Lok Sabha Elections 2014 and Pasmanda Muslims

 

Draft Note circulated by National Alliance of Pasmanda Organizations (NAPO) for discussion in its inaugural meeting to be held in Lucknow on June 30, 2013.

~

National Alliance of Pasmanda Organizations (NAPO)

Key Personalities

The key personalities (L to R): Fakhr-e-Qaum Abdul Qaiyum Ansari, Maulana Ateeq-ur-Rehman Mansuri, Baba Kabir, Dr. Ejaz Ali, Ali Anwar

Introduction

Caste is the key determinant of social status and exclusion in India and operates in all religious communities. In this context, pasmanda discourse emerged in the 1990s to address caste-based disenfranchisement of pasmanda (dalit and backward caste) muslims from community organizations (madrasas, All India Personal Law Board, etc), state organizations that claim to work from Muslims (Urdu Academies, AMU, Jamia Millia Islamia, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Waqf Boards, etc.) and power structures generally. The forward Muslims are well represented in power structures (legislative bodies, bureaucracy, judiciary, media, NGOs, academia) due to their cultural capital, networking capabilities and institutional density. They have also been able to bargain successfully with the State on behalf of all Muslims and have not really shared the benefits thus accrued with the pasmanda muslims.

Muslim Faqir CasteApart from the marginalization of pasmanda muslims from power structures, they are also witness to a culture of humiliation where their caste titles, occupational skills and cultural sensibilities have become terms of regular abuse and mockery. Moreover, all the efforts of the pasmanda muslims to secure an adequate share in the democratic game are offset by the emotive 'politics of fear' regularly generated by the religious elite in India through a discourse around communal violence and terrorism. It is to counter this unending spiral of disenfranchisement and humiliation that the transformative pasmanda project was launched.

Key Issues & Demands Raised by the Pasmanda Movement

The key issues/demands raised by the pasmanda movement are:

a. Scrapping of Para (3) of Constitution (SCs) Order, 1950 so that dalit Muslims and dalit Christians are duly included in the SC list and they are not discriminated against on the basis of religion under Article 341 of the Indian Constitution;

b. Adequate representation of pasmanda muslims in ticket distribution in political parties proportionate to their share of population (around 85% of Muslim population).

c. Chalking out of a quota for Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) within OBC quota at the Central and State levels (the Bihar formula) where the backward caste muslims could be clubbed together with similarly placed Hindu caste groups. This is a more judicious and non-communal demand than the 4.5% sub-quota for OBC-Minorities moved by the Congress Party before last Lok Sabha elections. Though we have no official data to show how many pasmanda muslims have benefitted from this separate quota for EBC in Bihar, we know from our experiences and the narratives of pasmanda government servants that we have gained substantially (without any charge of communalism) in terms of our representations in government jobs in all grades and education (particularly in terms of admission in state-run engineering, medical and other technical institutions);

d. State support to the artisans, crafts-persons, agricultural laborers and other cottage and small-scale industries through effective subsidies, credit and loan facilities, marketing support, skill upgradation, etc.;

e. Contestation of the 'Total Muslim Reservations' (TMR) campaigns launched by the ashraf classes among Muslims. The pasmanda muslims are already covered within the existing reservations policy. Hence, TMR is nothing but a ploy to bring the ashraf castes within the ambit of reservations. The exclusion of forward Muslims from the Central OBC list is the main driving force for TMR campaigns. The point is not about chalking a separate quota for all Muslims but rather the deepening of existing reservation policy so that an adequate share for dalit and backward caste Muslims is secured. The ashraf Muslims are not 'socially and educationally' backward and hence cannot be considered for reservations;

f. Framing of progressive policies regarding the specific issues of pasmanda women (re-codification of Muslim personal laws, employment, education, health, political empowerment, adequate representation in religious institutions, etc.).

Why have these demands not been taken seriously by political parties?

Muslim Jogi CasteHowever, these demands have not been taken seriously by any political party because of the complete domination of ashraf classes there who claim to represent all Muslims. Also, in the last few months many key Muslim leaders and organizations have militantly campaigned in support of TMR. In spite of this growing assertion around TMR there has been no befitting response from any of the established pasmanda leaders or organizations thus far. This may be either due to their cooption by political parties, burning out or lack of imagination. We think that it is high-time that a befitting political response must be chalked out by the pasmanda muslims otherwise they will lose out politically and be deprived of their social rights, status and adequate share in power.

Where do we go from here?

In this context we need to chalk out a clear political agenda and organizational structure. We feel that rather than creating another organization we should form an umbrella organization provisionally captioned National Alliance of Pasmanda Organizations (NAPO).

Power Loom Worker

The purpose of NAPO could be to identify organizations and individuals in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra that are already working on pasmanda issues or are sensitive to the pasmanda agenda. The individuals/organizations thus identified could be roped in by NAPO and be made responsible for the propagation of its political agenda in their respective areas. As far as the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections are concerned it is important that a befitting reply is given to the anti-pasmanda politicians (largely forward Muslims). In this context, NAPO may consider the following agenda:

  • Boycott of all anti-pasmanda candidates from any political party (all those who are supporting TMR campaigns and are against or silent on pasmanda demands).
  • Support to the better pasmanda candidates. In case of the unavailability of pasmanda candidates in any constituency, support should be extended to the desirable candidates from other groups that are supportive of our demands.
  • In any case, no support should be extended to any candidate with a criminal reputation.

~~~

Other Related Articles

How can Babasaheb Ambedkar and Vivekanand go together?
Thursday, 04 May 2017
  Harish Parihar Transcript of his speech on 14th of April, 2017 at IIT, Roorkee, on the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar   Most of the aspects like economics, women empowerment,... Read More...
Munnar: To the Destroyers and Hijackers of the Protest, and the Media - Gomathi speaks
Monday, 01 May 2017
  Gomathi G "Why are you so scared of this protest by us three women?" The unpleasant incidents of yesterday (Thursday), that happened around midnight in the temporary protest tent of Pomplai... Read More...
Solidarity Statement by Dalit Penkoottam
Wednesday, 26 April 2017
  Dalit Penkoottam We strongly protest the verbal attacks directed at Pembilai Orumai* by the Minister of Electricity of the Pinarayi Vijayan government of Kerala and member of the Communist... Read More...
The landless will now receive no land
Saturday, 22 April 2017
  Santosh Kumar Thomas Isaac, the Finance minister of Kerala had declared in the budget that flats/apartments shall be constructed within a year and given to one lakh people in Kerala who do not... Read More...
Saffronisation of Ambedkar and the need for resistance
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
  Tejaswini Tabhane When Ambedkar asked us to 'fight against Hindu Raj' he was not aware that one day the same propagandists of Hindu Raj will start (mis)appropriating his ideals. The fashion of... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Presenting Angela Davis, the Savarna Style
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
  Sukanya Shantha On Friday, a friend and I walked into a movie hall to watch an American romantic musical, La La Land. Enticed by the cinematic beauty and the dreamy two hours spent in the... Read More...
Wherever Caste exists in the World, Ambedkar and Marx will remain Irreconcilable
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
  Dr Manisha Bangar NVP BAMCEF In India, and wherever in the world Caste exists, Ambedkar and Marx will remain Irreconcilable. Starting from the happenings in Hyderabad Central University in... Read More...
From Breast Tax to Brahminical Stripping in Comics: Orijit Sen and Brahmin Sadomasochism
Thursday, 02 March 2017
  Pinak Banik "Only dead dalits make excellent dalits.Only dead dalits become excellent sites where revolutionary fantasies blossom!" ~ Anoop Kumar The context for this article centers around... Read More...
On the Anxieties surrounding Dalit Muslim Unity
Friday, 17 February 2017
  Ambedkar Reading Group Delhi University  Recently we saw the coming together of Dalits and Muslims at the ground level, against a common enemy - the Hindu, Brahminical State and Culture -... Read More...
Kishori Amonkar: Assertion, Erasure, Reclamation
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
   Rohan Arthur Hindustani vocalist Kishori Amonkar passed away on 3rd April, 2017. Kishori Amonkar is remembered for her contribution to Hindustani classical music, and her passing was... Read More...

Recent Articles in Hindi

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

  संजय जोठे  इस देश में भेदभाव और शोषण से भरी परम्पराओं का विरोध करने वाले अनेक विचारक और क्रांतिकारी हुए हैं जिनके बारे में हमें बार-बार पढ़ना और समझना चाहिए. दुर्भाग्य से इस देश के शोषक वर्गों के षड्यंत्र के कारण इन क्रांतिकारियों का जीवन परिचय और समग्र कर्तृत्व छुपाकर रखा जाता है. हमारी अनेकों पीढियां इसी षड्यंत्र में जीती आयीं हैं. किसी देश के उद्भट विचारकों और क्रान्तिकारियों को इस...

Read more

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

(कृष्ण की लोक लुभावन छवि का पुनर्पाठ!)मानुषी आखिर ये मिथकीय कहानियां किस तरह की परवरिश और शिक्षा देती हैं, जहां पुरुषों को सारे अधिकार हैं, चाहे वह स्त्री को अपमानित करे या दंडित, उसे स्त्री पलट कर कुछ नहीं कहती। फिर आज हम रोना रोते हैं कि हमारे बच्चे इतने हिंसक और कुंठित क्यों हो रहे हैं। सारा दोष हम इंटरनेट और टेलीविजन को देकर मुक्त होना चाहते हैं। जबकि स्त्री...

Read more

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

संजय जोठे धर्म जो काम शास्त्र लिखकर करता है वही काम राष्ट्र अब फ़िल्में और विडिओ गेम्स बनाकर बनाकर करते हैं. इसी के साथ सुविधाभोगी पीढ़ी को मौत से बचाने के लिए टेक्नालाजी पर भयानक खर्च भी करना पड़ता है ताकि दूर बैठकर ही देशों का सफाया किया जा सके, और यही असल में उस तथाकथित “स्पेस रिसर्च” और “अक्षय ऊर्जा की खोज” की मूल प्रेरणा है, यूं तो सबको...

Read more