Saturday, October 5, 2013

How Can Aligarh Movement be Effective?

To decide how Aligarh Movement can be effective we have to first ascertain why we are ineffective.

Ineffective we are but we might differ on the cause behind that malaise.

In my view we have become ineffective because we Muslims blame ourselves for the partition of India.

And that is a wrong attitude.

We are not responsible for the partition of India at all.
Not in the least bit.

Pedantically we were not there at the time of partition.
At the technically correct level too we are not responsible because our ancestors at the time of partition were the people who were against the partition.

In view of this why is it so difficult to throw away the guilt of partition?
Let us do that. Let us throw away the guilt of partition.

And yours truly asserts that we Muslims of India as a whole do not want anther partition of India.

This is a strange thing to say but perhaps not so strange in view of the often repeated rhetoric from the detractors of Muslims that they will not tolerate another partition of India. Sorry we Muslims of India do not know any organizations working towards that end. So another partition of India is a strawman argument.

And once we put off the partition  guilt cloak we are free to think of the ways to make Aligarh Movement effective in twenty first century.

Aligarh is capable of engendering the social, cultural, political, scientific, technical,  industrial, financial and economic rejuvenation of Muslim Ummah in India. That is what Sir Syed's vision is all about.

Taking up the social recharging of Muslim Ummah in India one can think of a several diseases that are peculiar to Muslims. For example there are too many people who think that their ancestry is noble because of one simple fact - they are of non-Indian origin.

Now that is silly. Beloved Prophet, may peace and mercy of God be upon him, said that an Arab is not superior to an Ajam, that is, a person that is not Arab.
And that should have settled the issue long back.

It is the Aligarh community that has to work out the implications of this issue and clarify them to the Muslim politicians and social workers.

Unfortunately this is a weak spot of an Aligarian. There are indications that Sir Syed wanted to cater to the elite of the society. But social rejuvenation means throwing away the old useless burden and move on in life. The strength of a social movement lies in its ability to identify its own weaknesses and over come them. Aligarh Movement is mature enough to do that. And that is what it should do. If Mayawati, walking, or running, on the shoulders of Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram can do legendary social engineering it will be a shame for Aligarh community not to effect the same in spite of having so many giants to support us with their shoulders.

Other social issues can similarly be taken and as a sample we suffice with above example only. The task of identifying social problems or areas of strengths that can be exploited for energizing the Muslim Ummah in India rightfully belongs to the social science intellectuals of Aligarh Movement. they should come forward to take up the task.

No particular effort is required for cultural rejuvenation of the Ummah, or any society for that matter. The reason is that cultural effervescence of any society is a by product of its intellectual rejuvenation. That is what we learn from the history and lessons of history can always be used for our own benefit.

I shall make only one remark that some particular type of cultural euphoria or phenomena is not very Islamic. Once the department of culture or some other government of India department came out with the programme in Humayun's tomb area that was called Islamic culture with aqeeedat, with faith. There was nothing Islamic about it. But we digress.

Political rejuvenation is the most tricky part. Casteism is looked down upon by the constitution of India but caste based equation are always at the helm of all planning across the party spectrum. No one has any programme to neutralize that. We do not see any near future prospect of that going away. Religion based organization of political dynamics is a big no no in our country. The most one can do is to make some noise about minorities in some non-effective fora and and that is about it.

In view of the above all the Aligarh Movement can do is to make an attempt to persuade the Muslim politicians, particularly the members of assemblies and the parliament, to take a united view of the Ummah so as to get its due that has been assured by the constitution of India.

Needless to mention that this point has to be further thrashed out so as to sensitize the matter to the desired levels. But then that is what the job of an intellectual enterprise like Aligarh Movement is. Aligarh Movement is about how to thrive in a non-Islamic environment and Aligarian community should take up the responsibility in this matter very seriously.

While receiving his life time achievement award in a convocation its first recipient Zakir Ali Khan said that in a nutshell the spirit of Aligarh is to rise upto the occasion. The political thinkers of Aligarh should rise upto the occasion and solve the conundrum faced by Indian Muslim community.

This brings us to the scientific rejuvenation of Muslim Ummah in India. This is the biggest beating stick against Muslims in modern times. We are accused of being scientifically backward, nay illiterate.

And that is a calumny. In reality Muslim Ummah in India is pretty scientifically savvy. Aligarh hosts most upto date science departments, at par with national level. And then they, Muslims,  are present at the national level also. Perhaps the ratio of scientific literacy is not upto the desired level number of Muslim scientists per lack of Muslims might not be upto the national level but that is not a big draw back. Science is universal and a small number of scientists can cater to the scientific needs of a society.

At this point we have to break our train of thoughts to address a contingency that will arise in the mind of a reader that is not a Muslim. Are we trying to cook up a a parallel society in India? Another two nation theory? The answer is no. It is like the following. If there is a break of epidemic in the crops grown in hilly areas then the scientific workforce deployed to tackle it is not from the deserts of Rajastan. It is from the same state. Similarly the Muslim Ummah in India is assured by the constitution to indulge in its overall growth including scientific development. And this growth should not be limited to ascertaining the age of Islamic manuscripts.

Once a society is scientifically mature technical development, though not immediate, is very close at hand. Efforts in that direction are required and Aligarh community should take up this task at priority basis because we live in a world were technical developments are rather fast paced and even most developed societies find it difficult to keep up with the rest of the world.

Yes, even Aligarh Movement has to thing in global terms for we live in a global village.

Industrial, financial and economic rejuvenation is a result of above all factors. Of course this too has to be activated by intellectual input and the departments of economics, commerce, business and management have enough work force to sit down and think of a vision for the Ummah in India and devise ways to implement that vision.

As usual any thing can be done effectively if there is a leader at the helm of the affairs. In mu humble view the head of the university is not an appropriate person to be entrusted with this task. Head of the university holds a job that demands full time attention.

May I humbly propose that we Aligs devise a mechanism to elect a head of Aligarh Movement whose task will be to implement the operative part of Sir Syed's vision as outlines above? This piece is not a self-serving rhetoric and hence yours truly is not in the fray.

I shall end this note with a warning. God warns us that if we do not take up the due responsibility then He will raise a people who will. And they will not be like us. Our brothers from south India have been doing wonderful things for quite some time. If they do take the lead in these matters we would be morally bound to follow them. I shall not be complaining if that comes to a pass.