The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that as India marches ahead on the path of rapid economic growth and development, the imperative of inclusion of the minority communities in the development process cannot be overemphasized.
Addressing at the "Inauguration of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the New College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu", he has said that according to the 2001 census, recognised religious minorities comprise 18.4% of our population, which translates into approximately 185 million people.
Following is the text of the Vice President's address:
"I am happy to be here in Chennai for the inauguration of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the New College, a premier institution of higher education in Tamil Nadu.
As we all know, inspired by the modern vision of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the New College was set up in 1951 by the Muslim Educational Association of Southern India to provide quality holistic education to students from the Muslim community, while keeping its door open for other deserving students, irrespective of caste, creed, or socio-economic background.
Since its establishment over six decades ago, the College has made valuable contribution to nation-building through education and research, and remaining committed to the principles of social justice. It has provided opportunities to first generation students from the Muslim community, and from other socially and educationally backward classes, to pursue higher education and become responsible citizens of the country. Many of the College alumni have gone on to serve the country, in all walks of life, with distinction.
The Vice President opined that the advancement and mainstreaming of backward segments of the minority communities, especially the Muslims is not a question of charity or welfare. It is an imperative for India to emerge as a modern, developed nation-state, with its minorities being fully mainstreamed in social, political and economic spheres. Change is underway; I have much hope from the younger generation in this regard.