Voicing concern over status of minorities, including their low level of education and rampant poverty, India-born American entrepreneur Frank Islam today said their progress and that of other disadvantaged groups was crucial to India's economic growth.
"The statistics on the status of minorities, including their low level of education and rampant poverty in India are stunning," he said at the 63rd Annual Convocation of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) here.
Islam, Chairman of the Frank Islam Investment Group in the USA, said that he was proud of the fact that India has become the "fastest growing economy" in the world but cautioned that in spite of this progress, if minorities and those who are "socially, educationally and economically disadvantaged" remain in poverty and without education, the nation as a whole would suffer.
"India's minorities must be active participants in shaping the future of the country's inclusive economic growth. When they move ahead on the ladder of success, they will change the face of India and the world," he said.
Referring to the role of AMU in nation building, Islam said, "In you I see the future of India. We are living in troubled times because of divisive forces and religious extremism at play."
He noted that more than ever, the world needs young men and women, who through their education are able to solve the critical problems by their commitment to humanism and world peace.
Islam, an alumnus of the university, said AMU was an "inseparable part of his life that shaped his story and determined his destiny".
The entrepreneur along with noted cardiologist Ashok Seth, was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science at the convocation today.
More than 400 students were awarded degrees of M Phil and PhD today. Apart from this, more than 5,000 graduate and postgraduate degrees were also awarded. 200 medals were distributed to meritorious students of the varsity on the occasion.