By Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani
20 October 2014
About two months back, I was invited to a seminar-type gathering organized by some Muslim Pasmanda Samaj at hotel Arif Castle, Shahnajaf Road, Lucknow. It was presided over by former IAS officer, Mr. Anis Ansari, and the participants included many Muslim and non-Muslim office bearers of different political parties and NGOs – prominent amongst them being the former Chief Information Commissioner, Mr Wajahat Habibullah, and the UP President of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Prof. Ramesh Dixit. As is characteristic of Muslim gathering, the same ‘Rona, Peetna, Cheekhna, Chillaana’, this injustice, that injustice, this demand, that demand, Sachar Committee, Ranganath Mishra Commission, secularism ke slogans etc.
After a few speakers, the mike came in my hand, and as usual I reiterated my stand:
“No problem of the community can be solved unless they come out of the ‘vote bank slavery’ in the name of ‘defeat BJP syndrome’. Now the time has made it amply clear that there is no difference between BJP and other fictitious secular parties. Every party knows that in the end all our priorities will shrink to ‘Haraana-Jitaana’ and so they are totally indifferent to our problems.”
After I left the mike, it looked as if the Hell broke loose, and the first person to fire his salvo on me was Prof. Ramesh Dixit of NCP.
“Has Mr. Sherwani understood what he said? We are fighting for secularism just for the Muslim community, and Muslims themselves are talking in such a manner etc.” He also highlighted the achievements of his party in the field of secularism, and how it has struggled for Muslims’ protection.
I sought the permission of the chair to give him a befitting reply, but was declined just to avoid any further acrimonious discussion.
Anyhow, much to my relief, all the subsequent neutral speakers, both Muslims and non-Muslims, strongly endorsed my observations, but those associated with the political parties had to criticize me. Though many of them apologized to me afterwards, saying that what I was saying is truth, but to criticize me at the stage was their political compulsion.
Now I see that the same NCP has offered unconditional support to the BJP, whether it is accepted or not is a different issue. May I ask the champions of secularism that if it was their priority why Congress and NCP broke away, but about a few days back, I saw the statement of Mr. Tariq Anwar that Majlis Ittehad ul Muslimeen was the agent of BJP as it has fielded the candidates to divide the secular vote.
In this situation only those whose minds have become totally slavish will be misleading the community in the name of ‘fascism’ and ‘secularism’. ‘Fascism’, no doubt, is a glaring truth, ‘but ‘secularism’ has proved a total ‘lie, fraud and myth’. To come out of its trap and to develop our own leadership within the democratic framework of the country must be our first priority without caring who wins and who loses. Now enough is enough.
Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani is Chairman, All India Muslim Forum, Lucknow, UP, India