Bilkis dadi and Harsh Mander conferred with Quaide Milleth Award

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Quaide Milleth Mohamed Ismail was a political visionary of his time who opposed Azad’s idea of not forming Muslim political party    

By Abdul Bari Masoud

New Delhi:  At an august ceremony on Saturday, 82 year old Bilkis Dadi, the face of Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protests and eminent social activist and writer Harsh Mander of “Karwan -e- Mohabbat” were presented the Quaide Milleth Award for Probity in Political and Public Life here at the India Islamic Cultural Center.

The awards consist of a Shawl, citation and a cash of Rs 2.5lakh rupees were presented to the recipients by Navaid Hamid, President, All India Majlis e Mushawarat.

Speaking on the occasion distinguished journalist and former editor of Hindu paper, N Ram said both the recipients have made a mark in the public life by their determination and zeal to protect the secular fabric of the country. He said the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (AAC) is the face of the current oppressive regime.  The selfless achievements of the awardees would be truly honoured only if a stance was taken in defence of the Constitution which has been under attack since the advent of this regime.

Presiding the function, former chief secretary of Jammu and  Kashmir and former IAS, Moosa Raza stressed the need of strengthening the public movements against all the discriminatory laws which are hurting the weaker sections. He exhorted that we should not remain silent on the tyranny of the establishment and should speak out against it in a peaceful and democratic manner.

Paying glowing tributes to Bilkis dadi for her valour, Dr. Vasanthi Devi, former vice chancellor, said the present government is hell bent upon destroying the secular character of the country. She was also all praise of Harsh Mander for his commendable services during the pandemic lockdown and healing touch given to the victims of hate violence. She spoke at length about the Shaheen Bagh movement against discriminatory laws saying it has stirred the conscience of the country and  broken the myth that only men could lead a movement.

Bilkis dadi , who was at the forefront of the Shaheen Bagh protests in Delhi against the CAA, has been named by the Time Magazine in its list of ‘100 Most Influential People of 2020’.

Najla Hamida, the great granddaughter of Quaide Milleth who presented the vote of thanks, said Bilkis dadi has shattered the misconception about Muslim women that they are confined to home only by leading the Shaheen Bagh protest.

On the occasion both Harsh Mander and Bilkis dadi spoke and thanked the organizers.

Mander said the Shaheen Bagh movement did not fail as it united the people of all faiths for a common cause. On “Karwan -e- Mohabbat”, he said since the launch of this initiative, we visited 14 states and consoled the hate victims’ families. Referring to the hate-filled environment, Mander said that hate can be defeated by hate but by love.

While conducting the proceedings, M.G. Dawood Miakhan, General Secretary of Quaide Milleth Educational and Social Trust (QUEST) said by accepting the awards, Mander and Bilkis dadi enhanced its value who have played courageous roles in these dark times.

Shedding light on the trust, he said it was established in 1974 with the aim of taking forward the educational and social vision of Mohamed Ismail Sahib, a popular leader from South India, who was known as “Quaide Milleth” meaning leader of the (Muslim) community.

Ismail Sahib was born in 1896 at Pettai, Tirunelveli, bloomed on the horizon of Tamil Nadu public life and the fragrance of his service blossomed across the whole India, even abroad.

In line with the ethos of Quaide Milleth, QUEST  has always sought to be an active participant in Indian democracy. Notably, it has instituted the Quaide Milleth Award for Probity in Public Life, an award that aims to recognise integrity in public life, a value that was widely associated with the late Quaide Milleth, he added.

This award has not only ensured that upright political leaders have been properly acknowledged, but also countered the widespread disenchantment prevailing in India, especially among its youth, with the world of politics, Dawood Miakhan said who is also  the grand son of Quaide Milleth.

Quaide Milleth was the only person who opposed the idea of not forming Muslim political party henceforth proposed by Maulana Abul Kalam in the first Muslim conference. The conference was held in Lucknow after the partition of the subcontinent. He revived the Muslim League in Madras when it was province. He exercised tremendous influence on the formative period of independent India, as the opposition leader in the combined Madras Presidency, Member of Constituent Assembly, Member of Rajya Sabha (1952 – 1958) and elected three times to Lok Sabha continuously in a neighboring state of Kerala without visiting his constituency for campaigning in all the three general elections.

Quaide Milleth  was  always addressed with an adjective “Kanniyathirkuria” in Tamil means most dignified and respected by all community members and the Tamil word, ‘Kanniyam’ has become synonymous with his name.

The award was instituted in 2015 after him. Earlier the Award was conferred to eminent politicians and social activists and the recipients includes Mr. R. Nallakannu, senior Communist Leader; Ms. Teesta Setalvad; Mr. Hamid Ansari, Former  Vice-President of India; Mr. N. Sankarriah, Senior Communist Marxist Leader; Late Syed Sahabudin Former MP; Ms. Aruna Roy, Mr. Manik Sarkar; Mr. A.G. Noorani to name a few.

The selection committee – headed by Moosa Raza, includes Dr. Vasanthi Devi, Bishop Devasagayam.

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