By H Anjum (Khabrein.Info)
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) sponsored Welfare Party of India has failed to gain many admirers since its launch earlier this month. JIH leaders had thought that the nascent party would be welcomed with open arms from all around, but it seems that it may remain a pipedream, at least in the foreseeable future.
But if Jamaatis thought that their new baby would be accepted with open arms, they couldn’t have been more optimistic, if not out-rightly day dreamers. Jamaat has very low level of acceptance among Sunni Muslims let alone among other sections of the society. They may have their branches in hundreds of places, but the people who attend their weekly ijtemas (a must for a local Jamaat unit) are very few and most of them ageing.
The people attending their weekly meetings can be counted on fingers, barely a dozen and nowhere more than fifty. Many of the people attending their compulsory weekly ijtema are karkun or sympathizers who are not the members of the Islamist party.
Another fact that must be taken into consideration that Jamaat is the party of old men. Not only it is led by a 77 year old emir, Jalaluddin Ansar Umari, it is the party of ageing people. Many of the arkans are very old and Jamaat has badly failed to rope in new blood. Most of the boys who retire from Jamaat’s student wing Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) prefer not to join the Islamist party.
So outside the small circle of the Jamaat, its newly born political party may not be welcome. Javed Anand says, “It perhaps is too early to exult. The Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) invitation to a party has met with more jeers than cheers. Not many Muslims, it appears, are keen on singing Happy Birthday to the new-born named Welfare Party of India”.
Seema Mustafa says that that Muslims organizations like the Jamaat should confine themselves in religious matters and stop involving in politics. She challenged the philosophy of Jamaat-e-Islami to intervene in political, social and cultural lives of Indians.
The party has included several other Muslims organizations and leaders to build a wider platform to take up the issues of the marginalized sects of people across the country. But criticism against the party is at its heights from several corners. Most of the criticisms including Seema Musthafa’s are meant to blame Jamaat’s decision to prepare a platform eyeing at an alternative politics in India.
According to Seema, Jamaat’s appeals are dangerous to the community, which is facing the worst challenges in its history in India. Following the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition, 2001 twin tower collapse and the 2002 Gujarat riots, Muslims in India are totally unsecure. The war on terror, announced by the former U.S. president George W Bush, turned out to be a threatening thing for Muslims youngsters in the country.
Police started to hunt educated Muslim youths in connection with any bomb blasts in India. The trend increased to a level that Muslim youths were unlawfully tortured and branded the community as the agents of terror in the world.
Muslim organizations like Jamaat are taking advantage of the time, says Seema. With the entire Muslims are looking for an alternative front to compete with Congress and other political parties, Jamaat has tactically launched it political party, Seema thinks. However, the Welfare Party could not make any movement in India, he added.
While talking to Yoginder Sikand, seema Mustafa said, “I think a separate Muslim party is the worst thing that could happen even from the Muslim point of view, because of the Jamaat’s inherent conservatism and obscurantism, and its fundamental opposition to democracy, secularism, human rights, and peaceful coexistence between different religious communities, all of which are readily apparent in the copious literature of its ideological mentor and founder, Syed Abul Ala Maududi”.
She compared Jamaat-e-Islami with its Pakistan and Bangladesh versions. According to her, Jamaat, which is basically against secularism, democracy and nationalism, has accepted them all as a tactics to shy away from the initial hiccups. The party will soon become a movement, which will be conservative in its ideas and policies. In Jamaat, like in Bangladesh and Pakistan, women are not allowed to venture outside without strict Muslim clothes.