Note To Intellectuals: Secularism Or Inclusiveness Cannot Be A One-Way Street

Note To Intellectuals: Secularism Or Inclusiveness Cannot Be A One-Way Street Anti-CAA protests (Wikimedia Commons).
Snapshot
  • Those advising Prime Minister Modi to 'reach out to minorities' must note that a rapprochement is possible only when both the sides are agreeable.

A lot of positive thinking intellectuals expect 'inclusiveness' from Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his dealings.

Here, the 'inclusiveness' is with regard to the Muslim community. The latest such 'intellectual' to give this advice to the Prime Minister is known economist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar.

In an open letter to Modi, he has given a series of 'suggestions' on inclusiveness and appealed to PM to follow the 'inclusive' path, suggesting that his government is following an 'exclusive' path with regard to Muslims.

Some of the suggestions are, of course, meaningful, particularly his take that economic growth also depends on ability to manage social conflict.

But what is missing in the letter is any such advice to the minority community, particularly the extreme Wahabis or Pan-Islamists in the community represented by extremist elements in movements like Deoband-Tablighi Jamaat and Ahle Hadis, whose exclusive outlook is far more dangerous for the nation then those of the fringe elements in the Hindu community who are repeatedly targeted by these intellectuals.


The letter ignores the exclusivity of Pan-Islamist groups and Modi government's good work for Muslims

There are two things missing in Aiyar’s letter which are glaring — his unwillingness to appreciate the good work done for the minority community by the Modi government’s Ministry of Minority Affairs under MA Naqvi and the total absence in it of any advice to the Pan-Islamists elements whose often camouflaged activity is actually the root cause of the exclusivity of a fringe elements in Hindu community.

Aiyar’s letter gives an impression that Muslims are under siege in the reign of the Modi government, while the actual situation is different.

The fact is that the work done by the Minority Affairs Ministry for the minority communities, including Muslims, is better than in the UPA government, which had actually floated the Minority Affairs Ministry.

The scholarships being awarded to studious Muslims students is, perhaps, the highest ever.

The employment opportunities provided to the Muslim community through Modi’s government’s scheme — HunarHaat — are immense.

In this scheme, skilled artisans are given a platform to sell their products and enlarge their sale base.

Actually, when Modi assumed office in 2014, there was intense pressure from many Sangh Parivar elements to close the Minority Affairs ministry as the RSS doesn’t believe in making distinctions between Hindus and Muslims when it comes to governance and saw the Ministry as part of Congress’ Muslim vote-bank politics.

But against this, Modi retained the Ministry and has tried to turn it into a handle for true development of the community.

It is astounding that none of the 'intellectuals' who advise Modi to become 'inclusive' have ever taken note of it.

Rapprochement is possible only when two sides are willing

Aiyar’s letter is basically about 'rapprochement' between the Muslim community and the Modi government-BJP duo after the gaps between the two increased following the Shaheenbagh movement.

But rapproachment is possible only when both sides are agreeable. Are the extreme Wahabis or Pan-Islamists, who were the main directors of the Shaheenbagh movement, and galvanised large parts of the Muslim community to create a false Muslim victimhood scenario by spreading wrong information amongst Muslims about the CAA and the NRC ready for a true meeting of hearts?

Plans of pan-Islamists and motives behind Shaheenbagh

Significantly, the Pan-Islamists dream of turning India into a Muslim majority country in less than 80 years from now through population explosion (read Indian demographics, a book by JK Bajaj and M Srinivasan).

Shaheenbagh was set up by them to defame and fix Modi and Amit Shah for the blows they had delivered to the Pan-Islamist's Islamist targets by winning Assam, Uttar Pradesh and then removing Article 370 from J&K and facilitating the Ram Mandir judgement and creating obstacles in their long cherished dream.

The only mistake that BJP, Modi and Shah committed here was they didn’t garner the support of the moderate elements in the community represented by the Barelvis or the Sufis, who were willing to wage the battle against the Wahabis on even the Shaheenbagh issue by siding with the ruling party.

And the number of Barelvis remain very significant in spite of the rise of the Wahabi movement due to the Deoband school — over 55 per cent in the Sunni Muslim community are still Barelvis who believe in Dargah worship unlike Wahabis who see it as a Guru-puja import from Hinduism and condemn it.

Is Aiyar aware that there is an exclusive book called Taqwiat-ul-Iman being taught in all Wahabi Madrassas for the past more than 150 years which is seen as a stepping stone to Muslim separatism?

I suggest Aiyar and all other 'intellectuals' who advise the BJP to become inclusive read the English version of the book which denounces customs of all non-Islamic religions and condemns Sufism or dargah worship as the worst sin in Islam.

Aiyar has advised the Prime Minister to inaugurate the public facilities of the upcoming mosque in Ayodhaya.

Not wrong advice. But would the Muslim leaders, particularly the extreme Wahabis, agree to that? Aiyar has also not taken note of the fact that the main Muslim petitioner for Babri masjid was invited to the Ayodhara foundation laying ceremony of the Ram Temple and he even attended it.

'Intellectuals' must decide whether they want to stand by Pan-Islamists or moderate Muslims

Actually, Aiyar and other 'intellectuals' should appreciate that for the first time in the history of independent India, there is a government that doesn’t believe in appeasement of any particular community and doesn’t discriminate on the basis of religion.

This has happened after decades and decades of Muslim appeasement, which was the main cause of India’s partition. Congress’ Muslim appeasement had then become fodder for the Muslim League, resulting finally in the birth of Pakistan.

Winds of geo-cultural nationalism have begun to blow even in Pakistan where the statue of Sikh emperor Ranjit Singh has been installed at the behest of both Sikhs and Muslims in Lahore while a similar demand for installation of the statue of Raja Dahir has come from a small set of Muslims in Sindh.

This indicates a fight between 'inclusive' Islam that takes note of its proud non-Islamic past and exclusive Islam which condemns it.

The 'secular' Indian 'intellectuals' will have to decide whether they want to promote 'inclusive' Islam or exclusive Islam that fabricates a false Muslim-victimhood narrative as part of its Pan-Islamist strategy.

In any case, secularism or inclusiveness can’t be a one-way street.

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