Aligarh, 4 Nov 2014 : Dr. Arvind Mayaram, Secretary, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India pointed out that the challenges of inclusive growth have become more complex while dealing with minority communities. This is because of reasons such as the lack of opportunities to access quality education, which is more pronounced in the minority concentration areas, low enrollment at secondary and higher education level and high dropout rates, especially of girl students, high cost of acquiring suitable skills for better employment and sometimes a sense of insecurity in the minds of the minority communities. These factors, combined with poverty and financial backwardness, exacerbate the problem.
Delivering the keynote address at a two-day National Seminar on Inclusive Development and Mainstreaming of the Minority (Muslim) Community in India, organized by the Department of Commerce, Aligarh Muslim University.
Defending the policies of the present Government, Dr. Arvidn Mayaram said that the Minister of Minority Affairs is taking up special programmes for uplifting and mainstreaming of the economically weaker section of the country, especially the minorities.
He said that our effort is to mainstream the minorities, which will enable them to benefit from the resurgence in Indian economy. He hoped that AMU shall continue to provide intellectual leadership to the community to strive to achieve full partnership with all others in making India a truly prosperous and modern nation.
Addressing the inaugural session, Prof. Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor, NALSAR Law University, Hyderabad said that at a time when the rightist BJP rules the country and it does not believe in the group rights, the worst fears of minorities are coming true in the statements of top RSS leadership. BJP leaders involved in minority bashing have been awarded with ministerial berths.
Prof. Mustafa said that in an atmosphere when talks of Uniform Civil Code, saffronization of education, provision of Sanskrit as third language and, of course, creating controversy about his alma mater, Aligarh Muslim University is a daily affair, talks about minority rights and their philosophical and legal justifications is the need of hour.
Prof. Mustafa added that even the talk of mainstreaming Muslims comes with suspicions. “Mainstreaming is assimilation as somewhere it puts the blame on people of an underprivileged community for the lack of development,” said Dr Mustafa. He emphasized that Minority communities in India should be encouraged for the setting up of their own civil society organizations.
With the Sombre past of several committees’ reports, talk of inclusive development of Muslims has dwindled as the nation focuses on other priorities, pointed out Mr Mohd Adeeb, a former Rajya Sabha member and former President of Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union.
Adding that ‘this issue simply won’t go away’, Mr Adeeb said, ‘Development programmes started after independence and Muslims in India who constitute the largest minority community are lagging behind in comparison to other communities on human development indicators such as literacy, education and health.
He also pointed out that since independence; no systematic effort was made to evaluate the conditions of minorities in the country. “A wide variety of policy initiatives and programmes have been launched by successive governments to promote the economic, social and educational development of the minority communities in India. But nothing concrete was done for enhancing the legal basis for providing equal opportunities”, said Mr Adeeb.
Presiding over the Seminar, the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University, Brigadier S Ahmad Ali (Retd) said that Muslims are nearly 13.43 percent of the country’s population and count for 20 percent of more of its 675 districts. “However, 12 out of those 86 districts are among the Country’s most backward. It is high time that we should do something about it,” stated Brigadier Ali.
Brig. Ali said that AMU has started Bachelor of Vocational (B. Voc.) courses in the University Polytechnic to provide best skills to young students which would increase their employability.
Organizing secretary of the seminar and Dean, Faculty of Commerce Professor M Mohsin Khan said the seminar is aimed at developing a working framework along with necessary inputs and suggestions to scale up social and economic indicators of minority development. Dr Asiya Chaudhary conducted the programme and Dr Mohd Shamim gave the vote of thanks.