Growing up in Kanpur, an impression prevailing among people was that we, the Muslims, become useful only during elections. With a peek at the indices of socio-economic progress, one realises that everyone has failed the community, because it is perceived to be merely a vote bank.
Indian Muslims vary from place to place, holding myriad points of view from sect to sect. So, I have a huge problem when we homogenise the community, as I know the narrative is proceeding in a very pitiable political direction. Muslims have long been political slaves of the Congress and other wannabe secular parties. The Congress has a lot to answer for as it was the so-called rehnuma, or messiah, of the Muslims. It is something that makes me very angry because this is fake conciliation, a patronising attitude of the party that has resulted in this brand of thinking. Look at the kind of diabolical appeasement that has gone on; it is shameful. The average Muslim has only suffered.
In fact, a large section of the community has been failed repeatedly since the Shah Bano times by the Congress. The only party that has an unambiguous stand on instant triple talaq is the BJP. So, if there is one party that has not failed the real marginalised, the downtrodden among the Muslims, it is the Bharatiya Janata Party. There is the Srikrishna Commission report, which talks about the institutional bias implicit in the system irrespective of the Congress or the BJP, and which is present in various agencies such as the police and others.
Then we have the Sachar Committee report, which talks about the microcredit facilities, healthcare, school dropout rates, literacy levels and sanitation. With a study of these, you realise that it is the Congress and the avowed secular parties that are most at fault, and this has led to the worst economic and social indicators for Muslims. If you look at the representation of Muslims in government jobs, Gujarat scores far higher than Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, or West Bengal. These are matters one should ponder over.
Just before the previous Lok Sabha elections, Congress leader Salman Khurshid pitched the idea of a quota for Muslims. But Muslim-only beneficiaries and Muslim-only workshops alienate the community further, perpetuate their victimhood and relegate them to a state of subservience.
What the BJP is doing through its policies such as ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ is ensuring there is no discrimination on the basis of religion. But to say a few such schemes are only for Muslims is something the party will not do. And even if it did, that wouldn’t help the Muslim cause, because they would be struck down by the Constitution, which prohibits any kind of special treatment based on religion.
Muslims benefit if people benefit. And because many Muslims are on the lowest rung of the ladder, socially and economically, they stand to gain more. When there is less corruption, when there are direct cash transfers, and when the leakages in the public distribution system get plugged, the intended recipients get the benefits. So, when you look at best practices for income distribution or welfare schemes, Muslims end up benefiting more. Another key aspect is that the middlemen are out of the system now. There has not been a single case of deliberate discrimination in any of the schemes at the policy level related to education, employment, skill development, housing, or medical care.
Whether it is the RJD, BSP or — particularly — the Congress, what have they done after so many Muslims got killed under the watch of these so-called secular parties in so many riots? There have been no communal riots under the BJP regime and the indices of Muslim representation are much higher in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh than in the non-BJP ruled states. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
While the avowed secularists want to defend the Afzal Gurus and the Tiger Memons of the world, the BJP has its eye on the Muslim woman or girl who has been thrown out of her house without any assistance for her three children. The BJP is looking at the craftsman and the artisan. It is aiming to ensure better microcredit facilities for a Muslim rickshawallah. The idea is to focus on good governance and prevention of leakages in the system. Because that benefits everyone: the poor, the Hindus, the Muslims. So, as long as there is no discrimination of beneficiaries, of welfare, the BJP has not failed the Muslims.
The author is a BJP spokesperson
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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2019 13:07:35 IST