[Prof. Mohammed Ramzan Ali Miya is a writer, translator, social worker and human rights activist. Prof Miya’s literary works that have appeared in multiple languages including Nepali, Hindi, Arabic, English and Urdu, cover a wide area, instead of sticking to a single subject and genre. A polyglot, Prof. Miya exclusively writes on various subjects from religion to legal discourse, and from academic to literary issues. He also translates literary works from one language to another. However, in all of his literary works, one can explicitly see a humanitarian message that appeals for love and compassion, two of the most urgent needs of our times. He is also credited for some significant documents like the Labour Law of Qatar in the Nepali language, which has remained a useful material for Nepali workers in Qatar. Currently Prof. Miya is based in Qatar. He has recently been named ‘Ambassador’ by Global Peace Circle, an organization founded by America, and devoted to the promotion of peace and fraternity around the globe. He has thus become the first person to be chosen for the title from Qatar. As a social worker, Prof. Miya has served migrate Nepalese workers who suffer for want of language. Prof. Miya was the legal advisor of Non-resident Nepalese Association (NRNA) Qatar, and at this capacity, raised awareness about Qatari laws and disseminated legal information among the Nepalese community living there. From among Nepali emigrants, Prof. Miya holds the distinction of receiving the maximum number of honours and felicitations from Qatar’s local government and other administrative units. He is most conspicuously recognised by dint of his habit of wearing Nepali cap in almost all the public events, including seminars and conferences.
Early Life and Education
Born to Ebrahim and Janifa Miya on 28th July, 1978 in Danchhi under the present-day Kageshwari-Manohara Municipality-4, Kathmandu, Nepal, Prof. Mohammed received his basic education from Shree Saraswati English Secondary School, and later from Madrasa Islamic School, Jame Masjid, Kathmandu. Prof. Miya proved to be a very diligent and bright student since childhood. In 1995, he moved to Pakistan for his higher study as a recipient of full scholarship. After acquiring Master’s Degree in Islamic Studies and Arabic Literature from Karachi University in 2003, he returned to Nepal and engaged himself in different educational institutions for some time, assisting PhD students, including the recipient of Fulbright Scholarship from Western countries. One of them is Prof. Megan Adamson, who is presently Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.
A student of Arabic language and culture, Prof. Miya wanted to immerse himself into the Arabic atmosphere and garner first-hand experiences in these areas of knowledge. So in 2007, he moved towards Qatar, where he not only explored the language, literature, culture and lifestyle of the Arab people but also got an opportunity to serve Nepali Diasporas working there Qatar in many different ways. He pursued his interest in Arabic language and translation services, offering immense service to the Nepalese community in the Gulf countries. He completed his Masters in Islamic Studies & Arabic Literature in 2003 from Pakistan and founded the Alharamain Educational Society of Nepal. Ali Miya also worked at the Embassy of Nepal in Qatar as a Secretary to the Acting Ambassador. He has translated significant documents, including the Labour law of Qatar and human rights materials, into the Nepalese language. As a human rights activist and author, he was honored with a Certificate of Appreciation from the German Board of Consulting and Training. Notable Works Ali Miya authored Maile Dekheko Qatar (Qatar as I have Seen), a book in Nepali that offers insights into the Nepali diaspora in Qatar and the prospects of Qatar-Nepal relations. He has written and translated numerous books and articles focusing on the Nepalese community, Arab literature, and Islam. Prof. Miya also gave lectures in different seminars and conferences both at home and abroad.
Prof. Miya has a total of 37 books to his credit, published in different languages including Nepali, Urdu, Hindi and Arabic. He has published more than 500 articles and has appeared in more than 100 media interviews on various issued both in digital and print platform. His most acclaimed books include Khutbat E Ali Miya (Echo of Ali Miya) that extends over 6000 pages, published in Urdu, when Prof. Miya was just 22, and Trainer of Modern Arabic Language, and the recently published work Maile Dekheko Qatar (2020) based on his 15 years of experience of living in Qatar. The last named book encapsulates the history of Nepali workers in Qatar, their contribution, and the diplomatic ties between Nepal and Qatar. His book Arabi Guru is about the Arabic language intended to teach the basic Arabic to such workers. The Qatari Labour Law Prof. Miya translated into Nepali is another significant work that familiarizes the Nepalese migrants with the laws of Qatar.
Honours and Felicitations
In recognition of his social and humanitarian contributions, Prof. has been honored with different national and international awards some of which include Raf Humanitarian Service Award 2009, NHRF Literary Award 2021, Islamic Journalism Award, and Social Activist Award. In 2023, he has been named Peace Ambassador by Global Peace Circle.
Prof. Ali Miya was honoured by the Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Al Thani Humanitarian Foundation for Excellent & Glorious Services for the community. Received a Certificate of Appreciation from the German Board of Consulting and Training. He is also a member of International Human Rights Commission. As a member of the commission, Prof. Miya advocates for human rights and reaches out to Nepali people in need, offering them help at difficult hours, especially to the Nepali migrants in Qatar.
Philanthropy and Social Services
Dr. Mohammed Ramzan Ali Miya plays a vital role in fostering community ties as an active participant in the International Nepali Muslims Society (INMS). Through his engagement, he not only contributes significantly to the organization’s events but also fortifies the bilateral relations between Nepal and Qatar, enhancing mutual understanding and cooperation. His efforts are significant in promoting cultural exchange and supporting the Nepalese diaspora in the Gulf region.
Prof. Miya is also the founder of an organization named Al Haramain Academic Society, Nepal. He is also known as the person who raised as much as 30 million Qatari Riyal (824061 USD) as a charity fund through a Qatari television talk during 2015 earthquake in Nepal. He has also been appreciated for his crucial role during FIFA World Cup 2022 that was held in Qatar. He has not stopped investing his time and energy for the common good of humanity even to this day.
For the readers of Sahityapost, we hereby present an interview with the very versatile personality Prof. Mohammed Ramzan Ali Miya, taken by Sahityapost correspondent Shilash Thapa Tamang.]
Sir, we would like to hear about your childhood. Under which circumstances did you grow up? What was your early schooling like?
I was born in a middle class family. My father used to work overseas to keep the family going. I received my primary education from Shree Pashupati Aadarsha English Boarding School, Jorpati, Kathmandu and learned Urdu from a Sunsari-based madrasa called Darul Uloom Noorul Islam. Being born a Muslim, reading Quran was a daily practice. Besides, I read books extensively and always remained a topper during my school days. Seeing my hard work and excellence in study, I was offered full scholarship to study in Pakistan in 1995. So after attending Madrasa Islamic School based in Jame Masjid near Ghantaghar in Kathmandu, I left for Pakistan where I completed my MA in Arabic Literature and Islamic Studies from Karachi University. After eight years of my stay there, I returned to Nepal in 2003 and worked for a couple of years in different educational institutions.
You have authored around 37 books and have produced numerous newspaper articles. How did you develop such passion for writing?
I grew up reading Bhanubhakta and Balkrishna Sama, and listening to Narayan Gopal and Bhakta Raj Acharya. They planted the initial seed of art and literature in me. As I have mentioned earlier, reading the Quran was another profitable thing I did in my young days. This enhanced my reading habit. Later, I read Arabic literature more and it developed as a passion. The Arabic works I read mostly dealt with history, people and culture. I cannot pass by without naming Sayed Abul Hassan Ali Hasani Nadwi when it comes to literary inspiration. He was a prominent Islamic scholar of the twentieth century to whom I owe the greatest inspiration in my life.
If it doesn’t sound offensive, I should say, during my formative days I became a victim of humiliation several times just for being a Muslim. The Muslims are still a minority in Nepal today but those days, their condition was even worse. Ours was the single Muslim family in the town. I was subjected to several discriminations at the time. My friends humiliated me saying that our practices were just the opposite of theirs. All these humiliations also inspired me to write. By writing, I wanted to prove what we were not and we truly are.
Now, let’s come to the humanitarian work that you have been doing for the past few decades. How did you think of working for humanity?
It’s Islam that shaped my character. It taught me that there is nothing above humanity. It pushed me to become responsible towards every human being, regardless of caste, colour and creed. As I grew up among Hindus, I also got to know so much about Hinduism which ultimately helped me to do comparative study between Hinduism and Islam. Women and children are prioritized in our culture. So Islam showed me the path of righteousness and led me to the service of humanity. Islam doesn’t tolerate any action against humanity. Like it strictly prohibits interest on loan. Irresponsibility towards the society is unpardonable. So all such humanitarian values taught by Islam gave me the heart to lend my helping hands to the people in need.
You have been living in Qatar for over a decade and half, helping Nepali workers in various ways. Among your several works, the translation of Labour Law of Qatar is quite significant. What inspired you to translate the Labour Law?
Qatar has a large number of Nepali people working there, and this number is second, India being the first. Around a dozen of literary organizations and more than 170 social organizations, run by the Nepalis, are active at present day in Qatar. Their roles are very appreciative. Yet, when it comes to their working conditions, the Nepali workers in Qatar seem to be suffering in many ways. I have identified four major causes responsible for such plight of the Nepali migrant workers in Qatar. The first one I would say is language problem due to which the workers cannot make themselves informed about the culture and the law of the foreign land. Lack of skill is another cause. Likewise, ignorance of the Qatari law has led many Nepali expatriates to suffer from various problems, in some cases, even death and imprisonment. Seeing this, I thought of translating the Labour Law that would educate all the migrant workers about their rights and duties. I also wrote many other books related to the Arabic language aiming to remove linguistic barriers.
What sorts of responses have you been receiving from Nepali migrant in Qatar, especially on the works you have been doing for their benefits?
To speak the truth, I am not a known name to my own community. Instead, people from the non-Muslim community have acclaimed my work. I don’t know what politics hides behind it. But I have good commendations for my works. I feel satisfied in this context.
Let’s turn to Nepal and its development trajectory. Where, do you think, it lags in terms of policy and its execution?
Nepal is a piece of heaven, a land of opportunities if looked from Qatar. We have everything gifted by nature: forest, water, land, herbs and innocent people, but mismanagement is making this beautiful country a land of chaos. We have not been able to take optimum advantages of our friendship with prosperous countries like Qatar because our government doesn’t have a good foreign policy. Also Nepal’s policy towards foreign employment should be amended. It should be like that of Philippines’. My concern is to see how the organic apple of Jumla can be brought to Qatar. But we haven’t been able to utilize our resources properly. I have made a slogan: We should have a country like Nepal and laws like Qatar’s.
Finally, is there anything you would like to add?
As someone living in Qatar, I am always ready to serve the Nepali community working or doing business in Qatar. I receive around 100 calls every day from Nepali workers, mentioning one kind of problem or another. I try my level best to address the problems. I would say one should be active to achieve something. I was active; so I got the opportunities I bagged. The flame of humanity should not extinguish at any rate!