Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, in the presence of AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, Leader of Opposition in Telangana State Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir, AICC Spokesperson and ex-MP M. Afzal and a galaxy of eminent personalities, launched the three-day photo exhibition on Muslim Freedom Fighters at India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The three-day photo exhibition was organised by Greater Hyderabad Youth Association, in collaboration with Delhi Youth Welfare Association. The exhibition will continue at IICC, New Delhi till August 26.
Eminent freedom fighters Naseem Mirza Chengezi and Shoukat Ali Hashmi were also felicitated on the occasion. Chengezi, 106, had worked with Shaheed Bhagat Singh while Hashmi had actively participated in the Quit India Movement. They also recalled some memories related to freedom movement.
Speaking on the occasion, Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed concern over the attempts being made by BJP and RSS to spread hatred and communalism. He said India has been a plural society since centuries and its secular fabric could not be destroyed by any force. He said there was no religious dominance in the entire history of India. Muslim rulers had non-Muslim Prime Ministers or Army Chief or vice-versa. He said the conditions were same in Moghal, Maratha and other dynasties. He said such regimes were significantly longer and some kings even ruled for over 50 years. He said religious tolerance and secularism were part of “Pracheen Sanskriti” which RSS often talks about.
Ghulam Nabi Azad said that India would have been a super-power if there was no partition. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh could not emerge as major powers due to problems like poverty and the root cause of all their problems was partition. However, he said that the communal forces would fail in their attempts to spread hatred as majority of people in the country are secular. He described communalism as a major internal threat to the nation.
Praising the photo exhibition on Muslim Freedom Fighters, he advised the people to browse on Google for information on Role of Muslims in Freedom Struggle, Role of Muslim women in Freedom Movement and also the Role of RSS in British-Ruled India. He said that the search on RSS role would give shocking results.
Digvijay Singh described the photo exhibition on Muslim Freedom Fighters as a slap on the faces of those who question the contribution of Muslims in freedom struggle. He said that India never had a religion-based war. He said religions came and settled in India and people never gave any prominence to those who create religious animosity. He claimed that 99.99% Hindus and Muslims are one and only 0.01% are trying to spread hatred.
“I often face abuses for my stand against communal forces. Such people are paid to abuse me. They are cowards as they operate with fake identities,” he said. In a lighter vain, he said he had suggested the organisers to invite RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat or Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the exhibition on Muslim Freedom Fighters.
AICC SC Cell Chairman Koppula Raju stressed on the need to stop a particular thought process wherein patriotism was being linked to a religion. Referring to a recent meeting of BJP workers addressed by the Prime Minister, he said Modi had claimed that nationalists were already with BJP and now the party should focus on Dalits and OBCs. He said by making such a statement, Modi had tried to convey that Dalits and OBCs are not nationalists.
Raju praised the photo exhibition and said he was amazed to find that ‘Jai Hind’ slogan was coined by a Muslim, Syed Abed Hussain Safrani. He hoped that the exhibition would serve as an eye-opener and advised the organisers to conduct the photo-exhibition in all parts of the country.
Mohammed Ali Shabbir, in his speech, said that Muslims have a rich history and it could not be distorted by anyone. He said some organisations, who did not host the national flag on their headquarters for over 60 years, were today questioning the patriotism of Muslim community. He said hundreds of Muslims have sacrificed their lives for the country while some people, who did not participate in freedom movement, were challenging our contribution.
He said that the photo exhibition was aimed at enlightening the youth about the contribution of their forefathers and elders in the freedom movement.
AICC Spokesperson M. Afzal said that people who had operated as British informers, brokers and supporters were today taking refuge behind Tiranga, the national flag.
All the speakers praised the efforts of engineer brothers M.A. Imran and M.A. Irfan of GHYA in conducting the exhibition. They said an entire team of GHYA has worked hard to organise the exhibition. Irfan, in his speech, said that exhibition was the result of extensive research and hard work. He said the main intention of this exhibition was to educate the youth about the role played by Muslims in freedom movement.
IICC Chairman Sirajuddin Qureshi lauded the efforts and announced that the Centre was willing to permit the exhibition for one week.
Rajya Sabha MP R. Anand Bhasker, Delhi University Students’ Union ex-president Narendra Tokaz, DYWA president Nayeem, Habson Group Director Arif Habeeb and other eminent personalities were also present.
Hundreds of students from Jamia Millia, Delhi University and other educational institutions participated in the event. The photo-exhibition at IICC will continue from 10 AM to 7 PM on August 25 and 26. (NSS)