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Published in the 16-31 Oct 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

IMI gets go ahead

By S. Ghori

New Delhi: Life is a continuous struggle even under unfavourable circumstances. This difficult art of life demands wisdom, untiring efforts and a strong will power. Since 1947 Indian Muslims are on the fast track of educational, economic, political and social decline and backwardness. Riots and wide-spread prejudices have further added to this sorry state of affairs. Conditions are definitely bad but should we allow this process of decline to continue because of our insensitivity and indifference or should we take some positive and constructive steps for improvement?

Discussion during the IMI meeting presided by Maulana Salman Husaini. To his left is convenor Zafarul-Islam Khan

Discussion during the IMI meeting presided by Maulana Salman Husaini. 
To his left is convenor Zafarul-Islam Khan.

In the second meeting of the Indian Muslim Initiative (IMI) which was held in New Delhi on 3 October, delegates decided that we should rise above the prevailing circumstances and work to change our destiny. Efforts were made many times at different places and at different times during the past few decades to bring about a change but these were mainly political and demand-based moves which resulted in no worthwhile results probably because not much efforts were made to change the conditions ourselves. Therefore now we should unitedly try to take positive steps to change and improve our conditions. Instead of inviting senior leaders of traditional organisations, it was considered appropriate to invite representatives of the younger generation and leaders of NGOs who are more dynamic and open-minded in today's world.

Non-resident Indian Muslims in Gulf countries had convened the first meeting of the IMI at Jeddah during 16-18 June this year, for which they had invited selected delegates from India. The first brainstorming meeting identified four fields for improving the lot of Indian Muslims. These were education, economy, Muslim women and media. It was decided that instead of making demands on the government, a 15-year plan should be drawn up for the development and stability of Muslims in these four key fields and practical steps should be taken in stages. It was also decided that persons selected for drawing up such plans and for their implementation should be experienced, sincere and free from sectarian, regional or any other prejudices so that they could sincerely work for the overall interests of the community. For this purpose it was decided to form a broad-based organisation and persons supporting such programmes should execute the plans without ulterior motives. This organisation will, therefore, represent various shades of people, opinion and associations who will work together irrespective of their ideological and organisational affiliations. In Jeddah conference, this movement was called "Indian Muslim Initiative", though the proper name of the organisation has not yet been finally decided.
In this second meeting of IMI, the decisions and resolutions of the Jeddah conference were confirmed and rules and regulations, a proper name, identification of the problems related to the above four fields, formation of sub-committees for planning and execution, provision of resources were discussed. It was agreed in this meeting that there should be complete transparency in all IMI activities, abiding by national laws, long-term planning and proper methodology for the selection of sincere and devoted people to execute programmes. 

Delegates agreed that instead of irrelevant and unnecessary discussion, practical steps should be taken at the earliest for the implementation of the plan to raise the economic conditions of the community to such a level that no Muslim in cities or in villages should need Zakat. It was also decided to form working committees without wasting any further time.

Muslims are the country's biggest minority and their progress and welfare will play an important role in the progress and development of India as a whole. Delegates fully agreed on the IMI’s resolve in its vision statement "to serve India and humanity".

A number of proposals were discussed for the solution of the economic problems of Muslims, women issue, and for the social and educational problems of the community. Practical suggestions were made for Muslims' meaningful and large-scale participation in the field of media such as TV, radio, newspapers, Internet etc.

Some delegates expressed doubts whether the movement will progressively move forward democratically in a transparent way and will become effective in the practical field because of interference by some people as seen in Muslim organisations. The meeting appointed a 5-member committee to advise on the formation of a democratic and dynamic structure of the organisation and to take practical steps to get it registered at the earliest.

Will Indian Muslims be able to come forward to put these concepts and plans into practice? It was decided in this meeting to hold workshops in important cities of the country for this purpose so as to familiarise the community with the philosophy and objectives of the movement and motivate them to take part in its practical implementation. MG editor, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan was asked to continue as the protem convener of the organisation until its registration. He has been authorised to formulate the basic structure of this organisation with the help of the 5-member committee of which he is a member.

In the Jeddah meeting about 35 local and foreign delegates had participated. In the second meeting three delegates came especially from Jeddah to participate in the meeting which was attended among others by Maulana Salman Husaini Nadwi, Maulana Zeeshan Hidayati, Maualna Ataur Rahman Qasmi, MH Zulqarnain, Hafiz Rashid Chaudhury, Dr Ataat Khan, M. Iqbal Yousuf, M. Abdur Raqeeb, Dr M. Faisal, Dr Hasan Raza, Dr Rahmatullah Abdul Ahad, MA Siraj, Amanullah Khan, Maulana Mujtaba Farooq, Sayyid Saadatullah Husaini, Abdus Salam Puthige, Dr Taha Mateen, Navaid Hamid, Abdur Rashid Agwan, Dr Zaki Kirmani, Dr M. Rafeeq Sarkhwas, Mushtaq Ahmad Alig and Uzma Naheed.

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