About the Book
This is an incisive study of the Muslims in Meghalaya in India and is the first of its kind. It traces the history of the Muslim Sattlement in Meghalaya and analyses their relationship with the hill tribes-Khasis, Jaintias and Garo and their role in the socio-economic and political development of the State, beside narrating the political history of the State.
The book also throws light on the demograph and economic situation of the Muslims of the State. The Muslims constitute 3.46 % of the State's total population. Their main problem are unemployment, illiteracy, poverty an intellectual backwardness. The book suggests solutions of these problems within the framework of Islam and its culture.
Another feature of the work is that documents important religious and education institutions of the Meghalaya Muslims. As whole, the work is informative and interesting.
About the Author
Md. Hasirbor Rehman (b. 1957) obtained his graduation with Honours in Economics from the Guwahati University, Guwahati, Assam in 1978. He served as a teacher in an English medium school for about three years. He is now working at Williamnagar as a District Extension Educator in the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Meghalaya.
Md. Hasibor Rahman has published a good number of articles on Islam and the Muslim of North-East India in reputed Dailies and Periodicals and is currently engaged in further study on the subject.
In the recent years a substantial number of books have been produced tracing the history of origin, settlement of the different tribes of Meghalaya and analyzing the process of their socio-economic and political growth and development. But there is lack of literature about the Muslims, the second largest minority community of the state. As a result one finds it difficult to obtain first hand knowledge of the socio-economic and political condition and historical background of the Muslims of Meghalaya. Mohammad Hasibor Rahman's work, Muslims in Meghalaya, would go a long way to overcome this drawback and to promote communal harmony, peace and mutual understanding between the Muslims and other communities of the state.
While tracing the history of the Muslim settlement in the hilly region of Meghalaya in his readable work, Mohammad Rahman has asserted that the Muslims and the hill tribes of the state had been co-existing peacefully for centuries as next-door neighbours and that the Muslims had been playing an important role in all spheres of development of the state. The author has painstakingly documented many of the Muslim religious and educational institutions and peeped into the Muslim socio-economic problems and exhorted them to seek solution of their problems within the parameters of their religious ideology in an interesting and enlightening manner. According to him, poor socio-economic status of the Meghala's or Meghalaya Muslims is mainly due to their educational backwardness and lack of knowledge and skill required for their socio-economic advancement. This is, undoubtedly, an authoritative work on the Muslims of Meghalaya. I wish the author and his book a success
The idea of writing this book came to my mind in 1995, the year in which I received a letter from Janab A. Ali, Assistant Editor of 'The Muslim & Arab Perspective' (MAP), an international magazine published from Jamia Nagar, New Delhi asking me to "contribute a short note about Muslims in Meghalaya." I responded positively and the article was published under the caption, 'Muslims in Meghalaya' in the MAP (Vol. 3, Issues 1 - 6, 1996).
In September 2000, I presented a copy of the 'Milli Gazette', a fortnightly publication, edited by Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, a Muslim scholar of internarional repute, to Janab Sayeedullah Nongrum, Ex-Member of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly with a request to subscribe to it. In course of our discussion he disclosed that he wanted someone to write a book about the Muslims of Meghalaya. This served as a reminder to me and I noted it silently.
Keeping this in mind I made a survey by visiting some libraries and bookstalls to find whether there are any book written on the Muslim minority of the state. I had not come across such a book in my search and this led me to decide taking up the task of writing of this book.
The book is divided into nine chapters. The first chapter is an endeavour to narrate the political and natural divisions of the region called Meghalaya and history of its creation in brief with a reference to the hill tribes living therein.
In the second chapter, an attempt is made to trace the history of the Muslim settlement in the three regions of Garo Hills, Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills since the beginning of the thirteenth century A.D.
In chapter three, a brief study of the Muslim population in relation to other communities is made on the basis of available statistics for making references for the purpose.
The fourth chapter is a study into the nature of the contact and relationship of the Muslims with the different hill tribes in the light of their historical backgrounds.
In chapter five, the contribution of the Muslims in the different developmental programmes of the hill regions of the present day Meghalaya is discussed.
In the sixth chapter, it is attempted to describe the role the Muslims played in the growth and development of politics in the hills since the first quarter of the twentieth century A.D. and the nature of their representation in the state legislature and ministry.
The seventh chapter is an effort to gauge the extent of the Islamic influence on the life and culture of the tribal people of the state.
In chapter eight, an attempt is made to throw light on the Muslim economic situation in the hill state for developing an understanding the problems of the Muslims needing immediate attention of the community and the state government.
In chapter nine, the religious and educational institutions run by the Muslim community on its own initiative and efforts are compiled and presented district-wise for the sake of posterity.
In the Epilogue, suggestions on how the problems of the Muslims of the state can be solved through their own actions and efforts is discussed to some extent in the light of their religious ideology.
It is expected that the book would be of immense help to those who wish to understand the Muslim situation in Meghalaya and work for their socio-economic development.
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