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Monday, June 01, 2009

Should there be more Muslim ministers in cabinet?


For the last couple of days, there has been a clamour among sections of Muslim intelligentsia and Urdu press regarding the poor representation of Muslims in the cabinet.

In 'letters to editor' column of half-a-dozen odd Urdu papers published from Delhi , there are readers expressing their dissatisfaction over the lack of Muslims in cabinet. I don't agree with this demand for more Muslim faces in the ministry.

Agreed that Muslims did vote for Congress and that in the last cabinet we had several senior Muslim leaders, but I don't think it's so important to have more Muslim faces in the cabinet.

I would any day prefer a visionary minister who is able to conceive schemes for wider public interest and is able to implement them, rather than having a duffer minister who is sole qualification is that he belongs to my caste or community.

Yes, many young Muslims have been elected to the Lok Sabha. Someone complained that just like Agatha Sangma, the other young girl from Maldah, Musam Benazir Noor, could also have been given a ministry or Qaiser Jahan from Uttar Pradesh.

But shouldn't these newly elected representatives first work in their constituency? They are novices and should first go to the constituency and try to develop it, or at least, understand the constituency, the problems of the area and make efforts to bring developmental projects.

An MP who works in a constituency is more needed in this country that has a plethora of problems at every level. It will be helpful to the politician also, in the long run. We have had dozens of Muslim MPs in parliament and non-performing Ministers in the past parliaments. But till date the socialist Congress leader Rafi Ahmad Kidwai is remembered for his role as agriculture minister during the food scarcity, a crisis which he efficiently sorted out.

If someone is as efficient then it's prudent to push his case. In fact, it's mostly non-Muslim leaders and MPs who spoke and took initiatives for the overall good of the community. I would any day prefer a Pranab Mukherjee who represents the Muslim-dominated Jangipur (West Bengal) who tried to understand the problems of bidi workers and saved nearly 4.5 lakh jobs (mostly Muslims), over any other Muslim MP or minister.

And what would an ordinary citizen (or even Muslim) get if a Muslim becomes a Minister and the figures goes up from 5 to 6-7 or even 10. No riots, development for all, pro-poor policies irrespective of caste or community, justice and equality is what is needed. Not creamy ministries for a few.

Due representation as per population is a factor for every group of populace but those raising the issue should rather focus on 'representation' when it when it comes to school enrollment, jobs and opening of primary health centres in Muslim-dominated areas (where the imbalance is much more severe and needed).

Interestingly, many of the turncoats who were out of touch with reality lost. Shahid Siddiqui tried to spread the canard that Indian Muslims were against Nuclear deal. However, he lost the election from a constituency that has over 40% Muslims apart from a huge Dalit electorate, though he was fighting on BSP ticket.

There are five Muslim Ministers in the central cabinet including Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid, Sultan Ahmad and E Ahamed. Three of them are seasoned politicians, two of them having served in the cabinet before. Let's see what they are going to do.

Meanwhile, my earlier post on 'Less Muslim MPs but no regrets' published on this blog a fortnight back (on May 18) has found resonance elsewhere. Telegraph published a similar story a few days later (on May 24), 'Fewer MPs, but minorities' don't mind'.

16 comments:

Saif said...

I agree with you bro'.Secular ministers, who are pro-development and those wish for all-inclusive growth are a better choice then alley-goons even though Muslims on any given day.
Nice & thoughtful post ,as always!!!

Ye manzilen !! said...

Amen brother...good points.

!!! said...

"There are five Muslim Ministers in the central cabinet including Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid, Sultan Ahmad and E Ahamed. Three of them are seasoned politicians, two of them having served in the cabinet before.."

Just curious..which two did u not consider seasoned enough :-)

On a more serious note - this whole idea of having ministers in the cabinet based on whether there is enough Dalit, gujjar, jat, sikh, muslim, yadav etc representation sucks... and should be banned. Unfortunately there is no way to ban it...

This whole me-my-caste syndrome goes into are enough tickets given to each caste, and then back to vote-bank politics...Oh..this constituency has X% of Y caste voters - so we need a Y caste candidate. Even if he is a criminal - doesnt matter. Tough to say which came first - the mindset of voters to vote only for their caste or the mindset of parties to prop candidates based on caste maths...

Sandeep Monga said...

Absolutely right

JaLpArI - tHe MeRmAiD said...

:) :) :) :)
Tum jiyo hazaro saal ye meri hai aarzu . . .
God bless you
:) :) :)
Jazakallah Khair for this beautiful post :) :) :)

indscribe said...

Saif, Ye Manzilein, Sandeep Monga, Jalpari...thanks

@ !!!: I meant Sultan Ahmed and Salman Khurshid in the sense that they have never been ministers before. Farooq has been J&K CM.

!!! said...

Come on...Atleast Salman Khurshid an old timer when it comes to being in governance...He has been minister before...
Actually weird that he didnt become Cabinet minister this time...

How do we know said...

lovely post.. rational and sensible. Very true.. ppl shld be rewarded for performance.. ONLY.

mohammadshamim said...

Alas, as you say, most of them are Muslims as a brand. Pure brand. Fat cats who are as inept and corrupt as any.

These Muslim ministers, old ravens, are not who can challenge their Govt and other national institutions to treat Muslims at par with their Hindu brothers, are not someone who can uplift poors and side tracked Muslims, can fight Maharashtrian racists, eradicate communal elements of the country, bring fair participation of Muslims as a community to work for the the great country India, and, can beat Modism.

They are just plain Ministers,hierarchical, stinking and obnoxious.

a rashid timol said...

Yes, anybody who has some knowledge about working of these so called muslim Ministers would rather have Kapil Sibbal, Kamalnath to represent Muslims then inefficent people with muslim names.

Krishna said...

"I would any day prefer a visionary minister ----- than having a duffer minister who is sole qualification is that he belongs to my caste or community."
"than having a duffer minister who is sole qualification is that he belongs to my caste or community.
Not creamy ministries for a few."

Now that's true secularism. Not equal representation (quotas) according to caste or religion as some would want us to believe.

Anonymous said...

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PRIYANKA (i dont think that i need to write Dubey as well)

J P Joshi said...

A very sensible and refreshing post. Congratulations for speaking out for the vast majority of Indians... we surely need a cabinet that delivers... irrespective of what is the personal belief of the ministers.

Zaman said...

I would prefer good and honest ministers who works for the India's progress and respects all relgions to a Muslim minister on any day.

I think it is bullshit to say Muslim minister or Hindu minister. It is better to say good minister or bad minister. I would prefer good governance rather than any religious or caste etc. representation

Anonymous said...

why we need more muslims in ministries. What they have done ni the past that we may look at them in future. As said in post, we need ministers who are working for minorities and nations interest. If we think that we can develop by antagonising the majority community, then its not possible. We need to be partners in the development of the nation, cant always keep on begging for the more share in the development.

ProLogicP said...

Interesting comments!!! Living in USA - far away from home and for a long time (about 18 years), I kept in company with a specific type of folks, most of all of them are Phds. But when I started reading these blogs, realized how far we have come as a nation (hindu, muslim, chritian or budhist). There are so many enlightened souls out there who understand clearly that our pride is in being Indian, good Indian and eventually GREAT INDIAN! Things will change and will be better, only thing I can think of is, be respectful to each other, only then others will respect you. Muslims need to compromise and appreciate all the greatness of Hindus and vice versa. Only then we can truly great. Trust me - when we fight, other laugh at us and look down on us. They don't care if you are Hindu or Muslim. Hence, for God's sake, forget all these anachronous ideas and be united and together and appreciate each other....