All World Dawoodi Bohra Conference at Udaipur highlights the need for social reform - Celebrating 50 years of liberation


All World Dawoodi Bohra Conference at Udaipur highlights the need for social reform - Celebrating 50 years of liberation

Classfied as one of the biggest social reform movement, Dawoodi Bohra Reform movement, also known as Bohra Youth movement began the celebrations of the 50th year of this movement in Udaipur on 14 February.

 
All World Dawoodi Bohra Conference at Udaipur highlights the need for social reform - Celebrating 50 years of liberation
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The All World Dawoodi Bohra conference, in its 16th edition showcased the tremendous efforts put forward by members of the community who took up the task of releasing the community from the administrative clutches of the Kothar, which is the administrative division of Syedna, the religious head of the Dawoodi Bohra community.  Noted literrateurs, novelists, writers, social scientists and human rights activities both from within and external to the community participated in this conference.  Members of the reform movement from across the globe - viz. UAE (Dubai), Oman (Muscat), United States of America (Connecticut and California); United Kingdom (Birmingham) and Canada (Toronto) flew down to participate on the special occasion.

Classfied as one of the biggest social reform movement, Dawoodi Bohra Reform movement, also known as Bohra Youth movement began the celebrations of the 50th year of this movement in Udaipur on 14 February.

The proceedings began with a massive rally of over 500 people, on vehicles and on foot from Ashwani Bazar at 01:45PM on 14 February.  The rally terminated at Sukhadia Rangmanch, Townhall, Udaipur at 0230PM, where the 16th All World Dawoodi Bohra Conference was inaugurated.  This conference is a three day event, organised under the joint auspices of the Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community, Mumbai, Bohra Youth Association - Udaipur and Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat - Udaipur.

"Raja Ram Mohan Roy's challenge to the tradition of Sati in India was a historic event.Savitri Bai and Fatima Sheikh opened the doors of education for women in India. Religion cannot interfere in such matters" - Ram Puniyani

Over a 1000 people were present at the Sukhadia Rangmanch auditorium where the conference began.  Dignitaries from across India and around the world were present to participate in the golden jubilee celebrations of the biggest social reform movement in India.  The All World Dawoodi Bohra conference, in its 16th edition showcased the tremendous efforts put forward by members of the community who took up the task of releasing the community from the administrative clutches of the Kothar, which is the administrative division of Syedna, the religious head of the Dawoodi Bohra community.  Noted literrateurs, novelists, writers, social scientists and human rights activities both from within and external to the community participated in this conference.  Members of the reform movement from across the globe - viz. UAE (Dubai), Oman (Muscat), United States of America (Connecticut and California); United Kingdom (Birmingham) and Canada (Toronto) flew down to participate on the special occasion.

Our fight is not against religion but against religious evil.  The Dawoodi Bohra reform movement began from Udaipur 50 years ago as a means to achieve independence, both socially and economically from the clutches of the propagators of evil in the name of religion.   This reform and revolution enabled a global phenomenon of social awakening in the modern world.  Our revolution is targetted towards traditions like Raza (Permission) and Baraat (Social Boycott under the guise of religion.  Every individual has the right to express his form of living. There should be no interference whatsoever." - Commander (Retd) Mansoor Ali Bohra, General Secretary, Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community, Mumbai

KP Ramanunni conferred the "Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer Lifetime Achievement Award"

KP Ramannuni, renowned writer and activist from Kerala, was conferred the First Dr Asghar Ali Engineer Lifetime Achievement Award. Ramannuni was given this award for his progressive writings on social reform.  This award consisted of a cash prize of Rs 25,000, a placard and memento.  Ramannuni was selected for this award from among a set of short listed candidates, who consisted of writers, social activities and political and social commentators across India. A national level jury was given the task of short listing and selecting the first awardee of this prestigious award. Late Dr Asghar Ali Engineer was at the helm of the Bohra reform movement and is identified in the literature circle for his views and commentary on social and religious reform, while still maintaining oneself within the limits of religion.  He was a reformist writer and social activist, known internationally for his work on the liberation theology in Islam.  He was among the first leaders of the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra movement. Being a votary of peace and non violence, Dr Asghar Ali Engineer served as the head of Institute of Islamic Studies and the Centre for study of Society and Secularism.  

KP Ramannuni, has written over 26 books on communcal harmony, Islam and peace.  In one of his reknowned works, "Imaginary World", Ramannuni has written a comparative on the life of Prophet Mohammad and Sri Krishna.  He said that the message of communal harmony has been propagated in this work by using these two extraordinary personalities. This book is used as a scientific novel.

"Every society, every religion seeks the need for reform, time and again.Spirituality is the essence of every religion. Every individual has the capacity to understand this on his own. However, the clutches of the middle men who propagate fear in the name of religion causes them to suffer in the name of religion. The fight against this needs to come from within the society." - Professor Apoorvanand

Professor Apoorvanand of Delhi University was the Chief Guest of the conference and Ram Puniyani was the Special Guest. Other members on the dias included Commander Mansoor Ali Bohra - General Secretary of Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community; Anees Miyaji, Secretary of Bohra Youth Association, Udaipur; Abid Adeeb - Chairman of the Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community; Irfan Engineer, President, CSSS - Mumbai; Hamida Chopra (US); Dr. Vinod Mubay (US) and Zakir Pansari-  Secretary of Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat, Udaipur.

Ram Puniyani, in his address to the audience, said that the Bohra Reform movement needs to keep a distance from rumors within the society in order to become stronger and more effective.  He elaborated that every society needs to have enough space for independence, equality and fraternity as this is the formula for communal harmony.

A consolidated calendar was launched on the occasion, which depicted pictorial information on the 50years of the movement.  Two books, "Keeper of the Faith' by Shaukat Ajmeri, writer and social reform protagonist from Canada and "Empowerment of Bohra Women" by Dr Zainab Banu, academician from Udaipur were also launched on the occasion.

IN A UNIQUE GESTURE, the Conference felicitated 85 year old Ruqaiyya Kholiyawala, who represents the Women Power behind the Bohra Social Reform movement.  Ruqaiyya, has been a pillar of perseverance towards the cause of social reform and was the person the women in the entire community looked upto for her fearlessness and attitude.  She was felicitated in the presence of the entire dias and an audience of over 1,000 at the conference.

The second day of the conference on 16 February will showcase a photo exhibition of the 50 years of the Bohra reform revolution.  This will be followed by a seminar, where members of the reform movement from across India and other countries will discuss perceptions on the status of the movement, and the way forward.

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