The Spirit of Independence

I WISH I could go back in time to the dawn of 15th August 1947, and feel the first rays in an independent India. Sixty four years later we seem to have taken our independence for granted. Heroes of the freedom struggle have given way to corrupt politicians. Security has never been worse. Rising prices of commodities have affected almost every Indian. The country has produced more billionaires during the last decade than all the previous put together, but the poverty ratio has not changed. This is surely not the vision of our founding fathers!

The vibrant democracy, inspite of its shortcomings, seems to be our only saving grace. As for the rest, we need to do a little more ourselves. If Anna Hazare can take a stand against corruption, why can’t we stand up to corrupt practices.

As an Indian Muslim I’ve had my share of highs and lows. My disappointments over the years have been few and temporary, but my hope in the country is permanent.

These voices of some of my fellow countrymen, from across the globe, strengthen my faith in this great nation.

August 15th is a very important day not only for the history of India but also as a day of freedom. There is nothing better than the feeling of being free.

To me both Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose were equally important as freedom fighters. Gandhi ‘s policy was centred around peaceful ways whereas Bose never shied away from using force. For a complete victory we need both.

India has many states and languages, but barring a few conflicts and issues, there is so much harmony. Illiteracy seems to be the root of all evils. If we can eradicate illiteracy it would help reduce corruption, racism and poverty in our country.

If we consider the year in the context of the Independence Day then in my opinion our year should start with 15th of August. As a poet I would like to say-

‘Ab ke naya saal aisa nazar aaye
Pichhle sab salon se badla sa nazar aaye

Ham ka jazba ho baaham ham sab ke
Na ho koi hadca ayodhya-o-gujarat ke jaise
Rishton ko joda jaaye sakht zanjeer se aise
Ke phir se tootkar kadi koi na bikhar jaaye’

Abrar Ulhaq, property consultant, Dubai (originally from Etah, UP)

To me August 15th is an emotional and significant day as an indian. I still remember the pride with which we re-ran the special assembly back home (after school) to keep the celebrations going. I cherished winning the elocution competition on ‘the’ occasion — the once in a year event. Nothing was bigger than that!

My favourite freedom fighter is the Mahatma. The man who started it all, and the man revered by us all as ‘bapu’. He is perhaps the greatest icon of leadership in this imperfect world. He took the definition of inclusive leadership closest to perfection.

As a kid I never felt any discrimination, perhaps chastity of thoughts reigned supreme. It feels strange now when people smile at you sheepishly every time India beats Pakistan. The same people get embarassed while criticising Pakistan in front of me, as if I am not an Indian. Sadly, Indian independence is more about Pakistan and less about India or the British imperialism. It appears funny though, half the country would love to migrate to London if given a chance! If only there was no partition, Muslims would have been treated as more Indian (or more patriotic).

Having said it all, the very fact that I can level criticism through any medium, albeit constructive, without fear is what india is all about.

Ahmad Mehdi, works for Ricoh India, New Delhi

The word ‘freedom’ is very significant to me and therefore the date. There is a lot of sarcasm around as to what we’ve achieved in the last 64 yrs but I would still prefer where we are than being ruled by the British.

I remember visiting Abba’s office (district courts) on this day and the ‘Jai Hind’ salutes all around.

Mahatma Gandhi as a freedom fighter stands out for me. His fight always started with his inner self and was built on the philosophy of attaining will power or controlling your ‘Nafs’.

My work gave me the opportunity to live and explore different parts of India. Its so colorful. To discover and enjoy India you need many lives. Although my religion doesn’t allow me to say this, but if I had to be reborn I prefer to be born again in some part of India.

I think Indian muslims should open their doors more and intermingle with other communities. The Ghettoization is not helping them in any way!

Amir Naqvi, works for Honeywell, Dubai (originally from Safipur, UP)

In many aspects India is still struggling with slavery, only the masters have changed. August 15th seems to be just about organising parades and distributing sweets. This day must be a guiding light for a brighter India.

Our school celebrated Independence Day by organising a parade and distributing sweets among the students. I was entrusted to not only sing a patriotic song but also to lead the parade with full police uniform.

Bhagat Singh is one name which left a deep impact on me. It could be because I’ve heard so much about him since childhood. But, his role in the freedom struggle indeed needs much appreciation.

I studied at ‘Saraswati Sishu Mandir’, an RSS backed school, so there was naturally some discrimination especially during the parades and exam marking. Beyond school it was business as usual.

I feel our culture and food stands out compared to other countries. It’s only corruption which fails us. If we can remove that then there’s no denying that India is great.

Dr. Mohammad Vaseem, post doctoral fellow, South Korea (originally from Mankapur, UP)

If you consider the magnitude of the achievement, August 15th is a very significant day. The relevance seems to have been lost in recent times.

I think the turning point in our freedom struggle was the Indian Mutiny of 1857. It gave hope to Indians that the Britishers could be overthrown. Revolutionaries like Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, and Ashfaqullah Khan instilled fear in the hearts of the Britishers. By the time Gandhi came, the Britishers were already in the process of moving out plagued by their domestic problems.

I love the unity in diversity of this country. If you are in pain, the first person who comes to your help could be of any religion.

If given a chance I would remove all the current politicians, especially those above 45 years of age. We still are not fully independent! We seem to be ruled by corrupt politicians whose actions are alarmingly similar to the Britishers. The Britishers looted India and sent the loot abroad our politicians are doing the same. They stash their black money outside India.

I have personally seen the kind of talent we are losing to corruption. The day we can wipe it out would be the day we will truly be independent. One Anna Hazare cannot do it, we have to change our mindset first.

Fasih Ahmad, works for Ozonebarter, Hongkong (originally from Lucknow)

August 15th means a lot to me being an Indian and knowing the country’s history.

I don’t have any favourites when it comes to our freedom fighters, quite simply because I don’t know what exactly each stood for.

I don’t know about the rest of India but Bangalore has always been this migrant town, and now a city. I have been lucky not to have any discriminatory experience that may have left a mark.

I think democracy is the best thing about this country and poverty the worst.

Fiza Ishaq, independent researcher, Bangalore

August 15th holds a big significance in my life as it symbolizes our freedom from the suppressive British rule. One feels very proud to be an Indian, especially on this particular day.

I’ve fond memories of people lining up on street pavements to watch the Independance Day parade. The section displaying Indian weaponary from the parade broadcasted by Doordarshan fascinated me.

Subhash Chandra Bose is the freedom fighter I admire the most as I do not believe in Gandhian philosophy.

I like the harmony that exists between people of different religions and cultures in India. It’s only the poverty, and to a certain extent, the hatred against the Muslims which saddens me.

Irfan Kazmi, works for Alhamrani Universal Co. Ltd., Saudi Arabia (originally from Lucknow)

Even though Muslims face some discrimination in India, I would want to believe this is a global phenomenon. It’s quite human for one to discriminate on the basis of class, caste, religion or colour. I do feel things would have been far different under the British rule.

Subhash Chandra Bose was the real freedom fighter. Gandhi to me as a national hero was more to do with politics. The Britishers didn’t leave India because of Gandhi and his Satyagrah. They were already on their knees because of the second World War. Also, India was not a viable option for them anymore. They were concentrating on the gulf more at that point of time. Even if we do credit Gandhi for our Independence, how long would have we survived without a competent national army.

If I am not living in places like, Kashmir, the North East and Naxal affected area, I think India is one of the best places to live anywhere in the world. I only wish I could remove the ‘chalta hai’ attitude of our people.

Sabir Khan, accountant, Pune

I remember enjoying the extra holiday we used to get in school on this day. As a kid, August 15th looked important and I used to feel proud with the small flag in my hand and a laddoo in my mouth.

In my opinion Subhash Chandra Bose was the most impressive among the long list of people who fought for India. If he had been around, India would have been a different place.

As a Muslim I’ve never felt discriminated in India. But I do feel, given a demanding situation my Muslim identity may limit my chances of fighting back effectively.

The never say die attitude of the common man who works on the Indian streets, fighting daily challenges, amazes me. Inspite of their hardships they smile and dance to Bollywood tunes.

Poverty remains our biggest stumbling block. We can still fight it, though. If every MLA is entrusted with the task to move just five families out of poverty in his constituency every year, it can make a big change. He can do so by helping them find employment within their area. If society starts supporting the underprivileged, India would change for better.

If every MP is entrusted with the task to improve the living conditions of any one town/locality during his tenure by ensuring proper supply of essential amenities, it would make a big difference.

Shahnawaz Mehdi, works for Nissan Middle-East, Dubai (originally from Lucknow)

August 15th to me is freedom, some patriotic songs and a day off.

I admire Bhagat Singh the most. His idea of freedom was very original. He was the one who highlighted the difference between violence and self defense.

Glorious history of India is a matter or pride. It’s the poverty which saddens me no end.”

Shah Zaman Rizvi, works for Pure Gold Jewellers, Dubai (originally from Lucknow)

August 15th is important for the very fact that we achieved complete authority over our own country on the day. But it also makes me sad that we did not utilise this power appropriately. India would’ve been a super power had it not been the dirty politics that now runs in it’s bloodstream. I hate the fact that it has spread it’s tentacles to defense, health and other areas. Even the kids now know that bribery works wonders.

As a Muslim we did face issues while searching for a rental place, but I respect the wishes of the people. They have a right to rent out their house to whom they please. It’s not a big deal to me.

I love our culture and the brotherhood that still exists, no matter what people say or do. I’m also in awe of the religious tolerance we are melted into. It’s a perfect example of how a true human should be.

Sukaina Merchant, event planner, Dubai (originally from Mumbai)

August 15th seems to have lost its significance. Like all businesses I close my office on this day but in my view we should work more than usual instead, and help India grow.

The memories of the day are mostly from the school days. When I was in the Government college we used to get four laddoos in a pink envelope.

I feel there is nothing in India which other countries do’nt have. I just like India because I was born here. It’s my motherland!

I only wish to remove corruption from the country.

Tariq Mumtaz, IT consultant, Meerut, UP

August 15th is like the birthday of a person who is very close to heart. I remember going out for parades and flag raising ceremonies on this day.

Subhash Chandra Bose to me was a true freedom fighter.

As a Muslim I did face discrimination a few times but that didn’t stop me from admiring the Indian culture.

I like the music which we are mixing up with the west. Our big problem seems to be only corruption. Take that out and India is a heaven.

Taskeen Jamali, works for Ford Motor Company, Ontario, Canada (originally from Moradabad, UP)

Being our Independence Day, August 15th automatically becomes significant.

For me Subhash Chandra Bose was a real fighter.

I think discrimination does exists in India. During the last semester of my MBA, I was told to opt out of the interview with a leading employer, which had come for the campus recruitment, as they don’t hire muslims. The institue’s director didn’t want me to waste my time.

I like the simplicity and diversity of my country, and wish I could wipe out communalism from this land.

Toufique Khan, works for Mashreq Bank, Abu Dhabi (originally from Bahraich, UP)

Honestly August 15th is like any other day for me except getting a public holiday. May be the true meaning of the day has been lost.

I remember the essay writing competitions we had in school and the patriotic songs and movies being played on Doordarshan that day.

Bhagat Singh and his team tops my list of freedom fighters. He carried the spirit of a great warrior. A fearless soul, an inspiration for the youth of India.

Barring a stray incident at the IGI Airport, Delhi, my Muslim identity has never been a problem for me in India.

I cherish the bond of culture and friendship between Muslims and Hindus. If I could, I would remove corruption and hate killings in India.

Urooj Ikram, homemaker, Ankara, Turkey (originally from Aligarh)

As an indian I am proud of what our fellow Indians did 64 years ago, but when I see today’s leaders celebrating 15th of August ( with smug faces in crisp kurtas ), it looks like a slap in the face of this day’s spirit. There is hardly any difference between them and the ones we fought against to gain our freedom.

I remember as a kid we used to bunk classes to practice the National Anthem and march past drills. Today no sweet tastes as good as those four laddoos on the morning of 15th of August.

Rani of Jhansi appeals to me as a freedom fighter. Girl power maybe!

On a personal level, I’ve never faced any problem in India being a Muslim. In fact, the way we are discriminated here in USA, India feels like “apni gali” (next lane).

I love the simplicity of Indians. It makes us vulnerable and gullible at times, but its priceless!

I wish I could change our system, they way it works. Corruption is not an individual’s practice, it’s a tree which branches out.

‘Hum pe mushtarka hain ehsaan gham-e-ulfat ke (read it ‘gham-e-siyaasat ke’)
Itne ehsaan ki ginwaaon to ginwaa na sakoon’

Zainab Khan, homemaker, Louisiana, US (originally from Aligarh)

The significance of August 15th cannot be expressed in words. The feeling of being the citizen of a free country is enormous.

I remember celebrating it with lots of fun in school. I used to prepare a speech to be delivered during the school assembly. We looked forward to the parades, and scout and guide camps associated with the day.

To me all freedom fighter contributed towards one cause, so can’t really differentiate between them. But I do admire the trio of Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah khan and Thakur Roshan Singh.

I like the famous Indian jugaad, which simplifies so many things. The talent, so readily available in every nook and corner of India and selfless love of the people amazes me.

Beaurocracy is a bane in this country. The paper work need to be abolished to at least check some corruption.

Zartab Jafri, works for IAP HR Solutions, Mumbai

I’m signing of with this couplet of the revolutionary poet Akbar Allahabadi which beautifully expresses the feelings of an Indian Muslim-

“Paamal hain magar hain sabit qadam wafa main
Hum misle-e-sang-e-dar ke is aastaan par hain”

[Though crushed, we are firm in our loyalty
We are like a rock at the threshold of our country]

Jai Hind!

Wikileaks Has Plugged Few Holes For Indian Muslims

By M. Zajam,

India and Indians hold West and especially USA in highest regards. We always look westward for appreciations, recognitions and ideas. Any appreciation received from the West especially USA is much valued here. We are so much influenced by the USA that now every major policy decision is taken keeping USA view in mind. During recent Obama’s India visit, India media debated whether Obama will use the “K” word or not and his opinion about the India candidature to US security council permanent seat.

Wikileaks has placed few US diplomatic cables originated from India in public domain. These cables have brought discomfort to Congress and BJP. But surprisingly a few leaked cables have brought relief to Indian Muslims. This cable was sent by David Mulford to US State Department in December 2005.

Cable Text

“India’s over 150 million Muslim population is largely unattracted to extremism. Separatism and religious extremism have little appeal to Indian Muslims, and the overwhelming majority espouse moderate doctrines.”

“With Indian Muslim youth increasingly comfortable in the mainstream, the pool of potential recruits is shrinking, while Muslim families and communities provide little sanction or support to extremist appeals.”

“Islamic extremism is not popular in India and most adults are not interested. This forces extremists to pitch to young and naive audiences who may be more amenable.”

—-

Above view expressed by former US ambassador about Indian Muslim’s rejection of extremism and is quite contrary to image portrayed by right wing parties and certain section of media.

Earlier bomb blasts were blamed blindly on Muslims and innocent Muslim youths were locked up. Whole community and religion was blamed for either supporting terror activities or not doing enough to stop it. Few parties and organization held the notion that “all Muslims are not terrorist but all terrorists are Muslim.”

It took some time for Muslim community to get grasp of the situation. Muslim community and religious leaders campaigned actively to change the perception and isolate any extremist element in the community. They held close to 40 anti-terror rallies all over the country and issued fatwa denouncing terrorism. The massive public gatherings in May 2008 at the Ramlila Grounds of Delhi and in November 2008 in Hyderabad have helped in mobilising the Muslim masses against terrorism. Imams at the local Masjids also got involved actively in this task and spread the message of peace. Community themselves initiated neighborhood watch schemes to keep unwanted elements out.

George Bush reportedly introduced Manmohan Singh to his wife, Laura, as “the prime minister of India, a democracy which does not have a single Al Qaida member in a population of 150 million Muslims”.

USA was convinced about Indian Muslim rejection of terrorism but Indian leaders and media were not. We never heard these encouraging words from Indian leaders or even intellectuals. None of them came out and vouched for Muslim’s integrity. Muslims were left to fight these twin battles all alone, one was to counter the propaganda and other to isolate extremist element in the community.

Earlier, all the blasts were blamed on extremist Muslims but 2008 Malegaon blast changed it all. Malegaon blast investigations led to extremist Hindu groups. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit are the main accused. After their arrests all right wing parties and group like RSS, VHP, Hindu Mahasabha and Shiv Sena came out openly in their favour. BJP President at that time Rajnath Singh declared “those believing in cultural nationalism cannot ever take to terror”. BJP Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani forcefully took up the alleged torture case of the Malegaon blast suspects, Lt Col Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya with PM Manmohan Singh. After this, National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan, along with Intelligence Bureau chief P.C Halder, called on Advani at his residence with all the evidence of Malegaon Blast case which Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) led by Hemant Karkare was investigating.

A TV channel broke the story of extremist Hindu group plot to target Vice-President Hamid Ansari and planning an underground outfit to kill Muslims. The channel was attacked by the RSS workers. RSS initially accused the opposition and the media for conspiring and targeting Hindu leaders and saffron-robed sanyasis” and now they maintain that terror and religion should not be mixed and the word Saffron terror should not be used.

Cable Text

“India’s Muslim population is estimated to be as large as 150 million (the second largest in the world after Indonesia), and suffers from higher rates of poverty than most other groups in India, and can be the victims of discrimination and prejudice. Despite this, the vast majority remain committed to the Indian state and seek to participate in mainstream political and economic life.”

—-

This observation comes when Indian Muslims are asked to prove their loyalty to India time and again. This clearly shows that inspite of abject poverty and discrimination, Indian Muslims faith on Indian state is unshaken.

Right wing parties and organization continue to blame the government for minority appeasement. It was difficult to understand what kind of appeasement brought Muslims to become worse than dalits, who have faced discrimination for thousands of years.

Muslims continue to use the legal and political means to address their economic and social problems. They have high hopes from government, judiciary and media. They have used legitimate means like protest rallies,signature campaigns and legal route to press for their demands be it implementation of Sachar Committee report, Babri Masjid demolition case, Batla House encounter, detention of innocent youths, demand for reservation or other demands. Whereas Jat had cut off water supply of Delhi and threatened to block supply of vegetable, food and milk to press for their demand of reservation. Jats even threatened to to disrupt the Commonwealth Games if their demands were not met. Gujjars in Rajsthan blocked and disrupted the main rail routes and roads for days demanding reservation. Other marginalized section have taken up arms in form of Naxalism. PM Manmohan Singh termed naxalism as “The single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country”. Naxals are active in around 200 districts of India. They claim to represent the most oppressed people in India, those who are often left untouched by India’s development and bypassed by the electoral process. Invariably, they are the Adivasis, Dalits, and the poorest of the poor, who work as landless labourers for a pittance, often below India’s mandated minimum wages. Thousand of Indian lost their life in this battle including 76 CRPF jawans, who lost their life in deadliest single strike against government forces in April 2010. Right from political leaders, intellectuals to religious leaders have sympathized with the naxalites.

Cable Text

“The Indian media has published colorful stories implying that Madrassas are recruiting centers for Islamic terrorism and that many are funded by Pakistan’s ISI.”

“The accounts are mostly anecdotal, however, and there has been little or no hard evidence linking Indian Madrassas to terrorist recruitment.”

—-

This observation also breaks the myth propagated by certain section of Media and right wing parties. During NDA regime, Madrasa were the targets with L K Advani taking the lead in the attack. He as Home Minister had termed the Madarasa as breeding ground of extremism and dens of Pakistani espionage and training ground for the terrorists

Cable Text

“Attempts by extremist groups to recruit children from Muslim homes are likely to run into a wall of opposition from parents who would see involvement in extremism as counterproductive and a threat to future success of their children. This means that extremism is most attractive to children from families that are so poor that opportunities for education and advancement are all but non-existent.”

———-

It is the fact the poor are most vulnerable to extremist groups. Though majority of Muslim population living in abject poverty they have manage to keep these groups at bay. This shows that inspite of living in hopelessness they have faith on Indian government and system.
Muslims have continued to be loyal and proud citizen of India. It is high time that their loyalty test is put to an end. Few members of other communities who are much better off are indulged in all kinds of anti-national activities like corruptions, scams, siphoning off money to Switzerland, tax evasion, adulteration of milk and food, hording and making spurious drugs, but their loyalty are never in doubt. Their actions are taking India down the slope.

Hopefully this US convictions reflected on this cable will help Muslims in regaining some credibility which they lost during smear campaigning. Their loyalty test will be over for once and all. It is imperative that Muslims are not kept away from the development. Inclusive growth will be the real growth for India. Muslims have no doubt in their mind about their Indianness and they just want others also to not to doubt. Politicians, intellectuals and media need to work towards undoing the damage done by malicious campaigning against Indian Muslim. Muslims are ever hopeful, optimistic and faithful, now it is turn of the government to pass this faith test.

Abolishing Our Existing Thought Patterns

By Wasim Ahmad,

How we look at things is extremely important. In a discussion about our established institutions like the age-old habits there is bound to be sharp difference of opinions. There will always be two ways to react – emotionally and reasonably. Among the established institutions, madrasaas are a case in point. There cannot be a debate about the fundamentals of Islam. But an institution established for the various needs of a society will and should always be under the purview of debate and also drastic changes – if the need be. We are not ready for it. We mix a lot of issues when we debate a topic and overlook many others.

We will criticize the Western education – and deservedly so – vehemently and will stop there. We will agree that it makes one selfish and creates workers or clerks for a certain system. But will not take it further. Further with a view to take the best from it and supplement it with what is missing in it. We have a threat perception about almost everything. All our things are under constant danger – all the time. We will really be in a very bad shape without these looming dangers. As otherwise there will be nothing to complain about. We find avenues to pity ourselves and search for emotive issues. We search for the headlines that we love to read.

Duality of knowledge

The separation between deen and duniya is so deep that those who seemingly don’t believe in it and apparently understand the all-permeating spirit of Islam they, too, keep dividing the two. When I hear of deeni rahnumaa’ee, I wonder what we mean by it. We are motivated to lead the world without understanding it first. We are motivated to guide the humanity without speaking its language. And we don’t see the anomaly. We want to groom leaders for the world. And we disregard the laws of nature. We are waiting for our important tasks to be performed somehow miraculously. We want to heal the patient without the slightest pain. We defy the laws of nature and despise the West that utilizes the laws of nature for its benefit. We have a right to curse the entire world but who will guide the world with the right kind of qualifications?

A madrasa student in Bihar

It is not enough to see a madrasah graduate as a university teacher or as a professional worker in an industry etc. We need to get more than that. We need to get the wealth of ideas. We need to get the topmost people from among Muslims in all walks of life. We are not going anywhere despite those few who are earning a decent living. Here the focus is on civilizational goals. At some point of time we will have to do away with the duality of knowledge. As there seems to be a growing realization among the community members. If we incorporate all the subjects and disciplines what we will call those institutions? It is not about the name as it is about the attitude and the way we look at things. The combining of the two streams is a must, however. Which of the two is more in line with our civilizational goals will, however, help in this regard.

There is a question “How two completely different Ideologies can exist side by side?” These are NOT two different ideologies. The Islamic concept of knowledge is extremely vast. Everything in this universe, in the man himself and the history is a source of knowledge, according to Qur’an. You name a discipline and it will certainly fall under the purview of Qur’anic sources of knowledge (Fussilat, 41: 53 and Ibraaheem, 14: 5). This one point we have to understand very well. Only then we will be able to do away with the duality of knowledge and our modern educated will come out of the self-doubt. Only then we will realize that we do need to merge and integrate. “Madrasaas are preserving religion” denotes a mistaken notion. It indicates that Islam is weak and it requires to be safeguarded. Is it really the case? I would reiterate here that Islam is not weak. The Muslims could be. And they actually are. Because they have forsaken the Faith. They have not understood it in its entirety. The very madrasaas which they are seeking to protect and perpetuate have taught an incomplete Islam.

The graduates of madrasaas who have joined the mainstream life (mostly after additional years of studies and with added qualifications) haven’t done the real job i.e. abolishing the dichotomy of knowledge and dispelling the myth of ‘secular’ and religious’ knowledge if they studied Islam very well. Those who have studied Qur’an and Islam for long years they should be in the forefront of the life – as a whole. They should take us further towards the achievement of our civilizational goals. Again, we are missing out on the holistic understanding of Islam and the fact that studying the same Book the Muslims contributed hugely to the world. We normally notice what is happening and do not try to see what should have happened and it hasn’t. Please enlighten us as to which way we can take to the path of progress and discharge our responsibilities as the “best Ummah” (Aal ‘Imran, 3: 110).

Because of the 3-4% Muslims who go to madrasaas, the 96% have a self-doubt. They have delegated all those tasks to that minority which was their duty, too. In Islam it is the individual business. Qur’an clearly says that no “bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another” (al-An‘aam, 6: 164). The ultimate responsibility is that of the individual who is actually the focus. Again we have missed out on this aspect which is against the teachings of Qur’an because it holds the individuals responsible (5: 105, 19:80, 19:95 and 6: 94). My observation is that we are very good at passing the buck. We are masters in this art and are savouring it to the maximum.

My question is why we find only a “little deen”? Why not all the aspects of our life are permeated with the brilliance of this deen. Why despite the presence of thousands of ‘Ulama we have only “little deen”? Shouldn’t we, precisely for the same reason, analyze it a bit more? What is the problem in having more of that deen in all the walks of our life – for our benefit and for the benefit of others?

Priorities

Qur’an does not ask in a single verse to memorize the Qur’an. (Yes, it is important, undoubtedly.) But it obligates thinking and reflection upon it in hundreds of verses. What has happened to our sense of priorities? Where are we heading to? What are we focusing upon? Oblivious of the fact that:
hur halaak-e ummat-e pesheeN ke bood ■ zaaN ke bur sundal gumaaN kardund ‘uood
(Each past nation that ever perished, it perished; Because it ‘misjudged the priorities’.)
(Maulana Rûm)

We are not here to “fortify ourselves”. We are brought up for the entire humanity (Aal ‘Imraan, 3: 110) and guide it towards the Straight Path. We want to “fortify ourselves” and forget the rest! That, too, with a sense of insecurity and threat perception? Why are we threatened (al-A‘raaf, 7: 175-176) we do not analyze the reasons of that and do not plan to rectify the situation.

I would have believed that Qur’an is taught in our madrasaas if we had seen the results. The Book being taught over and over again for so many years should have changed the entire scenario and the Muslims would have truly become the leaders. If they haven’t, then there is something seriously wrong with the way it is taught. We need to consider the fact that the letters (Arabic alphabet) were already there. The words were also there. Qur’an has not used any new alphabet and any new words which were not known to the Arabic knowing people. What is divine about the Book, then? It is the way He has put all of it together – in verses, Soorahs and in the entire Qur’an. There is a problem in our exposition of the teachings and the focus of the Book. The collective spirit of the Book is not taught in our madrasaas. The problem is in our atomistic thinking – as opposed to holistic approach.

There is a problem in the way we approach this Book. We break it into bits and pieces. Its cumulative focus escapes us. Hence, while we do watch the individual slabs of marble we still miss the Taj Mahal. Looking at the entire Book is a difficult task. Our rising from downfall is not easy either. Regaining the lost glory is more difficult than gaining it the first time. This partial outlook is what we need to abolish. What we have done to the Book of Allah is reflected in all aspects of our life. No aspect of our collective life is worth emulating by anyone. We don’t serve as a role model for any people on earth. Muslims are not being appreciated for anything in the world. It is despite the fact that we are teaching Qur’an!

Many have suggested that we need to integrate the teaching of Qur’an and Islam in the curriculum. I am with them. Its modalities need to be worked out. Our real “collective failure” is in not being able to remove the poverty of ideas. We are not short of material resources. We have a shortage of ideas (iflaas-e-takhayyul). With a head on our shoulders we should never complain about the paucity of resources.

We should shift the focus from Urdu to Arabic. This is in addition to the local and national languages. I am not sure what will it mean for Urdu in future but Arabic will take us closer to our vision. I assume so. We need a combination of Arabic and English. At the moment both the languages are mostly treated as mutually exclusive.

Education

We divorce ta‘leem from tarbiyah because of the wrong notion of ta‘leem, which we take only as a means for collecting degrees. Iftarbiyah is important (and of course it is) why should we deprive the huge majority of our students from it? In fact, both – ta‘leem andtarbiyah – are inseparable part of each other. Education is not for degrees and not for jobs. It is for life. Degrees and jobs should come as a by-product.

I fully agree that “You and I are just as obligated to learn Qur’an, Hadith and Fiqh as the students in madrasah. Our great scientists …………… excelled in science, medicine, maths, geography, engineering and other fields”. Hence, we need to “integrate it with other compulsory subjects. That’s what we should think of doing, if we see the importance.” Also, as argued earlier we should not have educational institutions exclusively for Muslim children if we aim at their (our) integration in the larger society.

The Prophet (pbuh) did not divide deen from duniya and deeni from dunyaawi. We need to go back to his message and mission and look at the life in its entirety. The responsibilities which we entrusted to madrasaas we ALL should carry them out. Madrasaas have become an excuse for delegating many tasks which all of us were obligated to carry out.

I often come across the observation that we do not pay much to the instructors of Qur’an or a Qaaree or ‘Aalim. I would like to ask here why don’t we pay less to an IT professional and an MBA? Or the graduates and professionals of any other discipline, as an example? Let us spare some time and think about it as it requires serious consideration. I would submit that it is about indispensability. Apparently nobody is indispensable. But at the same time we are forced to pay more to those who have better skill-sets and who are somehow ‘indispensable’. We normally do not relate. Let us not forget the fact that the example from Sahaabah (companions of the Prophet) and the earlier generations have one very significant point which we often miss out. They were in no way less qualified with their peers in the society in any respect. Their tools and skills were not lower in terms of its currency than those of the rest of the people. Moreover, Islam had given them an advantage over the rest. Did they fight with inferior weapons whenever they had to fight, for instance? The answer to this question will clarify many things. Our “fighters” come to the “battlefield” with the “weapons” of some past centuries. And then we complain that they are out of the race today. And we want them to be rated at par with the rest. We cannot change the laws of nature. Though this is precisely we are trying to.

Memorizing Quran in a madrasa in Bihar

“Why don’t you teach in a madrasah” is a question that has been asked. I can teach in a madrasah. Why not? But I don’t want to do that as the only option for me. I should not be teaching in a madrasah because I am not of much use to the society. Because I have least chances of employability (usefulness) elsewhere. However, in the given situation if I go to teach in a madrasah I will run into problems every now and then. I am not listened to objectively and dispassionately in the community of highly educated and supposedly more exposed and tolerant people. How will any different opinions be tolerated in a relatively closer environment?

The above submission is besides all other considerations. The considerations which our modern-educated want to enjoy to the full and think that the ‘traditionally educated’ should make all the sacrifices. The ‘modern educated’ would like to have the best of both the worlds but the ‘traditionally educated’ deserve the best only in the Next. And in order to perpetuate the same system they will use the best arguments and evidences. I am not sure if it is a double-standard. If it is not, I don’t know what else it is.

“You have benefited from madrasah” means I have lost all my rights to say what I consider to be right. It means the Book I should leave behind. It means that I should only know about the Prophet (pbuh) but should not learn anything from his methodology. “Establish a madrasah” means do not speak. We will not listen to you unless you “do” something. It means “Leave me alone and let me take rest till the time you “do” something. Such suggestions indicate a very serious problem. They indicate that we are still separating idea from action. Removing this notion is one of the challenges that we have.

Please do not assume that the madrasaas are existing on the grounds. Madrasaas exist in the minds first. And only after that we see them on the ground. We see buildings all around us. These buildings are only the replicas of the original buildings which existed in the minds of their designers and makers first. In the same manner we have to build the integrated education system in the minds first. Only then we will see the replicas on the ground.

Every child is an “irreparable giant”. Everybody is unique. The purpose of education is to give full expression to that uniqueness in everyone which nobody else has. The purpose of education is to help a child realize one of his potentialities to the maximum. Only then we will get excellence. How much we are focusing on this significant aspect of education is worth considering.

When we will not get even Imams we will still be getting something from our madrasaas and we know that ‘something is better than nothing’. This is fine. But the question is what we want. Is this what we want? Do we want an Imam in the sense that we are used to or we want those who could lead the world in every single walk of life? If we want our graduates to lead the world – keeping our civilizational goals in view – then we will have to analyze the things more dispassionately. If we don’t want that then our educational institutions are carrying out a “wonderful job”. The choice is ours.

Yes, I am for a wide range of subjects as well as including the children of other faiths. What we call that seat of learning is not a big issue. It is not in the names as it is in the contents. However, please do not let the two streams run side by side. The very existence and perpetuation of the two separate streams will denote and reinforce the duality. It will continue to strengthen the divide in the minds about the knowledge. Our future generations will grow up taking it quite natural and justified. Just as we do. Just as we did.

There is something lacking in both the streams. Why don’t we think of making the two one – and benefiting from both at the same time? The institutions established for imparting knowledge are human arrangements. What is obligatory is seeking and creating knowledge. The four walls and the names given to these institutions are not that important. The ultimate objectives are.

If Aakhirah is important then by the same logic duniya is very important, too. It is so important that the entire career in the Hereafter depends on this ordinary and mundane world. On this Temporary, rests the fate of the Permanent. This is exactly why the life on earth is extremely significant and it should be lived to its fullest contributing to the maximum and making this world a better place to live in every sense. We should do our best to turn it into a “veritable Paradise” otherwise it will be difficult to prove that we are interested in Paradise. If the Almighty will ask that I gave you a world as the place of action and you did not do much to turn into “Paradise” what hope will we have for a Paradise in the Hereafter? Remember why do we forgive the people? We forgive the people because we want to be forgiven by Allah. If we never forgive anyone it means we are not interested in the business of forgiveness. If we are not, why should Allah then forgive us?

Helping the poor and the needy is the responsibility not just of the madrassas but of everybody and all educational institutions. Aren’t we passing the buck here – again?

Muslims don’t have to merely survive “being Muslims because of these madrasaas”. They should thrive in this world – instead. They should lead it. They should make it a better place to live in. They should master all the sciences of the world and become founders of many more. Their recognition is not merely by appearance. The real recognition is by the contribution which they make to the society and the civilization – irrespective of East or West.

If “religion has nothing to do with market” it shows the failure of madrasaas in providing the holistic concept of Islam wherein business occupies a significant position. Business transaction (which does happen in markets) is an important component of Fiqh (al-Mu‘aamalaat). The exposition of Islam is very much flawed. This is why we run into self-contradictory situations – very often. This we will continue to do as long as we keep the deep divide of deen and duniya alive. Islam does not need to be saved in “its original form” as much as the Muslims need to be saved. We have a deep feeling in our hearts that Islam is a weak religion. Islam is not a weak religion. Muslims may be a weak people because they have left (the complete) Islam behind. If they had not, they would have been in the forefront of every aspect of human life and would be leading the humanity by their good examples.

We have to remove the dichotomy of knowledge (deeni and dunyaawi) and the division between deen and duniya. This is the ultimate objective. Nothing else is.


Dr. Wasim Ahmad is the Department Head of Islamic Studies at Preston University Ajman in UAE.

Indian Muslims – Problems And Voting Pattern

Recent election results of Municipal Corporation of Kolkata and other Municipalities in West Bengal were shocking for the Left Front. Of course there are very complex reasons for Left Front loosing its grip over voters of West Bengal. Experts and academics will analyse these results over a period of time. One of the important factors, as admitted by some Left Front leaders also, has been the loss of Muslim votes.

Before the Left Front came to power in West Bengal, it was communally very sensitive state and number of riots had been taking place since, of course, 1947. The Congress Government, for reasons not to be anlaysed here, never showed determination to put down these riots in which Muslims greatly suffered. The Communists had always been sympathetic to minorities and were against communal divide and, much more, against communal violence.

When they came to power in West Bengal they put a stop to communal violence and in past 30 years West Bengal did not see any major outburst of communal violence. The priority of West Bengal Muslims during this period was their security and they preferred to vote for Left Front for this very reason. Also, land distribution brought benefit to a section of Muslims in certain areas and this section was also won over by the Left Front.

Then what went wrong and what alienated West Bengal Muslims from the Left Front? Some reasons are of course common to all people of West Bengal and some are specific to Muslims. We will deal here with these specific problems to understand the Muslim electoral behaviour. Both in Bihar as well as in West Bengal one pattern emerges that to begin with minorities’ top priority is security in view of recurring communal violence.

Bihar has very similar case. Bihar too witnessed great deal of communal violence until 1990. But when Lalu Prasad used MY (Muslim-Yadav) formula for winning elections he too showed determination to put a stop to communal violence in Bihar and for 15 years that he lasted in power, he did not allow Bihar to witness communal frenzy. But after 15 years Muslims deserted him and voted for Nitish Kumar. Lalu Prasad was de-throned.

Indian Union Muslim League's election banner in Malappuram.

In both the states security did not remain top priority as security was ensured but apart from security Muslims have problem of grinding poverty and unemployment. After experiencing security, they want problem of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment to be addressed and that comes to be prioritized. Same thing happened to an extent with Mulayamsingh Yadav in U.P. too. He too came to power in U.P. on ‘MY’ formula but Muslims deserted him when he gave major chunk of jobs to Yadavs and left Muslims high and dry. Muslims switched their vote to Mayawati but she too is disappointing them. One has to see what happens in the next election in U.P.

West Bengal has about 28% Muslim population. It is a big chunk of population with concentration in certain areas like Murshidabad and this big chunk of votes cannot be ignored by any party which aspires to come to power. It is unfortunate that Left Front did not pay adequate attention to economic problems of Muslims and that became a cause of alienation.

The Sacchar Committee data showed that Muslims in West Bengal were far behind, of all other things, even in government jobs and other indicators. The average literacy level among West Bengal Muslims was found to be 57.5 per cent as against national average among them of 65 per cent. It is interesting to note that in Kerala which is also often ruled by Left, though not always, the literacy percentage is 89.4, quite high. And in U.P. and Bihar it is 47.8 and 42 respectively. Thus Bihar is of course far worse in this respect.

Incidence poverty among Muslims in West Bengal has reduced from 53 per cent in 1987 to 44 in 2004 as compared to Kerala from 56 to 31 percent in 1987 and 2004 respectively. And in U.P. and Bihar it was found to be 43 and 57 per cent in 2004. Thus Bihar is again worse. In Government employment Muslims were found to be just 4 per cent in West Bengal which is quite low.

But then West Bengal Government acted fast and gave 10 per cent reservation to Muslims in Bengal. However, it seems it did not have much impact in the present Municipal elections on Muslim voters. May be it will take time to sink among Muslims to create political impact. Also, what happened in Singur and Nandigram some Muslims also lost their land and Jamiat al-Ulama also had joined in protests. Thus Muslims lost faith in the left and switched their votes to Mamta Banerjee.

Now it is a big question whether Mamta will be able to deliver at all. Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad did not go beyond providing security and hence Muslims left them too. But it appears, Mamta too may not prove any better as she has no ideological commitment at all. She is quite mercurial and also she had, in search for power, joined hands with BJP and was part of NDA. She left NDA, among other things, to woo Muslim voters.

One lesson which politicians must learn is that now minority votes, especially Muslim votes cannot be taken for granted by any political party or alliance. When there was no alternative to the Congress up to late eighties, it (Congress) not only became complacent but often manipulated communal sentiments and even local congress leaders joined hands with communal outfits benefiting two ways: by seeking subtle support of such communal organizations (Mrs. Gandhi even sought support of VHP and RSS in early eighties) and also made Muslims feel only Congress is the secular alternative and were forced to support it.

However, this reality changed since nineties and many regional caste outfits after implementation of Mandal Commission Report appeared on the scene and Muslims found other parties to vote for in U.P., Bihar and some other states. That is why the Congress lost power at the Centre and could come to power in 2004 only by forming UPA. Now the left which has always championed minority cause is facing the same situation in West Bengal. Trinamool Congress is wooing Muslim voters as an alternative to the Left Front.

Our political culture, though democratic, is still not all inclusive. Political power and fruits of economic development are monopolized by upper caste Hindus, on one hand, and, a trickle is passed on to OBCs which support some political parties. Minorities like Muslims are left high and dry.

Democracy has no meaning if minorities are not secure and also do not get proper share in economic development in proportion to their population. The Muslims in India are a largest minority, around 15 crore (150 million) and yet are far from being in happy position. Sacchar Committee has shown, through formidable statistical data that they are slipping below dalits.

Now that a modern educated middle class is emerging among Muslims, it is acutely conscious of this reality and would not sit back with folded hands and watch the situation helplessly. Though yet, it is not as influential as the traditional ulama but it cannot be marginalized either. It is articulate and is becoming active. It is, what is more interesting, challenging the traditional religious leadership even on religious issue.

And if modernizations of madrasas, as some middle class Muslims are demanding, goes through it will have far greater impact on Muslim politics and voting behaviour in India. On one hand we have process of globalization and liberalization which tries to marginalize the poor and the weak which include Muslims who are at the bottom. But, and it is important to note, it also increases awareness of their rights through use of modern technology and makes them better organized political force.

Even madrasas these days are using modern technology like computers, creating their websites and discussions are raging on various minority issues which tremendously boosts not only information but also political awareness. Many madrasa graduates are now opting for university courses and imbibing values of modern secular education developing better outlook on democratic and political rights.

Thus our attitude towards minority problems has to change. Indian Muslims have all the advantages of secular democratic culture and cannot be manipulated by traditional religious leaders as in most of the Islamic countries. To the contrary, traditional Muslim leadership can no longer take Muslims for granted. Though India has more Muslims than even in Pakistan yet religious orthodoxy and sectarianism is not as strong as in Pakistan.

Islam, in India, has very different image and Muslims are not involved in any international terroristic activities. In India the Jami’at al-Ulama-i-Hind organized, among Muslims, huge demonstrations against terroristic attacks and even Jamat-e-Islami-Hind also had to accept secular values and is now even thinking of joining democratic political processes which its founder once had declared haram in Islam.

Thus, if secular forces realize involvement of and all inclusive approach to political and developmental processes it would tremendously boost India’s progress. Muslims, like others, can provide great human resources which still lie dormant because of poverty and illiteracy and exclusivistic policies.

Response To A Pakistani View Of Indian Muslims

Indian Muslims Protest Against PakistanDubai-based Pakistani writer Rabia Alavi in a column in Khaleej Times on 1 March 2009 charges that Indian Muslims are hell-bent on portraying Pakistan as a terrorist hub. However, the entire world is now witness for what really Pakistan stands for. Danish Ahmad Khan responds to Rabia Alavi’s article.

“Why have Indian Muslims, most whom seem well-educated and demonstrate sound judgment on all other matters under the sun, suddenly lose sight of their bearings (and manners) when it comes to attacking all things Pakistani, be it the country’s politics, culture, food or fashion. Why are they hell-bent on defying common sense when it comes to writing off a whole country as being a terrorist hub?” This statement from a Dubai-based Pakistani writer Rabia Alavi whose half of extended family are Indians, is really shocking indeed. I don’t know how this Pakistani woman gathered the gumption to dub we, Indian Muslims, as nonsensical and the ones who are ‘hell-bent on defying common sense when it comes to writing off a whole country as being a terrorist hub’. I just wonder why doesn’t this Pakistani writer – who is seemingly possessed with a squint and blinkered vision – see to it that it is Pakistan which is in fact proving to be no less than a terrorist hub when it comes to attacking all things Indian. My dear Ms. Rabia Alavi have you forgotten the 26/11 Mumbai attacks which claimed several Indian lives irrespective of the religions these martyrs belonged to. Which country did these ‘Islamic heroes’ nay ruthless inhuman killers belonged to? Can you deny that these ‘Jihadis’ did not belong to Pakistan? Your Pakistani government has itself publicly acknowledged that these goons hailed from Pakistan, whom it firstly tried to portray as non-state actors. Are YOU a MUSLIM or not? Are the rulers of Pakistan MUSLIMS or not? Does Islam ask to settle political scores by slaughtering human beings whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims? Is this what is JIHAD you Pakistanis call or think so? What kind of Islam are you Pakistanis propagating? You Pakistanis first of all need to get lessons regarding the true teachings of Islam. We, Indian Muslims, really don’t need to take lessons from you all. Your kind of Islam has miserably failed you all no ends, and Pakistan, which was formed in the name of Islam, is fast approaching to don the status of a failed state. Just cite me a single reason as to why we, Indian Muslims, shouldn’t acknowledge and proclaim Pakistan as a terrorist hub.

I simply look askance when Rabia Alavi daringly asks: “But why do Indian Muslims trouble themselves with Pakistan’s worries anyway? Don’t they have enough of their own? Need I remind them how uncomfortable their minority status is for them? Are they not second-class citizens in their own country? Are they not troubled by the countless assaults on the country’s minorities, the destruction of Babri Masjid or the slaughter of Muslims in Gujarat? Don’t they worry about the Modis and Sadhvi Pragyas of their country?” This is simply ridiculous. For your kind knowledge Ms. Rabia Alavi, we, Indian Muslims, don’t ever care about Pakistan or its worries. But, isn’t it a fact that Pakistan is constantly after us trying to create troubles whenever it’s possible. And, 26/11 Mumbai attacks is just another add on in its long list of crimes. Rabia would do well to at least acknowledge the fact that we, Indian Muslims, never sought help from Pakistan or any other country for that matter to take care of our problems. We, Indian Muslims, are ourselves strong and capable enough to tackle our own problems whenever need be. I don’t buy your theory that we, Indian Muslims, are second-class citizens in our own country. Let me state that we, Indian Muslims, are thankful to the Almighty Allah and our country’s system of governance that we exercise our democratic rights on our own free will without any sort of coercion or favour whatsoever. Whenever need be we, Indian Muslims, have changed governments at the Centre and in the states that failed to deliver either in terms of development or providing security to lives of people. Yes, I do acknowledge that communal riots did take place. But, these are now becoming things of the past. Rabia, but what about democracy in Pakistan. Just see how the Pakistani Generals trample your democratic rights at their own free will. It is pitiable that even after 60 years of independence you all are struggling to let democracy prevail in Pakistan in true sense of the term. Isn’t it a sorry state of affairs for your beleaguered country? Don’t you have your own problems? What about Jiye Sindh movement, Mohajirs and NWFP? Aren’t these grave problems for Pakistan which it has squarely failed to handle? What about Pakistani Muslims who are being slaughtered daily by Talibani jihadists. Aren’t you seeing this? Don’t you have the courage to take these Talibani jihadis head on. I know you are meek and a coward. You won’t even dare to write or talk about the tribals in North West Frontier Province of your country Pakistan. If you ever dare to do so, well you know your fate? DEATH at the hands of NWFP Talibani jihadis! Ms. Rabia, I’m sorry to state that YOU are not a real Pakistani as you are writing sitting pretty well ensconced in secure confines in Dubai. And, just look at me. I’m writing my comments sitting in my own homeland. Just look how much guts you possess and what I possess. This is enough to prove that I’m not a second-class citizen, while I just feel sorry about your status at this critical juncture which your country is presently in.

Ms. Rabia Alavi, do you know that the foundations of the so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan was laid by an aristocrat Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who wasn’t concerned with Islam at all except being a namesake Muslim. By the way, don’t you know that fact that your Qaid-e-Azam Jinnah profoundly enjoyed alcohol, never entered a prayer hall or Masjid except for his marriage with Zoroastrian Rutten Bai. Jinnah loved consuming pork flesh and extracted its soup. Don’t you know that consuming pork and alcohol are forbidden in Islam? And, you still revere this Pork eating and wine consuming Mohammad Ali Jinnah – your GREAT Quaid-e-Azam!! Please don’t take my comments as otherwise. I suppose this is what you really asked for while initiating needless debate regarding actions of Indian Muslims vis-à-vis Pakistani Muslims.

New Theme, Some Changes

Indian MuslimsAs you might have noticed we have changed the website theme. We have also dropped the blog from the name as it was getting increasingly redundant as we expand the scope of the website.

The new theme is a work in progress and we will continue adding features to it to make browsing and commenting easy and fun for the readers. Following are some of the important changes that go into effect:

Registration For Comments

One of the distinct features of our website is the large number of comments that add immense value to the original post. However lately comment moderation is becoming more of an issue. Most of the comments violating the comment policy come from folks using random email IDs. Also without registration anyone can use any name to post comment sometimes leading to confusion. By registering and using a specific login for posting comments, one can secure a particular identity. Commenters will therefore be required to be registered in order to be able to post a comment. Please use this link to register. Also comments on posts after 30 days will be closed as discussions become repetitive after a while.

Subscription Feed

Since most of the articles we post here are pretty long and as we are increasing the frequency of articles posted everyday, the daily email digest will become too long. Therefore we will start offering article summary instead of the complete feed. We are sorry to those readers who use Google Reader and other feed aggregators for truncated feeds. We’ll try to find out a solution wherein full feed could be offered for readers using feed aggregators. If you have not yet subscribed to Indian Muslims, we strongly encourage you to do so at subscribe.

Article Submissions

We have actively pursued a policy of giving space to diverse set of voices on issues to get a better perspective. If  you are interested in writing for Indian Muslims, feel free to to drop us a line at editor@indianmuslims.in. Alternatively you can use the contact form. We invite articles on topical issues as well as responses to other articles posted at the website. Over the next couple of months we will be covering India Elections 2009 extensively.

We would love to hear back from you. If there are any features you would like to see at the website, please post a comment at this post.

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The Joy And Pain Of Being An Indian Muslim

Muslim Pot Maker, GujaratFor all Indians the resurgence of India in recent years is an occasion of pride and joy. And so it is for the 140 million minority Muslims in India. It makes Indian Muslims proud to see their country become one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. Also, a few Muslims have achieved positions of prestige in India and there are some success stories. Continue reading The Joy And Pain Of Being An Indian Muslim

That Sense of Insecurity

Madrasa Students“I am a Muslim and profoundly conscious of the fact that I have inherited Islam’s glorious tradition of the last fourteen hundred years. I am not prepared to lose even a small part of that legacy. … I am equally proud of the fact that I am an Indian, an essential part of the indivisible unity of the Indian nationhood, a vital factor in its total makeup, without which this noble edifice will remain incomplete.”

– Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

A recent public opinion poll on a popular Muslim Indian e-magazine tries to ascertain the most important issue that is plaguing Muslim Indians this year. Continue reading That Sense of Insecurity

Indian Muslims Blog – Best Of 2008

Qutub MinarDear Readers,

We were hoping to compile a list of some of the selected posts from 2008 into a nice pdf document as we did last year but due to time constraints we have not been able to do so. However here is a list nevertheless. Thank you for reading.

BOOK REVIEW

The Last Mughal – Inam Abidi Amrohvi

The Problem Of Caste Among Indian Muslims – Ayub Khan Continue reading Indian Muslims Blog – Best Of 2008

We Are Three Now

This Blog is three now! And this year it has grown further in its humble steps of offering a perspective on Indian Muslims that is unique in the internet space. After 663 posts and 11,129 comments, it has significantly grown in its readership through direct visitors as well as email subscribers. It has also succeeded in adding many new authors. Many more people have recognized its presence and many more have appreciated its coverage. 

It is a challenge for a blog like IMB, which tries to give space to different voices through posts and comments, to satisfy all of its readers. While most people have praised the blog many others have questioned many posts that appear on it. Continue reading We Are Three Now