New Delhi: Praising the contributions of Muslims in India during and after the independence of the country, Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday said Muslims reflect in good measure the diversities that characterize the nation as a whole.
"Muslims were an integral part of the freedom struggle against the British rule. They are dispersed all over the country, are not homogenous in linguistic and socio-economic terms and reflect in good measure the diversities that characterize the people of India as a whole", Ansari said while delivering his inaugural address at the "Golden Jubilee Session of the All India Muslim Majlis-e- Mushawarat (AIMMM) at the India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi.
He further said that the Independence of India in August 1947, and the events preceding and following it, cast a shadow of physical and psychological insecurity on Indian Muslims.
"They were made to carry, unfairly, the burden of political events and compromises that resulted in the Partition. The process of recovery from that trauma has been gradual and uneven, and at times painful.
"They have hesitatingly sought to tend to their wounds, face the challenges and seek to develop response patterns. Success has been achieved in some measure; much more, however, needs to be done", he said.
He said identity, security, education, empowerment and a fair share in decision-making are the key issues India's Muslims are facing.
He also said that the problems of exclusion and discrimination they are confronted with have to be corrected by the state.
Citing the official objective of "Sab ka Sath, Sab ka Vikas" (with everyone, for everyone's growth) and calling it commendable, the Vice President said, "A pre-requisite for this is "affirmative action" to ensure a common starting point and ability in all to walk at the required pace.
"It is evident from the compendium of official reports that the principal problems confronting India's Muslims relate to: identity and security; education and empowerment; equitable share in the largesse of the state; and fair share in decision making.
"Each of these is a right of the citizen. The shortcomings in regard to each have been analysed threadbare. The challenge before us today is to develop strategies and methodologies to address them", he said.
The vice-president said deprivation, exclusion and discrimination (including failure to provide security) is to be corrected by the state; this needs to be done at the earliest and appropriate instruments developed for it.