Azamgarh: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Saturday commended the 'sab ka sath sab ka vikas' slogan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying Muslims remain backward even six decades after Independence and there is a need to ensure that all sections of society are able to walk together.
Ansari said that Muslim community has not responded to the challenges in the past 67 years which led to their social, educational and economic backwardness. But at the same time, he noted, there have been "shortcomings" in ensuring equal economic opportunities and participation in the political process.
"The past 67 years show that we have not responded to the challenge fully. We have cited tradition and social custom as reasons for this. We have failed to walk in step with our fellow countrymen. We have, as a result, exhibited all signs of social, educational and economic backwardness," Ansari said while inaugurating 100th foundation day of Darul Musanfeen Shibli Academy here.
"The objective of `sab ka sath sab ka vikas` is valid and commendable. An essential requirement for this is a common starting point and an ability in all to walk at the required pace."
"This ability has to be developed through individual and social initiative, and governmental initiatives that fructify on the ground. Programmes have been made the need of the hour is their implementation," he added.
The Vice President said that each of these can be surmounted, given the organisation and the will to succeed.
"Any segment of our vast and diverse population has the right as citizens to demand from the state four essentials - social peace, security and protection of identity, empowerment through appropriate education, a fair and equitable share in employment and the largesse of the state."
"Since unequal economic opportunities lead to unequal outcomes which in turn lead to unequal access to political power participation in decision making," he added.
Ansari said, "I am aware, as you are, that there are shortcomings in the realisation of each of the above. The challenge is to overcome these within the framework of the law of the land and the constitutional rights of life and dignity, equality, and affirmative action in favour of the socially and educationally backward to ensure equality of opportunity."
"This is a matter of right, not of charity. The quest for it has to be patient but persistent, and within an approach and framework of inclusiveness rather than of exclusion and alienation," he added. He said that it was the same question that Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, and many others of that generation, faced.
"Their answers varied, the content did not. Distress and lamentation soon gave way to action. Sir Syed established the MAO College at Aligarh. Maulana Shibli worked with him in this venture for sixteen years."
"Though coming from different backgrounds, their views converged on many critical issues but diverged on others," he said.
"The Maulana continued his constructive work at Nadwa and finally laid the foundations of this renowned institution devoted to scholarship," he added.
Ansari said that for a century now the Shibli Academy has contributed to scholarship, particularly in the field of Seerat-un Nabi, early Islamic history, Quraniyaat, Indian history with a focus on the Medieval period, and Urdu, Persian and Arabic literature and literary personalities.
"The compendium of its publications is impressive, and is a tribute to the past and present scholarship," he said.
"This institution, along with some others in the country, has devoted itself specifically to the culture and history of Islam. India and Indians rightly consider it an essential ingredient of their heritage and an aspect of their multi-dimensional identity," he added.
He said that by the same token, it is expected of them to sustain this inheritance and add to the scholarship that helps do it.
"A pre-requisite for this is education and it is here that we have lagged behind despite frequent and accurate diagnosis time and again," the VP said.