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Missing Hindus of Malabar

Missing Hindus of Malabar

Author: VR Jayaraj
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: March 26, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/165134/Missing-Hindus-of-Malabar.html

Parties in Kerala are confused about handling the new kind of Hindu consolidation taking place, especially in the north of the State. The Hindu consolidation is seen a compulsive reaction to the utter neglect of the religion by political parties.

This consolidation is spreading out from the socially backward Ponnani Lok Sabha constituency. To wrest this seat from the Muslim League, the CPI(M) has got into a poll partnership with the PDP of Islamist Abdul Nasser Madani, who figures in several police reports on terrorism cases.

Madani got CPI(M)'s Kerala secretary Pinarayi Vijayan into this trap with his claim that the PDP in the past five years had been able to eat into the Muslim League vote bank and had taken the number of votes to more than 1,00,000 from its proven share of 45,720 votes in the 2004 poll in Ponnani, where the electorate is more than 1,100,000-strong. He also impressed the CPI(M) with his argument that the PDP could determine the outcome in at least five other constituencies in the 20-seat State.

Madani himself proposed the name of Hussein Randathani, an ideologue of the Sunni Muslim sect of known conservative Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliar, who would not even hesitate to wage a jehad if the Kerala Government approved the recommendation of the Law Commission to put control on polygamy among the Muslims.

Fearing a drubbing in the election on account of a strong anti-incumbency wave and allegations of corruption against himself, Vijayan was left with no choice but to agree with Madani. The seat belonged to the CPI quota, but Vijayan told them that Randathani would be the (independent) candidate no matter what the CPI thought. The CPI protested, but in the end surrendered to Pinarayi.

Madani's premises are simple but attractive. The PDP commanded more than 1,00,000 votes in Ponnani. The Sunnis were a big force in Ponnani and Madani's theory is that the very fact that Randathani, a close aid of the Musliar, could earn all those votes. Madani is also confident of bringing in a big chunk of votes controlled by Islamist NDF (Popular Front).

This calculation is based on the unsaid understanding that the Hindu votes would remain static and would be polled in favour of the CPI(M).

Naturally, the Hindus are offended over being taken for granted and for keeping them outside all the considerations while the parties are worried only about the Muslim votes.

Ponnani is a Muslim-majority constituency, but the Hindus are a big force and constitute 42 per cent of the electorate. Of this, more than 50 per cent are from the working class and about 25 per cent from the backward and Dalit sections. Even then, the political leaders have to date not cared to even acknowledge the existence of the Hindus. "It is as though we simply did not exist. They will find out after May 16 that we are capable of changing things," said Rajanarayanan, a Dalit.

Hindus agree that a new consolidation is taking place among them, but the form or direction of this development could not be ascertained immediately. "It is unavoidable. The majority community in the country and the State, which is also not a weak minority here (they are 42 per cent strong here), would not allow anyone to treat them like this. They won't allow the politicians to take us for granted," said Soman Achari, a sociologist.

However, he said the BJP would not be able to cash in on this new development due to its inherent troubles, he added.

This new thinking among the Hindus is fast spreading to other areas of Malabar where the Opposition UDF and the ruling LDF have never cared to acknowledge their existence in their eagerness to ensure and enlist the support of Muslims, Achari points out.

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