A SURVEY conducted by the Samajwadi Party (SP) general secretary Shahid Siddiqui has concluded that 70 per cent of Muslims oppose the nuke deal “with the United States (US)”. This survey by Urdu weekly has increased the problems for SP, which is getting cosier with Congress on the deal. The Muslim clerics have also voiced the same opinion and have even thanked Mayawati, CM of Uttar Pradesh, for not backing the deal.
The politics that is being played in last few days is totally stupid and of opportunism. If the deal allows India to conduct the nuclear test in future then there should be no problem in going ahead with the deal. The nuclear deal and other questions of foreign policy should be opposed or defended on their own merits. Sadly, both the government and its opponents have played fast and loose with the Muslim card, to the detriment of the community’s larger interest.
The deal was blocked by Left parties for long time and now when the Prime Minister has decided to go ahead with the deal, we are witnessing the Muslim card being played by the opposer of the deal. I have always felt that Muslims are always used by the political parties and the same is happening in this case as well. Muslim card has always been high on the agenda of the ’secular forces’ in the country. It is sometimes felt that if you follow a minority appeasement policy then you are a “secular” by default. Leading Muslim clerics visited Mayawati on July 2 and thanked her for not supporting the deal and urged the PM for not going ahead as it is ’anti Muslim’. This is really vexatious on part of the community and the political parties. Each political party, which champions the cause of Muslims is ’secular’ but if you voice a Hindu opinion you are automatically ’communal’. This secular versus communal politics is creating new ripples in political arena.
For the past three years, Mayawati has maintained a studied silence on the deal despite its supposedly “anti-Muslim” character. Now that an alliance between the SP and the Congress is looking increasingly likely, however, she is discovering she can no longer afford to sit on the fence. “The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is adamant to sign the nuclear deal with the US at the cost of much cheaper gas from Iran but Muslims would never accept the deal”, she declared at a press conference in Lucknow recently. MK Pandhe, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), warned the SP against supporting the UPA Government on the nuclear issue because, he claimed, “a majority of the Muslim masses are against the deal”. So I just want to ask these political parties that whether their objections to the deal is based on some reasoning or just because it is “anti-Muslim”. If it is based on some reasoning then they can consult few experts and question the PM as well and seek clarification but if the opposition is based on some blind ideological obduracy then politics has reached yet another nadir in our country.
I will also like to ask few questions to the Muslims and parties that are dragging Muslims on this issue. What they mean when they say that “the deal is anti Muslim”. Have they studied the deal or blindly following their leaders’ opinion? The survey conducted by Urdu weekly also said that the 85 per cent Muslims called America their biggest enemy. I hope this is not the reason of the deal being ’anti-Muslim’. I would also like to press that the religion should take back-seat when their is an issue of national concern. But sadly that is not happening in India.
At this juncture I would also like to draw your attention to a survey that was conducted by The Indian Express, CNN-IBN and CSDS last year. The survey showed that the division among Muslims on the deal approximated the divisions in the larger population – 19 per cent supported the deal and 15 per cent were opposed to it. In other words, the survey found no evidence to support the argument of a monolithic ’Muslim opinion’ against the deal. Mayawati’s Muslim MLAs admit they know little about the deal – they aren’t alone, only 26 per cent of all those polled in The Indian Express survey admitted to knowing about it – but they all back their supreme leader. The majority of the population has no idea about the deal and yet they are backing their leaders. Muztaba Siddiqui, BSP MLA from Soroan in Allahabad, said the nuclear deal was “harmful for Muslims” because it had been made “with the specific purpose of harassing Muslims”. SP MLA Ziauddin Rizvi said that “The deal is an international issue and it will not affect the Muslims’ political view. Back home, our only focus is how to stop the RSS-backed BJP from coming to power.” With such doltish comments coming from the community’s leaders sums it all. And let me tell you that if these are the reasons behind the deal being ’anti Muslim’ then I support the deal at all cost.
The Muslim need to change their attitude towards the issues that concern the nation and should not declare everything ’anti Muslim’ on the basis of nothing. It is high time that liberal Muslims become the voice of their community and save their community from becoming a toy in the hands of selfish political parties. You just cannot expect the political parties to change their ways and they will always indulge in the ’secular’ politics.
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