The Writing on the Wall (May 16, 2009)

News Analysis

People have no patience or use for hate politics, nor for mosque-breakers turning secular. That, in short, is the message of the poll verdict, writes DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM.

Party politics, it is understood, has no room for morality. Politics, as understood by great gurus like Chanakya of ancient India and Machiavelli of Renaissance Italy, cannot accommodate the moral imperative. In today’s Indian political class, moral considerations are not usually visible clearly, except among the large secular groups.

How opportunistic our political class has been is evident from the induction into Samajwadi Party of the mosque-breaker Kalyan Singh, under whose accursed regime the Babri Masjid was demolished. This shameless man lied before the Supreme Court and the National Integration Council, giving false assurances that he would do his constitutional duty and protect the mosque. However, he broke the promise and connived in the breaking of the mosque as well as in the massive anti-Muslim riots that preceded and followed it.

Kalyan Singh was the openly communal chief minister of Uttar Pradesh out to break the Babri Masjid, while Mulayam Singh Yadav positioned himself as the secular leader who would protect the people, the Constitution and the mosque. Today, they are together. Just imagine where their principles stand. People are watching. They may have given the benefit of the doubt to Mulayam Singh, but tomorrow he will not be so lucky. People are fed up with communal posturing, and people like Mulayam Singh will have to make a choice in future whether they are secular, or not. Thankfully, despite his comradeship with Kalyan, Muslims have supported him wherever they could, for old times’ sake. This is not certainly the last election, and he should mend his ways in time for the UP assembly polls.

There is a common feeling among UP Muslims that Mulayam is not anti-Muslims even though he has sidelined the oldest, most loyal, founding member of SP, Azam Khan. Muslims rightly see the hand of the power-broker Amar Singh behind it. Amar Singh is in league with his fellow Thakur Rajnath Singh, the head of BJP. Thus he has been running with the hare and hunting with the hound. Despite that mischief, Abu Asim Azmi and other Muslims worked in the field for the SP candidate in Rampur.

Muslims of Rampur are particularly disturbed about the humiliation of Khan, but they have tended to blame Amar Singh alone, and largely stayed with Mulayam wherever they could, for old times' sake.

Another secularist who has been weakened considerably is Lalu Prasad. Muslims still love him, but find it increasingly difficult to vote for him. His feet dragging over the punishment of Bhagalpur riot culprits was one of the major factors in Muslim alienation. He did not touch those criminals just because may of them were Yadavs.

On the other hand Nitish Kumar, despite being in alliance with the communal, anti-Muslim BJP, not only refused to allow the RSS agenda to be implemented in Bihar, but brought the criminals of Bhagalpur steadily to justice. Being a Kurmi he had no particular love for Yadavs. That move got him the support of a lot of Muslims. However, he, too, will have to decide today or tomorrow, in very clear-cut terms, whether he wants a secular order or a communal, fascist order in India. Muslims are nobody’s slaves. If they are not the slaves of the Congress, SP, RJD or LJP, they are not certainly the slaves of JDU. This must be clear.

The secularists are often behaving like casteists or communalists. If Mulayam Singh is so enamoured by Amar Singh and his friend Jaya Prada, why did not he field her from a Yadav-dominated constituency? Why force her on Rampur, which has a sizeable presence of Muslims? Why did he snatch that seat from Muslims? The two Yadav leaders have to learn their lessons well if they want to retain Muslim support.

While very few Muslims doubt Lalu’s credentials this also remains a fact that under him very few Muslims got jobs in the Railway Ministry? How do we explain this? The shfit of Muslim support away from Lalu has its reasons. Lalu must pay heed to it.

Ditching Muslims has always come at a high cost to the high castes in India. The Brahmins ditched Muslims to support BJP in 1989 all over northern India. Since then their political fortunes have been in steady decline. Brahmin, Dalit or middle caste, nobody would thrive in the long run by ditching Muslims. Anybody who joins the BJP is basically lending support to the anti-minority murderous agenda. Thank God, Brahmins in north India have begun to understand this point and distanced themselves from riot-organisers.

A special point that Mulayam Singh Yadav will be able to profit from is that frankness and honesty pay. See the behaviour of Congress leadership in Delhi. When Jarnail Singh threw his shoe at the Union home minister, he made the point emphatically that Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler had to be subjected to investigation regarding their alleged role in 1984 riots, instead of getting tickets for the Lok Sabha. Congress acted quickly and dropped these winning horses from the race. As a consequence Congress prospects brightened not only in Delhi but in other places as well.

We have to keep it in mind that Kumar and Tytler were not even chargesheeted by CBI, while Kalyan Singh was convicted for his role in the Babri Masjid demolition and given a symbolic sentence of a day’s imprisonment. Mulayam Singh Yadav will do well to remember it.


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