UP’s urban development and parliamentary affairs minister Azam Khan is described as the Muslim mascot of the Samajwadi Party. And sure enough, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav makes it a point to keep him in good humour, even though Azam often embarrasses the party. The “loose cannon” is clearly one of the more difficult “uncles” CM Akhilesh has to handle.
Those who have followed him from the days he was Aligarh Muslim University students union president and later Babri Masjid Action Committee convenor were not surprised when he said recently that he “would not mind leading a mob to pull down the Taj Mahal, because I firmly believe it was an extravagant misuse of public money by a ruler. He had no business to do that to display his love for his wife.”
It’s just another outrageous remark by Azam that people laugh off or shrug at. But at times he also resorts to rank bad language. Jayaprada learnt this when Azam used the most derogatory invectives against her during the ’09 Lok Sabha campaign in Rampur (she was eventually re-elected). Azam sees Rampur as his home ground and was unhappy about the actress getting a ticket. He also took on Jama Masjid imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari when the latter tried to bully Mulayam over political appointments for his family members.
Last month, while travelling on a train from Lucknow to Rampur, he made the TTE hold his ears and do sit-ups for issuing untidy linen in the coach. When a move was initiated to make him assembly speaker, he told a TV channel, “I don’t mind becoming speaker. The only trouble is, if any member flings paper balls at me, I will throw the paper weight at him.” Not long ago, he also offered to resign when Akhilesh sought to reduce his status as minister-in-charge of three districts to one, following complaints by minister Shahid Manzoor that Azam was ignoring him.
Your appraisal of Uttar Pradesh was fair. Azam Khan’s comment on wanting to demolish the Taj Mahal can only evoke a sardonic smile.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Video: Azam Khan calls Mulayam Singh a hijra
IndiaToday.in New Delhi, August 14, 2014
KhanSamajwadi Party leader Azam Khan's proximity to party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is no secret. But a video that has gone viral on social media shows Khan using some objectionable words for Yadav. In a rally at Rampur, his constituency, Khan called Mulayam a 'hijra' (eunuch).
The speech, in Hindi, can be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMkwjRTzkoM#t=47
The video was uploaded on YouTube from an account named Padafaash on Tuesday. More than 19,000 people have viewed this video at the time of filing this report.
"A wave of development will come to this district and we hope to see Rampur become a Chandigarh in a 2-3 years. I am not a stranger,... I have heard that all the progress here is because of Mulayam Singh Yadav. But in Swaar, Mulayam Singh could not get anything done. He proved to be a hijra there. Where was his power in Tanda? Why was it absent in Shahbad?... Who was this Mulayam Singh, who could show his male prowess in Rampur, but in rest of the district and the whole of Uttar Pradesh we could only see him indulge in sexless politics?" said Khan in this 1.27 minutes video.
The last 15 seconds of this video is blank.indiatoday.intoday.in/story/azam-khan-calls-mulayam-singh-hijra-samajwadi-party/1/377112.html
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