Issues and Challenges Facing Minorities in India

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Issues and Challenges Facing Minorities in India

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The Indian Association for Muslim Social Scientists (IAMSS), Western Zone, in collaboration with the Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi, and the Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI), Pune, organized a national seminar on “Issues and Challenges before Minorities in India” on 30/12/2023 at the YMCA Conference Hall, Pune.

In the Inaugural Session, Shailesh Mehta, Secretary of Dnyanoday Prashikshan Sevabhavi Sanstha (DPSS), emphasized India’s rich diversity with many religious groups. He highlighted noticeable gaps in education, employment, and economic opportunities among religious groups and minorities, urging the filling of these gaps. Mehta stressed the rights of security and safety for everyone, promoting diversity, and celebrating inclusivity as essential for all Indians.

Prof. Ashwani Kumar, a prominent political scientist from the School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), delivered the keynote address. He underscored India’s status as a land of minorities, emphasizing the importance of diversity for the nation’s unity. Referring to India as a “salad bowl,” Kumar explained that every group remains distinct yet integral, contributing to the syncretic culture of the country. He highlighted constitutional rights granted to minorities, particularly through Articles 29 and 30, allowing protection for linguistic and cultural minorities.

Nisar Sagar, President of MCCI, urged unity, discouraging groupism, and emphasized the dissemination of messages of love and peace. Prof. Khaja Moin Shakir discussed political representation of minorities in state assemblies and Parliament, presenting data on the impact of Muslim votes on BJP percentages.

Prof. Mulla identified indicators of inequality between Muslims and other religious groups, pointing out challenges in the implementation of the New Education Policy (NEP).

Sohail Ansari, Director of MCCI, emphasized the dismal situation of Muslims in India, stressing the role of education and economic upliftment. He conducted a SWOT analysis, highlighting the importance of MCCI in addressing these challenges.

In the valedictory session, Dr. Daniel Penkar, Director of Symbiosis International University, called for drastic steps for the upliftment of Muslims in India. Prof. M.D. Lawrence, Vice-Chancellor of P.A. Inamdar University, outlined the CSGD strategy for minority sustainability: Continuity, Solidarity, Growth, and Development. Mubeen Khan, Vice President of MCCI, emphasized the need for Muslims to take responsibility for their situation, work towards economic upliftment, and acquire skills in emerging technologies.

The seminar concluded with a call for Muslim unity, interaction with non-Muslims, and a focus on education and economic empowerment.