By Md.Ali, TwoCircles.net
New Delhi: “TwoCircles.net is realization of my dream about a platform for the voice of Muslims which I saw in 1993 while making my presentation at the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) conference in US,” said K Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
Mr. Khan was speaking at the award presentation ceremony of TCN Person & Organization of the Year held at the India Islamic Cultural Center on Saturday, 4th December.
Afroz Alam Sahil getting the TCN person of the Year-2010 award by K Rahman Khan and Salman Khursheed, Kashif-Ul-Huda looks onTwoCircles.net, the US-based news website on Indian Muslims, presented TCN Person of the Year 2010 Award to the RTI activist Afroz Alam Sahil and TCN Organization of the Year 2010 Award to Bihar Anjuman, an online group of Bihari diaspora active in the field of education.
The awards were presented by the Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha and the Union Minister for Minority Affairs Minister.
Adding a series of complements on the achievement of TwoCirclers.net or in short TCN, Mr. K Rahman Khan said that the achievement of TCN in the short span of less than four years is “phenomenal.”
Shakeel Ahmad of Bihar Anjuman recieving the TCN Organization of the Year-2010 award by K Rahman Khan and Salman KhursheedTerming TCN as a “media and platform for advocacy for the developmental works of Indian Muslims,” the chartered accountant turned politician expressed the need for more inspiring examples like TCN.
Mr. Khan also lauded the activism of Aforz Alam Sahil saying, “I am proud of Mr. Sahil who has presented the community with a brilliant example of using a government law like RTI as a tool instead of complaining about its failures.”
Kashif-Ul-Huda making a presentation during the TCN award presentation ceremonyThe speakers on the occasion, which included Salman Khursheed, talked about the absence of awareness among the Indian Muslim community towards its own problems and reasons for its backwardness. They highlighted an urgent need to create more and more awareness among the community about its socio-economic backwardness.
Salman Khursheed pointed out that “we need to work beyond the Sachar and Mishra Commission Reports because I am afraid the situation is worse than what these two reports have shown.”
K Rahman Khan making a point during the TCN award presentation ceremonyMr. Khan termed the awkaq properties as the “third biggest real estate” and highlighted the rampant corruption in this “industry.”
He didn’t hesitate in pointing out the failure of the community leadership in managing awakaf properties and said that the community should be made aware about corruption in wakf.
Earlier, opening the program, Kashif-ul-Huda, Editor-in-Chief of TCN, talked about the idea behind TCN and its success story.
“TwoCircles.net is a unique experiment in community media. Started in 2006, TCN is the only daily news website focusing on Indian Muslim issues,” said Mr. Huda.
He said that TCN has been a successful experiment in community media with a number of impact stories to its credit.
Slaman Khursheed during the award presentation ceremony“It has broken new grounds in reporting on Indian Muslim issues thereby making the mainstream media take notice of the socio-economic problems of the community and include them its agenda” he added.
Mr. Huda who is a scientist by profession and calls TCN as his “passion” said: “One of the things which TCN has successfully managed to do, is to break the stereotypes which the mainstream media created about the Indian Muslims because it covers the community not only as a religious group but more importantly as a deprived and marginalized socio-economic group.”
The Editor-in-Chief of TCN also pointed out that there are areas which TCN needs to cover more, like women and Muslim Pasmanda (backward) groups.
Idea behind the award
As part of its community involvement, TCN has introduced an annual award that will be given to one person and one organization who are working for the benefit of the Indian Muslims. The awardees for 2010 were selected after a six-month long process where nomination was submitted by TCN readers and a short-list was opened for polling and final decision by TCN staff.
About TCN Person of the Year
Afroz Alam Sahil, a journalism graduate from Jamia Millia Islamia, is an RTI activist who with his activism has given hope to the Muslims youth that they can make government responsive to their needs and concerns.
He has filed thousands of RTI petitions seeking crucial information related to development of the society, issues relevant to the minority community and human and civil rights. Many of his RTI questions have hit the headlines of major newspapers and TV channels.
About TCN Organization of the Year
Bihar Anjuman is an online group of Biharis around the world that exchange ideas and pool their resources for the community benefit in Bihar and Jharkhand. They have successfully built a model of development that can be applied elsewhere and by other communities. The group has established a network of coaching centers in the two states for poor Muslim students.
Started as a mailing list in 1999 Anjuman has now over 8000 members in its group spanning the globe. Using modern communication tools, it has provided a valuable link back to the poor Muslims living in Bihar and Jharkhand to the Diaspora living outside the state and country. The mailing list has become a platform to identify needs and find resources & solutions.
The award distribution ceremony saw a cross section of society coming together at one place. One of the participants told this correspondent that “more than 75% of the audience is between the age categories of 25-35, a group which is the future of the community and there lies the success of TCN as a community media initiative.”
During the symposium Muslims: Representation and Reportage, Shivam Vij of Kafila.org, talked in detail about how social media like face book, twitter and to a certain extent blogs like kafila.org, emerged as an alternative media.
Saira Mujtaba from MCRC Jamia, asking questions about coverage of Muslim womenHe also highlighted the prominent role played by alternative media in covering issues related to Muslims when the mainstream media completely ignores the community.
In an answer to a question on the biased reporting of Muslims, Mr. Vij suggested establishment of a website which should report every single instance of biased, wrong and distorted reporting by the mainstream media.
Osama Manzar, one of the speakers at the symposium talked about the democratic revolution which digital media can bring in the lives of millions of Indians living in rural areas.