Lies! Stop Peddling Fake News That Congress Is A Party Of Muslim Appeasement
Sixty years is long enough for appeasement and a ten per cent representation is no less.
One of the consistent features of Hindu fundamentalism is the widespread myth that the Indian National Congress (hereafter Congress) has, since the 1920s and 1930s, been appeasing the Muslims in India. This myth has been so assiduously cultivated in the hate factories of India that have sprouted from the ground post 2014, it passes off as common wisdom now.
After the partition of India in 1947, the Hindu communalists became more strident on the issue. This is why it continues to make news, take the recent controversy over NRC and Rahul Gandhi’s so-called statement that Congress is a “party of Muslims”.
This strategy goes all the way to the assassination of Gandhi in 1948 by Hindu ultra-nationalists. Why did Godse kill Gandhi? Because he, the father of the nation, was branded a Muslim appeaser by the Hindutva brigade. How will Rahul Gandhi be attacked in 2019? By being labelled “pro Muslim”. They will use fake news to make their case.
While prejudice is one thing, fact is another. Many ideologies thrive on the former, like anti-Semitism in Europe up until 1945. Has the Congress truly promoted the interests of the Muslims over Hindus? Does the placating of Muslim Orthodox leadership amount to appeasement of an entire community, assuming there is such a thing as a single homogeneous Muslim community?
The Congress has often pampered the ulema on issues symbolic of patriarchal Muslim feelings in India, but has it really done something substantial for the common Muslim?
Data compiled meticulously proves the contrary. If the Congress had truly appeased the Muslims, their proportion in all of Indian services and institutions would have been at least 10 per cent if not more. Sixty years is long enough for appeasement and a ten per cent representation is no less.
It is a different matter that the Congress itself has done precious little to counter this communal canard. To expect the Congress to admit that it has done practically very little for the Muslims since 1950 would mean expecting a non-existent candidness from a party which loved, till at least the 1990s, being called secular, while being pragmatically communal. If the Congress had promoted the interests of Indian Muslims since 1950, what could have caused the appointment of the Justice Sachar Commitee about 50 years after the Indian Constitution guaranteed the cultural and social rights of the Indian minorities? This happened because 50 years of the Republic proved, in fact, that only safeguarding the cultural rights of religious minorities is not enough to make India a functional democracy.
No right in the absence of economic opportunities is sufficient unto itself to guarantee the social security of a minority. Well-meaning critics of the Sachar Committee recommendations assert that granting proportional reservation to Muslims goes against the spirit of reservations by introducing an economic criterion in reservations. But what is the post-Mandal solution?
The economic basis of a theory of rights is ignored these days because identity politics has occupied its space in contemporary India. This has made the Muslims defensive; unlike the Jats or Marathas, they don’t agitate for quotas. If they do, they are circumspect. They seem to have been hammered into submission by the neo-colonial cacophony about 800 years of tyranny and triple talaq. The increasing OBC demand for reservations will not subside and no politician will have the courage to oppose the dominant castes of India.
In this situation, will it not be good enough to reserve all seats in the public and private sector on the basis of state wise percentages of population and do away with the unreserved category altogether? A formula can be found. Let inter-caste rivalry turn into intra-caste rivalry until class finally replaces caste in India (obviously a dream at this stage).
The Sachar Committee (2005-2006) came to the conclusion that the Muslims in India, mostly poor as they are, are not adequately represented in the state. The less said of the private sector the better. The Muslims, in general, are economically backward. The logical culmination of this report, based as it was on a rigorous assessment of ground realities, should have been the extension of proportionate representation to the Indian Muslims in the various institutions of the Indian state, including the police and the armed forces. This did not happen because the Congress developed cold feet for reasons not necessary to specify here. So what was the point of appointing the Sachar Committe? No one knows.
If proportionate representation can be given to other deprived sections of Indian society, why deny to the Muslims? Why is a separate Muslim quota always frowned upon? That is so because of the hegemony of Hindu communalism in Indian society today – a hegemony which has made a mockery of Indian democracy. And what are the facts against which we must place the myths peddled by Hindu communalism to an ignorant public that thrives on religious and political superstition? These facts have recently been highlighted in two well-informed articles in the Indian Express, the vanguard of critical journalism in India today.
Christophe Jafrelot and Sweta Bhutada in IE, 13.7.18, statistically underline the poor representation of Indian Muslims in the police and the armed forces of India.
Over the past 50 years, this representation has declined to abysmal levels, even as the Muslims now comprise around 14 per cent of India’s population. The second article by Jafrelot and Gilles Verniers presents an alarming picture of the dwindling Muslim representation in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislatures coterminous with the rise of the BJP.
Since the “number of questions concerning minorities is linked to their presence in Parliament” the reader can imagine the service our electoral democracy is performing for its minorities. No doubt the Sachar Committee Report has remained a dead letter. During NDA-1, the defence minister George Fernandes, a former socialist, candidly admitted that the Indian state distrusted Muslims.
So where’s the fitting proof of 50 or 60 or 70 years of Muslim appeasement?