By Manzurul Haque for NewAgeIslam.com
27 August 2011
Since I live right in the midst of a Muslim neighborhood, I took the opportunity to understand why some Muslims or perhaps majority of Muslims do not resonate with the majority population of the country on the Anna Hazare issue. I therefore talked to such resenting Muslims who incidentally are only little better than me as a Muslim in the sense that I happen to see myself as the farthest deviant from the cardinal principles of Quran because of the factor – ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’.
The most popular argument from their side was, “Ah, corruption cannot be eliminated (so the underlying question - why this humbug?)”. This argument is formidable, if stated with the shrug of a shoulder before proceeding to disengage from the issue. Such attitude stems perhaps from the belief that corruption is God-ordained and human beings can do nothing about it, God being Great (and now Greatest in the formulation of some Muslims, as if there is a ‘greater’ in between) – clearly a misreading of the fundamentals of Quran – but strangely shared by Rahul Gandhi (yesterday it was discovered in Parliament).
But the intellectual Muslims led by Syed Shahabuddin and others have a different take. They are good Muslims and they do know about what the holy Quran has to say. So they say that they agree with the objectives of Anna Hazare and his team but disagree with their method. The only catch in their (Muslim intellectuals’) argument is that they do not identify ‘that great method’, with which they agree. Their statement is not unfamiliar, though. Their statement sounds so similar to the unanimous statement of Indian Parliamentarians on the subject!!
The lack of education of our Parliamentarians, to which Om Puri had referred the other day, is a bliss which helps them in their conviction of their divine right to loot the country (In another age this was a right of the Kings). Else they would have read how British Parliament has evolved to the present state through a history of public censures. There is a famous line from the constitutional history of Britain: Yet, there was a time 170 years ago, when its prime minister, the duke of Wellington, opposed parliamentary reforms, and suggested “You must build your Houses of Parliament on the river Thames, so that the populace cannot exact its demands by sitting down round you”.
One concern however of the present Muslim flock of India – again articulated by Rahul Gandhi – needs to be discussed. What if the gheraoing public starts exacting its demand of demolishing the plurality of India? There is an element of fear in it. I consider fear to be a natural phenomenon. But not being able to come to terms with one’s fear is a failure and goes against the spirit of the holy Quran . I can easily see holes in this fear. Muslims are not so much hated by Hindus in India. Muslims can still better their behavior (for which there is always scope according to Quran) to earn greater love of Hindus. Muslims can work harder to benefit India’s economy. If we Muslims can try to become slightly (just slight , not of the Quranic level) more honest in our public dealings we might in fact be cited as examples by Team Anna Hazare and their followers – unless we believe those millions of followers to be out-and-out dhongis! And finally if anybody unduly trifles with me, however mighty that anybody may be, I have the capacity by the grace of Allah to defend.
Another concern of Muslims is the wordings of the slogans. Anna Hazare and other Hindus calling Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Mataram, is clearly intelligible. These are the idioms they are used to, and we cannot expect them to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ like the Libyans. But the problem is, what do we shout? What a pity! Muslim leadership cannot do great things in India for a fact (reasons, I shall not delve into). But at least those eagerly sitting on the front benches of the community could have worked and asserted with the Hindu leadership to find a little psychological space for the Muslims on these issues. A few known faces of the Muslim community could have gone to the dais, paid respect to Anna Hazare in traditional Muslim fashion, and not (repeat not) bowed to the feet of Anna Hazare, the way Manoj Tiwari could do, and could have shouted slogans of Inquilab zindabad, Bharatvarsh Zindabad , Anna Hazare Zindabad, Lokpal Bill Zindabad etc. This would have helped in developing sensibilities on these issues in a friendly atmosphere without telling so many things in words. I am not a political activist and should not be expected to do these things. But I have already shared my views on the subject matter as under:
“The draft of the so-called Jan Lokpal Bill cannot be sacrosanct, but from my personal experience I know that it is several times superior to the draft given by the government. If you examine the legislative activities of the government of late, you will find that the laws being passed by the parliament are so badly worded, so bereft of meaning at times, so full of contradiction, that one would go mad trying to figure out what these senior officers of the government and parliamentary secretariat are doing, if one did not already know that they are only busy making money.
“Things, dear friend, in the government are much worse than man on the street knows or has the resources to know. Of course the PM can be exempted from the operation of the bill at the end of the bargain – at least partially. The illegal activities of a PM cannot go unnoticed. But what justification is there with this government to exclude the CBI from the purview of RTI Act? This has been done recently. As regards judicial officers (including the justices of the High Courts and Supreme Court) either the Lokpal Bill or a similar bill for the judges is needed to bring in crying reforms within the judiciary.
“Indeed judiciary needs to be helped. There is urgent need for two more benches of Supreme Court - one in south and the other in east. There is need to construct larger sized High Courts with more benches where necessary, with more space for the lawyers, more number of judges, simplification of judicial procedures, strengthening of lower judicial offices with construction of better court buildings etc and provision of independent security to the judicial magistrates and civil judges.
And believe me; all these measures will help the Muslims, because in the law of jungle, there is no place for the weak.”
I would like to mention some additional points in this communication. The Anna effort at fighting the corruption may fail too. In fact the chances are pretty high. Has anybody thought of the aftereffect? For another fifty years, We the People of India, will not be able to ask a question why the pettiest authority in the government should continue to so brutally scale us.
And yes, I am sure, those who speak of Lokpal becoming a parallel government within government, are somehow convinced that government’s job is restricted to doing corruption and nothing more!!!
-- Manzurul Haque is a commentator from India, E-mail: email@example.com,