Narendra Modi’s historic win shocked the so-called Muslim leaders who expected a miracle victory for non-BJP, non-Congress parties in the Lok Sabha battle.
But common Muslims are not that amazed. They say the Congress had no chance of coming back to power after the blunders it made at the expense of those who voted for it in two consecutive elections. The average Muslim’s refrain is the same as that of the ‘aam aadmi’ that the Congress lost because of rising food prices and corruption.
There are many Muslims too who are welcoming the defeat of the Congress. Muslims are hoping that the Modi government will be secular and will take care of all sections of society and not implement the RSS’ divisive agenda. The way Modi has spoken about inclusive development and against sectarianism has given hope to Indian Muslims that he is serious in what he claimed during the election campaign.
Rashid Shaz, a staunch Islamist who runs the Milli Parliament and is a professor at the Aligarh Muslim University, has welcomed Modi’s massive election victory.
“Nehru’s secularism was like a mirage, a trail of false hopes. The minority status created a psychological shell in the minds of Indian Muslims… Now, the dark era of pseudo-secularism is over,” he said recently. Shaz is the author of more than a dozen books on Islamic renaissance. There are others too who have said that Muslims need to rethink their strategy vis-a-vis Modi.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, a nationalist Muslim organization that has always talked of inclusion, has decided it will stop attacking the new prime minister over the past though it will continue to fight the cases against victims of the Gujarat riots in courts. This is a welcome decision.
But notwithstanding the change of mood towards Modi, Muslims are feeling let down that he gave only one Muslim representation in his cabinet, that too at the head of the least important ministry.
Muslims are looking forward to see what Modi does to help the community that has been suspicious about him for a long time. It wants to see if he will follow ‘raj dharma’ (the code of governance) and help all sections of society to grow.
Muslim leaders will do well to be optimistic about what Modi does as the prime minister and not remain sulking in their private gatherings. They need to reach out to the man who has been made responsible for the fate of 1.2 billion people for the next five years. The earlier they do this, the better it will be for everyone.