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Friday, March 30, 2018

Who should Indian Muslims Vote?


The title should have been, who should Indians Vote? As the essay is not about Muslims, but Muslims are a part of it as much as Hindus, Dalits, Sikhs, Adivasis, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Bahai's, Parsis and Jews.

Please review the following items; Ravish Kumar's appeal, Dr. Shariff’s latest research. Dalit Leaders call, Rajesh Khanna’s filmi speech and what kind of India does one want? 

India’s problem is like any other nations’ problem; the Majoritarian arrogance. A few among the majority feel threatened that their way of life is going to disappear. Their short-sighted solution is not dialogue, but showing other people their place or "Auqat" and sometimes resort to killing, maiming, harassing, lynching and raping, as if it will solve the problem, no, it does not, it will aggravate the situation further.

The best solution is hanging on to the values that gave India its stability, a growth economy, stability and a respectable place in the community of nations. We cannot exist by ourselves, we need consumers beyond our borders for us to thrive,  and we need to buy the things from others to grow, as we cannot produce them effectively.  We have a stable constitution, the constitution that guarantees every Indian to live his or her life as he or she chooses.  In simple words, every human is free to breathe, drink, eat, wear and believe whatever he or she wants.

The foreign direct investment poured into India because the investors felt safe with their investment. If they see the communal riots, lynching, harassment, discriminations against fellow Indians, they will pull out as they did in Apartheid South Africa. All of us will lose.
Muslims along with Dalits and Christians are in the most challenging situation, and I know the moderate majority of Hindus do not gloat over this; they want all to prosper and feel secure.

The smartness of Muslim, Dalit, and Christian leaders has not gotten anyone out of the ditches. Muslims being the second largest group in India need leaders who could lead the people in the right direction. The ugly rhetoric by some has created more barriers than the goodwill.  No more emotional slogans to deceive people in the heat of the moment, we need pragmatic solutions. 

Given the current situation, let’s collectively figure out how to get out of the mess and how we can handle the 2019 Elections for the good of all Indians.  Let’s look at becoming relevant again.

Let’s go with the idea of an ideal democracy and work our way towards it.

In such a democracy, Muslims don’t need anyone to represent them; the Christians don’t need a Christian to represent them, Dalits don’t need a Dalit to represent them, a Brahmin does not need to represent Brahmins, a Kashmiri Pandits does not need a Pandit to represent them. Similarly, no Adivasi, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Bahá’í, Zoroastrian, Jews and others need their own to represent them because the elected representative serves all people.  We need to nurture such individuals, India is blessed with too many good people.

Let me be clear; when Hindus, Muslim, Christians, Dalits, Sikhs and others are mentioned, I am talking about the majority of each group.  They mind their own business by taking care of food for their families, their children's education, healthcare, home,  and living a life of their own.  The troublemakers are a small percent of politically oriented men in each group; we should never use the phrases that Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs are wrong because that is false. 

We are all from Adam and Eve, and it is mentioned in Quran, Bible, and the Torah, and that makes all of us, the 7.5 billion of us, members of the same family.  I don't know if they believe in it, if they did, they would not treat another human any different. Neither the Muslims nor the Christians of India have expressed that thought boldly.

Swami Vivekananda also failed to communicate the idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum to the people of India. Had he emphasized that we are all one people regardless of the color of the shirt or saree we wear, whether we eat roti with Pyaaz or Keema, whether we wear a topi,  turban, pallu, Hijab or whatever, we are still one people!   

Each group claims there is only one creator and they come to refer him as Eshwar, Allah, Yahweh, Jesus, Mahito, Ahura Mazda, Wahe Guru, Budhha, Mahavir and on and on.  However, when they are talking,  their mouths twist and say Hindu God, God of Israel, Muslims God or a Christian God,  what kind of talk is that? By the way, these are not majority of the people in any group, it is the tiny minority within each group. 

Muslim votes were rendered ineffective in the 2014 general elections. Muslims don’t need to blame anyone; instead, they need to find a way to become participants and contributors towards the well being of the nation.

Dr. Shariff’s latest report brings shame to our democracy. In the state of Karnataka alone 18 lakh Muslims are missing from the voter's list.  How significant that number is if that kind of research is done all over India?  Do we have caring Indians who can fund this research and work on registering the disenfranchised? A real democracy succeeds when all are participating. Let the funding come from the public and not the political parties as they would want a pound of flesh.

The political parties from BJP, Congress, JD, SP, AIDMK, Trinamool and other regional parties have their manifesto that they want Indians to subscribe.  It is time, we the people, the Indians of all hues develop our manifesto, not a Muslim or Christian manifesto, but an Indian proclamation for all Indians, and vote for those individuals who would subscribe to most of the items on the manifesto. 

Do we have a manifesto?
Together, let’s create one.

Let’s make a checklist and look to the candidates who would fit in, let’s not look to the parties, they have betrayed us before. It’s just not us; we appeal to all Indians to consider the grassroots list. Let’s make it meaningful again.

We can make a table for all the MP candidates across India, and publish a list where these candidates stand on issues critical to all Indians.

Does the candidate;

1. Stand up for any Indian when access to education is denied?
2. Stand up for any Indian when access to a job is denied?
3. Stand up for any Indian when access to housing is denied?
4. Stand up for the rights of individuals when they are violated?
5. Let's develop a comprehensive list - that benefits all Indians

We can develop a table for all the 545 contestants listed by the States in Alphabetical order; then across the columns, we will record the criteria and check mark the items that the candidates will commit to abide. 

 It should be our government by us for us, and they need our support. 

We need to vote those candidates who are clean and are willing to bring Indians together and not pit one Indian against the other. We don't need those guys, they are impregnated by the British mentality of divide and rule.

There are good individuals among BJP, Congress, BSP, JD, and other regional parties.   As Indians, we need to vote those candidates who are 1) Financially clean 2) Want to work on bringing Indians together and 3) subject themselves to investigation. If anyone is questionable, we need to disqualify them from our table until they prove they are clean.  Then we can expect the nation to move forward.

My appeal to BJP supporters is to seriously consider saving our democracy, we have the freedoms because that is the foundation laid by our founding fathers. Each one of you is a beneficiary of the great democracy created and nurtured in the last 70 years. Let's not give any party a landslide victory, let's deliberately provide a significant opposition to question the "mun-mani" raj by any party. If we do that, corruption will be checked; nepotism will be stopped, accountability of government will begin.  Let this be our government by us for us. 

Whether Congress or BJP, if you give them a majority, they will become arrogant and do things that are not good for the country. 

What do we have to lose by doing the right thing? 

Please write your comment in the comment section below for development of such a manifesto. This is not copyrighted; you can do it on your own or joins us in a team effort.

Articles Worth Reflecting: 



Mike Ghouse is an Indian American committed to building cohesive societies where people can live without fear and prosper together.  His work is listed at www.CenterforPluralism.com and http://MikeghouseforIndia.blogspot.com


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