Muslim Leadership Divided Over Arshad Madani’s Meeting with Mohan Bhagwat

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Maulana Arshad Madani and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI – The debate has been still raging in the Muslim circles over the ‘secret’ meeting between Maulana Arshad Madani, chief of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind’s one faction, and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

It is not the first time that such an engagement took place between the RSS and Muslim organizations. However, this time around, community leaders, organisations and ordinary men are sharply divided over the meet because of prevailing circumstances and happenings in the country.  While one section of the community has welcomed it, the other has dubbed it as a ‘betrayal’ and ‘surrender’ before a fascist organisation and is baying for his (Madani) blood.

The closed-door talks between Madani and Bhagwat at Keshavkunj (RSS headquarters in Delhi) held on the evening of August 30.  However, the news of the meeting was disclosed to the media not by the RSS sources but by Maulana Madani himself after 3-4 days. The maulana’s revelation of the meeting triggered chain-reactions in the community considered to be die-hard critic of the RSS and its ideology.

Mohammad Adeeb

Reacting to the meeting, former member parliament and a member of All-India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMIM), Mohammad Adeeb came out openly against the overtures of Maulana Madani towards the right wing Hindutva outfit. He demanded that Maulana Madani should explain the motives behind his meeting with the RSS chief and what transpired between them.

Speaking to Caravan Daily, Adeeb said a host of questions were asked to Maulana Madani but he did not answer any of them. “Why did you go to meet an organization, which does not recognise your (community) existence, Its scheme is to demoralise you through mob-lynching attacks and make videos of the victim begging for his life by chanting “Jai Shri Ram” to be circulated for the purpose,” he asked.

“They (RSS) have realised that they cannot eliminate or annihilate Muslims from India. Therefore, they want to infuse and create fear psychosis in the community so that Muslims are reduced to a socially subdued status like that of the Dalits and daren’t question the government,” he added.

When asked if he discussed triple talaq, or Article 370 or uniform civil code with the RSS chief, the maulana nodded in negative, he said.

Adeeb, who is a former AMU student union president, said, “Maulana Madani should have taken a representative delegation of the Milli (community) organisations to the RSS or should have taken them into confidence before  going to RSS office.

“Before going to the RSS headquarters, Arshad Madani should have consulted other Muslims organisations and Muslim leaders and presented a united front.

In fact, 3-4 months before the elections, Madani  had called the RSS the biggest enemy of minorities,” Adeeb averred.

Advocate Sharfuddin Ahmed

“If such influential people will surrender before the diktats of the RSS, what will happen to a common man? Does he (Madani) not know what is happening in the UP countryside,” he said.

Alleging the Maulana has done this for his “self publicity”, the former MP said he won’t surrender before them (RSS).  “If I had met the RSS leader, what the community would have done with me, you can imagine.” he added.

Expressing similar views, Allahabad High Court advocate Sharfuddin Ahmed pointed out that the RSS was an ideology-based organization and its whole idea is to establish a theocratic state (Brahmanical order) in which other religions like Islam, Christianity etc. will have no place or their followers will never be equal to the Hindus who shall ultimately decide the quantum of their rights.

Adding that “exploitation and inequality” are the bedrock of the Hindutva ideology, Sharfuddin Ahmed, who is also vice-president of Social Democratic party of India, concluded that there was no space for a meaningful dialogue with them until they (RSS) shun this idea.

He, therefore, said those who described the meeting as “positive step” are not aware of the cornerstones of Hindutva or they are a confused lot.  He told Caravan Daily that the timing of the meeting was also highly inappropriate since for the first time Hindutva ideology has been under sharp scrutiny of the Western nations.

Prof Mohammad Aslam, an intellectual and academic who is a former vice-chancellor of Indira Gandhi Open University (IGMOU), said the meeting has attracted a lot of attention but nobody is focusing on the subject and trying to score points over each other.  Suggesting Muslim leaders to walk out from the self-styled custodian of the community mode, Prof Aslam told the Caravan Daily that he was privy to many such meetings between Muslim leaders and the RSS held in the past.

Prof Mohammad Aslam

He specially mentioned a meeting held at Haryana Bhavan (Delhi) which lasted for more than three hours, in which many so-called intellectuals and leaders including Arif Mohammad Khan and others were scrambling for handing their bio-data to the RSS chief Bhagwat.

He said, “It is an irony that instead of discussing the outcome of the meeting, self styled leaders are indulging in one-upmanship. There is no harm if A meets B, but then is it going to have some meaningful outcome. There have been dozens of such meetings which have taken place over last five years without any meaningful outcome, he added.

Pointing out that when Maulana Madani was asked about the abrogation of Article 370, he tried to duck the query saying it is a sub judice matter pending before the Supreme Court, Prof Aslam said who hails from Kashmir, by this reply, one can imagine what he might have discussed with the RSS chief.

Dr Zafarul Islam Khan

However, differing from these views, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, who heads the Delhi Minorities Commission and a former president of AIMMM, said it is a welcome initiative at the right time but it should have been a collective effort. Speaking to the Caravan Daily, Dr Khan said we should understand that any individual or organisation treating the other as an eternal foe or friend would realises its own folly.  If the RSS is thinking on these lines, we should welcome it, he said.  On the criticism of Maulana Arshad Madani, he said he did not make any objection to his meeting with RSS chief.

He also suggested that if they (RSS) are making these overtures towards Muslims under the international pressure, we should not cold shoulder it as in  a democracy, minority also matters, if they ignored us , it becomes dictatorship. Calling upon all Muslim organisations and leaders to sit together and take a call on the matter, Dr Khan said before the arrival of any storm, we need to be ready to face it.

The Caravan Daily approached Maulana Arshad Madani to take his views on the matter, but unfortunately he refused to give us an audience.

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