Muslims need not only socioeconomic empowerment but also ideological empowerment so that they can come out of the inferiority complex in which they are being perpetually kept by both the friends and foes. Muslims should focus on their own efforts in making themselves a vibrant and dynamic community that can influence the direction of the national policies rather than simple holding the begging bowl.
It is unfortunate that even in finding out their issues and the ways to correct the situation they depend on the reports and recommendations given by others, which more often than not ignore the Muslim ideological perceptions and perspectives. Muslims are no just a constitutional minority but also the second largest ideological bloc and part of the deprived majority of the country.
India has about 17 per cent off the world population and Muslims are about 15 per cent of India’s population. They are also about 9 per cent of the world’s Muslim population. India is an emerging economy with more than 8 per cent growth rate, which though has gone down in recent months. They are therefore in a unique position where they can play a meaningful role in influencing the direction of the economic policies. The economic disparity and commercialisation of human weaknesses are issues that need urgent Muslim attention because they are having a disastrous impact on the masses including Muslims. Even if just one fifth of the total wealth of 1000 richest Indians is distributed in the rest of the country, every single Indian family can become a lakhpati.
No short term and part measures in tits and bits will do. An 18 croe population is a country within country and they require a government within government to run their affairs. They need a big national plan and a big national level mechanism to implement it. A comprehensive plan is to be implemented on all fronts with simultaneity, coordination and cohesiveness being the key words. Apart from education, the emphasis must now be on economic empowerment. 70 per cent of economy is related to consumer market, and Muslims must not simply be consumers but also the producers, distributors and traders. Muslims must endeavour for large scale participation in all scales of businesses including the Corporate sector and small scale industry.
There are a large number of sectors where the successes of any Muslim endeavour are guaranteed. These include food and catering, tourism including religious, garments, leather products, construction sector, oral care products, and many more. The formation of National Muslim Chamber of Commerce should mobilise Muslim entrepreneurs to form companies and take marketing and exports in their own hands.
Also, the pressure on the government regarding Islamic finances is sustained.
There is a need to introduce Applied Islamics in Madrasas and modern institutions. We need to study the application of Islam in all the fields including health, laws, politics, social dynamics, international politics, natural sciences and economics. We need to gather information, statistics and make survey on the impact of current policies on human life. This will lead to an ideological empowerment of Muslims, which is the key to their regaining the lost confidence and lost glory.
If they are ideologically empowered and they understand the dynamics of the current world systems, they will be in a better position to challenge the exploitative and damaging policies and programmes of the so-called New World Order. They must now challenge every single ideological position, policy, programme, definition and index and parameter that the forces of economic fundamentalism have been pursuing for their own interests and hegemony. Freedom of choices has to be replaced with freedom of good choices, Human Rights should be replaced by Human security, Democracy should be replaced by theo-merito-democracy.
Democracy is falsely regarded as “Government of the people, for the people and by the people” and is in truth the “Corporatocracy, which can be defined as the Government of the corporate, run by the minions of the corporate and for the corporate”. The policies, laws and programmes are formulated in the big corporate houses and the Prime Minster, Ministers and MPs merely pass them.
There is Importance of NGOs and called for the allocation of 20% of all government funds meant for NGOs to be given to Muslim NGOs. Opening of Islamic Counselling Centres in every city which will engage in De-addiction, Career and marriage counselling, Rehabilitation of beggars and prostitutes. There is also a need for Muslim NGOs in the field of Health and Education.
The effects of corporates are also clearly visible on health policies and programmes, which are mainly tilted towards management rather than primary prevention. Islamic Models of Family Welfare and AIDS control should be introduced. There is a great need of Muslim doctors, paramedical staff and clinics, for which a suitable mechanism has to be found out. The unity of Ummah will be realised only when Muslims realise their larger goals.
(Excerpts from the inaugural lecture of the series organised by All India Muslim Majlis Mushawirat at their New Delhi office on July 1. Uttar Pradesh-based practicing physician Dr Jamil is the author of Muslim Vision of India: Destination & Roadmap. Also, he is executive chairman, International Centre for Applied Islamics. As reported by M Shuayb)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Okhla Times.