In the recent announcement of BJP’s new National executive, its President J.P.Nadda, included a prominent Pasmanda Muslim name, Tariq Mansoor, ex Vice-Chancellor of AMU, as one of the thirteen Vice Presidents of the National Executive. Another Muslim face from Kerala BJP, P Abdulkutty retained his place in the executive. The current focus on BJP at national level is to give prominence to pasmanda Muslims. Pasmanda are the most backward Muslims, mostly dalits and OBC, who are at the bottom of socio-economic rungs of society in general and among the Muslims in particular.
One recalls the forays of BJP into sections of Muslim community off and on. While it does not have a single Member of Parliament from among the Muslims currently, earlier it had Muslims adorning official positions of Governor (Sikander Bakht) and a couple of Ministers, Shah Nawaz Husain and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Modi has also visited Bohra Mosque and announced that he is a part of their family and also keeps offering Chadar to Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer.
Lately, a bigger focus is to woo the Pasmanda community among Muslims. In the 2023 UP elections for local bodies some Pasmanda Muslims were given tickets and some of them also succeeded. This trend has picked up more after the Hyderabad meeting of BJP in 2022 (July), where Modi called upon BJP workers to reach out to the Pasmanda section of Muslims. He pointed out that the Muslim community is not uniform and these Pasmanda Muslims are backward sections of Muslim community.
Following that, BJP has been trying to reach this community by pointing out that Modi’s policies don’t discriminate on the grounds of religion and that they (Pasmanda Muslims) are equal beneficiaries (Labharthi, in their lingo) of the ‘development schemes’ of the Modi Government. Following this prominent Muslims, like Lt Governor Nazeeb Jung, Ex Election Commissioner S Q Quraishi, Gen Zameeruddin Shah, Shahid Siddiqui and Saeed Sherwani wrote to the RSS chief Mohan Bhagawat, seeking appointment to meet him to aim for dialogue for reconciliation. After a month’s wait they were ushered into the durbar of RSS Supremo.
The prominent Muslims talked about the ‘Hate against Muslim’ community, Bulldozers’ justice and they being called Jihadi Pakistanis. Bhagwat shot back that Hindus feel offended by being called Kafirs and are hurt by Cow slaughter. The ‘dialogue’ was followed up by top leaders of RSS echelon like Indresh Kumar (Chief of Muslim Rashtriya Manch), Krishna Gopal, and Ram Lal had a meeting with the Chief Imam of the All-India Imam Organization (AIIO), Umer Ahmed Ilyasi on 22nd of September, 2022 where Ilyasi had expressed the hope that the talks would help create communal harmony.
How much the dialogue is affecting National politics, which affects the Muslim minority? Many prominent writers from within the Sangh like Ram Madhav and ex BJP leader Sudheendra Kulakarni are arguing that following the three lectures of Bhagawat in Vigyan Bhavan in September 2018, RSS is changing. Bhagawat had stated that Hindus and Muslim share the same DNA, Hindutva is not complete without Muslims etc.!
What is the truth? Truth of the claims of a political formation, even if it calls itself to be a cultural organization, lies in the issues and politics which it and its affiliates undertake in the society. Bhagwat himself had raised the issue of Cow-Beef. Cow-Beef has been raised into an emotive issue during the last few decades; it has also upset the applecart of Village economy apart from tormenting the Muslims in general. How can it be an issue in Cow belt and not in Kerala, North East and Goa? How can BJP leaders like Kiran Rijuju openly state that beef is a part of their plate. And how can the BJP leader of the stature of Vajpayee, consume the same?
As such Pasmandas are the biggest victims of the politics of Hate, Hate against minorities, Muslims in particular, which in turn is due to the misconceptions spread through the network of Shakhas, Shishu Mandirs, (run by RSS affiliates), social media and IT cell. The recent incident of Aurangzeb DB in some young Muslim boys was used to intensify the Hate. Sure Hate is the foundation of violence, polarization and in turn of ghettoisation of the Muslim community, going up by leaps and bounds. It is Pasmanda Muslims who are the biggest victim of the communal violence.
Similarly use of Bulldozers has been the add-on phenomenon of recent times. While RSS-BJP spokespersons claim all this is as per law, they are away from truth to say the least. The funny part of the whole thing is the rampant propaganda coming right from the top of RSS echelon hinting at Muslims will become a majority. One recalls that S.Y.Quraishi had gifted his book, ‘Population Myth’, to Mohan Bhagwat, which effectively burst this myth in a very rational manner. A few days later Bhagwat himself hinted that Muslim population is rising disproportionately.
Then, no occasion is left unused as far spreading Hate is concerned, be it the Corona Jihad or rising prices of tomatoes being attributed to Miyas (Muslims)! What to mention of the recent threat of implementing ‘undrafted UCC’, as a matter of giving justice to the Muslim women? We do recall the NRC and then CAA which threatened to disenfranchise the Muslims, in response to which Muslim women came out in one of the most remarkable protests of independent India, Shaheen Bagh.
The recent spate of films, aimed at driving a deep wedge between the Hindu and Muslim, like Kashmir Files, Kerala Story and 72 Hoorain, many of which, are actively promoted from the Sarsanghchalak to Prime minister to the BJP supporters who ensure full hoses at times by buying bulk tickets to ensure that the message of Hate goes far and wide.
In sum and substance, a tiger does not change its stripes. Newer language is formulated at a constant pace, the content of the Hindu Rashtra agenda is the same. For electoral purposes now wooing Pasmanda Muslim is one of the latest steps on one hand and to drive a wedge within Muslim community, in tune with the ‘divide and rule’ policy of sectarian nationalism on the other. Pasmanda or Ashrafs, both are targeted by this politics irrespective of their caste divide, is more than true. Creating one more delusion of sympathy for Pasmanda Muslims!