The outcome of the recent assembly elections in Maharashtra is surely a sign of changing times. Against odds, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen won three seats. The result meant that Owaisi brothers have finally succeeded in expanding the party’s base outside its stronghold in Andhra Pradesh.
Fighting elections in the name of religion is nothing new in India, neither is the exploitation of a persecution complex in minorities. What’s new is the emergence of a Muslim led and governed party. It reflects the level of dissatisfaction of the Muslim minority with mainstream political parties.
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SADIA DEHLVI is an Indian author and activist. Her most recent book is ‘The Sufi Courtyard: Dargahs of Delhi’. Her first book was ‘Sufism: The Heart of Islam’. In a telephonic interview with Inam Abidi Amrohvi, Muslims Today, Sadia speaks on Sufism, women’s rights and Indian Muslims in general.
How satisfied are you with the progress of Indian Muslims during the last 20 years or so?
Well that’s a very tough question because lot has happened during the last two decades, and I think Muslims have progressed a lot.
When I was growing up, I remember, there was hardly a Muslim middle-class. Just after the partition when we had the landed elites and the poor, you never came across Muslims who were doctors, lawyers, engineers, young politicians, etc. I distinctly remember, I had gone to boarding school in Shimla and I was the only Muslim girl there.
When I look now, I see that things have changed a lot for the better. Today, you see a whole new generation of Indian Muslims who are educated and empowered in the true sense. They are engaged in sports, film industry, media, legal, arts and medical profession. So there has been a tremendous growth during the last twenty years, undoubtedly. But, on the other hand it’s not good enough. We should have progressed much further and become a bigger part of India’s growth story. A lot needs to be done at the grassroot level. You know there are many issues at stake. I find that there is a tremendous thirst for knowledge, to work and be financially independent, in the poor people I work with in the Muslim community, especially amongst the women. So there is a tremendous change in their mental attitudes which is a good sign. They want to progress and are looking for opportunities. Unfortunately the opportunities are not enough. Read the rest of this entry
I COULD not resist the desire to write on this subject after the violence at Azad maidan on August 11, 2012, in Mumbai, and the competitive politics this event led to among rightist and identity seeking political parties in Maharashtra.
Now is the most appropriate time to analyse why certain sections of Muslims indulged in violence. What motivated them and why they directed their anger against state institutions and media?
First and foremost, I condemn the violence in the most strongest terms. Now comes the question, as to why it happened. On the surface it appears that certain sections of Muslims are unhappy with state institutions in the way they handled Bodo-Muslim clashes in Assam. Thousands of Muslim homes were burned by Bodo militants in order to drive them away. Many innocent people died in the clashes and government of Assam was lax in taking action against culprits.
In Burma, too, there was a massacre of Muslims and the government of India stood silent. Read the rest of this entry