Sunday, February 26, 2006

Insider information from magazine chief

by Ismaeel Nakhuda - 2005

The editorial director of one of the UK’s leading publishing houses CMP Information gave the Department's MA Magazine Journalism students an interesting insight into the magazine industry and valuable tips on tackling job interviews.

Lindsay Cook, Editorial Director of CMP Information, is an experienced journalist who has previously worked on many UK newspapers before moving into magazines. She said: "There is a great value in having hardworking intelligent journalists who know what they do best."

Lindsay has previously held positions as Group Managing Editor of Express Newspapers, Business Editor of the Times and has worked on the Sheffield Star, Yorkshire Post and The Daily Telegraph.


Commenting on the differences between B2B and consumer magazines Lindsay said: "We try to help people, the magazines (B2B) have stronger links than consumer magazines and the circulation may be less but the connection is stronger.” Describing B2B readers as keen and informed, she said: “You mustn’t patronize your reader you need to entertain them."

Lindsay explained to students that climbing the professional ladder in the magazine sector is quicker than in newspapers. She said: "One of the people who joined the trainee graduate scheme and now three years later is a features editor."

Lindsay highlighted the positive aspects of joining the magazine sector and commented on the difficulties trainee journalists experience in newspapers in getting by-lines. She continued: "Political editors are the worse by-line bandits ever – you work hard but you don’t get the by-line, ever."

Lindsay also gave valuable information about the graduate training scheme provided by CMPi. She said: "We run a graduate training scheme and we welcome work experience. We take six graduates each September – preferably post graduate students or students from MA courses."

Training modules

Students were told how the training modules are made enjoyable and that journalist are encouraged to apply. Asked if applicants needed any specialist knowledge, say for the pharmaceutical industry, She said: "I am a life-long journalist. I believe journalists write better than pharmacists."

Presently CMPi employs writers of whom 70 percent are journalists. Lindsay says that the company hopes to ensure 95 percent of writers are journalists in five years’ time.

CMPi is offering six one-year graduate traineeships in September 2004. Candidates who have a post-graduate journalism qualification and have gained work experience with several print-related companies are welcome to apply. The six successful candidates will join the company to work across their weekly titles in September.

CMP Information is part of United Business Media PLC and operates in the UK, US, Asia and Europe. CMP produces magazines targeted at business professionals across a range of markets; including Building & Property, Healthcare, Entertainment, Travel, Agriculture, IT & Games and Print.

Amongst its well-established publications are Guitar Player, Building, Pulse, Travel Trade Gazette, Building Design, Property Week, Music Week, and Chemist & Druggist. CMPi’s magazines reach over 1.3 million readers directly through subscription; newsstand and controlled circulation, while over 250,000 business professionals and marketers visit its exhibitions each year. 2005

Review: Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni – A Biographical Study by D.R. Goyal

by Ismaeel Nakhuda - Islamica Magazine, Autumn Issue 2005

Since partition in 1947, India has been witness to a great deal of sectarian violence, not to mention Kashmir and the various wars fought with neighbouring Pakistan.

With rivalry so intense in the sub-continent, it is a sad reality that Indian Muslims are viewed contemptuously as a fifth column. During the Gujarat pogroms in 2002, right-wing Hindutva fanatics ripped through Muslim neighbourhoods chanting slogans such as: “Go to Pakistan, or otherwise to Qabrastan (graveyard).”

Sadly many Indians, Muslim and Hindu, are oblivious of the contribution of the Muslim populace, especially the Ulemah, towards securing a free and secular India. Describing this as ‘a tragic irony’, D.R Goyal, a veteran journalist, author and promoter of minority rights and communal harmony, says that in academia the effort of Indian freedom fighters such as Mahatma Ghandi and Jawaharlal Nehru has been acknowledged where as the struggle of the Ulemah has largely gone by unnoticed.

With an aim of creating religious harmony, Goyal attempts to fill this academic vacuum by presenting a biographical study of the political life of Maulana Sayed Husain Ahmad Madni (1879 – 1957).

Unfortunately, very little of the works and biographies of the Ulemah of Indo-Pak has been translated from Urdu into English. So it is a novelty to come across an English biography of one of the foremost Alims the subcontinent has seen in the last century and that also written by a non-Muslim.

In a nutshell, Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni, or Sheikhul-Islam as he became widely known in the sub-continent, spent a number of years throughout his political life incarcerated in British prisons.

In 1916, after the Ottomans were driven out from the Hejaz, Madni, who was resident at the time in Medina-Munawwarah and teacher at the Prophet’s Mosque, was arrested in Makkah al-Mukarramah by the British together with his teacher Sheikhul-Hind Maulana Mahmudul-Hasan, who was in his 80s. The two were taken to Cairo with a number of other Indian Ulemah and accused of plotting to overthrow the British Raj with the aid of the Ottomans.

After being questioned in Cairo, the Ulemah were sent to the island of Malta (the British Guantanamo Bay of World War One), where they spent four years without charge or trial until their release in 1920.

Upon their return to India, both Sheikhul-Hind and Maulana Madni began to rally Muslim support for the non-violent non-cooperation movement spearheaded by Ghandi. Until the British left India in 1946, Sheikhul-Islam remained fervently involved in the freedom movement, being arrested on a number of occasions and even serving two separate jail sentences of two years each in various prisons across India.

Goyal covers the above but mainly focuses on the political nature of the Maulana as an advocate against the ‘two-nation theory’ and a champion of inter-religious peace.

With brief references to the Maulana’s lineage as a Hussaini Sayed, family life, education, Tasawwuf and teacher of traditional Islamic sciences, the book is certainly a delight to read. In fact, Islamaphobic elements in Indian society would be abhorred to read about the patriotism emanating from a graduate and teacher of Darul-Uloom Deoband, dubbed baselessly by much of the Indian right-wing press ‘an institute of terror’.

By and large Goyal adequately achieves his objective in presenting the political life and contribution of an Indian scholar in successfully gaining freedom for India from an imperial power. Interestingly, he also gives the reader a brilliant insight into the manner by which the British implemented ‘divide and rule’ policies to sow distrust between Hindus and Muslims during Congress and Muslim League negotiations for independence.

Goyal also makes a unique point about how post-partition; Sheikhul-Islam would use his influence to grant safety to destitute Muslims in non-Muslim dominated areas and would lobby the government to secure the respect and custody of abandoned Darghas (Sufi Shrines) in Indian Sikh-dominated Punjab. Goyal writes that this is indicative of the ‘Maulana’s liberal attitude’ towards other Sunni Muslim groups ‘because the Sunni Islam that he himself (Madni) practised and preached did not approve of the worship’ at such sites.

The life of Sheikhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni is an epic in itself. For readers wanting to know more about the Maulana from an Islamic perspective in relation to his education at Darul-Uloom Deoband, family background, his Tasawwuf as a Chishti-Sheikh, migration to Medina al-Munawwarah, teaching of classic Islamic texts in the Prophet’s Mosque, impressions of living under the Ottomans, imprisonment with his teacher in Malta, his return to India and involvement in politics, role as teacher of Hadeeth at Darul-Uloom Deoband and immense sorrow at the time of partition, then the autobiography of the Maulana, Naqsh-e-Hayat (recently translated into English from the original Urdu) would be a definite must.

Naqsh-e-Hayat is sure to stir compassion and pity for the Maulana and is a testimony to the sacrifice and selfless service of Indian Ulemah for the betterment of not only Indians, Muslims and otherwise, but for all colonised nations irregardless of religion.

With India and Pakistan coming close to war on every random issue from Kashmir to Cricket, perhaps the words of Sheikhul-Islam would be most appropriate: “The good of the entire country, nay the whole of Asia, demands that the relations between the two countries (India and Pakistan) should be friendly, the two should have mutual trust and all the differences should be resolved peacefully. The common people on both sides should come close and develop maximum possible trade and economic relations.”

Islamica Magazine, Autumn Issue 2005

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Images of the first war caught on film

by Ismaeel Nakhuda

A Preston museum is holding a unique exhibition of rare photographs and items to mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the Crimean War.

The war raged in what is now Ukraine between 1854 and 1856, and was the first to be photographically documented.

Organisers have spent three to four months preparing the exhibition which includes medals, music sheets, rifles, muskets, letters, uniforms and photographs from the war.

Featured in the exhibition at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery are images by famous British photographers Roger Fenton, James Robertson and Felice Beato.

They document the experiences of British, French and Ottoman soldiers, as well as the wives of British servicemen.

Museum assistant Stuart Chadwick said he was delighted with the artefacts, adding that the exhibition was a unique look at the Crimean War and how people related to each other during the conflict.

"What they've tried to do is stay away from presenting the actual war and concentrate more on the people's war and how they interacted."

One of the highlights of the exhibition is the photographs of the French and British women who would cook, clean and even sometimes engage in combat.

Mr Chadwick said: "The organisers have tried to investigate the role of women in the frontline.
"We don't normally associate women with conflict, but there were a whole great number of women who participated in the war. The exhibition has tried to give coverage to such women."

Front of house manager Steven Walker said: "This is an exhibition – it is not just photography, there is a costume element to it. History is popular in Preston and people like to know where we've come from."

Preston has historical connections with the war. It is home to the archives and collections of the 30th and 47th Regiments who served in the Crimea. The regiments became part of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment based at Fulwood Barracks.

During the war, Prestonians contributed to the campaign by raising money to help the sick and injured, something which was acknowledged when the War Office presented the city with two Russian cannons captured at Sevastopol in 1857.

The Crimean War: Photography and Experience will continue at the Harris Museum until April 23.

Lancashire Evening Post 25/02/2006