Muslims are forced to carry unfair burden of past: Hamid Ansari


While lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-publicised ‘objective’ Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas, the Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday said that this could only be achieved after the State corrected its mistakes on ‘deprivation, exclusion and discrimination.’

While delivering a key speech at the at the golden jubilee celebration of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat in New Delhi on Monday, the VP said, “The default by the State or its agents in terms of deprivation, exclusion and discrimination (including failure to provide security) is to be corrected by the State; this needs to be done at the earliest and appropriate instruments developed for it.”

He also asked Musslims to look within themselves to analyse what they needed to do to address “identified shortcomings” adding that “corrective strategies, therefore, have to be sought on category-differentiation admissible in Indian state practice and hitherto denied to Muslims (Scheduled Caste status) or inadequately admitted (segments of OBC status).”

Ansari said that the available data made it clear that a high percentage of Muslims fell into these two broad categories adding that ‘compendium of official reports’ made it abundantly clear that ‘principal problems confronting India’s Muslims’ were ‘identity and security; education and empowerment; equitable share in the largesse of the state; and fair share in decision-making.’

He said each of these were the right of the citizen.

“The shortcomings in regard to each have been analysed threadbare. The challenge before us today is to develop strategies and methodologies to address them… Political sagacity, the imperative of social peace, and public opinion play an important role in it. Experience shows that the corrective has to be both at the policy and the implementation levels; the latter, in particular, necessitates mechanisms to ensure active cooperation of the State governments.”

He said Muslims were forced to carry the burden of the past and it was extremely ‘unfair.’

Ansari said, “made to carry, unfairly, the burden of political events and compromises that resulted in the Partition. The process of recovery from that trauma has been gradual and uneven, and at times painful. They have hesitatingly sought to tend to their wounds, face the challenges and seek to develop response patterns. Success has been achieved in some measure; much more, however, needs to be done.

“It is evident that significant sections of the community remain trapped in a vicious circle and in a culturally defensive posture that hinders self advancement. Tradition is made sacrosanct but the rationale of tradition is all but forgotten. Jadeediyat or modernity has become a tainted expression. Such a mindset constrains critical thinking necessary both for the affirmation of faith and for the wellbeing of the community.”

Ansari added, “The failure to communicate with the wider community in sufficient measure has tended to freeze the boundaries of diversities that characterise Indian society. Efforts may be made to isolate the community; such an approach should be resisted. The Indian experience of a large Muslim minority living in secular polity, however imperfect, could even be a model for others to emulate.”