The Neelesh Misra Show: Young Indian Muslims Deserve to Be Heard
Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj
Our community’s leadership lacks vision. Can you imagine the guiding forces of our community to be those people who protested against electricity? Can you imagine what this means and the absolute dearth of vision that there is. The second point is that these are people who declared more than 600 fatwas against Sir Sayyad Ahmad for learning English. At a time when air travel was not possible, they went to Saudi Arabia to get fatwas.Sheeba Aslam Zaidi, Professor, JNU
These are the words of Sheeba Aslam Zaidi, a professor at Delhi’s Jawahar Lal Nehru (JNU) university. In the second part of the seventh episode of the Neelesh Misra show, in association with Gaon Connection, young Muslims talk about how they have observed a transformation in the ideology of the community after the early 2000s.
Zaidi further goes on to say, "The Muslims are introspecting regularly and want to educate their children. Since I live in Old Delhi, I know what schools here are like. Urdu Medium schools have been handed over to Muslims.”
Zaidi feels that freedom of thought is an essential aspect of teaching.
“When a poor child passes his class 12 from an Urdu medium school and goes to college, he does not find textbooks written in Urdu. That is a dead end for the child. Sure, teach your child Urdu as a subject but where would students passing out of Urdu medium schools go? Who is going to explain them the terminology? How is someone who has studied Geography in Urdu going to suddenly comprehend Geography in English? How will he compete in the job market? Their job prospects will improve if they study in Hindi or English medium schools,” she added.
Drop this Baggage of Backwardness
Why was the Muslim society misled by some leaders into believing that polio drops can turn you impotent? It is the government's conspiracy against Islam. But who refuted this claim in order to rid the world of polio? Some Muslim men. Yes, they came out on the streets and busted this myth. This stands testimony to the fact that Muslims can use their strength and brilliance to improve the lives of their brethren.
What are The Difficulties Facing Muslims?
This is rather strange. Islamic faith loves progress, but many Muslim leaders have given other Muslims backward insights under the garb of progress. Their holy text stresses on the importance of knowledge. But boys and girls, both, from that community have remained behind in education. Education is also not a priority for the leaders.
Hazrat Khadījah bint Khuwaylid, wife of Mohammad Sallal Laho Alaihi Wasallam, was Mecca's most successful businesswoman. But today fatwas are declared against women who work. Khuwaylid was Mecca's richest working woman of that time. Her business dealt with exporting essentials from Saudi to Syria, and she had provided employment to nearly a hundred men.
When Will My Destiny Change, Maulana?
"Bahut maine suni hai aapki takrir maulana,
Magar badli nahi ab tak meri takdir maulana."
(I have heard your speech enough, o' leader,
But my destiny remains unchanged, o'leader.)
This is a couplet by Habeeb Jalib. And it holds true for a majority of leaders belonging to all faiths. When these leaders, regardless of their faith, deliver speeches to a live audience or through a television screen, why do they only talk about ways to please the Lord?
Why don't they use the power they have to improve their lives before improving their afterlives? Why don't they assert the importance of sending children to school, to not wait for your mothers or sisters to clean up after you.
If your son or brother misbehaves with women, indulges in hooliganism on the streets then give him the same treatment that you would to any such person on the street.
But regardless of whether the leaders do their work or not, let you and me keep our work going. Let us try to help one person everyday, let us try to become a better person every day. Those who have not studied, should get access to education - let us try and ensure that. This is the real form of worship.
(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit send)
(Hi there! We will be continuing our news service on WhatsApp. Meanwhile, stay tuned to our Telegram channel here.)