Mansooruddin Faridi/New Delhi
Al Ameen Mission was started as an educational campaign in Kolkata with just seven students in 1987. After 37 years, it has turned into a movement with 72 institutions including 41 residential campuses across five other states under its ambit. More than 20,000 students are enrolled in these institutions
This Mission has become a boon for Muslim students from rural areas. The biggest success of the Al Ameen Mission is that it has made up for Muslims lagging because of the lack of resources and financial problems.
Located in Khalatpur, a small village in West Bengal, Al Ameen Mission is the brainchild of Muhammad Nurul Islam, now known as Sir Syed of Bengal.
Besides regular education, the Al Ameen Mission also provides coaching to thousands of students for clearing the medical, engineering, and other competitive examinations to enter professional colleges. So far this institute’s coaching has helped about 40,000 students enter professional colleges – out of whom 8,000 are doctors and 5,250 engineers.
Many students from the institute are excelling in civil services, law, and media. The Al Ameen Mission is thus not only helping to remove the biggest barrier to education – poverty, and backwardness – but is also contributing to the progress and growth of the country.
As a teacher, Noor-ul-Islam had a big dream. He says it’s because of his dream that today more than 1500 students are studying at the Khalatpur Institute which comprises four campuses. There are four other campuses of the Institute one each in Ranchi, Patna, Madhya Pradesh, and Tripura.
Based on his experience, many others have also launched similar campaigns in other states.
Al Ameen was founded as a single institution but in no time it became an educational movement. Al Ameen has a branch in almost every district of West Bengal. The network of these residential complexes helps to brighten the future of thousands of students.
The visionary Nurul Islam says, “Every year is a milestone for us. This is proof of the flourishing of this movement.”
The number of students who have passed the NETUG medical test in 2023 is around 2000, which includes 275 students who have scored more than 600 marks.
Interestingly, Nurul Islam thought of this educational movement when he was a student at Maulana Azad College. A teacher, Prof. A. Chakraborty informed him about the lives of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda and the activities of the Ramakrishna Mission.
In the eighties, he had no idea how successful this effort would be, but he realized that the lack of confidence and consensus among Muslims was becoming a hindrance to their growth. Otherwise, there is no reason why Muslims cannot take the initiative along the lines of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Hostel of Al Ameen institute
Speaking with Awaz-the Voice, Nurul Islam says that disappointment is disbelief, I thought about it and took the initiative. A verse of the Quran played a very important role in my initiative which is verse 11 of Surah Raad “Surely Allah will not change the condition of people unless they change what is in themselves”.
He says This Quranic verse encouraged him to move forward with the Al-Ameen Mission and work to remove psychological barriers and financial obstacles in the way of Muslim education. He ordered me to get knowledge and education at a price and said to go to China for education. One should go there without hesitation for any initiative regarding education.
Nurul Islam analyzed the reasons for the social crisis and depression amidst which India became independent in 1947 but also got divided into western and eastern parts. This impacted Muslims the most, especially the Muslims of West Bengal.
Bengal and surrounding areas also had to suffer the brutality of the imperialist powers during the Second World War. The central city of Calcutta was bombed by the Japanese Air Force. Soon after this disaster, Bengal was devastated by the worst famine of the century.
A series of devastating riots, the crisis of partition, the effects of the 1971 war, and the stakes of national politics keep Bengal on the boil. Again Muslims had to suffer more. The division of India left the Muslim community of West Bengal amidst poverty, illiteracy, and low confidence.
For these reasons, Nurul Islam says his mission is to empower the poor and marginalized minority sections and thereby improve their socio-economic status.
Another initiative of Nurul Islam was a madrasa in the Howrah district in 1976. It had to wait for six years to get approval from the government.
Soon after official approval, he took the initiative to include contemporary studies in the madrasa curriculum. He established a separate institute, the Institute of Islamic Culture. In 1976, Noor-ul-Islam recounted the history of the Aligarh Movement in Bengal for the expansion of the institution.
He made the educational movement a public mission. A handful of rice was taken as a donation from every house in the village. With the help of these generous donations, the building of the organization was constructed, which gradually established a strong base on the ladder of development.
During 1986-87, Al Ameen Mission started with only seven students. Its objective was to provide modern education with ethical values in a completely residential system where students from all walks of life live, learn, and grow together.
The campaign was initially started with a handful of rice and then supported by Zakat and donations. Later industrialist Mushtaq Hussain of GD Charitable Society chipped in with money. This led to laying the foundation stone of the Al Ameen Mission for girls in 1999.
Later, the Mission received a grant from the MPLADS Fund from the renowned film producer Marnal Sen. The Mission also received 2 acres of land along NH6 in Howrah district through London-based NRI entrepreneur Sheikh Akbar Hussain. About 3 acres of land was also found near NH 34 which was gifted by Beldinga Minority Development Mission in Murshidabad. The Government of West Bengal also provided 2 acres of land in New Town, Kolkata.
The State Government as well as the Central Government have provided various grants and scholarships under free coaching and allied schemes and are providing considerable moral support in this endeavour.
Al-Ameen Mission has been awarded the highest honor of the state government, Banga Bhushan. Al-Ameen Mission has received numerous awards such as the Best School Award and Certificate of Honor given by The Telegraph, the country's leading media group. The award was given at an international conference in recognition of the services of the Al Ameen Mission. In 2019, the IB Group included Noor Islam among the Super 30 Teachers. There were more than 30,000 nominations for this in India.
Speaking with Awaz-the-Voice, Noorul Islam said “My dream has become a reality, but this journey is not over. Every day and every year is a milestone for us. We have spread our branches all over Bengal and are now moving to other states.”