Stop looking at each other through prism of religion Sanjay

    Mumbai, Feb 25 (PTI) Actor-filmmaker Sanjay Khan has
urged all Indians not to look at each other through the
"narrow prism of religion", and urged the government to stop
use of the word 'minorities'.
    Khan said this here on Monday while unveiling his new
book 'Assalamualaikum Watan', which traces the role of Muslims
in shaping India's heritage and encourages Indian Muslims to
join the mainstream.
    The book was launched by Maharashtra Home Minister
Anil Deshmukh and state Medical Education and Culture Minister
Amit Deshmukh.
    Through his book, Khan urged Indians to "stop looking
at each other from the narrow prism of religion".
    He also urged the government to "banish the word
'minorities', as it comes with a different meaning".
    Calling his book an honest attempt to answer some
quintessential questions which have remained overlooked over
the years, the author said Muslims in India today represent a
population of 172 million individuals.
    "As Indian Muslims, we must feel tremendous pride, a
sense of empowerment and responsibility in this fact, because
we serve as a trajectory to the compass of achievement for all
Muslims in the world," said Khan, who is known for his roles
in films like "Dosti", "Ek Phool Do Mali" and "Mela".
    "We are not immigrants in our motherland; we are the
sons and daughters of the soil. It's time my fellow brothers
and sisters reclaim that spirit of the soil," the actor said.
    He said Muslim women should be encouraged to engage
themselves shoulder to shoulder with the men to keep their
equality and share of education and positions.
    The veteran actor, who directed and starred in the TV
drama series "The Sword of Tipu Sultan", said he has done
considerable research and unearthed a compelling dossier on
the advent of Muslims in India.
    According to Khan, his book gives sufficient weightage
to the role played by the community in nation-building be it
in architecture, art, science, music, technology or simply
    "At first an Indian, then an author and last a
Muslim," Khan said, adding he implores that all Indians see
minorities as 'Indians' and forget every other new-age tag.
    On the occasion, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh
said Khan has taken the ideology of a secular India ahead.
    "We are all aware of the contribution of Muslims to
the development and overall shaping of the country. Hindus and
Muslims have been residing in peace and harmony," he said.
    "But many attempts are being made to create a rift
between the two religions, but fail to succeed each time. I
hope the book encourages Muslims of the country to empower
themselves," he said.
    He urged state Culture Minister Amit Deshmukh to turn
Khan's dream of having a grand film made on Chhatrapati
Shivaji Maharaj into a reality.
    On the occasion, Amit Deshmukh said, "I feel the
country is currently going through an unfortunate phase and an
Indian like me would have been happy if it wasn't true."
    "We can't think of India without legendary
personalities like A P J Abdul Kalam, A R Rahman, Madhubala,
among others. This ideology is reflected in the book as well,"
he said.
    "I hope the book is read by as many people as possible
in the country as well as outside India, who'll understand the
core message of the book," he added.
    Khan will soon also be launching the Indian Muslim
Socio-Economic Trust (IMSET), an apolitical body which will
engage pre-eminently successful Muslims from every state,
including captains of the industry and tycoons in their
respective fields of expertise. PTI MR

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)