August 15, 2016, the 70th Indepen-dence Day of India, was special for Muslims and other marginalised communities of the country when a 244 page historic document to ameliorate their sufferings and empower them in next 30 years i.e. by 2047, the dawn of the second century of independence, was released at New Delhi. On August 15 this year the online version of the “India 2047 Project Document”, prepared by Empower India Foundation, (EIF), was released at Bangalore by Dr Fakhruddin Mohammed, Honorary Secretary of MESCO, Hyderabad. The occasion was the launching of the Master Trainers Development Programme, an initiative of EIF, as part of its flagship ‘India 2047’ Project.
Kamal Farooqui, former Chairman of Delhi Minority Commission, launched the programme. Presiding over the function EM Abdul Rahiman, the chairman of EIF, said that Muslim community along with other marginalised people should refrain from blaming troublesome past 67 years but plan out their bright future in the next 33 years when the dawn of the second century of India’s Independence begins. He said, “It is not only a dream or hope but our commitment and determination to uplift the Muslim community and other marginalised people.
However, he cautioned Muslims that unless and until they come forward then only the Almighty will help them in changing their condition and improving their lot. Abdul Rahiman said there is no doubt India is developing and the wealth of this nation is growing. However, growth and development at the cost of social justice is a real challenge. The gap between the privileged and the marginalised sections are also growing. Along with Tribals and Dalits, the Muslims are the victims of this unethical and unbalanced growth. He said: “Our dream is of a strong India. Strength of the people is the real strength of the nation. Our vision is of an all inclusive just India, as the nation will remain handicapped till all sections are equally empowered.

India 2047 Document

The Project Document “India 2047: Empowering the People” is a community centred project, but not a communal project and is also a national project, he stressed. Talking about the document Abdul Rahiman said no community could prosper without exercising their fundamental rights themselves as enshrined in the Constitution of India. No government or agency can exercise these rights on behalf of any community. “Unless we start building self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence along with determination and commitment to face the challenges unitedly nothing positive can take shape”, he opined. The developments especially after May 2014 when the change of power took place at the Centre the overall picture of the country has become hazy and uncertain in the face of upsurge of saffron forces which are dividing the civil society, he added.
He pointed out that alliance building with other classes and communities is a pre-requisite for the empowerment of a particular community in a pluralistic society like India. Responsibility lies at the top and bottom levels. At the top are the duties of the governments of the day while at the bottom are the duties of the communities concerned. This task cannot be accomplished by any single group, institution and organization. “Let us act as Agents of Change – volunteering, networking, micro-planning, execution, grass-root level system building etc.”, he exhorted. While releasing the Project Document on August 15, 2016, Justice Rajindar Sachar had said that Empower India Foundation has done such a stupendous job which no governments of the day could do in the last 70 years of Independence. “India 2047” project is like taking up the cudgels to empower Muslims and other marginalised communities of India, he added.

It envisages a new India of inclusive growth and equal rights to all citizens and classes by the dawn of the second century of independence.

To empower the backward and marginalized Indian Muslim community by achieving: (i) Adequate Representation in Governance; (ii) Optimal Economic Growth; (iii) Universal Education; (iv) Better Health Standards; (v) Sufficient Media Presence; (vi) Total Women Empowerment; (vii) Civil Rights Protection; (viii) Finest Social Transformation & (ix) Alliance Building.

Focus areas & goals
Considering the seriousness and gravity of the issues, following sectors have been chosen as Focus Areas to work on. Their significance and priorities may differ from region to region. They include:

1. Governance: Create effective governance inclusive of Muslims and all other deprived classes, thereby fulfilling the goal of representative democracy.
2. Economy: Make advancement in the economic conditions of Muslims to place them at par with other developed communities through planned and proactive interventions.
3. Education: Attain total educational empowerment of the Indian Muslim community at par with the best global standards.
4. Health: Raise the general health, sanitation and hygiene standards of the Muslim community at par with best global standards.
5. Media: Ensure fair representation and influence of Muslims and other marginalised societies in all forms of contemporary and future media.
6. Women: Empower Muslim women to partner the total growth of Muslim community and Indian society and enable them to take lead role in empowering Indian women.
7. Children & Youth: Empower children and youth of the community by effectively addressing their concerns and developing them for a bright future.
8. Social reform: Uplift Muslims to the status of the ‘Best Community’ by infusing self-esteem, sense of confidence, refinement; and ability to lead.
9. Civil rights: Develop strategies to ensure fundamental rights, equal justice, social security and legal protection guaranteed to citizens in general and minorities in particular as per Indian constitution, customs and International covenants.
10. Broad Based Alliance: Build alliances with different social, cultural, religious and political groups to promote equality, justice, representation, pluralism, religious co-existence and social harmony.
11. Culture & Hearitage: Preserve and promote the culture and heritage of Indian Muslims and forefront the true Indian history.
The role of EIF is providing conceptual, intellectual and motivational support, creating awareness and reaching out to local teams, promoting pilot projects; identifying partnerships and implementation agencies. Dr PK Abdul Aziz, former VC of Aligarh Muslim University, the chief guest of the day, delivered the keynote address.
*Views expressed in the article are authors’personal.