India’s newly-emergent Muslim protesters treat the ‘secularists’ as merely ‘useful idiots’.
If they choose to vote for them, the reasons are purely tactical.
In February, Delhi’s Muslims voted overwhelmingly for Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in order to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But even as the 'secular' intelligentsia was busy reading this as the arrival of a new central force in Indian politics that combines 'soft Hindutva' with secularism, Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh protesters and Tamil Nadu’s Thowheed Jamath (among others) have given the lie to this thesis.
A few days ago, Kejriwal’s government banned more than 50 people from congregating in the same place in order to prevent the Covid-19 virus from spreading. The Shaheen Bagh dadis refused to listen, and one handler of the dadis said Kejriwal’s orders don’t matter. “We have been waiting for the hearing which is scheduled for March 23 in the apex court so we will not comply with the Delhi government’s orders.” Kejriwal can take a walk.
But it isn’t as if the protesters will listen to the Supreme Court either. In January, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) rejected the idea that the courts can rule on religious affairs, including on whether women can enter mosques or not. They said the same when the matter of triple talaq was being decided by the court.
Nor have the protesters been willing to heed the advice of friendly media and other backers of their protests. The same voices that once extolled the virtues of Shaheen Bagh’s allegedly 'peaceful' protests are now calling for an end to the blockade of roads in Delhi, but their pleas (see here, here, here, here and here) are falling on deaf ears.
There is only one conclusion possible when Muslims are neither willing to listen to the 'secular' leaders they voted for nor to their vociferous media backers: India’s newly-emergent Muslim protesters treat the 'secularists' as merely 'useful idiots'. If they choose to vote for them, the reasons are purely tactical.
Indian Muslim politics is now entering a new phase that is a throwback to the pre-1947 era, when the most vocal supporters of the idea of Pakistan were Muslims from provinces in which they were a minority. Seen in this context, the slogan “Jinnah wali azaadi”, raised at Shaheen Bagh a few weeks ago, and the display of portraits of Jinnah at Aligarh Muslim University in 2018 take on a new meaning.
‘Jinnah wali azaadi’ implies two things: one is a reiteration of the two-nation theory even after India has been partitioned once along religious lines. Another is the rejection of Indian 'secular' politics. The same Muslim masses who handed Jawaharlal Nehru’s “Congressi Mussalmans” a resounding defeat in 1946 by backing the Muslim League are now intending to do the same in post-partition India. The partitioning of the mind has begun once more.
The joke is really on the 'secular' parties. They have to introspect and decide whether they want to remain 'useful idiots' and help the rise of Islamist identity politics, or they will genuinely become secular, speaking only on secular themes.
For the BJP, which likes to pursue mild Hindu identity politics, this is both an opportunity and a threat. As a party which has nothing to lose from the recent Muslim alienation from 'secular' politics, it can convert itself into a truly Hindu party and then seek out Muslim parties it can do deals with without compromising the core of Hindu interests. What it cannot do is to induct token Muslims faces in its ranks and presume they speak for Muslims in general.
What neither the 'secular' parties nor the BJP can afford to do is to cave in to Muslim aggression and intimidation. The Indian state has suffered a lot from Dhimmitude, where it bows to intransigent Muslim demands following public intimidation and violence.
The latest evidence of Dhimmitude came from none other than the Supreme Court, which, instead of ordering the removal of Shaheen Bagh protesters for occupying public roads, sent interlocutors to reason with them. These interlocutors then did their own Dhimmi acts and copped out.
Dhimmitude and useful idiocy on behalf of Islamist causes is not the way forward for India politics. The Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens are merely excuses to further the cause of Muslim identity politics.