A look at the Muslim Ummah
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam looks at the world of Islam and sees great potential in Indian Muslims.
In my foreign travels as well as in my interactions with foreign dignitaries visiting IOS we have often discussed the Muslim situation all over the world. We have often agreed that Muslims have been living in difficult times.
The situation in the heartland of Islam – West Asia––has been pretty grim. Right from Afghanistan and Iran to Yemen, Bahrain, Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria, the situation is rife with trouble and civil strife.
Muslim lands have been devastated by Muslims as well as by foreign aggressors. Palestinian lands are constantly being gobbled up by an aggressive Israel, and the situation has reached a point where very little is left of the historical Palestine on which to build a Palestinian nation state at some unknown point in the future.
Forty per cent of the West Bank has already been annexed by Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem is firmly under Israeli control. Palestinians are driven out and chased away from their homes in Jerusalem on a regular basis, making way for Jewish settlers to occupy their homes and orchards.
A state needs contiguous territory, but the Palestinian lands have been divided and subdivided into a large number of areas cut off from each other. Palestinians cannot move across those boundaries. Any talk of a Palestinian state in those Bantustans is a cruel joke on the Arabs.
At the time of writing this, Gaza is under heavy Israeli bombardment from the air and the sea. The world’s third largest Muslim population living in India has its own difficulties to cope with, the foremost among them being periodic large-scale anti-Muslim violence, educational and economic backwardness compared to other sections of society, and a general mood of uncertainty.
Even with these serious problems Indian Muslims are better placed than most other Muslim populations (excluding Muslims of North America and Europe) in terms of Indian democracy. Here they have got a legal and constitutional right to demand redressal of discrimination and other problems. When they get up to resist state oppression and discrimination many more non-Muslims come in and join the struggle on their side.
Indian democracy is less effective and mature than western democracy, but it is a democracy nonetheless. And a democracy opens up avenues for the minorities and other weaker groups.
Keeping all this in view and India’s fast-paced development, Indian Muslims are in a better position to avail of opportunities of wellbeing than Muslims in several Muslim countries. Even though the number of good professionals among Indian Muslims is relatively smaller, in absolute terms they are in larger number compared to other Muslim societies. Naturally, with a population of 150 million Indian Muslims are bound to produce a high number of professionals even if the others are producing a higher percentage.
The above points make Indian Muslims the potential human capital of the Muslim world. They have to be nurtured to realise their potential. To avail of the new opportunities of development Indian Muslims must remain united and build human capital through education and training. g