New Delhi: Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman of Press Council of
India, who was guest of honour on the occasion said Mughal Emperor
Akbar the Great is the creator of modern India who enunciated the
“Sulah-e-Kul” (equal respect to all religions) policy. Emperor Akbar was ahead by 200 years of his time and practiced secularism
by having non-Muslims like Birbal, Maan Singh and others in his
court on high positions.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minster of India, and his
colleagues extended Akbar’s policy and India was declared not a
Hindu state in retaliation to Pakistan being made an Islamic state
but a secular state. Pandit Nehru must have withstood utmost
pressure and tension at that time and resisted not to yield to
fascist forces to declare India a Hindu state, he averred.
Justice Katju reiterated that India is a country of immigrants
where diversities of castes, cultures, languages etc. exists and
are at its best. He pointed out that the scourge of communal
violence was not there in India before the 1857 Mutiny when Hindus
and Muslims joined hands to overthrow the yoke of British rule
from the country. After crushing the revolt the British rulers
adopted the divide and rule policy and introduced the virus of
communalism in the country, he pointed out.
The above views were expressed by chief guest Justice Sachar while
delivering the inaugural address in the 3-day International
Conference on “Minority Rights and Identities: Challenges and
Prospects in an Unfolding Global Scenario” which began here at
Mavalankar Hall in the Constitution Club on Friday afternoon. The
conference is being organised by the New Delhi-based Institute of
Objective Studies, (IOS), as part of its IOS Silver Jubilee
celebrations. Justice A. M. Ahmadi, ex-Chief Justice, Supreme
Court of India, presided over the function.
It may be mentioned here that this conference is the last
conference in the year-long 14-conference series held as part of
the celebrations on completion of 25 years of its existence by the
Institute of Objective Studies. A series of programmes in
collaboration with institutions, departments, faculties and
universities from April 2011 to April 2012 at Delhi as well as
other major cities of the country were organised.
The silver jubilee celebrations of
the IOS was inaugurated by Union Minister of Law and Justice, Dr.
M. Veerappa Moily, with an international conference on ‘Towards
Knowledge, Development and Peace – Outlining Roadmaps for the
Future’ on April 15-17, 2011 at New Delhi followed by twelve other
conferences on ‘Prospects for Islamic Venture Capital Fund in
India’; Interest-free Institutional Mechanism (Banking, Finance
and Insurance) for Promoting Investment’; ‘Indo-ASEAN Trade and
Investment’; ‘Global Trends in Education: Review and Options’;
‘Power of Media in a Globalising World’; ‘Good Governance in a
Globalising World’; ‘Challenges before Youth in Contemporary
World’; ‘Islamic Culture and Art’; ‘Empowering Women: Paradigm,
Sources and Methodologies’; ‘Judiciary, Ethics and Delivery
System’; ‘Peace and Progress: Role of Religions’ and ‘Worldview of
Development: Challenges and Alternative Paradigm’ held at New
Delhi, Srinagar, New Delhi, Patna, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai,
Hyderabad, Calicut, Cuttack, Aligarh and Pune respectively.
Justice Rajinder Sachar,
former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, has appealed to the
Indians who have a multi-facet identity, to struggle unitedly for
their rights and maintain Human Rights identity. The fight is for
humanity wherein Muslims, Hindus and Christians should join hands
together against their oppression by the government of the day.
Justice Sachar emphasised that in any country wherein the
minorities have a feeling that they are being discriminated then
that nation cannot call itself to be a cultured one. The
government that cannot do justice to its minority populace has no
right to rule, he added.
Justice A. M. Ahmadi in his presidential address said that
education is the only recourse for empowerment of minorities and
Muslims hoping empowerment without education is wholly displaced.
He lamented that there is bias of police forces against Muslims.
He said there is need to awaken secular forces.
Justice Ahmadi said that we live in a pluralistic society and he
does not like the word tolerance as it is not a good word. When
someone says to him that he is tolerating him then he thinks that
something was wrong with himself. He said the word accommodate was
better and be used in place of tolerance, he added.
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, chairman of IOS, while presenting the
IOS journey through years said: “We should have a common human
rights regime for the entire SAARC-area minorities. We have come
to realise over the years that the SAARC is not mere a political
and business bloc, but a civilisation terrain that has a single
cultural and political ecology”.
Dr. Alam said that there is so much violence and persecution which
has created a generalised fear. The minorities are ruled by that
overwhelming sense of fear that it has become part of their
experience. The state has not only failed to protect the weak but
is party to their experience.
He lamented that anti-Muslim organisations bent upon harming
Muslims on one pretext or the other seem to be working in tandem
with the country’s intelligence and security agencies. In that
context Muslims are placed as the hostile “Other”, he remarked.
Dr. Mutleq R. Al-Qarawi, Asst. Undersecretary for Technical
Coordination, Foreign Relations and Hajj, Ministry of Awqaf &
Islamic Affairs, Kuwait, who was also one of guest of honour
present on the dais, while speaking on the occasion emphasised on
the rights and identities of Muslims said: “If we do right then we
will get our rights. So, we have to follow the Holy Qur’an and the
sayings of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH)”. This is for all humanity,
Others who spoke on the occasion included Prof. B. Sheik Ali,
former Vice-Chancellor, Universities of Mangalore and Goa; Rev.
Dr. Dominique Emmanuel, Spokesperson, Delhi Catholic Archdiocese;
Swami Dharmananda; Director, Adhyatma Sadhana Kendra, New Delhi;
Swami Omkarananda Saraswati, Omkar Dham, New Delhi. Geshe Dorji
Damdul, Director, Tibet House, Cultural Center of H.H. the Dalai
Lama, New Delhi; and Dr. Mohinder Singh, Member, National
Commission for Minority Educational Institutions were also present
on the dais.
A short film on the IOS and the proposed IOS University at Palwal
in Haryana was released and screened on the occasion. A souvenir
was also released on the occasion. Dr. Ahmad Ashfaque Karim of
Katihar, a social scientist, was felicitated with IOS award on the
Earlier, Prof. Z. M. Khan, secretary general of IOS, delivered
welcome address and presented IOS profile. At the outset Maulana
Abdullah Tarique recited verses from the Holy Qur’an. Prof.
Ishtiyaque Danish, Asst. Secretary General of IOS, proposed vote
of thanks. Agha Sultan, educationist & former member of SAC,
Bangalore University, VTU & AICTE (SWRC), conducted the programme