We must look beyond narrow community issues, say India’s Muslim leaders

Epigraph:  “Love of your country (patriotism) is a part of your faith.” The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)

Source: Times Of India

By Mohammed Wajihuddin,

MUMBAI: On December 6, the 20th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, a group of principals and teachers of Muslim-managed schools congregated at Anjuman-e-Islam School not to mourn but to listen to a research scholar from IIM Ahmedabad. Abrar Ali Sayed ”the first Gujarati Muslim to enter the portals of the institute”asked the audience to go beyond pedagogy and prepare vision statements, collaborate with non-Muslim institutions and aim for excellence.

Twenty years after Babri, a positive change seems to be enveloping the Muslim mind. Having been led up a disastrous path, through rhetoric and drumming-up of real or imagined injustices by its myopic leadership, the community has finally shaken off its victimhood mentality and is keen on prospering.

“The emotional issues of the 1990s, like rebuilding the masjid, no longer excite the Muslim youth. They are more concerned about cornering the opportunities available today,” says Amir Idrisi, president of the Association of Muslim Professionals, the NGO that organised Sayed’s talk.

“The emotional issues of the 1990s, like rebuilding the masjid, no longer excite the Muslim youth. They are more concerned about cornering the opportunities available today,” says Amir Idrisi, president of the Association of Muslim Professionals, the NGO that organised Sayed’s talk.

The NGO’s latest project is Vision 2020: Role of Indian Muslims. “We are aiming to create an army of confident, motivated, career-oriented Muslim youth which will set the agenda for the community by 2020,” says Najeebur Rahman, AMP member and director in an IT company. “We are holding meetings across the country and creating a network of Muslim professionals whom we can engage to mentor young Muslim students,” says Idrisi. Vision 2020 states that attempts will be made to make Muslims self-reliant rather than fight for reservations. “Reservations are like crutches, and a community cannot be confident if it depends on crutches permanently,” says Rahman.

Indeed, quite a few battles are now being fought in education, economical and political empowerment. On December 6, instead of symbolically mourning with black badges or holding morchas, a delegation of Muslims in Mumbai met the chairman of the state minorities commission with a request to expedite the process of establishing a chapter of Aligarh Muslim University ( AMU) in Maharashtra.

Read more in Times of India

The Muslim Times’ Chief Editor’s comments

The demographics of India are inclusive of the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.21 billion people (2011 census), more than a sixth of the world’s population. Already containing 17.5% of the world’s population, India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2025, surpassing China, its population reaching 1.6 billion by 2050.[4][5] Its population growth rate is 1.41%, ranking 102nd in the world in 2010.[6]

India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by 2030, India’s dependency ratio should be just over 0.4.[7]

India has more than two thousand ethnic groups,[8] and every major religion is represented, as are four major families of languages (Indo-EuropeanDravidianAustro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman languages) as well as two language isolates(the Nihali language[9] spoken in parts of Maharashtra and the Burushaski language spoken in parts of Jammu and Kashmir).

Further complexity is lent by the great variation that occurs across this population on social parameters such as income and education. Only the continent of Africa exceeds the linguistic, genetic and cultural diversity of the nation of India.[10]

Muslims form 14% of the population according to the 2001 census and have a higher growth rate than the Hindus, Christians and Sikhs.  The Hindus presently form some 80% of the population.

The Red Mosque in Delhi

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