Issues

Congress’ double-faced policy

Congress’s double-faced policy “Run with the hare and hunt with the hounds”, has been at the cost of its credibility says Aziz A. Mubaraki

The response on the controversy surrounding Salman Khurshid’s statement at Farrukhabad about reservation was enormous with every political party vying for his head. But the question remains intact: has Mr. Khurshid done any wrong in quoting from his party’s manifesto? Apparently the disapproval was triggered because he had made statements for the development of Muslims and uplift of their socio economic status.

Leave aside the opposition some from his own political outfit, his colleagues have shown strong reservations about his comments and now they are silent when Beni Prasad Verma did the same challenging the Election Commission to do what it wants.

Even though Muslims hardly have anything to gain from the entire controversy and they doubt even Salman’s belated concerns, but then too he has shown some courage and tried to  speak truth even if it was meant for political mileage.

It was so gloomy to see Mr Khurshid literally isolated within his own party defending his legitimate statement about a decision announced before the elections. Regrettably this reflects the Congress culture all along. One might recall how this party shunned A. R. Antulay for his similar “pro- Muslim” remarks about the fake Batla House encounter on the floor of the house during UPA-1 regime, resulting in his ouster and subsequent denial of parliamentary elections ticket later in 2009 thus bringing an end to his political career as well. This “run with the hare and hunt with the hounds” policy has eroded Congress’s credibility. In that way BJP is much more anchored and deeply rooted as they tend to stand by their leaders in whatever the outcome or circumstances be. The entire world cried foul of 2002 Gujarat riots with Narendra Modi at the centre of all negative attention or L. K. Advani facing similar flak during Babri Masjid demolition and aftermath, but the party threw its weight behind both of them. The entire Hindutva machinery was put on damage control to see the trouble through.

While Khurshid was never a “Muslim” in the way identity politics tag leaders by community or caste. The Anglophile’s laboured Hindi-Urdu made him incompatible with the suitable ‘minority’ image, and this appeared in tune with intra-party dynamics.

The traditional belief in Congress has held that “only a Hindu can be a Muslim leader”. Biggies like H N Bahuguna and Arjun Singh carefully cultivated the “secular” image to fill this slot. AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh has modelled himself on his guru Dau saab, his controversial views on reservation, Batla House and even his “Osamaji” should be seen in this light. Congressmen believe that a Muslim’s backing of minority issues in a country with the past of Partition would draw charges of “communalism”, which in itself is absurd. In a country like ours every community, caste and section has its own indigenous leadership to advocate their rights – i. e., Paswan and Mayawati for Dalits, Laloo and Mulayam for Yadavs’, Advani and his team for upper caste Hindus but there is none to speak exclusively for rights and dignity of Muslims. Why? Why so much fuss when someone talks about Muslims in India? Muslims are no aliens but part of this country and seeking ones justifiable rights guaranteed under Constitution is no appeasement by any means.

Muslims are 13.4 per cent of India’s population (2001census) and are considered to be a marginalized community because, in comparison to other communities, they have over the years been deprived of the benefits of socio-economic development according to Sachar committee report.

The Dalit Muslims (considering its overall condition, the entire community must be considered as Dalit/OBC, but that’s a different issue all together) are a part of society, which is completely absent from the Constitution, parliamentary democracy and debates of mainstream politics. The census report usually records the number count of the different castes included as Dalit and a brief outline on their present status. But in these reports, we find not even a trace of the population of Dalit Muslims. The deeply disturbing fact, however, is that the public sphere of our society doesn’t even deem it necessary to hold discussions on this group. It is very surprising that neither the media nor the academia or even street discussions have ever included this group within the ambit of their discussion.

But irrespective of all the details dug out by Sachar there are political parties which still see “Muslim appeasement” in all corrective initiatives and visions to rectify the social, economical and educational imbalance of all these years. And in such a case the community gracefully desires to change position with the “so-called” under privileged and deprived majority community with the privileges and advantages Muslims enjoys.

The author is a member of the Advisory Committee Airport Authority of India. He may be contacted at azizmubarki@gmail.com

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2012 on page no. 2

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