By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
24 February 2020
Waris Pathan’s ‘15 crore’ communal statement has put him in the thick of a controversy. He has been accused of trying to foment communal tension between two communities though he has withdrawn his statement saying he is a responsible citizen and can never make such a statement. But it was probably a calculated move of the AIMIM to make political gains. It is common knowledge that political parties bank upon communal card to consolidate their vote bank and the AIMIM has been doing this for a long time. Waris Pathan is not the only leader of the AIMIM to make such a communal statement against the entire Hindu community. It can be recalled that a few years ago, Asaduddin Owaisi’s younger brother Akbaruddin Owaisi had made a communal remark against the entire Hindu community inviting legal action against him. At a time when social and political realignments are taking shape across the country in the backdrop of the anti-CAA movement and Muslim-Dalit unity is emerging as the new political and social force which has been disturbing the contours of communal politics, the political parties, both Hindu and Muslim have upped their ante against communal harmony which is bad for their political career. Waris Pathan is an erstwhile MLA and a lawyer and so a communal statement challenging the entire Hindu community could not have been made without a pre-thought.
The main motive behind his statement which was presumably made as a political move of the AIMIM was to scuttle the Hindu-Muslim unity emerging against the anti-NRC-CAA movements which have swayed the Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnatake in the last month. On 5th January, Hyderabad had witnessed the Million March in which about two lakh people had gathered to protest the Citizenship Law and NRC at the call of 40 non-political organizations. Such a huge gathering of Hindus and Muslims at the call of non-political organizations has made the AIMIM shaky and this Hindu-Muslim unity is threatening their political career in the South. In the Million March a local social figure Mushtaque Malik had provided leadership.
The AIMIM which has been banking on Muslim vote bank since its inception sees this development against its political interests. There have been similar non-political gatherings of anti-CAA protesters in Karnataka as well where AIMIM had been ignored. Owaisi fears that new secular leaders like Mushtaque Malik may emerge in the South challenge his hegemony on Muslim sentiments. The statement by Waris Pathan should be seen from that perspective.
The unity of Hindus and Muslims is not good either for Hindutva parties or the AIMIM which gains from communal polarization. Waris Pathan’s statement against the entire Hindu community was probably aimed at breaking the Hindu-Muslim unity strengthened by Shaheen Bagh movements across the country. It can be noticed that such communal statements are not made by the party president Asaduddin Owaisi but his lieutenants so that Owaisi can shrug off the statements later as irresponsible. But the question is: If the policy of the AIMIM is not based on communal ideology, how do the leaders of the party make communal remarks against a community. The answer is clear: Such remarks are calculated moves of the party to achieve certain political goals.
The new Hindu-Muslim unity against the CAA and NRC is not good for the BJP either. Asaduddin Owaisi has once again strengthened the belief of a section of political analysts that he is supported by the BJP. Waris Pathan’s statement may only benefit the BJP as it will give justification to statements of Giriraj Kishore and other BJP leaders and will further help polarize the people along communal lines.
Waris Pathan’s wisdom as a lawyer is also doubted because he thinks that all non-Muslims are Hindus. That’s why it has clubbed 100 crore people of India as Hindus though Dalit leaders like Waman Meshram and Chandrashekhar Azad have been reiterating the fact that Dalits, Adivasis and other backward communities are not Hindus. They have their separate religious identity. The BJP promotes the idea that all the Dalits and Adivasis are Hindus. By calling 100 crore people Hindus, Waris Pathan targets the Dalits and Adivasis because he knows that the majority of Dalit population led by Waman Meshram and Chandrashekhar Azad have joined the anti-CAA movement. It is necessary for the AIMIM to break this Dalit Muslim unity by making such hard hitting communal statements against the Dalits and Hindus. But the crux of the matter is that the new generation abhors this communal politics and will not be bullied by the communal politicking of the likes of Owaisis and Pathans. The sooner these politicians realize this, the better.
S. Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com
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