Tuesday 17 July 2012
Last Update 17 July 2012 3:44 pm
Libraries needed in society
The column “A young Saudi boy and the Israeli libraries” by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim (July 14) made a very interesting read. It was certainly a brilliant question posed by the teenager about a very tiny nation, Israel, having over 800 libraries. Although, I am not in total agreement about its direct relation with the recent Arab Spring, yet, I agree with the writer that libraries serve as one of the barometers of the level of education of a particular nation and can go a long way in nurturing a learned and disciplined society.
When I was doing a short course in California in 2008, I was pleased to find over a dozen well-organized libraries of various sizes serving different faculties within the campus of University of California. When I visited the University of Berkeley, the size and the ambiance of the central library was enormous and fascinating. The 34 libraries within the campus of that university housed over 10 million books.
There are over 122,000 libraries in the whole of the United States, out of which around 100,000 are school libraries, and it also boasts the largest library in the world, ‘the Library of Congress,’ which has a collection of over 29 million books.
We all know that during the Muslim rule, Andalusia reached the peak of its cultural and political development, prosperity and power. One of the chief reasons for such an advancement was establishment of libraries and research institutions, which attracted students and scholars from different quarters of the Islamic world. No wonder, from there emerged intellectual luminaries such as Ibn Rushd, Ibn Zahr, Ibn Fernas, Ibn Zeidun and Ibn Abi Amer.
Libraries are powerhouses of knowledge and provide the means for intellectual and spiritual development. They are not only necessary for students and academicians, but, also for common people to read and understand works in different fields of arts and sciences. — Safi H. Jannaty, Dammam
Discrimination against Muslims
I am not totally in agreement with the views expressed in the letter «Muslims in India.» I admit that there is discrimination, but the comments of the writer Niaz Ul-Haq are not acceptable as he has a biased view of India and Indians at large. Niaz should not forget that there exists discrimination within the Muslim community as well. He should collect facts and figures before commenting about the strength of the Muslim population; there are 220 million or so Muslims, and not 450 million as he mentioned. As far as my knowledge goes, Brahmins accept Muslims as the people of the fifth Veda, they follow four Vedas. In the older days, I have seen the Brahmin community›s courtesy and respect toward Muslims. However, the situation today is totally different and this has nothing to do with religion and its teachings, but it is purely based on power politics of both Hindutwa and Muslim political forces.
To understand the true nature of the kind of discrimination meted out to either parties, one should visit places, where these communities are concentrated in large numbers. The current reality is that people of different faiths look for places where there is a large concentration of people of their faith to live with. I believe this is because people are more concerned about their security and feel that they are much more secure in their own community rather than in a mixed environment.
The community leaders and secularists of the country in particular should work toward the elimination of these discrepancies in the country, taking into confidence the people at large so that we can get rid of the discriminating attitude from the minds of the people and live in peace and harmony and strive toward building a better, prosperous India for our coming generations. — Nalinakshan, Jeddah
Stop wastage of food
We welcome the ninth month of the Islamic calendar with all our hearts. Ramadan gives us an opportunity to purify our souls and refrain from evil actions, thoughts and words. It brings in spirituality, humility and patience. We refrain ourselves from things that we enjoy the most, it teaches self-sacrifice.
There is a mad rush everywhere; hyper and supermarkets come out with jaw-dropping offers that entice people to buy more. Do we consume all that we buy? The answer unfortunately is no. The wastage of food during this holy month is the highest. It is high time the government and the religious bodies educated the public on this evil practice of wasting food, considering the millions who barely eat once in a day across the globe. I do not see any harm in educating the youths to prevent wastage of food and money. It’s better to start early. Let’s be proactive. Let’s inculcate such good behavior especially among our youths.
Apart from wastage, people tend to overeat during this month and gain weight. It’s exactly the opposite of what we intend to do in Ramadan — fasting. Hope better sense prevails and people will not waste food and instead spend wisely. — Bhaskara Sujeet Kumar, by e-mail
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