BJP’s Political stunt and Shia vote Bank
By Mohammad Safi
At a time when 2019 LokSabha elections are around the corner and every political party in the field is trying their best to gain the favour of masses in India, Kashmir valley isn’t an exception.
Yet again People of Kashmir valley are being assured and promised the restoration of deteriorated conditions, revamping the crippled economic conditions, creating job opportunities, ensuring the safety of life and property and every other promise that is made every time before every election but this time there is something more interesting and unique.
One of the largest political parties of India BJP which very much eager to set its foot hold and open their account in Kashmir Valley has aimed to focus towards Shia muslim community who constitute roughly 15 lakhs in the state.
The party has announced a number of promises for Shia muslims in particular which include the creation of a separate Shia Waqf board, a separate Haj quota, revoking the long held ban on Muharram processions and demarcating constituencies in order to creating a much larger Shia vote bank.
BJP is of the opinion that this strategy of wooing in the Shia votes and neglecting the disintegrated Sunni vote bank in the valley will help them consolidate their position in the valley but how much effective this strategy is going to work will be a big question.
Shia and Sunni Muslims are the two main branches of Islam but they classify themselves as a single Ummah. The top Shia Muslim scholars like Ayatollah Khumainy (RA), Ayatollah Khamenai and Ayatollah Seestani have always emphasized and urged their followers to be united every time and everywhere.
Ayatollah Seestani believes that Sunni muslims are not our brothers but our souls. Any attempt which fosters the schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims is strictly prohibited and must be resisted. The great danger of enemies is to make Shias and Sunnis distrust each other so that they can devise any strategy to accomplish their objectives which we must resist.
Shias categorically reject the divisive politics and not only Shias but India being a largest democratic country in the world and believing on justice and equality should be well aware that “Divisive Politics” is itself a curse.
How rational is that BJP believes that they will offer privileges to Shias in particular and neglect the Souls of Shias (Sunnis)? How can a Shia accept an offer which guarantees him of an opportunity on the cost of depriving his brother(Sunnis)?How Can I as a Shia be satisfied for separate Haj quota in Kashmir from those who have withdrawn the same Haj subsidy earlier saying that it doesn’t benefit muslims?
How can I as a Shia be pleased for separate Waqf Board from the one who has power to amend and bring changes in religious matters like Triple Talaq? How would I as a Shia be happy for revoking Ban on Muharram processions when I see my brothers(Sunnis) are often barred from praying Friday prayers in biggest mosque of Srinagar?
How would I endorse the demarcation of constituencies based on sects when my Prophet (SAW) itself was a vocal opponent of disunity and proudly considered us all as his Ummah regardless of any difference?
In a hymn to Imam Ali (a.s.) it is written that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) paid great attention to certain issues during his eventful life. Justice and unity were among the things he always paid great attention to.
These are great lessons for us. Unity of the Islamic Ummah was of paramount importance to Imam Ali (a.s.). He went through the toughest tests of his life – the difficulties and wars which were imposed on him – as a result of administering justice.
He also gave up his own rights for the sake of God, Islam, and unity of Muslims and never engaged in any confrontation. He always held Islam, Muslims, the Islamic Ummah, and Islamic unity in high regard.
Today, the world of Islam needs to turn to wisdom and reason and to get used to thinking, to gaining a correct understanding of issues and interpreting them in the right way. Today, the world of Islam needs to gain a true understanding of the camp of the enemies of the Islamic Ummah.
We should know our enemies and friends. Ayatollah Khamenai, the leader of Muslims so eloquently said long before on July 6th 2009 ”Sometimes, it has been witnessed that a group of Muslims cooperated with our enemies in order to strike our own friends and brothers.
Well, this harms us and it agitates and weakens the world of Islam. This results from lack of foresight. Today, the world of Islam needs foresight, acumen and wisdom. It needs the hidden virtues of reason: “to unveil before them the hidden virtues of reason”. We should pass through trivial, personal and ideological differences and we should form a united Ummah”.
Political Parties have all their rights to campaign for their victory but playing divisive politics is a danger for the system as a whole. There are people from Shias and Sunnis alike who are allied with political parties and I believe that they must be considered as political leaders only and not a religious ones.
Acknowledging their statements as religious decrees and projecting their leadership based on the sects they belong to is a cheap political gimmick. It is better to concentrate on real ground issues in Kashmir rather than trying to forge disunity and resentment by announcing separate packages and neglecting the core issues.
Kashmiris never introduce themselves through their sects, religions or races and political party which is sincere for us should work hand in hand with us regardless of which sect, race or religion we belong to.
It is really hurtful to see that Muharram processions are banned and those Shia mourners trying to defy the restrictions are ruthlessly beaten tear gassed and shelled, but it is equally painful to see our Sunni brothers receiving the same treatment when they try to defy restrictions to pray in the mosques.
No one enjoys oppression and brutality but Shias don’t believe in sacrificing the issues of Sunni brothers to gain privileges as it defeats the purpose of Muharram processions itself. There must be reforms regardless of which sect we belong to. Kashmir craves to see normalcy and an end to the era of uncertainty.
To conclude, I as a Muslim through this writing reverberate my beliefs that we are one Umma, one religion and one body and if one part of body gets hurt, every other part feels the pain.
Such moves of divisive politics has a long history of existence and history testifies that it never worked for anyone and the experience says it won’t work in future as well. Shias and Sunnis have few differences within, but million reasons to stay united and together. We are one and any attempt or move aimed to divide or polarize us will be strongly resisted, God willing .Time to be United, Time to awake.
“Verily, this Ummah of yours is a single Ummah, and I am your Lord and Nurturer: therefore serve Me” [The Holy Quran, 21: 92].
The author is an IT entrepreneur and can be reached at [email protected]