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
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
“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
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.