First Penguin – Beautiful Loan

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.



  1. Quote
    senthil (subscribed) said February 28, 2014, 8:39 pm:

    Having faced so many fierce debates of secularism in this blog for many years, i do not understand the rationality behind liberals / agnostics supporting and donating a mosque (which is a hardcore religious entity), whose IAS training is restricted ONLY to its own religious people (as opposed to general public)..

  2. Quote

    Another great post Sukumar. Indeed a beautiful loan. I think moderate Islamic community requires leaders like Imam Moulana S. Shamsudeen Qasimi everywhere. I wish him a huge success.

  3. Quote

    Another interesting First Penguin Sukumar. Wish the academy a big success.


  4. Quote

    Senthil, secularism??. In this context, a non-government organization that is fully affiliated to a religious community is trying to encourage it’s own community to write a public service exam. That community is underrepresented in the IAS. As you know IAS is the highest governing and governance recommending group in the Indian democracy. Simple fact, if Muslims are ~14% in the country, unless they are at least 10% in the government, you need not worry about any injustice done to Hindu majority.

    This one you should leave it alone. There are genuine and overt appeasement of vote banks that blur state-church lines (not confined to one community) – that should be debated and if Indian leaders have guts, should address without hurting anybody’s feelings. That is an unrelated subject to this great post. Please note that I am not going to respond to your comments on this, if you prefer to extend. I also request moderators to remove any off-subject comments (including this).

  5. Quote
    krithiga srinivasan (subscribed) said March 1, 2014, 1:46 am:

    Profound initiative..though I don’t personally not favour in principle for the community focused initiative. .

    like the wonderful name and thought behind that

    thanks for sharing your experience sukumar

  6. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said March 1, 2014, 6:51 am:

    Thanks Ananth.

  7. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said March 1, 2014, 8:29 am:

    Thanks Krithiga. I am surprised by your stance. Would you have a similar in-principle objection to me donating to a women-empowerment initiative?

  8. Quote
    senthil (subscribed) said March 3, 2014, 1:11 am:


    if your logic is to be accepted, then this 14% reservation should be imposed on all IT and other corporate companies. But these corporates had already rejected government’s imposition of reservation for SC/ST community and hence will resist this also. When it comes to their business, the liberals speak meritocracy, and when it comes to beurocracy they speak all social justice.. And at the same time, they speak about scientific temper too..

    Suppose if some members from MBC communities like vanniyars etc starts a separate institution for IAS training i very much doubt they will be supported by the liberals.. reason: Extreme hatred and negative bias towards caste..

    I am only pointing to the hypocrisies in the liberal ideologies.

  9. Quote
    senthil (subscribed) said March 3, 2014, 1:16 am:

    The 14% muslim reservation by vamsi is NOT acceptable.. because during 1947, pakistan was carved out of india exclusively for muslims, because the muslims said they cannot live with Hindus. Since the muslims already got their pie, they cannot claim any rights over the remaining land, which should be for the rest of the people. They may have rights to live here but NO rights over beurocracy. Any reservation for them would be totally unjust and unfair.

    PS: Since this post is about supporting & funding muslim community to join IAS, i feel the above issue mentioned by me is very relevant here..

    I am asking this question as a “HINDU”, as the liberals are infringing on my Hindu Community’s rights..

  10. Quote
    Alan Master said March 3, 2014, 12:11 pm:

    I really liked the concept and the deep sense of understanding behind the words “Beautiful Loan”.

    Am just trying to relate this term with a lot of other areas of imparting that we can do from time to time and how it may multiply for us in some way or the other.

    Thanks Sukumar for sharing..

  11. Quote


    Thanks for sharing yet another Profound story.
    Do these candidates who join the IAS academy come from poor or underprivileged economic background ?
    Initiatives like these not only make a difference to individual’s life but also serve the society well .

    Recently , I came across stories of 2 good social enterprises, would like to share with you.

    1. Boond ~

    2. Microgram ~


  12. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said March 5, 2014, 9:31 am:

    Thanks Alan. Glad you liked the post.

  13. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said March 5, 2014, 9:33 am:

    Thanks Ruchi. I had left out that point in my post- besides awareness poverty also prevented youngsters from pursuing IAS. That’s why they chose to do it as a residential all expenses paid program.

    Thanks for the pointers. Will go through them.

  14. Quote
    Gokul Murari said March 14, 2014, 9:15 pm:

    A beautiful post on the ‘Beautiful Loan’… Chief Imam’s 2 cents for this generation of Indians

  15. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said March 14, 2014, 9:28 pm:

    Thanks Gokul.

  16. Quote
    FrancenaWhite said March 15, 2014, 12:43 am:

    Thanks Sukumar for sharing the post. I am inspired reading the meaning behind these words”Beautiful Loan”.

  17. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said March 15, 2014, 9:43 am:

    Thanks a lot Francena. Glad you liked the post.

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