Indian Americans celebrate India Independence Day, call for unified action to secure life, liberty and justice for all
IAMC calls the defense of secularism in India a struggle to save the soul of the nation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, August 15, 2015
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com
), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has joined millions of people of Indian origin, living in India and across the world, in celebrating the nation’s 69th Independence Day. IAMC today participated in the India Day celebrations
in Michigan, organized by a large group of community organizations to mark the joyous occasion. The event was attended by over 25,000 people from the Indian American community, with Padma Shri award winner Milkha Singh as the chief guest.
IAMC Booth at India Day Celebrations in Michigan
It is noteworthy that India’s freedom struggle was a truly nationalistic effort, undertaken by people of all faiths, including countless Muslims. Among the thousands who laid down their lives for India’s freedom were hundreds of Muslim scholars and individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could enjoy the fruits of liberty.
While celebrating India’s freedom from colonial rule, the stark reality is that its continued existence as a pluralist, secular society is threatened by the destructive fervor of a divisive ideology that mirrors fascism in its brutality and jaundiced worldview. Focusing our attention and resources to meeting this challenge is the need of the hour, for all Indians who care about the nation’s future. It is therefore important to mark Independence Day not only as a celebration of India’s freedom and democracy, but also as a means of overtly expressing solidarity and unity against fascist forces that threaten these ideals.
There is a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation of human rights activists
and whistleblowers as well as a crackdown on renowned international organizations such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the Ford Foundation
when they have taken positions that are critical of the government. These have grave implications for freedom of dissent and the future of civil society institutions in India.
Outrageously misogynistic remarks such as calling rape “sometime right, sometimes wrong
,” have come from politicians in positions of power within the ruling party, while inflammatory calls for the disenfranchisement of Muslims and calls for the forced sterilization of Muslims and Christians from prominent individuals within the Hindutva movement have not been censured by the administration.
While the country may have unshackled itself from the yoke of colonial rule in 1947, a genuine and lasting freedom will come when the state truly considers all citizens as equal before the law, and when the government considers safeguarding the constitution as its primary obligation; more important than any ideological loyalties.
“As we celebrate Independence Day, true patriotism requires that we acknowledge the profound challenges in front of us and marshal all resources to address them,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). “Rapid erosion of religious freedom and civil liberties, at the behest of the government itself, requires the citizenry to step up to the challenge of saving the nation and its institutions from bigotry,” added Mr. Malick.
Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com