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Nagpur Muslims' Innovative Community Empowerment Campaign

Thursday August 30, 2018 6:05 AM, Moin Qazi,

Sarfaraz Ahmed IAS

If there’s one overarching lesson from the past few decades about how to break the cycles of poverty and unemployment, it’s the power of mentoring — and of intervening early, ideally in the high school age, that is the time a child’s career is being formed. A new wave of Muslim social entrepreneurs have embarked on path-breaking initiatives in Nagpur and neighbouring Kamptee township with a potential to redefine the community’s social, developmental and educational agenda. A number of innovative initiatives have been launched and their synergy is expected to help the community address a number of critical issues. Nagpur’s model of synergizing multi sectoral approaches is emerging a game changer for the community and has the potential of becoming a replicable model.

Several Commissions were appointed by the government to study the socio economic conditions of Muslims in India.The Sachar Committee and the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission (2008) recommended a series of affirmative actions to be taken by the Government in order to restore justice to Muslims and improve their plight to the level of national averages.

In order to create awareness about various socio-economic and educational issues of the community specific to the region, and working out local applicable solutions, a think-tank, the Centre for Social Research and Empowerment (CSRE) was launched under the mentorship of Zafar Mahmood, Chairman of Zakat Foundation of India. CSRE is a non-governmental, non-political and non-profit organization.

One of the key objectives of CSRE is to sensitise people to the new changing economic, educational and social environment and to empower them to successfully navigate it. CSRE identified that quality education and proper choice of careers could underpin all these areas and an increase in the community’s participation in various services would have a multiplier effect for generating a life- changing transformation for the community.

The CSRE has been promoted by senior professionals drawn from a vas diversity of professions. It functions unlike the usual career guidance centres being run by government or community organisations. It is managed by sectoral experts and is designed to assist individuals in making and implementing informed educational and occupational choices. Since these professionals are familiar with the governance processes they can enable the aspirants to take the right step on the right ladder.

Among the key mentors at CSRE are: Syed Wasif H. Naqvi (IFS), Ex. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt of Maharashtra Abdul Rauf Shaikh, Ex. CEO Maharashtra Waqf Board, Mohd Ishaq Shaikh, Ex Director General of MERY, Water Resources Department, Bashir Ahmed Shaikh, Retd Principal District Judge and Judicial Member, State Consumer Forum, Aftab Alam Khan, former Sr. Manager Bank Of Maharashtra, Majeed Parekh, Islamic scholar, Mujib Khan, Ex. Dy. Commissioner, Zafar Iqbal and Hamid B.K. Quraishi, both senior technocrats with the State Govt, Khwaja Rabbani Ex-Director of Archaeology, Mujeebuddin Siddiqui, Senior Mineral Economist, Abdul Waheed, former AGM, State Bank of India, Zafar Khan, former Principal, Qidwai High School and Jr.College, Faiz Waheed, technocrat and social entrepreneur, Rizwan Mirza, Chartered Accountant. Mushtaque Ahsan Quraishi, prominent social organizer and Qutub Zafar advocate and social activist. Irshad Khan, a young research associate handles the backroom pertains.

A R Shaikh and S W H Naqvi are the key architects of the centre and are steering a series of free Career Guidance Camps and Seminars s in local schools and colleges. Apart from guiding students on career choices experts from concerned fields also providing useful tips on various competitive examinations.

Shaikh feels that if the financial strength of Wakfs is properly tapped it can solve all major problems of the community. Most of the 27 state Waqf boards are headed either by not-too-highly qualified CEOs or by government officials holding the post as additional charge.

The Sachar Committee had said, “Up to 200 Group A officers are needed to service the Waqf affairs across India” and recommended, “The government may, therefore, consider creating a new cadre of officers to be recruited by the UPSC so that they can deal with the specific affairs of the Waqfs efficiently.”

The centre has become an established brand in Nagpur. It offers extension services in the field of student scholarships, career counseling, career selection, and entrance exams for professional and technical courses, recruitment in Govt. and Public Sector, job alerts, financial support and guidance for education, online services at nominal charges, etc. Afroz Jahan Memorial Trust, Amravati is a philanthropic partner, providing financial support to the Centre.

A Public Library cum Study Centre has been set up at Jafar Nagar Line with the support of local citizens and the Jafar Nagar Mosque. The centre is expected to be a one point reference and guidance interface for career and competitive examinations. It will soon be upgraded to a digital library with virtual class room facility.

CSRE recently climaxed its third career expo with focus on competitive examinations. Sarfaraz Ahmad IAS Distt Collector of Karimnagar, Telangana and recipient of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushal Yojana (DDU-GKY) award for achieving the best performance in employment for unemployed youth, emphasized that aspirants for civil services should shed they myths about civil services.

Ahmed said that the civil series examination is basically aimed at selecting administrators and not subject expert’s. Hence it is focused on assessing the students’ contextual approach to the subject and his analyltical abilities. He also said that most of the successful candidates make the grade not in their first attempt but in later attempts. It was therefore necessary that a candidate should work hard and determinedly with a mission approach to the examination.

A R Shaikh dwelt on various Careers available for students after 12th standard. Mujibuddin Siddiqui explained the importance of timely of goal setting. Afsha Nahid Khan of Andhra Bank outlined the various opportunities in a banking career. Sumit Ramteke who recently cracked the UPSC for Astt Commandants exams focused on the pattern of UPSC examinations and various techniques for qualifying them.

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