Tectonic shift is seen in the minds of the minorities, who seem to shun the hardliners like Asaduddin Owaisi the thudering Indian politician and the President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, who doesn’t waste a chance to take a dig at the BJP and Modi on any issue. The proof was, when Maulana Salman Nadvi from the AIMPLB, who had met Sri Sri Ravishankar, an Indian Guru who has been trying to untangle the vexed Ram temple issue at Ayodhya, notwithstanding the fact that Nadvi’s public statements resulted in his expulsion from the board. The talks are still on and may even result in the long elusive consensus for the temple.
Back in West Bengal too Noor-Ur-Rahman Barkati, the Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque had enjoyed the privileges like a minister, his vehicle fitted with a red beacon and siren despite severe restrictions on its use by the Supreme Court. His proximity and clout on CM Mamata Banerjee was well known and he defied all law and logic as a clergy, indulging in politicking and attacking BJP, much to the pleasure of the ruling party.
A few months ago, Barkati was summarily removed by his board, which has been now filled with Maulana Mufti Abdush Shakur, a scholar and an apolitical person. He has stated that his role does not include giving political statements, issuing fatwas or formalising divorces and has already made a good beginning.
In many places in India, Mosques had altered their prayer timings and Aazan, so as not to clash with the Holi revelry. Churches too are not lagging and are permitting Carnatic and Bharatanatyam performances in South India, Hindu temples too are reciprocating the gestures. Minorities have realised that by exploiting their status and drawing extra pounds of favour from a few state governments, the benefit reaches only their top representatives. To ensure overall growth akin to the mainstream India, they need to walk together reposing trust and gaining it from others.
Even if other religions are to be misunderstood, they must be understood first and a quiet change is happening around, which might augur well for the country. It’s a lesson for all political parties, thriving on religious divisions to survive that they should change their strategies too.