In order to dispel the fear of the Muslims that the BJP government at the center is out to disenfranchise them, take away their rights and possibly expel them from India, the Hindus will have to engage them in a dialogue with the best of intentions.
Educated and enlightened individuals in both the communities should convince the skeptics that it's just not possible to strip so many people of their nationality in a vast country like India where democracy has entrenched itself.
With reference to the two central legislation -- the NRC and CAA -- they should be informed that in any other country, the government keeps good track of all its people and their citizenship through social security/insurance or other numbers (a variant of national registry or Aadhar Card: if you are genuine, nothing to hide and nothing to fear).
In fact, the popular view abroad is that India has been a badly administered country when it is contrasted with other advanced countries. Now, there is a government which is streamlining many things that were half-heartedly taken up during the Congress party regimes and then abandoned under pressure.
The BJP's relentless point that the Congress party has been following the politics of appeasement is resonating big time now. The educated Muslims are now realizing and articulating this point. Arif M. Khan, a former Union Minister with Rajiv Gandhi and presently the Kerala Governor, makes this point quite eloquently. He says since the Congress betrayed in the Shah Bano case in 1986, its popularity among Muslims has been deteriorating, and has never recovered.
Therefore, currently, the Congress party, supported by all the parties opposed to the BJP, is doing all it can to incite the Muslims and win over their support by feeding them with rumors and false information.
The Muslims' psyche is understandably disturbed because they feel they have been targeted by the Hindu-first ruling party at the center. Abrogation of triple talaq and article 370, measures to stop illegal immigration and the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya Babri Masjid have added to their fear. The most frustrating element for them is to notice that the BJP had shown in two successive elections (particularly in 2014 and 2019 UP elections) that the party could win without the Muslims' vote or patronage.
The gulf of confidence between the ruling BJP and the Muslims has to be bridged. The Hindus and the BJP can do this in many different ways. The BJP should recruit more Muslims and the Muslims should also join the ranks of the BJP. It was not advertised adequately enough that at the recently concluded RSS event (25 Dec 2019) in Hyderabad, its chief, Mohan Bhagwat, referred to Tagore and talked about the Hindu-Muslim unity. The Muslims of India declare with pride everywhere -- at home and abroad -- that they are Hindustani Muslims.
It's incumbent upon all educated Muslims of India to come forward, educate and enlighten their fellow Muslims among whom illiteracy, unemployment and ignorance are still rampant.
The Hindus and the BJP leadership have a duty to convey their message in a non-threatening way. They will have to rein in their unruly foot soldiers and stop them from abusing their sense of empowerment. They have to convince themselves first that the Muslims of India are, after all, indigenous, equal and integral to indivisible India.
An aggressive posture will definitely terrify and isolate the vulnerable communities.
Dr. Binoy Shanker Prasad hails from Darbhanga and currently resides with his family in Dundas, Ontario (Canada). A former UGC teacher fellow (at JNU) in India and Fulbright scholar in the USA, he has taught politics and authored conference papers, articles and chapters on Bihar in previously published books in the United States, India, and Canada.
Dr. Prasad administers a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OverseasBihari and has sponsored “Aware Citizenship Campaign” at a micro-level in his home-town.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS