Revisiting the life and works of MA Janab Khan
- Part 2 -

Dr Syed Ahmed *

>Nongsamei Puya's (edited by M.A. Janab Khan and O. Bhogeswar Singh) released on October 23, 2014 at Manipur Press Club
Nongsamei Puya's (edited by M.A. Janab Khan and O. Bhogeswar Singh) released on October 23, 2014 :: Pix - Dr. Syed Ahmed

Janab Khan was associated with several civil society organizations that work in different fields, which include AMPWA, Athletic Brothers Association (ABA), Manipuri Sahitya Parishad (was member), Sadr Bazar Jame Masjid Managing Committee, Hafiz Hatta Masjid Managing Committee, and Senior Citizen for Society (was Life Member).

He served as President of ABA at Khetrigao, a prominent sports club of Manipur, which produced great hockey and football players over the years. He served as Vice President, and later as Acting President of Sadr Bazar Jame Masjid Managing Committee. He also worked as the President of Hafiz Hatta Masjid Managing Committee.

He was in the advisor of Association of Muslim Academicians, Manipur (AMAM), a body of Muslim college and university teachers of Manipur. Janab Khan also served as member of Wakf Board, Manipur. He was also the founder Secretary of the Managing Committee of Rahmania High School, Khergao, which was the first high school established in the area.

Janab Khan's most active involvement was with AMPWA. He was associated with the association since its inception. It was formed on October 2, 1993 as a body of the Muslims in the State by some of the prominent Muslims from different works of life for the welfare of the community.

The objectives of the association include promoting and safeguarding the interests of the Muslims in Manipur, making recommendations for the effective implementation of the safeguards by the Government, looking into specific complaints regarding the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Muslims, evaluating the progress of the socio-economic, educational and cultural development of the Muslims from time to time, and promoting and providing ways and means for the development in these areas, conducting studies, research and analysis on the critical issues of Muslims in the State.

The first Central Executive Committee of AMPWA had Md. Muhamuddin Shah (1939-2005), who served as minister for many terms, as President;
A. Halim Chowdhury (1928-2019), the first Manipuri Muslim IAS officer, as Vice President cum Treasurer;
Janab Khan as Secretary General, besides other office bearers.

Several Muslim politicians of the time were also members of the association, namely Md. Ashraf Ali, Md. Helaluddin Khan, Md. Abdul Salam and Md. Heshamuddin. All these politicians are no more with us. The association also took major role in the inclusion of the Manipuri Muslims in the list of OBCs of Manipur and demand for reservation of Muslims in State Government jobs and educational institutions.

The Association also conducted remedial coaching for Muslim students from poor family backgrounds with assistance given by Department of Minority and Other Backward Classes (MOBC) for many years. The association has, over the years, conducted seminars, international conferences, awareness programmes, and also submitted memorandums to the State Government suggesting measures to improve the socio-economic and educational conditions of the Muslims in the State.

It may be recalled that AMPWA had organised a 2 day International Conference on the theme, "Manipuri Muslims: Past, Present and Future," on 2nd and 3rd March 2019. The function, held at Hotel Imphal, was attended by Manipuri Muslim delegates from Manipur, Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh. Papers on various topics were presented.

The conference was graced by Eningthou Leisemba Sanajaoba, the then Vice Chancellor of Dhanamanjuri University, H Deleep Singh, IAS; former Director of Centre for Manipur Studies and historian, Prof N Joykumar, among others. Janab Khan was actively involved in all these activities.

Janab Khan was born in November 1939 to Md. Ali Abbas Khan of Ipham clan and Amubi Bibi at Khetri Awang Leikai, now in Imphal East district. His father was an influential man who served as Pradhan of Khetrigao. Janab Khan was given his primary education at Khergao LP Madrasa.

After completion, he was enrolled at Churachand High School. Being a good student, he studied at the high school with scholarship. However, he left the school before completing high school due to a strike. He was then enrolled at the newly established Raja Dumbra Singh High School. He cleared Matriculation examination from the school in 1956.

For higher education, Janab Khan was admitted at DM College for intermediate and graduation courses. He completed BA in 1960. By then, the number of Muslims who had graduation degree was quite few in the State. After graduation, he left Manipur for Assam, where he was enrolled for MA at Gauhati University. He got his Master's degree in Political Science in 1963.

Janab Khan joined as Lecturer of Manipur College, a Government college in 1963. He was soon transferred to Imphal College. He taught Political Science at the college from 1963 to 1965. From Imphal College, Janab Khan was again transferred to GP Women's College. He was in the college from 1965 to 1996.

Then he was appointed as the Principal of DM College of Commerce in August 1996, holding the office till November 1996. He also served as Principal of DM College of Arts from November 1996 to February 1997. In February 1997, he was appointed as Additional Director, Directorate of University & Higher Education, Government of Manipur, retiring in November 1997.

Janab Khan married Laljaan Begum in 1965 and settled at Hafiz Hatta, Imphal. Laljaan was one of the earliest Muslim women from the State to complete graduation. She was Janab Khan's classmate in BA as well as in MA. She mastered in Philosophy in 1962-63 from Gauhati University. She joined DM College as a Lecturer and retired as the Principal of GP Women's College in 1998.

She, like her husband, is also a dedicated social worker. She is a member of the working committee of AMPWA, and also associated with civil society organizations of Muslim women. She served as a Member of Manipur State Women's Commission.

Janab Khan was a sincere and humble human being, who had immense empathy for the backward and weaker sections of the society. He was committed to the selfless service for the amelioration of their conditions. As a responsible father, he looked after and raised his children well by giving the best education. He performed hajj in 2000 along with his wife. He is survived by his wife and 5 children (3 sons and 2 daughters).

During the course of our engagement with AMPWA, I learned some valuable lessons from Janab Khan, particularly on the workings of civil society organization, relating to engaging and dealing with people, identifying, addressing and solving issues, organizing and managing events, like awareness programmes, seminars and conferences, drawing up recommendations and preparing memorandums, etc.

His indomitable spirit to serve the community inspired and motivated me. The academic interactions that I had with him immensely enriched my knowledge and understanding of the history, society and culture of the Muslims in Manipur.

In his demise, we have lost a social worker, who had devoted a major portion of his life working for the welfare and progress of the Muslim community in Manipur, and an educationist, who raised awareness among the Muslims in Manipur on the critical role of modern education in shaping their lives.

The organizations he was associated with, more particularly AMPWA, will miss a valuable man who had been a guide and mentor to its members for several years. Besides that, we have lost a research scholar who had initiated a serious and rigorous research, inquiry and debate on the history, society and culture of the Muslims in Manipur.

Last but not the least, research scholars and academicians will remain grateful to Janab Khan for rendering into modern Manipuri a valuable puya dedicated to the history of Muslim settlement in Manipur.

Concluded ....

* Dr Syed Ahmed wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at syed_ahmed4(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was webcasted on December 15 2020.

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