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Saturday, November 02, 2013


Vice President Delivers Lecture at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in London 
Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India 

The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari delivered a Lecture on “Identity and Citizenship: An Indian Perspective” at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in London, United Kingdom today. Shri Ansari is on a State visit to UK from 31st October to 1st November, 2013. 

Event at the Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre, Said Business School,
Park End Street, Oxford, Friday, 1 November 2013, at 5.00 p.m. 

See also from Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies: 

Following is the text of the Vice President’s lecture :

“It is a privilege to be invited to address this august audience. Conscious of the gap between the immensity of the honour and the inadequacies of the speaker, I am humbled by the realisation that six decades earlier Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a very distinguished predecessor of mine as Vice President of India, was for long the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at this University.

A few years back, when I was in the vicinity of Oxford in a group dabbling in the unfathomable mysteries of the Iraq quagmire, Dr. Nizami provided a welcome distraction by inviting me to see the site, and the plans, for the new building of the Centre. He also mentioned the debate on the proposed architectural design, and of the view in some quarters that it would change the inherited landscape of a hallowed community.

The change, as I understood it, implied an assertion of identity. It is now conceded, I am told, that the new structure did no aesthetic or spiritual damage to the skyline of Oxford. Perhaps, the injection of diversity has enriched it.

Speculating on the ‘ifs’ of history, Edward Gibbon had visualised a course of events that might have resulted in the teaching of the interpretations of the Qur’an at Oxford. He could not foresee a happier, intellectually more rewarding, happening that the concluding decades of the twentieth century would bring forth. Among its manifestations is the establishment of this Centre.

This is a tribute to Oxford’s capacity to accommodate the unusual.
Endnotes :

[i] Castells, Manuel. The Power of Identity (2nd edition, Wiley-Blackwell 2010) p.6
[ii] Sen, Amartya. Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (London 2006) p.169
[iii] Soroush, Abdolkarim. Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam (Oxford 2000) p.156
[iv] Waldron, Jeremy: ‘Cultural Identity and Civic Responsibility’ in Will Kymlica nd Wayne Norman. Citizenship in Diverse Societies (Oxford 2000) p. 157  
[v] Guha, Ramachandra. India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy (London 2007) pp ix-xx
[vi] Tara Chand. The Influence of Islam on Indian Culture (Allahabad 1922) p. i
[vii] Verghese, B.G. Race, Reconciliation and Security: Managing India’s Diversities (New Delhi 2008) p.216
[viii] Kautilya. The Arthashastra – ed. L.N. Rangarajan (Penguin 1992) p. 140
[ix] Jayal, Nirja Gopal. Citizenship And Its Discontents: an Indian history (New Delhi 2013) pp. 16 and 273-75. Also, B. Shiva Rao (ed) The Framing of India’s Constitution – A Study (2nd revised ed. 2012) p.150
[x] Barker, Ernest. Principles of Social and Political Theory (Oxford 1951) p vi
[xi] Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume X, p. 979 - November 25, 1949
[xii] Kothari, Rajni. Rethinking Democracy (New Delhi 2005) p. 98
[xiii] Patnaik, Prabhat. ‘Independent India at Sixty-Five’ in ‘Social Scientist’ (New Delhi) Vol.41, No. 1-2, Jan-Feb 2013 pp 5-15.
[xiv] Gutmann, Amy. Identity in Democracy (Princeton 2003) pp. 3-7, 37
[xv] Kothari, Rajni. ‘Rise of the Dalits and Renewed Debate on Caste’ in Partha Chatterjee. State and Politics in India (Oxford 1999) p. 444
[xvi] Apoorvanand. ‘Democratisation of communalism.’ DNA (Mumbai) September 23, 2013
[xvii] Menon, V.P. The Story of the Integration of Indian States (New Delhi 1956) p. 469
[xviii] Rasheeduddin Khan. Bewildered India – Identity, Pluralism, Discord (New Delhi 1995) p.295
[xix] Report of the Expert Group on Diversity Index (Submitted to Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India 2008) pp. vii-viii.
[xx] Kymlica, Will. Multiculturalism: Success, Failure and the Future (Minority Policy Institute, Europe, February 2012) pp 1-2
[xxi] Mahajan, Gurpreet. The Multicultural Path: Issues of Diversity and Discrimination in Democracy (New Delhi 2002) pp. 15, 17, 217-218.
[xxii] Guha, Ramachandra. ‘Politicians and Pluralism: The inclusive ideals of the Republic must not be lost sight of’.’ The Telegraph (Kolkata) September 7, 2013


Sanjay Kumar (in London, UK)/VPI/01.11.2013, 
(Release ID :100373)

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