There is no more any need to shroud under any political banner of nationalists or Marxists to carry out Islamists’ agenda of proving and also retaining supremacy. Gone are the days also when a Muslim individual in Bengal would prefer to be under the camouflage of any political ideology to execute own religious stake. Unlike the 1950s or 60s or even 70s, contemporary Muslims in Bengal are potent enough to make their own destiny even if by irking Hindus. Islamists are backed by the entire political spectrum, let alone administration and media.
How Islamists are strengthening their political clout in Bengal can be discerned from the electoral demands posited by their representatives before the imminent Lok Sabha election in 2014.
Tahrik Foundation of Kolkata engineered a discourse over “Muslim Agenda (Before 2014 Elections)” on December 1, 2013 at St. Xavier’s College’s auditorium in Park Street which turned into a great success eventually. Speakers at the conference included Maulana Muhammed Abu Taleb Rahmani, president of Indian Ulema Council and Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood, president of all-India Zakat Foundation and member of Sachar Committee, who spoke vehemently at the (alleged) state-sponsored cynicism to the widespread Muslim population in the Indian state of Bengal and also asked the government to abide by their 20-point agenda.
On the word of Dr Mahmood, one of the best ways to better the community is to escalate Muslim representation in both central and state legislatures. He also said that the Muslim population in India being 13.8% there should be 77 MPs proportionally. What should be done then? He prescribed Muslims to vote and support the party interested to foment and also keep Muslim interest as the priority. Others who spoke on the occasion and basically on the Muslim agenda included Imam of Baker Hostel Niamat Hossain Habibi, Syed Imtiaz Hossain, Faisal Ali.
A few points in the “Muslim Agenda (Before 2014 Elections)” include – creation of time-bound fast track courts to try terror allegations; providing compensation of Rs. 50 lakh to each person who is judicially acquitted of terror allegations; deletion of the conditionality of religion from the definition of “Scheduled Caste” and also of paragraph 3 from the 1950 order through a simple parliamentary resolution; establishment of equivalence between Madrasa and other education; establishment of equal opportunity commission; involvement of Muslim beneficiary groups in planning and oversight of projects; concentration to benefit the entire Muslim community across India instead of a few chosen ones.
It is worthwhile to mention, Pakistan (originally a movement of a few feudal lords in North India then) became a pan-Muslim struggle due to Bengali Muslims’ active participation.