The Communist parties and Muslim minoritytext_fields
Both the CPM Party Congress held in Kannur in April this year and the just concluded CPI Congress in Vijayawada, had held debates and discussions on the huge setback faced by the secular parties including the Communist parties in free democratic India. The ultra-communal party BJP and its seminal force, the RSS have come together to spread the flames of hatred and enmity across the country to secure the vote bank of the majority community and ensure a landslide victory in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Communist parties have been arguing that the only antidote to fascism is the unity of secular parties. But within the Communist parties, opinion is divided on the approach to be adopted towards the Congress, which is the largest party in the opposition. In Kerala, ruled by Communist-led alliance and which remains the only bastion of communist parties in the larger canvass of India, the opposition party, the Congress is the main challenger, and therefore the left is confused about how to ally with that party at the national level. As this uncertainty continues, they naturally focus great attention on the steps to strengthen the Communist parties in every possible manner. To that end, at the forum of party congresses, they discuss methods of bolstering the base of the feeder organizations and bringing together the community groups, and try to implement them.
Everyone who is not ready to turn a blind eye is convinced that the extreme Hindutva government and its driving forces have turned the spearhead of hostility towards the country's largest religious minority, the Muslims. Although Christians and Communists have occupied a place in the list of foes of the Sangh Parivar, their prime target is the Muslim minority due to many reasons. With an assiduously enforced cow slaughter ban, religious conversion curbs, encroachment and claims on mosques, hunt by NIA and hijab ban in educational institutions continuing to rage, the RSS's most recent move in the build-up to the Lok Sabha elections of 2024 is to raise the bogey of population growth and religious imbalance. From the statements and reactions of the secular parties, especially the Left, it can be gleaned that they are seized of the fact that the end result of all this is fascism gaining a permanent foothold in the country. At the same time, they see the situation as an opportunity to attract the awe-struck Muslims to their own camp.
Looking back at history, there have been prominent Muslim names among those who played a leading role in sowing and cultivating the seeds of the communist movement in the Indian sub-continent in the dawn of the 20th century. Muzaffar Ahmad (1889-1973), Shaukat Usmani (1901-1978), Dr. Z.A. Ahmed (1908-1999), Abdul Haleem (1901-1966) and many others held aloft the red flag daring the bullets of the British imperialists. Maulana Ishaq Sambhali and Sajjad Zahir also figure among them. Artistic and literary celebrities like Khaja Ahmad Abbas were also communist fellow-travellers. Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu, the body established to nurture and propagate the Urdu language, was under the control of leftists. It is undeniable that if the communist rule survived for three and a half decades in Bengal, it owes no little to the support of Muslim minority votes in Bengal region. With only three years left for the centenary of Indian Communist movement, the CPI and CPM would do well to introspect whether they have erred in their approach to the community comprising the descendants of those mentioned above at a time when that community is facing the worst crisis in history. The CPI is reportedly planning to induct the non-political organization Tanzeem-e-Insaaf, which is said to exist in several Indian states, including Kerala, into an affiliated body of the party. Regardless of whether that will pay dividends or not, suffice is for them to realize that it is getting high time for the Left to join hands with other secular parties to take on, with the seriousness it deserves, the moves against twenty crore people whose honourable existence is being threatened.