Hyderabad: To be hopeless is one thing and to be hopelessly lost in another. Despite rising majoritarianism in the country, all is not lost for the Muslims. There are still some pegs of hope to hang on. Thankfully, India is still a country of die-hard secular people. What is required is to work with secular forces and non-Muslims who are victims of state vendetta to secure justice.
This was the broad consensus that emerged at a conclave of Muslim intellectuals, politicians, social activists here on Saturday. Under the auspices of the Indian Muslims for Civil Rights (IMCR), concerned citizens from different walks of life gathered at the Muffakham Jah College to discuss what could be done to counter the Hindutva narrative.
Some speakers felt it was necessary that Muslims should take to streets to protest the institutionalised repression of the minorities, particularly the Muslims while some called for constituting a team of lawyers to challenge every act of injustice. Yet some like Nisar Ahmad, retired IPS, said the electoral process was the best way to vote out the present regime. Unfortunately, Muslims did not realise the powerful weapon at their disposal. Poor percentage of polling was the bane of the community.
Ahmad, who heads the National Centre for Research and Development, said cent percent voter registration and polling and supporting a single party by Muslims would change the whole scenario. “We can elect a fair government and need not feel despondent,” he remarked.
The IMCR formed in June this year wants to adopt a non-political and non religious approach to secure the civil and constitutional rights of Muslims, other minorities and oppressed groups in the country. It aims to provide legal, financial and other necessary help to victims of oppression and excesses in the society, particularly Muslims. The IMCR, a brainchild of former Rajya Sabha MP, Mohammad Adeeb, has already held such meetings in Delhi and Mumbai to discuss the deliberate ‘othering’ of Muslims and demonising of the community.
The Hyderabad conclave, Mr. Adeeb said, was to reach out to the community here and to introduce the mission of IMCR. He sought involvement of Muslims in Hyderabad. “There is no time for discussions and debates. We want action now to save the country whose secular fabric is being torn away day by day,” he said.
In an emotional speech, Adeeb said the community had been trapped yet again by the recent 75th year Independence celebrations. Minority institutions and Madrassas were in the forefront in hoisting the national flag and taking out rallies. But no such thing was done by Gurukuls and Ashrams. The Congress party also followed suit instead of displaying the Nehurvian legacy. “How long will we get entrapped by the BJP agenda,” he asked.
Expressing concern at the grave situation obtaining in the country, Adeeb said there was no scope for individual leadership anymore. What was required was collective leadership. All sections of society, lawyers, politicians, social activists and women should come together to strengthen democracy, freedom and human rights. “Sentimental and emotional approaches wouldn’t do. We will have to adopt rational and logical method in whatever we do,” Adeeb said.
Masood Husain, former chairman, Water Resources, said it was proposed to set up a state level committee of IMCR at Hyderabad to cover both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The committee will have a policy group, a media group, legal group and a financial management group.
Former Union Minister, Salman Khurshid, appealed to Hyderabadis to take active part in the IMCR activities. Not just Muslims, people of other communities were also welcome to attend its programmes and contribute to safeguarding secularism and freedom in the country.
Hyderabad had always played a historic role in the affairs of the Muslims community and the country at large. Now it was time Hyderabadis shouldered this responsibility once again, he said.
Urdu daily, The Siasat News Editor, Amer Ali Khan, said Muslims don’t have to prove their loyalty to anyone since they were in India by choice. Expressing concern at the growing communal discourse, he said judiciary was the only hope now left for the community as the other three pillars – legislature, executive and media have all caved in.
K.R. Danish Ali, MP, Fuzail Ayyubi, Supreme Court lawyer, Dr. Azam Baig, president, Nehru Educational Society, Rajasthan also spoke.