Asadullah Farooque breaks stereotype as he excels in roller-staking

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 26-05-2024
Asadullah Farooque
Asadullah Farooque


Munni Begum/Guwahati

As Asadullah Farooque glides on his roller stakes on the road, jumps in the air and does acrobatics with the skates on, he is not only showing his mastery over an adventure sports but also breaking stereotypes of an Islamic religious worker. Farooque is a Hafiz (one who is awarded a degree in Islamic education) and often people expect the likes of him to become an Imam and confining himself to religious works.

A resident of Kharupetia in the Darrang district of central Assam, Farooque skates down the village streets mesmerizing passers-by with his skill and agility. Like any professional, Farooque can roll the skates flying, standing, jumping, etc. The only difference from a professional skater is that he wears a skull cap instead of the helmet and kurta-pajama in place of the bodysuit, and his rather 'unsporting' gear makes him even more eye-catching.

"I am a Hafiz by qualification and I also skate as part of the physical education I have learned. I’ve learned to skate by myself since childhood without any formal training. But about eight years ago I received formal skating training from Shaheen Group of Institutes in Hyderabad along with my college education,” Hafiz Asadullah Farooque told Awaz-The Voice.

Asadullah Farooque obtained his Hafiz degree from Jamia Imam Abu Hanifa in Bengaluru in 2014. He says that Islam has never prohibited working in the fields of education, culture, sports, and health. “Everyone can do all kinds of work even after receiving Islamic education. Religious education is academic that cleanses the dirt of your mind and brain.”

Asadullah Farooque skating in his village

"Islam has never prevented us from doing other things after receiving religious education. There is no binding that we have to work only as Hafiz or Maulana. We are free to do anything ethical for a livelihood. Religious education is academic and it only uplifts us spiritually. However, religious education is not enough to settle ourselves down in society. There is a misconception in our society that a Hafiz should be limited to doing other things. I want to remove this notion and continue to do other things well along with religious education.” 

“Religious education teaches us spiritual upliftment as well as social behaviour. But, it is equally important to do other work for a living and to be financially independent. I believe religious education is necessary for every one of us, but we must do schooling along with religious education. I come from a very poor family. My father is a worker and my mother is a housewife. He has been hardly meeting ends with his petty income. I have a brother and a sister. My brother had to give up his studies midway to support my father financially. I am not satisfied with the little contribution to the family by being a cleric," he said.

"Islam commands us to pray five times a day. It also works as an exercise for our body. But now we cannot keep ourselves healthy by praying alone due to our modern-day lifestyle. So we should do yoga or other physical exercise regularly. Thus, we can protect our bodies from many diseases. Now the thing is that nowadays all of us keep ourselves very busy, so we should all do yoga or exercise as much as possible and other physical activities according to our convenience. For me, the main reason for skating is to keep myself fit."

Asadullah Farooque skating in his village

Asadullah Farooque, who earned his Hafiz degree in Islamic education, has participated in several district-level skating tournaments

and won medals. He is currently pursuing marketing study in Hyderabad to support his family financially. He is considering pursuing his religious aspects in the future as well as sports if given the opportunity. 

"There is a dearth of official skating training centers in Assam. Barring two or three districts, there is almost no skating training center in Lower Assam. If children want to skate, they have to go to Guwahati. Children from economically weaker sections of society often have to bury their aspirations. But, in other states, there are facilities for skating and other sports training in schools providing the children the opportunity to learn sports in school itself. Currently, I am pursuing my higher education in Hyderabad and hope to carry on with my religious knowledge as well as developing my sport if I get the opportunity,” Farooque said.

Bhumidhar Barman, a pioneer of roller skating in Assam, disagreed with Farooque though. "I brought roller skating to Assam in 2008. Now it has become popular in different districts of Assam. Now roller skating is very popular in districts like Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, and others. There are roller skating coaching centers in Dhubri, Bongaigaon, and other districts of western Assam as well. There are many players in Rangia, Mirza, Chaygaon, etc who come to Guwahati for training due to the lack of facilities there. We have training here in private schools, though not in government schools. Further, there are training centers in Assam, but there is a lack of proper infrastructure for roller skating in the state," Barman said.

"Skating is a modern adventure sport. So many children enjoy skating. Earlier there was no skating facility, children skated on the porch of the hostel for the thrill of it. But now skating has become a sport and it is necessary to have a smooth skating surface and a coach,” he added.

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"If Hafiz Asadullah Farooque contacts us, we will provide him with all kinds of support. If he develops infrastructure, many children will be able to learn skating under him and participate in national and international level sports. Then only will the sport automatically develop,” Burman said.