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Hyderabad: A prominent Muslim scholar Prof Anwar Moazzam has questioned the common notion that the dearth of an effective Muslim leadership in India was the cause of the socio economic backwardness of the community and stressed that resolving of the problems of one community or group should not be the sole responsibility of the elite of the group but it should involve collective efforts by all.

 

Prof Anwar Moazzam, former head of the Department of Islamic Studies, Osmania University, Hyderabad was delivering a lecture on “The Changing Political Culture in India and the Indian Muslims” in Hyderabad. The third Khaleelullah Hussaini Memorial Lecture was organized by the All India Majlis-e-Tameer-e-Millat, a socio religious organization.

 

Moulana Hussaini, an orator par excellence was the founder of Tameer-e-Millat and a stalwart among Muslim leaders to emerge in Hyderabad after independence.

 

Questioning the myth of Muslim leadership, Prof Moazzam said, “this whole concept is based on three assumptions: firstly there are certain problems that specific to Muslims only, second these problems are essentially political and third therefore they can be raised and advocated and resolved only by Muslim leadership. All the three assumptions are faulty on several counts”, he said.

 

“The politics and socio economic development of a community following a particular religion has nothing to do with its faith as such but is an integral part of the political mainstream and the socio economic development of the country as a whole”, he said.

 

Prof Moazzam said that these misconceptions of linkage between a religious group and its leadership has led to abortion of all moves for the emergences in the country in post independence era of a normal secular approach and methodology for the development, planning and priorities.

 

“The familiar communalization of all Muslim related issues got more aggravated by western manufactured, so called threat of Islam to democracy and world peace. “These elements have produced alarming developments- emergence of a political culture in India that is reluctant to treat the Muslim related issues as national issues and second , this culture in turn forcing the Muslims in to a mindset of insecurity and defensive behavioral mode.”

 

He referred to the usage of phrases like Islamic terrorism, Islamic terrorist groups, sleeping Muslim terrorist cells and Islamic fascism, by the media, Prof Moazzam said that thse labels have been gratefully added to the already rich communal vocabulary of the Parivar’s anti Islam and anti Muslim hate campaigns.

 

He also faulted the political parties including the Congress and non BJP parties for believing that religious elite of Muslims, including Shahi and non Shahi Imams represent all secular interest of Muslim people in the country.

 

“The political history of independent India shows that the Muslim people’s of India – about 15% of the total population- had been treated by all political parties and point of view not as part of Indian civil society but as something special- a separate religio political community, different from the other minorities”, he said. This communalization of the issues and problems of Muslims proved to be a great disservice to the community, he said.

 

He also pointed out stark difference between the Muslims of North India and South India in their thinking and socio political behavior.

“The Fatwa free South Indian Muslim societies have been for the last four decades, buildings themselves up on firm grounds of modern educational and socio economic mutual help institutions”, he said.

 

He also dismissed the notion of Muslims in India being a homogenous, uniform, unidirectional and fanatically religious community and said that the myth was created by vested communal interests for the last several decades. He also questioned the theory of Muslims being a one vote bank who play the role of king maker by voting en-bloc. Going by the numbers of Muslim voters, and also the diversities with in the Muslim societies, it is impossible, he said.

 

“No all Indian approach can succeed in Muslim political participation. Each Muslim society has to formulate its own political policies and plans keeping in view its state or regional situations”, he said.

 

“It is high time that Indian Muslims start thinking and planning for building up a powerful secular society in India so that ample space in available for the full-fledge development of all religious, linguistic and cultural identities”, he concluded.

 

In his presidential remarks, the Tameer-e-Millat President and All India Muslim personal law president Abdul Raheem Qureshi said that while the diversity among the Muslim across India was a fact, what strengthens their solidarity with each other was the strong sense of discrimination.

He rued that the ideologies were dying in all the political parties. He recalled that against the rise of communal forces, once Congress leaders had launched movements to counter them. “But you don’t see any such movement now. On the other hand the Congress has been admitting leaders like Shankar Singh Vaghela in Gujrat, who was part of RSS and Sanjay Nirupam in Mumbai who was with Shiv Sena and Samajwadi party admitted Kalyan Singh”, he said.

 

Abdul Raheem Qureshi strongly defended the demand for reservations for the Muslims in the country rejecting the argument that there was no place in the constitution for the religion based quotas.

 

“in the original draft of the constitution, reservation for the minorities was mentioned and Dr. Ambedkar had accepted it. But later KM Panicker changed it to reservation for backward classes promising that it includes minorities”, he said.

 

Qureshi also argued that even the reservations for the Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes was also based on reservation.

 

 

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Readers 's Comments:

I dont expect anything from Salman Khursheed. He is just a show-boy. I
would have preferred if Ms. Mallika Sarabhai or Mr. Harsh Mandar had
been the Minister for Minority Affairs. The perception that only a
Muslim can resolve problems associated with Muslims is cardinally wrong
and flawed. We need good people - thats the bottomline. People who dont
talk (empty vessels) but do solid work silently. Congress will (can) not
do anything for fear of a Hindu backlash (fear that RSS will unleash
communal riots thru-out India). The message of reservations for muslims
must be taken to the hearts and minds of hindus. The congress cannot
take up this challenge., this intellectual challenge. Who is there on
behalf of congress to explain the case to the nation ? There is not one
bi-lingual speaker who can articulate the case. A very sorry state of
affairs, indeed. Its cuz of this Congress Party that the hate-canteen of
BJP/RSS/Abhinav Bharat is thriving and booming !!! 
 
Sat, June 13, 2009 5:38 pm
 

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