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Despite umpteen efforts during the last few decades, Indian Muslims still do not
have any real and meaningful presence in the print media even after 50 years of
Independence. This is especially true about our English-language publications
which remain sub-standard and group- or region-oriented at best. Our presence in
the electronic media is close to zero. We do not even have a powerful Urdu
newspaper to project our views and triumphs, examine our failures and enlighten
and guide our readers about the challenging days ahead, our responsibilities in
a changing world and role in the new millennium.
The state of the Muslim media in
other Indian languages, with the exception of Urdu and Malayalam, is even worse.
And this is despite the fact that Muslims represent about one-sixth of the
country’s population. With a strength of over 150m, we are the biggest
‘Muslim minority’ in the world and the second largest Muslim community after
Indonesia. Instead of leading the World of Islam intellectually, as we did until
only half a century ago, we stand reduced today to a self-pitying marginalized
Our Muslim media, if such a thing exists, is normally absent from events and
issues that really matter. It fails to cover and chronicle even the Muslim
community’s own news, out of sheer ignorance or misplaced notions or biases.
Our newspapers and journals depend heavily on the non-Muslim media for both news
The secular, or ‘national,’ Indian media is on a mission to malign and
harass Muslims. It keeps discovering one trivial issue after another in order to
keep us on our psychological toes. Real Muslim issues, problems and triumphs
rarely catch the attention of this arrogant media. Only aggressive or
capitulative Muslim voices and trivial issues, that somehow malign the Muslims
at home or abroad, seem to capture the attention of this myopic media which
exhibits hysteria at the drop of a hat.
What we need is a strong and hard-hitting English-language newspaper to
project our views on national and international issues and affairs and to
chronicle the triumphs and failures of the whole Muslim community in
India and the diaspora, the Subcontinent, and the Ummah at large.
The proposed newspaper will be truly professional, non-sectarian and
forward-looking. It will carry the essence of Islam while living upto the spirit
of the modern age. It will help our new generations plan a worthy future for the
Ummah and motivate our self-seeking elite to serve the community in
whatever humble capacity possible.
A daily newspaper is the need of the hour but this is not practical at the
moment. Even if we were able to mobilize the huge funds required to launch a
quality daily newspaper, we will not be able to harness the committed and
qualified manpower which is even more important than the financial aspect of any
project. It is, that we started with a fortnightly newspaper, a tabloid,
which will pave the way, insha Allah, for a weekly newspaper in a few
years’ time as we go along and train a committed and trusted team of writers
and journalists and build a chain of correspondents all over the country and
aboard. Over the years, insha Allah, we will also be able to publish
periodicals in English and other languages for women, youth and children. We are
already publishing journals and books on various issues and aspects of Muslim
interest. We already host a number of websites. This work will be accelerated
and soon many more theme-oriented websites will be hosted. Our programme
includes the launching of an Internet-based Islamic TV station.