The social classes in the Muslim community, elitist character of the Indian politics and the domination in the political arena have given birth to a number of Muslim political parties and groups. These organizations are partly religious and partly political. For them religion is the source of their ideology and political program. It is the biggest
integral element of the so- called identity of the community.
After Independence the Muslims were left with two Alternatives -quasi-secular approach of Maulnna Azad, and the communal approach of the fundamentalists. Maulana Azad and others were exhorting the members of their community to avoid communalism and Join the national political parties. They also believed that the political and economic unity shall bring the various communities together and help in establishing a secular and democratic society, ensuring necessary cultural and religious freedom to all the minority groups. The burden of the argument was that the Muslims might have separate cultural and social organizations but in the political field their identity should be merged with the larger national identity.
M. Shakir points out that, this leadership had its limitations and weaknesses because at 'the mass level it could not bridge the gulf between fundamentalism and secular· political attitudes. It had no courage to implement elementary reforms in the religious and social system of the community. Therefore ·the increasingly alienation of the leaders with the people made them quite ineffective.
The fundamentalists took the maximum advantage of the limitations of the so-called "nationalist" Muslim leadership.
A question may be asked here, what are the prospects of any Muslim party/group, based on religion in a predominantly non Muslim society? The arguments of the fundamentalists are quiet interesting, 'notwithstanding the communal aggressiveness of the Hindus, India has always been a religious, moral and spiritual country. We the ·people of India have urge for spiritualism and truth.
Even after the technological and scientific developments, we are not devoid of religiosity and spiritualism. There has been a legacy of preaching Islam in this country right from the early days of Islam. The Muslim traders, and the religious leers like Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, have been converting thousands of the Hindus to Islam. It is possible even today. It is also argued that the people of this country have chosen a democratic path. Democracy and democratic path are conducive to a drastic change, a revolution, without shedding blood and without violence. Now a revolution is possible with the change of outlook and change of opinion. It means that Islamic movement has a bright ·future in India.
There are number of Muslim political parties and groups, some of them operate at the regional level and some on the national level.
Here in this paper we deal with the Jamaat-e-Islami which is a staunch fundamentalist group and operates at the national level.
we shall make an attempt to cover the beginning and the objectives of the Jamaat, the structure of Jamaat, the Jamaat and secularism and the Jamaat and politics.
The Beginning and the Objective of the Jamaat:
Western notion of democracy, fascist regimentation and Turkey's deviation from Islam were not satisfactory conditions at all. The only ideal state is the Islamic theocracy. Maudoodi opposed the Indian National Congress and the Musim Leagues policies.
In Maudoodi's view the programs of both the Muslim league and the Indian National Congress represented a non-Islamic emphasis on Nationalism and were counter to Islam. Nationalism, whether that proposed by the league or the congress was a selfish principle that was prohibited by Islam and the people who espoused the nationalist cause were leading Muslims away from the legitimate goal of a truly Islamic society based on universal principles. As a whole he did not agree with the methods and objectives of the national movement. But after the partition of the country, Maudoodi., moved to Pakistan and indulged in worst kind of opportunism in the public life of the country, all in the name of Quran and Hadith.
A separate Jamaat-e- Islami Hind was established in April 1948 with Maulana Abul Lais Islahi as its Ameer (Chief). However independence and partition of the country did not bring about any change in the policy and character o f Jamaat.
What is the root cause of the ills of the contemporary society? According to the Jamaat, it is materialism and this worldliness. The present social structure is without any ethical foundations. What is needed is a religious revolution and an awakening of the religious consciousness of the people such a revolution can be brought about by the righteous Muslims who constitute the Kahir-e-ummat (the chosen- virtuous among the people).They are a symbol of goodness and are blessed with divine light. The Muslims, therefore, are not a community or a minority or a geographical entity but by superseding them constitute into a party-the party of God, Hizbullah.
According to Jamaat a society based on materialism produce a civilization which forcibly separates religion from the state and society. In the non-Western world it has created a slavish mentality. The West and Western civilization have crated
the false gods of nationalism and democracy. Nationalism is nothing but national selfishness. It treats man as not as part of humanity but as a member of particular country set against other countries. Maudoodi held that freedom struggle which motivated by the philosophy of nationalism was not righteous. Because the Indian National Congress was political1y- Indian, ideologically communist and culturally Western. Since the congress was manned by the revivalists and communists both are dangerous to Islam and the Muslims.
Democracy is undesirable because it considers people as sovereign, while as Islam says God alone can be sovereign. Also it believes in
the existence of different political parties. Islamic polity can permit only one party. Besides adult franchise and political participation in democracy are prohibited by religion. In the same way socialism was opposed to Islam as it abolishes property and it is atheistic.
Against this background of the philosophy of the Jamaat le us analyze its role in Indian politics. The Jamaat in India has to
function in a different social and political set up. In Pakistan, the Muslims are in majority whereas in India they are in minority. India, after independence did not become a Hindu. Country but was declared to be secular one. The Indian constitution provided for democracy with adult franchise and equal rights for all. This should have been unpalatable to Jamaat. What Maudoodi said before the court of inquiry in Pakistan is quiet relevant here. The question was, if we have our idea of Islamic Government herein Pakistan, will you permit Hindus to have their constitution on the basis of their own religion? Answer, certainly, I should have no objection,· even if the Muslims in India are treated in that form of Government as Shudras and malechhas and Manu's laws are applied to them depriving them of all shares in the Government and the rights of citizen. I n fact such a state of affairs already exists in India.
The question, what will be the duty of the Muslims in India in case of war between India and Pakistan? Answer, Their duty is obvious, and that
is not to fight against Pakistan, or to do anything injurious to the safety of Pakistan.
The Structure of the Jamaat
The Jamaat is a rigidly organized and well disciplined party. Though it is essentially composed of the middleclass, lately it has made a successful bid to gain the support of all the sections of the Muslims. This is particularly true among the students and the womenfolk. Its influence should not be judged by its meager membership. In1967 it claimed to 1360 members, in1974 the number rose to 2064, in1980 it has reached the figure of 2833, and at present they have 5,683 members. The Jamaat disclaims large membership. In fact the Jamaat has a graded hierarchy of the membership structure. They are adherents (arkan),supporters (Maweneen), those who agree (muttafaqeen)
and those who are influenced
(muttasinn). The strength of the muttafaqeen is 2232 and of the manawaneen is 46,272. The Jamaat has
23 regionl organization
centers in most of the states
including Andaman, in all the Jamaat has 436 local units.
The Jamaat has 648 libraries and 488 reading rooms. Throughout the country. It runs 45 nursery schools, 285 schools, 40j unior high schools and 26 colleges.(This current Data has been collected from the Jammat Branch office – “Dawat Ijitima”, Hyderabad).. In addition to this the Jamaat publishes a vast.literature pertaining to Islam and Hadith, not only in English and Urdu but also in different regional languages. The Jamaat also .have English weekly called the "Radiance" and Marathi weekly Called "Margadeep". The president is Maulana Abdul Aziz.·
The Jamaat and Secularism
(This is a questionable stand of Jamaat).
The Indian situation, according to the Jamaat, is characterized by immorality,
dishonesty, corruption, inefficiency in short moral degeneration. It is because of nationalism. The
duty of the Muslim is to discard the notion of nationalism.
They should not think in
terms of their national rights". They should
give up the idea of pressurizing the political parties because it will
be of no benefit to them.
The Jamaat believes that Muslims participation in the growth of secularism is “treachery to the Prophet". Islam cannot be separated from politics. Secularism is nothing but "irreligiousness". In one of-the statements the former chief of the Jamaat Maulana Abul Lais Islahi said, "we do not deny the value and worth of some of the slogans of the Mahasabha. For example, it is against secularism and supports the incorporation of the religious ethical values in the political:- life of the people." Similar has been the attitudes of the Jamaat towards the Arya Samaj and the R.S.S.During the emergency the leaders of the Jamaat and the R.S.S. found that they could work together.
According to Maulana Mohammad Yusuf the then chief of the Jamaat "The physical proximity enabled them to understand each other's point of view, what was more, it started the normalization of relations between different communities. This should be encouraged in order to improve the social climate in the country." Further the Maulana admitted that "the role of R.S.S. in the past could not have been to the liking of the Muslims. However the responsible leaders of RSS are now adopting non-communal attitude. One does not know what he really meant because in the constitution of the Jamaat the non-communal nationalism has no place.
But on the basis of the writings of the leaders of both the-:organizations it is not difficult to believe that the basis of unity between them was already there. Each considered the other as the authentic representative of its community .Anti-secularism and anti-communalism is common to both. Both favor the separate religio-political organizations of the different communities. Both of them resort to violence for their religious stand, and for opposing the communist movement in the country.
The Jamaat is especially concentrating its activities in the Kashmir valley. It is said that when the whole country protested the execution of Bhutto by the military regime of Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islamic had the audacity to distribute sweets.
In the year 1990 when Advani's Rath Yatra began the Jamaat had intensified its activities in the name of protecting the mosque. Their activities are not confined to propaganda alone they have started physical assault on the innocent people of other communities the result was a bloodshed.
In December last year they organized an attack on the Shiv Sena and other communal parties. Some of their leaders using mosques, instigated the people to kill, which according to them is justifiable under their interpretation of Islam, but which also consequently led to the ban on the Jamaat by the Government of India.
Now suddenly in the last month Jamaat-e-Islami started anti-liquor agitation in Anantnag (Kashmir Valley) town which led to the looting of shops of the minority community spoiling the slow progress of the communal peace in the town. Everybody knows that the Jamaat-e-Tulba student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami was behind the trouble.
The Jamaat also gone to the extent of organizing squads of their toughs to launch physical attacks. Some time they are even armed. To put it in a nutshell to the Jamaat the secularism is nothing but an irreligiousness which is against Islam.
The Jamaat and Politics
In the political field Jamaat lays emphasis on three principles to be followed by Indian Muslims.
Solidarity of the Muslims on the basis of Islam.
Withdrawal from the political activities in the country.
A separate political organization of the Muslims.
First the Jamaat feels that the solidarity based on Islam ··alone can be permanent and stable. Its hall make the community strong enough to fight the enemies of God from within and from outside. Its hall constitute a force against the present system which denies he existence of God and life after death. It also means that
Muslims should not Join any other organizations and parties because its spells dis-organization and disaster.
Secondly, .according to Jamaat the Muslims should not participate in the elections. They should not cast their vote also. It amounts to indulging in un-Islamic activity. Not only the Elections but the entire democratic system is an imitation of the "Godless-West". Non-participation in the election shall ensure the maintenance of Islamic identity. Maulana Abul Lais Islahi points out many practical difficulties in the context of India. They are "the Muslim candidates cannot
secure the votes of the Hindus, unless . they seek the support of other political parties. But this is not possible because every Indian believe .in the one-nation theory".
Such an alliance shall disable the Muslim representatives to act as protectors of the legitimate interests of the whole Muslim community. If one decides to follow the discipline of a political party, one ceases to be the master of his own will.
It is also argued by the Jamaait that the Hindus want to establish a state in keeping with the veda and Dharmshastras and want to emerge as a Hindu nation. Once the Muslims become the actual participants in the election politics of India, they may be "irretrievably caught in the whirl of party politics and may not remain as mindful of their religious duty towards their Country as they ought to be". It should be noted that in the Seventies ,this stance of the Jamaat underwent a change. In1962 it accepted the utility of elections. It held that they (elections) are the best way to contact with public relations and Muslims by such contact, can create on the affairs of the nation the impact they want to. So in1972 it decided to take part in the Panchayat elections as a first step for participating in the higher electoral bodies. In advising to participate and not to participate in the elections the Jamaat always has "Islamic" arguments to convince the Muslims.
Thirdly, the Jamaat believes that the Muslims as a religious community and an important political entity should have a separate political organization. It has been working in this direction right from the early fifties but succeeded only in the sixties. With the formation of the Majlis-e-Musawarat, the Jamaat got a great opportunity to provide religious orientation to a number of issues in Muslim politics and operate as a strong pressure group. The Jamaat acted with a calculated strategy and it had the desired results.
The failure of the nationalist muslim leadership, the claim autonomous status of the
Minority was also failure. Therefore, the policy of seeking "protection" and "safeguards" could not be very effective. So the Jamaat offered the alternatives that Muslims should accept
and practice the .injunctions of Islam, where lies their salvation. The Muslims were asked not to prefer the joint organization of the different communities. One of the organs, the Radiance Weekly, of the Jamaat wrote that "there . should be separate and strong organizations of the Hindus, the Muslins, the Sikhs the Buddhists ,and others. None should try to wean away the members of another. Hindu Muslim unity cannot beachieved by setting up joint organization of the two religious communities. Every religious community should have a separate political organization and every issue should be decided by the - representatives of the communities by holding mutual talks. "Not only this, the Jamaat advised the national secular parties not to approach the Muslim
masses directly. Those Muslims who belong to these parties are not "the representatives of the Millat" (community). The Mushawarat was not a single organization of the Muslims. But the Jamaat leadership was quite enthusiastic about its formation and growth. The reasons appear to be that it wanted to get broader mass base and to use Muslim consolidation as a counter with any political party like the Congress or Bharatiya Janata Party.
In theory we have seen that the Jamaat is very conservative, and anti-secularist but in practice the Jamaat betrays conservatism and seeks political opportuniom. The Islamic Idiom is only a mask, Religion isbeing used in order to support reactionary politics, mention has already been made of the Jamaat's attitude towards the Ary Samaj, R.S.S. and so on.
.Also we have seen throughout the paper a kind of double standard and sudden shifts in its philosophy for example, the Jamaat
and the demand for Bangla Desh. According to the
Jamnat, the demand was contrary to Islamic brotherhood and Muslim solidarity.
Further Muslims cannot be divided on the basis of language and region. But when the movement succeeded
the Jamaat advised the Bangla leaders to establish an Islamic rule in BanglaDesh.
The Jamaat's hold on
the Muslims should be viewed with
grave concern. It is giving birth
to a combination of Islamic
and uncompromising hostility to secularism\democracy. It is promoting anti-historical consciousness and reactionary socio-political and economic outlook
in ·the Muslim country.