Goan Model Shows the Way for Indian Muslims - The New Indian Express

Goan Model Shows the Way for Indian Muslims

Published: 16th February 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 16th February 2014 01:20 AM

Muslim voting behaviour unveils the community’s socio-psychological composition. A microscopic minority among them vote for the BJP, while the community prefers strategic bloc voting for strongest non-BJP candidate. Right or wrong, its ‘allergy’ to BJP has reasons. But the story doesn’t end here. There are two more ingredients of its sociology of voting. The natural preference is for the party or leader who targets Hindu organisations the maximum and supports their religious practices beyond constitutional bounds. Pertinently, the community is out of the ambit of the modernity debate. Therefore, any discussion on Uniform Civil Code—a part of the Directive Principles of the State Policy—becomes a ‘communal discourse’. The Constitution’s project of secularisation is limited to Hindus only. When the Hindu Code Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha, socialist Kripalani described the government as communal since the bill omitted non-Hindus. That was the beginning of pseudo-secularism, a trend that has continued. Elections only strengthen anti-secular convictions.

While the country is witnessing an anti-Congress wave with the 2014 elections round the corner, the Muslim leadership is trying to convince its flock to ignore the question of corruption and miseries of their lives. Islamic Voice, published from Bangalore, in a recent editorial advised, “Politically unaffiliated Muslim intellectuals and activists should come forward to tilt the support towards winnable, secular alternatives on regional basis.”

Hate for BJP doesn’t mean love for ‘others’, who’re a compulsion in the given situation. Before Independence, Indian Muslims rejected the Congress for the very reasons they loathe the BJP. In 1937, Congress ministries were formed in several states of India. The All India Muslim League published the Pirpur Report, Shariff Report and Kamal Yar Jung Report against provincial Congress governments, dubbing them as ‘Hindu Raj’. The league’s ceaseless propaganda was countered by the Congress’ Mass Contact Programme, a brainchild of Nehru. It proved in vain. Come the 1946 general election, Congress’ secularism found no adherence among Muslims.

Therefore after Independence, it was a great opportunity for Congress to mend social philosophy with an objective of Indianising Indian Muslims. The Constituent Assembly had shown the path. During the debate on minority rights, Muslim League member Tajamul Hussain said majority and minority was a British creation and wanted to evict this term from the lexicon. H C Mukherjee, a Christian by faith, and vice-chairman of the Assembly, warned that institutionalising any community as minority on the basis of religion would be detrimental to idea of one nation.

However, real politics abhors idealism. Nehru planted fresh seeds for religious polarisation in election. J B Kripalani contested the 1963 by-polls from the Amroha constituency. Nehru wanted to prevent him from entering Parliament. The Central Parliamentary Board decided on the candidature of Ram Saran. But Nehru sprang a surprise on the final day of nomination, replacing Saran with Hafiz Mohammad Ibrahim, a Union cabinet minister. Kripalani prevailed, but the election witnessed invoking of religious sentiments and promises. Kripalani was no Hindu Mahasabhite, but a Socialist and former Congress president with impeccable secular credentials. Nevertheless, all attempts were made to polarise Muslims against ‘Hindu’ Kripalani.

In the Goa Assembly elections, Catholics disillusioned with anti BJP-RSS propaganda voted for the BJP. There are five Christian MLAs, including deputy CM of the state. The Goan model of voting shows increasing emergence of critical consciousness among a section of Indian Christians. Will it impact Indian Muslims or will they remain captive to their votebank merchants? rakeshsinha46@gmail.com

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