Where did Azmis working abroad spend their money?

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net

New Delhi: When you put this question before people in Azamgarh what emerges as consensus is that Azmis working abroad earned lot and spent heavily on building houses, luxuries and to maintain ‘social status’, nothing or very little on public welfare or their community.

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Did they fund terrorist activities in India? Absurd. Azamgarh people are not ready even for a second to accept that even a single Muslim youth from the district could be involved in such activities. There is no question of funding terrorism.

Hundreds and hundreds of Muslims from the district have gone abroad and are still working in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Malaysia and other countries. They earned a lot.

Did they spend on public welfare or welfare of the community – on opening schools, colleges, hospitals or educational institutes for women?

“No, and it is unfortunate. They did not think beyond their own families,” Dr Iftekhar Ahmad, Principal of Shibli College, told TwoCircles.net.

“One reason is that they were very poor people and did labour work to earn and whatever they earned they spent on their families, they did not have much surplus to spend on others or community,” Dr Iftekhar said. But those who were financially in good position also did not think about public welfare or community services, he added.

Dr Salman Sultan, Professor of Chemistry at Shibli College echoes Dr Iftekhar.

“Most of the money has been spent on construction of houses and facilitating luxurious places. Lot of money earned from the Gulf has really gone in wasteful constructions. They have also spent lot on legal cases, because they are fighting among themselves. As they have got the money nobody is trying to come to an agreement,” he said.

But many of them have also spent on local politics and on gangs to promote their interest in politics.

Mohd. Belal, ex-president of BSP’s Azamgarh district minority cell, says: “Many rich Muslims of Azamgarh have spent lot on local politics. They promoted local gangs to take on rivals and on this they spent a lot.” They also spent on maintaining their living standard and egoistic issues, he added.

“It is absurd to think that they would have funded terrorism. Most of those went abroad were poor and did menial work there, so when they returned they spent on homes and their families,” Belal said.

Apart from homes, some also invested in businesses.

Dr Shababuddin, Head of the Department of Urdu at Shibli College, says: “Most of those went abroad from Azamgarh were from labour class. They spent on houses and education of their children. They did not open factories or like that but some of them started businesses in Mumbai and some other cities.”

What is also true is that they have immensely contributed in running madrasas in the district of Azamgarh. There are a number of big madrasas. They include Madrasatul Islah, Jamiatul Falah and Madrasa Ashrafia Mubarakpur.

Dr Alauddin, Lecturer of History, Shibli College, says: “Whatever Muslim educational institutions are here have been contributed by those people. They are shining because of their aid.”

Tibbia College in Binapara, Azamgarh was also established by Muslims. Several institutes for women are also working with their help. Niswan College in the city, Fatma Girls College in Daudpur and Ayesha Siddiqa College in Binapara are some of them, he says. Sir Syed Technical Institute is going to be started. Its construction work has been completed. “All these institutes are being run by Muslims and all madrasas are being run by Muslims alone,” says Dr Alauddin.
It is true people have spent on luxuries and good houses but they have also spent on education.

Dr Iftekhar Ahmad, principal of the college, also says that the positive effect of the recent development in the district would be that local Muslims now must think about establishing a university and other such institutes of higher learning so that their children need not go out.

“They would be thinking to do on that front in collaboration with other rich people in the district. They spent lot on marriage just to show their status. There has been competition among rich people on how much one spends walima where they invite thousands of people” says he.

They also want to help Shibli College but we do not have a mechanism for this. Alumni of this college are now spread all over the world. They want to help us and we are working on how to get their financial help, he says.

Of late, Dr Salman Sultan agrees, some money has been spent on building hospitals and recently on educational institutions also. Some good colleges for women like Fatima Girls College in Daudpur are coming up in villages.