Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

Muslims For Secular Democracy

A new organisation formed in "response on one hand to the sustained hate propaganda and the celebration of violence by the Sangh Parivar and its affiliates, and on the other to fanatics and extremists among Muslims who claim to be the sole representa

We the people of India gave ourselves, 52 years ago, a Constitution based on the principles of Secularism, Democracy and Pluralism.

Secularism, which rejects the concepts of a theocratic state and majoritarian rule, which separates matters of faith and affairs of the State.

Democracy, which guarantees Fundamental Rights to every Citizen of India and Equality before the Law.

Pluralism, which celebrates the rich cultural and social diversity of India, a unique feature of our nation.

Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD) affirms its commitment to the values enshrined in the Constitution of India and is dedicated to reclaim it for the Indian people. MSD is a response, on one hand to the sustained hate propaganda and the celebration of violence by the Sangh Parivar and its affiliates, and on the other to fanatics and extremists among Muslims who claim to be the sole representatives of the Muslim Community. MSD firmly opposes their narrow-minded, reactionary and archaic mindsets.

The first national meeting of MSD, held on October 1, 2003 at Mumbai was attended by several prominent Muslims from Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur, Jalgaon, Malegaon, Bhopal, Delhi and Hyderabad. The meeting decided to adopt a Declaration, which is the result of several months of formal and informal deliberations across a cross section of Muslims in Mumbai and Maharashtra. The declaration addresses several issues which have been foisted on the Muslim community by Muslim and Hindu communal forces and which have been deliberately done to divert the attention of the people from the real issues
facing them. The meeting decided to initiate a massive nationwide campaign to educate people on these issues.

The meting also adopted the following resolutions:

Resolution – I: Stop this violence!

India, the land which has given to the world the apostle of non-violence and peace has been trapped in a growing cycle of religious intolerance, hatred and bestial violence in the last 15-20 years. On one hand, the Sangh Parivar and its affiliates are engaged in relentless hate propaganda and the militaristion of society to create the climate for violence against minorities. On the other are a handful of Muslim extremists who have no qualm in targeting innocents in the name of Islam. MSD unequivocally rejects violence as a solution to social conflict and strongly condemns the perpetrators of both MOB TERROR and BOMB TERROR.

Resolution – II: Rule of Law

The Constitution of India guarantees to every citizen equality before law and equal protection of law. But sadly, far from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to protect the life and liberty of ALL citizens, we have witnessed in recent years the disturbing fact of an increasingly communalization of State institutions and personnel. Muslims for Secular Democracy heartily welcomes the recent observation of the Supreme Court that a government that fails in its Rajdharma of protecting innocent citizens and punishing the perpetrators of violence has no right to rule. It also supports the petition in the Supreme Court of the National Human Rights Commission, the Citizens for Justice and Peace and Zahira Shaikh for a retrial of the Best Bakery and other massacres in Gujarat last year outside that state.

Resolution III: Uniform Civil Code

Muslims for Secular Democracy believes that all existing personal laws in the country, the Hindu Code Bill included are unfair to women and urgently need reform. The need for a uniform civil code is raised time and again. We feel that in a country like India, which has a multiplicity of religions, cultures, customs and beliefs, a draft uniform civil  code, based on gender justice and which can be acceptable to all communities, should be presented for discussion and debate.

It is ironical that in the forefront of the demand for a uniform civil code is the same Sangh Parivar which has never shown any commitment to uniform justice and which had staunchly opposed the Hindu Code Bill in 1956 which was aimed at protecting the rights of women and granting them a share in property. The ideologue of the Sangh Parivar, Sri Golwalkar had deemed the idea of a uniform civil code as mistaken and unwarranted.Muslims for Secular Democracy feels that the Sangh Parivar is not sincere in its commitment to women’s rights. Without any draft to offer on the issue, it keeps raising the banner of uniform civil code merely to create anxiety and insecurity among Muslims.

A few days back, the deputy prime minister, Sri LK Advani declared that the uniform civil code was a ‘national necessity’. We urge him, his government, his party or his Parivar to put before the nation a draft bill on the uniform civil code if they have any. And it would be best if such a draft is put forward before the coming Assembly elections. Otherwise, one would be forced to conclude that Shri Advani’s statement is nothing but a political gimmick with an eye on the polls.

Gulam Mohammed Peshimam, Convenor
Hasan Kamaal, Spokesperson
Javed Akhtar, Spokesperson
Javed Anand, Spokesperson