Published On:26 January 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Communal Owaisi does not belong in aspirational India

“…Khuda-na-khasta, hazaar martaba khuda-na-khasta, pehle tho nahin jaanewale, aur gaye tho khaali haath nahin jaayenge; Taj ko bhi le jayenge, Lal-Quiley ko ko bhi le jayenge, Qutub Minar ko bhi le jayenge” reiterates the speaker to a huge roar from the crowd. “Bachega kya?” he asks again in a mocking voice. Then he goes on to answer the question himself; “Ayodhya ki woh tooti phooti Ram ki mandir bachegi”… another roar, “Ajanta ki woh nangi nangi moorthiyaan bachengi” and another roar. The speaker then continues with even more vigour and venom in his eyes; “Arrey Hindustan, hum 25 crore hai na? Tum 100 Crore hai na? Theek hai, tum tho humse itney zyada hai, 15 minute ke liye police ko hata do batadenge kiss mein himmat hai, kaun taqatwar hai,” this time the crowd goes into, probably, the biggest roar of the evening.

The speaker, as is quite well known by now, happens to be Akbaruddin Owaisi, an elected legislator from Chandrayangutta area of Hyderabad. He belongs to the famous Owaisi clan and is the younger sibling of Asaduddin Owaisi, a member of Parliament representing Hyderabad and a permanent invitee in TV studio debates of Delhi as a Muslim voice of India. In his speech, the young MLA is virtually challenging the Indian State to withdraw the police force from the streets so that the 25 crore Muslims can show their supposed might to 100 crore Hindus.

The highest degree of condemnation from the secular brigade to the Owaisi speech has been that ‘he does not represent the (total) Muslim voice’ and that he is probably doing a ‘great dis-service to the Muslim cause by uttering those words’. Beyond these familiar reactions there has been only muted silence across the intellectual circles. Nobody has decried that ‘the idea of India’ is in danger, or that the much-vaunted Indian secularism is under threat. Not a word from any of those great souls living in their ivory towers. ‘Fascism’ has not been mentioned even in passing and it is almost as if Islam and Fascism can not co-exist in the same sentence, let alone in the same gathering or the world order.

Even the ‘not representing the (total) Muslim voice’ line of argument is merely an afterthought, as most secularists realise they cannot dismiss the Owaisis as fringe-elements, for they are the elite of the community and provide Muslim leadership in State assemblies, TV debates and national Parliament!

If a single sentence of a ‘fringe’ BJP player like Varun Gandhi had led to national outrage, this entire speech, demanding restoration of Mughal oppression, if not total annihilation of the entire Hindu race, has only met with stony silences from the entire secular, limousine-liberal gang governing the Indian mindspace.

A differential threshold of ‘acceptable’ hate speech seems to exist in the perverted secular mind of India. Sadly though, the greatest ‘disservice’ to the ‘Muslim cause’ in India is not being done by the Akbaruddin Owaisis of the world, but by the Shabana Azmis, the Javed Akhtars and the so-called secular brigade. By not creating a level-playing field in the arena of hate speeches between Akbar and Varun, the secular brigade is encouraging the victimhood narrative to overrule development politics. This inherent flaw of Muslim intellectuals, in either outright rejection of the existence of Islamic fundamentalism or conditional acceptance of the same, is at the core of all the Muslim problems in India (and probably elsewhere as well).
Is there no hope for the Muslims of India?

Many times in the past I have wondered if the Muslim community of India is cursed to be an eternal vote-bank of a developmentally bankrupt and inherently corrupt political leadership of India. How long can the Muslim leadership sustain itself purely by playing the minority victimhood card? How long will Muslim voters place fear-mongering local Mullah above bread & butter issues? How long will Muslims of India suffer from invented phobias and let go of education, jobs, houses and other modern-day lifestyle necessities?

Until very recently, I strongly believed there was no hope of these fundamental attitudinal changes in Indian Muslims. Then I visited Gujarat in the last few months and I have returned a believer. No, all of you need not go to Gujarat to see that ‘hope’, for it is much closer than that. That ‘hope’ is in the same Owaisi hate-speech video that I have quoted at the beginning.

After his murderous diatribe against BJP, RSS, Modi and almost the entire Hindu race, Akbaruddin Owaisi, in his speech, tries to move on to regular issues like education & housing. He attempts to quote some statistics to impress the audience, “44,663 houses had been built by the Government in Adilabad district and that not one of those houses had been allocated to a Muslim”. Owaisi then raises his pitch and shouts that among the 400 odd Madrasas of the district, many don’t even have teachers to teach the Muslim students.

What is the audience reaction now? There is pin-drop silence. The same audience which was shouting and roaring and jumping all over the place prefers to be totally silent when Owaisi junior raises genuine issues that impact the livelihoods of all those Muslims gathered at that takreer.

That silence represents hope for Indian Muslims. That silence tells the real story, the story of the Muslim voter maturing, the story of fanaticism giving way to pragmatism, and the story of aspirational Muslim politics trying to find a way out of abject poverty. For even those semi-fanatic Madrasa-fed Muslims of the erstwhile Nizam ruled Hyderabad state realize the truth of the Owaisis of this world.

Increasingly, Muslims are beginning to realise that at best, an Akbaruddin Owaisi is a fanatic preacher who can make a clap-trap speech but cannot deliver on governance. Owaisis cannot fool the audience, for those Muslims know that the same speaker has been an MLA since 1999 and has been part of the coalition in the Congress Government that built those 44,663 houses. If no Muslim got a house in Adilabad, then the Owaisis are responsible for that and the clapping, jumping audience knows that. In that passing moment, Akbaruddin Owaisi stands naked in front of his audience of die-hard Muslims.

The alternate vision for an aspirational India

“He has totally eradicated rent-seekers, now all that we earn belongs to us and we don’t have to part with our earnings unjustifiably” asserts Basheer Mohammed, an auto-rickshaw driver in Ahmedabad. “We will vote for Modi, no doubt,” he continues, “This road that you are seeing (in the Jamalpur area) was full of goons earlier who always took on the cops violently at the slightest provocation and today most of them are either self-employed or are working somewhere else. Now there is peace here, Ahmedabad is a good city to live in,” Mohammad proudly proclaims about his city of dwelling.

Four days later, when the election results were announced, there was a great surprise in store for all the secularists; Jamalpur (now known as Jamalpur-Khadiya) had for the first time elected a BJP legislator. By not exercising their franchise merely to defeat BJP and by not being a vote-bank, Muslims of Jamalpur had sent a message to the secularists. This message was to be seen everywhere in the Gujarat Assembly election.

Initial estimates suggest about 30 per cent of the Muslims have voted for Modi’s BJP in Gujarat this time. This is unprecedented in BJP’s history, not even Vajpayee; the moderate face of BJP during the zenith of his popularity in the mid to late 1990s; was able to draw even half that number of Muslim votes. Nitish Kumar’s JDU, the supposedly secular side of the NDA, could only win about 18 to 20 per cent of the Muslim vote in the Bihar Assembly election last year.
In fact, had a significant proportion of Muslims not endorsed Modi, the BJP tally would have fallen short of hitting a century, due to drought and micro-shifts in the Patel and other agrarian community’s votes.

Muslim Vote%               Total seats            BJP           Congress
15%                                 +37                        24               12
10%                                 +66                        40                25

Data Source: Election Commission of India (1 seat was won by NCP among these).

In the 37 crucial Assembly seats where there is a significant Muslim population, BJP has managed to win close to 65 per cent of the seats. In 2007, BJP had managed to win only 48 per cent of Assembly seats where Muslim population was above 15 per cent. Further BJP’s strike rate in these 37 seats is higher than its overall strike rate of winning 63 per cent of the seats (the tally of 115). Most secularists and left leaning political analysts have been singing the same old tunes of Hindu vote polarisation in Muslim dominated seats. That is flawed analysis. Indian secularists must now start digesting the fact that Muslims have voted for Modi in Gujarat.

This is not just the Gujarat story. Muslim vote in India is in a great flux today. Probably, for the first time in many decades, a significant portion of Muslims are not willing to be blind vote-banks. Yes, a majority of the Muslim vote might yet accrue to the Muslim parties and pseudo-secularists, but a significant minority is aspiring to be a part of the neo-middle class.

Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi is emerging as by far the most important leader of Indian neo-middle class cutting across caste, region, language and also to some extent religion. Over the next few months and years, the Muslim segment of India’s neo-middle class will negotiate its concerns with the idea of Modi. In this engagement will emerge roadmap of India’s future. As we enter 2013, my thoughts and prayers are with the secularists and limousine liberals whose days are numbered, for their ‘isms’ and agendas do not have any space in future India.

(Courtesy: Niti Central)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on January 26, 2013. Filed under , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on January 26, 2013. Filed under , , , , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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