Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Rejoinder to Mr. Arif Mohammed Khan, a former Indian Union Minister

The article “Sending A Wrong Message” (The Times of India, September 30) by Mr. Arif Mohammed Khan, a former union minister, is a bundle of distortions and it can only be described as an appeasement to the Sangh parivar for political and other reasons. This is the election time! He has levelled wrong and unbelievable charges against the pious Deobandi Ulema perhaps because they opposed his stand during the Shah Bano case controversy strongly with the result that he had to lose his ministerial berth. The Deobandi Ulema are not involved in any religious conversional disputes. They are not against the holy Qur’an to distort its teachings as he has mentioned. The fact is that they respect the humanity and give importance to the human values as enshrined in the holy Qur’an and ahaadees.
It is well known that Deobandi Ulema belong to that great patriotic and loyal citizens who took part in the freedom struggle of our country and suffered a lot. They were opposed to the two-nation theory. They are not only teaching the Islamic theology and other subjects, but also practically going to the rescue of the poor and helpless wards by taking them under their care, imparting good education and making them worthy citizens of this country. The kind of service they render is unmatched. Neither the government nor any modern educational institution renders such free education with care and shelter to the poor and helpless students. Nobody can deny the fact that the Deobandi graduates are strong in Urdu, Hindi and Arabic languages. They are respectable personalities. People salute them, embrace them, and seek their “dua”. It is these religious schools which have given dignity and status to the helpless people.
It is very unfortunate that Mr. Arif has blamed them instead of respecting and honouring them for their humanitarian and dedicated services. There are thousands of good hearts belonging to all communities who can understand the great services rendered by them. In short in my humble opinion criticising them is like criticising great personalities like Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi.
V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The India International Leather Fair 2009 and present scenario in the leather market


The India International Leather Fair held in Chennai from 31 January to 3 February, 2009, the much sought after yearly event with programmes like fashion show, buyer-seller meet, seminar etc. was not so result oriented this time even though its inaugural function was grand with all paraphernalia and quite a large number of domestic and overseas participants from 24 countries were in good attendance with their quality products such as finished leather, footwear and footwear components, leather goods, leather garments, machinery for different purposes, chemicals, publications etc. There was not even a single Pakistani stall in the fair this time. The strained relations between India and Pakistan is the cause for it.

Many of the important leather and footwear magnates who attended the inaugural function were conspicuous by their absence the rest of the days. Even usual trade and common visitors were limited. The fact is that the fair was no doubt a very good and attractive annual event, international in every sense, but the outcome in terms of marketing and volume of business was lacklustre despite the fact that some big leather and shoe manufacturers concluded some contracts. It was not something unexpected in the present time of unprecedented worldwide recession when buyers as well as sellers are in a dilemma not knowing the future trends and engaged in all sorts of speculations. The down trend upto 10 to 25 percent was evident in the leather items but the present uncertain situation was the main hurdle in the way of fresh contracts. Practically nobody knows what is the actual market position at present. There are also reports of buyer defaults in payments and cancellations of contracts on some pretext or other.

Foreign participants had no option except to say that "the same conditions cannot prevail for long". They were optimistic in increasing their contacts and contracts with Indian and other leather and shoe manufacturers in the days to come slowly but steadily.

Although some machines were sold at reasonable prices, most leather and shoe manufacturers were not interested in any expansion due to the present situation. Nobody seems to have any long time contracts for big quantities as before i.e. till about three months ago. The apt remarks of Mrs. Sheela Bhide, chairman and managing director, at the inauguration that India was the third largest importer of machinery in the leather sector in the world and that the global slowdown had hit the leather industry in the middle of its modernisation are note-worthy. It is learnt that the Council for Leather Exports is analysing the situation well and is to chalk out a new plan to take remedial measures for boosting exports so vital for the country.

The Chairman of the Council for Leather Exports, Mr. Habeeb Hussain's appeal for reduction of interest rates and increase in drawback and duty free entitlement scheme rates is expected to be considered favourably by the government as assured by Mr. Ashwani Kumar, Hon'ble Minister of state for industries in the fair. There are also appeals from different sources for immediate cuts in personal and corporate taxes to stimulate the economy of our country. Here again the government is expected to do its best in this regard to help industrial growth and exports. The leather and leather products industry established on sound footing in our country will definitely prove its mettle in overcoming the present slowdown by adopting innovative methods in consultation with organisations like the CLRI and with the support of the government. An immediate concerted effort is necessary to save lakhs of people from being rendered jobless. It is well known that the leather and leather products industry has quite a large number of women on its rolls and in some units they outnumber men. One can find this in places like Ambur, Ranipet, Chennai and other places where leather goods, shoe and garment units are in existence. Mr. M. Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Farida Group of Companies, who is presently the President of the FICCI of the Tamil Nadu State Council and Chairman of Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI) has also appealed to the government on the above lines.
The organisers of the fair, India Trade Promotion Organisation, deserve thanks and compliments for improving the standard of the fair every year. The photo identity introduced this year was well done as it was needed for security reasons. It is requested to ITPO to provide restaurants and more number of Kiosks at the fair venue to cater to the exhibitors and visitors.
The attitude of both the visual and print media except a few dailies in not covering the programmes of the fair in a big and prominent manner which they deserved is regrettable. It is surprising that the media which blows even a small nasty incident out of proportion is so negative in highlighting the national events of achievements like this. The role of our media should be positive and meant for nation building.

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

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Mautul Aalimi Mautul Aalami" - Hazrat Mufti Hafiz Jaffer Ali sahib is no more

"Mautul aalimi mautul aalami" - Hazrat Mufti Hafiz Jaffer Ali sahib is no more

Hazrat Mufti Hafiz Jaffer Ali sahib, younger brother of Hazrat Hafiz Usman sahib, is no more. He passed away on 22nd March 2009 at the age of 78 years after being ill for about 14 years. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon. He was a disciple of late Hazrat Hafiz Abdur Ravooof sahib, the Imam and Khatheeb of Jama Masjid, Ambur like his elder brother. His Namaz-e-janaza and burial took place the next day after Zuhar prayers at Jama Masjid where he had served as Imam and Khatheeb before falling ill, attended by a large gathering of people never witnessed before during the final rites of any other person. It showed the great respect people had for him. He was also a teacher at Rafeequl Uloom in Ambur. He had recited the holy Quran in Taraweeh for about 50 years. Maulana Mufti Hafiz Salahuddin sahib, present Imam and Khatheeb of Jama Masjid, paid high tributes to him during the funeral.

As I was a student of Usman Hazrath, I knew his brother Jaffer Ali Hazrath very well. Everyone knows them as honest people. They possessed a computer like memory and recited the holy Quran during Taraweeh prayers in Ramazan so accurately and so perfectly. It was not less than a miracle. It is undoubtedly a rare phenomenon.

Jaffer Ali Hazrath was a noble person. So is his family - wife, 2 daughters and 3 sons of whom one is a Mufti and another a Hafiz. They are a model and a shining example of a well knit, honest and dedicated family. They served the ailing Hazrath appreciably in the present age of materialism when nobody seems to care for anybody in the real sense. One feels that it is a blessed family and Allah is pleased with all of them for their Islamic characters.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cricket cannot override national interests

Cricket cannot override national interests
Home Minister P Chidambaram is right in saying that polls are more important than IPL and that the organisers, as patriotic Indians, should take the right call.

India, being a strong democratic and secular country with a population of more than 120 crore, needs to give first priority to the parliamentary election which is the nation’s “lifeline”. Holding the T20 tournament during the election period is likely to cause immeasurable problems for the country particularly when our neighbouring country Pakistan is in a serious crisis and the extremists there are bent upon indulging in terrorist activities. We cannot take the happenings in our neighbouring countries lightly. We have to be extra cautious in terms of security measures being adopted.

Cricket, a game, however popular it may be, cannot be compared to the vital election, which determines our national unity, integrity and sovereignty.