Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lessons from Egypt for the Islamists in India..!

Lessons from Egypt for the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind people.
This is in response to a request from my friend and guide to shed light on the lessons from Egypt.

What lessons could we learn from the mass uprising in Egypt? India is not Egypt. And we do not have any Hosni Mubaraks here. We may have our share of bigots like Narendra Modis and L K Advanis. But still we do not have Hosni Mubaraks here, by the grace of Allah.

As I reflected on the demonstrations in Egypt and news of the events that followed, it occured to me that there were FOUR vital lessons for the Islamists here in India that need to be highlighted.

Lesson No. 1: 
The agents of change are always the youth. If we want to bring change in the society, we have to capture the minds of the youth and mould them in the Islamic way. The Egypt revolution may have been scripted and drafted by the seniors, but it was executed by the youth. Youth were in the forefront and they took the plunge when it mattered most. Without the active involvement of the youth the brutal regime could not have been toppled so smoothly. It is amazing that the Ikhwans were able to nurture, train and groom such a large number of youth under the very nose of the tyrant Pharoah.

We have to do something to groom our own youth. At present we have SIO which has succeeded in mobilising students for the Islamic cause. There is a big gap as far as the Indian youth are concerned. There is no activism. There is no guidance. There is no mobilisation. Youth power is being wasted. There is an urgent need for proper planning in this regard. India has the largest concentration of youth. But the percentage of youth in the Islamic movement is not healthy and the figures presented by the General Secretary of the Jamaat in the recently held All India Members conference is alarming. The number of members of the Jamaat who have not seen thirty summers is very very meagre. Those with grey and white beards outnumbered those with shiny black beards in that Ijtema-e-Arkan. That does not augur well for a movement which strives to bring total change in the society. The success story of Solidarity Youth Movement in Kerala has to be repeated in all over the nation. And that is the need of the hour.

Lesson No 2: 
Patience and perseverance pays. Be patient. Never lose hope. Patience pays and it pays handsomely. Look at the Ikhwans. For 52 long years - more than two generations - they had been patient. They were suppressed and oppressed by the most brutal regime of the day. They bore all kinds of oppression. They were banned and persecuted for more than a half century. But still, they never lose hope. They never threw away their core idealogy. They never succumbed to the pulls and pressures of the brutal regime and its wily sponsor. They were steadfast in their belief and action.

Those who call for drastic changes in our core idealogy should stand and ponder over this phenonmenal perseverence displayed by the Ikhwanis. Let us not be impatient and make hasty decisions which may harm our larger goal.

Lesson No 3:
The Ikhwanis never called it Islamic revolution. They co-opted with others. They worked with other sections of the society. They even shared the struggle with the coptic Christians. Cross and Quran alongwith the Egyptian flag were raised in Tahrir Square. They warmly embraced with others for a common cause. Slavej Zizek has described it as the most sublime moment. I would say it as the most defining moment in the 21st century. In a multi-cultural and multi-racial world that is the most pragmatic approach.

We in India too should such an inclusive approach. We have to identify common goods and goals and join hands with the likeminded noble souls in attaining them. We have to learn from the pact which is known as "Hilful Fuzul" was arranged in the house of Abdullah ibn Jad'in in Makkah by certain important personalities of the time. Later during the period of his Prophethood, the Holy Prophet often mentioned this pact and said that he was still willing to participate in a similar pact and not to violate its provisions. We have vast number of right thinking and noble hearted activists here in India. They are not corrupt. They are not communal. We have to join hands with them and find ways and means to struggle with them towards attaining common good.

Lesson No 4:
Embrace the issues of the people and people would always sit in your lap. The Ikhwanis embraced the issues of the people. They joined hands with them when it mattered the most. They identified the simmering discontent against the regime and used it. They got availed of the opportunity and positioned themselves. They have always been in the forefront in tackling the basic issues of the lay man.

We have to strive for common goals instead of Muslim specific issues. The experience gained through Forum for Democracy and Communal Amity (FDCA) would be useful in this regard. It has to be noted that whenever we took common issues the nation responded passionately and positively. The Human Rights Campaign launched in 2003 and the Caravan for Peace and Justice in this meeqath are shiny examples for this. Similarly the more positive response we got when we took up the cause of anti-liquor campaign in Tamil Nadu could be cited as an example for this trend.

Still there are vast number of issues affecting the aam aadmi here. We have to take them up.


Tariq Azeez said...

And Lesson No 5 is to be more flexible with the Muslim society. At present we have Muthafiq(Associate), Karkun(Worker), Rukn(Member) set up. We have to totally revamp this system without losing core character of the Tahreek. We need to find ways and means to strike a chord with the mainstream Indian society as well as gain the confidence of the Muslim society. At present we feel as alien in the present society.

Sadat Husseini said...

I would like to add another important dimension of this revolution.
This revolution is being named "the Facebook Revolution".

It all started when Asmaa Mahafouz, a 26 year old MBA, recorded a highly charged speech using simple web-camera and posted it on her facebook account. Within hours there were innumerable responses and a chain reaction broke out that ultimately caused huge gathering at Tahreer Square.

This revolution has emphasised the power of social media and social networks. So far we (the Islamic Movements) have been complaining that people are driven by mas media and mass media is not in our hands. The biggest development of the last decade was that mass media became accessible to a common man. Websites, blogs, Youtube, Facebook and twitter have changed the scenario to such an extent that it simply became possible for everybody, even a teen-age student with zero resources to communicate his message to the whole world. Our country has also witnesses many blogs-driven successful middle class campaign and now this Tahreer Square has taken the Faceook and Twitter to the new heights of power and influence.

Unfortunately, In this aspect, Islamic Movement lags far behind, not only in comparison to non Muslim world, but even in comparison to other contemporary Muslim groups. In India, we are much behind not only from hi-tech groups like IRF but even from traditional groups like Deoband, Ahl-e-Hadith and even Barelvis. Poorest presence on web is that of our literature. We arrange hundreds of programmes every month but a search on youtube yields not more than a few results. Compare it with anyother group (even tablighi Jamaat) the scenario will be different.

It is high time our elders took a lesson from Egypt. Facebook posting Ikhwanis are not all teenagers. They include many 60-70 year old leaders.For last many years, I am trying my best to create awareness about this new media in Jamaat circles but still ice is to break.

Sadat Husseini

Abdul Sattar said...

How can we call it "Facebook Revolution", when majority of the popution of Egypt do not have internet connection? Internet and Facebook are mere tools. The revolutionery message of Islam, freedom, human rights and Muslim Brotherhood played the trick.

The people were fed up with the brutal regime. And the Muslim Brotherhood eagerly filled the gap. It had the means and tools to convert the discontent into a mass uprising.


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