Analysis

My First Innings is over, But I am Still Around

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By Mohammed Adeeb

As a Member of Parliament, I called it a day, a few weeks ago. This is the end of my first innings as a parliamentarian. Nevertheless, I feel contented that I fully utilised the opportunity to represent my countrymen, fellow Muslims and all the poor and downtrodden in the prestigious Upper House of Parliament. During my six-year term, I spoke on more than five hundred issues, most of them concerning Muslim affairs. I raised my voice, with full might on all issues, affecting minorities, weaker sections and those facing injustice in society.

I feel pride that I, along with like-minded colleagues of mine challenged at least five such bills which could harm the Muslim community and society and the nation at large, if not checked in time. For instance:
  •  I opposed the “Enemy Property Bill” and ultimately the government of the day had to relent and the bill was dropped.
  •  When the “Waqf Protection Bill” was introduced in Parliament, I pointed out certain flaws in it and forced the bill to be sent to a select committee. And this move made it possible for institutions like Muslim Personal Law Board, Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and some other organisations to offer their valuable suggestions. Thus the bill could be amended positively.
  •  The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions was earlier empowered to grant minority status to colleges and schools only. I raised a demand for the extension of its authority to bring universities under its domain. My efforts succeeded and the commission was equipped with new powers. As a result, its chairman, Justice Suhail Aijaz Siddiqui bestowed minority status on several institutions, including Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi and Muhammad Ali Jauhar University, Rampur.
  • Here it should be noted that our alma mater, Aligarh Muslim University, has the strongest case among all other institutions for the grant of minority status, but the commission was helpless as the matter was (and is), subjudice: Let’s hope that justice would at last prevail and AMU would get its right one day.
  •  During UPA regime, there were preparations for the formation of a Madrasa Board, with a clear aim to make way for governmental interference in these purely religious institutions. Therefore, I raised my voice against the move. Finally, the decision was taken back.
  •  There are historical mosques in the capital in a good number that are locked and sealed and where prayers are not allowed. Instead, these sacred places have been turned into hubs for all sorts of unsocial activities. I put forward a demand for these places to be given into care and custody of either the Delhi Waqf Boad or some Muslim organisation, so that the holy places can be opened for public use and five time prayers may be resumed there. My efforts for this aim continue and I shall keep fighting, till the achievement of the goal.
  •  Hundreds of Muslim youths (even teenagers) were thrown into prisons, where they have been languishing for several years, without any crime or fault of theirs. I raised my voice for securing their release, not only in the House, but outside it, too, on roads. With my friends I ran a movement under P.C.T.P. I brought together Muslim Members of Parliament, across party lines, to a platform and visited the Prime Minister and revised the demand for the release of all innocent young men.
  • These are glimpses of my humble efforts to serve my community, society and nation. Now, I am no more in Parliament, but I vow to work tirelessly, for the above causes so dear to my heart.
  • At the moment, I have a particular plan to popularise the philosophy and ideology of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. I am making a start from the Aligarh Muslim University along with students there.
  • In the next step, I would take the student community-from institutions like Banaras Hindu University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi University, JNU and some universities from Bihar-into the fold and spread the message of secularism and communal harmony to all corners of the country. I shall invite all secular non-Muslims to join our mission in the larger interest of the nation. This is the greatest task to be undertaken now as secular democracy faces clear and present danger.
  • I was elected as an independent member of the Upper House, with the support of Samajwadi Party, Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal, etc. But, I never followed the dictates of these supporting parties against my principles. I always raised my voice on all issues I felt were vital, in the interest of the Muslim community and the nation at large.
  • My first innings may be over, but I am always optimistic about entering the arena again whenever the time is ripe. I assure everyone that in Parliament or outside it I am always at your disposal, for all services, all the time, against all odds.
The author is a former member of Rajya Sabha

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 January 2015 on page no. 11

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