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25 Oct, 2014

Is India truly secular or are we boxing Muslims into a corner? – Hindustan Times

Some of the language used by the MIM supporters and candidates creating a new state constituency of the Muslim-Right mirrored the swipes at “pseudo-secularism” first fashioned by the Hindu-Right on the opposite side of the trenches. Waris Pathan, the advocate-turned-legislator from Byculla, dismissed what he called the performance of the “so called secular parties”. Muslims want a change, he says, arguing that in the name of secularism parties like the Congress and NCP have only taken Muslims for granted. Asaduddin Owaisi, who had been careful to dump the three-decade-old alliance with the Congress in 2012, has now been embraced as “Musalmanon ka Modi” to describe his electoral chemistry with voters. The comparison is exaggerated — and to the PM’s supporters offensive — but after his successful strike rate in Maharashtra, Owaisi is talking of courting UP’s Muslims and opening an office in Lucknow. Other stops include West Bengal and Bihar. The intention is clear: To create a pan-India Muslim party, a modern day variation of the Muslim League.

The Owaisi brothers may have cause to celebrate, but not India’s Muslims. The rise of a party known for its inflammatory politics only reinforces the worst religious stereotypes. The calculations of the MIM ghettoise Muslims as a political entity. Already, religious friction has drawn an invisible line dividing communities in many of our villages and in cities that claim cosmopolitanism for themselves. A party that seeks votes on the basis of religious identity is nothing short of regressive.

Read the rest: Is India truly secular or are we boxing Muslims into a corner? – Hindustan Times.