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Published in the 16-30 Jun 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Physician, heal thine own party first!

Mr Syed Shahabuddin's article 'Muslim Representation In Lok Sabha, 2004' published in MG 1-15 June 2004 is before me. First of all, the heading is erroneous. A member of Lok Sabha from a general constituency does NOT represent Muslims or Hindus or any one community. Just two members, one of the Muslim League from Kerala and the other of the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen from Andhra Pradesh, could be said to represent Muslims because they were put up by a Muslim party. Each of the other 34 Muslims, elected to the Lok Sabha as a candidate of one or the other of the secular parties, represents the people of his constituency, not just Muslims. What is meant is : 'Muslims In Lok Sabha 2004'. Words should be chosen carefully. 

Table-I shows only 9 Muslims elected from UP while 11 have been elected. The 'Deprivation Level' in UP is 4/15 or just 27% and has wrongly been shown as 40%. Two Muslims are shown elected from Karanataka. One is Mr Iqbal Ahmad Saradgi. Let the learned author please disclose the name of the second which I may have missed.

Table-II shows JKN (National Conference) having one and PDP having two Muslims in Lok Sabha. It is just the other way round. PDP is a partner-party of Congress which the learned author has just joined but he should not become such a bandhwa mazdoor of Congress as to double partner-party PDP's presence in Lok Sabha. "Naya Musalmaan" should not eat too much piyaaz.

Table-III hides much more than it reveals and most of what it reveals is misleading. In WB and Kerala, the Muslim proportion in population is well above 25% and so, the CP(M) and the Left should have given at least 25% tickets to Muslims. They did not give even half of that. The haq-talfi of Muslims in Comrade-lands is much more than shown in the Table. If Comrades are supporting the learned author's just-joined party, he should not hide the fact that they are depriving Muslims more than some others. 

The learned author asserts that while we sweet Muslims most generously vote for each secular party, the non-Muslims of that party in turn do not fulfill the moral obligation of voting for us poor, betrayed Muslims. Is this assertion based on the presumption that it must be so? Or, is it based on any facts? Such an allegation should not be hurled generally, vaguely. It should be more specific, more pointed to be convincing. For instance, SP put up 38 Muslim candidates out of whom 7 or 18% won. It put up 199 Non-Muslims out of whom 29 or 15% won. BSP put up 50 Muslims out of whom 4 or 8% won. It put up 385 Non-Muslims out of whom 15 or 4% won. Apparently, each of these parties has been more fair to its Muslims than to its Non-Muslims. The great INC gave Muslims too few tickets and the winning rate of its Muslims is poorer than of its Non-Muslims. It is this party which needs the strongest sermon for being fair to Muslims. So, let the learned author address his sermon that way, please. Now, his effectiveness will be judged by how soon he can make Congress be fair and just to Muslims, not only in words as it has always been but in real deeds. 

Ahmad Rashid Shervani

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