Crying, cribbing and finger-pointing has never helped anyone in the world. Nor will it ever help Indian Muslims! After recent state elections, normal knee-jerk reaction is being noticed among Muslims.
Need for unity and our own unified political outfit is the most common theme of discussions. Fair enough. In a democracy, local, state and national level political activism is an effective, direct channel to manage and influence government policies that affect our lives directly or indirectly. But for a variety of reasons such a scenario appears a distant dream for now.
Recent political developments present a great opportunity for us to go back to the drawing board. And ask some simple (not tough) questions:
1. Is political power the one-and-only platform for us to gain influence and respect in the society and thereby protect our faith and secure our interests?
2. If not (and it is not), then who has stopped us from producing top-notch physicians like Abraham Verghese, Anil Aggarwal and surgeons like Devi Shetty, Ramakanta Panda – who besides being top medical professionals will also be firmly rooted in their faith and therefore focused on serving the humanity instead of inflating their bank balances?
3. Who has prevented us from developing legal luminaries of the caliber of Soli Sorabjee, Ram Jethmalani and KK Venugopalan; but whose entire focus will remain on swiftly and economically securing justice; not acquiring unlimited wealth?
4. Who has barred us from grooming highly respected journalists like Vinod Dua, Siddharth Vardarajan, Ravish Kumar and who’s mission in life will not be to attain a celebrity status and political clout by distorting news and views; instead their mission would be speaking and writing nothing but truth – even if it is against us?
5. Who has banned us from mentoring entrepreneurs of the stature of Narayana Murthy and Kiran Mazumdar; but who at the same time will be dedicated to breeding more entrepreneurs, developing technologies and generating employment opportunities?
6. Who has forbidden us from preparing academics of the caliber of Raghuram Rajan, Amartya Sen and Nitin Nohria; who will then motivate young students to follow their footsteps – primarily for gaining and sharing knowledge and not just gaining wealth and social status?
7. Who has prohibited us from scaling new heights in corporate sector like Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella and Indra Nooyi; and then strive to promote a corporate culture of sharing and caring and not a culture of greed and jumbo-sized egos – making rich richer and poor poorer?
8. Who has disqualified us from setting up world-class schools like Bishop Cotton and Doon School where our coming generations can combine the learning of modern sciences and humanities with learning and practicing our faith?
9. It has been 140 years since Aligarh Muslim University was built. Who has, since then, opposed us in building institutions of higher learning like Ashoka and Manipal where we can attain academic excellence together with preserving our religious values?
10. Who has stopped us from launching daily newspapers like DNA and DB and news channels like ndtv and Zee; which can allow us building bridges and challenge those spreading hate and fake news?
Our population is north of 150 million. This is more than the combined population of two largest European countries i.e. Germany and France or more than the entire population of Russia! We have no dearth of financial resources either.
It is not the fascist forces that have stopped us from doing all this. Yes, it is true that we do not get smooth rides. And it is only getting tougher as we face increased headwinds. But the truth is: we simply have no will power to do anything great – not even for our own sake – no question of serving others!
Over the last couple of centuries, we have mastered the art of blaming others for our blunders, for our lack of conviction and for our sorry state of affairs. And our priorities are completely misplaced.
Let’s not misunderstand power; and mix it up with election results alone. There are unlimited opportunities all around us to earn power and gain respect. Let’s stop crying and cribbing. Let’s act. Now!
By Mansoor Durrani
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