|And what (reason) have we that we should not believe in Allah and in the truth that has come to us, while we earnestly desire that our Lord should cause us to enter with the good people? [Holy Quran 5:84]|
Of all the discriminations the Muslim community is up against its treatment as a political untouchable eversince Independence is the worst. Probably this may be the gift the Muslim community is honoured with for its sacrifice of life and property during the freedom struggle. The post-Independence life of Muslims in India is a saga of pains and pangs, exploitation and injustice. The largest minority which is contributing in building “New India” is often a suspected, hated and neglected lot. Even after 50 years of Independence the Muslims are made strangers in their own native land and are treated as political untouchables.
Though the demand for proportional representation for Muslims is very old, well justified, within the parameters of constitution and secularism it has remained a wild dream for Muslims for reasons unknown. Certainly it is not catching the required momentum because of lack of Muslim leadership, proper organisation, unity and political awareness. This demand for reservations for Muslims in the Parliament, Assemblies and all other local bodies being common to the whole Muslim community, all our leaders of various parties should unite cutting across their political affiliations. The government cannot any longer turn a deaf ear to such a major problem of the largest minority which constitutes 12% of Indian population. What is needed is a concerted and persistent peaceful struggle to convince the government that the peace, progress and prosperity of India is possible only if the largest minority is allowed to play a meaningful role in the political activities of the country through reservations of seats in the representative bodies right from Parliament to local bodies.
The demand for reservations for Muslims can be substantiated on the following grounds.
1) The government has provided reservations for SC/ST not only in matter of seats but also in jobs since Independence to this day for their upliftment. Then why is the same provision for reservation of seats and jobs is denied to Muslims for their upliftment? It is accepted as an and established fact that Muslims are educationally, economically very backward and neglected. When this is so why not reservation for them on a par with SC/ST for their development? Is it not political apartheid and political discrimination?
2) The purpose of socialism which our government pledged to work for is establishment of an egalitarian society, that is society of equals. How is it possible if the largest minority of Muslims is denied any opportunity to come up? Egalitarian society can be established and secularism in essence can be had only when a major minority is allowed to become equal through reservation of seats in proportion to its population. Otherwise our goal of socialism and secularism becomes a mere utopia.
3) The BJP’s latest call for Muslims to join the national main stream sounds as hypocritical as inviting a friend to a dinner and keeping the doors locked. How can Muslims join the national main stream when they are politically discriminated against? Muslims are well remembered only on the eve of elections. So many sorts of promises are made for their welfare and then forgotten. Why then the BJP, so much concerned about Muslims, opposes reservations for Muslims is a mute question.
4) It is observed that the welfare of the Muslims does not lie in the establishment of powerless Minority Commissions, fundless Minority Development Corporations, dreamy Urdu Directorate and defunct Urdu Academies. These are all as good as giving a lollipop to a crying child. Muslims’ welfare is consists only in reservation of seats in Parliament / Assemblies / Local bodies and jobs. All other measures taken by government are merely cosmetic and eye-wash.
5) Muslims do not have a state dominated by their own population like Punjabis, Chennai by Tamils, Andhra by Telgus, etc., They are scattered over. So they cannot have sufficient number of members in the elected bodies to air their grievances.
6) The delimitation of constituencies is a dangerous political conspiracy played against Muslims, which resulted in steep reduction of their elected representatives in the Parliament and Assemblies. As a result of this delimitation of constituencies thickly Muslim dominated areas were so divided that a Muslim candidate can never get elected. This is infact a death-knell for Muslims. That is why today we notice the strength of Muslim MPs and MLAs is waning in Parliament sharply. In Madhya Pradesh there is not a single Muslim MLA to air Muslim grievances. If Muslims do not awake and take a lesson from the writing on the wall the day may not be far off when the Parliament will be minus Muslim MPs.
7) India being a land of multi castes, multi-languages and multi-religions need to have equal opportunities for all. The corollary of natural justice demands fair treatment and fair deal with all. How can brothers in a house be happy when big brother is sick? Muslims being the largest minority form the very heart of India. How can a body be healthy if the heart is weak? How can Gandhiji’s dream of “Sarve Janaha Sukino Bhavato” be realised by discarding Muslims?
Conclusively it should be borne in mind firmly that, India’s unity, integrity, communal-harmony, peace and prosperity is entirely dependent on respecting the aspirations and conceding the demands of the Muslims. One fails to understand after all what India is going to lose if Muslims are given reservation equal to their population? Is it anti-democratic, anti-secular, anti-constitutional anti-natural justice? These questions remain echoing till the answer is got in the form of reservation for Muslims equal to their population on par with SC/ST’s in representative bodies as well as in jobs.