By Qasim Syed
The ever-evolving world poses threats the survival of ideological groups of all hues, but people with wisdom are the ones who readily adapt to demands of the changing situation. Maulana Mahmood Madani is one of them who realized the needs for changes in the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, of which he is the president, to make it relevant to deal with current situation. However, he is very much mindful of the organization’s founding principles. This reflected in during a recent meeting in Bhopal where he announced a slew of ‘revolutionary changes’ to for organizational requirements. The changes majorly include empowering women in the current set up and encouraging democratization.
For long, the Jamiat has been accused of being dominated by the hereditary system by its critics even though much of the charges do not stand true. The appointment of Maulana Hakeemuddin Qasmi as the General Secretary after the death of Maulana Mansoorpuri is one example to count.
Maulana Madani is the spokesperson of the generation born after India’s independence and naturally, he has to follow the footsteps of his elders; the question is whether he can maintain a balance and harmony between the traditional style and revolutionary decisions. This is a big test, but he dared to take risks. Time will tell as to how he manages pressure of the traditionalists in order to sharpen the aspirations the new generation of workers. Madani, however, will not be held captive by the chains of expediency in his growing steps.
Youth will be given adequate representation. There is no doubt that the Jamiat, like the Congress, enjoys countrywide presence, but several landmark achievements of its cadre went unnoticed.
The Jamiat is the oldest and the largest Muslim organization but it is also a fact that apart from charitable work other activities of its cadre on the ground were not used properly. Conferences held and crowd gathered, but there was little impact on the national level. These things might be unpleasant to hear, but one must not be blind to the facts of the matter.
Jamiat can turn the dice if it deploys its resources and manpower. It seems that Maulana Madani does not believe in the search for new lands and new skies but he dares to implement the ideas in the very old spaces.
Anyways, the tradition of challenging and disagreeing with the higher leadership in the Jamiat is rare. It is also necessary for a party to be dominated by passion.
Devotion and obedience give rise to unconditional loyalty, which makes it one-sided despite the Shura system. A one-sided system first of all strangles the democratic spirit in parties. Mahmoud Madani must be familiar with this philosophy. He is intelligent, and open-minded, and will have the ability to listen to others.
So far as political matters are concerned, it will take some time for Mahmood Madani to gain the trust of Muslims at the national level. He has not been able to meet the required standards of trust due to his statements and interpretations on the political front; this happens due to balancing. To change this concept and perception, he has to think on his own. If he does this, he can undoubtedly become the biggest Muslim leader in the country.
Jamiat has the largest organizational cadre among Muslim organizations with Jamaat-e-Islami being the second on the list. Mahmood Madani has a lot of time to become a great leader and to develop new characteristics of Jamiat. He has to make the media department of Jamiat a strong unit, equipped with all facilities, capable of meeting every demand, and somewhat independent because half the battle is won by the media these days, and most of our organizations’ press releases are printed. They consider success and ascension even if it is in the form of paid news, which isn’t the case.
Furthermore, Jamiat should not focus on inter-sect issues if it considers itself to be a representative of Muslims in India. There are several Muslim groups living in this country, this does not mean compromising on faith but strengthening ties with other groups within their limits.
Mahmood Madani Bhopal’s speech referred to Shah Waliullah, in which he said that the Jamiat is the prestige of the nation. Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlvi’s distinction is that he is revered by people of various sects, many consider him as their Imam. Very few Muslim scholars have achieved this position in Indian history.
One can hope that Madani will break this tradition. Will Mahmud Madani be able to do this? Is he ready?
Views are personal. The writer is editor of Roznama Khabrein.