Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) commemorates 75th Independence Day with online celebration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C., (August 19, 2021) – The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, marked India’s 75th Independence Day on Sunday, August 15, 2021, with an online celebration, featuring prominent historians and human rights activists from India and the US. The online event was marked with high energy and rousing speeches, punctuated with resolutions and pledges to uphold India’s pluralistic democracy.
The 90-year liberation struggle that started in 1857 under the leadership of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Moghul Emperor, eventually culminated in India’s independence under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in 1947. In those many decades, Muslims have contributed to the freedom struggle with their words, their actions, and their lives. IAMC’s event sought to highlight these contributions, while also spotlighting modern-day Muslim activists who are following in the footsteps of yesteryear’s freedom fighters.
The program featured presentations on the extensive role of Muslims in India’s freedom struggle, delivered by two esteemed authors, Dr. Shamsul Islam and Syed Ubaid-Ur Rahman.
In his presentation, Dr. Islam described the fierce opposition led by Muslims against the British, the coining of the phrase “Inqilab Zindabad” by Maulana Hasrat Mohani, the Muslim artillery chief (Ghulam Ghaus Khan) and chief of cavalry (Khuda Bakhsh) of Rani of Jhansi, and other endeavors that showed the strength of the historical unity between Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs.
“What was the level of unity between Hindus and Muslims could be gauged by the fact that when a new artillery gun was introduced in the presence of Bahadur Shah Zafar, Quran was recited by the maulvis and aarti was performed by Brahmin priests, [who] also garlanded it,” he stated.
Mr. Ubaid-Ur Rahman also shared several historic incidents of Muslims who had fought, struggled and died during the anti-colonial movement: “Without [these Muslim leaders] and their sacrifices, it is completely unthinkable that the nation would have won freedom.”
The program also featured speeches from several prominent Indian Muslim activists. These included remarks from Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, ex- Delhi Minority Commission Chairman, activist Safoora Zargar, student leader Fayiza CA, poet Hussain Haidry and Nabiya Khan. Their remarks covered the way India is failing its Muslim population, and how their struggle for religious freedom and democratic rights plays a role in helping preserve India’s constitutional values, its democracy, and its pluralistic ethos. To close off, poet and Bollywood lyricist Mr. Haidry recited his viral poem, “Hindustani Musalman,” driving home the fact that the two identities have never been mutually exclusive.
Syed Ali, President of IAMC, congratulated all Indians as well as their friends and well-wishers on reaching the anniversary of 75 years of freedom from British colonial rule. In his remarks, he invoked the words of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, freedom fighter who determinedly opposed Partition and exhorted his fellow Muslims to choose to stay in India: “Rest assured, if you do not wish to flee from this scene, nobody can make you flee. Come, today let us pledge that this country is ours, we belong to it and any fundamental decisions about its destiny will remain incomplete without our consent.”
The event ended with a virtual flag hoisting ceremony and singing of the Indian national anthem.