India and Islamic Civilisation: Contributions and Challenges

India and Islamic Civilisation: Contributions and Challenges
The Hon. Mohammad Hamid Ansari with Prof. Amin Saikal (left)

The Hon. Mohammad Ansari has arrived in Canberra to present an ANU Public Lecture on Wednesday 21 March. He is pictured here giving an interview on India's role in regional and global politics with CAIS Director Prof. Amin Saikal. The interview will be available on ANU TV later today.

There are seats available for the public lecture which is being held in Llewellyn Hall, School of Music, ANU.

Islam came to India, an ancient land known for its learning and knowledge, through travellers, traders and conquerors. For over a millennium, Muslims have been in India and have interacted with other social groups and religious communities to mutual benefit. This was reflected in statecraft, social life, art and culture, and the domain of ideas and spirituality. This contribution to cultural pluralism enriched the civilisation of Islam and continues to do so today.

The partition of South Asian Muslims in 1947 brought Islamic and nationalistic challenges. The response from the Muslim community, and from the institutions of the Indian state, has been a mixed one; it poses a challenge both to their capacity to adapt and to Indian democracy’s commitments to principles of pluralism and secularism. The Indian experience of challenges in accepting diversity in a plural society and a democratic polity can be of relevance to others in a globalising world. It also speaks to the experiences of Muslim minorities generally and to mutual contributions to each other’s civilisation.

The Hon. Mohammad Hamid Ansari served as Vice President of India and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament) from 2007 to 2017. He is only the second person to be elected twice as Vice President, the first being Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1952-1962). He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1961. His diplomatic assignments included being Permanent Representative to the United Nations, High Commissioner to Australia and Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. He served as Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and has been a Visiting Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia. He was Chairman of the Indian National Commission for Minorities from March 2006 to July 2007.

Dr Ansari’s publications include Iran Today: Twenty Five Years after the Islamic Revolution, (ed) (New Delhi, 2005), Travelling Through Conflict: Essays on the Politics of West Asia, (New Delhi, 2008), Teasing Questions: Exploring Disconnects in Contemporary India, (New Delhi 2013) and Citizen and Society: Selected Writings, (New Delhi 2016).

Date & time

Wed 21 Mar 2018, 6–7pm


Llewellyn Hall, Building 100, Australian National University


The Hon. Mohammad Hamid Ansari


Rachel Larobina
612 54982


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