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INDIAN MUSLIMS AT THE MILLENNIUM
By A G Khan
|At the turn of century it is time for the Muslims to review the past in order to prepare for the challenges of the new millenium lest we should get ourselves reduced to an insignificant non-entity in a fast and competitive world.
What are the challenges that the Muslim World shall have to face on equal footing in order to survive triumphantly?
The second millennium began with the advent of Muslim rule in India culminating in a rich civilization of assimilation and creative cohesion. The Qutb Minar, the Taj Mahal, evolution of Urdu, Ghalib, Meer and Iqbal, are the precious possessions of the past. The millenium ends with TADA and Bombay Blasts. In the rise and fall of the Muslim rule are lessons for the third millennium. An over- indulgence in pleasures of flesh, and complacency brought about this downfall.
Yet, optimism is an integral part of the Islamic faith. Inspite of the tides of intellectual harakiris such as communism, blind nationalism or pseudo-secularism, the Faith has survived the onslaughts of time. It is imperative for us to realize our potentialities and cash in on the opportunities to establish ourselves as a super power. The Information Technology has both the promise for triumph and the threat of enslavement. The Slave Dynasty began an epoch in India in the second millennium and if we are not vigilant the third would enslave us.
The world economies are reeling under the tyranny of recession. The Muslim World has abundance of natural resources and manpower to enable us become a decisive force. By pooling resources and planning marketing strategies the magic lamp can be controlled. Muslim banking, backed by IT wizards, can create a climate of affluence and assurance.
First of all, we will have to change our mindset. How long shall we continue to lunge at each other’s throat on petty issues? How long shall we condemn hapless women to the clutches of courts for settling alimony / maintenance cases? We have squandered a few centuries by our complacency and lethargy, remaining cheerfully fatalists. Technology is no longer Devil’s net. That the spiritual and the temporal (technological) can go hand in hand has to be recognized. We have also to demolish the myth of intellectual backwardness.
The richest man in the country today is a Muslim thanks to his vision and ability to foresee the investment opportunities. He did not amass wealth through any scam or havala racket. Nor does he pride in an extravaganza of pomp and show. The father of the Pokharan II is also a Muslim — an unassuming and modest person. The triumph of Khans — Aamir, Salman, Shahrukh in Bollywood; the conquest of the music empire by AR Rahman have been spectacular. AZ Qasim began India’s tryst with Antarctica and Azharuddin brought India a few spectacular victories. Abid Husain as an ace diplomat and A.M. Khusro as an economist made significant contribution. Our valour at the Kargil is both a manifestation of our patriotismas well as a demonstration of our prowess. Then, why should false propaganda of ‘backwardness’ deter us? It is a deliberately planted myth to perpetuate our enslavement. Muslim boys have been topping the merit list for last three years in Maharashtra — a state where Muslims have suffered the tyranny of the modern Shivshahi for a decade. Muslim girls have also been winning prestigious positions in academics. For almost a decade there were only two JRF recipients in a university and both happen to be Muslim girls. The present president of the Indian Association for Canadian Studies is a Muslim woman.
But under the tip of the iceberg is a substantial number of persons who are victims of discrimination. There has been a ceaseless campaign to dishearten and depress Muslims so that they become marginalized. Their competence over the decades has been deliberately ignored and their due privilege denied to them. In every walk of life you will find competent persons eclipsed by same ‘successful,’ well-connected persons. Behind all successful persons there is always a Muslim who struggles to keep this person bask in his glory. The Milli Gazette must be a platform for such substantial manpower to assure them a helping hand- at least to cheer their falling spirits. We have also to launch a struggle to rescue the victims of TADA and communal carnage. To ensure justice and succour to the unfortunate ones should be the motto of the Milli Gazette.
While the BJP has neither diluted its agenda to harass Muslims on non-issues, there has been no leniency on vital issues either. Govindacharya and the entire VHP brigade are committed to their ‘pound of flesh.’ The commander, for whom ‘The Sangh is my soul,’ has puraskar (award), tiraskar (insult) and parishkar (patience) for the Muslims because the Qur’an preaches them ‘violence.’ Puraskar has been doled out to a few (we need not name); tiraskar has been our eternal reward; the conversion brigade is all poised to give us ‘noble’ sanskars by enlightening us to chant Vande Mataram and Saraswati Vandana. As long as we have Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati, toying / distorting history shall be an obsession carried out with missionary zeal. Constant vigilance alone shall save us from an imminent saffronization. Let us not forget our own agenda — to galvanize our brethren to strive and struggle to utilize our potentialities to the fullest. Let education trade, industry be our instrument of change. Let us march, determined, into the next millennium as the Qur'an enjoins us to do: ‘Verily Allah does not change the fortune of a community unless they strive for it’ (13:11).
Dr AG Khan teaches English at Vikram University, Ujjainq