the BJP's landslide electoral victory, some of the country's leading Muslim
leaders wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The signatories
included All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMLPB) member Kamal Farooqi and
Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind leader Mehmood Madani, and they sought confidence building
measures from Modi.
welcomed two significant speeches made by the PM-the first at the BJP's Delhi
headquarter on May 23 where he appealed to his party men to win the trust of
the minorities, adding 'Sab Ka Vishwas (winning everyone's trust)' to his 'Ab
Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas' slogan.
speech, Modi had charged the Congress party with taking the minorities for a
ride by creating a fear psychosis in them and excluding them from the fruits of
development. The letter suggested a new beginning between Modi and the orthodox
relationship between Prime Minister Modi and the Muslims has been a contentious
one, chiefly because of his reputation as a Hindu hardliner who presided over
the 2002 Gujarat riots while he was chief minister of the state.
different sections of the community perceive Modi differently. The more purist
faction, comprising the followers of Deoband and Ahle Hadees schools of
Islam, are opposed to Modi. The Barelvi School, on the other hand, have made
overtures to Modi, the BJP and the RSS for a few years now.
members of the community have reconciled to the current ruling dispensation has
been confirmed this election. A marginal shift was seen among Muslim voters,
with the Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) survey
revealing that 8 per cent voted for the BJP and its allies (nearly double that
of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls). The trickledown effect of the Modi government's
welfare schemes including housing, free gas cylinders and education
scholarships were also perhaps a reason for this.
key highlights of Modi's first term was the landmark ordinance against triple
talaq, though it was stalled by the opposition in the last Rajya Sabha. On June
12 this year, the Modi government signaled its intent to pass the Triple Talaq
bill in the term of this Lok Sabha.
As part of
the outreach, a day before, on June 11, the Modi government also announced a
special scholarship scheme that would cover 50 million Muslim students. The scholarships
are for pre-matric, post-matric and professional and technical course studies.
The scheme, spread over the next five years, is meant to teach students modern
subjects like mathematics, science and geography. Another scheme is meant to
train and appoint professional teachers in the madrasas.
50 per cent of the scholarships will be reserved for Muslim girls as the PM
feels women should play a major role in any social or community reform.
the scholarships, the Modi government is trying to create an atmosphere of
healthy inclusive growth by eradicating the disease of communalism and
appeasement politics," says Union minister for minority affairs, Mukhtar
Abbas Naqvi. "Our approach to the minorities is based on the three Es-- Education,
Employment and Empowerment."
special measures have not been exactly greeted by hurrahs by the Sangh Parivar,
particularly the RSS bodies who see these steps as part of minority
appeasement. These outfits are the same ones who opposed the continuation of
the 'minority affairs ministry' started by the previous UPA government to
implement the Sachar Committee recommendations of reservations for Muslims.
the Sangh still believe the Sachar panel recommendations were flawed and bolstered
the Muslim victimhood theory.
Parivar believes it was this false Muslim victimhood theory aimed at getting
concessions for the community to the cost of the majority community which led
to the Partition in 1947. Had the Congress not appeased Muslims during the
freedom movement by supporting the pan-Islamic Khilafat movement, the Sangh
believes, India's partition would not have taken place.
though, views these issues through a more modern lens. "The prime minister
thinks modern times call for a modern strategy to tackle the problems in the
Muslim community," says a minister in the Modi government. India has the
world's third highest Muslim population but has the least troubles as compared
to Muslim countries in West Asia and Pakistan. This is because of the influence
of India's syncretic culture on the Muslim community.
is to side-step the Muslim leadership and sows the seeds of modern thought in
the community. To this end, the new measures like student scholarships and
teaching modern education in madrasas are enabling moves, necessary to wean the
community away from fundamentalist theology.
Parivar sections counter this by saying that there have been any numbers of
cases in India and the world where educated Muslims have taken to Jehad. Modi's
advisors, though, differ on this. They point to how the total number of Muslims
who joined the terrorist ISIS outfit from India is extremely few.
compared to 2014, parts of the Muslim leadership too looking for a compromise
in their ties with the Modi-led BJP government at the Centre. Indeed, even
orthodox preachers like the Darul-Uloom Nadwatul ulema like Salman Nadwi have
now come around for an amiable stand on the Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir problem.
But on this
issue, the prime minister has indicated his preference to wait for the Supreme
Court verdict. How his government handles the apex court verdict is likely to
be a touchstone of its relations with the minority community.
Source: The India Today