Monday, October 20, 2008

Indian Vice President Ansari Asks Muslims to join India's Growth Story

Aligarh, October 18: : Asking Muslims to ‘seek equity, not concessions’ from government, Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Saturday said the community should introspect as a failure to participate in India's ‘growth story’ will lead to its marginalisation.

Addressing a gathering of over 500 Aligarh Muslim University alumni from as many as 20 countries, Ansari said the Muslim community should adapt to changing requirements of time and pointed out the need to draw every segment including women into the sphere of education.

This, he said, was the only way out if the Muslim community is to partake in India's historic growth story.

"We as a community have failed to appreciate the need for education for all sections. Our illiteracy levels continue to remain above the national level and we continue to lag behind in ensuring education at the primary level and for women," the Vice-President said.

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Rejecting the growing clamour for 'quotas' in educational institutions and jobs, Ansari said the community should ‘seek equity not concessions’ as ‘seeking specific dispensation will not take us too far’.

"Let us candidly admit that we have failed to conceptualise the demands of a changing environment and failed to understand that education cannot be sectional," Ansari told the first 'World Summit of AMU Alumni'.

He said Muslims should learn to emulate other communities in adapting to changing requirements of time and utilising the opportunities and sops provided by government.

"Our failure to participate in India's growth story will lead us to marginalisation," a candid Ansari, who is himself an alumnus of AMU and also a former Vice-Chancellor, warned.

Coinciding with the birth anniversary of its founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the two-day meet deliberated on the need to streamline resources for making the university a world class institution in the next 20 years.

Ansari, who passed out from the varsity in 1959, reminded the delegates of the founder's purpose for establishing the over 100-year-old institution in Aligarh, asking them to revert back to the message of Syed Ahmad.

"This is time to do cost accountancy and time to introspect. The institution was instituted in 1875 in response to a specific need to impart modern education to Muslims and inculcate in them a spirit of rational thinking," the ex-diplomat said.

"We need to revert to the message of Syed Ahmed Khan," he said, pointing to the need of philanthropic efforts to draw the marginalised sections towards education and channelise incomes for setting up more institutions.

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