Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi during the launch of web portal of Dargah Khwaja Saheb Ajmer, in New Delhi | PTI
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Seeing National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s pictures at the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz meeting, a question comes to mind: Can someone tell Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi that it’s his job to represent India’s minorities in the BJP-led government instead of representing the BJP before the minorities? If an award was being given for the most incompetent cabinet minister in the Narendra Modi government, no one would come close to India’s minister for minority affairs.

Except for a name that shows he’s from a minority community, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi brings nothing to inspire confidence that he is concerned about the minorities or their ‘affairs’. If you thought the President of India was a rubber stamp and a ‘symbolic’ office of power, you should look at Naqvi, who can be best described as a “majority appeaser.”


Also read: How to be BJP’s version of a ‘good Muslim’ – A guide by Arif Mohammad Khan


Not minorities’ but BJP’s minister

Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad had to be convinced by NSA Ajit Doval to vacate the Markaz and have everyone tested for Covid-19. It only shows that Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi holds no influence or respect within his own community. This is in stark contrast to leaders like Manjinder Singh Sirsa. The Akali Dal leader was not only upfront in securing help for the 200-odd people stuck in Delhi’s Majnu Ka Tila gurdwara for four days but was also unapologetic in representing the Sikh community when he asked people not to worry because the situation was under control.

What did India’s minorities affairs minister Naqvi do in a similar situation? He lashed out at the Tablighi Jamaat members, who too were stuck for several days at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz, for committing what he called a “Talibani crime”. The Markaz organisers were definitely guilty of criminal negligence, just the way Kanika Kapoor was. But to call their ignorance a “Talibani crime” puts a stereotypical image into people’s mind — of a Taliban leader wearing kurta-pyjama and a jacket loaded with bombs, holding a Kalashnikov.

The image Naqvi created is very dangerous and one that would stay in the minds of those who are constantly bombarded with anti-Muslim, hateful content by India’s TV news channels and on social media. This is an act of stoking communal disharmony by a minister who is meant to be the guardian of minority affairs.


Also read: Not Salman Khurshid, not Owaisi, Indian Muslims need a Shashi Tharoor


Missing Muslim leadership in BJP

The BJP is most criticised for its biased treatment of India’s minorities, mainly because the bedrock of its ideology is Hindutva. So when the party opposes this accusation and claims to be against what it calls “appeasement of minorities”, Muslims like me try to take a stock of how its Muslim leaders fare. And what do we find? A Modi-pleasing group, which is so dormant it would put a doormat to shame.

The representation of Muslims in the BJP is close to non-existent. Surely, the Muslim community of India must be doing something really wrong to not win over the BJP after all these years.

About two years ago, a student named Hanan Hamid in Kerala was hailed for selling fish to support her education. Later, she was cyber bullied with many calling her a fraud. Naqvi, who is often heard parroting data on “Muslim women” receiving Modi’s help to start businesses or complete their education, played the invisible man here. Who came to Hannan’s rescue? The BJP’s lone Christian minister, Alphons Kannanthanam.


Also read: Do Muslims matter for Modi-Shah BJP, or India?


More harmful than helpful

So what makes Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi the BJP’s favourite candidate for the Ministry of Minority Affairs? It’s Naqvi’s ability to do what a Giriraj Singh or a Kapil Mishra does — but with a smirk on his face and Allah on his lips. He criticises Muslims unabashedly, and rarely speaks up for them. He doesn’t stand up for their causes, and whitewashes crimes of mob lynching shot on camera by the perpetrators with a brazen retort, “it didn’t happen”. And he does it in Parliament.

During the Shaheen Bagh protest, when brave women sat against the CAA-NPR-NRC for nearly 100 days, Naqvi did the needful by visiting them. The women only asked the minister who claims to represent them to assure that there would be no National Register of Citizens (NRC), which would have convinced them that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will not be used against Indian Muslims. But Naqvi couldn’t even do that. He instead did a patronising act by telling the women that while they understand their right to protest, they don’t understand their duties as Indians. Of course, all Muslims stood with bated breaths to note down those duties but he didn’t say what those were. One can only assume it must be to toe the Modi government’s line.

But that patronising show of ‘solidarity’ ended as fast as it had come. Naqvi quickly accused the Shaheen Bagh protesters of kidnapping a road (“sadak ka apharan”) and suggested other venues like Ram Lila Maidan and Jantar Mantar.

Then there were the Delhi riots. Naqvi was of the opinion that the riots were “a result of confusion created by opposition parties about the central government’s policies”. When asked about Kapil Mishra’s hate speech, he said he didn’t want to “take names”. How peaceful of him. But he was very prompt to give his opinion on Rahul Gandhi trying to visit riot-hit areas, saying his party was “Provoking Political Tourism”. Naqvi himself didn’t visit any of the riot-hit areas, perhaps because he didn’t want to come across as ‘insensitive’.


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


Is it Naqvi or BJP?

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has truly nailed the job of being the minority affairs minister under the BJP — list out the failings of the Muslim community for his party as and when the occasion demands, and stay blind to people’s suffering or genuine calls for help. He enjoys no credibility among India’s Muslim community.

So is the BJP simply inept at choosing someone competent to represent Muslims and other minorities at a time when everything, even a public health crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, boils down to their religion?

Why couldn’t the BJP government consider Zafar Sareshwala, a close aide of Modi, especially during the 2014 Lok Sabha election, for the job of minority affairs minister Sareshwala, the former vice-chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, is not only close to most of the Muslim clergy but was also pivotal in roping in a Muslim superstar to campaign for Modi. Or how about Dr Syed Zafar Islam? Zafar Islam is by far one of the finest spokespersons of the BJP who takes the help of logic more than bigotry, unlike others in the party? Or for that matter someone like Hardeep Singh Puri? The BJP could even pick someone from the Anglo-Indian community considering it has now removed provisions for their nomination to the Lok Sabha and some state assemblies.

If only the BJP could bring a credible person to head the ministry that handles issues related to India’s minorities, the communities could actually start having a conversation with the party. Until then, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will continue to remain the majority appeasing and minority bashing minister who will keep India’s minorities doubtful of the BJP’s intentions.

The author is a political observer and writer. Views are personal.

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53 Comments Share Your Views

53 COMMENTS

  1. Muslim politicians in India who can show a mirror to Muslims : Mr. Naqvi is a minority in that category. He’s doing a fine job. Would other parties have the guts to do that? No. It’s all a question of vote bank and everybody knows that. There needs to be two sides to a coin. If there are many voices in support of a community there needs to be at least some to show them the mirror.

  2. Simple. MANaqvi is a Shia. Do you think TeJamaat will listen??? You know that. How do people like you Zainab get sleep at night? Yom Al Qayamat will take care of your lies and hatred.

  3. The Muslim community, in short, viewed the course of politics since 2014 as a series of defeats. Determination to reacquire political relevance found expression in the anti-CAA stir, aided and abetted by those who had other political scores to settle with the Modi Government. PIONEER

  4. what was the need of writing such a big article honestly speaking we dont care who the naqvi is and we don’t even think that we really need his support in these times he is a big clown and he is just to loot in the name of minorities .he is a big shame honestly we dont care whether he represents us or not .naqvi jese dalao ki jarurat nhi hai to represent us .
    He has no idea what he said and to whom he said .

    • that’s the reason, Ajit doval need to intervene, because idiot like you can’t comprehend simple instruction. Whether it’s even from someone from the same religion you belong. The hatred filled in your heart hinder your tiny brain to see any logic in the request.

  5. At least this author is not a bigot as most of the mainstream tv anchors at prime time who spew venom every night and day against one particilar community to stereotype them to satisfy their political pay masters in New Delhi. The author does accept that the Tablighi congregation was a criminal negligence and so was Kanika Kapoor’s party, gatherings at Madhya Pradesh Assembly ,Parliament sessions and a whole lot of social and religious congregations across the country. Why blame and stereotype only Muslims. Because even 40% hindus are made to believe in anti-muslim propaganda and the fake news of spitting , moving naked etc. then it ensures good political dividends and the political pay masters of these so called journalists can return to power without any performance/ development.

  6. Look at some of these Indians. They blame the Chinese, they blame the Muslims.

    They will never blame themselves as they are the most virtuous people. But will definitely not allow air hostesses, doctors and health professionals working for Corona patients in their housing societies.

  7. The editor likes muslims who run naked in hospitals in presence of nurses, lynches doctors & nurses who goes to treat them,wants Chicken biryani in covid 19 hospitals,spits on police faces to spread corona.what a bitch is the author.

  8. There should be no seperate department for a particular community.They are using everything from India as a tool against Indians.

  9. The article blames victim for his predicament. Muslims have deliberately not supported Muslims like Naqvi or Shahnawaz Khan. and now expect them to fight for them.

    It is time they elect Muslims elect Muslim leaders from BJP, so that they have authority to be channel of communication between Muslims and BJP. Muslims should get out of fantasy of Congress or SP type of party coming back to power nationally or in UP. They should face reality. Hindu majority will not go for people far more sycophantic to Muslims compared to wht Muslims perceive Naqvi or Shahnavaz. Khan to be.

  10. Time has come to seriously consider redefining the word minority and take two largest so called minority communities out of that category. All their problems are due to their being labelled as ‘minority’ and these problems would actually vanish, though this may sound counter intuitive. They will feel empowered and responsible and not dependent on the so called majority. Real minorities like Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains etc have no issues in being treated as minorities as they are minuscule as proportion of total population and they are content with that categorization. The bigger communities want to share power on equal terms with so called majority but their minority status is coming in the way and keeping them alienated. A constant sense of victim hood which is haunting many of them today, will go away while they wont lose anything substantially in terms of their existing rights in any case. Also, we all now that Hindu is a umbrella term and it has so many categories that each of them are different and individually in a minority and yet, they are called majority. This must end. So, redefining minorities would make a lot of sense. Of course, Zainabs of this world would have difficult times as their is no need to keep the usual pot boiling ! I hope Modi brings in this change before 2024.

  11. What Pathos in midst of our WW III.
    We have square Pegs in Round Holes all over India~ in every field of endeavor.
    Except the Doctors, Nurses, Ayahs, Ambulance Drivers, Care Givers in our Health Institutions.
    Such have been the wisdom of 7O years of unrestrained Democratic Secularism.
    Observers will say at least the gentleman is a better bet than and thus entrusted minority Minister in Pakistan.
    Let us defeat COVID 9 first and relearn as we move along to unlearn later.

  12. Shekhar Gupta Ji, I request you to please don’t let your portal a space of people to vent out their frustration. TJ head Mr Sad was criticized not because
    he was hosting so many people but he was telling fellow people that your should not be afraid from corona. Govt is trying to divide your from your roots.
    In a way he was telling people to not follow the instruction for govt at the time of crisis. Victim-hood is an old ploy. If your contributor reporting team is biased then eventually it will take toil on credibility. I am no Muktar Abbas Naqvi fan but criticizing him only because he was not supporting what TJ has done and preached during this crisis is not justified. By that logic he should defend everything that somebody from his community does.

    • Then he was right before too when he abused modi and talked about his you know what matters???
      A person can’t be half right ? right ?

  13. “Allah on his lips”
    Ex-muslim Apostates do not do, “Allah on his lips.”
    I suppose the author of this essay cannot claim such a thing, but we muslims know such apostates when we witness their behaviour.

  14. 30 crores is not minority – fact
    TJ spread corona-fact
    Muslim leadership exist in like is Saad – fact
    Speech by Saad, Patahan, Owaisis are real deal – fact

    This author cannot go scot free by blaming everything and everyone except Muslims.

    Even when evidence from past n present she just overlooks and plays the victim card.

    The more facts I am learning the more clarity I am getting.

    M is always victim by birth

    M is always jihadi by choice

    M will destroy everything even its home to take it Stone Age

    M is at perpetual war with democracy, constitution, state, citizens where its in minority

  15. This person is definitely anti modi and a supporter of Markaz people who want to spread Corona most horrible He also requires condemnation

  16. What an appaling and “jihadi” comment! This Zainab expects every Muslim to be an IS supporter and a fanatic, sworn to kill nin-Muslims! It is good that people like Naqvi are still around!

  17. It seems that Zainab Skiandar, who is a Sunni Muslim, hates all Shias. Hence this article. The BJP is just a convenient all weather scapegoat.

  18. There are commentators who side with people who spit , throw stones and remove clothes in front of female nurses and doctors and policemen doing their duties ,for requesting them to stop gathering at religious places to avoid CORONA VIRUS . On other hand people who say please obey law and stop causing hardship to common people are showered with hate.

  19. Ignorence repentance punishment asper law any distributive justificatio available for person or group avialble or not..
    Majority leader propping minority community is common .minority leaders always remain uncomfortable always in majority group

  20. The problem with Muslims all over the world is that any thing said or done or even assumed by them is correct. They never dare criticize their own community, no matter what mistake or atrocity they commit. However any wrong, real or inferred or assumed against them needs to be highlighted by them in a tone if victimhood.
    Muslins have no sense of rationality or logic . They want only rights, not responsibilities, priviliges for thenselves and the rest of the world be damned.
    Zainab is a typical example.

  21. The Old Jan Sangh used to have a similar character called Sikander Bakht of Delhi, he was as useless & insensitive about his own community. When Paswan & Mayawati speak about Dalit interests or the Akalis about sikh interests and the various caste leaders about their caste issues why is it only that a muslim leader has to be anti muslim to prove that himself. My advice to Naqvi is that he will also stand in front of Allah one day I hope he is preparing well for what he will answer that day.

    • Abu Saad, first introspect. What Naqvi is doing is a balancing act. Calling spade a spade is not wrong. Naqvi knows that if Muslims have to remain peacefully in India, they shall show it by their behaviour. This article says about CAA and NPR. What the illiterate oldies and burka clad women know about CAA and NPR. Is it ever possible to remove Muslims from India. The article is not only biased but also tries indirectly to separate Muslims from mainstream . PM as well as HM had so many times saif that CAA is not for removing anyone. It is now proved that Shaheenbaug people were funded and supported by PFI. The ladies even said that they don’t care of CORONA, as it is a pretext of Modi. When their own Tabligi people met them and got them infected with the virus, the ladies ran helter skelter. Educated Muslims donot get involved in these types of Talibani behaviour. So what Naqvi said is correct. We have Owaisi, whose party was a Razakar party which killed 2 lakh Hindus in Hyderabad Province which he lateron named to AIM from MIM. Owaisi openly does Hindu Muslim card. In fact these people donot want any reforms in Muslims and want them to be ignorant so that they can be ruled. No Tharoor or any Sikandar Bhakt will help.

  22. The NAQVIs come in different shades and that is obvious for people who watch the evening TV talk / scream shows.
    For every appointment Modi makes intelligentsia suggest at least 10 names, except of course in case of Shah.
    As for as Mr. Doval is concerned no administration has ever thought of appointing such a person in such a key position. He brings results without political colour to it, be it Kashimr post 370 or Shaheen Baugh.
    The critiques would have loved to make sure the defeat of Naqavis. Sarashwalas and Arif Mohd. in finding a solution.
    Remember these people are with Modi for the development and non-appeasement policy.

    • Nah, barking is copyrighted by you kommunist kamrades.
      It is your sole right and privilege under the orders of wuhan komrade XiPing.

    • If Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is. Kapil Mishra then you are surely more than the Tablighi Jamaat is. Only difference is that the TJ spit on doctors and hurl stones at people who come to protect them, you spit through the space provide by your aka, SG. No wonder every sentence of the article is filled with hatred and poison for BJP, Modi. The people of this country have already rejected your politics of hate. The first priority before the PM is to steer the nation to safety from the deadly virus which your friends are merrily spreading throughout India while you and your fraternity, most of them, maintain criminal silence. MA Naqvi is a sensible person and he will always be hated by people like you and TJ’s kind because he thinks of nation first and not religion. Stop being small, petty. Think of India first. Once India survives this storm you and your ilk can resume the abuses you hurl at BJP.

  23. It could be a coincidence. Some of these sarkari Muslims have Hindu wives. If they turned vegetarian, learnt Sanskrit, played the veena that would be even better.

  24. This article is hypocrital.
    Mr.Naqvi is a Shia. And Tablighi is a Sunni movement, which trains people to be more conservative. And when does a Conservative Sunni listens to Shia ?
    Not even Iran has that capacity.

  25. A very well analysed character potrayal of the apparent minority affairs minister. I believe he is neither aware nor bothered about the falsities spread about the community and hasn’t done even an iota to save the image. Majority appeasement as rightly pointed out remains is forte

  26. We absolutely do not want any minister who represents either minority or majority. They should represent Indians.

    Only muslim can represent muslim politically is antithesis to idea of India and communal to the core and anti liberal.

  27. The main problem with Naqvi is that he is a Shia Muslim. And Shia Muslims are rivals of Sunni Muslims since years. You might have forgotten the Iraq and Iran war in 1980’s.
    So, how will Naqvi support Sunni Muslims. Moreover, Sunni Muslims are bit liberals unlike Tablighi’s, who are strict follwers of Islam. So, Sunni Muslims are also opposed to Tablighi Muslims

  28. hello Zainab, I was reading through your article. While I’m not a great fan of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and I am not aware of facts and figures around his performance, so I would not dispute your article’s assertion on his incompetence, so let that be. I somehow take offence when you say his job is to “represent Muslims of India”. While not many countries with a democratic setup have a Minority Affairs minister to start, I’m not a great fan of this position. From my perspective it was created to hoodwink Muslims out of their needs and aspirations and benefited the muslim clergy which is highly corrupt and politicized. Additionally when you mention that only a Muslim can represent interests of Muslims, I don’t agree with that. From my perspective, idea of Hindu and Muslim community voting is out of the sync with 2020. This was a British ploy to keep India bogged down and divided. I’m not sure why educated people still toe that line of “Muslims representing Muslim interests and Hindus representing Hindu interests”. The earlier we get out of this wretched mindset we as a country are not going anywhere.

    • One Pakistani was claiming that Shia’s are spreading corona among Sunnis. How doubtful these Sunnis are of their own religion?

      • Abu Saad, first introspect. What Naqvi is doing is a balancing act. Calling spade a spade is not wrong. Naqvi knows that if Muslims have to remain peacefully in India, they shall show it by their behaviour. This article says about CAA and NPR. What the illiterate oldies and burka clad women know about CAA and NPR. Is it ever possible to remove Muslims from India. The article is not only biased but also tries indirectly to separate Muslims from mainstream . PM as well as HM had so many times saif that CAA is not for removing anyone. It is now proved that Shaheenbaug people were funded and supported by PFI. The ladies even said that they don’t care of CORONA, as it is a pretext of Modi. When their own Tabligi people met them and got them infected with the virus, the ladies ran helter skelter. Educated Muslims donot get involved in these types of Talibani behaviour. So what Naqvi said is correct. We have Owaisi, whose party was a Razakar party which killed 2 lakh Hindus in Hyderabad Province which he lateron named to AIM from MIM. Owaisi openly does Hindu Muslim card. In fact these people donot want any reforms in Muslims and want them to be ignorant so that they can be ruled. No Tharoor or any Sikandar Bhakt will help.

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