Thursday, January 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Muslims must not feel isolated

The article “Campaign against terrorism: Muslims must not feel isolated in India” (Jan 7) by K.F. Rustamji moves our hearts and agitates our minds. I agree with the writer’s observation that the Muslims of India these days find themselves on sticky wickets because of a growing suspense among the Hindus and other sections of the society towards them. It is really an alarming trend which must be arrested at once in order to keep the country strong and united. The precious contribution of Muslims in the freedom struggle and the post-Independence period can never be glossed over.

All Indians still remember (K.F. Rustamji needn’t remind them) Subedar Abdul Hamid as national hero and one of the bravest sons of this ancient country. In the same way, the legendary actor Dilip Kumar dwells in the hearts of Indians of all castes and creeds and many of them have never bothered to trace his ethnic roots. Shabana Azmi always appears as the perfect symbol of Indian woman. Similarly, we all feel proud of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam whose great and wonderful competence as an Indian scientist remains unquestioned and undisputed.

It is correct to point out that the clerics of Islam and religious leaders like the Shahi Imam of Delhi have done the maximum harm to the Muslims of India. The Muslim community ought to boycott such hotheads.

I think the writer is somewhat unnecessarily doubtful about the majority of Indians who still maintain cordial and brotherly relations with their Muslim neighbours and friends because of a common language, culture and tradition in vast rural areas. Only the rich middle classes in urban areas among the Hindus are whispering “Muslims are more fanatic than us”. Actually, these people have enough leisure to indulge in such irresponsible gossiping and ordinary Hindu men and women continue toiling round the clock like their Muslim counterparts in different parts of the country for two times’ meals. We all are aware that the Muslims have left their indelible mark in the fields of art, music, literature, painting, cinema and science. We can never think of undermining their unique role in doing pride to our motherland.


I am not against offering key positions to Muslims in the Union and state governments. But such an exercise will benefit only the elites among the Muslims. I would suggest to help the poor and backward Muslims (like weavers) on a priority basis. The Union Government ought to make special programmes for improving their living standards.


A common cause: There cannot be two opinions that society at large should contribute its might so as to see that the Muslims in India do not feel isolated at this critical time. But this is also the high time that Muslim leaders, intellectuals, writers and all those who matter should rise as one man to devise ways and means to free the Muslim society from the influence of semi-literate priestly class that pontificates on politics and religious affairs on which it is not well informed and also the madarsa culture. The results of madarsa culture in Pakistan and Afghanistan are now clear and do not need further elaboration. They must join the mainstream education system of the country.

Citing the achievements of a large number of Muslim intellectuals, patriots, scientists and other distinguished ones in various fields will not help. This is the time for Muslim intellectuals of today to come forward to pull out Muslim society from the Medieval Age thinking and isolation from the national mainstream with love and active participation of other communities which, I am sure, will be available in abundance, if the organisers are able to make it a common cause.

Religions were made for the upliftment of humans. Humans were not made for the religions.

P. S. BHATTI, Beas

PMO’s working

Apropos the news item “When PM’s Office belies hope”, if this is the plight of the PM’s Office then what can one expect from other offices of the Government of India? Let me share a story in this context. Once a child was pissing on the side wall of somebody’s house. On seeing this, the owner of the house came out and rebuked him and told the child that he would lodge a complaint against him with his father. When he approached the child’s father, he was also pissing around a building. The complainant returned without filing the complaint.

RAJ KUMAR, Kasauli


Q: Expand GATT in the context of Pakistan?

A: General Agreement on Trade of Terrorism.


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