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Muslims safe under the BJP fold - The Observer

Firoz Bakht Ahmed ()
January 3, 1998

Title: Muslims safe under the BJP fold
Author: Firoz Bakht Ahmed
Publication: The Observer
Date: January 3, 1998

Being the grandson of Maulana Abulkalam Azad, I greatly feel
aggrieved at the political fluidity and quagmire this great
country has, of late" been thrown into by the pseudo-secularist
Congress. What is still more ironic and tragic is the fact that
at a time when Indians are basking in the glory of their 50th
year of Independence, the Centre does not have even a stable

Congress, an enigma that had its say for almost half a century
after the country got freed from the clutches of the firangis,
has virtually lost its credibility.

It is not the Congress of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Maulana
Azad and Sardar Patel.

It has been reduced to a gang of opportunistic self-seekers who
have been eating into the entrails of this great nation in the
name of tags like secularism, 15-point programme or the so-called
appeasement of Muslims.

Congress misguided the minorities that BJP was a party going for
the jugular of Muslims.

In fact, it was Congress that had been inflicting heavy losses on
this backward and beleaguered community by never paying heed to
their real problems of ghettoism, falling academic levels and
economic backwardness.

Congress, taking Indian Muslims for granted, treated them as
their vote-bank without redressing their wrongs and always
entangled them in emotional religious issues like the Babri
Masjid impasse, Shah Bano case, Jamia, Salman Rushdie etc.

Today's enlightened Muslims can't be taken for a ride and the
game of Congress is up.

Today's Muslim youth has understood that his existence is linked
to that of Hindus and that he can't live in his own ghetto.
Muslims have to befriend BJP and its allies and strive to create
paths of understanding. Even the Sangh Parivar has members who
are truly secular and blanched.

India has saner Hindus than Muslims. The great fascinating fabric
of Indian unity in diversity is still held intact owing to Hindus
who are tolerant, considerate and believe in peaceful

Muslims must understand that Hindus in India form the majority
and that their sentiments are to be respected as was also
mentioned by the Imam of Kaabh (Mecca) who was here a couple of
months ago.

How would Muslims feel if some one occupies Mecca? Same is the
case with Hindus and if they demand that the place of their
greatest and dearest god be handed over to them, it must have
been done in a much dignified manner by Muslims rather than
giving the credit to Narasimha Rao and the RSS revellers.

It also goes to the credit of the Babri Masjid imbroglio that
their rabble-rousing leaders, who have been fanning communal
fires out of emotional issues, have all been side-lined.

What is of paramount importance is that Indian Muslims need a new
and broad world-view through which Hindu-Muslim relations in this
multi-religious, multi-cultural India can be reconceived and

Indian Muslims want dedicated and youthful leaders as they are
fed up of their rabble-rousing, sabre-rattling leaders who have
merely filled their coffers through lip-service that has amounted
to rabid communalism paving way for an equally fundamental
attitude on the part of the majority community.

Like other Indians, Muslims too desire a stable, coherent and
strong rule at the Centre free of communal divide, caste-based
politics, regional imbalance, economic disparities and confusion.

Having observed the BJP ruled states, it can clearly be analysed
that, amongst the masses, BJP has firmly cemented its credibility
that, from a mere two seats in Parliament, it has made a quantum
jump to around 200 within no time. For Muslims, BJP is now no
more an untouchable. In fact, it never was.

Need of the hour is that educated, progressive, devoted,
absolutely secular and apolitical Muslim join the mainstream
through BJP and pave the way for a more united, prosperous and
stronger India.

In fact, Indian Muslim should have done this way back, which
would not have allowed Congress to hoodwink them.

As in Maharashtra, BJP must continue with its slogan of 'taleem,
tijarat aur tarbiyat' (education, trade and training). These are
the basic needs of Indian Muslims that need to be heeded. As
Congress hasn't delivered the goods over the last half a century,
Muslims of India pin hopes on BJP that they would be led from the
present squalor to enlightenment.

That BJP has begun thinking in terms of augmenting Muslims'
strength in Parliament and assemblies is a good omen for the
community. Today, the younger Muslim seeks avenues to express his
or her aspirations and finds the platform of BJP ideal.

It has seasoned statesmen of the calibre of Atal and Advani, who
are the present day Gandhiji and Pandit Nehru. They are on the
verge of freeing India from a corrupt and defunct Congress. In
their call to invite Muslims to assist BJP, the party stalwarts
must take care that the party doesn't follow the Congress
strategy of attracting some showpieces from the clergy or
intelligentsia. People who have a clear conscience and are not
opportunists must be welcome to the fold of the BJP.

If BJP is able to win the confidence of a larger chunk of
Muslims, landslide victory is assured for it. It goes without
saying that Muslims of India want efficient governance. The men
at the helm of affairs of the BJP must keep one thing in mind -
they must never in any case have any equation with certain Imams,
Maulvis and other Ulema who are 'well known' for their wheeling
and dealing for selling the Muslims. If BJP caves in under such
pressure, a Muslim layman will think twice before exercise his

BJP is the only party that has a clear idea about its goals and
knows how to achieve them, especially after the party has
projected the moderate face of Atal Behari Vajpayee who has
diluted the Mandir plank, moving from purity to plurality that
has, of late, endeared it to the Indian masses, including not
only Muslims but secular Hindus as well.

Muslims of India must publicly vote for BJP that both of them can
mutually merge into each other for a stronger India.

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