Speech delivered by Mrs Sheila Dixit on the occasion of Book Release Function

Dr Manzoor Alam is a very eminent scholar. Besides, his eminence as a scholar, he is like a dear brother to me. I could not, therefore, resist the temptation of participating in this function to release two very important books which are part of the series of books which the Institute keeps publishing in the interest of the community. More importantly, these books draw the attention of all of us, whether in government or out of government, indeed, of the society as a whole to the aspirations, the problems and struggles of the Muslim community to get the place which it needs to have and ought to have, in the context of Indian civil society.

These are very very important studies which I have occasionally tried out. Whatever I learnt  from the Institute and its able chairman makes me believe that this institute is rendering a vital human service in terms of bringing about intra-community and inter-community understanding. For those who are outside the community it is extremely important to know and to analyse what is the situation like and how we can meet the challenges, collectively as well as individually.

Constitutionally we are all at par with each other, socially we are friends and we live in peace and harmony but  peace and harmony gets  disturbed off and on. Though I am saying it, and I am a politician, I have no hesitation in  saying that the cause of these disturbances is political greed or, to put it more politely, political need.

It has to be acknowledged that those among the Muslim community who have had access to education and have been educated are second to no body in this country. Whether they are professors, scientists, artists, writers, administrators, policemen or soldiers in the army – they have acquitted themselves creditably.

Unfortunately common mass of Muslim community, like many other parts of the society in India, are deprived and neglected. We need to bring them into the mainstream, to make them equal components and sharers of  our national life. That is the biggest challenge before this community. Education is an important part of the endeavour to meet this challenge.

Education is not  just a paramount need of a particular community. Muslims in this case, but of all communities. Education is the key to success, the key to move forward, the key to growth of as also the key to resource development. That is the crucial area where the  institute of objective studies is really doing very good work. Empowerment comes with education but without empowerment community feels it  is being neglected, marginalised and sidelined.

I think we need to have a relook why this feeling is developing; It is a very serious challenge. It requires collective thinking in order to see that those who are causing the marginalisation and those who are being marginalised come together and reverse this situation, to convert it into a happy situation.

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