Pasmanda Muslims: Minority wing of BJP to sharpen awareness of Pasmanda at office members training camp to be held in late July

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently called on the BJP to aspire to meet the aspirations of all sections of society and made special mention of the Pasmanda Muslims – essentially OBCs – during the party’s national executive meeting which s is held in Hyderabad. Now, the party’s minority morcha in a training camp to be held from July 25 in Haryana is expected to fine-tune their Pasmanda outreach plan in different states.

Nearly 180 office bearers and senior members of the morcha will participate in the event which will be attended by National Organization Secretary BL Santhosh, and will be trained in different modules including BJP history and ideology, writings on nationalism, direction of party development, history of minorities in India, role models, challenges faced by minorities today, use of social media to highlight concerns and empowerment of women in these communities.

Different internal organizational communities will be formed in the states especially where the BJP is in power to understand the issues faced by the community, raise them, increase the representation of Pasmanda Muslims in government committees, ensure that more members of community join the BJP and build the party’s awareness towards them, a senior BJP official told ET.

BJP minority morcha leader Jamal Siddiqui said the representation of Pasmanda Muslims in the party’s minority morcha has increased over the past few years, and the morcha is now planning a series of measures to showcase the BJP’s inclusive social programs. left. “Even before the UP elections, we mapped 6,000 cabins with Muslim dominance in Pasmanda. This has helped us in many areas. An important part of training our office staff is also making them understand how electoral politics has changed and to understand why the Muslim representation in Indian politics has declined.”

Pasmanda Defense Space experts said the move would bring out the plight of Indian Muslims who have fallen victim to caste-based stratification, but also said the party and government must move beyond the inclusion insurance.

Khalid Anis Ansari, an associate professor at Azim Premji University who has been actively raising community issues for many years, told ET that the opposition and the left-liberal ecosystem are making a big mistake if they ignore BJP outreach to Pasmanda. Muslims as it emerged from a well thought out long-term strategy of the Sangh parivar. “The tendency to exhaust the imagination of the RSS-BJP by the left-liberal intelligentsia emerges from a hubris that needs to be revisited or else they will continue to make the mistakes they have made,” he added.

According to Ansari, it is crucial to understand the work done by the Sangh Parivar outfits in the cultural and social field. He added. “There are 30 million Muslims in India, and clearly they cannot be driven out and must be engaged. The RSS’s major investment is in the cultural hegemony of the Sanskritic-Vedic tradition, and it views the Persian-Islamic and Anglo-Christian traditions as colonizing civilizations. However, due to the demographic strength of Muslims and the RSS’s convenient adoption of the Orientalist-colonial view of Indian history from a Hindu-Muslim perspective, Islam, especially the Deobandi tradition, appears as its main adversary. The Deobandi tradition is combative and has a well-developed theological system.

“RSS has traditionally attacked Islam directly. But lately it has developed a battery of internal Muslim intellectuals – modernists, feminists, anti-caste (Pasmanda) – to accomplish this task. What unites these various Muslim voices is their virulent attack on clerics and madrasas, the main vectors and reproducers of Islam, and their absolute silence on the cultural or theological problems of Hinduism,” he said. he declares.

The Muslim location of these intellectuals, Ansari added, lends some credence to their rhetoric that portrays Islam as an exceptionally intolerant or regressive faith, especially among Hindutva sympathizers. “Islam has a complex history, like any other religious tradition, with both regressive and emancipatory interpretations, interpretations that emphasize the language of power or love-transcendence. Muslims are made of flesh and blood. ‘os like any other community.Black and White The understanding of Islam and Muslims presented by these Muslim scholars is reasoned, to say the least.

Ansari’s research over the years has shown how Ashraf Muslims had hegemonized and were overrepresented in major Islamic organizations (Jamat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, Jamat-e-Islami, All India Muslim Personal Law Board , Idaar-e-Sharia, etc.), government institutions for minorities (Muslim University of Aligarh, Jamia Milia Islamia, Maulana Azad Educational Foundation, Urdu Academy, etc.), groups such as the Popular Front of India and power structures in general.

“Prominent Muslim bodies have remained silent on the issue, but there have been internal discussions. Pasmanda refers to backward, Dalit and Adivasi Muslims. It is similar to the term Bahujan, and Pasmanda Muslims make up 85% of the Muslim population in India. Muslim organizations have no choice but to work with them. Even when the leadership is Ashrafiya, the base of these organizations is Pasmanda. Young members of Pasmanda sometimes talk about their experiences, so there is a mix within these bodies although there is no official acknowledgment of the problem yet,” he said.

In the 1990s, many social movements gave voice and new direction to the abolition of castes in Muslim society, such as Ejaz Ali’s All India Backward Muslim Morcha, Ali’s All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz Anwar of Bihar and the All India Muslim OBC organization of Shabbir Ansari of Maharashtra emerged.

Ansari said BR Ambedkar was right when he addressed the issue of Muslim reforms. “Babasaheb says that the social ills of Indian society such as caste system, child marriages etc. are shared equally by Muslims. However, he points out that among Hindus there is a small class of elite reformers who tackle social ills. At the same time, among Muslims, not only is there no reform movement, but their leaders are not even willing to take notice of social ills like caste.

“Caste is not specific to a religion”

In explaining why caste should be seen as a “secular South Asian phenomenon that cuts across regions, religions, sects and language groups”, Ansari added that the whole positioning that caste is lower among Muslims because Islam is an egalitarian religion is a “half-truth and conceptually lazy. by Ziauddin Barani do the same for South Asian Islam. Caste among South Asian Muslims was legitimized throughout the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Sultanate periods. We have to look at caste as we look at race, not from a religious point of view but as a social construct,” he added.

Explaining this further, Ansari said, “Among Hindus, the lower castes have become politically aware and are militantly demanding their rights and their share of power. The increasing rate of caste atrocities can be interpreted as restorative or disciplinary high-caste violence. Among Muslims, the Pasmanda sections are not so politically aware, so caste atrocities are not as frequent. However, there have been numerous incidents of Muslim caste violence. Most of the time, Muslim caste violence is recorded as a public order issue because journalists are not aware of the caste issue within Indian Islam”.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s active populist measures, focusing on welfare and social benefits, form the cornerstone of its outreach to all marginalized communities, including Pasmanda Muslims, he added. “Most of the Pasmanda are landless weavers or agricultural labourers. The opposition parties did not even use the word Pasmanda. Only Nitish Kumar did. Prime Minister Modi named the Pasmanda community even in 2017 during the BJP national executive meeting in Bhubaneshwar, while the Sangh Parivar has been doing this outreach for a long time. The enthronement of Dane Azad Ansari, a Pasmanda Muslim, as the only Muslim minister in the UP’s Yogi Adityanath government marked a symbolic shift,” he said.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs specifically launched in 2015 programs such as “progress panchayat” for the benefit of backward Muslims, and those in the “shilpkari, dastkari and swarnkari” (craftsmen) professions. It also compiled data on 60 communities that can be broadly categorized as Pasmanda. “There are many that we are still looking for data on,” an official said.

“Words Are Not Enough”

Broadly divided into three main classes and hundreds of biradaris, the highest in the caste hierarchy among Muslims are the ‘Ashraf’ Muslims who trace their origin to West or Central Asia (e.g. Syed, Sheikh, Mughal , Pathan or native upper caste converts like Rajput Muslims, Tyagi Muslims or Gaur Muslims etc.), after which come the Ajlaf and Arzal who have been victims of systemic marginalization.

Known for first using the term “Pasmanda”, in 1989 Ali Anwar Ansari, a former Rajya Sabha MP and national chairman and founder of All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz, told ET that while the Prime Minister’s statements were welcomes, the community needed a little more than verbal assurances. “For now, we consider the mention of our community to be only part of the BJP’s expansion plan. Because whenever Hindu groups call for an economic boycott of Muslims, it’s the street vendors Muslims such as fruit and vegetable sellers, mainly Pasmanda Muslims who suffer the most The BJP leadership is silent on the hate crimes suffered by Muslims in Pasmanda.

The mahaz had convened a meeting of Muslim organizations in Pasmanda on June 30 to discuss the way forward for the community which is caught between “growing communalism and derailed opposition”, he said.

“What the Muslim elite and most Hindus do not recognize is that our ancestors from this community went to Delhi to oppose the partition of India. charity is the only way to empower us. They don’t even want to discuss our issues, while the opposition wants our votes, not standing with us,” Ansari said.

The community wants a national caste census and for the Bihar MBC model to be implemented across the country, Dalit Muslims to be accommodated in the SC category. “We especially want our brothers and sisters who face daily social and economic marginalization to fall under the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) law,” Ansari said.

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