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A backward community with high profile ministers

Saturday November 10, 2012 09:57:21 AM, Syed Zubair Ahmad,

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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 respectively.

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 Congress.

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 Congress.

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 and Mayawati.



Syed Zubair Ahmad is a Writer & Journalist. He can be reached at






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