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Haryana Wakf Board opens new chapter with first engg college

Monday, June 21, 2010 04:43:25 PM, Dinker Vashisht

Beautiful view of the Mewat Engineering College

Mewat: As one of the main mentors of Jamia Hamdard’s IAS Study Circle, which produced this year’s Civil Services topper Shah Faisal, Naseem Ahmad has long believed that the “right opportunities” can make all the difference for sections of the Muslim community which remain backward.

Now, as chairman of the Haryana Wakf Board, Ahmed is overseeing one such opportunity. In the first case of its kind, the Board is setting up an engineering college in Palla village of Haryana’s Mewat district — a region with a predominantly Muslim population, with literacy rates around 20 per cent for men and below 5 per cent for women. Spread over 18 acres, Mewat Engineering College will start its first session next month with 240 students. The quota for Muslim students is 42.5 per cent seats, and applications have poured in from near and far.

In a district where such institutes are rare, villagers have welcomed the Wakf Board’s initiative with open arms. As the 13 acres the Wakf held would have proved inadequate to get the college AICTE certification (that mandates a minimum 14 acres for an engineering college), the two neighbouring villages donated six acres of land. At market price, this land would have been worth Rs 6 crore.

When construction started, there were more offers of help. Shamsuddin Khan, a local contractor, volunteered to construct the hostels at one-third the market rate. If the region’s young Congress MLA Aftab Ahmed has pitched in to get the needed government clearances, former MLA Hamid Hussein of the Indian National Lok Dal has donated one of his houses to be used as a girls’ hostel.

“All the villagers realise the importance of this college,” says Palla village sarpanch Faroukh. “Due to the paucity of right opportunities, most youngsters drop out after Class X. At present, there isn’t a single engineering college in the district. The few private ones that are coming up have exorbitant fees and are beyond the reach of the poor population.”

The first session will offer four streams of engineering — Computer Science, Electronics, Electrical and Mechanical. Twelve faculty members, including four women, have already been hired as screening continues for more positions.

“Wakf boards are associated with funding madrasas where pupils are given traditional education, which often has a strong religious flavour. But here we are making a deliberate attempt to inculcate modern thinking not only through engineering studies but through other ways as well,” says the director of the college, Munna Khan, a Ph.D from IIT-Delhi.

A 1972-batch IAS officer and former vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Naseem Ahmed says Shah Faisal’s success in the IAS entrance cemented his conviction that “awareness for education and modernity” is coming in the community.


“Too many times, the buck is passed to the government — that it has not done enough for the community. But the community has to make its own efforts too. It has to show the inclination to reform,” he says.

One of the first to join as a lecturer was 24-year-old Aakuib Javed, who gave up a comfortable job as a software testing engineer for HCL in New Delhi.


“I grew up in this region and am well aware of the educational privations here,” he says. “Some of us were lucky to get out. But it is time that the region and the community were helped in their efforts to move forward. If we who hail from the region don’t help, who will?”


Courtesy: The Indian Express


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