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Taking Stock
Matter of survival
By Rizwan Ullah

Rizwan UllahLet us see the following report in Hindustan Times of March 18:
Jobless and penniless, rural youths in bankrupt Assam have come together for a common cause: selling their kidneys. According to reports, a group of young men in Nagaon district have fixed the rate.. Rs 2.5 lakh per kidney. They have also pasted the highways with pamphlets announcing their ‘joint venture’. The five are upbeat about their venture as each of them has a different blood group to ‘suit different patients’. They are also keen on sharing the money so that each gets a minimum capital to start his individual business. ‘It’s a question of survival’, they said. Authorities said Uriyagaon men were well within their rights to sell their kidneys.

This is yet another instance of the survival skill of the people earlier demonstrated by the people of Orissa who has survived on roots and mango stone kernel until the overflowing stockpile of surplus food produced by the Punjab peasants was rotten enough to be supplied to the fair price shops run with government subsidy to be doled out to the urban working class. Incidentally, the overflow of food grains may not be repeated as the ceiling on exports will go under the new exim policy. However, it depends upon the importing countries to accept or reject it as there is a history of their rejecting substandard grains exported in the past. That’s another matter.
On the day man stood up on his two legs he realized that his two hands were free for receiving the blessings that nature has been generously bestowing upon him and he was simply unaware of it. It was the beginning of an unending chain of discoveries and inventions. The man realized that a certain law was at work behind every natural phenomenon and it had a meaning which had to be discovered. The understanding of that law was discovery and putting it to use for a purpose or a cause was invention. These two continue like the cause and effect chain to this day when the Assam youth found that the pair of parts was given with a purpose and it was for them to discover that purpose. They did discover. It was intended to help them survive in a country where all the Muslim bashing, trishul wielding and mosque razing and crying wolf failed to provide a job for the seekers and food for the starving.

From the foregoing we Indian Muslims can make some deductions: Sacrifice part of the body to save the whole. We have been sacrificing ourselves bit by bit. The latest act of the process is on in Gujarat. We are painting the saffron with the crimson red of our blood and behind that red glow is rising the sun of a perceptible consciousness in the country which the bat only fails to see for the fault lies in its sight and not in the sun. An extract from an article in the Hindustan Times of April 1, by Badri Raina is just an indication of that rising consciousness:

One additional thought: despite all the terrible handicaps that the ‘minorities’ (Muslims especially) suffer, India’s future also requires that they pick up the resolve to see themselves not just as beleaguered ‘members of a minority’ but as ‘citizens’ – partners of the vast secular heart of Indian opinion. Every day they must come forth to forge sustained links with secular struggles everywhere.

It is already a tribute to them that, sectarian advice notwithstanding from this or that Imam, they have refused to float community-based political formations. Even in the cow-belt and Gujarat, the leaders they give allegiance to are born Hindu. They must now more visibly and repeatedly asset their rights of secular citizens’ groups across all denominations. It is when that happens that Hindutva shops will have fewer and fewer customers.

After this discovery we have to invent the means to benefit from it. There could be various means. Why not try one: Concentrate on India and forget the rest of the world as the rest of the world has neglected us. It is history that we bled for Turks and Libyans in their sufferings from the onslaught of European colonies. There may be more recent examples elsewhere. But the same melting of hearts was not visible anywhere when we in this Muslim heartland, with the largest Muslim concentration in the world, were decimated in the wake of partition and repartition. This should be a great lesson. This concentration on India, dearest as our homeland, revered as our place of birth and holy as our grave yard, should have two main planks: To work continuously with total devotion for relief and rehabilitation of the victims of bestiality without any discrimination as we did in Gujarat during the earthquake last year forgotten by those ungrateful people. The relief is relatively short term activity but rehabilitation is a long term process including the legal help to get the earliest release of those held in prison so that they take to their jobs for an earning and assisting those who are entitled to receive compensation and got entangled in the cobweb of bureaucracy. Another aspect is helping the injured and the handicapped to stand up on their feet. Then there may be various social problems resulting from the disruption of the social fabrics and demanding the earliest attention.

The other point to be focused at is the preparation of a plan of action to work with all broadminded and progressive people everywhere in all walks of life. It will require a study in depth about every area, region and locality by the sincere and right thinking local Muslims. Not that it has not been attempted in the past. But a section of the vicious media captivating the ignorant masses have spoilt all efforts in that direction. Workers in industrial areas eliminated fellow workers, the poor and the hungry killed their own ilk. The business community hailed the elimination of their rivals. The media however small is a big business which thrives on the ignorance of the masses. How can it be made to see reason? How can it be harnessed for a social cause? A clue to undoing this knot would not be less than a miracle. But that spring of life will have to be found. Let it sprout from our own head and heart.

In fact, our cause is the case of all suffering people. They are suffering mainly due to the decadent polity, having lost or deprived of the moral base seeking asylum under the benevolent cover and patronage of criminality and pseudo-religiosity. The apparent upheaval is the manifestation of a restructuring of the Hindu society where the down-trodden class is elbowing to push forward towards a social status close to equality which it has been denied by the Brahmin dominated culture and society with the complete connivance of the monied class. This coalition is drawing money from its global sources to raise, train and feed the army of musclemen and diverting the ignorant poor towards another pasture, that is, the properties of the defenceless Muslims to fend for themselves.

We can hardly have a role in the class war within the Hindu society but we must continue to work for healing our wounds.
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