What image have you carved for India?

Mohammad Adeeb
Former Member of Parliament

Today, a wave of hatred has washed over the whole nation. The target is Muslims, as a community. An atmosphere of hostility seems to have engulfed the poor Indian Muslims. Obviously, they are vulnerable, hapless and unable to defend themselves. Won’t be incorrect to say that this stark aggression is so unambiguously evident for the first time after the gloomy Partition days. One is at a loss to understand what possible motive could the RSS/allies possibly be having behind spearheading such a massive hate programme against a particular minority community.

It goes without saying that Muslims in this country have always offered sacrifices, shed their blood and willingly embraced death at the gallows, for the sake of their motherland. Right from the uprising of 1857, through many stray events, to the freedom struggle, they have given their blood en masse for the honour and freedom of their country. One can find graveyards of martyrs in all corners of the subcontinent.

In the wake of Independence, came birth of a new nation as a consequence of Partition. However, Muslims who decided to stay back in India had taken a wise decision, not to join the mad race for power. Instead, they chose to lead life as peaceful citizens and participate in the formation of a new, strong India, making it flourish and pushing it to the pinnacles of prosperity and helping it find a respectable place in the world.

Since Independence, whosoever occupied the throne-be it Congress, Janata Party or Janata Dal-we welcomed them warmly and they extended cooperation to various incumbent governments. We even live in peace with BJP led governments in various states and at the Centre, and, of course, cooperate with them, within the statutory framework. We remain faithful to the Constitution and obey the law of the land to the core.

We proudly celebrate national festivals of Independence Day and Republic Day, every year, and feel pleasure in participating in all related events, with warmth and joy , possibly more than some others in some cases. The reason is simple. We believe the freedom of the nation is the fruit of the incessant sacrifices of our elders, who bravely fought on all fronts, faced all sorts of hardships and even kissed death, whenever the nation asked for their heads. Hence, we have a glorious legacy.

Let’s boldly declare, once and for all, that we never accepted the Partition of the country, neither during the decades-long freedom movement, nor at the time of the bifurcation of the country, on ridiculous grounds. Hence, we never looked towards Pakistan for anything, as we do not acknowledge the logic of creation of a new homeland, in the name of Islam or Muslims.  Of course, Pakistan is a reality now and we have to live with it as a neighbour, in peace and harmony, albeit, as a historic compulsion. In principle, we do not agree to the very fundamental philosophy, it was created on the basis of. Indian Muslims have no link of any kind with Pakistan, except that many of them have to travel across border to meet their close relatives and reciprocally invite them here for family gatherings. Many non-Muslims, too travel across the border to visit relatives, friends and visit their religious places.
Let’s assert again that following Partition we never exhibited any lust for power and nor we have any such ambition now. We simply desire to live peacefully, work for the nation, positively and in return, demand nothing, but peaceful co-existence. We, Muslims, are active in the ranks of all political parties, and, of course, contest elections, under their respective banners as disciplined workers. We may or may not win at the hustings, but we are always a part of the democratic process. Some (misguided) fellows might have formed their separate outfits on religious grounds (in the same way as their brethren in majority community have done), but to no avail. Personally, I don’t belive in creating a political party, solely on communal grounds. At any cost, we have to be attached to mainstream political parties and find a niche there only.

No doubt, Muslim aspirants secure seats in various legislatures (though not to their proportion in population) and are appointed as ministers. But, they (barring rare exceptions) are always allotted minor portfolios. Muslim ministers are commonly given the responsibility of ministries like Minority Affairs, Wakf, or some other insignificant departments. I am afraid, one day Muslims would be made ministers of prayer and fasts only. If this is the situation, why on earth are our brothers belonging to the majority scared of us? What threat they see coming from our quarters.

Apart from politics, we do not even get our due share in administration or security forces. And notably, we have not even aspired for it. Neither, are we visible in administrative arena, at the Centre nor in the states and nor have we enough representation in defence forces, which, truly speaking, is just nominal. Even in the sphere of education and health-both of non-political nature-our representation is far less, compared to our proportion in the population of the country.

We have never resorted to aggressive means to get our demands fulfilled. In a natural course, rail roads and national highways pass through areas where we are in substantial numbers, but we have never created a havoc by stopping trains for hours or jamming traffic for days, in order to pressurise those at the helm of affairs. In fact, we have never harmed the national properties or assets. Why then you hate us and blame us for acts we have never committed.

No doubt, once Muslims were the rulers of this country, but even then a majority of dominant position were held by our Hindu brethren. We work in your factories and workshops. We are hardworking labourers and best skilled craftsmen. Why then nurture such a hostile attitude towards the hapless souls? With our properties and assets having frequently been destroyed, many of us have already been deprived of whatever we had. Even then, we are living contentedly and peacefully. We are the most faithful citizens of this country. Still we are targeted, for no fault of ours.

Often, we are labelled as terrorists without any such act or intention of ours. It is evident like daylight that most of the Muslim youths picked up as terrorists are finally acquitted by law courts. But by then it’s too late. Sometimes, we are beaten and even killed in the name of cow protection,even though in all such cases, neither the cow nor any amount of beef has ever been found in such cases. (Here one should not get confused with “beef” available today, which is, in fact, buffalo meat and is called buff, to distinguish it from beef.)  

I for one fail to comprehend what the RSS and the law makers under its patronage in national Parliament and various state assemblies really desire. What’s their specific objective and which direction they intend to lead the nation in? The RSS and those in its fold, should consider well that once we choose to abandon electoral politics, the heavens would fall. What would happen then? Better you realise now that the Muslim community has begun to seriously considering about distancing itself , participating in elections and casting their votes. In fact, Muslims are now forced to collectively plan that in a situation where they are being targeted for no fault of theirs and are constantly being pushed to the wall. In such a state of affairs there is no point in being a player in the game of politics. Hence, it would be a better option to stay away from the battle of ballot altogether.

Now, ponder over the prospective scenario, where, you will find no Muslim group existing as a buffer zone. Then, you will have to fight between yourselves only. Then you will find yourself entangled in a fierce internecine battle. And to your sheer disappointment, you will not be able to lay hands upon any one to be used, as an instrument, for serving your purposes. Today, the all-powerful people at the helm, find themselves unable to contain the Jat movement. Tomorrow will emerge several such campaigns, in different states. Then, the situation will go out of hand, as there will be no Muslims around to be made escape goats.

Hate mongers targeting Muslims should realise soon that we Muslims are a gift of God for them. Please do not trouble us, do not torture us. Otherwise, you will have no chance to even repent for your deeds. And it would be too late then.

In the end my advice to the ruling party at the Centre. You had a burning desire for wresting absolute power nationally. Now that you have got it please feel free to satiate your appetite and quench your thirst. But why should the hatred and enmity still prevail? Please run the government sincerely and leave us alone. Don’t try our patience by constantly stirring up the hornets nest. Pinching the minorities might be granting you sadistic pleasures, but don’t forget that people don’t have infinite endurance levels.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2016 on page no. 11

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