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Congress makes Jinnah smile

Congress makes Jinnah smile

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Published by: soniaboforschor on Jan 10, 2008
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Congress makes Jinnah smileAuthor: Arif Mohammed KhanPublication: OrganiserDate: December 31, 2006URL:http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=163&page=4Introduction: The country Jinnah founded could not keep the myth of "Muslims beingone nation" intact, but at least in India a Committee appointed by the governmenthas restarted the process of looking at the religious communities as sociallycohesive groups.I saw Jinnah smiling. I saw him smiling all day on November 24 when the SacharCommittee report was laid on the table of Parliament. He is happy that somethinghas happened that can offset the setback his ideological legacy had received in1971 after creation of Bangladesh. The country he founded could not keep the mythof "Muslims being one nation" intact, but at least in India a Committee appointedby the government has restarted the process of looking at the religiouscommunities as socially cohesive groups. Members of any one religious communitysubscribe to a particular set of beliefs and practices and in that sense theyenjoy commonality. But Sachar Committee holds that this religious commonalitymakes their secular interests that are social, educational and economic not onlycommon but different and distinct from the secular interests of other religiouscommunities and has coined a new term "Socio-Religious Category" (SRC) to drivehome the point. In fact the lead came from the government notification itselfsaying that "there is lack of authentic information about the social, economic andeducational status of the Muslim community of India, which comes in the way ofplanning, formulating and implementing specific interventions, policies andprogrammes to address the issues relating to the socio-economic backwardness ofthis community."The whole struggle between the Congress and the Muslim League right from 1936 wasfocussed on the role of religion in secular domain. The Muslim League under Jinnahasserted that similarity of religion creates not only similarity of secularinterest but these interests are hostile to the interests of other religiouscommunities and therefore he declared Muslims to be a separate nation entitled toa homeland. On the other hand, Congress leadership recognised and accepteddiversity of religious belief but said that religion is the private affair of eachindividual and has nothing to do with the state affairs particularly in apluralistic society. Since these two positions became irreconcilable, the standofffinally led to the Partition of the country in the hope that at least in thetruncated India we can hope to build a modern nation where the government shall donothing respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercisethereof. Each and every person is guaranteed freedom of religion but the religiousbelief shall have nothing to do with the affairs of the state.Now half a century after Partition we have again started talking in terms ofsocial, educational and economic interests of religious communities. The SacharCommittee on page 237 says: "This report probed the question of whether differentsocio-religious categories (SRCs) in India have had an equal chance to reap thebenefits of development with a focus on Muslims in India." The report furthersays, "It was stated at the outset that the minorities have to grapple with theissues relating to identity, security and equity. It was also recognised thatthese three sets of issues are inter-related." This language and terminology istotal negation of the spirit of Constitution and the national movement and willheighten community consciousness which in turn will give further fillip topolitics of communalism.Equity and security are the brightest stars of Indian constitutionalconstellation. One provision after another prohibits discrimination based onreligion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. One fails to understand how equityand security can be linked to identity. Identity must not be confused with freedom

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