We must embrace change

The British ruled India for over two centuries. Although they looted and plundered the wealth of the Sub-continent, they established a good system of governance to strengthen and prolong their rule. During the British rule, there was relative harmony between different communities. A British national laid foundation of the All-India Congress and Hindus Flourished in the field of education. The Hindus very quickly understood the British and started getting close to them. They realized that the British needed educated people to govern through the locals. Hindus quickly embraced modern education in the British system that changed the language of instruction to English making the Madrassah-based education network obsolete. Muslims on the other hand were not open to embracing the new education system trying to hold on to their past glory. As the educated persons through the new system were given preference over illiterates, Hindus started getting better positions in the British Raj, while Muslims were left to lower-level labor-intensive jobs. Sir Syed Ahmed felt that without education Muslims will remain backward and marginalized. He established an educational institution with the intention to help Muslims get access to modern education. Unfortunately, the religious bigots labeled him as a “Kafir” or their agent and spent full and parties tried to sabotage his efforts. He persisted, which started to bring a slow change. The students who studied in his institution started a movement for freedom from the British. Mr. Jinnah, a man of foresight also joined the freedom movement, but congress opposed him. However, Jinnah persevered for a separate state to rid Muslims from Hindu domination and succeeded. We should be thankful to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Mr. Jinnah for enlightening the Muslims and getting a separate state for them. Unfortunately, we as a nation seem to be stuck in the past where we find it difficult to get out of religious bigotry. We still resist modernization, science, and development labeling people at the helm of it as infidels or foreign agents. We are still not open to the idea of debate and free speech. We suppress voices of change and try to bury the voices of decent. We must learn to embrace differences of opinion and new ideas or we will become extinct in history like dinosaurs.

Raja Shafaatullah


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