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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

REJOINDERS
Pragmatic thinking eludes Muslims

Apropos of "Need For Reformation in Electoral System" by Prof Iqbal Ansari (MG, Dec. 1-15). His painstaking study on the above is revealing. However I feel that a far more elaborate and deep searching studies must be carried out, not only on the quantity of political representation but more importantly on the quality of the Muslim political leadership. There is a big dichotomy here.

We may achieve the quantity of say 15% Muslim Parliament members but what would be the outcome if 90% of them are namkewaste Muslims, bearing Muslim names and strictly follow the dictates of their non-Muslim leaders(at times woefully atheistic and/or parochially fanatical) and would be willing to sell their conscience to hold on to their seats after spending or bribing a few crores to win the elections, expecting to reap financial gain out of their positions.

Two years ago in the Tamil Nadu State Legislative Assembly a bill was introduced to prevent Religious conversion by the AIADMK Government. To the surprise of the entire Muslim population of Tamil Nad, the most forceful speech supporting the bill was given by the sole Muslim Minister. He shamelessly demonstrated his absolute loyalty to his political mentor and proudly displayed his weak iman. His friends know that he is regularly present for Idd prayers. It is true that many Muslim politicians of his ilk behave like chameleon, in order to be in the good books of different groups. (Note: He was fired by his boss a few weeks ago for reasons known only to the mercurial AIADMK supremo)

Now the issue is what is the point of having a good number of Muslim parliamentarians and legislators if they do not have strong Islamic convictions, but are ready to sell their Iman for a triffling worldly gain.

As well we have a fewer of them who are bold enough to forcefully and effectively present the true grievances of the Muslim Ummah, within and outside the Houses, prepared to fight and die for the community that gave the trust in them. 

Hence I beg to differ from the views of Br Jamilur Rahman and others like Br Syed Shahabuddin who feel that we should ally with secular parties at the national and regional levels to secure a decent political representation.

This tantamounts to choosing a lesser evil, knowing well that no alliance worth its name has genuinely struggled hard to protect the lives and properties of Muslim minorities.

No alliance has effectively planned to reduce the economic,educational and employment problems of Muslims.

In the past 50 years we had done it several times and no political party has sincerely addressed the problems facing the Muslim minorities either at the Central or state levels.

The Day of Hunayn is the best example from the history of Islam. Allah clearly points out that He gave help win many battles when Muslims were few in number, but on the Day of Hunayn, when Muslims took pride in their great numbers, the greater quantity proved of no avail, because the earth became narrow for them, and the Muslims turned back retreating and then Allah SWT bestowed upon believers high forces which they could not see( Ref: Surah: At Tawbah)

So let us not take pride in greater numbers but try hard to search and look for dedicated, spirited, selfless and God-conscious individuals/leaders who are steadfast in their faith: right from the Muhallah level, to the district level, to the State and the national level.

I appeal to Muslim social scientists, academics and intellectuals to try hard in attempting to finding ways and means to encourage those who are holding offices in other political parties to quit their political affiliations and endeavour to establish our own political party/parties, our own pressure groups and political lobbying. We are fifty years behind in our political thinking, but let us make a start in trying to unite all the Muslim orgnisations /political parties/like minded individuals and work hard to bring them under a single flag.

It does not matter if it is going to take a longer time but once we are united, other political parties will be begging us for our support. The past 11 national and several state elections have proved that the winning candidate in any constituency wins by 5-10% majority and in 50% of the constituencies we hold the trump card, if we vote as a block.

"O YOU WHO ATTAIN TO FAITH DO NOT TAKE YOUR FATHERS AND YOUR BROTHERS FOR ALLIES IF A DENIAL OF THE TRUTH IS DEARER TO THEM THAN FAITH: FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ALLY THEMSELVES WITH THEM : IT IS THEY WHO ARE EVILDOERS" Surah 9: Verse 23

Mohammed Ameen, Brunei
paluvakka@brunet.bn

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