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Remove concept of minority, says JNU's ABVP Muslim face
Wednesday September 10, 2014 11:59 PM, Shradha Chettri, IANS

The concept of minority should be removed in India as it creates ill feeling among people of different communities, said Md. Zahidul Dewan, the Muslim face of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who is contesting in the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student's Union (JNUSU) election.


Dewan is also a staunch proponent of "Hindutva", an ideology that he feels has been misinterpreted, and says he would work for Hindu-Muslim harmony.

“I strongly believe that the concept of minority should be done away in our country. This creates a kind of ill feeling among people. Remove this concept of minority, but yes take initiative and promote those people who are educationally and culturally backward,” Dewan, 29, told IANS in an interview.

“Give them education and help promote them, but having this tag of minority is not good,” said Dewan. He is contesting for the post of vice president and is pursuing Ph.D. in Hindi literature from this prestigious university that has an international standing.

He is completing his thesis on comparative study of Hindi and Assamese literature.

Dewan is the second Muslim candidate to be fielded by the ABVP, a student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, since 1998. It was in 1998-1999 that ABVP first fielded a Muslim candidate. The candidate at that time lost the election. But Dewan this time is confident he will win the post.

The JNUSU election is slated for Sep 12, when the university students union will elect its president, vice president, general secretary and joint secretary.

A strong believer of “Hindutva” as promoted by his parent body, Dewan feels that the concept has been wrongly interpreted due to which the RSS has got a bad name.

“Hindutva is not associated with religion but it is about promoting language and culture and bringing a feeling of harmony. This has been wrongly propagated and people need to understand this concept,” Dewan told IANS.

Coming from Barpeta in lower Assam, Dewan has seen communal violence since a very young age.

“Whether it be Assam, or Muzzafarnagar, two communities do not fight without any reason. Violence is ignited by some vested interests or people who want to derive political mileage from such clashes,” he said.

Having been drawn to the ABVP since he joined the campus in 2011, Dewan said whether it be RSS or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both are very clear about not playing vote bank politics.

“This was the main reason that drew me to ABVP,” he added.

“The Left-wing All India Students Association (AISA) tries to garner votes in JNU by indulging in vote bank politics. They say Muslims are getting exploited. At least ABVP does not do that,” added Dewan.

With ambitions of making a career in politics, he wants to change the mindset of the people.

“I can become a professor and teach people, but then my reach will be limited. However, if I get into politics, I can always reach a larger number and help bring about change in their mindset. I want Hindus and Muslims to live together in perfect harmony,” he said.

“No political party can move forward by talking about just one community. They have to take all of them together,” Dewan said.

(Shradha Chhetri can be contacted at

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