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OCTOBER 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-10 No:166    *   OCTOBER 2000 / RAJJAB 1421H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

OPINION


Whither Minorities?
Islamic Equality Vs Muslim Biradries

Whither Minorities?

Muslim are sought to be roped into the BJP votebank through social engineering

By Hasan Mansur

THAT the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), drawing its sustenance and inspiration from the fountainhead of Manuvada, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) should have chosen Bangaru Laxman, a Dalit as its President should cause no surprise because this is in keeping with the sophistry of its ideologue, Govindacharya who has described it as ‘social engineering.’ In accordance with this, Bangaru has tried his hand too, at social engineering by resurrecting Pandit Deen Dayal’s slogan, “Muslims are the flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood”. That this feat in social engineering discovered in this slogan should have been kept under wraps till this day is rather mystifying. Why was this not recalled on the eve of every blood-letting since the 60s which could have muted the venom against Muslims and contained the violence? The dawn of this late wisdom has to be explained by the BJP spinmasters. Despite these antics, Bangaru rose to the bait when questioned whether he had forsaken his Hindutva core with a resounding “NO” !! The recent bloodletting in the Ahmedabad Municipal elections and the communal violence in parts of Rajasthan have elicited no response from him. The hysterical outbursts of members of the Sangh Parivar to build a Ram Mandir in 2001 and their resolve to institute a witch-hunt for Pakistani ISI agents in all madarasas and STD booths run by Muslims have found no reaction from the Dalit President of the BJP.

Social engineering is no new art in the political life of this country. The Congress had mastered this art in wooing the SC/ST, backward classes and the minorities. It had installed Muslims as Presidents of the Republic and now there is a Dalit as President. People have come to recognise these as acts of tokenism, which has not made any change in the quality of life of Muslims or Dalits or the poor in general. The minorities are wise to this Manuvada trick of social engineering and so also the Dalits and neither will bite this bait, saffron or non-saffron.

The political scenario is bleak with the BJP entrenched in the centre with its incohesive alliance, parties who have shed all pretension to socialism or Ambedkar’s thoughts. Sycophancy is unabated in the Congress-I and it is yet to bestir itself to retrieve the mantle of secularism which it abandoned long ago. The Janata Dal is a shambles and the left is divided and it has shown a singular incapacity to rise to its ideological obligations. The Dalits are hopelessly divided and some of its leaders are more intent on pelf and power, bereft of all ideological moorings.

The slogan “Muslims are the flesh of our flesh”, was coined by Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay.” The dawn of the late wisdom of unwrapping it seeks explanation from the BJP

Yet there is need to identify men and women committed to the democratic ethos in centrist and Left political outfits who need to be mobilised in the coming campaigns to sustain democratic governance. There are social action groups in the country fighting for social justice and people-friendly development. Workers, peasants, fish workers and unorganised labour and resurgent women groups are striving to come together to confront a state that has cost all legitimacy selling itself and the country to the market forces manipulated by the World Trade Organisation. In the spheres of literacy, employment, health and food security, there will be country-wide struggles against a state which will increasingly resort to repressive laws like the new TADA in the offing to drown these agitations in blood and tears. There is a new generation of youth among the Dalits, Backward classes and the minorities and the Muslims must be in the vanguard of this battle to gain for all, their inherent fundamental right to life with dignity that will assure all the poor their rightful place in the sun. 

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Islamic Equality Vs Muslim Biradries

Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan

HUMAN society has always remained divided despite the messages of great saints and philosophers that humans must remain united and integrated at least primarily in their own interest. Islam is one religion which focuses on this concept and almost makes it mandatory for all Muslims. Unity and a sense of belonging would definitely lend valuable support to promote the welfare of all. Division of the society into groups and sub-groups is an artificial mechanism employed by self-centred individuals.

The fact that there is no caste-system in Muslim society as against its prevalence in the Hindu society prima-facie looks a powerful positive social force that permits socio-cultural integration. In the Hindu society where caste-system prevails even now, people take their designated position as Brahmins, Vokkaligas, Lingayats, Sudras, Scheduled Castes and so on based solely on their birth. Caste system is an endogamous factor. It pushes or seals the fate of the individuals as determined by their caste. It is this caste system that has ruined the Hindu Society. Casteism in the negative sense is a powerful factor that plays its role in all walks of life. Their participation in religious, cultural, social, economic and political fields is shaped and controlled by their caste. Even though modernization factors like urbanization, westernization, education, industrialization have really had their impact on human behaviour, caste system has shown hardly any significant flexibility. Even some Hindus who have gone to the USA, the UK and other countries have not only carried their caste system with them, but also virtually maintained it.

Today’s Indian Muslim society has acquired caste like features in the form of biradries. Some Muslims do practise endogamy and maintain a complex of superiority of certain sections

Muslim society should present an opposite picture. The artificial divisions like Sheikh, Syed, and Mughal and Pathan in general and Saits, Nadafs, Borahas, etc in particular have no sanction in Islam. When we say that there is one God and Muhammad Rasool Allah is the last Prophet, we get the message that Muslims belong to one well-knit family. The feeling of one family should enable us to sink our differences that stem from the fact that we are human beings. But man to man, there should be no bar.

Inter-marriages, commondinners, social mixing and a sense of equality prevail in Muslim society so long as we repose full faith in the message of the Holy Prophet. It shall be the duty, a sacred one rather, of the capable to take care of the disadvantaged individual or group of individuals. Almighty Allah has bestowed more resources on such people. But the reservoir of resources should not lead to harmful segregation. The capable has to part with his intellectual utility and economic abilities for the cause of the common man. Fear of Allah that he would punish selfish individuals should dominate the daily proceedings of the capable. The rich have to ensure elimination of poverty. The educated has to attempt to remove illiteracy. Men have to raise the status of women. The priestly class should make the illiterate and ignorant understand the real message of Allah to mankind for a healthy society. The behaviour of the Muslims should have refined cultural traits. One has to speak in a manner that reminds us the most polite ways of approach in the life of the Prophet. Rowdyism, vandalism, brutalism, oppression and exploitation are alien features which have taken their abode in the present Muslim society.

Communism and Islam are very close if certain corrections are incorporated. Communism does not permit the concept of private property and accumulation of wealth. It aims at removal of class barriers and ensures dignity of man. Islam, on the other hand, permits private property and accumulation of wealth. But there are some riders which try to remove harmful effects on the society. Islam wants a perfect justification when a person accumulates wealth. He has to justify the means adopted while making wealth. There is a clear relationship between the ends and the means. Further, Islam does not permit hoarding or locking up of wealth as it becomes a deadwood.

Wealth should be in circulation so as to enable a large number of disadvantaged individuals take advantage and come up in life. This leads to the establishment of an egalitarian society which permits the roses in the dust or drainage blossom. This is the beauty or essence of the message of the Holy Prophet.

Against the egalitarian model presented by the earliest society of Muslims in Madinah, the Indian Muslim society has acquired contours of casteism in the name of Biradari. It also betrays endogamy, being superior or inferior etc. Caste like features are in practice. Matrimonial restrictions and occasional socio-cultural taboos among the various artificially created groups of Muslims have killed the very spirit of Islam. People who raise their voice and talk loudly about the glory of Islam have failed to realize that they are often the culprits destroying the very foundation of a true egalitarian and democratic foundation of Islam.

The younger generation should be encouraged to rise against all these oppressors and exploiters and then to build a new society based on the principles of equality, humanity, liberty and fraternity. Many Non-Muslims have a very good view of Islam. They praise it for giving human dignity and equal status. Sometimes Non-Muslims get converted to Islam because of the most logical, humanitarianism principles inherent in Islamic ways of life. As said earlier, the rich have an Islamic mandate to keep the poor always in their mind and heart and help them to come up in life. Islam does not permit adoption of charity as a means of promotion of the poor. Charity destroys human dignity and development. The relatively disadvantaged classes should be motivated to shed their inferior status and take up the challenge.

Egalitarianism is a pragmatic solution to uneven distribution of wealth. Too much concentration of wealth in the hands of a few has destroyed them. Many of us have relatives suffering from acute poverty and rampant illiteracy because their elders who were rich once squandered everything in satisfying their lust and extravagant luxuries. They did not bother to share with the needy. Had they done so today their children would not have been care of foot path.

It is in the context that every Muslim and even a Non-Muslims should understand appreciate and adopt Islamic blue-print for establishing an egalitarian society. There is no alternative solution to promote and sustain a healthy society.

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