T-state Led to More Hindu-Muslim Polarisation: Survey - The New Indian Express

T-state Led to More Hindu-Muslim Polarisation: Survey

Published: 21st April 2014 08:21 AM

Last Updated: 21st April 2014 03:06 PM

A survey of Telagana Muslims, commissioned by the People’s Pulse, a Hyderabad-based organisation, has found that after the formation of Telangana state, polarisation between Muslims and Hindus has become sharper.

The survey done by Ajay Gudavarthy of the Centre for Political Studies, JNU, indicated that this phenomenon was on account of sizeable and concentrated population of Muslims in the state. The dominant Hindus community is looking at the Muslims’ demand for socio-economic benefits and political representation as an aggressive re-assertion, after remaining subdued in the united Andhra Pradesh.

Ajay collected opinions from various sections of the Muslim community which constitutes 12.5 percent of the population in Telangana, as per 2001 census. The survey sought to know the Muslims’ perception of their own state of Telangana; whether there are sections opposed to statehood; whether Telangana will become prone to communal polarisation or will people become more secular and identity with the composite culture, often referred to as Ganga-Jamuna Tehjeeb.

Political Power: The survey found that the crux of the polarisation of Muslims and Hindus begins with the political representation that Muslims see as an immediate panacea for many of their problems. Hindus perceive this as an undue assertion and it is based on the premise that Muslims should get tickets from the political parties in constituencies where they are in sizeable number, like Bodhan in Nizamabad district (39 percent) and Mahbubnagar (20 percent).

In the outgoing 294-strong Assembly, there are only 11 Muslim members, of whom six are from MIM. Among the 42 Lok Sabha members, only one is a Muslim (MIM). Political parties are reluctant to allot tickets to Muslims because they are afraid they cannot win. If they are fielded, Hindus polarise against them.

The Muslims have a growing feeling that they are being marginalised when it came to representation in legislative houses. They also refer to how TRS candidate Ibrahim had lost a byelection in Mahbubnagar. Several Muslims see the defeat of Ibrahim strong enough reason to polarise against Hindus.

Police Action: Seeds of hostility were sown during the Police Action against the then Nizam. Nizam’s private militia, the Razakars, had unleashed a reign of terror and it is estimated that about two to three lakh Muslims were killed during police action.

The fall of Nizam led to a drastic decline in the social, political and economic condition of Muslims. Their percentage came down to five in government employment from 40 and their lands were taken over by Reddis and Velamas.  The Telangana movement did not appeal to Muslims because it is all about land, water and other agrarian issues.

Like day or night does not matter to the blind, Muslims do not hope to benefit in any way from a smaller Telangana state. Muslims also fear that in Telangana state, they would become more vulnerable since right wing forces like RSS, VHP and BJP are likely to grow.

Those interviewed had expressed the opinion that in Telangana, communal polarisation is near complete. Khammam and Warangal districts are said to be the least communal because of the presence of Andhra culture and Left parties, while Mahbubangar is the most communal.

A school assistant and supporter of MIM said: “Muslims have been robbed by the Hindus. So, why should Muslims feel anything if Telangana Hindus are robbed by Hindus from the Andhra region?” This explains why the Telangana movement did not appeal to Muslims. As one of the Hindu respondents said: “Muslims are quiet because they have been put in their place. Otherwise they begin to dominate the Hindus.” Due to this perceived threat, there is no sympathy for Muslims in general.

As Dalits cannot win from a general constituency even today, Muslim cannot win elections from a general constituency. One respondent said: “There is a possibility of Dalits gradually shifting to the BJP. In Mahbubnagar, they have already formed BJP Dalit Morcha.”

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