Seek equity, not concessions, Hamid Ansari advises Muslims

October 18th, 2008 - 8:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 18 (IANS) Terming the affirmation of identity a “legitimate pursuit”, Vice President Hamid Ansari Saturday urged Indian Muslims to seek equity rather than concessions.While listing out several correctives for the community independent of government agencies, he said: “Affirmation of identity is a legitimate pursuit; (but) seeking special dispensations will not get us very far.

“Seek equity, not concessions, from the State and draw practical lessons from success stories of others, including our own elsewhere,” he said while inaugurating the two-day world alumni summit of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) here.

He lamented that the Muslim community “failed to take note of, emulate and adapt the initiatives taken by other communities in creative ventures in the field of education independent of government agencies”.

Ansari said: “While shikwa (complaint) about our condition was valid, there was no need to carry it to the point of incapacity for autonomous action.”

The vice president said the university had only partially succeeded in fulfilling its mission of bringing modern education to the Muslims. An AMU alumnus himself, Ansari had served as the AMU vice chancellor from May 2000 to March 2002.

“This institution came into existence in 1875 in response to a specific need, and on the basis of a vision. Its mission was to bring the fruits of modern education to the Muslim of India,” Ansari said.

“This included inculcating a spirit of rational thinking and scientific enquiry,” he said and added: “The mission succeeded to a point, but failed to go beyond it. The results of that failure are evident and in no need of elaboration.”

Ansari asserted: “Let us candidly admit that our failure was conceptual as well as practical. We failed to appreciate that educational advancement cannot be sectional, nor can it be attained in a vacuum divorced from social change and without changes in levels of consciousness about evolving requirements of the world around us, nationally and internationally.”

He said the necessity of education for all was recognized little and “we succumbed to selectivity.”

Ansari asserted that this resulted in the illiteracy levels remaining above the national average and till recently sections of economically better off were exposed to modern and higher education.

“There was an inordinate delay in appreciating the need for female literacy and its relevance for educating new generations,” the vice president said.

He suggested that everyone, especially the university, should ensure that every child from every locality went to a primary school as also that children complete eight years of schooling. After that, it should be ensured that the children went up to class 10 or take up vocational coaching.

The vice president suggested to “identify and assist those qualified to enter universities or professional institutions. Inculcate in them a spirit of competition”.

“This wider setting is relevant to the Alumni’s understandable concern for the institution so dear to us. For many of us, however, this is not the university in which we spent our youth,” he said.

Ansari asserted, “We live in fast changing times. The AMU of yesteryears had lesser numbers, greater space, fewer pressures. On each count today, the situation has worsened. This has impacted adversely on the output in diverse ways and has become a matter of concern.

“Innovative thinking, rather than nostalgia, is the call of the hour,” he said.

University vice chancellor P.K. Abdul Azis, who conceived the idea of a world summit of AMU alumni, said the event was meant to re-position the institution’s role in the contemporary globalised world.

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