The historic “India 2047” document on empowerment of Muslims was Released on 15th August 2016, the 70th Independence Day of the country.
Justice Rajindar Sachar, former Judge, Delhi High Court and Chairman of Prime Minister’s High Level Committee that prepared the report about the condition of Muslims released the historic “India 2047 : Empowering the People” Project Document of Empower India Foundation (EIF) on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day.
It was in the forenoon session of the day-long National Conclave entitled ‘Empowering the People – India 2047’ at the Gulmohar Hall of the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi the document was released.
Speaking after releasing the 250 pages document Justice Rajindar Sachar said that Empower India Foundation had done such a stupendous job which the governments of the day could not do in the past 70 years of Independence. “India 2047” project is like taking up the cudgels to empower Muslims and other marginalised communities of India, he added.
He said that a civilised nation was one where the safety of minorities is guaranteed and they get equal opportunity to prosper like other communities. This is a litmus test for good governance of any nation, he commented. He lamented that Equal Opportunity Commission, (EOC), a statutory body to check discrimination of minority communities in jobs and education, as recommended by him in his report has not been established till date despite the UPA-II government’s nod for it.
It may be pointed here that the Justice Sachar Committee, which went into the socio-economic backwardness of Muslims, had recommended setting up of such a panel. The EOC’s mandate was to ensure that no minority community is discriminated against on religious grounds, by redressing complaints. It has to make binding recommendations that people from minority communities find adequate representation in government employment or educational institutions. EOC will also deal with grievances like denial of accommodation or buying rights to minorities in housing societies.
The opening session was presided over by Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani, general secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board. The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Amitabh Kundu, Chairman of post-Sachar Evaluation Committee.
Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani in his presidential address described the India 2047 Document as a mission which would enable Muslims and other marginalised people to prosper and walk shoulder to shoulder with other communities by getting empowered by their own efforts. “Aaj Ka function Aik Naee Subah Ka Aaghaaz Hai” (Today’s function is the beginning of a new dawn), Moulana Wali Rahmani remarked. He said if Muslims changed their mindset then they could tread on the path of success by their own efforts without looking towards the government agencies or others.
Maulana Wali Rahmani said that in the light of Justice Sachar Committee report many big announcements were made by the Central government but except scholarship schemes none benefitted Muslims directly. The Sachar panel’s report had brought to the fore the woeful condition of Muslims since independence, and they had been pushed back to be leading a life worse than the Dalits.
Prof. Amitabh Kundu, while delivering the keynote address explained with the support of statistics in his Power Point presentation the present position of Muslims and where they stand today vis-a -vis Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.
He said that the sense of insecurity prevailing in Muslims would have to be addressed on priority basis as in the case of SCs & STs if the vision of Inclusive India and its suggested economic growth was to be achieved.
E.M. Abdul Rahiman, Chairman of Empower India Foundation, while welcoming the guests and delegates said there was no doubt India is developing and the wealth of this nation is growing. However, growth and development at the cost of social justice is a real challenge. The gap between the privileged and marginalised sections is also growing. Along with Tribals and Dalits, the Muslims are the victims of this unethical and unbalanced growth. He said. “Our dream is of a strong India. Strength of the people is the real strength of the nation. Our vision is of an all-inclusive just India because the nation will remain handicapped till all sections are equally empowered. The Project Document “India 2047: Empowering the People” is a community centred project, but not a communal project and is in fact also a national project”, he emphasised.
Abdul Rahiman pointed out that alliance building with other classes and communities was a pre-requisite for the empowerment of any community in a plural society like India. Responsibility lies at the top and bottom levels. At the top are the duties of the governments of the day while at the bottom are the duties of concerned communities. This task cannot be accomplished by any single group, institution or organization. He exhorted: “Let us act as Change Agents by volunteering, networking, micro-planning, executing, grassroots level system building, etc.
Mohammad Raphy, Executive Secretary of Empower India Foundation, presenting the Project activities report said that as the first step of the initiative a concept paper was prepared and presented in November 2013. Later on brainstorming sessions were held during January-August 2014 on plans to empower the Muslim community in all spheres of life by 2047 – the dawn of the second century of India’s independence.
Six national seminars, more than 50 get-together programmes in cities across 15 states of India, consultation with eminent experts in social development, etc. followed. Eleven Focus Areas were identified and separate teams were constituted to collect data, conduct research and suggest possible initiatives to be undertaken. He explained.
These 11 Focus Areas are:
- Children & Youth
- Civil Rights
- Broad based Alliance
- Social Reformation and
- Culture & Heritage.
Three Support Areas viz.
- Human Resource Development,
- Finance & Marketing and
were also identified for the successful implementation of the project.
About three years of arduous task culminated in the final draft of the Project report which was completed in June 2016. Now, this Project Document is being released today on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day, he added.
Project Document Editor Prof. P. Koya who briefly introducing the document said that Empower India Foundation’s “India 2047 : Empowering the People” project carried a vision, mission, focus areas, objectives and initiatives. It carried dreams and hopes of the destitute. The document has 19 chapters and is not merely a vision document but a vision-to-action project.
The role of Empower India Foundation is providing conceptual, intellectual and motivational support, creating awareness and reaching out to local teams, helping micro-planning, promoting pilot projects; identifying partnerships and implementation agencies, he said.
Other dignitaries who spoke on the occasion included: Prof. Mohammad Aslam, Vice Chancellor of IGNOU; Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis, former Vice Chancellor of AMU; E. Abubacker, Chairman of Rehab India Foundation; Kamal Faruqui, former Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission; Adv. Sharafuddin Ahmed, Vice President of Social Democratic Party of India;. Navaid Hamid, President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat; Prof. S. Sumayaa, Principal of TBAK College for Women, Tamil Nadu; Prof. Nishath Khalida Parveen, former Principal of Abbas Khan College, Bangalore.
Prof. M. Aslam, VC of IGNOU, said we all are concerned about the welfare of the marginalised sections of society. But we keep on shouting about our pathetic state of affairs and do nothing ourselves at the ground level. The time has come now to be brutally frank about ourselves and our shortcomings and initiate an action plan as envisioned by EIF in their project “India 2047 : Empowering the People”.
In this respect Prof. Aslam appreciated EIF for its approach which is inscribed on the back page of the “India 2047: Empowering the People” document. It says: “Letâ€™s not be pessimists who see only difficulties in opportunities; Let’s be optimists who can turn every difficulty into an opportunity. Stop lamenting the past; Start striving for the future”.
Elaborating the meaning of empowerment, he said it should take the marginalised communities to such a level wherein they are able to take decisions and solve their problems on their own and improve their lot.
Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis, former VC of AMU, termed the project document as a comprehensive report. He said we had never seen such a document ever prepared by Muslims for the community and other marginalised people. He hoped that it would be a framework of Action Plan.
“We hope that the idea of India-2047 will be realised with our traditional values like the Constitutional guarantees of equal opportunity to one and allâ”. He said Justice Sachar Committee Report was an eye opener but post-Sachar report has revealed that no dent has been made in the scenario of the conditions of Muslims.
Navaid Hamid, president AIMMM, lauded EIF for producing a well structured and analytical “India 2047: Empowering the People” document. He said that EIF has started the process of over-turning the well ensconced self-centred boot-licking Muslim leadership which has harmed the community to a great extent. He said that there were two types of political outfits viz. PPP (Permanent Paidal Party) and PRP (Permanent Ruling Party) among Muslims wherein the latter always rules the roost to benefit themself at the cost of the Muslim community at large.
Prof. S. Sumayaa, Principal of TBAK College for Women, Tamil Nadu, described the release of “India 2047: Empowering the People” project document as the awakening moment for the Muslim community at large. Quoting from the document, she said: “The average annual educational expenditure per student by the government stands low for Muslims and almost half when compared to the other expenses for other communities”.
As such to make Muslims self-reliant, Prof. Sumayaa suggested that Masjids which were free from all activities after early morning Fajr prayers till the call for Zohar prayers in the afternoon should be utilised as Information and Guidance centres. It should be used for making the community aware of the opportunities and guide them accordingly depending upon their capabilities and aptitudes.
E. Abubacker, Chairman of Rehab India Foundation, said India cannot claim to be a fully developed country until and unless all the communities here progress equally and are at the same footing amongst themselves.
Adv. Sharafuddin Ahmed, Vice President of SDPI, while hailing “India 2047″document appealed EIF to unravel the 2nd part of Justice Sachar Committee Report which was on languishing Muslims Waqf properties worth crores of rupees. It has been put under the carpet and no one talks about it. So, EIF should take it up and do the needful, he urged.
Kamal Farooqui termed India 2047 project as the best visionary plan from the Muslim community ever. “I would like to congratulate the team of Empower India Foundation as they are doing a great job with a national coverage.”
Prof. Nishath Khalida Parveen, former Principal of Abbas Khan College, Bangalore underlined the importance of girl’s education as a prerequisite for total empowerment of the community.
Anis Ahmed, General Secretary, EIF proposed a vote of thanks. At the outset AMU student Jameel Husain recited verses from the Holy Quran with translation in English to herald the commencement of the programme. Muhammed Rasheed, EXCOM member of EIF anchored the session. Over 100 delegates who were invitees representing 15 states participated in the deliberations of the day-long conclave.
Highlight of the afternoon session was a seminar on the theme “Opportunities and Challenges in Community Empowerment”.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies, (IOS), New Delhi. He presented a statistical analysis of some vital areas of deprivation which seek systematic intervention by the Muslim community.
Two presentations were made by Dr. Lubna Sarwath, an Economist from Hyderabad, and Mr. Nainar Sultan of EIF on different aspects of the seminar theme.
Nainar Sultan while emphasising the need for a paradigm shift in the mindset of the affected communities detailed the essential ingredients of an effective implementation system.
A panel discussion was held in the concluding session. Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammad, Honorary Secretary MESCO, Hyderabad; Prof. Shakeel Samdani, faculty member of AMU, Aligarh, and Abdul Wahid Sait, National secretary of Popular Front of India participated in the discussion.
Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan in his presidential remarks pointed out the example of Palestinian people who are much ahead of Israelis in the field of education. This has happened after the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories occurred in 1948. Then Palestinians decided to give top priority to education in their scheme of things to beat their rivals and maintain an upper hand.
Dr. Fakhruddin putting forth his views emphasized on the importance of education which plays an instrumental role in shaping the careers of children if they are imparted with quality education.
He cited the example of Telangana government which under the Telangana Minorities Residential Educational Institutions Society, (TMREIS), had set the ball rolling in empowering the minorities by deciding to establish about 150 minorities residential schools all over the state with at least one such school in each district.
The society is to provide high quality education for talented children belonging to minority communities, through pace setting residential schools. TMREIS will be set up as an autonomous organization to establish and manage these residential schools. This laudable scheme can be replicated in other states also, he added.
Prof. Shakeel Samdani speaking on the occasion wondered as to why South Indian Muslims are progressing in every walk of life; be it educationally, economically or socially as compared to their counterparts in the North who are lagging behind in every field.
He said the Muslims from the South had followed in letter and spirit the directives of the Holy Quran to some extent while in the North the letter was there but the spirit was missing.
He suggested Muslims to offer, what he called, “Waqt Ki Zakat” from their precious free time which must be of at least 2-3 hours every week for social, community and Islamic works while targeting the co-religionists who belong to the category of have-nots.
Abdul Wahid Sait emphasised the importance of connecting the plan to grassroots level implementation. We need to identify NGOs who have experience and volunteers working in the ground. Without these volunteers, implementation of this project will be impossible.
E. M. Abdul Rahiman while announcing about the Pilot Projects said implementation of projects had been planned to be carried out in six phases of 5 years each. Phase 1 is from 2016 to 2020.
He said, as a model to the upcoming interventions, and as a test phase, seven initiatives were identified in different states. These centrally monitored projects will supplement the list of action items already taken up with various agencies during 2015-2016 (Phase Zero).
The seven Pilot Projects are:
- Master Trainers Development Programme â€“ Bangalore and New Delhi;
- Literacy Program (Full literacy in 25 villages) â€“ Bihar;
- Poverty Eradication Drive (Womenâ€™s Self Help Group Cluster) â€“ Uttar Pradesh;
- Finishing School â€“ Rajasthan;
- D-Voter Issue: Legal Support System â€“ Assam;
- Drinking Water Supply Project â€“ West Bengal and
- Sanitation Scheme (Providing toilets) â€“ Tamil Nadu.
E.M. Abdul Rahiman said that each of these seven projects falls in six different Focus Areas of the project and are identified based on the developmental priority and potential for empowerment. They are identified in such way that once successful it can be replicated elsewhere and a snowballing effect can be created to multiply the impact.
E M Abdul Rahiman also announced an ADVISORY BOARD of the EMPOWER INDIA FOUNDATION to guide and oversee the project activities with Maulana Muhammad Wali Rahmani as the Board Chairman. He also mentioned the names of some confirmed members of the Board and further said that it would be expanded by including more dignitaries.
The National Conclave was designed as a get-together of select community leaders and activists from different states.
It was an occasion to share views and experiences in bringing inclusive growth by empowering the marginalised people, especially the Muslims and other backward communities in India.