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    May 2015

Indian Muslims: Time to introspect

Editor-Post

According to a recent study, by 2050 India will overtake Indonesia with the largest Muslim population in the world. With a country like India getting this status, the Muslim community will have a greater and more significant role to play in national development. But how can a community help develop a nation when it itself remains backward? Even 60 years after Independence, most Muslims in India still remain at the same place where they were six decades ago. And the irony is that the community itself is also partially to be blamed for it.

A discouraging environment of girl education has stemmed the growth of the Muslim community. Indian Muslims as well as the Government must realize that education is the key to women empowerment. Education can allow Muslim girls to claim their rights and prepare them for the future to assume responsibility as duty bearers for the next generation.  No community can progress if the mother remains illiterate. Educationists opine that mother is the first educator of the child. She is responsible for a child’s upbringing and development. An educated mother can clear her children’s mind from fears, prejudices and superstitions. A mother with scientific knowledge and attitude can teach her children the art of healthy living. Therefore, women education is of utmost importance for the development of society. It is the duty of society and the Government to provide adequate facilities for the education of Muslim women.
 
Also, the modernisation of madrasas is crucial for Muslims' progress. A section of Muslim leaders argue that the teaching of modern subjects such as science and mathematics alongside the Quran is too much of a dichotomy. It is this obscurantism which is making the community backward. But one must realise that modern education along with the knowledge of the Quran will provide Muslims a progressive socio-political outlook as well as help them find jobs and assimilate into India’s success story.
 
 In the absence of modern knowledge, the graduates produced by madrasas are unable to get jobs. Surprisingly, in spite of the Muslims being the second largest population in India, their representation in the country’s bureaucracy and judiciary is negligible. There is an urgent need to bring madrasa students on a par with students in other general educational institutions of the country that would help create equal job opportunities for them.   
 
Another reason for the backwardness of Indian Muslims is that the community, according to independent observers, does not encourage debate and discussion on its religious issues specifically related to women empowerment, modern education to the girl child and also the Shariah. Constructive criticism is essential for the development of any community. Debate and discussions are the valuable tools for raising the standards of a community. By adopting an open attitude to criticism or negative assessment, any community can address its shortcomings. 
 
The Indian Muslims are today at a crossroads. There is a “fostered” feeling of alienation among a large section of Muslims in India, a sentiment which has no basis.  The Muslims should ask themselves a simple question: “who are we”? The Muslims have been in India for many centuries. Only a fraction of the Indian Muslims are the descendants of the Arabs, the Turks, the Afghans or the Mughals who came to India and chose to settle here. Majority of the Muslims in India are converts from Hinduism, Buddhism or Christianity. 
 
The Indian Muslims must realize that they are a part of a rich, advanced, tolerant and generous civilization of ancient times. There is no denying the fact that Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world and it is probably the basis of all other major religions. In fact, the

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N K BHANDARI
5/14/2015 2:41:59 AM

A well educated citizen whether muslim or hindu is key to make our society strong and progressive. We dont require glorification of personality cult whether idolisation of Rama or Krishna etc. Only a broad minded self respecting human being is the need of the hour

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OP Galhotra
5/5/2015 7:42:30 PM

Very well said. In fact, this is the only way forward!! My Compliments!

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