Thursday, March 27, 2008

Of our so-called Muslim leaders in Congress: The leadership thrust on Indian Muslims

*Salman Khurshid, the modern and liberal Muslim face of Congress in UP
*Mohsina Kidwai, 'veteran' Congress 'leader
*Ahmad Patel [Fourth term in Rajya Sabha, courtesy his closeness to 10 Janpath]
*Ghulam Nabi Azad who had never won a major election but remained a blue-eyed boy of top leadership

These are just a few names to begin with. Most of them are suave, sophisticated and educated. Salman Khurshid* can't easily win a Lok Sabha election.

I am not upset with him because he hardly ever utters a word of Urdu [or even Hindustani], as many point out, and speaks the most Sanskritised Hindi, among political leaders.

Of course, he is the grandson of Zakir Hussain. I have no personal issue with him except that one hardly gets to hear anything from him on any any issue [not taking about Muslim issues alone].

Mohsina Kidwai, hasn't won an election for ages. She has little credibility in the state she comes from. After all, either its riots or killings like Maliana, one never heard her voice. She is in Upper House, a Rajya Sabha member, elected not from UP but Chhattisgarh.

Muslims fail to understand why consistently these 'leaders' are forced upon them. Why should leaders who don't have any following be given posts or kept as show pieces. Either replace them with popular Muslim leader or remain the posts unoccupied.

In UP, Muslims do have much more trust in Pramod Tiwari and Sri Prakash Jaiswal and their secular credentials than these Muslim leaders. Lately there were several issues but did anybody hear them leading any movement or even their voice.

1. Either it is the arrests of persons like Haji Ishtiaq, Aftab or similar arrests in which police had to later accept that it had wrongly caught innocent persons or framed them on false complaints, such Muslim leaders remained mum.

Rather, the Loktantrik Party, Samajwadi Party and Ajit Singh, who raised these issues.

2. When madarsas were blamed for all the ills and seminaries are defamed, where these leaders go hiding? Or if they speak, why we don't we get to hear their voices. After all, what's their job if they can't even speak?

3. Muslim youths who are arrested in various parts of UP who have no legal support due to the unprecedented decision of Bar Associations to not fight any case in which police has accused a person of terrorism.

Himself a lawyer, Khurshid could have tried for a mediation. Now, Muslim lawyers have come together to fight the cases of youths, who are framed and are languishing in jails. Again it is getting communalised, which is not a healthy sign.

4. Clergymen Khalid and Tariq, who are alleged to be involved in militancy, have been languishing in jails. Everybody is claiming that they are innocent and were framed. The Government has ordered a judicial inquiry.

There have been reports of Muslims clergymen subjected to torture, forced to drink liquor, given electric shocks and made to undergo the most unpleasant things to make them 'confess'. For months they are in custody and police have failed to substantiate its charges.

The police story fell flat as it claimed they were together on a mission and were caught with ammunitions but hundreds of people have petitioned that there were caught separately, from different places and at different hours.

5. Forget such issues. Ever heard about any effort to provides basic civic amenities or movement for health facilities or education in this backward state.

Salman Khurshid's favourite pastime was training his guns on Mulayam Singh Yadav during his tenure has UPCC chief.

Where are these leaders. Nobody expects them to deliver fiery speeches but they can take up issues and try to resolve them. But they are never seen or heard. I wonder what they do. And many other Muslims like me also wonder. What's their use? Is it just for their Muslims names do they survive!

Don't forget Najma Heptulla, who has the most unique political life, just by virtue of having some sort of a kinship with Maulana Azad, and when she grew too big for he boots and was dumped by Congress, she continues to be in Rajya Sabha with the BJP support.

Can she win a corporation election on her own!

Act or at least speak, on any issue, where it involves Muslims or not. But they are greats, they do know this art of survival. And the parties seem to love them.

[*Update: This article was written long back. Now Salman Khurshid has won a Lok Sabha election. Best of luck to him. One hopes that he will raise issues concerning the common man, and also the Indian Muslims and prove this humble blogger wrong.]