New Age Islam
Wed Dec 07 2022, 12:05 AM

Islam and Politics ( 20 Feb 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Jamaat-e-Islami as the Welfare Party of India: Can it make any difference?

By Dr Irfan Waheed,

Jamaat-e-Islami had been contemplating the launch of its political wing for a long time. Deliberations had been going on for decades and a consensus could not be reached. However, in recent months, the Jamaat’s Majlis-e-Shoura and its thinktank seem to have decided that they should lauch a political party in order to create a state of their dreams, the dreams that were envisioned by its founder Syed Abul Ala Maududi. After partition, the Jamaat had put off its agenda of creating a state based on the Quran and hadith as India had become a Hindu majority state and had adopted a secular, democratic and socialist system of governance.  Since Jamaat-e-Islami did not consider democracy an Islamic concept, it never took part in the political process of India, thus confining itself to only ideological task of propagating and spreading the messages of Maulana Maududi.

However, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has finally taken the decision to jump onto the political bandwagon of India compromising on its ideology for the sake of a greater task of creating a just society based on Islamic principles of equality, love, peace and compassion. According to it, the mission of the establishment of an Islamic state could be put on the back burner for the sake of achieving temporary goals.

The Jamaat’s political party, The Welfare Party of India that will be soon launched will take part in the forthcoming UP elections with the slogan of total justice based on communal harmony, moral values, equality, pro-poor policies and ‘true democracy’’.

According to the sources, the party will consist of leaders with clean record of social service. However, the Welfare Party of India will not be a Muslim party and the people from all religions and social strata can become its members and activists. The members of the Majlis-e-Shoura have launched a public relation programme of the Jamaat making people aware of its ideology and goals.

Jamaat’s political move has baffled many political analysts as it has been known for it s rigid outlook and a purely Islamic ideology that does not conform to the socialist and democratic set up of the country. In order to adjust to the political conditions and atmosphere of the country, they have made some short term compromises. But can a desired social and political change be brought about with a short term initiative. It reflects a ‘let’s see’ approach. ‘If it does not work here, we shall go back’ seems to be the motto of the Jamaat-e-Islami .

While dealing with the political party of the Jamaat-e-Islami , the political opponents, particularly the Hindutva parties, will constantly remind them and the voters of their past and present in Bangladesh and Pakistan. After the partition, when Maulana Maududi was asked about the fate of the Muslims left in a Hindu majority India, he had said that he did not bother if the Hindus treat the Muslims of India worse that the malechhas. He was only bothered about making Pakistan an Islamic state at any cost.

During the Bangladesh war, the Jamaat-e-Islami  not only extended ideological support to the Pakistani military but actually formed a militia whose members fought the Bengalis, killed and raped both Muslim and Hindu women and declared that no library in Bangladesh would have any book on secular topics either by Hindu writers or Muslim writers. All the government libraries were filled with the books of Maulana Maududi. It believed that survival of Islam was synonymous with the survival of Pakistan. There is a possibility that the rise of right wing Muslim political party like the WPI will give rise to radical Islamic thought and a rigid un-pluralistic outlook among the Muslims who have very successfully integrated themselves into the secular and cultural atmosphere of the country while retaining their religious identity.

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