Letters

Muslim vote bank

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I agree with the views expressed by Shahid Siddiqui (“Believe me, Muslims are not a herd,” Feb. 6). The voting behaviour of Muslims is complex. It would be wrong to say they vote for this or that. There are huge intra- and inter-community diversities. Recently, the Barelvis of U.P. told their followers not to vote for Deobandi candidates. Even the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid urged Muslims to vote for the Samajwadi Party but his appeal is unlikely to work. Mr. Siddiqui's own party has used and is using Muslims as a vote bank.

Media, politicians, religious leaders and civil society members should stop referring to Muslims as a monolithic vote bank. If our leaders really care for Muslims, they should work towards eradicating chronic poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, and insecurity among them.

S.K. Abdul Matin,

Hyderabad

Mr. Siddiqui ridicules the ideology of parties which believe that Muslim votes can be won by tying up with some self-proclaimed spokespersons of the community. He argues that Muslims have individual opinions like all others.

However, he also says the Qureshis would vote for party B if the Ansaris vote party A. This negates the author's claim, that Muslims cannot be herded together in a pre-determined direction.

C.H. Anoop Srinivas Bhat,

Bangalore

Mr. Siddiqui's frank admission that there is rigidity of caste among Muslims as, for example, between the Qureshis and the Ansaris, or among the descendants of Mughals, Pathans and Turks, and the indigenous Muslim converts, rebuts the common belief that the caste system exists among Hindus alone. The very fact that the Khatri, Gujjar, Tyagi, Jat and Teli Muslims remain divided on caste lines shows that although they converted at some point of history, they have retained their indigenous characteristics.

Satish K. Kapoor,

Solapur

It is true Muslims are not a herd. Society has been dividing for a long time. There are a number of castes and groups divided horizontally and vertically. Such divisions are a weakness which comes in the way of achieving socio-economic and political justice.

Narendra Nath,

New Delhi

The article dealt well with the reality of Muslims being a diverse community divided along caste and theological lines like their Hindu brethren. Enlightened persons like Mr. Siddiqui can contribute substantially towards shaping the opinion of Muslims wherever they live. Muslims choose to remain a square in a circle. Their attitude and voting pattern should loosely reflect the sentiment of the majority in the places they live. The vote-bank theory thrives only in India, although electoral democracies exist elsewhere too. An organised and systematic election process is another factor which helps vote banks thrive.

K. Bala Sundram,

Dharmapuri

The so-called “intermediaries” are increasingly found in religious institutions. What we need is dissemination of religious knowledge among Muslims through a translation of religious texts into regional languages, without the mediation of the “intermediaries.” Education and employment will enable Muslims to exercise their right to liberty, enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

Syed Waseem Pasha,

Kadapa

It would be preposterous to believe that Muslims vote in herds. Political parties would like to assume this at their own peril. But polarisation does take place and the community votes compositely in some constituencies. One hopes in the U.P. elections, it will send the clear message that it will vote only for development.

Prathit Charan Misra,

Allahabad

There are many examples to support that there is a lot of diversity among Muslims. A Syed family has reservations about marrying into an Ansari family. But the condition of Muslims is pathetic, as the Sachar Committee findings have established. No political party has taken concrete steps to provide jobs, business opportunities or avenues of education for Muslims.

Zaved Ahmed Khan,

Vellore

Whatever Mr. Siddiqui may say, I think the Muslim vote still goes to one party or bloc. All political parties began wooing Muslims in every possible manner after prominent Congress leaders passed away. The upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are the ultimate manifestation of it. Except the BJP, all parties compete in granting sops to Muslims.

The fear of the BJP makes Muslims resort to tactical voting. There is nothing wrong in Muslims taking an uniform view.

Karavadi Raghava Rao,

Vijayawada

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 1:11:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/muslim-vote-bank/article2866487.ece

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