The Congress-led UPA government, from the word ?go? in 2004, has demonstrated its determination to use state power to fuel and fan ever-simmering Muslim separatism, salivating at the prospect of Muslims rewarding it with state power in 2009. Faithful to its pre-Independence historically weak-kneed tradition of pandering to Muslim separatism and intransigence, the Congress – Sonia, Singh and Sachar, holding aloft the banner of politics of minorityism, is re-enacting those fateful years between 1906 and 1947, when the Indian National Congress? (read Mahatma Gandhi?s) increasing inability to deal with growing Muslim aggression and secessionist demands led to the second, this time permanent, violent vivisection of the Hindu nation in 1947.
Triggered by the Machiavellian partition of Bengal into the Muslim East and Hindu West, consequently with a view to enhancing their gains, the Muslims began by demanding separate electorates from the more-than-obliging colonial British government in 1906, progressing to demanding from Lord Minto quotas in government jobs, proportional representation in the judiciary, proportional job quotas in the Viceroy'scouncil and the legislatures. Enthused by British acquiescence to their nascent separatist demands in 1906, the Muslims in December of the same year, with great foresight promptly formed their own political party, the All India Muslim League (AIML) as an instrument for more separatist demands which would eventually lead them to tear the Hindu nation apart to regain state power in 1947.
The AIML, notwithstanding Mahatma Gandhi'smisplaced (to use a charitable word) faith in the nationalism of Indian Muslims, and confirming the worst apprehensions of Hindu nationalists like Maharishi Aurobindo, Lokmanya Tilak, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevask Sangh, demanded of the Hindus and got a sizeable chunk of the body of the Hindu nation in 1947. Not content with their ton of flesh and the horrendous blood-letting that accompanied the transfer of population after the vivisection, the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir demanded of a more-than obliging Nehru and got themselves a separate flag, a separate constitution and separate Urdu appellations for constitutional posts. Not content again, these Indian Muslims have forcibly rid the Kashmir valley of all Hindus and unleashed an orgy of violence and terror with the stated objective of vivisecting the country yet again.
The Prime Minister'sOffice (PMO) constituted in March 2005 the seven-member committee headed by retired Justice Rajinder Sachar ostensibly to study the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community. However, the committee was doing something more dangerous; it was actually performing a head-count of Muslims in different spheres of life, including in the judiciary, in the police and in the defence forces. The committee'smember-secretary Abusaleh Shariff justified the head-count on the grounds that all important institutions and sectors in the country must reflect the diversity of its populace. What was left unstated was that the diversity must be reflected in a manner proportionate to the population of Muslims in the country. It is 1906 and d?j? vu all over again.
While the Congress-led central government is pandering to Muslim demands, some state governments too, with their eyes on the Muslim vote-bank are bending over backwards to keep the Muslim community in good humour.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, sitting on the religious demographic tinder-box called Hyderabad, in an effort to buy peace with the Muslims of his state, not unlike Mahatma Gandhi taking up the cause of the fallen distant caliphate, has promised more funds to madrasas while Mulayam Singh Yadav announced a Muslim package worth Rupees 72.4 million in the state budget for 2005-2006 covering several ?Muslim welfare? schemes. On the one hand the Sachar committee is bemoaning the appalling state of Muslims in education and employment because of their propensity to send their children to madrasas and not to secular government-funded elementary and secondary schools, and on the other we have a Chief Minister who actually adds fuel to this alleged backwardness by promising more funds for madrasas and more madrasas to boot.
Not to be outdone by regional satraps in the game of Muslim appeasement, the Prime Minister, obediently mouthing his given lines, declared that Muslims have first claim on the nation'sresources. News is, going by the schemes and outlays proposed for Muslim welfare in the 11th plan, there may well be a quantum leap in budget allocations for the purpose. It has been reported that the Planning Commission'sworking groups set up for this purpose has recommended a total allocation of Rs. 7034 crore for education and Rs. 9090 crore for economic development. Now this is what the Congress and other ?secular? parties want and intend to give the Muslims in a replay of the British colonial governments policies of appeasement. In return, the Muslims made more demands from Lord Minto which too was granted to them.
Today, taking full advantage of the Sachar Committee report, the Muslims are demanding separate IITs, and IIMs exclusively for their community and also government recognition for intended private secular schools exclusively for Muslim children. Indian Muslims have been assured that while the Hindus of this country will give and give and give more and more, no matching reciprocity is expected from them. It was Mahatma Gandhi who first publicly absolved the Muslims from any sense of reciprocity and mutual respect.
?But just as I respect the cow, so do I respect my fellow-men. A man is just as useful as a cow, no matter whether he be Mahomedan or Hindu? Therefore the only method I know of protecting the cow is that I should approach my Mahomedan brother and urge him for the sake of the country to join me in protecting her. If he would not listen to me, I should let the cow go for the simple reason that the matter is beyond my ability?.. When the Hindus become insistent, the killing of cows increased. In my opinion, cow protection societies may be considered cow-killing societies.? (Hind Swaraj, Chapter IX, ?The condition of India: the Hindus and the Mahomedans)
Well, as events proved, the matter was indeed beyond his ability and the Muslims did not listen to his ?for the sake of the country? argument, and the Mahatma had to let go not only the cow but also the territory of the Hindu nation. Taking a cue from the brotherhood in the rest of India and in Pakistan, the Muslims of J&K demonstrated that the Muslims know how to take but do not accept to give. While Indian Muslims insist on their separatist mindset, refusing to mingle with the mainstream national culture by adamantly refusing to sing the Vande Mataram, the Saraswati Vandana or performing the Surya namaskar, hiding behind the slogan ?secularism is in danger?, the Muslims of J&K did not even pretend to subscribe to secularism.
The separatist Article 370 which Nehru pushed, deliberately in his absence, in the Constituent Assembly by proxy through Gopalaswamy Ayyangar and which even Sardar Patel did not have the courage to oppose publicly, limits the jurisdiction and scope of the Indian Constitution in the Muslim-majority state of J&K. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are not obliged to subscribe to or defend the ?secular? clause in the preamble to the Indian Constitution which has become a part of its sacrosanct ?basic structure? and more importantly, the separatist constitution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is also not ?secular?. Muslims, it has been proved conclusively, do not subscribe to or believe in secularism when they are in the majority.
Important Muslims periodically declare that this country is held together only by secularism. It follows then that as long as they resist the abrogation of Article 370, and as long as the state constitution of J&K does not make secularism a part of its basic structure, Muslim commitment to national unity can only be termed dubious and doubtful.
Muslims are demanding proportional representation everywhere, in all sectors, in all largesse, in all benefits. Only two areas remain untouched by them till now – a demand that government set aside 15 per cent of the national budget for Muslims and the demand for 15 per cent of the total food-grain production exclusively for Muslims. We may live to see even this day soon.
(The writer is director VIGIL, Chennai and a well-known author.)