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19168Re: [Arkitect India] Re: [progressive interactions33422] Hasan Suroor: Muslims join the Hindu right to attack secularism

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  • Ashok Chowdhury
    May 3, 2014
      These self styled 'Muslim leaders' who are propagating for BJP are nothing but 'Thali ke baigan' . Such characters come around every time when general election is held.Earlier, they were restricted in just appealing but now they are advocating vehemently and loudly to make their points heard. But interestingly it is more for the non Muslims rather than for the large Muslim population. Language and form of expression are very obvious.Perhaps they want to remain relevant in mainstream politics  by attracting the Hindutva mindset, who are bent upon to condemn the secular forces so that their last hurdle in achieving the exclusive power can be overcome. Their preferred word for the secular groups is on "appeasement of Muslims". Protecting the rights of the Minorities is very fundamental to Constitutional Democracy ,so that in  such a diverse country like India pluralistic values can be protected and hence the democracy. In fact these Hinduvta forces are against this basic concept of pluralism. They would like to see it as a monolithic cultural society.This also suits the financial oligarchy , represented by the corporate who are desperate to control our resources for maximizing their profiteering. This linkage of Hindutva forces and corporate is the most dangerous combination which is creating their own constituency in every social and religious groups. lots of money is in circulation during this election. It happens every time but this time it is being used at a very wider level and very conspicuously. Media , intellectuals, opinion makers, ex- generals and secret service heads and even up to the local level insignificant leaders. The so-called hawa is not for Mody but for the money power, which they are calling  Karishma. So, in such situation some capitulation is very much on the card even in Muslim society. This is more necessary now since perhaps for the first time 'Muslim vote' has been recognized as very crucial for any power to come to rule.  That is why the message is very clear that eliminate the secular forces then you can squeeze the minorities in your favor!  But there is another possible and emerging realities. If the vast majority of minorities who are deprived of their basic rights can come together with the Dalits and   OBCs then it will become the majority (Bahujan) and the Hindutva forces would become a handful of elites only.This is going to happen sooner or later. So, the protagonist for BJP among the Muslims may be a creation to stop the inevitable. 

      On Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 10:32 PM, Kaleem Kawaja <kaleemkawaja@...> wrote:

      I object to Hasan Suroor sugarcoating Shahid Siddiqui's various statements that have tried to legitimize BJP' attempts to deceive Muslims, and have tried to persuade Muslims to make deals and settlements with BJP.  This despite BJP's ugly record of 66 years to oppose every single effort of every party (SP, BSP, TC, JDU (Nitish), CPI/CPM, RLD, Congress) to give some relief to the Muslims by calling it "appeasement of Muslims" and by branding imperfect secular practices of these parties as "pseudo secularism".    In all the states where BJP has ruled and at the Center for 7 years, BJP governments have done everything possible to minimize the pre-existing schemes that were installed to give some relief to needy Muslims.   At least Congress did institute the Sachar Committee that so clearly documented the bad condition of Muslims.  BJP called the Sachar Committee report as a fabricated imagination.  Based on that report Congress govt did institute a scholarship scheme to help needy Muslim students.  In the BJP ruled states their govt prevented that scheme from being implemented.  BJP has consistently refused to give tickets to Muslims for MLA and MP elections for 66 years.  Congress has given less than 10% of what it promised Muslims; but BJP opposed even that.  

      Shahid Siddiqi does not see these awful facts and Hasan Suroor is heralding such an opportunist (who is campaigning for BJP in the 2014 election)  as a good Muslim leader???

      Siddiqi, Suroor and Imran are wrong in saying that Muslim leaders and groups have made no effort to present the Muslim community's woes at the national level.Many Muslim groups and leaders both in all parts of the country have been protesting at least since 2007 when the Sachar Committee report was published demanding that its recommendations should be implemented.  They have also been agitating in public that  Muslim Dalits and OBCs should be given access to the same Affirmative Action help that Hindu/Sikh Dalits and OBCs are receiving for decades.  It is BJP that is vehemently opposing that.

      Nominating Modi who is responsible for the 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujrat as the PM of India and giving him unlimited and unprecedented support is the worst insult that BJP could possibly inflict on the Muslim community.  Yet Shahid Siddiqui is campaigning for BJP and Suroor is asking Muslims to make a settlement with BJP and accept them.  

      The Muslims of India can not be fooled by such opportunistic and deceptive manipulation.  In this election all Muslim organizations have agreed on the single point that Muslim voters must prevent their votes from being divided among candidates of several secular parties and vote for one strong secular party  candidate who can defeat BJP.  And Muslim groups and community leaders are propagating that in the community.

      Mr Imran should know that Shazia Ilmi not only visited a Hindu temple in Ghaziabad, she also prayed there.  Muslims objected to her praying in temples, not to visiting temples.  No one can follow two religions at the same time.  Yet Muslims in general are not opposing Shazia; they simply pointed out her mistake.  Indeed Muslims are giving full support to many viable AAP candidates throughout the country.

      Muslims do not have good leaders and organizations and they must improve that substantially.  There are some rogue leaders in the Muslim community (as they are in other communities) .  But to call all Muslim leaders and organizations as useless or fraud is great in justice.

      kaleem kawaja 

      On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 3:37 AM, Mohammad Imran <dalibagh@...> wrote:

      The fact is that the Muslim angst is of a piece with the community's tendency to portray itself always as a victim of outside forces. But that's a separate debate. Meanwhile, like everyone else Muslims are free to vote for anyone they like in the coming elections but they must be wary of attempts to undermine secularism in the name of promoting "development''. There is still time to ponder.

      Being member of different forums, some of which are mostly populated with educated Muslim intelligentsia, I agree with the first sentence that educated Muslims are prone to complain about discrimination and victimization. Most of us educated Muslims expect others to do things to satisfy us. We seldom propose to put our foot forward and take part in politics or social activities to help ourselves and others. Secondly we shift from person to person or group to group looking for easy answers to complex problems in life. While Congress used us for its own political purposes as a secular party we were equal partners in the charade knowing full well we were being used. I never heard any leader stand up and demand from Congress governments that rioters be prosecuted after committing heinous crimes. I never saw any demand on the Muslim forums to write collective letters to government officials to take actions against rioters. All I noticed on these forums were cries of self pity and hand wringing - and these were and are highly educated Muslims. The same can be said about all areas affecting us Muslims. We shed tears - that is the beginning and the ending of our effort. On the other hand we fire with both barrels blazing when we want to put down another Muslim as in the case of Sahzia Ilmi whose religion and shirk were basis of hot discussion on these forums because  she visited a temple. The discussion was an illustration of where Muslim intelligentsia's interests lie. They are interested in propagating political Islam rather than participatory Islam.

      On Apr 4, 2014, at 10:56 AM, Sukla Sen <sukla.sen@...> wrote:






      Hasan Suroor: Muslims join the Hindu right to attack secularism

      The community is only harming itself by subscribing to the narrative that secularism is a conspiracy directed at 'patriotic' Hindu nationalists and 'gullible' Muslims

      Hasan Suroor  April 03, 2014 Last Updated at 21:46 IST

      Rewriting history doesn't necessarily require tinkering with textbooks or airbrushing photographs. Just reheat old myths, spice up half-truths and, if desperate, invent new lies - and then hope that the news-hungry 24/7 television channels will pick it up. Or flood the social media with it.

      This is exactly what's happening now as the crucial battle for the Muslim vote hots up. There is a concerted attempt both by the Hindu and Muslim right to rewrite the secular political narrative and debunk secularism on the basis that it has been used by the Congress and other non-Left secular parties to build and win minority "vote banks''.

      Wily secularists within and outside politics, we are told, are responsible not only for exacerbating Hindu-Muslim tensions by "exaggerating'' the threat of Hindu communalism, but they have also contributed to the Muslim community's social and economic backwardness since it helps them perpetuate their hold over it. In this new narrative, peddled in public speeches and TV debates, the whole idea of secularism is presented as a huge conspiracy directed at "patriotic'' Hindu nationalists on the one hand, and "gullible" Muslims on the other.

      "How long are Indian Muslims going to be the slaves of this 'electoral secularism', the sole purpose of which is to create fear in the minds of the minorities?'' wrote Shahid Siddiqui, a relatively moderate Muslim leader and editor of Nai Duniya, in The Hindustan Times echoing the Bharatiya Janata Party's attacks on secularism.

      A former MP, who has been associated with assorted secular groups including the Congress, Siddiqui also put out a series of angry tweets denouncing secular "saviours'' of Muslims as their "worst enemies''. He tweeted that Muslims had been "pushed into socio eco ghetto not by BJP but by Cong& SP''; and that "Muslims r unable to see that they have become slaves of secularism to suit a coterie ruling this country using M as a vehicle to power''.

      Siddiqui's attack feeds into the right-wing Hindu narrative in which Muslims are "hapless'' victims of scheming secularists: confused, alienated, devoid of common sense or any understanding of what's good for them, unable to distinguish between friends and foes, and blindly following the herd to the polling booth.

      While the Hindu right has always tried to portray Muslims, what's new and, indeed, extraordinary is that - as Siddiqui's tweets show - even Muslims have started to buy into it. The resurgence of this anti-secularism mood among Muslims is disturbing.

      No doubt, the Congress' record on secularism is dire. It has not only failed to protect minorities but, often, actually stoked sectarian violence, most infamously during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Even the demolition of the Babri Masjid under its watch had its roots in its attempts to appease competing strains of Muslim and Hindu fundamentalism. And who can deny its shameless exploitation of Muslim insecurities for votes. But none of this invalidates the profound importance of secularism in such a culturally diverse society as India.

      For all its abuses, flawed implementation and the compromises made in its name to please certain groups, secularism is the best thing to have happened to Muslims given the history of Hindu-Muslim relations in the wake of Partition. Muslims who so blithely rail against secularism need a reality check. If they feel so insecure in secular India have they ever contemplated what would it have been like living in a theocratic Hindu India with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its storm troopers breathing down their neck? Or how much more insecurity they might have had to endure in the absence of a secular constitutional regime that offers protection to religious minorities?

      Today, they can at least make a lot of noise when, for example, something like Gujarat 2002 happens. If they have been able to keep the issue alive for 12 years and drag Narendra Modi through the courts it is only because of the rights they enjoy as citizens of a secular country.

      Of course, it is morally reprehensible that the man under whose watch it happened could be our next prime minister but that's the nature of the beast called electoral democracy. Modi's political rise despite his alleged role in the 2002 Muslim killings is more a sign of moral collapse at a certain level than an institutional failure of Indian secularism.

      Frustration and anger over abuse of secularism by certain political forces is legitimate and, clearly, such forces should be rejected, but that must not become the basis for throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Besides, Muslims are barking up the wrong tree in attacking secularists; they should instead be attacking the Muslim leadership, arguably their biggest enemy within.

      The Congress was able to run the vote-for-protection racket for so long only with the help of self-appointed Muslim leaders. In return for Muslim votes, these so-called leaders were rewarded with plum jobs, party tickets and nominations to the Rajya Sabha. Well-meaning critics such as Siddiqui would serve the Muslim cause better by shining light on their own fellow community leaders who colluded with fake champions of secularism.

      Finally, let's bury once and for all the myth that Muslims have been innocent victims of what Siddiqui calls "electoral secularism''. The fact is that Muslims made conscious electoral choices depending on where they thought their interests lay. Until the late 1970s, the Congress was the only national political party that, they believed, was best placed to protect them. Later, when non-Congress secular alternatives emerged, many switched sides only to discover that they were worse than the Congress. If they made wrong choices and ended up being exploited, whose fault was it?

      The fact is that the Muslim angst is of a piece with the community's tendency to portray itself always as a victim of outside forces. But that's a separate debate. Meanwhile, like everyone else Muslims are free to vote for anyone they like in the coming elections but they must be wary of attempts to undermine secularism in the name of promoting "development''. There is still time to ponder.

      The writer is author of India's Muslim Spring: Why is Nobody Talking About It? (Rupa, 2014)


      Peace Is Doable

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