Backdrop:Aligarh Muslim University

Backdrop:Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is a Residential Academic Institution located in the city of Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was established in 1875 by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and in 1920 it was granted a status of Central University by an Act of Indian Parliament. It is one of the premier central universities in India. Aligarh Muslim University offers more than 250 Courses in traditional and modern branch of Education. This is a premier Central University with several faculties and maintained institutions and draws students from all corners of the world, especially Africa, West Asia and South East Asia. In some courses, seats are reserved for students from SAARC and Commonwealth countries. The University is open to all irrespective of caste, creed, religion or gender. It is ranked 8th best (2009 ranking) of all research universities in India by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of India. There are 16 Halls of residence comprising 69 hostels

The Aligarh Muslim University is in the middle of many controversies. These controversies stem from the university’s dual status as a central institution and as a body established by the Muslims. The former necessarily involves state responsibility in respect of finance and ensuring its secular character consistent with the Constitution. The latter raises fundamental questions concerning minority rights.

Specifically, three student upsurges have to mentioned in this context. In, 1965, Ali Yawar Jung, AMU VC, brought a law declaring 50% reservation for internal students and a ruckus broke in campus and police fired on students, injuring three. The Students Union Hall was fired at the time when a University Court meeting was being held. Congress government cancelled the autonomy of the university.

Later, in 1971, an act was introduced through which the minority character of the university was scrapped. Congress is being accused by Pro Muslim for crushing AMU’s Islamic character in one form or the other by diluting the Students Union or resurrecting a parallel Student Council or trying to belittle the autonomous character of the university.

In 2007, three students were murdered in a row and students initiated protests. They had burnt down many important buildings of the university, including V.C Lodge. Arson and looting had forced the authorities to declare sine die.

In 2009, On Oct 30, Shahnawaz Alam, a B.Sc final year student of the varsity – was shot dead by assailants. Around 600 students had blocked Delhi-Howrah rail route for hours, demanding action against those involved in the murder. Protesting students had also disrupted the academic and official work in the varsity and also manhandled some university employees.

The tenures of Vice Chancellors (VCs) at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in the last couple of decades ran into substantial problems of indiscipline, students’ strikes, violence, arson, forced shutdown of university, indifferent academic achievement, lack of pursuit of excellence and discontent in the community that AMU serves. Most of these Vice Chancellors were distinguished and competent managers. The student upsurges in AMU are invariably engineered/sustained by some lobbies to incapacitate the VC, who will in turn depend upon these lobbies, who will consequently extract favours of lucrative/ powerful positions of academic administration, promotion, contracts/ kickbacks.

It is observed that AMU is sustaining an environment which is not suitable for social harmony and integration of Muslims with the mainstream. The university (AMU) Tarana (song) does not contain a single word in praise of India but it glorifies such things as the evenings of Egypt and the mornings of Shiraj. The university flag has greater resemblance with the flags of Muslim countries, with moon and palm tree stamped on it, than with that of India”. In stead of pursuing the academic goal of the university its authorities are mostly engaged in arousing the religious sentiments of Muslims with a view to keep alive the bogey of its minority character

SIMI has its roots in the Aligarh Muslim University. It was officially established on April 25, 1977 that SIMI was slowly spreading its roots across Uttar Pradesh and then establishing outposts in Maharashtra,Kerala and West Bengal.

Recently, the university is is also trying to establish its branches in other parts of the country. An Off-Campus Centre of the Aligarh Muslim Universty is being setup in Kerala state.

PLAN International Children Development Agency

PLAN International Children Development Agency

Founded over 70 years ago, PLAN is one of the oldest and largest international development agencies in the world. They work in 49 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas. The field of work is in Education, providing water and sanitation, Tackling violence against Children, towards halting the spread of HIV and AIDS, support to Children after disasters, income generation and cross-cultural communication.

Plan directly supports more than 1,500,000 children and their families, and indirectly supports an estimated further 9,000,000 people who live in communities that are working with Plan. They work with ommunities, organisations and local governments in realizing its objectives. Children are involved in all aspects of our programmes, working with adults who have learnt to value their contribution. PLAN is working towards protecting and promoting children’s rights. Plan cliams to be an independent agency, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.
Nearly 1,100,000 people in 17 donor countries have participated in Child sponsoring programme. An average 80% of donations goes directly to support programmes benefiting children and families.

Indian operations focus on Education, girl child and gender gap. In its official website, there are some exaggerated notes about the status of Indian women.
“A feudal and conservative ethos keeps the women in the region silenced, exhausted, veiled and secluded from birth to death. The Thar has one of the Th lowest and declining sex ratios in India. The girl child is discriminated against, and girls are commonly married off as soon as they reach puberty, when they are sent to the husbands family home and from then on permanently veiled and secluded”.

PLAN received 500K pounds from Slumdog millionaire team for providing education to slum children of Mumbai.

Meghalaya a matriarchal society

Meghalaya a matriarchal society

 

Meghalaya literally means “The Abode of Clouds” in Sanskrit and other Indic languages. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long (east-west) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 8,700 sq mi (22,720 km²). The population numbered 2,175,000 in 2000. The state is bounded on the north by Assam and by Bangladesh on the south. The capital is Shillong, which has a population of 260,000. About one third of the state is forested.

Tribal people make up the majority of Meghalaya’s population. The Khasis are the largest group, followed by the Garos. Other groups include the Jaintias, the Koch and the Hajong, Dimasa, Hmar, Kuki, Lakhar, Mikir, Rabha,Nepali etc.. Tribes historically had their own kingdoms. These tribes traditionally had relatively higher sex ratio in the state was 975 females per thousand males which was much better than the national average of 933. One of the unique features of the State is that a majority of the tribal population in Meghalaya follows a matrilineal system where lineage and inheritance are traced through women.

Meghalaya has two representatives in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India; one each from Shillong and Tura. It also has one representative in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament.

Meghalaya has a Christian majority with 70.3% of the population.26% of the population follows Hinduism with a sizeable minority of 11.5% living as tribals. Muslims make up 4.3% of the population as well.

Meghalayan tribes were brought under the British administration in the 19th century. Later, the British incorporated Meghalaya into Assam in 1835. Meghalaya was formed by carving out the two districts of the state of Assam: the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972. Prior to attaining full statehood, Meghalaya was given a semi-autonomous status in 1970.

Mizoram – Christian majority with Jewish minority

Mizoram – Christian majority with Jewish minority

Mizoram is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India. It shares land borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, Bangladesh and the Chin state of Burma. Its population at the 2001 census stood at 888,573. Mizoram ranks second in India with a literacy rate of 88.49%. Mizoram has the most variegated hilly terrain with the highest peak Phawngpui [Blue Mountain] of 2210 metres. Mizos are a close-knit society with no class distinction and no sexual discrimination. 90% of them are cultivators and the village functions as a large family. Birth, marriage, and death in the village are important occasions in which the whole village is involved.

Some 87% of the population (including most ethnic Mizos) is Christian. Other faiths include Hindus who form a small minority in the state, at 3.6% of the population following the religion. Muslims also form a small minority with 1.1% of the population following the faith. People who believe in this faith are from other state but living in Mizoram.

Mizoram has two seats in Parliament, one each in the Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha

The Mizo National Famine Front, which was created to fight famine in the sate, dropped the word ‘famine’ and a new political organization, the Mizo National Front (MNF) was born on 22 October 1961 under the leadership of Laldenga with the specified goal of achieving sovereign independence of Greater Mizoram. Simultaneous large scale disturbances broke out on 28 February 1966 government installations at Aizawl, Lunglei, Chawngte, Chhimluang and other places. The Government of India had to bomb the city of Aizawl with ‘Toofani’ and ‘Hunter’ Jet fighters to quell a separatist movement. In the afternoon of March 4 1966, a flock of jet fighters hovered over Aizawl and dropped bombs leaving a number of houses in flames. The next day, a more excessive bombing took place for several hours which left most houses in Dawrpui and Chhingaveng area in ashes. The search for a political solution to the problems facing the hill regions in Assam continued. The Mizo National Front was outlawed in 1967. The demand for statehood gained fresh momentum. A Mizo District Council delegation, which met prime minister Indira Gandhi in May 1971 demanded full fledged statehood for the Mizos. The union government on its own offered the proposal of turning Mizo Hills into a Union Territory (U.T.) in July 1971. The Mizo leaders were ready to accept the offer on the condition that the status of U.T. would be upgraded to statehood sooner rather than later. The Union Territory of Mizoram came into being on 21 January 1972.

With Pakistan having lost control of Bangladesh and no support from Pakistan, the Mizo National Front was convinced that disarming, to live as respectable Indian citizens, was the only way of achieving peace and development. Laldenga met the prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on 15 February 1985 and signed a peace accord. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 198

The major Christian denominations are the Presbyterian It is one of the constituted bodies of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of India, which has its headquarters at Shillong in Meghalaya (India). In recent decades, a number of people from Mizoram, Assam, and Manipur have claimed to be Jewish. This group is known collectively as the Bnei Menashe, and include Chin, Kuki, and Mizo. Several hundred have formally converted to Orthodox Judaism and many openly practise an Orthodox type of Judaism. The Bnei Menashe do not see themselves as converts, but believe themselves to be ethnically Jewish, descendants of one of the Lost Tribes of Israel The Jewish population of the Bnei Menashe currently is estimated at 9,000 people. The pre-Christian spirituality of the Mizos are Hindu tribes. Presently sometimes, they are being identified as animists. Chakmas and Khans are in this caegory.

The fabric of social life in the Mizo society has undergone tremendous change over the last few years. Before the British arrived in these hills, for all practical purposes, the village and the clan formed units of Mizo society. The Mizo code of ethics or dharma focused on “Tlawmngaihna”, meaning that it was the obligation of all members of society to be hospitable, kind, unselfish, and helpful to others. Tlawmngaihna to a Mizo stands for that compelling moral force which finds expression in self-sacrifice for the service of others. The old belief, Pathian, is still used to mean God. Many Mizos have embraced their new-found faith of Christianity. Their sense of values have also undergone a drastic change for the worse and are largely being guided (directly and indirectly) by the Christian church organisations.

Sikkim North East State of India

Sikkim North East State of India

Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state of the Himalayas with many languages. The thumb-shaped state borders Nepal in the west, Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north and east, and Bhutan in the southeast. The Indian state of West Bengal borders Sikkim to its south. The official language of the state is English, but there is a sizable population that converses in Nepali and it is the link language of the stae. English and Hindi are also spoken and understood in most of Sikkim. Sikkim is Indias least populous state in India, and the second-smallest in area after Goa. It has only 5.5laksh inhabitants,with 2.8lakh males and 2.5lakh females.with density of 76 persons per square kilometre. It has an area of 2,745 sq mi (7,110 km²). the elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,585 metres (28,000 ft).

Ethnic Nepalese are in majority. Bhutias and the Lepchas as well as Tibetans reside the state. Immigrant resident communities not native to the state include the Marwaris, who own most of the shops in South Sikkim and Gangtok; the Biharis, most of whom are employed in blue collar jobs; and the Bengalis. Hinduism is the majority religion in the state with 60.9% of the population, Buddhism forms a large minority with 28.1% of the population, Christians form 6.7% of the population and Muslims 1.4% of the population. Christians consisting mostly of people of Lepcha origin are converted to the faith after British missionaries started preaching in the region in the late 19th century. The state has never had inter-religious strife. The sex ratio is 875 females per 1000 males. With 50,000 inhabitants. The urban population in Sikkim is 11.06%. The per capita income stands at Rs. 11,356, which is one of the highest in the country.

Sikkim is allocated one seat in each of both chambers of India’s national bicameral legislature, the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha. There are a total of 32 state assembly seats including one reserved for the Sangha.

In 1947, a popular vote rejected Sikkim’s joining the Indian Union. Sikkim was given special protectorate with union government controlling its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications. A state council was established in 1955 to allow for constitutional government . Meanwhile Sikkim National Congress demanded fresh elections and greater representation for the Nepalese. In 1973, riots in front of the palace led to a formal request for protection from India. The Chogyal was proving to be extremely unpopular with the people. In 1975, the Kazi (Prime Minister) appealed to the Indian Parliament for a change in Sikkim’s status so that it could become a state of India. In April, the Indian Army moved into Sikkim, seizing the city of Gangtok and disarming the Palace Guards. A referendum was held in which 97.5% of the voting people (59% of the people entitled to vote) voted to join the Indian Union. A few weeks later, on May 16, 1975, Sikkim officially became the 22nd state of the Indian Union and the monarchy was abolished.

Chinese disputed Sikkim as part of India and maintained it as an independent state occupied by India. China eventually recognized Sikkim as an Indian state in 2003, on the condition that India accepted Tibet Autonomous Region as a part of China.

Structure of the Catholic Church

Structure of the Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church is organised in a worldwide hierarchy under the pope. Pope is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and head of state of Vatican City. The Pope nominates Bishops to every region of the world. Bishops are governors of the church. The Pope is the Bishop of Rome. A Bishop is responsible for teaching the faith and ruling the church. Diocese is the territory of administration of a Bishop. A cardinal is a Bishop appointed by the Pope to serve in the College of Cardinals, the body empowered to elect someone to the papacy. Approximately, for every 100 Bishops, one Cardinal will be selected. Archbishop is an elevated Bishop. Archbishop administers Archdiocese. The highest-ranking bishop is patriarch. Some senior Roman Catholic Archbishops are also called Patriarchs. Archbishops and Bishops administer individual dioceses as successors of the twelve apostles. As such they are responsible for the appointment and supervision of parish priests, and the oversight of all church affairs within their diocese. A parish is a territorial unit that was usually historically served by a local church. The Catholic Church is organised into local hierarchies within each nation, or group of smaller nations. National Conferences of bishops co-ordinate local policy within each nation. The Catholic Church is organised into local hierarchies within each nation, or group of smaller nations. National Conferences of bishops co-ordinate local policy within each nation.

As of 3 December 2008, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction statistics is as follows; 13 Patriarchate, 536 Metropolitan Archdiocese, 79 Archdiocese, 2,165 Diocese.

A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder’s religious practice. They follow a form of consecrated life in the Roman Catholic Church. They do so for the purpose of imitating Jesus more closely, mainly but not exclusively by observing evangelical chastity, poverty and obedience, which are the three evangelical counsels of perfection. A Religious Order is characterized by an authority structure where a Superior General has jurisdiction over the order’s dependent communities. Pontifical Council Cor Unum is the dicastery (Department) responsible for coordinating the charitable activities of the Catholic Church.

There are two principal types of Catholic religious orders. Members of congregations (such as the Congregation of Holy Cross) take simple vows, while members of orders proper (such as the Society of Jesus) take solemn vows. The term congregation sometimes also applies to branches of an order such as for women in addition to the pre-existing one for men, or tertiaries. Additionally, a number of generic terms, which are not always exclusively defined, exist to define groups of orders and congregations, such as mendicant orders or canons regular. As well particular or familiar names exist for religious such as Brother and Sister, whereas older terms including Monk and Nun are now more infrequently used. Technically Nuns are religious women who profess solemn vows rather than simple vows.

The religious orders could be Contemplative orders” (such as Benedictines, Carmelites, Trappists, Carthusians, Cistercians, etc.) are those who primarily focus is to grow in union with God for the love of God and the salvation souls. Such communities typically have little interaction with society. “Active” orders (Franciscans, Dominicans, Missionaries of Charity, etc.) are those who tend to have more direct interaction with the world than contemplative orders. While still principally prayer-centered, active orders generally dedicate more time to certain apostolates, such as feeding the hungry, teaching, preaching, missions, youth retreats, and various forms of service to the community.