Skip to main content

Facing 2019 elections, Muslim community's puzzle: Collective vote casting for a "secure" future

By Dr Syed Mohammad Raghib*
A week ago, an eight-year-old madrasa student Mohammad Azeem became the most recent victim of hate crime in Malaviya Nagar, South Delhi. Clearly, the hate culture continues to take new shapes. The lynching mayhem, continuing for the last four-and-a-half years in the name of ‘cow protection’, began with the murder of Akhlaque, and followed with the killing of Pahlu Khan, Junaid, Alimuddin, and Tauheed Ansari.
In Manipur, a 26-year-old MBA student, Mohammad Farooque Khan, was killed by a mob on September 14 in front of the police. In Uttar Pradesh, a series of encounters have been going on. More recently, two boy, aged 17 and 21, were gunned down in Aligarh. In Madhya Pradesh, where eight SIMI prisoners killed in a fake encounter, the government blamed them for fleeing from the jail.
Such incidents have increased manifold. They are a telling commentary on the weak law and order situation across the country. Police officers, politician and even criminals who are behind such gruesome incidents are promoted.
There is no doubt that India is a secular-democratic country, one of the peaceful places on the earth where multi-religious, multi-ethnic communities have flourished since long. Islam entered here by two routes, one from the north, Sindh, when Mohammad Bin Qasim came to India. It flourished through the Sufi tradition of the likes of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti.
Islam also came to India via the sea route, when Arab traders reached south Indian coasts, especially Kerala. Malik Dinar is one of the first known Muslims to have come to India via this route. Muslims have thrived here and coexisted with other religions and cultures and have never felt threated from the majority community at any point in time.
Over the last few years, right-wing communal forces have badly damaged the secular-democratic identity of the country for their electoral gain. Yet, majority and minority boundings are very sturdy, thanks to high level of tolerance between them. This tolerance continues despite communal violence rocking North and Central India. On an average, according to the National Crime Bureau data, on an average, 600 incidents of communal violence took place between 2014 and 2017.
The Constitution of India has given equal opportunity to every citizen of the country to lead a life with dignity and respect. The constitution has also given the right to practice religion, to run educational institutions and to have their personal laws across the country.
It is against this backdrop that the 2019 elections are seen as a significant factor for the development of Muslims. Their electoral calculations can go awry if the community votes are divided. This is what happened during the 2014 elections. The community couldn’t ensure a single Muslim candidate to the Lok Sabha from UP.
Things couldn’t turn any better during the UP state assembly elections, which took place in 2017. Though UP has a 19 percent Muslim population, 25 MLAs from the community could win, down from 68 in 2012. The community votes are divided between three or four parties such as Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Congress and so on.
Since the last Lok Sabha elections, the community has the lowest-ever number of Muslim MPs in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The percentage of the Muslim population as per the government census 2011 was 14.2, but in terms of representation, there are just 23 MPs Muslims, which comes to a measly 4.2 percent of the total Lok Sabha strength, 543.
A major problem for this is, the Indian Muslim political leadership lacks vision of the type one saw during the fight for India’s independence. They have failed to continue with the tradition of opening new educational institutes such as Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Ashrafia, Deoband, Falah, Nadwatul Ulema and Jamiatul Salah.
Meanwhile, the adversaries of the community have successfully engaged it in fatwas, ISI, IM, triple talaq, halala, love jihad, ghar wapsi, lynching, Muslim ghettos, National Register of Citizens, damaging its dignity and pride. Due to the false reporting and media propaganda, these adversaries achieve their target to defame Muslims. Little do they realize that in the process they are defaming our country’s reputation, weakening the root of our democratic institutions and collective culture.
The type venom the media indulges in is well known to all. Whether it is Aligarh Muslim University, whose Jinnah portrait was made a big issue, or the Alauddin Khiji-Padmavati issue across Rajasthan, every effort is made to divert the mind from real developmental issues of the ordinary people.
It is time the Muslim community across the country, forming 14.2 percent of the population, understands the importance of collective vote casting. It can help in power sharing in any government formation, even as taking care of the safety and security of the current and future generation.
---
*Post-doc student at the Centre for West Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Comments

TRENDING

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

US publication blames Gates Foundation for 'accelerating' India's healthcare crisis

By Rajiv Shah A new book, published by the New York-based Monthly Press Review (MPR), has blamed Microsoft founder Bill Gates for “crowning” the crisis allegedly engulfing India’s health sector, stating, the top American billionaire’s foundation of late has acquired “extraordinary influence" over India’s public health governance,  giving a fillip to a policy that deprives access of public healthcare facilities for majority of the country’s population.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.