SADIA DEHLVI is an Indian author and activist. Her most recent book is ‘The Sufi Courtyard: Dargahs of Delhi’. Her first book was ‘Sufism: The Heart of Islam’. In a telephonic interview with Inam Abidi Amrohvi, Muslims Today, Sadia speaks on Sufism, women’s rights and Indian Muslims in general.
How satisfied are you with the progress of Indian Muslims during the last 20 years or so?
Well that’s a very tough question because lot has happened during the last two decades, and I think Muslims have progressed a lot.
When I was growing up, I remember, there was hardly a Muslim middle-class. Just after the partition when we had the landed elites and the poor, you never came across Muslims who were doctors, lawyers, engineers, young politicians, etc. I distinctly remember, I had gone to boarding school in Shimla and I was the only Muslim girl there.
When I look now, I see that things have changed a lot for the better. Today, you see a whole new generation of Indian Muslims who are educated and empowered in the true sense. They are engaged in sports, film industry, media, legal, arts and medical profession. So there has been a tremendous growth during the last twenty years, undoubtedly. But, on the other hand it’s not good enough. We should have progressed much further and become a bigger part of India’s growth story. A lot needs to be done at the grassroot level. You know there are many issues at stake. I find that there is a tremendous thirst for knowledge, to work and be financially independent, in the poor people I work with in the Muslim community, especially amongst the women. So there is a tremendous change in their mental attitudes which is a good sign. They want to progress and are looking for opportunities. Unfortunately the opportunities are not enough. Continue reading ““Sufism is Not an Innovation but a Classical Tradition of Islam””
MJ AKBAR is a prolific Indian author and journalist. His most recent book is ‘Tinderbox: The past and future of Pakistan’. In an exclusive interview with Inam Abidi Amrohvi, Muslims Today, Akbar speaks on issues that plague the Indian Muslims.
Education has been the bane of Indian Muslims. Has the situation improved both in terms of the infrastructure and mindset?
Yes, and I feel education begins with the mindset. I noticed this in the 1990s, after the high tension of the Babri Masjid episode. I think there was a very strong sense, within the Muslim community of India, of having being let down by politicians who created a hype which led to a high spurt of emotionalism. The community in particular felt abandoned mainly after the Congress government promised to protect the mosque and then quietly went to sleep on the day of the demolition.
I feel there come crisis points in the lives of people which wakes them up. There was a crisis point for example, in 1991, when the economy was hit in India. Similarly, the mosque demolition, too, made Indian Muslims realise that the future lay not in the politics of manipulation (what we have seen being done by those who seek Muslim votes) but in the basics, which is education, from education the economic empowerment. Education is the primary means of economic empowerment. The opportunity base in India is huge.
One of the more important things I see in all the investments of the community, is the education of the girl child. We are already seeing the change in rising literacy levels and the economic opportunities created as a consequence of these investments of the last 20 years.
SAIYED Ali Sibtain Naqvi holds a unique distinction of representing both India and Oman in the field of hockey. During the 2002 Olympic Games at Sydney, Australia, a commemorative postage stamp was issued in his name, being the senior most administrator among the National Olympic Committees. Naqvi is a winner of several national and international honours, including a Lifetime Sports Achievement Award by the Government of Oman. A short film “Evergreen Ace” based on his life was released in 2007. In a candid interview with MT, he shared glimpses from his life, and the role hockey played in it.
“I was born at Amroha on the 10th of Dec, 1929 (the schools’ records showed the year as 1932). Being a survivor of the 1942 Quit India Movement, I remember how students were used for political purposes. I was a student of class Xth in the Govt High School, Sitapur (UP), when India celebrated independence. Continue reading “From the diary of a hockey legend”
DR ASGHAR Ali Engineer is a reformist-writer and activist. He is known for his work on liberation theology in Islam. He is also a leading voice against communalism in India and South Asia. In an exclusive interview with Muslims Today, Dr Engineer speaks at length about the issues affecting Indian Muslims.
MT: How do you see the progress of Indian Muslims during the last 20 years?
AA: Though there is some progress in last 20 years but it is far from satisfactory. Muslims are 15 per cent of India’s population and yet nothing more than a mass of ignorant and illiterate people. They are bringing in more money from the Gulf countries than the Christians do from western countries. Whereas Christians are successfully running and controlling educational institutions, Muslims have not improved their literacy by even one percent.