MJ Akbar calls upon Muslims to say goodbye to “politics of fear” and usher in “politics of development and education.” Akbar also calls upon Muslims to SELL their votes to the best bidder…
Ahmedabad, Feb 17: Noted journalist and writer MJ Akbar last month called upon Muslims to free themselves from the “politics of fear” and embrace “politics of development and politics of education.” He was speaking as the guest of honour at the 5th annual convention of Muslim Writers Academy at the world renowned Peer Mohammed Shah Library in Ahmedabad. Muslims, Akbar said had seen enough of “politics of fear.” According to the noted journalist, the time had now come for the community to think and self introspect. The time had come to change attitudes and mindsets. “Changing attitude and mindset is not easy but when the time demands a change, a change should be ushered in for power flows not from a sword but power flows from education.”
Muslims should also start a process of regaining their self-confidence and leave behind the “politics of begging.” Akbar reminded the assembly that the Muslim community was full of talent and skills and just wanted an opportunity to show case their skills and talent. Secondly Muslims of India should also consider themselves as fortunate as India was a democratic country and all communities were empowered. Stating that Muslim politics was associated with the word “minority,” Akbar questioned when and how did Muslims former rulers become a minority in India? Giving an answer, he said Muslims had become a minority when their hands turned towards the Government for help and not towards Allah. Secondly, it was also true that though Muslims were in minority they ruled over India for so many centuries. Muslims roughly formed 20 per cent during the times of eminent Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer in the 12th century and even today Muslims were roughly 20 per cent. “Ajmer happened much before Ghazni.” Here he said it was Sufism which led to the spread of Islam and not the sword.
“The word minority is not associated with numbers but with power,” he explained. “Take the example of the Brahmins. They constitute hardly one per cent of the total population. Do the Brahmins consider themselves as a minority,” Akbar questioned. According to Akbar, in the true sense of the word, only the Dalits could be considered as a minority as they had never ruled the country. In fast changing times, Akbar’s advice to the Muslims was simple – Don’t just cast your vote. But sell it. “Sell it to the bidder who promises education and especially to that bidder who promises education to the girls of the community.”
Akbar also touched upon several other issues confronting the community including reforms on marriage laws and developing a humanitarian approach. Quoting the Holy Quran, he said Allah (SWT) was “Rabbul Aalameen” (Allah is the Lord of all human beings) and not just “Rabbul Muslameen” (Lord of Muslims.) Akbar described the shrine of Peer Mohammed Shah as a “Paak Makaam” (holy place).
Noted businessman Shafi Maniar inaugurated the meet. Gujarat Vidyapeeth Vice-Chancellor Sudarshan Iyengar also spoke as the Chief Guest. The second session on ‘Human Rights & Literature’ was chaired by noted writer, thinker and editor of ‘Nirikshak’ PrakashbhaShiah. Those who spoke were Shamshuddin Peerzada, retired sessions judge, MB Farooqui, advocate, Saiyed Khalique Ahmed, senior journalist from Indian Express, noted activist and editor of Naya Marg Indu Kumar Jani, Shakeel Ahmed, President of Islamic Sahitya Prakashan and eminent writer, thinker and president of SPRAT (Society for Promotion of Rationality) Mohammed Hasan Jowher. The Muslim Writers Academy is the only body of its kind of Gujarat based Muslim writers and journalists.
– Bilkul online