Develop strategies to address issues confronting Muslims: Hamid Ansari

Muslim minority living in secular polity should even be a model for others to emulate

New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday made a strong pitch to develop strategies to address problems of identity and security confronting Muslims in the country and sought an "affirmative action" from the government, which espouses the policy of 'growth for all'. He said that exclusion and discrimination including failure to provide security has to be corrected by the State at the earliest and appropriate instruments developed for it.

The Vice President was speaking at the golden jubilee celebration of the All India Majlis-E-Mushawarat, an apex forum of Muslim organisations.

"The default by the State or its agents in terms of deprivation, exclusion and discrimination (including failure to provide security) is to be corrected by the State. This needs to be done at the earliest and appropriate instruments developed for it," he said.

Ansari said the challenge before the nation is also to develop strategies and methodologies to address the issues confronting the Muslims such as empowerment, getting equitable share in states wealth and fair share in decision making process.

"The official objective of 'sabka sath sabka vikas' is commendable; a pre-requisite for this is affirmative action to ensure a common starting point and an ability in all to walk at the required pace.

"This ability has to be developed through individual, social and governmental initiatives that fructify on the ground. Programmes have been made in abundance; the need of the hour is their implementation," Ansari said.

Observing that the imperative of social peace is political sagacity, the Vice President said the Indian experience of a large Muslim minority living in secular polity should even be a model for others to emulate.

The community comprise 14 per cent of the country's population. Ansari also reminded of the Kundu report of September 2014 which had asserted that "development for the Muslim minority must be built on a bed-rock of a sense of security". The Kundu Committee was set up to review the implementation of the Sachar Committee report.

Turning his attention to the community at large where "modernity is a tainted expression", the Vice President said, the role of Mushawarat becomes critical which should go beyond looking at questions of identity and dignity in a defensive mode and explore how both can be furthered in a changing India and a changing world.

This effort has to be made in the context of Indian conditions and the uniqueness of its three dimensions such as plural, secular and democratic, he said. His comments came as he observed that significant sections of the community remain trapped in a vicious circle and in a culturally defencive posture hindering self advancement.

"Today, we have to admit that both firqa bandi (groupism) and zaat (caste) identity is a ground reality, tradition is made sacrosanct but the rationale of tradition is all but forgotten. Jadeediyat or modernity has become a tainted expression.

"Such a mindset constrains critical thinking necessary both for the affirmation of faith and for the well-being of the community. The instrumentality of adaptation to change is frowned upon or glossed over," he said.

He said efforts to isolate the community should be "resisted" as failure to communicate with the wider community in sufficient measure has tended to freeze the boundaries of diversities that characterise Indian society.

The event was also attended by JD(U) Parliamentarian K C Tyagi, retired justice Rajinder Sachar, civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad, All India Muslim Majlis-E-Mushawarat (AIMMM) president Zafarul-Islam Khan, its former head Syed Shahabuddin and representatives of various organisations attached to the apex body.

Sachar and Setalvad were amongst 23 personalities from different walks of life, the AIMMM named for its life-time achievement awards in recognition of their contribution towards the society.

"It is a big thing for us. We are ordinary social activist and if such a big council has decided to honour us with the award, it will give us the courage (to continue work)," Setalvad reacted on being named for the award.

( Source : PTI )
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