The Muslim community has spent years bearing the brunt of the political ambitions of others.
Political analyses of the 2017 assembly elections will go on till 2019. But there is something else that needs to be taken into consideration. For nearly 30 years, the Muslims of Uttar Pradesh have been voting under pressure. Of course the same does not apply to leaders with a Muslim name who have received some kind of special ‘son-in-law’ treatment. As a voter, a Muslim has been to every nook and corner of the political corridors. His political upbringing has been on the Congress’s idea of Hindu-Muslim unity. He is unaware of the concept of social justice. And even today, his tailor’s shop, his biryani stall or his haircutting salon, are his chief concerns. He is content with whatever he earns with his hard labour. He does not care about the question of social justice because deep down he has accepted his minority status.
An example of this is Delhi, where over the past few years, the issues of Muslims have been the same as that of the majority community. Muslims are not demanding anything separately. But small-time Muslim leaders constantly try to wrap them up in identity politics.
The question is whose interests should be served – the Muslim community, or Muslim leaders whose only ambition is to get a red beacon over their vehicles? Why must the whole community pay the price for the ambitions of a few?
The questions of social justice and equality in parliament or the legislature are raised by ambitious Muslim leadership and have turned the majority community against the general Muslim public. If hatred against Muslims has increased, the reason is Muslim politics. Playing the religion card, each from their own bastion, leaders like Abu Azmi, Asaduddin Owaisi, Azam Khan and Imam Bukhari have turned the Muslim masses into villains. Whether they represent the rich or the poor, no one cares about the community. Salman Khurshid, Shahid Siddiqui and Kamal Faruqi are in politics for selfish reasons and have done nothing for the Muslim population.
The need of the hour is for the Muslim community to choose a party which respects the diversity of India. It needs to distance itself from the abusive ‘Bahujan-backward-Hindutva’ kind of politics. It must choose an inclusive party. The deprived Muslim community has never found any preference in Mayawati or Mulayam Singh Yadav’s caste-based politics. It has merely been trapped in Dalit-backward factional politics.
The Muslim community has got entangled in the cobweb of internal caste issues of Hindus, where it is only used for political gain and cannot raise issues of their own. As long as Muslims are addressed separately from Hindus in Indian politics, Hindutva will remain alive. Can we not have a decade of ‘Muslim minority’-free politics? Why not try it?
Translated from Hindi by Naushin Rehman. You can read this article in Hindi here.