Monday, 9 March 2009

Milad-un-Nabi and the Gandhian Charka

By Syed Akbar
As the Muslim world celebrates the Milad-un-Nabi, birthday of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad, old timers in Hyderabad recall how the Gandhian "Charka" had changed the living standards of people in the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina before Independence.
Scores of "Charka" experts from Hyderabad went to Medina, the city of the Prophet, to train the local Arabs in the art of making thread and weaving cloth. Some Hyderabadis also went to Mecca, the city of Allah, with the Gandhian mission of providing livelihood to the poor through Charka.
As the poor people of Mecca and Medina could not master the art of making thread on the Charka despite several training sessions by expert Hyderabadis, it was then decided that the local Arabs be trained in weaving cloth. Hyderabadis then carried with them what is known as "Kargha" (a type of loom) to weave Khadi cloth.
Incidentally, it was Hyderabad which provided the first-ever power generation facility in Masjid-al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid-un-Nabavi in Medina in 1936. Then Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan and some members of the noble Paigah family donated the two generators that illuminated the Islamic shrines in the otherwise dark desert nights.
According to eminent educationist KM Arifuddin, in 1932 Shaik Abdullah, then prime minister of Kashmir, the Nawab of Chattari and then prime minister of Hyderabad held a meeting and formed what came to be known as "Anjuman Parcha Bafi Harmain Sharieff". Arifuddin is presently the secretary of the Anjuman. The purpose of the Anjuman or society was to help the poor people of the two Islamic holy cities. The Anjuman acquired properties and the rents accrued from them were sent to Mecca and Medina as charity.
"Later the society felt that sending money will not serve the purpose well. So it decided to give training to the local Arabs in hand weaving industry. A unit was set up in Medina and it functioned till 1945. After Independence and oil discovery in Saudi Arabia Hyderabadis stopped sending funds or training the locals in hand weaving," says Arifuddin.
Former IAS officer Hasnuddin Ahmad says the Gandhian Charka and Kargha had changed the living standards of the Arabs in those days.
"The cloth produced from handlooms was not of superior or fine quality. The cloth was coarse in nature. The Arab people had marketing problems. The Hyderabadis came out with a solution. It was suggested that the cloth could be used as "kafan" (shroud) to cover the dead. The Arabs used to dip the cloth in the holy waters of Zamzam (a perennial well in the precincts of the Sacred Mosque in Mecca) and sold it to the pilgrims from around the world during Haj or Umra," Ahmad observes.
The Rubat (accommodation) in Mecca and Medina is another contribution of Hyderabadis, according to senior Urdu journalist Syed Fazil Hussain Parvez.
Keeping the long association with the Islamic holy cities, the synonyms of peace and love, Hyderabadis have been observing Milad-un-Nabi as "anti-terrorism day" to drive home the message that Islam means peace and the ill actions of a handful of Muslims cannot reflect on the community at large.

1 comment:

junaith khan said...

How do you know that Members of nobles Paigah Family also donated generators that illuminated the Islamic shrines. Please give references to it.

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