For Congress, Islam out, Hindutva in!

December 16, 2010: Another example of Indian National Congress’s so-called secular fundamentals: Islam out! Hindutva in!

While the world is increasingly moving towards integrating Islamic non-interest banking institutions into the prevailing interest-bearing banking order, India’s political groups highly infiltrated by extremist Hindutva elements, are doggedly refusing to even consider any proposal that bears ‘Islam’ or ‘Islamic’ in its nomenclature.

That prejudice is not borne of post-9/11 American Jewish Neocon worldwide propaganda against all things Islamic. It has been the sole motivation behind partition of India and the subsequent tragic history of wars between the divided neighbouring states.

India has cleverly fooled the world with its secular credentials, while the entire rank and file of its governing infrastructure as well as army, internal security and intelligence agencies were meticulously cleaned of Muslim presence even while the government, the opposition and media kept harping about India’s secular creed as legislated in the Indian constitution.

It is common knowledge that Muslims in belief, if not in practice due to adverse systemic incompatibility, consider paying or receiving of interest as strictly prohibited by Qur’an. In the aftermath of oil boom of 1970s, Arabian Gulf countries were free and capable of experimenting with the Islamic norms of banking and trading. The two go hand-in-hand. Forty years down the line, the world is witness to the phenomenal growth of Islamic Banking and its non-interest products creating a very substantial and prosperous niche in the international financial markets.

India has remained closed economy, as the Brahmin Nehru family was most insecure in their stranglehold on the country and had kept India, not unlike the primitive rule of any other feudal fiefdom, a close country to safeguard their own and to an extant India’s security.

After the conspiratorial assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, US maneuvered PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh into top posts and forced liberalization and globalization agenda to bring India into the fold of ‘Free World’.

The two decades of opening of India, after four decades of closed economy, were what the doctor would have ordered. Indian economy and with it, India’s international stature and rights and responsibilities too are on the rise.

One of the main handicaps that Indian governance suffers from is the preponderance of Hindutva exclusionary thinking and practice in politics, bureaucracy, media and even private businesses and industries and the resultant exclusion of 150 million Indian Muslims from all sectors of national mainstream.

After the debacle of demolition of Babri Masjid, when Muslims renounced Indian National Congress in hordes, the fortunes of the ‘secular’ political party have become most insecure. It has now realized that it cannot court Muslim voters, without improving their economic lot. All poverty-alleviation schemes, including microfinance, have been dogged by corruption and exploitation of the poor. Indian Muslims have been trying hard with the Congress to persuade it to open up the economy for Islamic Banking and Finance so that Muslims would be able to participate in both the overall economic progress of the country as well as ethical banking being provided to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

On his recent visit to Malaysia, the economist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has personally witnessed how Islamic Banking has taken deep root in Malaysia’s mixed society. However, Congress is mortally afraid of Hindutva elements for their unpatriotic propaganda about appeasing Muslims, as if Muslims are not the full citizens of their country.

The only redeeming factor that is lurking behind the Congress planning for the coming elections is to secure its position with Muslim voters on constitutional secularism basis. Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh should not be cowed down by the most vocal and incendiary anti-Muslim propaganda by Hindutva Parivar and should move decisively to reclaim its lost Muslim votebank. Judiciary too should uphold constitutional secularism and keep proactive vigilance against its erosion by relentless pressure from Hindutva elements.

One of the most revolutionary and visionary steps that it can take, is to open up the economy for Islamic Non- Banking and should not be apologetic in siding with Muslim and Islam. Islamic Banking in India without Islamic nomenclature will not mesh with international Islamic financial system and will be a non-starter. Muslim should not compromise at this stage and dilute their demand or they will never be able to fulfill their own religious obligations and will have to go on struggling against the government and political establishments for all time to come. India’s constitution guarantees them freedom of their religion and their demand for opening up the economy for Islamic Non-interest Banking should be strictly on their religious terms.

Ghulam Muhammed lives in Mumbai and can be reached at