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As a lawyer what do you think should be done to ensure the constitutional culture in India?
I think the most important thing is awareness among youth and people of all ages, awareness on the idea and the foundation of the constitution. People should also be made aware of their duties, rights and responsibilities. Individual and group discussions on their ideas on democracy, secularism, justice, equality and fraternity will surely help to ensure and promote the idea of India and constitutional culture.

We Want To Give Platform To All Those Who Face Injustice: President National Federation of GIO

SUMAIYA ROSHAN, newly elected President of National Federation of Girls Islamic Organisation was born and brought up in Bangalore. She has been serving as the State President since June 2021 and is a law graduate practicing as an Advocate in Bangalore. In an interview with MOHD NAUSHAD KHAN for Radiance Viewsweekly, she said, we will not only be focusing on Muslim issues, or Muslim women issues, but our intention is to give voice to all those who face injustice and all those who are oppressed.

As a newly elected president of National Federation of GIO, what are the challenges before you keeping in mind the present atmosphere of the country?

I think, the greatest challenge is create a platform for equal representation of girls and women across the country, for their thoughts and views to meet which is also one of the important objectives of National Federation of GIO. We have representatives from all states in the federal committee which consists of 25 members from various states in India where GIO is established. One of the most important objectives is to give them a platform where they can share their ideas, interact and to have flow of diverse ideas by virtue of their diverse backgrounds and cultures among each other.

The next important objective is to give platform to women, not only Muslim but women in general to raise their voice against important issues. This organization is one of its kind and we don’t have any precedents. Everything what we will be doing will become a way for others to follow. I think that would be one of the challenges, to understand how we can give this platform without any discrimination to all women so that they can get some representation not only in media but everywhere.

So you mean to say that National Federation of GIO will not only work for Muslim women but also will be the voice of all women and girls in India?

As a Muslim, I believe that we are not just the voice of Muslims but we are the voice of people who are oppressed and all those who face injustice. So, accordingly, we will not only be focusing on Muslim issues, or Muslim women issues, but our intention is to give voice to all those who face injustice. We welcome all women and we also wish to interact and engage with other women activists and social activists so we all can work together to fight injustice.

There are some age-old prejudiced narratives against Muslim women? What will be the approach of National Federation to deal with such negative thoughts?

There are certain stereotypes and prejudices against Muslim women. But interestingly, we don’t see so much of that in our inner circle. I will give you an example of how GIO runs in each state. We all have girls who are married, who have children, who have their careers, who have PhD and masters. Even in our federal committee, you can see everyone is well educated, they have various skills and talents. We know that Muslim women today are not oppressed the way society sees them. We will also work in this direction to bring this out to society and to the world and tell them that Muslim women are not as they perceive, forced to do anything, to wear hijab or forced to sit at home, or even forced to get married early. But that will change now because the contributions these girls have to give to the development of society is much more than what everyone thinks.

In India, Muslim women are generally dragged into controversy. How will you try to deal with such a situation?

Not only Muslims but all women have been targeted every now and then. You see the hijab issue, the Sulli Deals and so on. Our approach will be to give voice to those who have no voice, who are oppressed and are subject to hate. And if any such kind of situation arises, we will see that as we raise our voice against it, how we can also actively bring change and give some positive approach to deal with these situations.

What role do you think GIO can play in the empowerment of Muslim women?

As I mentioned earlier, our intent is to give due space to women that they deserve in society. Our plan also includes training our committee members, and our cadre to be able to become good representatives and empowering them so they are able to contribute with their skills and ideas to the upliftment and development of society in whatever capacity they can.

How do you think the energy of youth can be channelized towards nation building, progress and growth of our country?

The age that we are in is very crucial. We have a lot of ideas and thoughts. We have so much to give to the world. Girls in our community are also very skilled and they too can contribute to the reconstruction of society and nation-building. They are writers, journalists, advocates and in various fields. If given the right direction, their ideas, thoughts and energy can be used in the most productive ways for nation building without wasting their talents and skills.

As a lawyer what do you think should be done to ensure the constitutional culture in India?

I think the most important thing is awareness among youth and people of all ages, awareness on the idea and the foundation of the constitution. People should also be made aware of their duties, rights and responsibilities. Individual and group discussions on their ideas on democracy, secularism, justice, equality and fraternity will surely help to ensure and promote the idea of India and constitutional culture.

Finally, what is your expectation from the newly elected president of India?

I think anyone in power has a greater responsibility of looking into the interest of the weaker sections and minorities. One of the most important things is inclusiveness in every field. It could be administration or legislation and so on. In the past few years, we can see that inclusivity and the idea of ‘unity in diversity’ have been threatened, the Muslim community has been otherised, and women don’t feel safe. It is important that the idea of unity and brotherhood needs to be inculcated, taught and celebrated more.

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