Bharat Mata Ki Jai: Stop dragging Muslims in unwanted controversies


Dr Kouser Fathima

MIM leader, Asaduddin Owaisi, has publicly stated that he wouldn’t schant “Bharat Mata ki Jai.”  As a citizen, he is within his right to say that.

The problem though arises when he tries to imply that this stand of his and his party is supported by all Indian Muslims. There’s little denying that he has his own fan following but the truth is that he doesn’t represent all of the Indian Muslims.

When one party claims to be the voice of all Indian Muslims, it holds no ground as Indian Muslims are a diverse lot with different languages, cultures and political affiliation. This explains why Indian Muslims never had a pan India leader.

Indian Muslims are the ones who decided to make India their home and rejected the idea of partition. For years Muslims have been flying national flag, singing national anthem and chanting both Bharat Mata ki Jai and Jai Hind with equal fervour.

Few incidents and dictates have not reduced their faith in the multiculturalism of Bharat, nor have incidents like Babri masjid demolitions and riots dented their faith in the Indian constitution. Indian Muslims are resilient lot, who have proven their patriotic credentials on numerous occasions more than any other communities.

Parties trying to communalise the patriotism of Muslims are on the wrong track. The so-called nationalists, overly worried about Muslims having to prove their patriotism by sloganeering are to be strongly condemned. So should be Muslim politicians, who are using excuse of religion not to say BMKJ.

From ages Bharat was graphically represented as a Mata or mother and Muslims have been saying BMKJ with no objections. So the sudden controversy on this issue is hard to explain except for political opportunism by both sides. Both have similar divisive agenda and are only strengthening each other.

The RSS should understand that Muslims do not have to prove their loyalty every time they are cornered or bullied. Likewise, MIM should understand that all Muslims will not blindly be part of their sloganeering and jingoism.

Bihar assembly election results are clear indication of the priorities of Muslims and people with other religious beliefs as they strongly rejected communal politics and voted for development.

When the right-wing parties of both sides indulge in the sloganeering, they are only trying to project themselves as winners in the eyes of their core supporters. Neither are genuinely concerned about the other burning issues rather using this tussle as a distraction tactics.

While Muslims didn’t blindly support MIM, the suspension of their MLA Waris Pathan by Maharashtra assembly was equally condemned by all sections. People from all religions and political affiliations have unequivocally condemned the suspension, reinstating the faith in Indian democracy.

Indian Muslims neither have to shout slogans to prove their patriotism nor have to be part of political jingoism. No one can bully them to raise or not raise any slogan. They are capable of taking right decisions on their own. Muslims are integral part of Bharat. They love and respect their motherland, so stop dragging them in unwanted controversies.

Lest we forget it is a Indian Muslim AR Rahman’s composition “Ma Tujhe Salam” which leaves a lump in the throat of every patriotic soul in the country.

Dr Kouser Fathima is a Bengaluru-based writer. Views expressed here are her own and doesn’t subscribe to them