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30 June 2013

Muslims should not Negotiate Deals with communal BJP

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By Kaleem Kawaja

As the 2014 parliamentary election approaches I notice that a few Muslim activists are starting to ask BJP to spell out what is their program for the Muslims. They are saying that if BJP makes corrections for the demolition of the Babri mosque and the 2002 Gujarat genocide and agrees to give space to Muslims in their reign, Muslims may negotiate an arrangement with them. This is a potentially very harmful and disturbing strategy.

Muslim community activists should not make the mistake of negotiating deals with BJP people. Muslims must understand that from the beginning and uptil now BJP is continuing to be controlled by RSS which is an 80 year old right wing extremist Hindu supremacist organization. The games that Vajpayee played with Muslims and that Advani is playing with them now are tactical deceptive traps. The core objective of RSS and BJP is to discard the nation's secular fabric, polity and government and replace it with a theocratic, Hindu-dominant one and make India a Hindu theocratic nation. In that non-secular Hindu nation they may give a limited place on their terms to some Muslims; but the nation and all of its institutions will be Hindu, not secular.

Then India may become a mirror image of some non-secular and theocratic countries in the Middle East. The Indian nation and society may then become like Israel or Afghanistan and may become ghettoized. In that India a few namesake Muslims like BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Shahnawaz Hussain, late Sikandar Bakht or the other lesser known opportunist Muslims from BJP's Minority Morcha may be given places of honor, on the condition of them accepting the basic BJP/RSS philosophy of India being a Hindu Rastra - the century old dream of RSS stalwarts like Guru Golwalkar. BJP has never accepted that India is a composite nation.

BJP's concept of religious & ethnic minorities in the nation is like the Nazi concept of minorities in the Germany of 1930s-1940s, where they did have a limited space for some from the minority communities like Jews, Slovaks, Gypsies at the cost of equal citizenship for all belonging to the minority communities. As we saw during the six year BJP rule (1998-2004) in New Delhi, once they are in power it is not difficult for them to find collaborator Muslims who are willing to accept and applaud that being a Hindu Rashtra and discarding secularism is good both for India and Indian Muslims.

In those years of BJP rule in New Delhi, the then Education/ Human Resources minister Murli Manohar Joshi launched a massive nationwide campaign to change the very nature of universities, colleges, schools, national television,radio and a whole lot of cultural and educational organizations into theocratic Hindu-centric bodies. The culture and traditions of Muslims and Christians was systematically replaced with Hindu religious elements. In fact BJP degraded the secular practices in the country by labelling them pseudo-secular.

In its last six year rule BJP did not succeed in removing the secular structure of the nation because of the resistance that they received from about two-thirds of the Hindus. These secular (not irreligious) Hindus do not want India to become a theocratic nation like Israel or Afghanistan, and believe in giving minority Muslims and Christians equal space in the nation. They believe in a composite India and not a one-track India.

In India, Muslims with 15% of the population and Christians with 3% of the population total no more than 180 million Indians. This combined figure has very limited weight in the Indian polity. It is only when they are supported by two-thirds of the Hindus- about 500 million Indians, that their collective number approaches about 700 million. And that is too big an opposition for BJP to surmount.

But if Muslims start negotiating a separate deal for themselves with BJP, not only the total strength of the non-theocratic, secular forces in the country will dimnish significantly but it may cause many of the secular 500 million Hindus to get swayed to support the Hindu Rashtra lobby. And that may actually result in India becoming a theocratic Hindu Rashtra.

Once BJP is successful in making India a Hindu Rashtra, they can easily discard all those guarantees of protected rights that some Muslims had earlier negotiated with them. And then Muslims in India will become like Arabs in Israel - a helpless community with no way to resolve their isolation and helplessnes, despite promises of equal citizenship.

Indian Muslims should never negotiate like the pre-independence Muslim League and Jinnah, who were duped by the British into accepting a non-viable and truncated Pakistan comprising of two halves 1,000 miles apart. Jinnah himself said that he had received a moth eaten Pakistan. That kind of country with all the guarantees of sovreignty from India had basic fatal flaws and was bound to fail as it did in just 24 years.

Muslims should understand that half a dozen major regional secular political parties ruling half a dozen major states (Samajwadi Party or Bahujan Samaj Party in UP; Nitish Kumar's JD- United in Bihar; Mamta Bannerji's Trinamool Congress in Bengal; Navin Patnaik's Janata Dal in Orrisa; Jayalalitha's AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the Forward Block coalition in Kerala) who have no love lost for BJP are a very formidable bulwark against the emergence of a BJP led government in New Delhi. These parties have come to power with substantial Muslim votes and thus they simply cannot act against the best interests of Muslims.

Muslims should monitor and manage these parties with tactical voting to ensure that communal forces do not gain power either in the states or at the Center. Muslim Community's' welfare lies in forming coalitions with these secular (not ireligious) forces and working with them, not negotiating deals with either sectarian Hindus or sectarian Muslims.

[Kaleem Kawaja, a community activist based at Washington D.C., can be reached on kaleemkawaja@gmail.com]

2 comments:

  1. BJP has proven track record i cornering muslims in every sphere of life. A momin is one who once bitten does not get bitten twice. Mere lip sympathy would not work. it is simply election gimmick to get muslim votes. Even verbal admission of mistakes wont serve the purpose. musims should be careful of the nefarious designs of RSS AND SANGH PARIVAR. Once they come to power , they will go for UNIFORM CIVIL CODE. HENCE NEVER , NEVER, NEVER FALL A PREY TO SUCH ELECTION GIMMICKS.

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  2. India is the only land for the old vedic civilization. We have no other place to go or let the culture perpetuate. If we kill it here, it will be dead forever. A little promotion to some sanskritic learnings or vedic knowledge will not harm anybody or the secular structure of the country. I am not talking about religion here, I am talking about remnants of thousands of years old civilization that has flourished on this land since ancient times. It is the responsibility of every citizen of this country to preserve that knowledge. For example, promoting studies of Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation, Sanskrit, Upanishads etc. will not harm anyone. The ancient civilizations have been paganic in origin worshiping elements of nature such as mother goddess, holy Ganges, Himalayas etc. These remnants have been continued in Indian ethos even now. Saving Ganges or saving the tradition of praying to the motherland as 'vande matram' should not be seen as communal agendas. Havent we co-existed for 1000 years. Why cant we do it now?

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