Identity, security, education, empowerment and a fair share in decision-making are the key issues India's Muslims are facing, vice-president Hamid Ansari has said. He added the problems of exclusion and discrimination they are confronted with have to be corrected by the state.
He also cited the official objective of "sab ka sath, sab ka vikas" (with everyone, for everyone's growth), calling it commendable and added a pre-requisite for this is "affirmative action" to ensure a common starting point and ability in all to walk at the required pace.
The vice-president was speaking at the inauguration of the All India Majlois-e-Mushawarat Golden Jubilee in Delhi on Monday.
Tracing the condition of Muslims since Independence and the work in the past decade to delineate the contours of the problem, Ansari said studies bring forth sufficient evfidence to substantiate the view that "inequality traps prevent the marginalised and work in favour of the domkinant groups in society".
"It is evident from the compendium of official reports that the principal problems confronting India's Muslims relate to: identity and security; education and empowerment; equitable share in the largesse of the state; and fair share in decision making.
"Each of these is a right of the citizen. The shortcomings in regard to each have been analysed threadbare. The challenge before us today is to develop strategies and methodologies to address them."
The vice-president said deprivation, exclusion and discrimination (including failure to provide security) is to be corrected by the state; this needs to be done at the earliest and appropriate instruments developed for it.
"Political sagacity, the imperative of social peace, and public opinion play an important role in it. Experience shows that the corrective has to be both at the policy and the implementation levels; the latter, in particular, necessitates mechanisms to ensure active cooperation of the state governments," he said.
The official objective of 'sab ka sath sab ke vikas', is commendable, Ansari noted and added that a pre-requisite for this is affirmative action (where necessary) to ensure a common starting point and an ability in all to walk at the required pace.
"This ability has to be developed through individual, social and governmental initiatives that fructify on the ground. Programmes have been made in abundance; the need of the hour is their implementation," he said.
He said that exclusion and discrimination including failure to provide security has to be corrected by the State at the earliest and appropriate instruments developed for it.
"The default by the state or its agents in terms of deprivation, exclusion and discrimination (including failure to provide security) is to be corrected by the state."
Observing that the imperative of social peace is political sagacity, the vice-president said the Indian experience of a large Muslim minority living in secular polity should even be a model for others to emulate.