Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

BJP to work for welfare of Muslims: Advani

New Delhi, July 13: In a forceful enunciation of his vision for the country’s Muslims, BJP prime ministerial candidate L K Advani on Sunday made a strong pitch for changes in the community from within at a well-attended meeting of Muslim women, even as he said that “secularism is the bedrock of our civilisation”.

“The BJP’s politics is about the 100 per cent population of the country, not just its 82 per cent Hindu community,” he said.

In a shift from his Ayodhya phase, Advani gave a new slogan on the occasion: “Jo rashtra hit ki baat karega, wohi is desh par raaj karega (Only those who talk of the country’s development will rule it).” During the Ayodhya agitation, Advani said only those who talked of “Hindu hit” could govern.

Without referring to the Sachar Committee, he agreed with one of its key findings on the backwardness among the community’s women. “Studies have shown that Muslim women are among the poorest, educationally the most disenfranchised, economically the most vulnerable, politically the most under-represented group in the country,” he said.

His blueprint for their well-being was, however, markedly different from what has been prescribed by the Sachar panel. “Let girls (along with boys in the Muslim community) go higher and higher in education so that they can avail the opportunities created in the 21st century... The community’s own initiatives and reforms are important and necessary. Focus more on women’s education and providing opportunities for women to be employed,” he said.

Lambasting the Congress, “which has ruled for the longest period, both at the Centre and in many states after Independence, ‘thus responsible for the Muslim backwardness’,” he said the BJP “was not anti-minority but believed in anti-minorityism”.

“The concept of ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ should not be stretched too far. When the State is enjoined by the Constitution not to discriminate on the basis of religion, there is no need to bring in the ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ identity of citizens in every sphere of public life. Some parties for votebank considerations want Muslims to remain in the ‘minority mindset’. Their politics of ‘minorityism’ is helping no one,” he said, in an obvious reference to the Congress, adding that “the community should not remain pawns in the selfish politics of the Congress and other pseudo-secular parties”.

While the recent BJP national executive in Delhi was in news when the party president sought a debate on the inclusion of “secularism” in the Constitution, Advani used the occasion to outline his own vision. “Respect for all faiths — which in modern times is known by the term ‘secularism’ — is the signature tune of India’s spiritual heritage. It is the bedrock of our civilisation. This fidelity to genuine secularism has defined the spirit of the Indian Constitution, long before the word ‘secularism’ was formally introduced in it during the Emergency,” he said.

BJP’s Minority Morcha chief Shahnawaz Hussain came in for profuse praise from Advani. “When Shahnawaz told me about the plan to hold a Muslim women’s conference, I had some doubts. My doubts are dispelled today. I am not only impressed by the numbers but also by the enthusiasm of the Muslim women here.”

Citing Hussain’s election from Bhagalpur, where he drew considerable support from the Muslims, he appealed to the community to join the party in good numbers. “We want all-round development. Irrespective of the percentage of Muslims who vote for the BJP and the NDA, our government will work for everyone.”

A jubilant Hussain later told The Indian Express that the BJP minority morcha will organise a rally of one lakh Muslims in Delhi in October. “There was a tremendous response from states like Gujarat and Rajasthan. We will prove that Advani’s good governance plank is for everyone,” he said.

Najma Heptullah, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Kiran Maheshwari, Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Vijay Goel were also present on the occasion.

BJP to work for welfare of Muslims: Advani

With an eye on minority votes, BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani today said if elected to power, the party will work for the welfare of Muslims, irrespective of how many of them vote for it.

"Irrespective of what percentage of Muslims vote for the BJP and NDA, our government, if voted into office by the people of India, will work for the welfare, development and security of the Muslims," Advani said addressing a Muslim women's conference here today.

Asserting that the politics of minorytism must be defeated, the senior BJP leader alleged that some parties in India want Muslims to remain forever in the minority mindset.

"It is for this reason that I say that the BJP follows anti-minoritysm but is not anti-minority", he added.

Appealing to members of the community not to fall prey to the politics of minorityism, he clarified that the BJP is more interested in their welfare, all round development and security than in their votes.

Lashing out at 'other parties' for paiting BJP as an anti-Muslim party, Advani, who came to the forefront of National politics after the Ayodhya movement, said his party totally disbelieves in any kind of discrimination on the basis of religion.

"We accept and are indeed proud of-the religious diversity of India," he said adressing the seminar organised by the minority cell of the party.

Just because a section of the Muslim leadership mistakenly, and for its own vested interests, pursued the flawed policy of the 'two nation' theory, and brought about the tragic division of India, there is no justification to view Indian Muslims today through the prism of what happened 60 years ago, he observed.

"Do not remain pawns in the selfish politics of the Congress and other pseudo-secular parties. Support the BJP and NDA, together we shall open a new chapter in the politics of genuine secularism and genuine empowerment of all the underprivileged people belonging to both majority and minority communities," he said.

"Our adversaries will say that Muslims will never vote for the BJP. But we are proving them wrong everywhere," he added.

As the Muslim women among the delegates shouted "Bharat mata ki jai" (hail mother India), Advani said, "The Congress rule, rather misrule, will soon become history. There will be no Congress-led government after the next Parliamentary elections, whenever they are held."

He called on the Muslim women to go back to their families with the message that the anti-BJPism spread by the Congress is a farce.

The resolution adopted in the conclave hailed Advani's candidature for Prime Ministership.

Condemning the UPA for price rise, the resolution said that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is eager to push the Indo-US nuclear deal because US president George Bush is more important for him than the welfare of the country.

The seminar was also adressed by the party's minority cell chief Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and other leaders including Najma Heptullah, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Vijay Goel and Kiran Maheshwari, the women cell incharge.

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