After decades of service, people struggle to keep themselves busy as they enter retirement age. They want to remain occupied and also be constructive for the society and nation. These retired personnel, who run out of routine jobs, undertake several endeavours to help others around them.
Professor Hasnath Mansur worked as a principal in a Bangalore-based girls’ college for 23 years. You would expect her to live a cozy life and enjoy the warmth of life after retirement, but instead she took steps to serve her community.
When Hasnath began teaching in Salem, Tamil Nadu, her only aim was to see everyone grow and benefit using their basic rights. On the college campus, she was bewildered at the orthodox thinking pattern of Muslim community. She couldn’t understand why there were so few girls enrolled for college.
“It was so depressing. Even the colleges that received huge grants from the government had the same scenario. It was shocking that the visibility of Muslim women everywhere was nonexistent,” she said in an interview.
Hasnath says, the reason behind absence of Muslim girls from colleges was hidden behind the veil of religion. To verify this, she started looking for a common trend in the colleges she taught. In Sharada College, there were only five were Muslim girls among 2,000 students she taught. Whereas, in a college in Coimbatore there were only four Muslim girls out of 1,500 students she taught. She found this statistic disturbing.
Finding the reason
On deeper inspection, the reason for this skewed ratio was not religion but poverty, which rules a big chunk of Muslim community. It was all because of lack of funds, and not religion, that Muslim families could not educate their children.
“I started wondering what was wrong with my community,” Professor Mansur told a website.
The worst observation that came to Professor Hasnath was that even a bunch of her community-mates believed that girls shouldn’t be taught according to Islam. This analysis gave her a motto for her post-retirement life. She believed that Islam and Indian Constitution both stood by the rights of Muslim women.
These two pillars were enough for Professor Hasnath to develop an agenda. She decided to do something that changed the situation of Muslim women in the country. Through pamphlets and infographics she started explaining Muslim women that both Islam and Indian constitution favour basic civic amenities and education.
The dark corners
“Everyone goes on about Bangalore being the Silicon Valley of India. Our authorities spend millions of rupees beautifying Brigade Road and Commercial Street. But in Muslim localities like where no VIP ever visits, even the basic civic amenities are missing.”
Hasnath explained people in these pockets that being literate is a human right and no one, not even a religion, can stop them from having their right. Since then, Prof had held many such camps for spreading awareness in the community and Muslim women. The response to the camps was extraordinary, as it not only supported women education in specific, but also promoted education for kids, men or the society as a whole.
Today, we can see a reformed framework where Muslim women are marching toward their rights. The entire journey of Professor Hasnath is a message to all of us that no matter how old you are, it is never too old to do good for the society.
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