Felicitating meritorious Muslim students at an event organised by Ahmedabad Welfare Society in the city on Sunday, Congress leader Hardik Patel encouraged them to understand and embrace their identity and be educated so as to ask the right questions to the government. Also calling for communal unity, Patel reposed his faith upon the youth to improve the “present day environment of intolerance”.
“If there is anyone in the country who can improve the present day ‘mahaul’ (environment), it is students and the youth. Situation is such that if a Hindu clicks a photo with a Muslim and puts it up on social media, some people call them ‘desh virodhi’. This country was not made by one person… The country’s strength lies in its freedom… Muslims, Christians and Sikhs had as much rights and stake as Hindus… So when we talk of taking this country to great heights, it won’t be just the Hindus, but people from all religion who would join hands to make that dream come true.”
“You should be proud that the country’s youngest IPS officer is a ‘musalman’ from Palanpur. This is the country’s identity and we should try to understand each other… Today I came here thinking that those sitting here today will become an IPS or IAS in the future and I will have the opportunity to felicitate them…We do want members of the Muslim community to occupy the top positions in the country,” Hardik said amid huge applause from the audience.
Impressing upon the importance of education, Patel said, “Getting educated cannot be just to land a job. Our education helps us question things… the government as well… We want our youths to get free education… free healthcare… how the youth can get jobs… how our country’s faith can exist in an equal space… We need to work on all these.”
Remembering Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his death anniversary, Hardik said, “He had said that you should feel you live in a free India and in this free India, there is no Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Sikh. Anyone living in free India is a Bharatiya, a Hindustani, and it is important that we feel that.”
Speaking on quality and affordable education, Hardik said, “We used to talk about quality affordable education, an idea upheld by someone from the Muslim community – Maulana Abdul Kalam. Today, in all the country’s universities, colleges and schools, some people are making education expensive. It is essential that we remove the challenges and obstacles faced by our youth and students, since some time.”