By Dr. Ghulam Zarqani
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Desk)
2 June 2014
One of the principles of democracy is that you have every right to criticise the candidates before elections, but after one of them wins, you will have to accept him or her as the representative of the entire constituency or if he is elected prime minister later the representative of the entire nation. This is the reason that the candidates contesting in different parts of the democratic country, India, have bitter rivalry and fierce verbal fight with each other during the elections but once a candidate wins, all the defeated ones hurry to congratulate him. This is a symbolic indicator of the fact that the winning candidate in a democratic country like India is not only the representative of his own region or community but also of the entire nation. Taking this into serious consideration, we will realise that this principle of democracy should be highly valued, because if we didn’t have this, the defeated candidates would have come out with strong agitation against the winner. And, thus, our country would have suffered chaos, anarchy, disorder and a civil-war-like situation soon after the announcement of the results.
In the same way, this basic democratic value requires from us that we welcome our newly-elected Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi with open arms, regardless of our religious or political affiliation. In other words, we had full democratic liberty to criticise him before he was elected as the Prime Minister, but now when he has assumed office, we should have no right to rant against his becoming the PM of India. Now we can only criticise him when he is found guilty of harming our national or community interest. So, our critiques should be now directed towards new disturbing developments, if any, not against Mr. Modi’s becoming the Prime Minister.
Contrary to that, what I see in (Urdu) newspapers, electronic media and social sites is that some people are actively engaged in writing provocative statements and uploading deplorable photos recalling the demolition of Babri Masjid and the riots of Gujarat. I don’t say that we should completely erase the memory of these tragedies from our minds, but I would clearly assert that this is not the time for crying over the spilt milk. In any case, provoking religious sentiments does not augur well for us Muslims. We should rather extinguish the fire of religious polarisation, with our wisdom, even if it is lit by the majority group. Obviously, the communal forces in our country are prepared and well-spirited today and can severely harm us if we commit even a minor mistake.
Recently, we caught up with news that the members of the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) strongly disagreed with each other over the issue of giving reception to the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi. Some of them wish to welcome Mr. Modi, while some others don’t. To my view, it is expedient for Indian Muslims that they welcome Mr. Modi as the Prime Minister of their country, if not as the chief minister of Gujarat. We should accept the reality that the new prime minister of our country will not lose his position until five long years, maybe more if he performs well. In any case, it is fruitless for Muslims to keep agitating and criticising Mr. Modi. Boycotting him still today is not going to help the Muslim community. Let us not forget that there are scores of regions in India where Muslims are just a handful. They are living with their brethren from other religious communities. Given this, a minor blunder form our end may lead to a heavy and irreparable loss to them. Being a Muslim, every individual of us is responsible enough to ensure the betterment of the entire Muslim community rather than himself.
Having said that, we should now ensure that we do our own efforts to progress on constructive lines, be the ruling party of the country secular or communal. We should now overcome the misconception that we will progress by leaps and bounds, without any hard work, if a secular party rules the country. If you don’t believe me, trace the past and try to recall what else the Congress did to Muslims except for an unending trail of false hopes and hallow promises. How much percent of Muslim population progressed during the Congress rule? In which spheres of life did the Muslims of the Uttar Pradesh, which was led by the secular parties for long, develop? What achievement did the Muslims of Bihar make, while this state too has been ruled by the secularists? How many Muslims became prosperous and affluent in Bengal where the ruling party has been seen as the messiah for them? These striking ground realities should tell us that in this world, only those who work hard and perform well are destined to succeed.
We will only achieve progress when we have innate passion and sincere dedication to advance in the fields of knowledge, technology, economy and other spheres of life. True, if the ruling party’s policies prove to be positive and constructive, even little efforts of ours will work wonders. However, if they turn out to be negative and even hostile towards us, we should work harder and put in every possible effort to achieve excellence. I can say with full conviction that this positive attitude will lead us to success.
At the end of my analysis, I would like to enumerate an inspirational story of success of a Muslim, a very close friend of mine in Houston, America. After he did his PhD from Muslim University of Aligarh, India, he got a job in one of the largest American companies where he found no Muslim except himself. One day his employer called for a meeting in his office. He politely asked the employer to give him relaxation as he had to go to perform the Friday prayer (Juma’h). My friend told me that not only did the employer allow him to perform Juma’h but he himself began to ask and exhort him to go to the mosque on every Friday. This deep sympathy for a Muslim was born in a non-Muslim employer, my friend says, because he was impressed by his extraordinary efforts. Since my friend was the only Muslim in the entire company, he worked harder in an attempt to prove his existence as a Muslim. This clearly shows that though protesting against injustice is not unfair, living in denial and continued protestations is not wise at all. Let us give up such sluggish attitudes and get up to work harder and better with renewed energy and aspirations, hoping to see a bright future ahead.
Hailing from Jamshedpur (Tata Nagar), India, Dr. Ghulam Zarqani is an Alim and Fazil (classical Islamic scholar). He is presently a Professor at the World Language Department, Lone Star College, Houston, America.