Friday, March 2, 2012

Ooty and other beautiful summer hills in Tamilnadu, South India

Category: UNESCO Heritage Sites    

  Ooty Railway Station
By Shafee Ahmed Ko

The supernatural beauty of Ooty, in Nilgiri District, was unknown to India and to the world and was found by British in 1800, it became almost an English looking town, and the rich natives also settled down in this place.The Ooty, the name is a name from Uthagamandalam,the British who ruled India pronounced it as “Ootacamund” and natives called it “Ooty”.The cool climate with its exotic beauty proved a popular tourist spot world wide and is best suited for a summer resort for all clases of people.

Ooty-Best Tourist spot in Tammilnadu

Ooty is the best Summer Hill in Tamilnadu,South India and one should visit to look her beauty-being at a height of 6000-8000 ft, and its peak hill is Doddabetta 8,652 ft. Nilgiri hills are a proud, renowned summer resort both in India and abroad. The cool atmosphere ranging from 25-10 degree C, in summer, and is peak 21-5 degree in winter. In the chain range of the Western Ghats, the Nilgiris extends from the North East region of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. She has pet names such as Uthagamandalam, Uthagai, and Blue Mountain. If you are looking for Ooty travel guide, this is the article for you.

Relaxation is most important to every man and woman. Mental stress is a hidden disease one does not how to get away from it. Of course meditation, music, painting, reading and writing are all the good form of relaxation. And once in week we have made rule one full day we have relax, and Sunday is very sweet and every await for a Sunday, and good lot of entertainments take place on Sundays.Similarly once in a year one has relax at least one week we should find a place to relax, and it is out of town or city, much more preferable.
This is the reason we select a resort, where we could forget our daily chore, and enjoy life, and keeps the mind quite fit and healthy. Hence, there a good quote also on relaxation: "The man who doesn't relax and hoot a few hoots voluntarily, now and then, is in great danger of hooting hoots and standing on his head for the edification of the pathologist and trained nurse, a little later on." Elbert Hubbard.

Now summer is approaching very fast and all the schools will be closed, children will have many dreams how to spend the summer holiday. Tourists from Tamil Nadu,and elsewhere from India and abroad will be planning for a holiday trip after a near exasperated hectic life of with the vociferous and wearied mob of school boys and girls, with their parents ready to please their wards, and also the toiled and moiled genre business and professional groups do feel to relax well after a ten or eleven months hard work, seeking a soothing place to go around a hilly places to relax, rest, in quiet place, a place for disposition to get free from stress, and for sure such things are very important in consideration of physical and mental hygiene.

Hills in Tamil Nadu


Let us have a glimpse how many Hill resorts in Tamilnadu, and analyse one after the other.

Few districts of Tamil Nadu are enriched with lush and verdant green summer resorts, some are well known to people and few are oblivious although they are economically viable. The districts such as Nilgiris, Salem, Namakkal, Vellore, Dindigul, Thirunelveli, Theni, Trichy and Cuddalore have such hilly places. The all suit to all echelon particularly to the super tired writers, and rest-and - leisure addicts, and film makers who need to avoid ogling crowd to their overt filmy costumes, and stars make ups in covert.

1. Blue Mountain Hill is nothing but English translation as Nilgiri Hills, is an English version is situated in Nilgiris District. The range of Western Ghats, it spans considerably large to three major districts, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala. Ooty, is a municipal town, and is district head quarter Situated at an altitude 7,347 feet above sea-level in the Nilgiri district.

2. Shevroys, Britishers called Servarayan Malai Shevroy in a style. This small hill is near Salem Town Tamil Nadu, is split hill range with area of 50 Sq.M with a height of around 5000 ft above mean sea level.

3. Yelagiri – in Javadhu hill range, in Vellore District between Katpadi and Jolarpettai railway junction.

4. Kollimalai or Kolli Hills ('Kolli Malai') in the district of Namakkal. The mountain ranges are about 1000 to 1300 meters in height, is part of the Eastern Ghats

5. Pachaimalai, 960 feet above ground level, 3 km from Thuraiyur in Tiruchirappalli district nearest.

6. Anamalais The Anamalai Hill is a range of mountains in the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu. They form a southern portion of the Western Ghats. They are between Udumalpet and Munnar,

7. Pulneys

8. Podhigai malai These Hilly areas have Tribals with agriculture, and cattle breeding – good climate considerable mixture in physiographic, variant climate, soils, irrigation, rainfall, cropping pattern quite different place to place.. The rainfall varies from 850 mm in Kalrayan Hills to 4500 mm in Anamalai Hills.

Ooty is more popular to the people of India and the tourist from abroad too. Although the name Ooty comes as summer resort, it has a very good history behind it, with regards to its place, people, culture, ethnicity and metamorphism taking place closer akin to ecological variations, and we have to consider to what extent the extinct of rare species of birds, animals and insects have been in conservation. Ooty is "Queen of Hills" of Nilgiris. The Ooty,the name is derived from Uthagamandalam,fell to English tongue as “Ootacamund” and still reduced to a familiar term “Ooty”. A Stone House was built by John Sullivan, the then Governor of Coimbatore in 1822, which was also known as “Kal Bangala” which is now housing the Principal of Govt. Arts College.

Mettupalayam is the key center to access Ooty either by train or by road, the nearest broad gauge railway head which lies at a distance of about 46 kilometres from the city. Regular bus services connect Ooty to places like Bangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore, Calicut, Kanyakumari, Thanjavur, Tirupathi and Cochin. A toy train is not only for children, but the accompanying parents also feel the glee and charm of the lush green scenario nature’s gift. 4 hours time the scenic journey through the lush green hills, the tea plantations, the tunnels and the viaducts make it a optical gorgeous and luxurious for any traveller.

Ooty the best summer resort is widely spoken, written and heard that its cool climate and the beautiful summer resorts with full of green trees, curved and winding uphill narrow roads, traffic quite busy with all sorts vehicles, small and big, green bushy elegant, nimble, attractive tall eucalyptus trees arrayed in plethora need words more to describe. When the sun is about set in, the native women and children in good number walk the road with no care fast fleeting in general as forest trees, having conical apex with great height and filling their aroma in the entire region. We never miss the 22 acre botanical garden, Rose Garden having 22,000 varieties, Ooty Lake, Stone House, Toda Huts, and Mountain Rails et al.

People, Tribe, Cultutre, feature Nilgiris Badagas

If one becomes familiar the history and habitats about the natives of Uthagamandalam, or Ooty as whole, the trip will be more enjoyable. One should also know the region's people and their cultures and their origins. There is a misconception related to Badagas of Uthagamandalm to the migrants of Mysore, because the very term Badaga implies northerner. But the Tamil epics relate a different message.

An extensive research scholar B.Balasubramaniam, a Badaga, who has done before writing his book" Paamé " – The history and culture of the Badagas of the Nilgiris feels that "Badagas migrated from Southern Karnataka [then Mysore State] about 700 years back, much before Tipu's time, around 1311 AD during the plundering raid of Malik Kafir".

So the theory which goes deceitfully that the people from North, Mysore fled Uthagamandalam in dread and anxiety that the Sultan was coercing conversion does not hold water; again there is evidence that the British had played divide and rule is raging and notorious and tyrannical fallacy. Tippu Sultan had many Hindu scholars as his ministers, and advisor.Tippu Sultan is the one who fought with British colonists tooth and nail. Tippu had built Hindu temples and contributed to the deserving Hindus.

When we speak Christianity, mention has to be made on St.Stephen's.Stephen Rumbold Lushington,the then Governor of Madras, felt a selective and privileged cathedral for Britishers in Ooty, on April 23,1829 laid the foundation for the church in commemoration of birthday of King George IV.Only in 1947 the Church came into Church of South India.


Among the early settlers the Todas, are known with different names such as Tudas, Tuduvans, and Todar.They have a language spoken but no script. The Government of India has identified the Toda as one of the six Primitive Tribal groups of Tamil Nadu. The Linguist Emeneau (1958: 47 - 50) said that, "Toda dialect is an independent language of the Dravidian family affiliated with Tamil - Malayalam. Other tribal mostly found are the Kothas, Kurumbas, Irulas, and Paniyas the all form the main tribes of Nilgris.They are in a smallest population.






 Badaga Films

Badaga Film directed by S.Mahesh Babu


There is interesting news that Udhagamandalam had also ventured in celluloid domain in an effective way in order to make a vivid the life and culture of Badgas, of course with the element of filmy addition and deletions, but it had great impetus of local culture and morale. Director S.Mahesh Babu has been in news on venturing such films. In the mid 1970s and an Ooty ex MLA B.Gopalan had taken a revolutionised a step forward by making the first black and white Badaga film Kaala Thappitha Payilu and a film titled Kemmanju was much talked about. Hosa Mungaru and Gavava Thedi which means 'in search of love or affection'. It was followed by “Hosa Mungaru” following is “Gavava Thedi” which means 'in search of love or affection'. Villages such as Kenthala and Keithorai villages had come handy for shooting in the pictures in a green lush location.

Few most important sightseeing places around Ooty are, Doddabetta Peak: It is within 10 Km,height 2,623 m,the Pykara Dam is an attractive location,the two waterfalls range 55 meters, 61meters respectively, and it has a power plant.Pine forest: Wenlock Downs,Kamaraj Sagar Dam, Mudumalai National Park,
Avalanche Lake.

Ooty, “The Queen of Hill Resorts” in Nilgiris” is matchless eco friendly and tourist spot, has to be enjoyed and should preserve its natural atmosphere without infringing its biosphere. Many water bodies, forests are restricted to visiting tourists to protect ecosystem. The rampant visitors are known to have been damaging the eco system of this beautiful place and they have a responsibility in conserving the flora and fauna of Ooty and its atmosphere.

How to reach Ooty by Rail from Chennai

Kovai Express to Ambur, Katpadi, Jolarpettai, Salem, Erode, Coimbatore
Inter City Express to Ambur, Katpadi, Ambur, Katpadi, Jolarpettai, and Salem, Erode, Coimbatore, Jolarpettai, Salem, Erode, Coimbatore.

How to reach ooty from Chennai to Comimbatore by Road

There are pretty numbers of buses plying from Chennai both operated by Tamil Nadu Government and also private buses. There are air conditioned buses also running to Ooty.

Vellore, Ambur, Salem, Erode: 535Kms/Coimbatore to Ooty 105 Km,from Coonur 18 Km,from Mysore(via Gudalur 155 Km, from Calicut 187 Km, from Bangalore 290 Kms,from Kochi(Coimbatore,Palakad)281,from Kodaikanal(Coimbatore,Palani) 236/ Ooty is on National Highway 67. The three states, Tamil Nadu,Kerala, and Karnataka is well connected by road through five main Nilgiri Ghat Roads.Ooty can also be well accessed by road through Mettupalayam (Coimbatore District) via Kotagiri, and this road does not lead through Coonoor. The district towns such as Coonoor, Gudalur, Kotagiri and other villages can be well accessed through frequent bus connections.

There is train service from Mettupalaym, Niligiri Mountain Railway (NMR) date back several decades. In July 2005 UNESCO has declared the Nilgri Mountain Railway (NMR) as the one of the worldUNESCO Heritage Sites, and it's prestigious to India and particularly to Tamil Nadu. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Tamil Nadu had been operated from in 1908, and it was known as Madras Railways. Although many trains running in India have changed to diesel to electrically operated, The Nilgiri Mountain Railway still maintains the steam locomotive system. NMR comes under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Salem Division. The film fame Shahrukh Khan acted on the roof top of NMR singing the well-known Hindi song "Chaiyya Chaiyya" from the film "Dil Se"

The British and Ooty Schools

Britishers found Ooty a congenial place for administration and schooling for their children. During their rule, the local economy was taken care and they had great concerned special care, since facilities, standard of education were high in India. Among the upper echelon Ooty boarding schools had a name and fame in India and also neighbouring countries, and Good Shepherd International School was considered very prestigious.

The most interesting thing in Ooty is the wild life and bird sanctuary which is divided into 5 ranges - Masinagudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota.The endangered species and vulnerable birds can be of great mention here. Endangered Indian Elephants, Gaur, Chital, Indian Leopards are few worthy of mention. Critically endangered species of birds are Indian White rumped Vulture, and long billed vultures are in the bird sanctuary. The entire Western Ghats ranging from 2300 Sq.Mi, and Nilgiri Sub-Cluster and entire Mudumalai National Park is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site, says Wikipedia.

Ooty STD CODE-0423 :National code +91
Emergency Numbers in Ooty:
Police Control Room Town East, Ooty, Tamilnadu, India 2442200
Police Out Post Pudumund, Ooty, Tamilnadu, India 2444065
Police Station Kandal, Ooty, Tamilnadu, India 2443941
Police Station (Rural ) Ooty, Tamilnadu, India 2443973
Police Station LoveDale, Ooty, Tamilnadu, India 2443942
Police Wireless Station Ooty, Tamilnadu, India 2443972

Photos do not appear in the original article:"Amity India" editor has added them from the courtesy sources for the readers interests. Shafee Ahmed,the editor contacted director Mr.Mahesh Babu over the phone, and in turn Babu has invited the editor for a wider discussion on the History of Uthagamandalam.
Please write your comments in the comment box

Hijab: An Open Letter to the World


Dear masses of the human race,
With due respect, I request you to hear me out and to read this letter with an open, unprejudiced mind.
Catholic nuns wear veil as a symbol of holiness. Sikhs wear a peculiar turban. Kippah is the skull-cap worn by Jewish men. In Hindu society, women often cover their head on entering religious places and follow it traditionally as a sign of respect in front of elders. European women of the Middle Ages wore different varieties of veils in the form of hats, wimple and head-scarves. Depictions of Virgin Mary (Hazrat Mariam), mother of Jesus Christ show her veiled. Muslim women wear veil - hijab - which is modest dressing. So, what is this hue and cry about Muslim women’s hijab? Why is the world making noise?
Feb 11,2004: MPs vote overwhelmingly to ban the Islamic headscarf and other religious symbols from state schools.

June 7, 2011: Iran women’s soccer team thwarted by hijab ban. Iran’s women’s team was correctly prevented from playing a 2012 Olympics qualifier wearing Islamic head scarves, FIFA claimed.
Sep 1, 2011: American police officers in the state of New York clashed with Muslim individuals protesting an arbitrary ban on hijab at an amusement park and arrested at least 15 protesters. The incident occurred when one woman, Entisai Ali, protested to police officers over the amusement park’s headscarf restriction.
27 September 2011: Bishkek - A ban on the wearing of headscarf at schools sparked outrage in Kyrgyzstan, with human rights activists condemning the move as denying Muslim girls one of their basic rights. Many Muslim students were either forced to remove their headscarves or go home if they refused to take them off.
December 08, 2011: Eight Kazakh female students at a university in northwestern Kazakhstan say they will sue school officials for not allowing them to attend classes wearing head scarves.

School and university students wearing hijab in Turkey constitute the biggest front of the fight against hijab ban in public sector and educational places in the country. The hijab-wearing university students, in particular, hold daily gatherings in front of their universities and try to gain their right through lawful means.
Perhaps we are going to times benighted; to the Dark Ages because from the Ancient to Middle Ages to perhaps just a few years ago, women were free to wear a veil and it was not only admissible but was considered a mark of modesty and propriety in some traditions, while a virtue of prestige and nobility in others. The veil which was permissible and acceptable by various traditions and religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and glorified in their religious scriptures, has become an idiosyncrasy for Muslim women, a note of oppression and subjugation of Muslim women. Muslim women are perceived as dimwitted and obtuse with no intelligence and maturity of their own and inspite of their protests around the globe that hijab is their choice, a momentum of forced liberation can be witnessed.  We are labelled as oppressed and discriminated against from times primitive and, therefore, it is the duty of our Western empathizers to liberate us and to make a choice for us, because being feeble-minded, the Muslim woman cannot distinguish right from wrong.

When I say that the hijab I wear liberates me, you either smirk at me or look at me with pity - pity at a persona naive and simple-minded. Islam requires both men and women to cover certain areas of their bodies out of modesty.

How do I feel wearing Hijab? I feel empowered, respected and dignified. When people talk to me, they concentrate on what I say and not how I look. People talk to me for ME and not for my appearance. I feel seen for who I truly am - a human being. When I wear hijab, I feel that perhaps I reflect some glimmerings of modesty of Mother Mary, the holiness of nuns. Its like living in a church everyday. I feel pure. Hijab requires purity of character - to live a principle-centred life based on humility, modesty, honesty, love, compassion and kindness and to elevate oneself with a conscious endeavour.

So, please do not prejudice. You respect the veil of a nun for her holiness and modesty and perceive the veil that I wear as a symbol of subjugation and injustice. Islam does not provide for oppression of woman. I am free to choose. Hijab is my choice. I am liberated. Your truly,
Wajiha Mehdi

  A follower of equality and liberty for all,  a girl who wears Hijab
This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-29 February 2012 on page no. 2

10 YEARS OF RESISTANCE Bol ki Sach Zindaa Hai Ab Tak Ten Years of Gujarat 2002

March 4, 2012
Constitution Club Lawns, Rafi Marg, New Delhi
10.30 am to 9.30pm

Ten years Journey through the voices of victims, activists, academicians, artists
A Day Long Convention and a Cultural Tribute

We invite people from across India to join us in remembering Ten years of Gujarat 2002, paying homage to the victims and taking our struggle forward to politically defeat the forces of hatred in Gujarat.  We are not in a position to support the travel or stay but we do hope that individuals and organizations will join in to commemorate ten years of Gujarat.

Over 250 victims from Gujarat and senior activists will be participating in the convention.

10.30am- Inauguration of the Exhibition: Reflections of a Journey- conceived and designed by Shabnam Hashmi . Sanjiv Bhatt will inaugurate the exhibition

11.00 am – 11.45 noon
“Lest we Forget History” written by PGJ NAMPOOTHIRI and GAGAN SETHI
Panel: Justice Verma, Syeda Hamid, Farah Naqvi, PGJ Nampoothiri, Gagan Sethi

11.45noon – 1.30pm

1.30-2.15pm- Lunch




A Cultural Tribute
The artists include AVNI SETHI- a young kathak dancer and a designer, EKLEKTIKA- a rock band, DHRUV SANGARI-sufi singer, IMAAD SHAH- actor, singer, theatre and cinema artist, MANU KOHLI-singer, MEHMOOD FARUQI AND DANISH HUSSAIN- dastan goyee, NAMRATA PAMNANI- a dancer, SABA AZAD- an actress, singer and dancer from cinema and theatre, SANJAY RAJOURA- a standup comedian, SKA VENGERS -  a rock band. ( please see attached invite for schedule).


Islamic School for Women Faithful or Fundamental?

By Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Globe and Mail, Toronto

In a modest industrial park near Lester B. Person International Airport in Mississauga, 150 women varying white head scarves and long, black Saudi style coats called abayas sit in a medium-sized classroom listening attentively to their teacher.

This morning's lecture includes a perspective on the recent earthquake in Pakistan. "We must understand why such calamities take place," says Dr. Farhat Hashmi, addressing the room in Urdu. "The people in the are where the earthquake hit were involved in immoral activities, and God has said that he will punish those who do not follow his path." He students nod and murmur in agreement.

The classroom walls are pinned with interpretations of passages from the Quran, giving instruction on how Muslims should live their lives-guidance on when to smile, cry, tell the truth, when to be angry. Outside the front door, a sign reads, "no men allowed without prior permission."

Since April, 2005, women from across Toronto and as far way as Australia have come here to the Al Huda Islamic Centre of Canada to take a 20-month course called Taleem-ul-Quran; the "education of the Quran." Its teacher, and the school's founder, Dr. Hashmi, says she has come from Pakistan to enlighten young Muslim women about their religion.

Her critics in the city's South Asian community say she is encouraging women to cover up, stay at home and accept outdated gender roles.

The school is the latest extension of Al-Huda International which Dr. Hashmi founded in Pakistan in 1994 after graduating with a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Glasgow. Through her teachings, she has since become a well-known Islamic scholar, specially among middle and upper-middle-class women in Pakistan.

The school now counts more than 10,000 graduates and she has offered lectures to women in Dubai and London.

She has moved to Toronto with her husband and family, she says, in response to demand for young women in the city to gain a deeper understanding of Islam. For a nominal fee of $60 a month, students attend classes four days a week for five hours a day. During a typical class, students p=recite prayers from the Quran, then follow up with a long session reading the Urdu translation of the Holy Book with Dr. Hashmi.

In order to obtain the non-certified diploma, students are expected to learn how to translate the 30 books of the Quran. Her lessons are also available on CD.

"My Canadian friends invited me here because they feel that there is an need to educate young Muslim girls in this society," explains Dr. Hashmi in an interview conducted in Urdu. "They come to me for answers," she says. "I teach them the Quran, and they leave with a sense of peace."

The young women who have come to the Al-Huda Islamic Centre seem to agree. They say their experience learning with Dr. Hashmi has transformed them.

Sada Mohsin, 17, says she wore jeans and t-shirts and often stayed out partying with friends in her senior year of high school in New York. "I was like an average high school student," she says. "I would go with the flow, listen to music, have both guy and girl friends."

When her father suggested that she move to Canada to go to the Al-Huda Islamic Centre, she initially resisted. "I knew that my parents were angry at me for pushing them away. They felt that I was becoming too American in my ways," she says.

But over the past few months, Ms. Mohsin has enjoyed the classes so much that he has stayed out of choice. "I'm giving up my old American friends and making new ones here in class. My whole life is changing," she says. "I've started wearing the abaya, and its this new environment and these new friends that have helped me do that."

Dressed in a denim jacket, white pants and a head scarf, Ayesha Awan, 20, makes her way to class every morning. She has cut her studies at York University to part-time to attend Al-Huda's 20-month course. "I wasn't religious when I started her class. I didn't cover my head before, but now I do," she says.

Her perspective on the role of women has also changed. "I agree with Dr. Hashmi that women should stay at home and look after their families," she says.

Ms. Awan was so impressed with Dr. Hashmi's sermons that she convinced 10 friends to enrol in the course. She believes that people who don't agree with Dr. Hashmi's message change their mind after they attend her classes.

"It takes time to get used to everything, because we are not sued to segregation and covering up," Ms. Awan explains. "But there are a lot of people in Canada who practise it, so it is possible to do so."

But Tarek Fatah, the communications director of the Muslim Canadian Congress is highly critical of Dr. Hashmi's teachings. "Her concept is a grave threat not only to Canadian values, but also to Canadian Muslims. She is segregating society and encouraging the ghettoization=of the South Asian Muslim community and making it very difficult for them to integrate into mainstream society," Mr. Fatah argues. "She is completely brainwashing these educated, middle-class women top stay at home."

His concerns are echoed by Ms. Kausar Khan, 37. "It has taken (Muslim women) so long to come out of our homes," the Brampton business owner says. "We have had to fight for an education and the right to work and Dr. Hashmi's message is negating all that."

"She is encouraging our women to stay home and be submissive to their husbands, and that settle well with the rest of us."

The reason that Dr. Hashmi's students are embracing her interpretation of  the Quran, Ms. Khan argues is that most of them are not well versed in Islam and cannot question her authority. "These young women are naive," she says.

Dr. Hashmi, who considers herself an Islamic feminist, disagrees. "I don't force anyone to do anything. They don't have to listen to me if they don't want to."

Furthermore, she says that she is only helping her students better  understand Islam. "People accuse me of preaching my views, they are confused," Dr. Hashmi says. "I refrain from using my personal opinion in my lesson. I just translate the word of God. So people don't have a problem with me, because my message is from the Quran, they have a problem with God."

She applies this explanation in response to the interpretation some put on her teachings that she preaches polygamy-a common accusation her critics direct at her. Dr. Hashmi denies the claim, but notes, "Islam gives women rights, so that a man cannot take advantage of her. If a man has relations with a woman outside of marriage, the Quran orders him to marry her."

Her student Sadaf Mahmood, 18, agrees with this logic, arguing that Western society accords less respect to women, allowing men to have affairs without taking any responsibility. "There are more women than men in this world," Ms. Mahmood adds. "Who will take care of these women? It is better for a man to do things legally by taking a second wife, rather than having an affair."

On the issue of women working, she again point to the Quran, asserting that women must recognise their own abilities and circumstances when entering the work force. "Women that should understand the limits set by Islam," she says. "Whichever field fulfills both the requirement of the individual and Islam, that would be the appropriate career."

But Canadian Muslims point to the Prophet Muhammad, the messenger of Islam from God, whose own wife was a business woman and renowned for her skills.

Muslim Canadians such as Kausar Khan are most alarmed at the possibility that the next generation of South Asian girls are embarking Dr. Hashmi's teachings. "We live in a secular society, where there is separation of religion and state. Then why is this woman being allowed to bring her extremist views to our country? She poses a danger to us and our Canadian way of life."

Dr. Hashmi insists her message will not confuse these young girls who are a product of western world; "Islam is for all times. Why does the environment here have to change the young girls, why can't they change the environment?"

Students such as 18-year old Madiha Khokar see the change. "I was a feminist...But after taking her classes, I don't think that way. I think that women have a place in society, and their rights are accorded to them by God in the Quran."