Special Reports

“India 2047” doc on empowerment of Muslims released

New Delhi: Empower India Foundation (EIF) held here a day-long conclave on Independence Day during which an impressive 250-page document titled "India 2047: Empowering the People" was released. Speaking after releasing the document, Justice Rajindar Sachar said that Empower India Foundation has done such a stupendous job which the governments of the day could not do in the last 70 years of Independence. "India 2047" project is like taking up the cudgels to empower Muslims and other marginalised communities of India, he said adding, a civilised nation is one where the safety of minorities is guaranteed and where they get equal opportunity to prosper. This is a litmus test for good governance of any nation. He lamented that Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC), a statutory body to check discrimination against minority communities in jobs and education, as recommended by his panel has not been established till date despite the UPA-II government's acceptance of the recommendation.

“India 2047” document being released

Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani, general secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, presided over the opening session. The keynote address was delivered by JNU's Prof. Amitabh Kundu, chairman of the post-Sachar Evaluation Committee.

Maulana Wali Rahmani in his address described the India 2047 Document as a mission which will enable Muslims and other marginalised people to prosper and walk shoulder to shoulder with other communities by getting empowered by their own efforts. "Aaj Ka function Aik Naee Subah Ka Aaghaaz Hai" (Today's function is the beginning of a new dawn), he said adding that if Muslims change their mindset, they can tread on the path of success by their own efforts.

Maulana Wali Rahmani said that in the wake of the Sachar Report many big announcements were made by the Central government but except scholarship schemes none benefitted Muslims directly.

Prof. Amitabh Kundu, while delivering his keynote address explained with the support of statistics the present position of Muslims and where they stood today vis-à-vis SCs/STs. He said that the sense of insecurity prevailing among Muslims will have to be addressed on a priority basis as in the case of SCs/STs if the vision of an Inclusive India has to be achieved.

E. M. Abdul Rahiman, chairman of EIF said there is no doubt India is developing and the wealth of this nation is growing. However, growth and development at the cost of social justice is a real challenge. The gap between privileged and marginalised sections is growing. Along with tribals and Dalits, Muslims are victims of this unethical and unbalanced growth. He said: "Our dream is of a strong India. Strength of the people is the real strength of the nation. Our vision is of an all-inclusive Just India because the nation will remain handicapped till all sections are equally empowered. The Project Document 'India 2047: Empowering the People' is a community-centred project, but not a communal project; in fact it is a national project", he stressed.

Abdul Rahiman pointed out that alliance building with other classes and communities is a pre-requisite for the empowerment of any community in a plural society like India. Responsibility lies at the top and bottom levels. At the top are the duties of the governments of the day while at the bottom are the duties of concerned communities. This task cannot be accomplished by any single group, institution and organization. He said, "Let us act as change-agents by volunteering, networking, micro-planning, execution, grass-root level system building etc".

Mohammad Raphy, Executive Secretary of EIF, presenting the Project activities report said that as the first step of the initiative a concept paper was prepared and presented in November 2013. Later on brainstorming sessions were held during January-August 2014 on plans to empower the Muslim community in all spheres of life by 2047 - the dawn of the second century of India's Independence. Six national seminars, more than 50 get-together programmes across cities in 15 states, consultation with eminent experts in social development etc followed.

He said EIF's focus areas are: 1. Governance; 2. Economy; 3. Education; 4. Health; 5. Media;  6. Women; 7. Children & Youth; 8. Civil Rights; 9. Broad based Alliance; 10. Social Reformation and 11. Culture & Heritage. Three Support Areas viz. Human Resource Development, Finance & Marketing and Organization were also identified for the successful implementation of the project. About three years' arduous task culminated in the final draft of the Project report which was completed in June 2016.

Project Document Editor, Prof. P. Koya, briefly introduced the document. He said, the project carries a vision, mission, focus areas, objectives and initiatives. It carries dreams and hopes of the poor. The document has 19 chapters and is not merely a vision document but a vision-to-action project. The role of EIF is providing conceptual, intellectual and motivational support, creating awareness and reaching out to local teams, helping micro-planning, promoting pilot projects; identifying partnerships and implementation agencies, he said.

Other dignitaries who spoke in the occasion included: Prof. Mohammad Aslam, Vice Chancellor of IGNOU; Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis, former Vice Chancellor of AMU; E. Abubacker, Chairman of Rehab India Foundation; Kamal Faruqui, former Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission; Adv. Sharfuddin Ahmed, vice president of Social Democratic Party of India; Navaid Hamid, president of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Prof. S. Sumayaa, Principal of TBAK College for Women, Tamil Nadu, Prof. Nishath Khalida Parveen, Principal of Abbas Khan College, Bangalore.

A seminar on the theme "Opportunities and challenges in community empowerment" was held in the afternoon. It moderated by Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, Editor of The Milli Gazette.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies (IOS). He presented a statistical analysis of some most vital areas of deprivation which seek systematic intervention by the Muslim community.  Two presentations were made by Dr. Lubna Sarwath, an economist from Hyderabad, and Mr. Nainar Sultan of EIF on different aspects of the seminar themes.

In the panel discussion, Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammad, Honorary Secretary MESCO, Hyderabad, Prof. Shakeel Samdani of AMU, and Abdul Wahid Sait, National secretary of Popular Front of India participated.

Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan in his presidential remarks pointed out the example of Palestinian people who are much ahead of even the Israelis in the field of education. This has happened after the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1948 when the Palestinians decided to give top priority to education in their scheme to survive and beat their rivals.

At the end, E. M. Abdul Rahiman announced that implementation of projects has been planned in six phases of 5 years each. The phase 1 is from 2016 to 2020. He said as a model to the upcoming interventions, and as a test phase, seven initiatives were identified in different states. These centrally monitored projects will supplement the list of action items already taken up with various agencies during 2015-2016. He also announced an advisory board of the EIF to guide and oversee the project activities with Maulana Muhammad Wali Rahmani as the chairman.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 September 2016 on page no. 13

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