In his first speech after the 2019 Lok Sabha election results, PM Modi said minorities have been living in “imaginary fear” and that the new MPs must win their trust now.
So, what were Indian politicians doing for the last seven decades? Obviously, taking Muslims for granted. And we let them. We were made to shuttle between parties, labelled as victims and “appeased” (as the BJP likes to call it).
Today, the community ranks low on most social indicators in spite of the so-called appeasement.
It’s time for Indian Muslims to do a quick introspection and correct what needs to be corrected. We must lend ourselves a hand and not wait for charity. We shouldn’t be victims anymore. I know it is easier said than done, but if we don’t do it now, then the damage will be irreversible.
And for that, we need to be in positions of power in the economy and ensure good education for our children – these must be our priority.
Indian Muslims must stop reacting to every little silly thing being done to provoke us. When we get provoked, it is the biggest win for those who are out to defame us as a community.
Institutions in state of disarray
The Sachar Committee report has been a reference point to highlight the woes of Indian Muslims. Years have passed, and not much has changed.
Some secular state governments went on an overdrive to facilitate madrassas/Urdu teachers, and increased the salary of imams. Mamata Banerjee’s government in West Bengal even promised land for Imams to build houses. Has this helped on the ground? I don’t think so. A particular section has been patronised to keep them happy, while ordinary Muslims still languish in poverty and illiteracy.
Waqfs – charitable Islamic endowments – are a treasure, but their conditions are known to all. Waqf properties across India are estimated at over Rs 10 lakh crore. Could this not be used for welfare schemes and upliftment of society? And, why are people with dubious credentials headings Waqf boards? Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi responsible for this mess as well?
Christians have set up world-class educational institutions in India. Everyone wants to send their children to these schools or colleges. How many have we set up?
Our Prophet has said that what you seek for yourself, you should seek for your brethren too.
So, what has the Muslim leadership been doing in India for all these decades? Local satraps, who only did politics and distributed freebies as and when needed, played the communal card for their own advantage, and the outcome is there for all to see.
It’s again unfortunate to see that in spite of so many success stories of Muslims in India, in all walks of life, no one stands up or even if they do, they are quick to apologise and make up. So, who do we blame – our heroes or ourselves?
Time to give up Sachar Committee crutches
We must always remember that it was Sunil Dutt who had sent in his resignation when the Babri Masjid was demolished and Mumbai was burning because of communal riots. There were many so-called Muslim leaders in Parliament at that time, but they kept clinging to their chair. Mayawati resigned from the Rajya Sabha in 2018 because she felt her voice was being muzzled and she wasn’t allowed to talk about Dalits. How many ministers, MPs or MLAs have resigned to take up our cause?
So, who will stand up for Muslims when our own people in positions of strength won’t? Why blame the outsiders when the insiders are cooling their heels?
Muslims in India are a strength to the nation. We are no less loyal to the nation than anyone else. This is a nation where Muslims and Hindus have lived in peace and harmony since time immemorial and no ideology can dislodge that shared history. Let’s take it upon ourselves to get our act together, be educated and economically sound so that we can lead by example.
It’s also high time we gave our maulanas the economic and social strength they rightly deserve. The clergy, without being aware of the progress that is taking place in the world, will not be able to guide the community.
Any community that feels victimised or oppressed needs to take ownership of their own solutions and reforms. If we don’t, then issues like triple talaq will be politicised at the cost of our own self-respect. Indian Muslims could have solved the triple talaq issue on their own, but we chose to serve it to the world on a platter.
Time to give up the crutches of the Sachar Committee and take the onus and move forward.
Constitution, not charity
The leaders of the supposedly secular parties who would be there to greet Muslims outside an Eidgaah to wish us on Eid have disappeared, so have the Iftar parties.
Now, we have Mamata Banerjee planning minority lunchrooms in schools. A chief minister has to be equal or else it will lay a foundation of hatred. Muslims should, for the good of future generations, reject these overtures.
We should also note that our Hindu brethren in positions of power are extremely helpful if one goes to them. There are more BPL Muslims getting government houses in Uttar Pradesh than before.
PM Modi’s assurance of Sabka Vishwas is comforting, but it needs to trickle down to the officials and politicians on ground. Even when we approach officials in Uttar Pradesh for basic permissions or extensions for our business, we are told that we should lie low as chief minister Yogi Adityanath is not in favour of the industry – the meat exporting industry. The bureaucracy is then over-cautious with their pens and files. What is legal and allowed by the Constitution should not be hampered, especially when it’s the biggest export of the biggest state of the country. But once again, we do not know that if these are actually the CM’s instructions or just a misuse of his name.
Look at bigger picture
Every liberal is talking about the Modi–Amit Shah-RSS agenda, but what was the agenda that made no one comment on Narasimha Rao who said if Muslims want to stay in the gutter, then let them?
No one speaks out, but everyone is a sympathiser and would rather tweet about it.
We have to reform ourselves. Let us not allow people to misuse our lack of education for their gains. We will not lose our religion if we say: Bharat mata ki jai. There are bigger issues to resolve – like schools, primary health, water crisis, infant mortality, etc.
The Prophet has always said that we must correct our self before correcting others. Are we doing this?
As they say, a snake that does not shed its skin has to die.
The author is the spokesperson for All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association. Views are personal.