Views from Srinagar
Malik Zahra Khalid
As per the last Indian census (2011), the total population of Muslims in India is about 172 million. Pakistan, the neighboring country, has a Muslim population of around 180 million. There is an overwhelming difference though – in India today, despite the over 170 million Muslims only a hand make it to Indian Parliament, whereas in Pakistan the lawmakers are mostly Muslims. Right now, Muslims in India do not know what to regret more, their voiceless in “New India” or their helpless while they are crushed under Hindu right-wing majoritarian character.
Modi-led BJP government takes it for granted that Muslims as well as those who come out in their support are total idiots who won’t understand a thing how New India is being forged. “Sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas” and “Mann ki baat” are as hollow as the party is on an inclusive and accommodating nature. BJP ran extensive campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the face in UP. The campaign and hard work was done to win most of the seats. Not a single Muslim was given the mandate by the party, why would they when the right-wing Hindu fascists have been brazenly saying of making India a Hindu rashtra. There is nothing wrong with it till that point when people in India say that the government is democratic. Democratic government is representational – people put forward their representatives who take care of their interests while making laws and policies. But in India today, the political party is totalitarian, as it decides which candidates suit as representatives and which candidates do not – obviously based on faith. Making loud statement from the fort does not make a lie the truth. The real
“Mann ki baat” as has been proven by UP elections, a place where there is large concentration of Indian Muslims, is that – we will strip the Muslims from power, will bar them from entering Parliament and law making bodies because we can. Then, we will say “Sab ka saath” to cover up our agenda. Where is Indian intelligentsia, the writers, the reformers, the activists who keep on bragging about vibrant democracy, secularism, tolerance and blah blah? Isn’t it a shame that only President of India comes up with a statement on majoritarian character imposed in Indian politics and the government.
How do the great analysts and Indian intellectual elite describe this new phenomena – where there will be no Muslim law makers, when there will be no representation to 170 million Indian Muslims who could better identify with them, what kind of bogus representational model of government are they lauding and telling us to abide? Is the “New India” meant to be an India where there are no Muslim leaders in the government, in the policy making or in any important government office?
Communal Course: The way Muslims and other minorities in India feel terrified with the rise of what was previously called as fringe element, shows the future course could be murkier. The wisdom shown before UP elections falls in line to post UP election decisions by naming the CM candidate. Indian media has become RSS-ized and the proof keeps coming. Here’s the recent evidence, three major news agencies run a story as if it is their own on 5 controversial comments or remarks of Yogi Adityanath, putting very mild issues instead of real controversies. First of all, how can different news agencies come up with the same 5 points, in content also, if it were not planted to reduce the negative image of the BJP leader? Here is the real controversial comment, the number one which was also reported by media only “Yogi Adityanath’s Men Telling Hindus To Rape Dead Muslim Women”. Is Indian media afraid to call a spade a spade or is it its dual character to show something else and mean something else? That is very “national” of the leader, and those who don’t believe it should be slapped with sedition. Amazing!
Many sections in India on the Muslim tradition of Triple Talaq have said that it is meant to uplift or empower Muslim women. Even newspapers and major Indian news channels have debated on the issue. Now how does the same newspapers and news channels add this peice of puzzle — direct people to rape dead Muslim women and become a chief minister. Or claim that the fascists mean women empowerment and social reform. Or have no Muslim legislators ow law makers who can veto or vote on important laws and concerns.
Muslims in India have every reason to nurse fears in their hearts and minds now. BJP by nominating Yogi as the chief minister has shown that they are toying with the idea of dropping the hat of inclusiveness, equality and start with brute polarization.
Uttar Pradesh results have far reaching consequences for the very idea of India and for the minorities especially Muslims who have been virtually de-franchised. The emergence of communal maniacs will create a wave of terror and eventually they might be forced to flee.
Dalits, Muslims and other minorities have been elbowed out from law making and from the orbit of governance. It is a victory of RSS as they worked very hard on the ground for years to take the control of Uttar Pradesh state in such a manner that Muslims should feel that with, without and in spite of them the majority community can win the election and govern them. BJP’s election mantra was appeasement to none and development for all. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his election campaign in Uttar Pradesh state said he was against Muslim appeasement. When a leader uses terms like Qabristan and Shamshan, it really says what kind of appeasement is actually done.
UP situation sounds familiar because on Rohingya Muslims, sometimes called state-less, when Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize winner, was going for elections it was being monitored if she or the party would field a Muslim who could have voiced their concern. She and her party didn’t, which fetched them international criticism. What is unfortunate in UP’s case is that Muslims were not state-less and openly denied the rights by the state.
The notion of ultra nationalism created by right-wing and its cohorts in the entire country has changed the meaning of being a nationalist. The space for dissent has been completely lost, secularism is thought of as some kind of disease, the voices are silenced using police and military force or direct intimidation by party field workers. What is fair in India now – even in Manipur, the entire population was put under economic blockade to win an election, not to mention defections and other means.
UP Muslims were rattled when the BJP MLA from Deoband decided that the first thing he will do a s a law maker would be to change its name to Devvrad , connecting it to the legend of Mahabharata. UP Muslims are completely out of wit as any time riots, false implication cases, lynching can happen. Now the UP Muslims do not even have the “Other” status, they are not even second-class or third-class citizens, but helpless nobody’s. Tomorrow some Dadri man will be lynched, national-anti national debates will happen, mantras like “Sab ka saath”, “Man ki baat”, “Inclusive government will be repeated. But there will be no voice to echo in the Indian parliament, because there would be no Muslim there. This is not democracy that we know and see in the world, this is exclusive rule by Hindu majority.
—Courtesy: Rising Kashmir.
[Writer is Srinagar based columnist].