Few months ago, my wife Priya Raju spotted this news item about a Chennai Mosque helping people clear the IAS exam.
It sounded very impressive and she said that we needed to support such initiatives. As a person always looking for innovative methods to solve problems, I thought, here is a man taking a very different approach to solving the problems faced by his community.
I called and setup a meeting with the Chief Imam – Moulana S. Shamsudeen Qasimi M.A. My wife and I met him and his team of Volunteers at the Thousand Lights Mosque.
Chief Imam is a passionate man and he explained his mission. His problem solving approach impressed us. When he researched this idea, he found that few attempts in the past, to start an IAS academy targeted at the Islamic community had failed. Chief Imam talked to those people and found out that the real problem is that the youngsters in the community weren’t really aware or interested in pursuing the IAS.
He and his band of volunteers fanned out across Tamilnadu to talk to the Islamic Community to drum up awareness and support. Then when they opened the Azhagiya Kadan IAS Academy they were flooded with applications. Through a rigorous process they short listed candidates and put them through a IAS prep program which is all-expenses paid for the candidates. The Academy candidates have already tasted success. In a few years Chief Imam’s vision is to have 100% of the candidates from the Academy clear the exam.
Then the volunteers gave us a tour of the facilities. We were very impressed by the way everything is organized – there is well-stocked library, an excellent computer room, class rooms, and rooms for the candidates to stay in during the program. Food is prepared in the facility’s kitchen and served to the candidates. The volunteers mentioned even before we could ask that they are working on providing a similar facility to women in the community.
Before we left, we made a small donation. I asked the Chief Imam a question that I was curious about – Sir, what exactly is this Beautiful Loan (Azhagiya Kadan in Tamil)?
He said, according to the Quran, you don’t donate to charity, you are giving a loan to deserving people and your loan will be paid back many times over by other people – hence it is a Beautiful Loan. Profoundly beautiful.
We left the mosque with the fervent wishes that this Academy which is the Chief Imam’s Beautiful Loan to his community succeeds wildly.
Here is a picture of the Chief Imam we captured in his office.