Ideally, in a democracy votes are cast for those who are most promising in terms of bringing about positive change. What a sorry state of affairs it is that India’s largest minority participates in this epic exercise only to save its skin from the wolf’s teeth
FATIMA | Caravan Daily
India’s political jungle is fraught with two types of wolves. One is the wolf in a wolf’s skin while the other is a wolf in sheep’s skin. As far as the Muslim electorate is concerned it knows how to keep its distance from the wolf of the first kind. There is just one and to its credit, it never pretends to be a sheep. When it comes to the second category however the Muslim voter is spoiled for choice.
More often than not he willingly and rather merrily
walks into the impersonator’s den who never hesitates one bit before tearing
him apart. Election after election, generation after generation, the Muslim
voter lends his support to one or the other wolf in the sheep’s garb. Year 2019
will be no different from all the years that have gone by.
Once again the Muslim electorate will rally behind the
one who will throw loaves most generously (and with a skullcap for XF) at them.
As a collectively doomed community, it will cast its votes for the one who does
not openly intimidate and threaten it.
Ideally, in a democracy votes are cast for those who are
most promising in terms of bringing about positive change. What a sorry state
of affairs it is that India’s largest minority participates in this epic
exercise only to save its skin from the wolf’s teeth.
There is a lot of truth in the saying that you reap
what you sow. But sometimes one also gets to reap what one did not
sow, but merely allowed to flourish in one’s backyard. Both stand true in the context
of Indian Muslims.
While some of the poison ivy we sowed, some of it was
passed down as a legacy and we dutifully tended to it. The emergence
of Barelvi and Deobandi factions belongs to the first category while the
Shia-Sunni rift belongs to the second category. And there are many more in
different stages of growth.
What we got in the end were ingredients for a deadly
concoction which our Ulema consumed readily. Instead of liquidating the
differences our religious leaders in their ignorance fortified the walls that
separated us from each other.
While other communities including the Dalits, forsaken
for centuries, moved on, our people at the helm of community affairs whiled
away their time firing fatwas at each other. Our Kafir-Kafir sport
has only got better with time.
The firqa-centred sectarian approach has ensured that
the Indian Muslims shall never form a united political front. Various political
parties that sprang up post independence used the fragmented Muslims to their
own end without ever reciprocating proportionally.
Where do we go from here? Is there no hope for India’s
200 million Muslims?
The only thing that can halt the community’s perpetual
fall into the pit of political and social dispossession and weightlessness is
unity in our ranks and a dynamic new leadership. Unfortunately the later
depends on the former and the former is too much to ask of us.
When the relentless humiliation and existential threat
handed out by the Hindu Right in the last five years could not unite us then no
one knows what can.
Right now the Indian Muslim community is like a tree
with moth-eaten interior which is being subjected to systematic assault from
the outside. It is a miracle that it has not yet collapsed to the ground. The
community leaders can either use this miraculous grace period to move beyond
petty differences and make a united bold effort to prevent the end. Else
perhaps we can all patiently wait to first fall and then be gradually trampled
out of existence.
is a Hyderabad-based writer.