From ruling class to underclass

Updated 27 February 2017
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From ruling class to underclass

Six hundred and sixty six years separate the ascension of a victorious Mohammed Ghori to the throne of Delhi in 1192 and the banishment by the British of the defeated and decrepit Bahadur Shah Zafar to Rangoon in 1858. The curtains had closed upon Muslim rule in India, marking the beginning of the descent that has seen the erstwhile rulers sink from the top to the bottom of the pyramid.
To find ways to reverse this slide, we must understand the reasons for this loss of power and privilege. The first thing that one must understand about the advent of Muslim power in India is that it was not about religion but about conquest and empire. Muslim conquerors from the north came to India not with the purpose to proselytize, but with the mission to rule. The waxing and waning of power and empire is a common theme that runs through history and across geographies. Muslim rule in India too has to be understood in terms of the rise and fall of dynasties. The emergence of British power in India was both a cause (among many others) and a consequence of the demise of the Mughal dynasty. Muslims ruled as long as they possessed competitive advantage. They had superior skills, not only in warfare, but also in governance. The industrial revolution turned the tide in favor of the West. The British came to India with superiority in arms, military organization and competence in governance. They had a clear competitive advantage over those they displaced.
If the loss of competitive advantage lies at the root of the loss of power, regaining competitive advantage must be the route to empowerment. At the core of the quest for competitive advantage lie educational empowerment, technological advancement and the creation of skills that the market values. Thought leadership must provide the springboard for action. Muslim thought leaders must come together and try to assemble an agenda for empowerment that would determine a roadmap for regeneration and revival through the building of competitive advantages. Can an educational institution or a foundation take the initiative to host a think-tank of Muslim thought leaders in an effort to develop an implementable action program within the constitutional, economic and political ambit of our nation?


Cartoon in bad taste

Updated 07 August 2017
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Cartoon in bad taste

I wish to use my “right of reply” to complain about the unfortunate caricature that appeared on Aug. 5, 2017, in your well-known newspaper. The cartoon represents President Nicolas Maduro sitting on a military tank and a hand coming out of the tank’s cannon writing on a book titled “New Constitution.” Such a caricature is offensive to my country.
What the caricature seems to imply is that President Maduro wants to rewrite a new constitution with the power of arms. This is totally false. It is immoral to give your readers such a forged image of Venezuela and its constitutionally- and democratically-elected government.
The revision of our constitution, which is among the best in the world, is mainly to reinforce it and make it more adaptable to the new times. It is not an imposition of our president; it has been backed by more than 8 million Venezuelans and has the objective of re-establishing the peace process that has been trampled by a violent opposition backed by interested foreign countries that pretend to give orders to our sovereign populace.
I fail to understand why some international media report fake news about my country, with the purpose of undermining our sovereignty, and the people of Venezuela’s absolute right to decide, in a free and independent manner, how it wants to conduct its internal affairs.
I invite your newspaper to inform about our country with the truth and the same respect that we, in Venezuela, treat to our brothers of Saudi Arabia.

Joseba Achutegui
Ambassador of Venezuela
Riyadh
Saudi Arabia