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


Letters: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

Decision time for the Parivar
Praful Goradia, one of the Sangh Parivar’s front rank ideologues, had termed ‘undemocratic’ the way Vajpayee commented that perhaps it would have been better to ask Modi to step down on Gujarat pogrom. Goradia felt that the people of Gujarat had elected Modi, so how could he be sacked by BJP leadership. 

Actually, Vajpayee was correct as far as the national scene was concerned, as losing leaders all across India, cutting across political lines, have blamed Modi for NDA’s complete rout in Lok Sabha polls. If for Modi the state of Gujarat is important, for Vajpayee, the nation is much more important. Critics of Vajpayee, including VHP, probably want BJP to shrink back into states. That may and may not be the national goal of their own party. 

People lose a battle and try to win the war. Here Modi seems to be quite happy to have won a battle and not bothered if BJP has lost a war. 

So the vision of the two BJP leaders is quite different as far as they prefer to nurse their own constituencies. 

Both the leaders, do represent two distinct approaches to BJP’s 'winning' ideologies. Modi and the hardliners will prefer to go for more and more Gujarats. Vajpayee would like to mould BJP to start cutting across barriers of ideologies and regions and assume the inclusive shape of as a national party. 

A re-shaping of the winning ideology, through such a cathartic bleeding over TV screens, must have been forced on Vajpayee, in an desperate attempt to invite support from the wider circle of BJP/NDA supporters. 

It certainly is a decision time for Sangh Parivar. Will it be Moditva or a watered down Hindutva. For the victims, both are poison.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

Solid work
Most Muslims are poor. The one percent that is well off... educates his/her children... and pack them off abroad. Later the parents sell their home.. and the old couple migrates and die abroad. An obituary is printed in the local newspapers... (Today, even that is not done !).

It is this segment of the Muslim population... the 1 percent... that can do something. Real change has always come from those who had resources. Mere talking/writing is useless.

Those Muslims who have big homes.. from Kashmir to Kerala and from Maharashtra to Bengal (I dont use Gujarat to Bengal... because Muslims are persona non grata in Gujarat presently... that may change in a few years' time... but in the short term Gujarat is excluded).; must convert those big homes into schools... and run quality high schools... where young children are trained to assimilate Mathematics and Physics.

In many a place, the Hindu teacher teaches only the Hindu students (by bringing them close to her desk)... while the Muslim student is made to sit behind! This may seem a very small thing... but here lies the secret... and to undo this... is real solid work.

A taste for sciences/ Mathematics... We must produce matriculates of quality. Keep aside Higher Education for the moment. 

Those Muslims who have big homes.. must be encouraged to set up private schools in their big homes with a reasonable fee-structure. Commerce should not be only the motive. It must not be an education shop.

Let us look at the work done by our Hindu brothers. Schools like Sri Chaitanya High school/Junior College; Gautami... and the list is endless. The day of missionary schools/convents is over in India.. as Hindu brethren have taken control of school education in India.
The schools that produce the finest are in Hindu hands today. 

Think about it, and disseminate this thought among the select rich Muslims who still have big homes left ! 
Gulam Dastagir,

Elections next door
I am told that general elections were held a few days ago in our neighbourhood which were country wide and stretched over almost a month., yet there was:
During the Elections: No significant armed clashes between the parties. No worthwhile killings of the voters. No parading of the corpses of the party workers in the towns. No major law and order problems.
After the Elections: No disputation and accepting the defeat with grace even before the final count. No claims of rigging the poles. No challenging of the results in the courts. No ordering by the courts for with-holding the final results.
After the Results: No blaming the opponent for any machination and accepting the defeat with grace. No reluctance in relinquishing the power and the PM himself offering his Tayag Patr to the President. No signs of anguish on being ousted and instead congratulating the masses smilingly for their victory. What kind of insipid, lacklustre and lifeless elections were these?
Riaz Jafri, Rawalpindi 46000

So eventually, Congress had a last laugh in the recently concluded parliamentary elections. BJP bit the dust no one has even imagined in so startling a fashion. People came out with many stories and theories. But I, for myself construe it, as a "Divine Verdict" for it is ultimately the Divine Power that moves the whole state-of-affairs from the backdrop. This is a Muslim way of thinking and it’s right too. If it were purely in man’s hands then the so-called high and mighty would have ruled sine die. But it is the Divine Power that keeps the musical chair of power changing based on the gap between promise and performance. Of course, there’s none whom you can take it with certitude in terms of sincerity and honesty. But in the pack of bad, the lesser bad is the better one and that’s how the rein of power lies in the hands of lesser bad.

The erstwhile BJP unleashed a reign of terror on a continuously aggressive note, playing the one and only fiddle of communalism and anti-Muslim tirade with the basic intention of garnering the Hindu vote bank. Gujarat genocide is the revealing instance. Copious of articles and explanations have been written down and almost all have targeted Modi regime to be the architect of this pogrom. But BJP high command turned both their blind eyes and ears and kept Modi in power, eulogized him and made him the star campaigner for the elections in the far and neighboring states who continuously hurled abusive language on Muslims on Mian Musharraf fame and Sonia Gandhi with the utter connivance of BJP’s senior leadership.

With all intents and purpose, I have a word of caution not for anyone but for my own community. Since Muslim is the believer of Divine Verdict, these elections results are like an eye opener for him. After too much insults, abuses and a virtual mayhem perpetrated on him through the systematic government machinery, the Divine Verdict has given him a sort of breather not to take a respite, drew satisfaction and forget. But to rise up and repair the damage done to him in a positive, constructive way. How that construction should begin. Here lies the whole crunch of the story. We have seen scores of relief committees sprung up during communal riots of Gujarat providing instant relief of food, clothing and shelter. There are agencies that are still operating on long term planning of rehabilitation and imparting education to the community. As of now, most of the afflicted have got the support they wanted and they are now back to their places from where they have been driven out and started piecing together to move on with their daily life. However, this time it shouldn’t be the normal daily living alone that put the whole dreary past with the thought of never to return. There should be a firm resolve as the Jews have firmed up with the refrain of "Never Again". The minuscule community of Jew has assembled together with the renewed force and determination after the terror of blood sham of Nazis and it’s in front of our eyes that this Jews are now controlling the whole world. 

Can’t Muslims find the same footing at least in India where they have been made the butt of communal frenzy every now and then and they have to be at the mercy of those who keep soft-pedaling them in comparison of the hardliners RSS and its clan?

As things stand, the need of the hour for Muslims is to:

* Get united despite all their factions’ theories working separately. 

* Open up the scenario where their kids get the education without any discrimination.

* Start living as a harmonious whole without getting into petty quarrels and infighting.

* The religious scholars should team up idealistically with the firm understanding that it’s in the unity alone their survival nay their existence lies. They should chart out a sort of CMP (Common Minimum Program) in which all the aspects of the community development should be touched upon with their possible solutions.

* The rich class of the community should start a "Forum" to create the political awareness and cohesiveness among the community and start addressing the issues that have caused a deep, vertical crevice among the community.

* The yearly Zakat should be collected and distributed to the poor and needy. The Individual Zakat is not serving the purpose as has been seen all these years. The collective amount can be spent with some telling effects on the community development tasks.

These and copious of other issues are urgently to be dealt with. But more striking among all is the Education. The eradication of illiteracy should be the prime concern and without that our community can not gain the equal footing with their adversaries, for it is through education alone the community can make its presence felt in different segments of the society. If the members of the community are better educated, they could easily get into reckoning, get the jobs both in government, semi-government and private sectors and with this ambience once created can set the pace for competitiveness and consequently the much-desired goal of progress. In a nutshell, Muslims community can be progressive only through attaining the higher level of education in all disciplines and the beginning can be made now or never.

The current elections results have got us the much-needed change in the government. But this change can be turned into our favor only when we get up from our slumber of inaction and start gaining the lost ground through the assessment of our adversaries that how they could gain such a massive ground and posed a challenge before us. It seems we are acclimatized to the climate of continuous abuse, lies and deceit so much so that we have lost our sensitivity to be a community which is alive and kicking. We can be alive only when we try regaining our lost prestige and redeeming our honor by not engaging into frivolous activities that would further aggravate the situation and further tarnish our image but through the cool and collective headed approach aimed at augmenting the political awareness and life with dignity and honor. And believe me this can be made possible only when our so-called right-thinking people provide a sustainable representation to the community by working day-in and day-out.

NRI Muslims living in Britain, America and African countries have a better role to play since they have seen the world, have more amount of wisdom attained through education and living in different set of living. They must provide a proper lead back home both through constant feedback, verbal urgings and more importantly, through funds. There are scores of Gujarat Muslims living abroad with their roots in India and their relatives who get bountiful of gifts and so on. But in my opinion, the real gifts these NRIs give for their relatives back home in India can be no better than the proper funding for raising educational infrastructure. It should be their constant rapport with the people in India and reproach for not coming to terms could bail the community out from the present sorry state. Their yearly vacations to India should not end up in feast, fun and frolic but a serious debate has to be evolved through person-to-person contact since the ‘foreigner’ commands some respect out of their aura of foreign touch. These NRIs should demonstrate their kids who are educated in the foreign land and how they put up themselves and can be model for the people in India. Precisely, all these mingling can germinate the idea for action among the "desi" fellow-beings better tomorrows. 

And beware! If we still have not awakened to this opportunity, we would keep getting kicked around like a dead dog and there would be no other opportunity in store for us. For Muslims in India, the current political situation is the quite ideal in terms of gaining their lost ground provided they act, proactively.
SULTAN PATEL, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Letters: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

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