M. Burhanuddin Qasmi, the editor of Eastern Crescent and director of the Mumbai based Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre writes about the emerging trends of minority politics in India.
There is an urgent need to cobble together a political alternative to the Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena-BJP formation in the upcoming Lokh Sabha polls in Maharashtra considering the disenchantment of the minorities and the depressed classes with the ruling dispensation in the state. In the last sixty years of India’s independence, only two incidences of political courage by Muslims can be cited as true coming of age of Muslim consciousness. One was the success of Maulana Badruddin Ajmal’s United Democratic Front (AUDF) winning 10 MLA seats in Assam, directly challenging Congress hold over Muslim votes.
The second success can easily be identified with Mufti Ismail’s confident winning streak in Malegaon that got it largest number of seats in the corporation elections, though short of majority to rule. Both the historical firsts did not succeed to claim outright victory which was partly occasioned by a lack of adequate preparation both at the grass roots and the top level. But then Rome was not built in a day. Those who have analysed the basics of the success of the two political moves are convinced there is no going back. The beginners have tasted the first fruits of success and they cannot be held back now, come what may.
No doubt, it is time for change, borrowing from the wind blowing from Obama country. The old guards had made a mess of the country. New efforts to form new alliances with a new vision of what should be the standard of justice, fair play, human bonding, and of a life not given to obsessive corruption and criminal pursuits.
Maulana Ajmal’s leadership is somehow well-defined, direct, confident and it is flexible enough not to be bogged down in self-inflicted fixations on the organizational or bureaucratic or even ideological aspects.
The road ahead is long and the Maharashtra oligarchs will band together to give a fitting fight, not to let any ‘outsider’ poach on their turf. But the insider crowd flocking to the alternative politics is enough to project the fundamental flaws in the existing makeup of the political formations in the state, whose monopoly is based on brute and cruel inhuman treatment of its people who have given them their trust for a long time. All of them have betrayed that trust and ran roughshod over the people, with open public disdain and arrogance. It is time for a change.
There are many who would welcome rather are eagerly waiting for a political alternative in the state.
But observers feed at the AUDF will face a different ball game in the state in its effort to rope in elements for a political move. Its success in Assam was mainly due to Ajmals’ field work in the social sectors which resulted trust and goodwill for the family and secondly the political formation was a strong repercussion of the repeal of the infamous IMDT Act in Assam. Thus the groundwork before their entry into politics was already laid beforehand. It is not completely the case in Maharashtra.
AUDF will have to jostle for political space with several contenders and has hardly known to be vocal or active in local issues that engage the people’s attention. So AUDF or MUDF volunteers will have to take an uphill task to penetrate in to the rural areas of Maharashtra far from Mumbai’s dazzle to replicate the success story of Assam in Maharashtra. A lot is at stake for MUDF on February 2009 when they have called a state wise rally to formally announce the formation of a third political alternative for Muslims, Dalit and OBCs in the Maratha state.
Generally it takes decades to bring about a change. King Martin Luther had a dream 40 years ago which was materialized by the ‘change’ that put a black, Afro-American Barack Hussein Obama, in the White House. Maulana Ajmal’s party needs to do its homework to welcome all in its fold for a real change.
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