Guest post by IRSHADUL HAQUE
Translated from Hindi by Shuddhabrata Sengupta
Akbaruddin Owaisi, you are an enemy of Muslims. You are the kind of adversary who lurks like a snake in the grass, ready to strike at the person who cares for that patch. Your desire to provoke a confrontation between India’s 25 crore Muslims and 100 crore Hindus reminds us of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This is why Javed Akhtar has gone to the extent of calling you ‘the greatest enemy of Muslims’. I know that I am not alone when I find myself agreeing with this view. Many other Indian Muslims will be in agreement with me.
Your behaviour and your actions are reminiscent of the second phase of Jinnah’s political career. Do not forget that Jinnah played his part in diviging this country to fulfill his political ambition. Of course he was amply helped in this task by Hindu Fundamentalists like Savarkar. But today’s India is not the India of 1947. You might have a voice amongst a section of Muslims in Hyderabad, but the Muslims of India are not your inherited property.
You belong to the party All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) that your grandfather Abdul Vahid Owaisi founded, and which your family has been running like a private limited company for the last fifty-sixty years. The Owaisi family is exactly like the Thackeray family of Maharashtra. After your grandfather’s death, your father Salahuddin Owaisi took charge of the family firm, and tried to expand it. Your father occasionally roared, often talked about Muslims and what is happening to them, and occasionally spoke against Hindus, but you have crossed all boundaries.
People like you occasionally come out of your lair, roar, and then hide once again in its darkness. You do not have the capacity to engage with anything outside Hyderabad. Raj Thackeray, like you, can spout venom in Shivaji Park about North Indian and Bihari Hindus and Muslims, but does not have the guts to step outside Mumbai. Ordinary people in this country now understand well that people like you and the Thackerays are complicit with each other. One lets out his bile against North Indian and Bihari Hindus and Muslims and the other against a hundred crore Hindus.
Listen, Akbaruddin Owaisi. Try and understand this land. Your family may have been feudal lords for generations but you need to get out of the mentality of treating Muslims as your fief. You, and your elder brother Asaduddin Owaisi are carrying the burden of the politics that your father gave you in inheritance. Raj and Uddhav Thackeray are like you, heirs to this fiefdom of hatred. It is possible that a minuscule section of the 42 percent of the population of Hyderabad (the Muslims of Hyderabad) benefit from your brand of politics, but the 25 crore Muslims who live everywhere and anywhere in India have nothing to do with your desire to ‘teach a hundred crore Hindus a lesson’.
The six to seven MLAs of the MIM might carry some weight in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, but your party has neither any identity, nor any relevance outside of Andhra Pradesh. This is because ordinary Hindus and Muslims have no desire to fight with each other and bear no hatred towards each other. It is people like you and the Bukhari clan (Imams of the Jama Masjid in Delhi) who try to teach hatred to the Muslims of India. Your tradition links you to Praveen Togadia and Ashok Singhal of the VHP and to the Bukharis.
Yes, I do admit that your clan runs four dozen schools, a few hospitals, a few orphanages and some ‘sewing centers’ for poor women in Hyderabad. You are also the managing-director of the Owaisi Hospital. You arrange for the treatment of the sick. All that is just as well. But this does not mean that in return for these ‘favors’ you have the license to make hate-filled speeches to a gathering of fifteen-twenty thousand Muslims in Nirmal Town, in Adilabad, adjoining Hyderabad. It does not mean that you are entitled to have your cronies give the cry of ‘Nara-e-Taqbeer, Allah-o-Akbar’ as a means to enact a form of religious blackmail.
On that day, on the 24th of December, the way in which you wear roaring in your Shervani, was reminiscent of Jinnah. You are deluded if you think that if the police can be made to stay away then you can teach one hundred crore Muslims a lesson. Leave Hindus aside for themoment, Muslims themselves will teach you a democratic lesson that you will find impossible to forget. Try and step out of your lair in Hyderabad, just for once.m
Your public life had its ‘moment of awakening’ even before the 24th of December. But even in your private life you have distinguished yourself by your violence. You have had a history of personal enmity with a Hyderabadi property dealer like Mohammad Pehelwan. This led to assaults with knives and bullets in 2011. If your personal enmity with another Muslim peaks in confrontations over property that use bullets and ammunition, then how can you honestly hope represent the struggles of poor and deprived Muslims. You issues fatwas of death to Taslima Nasreen. Prevent her from coming to Hyderabad. All you do is play with Muslim sentiments.
I would advise you to learn restraint in your statements and speeches. If you have such a great desire to make your mark as a ‘Muslim Leader’ it would be better if you were to pay some attention to the actual problems of poor and pasmanda Muslim communities, in a manner that your father and grandfather tried to do, at least to a certain extent.
This text was first published in Hindi in naukarshahi.in