Lauding India’s religiously plural society, Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari strongly stressed that the Muslims in India have no inclination to resort to “ideologies and practices of violence”. Offering Moroccan scholars a glimpse of India’s efforts to seek acceptance of diversity, the Vice President also highlighted the rights and equality guaranteed by the Constitution to every Indian.
On a three day visit to Morocco, VP Ansari on Wednesday delivering a lecture at the Mohammed V University in the Moroccan capital before embarking his two-day visit to Tunisia.
“The Muslim experience in modern India is that its citizens professing Islamic faith are citizens, consider themselves as such, are beneficiaries of the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution, participate fully in the civic processes of the polity and seek correctives for their grievances within the system,” he said.
“There is no inclination in their ranks to resort to ideologies and practices of violence,” the Vice President said addressing the gathering.
He also said that Indian Muslims have lived in India’s religiously plural society for over a thousand years and that has impacted on modern India and its existential reality of a plural society on the basis of which a democratic polity and a secular state structure was put in place.
“The Indian model was of relevance to our globalising world because in India, an attempt was being made to look beyond the traditional virtue of tolerance and seek acceptance of diversity and adopt it as a civic virtue,” he said.
Vice President Hamid Ansari was conferred an honorary doctorate by the university.
Noting that India counts amongst its citizens the second largest Muslim population in the world, he said they are not homogenous in racial or linguistic terms and bear the impact of local cultural surroundings, in manners and customs, in varying degrees.
Hailing the founding father of the nation, VP Ansari said that they had the objective of securing civic, political, economic, social and cultural rights as essential ingredients of citizenship with particular emphasis on rights of religious minorities.
Referring further to the Sufis in different periods in history who took Islam to the masses, the Vice President in his address said they sought commonalities in spiritual thinking and some Islamic precepts and many Muslim practices seeped into the interstices of the Indian society giving expression to a broader and deeper unity of minds expressive of the Indian spiritual tradition.
“The cultural interaction was mutually beneficial and an Islamic scholar of our times has acknowledged ‘an incontrovertible fact that Muslims have benefited immensely from the ancient cultural heritage of India’,” he added.
(With inputs from the PTI)