‘Open dialogue needed between Hindus and Muslims to dispel misconceptions’

State’s cultural history marked by rich interactions between both communities: ex-VC

June 02, 2014 11:42 am | Updated 11:42 am IST - Bangalore:

The former Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka Samskrit University Mallepuram G. Venkatesh (centre) having a word with secretary of Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi G.B. Shivaraj at a seminar in Bangalore on Sunday. Writer Mangalur Vijaya is seen. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

The former Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka Samskrit University Mallepuram G. Venkatesh (centre) having a word with secretary of Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi G.B. Shivaraj at a seminar in Bangalore on Sunday. Writer Mangalur Vijaya is seen. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

The former Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka Samskrit University and secretary of Gandhi Peace Foundation Mallepuram G. Venkatesh has called for an open and healthy dialogue between the Hindu and Muslim communities to dispel misconceptions about one another.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Understanding Muslims’, organised by the monthly ‘Muslim Dani’ in collaboration with the foundation and Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi here on Sunday, Prof. Venkatesh said the cultural and social history of Karnataka was marked by rich interactions between Hindus and Muslims.

He said greats such as Sir Mirza Ismail and Sir M. Visvesvaraya had contributed to the growth of the old Mysore region and they often complemented each other’s work. Prof. Venkatesh added that the language and history of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region was a rich tapestry of interactions between Hindu and Muslim faiths and between Urdu and Kannada languages.

Earlier, journalist M.A. Siraj said that both Hindus and Muslims needed to revisit some of the widely held but unfounded misconceptions about the Muslim community, fed by a deliberately “monochromatic view of history”.

Iqbal Hussain, advocate and former president of the Students’ Federation of India, said that trends such as reopening the debate on Article 370 may not bode well.

Understanding identity

Ali Baba, a social worker, said the identity of a Muslim could not be understood by debating religion and faith alone, but by bringing all factors that shaped identity into focus.

Syed Abdul Wali, a delegate from Kolar, said that an ordinary Muslim of the country lived with the faith and hope that the Constitution and the courts guaranteed rights that were inviolable. “Our Constitutional foundation is strong and it cannot be shaken,” he said.

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