Nidha Lulu. KG
In this experience sharing, a conference becomes more than just that, as Nidha Lulu KG will tell you.
The enchanting two-day campus conference, ‘Discurso Muslima,’ titled “Uphold Iman, Uplift Izzah,” unfolded at the picturesque Arts and Science College, Pathiripala Mount Seena, on the festive days of December 25 and 26. A gathering of eighty-six eminent individuals graced the event, participating in over twenty-three insightful sessions across nine venues within the charming enclave known as ‘Al Aqsa Square.’ The discourses of the new-age girls from GIO Kerala sought to illuminate their talents, imagination, skills, age, and energy in a creatively expressive way.
Jamaat-e-Islami General Secretary of India, T. Arifali, graciously inaugurated the session and addressed the audience. In an era where embracing Islam poses a formidable challenge, Muslim girls bear multifaceted responsibilities and wield the potential to exert a significant influence on society. Notably, the organization of Muslim girls on campuses holds paramount importance, especially amidst ongoing debates surrounding the attire of Muslim students. Mr. Arifali emphasized that the resilient fighters from Gaza, courageously battling Zionist terrorists, serve as an enduring source of inspiration in India’s profound struggle for existence.
Kaneez Fatima MLA from the Gulbarga district of Karnataka, political activist Iqra Hasan from Uttar Pradesh, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Central Shoora member Dr Taha Mateen, National Federation President Sumaiya Roshan, General Secretary Samar Ali, MediaOne Managing Editor C Dawood, Senior Editor Nishad Rawther, frontline fighters and student leaders of the CAA-NRC agitation Afreen Fatima, Sharjeel Usmani, and Rania Zulaikha, Nidha Parveen, singers Dana Raziq and Sameer Binsi, Imam Majboor, Magistrate M. Taha, Assistant Director of Islamic Publishing House KT Hussain, Maktoob Media Editor Aslah Kayyalakath, CEO Shamseer Ibrahim, journalist Ghazala Ahmed, Fraternity Movement State President KM Shefrin, Vice President Shameema Sakkeer, Women’s Justice Movement State President VA Faiza, Solidarity Youth Movement State President CT. Suhaib, Student Islamic Organization State President T. K Muhammad Saeed, Jamaat Islami Kerala Secretaries Shihab Pookotoor, T. Muhammed Velam, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Kerala Women’s Wing president PTP Sajitha, and others addressed the gathering in different sessions.
The venues were given Palestinian-related names in solidarity with the fighters in Gaza. Every stage was lit up with beautiful names like Handala, Intifada, Tadrees, Kafiyyah, Bitiq, Zaitoon, Miftah, Tufan etc. In the heart of the gathering place, meticulously crafted by the artisan’s imagination, the pencil arts showcased on the ground were amazing. The visionary concept of portraying the formidable legacies of women scholars and esteemed leaders of the organization through pencil art on the sidewalk was truly admirable. Every sculpture reflected the courageous liberation dreams of the Quds soldiers and unjustly marginalized Indians. The powerful resonance of “Palestine” and “Intifada” echoed persistently on the stage.
“Handhala,” a cartoon image portraying Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation, is named after the enduring Handhala plant. Proclaimed by the cartoonist, he remains ten years old until the end of the invasion, symbolizing resilience as the plant reblooms despite being cut or uprooted. Handhala is a powerful symbol of resistance and hope, reflecting the determination to confront and overcome challenges. Each time they sound these words, our thoughts turn to Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al Ali and his creation Handhala—an internationally recognised protest symbol embodying the unwavering determination to face and overcome any challenge, depicted as standing barefoot with both hands behind the back.
The two days of the ‘Discurso Muslima’ campus conference organized by GIO Kerala, focusing on “Raising self-esteem through the strength of faith,” witnessed unforgettable moments and diverse experiences. Emphasizing GIO’s solidarity with those unjustly marginalized, they rose as survivors of severe injustice and representatives of families during the session titled “Resilient Voices: Tales of Resistance.” Sharjeel Usmani, Sidheeq Kappan, Raziq Raheem, Muhammed Rabiyath, PS Abdul Karim, Raihana Kappan, Najeeba VH, Adv. Subeer Naha and Allan Shuhaib participated in the solidarity session, echoing the voices of those denied justice.
Sharjeel Usmani expressed his happiness at the amazing participation of more than 2000 girls in the conference. He said: “ Courage is strong within a collective; opponents become stronger because they draw strength from that collective ferocity.”
Siddique Kappan remarked that our glory shines wherever we stand bravely, regardless of the rainy and cold conditions. On this platform, we find brothers, wives, parents, and sisters who have endured many years of imprisonment. Unknowingly, a long sigh welled up inside, prompting reflection on whether it echoed the experiences of those marked alive in front of us.
The audience’s eyes teared up as Shibili’s wife, Najiba, who has endured thirteen years of unjust imprisonment, reminded us that the number of those who had once been confined solely to Sufia Madani has grown so large that we cannot all fit on this platform. “I don’t come to cry in front of people; I never felt the need for it. I’ve only expressed my grief in front of the God who created me. When GIO called me, I sensed that I had a mission in society. That’s the reason I agreed to come on this stage.” The intensity of sorrow was palpable to everyone in those moments.
In the session presided over by Kannur Welfare Party district president Sadiq Uliil, Muhammad Rabiat, a member of the ‘Zakariya Free Forum’ committee, expressed his hopeful sentiments: “We place our hope in you.”
In the session titled “Upholding Identity: Muslimah’s Triumphs & Trials in Campus Politics,” frontline fighters and student leaders of the CAA-NRC agitation, Afreen Fatima, Samar Ali, and Rania Zulaikha, along with Nidha Parveen, Noora Maisoon, and Ridha Islam from Maharajas Ernakulam, shared their perspectives.
Afreen Fatima expressed, “In campuses like JNU and TISS, there is a celebration of liberalism and secularism, where everyone believes in equality and freedom. However, for Muslim women and men, the reality can be different. You have to fight for your way, often having to fight harder, make a louder noise, and struggle to be heard. It is challenging.”
Nidha Parveen added, “When I won the election, the campus celebrated the victory over hate. However, when it came to social media, newspapers, and other media outlets, they wrote ‘Bulli bai victim to the VP.’ They are even victimizing our victories.”
Samar Ali, General Secretary of NFGIO, emphasised, “Public opinion formation should happen on campuses against women’s issues.”
Rania Zulaikha eloquently stated, “When our talents and strengths are recognized, we become problematic to our opponents. We have to fight to affirm that we are still alive.”
Addressing the medical students, Dr Taha Mateen, Dr Abdurrahman Dani, Dr Shakira, and Dr Hisham Haider shared their insights. Dr Abdurrahman Dani emphasized that sixty per cent of the human body is comprised of water, with blood, urine, and other bodily fluids making up only one-fourth, while the remaining portion consists of microscopic tissue. So, the majority of the human body is composed of water, particularly within its cellular structure. This analogy highlighted the profound concept that, just like the fluid capable of transforming into different forms, human beings possess the capacity to change and reform. When female babies are born, at that time, only their eggs are created in their wombs. They stay dormant, akin to an ice room, waiting for a suitable sperm for twenty or thirty years. It is important to understand that the woman’s egg undergoes the process of removing genetic defects from the male sperm. This intricate filtration occurs five hundred times within each DNA, contributing to the overall health of the baby. As the speaker paused, emphasizing that this process teaches the profound task of purifying the generations, I was astonished.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind National Shura Member and MD of Acura Hospital in Bangalore, Dr. Taha Mateen, addressed the concerns of medical students regarding the balance between married life and studies. He provided practical insights by introducing his wife, seated in the front row of the stage. She, a mother of seven children, successfully manages both family responsibilities and a distinguished career as a doctor, showcasing her admirable professional and personal achievements with great respect.
Nishad Rawther, Senior Reporter at MediaOne, expressed his pride in being a journalist within a well-organized media firm with written policies, emphasizing the importance of adhering to administrative guidelines, especially in these challenging times. C. Dawood, the Managing Editor of MediaOne, emphasized to media students that media workers function as social activists, dedicated to presenting the latest and vital news attractively and engagingly. He underscored the societal impact of their work, noting that journalism, unlike many services, is a vulnerable endeavour, delivering information to your living room without a single monetary cost. Ghazala Ahmad, a journalist and correspondent at Maktoob Media shared her challenges faced as a hijab-wearing journalist. Maktoob Media supported her, highlighting her experience of encountering discrimination due to her hijab in mainstream media.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s Kerala Ameer, P. Mujeeburahman, inaugurated the concluding ceremony of the two-day program. He underscored that Islamic scriptures and history strongly advocate for gender justice. Despite Muslim girls pursuing higher education and leading significant movements, they face unfair portrayals. He urged the new generation to resist religious conservatism and challenge the detrimental aspects of culture in marriage. Dr Taha Mateen, a member of Jamaat-e-Islami’s central Shura, highlighted the inspirational struggle of Palestine in the face of fascist challenges in India. Rukhsana Shamseer, a Shura member of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Kerala, delved into the re-readings of the new-age woman. The event also featured impactful speeches from various leaders, including Nawaf Pathiripala, Anees Thiruvizham, Shifana Etayur, and Hanan P. Nasreen.
The captivating presentations unfolded, transforming the atmosphere with the mesmerizing resonance of cordless microphones and visually enchanting slides on grand open stages, reminiscent of illustrious channel conferences. The seamless transition between topics wove a tapestry of beauty, akin to the gentle fading of channels controlled by a remote switch on digital screens. The lectures, ablaze with passion, and the hushed wisdom of intellectual panel discussions reverberated through the air, captivating participants who sat in rapt attention on their chairs. These two days, passing as swiftly as a fleeting two-hour dream, etched themselves into the annals of history. Behind the scenes, a legion of resilient heroines toiled ceaselessly, darting through responsibilities, confronting fatigue with unwavering courage, their unspoken names resonating as a powerful testament to the unfair challenges they might face if one were to delve into their extraordinary stories.