A New Landmark on Lodhi Road
The India Islamic Cultural Centre inaugurated in Delhi recently will be a platform to erase misconceptions about Islam and promote Islamic culture.
The ruling Congress Party President, Sonia Gandhi opened the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC), headquarters in New Delhi recently. Speaking on the occasion, Sonia said that both the Congress party and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government are committed for the welfare of all minorities and a high-level Committee set up by the government was studying various aspects of their development.
The Centre, aimed at promoting cultural and religious integration was inaugurated, 22 years after its foundation was laid. Land for the two-and-a-half acre IICC campus was sanctioned in 1981 and the then prime minister Indira Gandhi had performed the ground-breaking ceremony on August 24, 1984.
IICC is a non-political institution with its aims and objectives of national integration through dialogues, debates, research, cultural programmes and welfare schemes. “The main objective of IICC is to erase misunderstandings about Islam and to promote an awareness of the ethos of Islamic culture and create an ethical society based on tolerance, universal brotherhood, understanding, appreciation, love and charity,” said Sirajuddin Qureshi, president of the Centre.
The beautiful sandstone structure, in a total built-up area of 5,200 sq ft in the Lodhi Road locality in the heart of the capital is a symbol of the Indo-Iranian architecture feted with fine brown tiles from Iran. It has a 300-seater auditorium, two conference rooms, a library having books on all religions and cultures to facilitate research, 30 guest rooms, a cafeteria, a coffee bar, amphi-theatre and space for cultural activities.
The total cost of the building is estimated at more than Rs 15 crores of which Rs 8 crore has already been spent. Funds have come from a variety of sources including Rs 10 lakh from the department of culture of the central government, Rs16 lakh from the Uttar Pradesh government, Rs seven lakh from Madhya Pradesh, Rs six lakh from Jammu and Kashmir and Rs five lakh from Haryana. The single largest donation of Rs 2 crore has come from a businessman, B. S. Abdur Rahman of Chennai, who is now based in Dubai. Among the foreign donors are Sultan Qaboos of Oman and Abdullah and Abdul al-Rostamani of the United Arab Emirates. The Libyan government has pitched in Rs 20 lakh. The institution is currently run by a Trust headed by Sirajuddin Qureshi and S. Farooq. The IICC would provide a platform for people, especially from the Muslim community to avail themselves of facilities like the latest books and magazines and access to the Internet at nominal costs. It will be a place where Muslims can mix and interact with other communities and keep updated on new ideas in science and technology.
(The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)