Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lessons of Uttar Pradesh 2017 results

Indian Muslims

Uttar Pradesh 2017 results deal a body blow to their political aspirations

By SIRAJ WAHAB | sirajwahab@gmail.com

The results of Uttar Pradesh elections in which Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) scored a landslide victory are devastating to say the least. The colossal defeat of anti-Modi parties indicates that the majority community has decided to punish anybody that is seen as even remotely connected with or slightly sympathetic to Muslims. There was a time when Muslims would consider themselves as kingmakers. There was a time when 20 percent Muslims would decide the outcome of elections in Uttar Pradesh. That is no longer the case.

The myth of the Muslim vote is completely exploded. They are the new untouchables. They are the new undesirables. In fact, when Congress conducted an internal survey of the reasons behind the party’s defeat in the 2014 general elections — the elections that brought Modi to power in Delhi — it was revealed that the Congress Party paid the price of being seen as soft on Muslims. The inquiry was conducted by A.K. Antony. Muslims were very upset with those findings. Their anger was fuelled by the fact that they suffered immensely under the Congress rule — a rule under which hundreds of young, educated Muslims across the country were put behind bars for the flimsiest of reasons, a rule under which all that was promised to Muslims was not delivered (Sachar Committee recommendations, Ranganath Misra Commission recommendations, promise of reservations, etc.). Despite all these injustices, anti-Congress parties ran to town screaming about the alleged appeasement of Muslims.

Muslims were caught in the crosshairs. They were angry with Congress and hated the BJP for very obvious reasons. Their near-total support for Congress in the 2014 general elections despite all that the party did to them was like a poison chalice for the party. Their support alienated the majority community from the Congress Party. That same thing has now happened with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). They both openly courted Muslims. Samajwadi Party joined hands with Congress to assuage Muslim anger for the Muzaffarnagar riots. The BSP gave tickets to nearly 100 Muslim candidates. All this helped the majority community and its various castes and sub-castes to consolidate behind Modi’s party.

The BJP strategists implemented what is now known as the “60 percent formula.” According to this formula, Modi and Amit Shah concentrated on non-Yadav and non-Jatav communities. They realized that 22 percent Muslims would in no way vote for the BJP. So essentially 20 percent Muslims and 10 percent Yadavs (SP's core vote base) and 10 percent Jatavs (Mayawati’s core vote base) were isolated. They worked on the remaining 60 percent of the voters and succeeded in garnering 40 percent of this vote.

The BJP strategists constructed a narrative in which they cast Muslims as anti-nationals and painted any party that had and have any association with the Muslims as anti-Hindu. This strategy worked wonders and the parties that Muslims vocally supported were reduced to scraps.

There is another alarming aspect. In constituencies where BSP and SP fielded Muslim candidates, the non-Muslim votebank of these parties refused to vote for them. For example, in a constituency where the BSP fielded a Muslim candidate, the BSP's core Jatav voters went with the BJP candidate. As a result the Muslim candidate lost. Similarly, in a constituency where the Samajwadi Party fielded a Muslim candidate, the Samajwadi Party’s core Yadav voters migrated to the BJP candidate. Muslims became a liability for all non-BJP parties. BSP’s decision to grant 100 seats to Muslims became their undoing.

This in short has what has happened in Uttar Pradesh.

There is an avalanche of criticism within the Muslim community that the split in their votes — among SP, BSP and other smaller parties — has led to the victory of Modi. This may be true in some constituencies, most notably in Deoband. But for the sake of argument, let one assume that Muslims lost roughly 75 seats because of such division. Even then that would not have stopped the BJP from forming the government on its own. It won more than a staggering 300 seats.

Of course, Muslims need to draw their conclusions but there would be no point in self-flagellation. It will only deepen the sense of despair. There is no need to lose hope. There is a need for the community to reinvent itself and construct a new narrative to become relevant in Uttar Pradesh’s electoral politics. This is not the job of ulema or the clergy. This task requires dispassionate and intelligent young Muslims who understand the modern tools and modern idiom and modern medium, and whose belief in democracy and the country’s constitution is unflinching.

This is a very onerous task —  one that is challenging but not impossible, provided the community does not indulge in recriminations and blame game. The time for that is over. Now is the time for serious introspection.

The way forward

The lessons that Muslims in North India need to learn from Uttar Pradesh in 2017 is that they should not seek tickets from any party. They should not launch or promote their own party/ies — that only helps in consolidating the majority votebank. They should reduce their visibility in the political sphere. Once they make themselves less visible, it will take the attention away from them, and then there will be less polarization. At the moment, Muslims should outsource their leadership tasks to the good people from the majority community.

Of course, other leading lights of the community will have other constructive and better suggestions and solutions. Pressure needs to be brought from within the community to bear upon the religious and pseudo-religious leadership to keep away from making political statements. The pulpits of mosques and madrassas should not be used to issue any political statements.

The community’s focus in North India should be totally on education; modern education. For this to happen, Muslims need a conducive atmosphere. For conducive atmosphere, the community needs to cultivate the ruling party which now happens to be its arch enemy. The community will have to swallow the bitter pill and convert this defeat into opportunity. How they go ahead and who takes the lead in opening the channel of communication with Modi will have to be done by the sober and articulate members from within us. Again, this is just one of many thoughts. If there is no consensus among Muslims on talking to Modi, this option should be immediately discarded. Others can come up with better suggestions and the community should welcome them.

The Muslims of India have been through very bad times in the last two centuries. They lost in 1857. They lost in 1947. And now they lost in March 2017. All this while they survived — of course, not in the best of shapes — through their grit, determination and patience. But they did.

Democracy can provide the best revenge provided Indian Muslims know how to practice this art subtly and without attracting any undue attention. Their time will come only through this instrument of democracy and they will again become the kingmakers that they have been in the last four decades in independent India.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

CHENNAI LEATHER MARKET - MARCH 2017

CHENNAI LEATHER MARKET

V. M. Khaleelur Rahman

The 32nd India International Leather Fair 2017 (IILF) inaugurated on the evening of 31st January and held from 1st to 3rd February 2017 was as good with glittering paraphernalia as always in the previous years despite slow domestic and international market conditions. It attracted quite a large number of participants as well as business visitors from India and abroad. According to participants it was highly successful.

In the inaugural function Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu, Shri K. C. Karuppannan was the Chief Guest. The Council for Leather Exports presented Export Excellence Awards 2015-16 to the exporters of leather and leather products who performed well in their exports. The Awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in overall exports went to 1. K. H. Exports India Private Limited, Chennai  2. Tata International Limited, Mumbai and 3. Mirza International Limited, Kanpur respectively.  Awards were also given to other exporters who performed well achieving valuable foreign exchange by their exports in categories like Leather Footwear, Leather Goods, Leather Garments, Finished  Leather etc.

When questioned an exporter pointed out that business concluded in the fair may not be big in volumes, but it is believed that there will be increased demand for leather products particularly for shoes and leather goods in the coming months. Another exporter  optimistically said  the leather industry which has seen many ups and downs will endeavour its best with new strategies to improve and boost its exports. 

As far as Chennai leather market is concerned, prices for E.I. Tanned goat and sheep skins are almost unchanged.  Some big exporters of leather and leather products are in the market covering their requirements. It is hoped that market may pick up in the days to come.

Ruling prices of E.I. Tanned Goat skins are given below (approximate)

Grain selection: 

5/8 sq. ft. Run Rs. 95, Fifth Rs. 80, Inf. Fifth Rs. 70 and LIF Rs. 60

Suede Selection

4/6 sq. ft. Rs. 46 and 5/8 sq. ft.  Rs.47

Lining Selection

5/8 sq. ft. AB Lining Rs.45 and ABC Lining 42
4/6 AB Lining Rs.39 and ABC Lining Rs.37

Mesh Selection

5/8 sq. ft. Rs.31

Rejection

Rs. 18

All prices are per sq. ft. 

EXPORT OFFERS ARE AT AROUND THE FOLLOWING PRICES:

                                      S/C OR F/C GOAT LEATHERS

Material
Size/sq. ft.
Substance
Selection
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Goat upper leather
 4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
ABC/DE
2.10/1.60
Goat milled leather
4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
TR-1/TR-2/TR-3
1.60/1.50/1.40
Goat suede leather
4/7
5/8
0.6/0.8 mm
0.6/0.8 mm
All Suede
1.95
2.05
Goat lining leather

4/7
0.5/0.7 mm
TR-1/2/3 combined
1.50
6/9
0.6/0.8 mm
TR-1/2/3
Combined
1.60
                                                       
                                   F/C SHEEP LEATHERS

Material
Size/sq.ft.
Substance
Selection
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Sheep Cabretta leather
4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
ABC
1.90
Sheep Cabretta leather
6/9
0.8/1.00 mm
ABC
2.00
Sheep lining leather
4/7
5/9
0.5/0.7 mm
0.6/0.8 mm
TR-1/2/3
TR-1/2/3
1.50
1.60

F/C sheep leather

All Suede 4/7 sq. ft. JY 200 and 5/7 sq. ft. JY 210 per sq. ft. C&F

Rejection Suede 4/7 sq. ft. JY 110 and 5/7 sq. ft. JY 120 per sq. ft. C&F

(Writer’s e-mail id: vmk1234@yahoo.com)


Friday, February 3, 2017

Chennai Leather Market - February 2017

CHENNAI LEATHER MARKET

V M Khaleelur Rahman

There seems to be no change for the better in the Chennai leather market. Activities are slow as in the past few months in tanned as well as wet blue goat and sheep skins. Prices of raw hides and skins are also almost unchanged and transactions slow everywhere in the country.

Local prices for E.I. Tanned Goat Skins are as follows approximately.

Grain Selection: 5/8 sq. ft. Run Rs.95, Fifths Rs.80, Inf. Fifths Rs.70, LIF Rs.60,

Suede Selection: 4/6 sq. ft. Rs.46, 5/8 sq. ft. Rs.47

Lining Selection: 5/8 sq. ft. AB Lining Rs.44, ABC Lining Rs.40, 4/6 sq. ft. AB Lining Rs.38, ABC Lining Rs.35

Mesh Selection: 5/8 sq. ft. Rs.30

All prices are per sq. ft.

Raw Skins: As far as raw goat skins are concerned, In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh the prevailing prices are from Rs.100 to 130 per piece. However in some other places like Miraj where quality is better prices are from Rs.150 to 200 per piece depending on size and quality. Some big exporters are covering their requirements from these high quality centres. 

Offers of exporters are at around the following prices:

                                      S/C OR F/C GOAT LEATHERS

Material
Size/sq. ft.
Substance
Selection
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Goat upper leather
 4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
ABC/DE
2.10/1.60
Goat milled leather
4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
TR-1
1.75
Goat suede leather
4/7
5/8
0.6/0.8 mm
0.6/0.8 mm
All Suede
2.00
2.10
Goat lining leather

4/7
0.5/0.7 mm
TR-1
1.60
6/9
0.6/0.8 mm
TR-1
1.70
                                                       
                                   F/C SHEEP LEATHERS

Material
Size/sq.ft.
Substance
Selection
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Sheep Cabretta leather
4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
ABC
1.90
Sheep Cabretta leather
6/9
0.8/1.00 mm
ABC
2.00
Sheep lining leather
4/7
5/9
0.5/0.7 mm
0.6/0.8 mm
TR-1
TR-1
1.50
1.60

Although exports have been down during the past some months, exporters are optimistic that things will change and exports will pick up during this year. As exporters of leather are facing problems at the Customs on identification of finished leather, many small tanners and exporters are not willing to enter into contracts. This is considered to be one of the reasons for the exports coming down. At this time of a sort of crisis in the leather industry, some small scale tanners demand that the 15% export duty on E. I. Tanned goat and sheep skins should be removed to enable them to carry on their business in this age old leather item which is nothing but “finished leather”. Although there is a strong case for this, divided opinions are the main hurdles in the way of the government making the E. I. Tanned skins duty free.

(Writer’s e-mail id: vmk1234@yahoo.com)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Rise and Fall of the Bayt-al-Hikmah

http://www.thehindu.com/books/The-rise-and-fall-of-the-Bayt-al-Hikmah/article17103267.eceA

The Rise and Fall of the Bayt-al-Hikmah
Mini Krishnan 
Within 25 years of the death of their Prophet, the Arabs conquered the whole of Persia, Syria, Armenia, and a bit of Central Asia. In the east, they reached the Indus river and Sindh. In the west, they swept across Egypt and northern Africa, crossed the seas and landed at Gibraltar. In time, Spain too fell.
They were soon in possession of a different kind of power. In 751 AD, they captured Chinese paper-makers. This knowledge changed the nature of how writing was shared and stored. When the strongest people in the world saw the importance of establishing libraries, learning sprang up everywhere in their footsteps. Muslims were the first people to show an interest in translating manuscripts and scrolls from cultures other than theirs. Popularly known as the knowledge empire of the caliphs, there followed a history of 500 years of Islamic library building. By the ninth century, scholars in Cordoba and Spain were corresponding with their counterparts in Cairo, Bokhara, Samarkand and Baghdad. Baghdad! Persian for “gift from God”!
Baghdad was born in 762 AD. Caliph Mansur, whose empire stretched from India to the Atlantic, sailed up and down the Tigris looking for a place to call home. He finally settled on a spot and shifted his capital from Damascus to Baghdad. He united many intellectual centres and employed scholars to carry out research and translate the world into Arabic. Interestingly, most of the translations into Arabic were done by writers whose first language was not Arabic.
The Abbasid Caliphs supported schools of Syrian, Greek, Persian, Jewish, Hindu and Armenian translators. In their time, it was easy for intellectuals and scholars to make a living. An academic life was a sign of status, and legendary translators were paid the weight of their work in gold. Rare scrolls and ancient texts were preferred war booty. For instance, Ptolemy’s Almaget was claimed as a condition for peace after a war between the Abbasids and the Byzantine Empire. Baghdad gained reputation as one of the world’s most cultured places and its storytellers, scientists, artists and scholars translated most of what was known to the ancient world.
The buying of manuscripts began when a mathematical work from Sanskrit (Bramhasphuta Siddhanta) was translated into Arabic in the 8th century. Scholars were told to go anywhere in the world and name any price to collect manuscripts on astronomy, medicine, philosophy and the natural sciences. Arab intelligence spread across the world even more swiftly and dramatically than Greek had a thousand years before, and had a great effect upon the human mind and upon the destiny of the world. And nearly all of this energy came from one city.
In 830 AD, Al-Mamun, son of Harun-al-Rashid, established Bayt al-Hikmah, the House of Wisdom, to preserve manuscripts. Anyone could enter the House so long as they were genuine users of the library. Translators, scientists, scribes, authors, men of letters, writers, copyists and others met here every day for co-translation, dialogue and discussion. Manuscripts on various scientific subjects were prepared in collaboration, and translated into and from different languages.
The walls rang with Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Greek and Latin and occasionally Sanskrit. Aristotelian logic, cosmology, the nature of the universe, medicine and mathematics were all created out of an alloy of Arabic-Greek-Persian-Indian minds. Without the archiving and research that was conducted in the House of Wisdom and later translated into Latin in Cordoba and Toledo, much ancient knowledge would have been lost to the world.
We are two weeks away from a tragic anniversary.
On February 10, 1258, the Mongol, Hulagu Khan, fulfilled his grandfather Genghis Khan’s ambition and sacked the city of Baghdad, ignoring the Caliph’s message that any aggression against Baghdad would move the entire Muslim world against them. This gift from God, this centre of translation, this city filled with treasures of the mind was plundered and set ablaze. Thousands of students, physicians and scholars lost their lives. Since the Caliph was considered royalty, the Mongols killed him without spilling blood. He was bundled up in a carpet and trampled to death by horses.
The Mongols ransacked palaces, homes and 36 libraries. Bayt-al-Hikmah was destroyed in a matter of days. It is reported that the River Tigris ran red with the blood of the dead and then black from the ink of manuscripts. Along with the library went all astronomical observatories and other experimental endeavours not to mention the largest translation department ever known to man.
Ironically, the descendants of Hulagu Khan later turned to Islam and learnt to value art and learning.
minioup@gmail.com
(Courtesy: The Hindu dated 29th January 2017)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

JALLIKATTU - an age old tradition and culture.

The unprecedented revolutionary protests of students and youngsters going on since three days in different parts of Tamil Nadu demanding the removal of ban on Jallikattu have given pleasant surprise to the people everywhere in India and abroad particularly in Tamil Nadu. Protests are being held even abroad to extend support to Jallikattu. There is a strong feeling among the people that their sentiments are not respected in the matter of Jallikattu. They also demand a ban on the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) which was instrumental in bringing the ban on Jallikattu. It is a controversial American animal rights organisation founded in 1980.

Many of the protesters have blamed both the Tamil Nadu and Central governments for the present tension. The meeting of the honourable Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr. O. Panneerselvam with the honourable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has not been successful in this regard. The Prime Minister has said he appreciated the cultural significance of Jallikattu for the people of Tamil Nadu, but indicated that the Centre was unable to promulgate an ordinance. 

The protesters say that they will continue their protests till their demand is met and Jallikattu is allowed by removing the ban by an ordinance. They hold the governments at the Centre and in the Tamil Nadu state responsible for the present state of affairs in Tamil Nadu. 

The present revolution has created an awakening among the youngsters. They have proved that they are not just fun loving people but also matured ones capable of going to the rescue of the people and safeguarding their tradition and culture.  Though lakhs of people are protesting  in Tamil Nadu no untoward incident has taken place. Undoubtedly it shows their discipline and maturity which is appreciated by all.

There is an urgent need for a permanent solution. All including legal luminaries feel that the honourable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi can solve the problem. It is also necessary that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr. Panneerselvam should talk to him again and make a strong representation in favour of Jallikattu explaining  what is going on in Tamil Nadu and see to it that the ban on Jallikattu is removed.

One feels that the present awakening among the youngsters is a historic one, never witnessed before. It is the strength of our democracy.

                                                                                          V. M. Khaleelur Rahman

Monday, January 2, 2017

CHENNAI LEATHER MARKET - JANUARY 2017



CHANNAI LEATHER MARKET

V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

 Chennai leather market is yet to recover from the unfavourable impact of demonetisation of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 currency notes. Local activities are very slow in all items of leather. Tanners and exporters find it difficult to carry on their business. Tannery and factory workers are running to ATMs after working hours to withdraw cash. In some shoe factories like Farida Shoes tokens of provision stores worth Rs.1000 and Rs.500 are given to employees to enable them to get the necessary provisions like rice, wheat flour etc. Production has been reduced in many tanneries. Even shoe shops in the popular Periamet area are not getting enough business. It is the case elsewhere also. Cash crunch is felt everywhere. Suppliers of raw hides and skins, chemicals, shoe materials etc. are not able to get their payments on time.

E.I. Tanned Goat Skins are sold at around the following prices:

Grain selection 4/6 sq. ft. Run and Fifth combined Rs.58
5/8 sq. ft. Run Rs.72, 5/8 sq. ft. Suede Rs.50, 4/6 sq. ft. Suede Rs.46, 3/4 sq. ft. Suede Rs.35
3/4 sq. ft. Heel Grip Rs.30, 5/8 sq. ft. Lining Rs.47, 4/7 sq. ft. Lining Rs.41, Flesh Mesh RS.33
Grain Mesh Rs.25, Rejection Rs.17, Langda Rs.125 per kg., K/Langda Rs.90 per kg.
Kids –Lot Rs.325, Kids – Lower Rs.225,

As far as overseas business is concerned, due to Christmas and New Year holidays, market is very slow. Quotations of exporters are as follows:

                                      S/C OR F/C GOAT LEATHERS

Material
Size/sq. ft.
Substance
Selection
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Goat upper leather
 4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
ABC/DE
2.10/1.60
Goat milled leather
4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
TR-1
1.70
Goat suede leather
4/7
5/8
0.6/0.8 mm
0.6/0.8 mm
All Suede
2.00
2.10
Goat lining leather

4/7
0.5/0.7 mm
TR-1/TR-2/TR-3
1.50/1.40/1.30
6/9
0.6/0.8 mm
TR-1/2/3
Combined
1.60
                                                       
                                   F/C SHEEP LEATHERS

Material
Size/sq.ft.
Substance
Selection
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Sheep Cabretta leather
4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
ABC
2.00
Sheep Cabretta leather
6/9
0.8/1.00 mm
ABC
2.10
Sheep lining leather
4/7
5/9
0.5/0.7 mm
0.6/0.8 mm
TR-1
TR-1
1.50
1.60

SHOE INDUSTRY

Shoe factories in places like Chennai and Ambur are working with reduced productions. It is expected in the trade circle that things will change for the better during this New Year 2017. Shoe manufacturers feel that the Council for Leather Exports should find new marketing strategies and help Indian leather and leather products industry grow well in production and export. They also say there is an urgent need for them to concentrate more and more in domestic markets.

It is noteworthy that a country like Portugal has achieved about 40% growth in its footwear exports during the past five years. Although it keeps its exports going to its main 20 big European markets, its bigger growth rates have been from non-traditional markets in which it worked vigorously.