Afroz Alam Sahil, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: A political party of Muslims in secular India is a recent phenomena, which, according to Mujtaba Farooque, secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), is an idea developed after 60 years of arrogance and negligence and finally failure of secular parties to deliver justice to not only Muslims but to the majority of Indians.
The concept paper of the JIH about a Muslim-backed political party, which could be named as the Welfare Party, states: “The real test of a democracy is how it treats its minorities. The biggest minority of the country, the Muslims, have gradually become the most backward social group. By all educational, economic and other developmental measures, they went through unprecedented downfall in the last six decades. They could not still get rid of the lethal sense of insecurity. The violent communalism always keeps them terrorised. The state excesses, sometimes, in the name of curbing communal conflicts and sometimes in the name of countering terrorism, have not yet stopped.”
Stressing the need and space of a Muslim-backed political party, Mujtaba Farooque said that Muslims in India are the second largest majority and proportionately, they have a political space. He observed that “unfortunately, we Indians are divided in casts, race, religion and now on the basis of language and region. It’s so deep rooted that the politics of the country is greatly influenced by this divisive phenomena.”
He also observed: “Exploring the opportunities, every section and community has organized themselves politically and are bargaining and reaping the benefits of power; whereas, look at the Muslims, they always believed in the secular parties of the nation since Independence but always treated as Vote Bank. They are denied the basic rights, even their fundamental rights.”
“Even many years of rule of the secular Congress party could not bring about any positive change. Muslims tried other secular parties wherever they find the alternate like Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar and Mulayam Singh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, but they are of little use,” said Farooque.
He said that once while talking to him, a politician presenting his case for Muslim cause, said that his party is protecting Muslims from the Right Wing forces. “It means that nothing much needed to be done for Muslims. Even after all these injustices, Muslims kept quite but again they are terrorized with riots and false allegation of terrorism, the JIH secretary lamented.
Farooque said, “We could not live in peace in the last 60 years; therefore, we have decide to switch from the politics of dependence to the politics of self reliance and started working towards political empowerment of this deprived community.”
Explaining the need of national level political party, he said that there are some Muslim Political parties such as Ulema Council and Peace party, but their influence is restricted to particular localities not even a region. Take the case of the Ulema Council, they are limited to Azamgarh; whereas, the Peace Party is limited to the Gaurakhpur. He said, “I am not degrading them but trying to bring out the facts that just putting All India with the name does not make it a national party.”
He said that they are making efforts to launch a Muslim-backed political party on the national level through their national network, which is known to people since the past 60 years for their selfless service to humanity. He said, “We believe that we can perform better Insha Allah (God willing).”
Explaining the transformation of a socio-religious organization to a political party, Mujtaba Farooque said, “The JIH itself is not entering into politics and will continue to work as usual, but it is facilitating the formation of a national level Muslim-backed political party that will include non-Muslims as well. It will work not only for Muslim causes but will try to deliver justice to each and every section of India specially deprived ones.”
He said that only Muslims are at the receiving end but majority of Indians are deprived of basic rights because of a pro-Corporate approach of the government.
On the secularism and democracy in India, he clarified that it is a wrong perception created about the JIH that they are anti-democracy. He said, “We have allowed our members to take active part in elections earlier. Some of us have fought elections at local level and won it too even took the oath.”
He foes on explaining that it was long back when democracy and secularism meant State Vs Church. “Now it is clear in India that secularism means equal rights and opportunities to every religious community, and state has no religion. Here democracy is not selective but the rights and opportunities are available to all and accordingly, we have changed our constitution,” Farooque said.