Muslim think tank IMPAR should reach out to poor, illiterate Muslims: Asghar Wajahat

By Yusuf Ansari,

Over the years, the mainstream in India has been producing negative and adverse stereotypes of Muslims. The Muslim think tank Indian Muslims for Progress and Reform (IMPAR), with over 200 intellectuals has taken up the onus to counter this adverse stereotyping. In a detailed report published on April 29, had discussed the reactions and responses of the Muslim community towards IMPAR and soon it was picked up by the country’s renowned Hindi statesman Asghar Wajahat. Taking to Facebook, Wajahat commended the initiative and advised that “it is necessary to reach out to the poor, illiterate and weaker sections of the Muslim community.” He also gave other recommendations to the think tank, which is producing below. 

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Asghar Wajahat welcomes the step, and has some advice  

It has recently been in the news that around 200 intellectuals of the country, best known in their professions and skills have come together to form Indian Muslims for Progress and Reform (IMPAR) that would operate as a think tank to eliminate the negative media propaganda against the community. IMPAR would connect with independent thinkers and organizations promoting the composite culture of India and reflect the secular fabric. It is clear from the name that the organization is brimming with potential as it is made of progressive, secular and reformist Muslims.

This is a very welcome step and the thinkers behind this deserve applause for creation of an entity as such. It would work to transmit authentic information thus filling the void where the consciousness of Muslims in the society was slowly getting lost. Here is a list of things that the organization would take care of in regard with dealing with the Muslim community:

  1. It is an urgent need to address the poor, illiterate and weaker Muslims whose mother tongues are either Hindu or Urdu. In fact, Hindi is more common. Since the new generation of Muslims are familiar with Hindi, to address them would be the work of Hindi and Urdu spoken leaders. IMPAR would work with the weaker sections in a way that achieves their understanding and participation.
  2. Usually, for the development of the Muslim community, associations employ highly educated intellectuals with zero access to poor Muslims. So the need here is to choose Muslims that have close links with Muslim ghettos and those in the lower rungs so that they can connect with the lowest sections who cannot even read or write.
  3. Some unruly elements in the country continue to plot conspiracy for defaming Muslims and Islam. In such a situation there is a need for a group that would highlight the role and importance of Muslims and also submit an accurate picture of Islam.
  4. With regards to Indian history, there are a lot of misconceptions in the medieval Indian history that distort facts suggesting that Muslims were anti-Hindu. In this regard, the think tank must play a significant role in conveying facts of medieval Indian history.
  5. The organization may also focus on organizing diverse and mixed cultural programmes like Ghazal, Mushaira, Music, Drama, and other art programmes. But it must be kept in mind that these have to be for the target audience, which are weaker sections and they should not be intimidated by keeping these programmes in five-star facilities.
  6. The organization should also use modern means of creative communication to reach out to people.
  7. The organization should pay special attention to the education of Muslims in madrasas and community schools.
  8. Health and Safety awareness should also be mandated.
  9. Instead of focusing on violence, it should concentrate on the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.
  10. In order to build a peaceful relationship with the majority community, there should be a variety of programmes.
  11. Muslim society should be made aware that in order to overcome the communal divide, they must cooperate and stay in peace with the majority community.