Elections can be seen to be drawing nearer and matters related to Muslims have also picked up momentum. Urdu’s biggest television channel, ETV, held a ten hour seminar in Jaipur on the problems of the minorities, at which in the name of minority representatives there were Muslims and in the name of non- minorities there were the leaders of political parties, in which there were big leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party. From the Congress side, two Central Ministers took part in the seminar. There were some religious leaders and there were some people too who were neither politicians nor religious leaders.
This was the fourth seminar of its kind in which an attempt was made to underline the problems of the minorities. In this seminar, several things were highlighted in front of the people of the country. First, Muslim politicians did not know anything about the problems of the Muslims. In the seminar, both Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and Union Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan gave speeches. The first speech was by Salman Khurshid. Not only is Salman Khurshid ‘wise’, he is also a good lawyer, but when the matter is about the problems of Muslims and when there are mostly Muslim leaders at a seminar, then at least it was expected that Salman Khurshid would put aside his political face on one side, his lawyer’s face on the other side and bringing forward his real face, his real understanding, would for the first time tell Muslims that he was their true sympathiser and knew about their problems. But Salman Khurshid, instead of removing the masks from his face tightened them even more. He told the entire country that he does not give any favoured preference to their problems and even as a representative of the Muslim community does not give any priority to removing their problems. With his play of words he proved yet again that as in the Uttar Pradesh elections when he had promised nine per cent reservation to the Muslims on behalf of the Congress, such confusion ridden statements are his real statements. At that time the question had been raised — why did Salman Khurshid not give Muslims the nine per cent reservation through the Chief Ministers, on behalf of the Central Government, in those States where the Congress was ruling? But at that time too Salman Khurshid remained silent and now too he is absolutely silent when it comes to the matter of giving reservation to Muslims. In fact, it is Salman Khurshid’s ‘secularism’, which at the time of elections gives a boost to communal polarisation and plays a role in keeping his community, i.e. Muslims, standing in one corner out of fear. Otherwise too, Indian Muslims do not consider Salman Khurshid their representative and at the seminar Muslim religious leaders even said that they have to be more wary and careful about leaders like Salman Khurshid rather than those leaders who oppose Muslims openly.
K Rahman Khan was seen blowing the trumpet about his department. He also stated that the Muslims of this country are blind, indolent, befooled, who cannot see the development that is taking place around them. K Rahman Khan says that out of the Sachar Committee’s 69 recommendations, 66 recommendations have been fulfilled or completed. Now it is India’s Muslims, who are mentally/intellectually blind who cannot see that the Sachar Committee recommendations pointed out by Rahman Khan have been implemented. The question that arises is : what does K Rahman Khan think of the Sachar Committee Report, what does he think of the Sachar Committee, what does he think of the Rangnath Mishra Commission? Many people believe, which perhaps Rahman Khan does not believe, that the Sachar Committee Report is a diagnosis of the disease, identification of the disease, but the treatment of the disease is in the Ranganath Mishra Commission Report. How much of the Rangnath Mishra Commission Report has been implemented, K Rahman Khan is silent on this, because he and his Government did not want to implement the Ranganath Mishra Commission Report. Chauthi Duniya had published the report, knowing that there could be the danger of being harassed by imposing false sections against it. However, we still went ahead and published this report in Chauthi Duniya. At that time, K Rahman Khan was the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and he did his best and stopped the report from being presented in the Rajya Sabha. It was good fortune that in the Lok Sabha, when more than 25 MPs stood up with copies of Chauthi Duniya, the Prime Minister had to announce that the Ranganath Mishra Commission Report would be tabled. It is one thing to place a report in the House and another to act on it. Today, K Rahman Khan is silent on the Ranganath Mishra Commission Report, and it appears that he too will play the same role in deceiving the Muslims which the Congress has been playing till today.
When Narendra Modi says ‘Sarve Bhavanthu Sukhinah’ (May all become happy ) then he is not just talking about ‘Hindu Bhavanthu Sukhinah’ (may Hindus become happy), but expressing a desire, a wish for all. But even then people feel that Narendra Modi talks only and only of a Hindu nation.
In fact, the Congress always makes promises for Muslims, but never fulfills them. It knows that except for itself, where will the Muslims go? They cannot go to the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are not really known in the whole country and the JD (U) is more or less confined to its own State. Therefore, Muslims all over the country will just have to go with the Congress, that is the belief of Congress leaders, and that belief has made the Muslims bonded to the Congress. All the big Muslim leaders, whether they are religious, whether they are from organisations or institutions, whether they are teaching in schools, or whoever claims that Muslims go by what they are saying, for all of them there is material in the ‘shop’ of the Congress. They go at the time of elections and they take away their share of the ‘goods’ in the Congress ‘shop’. I am saying this hesitantly, but now even Muslim society is beginning to understand this with a great deal of hurt. This understanding is in itself a hope for an independent political status for Muslims.
The President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajnath Singh, was also present in the seminar. He made an emotional appeal to the Muslims to come with them and not consider them as untouchables. They believe that Muslims are a part of the country. But perhaps when Rajnath Singh was speaking, on TV people of the country were hearing his voice, but were seeing the face of Narendra Modi. It is a strange psychological situation that has been created in the country that the expressive face of Narendra Modi is just not coming before the people.
When Narendra Modi says ‘Sarve Bhavanthu Sukhinah’ (May all become happy ) then he is not just talking about ‘Hindu Bhavanthu Sukhinah’ (may Hindus become happy), but expressing a desire, a wish for all. But even then people feel that Narendra Modi talks only – and only – of a Hindu nation. Behind Narendra Modi’s smile people see the smile of Mohan Bhagwat. Whether it is true or not, I cannot say, but whoever in the country sees Rajnath Singh speaking on television, they see the face of Narendra Modi and when Narendra Modi is speaking, they see the faces of Mohan Bhagwat and Praveen Togadia. This is a challenge to the Bharatiya Janata Party: that whoever is speaking, the face of the same person appears before the people. For this, when speaking a certain language what kind of physical flexibility or expression on the face should appear, they don’t pay much attention to that.
The religious ‘gurus’ of Muslims who gave speeches in this seminar explained things very sensibly, but it is a matter of regret that common Muslims do not even vote for the parties of these Muslim religious ‘gurus’. Though the person whose speech was most appreciated was Swami Swami Adhokshjanand, believed to be a board pupil of the Shankaracharya of Puri. The clarity with which he explained things, they were accepted by people all over the country,but Swami Adhokshjanand is in a minority amongst the ‘mandli’ of sadhus. A large part of the sadhus are with the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Narendra Modi. The wealthy disciples of Narendra Modi have started making those sadhus tour the whole country and through them spread the message of Narendra Modi being the flag bearer of a Hindu State. Today this message of religious division is on the lower rungs, but it could be that tomorrow it reaches the higher rungs and at that time this country will be encircled by the fire and flames of fresh riots.
There are many problems before the Muslims. The first problem : every political leader wants to see Muslims with this or with that party. They do not speak clearly to the Muslims about ‘bread and butter’ livelihood questions, or on the question of participation and leadership. Secondly, religious leaders are unable to sit together and decide what they should tell Muslims. The truth is that no religious leader is willing to join another religious leader — unless it is decided that he is supreme – and tell Muslims things correctly. The result is that the entire Muslim community is troubled and fed up with the ‘cleverness’ and cunning of their leaders on one side and of the mutual jealousy between religious leaders on the other side. It may be that in these coming elections, due to experiencing pain and suffering Muslims make some other decision, but at the political level it does not seem that decision will affect any side, because today the Muslims themselves are unable to organise themselves as a political force.
Muslims do not understand that till they send their representatives after getting together with other communities and reassure them that they too will have a share in sending their representative, till then neither will any political status form for Muslims, nor will there be any changes in their lives, and nor will they be able to exert any political pressure. Because they are the poorest section, Muslims should try and unite with the Dalits and backward classes. On the other hand the Dalits and backwards are divided politically and they should understand along with the Muslims that till they remain in the clutches of a political party, nothing will happen in their interest. It is a very big question : what did the Dalit parties do for the Dalits and what did the backward parties do for the backward classes till today? If Muslims form a party, they will be in loss. If they will go to another party, they will be known there as a bonded community. This means that the poor segments of the country, of which Dalits, backward classes and Muslims constitute a large number, must come out from the ‘slavery’ of the political parties, and will have to formulate their strength in the form of an oppressed class. This strength is the strength of votes. This section should send their representatives to the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembles, rather than sending their representatives there as the brokers of political parties. No political party could get even a single decision taken in favour of the section of people from which it took support, because the Constitution of the country does not give recognition to political parties. There is no role for political parties in the Constitution, but our political parties have captured the Constitution in the same way that the British made India a virtual ‘slave’. The Muslims, Dalits and backward classes need to read the Constitution of India. Our Constitution speaks of sending people to the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabhas (Legislative Assemblies) and does not speak of sending political parties. If the Muslim youth, scholars and Muslim journalists do not understand this catch, this issue, they will once again mortgage their community in the hands of the political parties, and in any political party, whether it be the Congress, the Bharatiya Janta Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the JD (U) or any other, their representatives will be seen as working not for the Muslims but for the particular party. They will take the name of Muslims, but they will work against the Muslims.