Bhopal: “Indian Muslims have the capability and intellect to provide leadership to the whole world. They have an open thinking mind and accept science as Quran has unmistakably supported the discoveries of science, the signs of which were enumerated in the holy book more than 1400 years ago. We must try to recapture that spirit of openness and scientific enquiry which characterized the golden age of Islam”. The above observation was made by Ajay Singh Yadav, a retired IAS officer and former Collector of Sehore, while addressing a seminar on “Positive Politics to Total Empowerment” here at Acharya Narendeo Library hall, on Sunday.
The seminar was jointly organized by Popular Front of India, (PFI), and local Muslim Coordination Committee. It was presided over by Bhopal Shahar Qazi Janab Maulana Abdul Lateef Khan Qasmi Sahab. Popular Front of India chairman E. M. Abdul Rahiman, who hails from Kerala, delivered the key-note address at the seminar. While E. Abubacker, former chairman and now Executive Council member PFI, and vice chairman A. Sayeed also expressed their views on the topic.
It may be mentioned here that this regional seminar is prelude to the National Political Conference at Calicut in Kerala on February 13, 14, 15, 2009 being organized by Popular Front of India. The objective of the conference is to create awareness about the right of the people to have political power and mobilise the marginlised classes towards positive politics for total empowerment.
K.S. Dhillon, former Vice Chancellor of local Barkatullah University and former Director General of Punjab Police, also reiterated Yadav’s statement saying that the Indian Muslims can give world leadership as Islam allows them to have free and open thinking. However, they have been kept at bay from power, he lamented.
Yadav, castigating the caste system in India which is divided by caste, said no country in the world has ever witnessed the development of caste to this degree. He held Manu Smriti, Purans and even Vedas responsible for the caste system in Hindu society. He said only Upanishads have principles of Hinduism which do not propagate caste system in society.
Islam is based on brotherhood and equality of all mankind. But the Muslims of India are also divided by caste such as “Ashraf” and “Ajlaf”, he remarked.
He recalled that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had pleaded for annihilation of caste system altogether. He had termed it as a system of graded inequality. Ambedkar had said: “Caste has nothing to do with religion. Religion is a system based on spiritual principles but caste is a social system. Every religion has social mores but these should be distinguished from spiritual principles”.
According to Mahatama Gandhi, Yadav pointed out, separate electorate for the depressed classes seemed to consider them as untouchable in perpetuity. He did not support the concept yet he was not against the caste system, Yadav revealed.
Yadav refused to accept Shudras (pure) by birth as prevalent in Hindu society but by character alone. He quoted Martin Luther King who had said: ” I have a dream that one day in this country a man will be judged not by the colour of his skin but the content of his character” on February 18, 1963.
Yadav said: ” I also have a dream that one day in India a man will be judged not by his caste but by his character”.
He questioned how will this happen? He opined not by political means but also by increasing awareness among all the people. He said a social reform movement has to be started of the kind as in the past it was done by Vidyasagar and Ram Mohun Roy. Today India is divided not just by caste but also by religious bigotry. Not just by religion but also by different languages. Not just by different educational and economic attainment.
“We have to bridge all these differences and bring people together”, he appealed.
Meanwhile, Dhillon addressing the assemblage said Indian Muslims have suffered a lot due to partition of the Indian Sub-continent. The main concerns of Indian Muslims is marginalization educationally, economically and politically
He unequivocally said terrorism has no place in Islam. If some Muslims have indulged in terrorism then Christians, Jews and Hindus are also no saints on this count. He lamented there is a whispering campaign against Muslims which has put them on the back foot.
A sick mentality is very dangerous for Muslims with which they are afflicted these days, Dhillon said, add added, Sikhs were also victim of this in the 1980s and feared of loss of identity, he pointed out.
Dhillon said instead of forming a separate political outfit for themselves Muslims should assert pressure on the mainstream political parties, except Bharatiya Janata Party, to have their share in power as per their population percentage.
Prof. Zamiruddin, a social activist, strongly pleaded for developing social leadership in Muslims which is virtually absent at present. He said level of tolerance which is very low, should be increased. This would help in solving many problems and lead to communal harmony in society. “Without tolerance the world cannot survive”, he quipped.
He demanded that communal violence should also be treated as terrorism because it is also very dangerous to the country.
B. K. Damle, Additional DGP (Retd.), said fruits of democracy have failed to reach down to the last man in the queue due to faulty implementation of the various development schemes. Corruption, political interference and official indifference are the root causes for it, he pointed out.
Damle said Panchayat Raj was ushered in with much fanfare by the Indian Constitution’s 73rd Amendment Act 1992. It evoked mixed feelings. The governments of the day want to implement it not within the framework of the Constitution but within the framework of the rigid caste system due to which the benefits are not percolating down to the level where they are needed most.
The ruling party, it seems, does not want the slackening of the grip of the upper castes on the poor downtrodden for the fear of upsetting the local economy which is based on harassment and exploitation. Thus, are able to control the vote bank. Panchayat Raj has degenerated into vote bank politics, he averred.
He said SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities are suffering due to lack of political clout. This group of the people is at the lowest rung of the power ladder. Only 10 per cent of the population is reaping the bumper harvest of power and pelf whereas 60 per cent of the people living below the poverty line are finding it difficult to make both ends meet.
Damle maintained that the ruling class in India does not want the empowerment of the have-nots. The use bombastic language to move the gullible masses to the highest pitch of emotions to grab their votes and capture power and then forget for next five years. All types of attempts are made to woo the masses including exploitation of religious sentiments. Political power has, thus, got concentrated in the hands of certain powerful political families who promote interest of their kith and kin at the cost of the nation. Half baked politicians are taking over the reins of power, he opined.
Pervez Bari conducted the proceedings while Saeed Bilgrami, secretary MCC, proposed vote of thanks. ([email protected])