The appointment of a Minister for Minority Affairs has been a huge let down.
During the election campaign, Modi had stated that he would be the Prime Minister of all 1.25 billion Indians. So demoralized has the Muslim been in recent years that a simple promise of equal rights was music to his ears.
What the Congress has done to him in six decades of independence is clear in the Sachar Committee Report of 2006. In it he saw his decomposing visage. So deep was the rot, that anything the Congress did to keep the pretense, was no more than a highly advertised relief camp for administering palliatives – a Ministry for Minority Affairs here, a Minority Commission there and, if elections are nigh, call in the town criers to read out a hundred point programme for Muslims. And, yes, as a final act of electoral craft, call in the Imam of the grand apparel, always ready with his skates on.
Having been seduced early by Jawaharlal Nehru who wore the Shervani with a rose in the button hole, spoke Urdu, visited Maulana Azad once a week and befriended left leaning Arab leaders the Muslim felt he was being led by one of his very own. Mahatma Gandhi secured the Muslim’s right flank: he supported Maulana Mohammad Ali’s call to save the “Khalifa” in Turkey.
With such gestures aplenty, the Indian Muslim took little note of the miraculous appearance of Ram Lalla idols in 1949 under the central dome of the Babri Masjid. Nehru was the Prime Minister. Thereafter, it became the “disputed structure” which was eventually pulled down.
Congress leaders not only opened the locks of the temple for daily puja, but they upped the ante for the BJP. They promised to usher in Ram Rajya, on the eve of the 1989 elections.
And what were the gifts handed to the Muslims? The leadership banned Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, reversed the Supreme Court judgement on Shah Bano, delayed upgradation of relations with Israel citing Muslim anxieties. In every instance, what profit for the Muslim? These steps, instead, further alienated him from the mainstream consensus.
[quote]In a pool of 800 Indian Foregin Service officers, barely one percent are Muslims[/quote]
As part of this variety of tokenism, came the Ministry for Minority Affairs, the Minority commission, and sundry steps which issued from the party’s transparently insincere commitment to secularism.
There were considerable expectations of the Congress. The cumulative effect of disappointments resulted in an irretrievable Muslim exodus from the party from 1989 to 2014.
The outcome of the 2014 elections has left him in a state of psychological bipolarity. He is actually quite indifferent to the demolition of the Congress. Across the board he has the same lament. The Congress used him as a vote bank. But a satisfaction at Congress collapse has been balanced by the colossal scale of Modi’s ascendance.
In an outstanding film, Queen, the protagonist is shocked to her foundations by an unexpected turn of events. She resists the temptation to turn back. Instead she bravely proceeds on the path she would have traversed if the traumatic incident had not taken place. It becomes a wholesome journey of discovery.
The Indian Muslim was rapidly preparing himself for the New Deal of equal rights. Hence, acute disappointment at the unimaginative Congress style tokenism of a Ministry for Minority Affairs.
Such a Ministry creates an impression of special facilities for minorities without delivering anything of consequence. Let me introduce you to a handful of annoying tokenisms.
Visit the Indira Gandhi International Airport and watch the Haj Terminal. It creates an impression of privilege, one which irritates non Muslims, without being of substantial use to Indian Muslims. Haj takes place once a year. Does a terminal round the year make any sense?
Likewise, what possible sense is there for the Ministry of External Affairs to keep one Ambassadorship reserved for Muslims? It is an unwritten rule that the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia must be a Muslim.
Is there a particular advantage in posting a Muslim ambassador to Riyadh? Ambassadors in Washington, Moscow, Beijing and hundreds of other countries are unlikely to be all Muslims.
The argument that Muslim pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia need consular help is only partly valid. For this purpose, the Consul General at Jeddah would suffice. Jeddah is not far from the two holy cities. But must a full fledged ambassadorial post in Riyadh be out of bounds for non Muslims?
The convention of posting only Muslims to Saudi Arabia is flawed on the secular principle, ofcourse, but also for practical reasons.
In a pool of 800 IFS officers, barely one percent are Muslims. A result of the special dispensation is that Muslim officers end up with a series of Saudi postings. When MEA official spokesman Syed Akbaruddin was offered the Riyadh ambassadorship, he excused himself. He had already done two extended postings in Saudi Arabia. This turned out to be a boon for Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao who was to have retired. He has been given a year’s extension.
Minorities should never take the charity of special status. Instead they should insist on equal opportunities. Once they start competing on merit, they would get the recognition they are looking for.
Very well written. Sadly realisation about Congress antics has crept in so late. Never mind. People like the author who have now seen the light need to get involved more in their community affairs, educate their ignorant brethren and lead them out of this helplessness. Strangely other ‘minorities’ like Sikhs, Parsees, Jews, Buddhists,Christians do not seem to suffer from this helpless minority syndrome. The reasons are not far to seek. Maybe India’s so called largest minority needs to learn from them.
Vish, without any intent to put you down, I must say that your knowledge of this highly erudite & classy columnist is obviously not worth writing home about. He hasn’t “seen the light” now. Check out his YouTube interview on the Indian Muslims where he says the Indian Muslim is less radicalised because Islam in India has grown in the “highly tolerant crucible of Hinduism”. He further goes on to say that the Indian Muslim is left behind vis a vis other Indians because he couldn’t adjust from being the rulers to the ruled when the Brits came to India & because Muslim women were deprived of education by their families. If anything, Saeed Naqvi is the epitome of moderate Islam since he extols the fact that Muslim thinkers of old revered Lord Ram & Goddess Saraswati while reading Namaz 5 times a day. I really really wish there were more people like Saeed Naqvi & M.J.Akbar who could guide the Indian Muslim to a better future.
Why have Mideastern non-Indian identity? Isn’t that the cause of present state of Pakistan? Indian Muslims should stop this Pakistanization / Arabization. You can do five times Namaz as Gorakhnath / Mahaavtar Babaji’s shortened form of Kriya, you can keep roza for a month just as devout Hindus do in Sravan (Sawan) Mas. Make native Shivaji, the great, Guru Govind Singh Ji, Rana Pratap your heroes and revere the sages such as Patanjali of Pushpapura (Peshawar), Panini of Takshashila (Taxila) and Valmiki. No need to search divinity in alien books and distant places. Separate identity may help in short term to get cushy durbari dilli ki gaddi but in long run it will be cause of destruction becuase it creates rootless parasites out of native converts. Real heroes of Muslims are not durbari and anglophile MJ Akbars but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamid_Dalwai and Sheikh Muhammad (1560–1650) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vithoba)
“Barely 1% in FSI are Muslim” well said. To that I say
Barely 1% of Pakistanis remain Hindus. Take care of your own backyard fella.
Saeed Naqvi is an Indian, my friend. And a very honorable one at that. His comments are right on track, in this article. It is high time we stopped calling Indian muslims minorities.
I wonder if the term ‘minority’ is used for a citizen any where in the world except our region. Larger than the whole population of Pakistan, label of minority looks ridiculous on Indian Muslims. It has only benefited their corrupt leaders.They should merge into the mainstream and earn their rightful place on merit. South Indian Muslims don’t seem to have this problem. I have seen amazing examples of close friendships and lasting business partnerships between non resident South Indian Hindus and Muslims. 🙂
What will the writer say if a non-Muslim was appointed the Vice Chancellor at the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Millia? He will be among the the first to bleat about the Indian state not finding even one Muslim qualified for the post at these ‘Muslim’ heritage institutions.
What’s wrong with India sending a Muslim ambassador to Saudi Arabia? Nothing.
Moaning and groaning in behalf of Indian Muslims does not sit well with someone representing a country that came into existence on the basis of a so-called sacrifice theory—a sacrifice of the ‘minority’ Muslims for the sake of the ‘majority’ Muslims. It does not take much to see that the Muslims in India have done far better in many ways than Pakistani Muslims. For one, they have not gone around killing each other in the name of sectarian or other claims of superiority and purity.
The broader point Mr. Naqvi is making that the opportunities
for Muslims are limited to a few specific areas such as
ambassadorship to Saudi Arabia.This begs the question
why not ambassadorship to USA or France. My sense is
that the envoy to Saudi Arabia is a show boy to create an
impression in that important but conservative country that
Indian Muslims are given opportunities. Indian muslims
doing good in India is rebutted in Sachar Commission report
which paints a gloomy picture of their conditions. They may be
a little more secure than their counterparts in Pakistan at present.
That doesn’t say a lot. You have lowered the bar. It is time for
the Indian government to abandon the politics of symbolism
in favour of leveling the playing field for all. Educational
opportunities will help. The access is very limited.
As an Aligarian I would welcome the appointment of
non-Muslims eminent educationist as the vice-chancellor
of the university. The appointment of retired or near retirement
Muslim IAS and military officers doesn’t serve the university.
Educationist with a vision for improving the quality of teaching
and research is most welcome. IAS don’t fit the requirement.
There were 3 muslim Indian ambassadors to US (Asif Ali, Abid Hussein and Ali Yavar Jung) and 1 muslim ambassador to France (Ali Yavar Jung)
Some of the Indian Ambassadors to the USA.
Asaf Ali (1947-1948)
M. C. Chagla (1958-1961) Muhammadali Currim Chagla)
Ali Yavar Jung (1968-1970)
Abid Hussain (1990-1992)
A minority that is carrying out a demographic aggression against the majority cannot be innocent. Merely increasing the population-component does not entitle you to a greater share of everything. A muslim’s loyalty cannot be to India. Islam wants to exterminate non-muslims and the muslim is an agent/tool of this goal. Anyone who denies that is lying. A muslim’s loyalty is to arab imperialism.
I appreciate Saeed Naqvi’s disappointment at the treatment of Muslims in India. He must remember that there are over Fifty Islamic countries where Muslims of Non-Muslim countries would be welcomed. It is Sad there there is no Hindu-Sikh-Jain-Zoroastrian Country where the prosecuted or disadvantaged Minority Communities of the Muslim Countries in General and Pakistan & Bangladesh in Particular could find refuge. Mr Saeed Naqvi should consider himself lucky that he has the World at as feet whereas the Hindu-Sikh-Jain-Zoroastrian have no Country of their Respective Religion to go to. Peace
While agreeing with Gautam there is one more dimension. Why Muslims are like that?
It is not limited to India. They are even so in Pakistan which is a promised land for Muslims.
The reason is they are victim of their religion. Hindus were once also victim of Brahmanism, with all its greatness, and philosophical depth, nowhere to be found, the rulling Brahmins created havoc in society. They will put mercury in eyes/ears of lower caste if they listen Scriptures.
Islam in present form suffers from same anachronism. Muslims are, if religious restless as they find out of tune with Modern day. If they are not then they are anti-Islam. That causes even more problem to deal with uncertainty of LIFE.
On top there is deep fear of their GOD. So they have no way to move forward. They are forced to be religious or follow political dictats of the time given by uneducated MULLAHs.
They don’t belong to Arab, Syria, Pakistan, Indonesia or anywhere they are, just neurotic that ISLAM should be there where they are living. If in minority, increase the no. If in USA, ask for equality, but will never say that same should be in Islamic countries.
If They are in ARAB they will look for upheaval as something can be described that it is not according to shariat, which is again free for interpretation.
>SO the baseline is the pervasive “restlessness” which is somehow quenched with upheaval under name of Islam.
There is a simple solution, make country secular as India did. Put all religios scholars behind bar for 10 years and let people grow economically so that can fight the fear of god. In absence of alternative they will keep struggling as they are since 100 years.
Other society will keep growing and resentment will be even more among muslims.
I am confused as to what you are trying to get at? I agree that Muslims needs to be treated as equal in the country. But is that only the fault of the govt alone? In the absence of any constitutional related suppression, shouldn’t the status of the minorities in the country be the responsibility of the minorities as well? The Sachar committee report also talks about other minority communities in the country. Shouldnt there be an effort made to understand the reason for the stark differences between the status of the largest minority of the country and the rest?
If congress govt managed to ban Satanic Verses, Reverse Shah Bano case, Haj terminal, on whose behest did they do so?
Ask yourself a serious question, if today the govt decides to reverse it all, what do you think the backlash would be like? Just the thought of having a civil uniform code had the community in uproar.
Looks to me like the community and its leaders have a lot to answer for themselves. How about intellectuals and leaders like you do an introspection and work on integrating the community with the mainstream first?Even you can see the positive outcome of that.
If Muslims in India feel that insecure and neglected as the writer points out, they are most welcome to move to the paradise called Pakistan provided they have a one way ticket. As a Muslim, I have no sympathy with the likes of my fellow brothers and sisters who prefer to sit on their behind and complain about their plight. India provides much better life and opportunities for young Muslims provided they are fully educated and ambitious to advance in any profession of their choosing.it is unlike Pakistan where crime, internal terrorism, ethnic and religious killings, discrimination against minorities, personal insecurity, intolerance , poverty, power failure, inferior health and education facilities and religious extremism are part of the daily life.
“The leadership banned Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, reversed the Supreme Court judgement on Shah Bano, delayed upgradation of relations with Israel citing Muslim anxieties. In every instance, what profit for the Muslim? ”
Really? Please….How many of you stood up and said please don’t ban the book? How many of you fought for Shah Bano?
If equal rights and equality means so much to you and your community, why not demand uniform civil law?