Shawwal / Dhu'l-Qa'dah 1423 H
Volume 16-01 No : 193
Camps \ Workshops
In Gujarat, the projection was Muslim versus Hindutva. In that situation, there was no other result possible than a sweep by the BJP
Indians committed to democracy for the country are naturally numbed by the election results in Gujarat. That the BJP would win was expected, that it would reap a bitter harvest out of the politics of hate that it had systematically sowed in the State had also been foreseen. It is the scale of the victory that has confounded right-thinking Indians, who had hoped that sanity would prevail over communal passions.
The Gujarat results holds lessons for Indian Muslims and they must analyse the results and formulate a strategy to avoid repeating the Gujarat carnage. There are a slew of reasons for BJP’s landslide victory.
No-holds-barred anti-Muslim campaign:
The stupendous victory, the BJP witnessed under Narendra Modi has registered in the Gujarat Assembly elections clearly suggests that its strategy of retaining political power, through deliberate and aggressive communal polarisation and no-holds-barred anti-Muslim campaign post-Godhra, - has indeed paid off.
For the first time, tribals had been part of rioting mobs in Gujarat:
The BJP has won the Gujarat Assembly elections by a decisive two-thirds majority. The reasons for its victory lie not only in the politics of polarisation in the areas affected by communal violence following the incident at Godhra, but also in the highly effective mobilisation of Sangh Parivar learnt from the way Christian missionaries had managed to establish themselves in tribal areas. In a systematic manner, the Sangh Parivar proceeded to set up institutions that were parallel to the ones the missionaries had set up - in education, health and in organisations that extend economic aid to the tribals in times of need. And when people who are otherwise disadvantaged are offered basic facilities they require for their everyday lives, it is not surprising that they embrace the politics that comes along with these advantages.
The media invigorated Modi:
The media may not have created him, but television certainly provided a national pulpit, a captive audience and an arena for mass mobilisation. Since March 2002, Modi has been in the news more than any other personality. Much of the coverage has been unflattering, but as any adman/woman worth a commercial will explain, negative publicity is often most effective. If you give someone that much importance, he will become important. In trying to demonise Modi, we may have helped anoint him and strengthen his constituency: haven’t you noticed how criticism gets people’s backs up?
Congress high-headedness in refusing alliances:
Although the Congress initially claimed that it would join hands with secular-minded parties to fight the BJP during the Gujarat Assembly elections, its inflexibility on seat sharing cost it dearly. In atleast 10 Assembly constituencies - Dabhoi, Chota Udepur, Dariapur-Kajipur, Sankheda, Kalawad, Keshod, Meghraj, Vadgam, Dhanera and Palanpur - a combined coalition could have given a tough fight to the BJP and the Congress’ defeat in certain constituencies like Kalawad, Khambhaliya, Jamjodhpur and Dhanera, could have been certainly averted.
The inability (or refusal) of the Congress to put in place a strategy guided by the social chemistry - KHAM
The Congress, it now appears, had refrained from putting the KHAM strategy to work because its leaders were guided by the consideration that the party could make inroads this time among the Kurmis (the Patels), a numerically strong caste group there after the BJP had marginalised Keshubhai Patel. The fact is that this assumption did not work in Saurashtra.
What is evident from the outcome in Panchmahal and adjoining districts and also from the Dangs is that the Sangh Parivar’s strategy to terrorise the members of the minority communities had helped it draw into its fold a substantial section of the Dalits and the Adivasis (two important constituents of the KHAM factor), over the past few years and this helped the BJP improve its tally both in terms of the number of seats and vote percentage in this election despite the scale of discontent against the performance of the Government.
Anti -incumbency against the Congress:
For more than two years now, the Congress has in its control municipal corporations of Rajkot and Ahmedabad, and as many as 25 of the 26 district panchayats. In Rajkot, it had won after 27 years and in Ahmedabad after 13 years. But there is not one municipality, not one district panchayat that the Congress can show as a model of good governance.
In fact, these local bodies have remained as unresponsive to people’s problems as they were under the BJP. Petty politicking dictates their decisions rather than the issue of improving the lives of citizens.
A remark often reported from Saurashtra, where the Congress hoped for a big victory, was: “The BJP government has done nothing for us, but what has the Congress done?’’
A “fatwa” made its mysterious appearance:
A few days before Gujarat went to polls, the Imam of the Ahmedabad Juma Masjid reportedly issued a call to the community to vote out the BJP. Immediately, the organisational energies of the BJP, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were mobilised to denounce the “fatwa”.
A “Hindu reaction strategy” was instantly put in place. To this, Modi added his own spin: “Crackers would be burst in Pakistan if the Congress won”. The code words were obvious and were lapped up by the voters. Subjective emotionalism, cranked up during the last 72 hours of the campaign, was enough to overturn the objective conditions, which were spelling defeat for the BJP.
Whenever the Muslims are projected as one of the competing party whether by its leadership or by media, the Party, which identifies with Muslims will lose and lose badly. In Gujarat, the projection was Muslim versus Hindutva. In that situation, there was no other result possible than a sweep by BJP
The media unintentionally pitted Muslims against the majority. Unlike Congress which keeps on repeating that, BJP did this, BJP did that, Muslims as a society instead of saying Modi did this and BJP did that, should introspect and find out what really went wrong. Maulana Abul Ala Maududi decades ago had warned that “ Muslims should never project themselves as competing against the majority community for political power or want of share in power structure. It should do its work in a subtle way”. Its high time Muslims pay heed to this advice.
Sabrang Communication India and South Asia Watch France, have come out with some startling revelations, suggesting how an American NGO is covertly funding Indian organisations involved in the hate campaign against minorities.
The confidential 92-page comprehensive report, The Foreign Exchange of Hate; IDRF and American Funding of Hindutva, documents the links between the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), a Maryland, US-based charity organisation and sectarian Hindu organisations in India. The IDRF operates in the US under the rules governing tax-exempt charitable organisation that are prohibited from participating in political activity or channeling money overseas to violent sectarian groups. The report alleges that the IDRF’s claims of being a non -sectarian organisation which funds only for development and relief operation in India, is ‘disingenuous’ at best. It is designed largely to insert itself into the socio-cultural spheres of the Indian diaspora as `the charity of choice’.
According to the well documented report, almost two thirds of the funds that the IDRF transfers to India, go to organisations that can be easily identified as RSS outfits. Half of the remaining funds go to organisations that can be identified as sectarian Hindu organisations. And only 20 percent of the funds sent to India go to organisations that are non- sectarian in nature.
The report notes that more than half of the funds disbursed by the IDRF are sent to Sangh related organisations whose primary work is religious ‘conversion’, and ‘Hinduisation’ of poor people in rural and remote tribal areas of India. Another sixth of the fund is given to Hindu religious organisations for purely religious purposes. Only about a fifth of the funds go for disaster relief and welfare-most of it only because the donors specifically designated it so. The documentation suggests that a number of organisations that receive IDRF funds, use them entirely for sectarian purpose. “In fact, 80 per cent of the IDRF funding goes for work that is entirely sectarian in nature,” says the report.
“The IDRF fund goes to the organisations that are directly involved in large scale violence against Muslim and Christian minorities”, notes the report.
This report documents the case of an IDRF beneficiary, the ‘Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram’ in Gujarat and its extensive involvement in anti-Christian violence between 1998-2000 including the physical destruction of Christian institutions, school, churches and cemeteries and forcible conversion to Hinduism.
The report is a product of a study and analysis of more than 150 pieces of documentary evidence, most of them are those published by RSS and its affiliates.
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Bangalore: One needs to take some lessons from Shamsuddin Ahmed, 36, who proved that actions speak louder than words. Employed with a private firm here, Ahmed was one of the first survivors who mobilised a small group of volunteers and started the rescue operations for those trapped in the ill-fated Kacheguda Express that derailed. Ahmed jumped out of his upper berth in S4 coach, when he heard a strange noise. His experience in the rescue operations of the Orissa cyclone and the Bhuj earthquake as a ham radio operator for 15 days provided Ahmed the confidence to take the initiative. Ahmed was joined by a team of Malayalees and two to three doctors and they together took up the task of rescuing the trapped passengers. Arranging mineral water, informing the relatives of the injured through his mobile phone and using bedsheets provided by the railway staff as bandages to help the injured were part of Ahmed’s heroic actions. Survivors as far as Kashmir to Hyderabad are profusely thanking him for his timely help. S Ahmed can be reached on his Mobile: 98441-10042.
One of the villages completely destroyed by the earthquake in Gujarat in 2001 was Kajarada near Morbi town of Rajkot district. This village comprises 400 Muslim families working in the cotton and fishing sectors. And the only mosque in the village was destroyed and the people had no place to gather for prayers. They saved money and entrusted it to a Muslim contractor, but sadly this contractor vanished with the money amounting to Rs 1,75,000. The International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), Oxford, UK, took interest in constructing mosques in some rural areas and the investigating team headed by Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan, chairman of South Asian Co-ordinating Council of IARF visited Bhuj. While members of three mosque committees refused any help from non-Muslim organisations, members of the mosque in Kajarada welcomed the aid from IARF. A beautiful mosque costing Rs five lakh was constructed with the aid of many non-Muslim members who pitched in with help during the construction. It was members of Anoopama Mission who infact identified the place for the construction and several Hindu youngsters participated in the handing over ceremony of the mosque.
Dr Mumtaz Ali Khan can be contacted on: Ph: 080- 3333217/3336186,Email:email@example.com
New Delhi: Even as India is passing through a phase of communal divide, the fascist elements continue to push their agenda. Recently the Delhi unit of the Vishnu Hindu Parishad (VHP) made an abortive bid to perform a ‘Yagya’ at Quwatul Islam mosque, located in the vicinity of the historical Qutub Minar, to stake its claim over the site. Some 150-odd activists from the VHP, Sant Maha Mandal and the Hindu Sena, gathered under the banner of the Devasthan Mukti Yagya Samiti, to perform yagya last fortnight. However the agile police arrested them and foiled their plan. The VHP activists contended that they had a right to the site as the monuments was built after the demolition of 27 Hindu and Jain temples. The claim has immense strategic value for the VHP given the fact that the Quwatul Islam mosque is one of the oldest surviving mosque in India. Founded in 1192 by Sultan Qutub-ud-din Aibek, the first Muslim ruler of the slave dynasty, it took six years to be completed. The activists have threatened that they will not give up and will continue their attempt to perform the pooja there on the ‘chaturthi’ of every month.
Bangalore: “World class medical care at a competitive price, latest technology tempered by age-old wisdom, where a patient is not a sum of his parts, but a holistic whole, with unshakeable faith that service to mankind is service to God, doctors with world-class training,” is the complete package of promise offered by ACURA Speciality Hospital, set up recently in Bangalore. Nestled amidst greenery in the software hub in the city, the services of the hospital are thrown open to all sections of the society, including the poorest of the poor. Says Dr. M. Taha Mateen, Managing Director at ACURA, “a group of professional businessmen and corporate managers have come together to provide a centre of excellence with a humane touch, and human service being the only objective.” Backed by a team of doctors, with Mateen as consultant physician for Internal Medicine, the hospital has roped in the cream from the field of Medicine in Cardiology, Gynecology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Neonatology, General Surgery and Radiology. As a graduate from the Bangalore Medical College and, after a Masters in General Surgery, Mateen flew to the United States and qualified for the American Board of Internal Medicine at the prestigious St Peters Medical Centre, New Jersey. He would have continued a life of comfort, but his selfless spirit brought him back to India after five years and so, began his stint at Manipal Hospital. Now with ACURA, Mateen plans to devote his full-time here. ACURA has linked up with the Manipal Heart Foundation (MHF) to provide world-class care in cardiology. With 20 visiting doctors, five-in-house consultants, a five-bed ICU and wards that match international standards, ACURA offers solace to the soul. “The terrace of the hospital houses a prayer hall and soon colourful umbrellas will be fixed here to accommodate the cafeteria,” confirms Mateen. For further insight into ACURA, get in touch with Dr Mateen at:
ACURA, No-435, 18th main, 6th block (near Indoor stadium, opp bus depot), Koramangala, Bangalore-560095. Ph:5506868, Mobile:9844019296, Heartline: 4105151
Aligarh: A majority of teachers and students in the Aligarh Muslim University believe that politics should be kept apart from religion and Fatwa should not be used for the politics of votes. This finding has come after a survey conducted by the department of Journalism AMU. More than 50 per cent of the students and teachers surveyed said the Gujarat formula of the BJP would be repeated in other states too as this formula has proved very successful for the BJP. 88 per cent of students believe that the division in the secular votes helped BJP in Gujarat. According to the survey, the Congress party has failed to counter the communal forces. 36 per cent of students feel that Congress is not playing a role of an effective opposition. 55 per cent wanted that Muslims should have their own leadership. However 34 per cent condemned the politics played by some Muslim religious leaders.