Why do the Owaisi brothers turn contemptible towards the idea of India every now and then?
It is because the Shi’as have no prospect in Indian politics. They manage to get a seat or two sporadically in some corners of the country where Muslims have totally given up on other parties that practise minority politics.
But to ensure even those few seats, these Shi’as have to go over the top; they have to sound more rebellious, belligerent and outrageous. There is no other way they can make some Sunnis vote for them.
The controversy over
the slogan “Bharat Mata ki Jai” (Victory to Mother India) refuses to
die, as columnists of some standing continue to fill editorial space
with arguments for and against the motion in broadsheets.
The interesting point to note in this debate, however, is why several Muslims who were till the other day up in arms against Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s “Vandemataram” have suddenly turned around in support of the nationalists and against Asaduddin Owaisi and Majlis-s-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen’s opposition to the contemporary slogan “Bharat Mata ki Jai”? Why is the objection not so vociferous this time?
It is not because the Owaisis are descendants of Razakars (volunteers) who fought against the Union of India to keep Nizam’s Hyderabad independent and these Muslims were against the Razakars in that fight.
Communist Muslim and lyricist of Bollywood Javed Akhtar, for example, who spoke in favour of Bharat Mata ki Jai recently in the Rajya Sabha, had called the invocation of Hindu deities in Vandemataram “rabid” even while maintaining that there was no problem with the remaining stanzas of the hymn that we now call the National Song. “There were two stanzas of strong religiosity in this song. When talks arose of making Vande Mataram a national anthem, it was pointed out by rational elements that the novel was anti-Muslim. The Congress decided to take out the two rabidly religious stanzas and the rest of the song was retained. The controversy ended there,” he had said to Hindi film journalist Subhash K Jha in the year 2009. While the stanzas in Chattopadhyay’s hymn that are not included in the National Song do invoke forms of goddesses, drawing an analogy with a viral disease transmitted generally through bestial bites is atrocious.
Such Muslims have found virtue in Bharat Mata ki Jai, which is essentially no different from Vandemataram. It is because the Owaisis are Shi’ahs. Sunnis, the majority, hate them [less than 15% of all Muslims in India are Shi’as].
But why do the Owaisi brothers turn contemptible towards the idea of India every now and then? It is because the Shi’as have otherwise no prospect in Indian politics ― even within the realm of Muslim politics in India. Their party may manage to get a seat or two sporadically in some corners of the country where Muslims, who determine the outcome of elections, have totally given up on other parties that practise minority politics. But to ensure even those few seats, these Shi’as have to go over the top; they have to sound more rebellious, belligerent and outrageous. There is no other way they can make some Sunnis vote for them.
Therefore, the younger brother Akbaruddin Owaisi says that Muslims could eliminate Hindus from India if only the police were to look the other way just for 15 minutes! His obnoxious speech is received with a huge round of applause by the Muslim crowd he addresses. Remember how such Muslims mourned the hanging of Mumbai bombing convict Yakub Memon and participated in his funeral in large numbers. One may recall how Muslims held the Azad Maidan and the city of Mumbai to ransom under the aegis of a self-styled outfit called the Raza Academy for a reason that had nothing to do with India — treatment meted out to Rohingya Muslims in Burma/Myanmar. One may also call to mind the violent protests following the hanging of Saddam Hussein in Iraq — again an issue that had nothing to do with the nation-state of India.
In Maharashtra, these Muslims have traditionally supported the Samajwadi Party. But their years of support to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s party, they believe, did not bring the expected goods to their community. When they were looking for other options, the MIM emerged on the scene and attracted their attention with hate speech. Waris Pathan, the MLA who has been suspended from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for refusing to chant “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, is a product of this brand of politics.
Take hatred for Hindus out of Owaisis’ politics, and they will not be able to remain leaders of even a neighbourhood of Hyderabad, which is their hub. Before them, their father Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi had tried hard, but couldn’t extend the MIM’s influence beyond the Muslim-dominated locality of the then capital of Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana). His father (Asad and Akbar’s grandfather) Abdul Wahed Owaisi was the president of the MIM till his death in 1976; he hadn’t met with a huge success in politics either.
The Nizam of Hyderabad, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan, was the brain behind this MIM. He had ordered Nawab Mahmood Nawaz Khan Qiledar to launch this party. Its ideology was to establish the legitimacy of an independent Hyderabad, which would be a Muslim dominion free of India. After being formed in 1927, it slowly turned pro-Pakistan—at the time just an idea of a separate Muslim homeland. Due to the convergence of ideologies, Bahadur Yar Jung, who had become the party president in 1938, decided to ally with the Muslim League.
The going was good for the separatists until Qasim Rizvi became the supreme leader of the MIM in 1944 and the control of the party slowly moved from Sunnis to Shi’as. Then, even as the MIM mobilised 1,50,000 Razakars to fight against Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s endeavour to unite all princely states with the Indian Union, the Sunnis from the rest of the country were not impressed. On his part, Rizvi favoured Shi’as to Sunnis, too. After he was arrested in 1948 and jailed till 1957, he was told he could be released only under the condition that he would leave India. He chose to go to Pakistan that offered him an asylum. Before leaving, he handed over the reins of the party to another Shi’a — Abdul Wahid Owaisi, a lawyer and grandfather of Asaduddin and Akbaruddin. Ever since, the MIM has been a political organisation where Shi’as rule the roost with the Owaisi family as its dynastic head.
Such a Shi’a party MIM’s rise would threaten the stronghold of Sunni leaders in Muslim pockets. This has unnerved the pseudo-secular brigade and established Muslim politicians alike.
So, Hindus who are celebrating speeches of the kind Javed Akhtar delivered in Parliament are stupid.