IOS book on “Muslim Women in India: Education and Exposure to Media” Released

Pune: The Department of Economics of Poona College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune, organized an online book release function of the book published by the Institute of Objective Studies titled Muslim Women in India: Education and Exposure to Media authored by Dr. Malika B. Mistry on Saturday, January 22, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.

The programme started with recitation from the holy Qur’an. Dr. Aftab Anwar Shaikh, the Principal, Poona College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune, welcomed the guest speakers and the audience. He stated that he was happy to organize this important function. Dr. Shahid Jamal Ansari, Head of the Department of Economics, introduced the profile of the author and the contents of the book, which deals about education among Muslim women from the closing years of the past century to the early years of the present. In the book, the author has analyzed education levels and exposure to the media among women by religion, pointing out that generally the levels of education among Muslim women are the lowest in National Family Health Survey I-IV. The author’s endeavor to provide the demographic and socio-economic information about the Muslim and non-Muslim women will pave the way for many more studies of different communities in India.

The three experts who reviewed the book eloquently spoke about the book. The first expert was Prof. Naseeb Benjamin, former Professor at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune. He spoke about each chapter and critically analysed the content of the book. He averred that this study of education among Muslim women from the closing years of the last century to the early years of the present is a pioneering academic endeavour. This is because Indian women in general, and Muslim women in particular, constitute a neglected group in Indian society.

The author used the data from National Family Health Surveys (4 rounds, i.e., I, II, III, and IV), 1992-93 to 2015-16 and Census Reports 2001 and 2011. She has compared Muslim women’s education and exposure to media levels with women from different religious groups.

When compared with Hindu women, educational backwardness among Muslim women is glaring. To make Muslim women competitive in Indian society, they need to be given higher education by concerted and long-term efforts. Some activism needs to be imparted to Muslim men and women so that they realize that literacy, education, and exposure to the media are their rights and would empower them to lead dignified lives. Affirmative action in education is the best way to enable Muslim women to catch up with women of other religions in a reasonable period. This requires a clear vision, a lot of planning, hard work, and missionary zeal on the part of the Muslim community and its leadership.

He concluded his analysis by saying that overall, Dr. Mistry’s endeavour to provide demographic and socio-economic information about Muslim and non-Muslim women will pave the way for many more studies of different communities in India.

Mr. Maqbool Ahmed Siraj, a senior journalist and social worker from Bangalore and presently Managing Director of News Trail newspaper in Bangalore, reviewed the book. He appreciated the work and added from his own experience some more recommendations to educate Muslim women. He pointed out that it is very relevant and useful work.

The third speech was delivered by the Chief Guest of the function, Prof. D.P. Singh, Associate Dean, School of Research Methodology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. He was invited to release the book by the Principal and as Chief Guest he released the book. He spoke about the demography of religious groups analysed in the third chapter of the book. He, too, appreciated the merits of the book. He suggested some areas of related research for scholars. His views appeared the next day in the Sunday issue of   the Sakaal Newspaper, a popular Marathi daily published in Pune.

Dr. Mistry, the author of the book, was invited to express her thoughts. She elaborated that the Quran was revealed with the word Iqra (meaning read). There are Hadees, which say that “For a Muslim from cradle to grave it is obligatory to acquire knowledge.” Also, “even if you have to go to China, go and acquire knowledge.” Then how do we explain the educational backwardness of Muslims in general and Muslim women in particular? The community has neglected itself and its women. Their leaders are not really interested in the prosperity of the community. In a modern society, through education alone, one can achieve social and economic mobility. Let us remember this fact with abundant care.

So the community has to take a great interest in education, particularly women’s education. Also, pressurize the government to provide educational facilities. This requires vision and missionary zeal on the part of the community.

Dr. Mistry thanked Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Chairman of the Institute of Objective Studies, for sanctioning the research project titled “A Study of Trends in Education and Exposure to Media among Muslims based on NFHS-I, II, III and IV (1992-2016), and Census Data 2001 and 2011” which has been published with the title “Muslim Women in India: Education and Exposure to Media.”  She averred that she will always remain grateful to Allah Subhanahu Ta’ala.

She thanked Prof. D.P. Singh for writing the Foreword, Prof. Benjamin and Mr. Siraj for reviewing her book. She also thanked them for taking out precious time from their busy schedules to speak in this programme.

She thanked the Principal and the Vice-Principal Mr. Iqbal Shaikh for organizing the function, Dr. Ansari, and the colleagues of the Department of Economics for conducting the program

She expressed her gratefulness to Dr. Bhavana Deshpande, Department of Statistics, Poona College, Dr. Gupta, Adult Education Department of SPP University, Pune, her ex-student Dr. Abdul Jalil and many others who helped her in analysing the data to write a sound report.

The compering was done by Dr. Gulnawaz Usmani, and the formal Vote of Thanks was proposed by Dr. Vidya Sagar, both from the faculty of Economics.









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