A few days back when I came across
the news about new induction of Muslim ministers in the union
cabinet I became neither impressed nor optimist. And I have some
reasons in support of my pessimism when it comes to Muslim
politicians particularly those belonging to the Congress party.
They remain loyal only to Congress indifferent to whatever
calamity befalls the community they belong to. They enjoy the
privilege they get in lieu to be associated with that community.
For the sake of boasting now we have seven ‘Muslim’ ministers in
central government but how much helpful they would be to their
community is also a known fact. Four of them are from Congress and
one each from NC, NCP and IUML. Salman Khurshid, Ghulam Nabi Azad
and K Rehman Khan (cabinet rank) and Abu Hashem Khan Choudhury
(state minister) are from Congress. While fourth Muslim cabinet
minister Farooq Abdullah is from National Conference state
ministers Tarique Anwar and E. Ahmed are from NCP and IUML
K Rehman Khan, a Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka, is the
new Cabinet Minister for the Minority Affairs. Khan was till
recently Deputy Chairman of the Upper House. Earlier Salman
Khurshid was cabinet law minister and was holding the additional
charge of ministry of minority affairs.
The latest reshuffle in the ministry may be the last reshuffle
before parliamentary election due in 2014. No one can say with
surety that these Muslims will become minister in future too.
These ministers should take this chance as the last opportunity to
do something for the nation as well as for the most backward
community they represent. We all know there is an unannounced
‘quota system’ in politics and these persons have become ministers
from ‘Muslim quota’, so it’s their moral responsibility to keep
the welfare of the community in mind as well. Their party picks
them from ‘Muslim quota’ and makes them ministers.
Undoubtedly the elevation of Khurshid and inclusion of three new
Muslim ministers is a major electoral card exercised by Congress
to woo Muslim voters in the next parliamentary election which will
be held in 2014. The inclusion of K. Rehman Khan as union minister
for minority affairs, Tariq Anwar as minister of state for
agriculture and food processing industries and A.H. Khan Choudhary
as minister of state, health and family welfare is also aimed to
attract Muslim voters in the coming parliamentary elections from
the region Congress has lost ground in. One may wonder how these
ministers will achieve what Congress could not in eight years and
how much they will be successful to woo Muslim voters in favor of
In fact Congress didn't learn a lesson from assembly elections
held earlier this year in four states particularly in U.P. where
Muslim voters rejected Congress flatly and opted for Samajwadi
Party. Gone are the days when Congress used to take Muslim voters
for granted. The tactical voting by Muslim voters shows that they
are outsmarting the poll strategists and think tank of mighty
Muslim voters have stopped believing this kind of ‘facial’ and
‘make-up’. They know it well that Salman Khurshid, Ghulam Nabi
Azad and Farooq Abdullah or Tariqe Anwar etc have nothing to do
with Muslim community. Neither these Muslims politicians claim to
be the representatives of Muslim community nor Muslim community
pin any hope in them. They are selected for their proximity to the
Congress leadership so they remain loyal only to them.
Muslims don’t expect anything from these Ministers. What Salman
Khurshid did as minister of minority affairs in known to all.
Literally he did nothing as minister of minority affairs .But he
claimed that 90% of recommendations suggested by Sachar Committee
have been implimented. His party also liked his performance. No
need to mention the page 3 minister Farooq Abdullah. Ghulam Nabi
Azad and Tariqe Anwar have also nothing to do with Muslim
community. Their past is before us. Our only hope is K. Rehman
Khan, the union minister for minority affairs. We hope that he
will not disappoint Muslims, ‘one of the most backward community
of India’ as Sachhar Committee Report calls it.
These Muslim leaders never try to learn a lesson from Lalu Prasad
Yadav,v Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati.
Last year Times of India published a report with the title of
‘Bihari babus rule the roost at power centre’. The report said
“Bihari babus are virtually dominating the corridors of power in
New Delhi. Nine Bihar-cadre IAS officers are heading as many
crucial ministries, including home, defense, road transport and
highways and rural development. Six IAS officers are serving as
additional secretaries, while 17 others are in the rank of joint
secretaries.”(TOI, 15 July, 2011).
After having a look at this news I recalled a story told by a
Bhumihar friend on how Bhumihar community became so powerful in
the administrative set-up of this country. Dr. Shri Krishna Singh,
a Bhumihar by caste, after becoming the first Chief Minister of
Bihar wanted to do something for his community. He consulted with
the experts on this issue extensively, finally he decided to open
a residential school known as ‘Netrahat Residential School’ in
1954. Ramnaresh Singh, a Bhumihar, was appointed its principal.
The rest is history. The students from Bhumihar community were
admitted en masse and this residential school became famous as the
launching pad for the success in Indian Administrative Services.
Within a few years this residential school became a milestone in
the development of Bhumihar community. Getting admission in this
school was to become an IAS officer. Most of the IAS officers from
Bihar cadre are products of this school, and mostly are Bhumihars.
Once an illiterate Bhumihar met Dr Krishna Singh and sought a job.
Dr Singh apologized and said that since he had no education so
getting a job for him was a very difficult task. Then after a
pause he asked the man if he had some farming land. The answer was
in affirmative. Dr Singh ordered him to plant trees of Neem as
many as possible in his land and meet him after six months. When
six months passed the man came to meet him. Dr Singh guided him to
a tender notice seeking for six month old Neem plants in thousands
to be planted on both sides of the roads.
This is how a community grows up and develops. When Lalu Prasad
became the CM of Bihar, Yadav community developed surprisingly,
when Ram Vilas Paswan became the Railway minister, Paswan
community was said to be given preference in Railway employments
as well as small and big contracts. Now look at the community of
Mayawati! There are thousands of similar stories on how these
leaders tried their best to develop the communities they belonged
to. And they were not wrong. Their community voted them to power
so it was their moral duty to do some favor for them.
Literally these high profile Muslim ministers did nothing for the
community they belong to in their entire political career even at
personal level. We know it well that Congress doesn't make them
Ministers for the upfitment of the Muslim community, it just uses
them as showpieces to delude Muslim voters. But even then if they
want they can work for the community. Now the Sachar Committee
report provides a legal ground to give some tonic for this long
ignored and ailing community.
Unfortunately these Ministers forget the fact that their party
gives them tickets only from Muslim dominated constituencies and
Muslims send them to Parliament and they become ministers from
Muslim quota but after becoming MP and minister they forget their
community. They should learn a lesson from Lalu, Paswan, Mulayam
Syed Zubair Ahmad is a
Writer & Journalist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org