It is good that there is change in
West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Mamata Banerjee and
Jayalalithaa have rooted out the nonperforming communist and the
most corrupt DMK-Congress alliance from their states.
Importantly, out of 294 assembly seats Muslims won a significant
59 in WB. In the outgoing WB assembly they were only 46. This is
20 percent representation in the house where Muslims have 25
percent share in the state population. TMC has 25 Muslim MLAs and
Congress has 15, remaining 19 are from the Left Front.
Thanks to All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) for an
impressive win of 18 candidates, including 2 non-Muslims and one
woman. Assam has also sent a high figure of 28 Muslims this time;
in 2006 they were only 25 in a 126-member house. Muslim
representation in the legislative assembly reached to 22 percent
this time where they are 31 percent of the total population. 16
are from AIUDF alone, 8 from Congress, one from Assam Gana
Parishad (AGP) and one independent.
Similarly Kerala has also improved Muslim representation in this
assembly election from 25 in 2006 to 36. This is 26 percent of the
140-member house, interestingly one percent more than their
population share in the state of Kerala. Indian Union Muslim
League (IUML) has alone sent 20 MLAs to the house.
It would be interesting to see how they are actually going to
perform in the next five years. The Muslims are most backward in
West Bengal and Assam. And hold on, numerical superiority is no
guarantee of actual performance and sometimes a lesser number even
A political analyst from the United States of America applauded
the success of Maulana Badruddin Ajmal led AIUDF in Assam. He
observes, ‘this is the way to go for Muslims in Indian politics.
Form a secular party, control it and include non-Muslims in it. I
hope Muslims in other states especially UP follow this example’.
Indeed Maulana Badruddin Ajmal not just deserves congratulations
and compliments for this stupendous feat, at a tough time when his
own – Arshad Jamiat had deserted him owing to Congress
manipulation, but also for showing the way forward to Muslims in
rest of the country.
An interesting fact is this, that most of the successful
candidates in the AIUDF list are not regular, run-of-the-mill
politicians but real representatives of the community. At least
four ulama – three of them huffaz, three Qasmis and one mufti, are
to be found in this list! This shows that you do not have to give
up on your values and community's interests to succeed in
One of my friends puts it in simple way and said, ‘this is the
most significant electoral achievement for the community since
independence. Muslim organizations, leaders and intellectuals must
come together to build on this. Right lessons must be drawn from
the remarkable success we have registered in Assam, West Bengal
Muslims are worst off in West Bengal as compared to other states
of India, and even Gujarat fared better! The percentage of Muslims
is very low in government jobs and the ever increasing ‘poverty’
among them too is visible to the sympathetic eye. Albeit credit
must be given for the absence of communal riots but it is an open
secret that violence is a part of Bengali life. All this upset the
chances of the ‘secular’ Left, who never tired of singing the
Muslim song only in its 34-year-long tenure in the state but the
Muslims along with general voters have got an alternative to try
their luck — they pushed the EVMs smartly this time and showed the
Left its way out.
Remarkably Mamata Banerjee, a post graduate in Islamic History
from University of Calcutta, is a product truly made in India –
self made. She is not the daughter, sister or wife of a famous
politician. She is today where she is all on her own merit. This
feisty woman is a good example of true feminism, for her no crisp
cotton saris, a la Sonia style and without any trace of make up on
her transparent face. Even her worst detractors are now saying
that, we will follow Mamata's style of protest!
On the other side – Ajmal, a simple graduate from Darul Uloom
Deoband, besides being a son of a rich man – Haji Ajmal Ali, has
no political patrimony to inherit. His assets are his undying
labour and being with the people in need, even when he has not
dreamt about knocking the door which opens to politics. His
advantage is his strong faith; he is a silent fighter against all
India needs more such Mamatas and Ajmals… to remain away from the
self-proclaimed protectors of minorities such as the Congress
which stabs them in the back time and again. Mamata and Ajmal are
refreshing breath of hope for the common Indian as well as the
‘deprived’ Muslims. They need to perform well to keep the light of
hope burning and alive.
Qasmi is editor Eastern Crescent and director of Mumbai based
Markazul Ma'arif Education and Research Centre. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org