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The perennial regret of the BJP had always been that Muslims punch way above their deserved political weight in India. It was stated most pithily in conversations by BJP leader, key intellectual voice and my former colleague in the Express Group, Balbir Punj. “Muslims,” he said, “have a veto on who will rule India and who won’t.”

The timing of that conversation was just after Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s second NDA government had been defeated in the Lok Sabha by a solitary vote in 1999 as all ‘secular’ parties came together against it. Not long ago (1996), Vajpayee’s first NDA government was defeated in all of 13 days.

The second NDA government lasted just over a year, and Punj made an arguable case that everyone who had any interest in seeking the Muslim vote, or fear of losing it, was happy to bury the hatchet to deny BJP power. The Muslim vote was much too valuable for them to lose, and their commitment to secular values, in that view stated by Punj, was merely a cynical cover. I bet this view would have been further strengthened after UPA-1 came up, with even the Left supporting the Congress-led government, all to keep the BJP out. The difference in seats between the Congress and the BJP was marginal then, 145 to 138.

The BJP had, at various points of time, tried to reach out to Muslims. Vajpayee himself was the party’s friendliest and most inclusive face for minorities, L.K. Advani cultivated many prominent Muslim intellectuals, even the Muslim-Left. From participating in Muslim festivals to praise for Jinnah, to the choice of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Vajpayee-Advani BJP tried to breach the fortress of Muslim voters. But the party lacked conviction, and failed.

The BJP translated this as the Muslim veto on who will rule India. The UPA decade, when the BJP’s power declined across the country, strengthened that view. Then, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah rose in 2014, and turned the equation upside down, or inside out, take your pick. They won a full majority without much — if any — help from India’s Muslim voters.

A new template had been set in Indian politics. Many BJP leaders were upfront with it: “We have now accepted we have to fight in a field with only 80 per cent voters, leaving Muslims and most Christians out.” Once they accepted that reality, the challenge was simple: “Get about 50 per cent of that Hindu vote, and we could rule India with a comfortable majority.” They proved this again in 2019.

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A most unexpected transformation in Indian politics had come about: The large Muslim population, now nearly 20 crore, had been rendered electorally irrelevant. Don’t buy into any folklore about Muslim women being grateful for the triple talaq ban, or aspirational younger Muslims having voted for the BJP. Demographic analysis of every reliable exit poll underlines this for us. It stunned the BJP’s ‘secular’ rivals. It also left the Muslims searching for answers.


Also read: Modi-Shah’s hyper-nationalism is making India insecure when it is actually most secure


Now, put yourself in the shoes of one of our 20 crore Muslims, and the picture may look something like this: My vote has lost its power, alright. But, should I be deprived even my rightful place in the power structure?

The Modi cabinet, in its sixth year now, has only one Muslim: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, in charge of minority affairs. It is also one of those unfamiliar junctures in our history — and it’s a long one — when none of the key constitutional positions, President, Vice-President, Speaker of Lok Sabha, heads of armed forces, security and intelligence agencies, Election Commission or the judiciary, feature any Muslims.

There isn’t one state with a Muslim chief minister and the one that might have needed to have one, Jammu and Kashmir, isn’t even a state any more. None of the secretaries in the key ministries is a Muslim, nor any important regulator. We can search deeper, but in my quick recollection, Nasim Zaidi as Chief Election Commissioner (2015-17) was the last Muslim to hold a constitutional position of consequence, besides Hamid Ansari, of course. Among India’s 37 states and union territories, there are just two Muslim governors: Najma Heptullah and Arif Mohammed Khan. Where does it leave me in today’s India?

We know the arguments from the BJP: Sabka saath, sabka vikas, to begin with. The absence of major communal riots being the next. Then, we can go on. As stories by ThePrint’s reporters Sanya Dhingra and Fatima Khan have recently shown, under the Modi government, the success rate of Muslim candidates in IAS etc., has, if anything, risen marginally and more minority scholarships are going to the community’s students than under the UPA.

But certainly, a 15 per cent population in a truly equal state would believe it also deserves a place in the sun, a slice of the power and governance pie. We will give you the post-2014 BJP’s answer to this: “You can’t first insist on voting against us en bloc, as if we are enemies, and then also demand a share in power. Much chutzpah?”

The question we are raising, by choosing a headline like “Do Indian Muslims matter?”, draws precisely from this and seeks to argue against this deeply diluted and qualified notion of constitutional equality. You have your vote, scholarships, jobs and opportunity. For a share of power, maybe you should rethink your voting choices.

Or, too bad that 15 per cent of you are so scattered as to count for no more than 27 Muslim MPs in this Lok Sabha. You’ve seen this model elsewhere. The large Muslim minority in Israel is the only Arabic population anywhere to have a free and equal vote, safety, economic and social opportunity. But the political office they can rise to, a place in the governance structure, is limited. It’s a republic, but a Zionist republic. The new deal for Muslims in India also seems to be a similar one. Except, India was never imagined or designed to be a Hindu republic. That is where this argument fails.


Also read: Why India’s middle classes are Modi’s ‘Muslims’


Indian Muslims are not a monolith, nor are the subcontinent’s. Think about this. Forty per cent of all of the world’s Muslims live in the subcontinent. And yet, the number of the region’s Muslims in ISIS has never crossed a few low hundreds. Of these, Indians have never reached even three figures. Why is it so?

It is essentially because the subcontinent’s Muslims have a strong nationalism of their own in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. They have a flag, an anthem, a cricket team to support, and politicians to adore or detest. The fantasy of a Caliphate as a mythical new and pristinely Islamic nation-state has no lure for them. In different parts of the subcontinent, Muslims also lean on diverse denominators or identities: Language, ethnicity, culture, political ideology, and not just religion. Bangladesh came into being as cultural and linguistic identity took precedence over the religion-driven two-nation theory.

This is a great strength of the region, and no liability. It applies most of all to India. The continued isolation and sullenness of the Muslim minority at their post-2014 irrelevance is not what India needs. Don’t confuse silence for acquiescence. Indian Muslims have also grown a new middle-class. An educated and professional elite has emerged. They no longer follow the old dynastic Left-Urdu aristocracies or the Ulema (clergy) as their leaders. As young Delhi University scholar Asim Ali wrote in an article last week, they are now asking them tough questions. Punishing them for their voting preferences may bring some vengeful, serves-you-right joy. But it will be self-defeating. No country or society ever prospered or remained secure by marginalising more than one-sixth of its own.


Also read: Ram mandir’s done, now Modi can’t ride more Hindu nationalism as economy is stalling


 

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84 Comments Share Your Views

84 COMMENTS

  1. Please do not misinterpret situations and reach conclusions.
    India is a diverse land with huge diversities. Religion is just one of the diversity.
    In other countries you can get away with a national language., national religion, national culture etc… But not so in India.

    The consequences of this situation is that, hindus are not a monolithic majority. Hindus are an amalgamation of innumerable minorities with diverse religious, customs, diverse languages etc..
    Everyone in this country is a hidden minority.

    So your argument can be applied to everyone in this country. Does anyone matter? Rather than do Muslims matter?

  2. If they are not monolithic how come govt. in M.P. and Rajasthan could be formed? Also even if we assume that they are not monlithic why no sane voice from Muslims come forward to rebuke rigidity shown by their own kind in the name / excuse of shariah…

  3. In introspection, what has been achieved in last 70 years where many leaders from the community have served as many posts you had mentioned. Low levels are left high and dry once one becomes elite. These have become only ceremonial posts. Very simply this has become a card to get the top post deserving or undeservingly. Current dispensation should make effort include the deserving. Sir, you should also open minded as much as BJP we all talking respective limited truths..Don’t want force mine upon anyone branding as fact

    • Some things *are * facts. If it’s 40C outside, it’s a fact that you will feel hot.

      Sure some things cannot be clearly separated but that cannot be used as an excuse for everything.

  4. Secularism us not a suitable idea for India. Secularism works when almost the entire country belongs to one faith. Or when the different communities have a live and let live philosophy. But the Abrahamic faiths are missionary faiths, it is in their dna to aggressively convert followers of other religions to theirs by any means necessary. In that sense, they are more of power cults than spiritual bodies. They have extremely cash rich central administrative structures based in Vatican or Saudi Arabia, with more than a thousand years of battle hardened experience in playing the long game of conversion. In the long run, the Indic faiths have no chance against these forces. In any 5 year or 10 year period, the change will be imperceptible. You begin to see some incremental change in a generation. The scales would clearly begin to tilt over a hundred year period. Just look at the drop in the percentage of Hindus and increase in the percentage of muslims in India since 1947, you will understand what I am saying. In the long run, if the Indic faiths were to survive the silent onslaught of the Abrahamic faiths, India has to become a Hindu Rashtra. The alternative is for the Indic faiths to evolve into aggressive organizations to counter-convert other faiths into their fold, for which they need to develop centralized authorities. That will essentially rob them of their identity, which makes them different. I would much rather prefer a Hindu Rashtra in which the followers of the Abrahamic faiths can live as equals provided they abdicate two elements of their faith: conversion and allegiance to a foreign entity.

    • Secularism us not a suitable idea for India – sorry, India IS secular. If you don’t like that, find yourself another country.

      • SECULARISM=APPEASING CHRISTIANS AND ISLAM which are GLOBALLY MAJORITY BIGOTTED RELIGIONS and still we call them minorities in india.
        SECULARISM WILL WIPE OUT HINDU RELIGION IN NEXT 100 YEARS

        • What did you have this morning Bharath? Something strong instead of tea? Only Hindus like you can wipe out Hinduism. Not in the next 100 years but in the next 10 years.

    • You are absolutely correct. Islamist are known to be assert their dominance once they reach at certain significant population. Hindus inspite of being the 80% have reduced in numbers drastically since 1947. This clearly shows the tolerance of hindu community over the much less inclusive community. Bitter it may sound but you are just calling spade a spade.

    • Sorry to say brother. If population grew, it is because of the fault of all the govts that existed till this date. How many government has taken step to limit children. All govts gave all type of freebies and benefits for votes. How many govt have initiated Muslim children to grow via education.

      Recently “Langer Baba” who received Padma Shree, who spent all his wealth to serve food to cancer patients relatives who come for treatment. He started this mission 17 years back. I doubt he would have ever asked any poor about his religion. No news channel made it so big. This is something that people should be shown so that society learn goodness but this is not happening. Observe things across, not only follow what is being shown.

      I have few Muslim friends whom I consider first as human being and then citizen of India. Don’t label one religion as bad when they were never uplifted. I don’t see more than 2 kids in normal Muslim society nearby because they are educated.
      I was taught that we are blessed to be part of India where we have so diversity yet we uphold unity. i.e., India is great and we should create a environment of peace and harmony. God made man, man made religion. So we should all respect God’s creation

    • @RJ – You are absolutely right!! However, Hindu Rashtra will be opposed by SICK-ular’s/communists as also the desert cults!! These cults have many nations based on the EVIL political ideologies tailor made to grab foreign/Indian lands, resources & power but are disguised as religion!!

      An alternative to Hindu rashtra might be to do the same thing through laws & the Indian constitution!! This is URGENT indeed!!

      If Denmark, a secular but richest & the happiest nation on earth can be declared as a Christian nation, WHY can’t India be Hindu??!!

  5. Is it no country prospered by marginalising one sixth of its population!?
    In Pakistan Hindu population in 1947 was 12.5% West pak) and 22.5% of east pak, present Bangladesh)
    Present(2017) Hindu population of Pakistan is 1.5% and of Bangladesh is 10.2%.
    What happened to rest of the Hindus. Would the learned authored care to find out. Or is it to see that exclusion of these large part of Hindu population would lead to failure the rest of Hindus were eliminated.
    Remember, ever since 1977, be it 1996 or 1999 or 2014 at center or in States like Bihar UP, you name it, after joining hands with erstwhile Jan Sangh and then BJP to win powers every political party castigated BJP/Jan Sangh and pulled down govts.
    How that when Muslims hate BJP can seek to be nominated as a candidate to represent any electoral college, be it in any State Assemble or Look Sabha.
    One can reference to any analysis of a given constituency by any press reporter/ political analyst before any elections, it is done based on the caste/religion strength of the electorate. How anyone much less Muslims expect BJP to nominate them in these circumstances to select any Muslims as a candidate to either State Assemble or even Look Sabha
    No political party worth its salt will select any candidate without assessing his chance of winning.

  6. Congress has marginalised hindus for past 70 years. Now it is the revenge of the majority. Once upon a time every other post was reserved for mudlims, so called secular ideology meant having a corrupt keralite christian representing congress and funding sonia and robert vadra. We do not want this imposed secular cortupt leaders any more.

  7. Every political party needs power and for that they need votes. I don’t think BJP is so rooted in its Hindu ideology that it will not accept the votes of Muslims. If Muslims can accept and support with conditions, the good side of BJP rather than supporting congress and other so called secular parties blindly en bloc, i am sure BJP will accept that and change their politics to be more accommodating, because in politics you don’t always put your all eggs in one basket and rely on just one bloc of votes, especially if it is Hindu votes. But this is not something that will happen with Muslims. And it is not because BJP did not extend their hand. They had tried this during the Vajpayee era, the so called soft Hindutva. Did that reach out to Muslims work? No. BJP lost in 2004. That is because Muslims don’t believe in meeting someone in the middle or a compromise, it is always my way or the highway – if you are any thing less than dark green, then you are deep saffron. It also didn’t help that the so called leaders of Muslim community and secular politicians wanted this bloc of votes without giving anything in return because it is the poor and frustrated Muslim whose vote is the easiest.

    • @g: Well If Muslims were doing that for their own good, it would still have been understandable from an ideological & civilization-al perspective!

      The thing is that Muslims are being used by Maulvi’s as stupid, low cost, disposable weapons which will eventually harm them!! These very Maulvi’s are enslaved to Pakistan/China and the Christian west!

      All they are doing is preparing Ghazwa-e-hind for a possible Hindu demise but sure as death their own destruction!!

  8. What an astonishingly self contradictory article! Mr Shekar Gupta, why do muslims have to be represented by Muslims? Are you saying when a Muslim gets elected to Parliament s/he only represents the Muslims in his/her constituency? That’s the most foolish argument I have heard in a long time. Muslims can not be left behind just like Hindus can’t be left behind. Patronizing one section of society over another has always be the road to Delhi of the likes of communist and congress. BJP selects people based on electability. If Muslims want to be selected, they should then make themselves electable as a candidate. For ex I think someone like Arif Saab can win from any constituency anywhere in India. be that person and why just BJP anyone will choose you. As long as Muslims keep thinking our time will come for revenge, they will be relegated to the trash of history. Fortunately many young Muslims feel they are Indians and not Muslims or Christian or Hindu. That’s what will save the ancient land of their ancestors.

  9. “The fantasy of a Caliphate as a mythical new and pristinely Islamic nation-state has no lure for them”.

    Really?

    Does the author even read history? Exactly 100 years ago the Ali Brothers, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (yes) and others launched the KHILAFAT movement to pressurize the British to preserve the authority of the Ottoman sultan as the Caliph (khalifah) of Islam.

    MK Gandhi and other Congressmen immediately jumped on this to BRING MUSLIMS INTO THE movement for self rule.

    Muslims then joined the non-cooperation movement of Gandhi — which was launched at this time.

      • Sure, things change. 30 years later Muslims demanded separate country and India was divided. 43 years later Islamists in Kashmir persecuted Pandits, original inhabitant.

    • india came into being in 1947 – it did not exist at the time of khilafat movement! there was only british-india at that time that had rather different geographical boundaries!

      • @Rational: Brainwashed Zombies like you should know that Political boundaries don’t necessarily define nations, civilizations do!! The west including USA & Europe & India is a classic example of that!!

        Hindu civilization is 5000+ years old and we didn’t need Islam, Black British Indian congress/communist stooges to tell us when India/Hindustan was born!!

  10. I really don’t care aboutShekhar’s question. I, as a Hindu, never mattered in india. My temples are controlled and taxed by the government, noone else’s. The Congress ecosystem splintered my community so much so that we became a thousand minority communities, the only voice that mattered was that of the Muslims, which was the largest coherent community. I am glad BJP is uniting the splintered Hindu communities so that our voices matter. I don’t think the Hindu civilization will survive another invasion, external or internal. We have to make our last stand and fight for the survival of our 7000 year old civilization. If not, our politicians will ensure that all of our great grandchildren will be speaking Arabic or Urdu and praying to meccah five times a day.

  11. After partition both Pakistan and Bangladesh are ruled by Muslims with little or nil participation of Hindus. After partition the remaining India by default should have been a Hindu ruled country but Congress leaders political ambitions denied Hindus the only country they can claim their own. Congress continued to pamper Muslims as vote bank until a Hindu backlash emerged under the leadership of Modi. Cribbing of sickulars who are de facto Hindu haters is expected and no Hindu lover cares for it. It’s matter of time when India will emerge as a Hindu nation and librandus would disappear.

    • You are a pseudo-Hindi. Don’t speak for all Hindus.

      Your level is clear when you say that Pakistan and Bangladesh are ruled by Muslims with little or nil participation by Hindus. So you want to take them a sa standard?

      In any case, who has rules India? Muslims? It’s always been Hindus. Presidents don’t matter.

      I am waiting for the day when fake Hindus like you will disappear from India. You are a disgrace for a culture which is basically tolerant.

  12. You want the Muslims to win heads and other to lose tails! Generally, secular parties have played the worst kind of minority communal politics during the last six plus decades. But, common Muslims did not benefit from this dirty politics. All the gains went to the leaders, especially the clerics masquarading as Muslim leaders. Who has stopped anyone including the Muslims from demanding their right based on merit? Why beg for political largess?

  13. Why single out Muslims? Why is this Fixation? Have ou ever asked this question if Hindus ever mattered for Congress or even BJP till recently? Do hindu lives matter for Pakistan or Bangladesh? Ever asked that question in all your worthless life peddling Bogus Secular thinking fixated on only Muslims and passing that as Journalism?

  14. The last sentence condenses the wisdom of the column. Whatever the ideology of the ruling party – it would be wonderful if it could be updated from a view crystallised in pre Partition India – we should acknowledge that if India’s 200 million Muslims or the 300 million people who live in UP and Bihar ( which would include many Muslims ) do not participate in economic growth, our overall progress will be impaired. The security aspect is equally important. If the community sees prejudice and bigotry descend into hate crime, loss of safety, radicalisation can certainly result.

    • “No country or society ever prospered or remained secure by marginalising more than one-sixth of its own.”

      Shame on this sickular presstitute pretending to be wise but giving a call for arms. Btw, Hindus in Bangladesh were 30% one third…Bangladesh seems to be doing fine from the basket case it was earlier!

  15. paying for the sins, both real & some imagined, of their forefathers…. way too many atrocities to be forgotten… oil & water will never mix…

  16. The large section of younger generation and in general all voters, irrespective of caste or religion, rallied behind Narendra Modi in 2014 and 2019. Obviously, caste division among the Hindus which worked earlier and ensured victory along with minority votes failed miserably and it was a big blow to so- called secular parties . In due course, once politics normalizes (like Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena coming together in Maharashtra), even “so called” minority voters will start actively joining party of their choice, BJP or any others and rise to the power structure. What Shekhar has point out as exclusion of minority community under Modi has by and large been the situation in India barring some exceptional years. There is no evidence of bias against any community in the way various social programs work under Modi government, a fact conceded by Shekhar. Also, as Shekhat himself admits, Muslims are not a monolithic block and has many sects, castes, different views and different ideas. If anything, Shekhar should have advised Muslims to join BJP so that they are able to make their voice felt in the party and command political posts. By raising a bogey of proportional representation, Shekhar is re-igniting outdated, unnecessary and provocative issues. This is definitely not in the ‘National Interest’.

  17. Leave alone Muslims For these scoundrels Modi and Amith shah we are not even Humans. We are disciplined subjects of hindu rashtra

  18. It is not BJP’s problem or responsibility Muslims are left out of power. It is upto Muslims to join BJP. They have not denied anyone membership based on religion. If Muslims decide to join they can share power. If they do not want to join they cannot expect power.
    Another reason Muslims are out of power – Congress’s position as protector of minority is proven hollow. BJP has better track record of upholding constitution than Congress. Constitution is protecting minority and they realized this. There is no incentive to vote as a bloc for Congress. Same time Congress lost Hindu vote because of appeasement.
    Muslims out of power won’t matter for the prosperity of the community. Most of them are hard working and prosper when they have opportunity. Money power works lot better than political power. Look at Parsy community which is a super minority.

  19. When Sonia for 10 years sickeningly lay prostrate before Muslims to get their bloc votes and do everything that she could to hurt the majority what did the country get?

    Bomb blasts and more bomblasts in every major city.

    The UPA rule had one defining characteristic — let the Muslims bomb their way to glory. Hence the likes of Indian Indian Mujahedin, SIMI, and what not. And we will come out with the bogey of “saffron terror”.

    Shekhar Gupta, finally the fabled Hindu worm begins to turn (for those unaware Google the phrase “worm begins to turn”. Means finally resist.) That explains 2014 and 2019.

      • Strange? Do you have amnesia? Have you no memory of the series of bomblsts under the UPA 1 and UPA 2? Thank god people who vote sensibly no longer forget. Go, do some reading before you call sane voices as trolls.

  20. If Muslims don’t vote for BJP, nor do they join BJP, where exactly will BJP find Muslims to make them ministers? Should they appoint Muslims from Congress, SP, BSP and other parties as ministers? Even when they made Arif Mohd Khan a governor, there were complaints that he was a ‘sarkari’ Muslim i.e. supported BJP positions. So, will you be happy only if BJP gives office to only those Muslims who are critical of BJP?

    • It’s the other way. Some Muslims like you have deep rooted hatred for RSS. Today Muslims are joining RSS. But Muslims like you will die hating RSS. Nobody can help you.

      • can you deny that rss is kkk of india? Sajida is right and it is not only muslims who have rooted hatred for rss – all right thinking indians also hate rss. as much as bjp has a place in indian politics as representative of the hindu right, as much rss has NO place in india seeing that their forerunners tried to kill the father of the nation.

        • kopi – RSS Is definitely NOT the KKK but Islam sure is a totalitarian ideology like communism & Nazism killing all those who are not like them!!

  21. Muslims definately matter to those political parties whosoever want to come to power in India , as muslims are the second largest majority.It is yet another matter if BJP has come to power under Narender Modiji.I have been watching the developments very closely and my study is the Great God Allah [Divine Supreme Being] has brought Modiji/BJP to power at centre,and He has a Plan of His own,which at the moment i cannot tell.But without doubt it is Great Allah who has brought Modiji to Power.In regard to Muslims/Caliphate, that era has ended and now Great Allah wants democracies all over/Rule of Law,and Great Allah wants Holy Quran,Final Heavenly Revelation Superseding all past Partial Heavenly Revelations by applying the doctrine of merger being the Final Authority, as Sources for transformation.This includes Advises/laws/directions of Great Allah for the formation of a world Goverment to oversee peace and tranquility prevails everywhere.And the good and profound teachings of Prophet Muhammad, last and final Prophet superseding past prophets ,are also sources for true Reform of all.In short what i mean to say is idolatry or system of imaginary multiple Gods and goddesses should give way to Monotheism or the worship of One true God,The God of all Mankind-The Heavenly Ruler-Allah/All-Law.

    • Shri Gupta, I think you have got your answer. If this is the thinking of an educated Muslim, what hope is there for that community? If Muslims choose to exclude themselves from the ideology of BJP, where exactly will BJP find Muslims to fill political positions?

          • And yours Mr. Vishal is blind stupidity. This is the typical approach of bhakts: anyone who dares to criticize anything that the BJP/RSS does is consumed by hatred.

            I just don’t want people like them to speak for me.

            My origin does not matter. All of us are Hindus and Muslims mixed.

  22. Yawn. Did Shekhar Gupta ever write any piece when Muslims (earlier 8%, now 14.2% — that’s astounding progress, no discrimination at all) had a veto on everything, cause the Hindus were too divided by caste and region?

    Shekhar Guptaji: please do a study on voting preference of Muslims anywhere, everywhere in the world. The answer you will get is only religion– and anything tied to my religion matters for their vote. Couldn’t give a toss to anything else.

    Ambedkar, brilliant mind he was, discerned this very quickly….read his comment on a lampost/mosque.

    P.S. In the UK some Muslim groups now campaign that voting, elections are against Shariah law and heckle voters at the polling stations.

  23. Simple issue, India don’t have muslims we have converts. If today the GOI decides to bring those converts back to various Indic faith ( Hindi, Sikh, Buddhists, Jains etc). I can vouch that it is easily possible, just somebody needs to take the initiative.

    The converts also needs to understand that they are not Arabs/turks but are of local Hindu and other Dharmic groups. These people should also leave their fake Arabi/turki/middle East names. They should simply assimilate, then nobody would do their othering. But assimilation is only when they leave their present converted religion for their ancestral dharmic faith.

  24. Why can’t Muslims try voting for BJP and find out whether they can have their share in the power?
    How can they afford to HATE a political party with majority hindhu support?
    I think it’s the Muslims who should introspect whether they should continue to practice anti BJP minorotism politics

  25. This is a typical narrative – unfortunately – started with the British Raj – Divide Indians and create artificial communities with citizens w.r.t the colour of their underpants or the way they worship the supernatural, their superstitions. There is possibly nothing fundamentally similar between say a fair-skin, kurta pyjama wearing Punjabi language-speaking believer of the Arabic God and say a short stature dark-skin fish-rice eating Bengali language-speaking citizen worshipping the same Arabic God or say a Tamilan believing in the same Arabic God. Believers of Arabic God as a community, a Nation, an Ummah is as artificial as it can be.

    One story was quite popular.

    Two educated Indian believers of the Arabic God – a Punjabi and a Bengali while in pilgrimage to Macca was discussing – “how we, the Muslims by around 750 CE, conquered all the land and nations between Spain and Indian western borders.” They are feeling great until interrupted by a local Arab.

    “What Muslims? It is we Arabs – not you lowly Punjabi or Bengali converts from Hind, did that. It is we, our forefathers that conquered all that Land between Spain and India. Our Prophet spoke Arabic, The Messages are for Arabs – read the Quran properly”

    • Everything you say holds true also for Hindu gods! Indeed, as a person speaking hindi, punjabi and bengali, I can be dropped into a small village in Pakistan or Bangladesh and be understood but I struggle to be understood in small towns in Tamil Nadu or Kerela. A hindu from kerela has more in common with a muslim from kerela than with a hindu from punjab. why cant we just accept that we are all different and live together in peace?

      • True – thus India is a multi-national state like say Russia. It is good to realize that. But because India is also a civilization state, unlike Russia, an indigenous from Bengal will quickly adjust and accept with the ways of – say Tamil Nadu or Karnataka – even language would be secondary. The foundational ethos of the indigenous in the Indian Subcontinent – across all its nations – is Dharma (and it is not religion, an alien idea) Karma, Yoga and Tantra. These philosophies units this multi-nation state like India. Your language, your personal Deity (not God, an alien idea again) does not matter much – it is fluid and malleable. So, typically an indigenous is completely at home anywhere in India -among other indigenous – in Punjab or Bengal or Karnataka or Bundelkhand – among the Jain Munis or Sikh Gurus or 1000s of local deities or with Buddha.

  26. There is a sort of perennial mutual distrust among the two major communities (Hindus and Muslims) in the country. The paradox is that both the communities have sustained and survived by living in co-existence. During the 500 years long Muslim rule over the major part of the country, about 80 per cent population remained Hindus. Otherwise, the invading armies of Islam saw the victim countries totally Islamised such as Egypt, Persia and Mesopotamia having flourished civilisations. Both the communities claim smugly for this unique distinction. Islam has rather become syncretic Islam in India, adopting some of the social and religious practices of the land.
    A towering medieval history historian Prof. M. Habib has observed,” India has not witnessed wars of religion, never anything like the thirty years’ war (1618-40) in Germany between Catholics and Protestants which reduced the population of that country to a fifth of what it had been and its cultivated area to a fourth.”
    Prof Habib felt that the cry that ‘Mussalmans are a backward community’ was all right for the British period, when ‘backwardness’ was another name of ‘loyalty’. But today such a cry seems stupid and farcical. Protected, for what reason? Because you cannot work hard enough to pass an examination; or because, inheriting the anti-scientific career; or because, having the outlook of a zamindar in life, you are utterly capable of facing the stiff competition of the modern world in the professions, science and technology, business and industry. These are maladies for which only the leaders of the Muslim community can supply a remedy. Those who wish to serve the Muslim community must make it up-to-date and efficient in every sphere of life. This is the only way and there is no other way.

  27. Dear Sekhar,
    I was eagerly waiting for changing your “Raga” (No.. not ..RaGa) back to your old tunes.
    Sometimes you become the reluctant economic analyst, switching from your self proclaimed specialty of Defense and political economy.
    Sometimes you become the international relations expert.
    Sometimes you cry on the declining state of Congress and other Non-BJP parties.
    Sometimes you hate the ways congress dumps its old pantheons.
    But it is your unstated objective, I mean your Background score which is always a subtle underlines, about your wish to divide the country on the lines of communities. When will you realize that your quest for political equinomy and minority-ism is going to cost the country and your profession.

  28. Shekar time to retire you are writing gibberish nonsensical unreadable articles
    Only good thing is you are writing for the print nobody reads it anyway

  29. Sometimes the facts may, be correct but the title may mislead and ascribe motives where there is none. I, believe this to be the case here.
    India is a land of minorities. The Hindu majority is a myth. e. g. I belong to Tamil iyengar brahmin community. I do not get a national holiday on Janmashtami which is the most important function for me. My community can boast of 3 science nobels, but politicians don’t care a hoot as we are 0.001 % of the total population. This is not a complaint. Like mine, we have thousands of subcommunities in India. Effectively even hindus are an amalgamation of minorities Everyone does not get the pie always.
    Likewise with the Muslims. Let’s accept the reality of India as a land of minorities (and not speak of, hindus as one consolidated majority) .

    • One sensible comment among the gibberish I’ve been reading here.
      When did we become a singular nation, let alone a Hindu nation? Quite recently, indeed the idea of a nation-state is only a few hundred years old!
      Historically we have been an agglomeration of different tribes, clans or jatis, often warring amongst ourselves, in a geographical location. This new Hindu fanaticism, aka Hindutva, is trying to conflate different strands into a Unitary religion akin to Abrahamic religions.
      Even the new genetic history tells us we are a land of minorities.
      The problem with Muslims is that they want to be under the banner of a politico-religious identity instead of taking Islam as a matter of personal faith. And now that applies to Hindus as well; we have turned Hinduism into a political ideology of bhakts, instead of bhakti.

  30. 1. This is a thought-provoking article. I believe it is necessary to do some unbiased fact-finding study to find out (a) why share of power enjoyed by Muslims in our court is abysmally low, (b) how and why leaders of Muslims in our country have made consistent efforts to underscore different Islamic culture and more particularly who has gained from such differentiation. In this context, I think, it needs to be stated here that former British rulers succeeded in dividing Hindu & Muslim communities. We have a legacy of issues; perhaps one major issue is Ayodhya). 2. Is it not true that fundamentalists in the Muslim community have a huge influence on our Muslim masses, particularly women? When this is the situation, unbiased discussion on subject of place of Muslims in our society and plight of majority of Muslims does not take place at all. 3. Would we accept that during last six decades politicians who sought votes of uneducated, poor Muslims did nothing for their welfare? Majority of Muslims have remained uneducated and poor. For this state of affairs leaders of the Muslim community as also leaders of so-called secular political parties are solely responsible. 4. Incidental observations: (a) In case of Ayodhya Ram Mandir issue, I think the Indian Muslim leadership could have made a settlement-cum-compromise offer long back. This way the Muslim leadership could have settled many non-Ayodhya temple issues as well. But fact is that leaders of Muslims in India preferred a legal fight right up to the Supreme Court. Perhaps, their assumption was that they could win. (b) All these years, ‘secularism’ based politics of the Congress and many other parties has failed to create truly secular country. This has happened because secularism has been wrongly interpreted to mean protection of a small section of minorities. (c) In this context the leadership of Muslims in our country can learn a lesson or two. Lesson is that though India is a secular country, minorities, and particularly Muslims, cannot expect to make undue political or other gains at cost of the majority. 5. It is now the right time for the leadership of Indian Muslims to do some critical self-introspection. 6. We should not shy away from a free and frank discussion on above topics.

  31. “You can’t first insist on voting against us en bloc, as if we are enemies, and then also demand a share in power.”
    Bull’s eye . . . !

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