STAR: Interview - Assad Bhuglah: Book on Dr idrice Goumany

What motivated you to write a book on Dr Idrice Goumany?

Initially, my effort was simply an advocacy role to get the contributions of Dr Idrice Goumany recognised at national level. I found it very sad that this young doctor who sacrificed his life while saving the lives of patients infected by deadly disease of small pox, particularly the Indian indentured labourers, was flatly ignored in all the national celebrations relating to the arrival of Indian immigrants. This made me write several articles in local newspapers, namely in Star and le Mauricien, with the aim of sensitizing public opinion. I had no idea of writing a book. It was Mr Carrim Currimjee who requested me to write a book on this illustrious personality so that the present and coming generations will be proud of the heroic and patriotic actions of this eminent son of a humble lascar. For the last three years, this idea of writing a book had been dominating my mind. I was always asking myself whether there would be enough materials to write a book on ha person who died very young and who had exercised his profession for three years? When I started interviewing people and compiling information for the book, I realized that there was a deficit of information about the doctor. Many young persons were under the impression that Dr Goumany could be a recent figure associated with treatment of drug addicts. They had little idea that this enigmatic personality was among the first Muslim doctors. Dr Goumany was the sole Indo-Mauritian in the list of doctors in the list of doctors published by colonial gazette of 1887.

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Movement and Action

Movement is the constituent element of Islamic society, and this is what gives birth to it. Initially, the faith comes from its divine source, conveyed by God's Messenger in word and deed. In later generations, it is represented by advocates of the divine faith. Some people will respond to this advocacy, and they are met with resistance, and subjected to persecution by tyrannical regimes implementing different forms of Jahiliyyah. Some may succumb to persecution and turn away from the faith and its advocating movement, while others remain steadfast. Some of the latter may become martyrs, and others continue the struggle until God has judged between them and their opponents. This latter group will be granted victory by God, who makes them a means of fulfilling His will. He fulfils His promise to them of victory and power, so that they can establish the rule of divine faith. The victory is not theirs as a personal gain or reward. It is a victory of their message, so that they establish God's Lordship of mankind.

Hazardous Path

Al-e-Imran (The House of Imran) Sura 3: Verse 52

"When Jesus became aware of their unbelief, he asked: 'Who will be my helpers in Allah's cause?' The disciples said: 'We are Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah. Do bear witness that we have surrendered ourselves to Him.'

The word hawari (disciple) seems to have been imported into Arabic from Hebrew. There is disagreement among the lexicologists about its true signification. In our opinion, it means a well-wisher, supporter and a helper. Just as the word ansar is used for the first Muslims who helped and supported Prophet Muhammad's call in its initial stage, hawariyyun is used for the disciples of Jesus who believed in him and supported him steadfastly. He taught and trained them with great love and care. They carried his message to all the cities and towns in the land and they are mentioned in great detail in the Gospels.

Human Intellect and Artificial Intelligence

By Assad Bhuglah

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Human intellect has propelled mankind to Earthly domination. Driven by an insatiable curiosity, our intellect has led us, and still leads us, to question, wonder, explore, build, conquer, subdue, respect and hold in awe the existence in which we reside. Human intellect enables Mankind to discover new things about the world around and to create new ways to accomplish what human beings need and want. Out of necessity, human beings have developed languages and symbols; synchronized dates, time and yearly calendar with the movement of earth; built homes, cities and infrastructure; invented locomotives, vessels and crafts to speed up travel on land, sea and space; designed and manufactured machines, home appliances and sophisticated devices to relieve human beings from arduous tasks; enhanced the comfort of mankind and quality of life by harnessing electricity, natural gas, power-energy and managing water, sewage and communication systems; conceived and constructed sophisticated and precise instruments with which mankind is able to study the world, the planets, the moons and asteroids at the level of the atom and its particles and inspect human body to peer deep into tissues and cells to decipher the human genome. Evidently, much of the leaps and bounds in the advancement of human civilisation would not have happened without relying on artificial intelligence: the capability of machines to imitate intelligent human behavior.