|Muslim auto-wala embraces BJP!|
There is nothing unusual in that, as the sight of BJP flag, posters, its symbol or colours, are now commonly seen on Muslim shops, establishments, buses, cars and other vehicles.
Once it was impossible to find a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) flag at a Muslim household. Now it no longer looks odd, at least, in Central Indian states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Gujarat*. [In Gujarat, reasons could be entirely different though]
It is not like UP where people often put the flag of a ruling party just to avoid unnecessary police checking or scrutiny at traffic posts/toll booths.
Here, no traffic cop stops or lets an auto-rickshaw go just because it sports a particular party's flag. But rise of Muslims in BJP ranks has been an astonishing phenomenon during the reign of Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh [and Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh].
With BJP no longer appearing fiercely anti-Muslim, Muslims are joining it. In all Assembly constituencies, BJP leaders are being given task to get more and more Muslims join the party. Lot of Muslims who liked getting this attention or those small-time politicians who didn't get place in Congress used this opportunity.
First, the BJP that always castigated Congress for courting minorities, reluctantly started inducting Muslims at middle level in party hierarchy. BJP's minority morchas [branches or wings] were getting strengthened. Issues and problems pertaining to Haj, Waqf, Mosques, Pensions and Salaries for Imams-Muezzins were getting raised by its leaders also.
Like Congress-walas, BJP also had begun iftaars long ago. The 'chadarposhi' at Mazars and organising Qawwalis or Mushairas also became a regular sight. Naturally, Muslims at different level, started coming close to the 'Saffron' party. BJP has more banners in Urdu now.
Had there been no Gujarat carnage, Muslims would have probably begun voting for it long back. Still, the last few elections sprung surprise in MP, when in Muslim dominated parts of many cities and towns votes went to BJP candidates. That surprised even the party.
|Wazire Aala, isteqbal: Urdu in Hindi script|
So 'Sammelans' [conventions] targeting Muslims were held. Even die-hard RSS hats were seen wearing green 'saafas' and donning the 'topi'.
Perhaps, one of the reason was that local leader was not too different from a Congress-wala. Then, there was also a feeling that BJP has become invincible in this part and is trying to win us over. So what's the use of remaining aloof just because it is 'BJP'.
The party leadership now keeps urging and exhorting its workers all the time to get as many Muslims as possible to party fold, get them sensistised about BJP ideology and tell them that the party is not against Muslims, so that the BJP could reach the threshold.
People sympathetic to BJP often say that it is because of Congress rule, Muslims got backward and hence Muslims must shun their preference for the 'hand'. Muslims are not opposed to Saffron [Zafran in Urdu]. In fact, this was considered the Sufi colour.
The saffron-green symbol on the auto that is taken from BJP's flag, can in fact, signify the Hindu-Muslim composite culture. While being Congressman is no certificate for secularism, the problem with BJP is that it has an umbilical cord with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and is part of the parivar--particularly, Bajrang Dal and VHP.
These groups have enough lumpen elements who not only dislike but also hate Muslims. Can the party rein them in? One wishes that the BJP could be sincere in its approach towards Indian Muslims. It should understand the reality.
Even otherwise, thousands and thousands of Muslim workers are joining different wings of the party, and probably they will also make the BJP change a lot in the years to come. Time is changing: From 'Khuda Hafiz' to 'Allah Hafiz' [this expression means goodbye] and from 'Congress to BJP'.
What's the problem in being optimistic? I have written a few posts on this issue earlier also. Read one of the posts published on this blog in the past here. Read it: When the burqa gets Saffron band, BJP and Indian Muslims.