Development that takes Muslims in its fold is not possible if the community is not included in the system, noted journalist and author Saeed Naqvi said at a lecture at Nariman Point on Monday evening.
Naqvi was speaking on the ‘The inclusive development of the Indian Muslim community' at a talk organised by the think tank, Observer Research Foundation.
“There are no Muslim Members of Parliament from states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and some others. Parties think it is dangerous to have one,” Naqvi said.
“How can one talk of inclusive development when Muslims themselves are not included in the system?”
The journalist said there are often questions about when a “liberal” Muslim leader would come along.
“The last undisputed leader of the Muslims was Jawaharlal Nehru. We haven’t had one after that,” Naqvi said.
“We don’t necessarily need a Muslim leader. We need a liberated, liberal person.”
Saeed said he finds that there is a “sub-conscious desire among people to forget that Hindus and Muslims have contributed much to each other’s culture”.
The author cited several examples of cultural integration between the two religions.
Such as the fact that social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s newspaper was written in Persian and the way in which the paan and the kurta —remnants of the Mughal rule — have become a part of Indian culture.
“No one talks about this these days. Is this amnesia deliberate?” he asked.
“That is the question that must be debated upon and answered.”
Naqvi said people have compartmentalised themselves by defining each other by the religion they follow.
“Religion is personal and one can be possessive of it,” he said. “However, the culture that it follows should belong to everyone.”