By Muslim Mirror Special Correspondent
While civil rights groups – along with opposition parties – have stepped up efforts to bring marginalized sections together to electorally challenge the politics of Hindutva in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind leader Arshad Madani’s statement calling Muslims descendants of Munu has apparently annoyed the so-called lower caste people who consider Manu-smriti (Laws of Manu) discriminatory. Precisely, the soft corner shown by the Muslim cleric for the archaic Hindu laws is likely to anger the Dalits and other lower caste people.
Maulana Madani, who is the president of India’s most prominent Muslim body, has tried to give a disturbing twist to the political discourse set by the opponents, which mainly include the minorities and the other backward castes. Maulana’s statement has yet again put the Muslim community in an awkward situation.
“Madani’s statement will not only go against the interest of Muslim community. It could widen the gap between Dalits and Muslims. His controversial statement may turn into an electoral gain for the BJP which desperately needs to increase vote bank for its survival,” said Umar Khan, a rights activist.
However, the Maulana is known to stir controversy. In the past, many of his statements were used by the saffron party to demonize the mainstream Muslims and groups opposing the politics of Hindutva.
Speaking on the final day of the 34th general session of the Jamiat at the Ramlila Maidan on 21st February, Maulana Madani had said ‘Adam’s descendants are called aadmi (mankind). Manu’s descendants are manushya (mankind).” Last week Maulana Madani reiterated the same claim at the convention of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind at Azad Maidan in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was giving his reaction to the Ghar Wapsi program of Sangh Parivar.
“Maulana Arshad Madani’s statement is highly deplorable, he hurt our sentiments, he has compromised that’s why he is giving statements like this,” said DC Kapil, a Dalit leader.
‘It should be noted that the Sanghis started the controversial Ghar Wapsi campaign after the BJP came to power at the Centre in 20i4. The question is why Maulana was silent all those years. Why did Maulana Madani start declaring 20 crore Muslims as descendants of Manu who is known as the creator of the Brahmanical order of Varna which divides humanity on the basis of blood?” Manoj Kumar, another Dalit leader said.
“Maulana Arshad Madani wanted to tell that all Muslims are Brahmins but he could not gather enough courage to say that,” added Kumar.
Statement on PFI
Maulana Madani also drew parallels between PFI and Bajrang Dal, a statement that didn’t go well with the Muslim community. It attracted a harsh reaction on social media against him even though most of the religious clerics chose to keep mum on it. “If there was no anti-Muslim policy of Bajrang Dal, then the Popular Front of India (PFI) would not have emerged. PFI is not an action but a reaction,” he had said.
Some Muslims, however, on social media suggested Madani to keep quiet over sensitive issues.” There is a sense in the Muslim community that the Jamiat character, of late, has remained “dubious”, with many calling it the body of “opportunity lot.”
“Addressing a public meeting of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan, Maulana Arshad Madani Sahib has supported the ban on the Popular Front of India. He stood with the Narendra Modi government on the biased decision. Surprisingly except for BJP no secular organization dared to say about the ban of Front what Madani had said about the Muslim organization,” said activist Samiullah Khan.
“Maulana Arshad Madani wants to send a message that he is pro-government,” a Maulana told Muslim Mirror on the condition of anonymity.
“Maulana Arshad Madani should join the BJP, nowadays the BJP is also forming a minority organization. Maybe Madani sahab will be made president. What else will Maulanas do to save the chair?” Nafis Ahmad said in reaction to the statement.
Some users asked why Madani was “suggesting Muslims could vote for BJP in the next elections.” Unfortunately, the Jamiat has no problem with fascist elements and organizations, but it has a problem with Muslims who speak against fascism.
Gulzar Sahrai, a senior journalist said: “Now the conscience of Maulana Arshad Madani is dead. This is the reason why he supported banning an oppressed organization.”
“Through dividing the Darul Uloom and carrying out internal investigations, his family stifled any progressive movements within the Muslim community. In the case of Hazrat Ghulam Wastanwi, he conducted a discreet yet successful investigation, while the arrest of Hazrat Kaleem Siddiqui was taking place. Thus, it is disheartening to see such false claims being made. If the government were to ban organizations like the RSS, and Jamiat, and even imprison both the uncle and nephew, would we still have any regrets?” asked Islamic Scholar and writer Md Hifzur Rahman.
“But despite having thousands of proofs against Bajrang Dal, they are not banning it. If you have the courage, if the Home Ministry here has the courage to do even an iota of justice, then ban Bajrang Dal.”
Interestingly Maulana Madani mentioned ‘the promises made by the Congress in Karnataka and expressed the importance of the party fulfilling its commitment to banning the Bajrang Dal in order to restore people’s confidence’.
“Maulana Arshad Madani is encouraging Amit Shah to ban other Muslim organizations. There will be no surprise if ‘an emboldened’ Amit Shah bans another Muslim organization. And if anything like this happens Maulana Arshad Madani will be directly held responsible for that,” said Zahid Imam.
“Maulana has amassed a lot of black money like Mayawati, and he is being forced to make such irresponsible statements only to save his neck,” said DC Kapil.
Ironically Congress party never promised to ban Bagranj Dal in its manifesto. During the election campaign, one Congress leader only said that the Congress government will rein in the outfit if they come to power.