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.