UAE and India cited as ideal examples of multi-culturalism

DUBAI — India and Dubai are two excellent and successful examples of multi-culturalism, according to renowned journalist M. J. Akbar, editor-in-chief and managing director of ‘The Asian Age’ and editor-in-chief of ‘Deccan Chronicle’.

By Preeti Kannan (Our staff reporter)

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Published: Tue 20 Nov 2007, 8:51 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:38 AM

Akbar, who delivered a talk on ‘India and the strength of its diversity’, at the Indian Consulate here yesterday compared Dubai to India and noted that the two are excellent examples of the success of multiculturalism, though in different contexts. While India is a big country with different cultures, Dubai comprises several communities that have contributed to nation building, he said.

Akbar, speaking on the sidelines of his talk, told Khaleej Times on Sunday, was highly critical of the emergency imposed by President Pervez Musharr in neighbouring Pakistan recently.

Meanwhile, tracing the antecedents of India and Pakistan’s independence, Akbar, also an author of several books and essays on the sub-continent’s history, asked rhetorically, “At what point did the Indian Muslims start calling themselves a minority?”

The struggle of Indian Muslims, according to him, is the struggle for empowerment, rather than for numbers. He stressed that the real minority in India are Dalits and untouchables.

He said India has overcome innumerable obstacles in the past sixty years including the challenge of language, where the state of Tamil Nadu, in the 1960s, had agitated against the imposition of Hindi as the sole official language.

Touching on American President George Bush’s linking of Islam with fascism, he said it is wrong to blame the faith for the sins of people.

He rubbished the “trickle-down theory”, saying the poor can no longer wait for the benefits to trickle down. Akbar stressed that correctives have to be taken, and equity has to be brought back to bridge the gap and ensure the welfare of the poor.

Indians cannot afford to be complacent and remain under the illusion that the battle has been won, he warned, adding that democracy would throw up enormous challenges and the middle class could be uncomfortable with the changes in store as “the dispossessed would possess democracy”.

He ended with an optimistic note that the future would be brighter than the past as it is unpredictable.

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