By Abdullah Edachalam, Khabrein.Info
The recently held elections to local bodies in Kerala brought a host of new equations into the political arena. The mainstream political parties divided in UDF and LDF once again firmed their local support. And the Congress lead UDF edged LDF dominated by CPI (M). The election results of a few newly emerged political forces hit the headlines thanks to its socio-political impacts.
Jamaat-e-Islami backed Janamunnani (people’s front) got wide coverage among this third front like coalition. The party had fielded candidates across the state and conducted mass campaign calling for a ‘change.’ Once the result came out, Jamaat backed candidates were far behind the opponents though the party could open its innings at a couple of seats.
The set-back of Janamunnani retrieved the question of Jamaat-e-Islami’s stance in the secular political system followed in India. Critics were too early to declare the defeat of an ‘altered face’ of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Political reviews openly reiterated that people in Kerala are yet not ready to accept the ‘change’ that Jamaat-e-Islami advocated for. The comeback of Indian Union Muslim League regaining its mass support in Muslim dominated areas made this view more acceptable.
Political commentators pointed that the change of Jamaat-e-Islami into Janamunnani for political gain couldn’t work properly. According to them the writing on the wall was clear; Muslims in Kerala still support the inclusive political view in a country like India than more rigid way of ghettoization.
However, the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami Kerala defended the loss blaming poor planning and lack of time for mass campaigning. They also accused the mainstream parties for blackmailing the Janamunnani. The party blamed use of power and flood of money to ensure votes against Janamunnani candidates.
However, critics peeped into the political existence of Jamaat-e-Islami which follows the agenda orchestrated by Abul ala Maududi. Earlier, Jamat Kerala Ameer, Arif Ali had described the political stance of Jamaat-e-Islami as very deferent from Maududi’s hukumat-e-Ilahi concept. He had further disclosed that Jamaat-e-Islami is an organization based on Quran and Hadith not on Maududian thoughts.
Though the state leaders accused media for misinterpretation of Arif Ali’s words, most of the people viewed the move as Jamaat’s drastic change from the founders’ maxims. Still, skeptics viewed ghost of Mausudi playing behind the new political wave seen among Jamaat followers.
They viewed that Jamaat couldn’t drop its role as a theological org stood for establishing dar al-Islam (land of Islam). Since its debut in 1941, Jamaat-e-Islami had been calling for war against dar al-kufr (land of infidels). The Jamaat followers had left government jobs and boycotted elections calling it as secular or anti Islam.
However, the Kerala version of the organization has been participating in political and activates since late sixties. The move towards political participation empowered since the formation of Solidarity Youth Movement, the youth wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, Kerala in 2003. The SYM lived its name through a series of environmental, anti-displacement, anti-globalisation struggles.
This move was widely hailed by people in the state especially by eminent human right activists and well known writers. While Jamaat-e-Islami formed its political agenda from this milieu it was believed the party will get enough support among the mass especially Muslims. But, the election results reveal that Jamaat-e-Islami backed party couldn’t reach even to the Muslim community consisting of Sunnis and Mujahids.
Now the question is whether Jamaat-e-Islami can go hand in hand with rare political theory of Maudidsm and the political participation in a secular setting. The organization is expected to carve a new agenda to make a ‘change’ within and out.