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'Indian Muslims should vote for development, not fear'

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 03:00:47 PM, Special Correspondent

M.J. Akbar while delivering Sir Syed Memorial lecture at AMU on April 20, 2010

'Reservation is the right of Muslims'

says M.J. Akbar, urged the Muslims to stop begging the Government: "Reservation is the right of Muslims. When other backward and under privileged sections of the society are being offered the Reservations, why not the Muslims?" .... Read Full

Aligarh: "India is most likely to become a modern nation because all the four pillars of modernity through Democracy, adult franchise, secularism, in which every faith is equal before the law, gender equality, and economic equality through economic opportunity are the driving forces of progress", said noted journalist M.J. Akbar.


On the declining number of Muslim MPs he said, "It is because the parties have created fear to win their votes. They feed Indian Muslim's fear in order to herd them in one direction at polling booth. Muslims will get justice and development when they vote for development. If they vote for fear they will get fear."


M.J. Akbar was delivering Sir Syed Memorial lecture on “Muslims and Modernity – Relevance of Sir Syed in 2010” organized by Sir Syed Academy at Kennedy Auditorium, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh on April 20.


Akbar said that the last two centuries, both Mughal and Othman also failed to democratize the educational system and ignored the new technologies like printing.

Akbar pointed out that one of the greatest men of his time, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was so depressed by the events of 1857 that he contemplated settling down in Egypt. But he dismissed exile as cowardice and turned to programme of reform and education for Muslims, urging them to acquire the intellectual merits that had made the British victors and modern scientific temperament and versatility in the English language. This would restore the glory they had lost with the decline of Mughal power.

He mentioned that Sir Syed’s life was devoted to lifting Indian Muslims out of what he described, a “fatal shroud of complacent self-esteem”.

Akbar highlighted the role of Sir Syed for propagating female education and said that Sir Syed was far ahead of his age in demanding education for girls.


Akbar said that Sir Syed promoted learning as well as inculcate ‘national hood’.

Highlighting the role of Ulema, Akbar mentioned that the Ulema have always had a special place in Muslim societies, not merely as leaders of prayer but as judicial and educational bureaucracy. The Indian clergy energized despondent Muslims across the subcontinent, between 1825 and 1870, what is best described as a people’s war. By the time this insurrection was defeated, it had planted seeds of a fierce anti-west, anti- colonial sentiment that prepared the community for the nationalist movement lead by Gandhi. Gandhi reorganized his allies, and wooed Muslims through the Ulema, he added.

On the issue of Muslim reservation, Akbar pointed out that a curious paradox has overtaken our policies, as Muslims because the most decisive factor in the election of alliance governments, Muslims in Parliament are coming down because the parties have created fear to win their votes. They feed Indian Muslim's fear in order to herd them in one direction at polling booth. Muslims will get justice and development when they vote for development. If they vote for fear they will get fear. But we have a great opportunity in secularism and democracy. We must seize the future that has been promised to us by the Indian civilization that in both the starting point and the horizon and with fullest criticism, the future is far bright than the last two hundred years, he opined.

In his presidential address, Professor, P K Abdul Azis urged the students to come forward to discuss the issues before the nation.

Prof. Azis said that education is the tool of empowerment and students take the advantages of job. He also said that AMU is on expansion mode and the University has received more than 800 acres of land in different parts of the country.


He said that we should be become meaning player in nation building.

On the occasion four books – Sir Sye’s Review as Hunder’s India Musalmans, Safarnama Musafiran-e-London edited by Ismail Panipati, Safarnama Punjab edited by Prof. Iqbal Ali and Sirat-e-Faridia by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan were also released.





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