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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

AIMIM turns 50: Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen's role in Hyderabad and AP politics

The AIMIM, a political party based in Hyderabad, has completed fifty years of its existence and a big celebration was organised to mark the occasion two days back.

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.

Due to its strong presence in Old Hyderabad, the Majlis that sends 1 MP to Lok Sabha, 5-6 MLAs in the AP Assembly and has presently 36 councillors in the 100 member Municipal Corporation, does hold considerable clout in Andhra Pradesh, which could be termed as disproportionate to its vote share in the State.

The fact that the Capital city of Hyderabad has nearly 40% Muslim population is MIM's stronghold, helps the party in maintaining its clout. Even though Majlis' cadres are considered trouble-makers and the fact that educated Muslims in the State often don't approve of the party's style, it has played a role that is worth study.

The focus on Muslim issues specially Waqf properties, education and civic issues is much more in AP than in any other State and the party is responsible for that to a large extent. But it must reinvent itself, improve upon its image & become more inclusive.

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).

Compare this to UP that has 11 Muslim MPs and 19% Muslim population or West Bengal that has 25% Muslims where encroachments on Waqf properties, opening of schools or hospitals are hardly a subject of discussion. And one can understand the success of Majlis as a political movement.

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.

On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the party, its chief Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi said, "We have done what others could not do. The number of Muslims is less in Andhra Pradesh when compared to Uttar Pradesh and other states, but our achievements show that numbers alone do not work and it is the determination which is required.”

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]

7 comments:

haris said...

majlis ithihad to join IUML and strengthen to the minoritys voice

Anonymous said...

What minority crap? Muslims are in majority where the drama happen(s/ed). What is the trouble with you Muslims?

Anonymous said...

25%of population isn't minority.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sarthak Ganguly said...

Though it doesn't indulge in politics of hate - hahahahahahah lolololol.

Pathetic article.

editor said...

Sarthak ji, you have pointed out well. This was written long ago, much before Akbar Owaisi's speech.

saddam shaikh said...

Har insaan ka ik dil hota he aur agar koi is dilko dukhaayae to insaan marte dum tak use nahi bhulta narendra modi killed many muslims in godhara kaand aur ye sirf dil dukhaane ki nahi dil chir dene vaale baat he hum muslims ke liye.. aur woh chaahte he ke hum unhe vote de agar aesahi he to hum kisiko vote nahi denge muslim he muslim ka saathe denge.. AIMIM I SUPPORT YOU FROM MY HEART aur Aaakhri dum tak INSHAALLAH....