Hyderabad: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan were believers in ‘unity in diversity’ as they drew their conclusion from the rich amalgamation of ancient Indian civilisation and Islamic culture. They believed that over ages multiple streams of cultures and civilisations have met in India to form a unique ocean.
“This is what Indian pluralism is,” pointed out noted academic and scholar of Islam Prof. Akhtarul Wasey today (November 10).
Delivering Azad Day Memorial lecture at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Prof. Wasey who is a recent Padma Shree awardee said that the country was passing through a critical phase of history where it is more imperative to retain communal harmony than before.
Referring to Sir Syed and Maulana Azad, he said that the two Indian stalwarts who were the products of two critical periods in Indian history concurred on many issues, including communal harmony and peaceful co-existence among communities.
Sir Syed was born in 1817 and worked extensively to introduce modern education among Muslims. He began working among Muslims extensively following the failure of Indian revolt against the British in 1857.
The school which he formed as part of his educational movement grew to become Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. Sir Syed died in 1898 that is 10 years after Maulana Azad was born. Azad came under the influence of writings and works of Sir Syed at a young age but later drifted away from his political and religious views.
Prof. Wasey quoted Sir Syed as saying that secularism (meaning separation of religion and politics) emerges when nations are formed not on the basis of religion but countries. “The meaning of quam, for me, is Hidus and Muslims together…It is of no consequence to me to which faith people belong…
The Hindus and Muslims live on the same land, under one ruler…We are all equally affected
by famine…These are the reasons I refer both Hindus and Muslims as ‘Hindu’ meaning people who are inhabitants of Hindustan,” he said.
However, “at the fag end of his life owing to some disturbing developments it appeared that his fort of secular thought was becoming shaky,” he said. Maulana Azad, on the other hand, said that there is no part of life which has not been affected by ‘living together’ of Hindus and Muslims for centuries.
The Maulana called India his ‘’motherland” as well as “fatherland”. Dr. Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz, Vice-Chancellor, said that the university would continue to focus on the core values preached by Maulana Azad who was also the first Education Minister of India.
Mr. Anis Azmi, Chairperson of the Azad Day celebrations committee, welcomed the guests and thanked the staff and students for their enthusiastic participation in the 10-day long celebrations.