Interview: Thasneem Fathima – M.Tech. topper of AMU

October 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Issues, National, newsletter-india

Thasneem Fathima

Thasneem Fathima

Kerala, October 25, 2011: Muslim girls are showing their skills and ability to the world more than ever nowadays. They are excelling in almost all fields that they can put their hands into. Thasneem Fathima NK of Malappuram has become a new example for the successful Muslim young woman by bagging the first rank in M.Tech. (Instrumentation and Control) at Aligarh Muslim University. Mother of two kids, she is now pursuing doctorate at National Institute of Technology-Calicut. Ms Fathima spoke to on her education and life. 

Please introduce yourself – your family, education.
I was born as the daughter of Dr Kamal Pasha and Habeeba Pasha in Tirurangadi. Both my parents were professors in the PSMO College, Tirurangadi. My father retired as head of the History department and my mother retired as head of the Arabic department. My schooling was at the Oriental High School, Tirurangadi. After completing pre-degree from the PSMO College, I did B Tech in Electrical and Electronics from the Government Engineering College, Thrissur, in 2003. I was married to Badeeuzzaman when I was doing third year engineering. After having my first kid, I joined MES Engineering College, Kuttippuram, as lecturer and worked there for four years. Then I went to the Aligarh Muslim University to do M Tech. Now I am pursuing doctorate in the National Institute of Technology-Calicut under the guidance of Dr Paul Joseph. I have two kids – Yaseen Murad (7 years – in second standard) and Yameen Javad (4 years – LKG).

Being a married woman with two kids, how do you manage your family and career?
Time management is very important in studying. Normally we study one or two hours daily, and I study when my kids sleep. I utilize the available time well. Also, I had servant to help at home. My youngest son was only one and half years old when I joined for M Tech. The support of family is very important. I got complete support from my husband and in-laws. Actually, my percentage of marks increased after marriage.

Most important things in the matter of education and studies are peace of mind and prayer. I used to call up and talk to my parents and parents-in-law before every exam and ask them to pray. Their prayer is very important for me. Actually I had more people to encourage and inspire after marriage. Help of Allah is the most important thing.

When studying I had never thought of a career in teaching. But now since I want to keep family and career together, I took this up. Even when I am tired during the project days, I get brightened up when I see my kids and their smile. I have dedicated my project work to my husband and kids.

How do you see the general view that Muslim girls lag behind in education and job?
Family is very important for Muslims. Education is not seen as important as family when both come together. But nowadays many families are trying to bring both to a balance. The education and job systems of today are aimed at men only. It is difficult for women to adjust into such a system made up for men. That is another reason why girls lag behind.

As a person who has studied in both Kerala and the north, how do you see the difference between the two? How was your time at the AMU?
I first went to the AMU in 2002. At that time, I had never even dreamt that I would study there. After marriage, when my husband planned to go to the AMU for PhD, I too tried hard and passed the GATE. Thus I joined there. The Electrical Engineering Department was excellent. All the professors were eminent in their fields. And I would like to mention two who were highly inspirational and gave me confidence – Dr Yusuf Zaman and Dr Omar Faruq. Compared to the other institutes I have studied, education at the AMU was enjoyable and tension-free. Initially I had a problem of language for communicating with the local students, but I soon got it over. There was a thrill in studying in such a distant place.

Actually I increased contact with Almighty Allah after going to the AMU. There was a Muslim culture and atmosphere in the Department. Teachers used to say ‘Assalamu Alaikum’ when entering classes. There is a masjid in the centre of the Engineering College, with all the departments around it. There were facilities for prayer in the department itself. There were eight students in my class at the AMU – three Muslim girls and five non-Muslim boys. Among the teaching staff, there was only one non-Muslim. But, here in the NIT-C where I am pursuing PhD now, there are no Muslim teachers at all. There are seven students in my batch with one Muslim boy and girl.

How do you see the setting up of the AMU special centres in Malappuram and elsewhere? Will it be useful for the educational development of the areas? How far will it help Muslims?
The setting up of the AMU special centres will be very helpful in the educational development of the areas. The AMU is a central university, so the expenses of education also will be very low compared to other colleges in the state. However, I can’t say how far it will be useful for Muslims since there is still confusion regarding its minority status. However, I feel the culture and atmosphere peculiar to the AMU in the Aligarh campus – including Sherwani – can’t be reproduced anywhere else.

What is your advice to the growing up students, especially girls?
Though family, education and job are important, family comes a bit higher.

– tcn

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