Saturday, May 22, 2021

Role of Dr Abdul Jaleel Faridi and his Muslim Majlis in Uttar Pradesh, Muslim politics of North India


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

As we talk about Muslim politics and leadership, the role of Dr AJ Faridi and his party, Muslim Majlis, we need to first recall the circumstances that led to the formation of the party. 
We must remember that it was the series of communal riots post 1961, especially, Jabalpur riot, and inability of government to act, which led to creation of All India Muslim Majlis Mashawrat, a national platform.
Also, despite promises, Opposition, PSP or Swatantra Party leaders didn't raise issues in Parliament, Assembly or even show real concern. Dr AJ Faridi had floated party in this backdrop in UP.
Many people may not be aware today but Dr Faridi's Muslim Majlis was not just an experiment, it helped change the political atmosphere in North. 
In regions, towns with historical Muslim presence in all spheres, where Muslims felt besieged and powerless, the party boosted morale of Muslims, as far as organising rallies, events, protests was concerned [as even that had become difficult in the prevailing atmosphere].
The 'custodian' and land related issues, series of riots, PAC's excesses, many other serious issues were there, apart from growing bias in bureaucracy, denial of jobs, status of Urdu. Hence, Muslims had withdrawn from politics.
It was not about winning a few seats. They spoke, they were on streets, they made alliances, brought the community back in political arena. The fact that Dr Faridi was an eminent doctor, a specialist when TB was a dreaded disease, it helped. Even CM Sucheta Kriplana went to him.
Most of the prominent leaders whom we know including those who came up in seventies and eighties, learnt the basics of politics from Dr Faridi or initially contested on seats allocated on Majlis' quota in alliances. Either Azam Khan or Alam Badee'a Azmi, who won on MM quota from Azamgarh in late 1990s.
How people learn from experiments is important. Point was simple. You can't get things done if you are withdrawn or you don't have your own voice. If you see in vote percent or seats, you may not be able to see how it happened on the ground. 
But it's there, known, part of history, as it happened after the controversy regarding University character and the disturbances that impacted results in elections in 1962 Aligarh. BP Maurya's victory had stunned Congress as well as other parties, it was due to Muslim support. This was also a lesson. Politics, local factors.
For example, Chaudhary Charan Singh's views, the drastic change and his totally different views after 1960s, how it happened, and how it affected UP politics. You can't measure it in seats. But many see it as 'his style of politics'. No. He didn't say that you just ally with one set or leave another set.
The photograph of Zulfiqarullah, Fazlulbari and other members of Muslim Majlis in UP, after courting arrest against Moradabad killings, are examples of how the party because of its being an independent outfit, able to protest, not take 'permission' from high-command before issuing a statement or planning an agitation. 
Those who can't read Urdu books and are not aware of this long period of struggle, can read Mr Ghazali Khan's article to have an idea about Dr Faridi and Muslim Majlis in UP. Political parties are needed, that's the bottom line. The photograph above, courtesy Mr Ameeque Jamei.