Home of Hope
Amidst the horrors of militancy in the hilly regions of Assam, a group of committed Muslims have set up
Markaz Darul Yatama, an orphanage for kids who are victims of ethnic violence
By Md Akhtab-ul-Ala
Think of Assam and there would be two things cropping up in the mind-the refreshing tea for the brighter side and the horrors of militancy, the State has been going through, which is the darker side. But Assam has its moments of hope where a committed group of Muslims have taken the initiative to extend their services for the needy and the poor and all that is done quietly and gracefully. Nestled amidst greenery, in the little town of Goalpara in the State, is the Markaz Darul Yatama, an orphanage which was the outcome of the philanthropic efforts of an NGO named Markazul Maarif having its bases at Hozai, along with the support of the local Muslims. It all started with the notorious ethnic violence in 1993 in Assam. The Bodo militants, in order to prove their majority in support of their claim for a separate Bodo State went on an ethnic cleansing spree in the districts of Barpeta, Kokrajharand Bongaigoan. These areas became the centre of communal carnage and many innocent Muslims were killed and lakhs were rendered homeless.
Thousands of Muslim kids were orphaned and dislodged from their homes and took refuge in various relief and rehabilitation centres set up by the government. The living conditions in these camps were pathetic with two square meals being a luxury for the families and the kids. So education was a dream too.
|The Bodo militants, in order to prove their majority in support of their claim for a separate Bodo State went on an ethnic cleansing spree in the districts of Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Bongaigoan. These areas became the centre of communal carnage and many innocent Muslims were killed and lakhs were rendered homeless.|
It was under these circumstances that Maulana Bostanvi of the Jamia Islamia Ishaatul Uloom and Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi, president of Makazul Maarif took the bold step of shouldering the responsibility of building the future of these helpless children by setting up an orphanage in the name of Markaz Darul Yatama at Goalpara in Assam. A plot of land was purchased from a local estate owner Md. Abdul Kadir who agreed for the sale at a much concessional rate. As a first step, 350 destitute orphan kids from different camps were taken into the new orphanage with the intention of imparting spiritual and contemporary education. Under, the leadership of the director Hafiz Bashir Ahmed Qasimi, Markaz Darul Yatama, currently has 400 boys and 250 girls (orphans) in separate campuses. Along with the modern education in English medium, Islamic classes too are organised along with physical training and NCC classes.
The boys section of the Markaz Darul Yatama is managed by 25 qualified teachers headed by Mufti Sa’aduddin Qasimi, while the girls section is managed by 15 teachers. The English medium section named as Markaz Academy has a staff comprising nine qualified teachers headed by Md M. H. Lashkar. Recently a 10-bed hospital named As-Salam was set up here to take care of the inmates of the orphanage. An Industrial training institute is part of the plans to impart training to the orphans in vocational jobs. Despite odds and the tense situation in Assam, the unflinching spirit of the small group of Muslims here serves as an example and indicates that hope exists even in the most hostile conditions and one needs to be determined to fulfill the goals.
Health Camps by Markazul Maarif in Assam
HOJAI : Noted voluntary organisation Markazul Maarif held health camps at seven places in the state of Assam between July 26 and August 5. 2,227 patients received treatment for various ailments at Phooltali, Udali, Padumphukuri, Kapashabar, Raikhata, Kumarakhata and Udaypur.
Most of these places are said to be inaccessible areas of a backward region. A 22-member medical team headed by Dr. Afif Khan, ex-Joint Director, Assam Health services, Nagaon pitched their camps in the places. He was assisted by Dr. Ashok Ray, Dr. Kumud Hazarika, Dr. Anup Kumar Das, Dr. Iqbal Hazarika, Dr.Subrata Banik etc.
The team doctors instructed the people about preventive measures against common ailments viral fever, diarrhoea etc.
Markazul Maarif is running several schools, dispensaries, and scholarship endowments in Hojai and Nagaon districts of Assam.