If we examine the process of development after independence in India, it becomes clear that Muslims have been pushed back in society, culture, politics, education and other spheres of life, which is the cause of their overall impoverishment.
Although concern is expressed about the decline of Muslims, no practical measures are taken to save it. Obviously, this will have serious consequences and the problems will increase and continue to increase instead of disappearing.
Basically this can be attributed to two main factors. First, the main reason for the decline of the middle class in the entire country, especially in North India, is the migration of Muslims to Pakistan during the partition, and the second major reason is the biased attitude of the government against Muslims. This resulted in a significant loss of both resources and opportunities for Muslim society.
The failure of the government to give priority to the development of Muslims, but also the obstacles put up step by step by the officials sitting in the offices, gradually caused their all-round decline and with the passage of time, it continued to increase. The attitude of deliberate neglect of Indian Muslims after the partition of India is very prominent, there are numerous proofs and arguments of this even officially.
In this context, it is important to review the role of Muslim leaders. The actions and strategies of Muslim leaders should also be seen in terms of what they did to address the challenges faced by Muslims and the possible ways to empower them. There is a large number of Muslims in the Indian society and it has been said time and again in various contexts that India cannot progress by ignoring such a large section of the society. Academicians and researchers should turn to this important issue to shed light on the influence of Muslim leaders.
By recognizing the importance of Muslim leaders in rebuilding and shaping society, we can identify areas where effective strategies need to be developed to improve and remove existing barriers. A deeper examination of their role, along with consideration of other factors, will help in empowering Muslims in India.
In recent decades, especially since the 1980s and 1990s, the concept of Muslim empowerment has gained considerable importance, and it is expected to continue to grow in importance in this century. The greater emphasis on empowering Muslims is actually due to the recognition of two emerging threats during this period. First, there is the challenge of globalization and liberalization, which has the potential to affect the social, economic and political conditions of Muslims, especially Muslims from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Secondly, Hindutva-inspired fascism is at its peak, which has become a clear threat to the survival and rights and welfare of Muslims in India. It is important to understand the potential consequences of these two threats on the vulnerable sections of the society.
Muslims from disadvantaged background groups are more dependent on government resources and aid, but due to globalization policies, the government is withdrawing from social and welfare activities. Employment opportunities provided by the government are decreasing. The education crisis is growing. Privatization policy is making education for financially weaker people more difficult. Minority cultural identity is also under threat due to Hindu fascism and globalization.
However, the cultural and religious identity of the weaker sections is more at risk. Religious identity cannot be saved without economic, political and educational development. What role did Muslim leaders play in facing the challenge of such threats? The fact is that these people misrepresented the problems of Muslims. The assumption of leaders, that the Muslim population is socially, economically, politically and culturally homogenous and a homogenous group, needs to be challenged as soon as possible, as this assumption is far from reality.
The truth is that the religious and political leaders of the Muslims have failed to comprehensively present, or perhaps even understand, the economic and political needs and conditions of the various sections of their own society. Instead, their efforts have been focused on limited issues like Urdu, personal law, the minority role of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. Ignoring the wider and more serious problems faced by Muslims has led to a situation where the benefits of their actions and positions of power accrue mainly to a few elite families of the society.
Important institutions such as the Urdu Academy, the Madrasa Board, the Personal Law Board, and the Waqf Board are dominated by members of these elite families, further perpetuating a system of limited benefits and opportunities. As a result, the voices and concerns of the wider Muslim population, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are often ignored.
Muslim leaders have not taken sufficient steps to spread awareness and information about government welfare programs and policies at the grassroots level of their society. This lack of awareness creates a significant gap between the purported benefits of these programs and their actual impact on the lives of ordinary Muslims.
In contrast, the Mandal Commission movement emerged as a powerful force that challenged Brahmin dominance not only in government jobs but also in panchayats and parliament. Advocating for reservations and equal opportunities, the movement aimed to level the playing field and ensure fair representation of marginalized groups. Although the process of establishing a more democratic outlook within Hindu society has faced controversies and obstacles, it has nonetheless laid the foundation for a more inclusive and egalitarian society.
Muslims accepted the process of democracy with hearty harmony, hoping that it would provide a good platform for their own claims and aspirations. However, the sad fact is that when similar claims are made in Muslim society, they are not only ignored but rejected outright. These claims are dismissed as subversive, viewed with disdain and hatred, and such voices face a lack of willingness to adapt, maintain harmony, or demonstrate tolerance. On the other hand, the BJP, whose entire edifice is built on the philosophy of Brahmin supremacy, seems more supportive of such voices despite the controversy.
However, tolerating these democratic claims should not respond to hatred or support a mindset of historical revenge. Instead, it should indicate a desire to foster an environment of inclusion and understanding. Embracing such tolerance is crucial to breaking the isolation syndrome that has contributed so much to the challenges faced by Muslims.
Doing so will significantly increase the beneficial intervention of Muslims in the political arena. Greater involvement in politics leads to increased participation, resulting in more prominent representation of Muslims in positions of power. And wider options and possibilities arise for the Muslim community.
Instead of lamenting the plight of Muslims, there is a need to frame a solid and comprehensive policy program. Among them, leaders imposed from above or self-appointed may be dismissed. Apart from this, the economic, political and other needs of different sections within the nation should also be taken care of. Selection of geographical locations to meet the needs of poor Muslims should be discussed as well as cooperation and mutual aid within the Muslim community.
There is also a need to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of the nation’s resources. Only Allah knows the state of hearts, but apparently the great tragedy of the time is the lack of sincerity and selfless spirit among the leaders, which is evidenced by an effective national organization which has now become a mere paper organization. It has come in the form of celebration. In this condition of the leader, there is no religious or political imprisonment. The Muslim masses must play an active and dynamic role in their society at the grassroots level, just like the leaders of the Dalit movement and the women’s rights movement.
Muslims should be freed from the disease of isolation and raise their voice on national issues, solve the tragedies like atrocities against dalits, prejudice against women and massacre of Christians. Dina Salaam allows for free and bold discourse, so discussion on various issues should be allowed under the principle of freedom of thought, thereby enabling reform and awareness in Muslim society. Special attention should be given to empowering Muslim women, advocating for their reservation from Panchayat to Parliament.
This analysis highlights the importance of grassroots leadership among Muslims. When leadership emerges from the grassroots level, it brings about a meaningful change in work approach and priority setting. This, in turn, helps in effectively solving the problems faced by the nation. By empowering grassroots leaders, communities can strive for positive change and overcome their challenges. The fact is that Muslim leadership is non-existent at the moment.
No one can be trusted and there is no hope that someone will come forward in time. The main reason for this is that the Muslim leaders do not have such a connection with their society as it should be. They do not understand the problems of their society in the light of data and no religious leader has tried this kind of thing. That’s why they keep talking about the same issues they have been talking about for decades. Even those who are rich, leader and don’t know what have become do not have an idea of the terrible situation of the present time.