Need to ponder why non-Muslim electorate get united, victory of BJP candidate means the utter neglect of Muslim areas

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
The ghost of the ex-Vice President, Hamid Ansari rant will follow the Muslim community for a long time. The biggest tragedy for Indian Muslims is that they have lost their faith in their leadership. At the time of leaving the Vice Presidential post, the way, Hamid Ansari let down not only the Muslim community but the entire Diaspora of Indian ecumenism and equanimity, it was appalling and awful for all those who cater to the voice of sanity.
The way Ansari toed the tone of intolerance and the tenure of the rudderless Muslim leadership, he lost his credibility with all those toeing the voices of reason.
Uttering such venomous views will be harmful for the already beleaguered Muslim community. Truth is that this kind of Muslim leadership has lost both its voice and utility. Indian Muslims have been victim to an irresponsible leadership which is bent on keeping the community in subjugation by concentrating on emotionally sensitive issues as was done by Ansari.

Rudderless Muslim Leadership

These so-called Muslim representatives have ruined their followers emotionally, socially and educationally. Has anyone heard an iota of grudge from the Sikh, Christian or Parsi communities against their leaders? Never! Why? They are sincere not only to their community but even people outside it. More often then, not ours are interested in feathering their own nests owing to their ambitions solely materialist. s are being pushed to the dark bottomless hell of ignorance owing to the obscurantist attitude of their netas who think they are accountable to none.
In this ghettoized situation emerged the churlish political middlemen as interlocutors for communities picking on sensational issues that would apparently tighten their stranglehold on the people they pretend to represent by diverting the attention from real bread and butter issues. Shah Bano, Babri Masjid, Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie etc are not the real issues. Bearing on the real problems of the Muslims. Utter educational backwardness in women’s education, social stagnation, communalization of the police force and absence from the mainstream were never addressed by these self-appointed interlocutors with the same emphasis as the Babri Masjid, Salman Rushdie or Taslima Nasreen.
This leadership has completely failed to understand the aspirations of the youth aiming for excellence for an enlightened future. A desire to compete rather than grovel and grope for quotas and special favours, passion for the modern education, questioning the clergy and coming out of the veil, are now some of the altered ground realities for the Muslim youth who have all been disillusioned by the likes of Ghulam Nabis, Najma Heptullas, Ahmed Patels, Salman Khurshids etc.
During every election, it has been proved that all of them are power-brokers indulging in pernicious vote-bank manipulations acquiring state patronage themselves and subjecting and finally leaving the community at the mercy of God.They have harmed the cause of the community by haranguing to defeat the BJP candidate by voting for the “secular” candidate. 
In the process, non-Muslim electorate get united and the ultimate win of the BJP candidate means the utter neglect of Muslims’ areas (which should not be as after victor all voters are to be treated equally). It doesn’t happen and the BJP candidate become revengeful — it’s human nature. Muslims must understand that in politics, nobody is untouchable but they vote for the Congress or the so called secular parties as if it were mentioned in the holy Quran!
Afflicted by utter educational backwardness, the administrative apathy and political expediency, the Muslim community in India has been cajoled by almost all the politicians but mostly by the ones from their own fold. These opportunist leaders have been crying hoarse merely indulging in lip-service both inside the parliament as well as outside it.
This is not all; battered by the populist rhetoric and provocative militancy of its myopic and ill- educated clerics and shallow youth, the country’s second majority (not minority!) stands at cross roads. Even the ones from the clergy are indulging in petty mindedness characterized by an extremely narrow and irresponsible outlook completely out of tune with the existing reality. Such leaders are not seriously interested in dealing with the genuine problems of the community. 
It can be seen that Muslim leaders, clerics and even petty politicians are becoming richer and richer day by say while the people they represent, are languishing in their ghettos and their institutions like the medium schools, madrasas, khanqahs, maktabs etc, have all been reduced to obscure dungeons firstly by the blatant neglect on the part of community and secondly owing to the communalist fringe in the administration. For the last 65 years they have been exploited by the politicians of various hues views.

Ansari toed intolerance harangue

It appeared that Ansari toed the line of the inebriated intolerance regiment. Both, the remark that he was concerned about the apprehensions of insecurity amongst segments of our citizen body, particularly Dalits, Muslims and Christians as well as the timing, were incorrect.
Nobody would buy Hamid’s harangue that Muslims are scared in today’s ambience as this community isn’t scared of anyone including the RSS, BJP, Shiv Sena or VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) or anyone else except Allah. May be Hamid Ansari was scared that he might not get a third term, as a President and hence the invective.
The greatest harm that Hamid Ansari has done to the Muslim community is that in the echelons of power, now nobody would trust Muslims. It is a beautiful culture of India that there has been a Muslim President or Vice President after the independence to bear witness to India’s thorough secular credentials. By the way, this doesn’t mean that the author believes in the Hindu-Muslim bogey. It must not be the Hindutva card, Muslim card or Dalit card but the one and only one — India card.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi did give him a fitting reply stating that after retirement fro the post he went back to his roots, meaning Islamic roots! This is incorrect as Islamic roots are not what were exhibited by Hamid Ansari. In fact, in the light of his immature remarks, Ansari was seen as a communalist, like the Owaisis, the Ghulam Nabi Azads, the Azam Khans and others of the same ilk. Truth is that Islamic roots are also all encompassing — just like the pluralistic essence of Hindutva, if interpreted rightly.
Ansari, who takes pride in his family tradition of being the scion of freedom fighters and of his association with the Congress party, should have known that it was Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, who when advised by Sadar Patel at the time of Partition on August 13, 1947 that Pakistan was going to be declared as the Islamic sovereign republic, it was time to declare India a Hindu nation, Nehru refused. He told Patel that India was like a bouquet in which people from different faiths came together emanating a fragrance that spoke of her secular credentials. Ansari must have taken a leaf or two from Nehru.
As Ansari’s tone and tenure was unjustified and ill timed, its impact results in the backlash like what happened in the case of Kafil Ahmed, the doctor who was punished for getting two cylinders from his own account to save the lives of some children in the ill fated Gorkhpur hospital. Rather than being rewarded, he was punished. Rather than seeing what task he has accomplished, he was judged by who he was!

Creaking doors may close on Muslims

People like Hamid Ansari, Owaisi etc, are too responsible for this apart from the communalists in the Sangh. All this while, especially the last three years of his life, Ansari must have tried to build bridges even with the fringe right winged leaders like Praveen Togaria, Sakshi Maharaj, Giriraj Singh, Vinay Katihar etc using his influence as the Vice President in the right direction. He has also put a full stop on the uplift of people like SY Qureshi, Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah, Arif Mohammed Khan etc as potential Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates!
Now, no wonder, whatever creaking doors were opened upon Muslims might be slammed upon him only owing to the unripe statements of Ansari. People may not now trust the Muslims anymore, thinking that they are like Ansari.
While Ansari has been in the office for two terms, he never uttered anything as offensive this one. When he saw his term nearing an end and that an impossible third term was denied him, he became a disciple of Owaisi. Muslims in India are not afraid of Modi government but of the opportunistic Muslim leaders like Hamid Ansari.
For centuries on Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians of India have shared in common customs on the occasions of birth, death and marriages. They should realize that the centuries old tolerant milieu of India is the creation of the Hindu sages in ancient times, which predates the arrival of Muslims and the birth of Sikhism in India.
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*Columnist and educator, grandnephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

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