Report on “Towards Equality, Justice and Fraternity” conference
03/22/2018
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New Delhi: A three-day international conference on “Towards Equality, Justice and Fraternity in Contemporary India – Creating a Better Tomorrow”, organised by the Institute of Objective Studies at Constitution Club of India here to mark the conclusion of its 30th Anniversary Celebrations Programme, ended on February 18, 2018. It began on February 16. The conference was attended by delegates from different parts of the country besides from countries as far apart as South Africa, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon and from India’s neighbouring countries, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The issues, debated at the conference, reflected the concern of participants who constituted the core of civil society movement and different professions. There were scholars, theologians, representatives from across the major religions, social scientists, economists, lawyers and judges.

The inaugural session got off to a start with the recitation of a Quranic verse by Maulana Abdullah Tarique, who also rendered it into Urdu. This was followed by the welcome and introductory speech by the Secretary General of IOS, Prof. ZM Khan. He briefly gave an account of the activities of the Institute during the last three decades. He said that the conference was preceded by four such conferences in the past one year. The first such conference was held in Kolkata in April last year. He also noted that the last four conferences evinced keen interest among the participants, who attended them in large numbers.
The IOS, he said, was basically a research organisation engaged in conceptual and academic research. Besides, the Institute commissioned surveys on marginalised communities and had, to its credit, more than 400 books on various subjects in Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and English. Many of the books published by the IOS had been translated in vernacular languages. He maintained that several journals were regularly brought out, besides online magazines and news and views portals. The Institute could boast of an excellent data bank on issues of socio-economic interest. He said that the Shah Waliullah Award was given every year to a person of eminence in recognition of his contribution to Islamic scholarship. Besides, Life Time Achievement Award (with a cheque of Rs 1 lakh) had been instituted to honour persons of eminence for their valuable contributions, he said.

The chairman of IOS, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, while speaking on the Institute’s journey through 30 years, remarked that as the holy Quran stressed equality, fraternity and justice, the Indian Constitution also adopted them as cardinal principles for the good of citizens. But, as things stood today, these very principles were being flagrantly violated by the powers that be. The IOS was committed to be objective and looked at issues from a constructive perspective. He felt concerned over the conflicting voices that were being heard all around, signaling an impending danger to liberty, which was at stake as tyranny was ruling the roost in India and the world. The big question today was to resolve conflicts in order to establish social democracy. He expressed the confidence that the three-day deliberations would hammer out something palpable for the good of society. He observed that every law had a history and if it was not understood properly it could create a lot of problems. He said that he was desirous of setting up a centre for the study of history where a course on understanding history from the point of view of law would be introduced. He announced that all papers presented or received during the conference would be published in a book form.
Inaugurating the conference, former Chief Justice of India, Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, held that equality, like liberty, was a prominent political ideal of the contemporary world. The French Revolution was fought for liberty, equality and fraternity. It constituted the voice of the oppressed, a voice against injustice, a voice for changing unfair social conditions. He said that the problem of inequality had figured in political thought since the earliest times.

Over the years scientific thinking about the existing structure of society had led to a demand for social change. Without freedom, there could be no equality or fraternity. Without equality, fraternity and liberty could not exist. He noted that without fraternity, liberty and equality were themselves not sustainable. Each of these values constituted the other two, and none of them could sustain in isolation. Each of them contributed towards the other values, and each of them became a cause and consequence for the others. He maintained that the freedom fighters had cherished many aspirations during the arduous course of the freedom movement. Having attained independence, the Indian nation was passionate about making a fresh start, in a form and system of government substantially different from those of the alien rulers.
Justice Singh pointed out that federalism, separation of powers, constitutionalism and rule of law, were at the heart of the Indian Constitution, that comprised fundamental concepts constituting its basic structure, which contributed meaningfully to the achievement of liberty, equality, justice and fraternity. He pointed out that fraternity encompassed the spirit of brotherhood. A spirit that all inhabitants were children of the same society and the same motherland. The term fraternity was added to the Preamble on account of diversities in India based on race, religion, language and culture. Fraternity was the cementing factor of all the inherent diversities.

However, he said, fraternity was not possible unless the dignity of each individual was preserved and respected. He commented that in a country like India, with so many disruptive forces of regionalism, communalism and lingualism, it was necessary to emphasise and re-emphasise that the unity and integrity of India could be preserved only by a spirit of brotherhood. He especially referred to Articles 14,15 and 16 of the Constitution which he had been usually dealing with as a lawyer. He ended his speech by observing, “This is the time for questioning, and with it the opportunity of reaffirming the democratic values which the Indian Constitution extends. The Constitution also enjoins upon us the duty to uphold it and its ideals, the duty to uphold individual sovereignty, unity, integrity, and the duty to promote harmony and brotherhood among people.”
Former Union minister for Minority Affairs and Member of Parliament, K. Rahman Khan, in his speech as a guest of honour insisted that Articles 14,15 and 16 of the Constitution were the soul of it. He said that society itself was unequal and it was very difficult to define equality. Dignity and equality were a must for the system to ensure with affirmative action under Article 16 of the Constitution. He said that India was fortunate to be an independent country with the best Constitution of the world. India also happens to have a judiciary that is independent and remains the last resort for the common man, he concluded.
Secretary General, International Institute of Islamic Thought, KSA, Prof. Omar Hasan Kasule, remarked that the IOS had carved out a niche for itself by focusing on issues that concerned the minorities and other marginalised sections. The holistic approach of IOS to issues was known to the world outside India. The world had duly recognised the institute. Referring to the distinction among people, he quoted the Quran by saying that Allah created men and women, so that they recognised each other. There were biological and gender differences, but these should not be erased as God had made those differences. A society had the duty to uplift the disadvantaged, he added.
Member of the General Assembly, International Islamic Charitable Organisation (IICO), Kuwait, Dr. Aroub AYAH Alrifai, said that her organisation, established in 1980, was engaged in supporting humanitarian work across the globe. Currently, there were 160 founding members of her organisation and Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam was on its board of directors. She opined that equality, justice and fraternity were the values that Allah placed on us.
In his presidential address, the former Chief Justice of India, Justice AM Ahmadi, observed that people belonging to different faiths in India had been living under the umbrella of the Constitution. This was a feature of India which was not readily found everywhere. He pointed out the country’s diversity saw unequals as equals. It brought unequals on a par with equals. They were unequals because they came from different social groupings. He said that equality before law had been guaranteed to every citizen under Article 14 of the Constitution. This included economic and physical equality. Referring to the Fundamental Rights, which formed Part IV of the Constitution, he said that Article 32 could be invoked in case these rights were violated. However, he regretted, these provisions were ignored over the years. Article 32 itself was a fundamental right and could be enforced if a fundamental right was violated. He said that in several cases the apex court directed petitioners to go to the High Court for relief, which indicated that the highest court of law was shirking its duty to be the custodian of the rights of citizens. Emphasising the need for properly understanding Article 32, he said that the sentence, “the state shall endeavour”, provided flexibility. He stated that the diversity of people, language, culture, customs etc. had made India a wonderful country. It was co-existence that made India a great nation, he said.
Six books published by the IOS and one CD containing IOS film and IOS 30 years report were released on the occasion. The books included Perspectives: Selected writings of Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam; Exclusion of Muslims in India: Participation, Tolerance and Legitimacy of the State; Psyche in Islam; Rise and Role of Marginalised Communities in Indian Freedom Struggle; IOS Journey of Thirty years: Vision Inspired; and Islamic Finance and Venture Capital: Options for the Indian Economy.
An exhibition on the 30 years journey of the IOS was also organised to coincide with the anniversary celebrations. While the proceedings of the inaugural session were conducted by the Assistant Secretary General of IOS, Prof. M. Afzal Wani, a vote of thanks was extended by the Finance Secretary, Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish.
The inaugural session was followed by the special session on “Role of religion in contemporary India” chaired by Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, Secretary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, and the Sikh religious leader, Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal. Speaking at the session, founder of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, New Delhi, Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni, opined that the faith in God could not keep a devout person away from Him. But superstition was not capable of taking a man far enough. Underscoring the need for such programmes, especially in the present context, he said that they helped in creating a constructive atmosphere. He also called for truthfully practising one’s religion without making adverse comments on other’s religions. He said that ideological pollution was more dangerous than environmental pollution and urged religious heads to come forward in creating a congenial ambience for peace and goodwill.
Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani observed that the role of religion in restoring order in the country was unparalleled as religious leaders did not hanker after power, adding that political leaders had hijacked religion for their ulterior motives. They enjoyed sucking human blood by using religion as a tool to promote discord among people. He said that Allah created all humans as equal. This was further explained by none else but the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) who, during his last Hajj address stated that “no white man had a superiority over a black man, and no black man had a superiority over a white man; no Arab had a superiority over a non-Arab, no non-Arab had a superiority over an Arab, except in piety”. Etiquette in Islam had a special significance and Muslims had been ordained not to differentiate between Muslims and non-Muslims. That was the reason why not a single Muslim scholar targeted other religions during 1200 years of Muslim rule in India. The maulana laid special stress on the need for education among Muslims. He regretted that Muslim girls were far behind boys in education. He urged the Muslim community to acquire knowledge from whatever source possible, treating it as a personal belonging found after getting lost for a long time. He took a critical view of the uneven distribution of wealth and said, today 80 percent of wealth was being controlled by a bare 2 per cent of the population.
Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh complained that it was the religious leaders who had divided the people by invoking man-made caste system. Referring to Dr. Ambedkar’s speech on November 26, 1949, in which he had assured that every citizen would have the right to adult franchise, he said that if it was not practised then it would remain a piece of paper only. Describing the Quran as the Constitution of humanity, he said that it was not being truly followed by Muslims. He urged the people to champion the cause of humanity to create a global society. Introducing himself as an activist who worked for the freedom of bonded labourers, he said that he was jailed 11 times for securing the release of bonded labourers from bondage. He asked the chairman of the IOS to formulate an action plan for taking the fight for the democratic and secular values forward. In response to the swami’s call, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam observed that for social revolution priorities must be fixed.
Dr. M. D. Thomas, founder director, Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, New Delhi, remarked that equality and fraternity were the foundations on which the structure of a better future stood. Certain happenings of recent past were disturbing and left much to be desired. This called for positive action to rectify them as the aberrations are overshadowed by good deeds. There was a need to change the mindset in order to change people. Things were unlikely to change till people’s outlook towards other religions changed. He pleaded for learning from the teaching of the sacred books of different religions.
Former Chairman, Urdu Akademi, UP, and vice-president, AIMC, Dr. Yaseen Ali Usmani pointed out that though reservation in jobs and education was given to different groups, social progress moved on a snail’s peace.
Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal, in his presidential address, pointed out that all prophets and saints spread the message of love, peace and harmony. He said that Guru Gobind Singh devoted his entire life to the cause of love and brotherhood, which was hailed by the celebrated Urdu poet Dr. Allama Iqbal. He held political leaders responsible for the discord and tension in the world, with the result that the number of casualties in war far exceeded those who died from diseases. Striking a note of optimism, he said that there was no dearth of good-intentioned people in any religion. The IOS chairman stressed that society should take a pledge to create an atmosphere of peace and see to it that justice was done to everybody. It was immaterial as to who did it and how. He reiterated his commitment to take this mission forward.
The special session was marked by the release of an eight-booklet kit on Aquaid (beliefs) and 10-booklet kit on Ausaf-e-Razeela (base instincts) under Kalimatullah Hiya al-Ulia (Allah’s Word the Most Lofty: An Indian Perspective) and Mashahir Muslim Sciencedaan (Famous Muslim Scientists).
Second Day, February 17, 2018
The first business session of the second day focused on “ideational foundations of concepts of equality, justice and fraternity for minorities in the light of the Indian Constitution”. While the session was chaired by Prof. M. Afzal Wani, the speakers included Prof. Nuzhat Parveen Khan, dean, faculty of law, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, who presented the paper on “Towards equality, justice and fraternity in contemporary India: Creating a better tomorrow for minorities through law, and Dr. Mohibul Haque, assoc. professor, deptt. of political science, AMU, Aligarh, who spoke on “Rights of religious minorities in India: Image and reality”. Mohammad Muslim, research scholar, department of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh, focused on the “Role of fraternity in contemporary India”. Tanvir Hussain, Ph.D. scholar, MMAJ Academy of International Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, dealt with “Equality in contemporary India: A case of Nomadic Tribes of J&K”. Muzaffar Ahmad Dar, research scholar, deptt. of commerce, AMU, Aligarh, talked about the “Conceptual framework of organisational justice: An overview”.
The second business session, held at Deputy Chairman’s Hall, was devoted to the “Placement and role of higher education in bringing about a universal family: national scenario”. While the session was chaired by Prof. Shoeb Abdullah, deptt. of teachers training and non formal education, Jamia Millia Islamia, Dr. Major Zahid Husain, principal, The New College, Chennai, conducted the proceedings.

Dean, faculty of social sciences, AMU, Aligarh, Prof. Shamim A. Ansari, spoke on “Higher education and brain drain: the national scenario”. Dr. Alefiya Tundawala, asstt. professor, deptt. of political science, Savitri Girls College, University of Calcutta, dwelt on “The RTE ACT (2009): Impact on the conflict between autonomy and integration of madarsas in India”. Ms. Tahira Gulzar, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU, expressed her views on “Muslim women’s education facing many challenges for creating a better tomorrow”.
The third business session, held at the Speaker’s Hall was devoted to the “ideational foundations of concepts of equality, justice and fraternity for minorities in the light of the UN and other bodies’ concerns”. The session was presided over by Syed Shahid Mehdi, former vice-chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. While Prof. Naseem A. Zaidi, former professor of economics, AMU, spoke on “Education and employment in India, Current scenario”, others speakers included Faisz Mustapha, Presidents’ Counsel in the Appellate Courts, Sri Lanka, Prof. Baladas Ghosal, former professor of foreign relations, JNU, Delhi, who spoke on the theme. Dr. Nader M. Ghazal, advisor for international cooperation of PM, Saad Hariri, Lebanon, who spoke on “The minority’s rights and responsibilities according to shariah versus contemporary democratic legislations: A comparative study”. Syed Mohammed Fazalur Rehman, PhD. scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, Jamia Hamdard, Delhi, presented his paper on “Equality, justice and fraternity among nations in the era of globalisation”.
The fourth parallel business session discussed the issue of “Placement and role of higher education in bringing about a universal family – Internationalisation of education”. Chaired by the former vice-chancellor, Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala, and secretary general, Association of Indian Universities, Prof. Furqan Qamar, the session had speakers like Prof. Parmod Kumar, deptt. of English, School of Humanities. IGNOU, New Delhi, who spoke on “Social inclusion in a globalised higher education environment: Issues and challenges of equitable access in Indian higher and distance education” and Dr. Mohammad Aftab Alam, asstt. professor of political science, Zakir Husain College, Delhi University. Dr. Mohammad Afsar Ali, asstt. professor, AJC Bose College, Kolkata, elaborated upon “Placement and role of higher education in bringing about a universal family”.
The fifth business session focused on “Patterns and agents of change in different sets, including public health”. Chaired by Prof. Omar Hasan Kasule, the session was conducted by Mohammad Aftab Alam. While Prof. Mohammad Akram, deptt. of sociology, AMU, spoke on “Public health challenges in India: Deprivation and inequities”. Dr. Anu Mehra, faculty of law, Delhi University, presented her paper on “Women’s empowerment and right to health: A reality check after seventy years of Indian independence”. Dr. Nasima Hasan, research fellow, Bangladesh Institute of Islamic Thought, gave a talk on “Women development: An Islamic perspective”.

Dr. Bobby John, managing director, Aequitas Consulting Pvt. Ltd, Noida, who spoke on public health, was followed by the CEO, Jan Elaaj. Asif Khair discussed “Self sustainable affordable health care”. Dr. Mohd. Khaleel, scientist, Delhi, Dr. Onkar Mittal, president, Civil Society Network, New Delhi, also elaborated upon the topic.

Ms. Saleha Ilhaam, research scholar, deptt. of English, AMU, read her paper on “The philosophy of religion and faith healings: A study of Islam and Christianity”. Istikhar Ali, Ph.D. scholar, Centre for Social Medicine & Communal Health, JNU, New Delhi, concentrated on “Social stratification among Muslims and its implications for access to health services: An exploratory study in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh”.
The sixth parallel business session focused on the “Role of values of equality, justice and fraternity in influencing the contours of International relations – Indian foreign policy. Chaired by Prof. Z. M. Khan, the session had Prof. M Badrul Alam, deptt. of political science, Jamia Millia Islamia, as a speaker on “India’s look-East policy towards Japan and the dominant patterns”. While Prof. Arshi Khan, deptt. of political science, AMU, discussed the same topic, Prof. Mohammad Ehtesham Khan, head, deptt. of political science, Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, chose to speak on “India’s look-West policy: Hope for peace and development”.
Third day, February 18, 2018
The third day of the conference featured the 11th business session, focused on the theme “Economic development and elimination of poverty: Role of these values on the national scene”. This session was chaired by Prof. Nisar Ahmed Khan, deptt. of Economics, AMU. Haroon Rashid Zargar, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU, presented his paper on the “Role of zakat and Islamic ethics in poverty elimination and economic development: A brief review of Quranic revelation”. Other speakers of the session included Prof. Javed Alam Khan, advisor, Institute of Policy Studies and Advocacy, New Delhi, who spoke on “Public policy and budgetary provision towards education of Muslims: Post-Sachar assessment” and Dr. Jaya Singh, assoc. professor, DESS, NCERT, New Delhi, who discussed the “portrayal of poverty in textbooks”. Dr. Malika B. Mistry, assoc. professor, deptt. of economics, Poona College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune, presented her paper on “Economic development and poverty elimination in India”. She was followed by Dr. Kaleem Alam, faculty, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, KSA, who spoke on “State economic terror and its consequences on development: Case of India”.

Dr. Nadeem Ashraf, asstt. professor, deptt. of sunni theology, AMU, Aligarh, presented his paper on “Qayam-e-aman mein mayishat ka kirdaar: Islami taleemat key hawaley se”’. Shadman Zafar and Md. Faisal, research scholars, deptt. of economics, AMU, Aligarh, were the last speakers who shared their views on “Inclusive growth: Myth and Reality”.
The twelfth parallel business session had “Character and role of national and regional media in fostering values of equality, justice and fraternity” as its theme with the director, AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed, in the chair. While Piyush Babele, special correspondent, India Today, initiated the discussion, Vidya Bhushan Rawat, human rights activist, spoke on “Nature and characteristics of media in today’s time: Our alternative”. Rajeev Ranjan Roy, senior assistant editor, Daily Post, Chandigarh, who focused on “Media – key to inclusive development”, was followed by Ms. Binny Yadav, freelance journalist and media academic, New Delhi, who concentrated on “Character and role of media in fostering values of equality, justice and fraternity”.

While Dr. Mehnaz Najmi, assoc. professor and HoD, deptt. of political science, School of Social Science and Humanities, Galgotias University, Noida, gave a talk on the topic, Dr. Jameel Ahmed Milansaar, asst. general secretary, All India Milli Council, Karnataka, Bangalore, spoke on “Role of social media in bridging gaps and promoting equality and fraternity”. The session concluded with the talk of Mohd Yaseen Gadda, Ph.D scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh, who spoke on “Confronting communal violence and Islamophobia in the Indian context: A way forward to equitable society”.
Session 13 on “Economic development and elimination of poverty: Role of these values and international commitments”, was chaired by Prof. M. Ishtiyaq, former vice-chancellor, Magadh University, Bodhgaya. The session had speakers like Prof. Naushad Ali Azad, K Saleem Ali and Prof. Major Zahid Husain. While Prof. Naushad Ali Azad, former professor, deptt. of economics, Jamia Millia Islamia, spoke on Millennium Development Goals, K Saleem Ali, IPS (Retd), Former DGP of Tripura, focused on “Economic development as a concept”.
Business session 14 was devoted to “Character and role of international media in fostering values of equality, justice and fraternity” with Prof. Arshi Khan in the chair. Shastri Ramachandaran, former editor, Tribune, and Sukumar Muralidharan, from The Wire, explained the role of the media in the changing world. Dr. Mohd. Jahangir Warsi, assoc. prof. deptt. of linguistics, AMU and former faculty member , Washington University, University of California and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, spoke on “Media and minorities in the United States: An overview”.
Business session 15 focused on the “Role of Islam in promotion of peace, equality, justice and fraternity”. The session was jointly chaired by the Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, chairman, Delhi Minority Commission, New Delhi, and Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish. Prof. Mehraj ud-Din Mir, vice chancellor, Central University of Kashmir, Srinagar, was the first speaker who briefly dealt with the subject.

He was followed by Dr. Sharmin Islam, assoc. professor, Eastern University, Bangladesh who spoke on “The significance of Islam for social justice and peace in the contemporary world”. While Prof. Mohsin Usmani, former professor of arabic, The EFL University, Hyderabad, threw light on “Insaaf aur rawadari key farogh mein Islam ka kirdar”, Maulana Yaqoob Bulandshahri, president, All India Dini Taleemi Board, held that peace and welfare were the corner stones of Islam. Prof. Tawqueer Alam Falahi, chairman and dean, deptt. of Sunni Theology, AMU, Aligarh, talked on “Misali maashre ki tashkeel mein Islam ka tasawwar-e-adl-o-masawat”. He was followed by Dr. Babli Parveen, asstt. professor, deptt. of history, Delhi University, Delhi, who spoke on “Islam in Indian history: Importance of the correct representation of past for a better future”.

While Dr. Md. Ayyub Siddiqui, asstt. professor, deptt of arabic, The EFL University, Hyderabad, gave a talk on “Mazhabi rawadari aur Islam”, Dr. Raihan Akhtar Qasmi, asstt. professor, deptt. of sunni theology, AMU, Aligarh, elaborated on “Aman wa adl key qayaam mein Islam ka inqalaabi kirdar”. Dr. Shakeel Ahmed, asstt. professor, MANUU, Srinagar, who spoke on “Akhwat insaan ki Qurani taleemat”, was followed by Dr. Mohd Usama, guest faculty, deptt. of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, who expressed his views on “Mukhtalif tehzeebon aur mazhabon me masawaat mard wa zan ka nazariya (Nikah wa talaaq key hawaley se).

Dr. Waquar Anwar, advisor finance, Jamat-e-Islami Hind, New Delhi, elaborated on “Equity, concept and role in welfare of human society”. Dr. Sumaiya Ahmed, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh, presented a paper on “Spread of Islam: peace, equality and justice”, while Dr. Zubair Hamid, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU, spoke on “The notion of justice in Said Nursi’s Risal-i-Noor”. Dr. Zafar Darik Qasmi, post doc. Fellow, deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh, who read the paper on “Duniya ka awwaleen tehreeri dastawez Meeshak-e-Madina aman wa salamati ki zaamin” was followed by Ms. Fauzia Maraam, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU, who spoke on “Towards the role of Indo-Islamic art and architecture in fostering the culture of peace and justice in India”.

Topics like “Social justice in Islam: A way forward to peaceful society” and “Social classification among Muslim society in contemporary India” were discussed by Sajad Ahmad Padday, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh, and Dr. Uzma Khatoon, lecturer, Women’s College, AMU respectively.

In his presidential remarks, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan observed that the foundation of justice, peace and fraternity in the Quran were very strong.
Business session-16 focused on “The Role of other religions in promotion of peace, equality, justice and fraternity”. Dr. Abdullah Al Lheedan, supervisor, Knowledge Exchange Program, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Prof. Mohsin Usmani were in the chair. While Prof. Rajiv Ranjan Sinha, former professor and head, Swami Sampoornanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, explained the distinction between literacy and education, Prof. D. A Gangadhar, former head, deptt. of Philosophy and Religion, BHU, Varanasi centered his discussion on “Inter-religious cooperation for peace”.

Ms. Saydoon Nisa Sayed, co-chair, African Women of Faith Network, Durban, South Africa, described apartheid as enemy number one. Gautam Vig, director, The Art of Living, highlighted the efforts of Sri Sri Ravishankar in resolving conflicts everywhere in the world. While Dr. Azmat Hussein, secretary, Interfaith Forum, Bodh Gaya, touched upon “Religious humanism: Justice, equality, tolerance and world peace with special reference to Buddhism”, Dr. Fahim Akhtar Nadwi, HoD, deptt. of Islamic Studies, MANUU, Hyderabad, spoke on “Aman, masawaat, insaaf aur akhuwat key farogh mein mazhab ka kirdaar”. Ashok Singh Garcha, president, Abrahamic and Indo-Abrahamic Association of India, Ludhiana, focused on “Role of Sikhism (and other Indo-Abrahamic religions) in promotion of peace, equality, justice and fraternity. While Dr. Abdul Majid Khan, assoc. professor, deptt. of Islamic studies, AMU, Aligarh, presented his paper on “Exploring Islam for building bridges across religions and culture”, Dr. Shaista Parveen, asstt. professor, deptt. of sunni theology, Women’s College, AMU, talked about “Jadeed Hindustan mein aman wa bhaicharey ki ahmiyat, Hindu mazhab ki taleemat ke hawaley se”. The rest of panelists, who were supposed to present their papers, could not do so because of paucity of time. They included Mohd. Azam, Ms. Sana Naaz, Mohd. Suhail Qasmi, Dr. MS Siddiqui. The chairman, IOS, however, assured that the papers would be included in the proceedings planned to be published in book form in the near future.

Dr. Abdullah Al Lheedan, in his address, held that Islam was the religion of tolerance, love and peace adding that it embraced all social and human virtues. He observed that Islam was a universal religion whose mission was to all humanity, a message that called for justice and ended justice. Islam called for positive coexistence among all human beings in an atmosphere of brotherhood and tolerance among all people, irrespective of their race, colours and beliefs.
Four books published by the IOS were released on the occasion. These were:

1. Indian Muslim Status and Future
2. Opinion on Issues, Events and Ideas
3. Religion and Law Review – Special Issues on Human Rights, Justice and Minorities
4. Taleemat-i-Quran aur Asray Hazir

The Secretary General, IOS, read out a seven-point resolution which was unanimously adopted by the delegates. The resolution read:

1. The conference urges upon the IOS to try to attain the next level, so that relevant ideas may be further taken up from the point of view of enforcing them through concrete planning. The Institute should chalk out an effective programme to get various ideas implemented.

2. There is a need to evolve strategies to avail of legal measures to ensure proper understanding of legal provisions and systems from the point of view of safeguarding legal rights granted to minorities in general, and Muslims in particular. This aspect should be taken in all its dimensions from the point of view of theory, practice and outcomes.

3. Muslims in India constitute a major part of the Ummah. In the context of developments in areas of modern technology, globalisation, etc., special efforts may be made to establish and foster linkages among educational, research and advocacy organisation for contributing to welfare of the marginalised and deprived sections.

4. The IOS is doing its best to evaluate constitutional provisions relating to marginalised sections of Indian society as well as in the arena of international relations in the light of the UN, its agencies and other international organisations, including regional institutions. This effort should be taken up as a campaign on a permanent basis.

5. Special programmes should be organised to forge viable linkages among Muslims and other marginalised sections of Indian society.

6. There is an urgent need to organise human resource to carry forward the causes, outcomes issues and take the required remedial measures. The IOS is urged upon to take up such programmes.

7. The IOS is urged upon further to spread the message of equality, justice and fraternity as a fundamental right as enshrined in the Indian Constitution, and emphasised at length in Islam.

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