Time and again, politicians in India have polarized the masses on the basis of religion. And the masses have been entrapped in the communal politics of shrewd and cunning netas. These politicians have especially tried to encash the feeling of victimhood among muslim masses.
I came across a picture, rather a bizarre image, where YSR Congress leader and younger sister of Jaganmohan Reddy, Sharmila Reddy was made to wear an ‘Arab Rumal’ and ‘Topi’ (skull cap) by local Muslims during her ‘Padayatra’ in northern Andhra region. (Refer: http://on.fb.me/1fxMUU4).
Then I did some research and found that most of the politicians in Andhra Pradesh or India, across party lines, voluntarily or forcibly, have indulged in wearing skull caps to woo muslim voters. It has become a fashion for politicians to wear skull caps and advertise photographs in newspapers. In reality, none of these leaders are inclined towards looking at muslims (or any other minority community per se) as Indians. They always look at muslims/minorities as a vote bank. Every individual is a walking vote, not a human.
And not to forget the huge noise when Narendra Modi, the aspiring PM of India, refused to wear a skull cap in 2011. Does wearing a skull cap make him a saint? Why is it an issue if he refuses to wear skull cap? Isn’t it his personal choice what to wear or what not to? and the funniest part is, the guy who offered the cap to Modi felt that Modi insulted Islam by not wearing the cap. I guess this guy insulted Islam by forcing the faith on Modi. Phew!!!
Anyways, Politicians have used various means to woo muslim voters: by wearing skull caps, by offering them reservations, by offering free Hajj trips, or by organizing iftar parties and by forming committees (example, Rajindar Sachar Committee) to study their plight. But the findings of these committees are never considered in policy making. The recommendations of these committees remain just paper decorations in minority affairs ministry.
So I was wondering : Does wearing of a skull cap by a politician make him secular? Why do we entertain such politicians who try to capitalize on religious sentiments? Why have we allowed the politicians to mix religion with politics and play with our sentiments? Should we not tell these crooks that a cap is used for “ibadat” (prayer) and not for “siyasat” (politics)?
Shouldn’t all the Muslims in India, as Indian citizens, raise issues concerning development and policy implementation instead of getting satisfied by making these politicians wear the skull cap or attend iftar parties?
I believe that the root cause of this ‘politics of skull cap’ lies in various factors. I tried to analyze few issues and noticed that the primary root cause has been the behavior and attitude of a section of muslims, especially, the feeling of victimhood. I call this as an intellectual bankruptcy of muslims. Muslims or their leaders have failed to save themselves from becoming preys of these religious vultures. A section of Muslims have repeatedly failed to prioritize the issues concerning the country or the community. They have entered a maze created by these selfish and divisive politicians and have never been able to come out of the trap.
And then the blind followers of the communal politicians have time and again supported these divisive and polarizing leaders by voting for them that makes them stronger in every successive election. The very survival of these politicians lies in the fact that a section of muslims are perennially suffering from the sense of victimhood.
As a result, muslims across India are looked at as just a vote bank for different parties. Its no surprise that the fate of few politicians solely depends on the votes of muslims. The media reports claim that around 200 constituencies have muslim vote bank as the deciding factor.
Political leaders from all parties have historically capitalized on the behavior of a section of muslims towards national issues. And then, there are many others who have tried to rise above the religious lines and have been actively participating in nation building by raising valid questions and supporting valid issues of national interest.
I strongly feel that the muslims in India should realize the fact that a politician who wears a skull cap to prove that he is secular is actually trying to trap the masses to vote for him. These politicians have been misleading the masses in the wrong direction and have tried to keep them polarized.
Its time to rise above religious lines. We need to reject the politics of Iftar parties. We need to say no to politics of skull cap and politically motivated reservation and false promises. We need to start questioning these politicians on national issues and demand answers on those lines. We need to support politicians whose policy is not of appeasement of a section of society. We need to support politicians who have an approach of development for all and treating everyone as equal. Unless we start demanding answers, we will remain a failed state and a failed democracy.
And finally, I have this beautiful verse from Holy Quran:
“Verily, Allah will not change the condition of the people, until they change what’s in themselves.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:11)