Edit/Op-Ed

Time to Say Goodbye to Self-Styled Leadership

By Muhammad Adeeb (Member of Parliament)

Beware of Sympathisers in Disguise

General elections are over. A new BJP government is in place. The results of the elections have been eye-opening for all Indians in general and Muslims in particular. Ironically, the outcome of the poll battle has exposed the tragic dispersion of the Muslim vote and a surprising polarisation of the Hindu vote. This trend has proved to be a dangerous sign. In fact, the results have also exposed the hapless and pitying state of Indian Muslims, as a community. The 25 crore Muslims, have as a community, reduced their political weightage to a naught. The community, which once was reputed as king-maker, has turned into ashes. What is in store is so evident that it needs no elaboration.

The State of Uttar Pradesh, known as the heart of the land, has sent, not even a single Muslim member of Parliament, from among its large contingent of 80. The so-called secular parties, mad for the throne, fought each other, without any sane thinking. As an outcome, they all lost. And as a related eventuality, all Muslim aspirants, barring a few also lost. Now, if this state of affairs sustains, one day, no Muslim representative would be found in our national Parliament. The so-called secular parties, on one hand and Muslim religious organisations, on the other have very foolishly ended up as destroyers and destructors. It is a pity that the Muslim society today, is divided into so many groups, sub-groups and even sub-sub-groups.

In a dubious manner, Mulayam Singh Yadav, adopted a calculated strategy to keep Mayawati, away, from power, and very tactfully got his opponent votes transferred to BJP. In a counter move, Mayawati’s supporters did the same and thus a unified chunk of 60% Hindu votes was cast in BJP’s favour, while the rest of the 40% votes, remained strayed and got divided harshly. In the process, the so-called Muslim votes (around 20% of the electorate) proved to be meaningless. Not only that, all Dalit voters — barring those of her own caste — deserted Mayawati and voted for BJP.

I need not elaborate the dangers hidden and what the fate of secularism and democracy in this country is going to be. It is an open secret now. In fact, the conspiracy was laid, when the exercise of delimitation of parliamentary constituencies was carried out. The process had been affected in such a manner that no constituency, in the country, was left to boast of more than six lakh Muslim votes, in any case. Apparently, the unholy aim was to deprive Muslims of any capability to elect an aspirant on their own. Those who were responsible for this move, have aptly been punished by the circumstances, but the damage has already been done, perhaps, for a long time to come.

Muslims by temperament are emotional and sentimental. For long, they have renounced reason and logic and are now guided by passion and more tragically misguided by others’ mischievous dictats. Common Muslims, touching the borderline of stupidity, trust their religious heads and follow them in a blind manner, come what may. They take their mundane verbosities, as divine commands, and the result is before our eyes.

The RSS on its part had very strategically, urged the Hindu Community to vote en bloc for BJP, so that a real “Hindu Government” could come into power. The magic of Hindutva worked and the majority community, rising above all caste barriers and social taboos came together, to vote on the basis of religion alone. Narendra Modi, very shrewdly, lured the younger generation, in the name of development and ‘good days ahead’. It worked well and the youth en masse thronged to pooling booths, pressing EVM buttons in BJP’s account. In this manner, not only the percentage of voting scaled new heights, but a sort of one-sided voting assured BJP aspirants of victory, with huge margins of several lakhs of votes. The Muslim community, on the other hand reached its nadir, as far as the poll outcome was concerned. The events changed their course in a very strange manner. The electoral candidates, who had on an average secured over three lakh votes in 2009, have now been defeated by a margin of that many votes. The political parties, who in the garb of sympathisers and well wishers had played with Muslim sentiments, have now been rewarded aptly by the fate.

Our religious leadership has played a very funny and foolish role in recent elections. Some of the Muslim leaders had issued a clean chit to Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, acquitting them of any responsibility for Muzaffarnagar riots and numerous other events of the same nature. Cashing on the situation, all non-BJP parties fielded several Muslim candidates, in each constituency, where Muslim votes mattered. It resulted in the fateful division of Muslim votes, and in the final episode, all Muslim aspirants lost shamefully, while various BJP candidates romped home on the path of victory, with a good chunk of accumulated Hindu votes. Even, the Muzaffarnagar region, where dreadful riots had occurred, did not return even a single Muslim member of Parliament. The onus, very obviously, lies on the religious leadership of Muslims, which misguided the innocent community and indirectly helped the forces of Hindutva, against whom they had pronounced a crusade, with full might of their throats.

The irony of the situation is that some Muslim religious scholars, abandoning the noble profession of teaching, have resorted to getting involved in petty politics, in order to serve their vested interests. Their narrow strategies have backfired and an already divided community has been ruined. Many of the so-called Muslim religious heads have entered the political arena, simply to set scores with each other. They are those people, who have though, done nothing for the cause of the community or nation, yet, they are always eager to lay hands on the rich yields of the harvests, sowed by their predecessors. And in the long run, these acts of prowling are going to crush Muslims to the hilt. Those, who claim to be the inheritors of the legacy of the stalwarts, like Sheikhul Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan, Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani and Maulana Hifzur-Rahman, should assess themselves in privacy and tell the community, whether they are enriched with the vision, foresightedness and wisdom of their elders or have even an iota of the sincerity and integrity in their hearts for the cause of the community and society.

I always hold all religious scholars in high esteem and have all regards for their services rendered for the religious causes. But I do not see any justification or even a practical need for their active involvement in politics. I oppose this trend, as I observe no real political or social will in their approach and find them, beyond all doubts, indulged in petty bouts, serving their narrow ends and ignoring Muslims’ common interest, in any case. With folded hands, in all respect, I appeal them to rise to the occasion and work for the general good of the Muslim community, otherwise, once the community is finished, they themselves would also be nowhere in sight.

We are not scared of Modi or a BJP government. Our apprehensions are due to the fact that history speaks of many an autocrat and egoist rulers, coming into power, through seeming democratic means and then turn into dictators and oppressors for their nation and people, at large. Such governments are not reined by any restraints, as practically none is in existence and further they are not faced with any opposition. So, they take decisions, exclusively to their pleasure only and in a way, they like or prefer. Virtually, there are no checks and balances in place, in such cases. Nobody can put the clock back. Whatever occurred has been so at our own cost and due to our own follies. Now, let all of us sit together, and look for the remedies, so that no such incident gets repeated in the next round of elections.

Muslims, at large, depended upon and trusted Congress for decades. What did they get in return; indifference, apathy and even deceptions, what else, while our inert, inactive and toothless leadership, unconditionally surrendered before the exploiters (read Congress). Now, Congress itself, is in no better state. It is on the verge of collapse or perhaps an eventual elimination. I wish it must not happen, but I have all sorts of doubts, regarding the present leadership of the Congress party, which has no vision, no strength, no popular trust and probably no will to survive. Modi and company attacked them aggressively for a full year and they could not even defend themselves properly, not to talk of counterattacks. They fought the battle with their backs to wall.

Plainly speaking, they had accepted defeat at the very outset of the electoral campaign. Even, if they would have put forward a proper defence, they could at least end up as a formidable opposition, in the Parliament House. They have drowned themselves in a pool of disgrace and shame and have also made their allies, dumped, along with them.

The unity is the best asset for any nation or community. When we were merely 313, we had triumphed over our rivals, for we were bound by true faith, firm belief and mutual trust. Now, we are in millions and billions, but degraded, dishonoured and defeated on all fronts, from Palestine, to Chechnya, to Afghanistan, and to the Subcontinent, because, we are a divided house at the global and national levels. So, my brethren! the mantra is unity and unity alone. Let’s be united for our own benefit and for the benefit of the nation, at large. Today, we are leaderless. All leaderless communities face disasters, as people in the guise of well wishers come and misguide them. We face the same threat today. Let’s be aware of such timeservers and hypocrites. We have to identify and single out our enemies, both outside and within our fold.

In nations’ lives, years or decades do not matter. It is never late. It is always better to be late than re-emerging never. So, we should all ponder over the situation, undergo a process of catharsis and look towards future, with new hopes. First of all, the community should come out of the clutches of the so-called socio-religious leadership and let itself develop a real political leadership, with at least some sane approach and a practical attitude. Days of hallucinations are over now, we are faced with harsh realities. Still, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, but an eye is needed to see it.

My humble appeal to my brethren is: Beware of so-called leaders, unmask them and cut them to size. So that a natural leadership may emerge, afresh. After all we have produced genuine leaders in past. Why can’t we do so now? If we do not wake up, even now, it would get too late and then we wouldn’t have time, even to repent and our fate would be a sheer disaster — may be forever. May Almighty help us in this hour of distress and oblivion.

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