Its 70 years since India achieved, its Independence from colonial rulers. A good part of the Indian diaspora has now progressed beyond their expectations. It is time for us Indian Muslims, to take unemotional view of our progress since Independence. Let us accept the fact that we are behind the other communities, on parameters like Education, Hygiene, Birth Control, Finance etc.
Let us not forget what Abul Kalam Azad said so eloquently, in his Presidential Address to the Fifty-Third Session, of the Indian National Congress Ramgarh, 1940.
” Islam has now as great a claim on the soil of India as Hinduism. If Hinduism has been the religion of the people here for several thousands. of years, Islam also has been their religion for a thousand years. Just as a Hindu can say with pride that he is an Indian and follows Hinduism, so also we can say with equal pride that we are Indians and follow Islam”.
While owing our allegiance to India, it is important that we progress on all social parameters, that puts us on equal footing with Hinduism. Here are a few parameters that we need to reform, for us to gain a good standing vis-a-vis Hinduism.
Education : More and more youth of our community needs to get mainstream education instead of getting their education at Madrasas. An alternative to this, will be to reform the Madrasa education with introduction of modern education, Vocational Training/ Trade Craft. Lets be a Hafiz-a-Quran, but let us also be world wise.
Leadership: At the time of Independence we had the likes of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Zakir Hussain among others, who were not only Islamic Scholars, but also forward looking and were responsible for establishing great Centre’s of learning like IIT’s, Jamia Milia Islamia , Aligarh Muslim University among others. All we have today are nothing more than rabble rousers whose attention is at gaining votes than doing good for the community. We need Leaders who can grow the community in all respects rather than using the community as a vote bank.
Women: There is a quote “If you educate a man, you educate a person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”. It is time that we reform various aspects of our community when it comes to Women. Women need access to more education, access to proper medical facilities, freedom to pursue a career. Muslim Clergy must also soften their stand on the Triple Talaq issue.
Politics: As of today we are vote banks to various Political Parties who offer us nothing more than a few crumbs at the end of the day. Our community needs politicians in various parties who will represent our interests forcefully as well ensure various programmes reach the really needy. We need to get out of the vote bank mentality and vote for a candidate who will serve our needs in respective constituencies.
Co-existence with other religions: Different religions have different rituals , beliefs. That should not incite hatred in us, against those religions. They might find many of our customs and traditions reprehensible. The Clergy should take the lead in encouraging inter-faith harmony rather than fanning communal tensions.
We are all human beings and no human is perfect nor are our religions. This imperfectness should never lead us to a state of distress, but motivate us to reach the higher echelons of achievements.
Wishing everyone on the occasion of 71st Independence Day