epic is very deep and his oratory in Tamil excellent.He also heads an association, which propagates the Ramayana. Mr. Ismail is also blessed with a good knowledge of Islam. He gives lectures on Islam also.

It is also a fact that in Tamil Nadu meetings are held frequently to discuss which of the two books - Ramayana and Mahabharata - is more obscene. Thus India is a democratically free country where exchange of views on different subjects freely takes place.

I feel that Indian Muslims should give up some evil practices like dowry, which they have picked up from their Hindu brethren.

As regards Rehmany's comment that " a uniform civil code, ending Muslim personal law, will be possible slowly with persuasion, let me say that Muslims will not give up their shariat. There were many objections to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act. Now it has proved to be better than Sec.125 Cr. P.C. The judgements delivered under this Act have been more beneficial to women. Why is it that the national press including One Nation Chronicle does not discuss which of the two propvisions - the Muslim Women Act and Sec. 125 Cr. P.C. - is in the interest of divorced women? Our strong belief based on reason is that the Shariat laws which are so reasonable will always remain in force. In fact there should be an attempt to make Muslim Personal Law more Islamic.

I hope that One Nation Chronicle, which has eminent personalities like Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi among its main backers, will do its best to gain a special status as a just and impartial organ of secular India.

(VMK in One Nation Chronicle dated March 30 - April 5, 1990)

A rejoinder to an irresponsible report in Indian Express dated June 29, 1989

A rejoinder to an irresponsible report in Indian Express dated June 29, 1989

When we opened the pages of the Indian Express in the morning of June 29,1989, a bitter surprise was in store for us although now-a-days journalistic principles are not strictly followed and any thing that come in the way are published in an irresponsible way without caring for the consequences or the impressions that are sure to create in the minds of the people in a country like India where different linguistic and religious groups are in existence.

The report under heading “Thirsty Ambur Suffers Silently” surprised us very much and also hurt our feelings beyond expression. It is not that articles on the effluent problem of North Arcot district were not published before.

The ‘hurting’ was for the tone and tenor of the report and the bitter surprise was for the fact that the Indian express which proclaims itself to be a truly national newspaper has thought it advisable to publish the insulting report under reference, which, to any person who reads it cannot be anything but a bundle of distortions and reflection of communal and narrow-mindedness of its reporter. The reporter may be a communal fellow, unfit to the present world but his blunder of writing it is not as serious as the sin of the Indian Express publishing it.

While as a matter of fact it was only an exaggerated and one-sided version, the fact is that there was no question of pollution when tanners were engaged in the production of E.I. Vegetable tanned hides and skins with very little or without use of chemicals. The dried effluent and other wastes were even used as manure by farmers. It was only after the introduction of new policy as recommended by Dr. Seetharamiah Committee, stressing the need to switch over to the production of finished leathers that the question of effluent and pollution arose. The tanners started producing finished leathers, mostly by the compulsion of the government about some 14 years ago and pollution is only a recent phenomenon.

No industrial development is possible without some sort of pollution. Even in advanced countries like Italy the effluent problem has not been solved. Pollution is not confined to the leather industry alone. The sago industry in salem and the chemicals industry in Mettur cause pollution hazards.

I must say that some tanneries have already constructed their effluent tanks with huge investments in Ambur, Vaniyambadi and Ranipet. The work for a common effluent treatment plant is also started in Vaniyambadi. The pity is that although a low-cost effluent treatment method has been suggested by the CLRI, it is not practicable. Small tanners are finding it absolutely impossible to have their own independent tank unless some financial support is extended by the government.

Willy-nilly the fact is that unless the government and the CLRI come forward with some clear-cut methods and financial assistance, the problem cannot be fully solved. There is also the risk of the effluent tanks, constructed with heavy investments, being disapproved by the concerned authorities as it happened in the case of a big tanner in Ranipet some years ago.

Government Tanneries

It should also be clear that even government tanneries including the one at Vinnamangalam near Ambur have not constructed the effluent tanks. Therefore private tanners alone cannot be blamed for the effluent problem.

They realize their responsibility well and that is why many big tanneries have already constructed their effluent tanks and small ones are jointly constructing a common plant in Vaniyambadi as said earlier and those small tanners whose tanneries are isolated and whose effluent cannot be treated in the proposed common plant are in a fix and trying their best to have their own small ones, if some method is available, particularly at the present time when they are endeavouring for their survival.

As far as the problem of drinking water is concerned, it is provided to the citizens of Ambur by the Municipality by erecting tanks and taps in different locations in Ambur. The tanners have financially helped for these projects. I do not agree with the contention that the tannery effluents are alone the cause for the present situation. The fact is that there is no flow of water in the palar river. Whenever it has water flowing for a week or so the position of water in Ambur and nearby places becomes better. Where is not water scarcity? There are also pollution problems in most of the places.

I wonder why the Municipality of Ambur has not still taken a decision to provide drinking water to every house and street particularly when it has elected representatives now. They should try to pass a resolution to this effect in the Council meeting and do the needful before it is too late. The Panchayat Raj system is also in the making now. The Municipality of Ambur should seek financial assistance for this purpose from whichever source it is available.

It is also said in the report that drinking water is provided in Ambur only once in nine days which is not correct at all. I understand that it is supplied in alternate days and sometimes even daily. I have already sent a telegram to Mr. Swami, the Chairman of Ambur Municipality to issue a statement to the press in clarification of the serious charges made in the report. I hope that they will do the needful in this regard.

The reporter has not done justice in reporting the views of a social worker alone without giving importance to the views of any tanner or leather association.

There are many insulting remarks against the Muslim community in the report which is clear to all those who have read it. I want to say only that Islam is for educational and other advancement. But certainly it is against unwanted exposure of ones beauty in an obscene way. Progress is the need of the hour. Everyone has to try for betterment in status. If the Muslim women become educationally and otherwise modern, it should be welcomed. Actually they are trying to uphold their dignity given to them in Islam and traditionally followed. The remarks of the reporter in the Indian Express against the Muslim community are baseless, unwarranted and derogatory to which we take strong exception. It seems that he has written the report under the influence of some sheer Hindu communalists.

(VMK in Radiance dated 30 July -5 August 1989)

Thursday, June 18, 2009




The views expressed in the excellent editorial "Vision of Founders Vs Mission of Successors" (Omeiat Journal May 2009) are based on facts and thought provoking. Thanks and kudos to its writer and Omeiat Journal for it. It was discussed seriously in the circle of our friends. I hope that heads of institutions, members of the Managements and philanthropists would have read it with interest and pondered over the issues discussed therein.

Of course there was time till some years ago when the main aim of the institutions whether primary or higher secondary or college was to educate as many boys and girls as possible by extending all assistance to them. I still remember how the Islamiah College, Vaniyambadi, which is the first college established by the Muslim community in Tamil Nadu helped students in giving scholarships, fee concessions, free education etc. It was even then a very reputed college for arts and science courses as is now and students from different parts of North Arcot district and other places sought admission there. Its alumni are in many thousands who hold or have held high posts in different fields of activity. So was the case with other colleges like the New College, SIET College, Mazharul Uloom College giving assistance to the students when they were started.

Later on things changed. The editorial under reference deals with them in detail and portrays the present state of affairs. Everyone knows the present scenario prevailing in Muslim as well as non-Muslim institutions. One can read Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer's articles published in The Hindu and other leading dailies and periodicals to know the exact positions on this vital issue.

Once the late IAS officer Sulaiman saheb said in a meeting that in spite of a recommendation letter from a minister, his son could not get a seat in a college in Chennai and fortunately the door of the New College was open to him and he was admitted there. The founding fathers of our institutions were of the opinion that no Muslim boy or girl should be denied admission because of his or her inability to pay the fees. But the present situation seems to be altogether different.

Thanks to the rigid attitude of some Muslim institutions, Muslims have started changing their mindset and admitting their children in those non-Muslim institutions where not only fees are reasonable but educational standard is also good. It is a well known fact that Muslim students are coming out in flying colours mostly in non-Muslim institutions. It is a good sign for our secular and plural society. The records of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Graduates Association are a testimony to it.

It is heartening to know that two Muslim girl students having Tamil as First Language have secured 3rd rank in the Tamil Nadu State Higher Secondary Examinations - March 2009 and the Chief Minister Dr. Kalaigner M. Karunanidhi has awarded them. Their details are given below:

1) Jazima Sulaiha S : Register No.124604: Marks secured : Language 196, English 187, Physics 198, Chemistry 200, Biology 200, Mathematics 200 Total 1181 for 1200. Amali G Higher Secondary School, Irudayakulam, Cheranmahadevi.

2) Meera Rasiba M: Register No. 370779 : Marks secured : Language 194, English 191, Physics 199, Chemistry 198, Biology 200, Mathematics 199 Total 1181 for 1200. SRV G Higher Secondary School, Rasipuram, Namakkal

The Muslim community is proud of the above two students and all other top rank holders. The schools where they studied are also praise worthy. Thanks and congratulations to them. Our Managements, teachers, parents and students should get inspiration from their excellent performance and create an "educational atmosphere" to enable our students to prove their mettle.

There are many Muslim and non-Muslim institutions which collect capitation fees and charge exorbitant special and tuition fees in contravention of the rules and regulations. It is not possible for all students to get admission in them paying these fees. Muslim students are the worst sufferers everywhere because of their economic and educational backwardness. The Omeiat Institute Trust has rendered a great noble service in helping 344 college students by giving scholarships to the tune of Rs.68 lakhs. If our institutions charge reasonable fees, it will be highly beneficial to the Muslim community. There are quite a large number of self respecting Muslim families who are not for getting any charity from anybody or any association.

There is an urgent need for educational institutions to fix reasonable fees. Frankly speaking one always wonders who are helping whom - the institutions to the students or the students to the institutions! The world is mysterious and honest people stand nowhere!!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009



The leather and leather products industry is happy that after peaceful conduct of the parliamentary election, a strong Congress-led UPA government has emerged at the Centre headed again by Dr. Manmohan Singh who is widely acknowledged as the architect of the economic reforms taking India to the world stage. He made it clear as soon as he assumed office for the second term that his government will revamp the global recession hit Indian economy with a stimulus package to boost the demand in the domestic market and also take necessary steps to push exports which declined by about 30% during the recent months.

The decline has not dampened the spirit of the people. They are on the march in the field of their activity and India is growing giving an impression to the world that it is a right place for trade and investment because of its well established units with understanding management, efficient staff and hard-working labour force. This is the reason why more and more overseas customers look to India for their requirements of leather, footwear, leather goods, garments etc.

It is hoped in the industrial circle that the future export and import policy will be industry- friendly, growth-oriented and based on the recommendations made by the Council for Leather Exports and other leading associations.

The unprecedented zoom in the share market by 2110 points in just a minute on the very first day of its opening after the recent parliamentary election results was really a spectacular happening never witnessed before in any share market anywhere in the world. It was a big salute of the people for the new government and a sort of self-confident proclamation that India is capable of facing any challenges and finding solutions to them.


The APLF launched new leather and footwear sector fair – “ Footwear Materials, Manufacturing & Technology (FMM&T)” – in association with the Indian Footwear Components Manufacturers Association (IFCOMA) and held from 8 to 10 May 2009 at India Expo Centre in Greater Noida, New Delhi, India was highly successful though attendance of visitors was limited despite good transport arrangements. The organizers rightly claimed it as the right fair, in the right place and at the right time and performed the vital role in bringing together all parties concerned in one place to know the latest trends and developments of the industry for mutual advantages. It was supported by the Council for Leather Exports (CLE), Indian Shoe Federation (ISF) and Agra Footwear Manufacturers & Exports Chamber (AFMEC). International exhibitors from countries like China, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brazil, Spain etc. participated in it and showcased their products such as leather, shoes, handbags, saddlery, leather goods etc. They felt that the potential of India as a market has always been most attractive to them. Leading South Indian units were conspicuous by their absence. Perhaps it will not be the case next year.

The Spanish Tanners Association sees India as strategic for the Spanish Tanners as it is an important emerging market that seeks quality, creativity and expertise and hopes that the commercial relationship between the two countries will increase well in the days to come.

The APLF is of the opinion that the Indian economy is growing steadily even in the present recession period because of various reasons such as the increasing domestic consumption of footwear within the country and good demand from abroad.

The organizers, no doubt, did well in highlighting the importance of the enormous footwear manufacturing sector in India through this fair. We are sure that it will attract more and more participants from India and abroad next year and grow well year by year to the extent of the Hong Kong fair. We wish them all the best in all their endeavours.

( V. M. Khaleelur Rahman in Indian Leather, June 2009)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Leather Garment exports slide 20.73% --Financial Express dt April 24, 2000

Leather garment exports slide 20.73% as overseas buyers look to cheaper products
VM Khaleelur Rahman
Export of leather garments, which were to the tune of $302.96 million during the period April-Dec 1998, suffered a drastic setback as it declined by 20.73 per cent to $240.16 million during the same period in 1999, according to DGCI&S, Calcutta sources.

Reasons for this decline are lack of fashion for the types of garments being made here and lower prices paid by overseas customers in the highly competitive world market.
Production of leather garments is done both in small scale as well as large scale basis mostly through tie-ups with tanners - suppliers of leathers. There are hundreds of units spread across the country engaged in making leather garments either out of nappa or suede leathers - goat, sheep or cow - which are bought from manufacturers in places like Vaniyambadi, Ambur, Chennai etc.

Many North Indian garment manufacturers have been doing roaring export business with the marketing support of NRI friends and relatives. Such a business based on a sound footing is affected putting a large number of garment makers in financial problems. However, many well-established units still carry on their business though prices are lower and orders insufficient, with the hope that it will be paying in the long run. At present there is good demand for sheep nappa garments, polo types, at prices ranging from $40.00 to $55.00. There is little demand for suede garments. But there is very possibility of ``suede'' becoming fashion in the coming season.

In finished leathers, tanners are quoting higher prices for their upper and lining leathers due to increase in prices of raw materials, but there is resistance for this in the overseas market. Good quality linings in goat leathers are quoted at around $0.90 per sq.ft. CIF. In sheep suede leathers there business has been reported in all suedes/LDT/Rejection at around Japanese Yen 185/125/100 per sq.ft. CIF. But business are rare and not frequent.

In the local market, sheep nappa lots are sold at around Rs 41 per sq.ft. There is good demand for this item bought by garment manufacturers. This has made the raw skins prices go up further by about Rs 20 per piece at centres where quality is good.

E I Tanned goat skins Garment Suede/All Suede/Shoe Suede/Heel garip are sold at around Rs 30/27/23/18 per sq.ft respectively, whereas prices for A/B/C linings are sold at around Rs 18/16/14 per sq.ft. Rejection and Langda are easily salable at around Rs 135 and Rs 110 per kg. Prices of raw goat skins in places like Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi and Punjab are at around Rs 65 and in Southern belt areas like Modachur, Miraj etc. at around Rs 90 per piece.Wetblue goat skins 3/5 size lots are sold at around Rs 35 to Rs 40 per sq.ft depending on the quality and selection. Wetblue cow hides prices are almost unchanged and shoe manufacturers continue their operations in Erode, Ambur etc. There is good demand for grades I/II at around Rs 58 per sq.ft. but availability is limited. Many big shoe units have their regular imports to cover their requirements of high grade wetblue cow hides from countries like Switzerland and Germany.
(The author is a Chennai-based leather industry analyst)