A trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran
International Scientific League 2013 [PAYA] is organized annually in Tehran capital of Iran and this year it was held from 26th to 28th September 2013. [PAYA] the scientific league organizes educational conferences every year and invites students from all around the world. This conference is jointly organized by ministry of education and Noor-ul-Mubeen educational and research organization. I was fortunate to be part of this year, and jotting down my experience makes megreat.
On 24th morning I arrived at Iran culture house 18 Tilak Marg New Delhi. I was informed and given details of schedule of the three day conference and three day trip to educational institutes and religious places. The trip duration was of seven days.
My trip started on 24th of August. We had to report at Iran culture house. I was introduced to three students who were going to participate in [PAYA] in science competition. I was the leader of the Indian group which included three more students. Syed Mohammad Abuzzar from Bangalore, Syed Faiz Murtaza from Lucknow and Inayat Ali from Kargil. We stayed at guest house of Iran Culture house. Early morning at 10am we took flight from New Delhi to Tehran by Mahaan Airways flight. We reached Tehran’s Imam Khomeni International Airport at 13.15 afternoon according to Iran standard time. We drove towards south Tehran and I was blessed by the glimse of minarets of Imam Khomeni’s shrine. On the way we saw the sprawling cemetry Behesht-e-Zahra where thousands of freedom fighters are buried. I was quite impressed to see road infrastructure and cleanliness of the city and rapid development.
We reached Shaheed Bahunar Camp in Niyawaran, a resort where we had to stay for one week trip. The camp is located on the hills of southern part of the city between the forests. We were provided a small hut with all modern facitlities. The ambience of the country side was quite energizing and peaceful. Mr Mir Quasim foreign guest coordinator joined us for Iranian traditional lunch. After lunch Mr Quasim briefed about the programme schedule and rest of the afternoon we spent exploring the camp. In the evening after nimaz we interacted with people from nine other countries The other participating countries were United kindom, France, Lebanon, Negiria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afganistan, Zimbabwe and India. The students participating were provided guide lines for competition.They were provided a hand book of rules and regulations. After that we Joined for feast.It was quite an exciting day.
26th of AUGUST
Early morning we were divided into two group.One group consisted of students participating in the competition and other of team leaders. I was in second group. We went to visit to Imam Jafar Sadiq (AS) universitys school for girls. It is one of the well known schools of Tehran. The school provides modern system of education. We interacted with teaching staff and discussed the various problems of the present education system. They believed that education system should be designed keeping in mind the religious and ethical aspects. The school has been quite successful in blending worldly education with religious beliefs. I personally was quite impressed by the system of education based on religious beliefs. The school interior gave a glimpse of ancient Iranian culture , specially the dining area.
At noon we went to another girls school Tazkiya Tehran, run by a private organization. It is located in heart of Tehran. The school infrastructure is quite impressive. It provides all modern and high technology based education. The system of education is modern compatible with religious values. Beside education emphasis is given on sports. The school has a tennis court of international standard. I was quite impressed by the design of swimming pool. It was designed according to the environment and one could feel the nearness of ocean . The school provides a five star facility at very nominal rate. We interacted with students. The students were quite aware of historical discoveries done by Muslims in the past and they were quite enthusiastic to work towards regaining Muslim identity in the fields of research and science. We had a five star lunch in the school and we left the school after Zuhr prayers and with a beautiful impression.
After Maqrib nimaz the inaugural function was organized. Mr Mustafa Noori coordinator of the conference gave inaugural speech. He welcomed all the students and other participants from different states of Iran and countries of the world. He explained us the motive of organisng these seminars, emphasising on the upliftment of the educational system followed by Muslims all over the world.
Mr Noori further stressed on womens education and said they receive large number of female students from all over the world every year.The event was concluded with dua and encouraging speech by the imam of masjid. Students and other guest were provided second day schedule.
I really felt the need of technological empowerment of Muslim societies all over the world as it is need of the time and can provide solution for the many problems faced by the Muslims in todays world. This encouraging step taken by the Iranian government was heartening.
27th of August
On third day of the conference we had a discussion on various educational issues. We Interacted with educationists from different states of Iran. The basic issues we interacted was Irans development in science and technological fields after Iranian revolution which is progressing at high pace. We focused on elementary and secondary education system all over the world and felt the need of establishing communication between various Muslim organizations from all over the world.The discussion concluded with the decision of forming a chain through the paya and remaining connected with all time for the improvement and enhancement of education system.
In the afternoon we had an interactive session with Iranian students union, Tehran branch regarding current scenario of Iran’s internal politics, economics and international affairs. I personally felt that the young minds does not follow the stereotypic system and want new innovative and scientific methods of education for upliftment of Muslims in the world. They are satisfied with their government and believe that Iran has picked right path of education system. The day was quite informative and interactive, I felt that the candidate from students union are very balanced about the political scenario.
28th of August
It was the last day of three day conference. After breakfast, we assembled in the auditorium. The farewell ceremony began with the recitation of holy Quran. Various guest from education ministry and other departments were present. The chief guest, presiding over, was Sardar Naqdi [chief of Basij]. Basij is group formed during revolution of Iran. Mr Mustafa Noori spoke about the history of the conference and said that Iran government is organizing it for last six years . He encouraged students from all over the world to participate in the competition. Further Mr Mujavi from ministry of education emphasises on the Islamic system brought in Iran by Imam Khomeni [RA]. Iranians follow the same system and are quite fruitful to that. Adding on it he said every bodys education should benefit the other human beings.
After that the atmosphere was lightened by music by famous Iranian singers and in between distribution of prizes among participating students from different Iranian states and foreign guests were held. I personally enjoyed the music (Irani sorod/Natiya shrief). It was touching. Syed Javaad Hashmi a renowned actor made the conference alive by his poetic style of anchoring.
Lastly the chief guest addressed the participants and said teenagers in Iraq, Syria and other conflict prone areas are dying daily. They are suffering for no reason. He said that it was unfortunate that Muslims today do not possess actual education and quoted hazarat Ali’s saying that he who possess knowledge is the ruler wather in bad or good hands. He said that todays media play a vital role in shaping Muslims of the world. He personally believes that media should be unfolding different angles of the Muslim community in the world so that the world could get the proper information about the Islam and Muslims.
Further throwing light on education he said that right now we need to get technological and scientific education and while admiring Iranian revolution he said that after revolution of Iran, the country is speeding up in its education sector. Iran has 100 % literate people. The medical studies has prospered rapidity as before revolution due to of lack of well trained medicos, Iranians needed doctors from foreign countries and now Iranian doctors treat patients from all over the world inside Iran. This is a profound development for the country. We still need to do more in different fields. Various Muslim countries need to communicate and work together unitedly to succeed through.
The conference was concluded by Iranian National anthem. After that we clicked lots of photos to keep the memories alive and said good bye to all participants.
Early morning we flied to holy Mashad to visit the holy shrine of Imam Raza [AS]. We also visited the museum of the shrine. We prayed and joined the special prayer of dua-e-kumail. We had special sense of peace of mind and it was quite a spiuritual experience. We flied back to Tehran next morning at 4am. In the afternoon we travelled to Qum to visit various historical places including shrine of Masooma Qum and mosque of Jamkaran. We left Qum late in the evening and reached Tehran at night. Next morning we shoped in Iranian malls and bazars. It was quite exciting to see indigenous products all over. It seems that food packaging and marketing has widened its business in Iran. We tasted different flavors of tea and soothed eyes by looking at intricate Iranian handicrafts. In the evening we had to fly back to India, but thanks to Mr Alami, I had the extension of visa to stay for one more week. I visited my relatives and had a gala time in heritage city of Esfahan known as half of the world.
With this my journey came to an end. I had a dream visit of my life finally. The fashionable style of Tehran city, spiritual ambience of Mashhad and Qum, historical essence of Esfahan made me feel a better human being and gave me new reason to work for humanity especially Muslims of the world.
Author is chairman Imamia Mission School, Leh, Ladakh
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