Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, born in 1925, in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, is an Islamic spiritual scholar who is well-versed in both classical Islamic learning and modern disciplines. The mission of his life has been the establishment of worldwide peace. He has received the Padma Bhushan, the Demiurgus Peace International Award and Sayyidina Imam Al Hassan Peace award for promoting peace in Muslim societies. He has been called ’Islam’s spiritual ambassador to the world’ and is recognized as one of its most influential Muslims . His books have been translated into sixteen languages and are part of university curricula in six countries. He is the founder of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality based in New Delhi.


WINNING and losing are common phenomena in politics. During the era of kings, the equation was clearly that of winners and losers. But now we are living in an age of democracy and a paradigm shift has taken place. Now the real equation is a win-win equation. No one is a loser; both sides are winners.

In a democracy, victory is a responsibility and not something to be arrogant about. No one is a loser; both sides are winners.

Democracy has totally changed the concept of victory and defeat. Earlier, there used to be genuine change in the seat of government, but now elections mean a change of the political team, and that too for a temporary period. In a democracy, victory is a responsibility and not something to be arrogant about.

At Your Service
The new team thanks the old team, and the old team promises its support to the new team. In the kingship era, the motto was: ‘I am here to rule the land’, but in a democracy the motto is quite different. It is: ‘I am here to serve the land.’

This was India's 16th general election. We have travelled fifteen milestones in our march towards democracy, and we are now embarking on a new one. Democracy is based on the concept of sharing in politics. In democracy, there are always two benches: the ruling bench and the opposition bench.

The role of the ruling party is to give the country good governance. Governance includes fulfilling of several responsibilities like providing a corrupt-free administration, developing good infrastructure, maintaining high standards of education, boosting the economy and utilising the potential of the country in the best possible manner. The winning team will be judged by its deeds, not by its words.

The role of the opposition is not that of a political rival; rather, it is a role of participation. In this sense, the role of the losing party does not come to an end after the elections, rather it continues. If, in the previous period, it had played a leading role, now it is destined to perform a supporting role.

May God help the new leaders of the country realize this noble cause!

The winning party may inherit some problems from its predecessor. But according to healthy democratic values, the new party must take this as a challenge rather than exploit it in order to blame the previous party. This is the time for both winning and losing parties to set high democratic standards. The winning party must not try to take revenge or blame its predecessors; nor should the losing party adopt the attitude of opposition for the sake of opposition. It should not try to stall the process of governance; rather, it should offer support for the sake of national development.

Mahatma Gandhi was the founding father of India. His vision for a free India was to make India an international lighthouse. I believe that India is potentially a lighthouse for other nations. What is required is to turn this potential into actuality. May God help the new leaders of the country realize this noble cause!

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
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This article first appeared in The Speaking Tree, May 18, 2014.