Historic ‘India 2047’ Document on empowerment of
Muslims & marginalised people released on I-Day
New Delhi, August 18 (Pervez Bari): Justice Rajindar Sachar, retired High Court judge Delhi, on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day released the historic “India 2047 : Empowering the People” project Document of Empower India Foundation, (EIF), in day-long National Conclave here at the Gulmohar Hall of the India Habitat Centre.
The forenoon session was presided over by Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani, general secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board. The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Amitabh Kundu, Chairman of post-Sachar Evaluation Committee.
Speaking after releasing the about 250 pages document Justice Rajindar Sachar said that Empower India Foundation has done such a stupendous job which the governments of the day could not do in the last 70 years of Independence. “India 2047” project is like taking up the cudgels to empower Muslims and other marginalised communities of India, he added.
Justice Sachar said a civilised nation is one where the minorities’ safety is guaranteed and they feel safe and secure. They get equal opportunities without fear and discrimination to prosper like other communities. This is a litmus test for good governance of any democratic nation, he exclaimed. He lamented that Equal Opportunity Commission, (EOC), a statutory body to check discrimination of minority communities in jobs and education, as recommended by him in his report has not been established till date despite the UPA-II government’s nod for it.
It may be pointed here that the Justice Sachar Committee, which went into the socio-economic backwardness of Muslims, had recommended setting up of such a panel. The EOC’s mandate was to ensure that no minority community is discriminated against on religious grounds by redressing complaints. It has to make binding recommendations that people from minority communities find adequate representation in government employment or educational institutions. EOC will also deal with grievances like denial of accommodation or buying rights to minorities in housing societies.
Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani in his presidential address described the India 2047 Document as a mission which will enable Muslims and other marginalised people to prosper and walk shoulder to shoulder with other communities by getting empowered by their own efforts. “Aaj Ka function Aik Naee Subah Ka Aaghaaz Hai” (Today’s function is the beginning of a new dawn), he remarked. He said if Muslims change their mindset then they can tread on the path of success by their own efforts without looking towards the government agencies or others.
Maulana Wali Rahmani rued that in the light of Justice Sachar Committee report many big announcements were made by the Central government but except scholarship schemes none benefitted Muslims directly. The Sachar panel’s report had brought to the fore the woeful condition of Muslims since Independence and they had been pushed back to be leading life worst than the Dalits.
Prof. Amitabh Kundu, while delivering keynote address explained through numerous graphs and statistics in his Power Point presentation the present position of Muslims and where they stand today vis-à-vis Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. He stressed the need of inclusive growth for overall development of the country. He said that the sense of insecurity prevailing in Muslims will have to be addressed on priority basis as in the case of SCs & STs if the vision of required growth and development has to be achieved. Social justice and parity in development is a must for inclusive growth, he added.
E. M. Abdul Rahiman, Chairman EIF, while welcoming guests and delegates said there no doubt India is developing and the wealth of this nation is growing. However, growth and development at the cost of social justice is a real challenge. The gap between the privileged and marginalised sections are also growing. Along with Tribals and Dalits, the Muslims are the victims of this unethical and unbalanced growth. He said: “Our dream is of a strong India. Strength of the people is the real strength of the nation. Our vision is of an all inclusive just India as the nation will remain handicapped till all sections are equally empowered. The Project Document “India 2047 : Empowering the People” is a community centred project, but not a communal project and is also a national project, he stressed.
Abdul Rahiman pointed out that alliance building with other classes and communities is a pre-requisite for the empowerment of a particular community in a plural society like India. Responsibility lies at the top and bottom levels. At the top are the duties of the governments of the day while at the bottom are the duties of concerned communities. This task cannot be accomplished by any single group, institution and organization. “Let us act as Agents of Change – volunteering, networking, micro-planning, execution, grass-root level system building etc.”, he exhorted
Mohammad Raphy, executive secretary of EIF, presenting the Project activities report said that as the first step of the initiative a concept paper was prepared and presented in November 2013. Later on brainstorming sessions were held during January-August 2014 on plans to empower the Muslim community in all spheres of life by 2047 – the dawn of the second century of India’s Independence. Six national seminars, more than 50 cities get-together programmes across 15 states of India, consultation with eminent experts in social development etc. followed.
Raphy informed 11 Focus Areas were identified and separate teams were constituted to collect data, conduct research and suggest possible initiatives to be undertaken. These 11 Focus Areas included: 1. Governance; 2. Economy; 3. Education; 4. Health; 5. Media; 6. Women; 7. Children & Youth; 8. Civil Rights; 9. Broad based Alliance; 10. Social Reformation and 11. Culture & Heritage. Three Support Areas viz. Human Resource Department, Finance & Marketing and Organization were also identified for the successful implementation of the project. About three years of arduous task culminated in the final draft of the Project report which was completed in June 2016. Now, this Project Document is being released today on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day, he added.
Project Document Editor Prof. P. Koya briefly introducing the document said that EIF’s “India 2047 : Empowering the People” project carries a vision, mission, focus areas, objectives and initiatives. It caries dreams and hopes within dreams and hopes of the destitute. The document has 19 chapters and is not merely a vision document but a vision-to-action project. The role of EIF is providing conceptual, intellectual and motivational support, creating awareness and reaching out to local teams, promoting pilot projects; identifying partnerships and implementation agencies, he said.
Other dignitaries who spoke in the occasion included: Prof. Mohammad Aslam, Vice Chancellor of IGNOU; Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis, former Vice Chancellor of AMU; E. Abubacker, Chairman of Rehab India Foundation; Kamal Faruqui, former Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission; Adv. Sharfuddin Ahmed, vice president of Social Democratic Party of India;. Navaid Hamid, president of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat; Prof. S. Sumayaa, Principal of TBAK College for Women, Tamil Nadu; Prof. Nishath Khalida Parveen, vice principal of Abbas Khan College, Bangalore.
Prof. Mohammad Aslam, VC of IGNOU, said we all are concerned about the welfare of the marginalised sections of society. “But till when we would keep on shouting about our pathetic state of affairs and do nothing ourselves at the ground level. The time has come now to be brutally frank about ourselves and our shortcomings and initiate an action plan as envisioned by EIF in their “India 2047 : Empowering the People”.
In this respect Prof. Aslam appreciated EFI for its approach which is inscribed on the back page of the “India 2047: Empowering the People” document. It says: “Let’s not be pessimists who see only difficulties in opportunities; Let’s be optimists who can turn every difficulty into an opportunity. Stop lamenting the past; Start striving for the future”.
Elaborating the meaning of empowerment, he said it should take the marginalised communities to such a level wherein they are able to take decisions and solve their problems on their own and improve their lot.
Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis, former VC of AMU, termed the project document as a comprehensive report. He said it has never been seen that such a document to have been ever prepared by Muslims for the community and other marginalised people. He hoped that it will be a framework of Action Plan. “We hope that the idea of India will be realised with ancient values as the Constitution of the country guarantees equal opportunity to one and all”. He said Justice Sachar Committee Report was an eye opener but post-Sachar report has revealed that no dent has been made in the scenario of the conditions of Muslims.
Navaid Hamid, president AIMMM, lauded EIF for producing a well structured and analytical “India 2047: Empowering the People” document. He said that EIF has started the process of over-turning the well ensconced self-centred boot-licking Muslim leadership which has harmed the community to a great extent. He said that there are two types of political outfits viz. PPP (Permanent Paidal Party) and PRP (Permanent Ruling Party) among Muslims wherein the latter always rules the roost to benefit thyself at the cost of the Muslim community at large.
Prof. S. Sumayaa, Principal of TBAK College for Women, TN, described the release of “India 2047 : Empowering the People” project document as the awakening moment for the Muslim community at large. Quoting from the document that she said: “The average annual educational expenditure per student by the government stands low for Muslims and almost half when compared to the other expenses for other communities”.
As such to make Muslims self-reliant, Prof. Sumayaa suggested that Masjids which are free from all activities after early morning Fajr prayers till the call for Zohar prayers in the afternoon should be utilised as Information and Guidance centres for the community to make them aware of the opportunities and guide them accordingly depending upon their capabilities and aptitude.
E. Abubacker, Chairman of Rehab India Foundation, said India cannot claim to be a fully developed country until and unless all the communities here progress equally and are at the same footing amongst themselves.
Adv. Sharfuddin Ahmed, vice president SDPI, while hailing “India 2047” document appealed EIF to unravel the 2nd part of Justice Sachar Committee Report which was on languishing Muslims Waqf properties worth crores of rupees. It has been put under the carpet and no one talks about it. So, EIF should take it up and do the needful, he urged.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Anis Ahmed, general secretary, EIF. At the outset Jameel Husain recited verses from the Holy Quran with translation in English to herald the commencement of the programme. Mohammad Rasheed of EIF compeered the forenoon session with aplomb. Over 100 delegates from 15 states from all over India participated in the deliberations of the day-long conclave.
Meanwhile, a seminar on the theme “Opportunities and challenges in community empowerment” was held in the afternoon. At the outset welcome speech was delivered by Dr. Mohammad Minarul Shaikh, Liaison Officer, EIF. While keynote address was delivered by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies, (IOS),New Delhi. Later on two Power Point presentations were made by Dr. Lubna Sarwath, an Economist from Hyderabad, and Nainar Sultan of EIF.
In the end a panel discussion was held which was moderated by Dr. Zafrul Islam, Editor of Milli Gazette. Those who took part in the discussion included Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammad, Honorary Secretary MESCO, Hyderabad; Prof. Shakeel Samdani of AMU, Aligarh, and Abdul Wahid Sait, National secretary of Popular Front of India from Bangalore.
Dr. Zafrul Islam in his presidential remarks pointed out that Palestinian people are much ahead of Israelis in the field of education. This has happened after the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories occurred in 1948. Then Palestinians decided to give top priority to education in their scheme of things to beat their rivals and maintain an upper hand.
Dr. Fakhruddin putting forth his views emphasized on the importance of education which plays a stellar role in shaping the careers of children if they are imparted with quality education. He cited the example of Telangana government which under the Telangana Minorities Residential Educational Institutions Society, (TMREIS), has set the ball rolling in empowering the minorities by deciding to establish about 150 Minorities Residential Schools all over the state with at least one such school in each district. The society is to provide high quality education for talented children belonging to minorities’ community, through pace setting residential schools. TMREIS will be set up as an autonomous organization to establish and manage these residential schools. It is envisioned that there would be one school in each constituency of state. In the first phase 71 residential schools (39 boys and 32 girls) have been established, some in rented buildings, while the remaining schools will be set up in the second phase. This laudable scheme can be replicated in other states also, he added.
He said in these schools of Telangana government would be spending Rs.80,000/- worth on education, boarding, food and health benefits per child per year. There are separate campuses for boys and girls along with fully secured environment for girls.
‘WAQT KI ZAKAT’
Prof. Shakeel Samdani speaking on the occasion pondered as to why South Indian Muslims are progressing in every walk of life be it education, economically or socially as compared to their counterparts in the North who are lagging behind in every field. This is because, he felt, the North Indian Muslims do not indulge in social work and are more self-centred than others and only excel in leg pulling and back-biting rather than appreciating others for their hard work and perseverance. He said the Muslims from the South have followed in letter and spirit the directives of the Holy Quran to some extent while in the North the letter is there but the spirit is missing.
He suggested these Muslims from the North not to while away their free time but appealed them to offer, what he called, “Waqt Ki Zakat” from their precious free time which must be of at least 2-3 hours every week for social, community and Islamic works while targeting the co-religionists who belong to the category of have-nots.
Meanwhile, E. M. Abdul Rahiman announcing about the Pilot Projects said implementation of projects have been planned to be carried out in six phases of 5 years each. The phase 1 is from 2016 to 2020. He said as a model to the upcoming interventions, and as a test phase, seven initiatives were identified in different states. These centrally monitored projects will supplement the list of action items already taken up with various agencies during 2015-2016 (Phase Zero).
Abdul Rahiman said the seven Pilot Projects are: 1. Master Trainers Development Programme – Bangalore and New Delhi; 2. Literacy Program (Full literacy in 25 villages) – Bihar; 3. Poverty Eradication Drive (Women’s Self Help Group Cluster) – Uttar Pradesh; 4. Finishing School – Rajasthan; 5. D-Voter Issue: Legal Support System – Assam; 6. Drinking Water Supply Project – West Bengal and 7. Sanitation Scheme (Providing toilets) – Tamil Nadu.
He said that each of these seven projects falls in six different Focus Areas and are identified and based on the developmental priority and potential for empowerment. They are identified in a such way that once successful it can be replicated elsewhere and a snowballing effect can be created to multiply the impact.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Mohammad Arif Ahmed, general convener, EIF, while Anis Ahmed, general secretary, EIF, conducted the proceedings.
It may be mentioned here that this National Conclave was designed as a get-together of select community leaders and activists from different states. It was an occasion to share views and experiences in bringing inclusive growth by empowering the marginalised people, specially the Muslims and other Backward communities. (pervezbari@