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educational initiatives of the jamshedpur muslims

dr. mohammad sajjad
asstt. prof.
centre of advanced study in history,
amu, aligarh

(bihar times) in the early decades of the 20th century, the tatas found out mineral rich plateau region of the then southern bihar (now jharkhand), and established huge steel plant. for it, they also established a beautifully well planned city,called jamshedpur, also known as tatanagar, named after jamshed ji nausherwanji tata, one of the most formidable indian entrepreneurs from the parsiminority community. the city is situated on the howrah-bombay rail route.

at the south-eastern end of the jamshedpur’s beautiful township of the telco (i.e. tata engineering locomotive company, founded in 1945, re-christened as the tata motors limited), there is a muslim bustee,called barinagar. it is named after the valiant freedom fighter and labour rights activist, abdul bari. barinagar sits in a cup of the mountains, and itadds to its beauty. this settlement started in the 1960s with the muslim employees of the telco. in 1964, there was a tragic communal riot in this city.the sufferings in the communal riots made muslims to go for some contemplation not only about security to their life and property but also for building adependable career/ future for their children. what they realized that their non-muslim colleagues were way ahead in education as their children were enrolled in the christian missionary schools running in the telco township. the cultural concerns of most of the muslims made them hesitant about sending their children, particularly the daughters, to these christian missionary schools.they, therefore, proposed before the telco that they should be extended the facility of education. consequently, they were provided land for building a mosque and a school. (till then, the township had temples and churches but nomosque)

consequently, in 1967, an urdu medium school cameinto existence. initially this school was located in the area where the staff quarters of the telco/ tata motors exists. later on, it was shifted to barinagar. in fact this school and the masjid is the beginning point of barinagar. this school was affiliated to the bihar school examination board and fund was allocated by the telco, whereas, much like the minority schools ofthe government, the management was into the hands of the community. the april 1979 riots further strengthened their resolve to work harder towards developing this school. the telco urdu school ran more or less smoothly till the 1980s. forhigher education, some of its alumni migrated to bombay, pune, delhi, and aligarh. few did very well in terms of their accomplishments as becoming doctors, engineers. with the growing awareness, for the sake of imparting more qualitative education, some people started contemplating the idea of affiliating the school with the central board of secondary education (cbse). but within three decades of its existence, the school got afflicted with internal feuds within the management. the elders who had conceived the idea ofsetting up a school, and had run from pillar to post to extract this favour from the telco management, were pushed behind. other less scrupulous, orunscrupulous elements from barinagar, took over the management. this ‘transfer of power’ turned out to be too bloody. in a broad daylight (1994), right in the midst of barinagar, the brother of the then principal of the telco urdu schoolwas killed. the bustee people remained mere onlookers. and for all practical purposes, this nasty development scriptedthe end of the school, even though, having lost its sheen, it continues to exist till date. needless to say, the sponsor of the school, the tata motors,has also developed considerable consternation for this school.

alongside this sad development, however, there was also a brighter side to the people of barinagar. the second generation of barinagar had obtained one or the other kinds of technical/ industrial qualifications/ experiences from the locomotive and steel companies of thetatas, and during the 1990s, they had got employments in the middle east, morenotably in the qatar steel company (qasco). this overseas employment enhancedtheir economic profile and they started growing comfortable with the idea of providing quality modern education to their children (third generation ofbarinagar).

more pragmatic people started overcoming their cultural hesitations, which paved the ways of enrolling their children to the christian missionary schools of the township. more and more boys and girls started competing for enrolment in these schools and then confidently migrating towards bigger cities for higher, professional education. at present, barinagar’s total population has gone above 30 thousand.

quite rightly, this new generation started raising questions about the managing capabilities of the people of barinagar, so far asrunning a school is concerned. why can’t they run a quality educational institution? more so when, in the very same city of jamshedpur, the karimiyatrust is running its school, college (with so many professional courses liketeachers’ education, mass-communication, computer sciences etc) quite successfully. earlier it also had its law college, but somehow it could not continue. this karimiya trust was founded in the 1960s by an entrepreneur with cinema halls, also working as film distributor, named syed tafazzul karim. thetrust has demonstrated its wonderful capabilities in running/ managing the educational institution. the karim city college may probably be counted among one of the best managed muslim minority educational institutions of india. in the present age of growing demand for technical/ professional education, people expect that the karimiya trust will expand itself to come out with a separate campus for the colleges of engineering, medical, management etc. such a venture will also enhance the capital base of the karimiya trust.

recently, the al kabir polytechnic (for diploma in engineering) has also been set up in the city by an entrepreneur (soap maker), hajihakeem ansari (died 2011), which is running very successfully. presumably, itis named after the 15th century thinker, activist, and poet kabir. given the growing demand for technical/ professional education among the muslims and their rising paying capacity for the purpose, it is hoped that this will grow and expand as an educational entrepreneur to come out with colleges of engineering, management, medicine etc.

it should beadded here that, other societies/ associations of the non-muslims have started establishing profit making engineering colleges in the city.

the quest of ilm(knowledge) of the jamshedpur muslims also resulted into the foundation of the muslim library, near bistupur, the posh market of the city of jamshedpur. sadly, the management of this library has gone into the hands of a politician with numerous blemishes of criminal past and unscrupulous credentials.






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