New Delhi: Surprised at the title of this report? Don’t be, because bringing Muslims closer to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates like Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad — well known for their aggressive anti-Muslim stand — is precisely the sole purpose of this front called Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM). This was one of the prominent ideas which, Girish Juyal, organizational convener of MRM and supposedly the right hand of Indresh Kumar, the senior RSS leader, shared in a frank interview with Md. Ali of TwoCircles.net.
MRM — PR agency of RSS for Muslims?
Without talking about the disturbing aspects of RSS’ views towards Muslims in India and their place in its larger ideology of Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra, Girish Juyal, said that the saffron group doesn’t have any thing against Muslims. But what about their violent protests against Muslims, their participation in anti-Muslims riots in Gujarat in 2002 to name a few? Joyal rejected any such view calling it a “misrepresentation of Hindutva organizations by the media, and RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal have never been involved in any violent activities.”
Indresh Kumar, attending a Muslim Rashtriya Manch programme in Rajasthan
Be afraid of Allah and not RSS
“See, Muslims who should not have been afraid of anybody except Allah, have been made to get scared of RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and the BJP. The distance between RSS and Muslims have been increased so much that MRM decided that it will facilitate a direct talk between the two,” added Joyal.
Any body not knowing actual identity of Mr. Girish Joyal could have easily taken him as being a practicing Muslim because he was talking about Hubbul watani (love for one’s country), Muhammad Salallaho Alaihe Wasallam (prophet Muhammad PBUH).
“We want to eliminate all the differences between RSS and Muslims and thereby bring them closer,” added Mr. Joyal. He claimed that he might be the Organizational head of MRM but it’s run for Muslims and by Muslims.
To get a Muslim perspective on RSS this correspondent talked to Md. Afzaal, national convener of MRM. When asked how he counters the mass view about RSS being an anti-Muslim group, Afzaal said that, “actually both RSS and Muslim community have misunderstood each other for a very long period of time which resulted in many prejudices and wrong conception about each other which we need to eliminate through a continuous process of dialogue.”
In order to know how a Muslim scholar negotiates space with an ideology allegedly as extremist as that of RSS, TCN talked to the Ulema wing chief of MRM, Sufi Mohammad Waheed Chishti who is also chief of All India Sufi Sant Mahasangh.
Waheed Chishti didn’t have any qualms about joining Manch which is an RSS affiliate. He defended RSS by saying that, “most of anti-Muslim ranting which is usually attributed to the RSS is the propaganda of media and the Congress party otherwise RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal are not against the community.”
“It’s just that they talk about inclusive identity of Muslims within the larger fold of nationalism,” added Chishti. MRM claims membership of more than 4 lakhs with several wings like those for women and students.
Late Jamir Ilyasi from AIMO and KC Sudarshan from RSS enbracing at a function of MRM
This idea of RSS and the entire Hindutva lobby being friend of Muslims is very problematic for lots of Muslims and requires closer scrutiny before one takes it on its face value.
Rejecting the idea of “friendship between RSS and Muslims” Faizur Rahman, who heads Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thoughts Among Muslims (FPMTAM), talked about the Biblical saying, “how can a leopard change its spots…”
Faizur Rahman spreads moderate thoughts among the second majority community of India through the FPMTAM.
“In the framework of RSS’s vision of Hindu Rashtra Hindutva should be forced upon Muslims otherwise they should be made as second class citizens,” added Faizur Rahman while talking about the actual place of Muslims in RSS’ ideology.
Indresh Kumar (standing) addressing a gathering which included VHP’s VH Dalmia and Jamir Ilyasi of All India Imam Organisation (AIMO) besides many others from VHP and AIMO
“Let the top leaders of RSS like KS Sudarshan make a public statement that RSS doesn’t favor forcing Hindutva on Muslims and thereby is also against making them a 2nd class citizens in their vision of Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra,” said Mr. Faizur Rahman.
Hitting back at the MRM’s strategy to use lies about RSS in order to create a constituency among Muslims, this Chennai based peace activist said that “let the RSS leaders publicly declare that the RSS respects Islam and doesn’t have problems with Muslims propagating their religion in India.”
Reacting to the news of MRM spreading RSS ideology among Muslims, Mr. Rahman said that “RSS can’t propagate its ideology among Hindus, let alone Muslims because it’s a fact that RSS doesn’t represent Hindus. RSS is like the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) kind of body which represents just a miniscule and fringe minority groups.
Patronizing towards Muslims One of the problematic aspects of MRM is its patronizing attitude towards Muslims besides reinforcing the same stereotypes about the community it claims to break. For instance it does lots of campaigns in order to “create nationalist feelings among Muslims.” For instance MRM organizes as Safare Sadaqat, Salame Madare Watan (Salute to Mother India) prominent among others.
One can easily ask why it organizes these campaigns to create nationalist feelings among Muslims. Does this imply that Muslims are less nationalist? Isn’t it the same logic which RSS argues in order to force Hindutva on the community calling it as an ‘outsider influence”?
Isn’t MRM another RSS in the garb of a Muslim organization using duplicity just to create a good PR for the Hindutva ideology?
A Muslim Rashtriya Manch rally in Chhatisgarh
Hindu Terror Justified!
While talking to TCN, Joyal betrayed the justification of Hindutva terror by saying that “after seeing these bomb blasts and killing of innocents in those terrorist attacks even a normal activist also thinks about taking revenge,” but in the very next moment tried to backtrack his words, realizing the gravity of his statement.
Extremist Hindu against MRM
It was surprising to know that there is an extremist lobby within the RSS which was against people like Indresh Kumar and organizations like MRM because they call any attempt to bring about reconciliation and dialogue between the Hindutva groups and Muslims as “drama.”
“We have to fight this extremist lobby within the RSS because they think that dialogue between the RSS and Muslims is impossible and not worth the effort,” added Joyal.
Joyal accepted the fact that this was precisely the reason why Col. Purohit who has been arrested in connection with Malegaon bomb blast 2008 also wanted to kill Indresh Kumar who is key to RSS plans fro Muslims. Being a guide and patron of the Manch, Kumart created a hostile group against himself within the Hindutva lobby, added Joyal.
So in order to placate this extremist Hindutva lobby within the RSS, Muslim Rashtriya Manch tries to work on all the grievances which this extremist lobby has against Muslims, informed Joyal. For instance cow slaughter.
“Till now we have made 4 lakhs Muslim youths sign on anti-cow slaughter papers, taking assurances from these youths not to slaughter ever cows and advocate against the cow slaughter,” said Joyal.
Agenda of MRM
MRM was formed in 2002 during the NDA regime after the Godhra riot in Gujarat, in a Eid-Diwali Milan function in Delhi which was attended by RSS leaders like Sudarshan and Muslims religious scholars like Wahiduddin Khan, Mufti Mukarram and late Jamil Ilyasi.
There is a section among the mainstream Muslim civil society which is quite disturbed at the huge inroads MRM has managed to make in the backward section of the community through its different social welfare programmes.
Because the main purpose of the Manch is to create an RSS constituency among Muslims it talks about and raises all the issues which appeal to a Muslim psyche. For instance they talk about socio-economic backwardness of Muslims and the failure of the government, regularization of prayers in mosques under the supervision of the Archeological Survey of India.
Indresh Kumar’s defense after Aseemanand’s confession MRM has also come on the fore front for defending Indresh Kumar whose name has been mentioned by Aseemanand as one of the culprits in blasts as well as killing of Sunil Joshi. The group is currently launching a nation wide campaign against what it calls “attempts to malign Indresh Kumar’s secular image.”
A fringe group
Like any other fringe group even Muslim Rashtriya Manch suffers from the lack of legitimacy and it seems the mainstream Muslim community is very skeptical of this group’s RSS connections. This, in spite of the fact that it has managed to make huge in roads among the backward section of Muslims.