JEDDAH — Veteran Saudi journalist Khaled Almaeena called on Indians to preserve the great ideals and secular credentials of India, describing the country as a beautiful mosaic formed out of people belonging to 200 religious and ethnic sections who speak around 5,000 languages. Delivering the keynote speech at the book launching session, Almaeena, who loves India and maintains a close rapport with Indians, praised the democratic and secular fabric of India that made possible the peaceful coexistence of 1.3 billion people who represent numerous ethnicities, castes and creeds.
“India is a great country and the beauty of India lies in its unity in diversity. I read the Indian constitution and found it a shrine with so many beautiful and noble pillars and if they are maintained properly, it will continue remaining a great platform for all Indians to go on flourishing,” he said noting that in a secular country, everyone is equal and hence there is no question of minority or majority.
Almaeena highlighted that the overwhelming majority of Hindus are secular as they believe in secularism. “There are few negative elements in Hinduism just like those jihadis from among Muslims,” he said while drawing attention to the potential challenges facing the country. He said India is a great country with myriad challenges to be tackled, and these challenges include poverty, disease, hunger, extremism and a sense of fear. “You have to strive to improve the lot of people by fighting poverty, disease and hunger. Extremism is also on the rise and it has not happened before. You are frightened and earlier the fright was from the other side of the border but now it is also from within,” he said while advising Indians, “With a sense of belongingness, you should all stand up together and fight against all kinds of violence, dissention and disunity.”
Almaeena called on Muslims of India to give up their ‘miskeen’ mentality and methodology, and instead play an active role in the nation building process. “I am happy to note that Muslims in the southern state of Kerala do not have this mentality, thanks to their educational progress as it erases so much of such mentalities and suspicions,” he said while emphasizing that education is key to success. “There is no use of lamenting or complaining but rather all of you have to resolve to work hard and educate your children so as to enable them compete in the highly challenging world.”
Almaeena also spoke about his special love for India and Indians. “I have also been a friend of Indians, and perhaps this is why my son asked me once, are you originally an Indian, father? There are Saudis in Hejaz who have close association with Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and other countries but India was my choice and I have had a great innings.”
“I meet a lot of Indians on a daily and weekly basis everywhere. Without Indians, Saudi Arabia would not have progressed. Many Saudis acknowledge the vast contributions of Indians in all aspects of Saudi life.”
Almaeena congratulated Indian businessmen for providing quality healthcare services with their hard work and dedication. Though they came from different backgrounds, and belong to different religious and ethnic groups, they are here because they have a trust in this country, and hence they are entitled to get their due share from this country,” he added.SOURCE : Saudi Gazette