Azamgarh redefined: An educational hub in ‘nursery of terror’By Abu Zafar, IANS
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
BEENAPARA - This small village is redefining the image of Azamgarh, branded as the ‘nursery of terror’ after the 2008 Batla House shootout in Delhi. With a population of just 5,000, it boasts of seven institutions imparting technical, medical and general education.
The educational institutes include a medical college named Ibn-e-Sina Tibbiya College, the Beenapara Intermediate College, Aisha Siddquia Girls Intermediate College, Sir Syed Boys Higher Secondary School, an English medium intermediate college, and an Industrial Training Institute (ITI).
A total of 5,500 students from across the state come here to study, including about 2,500 women. The institutions give education to all classes of people without any distinction of caste, creed or religion.
It all started in 1971, when a registered educational society called Minority Educational Society came into being with the sole objective to impart technical as well as non-technical education to the Muslim community, especially to those living in and around the village.
“Previously, there was not a single college in this area. Our aim is to educate each and every child and give common people access to education,” Abu Sufiyan, founder secretary of the Minority Educational Society, told IANS.
Ibn-e-Sina Tibbiya College was established in 1980 by the society on the occasion of the 1,000th anniversary of the renowned Muslim scholar Sheikh-ur-Rais Ibn-e-Sina (980 A.D.).
Paying a tribute to his Tibbi education (traditional medicine practised widely in South Asia) and invaluable services rendered to promote the Graeco-Arab medicine, the foundation stone of the college building and its hostel was laid Jan 25, 1981.
The college awards Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) degrees approved by CSJM University of Kanpur and recognised by the Uttar Pradesh government.
It is also planning to start a paramedical college.
“We hope that this paramedical institution will start from July. The land for this college has already been acquired, and we have approached the Uttar Pradesh medical secretary for his final nod.”
However, Sufiyan said the state government gives a grant to only three of the seven institutions.
“So far we have achieved only half of our aim. I am still struggling to achieve the set target and also facing many challenges.”
Azamgarh made headlines after the Batla House shootout of 2008 in the immediate aftermath of the Delhi serial blasts. Two suspected Indian Mujahideen militants, both Azamgarh natives, and police officer Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma were killed in the incident that took place Sep 19, 2008, in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar locality.
Many of those accused of the Sep 13, 2008, Delhi serial bombings belonged to Azamgarh. Following the incident, many local youths were arrested in connection with different terror attacks across the country, which maligned the image of the district.
But Beenapara may be able to break Azamgarh’s stereotype of an area breeding fanaticism and terror.
Shakeel Ahmad, a resident, is happy his children are getting the chance for good education. “I couldn’t learn more but I am happy that our children have a good chance. I used to speak proudly about my village and its achievements in the field of education when I was posted in Sharjah.” Ahmad was working in Sharjah as driver.
Remembering his college with gratitude, Abu Mohammad, alumnus of the Beenapara Intermediate College, who is studying medicine in Lucknow, told IANS: “The education which I got from there is a milestone in my life which I can’t forget.”
Baliram of the Bahujan Samaj Party, the MP from the village’s constituency of Lalganj, too had words of praise for the village.
“I visited Beenapara several times and it is amazing,” he said.
(Abu Zafar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)