I have lost count of the number of times I have repeated this. But as they say, you must repeat, if you are speaking with conviction and people have not listened.
In my eyes, Muslims do not drive the Sangh’s agenda. The Sangh’s agenda is driven by the Sangh alone, and you have absolutely no role to play. Get this straight. Muslims are insignificant in the Sangh’s scheme of things. This might hurt the affluent elite Muslims, but it is the truth. So please bear with it. Step out of your intellectual mirage, and instead, put your weight behind the Constitution of this country. There alone rests your emancipation.
There is a message circulating on Facebook and WhatsApp in the name of Ravish Kumar, in which he is appealing Muslims to shun politics. Ravish himself has clarified on Prime Time that it’s a piece of fake news, but to no avail. The message keeps popping up every now and then. Ravish, besides having rubbished such claims, has also made it unequivocally clear that he is against suggestions for Muslims to quit electoral politics, which are made from many pseudo-liberal quarters
About a year or so earlier, I too was of the opinion that Muslims should opt out from the electoral fray, and initiate a voluntary act towards temporary disenfranchisement. It was after the Uttar Pradesh assembly results were declared where the mandate of the Muslims had been ridiculed. The community stared at an uncertain future, in what was more of a shock than in awe of Hindutva – a shock, which within months of the swearing-in, turned into irredeemable pain.
It was a typical case of a knee-jerk reaction on my part, borne out of frustration and not an elitist approach. It’s to be noted that even in my fit of insanity, what I suggested was for Muslims to quit electoral politics and not politics per se. I proposed a cooling-off period wherein we would regroup and re-consolidate – a definite political act in itself. Thankfully, sanity prevailed, and after much deliberation over the past one year, I realised that this is a fight for reclaiming citizenship rights, and it was foolish on my part to be talking about giving up on one.
The way this message in the name of Ravish has gone viral shows us just how many people today buy this idea. A closer analysis of the people circulating it reveals something which is even far more disturbing. It’s less out of frustration with a fascist upsurge and more a product of an elitist approach of viewing society as an irritant. It stems from the urban affluent middle class’ inconvenience at being asked tough questions, in seeing a colleague, friend, or family member talk about rights.
God forbid a willful surrender on one front may cause a shrinking of ground on our other rights as well. What if, tomorrow, after you have surrendered your electoral ambitions, they, in their effort to remain relevant, shift their focus on your right to seek employment in government offices, services and admissions in government institutions, follow it up with a campaign to restrict you to grade four jobs, barricade your colonies, run down your educational institution and arrest your intellectuals? What would you say then? You may opt out. But do you think they too will?
My basic premise is that the Sangh’s agenda is driven by the Sangh alone. We, as Muslims, have absolutely no role to play.
For my friends who are apologetic in public places about their religious identity, and consistently insist on maintaining a safe distance from politics (lest it augments the Sangh’s polarisation agenda), here is another googly. The UP government has issued a circular prohibiting loudspeakers at religious places.
The practice of giving azaan from loudspeakers is decades old. Nothing suggests that there has been any significant increase in the sound levels in the near past. Still, the government finds it reasonable enough to extend its prohibition net on yet another Muslim practice.
Do you think the Muazzins are responsible for this? Do you believe that it was the poor Muazzin’s fault that he couldn’t understand the Sangh’s agenda as well as you do? Do you believe that a Muazzin should have calibrated his voice – or better, should have refrained from giving azaan altogether?
Well, for that matter, my learned friends, suggest me a measure except one which calls me to maintain a safe distance – and I will accept it with all humility. But for the community’s sake, first get the picture straight. Recover yourself from the confused state you are comfortable in.
The Sangh doesn’t need a Muazzin to raise their pitch, nor does it need an Asaduddin Owaisi. The Sangh, like the Frankensteinian monster, is self-sufficient. It has repeatedly proven its capabilities at fomenting hate from an issues such as triple talaq and love jihad. It has also successfully established that it’s not at the mercy of the present generation Muslim. It can very well dig graves from Mughal era and use the skeletons as a scarecrow for many many years.
Stop pretending that you are significant. Stop putting weight behind your useless “maintaining safe distance” strategies. Instead, put your weight behind the Constitution of this country. There alone, your emancipation is locked.