Mapping the route to minority success
While many individual success stories exist, Muslims, the largest minority, are still well below the national average in terms of income, education and levels of influence in society. It isn't easy for Muslims to live in a society that discriminates against them. However, even many so-called 'keepers' of Muslim causes (the same ones who will attack me on this column) have done little for the community other than suggestions such as: "Never vote BJP, always vote Congress" .
Such over-simplification and politicization has done more harm than good. It pains me to see a talented community being represented by regressive, parochial and divisive leaders who frankly do not care about India or its youth, and therefore, don't care about the Muslim youth either. With the intent to get through to some positive thinking, open-minded people, I give some suggestions.
Take a leaf out of the book of other successful communities. The Jews in America, and the Parsis and Sikhs in India are examples of minorities that have done extremely well in their respective countries. Jews form less than 2% of American population, but dominate lists of Forbes billionaires, Nobel laureates, media moguls and Hollywood bigwigs. How did this happen? Several theories abound. However, some factors seem firmly in place.
The greater the emphasis on education, the greater the likelihood that members of a community will be successful.
Assimilating with the majority community :
Assimilation does not mean abandoning one's culture, or bending to the majority. It simply means finding as much common ground as possible. It also means not heeding leaders who are encouraging people to vote along communal lines. Even if one ignores the right and wrong of communal voting, it's also not a productive strategy. Instead, Muslims need to put forth a checklist - a set of conditions - on what it would take for them to trust the BJP again. They mustn't only oppose the BJP. They must also entice them with support if their conditions are met. Keeping all political parties on their toes, and lobbying for your own cause is perfectly acceptable and even necessary. However, taking permanent sides is not. Please note, this doesn't mean Muslims should vote for the BJP. It just means they engage with it rather than shun it completely. There is another important point about assimilation. It can't happen without trust, and assuming the best in people. It is understandably difficult to trust when that trust has been broken in the past. However, successful minority communities have been able to do that and allowed the wounds to heal.
Politicians often scare minorities, making them believe the worst in people. It isn't a great way to live. Hope for, and spread as much goodness as possible in your lifetime.
Accepting liberal values and personal liberties:
Most minority communities that have done well have also represented the liberal cause. This helps increase influence in society for a simple reason: most intellectuals are liberal. The youth, too, is attracted to liberal values. If you have intellectuals and youth by your side, you already have a disproportionate influence compared to your actual population. Thus, the ultraconservative and orthodox interpretation of religion will not find as much traction as a modern, open-minded approach. Indian Muslims are more liberal than Muslims in many other Islamic countries . Such voices should be encouraged.
As a shortcut to appease Muslims, too many politicians have been suggesting quotas and waivers for the community. What makes communities rise is their own internal talent and merit, not handouts. Reservations on offer are minuscule. However, it tags the community as in need of grace marks and antagonizes the majority. It isn't worth it. Rise with education, hard work, creativity and business acumen. There really is no other way.
Our minorities are not minor; they are an important part of India. In their success lies India's success. About time we focus on what would enable them to do so.
मोदी से सिरदर्द! इलाज है 'नमो बाम'
बीजेपी के पीएम कैंडिडेट नरेंद्र मोदी की लोकप्रियता दूसरे दलों के नेताओं के लिए सिरदर्द की सबसे बड़ी वजह बन गई है। शायद यही वजह है कि मोदी ब्रैंड को भुनाने के लिए बनाए गए 'नमो बाम' की बिक्री की रफ्तार काफी तेज हो गई है।
'नमो बाम', नमो स्टोर के उन 20 नमो प्रॉडक्ट्स में से एक है, जिसकी बिक्री इतनी ज्यादा है कि वह आउट ऑफ स्टॉक हो गया है। 'नमो बाम' अदरक से बना एक आयुर्वेदिक बाम है, जिसे सिर और शरीद दर्द में राहत देने के लिए बनाया गया है।
नमो स्टोर के एक वॉलनटिअर प्रगनेंद्र ने बताया कि एक महीने के अंदर 'नमो बाम' की 10 हजार यूनिट बेची जा चुकी हैं। अभी भी 35 हजार यूनिट का ऑर्डर पेंडिंग पड़ा हुआ है। प्रगनेंद्र ने बताया कि 'नमो बाम' को 12 राज्यों में लॉन्च किया गया है।
बाजार में हिट है मोदी ब्रैंड
'नमो बाम' ही नहीं बल्कि मोदी ब्रैंड से जुड़े सारे प्रॉडक्ट्स बाजार में हिट हैं। 'नमो बाम' बनाने वाली कंपनी गोरान फ़ार्मासूटिकल है। स्टोर मैनेजर्स का कहना है कि चुनाव के बाद 'नमो बाम' को एक ब्रैंड के रूप में मेडिकल स्टोर के सहारे बेचने की तैयारी है।
इसके अलावा वडोदरा में एक हफ्ते पहले 'नमो टी' (नमो चाय) लॉन्च की गई है। मोदी ने अपने इलेक्शन कैंपेन में खुद को लगातार एक चाय वाला के तौर पर पेश किया है। ऐसे में कोई अचरज की बात नहीं होगी कि 'नमो टी' भी मार्केट में हिट हो जाए।
'नमो टी' के लिए चाय असम से मंगाई जा रही है और मोदी के समर्थक इसकी पैकिंग कर रहे हैं। नमो ब्रैंड के वॉलनटिअर्स का दावा है कि अबतक एक लाख किलो 'नमो टी' बेची जा चुकी है और 50 हजार किलो 'नमो टी' के ऑर्डर पेंडिंग हैं। अब 'नमो बाम' हो या 'नमो टी', भारत में दोनों ही सिर दर्द के मर्ज का इलाज माने जाते हैं।