Prime Minister’s appeal for ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’ seems to have no takers among most Muslims. But he has always worked for their ‘Vikas’ without any discrimination. His government has provided concrete houses, toilets, tap water, LPG connection, medical treatment, vaccination, and ration during Covid-19, all free to them.
The number of those availing these benefits (proportionate to their population) far exceeds that of other communities. In addition, 43,000 basic infrastructure projects in the field of education, health, and skill development for 18,000 crores have been taken up, specifically for Muslim-concentrated areas. Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan, Cheraman Juma Mosque in Thrissur, Kerala, and Hazartbal in J&K find a prominent place in PM’s ambitious scheme to develop tourist infrastructure facilities of deep religious significance. Yet, Muslims have no ‘Vishwas’ in him, for reasons that are largely self-deceiving and imaginary.
It all began with the lynching of a few Muslims for cow slaughter by maverick Hindus. Then came CAA which had nothing to do with Indian Muslims and talks about NRC and population control, which they mischievously thought would deprive them of Indian citizenship. Similarly, when Article 370 was abrogated, they believed it was intended to reduce Muslims in minority in J&K.
Decisions to modernise education in madrassas, dispense with the regressive practice of Triple Talaq, and debar girls from wearing hijab in classes to inculcate the spirit of secularism and reduce the volume of Azan from mosques were met with fierce protests. For them, the verdict on Ram Mandir was a miscarriage of justice to appease Hindus, and increasing demands for raising temples at the site of mosques, demolition of unauthorised constructions of Muslims, eliminations of dons, indiscriminate arrest of Muslims in false criminal and terrorist cases and changing of Muslim names of roads and places posed an existential threat.
The outcome of their skewed perception was written all over in the violence they unleashed during processions of Hindus to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti and riots over Nupur Sharma’s contentious remarks. Certainly, that wasn’t the way to protect Islam. It is time they realised PM is not their enemy nor does he need their electoral support. Their real enemies are clerics who keep them ghettoised in obscurantist beliefs and, non-BJP political parties that constantly fan their misplaced sense of economic and religious discrimination to garner votes.
Why can’t they join other minorities in marching shoulder to shoulder with Hindus in the field of education, health, industry, and defence without compromising their religion and secure their future by co-existing peacefully? And, if they are proud to be Indian citizens, which hopefully they are, why can’t they shun our internal and external enemies whose objective has been to keep the country on boil?
Amar Bhushan is former special secretary, Research and Analysis Wing can be reached at email@example.com.