By Quamar Ashraf
Muslim leadership, if any, has yet again showed its mental bankruptcy by raking up CAA+NPR+NRC withdrawal demands close on heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of farm laws revocation. Statements from political novice to religious look-like idiots are pouring in and are disproportionately being played up across the media spectrum as part of the divisive agenda of a dominant section of digital space.
Undoubtedly, resistance against the citizenship regime is bound to happen if the Modi government makes any headway, but it is unwise to trigger concerns when nothing of the sort is in sight. The renewed attempt to rake up citizenship matrix obviously stems from the success of farm protests but there should be no illusion that a Muslim-manged protest, in the current scenario, will be seen differently, and will be dealt with differently. A section of Muslim youth might romanticise in drawing similarity between the farmers protests with Shaheen Bagh stirs, but they are quite different. Apart from many undeniable realities, the most expressed one has been that the farm protests enjoy support of all opposition parties, the citizenship stir had none.
While Asaduddin Owaisi, whose party AIMIM seeks to contest upcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, has his own reasons to ratchet up such issues, tantrums being made by others on the issue despite knowing well that the falcon cannot hear the falconer anymore sounds utter nonsense. Do they, or should they, hold any sway now after they have failed the community on every front?
The Shaheen Bagh stir was organic with virtually no community leadership in the helm of affairs. It, however, threw some youth leaders, many of whom are languishing in jail on various charges related to the northeast Delhi communal riots. Unlike the aging leadership, the youth emerging from the citizenship protests are pragmatic, have sound knowledge of politics and social sciences and know the vocabulary of protests. Now, the Muslims are not likely to be driven by the leaders using medieval age idioms and phrases in the modern socio-political set-up. Most of the faces appearing on TV screens or finding spaces in Urdu press are simply left irrelevant. Therefore, the Muslims, and members of other communities, do not need any sermons or exhortations from the leaders. Interestingly, many were not visible during the waves of protests across the nation. In fact, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind leader Maulana Mahmood Madani had even endorsed the CAA but swiftly changed his position after learning that he would be left alone.
Right from dragging Babri Masjid issue from court to street to Shah Bano fiasco, which culminated into imprudent annulment of triple talaq, they have only sought to take sustenance from ‘reactionary politics’ unmindful of the fact that their gestures and postures are packaged and processed to raise a new set of majority by a handful of right-wing politicians over the years.
In short, lack of vision, self-glorification and failure to prioritise concerns have continued to exist among the Muslim ‘leaders’ as a result of which they simply cannot discern the writing on wall.