Posts Tagged ‘Samajwadi Party’

A Muslim Revolt: The Hidden story of Congress’ stunning victory in UP – By Amaresh Misra

May 18, 2009

A Muslim Revolt: The Hidden story of Congress’ stunning victory in UP

 

                           By Amaresh Misra

 

        Each and every observer of Indian politics is angling for a simple answer to the vexed question: how and why did the Congress perform so well in Uttar Pradesh?

        The answer however is complex: apart from other reasons, the Muslim voting pattern in UP proved decisive. Muslims were known to be disillusioned with Congress beyond repair. Then what made them switch over from the BSP or the SP to the Congress, and that too at the last minute?

         Since 2004, Muslims in UP have been nursing a sense of betrayal vis-à-vis the SP and the BSP. This  alienation was sharpened after the Batala House encounter, in which boys from Azamgarh were targeted systematically by the UP ATS. Yet, Muslim MPs of the BSP and SP were virtually gagged by their respective party leaders—the MPs were unable to even demand a judicial probe in the affair. After that episode most Muslim MPs were seen more as third grade power brokers

        The incident and its fallout, and the wave of Muslim persecution that followed the July 26th 2008 Ahmedabad/Jaipur and subsequent bomb blasts, led Muslims to grope for a way to establish their independent forums. The thinking amongst the new Muslim leadership then was that if 7% Yadavs in UP can capture power, negotiate with the central government, cut deals and make and unmake governments on the basis of 18% Muslim votes, why can’t, Muslims form alliances with other castes and bargain or negotiate directly?

        This thinking found an echo in the Ulema Council of Azamgarh in eastern UP, which emerged suddenly in the wake of the Batala House encounter. The Council rejected Muslim power brokers; it was soon taking protest trains to Delhi and Lucknow; opposition to all four major parties—the SP, BSP, Congress and the BJP—was announced. Riding on a wave of popular support, the Council also announced 7 candidates—including one from Lucknow in Avadh—from UP for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

        In the wake of the Council’s appeal, several other small Muslim parties of UP also formed a Muslim political front. That this phenomenon was not limited to UP, was borne out by Badruddin Ajmal who also tried taking his AUDF outside Assam and launch it in Maharashtra and UP.

        In Kerala and Bengal as well, attempts were made to float independent Muslim political parties. The Jamat-e-Islami too experimented with the idea. Factions of the Jamiat Ulama Hind also were seen looking for Independent options.

        None of these Muslim formations envisaged themselves as a communal forum. Right from AUDF to the Ulema Council, the attempt was to attract as many Hindus as possible.

         Most, not all, Muslim formations were led by Ulemas, the Deobandis in particular. Jamiat Ulama Hind was always the premier Indian Deobandi organization—it had opposed Jinnah’s two nation theory before partition and had stood by the Congress in the post-Independence phase. Yet on eve of the 2009 elections it was locked in internecine internal strife.

        Otherwise also, the Ulemas were facing a crisis of credibility. Most of the Delhi and Lucknow Ulemas, the two major cities with a sizeable concentration of Muslim clerics, had issued political fatwas in the past. Looking upon political fatwas as retrograde, the Muslim electorate had rejected these; however, the Ulemas of the AUDF and Ulema Council were seen in a different light. Both Badruddin Ajmal and Amir Rashadi, the convener of the Ulema Council, were respected for having aroused political aspirations amongst Muslims.  

        But as the 2009 elections proceeded, it became clear that even the AUDF and the Ulema Council were not sticking to their promise of carving out an independent niche for Muslims. The Ulema Council and Amir Rashadi were seen as hobnobbing with the BSP and the BJP, while the AUDF was looked at as a rich man’s Bania-Muslim party, lacking a sense of real Muslim issues at the grassroots outside Assam. It was not interested say, in uniting the Barelvi and the Shia Ulema and in issues like Muslim harassment by the Indian State.

        In UP, the Ulema Council seemed to be on its own trip—parochialism ruled the roost—the attempt was to remind the Muslims repetitively that they have to create their own BSP.

        In this, the Ulema Council missed a vital point—namely that Indian Muslims are not Dalits. They do not have a BAMCEF type support organization; secondly, they form part of the ex-ruling class and would like their party to be progressive and forward looking as well.

         In Azamgarh and other strong Ulema Council constituencies, the Council failed to link the issue of Muslim persecution with the massive anti-BJP, anti-sectarian, middle-path undercurrent that was perhaps the single most important feature of the 2009 elections. 

        Seeing their leaders lacking in anti-BJP fervor, Muslims began to doubt the secular credentials of the  Ulema Council. The same happened to a lesser degree with the AUDF on seats outside Assam. Then, the Lucknavi Ulema issued directives or semi-fatwas, asking votes blatantly for the Lucknow BSP candidate, known as a big neo-rich, money-bag.  

Enraged Muslims of Lucknow revolted—the  Ulema Council failed to read, or ignored deliberately, the anti-big Ulema sentiment. Ditching the Ulema Council as well, Muslims voted en masse for the Congress all over Avadh.     

         For the first time in the history of Independent India, Muslims launched a passive political revolt against their own Ulema, who filled their own pockets while the community starved; who bought huge donations from Arab countries for madrasasbut seldom paid heed to the plight of the Muslim under-trials; who while asking Muslims to unite themselves remained fragmented; who never taught the Muslims their glorious secular past in India or elsewhere; who kept the community backward while acting as dishonorable and parochial middlemen. While reaping the harvest of what Shah Waliullah and Shah Abdul Aziz—the  premier, reformist Muslim clerics and political thinkers of the 18th-19thcentury—sowed, these Ulemas had forgotten to even mention their legacy.      

This anti-Ulema revolt is against Muslim power brokers as well—that is why there are so few Muslim MPs in the new Lok Sabha. Secular forces ought to grab this moment and provide justice and a modern vision to Muslims. This is also the time for the non-Ulema, non-broker Muslim leadership to assert itself.      

 

(The author is a historian and was the Lucknow Lok Sabha candidate of the Ulema Council) 

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Truth and reconciliation in Ayodhya – By Iqbal A. Ansari – The Indian Express

May 13, 2009

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/truth-and-reconciliation-in-ayodhya/458255/

Wed, 13 May 2009

Indian Express

Truth and reconciliation in Ayodhya

 

 

Violence in Indian politics commands premium — By Ghulam Muhammed

October 22, 2008

 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

 

 

Violence in Indian politics commands premium

 

 

India’s democracy is cursed. It can only function if violence is unleashed. The group that can wreck peace of the nation is lauded by its own constituency as their saviour, their protector, their brave ideal. L. K. Advani, whose BJP had 2 seats in Parliament, was gifted by a US source with a doctoral dissertation, outlining how aggression can be converted into power. He organised the demolition of Babri Masjid and went on to so improve its electoral power in a subsequent election, as to win highest number of Parliamentary seats and put its own leader as coalition Prime Minster of India. Gujarat Chief Minster reportedly organised a genocidal communal riot against his state’s Muslims, and won subsequent election by thumbing majority. Since independence Congress has been using communal riots targeting Muslim minority in various states, to push a double game of first killing Muslims and pillaging their properties and later coming on the scene as saviors of Muslims, by promising offers of hefty relief and recompense, so Muslims vote them in. All their successes have been directly related to this murderous violence to secure Muslim votes.

 

Now it is the turn of a new generation, when a budding Raj Thackeray, has shown how mobilising goons on streets to terrorize law-abiding citizens, with minimum of efforts, thanks to free media publicity, is poised become a new winner in Maharashtra’s fractured political polity. Though he has been charged with fomenting several acts of violence, the way his popularity is being measured by the same media which on cue denounces him as a menace to civil society, it is now beyond possibility that he will increase his political strength in the coming election, to claim a big share of corruption pie that goes in India with the electoral victories.

 

The beauty of the whole operation is that the same people that are supposed to control and prevent his fascist violence, terrorizing people in the state, are handling him with kid gloves, in a strategy of their own, to split the votes of their adversaries and thus make sure they return back to rule the state. So it is open secret, that both Vilas Rao Deshmukh Congress and Sharad Pawar are not unhappy that Raj Thackeray is able to make a dent into Shiv-Sena/BJP combine. Sharad Pawar had gone cynical brushing aside his coalition partner, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s demand to ban Raj Thackeray’s MNS party, with the retort, that Election Commission has hardly any political party registered and how can it ban one that is already registered.  That means even with a fascist strategy and a divisive agenda, according to Sharad Pawar, Raj Thackeray’s MNS is providing a vital backdrop to the nation’s other main political parties, who are not averse to go for, encourage or tolerate such undemocratic outfits, with the word Sena (army) as their very open face of violence, as long as they provide some counterbalance to their electoral strategies.

 

Possibly, this is the reason that Maharashtra’s Samajwadi Party, under its firebrand leader, Abu Asim Azmi, is appearing to be pushed by both Congress and NCP, to add up representation of North Indians to its old Muslim constituency in Maharashtra and come on the streets with a Sena of its own.

 

A mock Mahabharata will be arranged and the victory will go to the ‘masterminds’. The misery of the people and social and economic cost of such destructive politicking is hardly the subject that will interest the oligarchs in power.

 

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com