Around 5,000 clerics, Imams and Islamic scholars from all over the country assembled in Deoband of Uttar Pradesh to deliberate on issues related to demolition of mosques and the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) during a two-day session organised by Ulema-i-Hind on May 28, were shocked to see tears rolling down the eyes of chief of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind Maulana Mehmood Madani, lamenting that the Modi government was treating the Muslims with disdain and had turned blind eye to the hardships Muslims were facing in the country under his regime. While the two-day congregation called upon the Muslims to observe March 14 as ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’, the most important resolution it adopted was not to succumb to the Modi government’s pressure to accept imposition of Uniform Civil Code.
So far, while some Muslim leaders and clerics have opposed the UCC on different fora, this is for the first time that the entire Muslim community registered its opposition. The leadership also made it clear that they are ready to confront RSS and BJP and called upon the Muslims to get ready for launching a satyagraha (civil disobedience) within the framework of the Constitution to preserve and protect the Muslim identity which is systematically getting eroded by the rightist forces under Modi rule.
This is for the first time during eight years of the RSS and BJP government run by Narendra Modi that Muslims have raised their voice and stated in a clear and loud voice that enough was enough and they will fight for their cause. But the decision came with a rider; the Muslim clerics requested Muslims not to publicly vent their anger against “Hindutva fanatics”. They advised the community members “not to fight fire with fire” but to “defeat hatred with love”, and rued the silence of the government as “fanatics” try to poison society and weaken the country.
Strangely, Modi and Amit Shah have been maintaining a non-conforming attitude towards the activities of the bigots, even though the sudden multiplying of the number of worshippers of hatred has not gone unnoticed. As Madani put it, “The silence of the government is unfortunate. But we will face this situation and never let the fanatics weaken the country.”
The contempt of the RSS and Sangh Parivar towards the perseverance and tolerance of the Muslims is indeed manifest in the observation of a senior RSS leader and also member of the Rajya Sabha blaming Madani of ‘doing politics’ and describing his tears as ‘tears of crocodile’.
It is beyond comprehension that RSS could stoop so low in its quest to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra, and it is a matter of great concern that Modi and Shah have refused to show their concern to the repression Muslims are undergoing. Right-wing forces are not only furnishing skewed about the Muslim community, Islam and Mughal rulers, but also furnishing wrong information to the Hindus and keeping them in the dark. There is imperative need to make aware the people of both communities of their intentions and machinations.
It is worth recalling that in his letter of April 12 to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Maulana Madani had explicitly mentioned: “Anti-Muslim provocation by right-wing extremist groups has become a set pattern that is often followed by mass violence. The latest being Ram Navami processions…, after which violence was recorded from many places”.
He even pointed out that the local police teams were creating a “fear psychosis among the minority communities” and urged for a “time-bound high-level judicial inquiry’’ into the Khargone violence.
Addressing the congregation of the Islamic scholars and clerics, Madani again pointed out, “The country is going through a phase of turmoil but those in the government have sealed their lips which is a cause of concern for all. Muslims are facing hardships even when they walk on the streets of their towns. We will bear every torture but will not let anyone dismember our country. We can compromise on all issues but not at the cost of the country and our conscience (zameer).
He cautioned the rulers that tolerance and perseverance ought to be not presumed as their weakness. He said, “We at the Jamiat are torchbearers of peace and want to foster brotherhood. This is why we are ready to face any eventuality. We cannot extinguish fire with the fire. We have to defeat the atmosphere of hatred with love. Be calm and do not get swayed by the designs of those who want to disintegrate our country,” he said.
If the Modi government had been concerned of the plights and miseries of the Muslims even in the smallest way, the congregation might not have been held. In fact, through this meet, the Muslims conveyed a strong message to the Modi government that they are ready to sacrifice but not to perish. This development would certainly not augur well for the RSS and BJP. One thing that is absolutely explicit is that the Hindu fundamentalists are bereft of our true national history. They simply parrot and believe the words of their leaders. How could Hindu society expect to get a scientific idea and information from the religious bigots who themselves are not aware of the correct history of India?
It is noticed that the bigots have been strongly opposed to pro-people and left oriented historians. This is not without reason. They know that the historians, like the Hindu bigots, have not been resorting to falsehoods. The Indian historians have an impeccable record.
Incidentally, in his letter to Amit Shah, Maulana Madani had mentioned that the Khargone district administration had demolished 45 “illegal structures”, a day after the area witnessed communal clashes during Ram Navami procession. He sought his intervention to stop “harassment” of Muslims in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone, where he has alleged that properties belonging to Muslims were being “selectively razed”. During the last 8 years of his rule, Modi at no stage came out with stern warning to these offenders to keep away from such criminal activities. The wrongdoers go scot-free as the police refrains from touching their skin.