A Muslim Vision of Secular India


Book: Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Roadmap
Author: Dr. Javed Jamil
Pages: 352
Price: Rs 540
Year: 2016
Publisher: Misson Publications, New Delhi
Available from The Milli Gazette / Pharos Media
ISBN 81-88268-13-5

Syed Zubair Ahmad

It is not a hidden fact that the Indian Muslims are faced with problems on all fronts - be it social, economic or political - and they do not enjoy the place they deserve in the country. There is a long list of issues and problems, their protection is at stake and they are leading a deplorable life from social and economic points of view. There has been a general realization during the past few years that the Sachar Committee and the Ranganath Mishra Commission have pinpointed the issues and problems plaguing the Muslim society to a large extent but these two reports have become victims of politics.

What shall be the role of the Indian Muslims in their country which is progressing leaps and bounds? What shall be their destiny and approach map to reach it? What shall be the basis of their progress from Muslim point of view, and what shall be the parameters of growth and progress in the light of Islamic rules and within the framework of Indian constitution? These are some of the salient features of Dr. Javed Jamil’s latest book, “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Roadmap”. The book is an upgraded and modified version of the document under the same name which the author had released about three years back in the midst of huge enthusiasm in the community.

The book is important because it is the first comprehensive approach paper trying to analyse, from a Muslim perspective, India’s development goals and how to develop a national level holistic strategy for the socio-economic empowerment of the Muslims within the parameters of Islam, Indian culture and national interests.

The book makes a critical analysis of the national policies and presents a Muslim perspective of the direction in which the growth is taking place in the country. It also critically analyses the problems of the country related to economic disparity, erosion of human values, spread of social evils and the overriding negative impact of economic forces. It critically analyses the problems Muslims are facing and discusses the various issues involved. It covers a wide range of issues from religious to modern education, employment, absence of Muslims in corporate sector, problems in medium and small-scale industries, issues related to Islamic finance, urban and rural development, health, importance of the NGOs sector, empowerment of women within the Islamic framework, social and security issues, issues related to media and much more.

The book presents a plan which views Muslims as the second largest majority of the country capable of influencing all policies and programmes being pursued while regarding Muslims as a “minority” in India from the constitutional point of view which awards them a plethora of rights. The book emphasises that, as poor and deprived, Muslims are part of the majority of the country which remains poor and deprived in almost all walks of life.
The Approach Paper also discusses in detail the ideological perspectives of the issues confronting the country and the community, and argues for a planning that combines ideological and practical approach to achieve the ultimate objects in minimum possible time.

Another point that the book highlights is that the development of the country cannot be complete unless (1) it involves and benefits all the sections of society in an admirable way; (2) it takes along all the communities of the country without anyone of them feeling alienated, discriminated against or left out; (3) It covers all the regions and states of the country; (4) It gives an equal emphasis on urban and rural development; and (5) It ensures that the growth and development take place without erosion of the moral values, a strong family system, social peace and Indian cultural framework. It presents a plan, on the lines of the approach paper of the Planning Commission, covering all the aspects of Muslim life.

The book argues that we should make a plan without compromising with the basic principles of comprehensiveness, simultaneity and distribution of work followed by sustained monitoring and reassessment.

A salient feature of the book is the facts and figures that are collected from several sources and their analysis for arriving at the possible solutions. The book has covered not only the Sachar Committee and Rangnath Commission reports but also recent studies like the Kundu Commission Report and analysis by Saleh Shariff. It argues that the political empowerment of Muslims should occur in a way that not only Muslims get due share in governance but they should play a proactive and meaningful role in all the national and international affairs. It wants Muslims to develop into a dynamic, globally-thinking community, aggressive in making efforts on all fronts not only for their own development but also for the establishment of a purer, healthier and more peaceful country as well as the world.

The Approach Paper gives more emphasis on solutions than merely analysing the problem and suggests innumerable measures in various fields. It emphasises coordination between governmental and community institutions as most of these measures require efforts at both the levels.

The author talks of empowerment on four fronts: Ideological, Social, Economic and Political. Success cannot be achieved unless Muslims focus on both their own role as well as on the role of the government. While dealing with ideological empowerment, he gives an aggressive response to the machinations of the forces of Hindutva.

Dr. Javed Jamil’s book will be studied with great interest. It remains to be seen up to what extent the Government of India makes use of this effort. The book offers a blueprint, rather a roadmap to the progress of Muslims in the country. Now it is up to the decision-makers to see that adequate measures are taken for its implementation.

The concluding remarks by the author are worth reproducing here:

“This paper is in effect a preliminary description of Muslim Vision of India. India of their dreams is the leader that guides the mankind to developing a healthier, purer, and more prosperous and more peaceful world, with the fruits of development reaching every human being living anywhere in the world irrespective of his caste, colour, creed and faith. Muslims do know that, despite having emphasis on certain aspects of development, their vision is not entirely different from the vision of their fellow countrymen belonging to other religions; and this is why they have reasons to feel confident that their vision of India will be realised one day with the support of all Indians. Indians on the other hand need to realise that India cannot reach its destination until Muslims become active partners in this pursuit. Muslims need the support of their countrymen and the countrymen must not fail them.”