Indian minister urges pilgrims to learn from Haj to redefine lifePublished in News Read 713 times
MAKKAH — Deeply moved by the unique experience in Haj, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar called on pilgrims to benefit from the virtues of Haj in redefining their future life.
“Personally, I feel eminently moved by this experience and I see the pilgrimage as synonymous with humility, an elimination of ego, submission to Almighty Allah and it also teaches us discipline that I hope all the pilgrims would take back home and practice in their life,” he said.
Akbar, leader of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Haj goodwill delegation, made the remarks in a press conference at Makarem Ajyad Hotel in Makkah on Saturday evening. Akbar and Syed Zafar Islam, the lone member of the delegation, attended the reception hosted by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at Mina Palace earlier on the day.
Akbar thanked King Salman and the Saudi government for the exceptionally remarkable facilities and services for the pilgrims. “I would like to thank the Saudi authorities for their great efforts and their fine management of Haj by which they ensured that all pilgrims perform their rituals in ease and comfort.”
He specially thanked Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, emir of Makkah, advisor to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and chairman of the Central Haj Committee, and Minister of Haj and Umrah Muhammad Benten for their extra keenness in each and every detail that are of concern for the pilgrims.
“I have had the privilege to meet the emir and it was a very warm meeting. He was very gracious to give sufficient time and we discussed a wide range of issues.”
Akbar said he was happy to meet the Haj minister who is tech-savvy and has been instrumental in introducing several technological features to make the Haj operation much easier and simpler.
“The application of technology was instrumental in radically improving the Haj operation and made everyone’s lives much easier. Technology is something that if we grasp and utilize properly, would bring about multiple benefits and it was very evident in India’s Haj operation.”
The minister said that Makkah emir and Haj minister expressed their happiness over India’s excellent Haj operation. “I saw perfect coordination and the round the clock dedicated efforts of all the people concerned with our Haj operation. I would first congratulate the Hajis for being blessed with performing the rituals in a hassle-free Haj.”
Akbar congratulated the Haj mission under the able leadership of Ambassador Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed, and Consul General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh for the successful operation of this year’s Haj.
“Their team worked tirelessly and took every precaution to ensure as little went wrong as possible. I hope Prime Minister Modi and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj would be very happy to learn about this.”
He noted that this is especially significant while taking into account of the huge increase in the number of pilgrims. “There was tremendous expansion in the number of pilgrims following the lifting of Haj quotas this year, and this added to the strain on those who are in charge of Haj operation. The Indian Mission, within its constraints, exerted maximum efforts to extend the best possible services and facilities for the pilgrims,” he said, adding that it was the delegation’s impression after it visited the pilgrims’ camps in Mina and the hospitals.
Akbar, who performed his first Haj, also shared the happiness of two births registered among Indian pilgrims during the Haj.
On his part, Zafar Islam also described his Haj as a fantastic experience. Formerly Managing Director of the Deutsche Bank, Zafar Islam is the national spokesperson of India’s ruling BJP. “I observed a lot of things and I will put them in writing so that it may help in further improving India’s Haj exercise,” he said.
Ambassador Javed, Consul General Sheikh and Deputy Consul General and Haj Consul Mohammed Shahid Alam also attended the press conference.
A total of 169,940 Indian pilgrims performed Haj this year. Asgari, a woman pilgrim, aged 103, from Uttar Pradesh is the oldest pilgrim. About 5,000 community volunteers apart from 597 staffers who came from India are serving the pilgrims. As of Saturday, a total of 65 deaths were reported among the pilgrims.