Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Congress and Muslims By Ghulam Muhammed | The Islamic fine print on weavers that Rahul missed By Neelesh Misra - The Times of India

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Congress and Muslims

For over 65 years that Indian National Congress ( read Brahmins) ruled India, they have subjected Indian Muslims, a good 15 to 20% of the population, to a continuous dose of malign neglect, bordering on proactive discrimination in all spheres of social, political and economic life. Thriving Muslim communities of artisans, craftsman and agriculturists were maliciously and pin-pointedly  targeted to deprive them of their livelihood. Come election time, shameless Congress leaders have no qualms promising the seven heavens and seven seas to Muslim voters without any intention whatsoever to ever feel a duty to deliver on their electoral promises. The present scheme for Muslim weavers so grandly announced by the prince- waiting to be the King, Rahul Gandhi, to come to the aid of the one of the most precious craftsmen of fine fabrics that India could produce, is so ham-handedly or rather maliciously packaged by the Brahmin bureaucracy, that not a single Muslim weaver will ever benefit from the 'announced' 6230 Crores budgeting, as the credit trap itself being the most heinous scheme falls short of the Islamic norms of interest free borrowing. Nobody can deny that nationalized banks over the years have written off non-performing loans to corporate world to tune of hundreds and thousands of crore in one of India's most hidden corruption pipeline; however when it comes to poor, their life is threatened even for measly sums of loans that is the main cause of the epidemic in suicides all over India. The young leader, born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a very visible halo of glittering crown on his head, is emulating the French Queen Marie Antoinette, when she asked the poor, starved of bread, to eat cake. The scheme of loans to weavers is pure Tughlak, if benefit of doubt is given to Rahul Gandhi. He should have done more home work, involved more experts, come out with holistic solutions to the problem of resurrecting the economic life of the disintegrating communities, before addressing the crowd with his supposed achievements. The blocked Brahmin mind-set that is against Islamic Banking products; just as it comes with the label of Islam and its standards of equity, fairness and justice, will rather see vast devastation across the land, than to give in to the paradigm change in international finance and investment that Islamic Banking is bringing about. India must rise to the challenges ahead.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


The Times of India

The Islamic fine print on weavers that Rahul missed

, TNN | Feb 7, 2012, 06.37AM IST
JAHANAGUNJ (UP): It is a moment that comes frequently these days in the talent-rich but squalid homes of eastern UP's weavers, when families nurturing an ancient craft get crushed under modern day reality.That is the moment when a weaver sells the biggest, most valuable asset he has: his loom, and flees from his life of poverty to menial jobs in West Asia.

The skinny Abu Saad, 23, is fighting that moment and has witnessed it countless times in the weavers' hub of Jahanagunj 70 km north of Varanasi. The most compelling was when his best friend Ansar Ahmed sold his family loom and went away two years ago to work as a hospital sweeper in the Saudi city of Dammam.This winter, Saad has another crucial asset with which he wants to make a statement: his vote.

More than 2.5 lakh weavers - mostly Muslims - have become a key constituency with political parties aggressively reaching out to them ahead of UP's crucial elections. The charge was led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who prodded the Centre into a Rs. 6,230 crore package aimed at 13 lakh weavers countrywide - but timed mainly for the UP elections.But in this rural hub where houses are partly collapsed, looms largely silent, youth sit aimlessly and muck line the streets, Abu Saad said Gandhi's package is an eyewash that won't touch their lives.

Its centerpiece is providing subsidised loans, and other assistance towards better availability of credit. "How can Rahul Gandhi and the government be so out of touch with our lives?" said Saad, as he stood outside the main mosque in the rural hub. "Don't they know that most of us do not like to take loans because the Quran does not allow us?"

The Centre's package will let individuals get credit card-based loans of up to Rs 2 lakh for three years without collaterals. Using an interest subsidy of 3 per cent, banks will be able to lend at 7 to 8 per cent to the weavers. The local traders' association called the package statistical jugglery with no significant new assistance. Even for those who might sign up, none of the gains have yet reached the weavers on election eve."We haven't got anything from this package so far. This is all for middlemen," said 55-year-old weaver Abrar Ahmed.

Eastern UP's weaving industry with the Banarasi sari as its most famous brand has collapsed. Thousands of weavers who were once considered among India's best artisans now live in slums."Earlier people sold jewellery and went to Saudi. Now they sell their looms," said Saad. One loom sells for Rs 50,000 and often three have to be sold to bear the expenses of going to Saudi Arabia.

With no other skill, artisans are forced to lead menial lives there as goat grazers, sweepers or labour.Previously too, politicians have sought to reach out to weavers. As CM, Mulayam Singh Yadav promised them 18-hour electricity. Mayawati has accused the Centre of not doing enough.But little has changed in their disintegrating lives.

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