From now on the hajj subsidy stands withdrawn. The govt said subsidy for Hajj pilgrims will be scrapped this year, as Mukhtar A Naqvi, minister for minority affairs said, “We believe in empowerment without appeasement. Muslims did not benefit from it. Development with dignity is what we believe in. The subsidy will be used for educating girls.”
This move has been planned to be implemented in phases, hinting that the subsidy may be eradicated by 2022. The Indian Muslims did not think that there was anything was unusual about it, until they realized that their appeasement was not going to be tolerated after this declaration. This is in connection with many parties hinting at the fact that the subsidy was perhaps a part of ‘appeasement politics’. Another question that arises is if this was done in view of the Air India’s proposed sale.
This decision has come after the government allowed Muslim women above the age of 45 years, to go on the pilgrimage without any male relative. If the real beneficiary of this government-backed support will no longer exist, the very significance of the financial backing stands no value. Therefore it was better for the government to remove the funding in line with the apex Court’s 2012 order.
According to the government, the Haj subsidy funds will be used for educational empowerment of girls and women of the minority community. This means that India’s Muslim community will then have to understand that the government is looking to redirect resources from the pilgrimage towards education. If they fathom education is more vital than religious conviction, they will easily approve of this fresh pronouncement. They will slowly start grasping this stark reality, as an endeavour to the change of the existing arrangement.
In my opinion, the sheath of the subsidy has been unpeeled by the government that is trying to not extend any financial backing to Muslims. When the minister was told that the pilgrimage’s cost would go too high for many Muslims, his reply remained that the government was making efforts to bring it down. The decision showcases the government trying to uphold the importance of education in today’s society as well as ensure that they can help the Muslim community do the same.