Islamic Leaders Seek Dalit Support to Undermine UCC

In recent years, the Islamist leaders in India have diligently sought to court Dalit leaders to advance their own Islamist agenda.

Yeksan civil code thopa gaya to mulk mein takrao ke halaat paida ho jayen gein” – if the uniform civil code is imposed, situations of confrontation will emerge in the country. This is a banner headline of a five-column report carried on January 22 by Roznama Inquilab, a mass-circulated Urdu daily edited by a Muslim editor and owned by non-Muslims. The headline is a warning against any attempt by the Indian government to introduce the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), a code of desired rights for Indians irrespective of their religion, gender, caste or any other creed. The Indian state is directed by the Article 44 of the Constitution to draft and introduce the UCC.

If you are thinking that the warning was issued by an Islamic cleric, you are in for a rude shock. As per the report, it came from Waman Meshram, the chief of BAMCEF – short for the All India Backward (SC, ST, OBC) and Minority Communities Employees Federation. He made the statement at a mass rally organised by the Bahujan Kranti Morcha in Mumbai on January 21. As per Roznama Inquilab, Meshram stated: “The uniform civil code is not an issue of Muslims alone, but of other religions too. If it is imposed, situations of confrontation will emerge in the country.” It is indeed the case that the UCC, if and when implemented, will uphold individual rights of Indian citizens, removing discriminatory nature of personal laws of different religious communities.

Notwithstanding Meshram’s statement against the UCC, at present the only opposition to the UCC comes not from non-Muslim communities, but from Indian Muslims whose leaders, like every other person, do not know what specifics will likely constitute the UCC. The Indian government has launched public consultation to draft the UCC. Elsewhere, this writer has drafted and released a 12-clause UCC for wider consultation. Since, religious communities other than Muslims are not opposed to the UCC, not as yet, it becomes relevant to understand why Meshram issued the warning in an address to predominantly a Muslim audience. Several non-Muslim leaders who spoke on the occasion included Jeevan Bhalerao, Tansen Manore and Ashok Chauhan.

In recent years, as well as before, the Islamist leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and other religious organisations in India have diligently sought to court Dalit leaders to advance their own Islamist agenda. So, it is not surprising that the rally was addressed by Islamic scholar Maulana Khalilur Rahman Sajjad Nomani, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which opposes the UCC and has been at the forefront to defend the anti-women practice of unilateral instant triple talaq (divorce). As per Roznama Inquilab, the Mumbai rally was attended by Muslims in large numbers, among the audiences being Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, Lingayats, Buddhists, Christian, Banjara and other backward castes. The report does not make it clear, if the lower caste Muslims attended the rally or not.

Addressing the rally, Maulana Sajjad Nomani said: “The country’s history has been that there has never been a Hindu-Muslim or Sikh-Muslim or Christian-Muslim issue in this country; rather, for two-and-a-half to three thousands of years it has been an issue between the tyrant and the victims. Whenever real issues emerge before the people, their attention is diverted in other direction.” He told the audience: “Muslims! Understand the circumstances and do not respond to the manoeuvres of this game of chess by anger…” Several Islamic leaders who addressed the rally included Maulana Shahid Moeen Qasmi, Maulana Mahmood Khan Daryabadi, Dr. Azimuddin and others.

According to another report in Roznama Urdu Times of January 22, Maulana Sajjad Nomani also launched an attack on upper castes Hindus, stating: “Ever since the country became independent, the Manuwadis (i.e. upper caste Brahmins) started creating a rift between Hindus and Muslims.” He added: “I do not consider Mahatma Gandhi a mahatma (i.e. great).” As per another report in the newspaper Mumbai Urdu News, Maulana Sajjad Nomani told the rally: “Communalism has become so widespread in the country that everyone is engaged in sowing the seeds of hate. In such a situation, this alliance of Dalits and Muslims has been established to carry along the brothers of the nation including the Dalit brothers.”

Although Maulana Sajjad Nomani camouflages his agenda in the language of harmony, his precise purpose is also divisive – i.e. to divide Hindus so that the Islamist agenda of the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board either against the UCC or in favour of retaining the anti-women practice of instant triple talaq can be sustained. Maulana Sajjad Nomani and other Islamists of his type know that public opinion in India is changing fast in favour Muslim women’s rights, especially the right to equality and non-discrimination based on gender as guaranteed by the Constitution. And this Islamist agenda of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board is being supported by some Dalit leaders, much like Mahatma Gandhi supported the Khilafat Movement launched by the Indian Islamists.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.
Former BBC journalist Tufail Ahmad is the executive director of the Open Source Institute, New Delhi. Ahmad is the author of “Jihadist Threat to India – The Case for Islamic Reformation by an Indian Muslim.” He tweets @tufailelif
  • Desi Politicker

    Proponents of Dalit-Muslim unity should know that Muslims have used Dalits in a very similar way for their own political gains in the past, and have later left them in a lurch.

    Jogendra Nath Mandal, a Dalit leader, believed Jinnah’s rhetoric about Dalit-Muslim unity and urged Dalits to stay back in Pakistan thinking Jinnah and the Muslim League will take care of Dalits afer partition. He was made a minister in Jinnah’s cabinet. But the rabid fundamentalism of Muslims, and the consequent discrimination, left him disillusioned and he decided to come back to India. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jogendra_Nath_Mandal)

    Then on of course, Dalits have been systematically massacred and targeted for conversion, both in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Just look at how many non-Muslims are left in these countries and what conditions they liver under.

    Yes, upper-caste Hindus have discriminated against Dalits. And yes, Dalits need affirmative action for this discrimination. So please continue to raise your voices. BUT, please do not think that Muslims will take better care of you. Just see history and statistics in neighouring countries where Dalits made this mistake earlier.

  • Anirudh Vikram

    It would be an eye opener to these dalits and other such folks to have a quick look at how their new found islamic brethren treat them in pakistan, before they begin to cast their lot with them.

  • D V bhat

    It is these religious Muslim leaders who are propagating hatred amongst Indians coupled with some of SC/ST/OBC people . None of the so called upper caste, much less the Brahmins are propagating manuvadi anymore. The Society of Brahmins have been practising other religious texts. It is the result of Hindus adopting to the changing needs of Society at large.
    But those who wanted to take advantage of the age old Many Smruti is making it to attack Brahmins with the object to hide the misdeeds of other caste/religious sections.
    There are hardly any instance of Brahmins attacking other community/religious people in recent paste of 100 years and more.
    Anyone who intends to take support from other religious groups attack Brahmins as manuvadi.
    When these people unable to get hold on any other subject attack these miniscule 3% of Indian population. Should this 3% be called religious minority not is anybody’s guess. God forbid no one worth his salt would support any claim by this 3% populace for minority status including of its own. It is for good this 3% in the first place wouldn’t seek minority status.

  • Ananth Sethuraman

    The impact of Hegel’s linear history of time has been to stop a debating culture among Muslims. With Tufail Ahmed’s emergence, a debating culture has started to grow among Muslims. Thank you!