The party that is mostly confined to Hyderabad and some other towns of Andhra Pradesh, is often in the news for protests and the 'ability' of its cadres to bring Old Hyderabad to a halt on any issue (or non-issue).
It's name clearly suggests that it is a party to secure the interests of Muslims. And though it is generally not viewed favourably in media and other sections of the society, it's a unique case in our political system.
The Majlis' success lies in the fact that it makes itself heard and that is one reason that minorities' issues are seriously taken up by governments in Andhra Pradesh that has barely 8.5% Muslim population and just 1 MP (Asaduddin Owaisi).
It was undoubtedly a colossal challenge to run the party that had a communal history after independence and in the backdrop of police action. Though Majlis had changed its party constitution, there was still pressure on its leaders to disband the party and many of them were jailed. Ultimately the party survived and by 70s began to acquire political power.
Quite true. He recalled that it was impossible to talk about rights of Muslims in the decade after independence and said that his party not just got political power but also built hospitals and educational institutes".
The Kul Hind Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen or the AIMIM has grown stronger over the years though there was a major challenge from the breakaway group of Amanullah Khan who launched his Majlis Bachao Tehrik.
The fresh challenge is from the editor of Urdu daily Siasat, Zahid Ali Khan, who along with the support of two other prominent dailies, Munsif and Rahnuma-e-Deccan, has launched a campaign to 'expose' AIMIM. The Majlis has started its own newspaper Etemaad to counter the so-called propaganda.
Zahid Ali Khan is likely to float a political party and take on Majlis. The Hyderabadis, whom I know, say that Khan's appeal is more among the intelligentsia and the educated lot while Majlis has strong connection at the grassroot level.
The party does need to improve upon its image. Though it doesn't indulge in politics of hate, its' politics and aggressive behaviour (attack on Taslima Nasrin) isn't liked. Whether MIM leaders would like it or not, in most of India it is viewed as a smaller and Muslim version of Shiv Sena, which is ironical as Thackeray's party is far more notorious and incomparably fascistic besides its cadres' involvement in killings during riots.
Though Majlis remains strong, its success is in no way exemplary. It is just a special case in our very special democracy. There are Cities and districts in India that have similar (or even more) percentage of Muslims ranging from Rampur to Moradabad and Bhiwandi to Firozabad, but nowhere else is such a phenomenon existent, apart from IUML in Kerala.
What Indian Muslims do need is that our leaders, irrespective of caste and community, take up genuine issues of Muslims. After Independence, it was Pt Nehru whom Indian Muslims considered as their own leader.
We don't have leaders of such stature. But still, it is either Bahuguna, Jagannath Mishra, Arjun Singh or Mulayam Singh who Muslims trusted more and voted for than any Muslim leader--of the likes of whether Shahabuddin or Salman Khurshid.
[Photos: Majlis Ittahadul Muslimin rally to celebrate 50 years and MIM MLAs courtesy Hyderabadonline at Flickr]