Economic Upliftment of Indian Muslim
Entrepreneurship means innovation, leadership, taking bold and courageous initiatives. It presumes hope, self confidence and trust. Pessimism, siege mentality are its arch enemies. Only a small number of scattered groups among Muslims in India bear these entrepreneurial qualities which are either set or originate in family or community traditions. Neither the madrasa nor the college and schools have anything to offer in this connection. There is a need to project the role models we have, so the younger generation of Indian Muslims emulate them. We must wean away our youth from the ghetto and the street and show them the way to gainful self employment and how to acquire skills that make them employable by others. The energies of social workers should be focused more and more on making the future generation of Muslims less dependent on publicly funded educational and health facilities or on the public sector for a job. They should be equipped with the knowledge and skill which is going to have a wide market in the largely private but booming economy of India in the years to come.
How can one earn without education and good health, and where from to pay for the health-care and education one need? Let the Muslim activists, philanthropic institutions and social service groups break the vicious circle by stepping in now. There are various ways of helping the needy without increasing his dependence. Once again there is a need to learn from the successful anti poverty and self help programmes in our own country in the south India.
It is very difficult to imagine an uplifted Muslim community in India without change in the approach of their religious mentors. The more crucial thing is to make them realise that modern society after the industrial revolution superimposed by the information and communication revolution is so different from the one reflected in most of their intellectual heritage that they must think afresh.
We have found that the religiously oriented do not accept the priority of poverty eradication, removal of illiteracy or of any economic programme as they think that priority must attach to moral and spiritual matters. We should be ready to do whatever is needed to lift this ummah of ours from the morass of weakness and indignity, protect it from the dangers looming on the horizon and equip it with what would enable it to compete with others and succeed in its mission. Eradication of poverty, removal of illiteracy and inculcation of entrepreneurial qualities are necessary to secure these results. This is not to deny the need for moral and spiritual reorientation. There is no contradiction between the two drives, the one for educational and economic uplift and the other for moral, spiritual and intellectual regeneration. Some economic means are necessary for sheer survival, for Muslims coming together. Broadly for adherence to Islamic teaching Islamic scholars as well as activists should call upon Muslims to work hard for economic betterment for the sake of their religion. Spirituality in Islam is not to suppress material quest but to give it the right direction. Having recognised the need for economic betterment, religious leaders and activists have to look back at their educational institutions and see what they can contribute towards this policy objective. Their sermons also need include this theme.
BY:-ER. S A NEYAZI