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Mushirul Hasan: Man with a mission and a vision – Obituary

He had also served as the Director General of the National Archives of India and the President of the Indian History Congress. Wherever he worked, he gave it a touch of finesse and perfection – his hallmark.

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Tears welled up my eyes, when I was told by my friend, Mohammed Wajihuddin, an eminent columnist, that not a single wreath or even a flower, was laid at the grave of Prof Mushirul Hasan by Jamia Millia Islamia, the institution that the renowned historian and the educationist had nursed as his offspring.

It is shocking to note that Jamia failed to give him the little due at his last resting place – something absolutely unbearable, said, Wajihuddin. Mushir had given the prime of his life to Jamia.

Prof Azra Razzack, who had worked under Mushir in the K.R. Narayanan Center of Dalit Studies and Minorities at Jamia Millia Islamia too felt that the Indian populace didn’t give Mushir his due.

Mushir was an institution in his own self. Having read almost all his books, Razzack said that the one which has stamped its mark on readers of history is that on Jamia Millia Islamia’s contribution in India’s freedom movement “Partners in Freedom: Jamia Millia Islamia”. A thoroughly researched book, it highlights the history of forbearance, companionship and insight within the parameters the historic Jamia Millia Islamia.

It demonstrates how personages lived for and worked towards the attainment of high morals and principles. Razzack thinks a Chair or a building in the name of Mushirul Hasan must be considered by Jamia, where he spent the prime of his life.

Having seen Mushir at close quarters for a number of years, I can state that he was a man of many lives and colours. I had known him for almost three decades. Right from my student days, I was a connoisseur of Mushirul Hasan’s books and lectures since I studied at Delhi University in the 1980s.

Not only was he a man of letters, he lived by each and every word he had written. Being a soft-spoken person, he was known never to hurt even the worst of his critics – a rare quality that Maulana Azad also possessed. Mushir might not live before us in flesh and bbody but the tremendous legacy of historicity he has left for posterity will stamp him as an immortal in the genre of writing books loaded not only with knowledge but most importantly – values and vision.

While manning Jamia Millia Islamia as its Vice Chancellor, Mushir left no stone unturned and brought it on par with the other illustrious institutions like Delhi University, BHU and Calcutta University. During his time, he turned it into a state-of- the-art university besides giving it a designer look.

He had also served as the Director General of the National Archives of India and the President of the Indian History Congress. Wherever he worked, he gave it a touch of finesse and perfection – his hallmark.

Remembering his book, “In Search of Integration and Identity – Indian Muslims since Independence”, M. Atyab Siddiqui, a Muslim thinker and Mushir’s legal advisor for a number of years, stated that he was the architect of the modern Jamia. His legacy of liberal thought and perception for the underprivileged sections of society should be carried forward. It was because of Mushir that in the comity of universities, Jamia carved its niche.

However, Siddiqui was piqued: “Mushir’s mission was to educate the beleaguered Muslim masses in the best manner possible. But it saddens me when today, I note that Jamia is in a pathetic state and requires a visionary like Mushirul Hasan to make it regain its pristine glory.”

The most noteworthy trait of Mushir’s writings was his secular credentials along with his habit of calling a spade a spade. Though the world over, he carved a niche for his books on the vivisection of India. However, his most readable book is on the Nehrus, titled, “The Nehrus – Personal Histories” – his last one.

In it, he has unquestioningly laid out the best of his feelings on Jawaharlal, Indira and Rajiv. Some of the passsages are very touching. Perhaps this seems to be a sequel of “When Stone Walls Cry: The Nehrus in Prison”. As he had a very special place for the Nehrus, he presented them as having a great capacity to gauge the pulse of the times.

Being a suave man of a few words, his magnificence was that each word he uttered had its own music and meaning that the audiences thoroughly acknowledged. Besides, wit and humour were his hallmark.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Mushir was the son of two universities — Aligarh Muslim University (where he had studied) and Jamia Millia Islamia, that he nursed like his own child. By penning, “Aligarh’s Notre eminent contemporain-Assessing Syed Ahmad Khan’s Reformist Agenda”, Mushir paid his homage to his alma mater.

Mushir was a sensible historian. Once when he was hounded by some zealous elements for having stated that Jamia’s students were giving undue publicity to Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses”, a sub-standard book, by burning it, he was attacked as he was mistaken by the motivated students. Later, he was able to impress upon them and the same people who went for his jugular became his flowers. That was Mushir’s aura and benchmark.

Today, there’s no one to match Mushir when it comes to the understanding of Islam, Muslims and Partition of India. He had told my father, Nooruddin, that the concept of a book on the 1947 Partition came to his mind when he had heard Maulana Azad state that water cannot be cut in twain egging Muslims not to vie for the so called El Dorado (Pakistan). His mammoth work, “Memories of a Fragmented Nation: Rewriting the Histories of India’s Partition” remains unmatched on the topic throughout the world.

We must continue Mushir’s vision and education for a better India.

(Firoz Bakht Ahmed is the Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University and the grandnephew of Bharat Ratna Maulana Azad. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

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Indo-Russian collaboration in AI, IoT to take-off in 2019: Zyfra CEO

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New Delhi, Jan 24 : Indo-Russia joint projects in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are expected to take-off this year according to the Finnish-Russian digital solutions provider Zyfra which has joined hands with Indian companies to provide IoT and AI-based solutions for the industrial sector.

In an e-mail interview with IANS, Igor Bogachev, the Chief Executive of Zyfra, which has supplied Indian manufacturers with AI and IoT-based solutions, as well as autonomous vehicles, said the Indian sectors with most potential to adopt such solutions are metallurgy, transportation, aerospace and petrochemicals.

“India is of great interest to companies in the field of the industrial Internet of Things and this year we hope to see first projects in this area being implemented jointly with Russia,” Bogachev said.

“Innovations should become a point of growth of Russian-Indian relations. We see significant potential for introduction in such industries as construction of machine tools, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, the chemical industry and the oil and gas sector,” he said.

Last month, Zyfra announced it has managed to reach $3 million in contracts with its Indian counterparts in 2018., and the company plans to reach the target of $50 million in India-related deals by 2021.

The company has already signed agreements with various Indian companies, including Spudweb, Abcon Group, Parivartan Automation, Agaram Infotech, Wimerasys, Nortech Trinity and Mascot Tools.

Zyfra is implementing 7 pilot projects in collaboration with its Indian partners and plans to launch five more joint projects including for production of farm machinery, as well as for manufacturing components for aerospace divisions of both Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

According to Bogachev, cooperation between Russia and India in AI and IOT will be much more than a buyer-seller relationship and will involve sharing best practices, knowledge and innovating jointly.

“We truly believe, that we will be able develop products with our Indian partners, probably with joint ventures, to export to third countries,” he said.

The company has already signed agreement with various Indian firms accounting for around $2.5 million in contracts, the Zyfra CEO said.

Last year, Zyfra unveiled its manufacturing data collection (MDC) plus system in India which performs real-time machine monitoring with customizable reports and charts that can be used to track jobs, parts, operations, work centres, scrap costs, downtime and people, he said.

Zyfra recently also released a report which ranks India among the most advanced countries in terms of development of AI technologies and IoT. The survey ranks the US first, followed by China, while India ranks 13th, after Canada.

The company has started the acquisition of the VIST Group, one of the industrial leaders in development and implementation of information technologies for digital mining.

“Through the acquisition of these assets, which will be finished by 2020, the company is planning to occupy a significant share of the global market and to compete with Catarpillar, Komatsu and other majors,” the CEO said.

According to Bogachev, who also chairs the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Subcommittee on the Digital Economy and Innovations, “there is tremendous opportunity for disruption in the industrial IoT and applied AI space, although it is still a nascent market to a larger extent.”

Founded in 2017, the private sector Zifra’s clients in Russia include giants like Gazprom, Chelpipe, NLMK Group and United Engine Corporation.

(Biswajit Choudhury can be reached at [email protected])

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Madhya Pradesh farmers hopeful of being ‘debt-free’ as loan waiver scheme kicks-off

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Bhopal, Jan 22 : A week after the launch of the loan waiver scheme in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government claims 19.54 lakh farmers have filed their applications in the six days till Sunday.

While the opposition BJP has been calling the “Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana” a trick to cheat the farmers, the question is how the farmers of the state perceive the entire exercise.

Kailash Chaudhary, a farmer from Mandsaur district’s Babulda village, said: “About two years ago, six farmers sacrificed their lives for their rights in Pipliya Mandi. This is the beginning of the victory of their fight.”

“Forms are being filled for waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh. We feel that the government is taking our demands seriously,” Chaudhary told IANS.

Mandsaur was the centre of farmers’ agitation in 2017 when six farmers were killed in police firing in June, 2017. After the incident, the farmers’ movement had taken over the whole state, which then spread to the whole nation.

Farmer’s leader Kedar Sirohi said: “Farmers in different parts of the state are excited about the loan waiver. They are filing applications in large numbers.”

“To ensure they don’t face any difficulty in filing applications, leaders and workers of farmer organisations are helping them. Government officials is also alert to help out the farmers. Colour coding of application forms has made it easier for farmers to fill out the applications,” he said.

According to official figures, out of the 19.54 lakh forms filed till Sunday, around 60 per cent were green forms, 35 per cent were white forms and 5 percent were pink forms. The farmers are hopeful of becoming debt-free through this exercise.

As per the scheme, the farmers of the Aadhaar seeded list will have to submit green applications and the farmers of non-Aadhar seeded list will have to submit white coloured applications. Farmers have to submit a pink application to file an objection or claim against information provided in the green or white list.

However, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been accusing the Congress of misleading the farmers and terming the scheme a trick to cheat them.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said the Congress promise of a loan waiver won’t be fulfilled by a mere announcement.

“The Chief Minister (Kamal Nath) and Congress leaders are saying they have fulfilled their promise of loan waiver to the farmers. But the promise has not yet been fulfilled. An announcement does not mean fulfillment of the promise,” he said, adding the Congress was misleading the farmers.

Congress spokesperson Syed Jaffer responded that 55 lakh farmers will get their loans waived of under the scheme, for which the due process needs to be followed.

“No matter what charges the BJP makes, the truth is that farmers are happy and they trust that the Congress is fulfilling the promise that they made to them,” he said.

“Those farmers who are in debt, neither are they now receiving notices from the banks nor is their property being seized. Under BJP rule, farmers had to go to jail and lose their property just for not paying their power bills,” Jaffer told IANS.

Calling the scheme pro-farmer, farmer leader Shiv Kumar Sharma told IANS that political parties were creating doubts about the scheme.

“Farmers were reeling under debt which had increased manifold over the last one-and-a-half decade. Now they are getting waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh. The government is new and one should wait before making adverse comments,” he said.

Kamal Nath had signed the farm loan waiver file soon after taking oath as the Chief Minister. The filing of forms for the waiver started from January 15 and will continue till February 5.

According to the government, farmers will start getting the money in their loan accounts from February 22.

The Chief Minister had said that the scheme would benefit around 55 lakh farmers by waiving their loans worth Rs 50,000 crore.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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Entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia: Pahlaj Nihalani

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

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Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Jan 22 :Govinda, “Rangeela Raja”, Pahlaj Nihalani-backed comeback vehicle for Govinda, did not open well. Nihalani says it is because his film did not get the theatres required as the entertainment industry is run by a “glamorous mafia”.

“I am being targeted for my blunt views on the workings of censor board, and because of me, my leading man Govinda is being targeted. If you ask me, Govinda and I have the maximum number of enemies in the film industry,” Nihalani said.

Lamenting the lack of theatres for “Rangeela Raja”, Nihalani says he was refused a release in places like Bihar and Jharkhand.

“These are traditional strongholds of Govinda. And not a single theatre in Patna or Ranchi agreed to play ‘Rangeela Raja’. Why? Because my film is bad? Are only quality films released in theatres? And who decides that my film is substandard? A handful of critics for whom I did not have a press show, so they are upset with me and they are taking it out on my film,” he said.

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

“I know who they are. I know the people who want to finish off Govinda and me. The entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia. They all sit, eat, sleep and make movies together. Solo producers like me with no corporate backing are being pushed out of the film industry in the name of corporotization,” he said.

But Nihalani says he isn’t going away anywhere.

“I belong to this industry as much as those who are currently monopolising the A-list stars. I will make another film with Govinda and prove he too is an A-list star.”

Nihalani says he has always believed in introducing new talent and will continue to do so.

“I introduced Govinda and Chunky Pandey. In ‘Rangeela Raja’ I’ve introduced Mishika Chourasia. I am confident she has a very bright future. Unless the industry will punish her for being Pahlaj Nihalani’s protege.”

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