Prominent intellectuals, academicians, former diplomat, religious thinkers and human rights advocates expressed grave concern about the deteriorating atmosphere in the country. They also called upon the countrymen to inculcate “Bharat Bhawna”, and preserve the Idea of India and constitutional values. They were speaking at a symposium, on “Preserving Idea of India,” organised by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind at India Islamic Cultural Centre in the national capital on August 7.

All the speakers were felicitated for their outstanding contributions towards preserving the Idea of India and promoting unity and togetherness among the people of India.       

Prof. Muchkund Dubey, former Ambassador and Foreign Secretary, in his keynote address, while explaining the rich cultural heritage of India, and we-feeling among citizens despite all kinds of diversity, sharing of culture and traditions, said, in the past too India witnessed hatred and violence but it used to happen in a particular location or region and the situation used to normalise as if nothing had happened in the past. But today what we can see is that hatred is spreading on the national level which we can see for the first time in India and it is a matter of deep concern for all those who want to preserve the Idea of India.

Prof. Dubey, while highlighting the way forward, urged the civil society, socio-religious thinkers, NGOs working for promoting peace and unity to inculcate Bharat Bhawana (the Idea of India) which is fundamental to democracy, secularism and to promote the spirit of our Constitution. While expressing concern about the restrictions on religious freedom, he called for preserving the spirit of India. The former Foreign Secretary also said, “I do not have any hope from the government and also no hope from the opposition and the media as well.” 

Syed Sadatullah Husaini, President Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, in his presidential address, said, “The importance of the Idea of India is that the very notion has kept India united, it is the foundation of India. Our country is not like that of European counties which are uni-cultural and uni-linguistic. Those who are trying to import in India nationalism of Europe, integral nationalism, ethno-nationalism or cultural nationalism are not aware of the basic reality of India. As per our latest census, the linguistic survey says that the number of languages spoken in India is 19,500.

He added, “The thread that has kept our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic country is the dream for post-Independence India and our constitutional values. The Idea of India is the name of all those values. We had a dream to make India a welfare state, where there would be equality, justice, liberty and fraternity with equitable distribution of resources.”

“We can see today that the very idea of India is under great threat. It (the threat) will not only harm Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities but it will also harm entire India. Every Indian living in the country will be at its receiving end. We have to educate and make people on the ground aware about how dangerous it could it be if we fail to preserve the Idea of India and how harmful it could be for all citizens of India because India’s existence is at stake and the very foundation of India is in danger. Preserving the Idea of India is the key to the existence of India,” said JIH President.

Earlier, Engineer Mohammad Salim, National Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, in his welcome address, said, as India is celebrating 75th year of Independence we have gathered here to analyse as to what extent the dreams and goals of Independent India have been achieved in these years. Definitely we have made remarkable progress in some fields like space, science and technology, agriculture, atomic energy, telecommunication, computers, software and many more areas. We are happy and thank Almighty for all these developments. But at the same time, we will also shed light on how far the dreams and goals we had set after Independence have been fulfilled, how we have built our society and whether we have achieved what has been enshrined in the Preamble of our Constitution – Equality, Justice, Liberty and Fraternity.                      

Prof. Apoorvanand of Delhi University highlighted the threat perception against Muslims and the Idea of India. Muslims and their Masjids are being attacked on regular basis by radical Hindu groups. Efforts are being made to penetrate hate-filled atmosphere into schools, colleges, universities and at all places. The idea of India which is the founding principle of our country is facing challenges from many fronts. We have to imbibe the spirit of India at all levels and its source lies in the Constitution of India. Muslims are feeling insecure in this country and most Hindus are still not aware of what is going on in the hearts of the Muslims in our country. The non-Muslims will have to stand for Muslims.

Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, former member of Planning Commission said that efforts are being made to tarnish the national composite culture and therefore it is the need of the hour to work together at all levels to defend the Constitutional values and rights of the people.

Prof. Ram Puniyani, former professor at IIT Mumbai and a noted social and human rights activist, while emphasising social harmony, said, “A particular class is promoting hatred through historical events and symbolism. Most of their arguments will sound hollow and baseless if it is investigated in accordance with logic, science and history. Even if any incidence were true, it would not have anything to do with religion but rather with politics and the growth of the state.”

According to Goswami Sushil Ji Maharaj, President of Indian Sarva Dharma Samvad and Dharmik Jan Morcha, the country will only prosper if people of all faiths work together. We cannot think of India without Muslims. Religious leaders can play an instrumental role in promoting brotherhood, peace and unity in the country.    

Mohammad Ahmed, JIH National Secretary, extended a vote of thanks and Laiq Ahmed Khan, Asst. Secretary (Public Relations) JIH, conducted the symposium.

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