Marginalized Indian Muslims & Kashmir issue: Can Shah Faesal address both these constituencies?
By Dr Raja MuzaffarBhat
Muslims, considered underprivileged and backward community in India, were overwhelmed by Shah Faesal’s success. Out of over 90 million Muslim youth in India, only three to four make it to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) every year; and getting 1st rank in this exam was almost a dream come true. Whenever I get a chance to meet Muslim intellectuals, or students across India, Shah Faesal is a definite part of discussions. Being a longtime associate of Faesal, they keep asking me to request Faesal for some motivational lecture or some kind of an interactive programme.
Soon after getting into IAS, Shah Faesal was frequently invited by several muslim think tanks , educational institutions and research centers across India. He traveled to several Indian cities and addressed large gatherings of Muslim youth. Faesal was felicitated by a number of Muslim religious and social organizations in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Aurangabad, Bhopal and other cities. During his highly motivational lectures, Faesal would always quote AlamaIqbal. The way he recited Alama’s Urdu and Persian couplets, would enthrall the audience.
Those who say Faesal started criticizing authorities only a year back as he made plans to join politics, are wrong. Even when he was a new entrant to India’s elite service (IAS) , he would highlight the official apathy towards Muslims in India without even caring how his seniors in Government would react. On 14th June 2010 when Faesal had just entered into IAS family, he gave an inspirational speech and openly criticized Congress led UPA Government at Moulana Azad Research Center, Aurangabad. Shah Faesal in his lecture said
“India is a country with diverse background.…. But do I ignore that I am a Muslim? No, I cannot. I am and I need not be apologetic about that. We have our own identity and it is not necessary that we assimilate each other to live in India.
We have to be recognized as Muslims in India as we are. Unfortunately we are denied justice in spite of constitutional guarantee of equal opportunities and social justice which has been authenticated by Sacchar Committee report “
When I went through Faesal’s recent facebook post announcing his resignation, I was not surprised at all because I knew he would leave his Government job. Faesal was constantly feeling suffocated especially after Modi came to power in 2014. He was restless from last 3 years as “GowRakshaks” were turning vandals by thrashing and killing Muslims. Pehloo Khan and Akhlaq case, JNU students tried for sedition, constantly nagged him.
From last 4 years youth are being killed and injured on daily basis. The doors of dialogue are shut. Jamia Masjid Srinagar is locked almost every alternate Friday. Peaceful protests are also not allowed. Pro freedom leaders are kept inside jails even without trial. NIA is bypassing local police. 35-A and 370 is being challenged in Supreme Court. In such an atmosphere, how can conscious people remain silent ? When Faesal tried to express his anger on social media last year disciplinary action was initiated against him by Government for his tweet.
When Shah Faesal quit from IAS , he cited two reasons for his resignation. One related to Kashmir’s political discourse, another one about marginalization of Indian Muslims.
Feasal has a big challenge before him now. Indian Muslims are waiting for a leader from last 70 years and Faesal can be their hope. On the other hand if he does so, he can’t evolve as a leader of Kashmiri people because of their different political aspirations. Can Faesal address both these constituencies? This is the biggest challenge for him as an emerging young muslim leader…..
Dr Raja MuzaffarBhat is Founder & Chairman of Jammu & Kashmir RTI Movement, can be reached at [email protected]