By Mubasshir Mushtaq
Come Ramadan and every political party – be it right-wing, left-wing or middle-wing – float a new (political!) party with a limited life: Iftar party. Its life expectancy is that of a month! As soon as the Eid-moon appears over the horizon, Iftar party packs off and goes into hibernation mode for the next eleven months! Unlike other political parties (whose target audiences are broad), their main target audiences are those Muslim dullards who confuse personal welfare to that of the community's welfare! It thrives on Jinnah's Muslim League agenda: divide, sympathize, rule and attain personal clout!
Did you say Iftar party? Are you still confused that the holy word 'Iftar' has been joined with that of an unholy entity called 'party'? Don't be. The marriage between the two is a unique union of strange bedfellows. What emerges from this union is an unholy alliance for an unholy purpose: to woo Muslim masses on every count! The moment anybody utters the term Iftar party, the image that conjures up in mind is that of a political party which has come into existence just to exploit religious observation of the Muslims. There is no other party in the world whose sole motto is so narrow and totally based on negativity. In Iftar party's manifesto everything else dominates over the true spirit of Iftar. But how can Iftar, a sacred act of the Believers, be connected with politics or vice-versa? Iftar is an Arabic word which is derived from the root word fatrann. It signifies breaking of the fast. What a political party has to do with the breaking of the fast? Political parties have their own system of interpretation. Let's try to unlock their interpretative code!
Perhaps a politician's limited brain with unlimited mischief thinks that the Iftar party gives him an opportunity for future capitalization among the Muslim masses. It gives him the ultimate advantage of mixing with the Muslims where he can flex his political muscles without any opponent present in the ring! It provides him a pleasant platform to talk about the confluence of Ganga-Jamni tehzeeb (existence of pluralistic society) although his main aim is to garner Muslim votes. It is an attempt to showcase who is who of the politics. It is a race to boost public image of the politician where parameter of power is measured on the basis of cash flow. It is a public relation exercise where each and every object of presentation (read flashbulbs, chairs, tables, plates, delicacies etc.) is chosen carefully after close scrutiny. It acts as an ointment to pacify old wounds of the Muslims! Iftar party is like a fisherman's net whose sole function is entrapment!
An Iftar party is a place where Jinnah comes alive: untouchable Jinnah caps suddenly become touchable. A politician's favourite Nehru cap is replaced by the Jinnah cap!
Unfortunately some of the self-appointed messiahs of the Muslims who grace Iftar party happen to be Muslim Ulemas. It is altogether a different matter that most of them are hired. Beware, we are living in an age of hire and fire!
Muslims, beware! Don't be seduced by the aroma of the political food because it contains ingredients which can impair one's independent way of thinking! Those who visit political Iftar party tend to confine themselves to pigeon-holes!
As Ramadan readies to depart, there is a sudden surge in political Iftar parties. It would be worth recalling Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani's beautiful poem on political Iftar parties:
Count all the known 'BEARDS' with utmost care,
Seduce them all into our Party's voting share.
Give them the title of 'ULEMA' of high esteem,
When they come, like a beeline, it must seem.
Manage to make them sit in separate rows,
To send a strong message to our foes.
For us, all of them are a great asset,
Their every motion must be recorded in cassette.
The 'LONGER BEARDS' must occupy central places,
From all sides, the media must cover their faces.
On this gullible community is resting our hope,
To blunt its mind, these 'IFTARS' are a dope.
With round caps on, like them, you must look,
To trap these 'FOOLS', it is the best hook.
Tailpiece: Minorities especially Christians remain tense in South India as the dance of hate and naked communalism continues. A little known mysterious organisation called Sri Ram Sena (Army of God) has claimed in a press conference to have "1132 members" in their suicide squad. Their aim is to kill "anti-Hindu and anti-national" elements. Now with the emergence of mob terror, should Indian Penal Code take backseat? Instead of acting against the rabble rousers Police has played down the entire incident by terming Sri Ram Sena as "all talk and false threat." Are there two set of laws in India?
As I conclude the column, terrorists strike Delhi once again. We don't know much at this point of time but yet electronic media is indulging is guessing journalism. "Splinter group" is the new slogan. Police says they are looking at "all possible angles" but yet not so expert TV correspondents are selling the thesis that the blast "could have been carried out by the splinter group of those who are already in Police custody." 'Could have been' can never be a part of responsible journalism. Was Indian Mujahideen behind the blast?