We Have but to Take Control of Our Community Ourselves
By Dr Syed Zafar Mehmood
Once again in Kokrajhar, Assam 34 Muslims have been killed, innumerable terror stricken have fled from their homes and many more have their houses burned down. For us the Muslims, it is time of soul-searching and self-assessment [and find out an answer to the question] that for how long will we continue watching [helplessly] members of our community being slaughtered? Surely neither crying in anxiety, nor lamenting [for the victims], nor playing on excuses is going to help. Time has come to be watchful, alert and careful of putting our every step forward. We had not yet come out of the shock of Muzaffarnagar [riots] that we have been made victim of the [massacre] of Kokrajhar. The precious resources of the community that should have been channelized for the uplift of the community, we had to use them to rehabilitate tens of thousands of those Muslim families that were displaced from Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. Now Assam has been readied for the unplanned [and emergency] spending of these scarce resources as a second milestone.
If we explore carefully we will surely find out that somewhere a plan must have been prepared to keep Muslims in this hapless and pathetic condition and the current situation is part of that well-thought-out plan. (In situation like this) instead we have dedicated ourselves for the achievement of [the short-term] prosperity, personal and that of kith and kin, and [fake] prestige of our families. We have forgotten that Fard Qayam Rabt-e-Millat Se Hai, Tanha Kuch Nahin : Mouj Hai Darya Mein Aur Bairun-e-Darya Kuch Nahin [An individual’s existence is dependent upon his relation with the community he belongs, on his own he is nought ; like the wave that exists only in the water that flows, without that flowing water it exists not.]
The only strategy that can be followed in the present general elections is that we do not let our (community) votes to be divided, we should en-bloc vote for the candidates in our constituencies who are non-sectarian and who are comparatively in a winnable situation.
To guarantee a safe and prosperous future of our next generations is the religious duty of a Muslim community. But we, the Indian Muslims, are far behind in performing this (compulsory) role. It would not be much wrong to say that we are instead growing thorns in the pathways of our future generations, an act about which we will not be able to offer any explanation in the court of Almighty Allah. Still there is time to wake up. What we simply need to do is to shed our fears about anyone else except Allah SWT and devote at least one third of the intellectual and physical abilities that the Almighty has blessed us with to serve the community. We will have to organise our community.
Human life [according to the Quranic calculations roughly about 84 years average] may be divided in three segments. Each segment spans over 28 years. First segment is spent in growing up, education, and marriage, second is devoted to employment, upbringing of children, their education and their marriages. The third [last one] part belongs to the community. Evan at this stage one remains fit enough physically and mentally both. At this stage one should use all his abilities, experience and resources for the benefit of his community.
If one so chooses he may use the excuses of being less resourced and thus continue worrying about and working, until his death, for the welfare of his family and children only. But this is not what for Allah has given the status of Ashraful Makhluqat (best among all creatures) to humans.
Let us now ask ourselves, ‘Are we, as Ashraful Makhluqat, performing our duty to stop reoccurrences of another Muzaffarnagar, Kokrajhar and Gujarat?’ ‘No’ is the answer! [If it is so then]
Let us start it now. If, in accordance to the percentage of our population (instead of 25-30), we occupy 70-75 seats in Lok Sabha, if in the state assembly of Assam we win, in accordance to our percentage of population, one third of seats, and if in each eighth district of the country we occupy the posts of a collector and Police Superintendent, will then the unsocial elements be able to dare look at us with wrong intentions? Definitely Not! Rest assured that we are failing in getting our genuine constitutional rights because as individuals we are selfish. We do have the feelings for our community that make us moan and groan at its condition but we do not take concrete steps to help it regain its dignity. As a community we will have to change our mind-set. Each one of us has been bestowed by the Almighty with the required zeal to motivate us and take action. All of us are able to do self-assessment. We need to realise that our existence as an individuals is ephemeral and unreal but the community is a real entity. Those of us who have entered in the last and third phase of their lives will have to become active. To simplify our argument let’s call them the revitalisers, the revolutionists. With their help the community in the country will have to take the responsibility of reconstructing, reshaping, rejuvenating and uplifting itself. However anyone volunteering to join such a revolutionary movement will have to treat oneself, from beginning to the end, lesser than the interests of the community. There is no place of one’s personal ego in such a movement
In constituencies where Muslim population is 15% these revolutionaries will have to play an active role of self-less leaders. Muslims in their areas should immediately form groups comprising of 10-12 individuals. They may call these groups KGP (kimyagar political—political alchemists). Use some space in their houses as the offices of the group. Get the correct percentage of Muslims in their areas from the websites of Office of the Registrar General and Census Commission or Election Commission of India or email Zakat Foundation of India. Then acquaint themselves in detail of the problems of the community at national, state and local level and then start working to solve these problems. Prepare a five year plan. Next election will be held in five years’ time or, may happen as well before that. Assembly elections also will definitely be held during this period. Only within a space of one or two years these groups of alchemists (revolutionary workers) will have done enough and solid work for the community, that will be enough to earn then full confidence of the community so much so that at the time of next elections it will vote en-bloc for the individual or the party approved by these groups.
In addition in each constituency a group of KGA (kimyagar administrative—political administrators) will have to be created. These groups should also be registered as trusts. They should identify intelligent and outstanding Muslim graduate and postgraduate boys and girls and encourage them to get good coaching for and work hard to appear in the competitive exams conducted by Public Service Commission at central and state levels. These groups will have to arrange by themselves a Civil Service Study Group in a separate building. The building should, as soon as possible, be transferred in the name of KGAs so that it continues its work even after 50-100 years. The building should have a library, reading rooms and lecture rooms. These youths should be coached in best private coaching institutes. The needy children will have to be helped financially as well. It should be remembered that the aim of this movement is not to get employments for Muslim youths but to empower the community as a whole. The positive results of this self-less work of KGP and KGA will, InshaAllah, start bearing fruits nationally within 5-7 years. We will then not only be able to protect ourselves from Muzaffarnagar, Kokrajhar and Gujarat but will also be able to influence the governments with regard to welfare schemes for the community and will thus be able to ensure the fulfilment of our constitutional rights.
Dr Zafar Mehmood is a retired IAS Officer, is an activist, runs many institutions including Zakat Foundation of India and was Officer on Special Duty, Prime Minister’s High Level Committee for Muslims (later popularly known as Sachar Committee)
Translated and slightly abridged by Urdu Media Monitor.Com from Rashtriya Sahara, 8 May 2014
Muzaffarnagar riot was an attack by members of a caste on a particular community: Syed Shahabuddin