The Muslim Question

[From the Political-Organisational Report of the Sixth Party Congress.]

The Muslim question is very significant in our country. The religious persecution faced by the community gives rise to a peculiar minority syndrome which has been further reinforced by the rise of the forces of Hindutava. This syndrome defines the community’s response where the community starts imagining itself as a different nation altogether. Its response gets conditioned by the single parameter of communalism and it detaches itself from other movements for democratic reforms, against corruption, against criminalisation of politics et al. This also allows fundamentalist forces as well as ‘musclemen’ to usurp the leadership.

On our part, closer interaction with the Muslim masses and understanding their specific problems had been a major area of weakness. The Inquilabi Muslim Conference which we launched in Bihar helped the Party, to a significant extent, in developing linkages, understanding their problems and formulating our responses. Although by itself it couldn’t advance much and often failed to intervene in the debates within the community on the question of women, reservations for dalit Muslims etc., yet it helped to bring seriousness to the Party’s work among Muslims. Propaganda in Urdu, interaction with Muslim intelligentsia, and Party leaders addressing special conventions or gatherings have all got a fillip. This work, however, still falls much too short of requirements.

Our experiences show that in many areas in Bihar, CPI(ML) is getting a good response among Muslims and in answer to the question ‘Who after Laloo?’ CPI(ML) is often mentioned nowadays. We also developed a close friendly relation with the Lucknow-based All-India Muslim Forum and the Bihar branch of Indian National League. The response of young Muslim students of JNU and the Aligarh Muslim University towards AISA and their firmly siding with Chandrashekhar the martyr, against Shahbuddin the killer, is very encouraging and shows that Muslim students and youth are ready to break through the old pattern of Muslim politics and are drawing closer to left forces.

Laloo and Mulayam are no longer the undisputed heroes of Muslim society which is standing on the threshold of change and young students are the representatives of that urge. Bringing more and more of them into the Party stream has become an urgent task.