Original Question : Why are there so many Muslims in communist parties in India, when neither Koran allows them to be communists nor communism allows them to be Muslims?
This should obviously be confusing to a lot of people. Let me unravel the mystery if there was any.
Communism is a ideology which seeks to achieve atheism eventually. Like Xi Xinping recently said it’s compulsory for party members to be unyielding Marxist atheists. And Indian communists are largely inspired by China. Wahabism is an ideology which seeks to achieve the exact opposite, and wants everybody to follow Wahabi version of Sunni Islam.
So it’s natural for people to be flummoxed how a certain practicing Muslim claiming to be follower of an ideology which seeks to eschew every religion. Communism and socialism are similar in one respect that while Communism uses socialism as a tool, Wahabism uses religion as a tool for political purposes. Communism and Wahabism even though have ideological differences, there are certain similarities between the two.
Why the unofficial alliance: The common ground
Communism after initially finding popularity in 1920–80 is fast dwindling owing to awareness of this violent ideology . Wahabism on the other hand is struggling to find takers in India in large numbers. They occasionally try to stoke fear in Muslim masses by carrying out “Deen bachao” (Save Islam) rallies. It was largely successful in 1940s and those who came under its influence ran away to Pakistan. Now they try to do that again, but a wooden pot doesn’t work twice.
Communists in majority will not tolerate Muslims like what happens in China and a Wahabi state like Saudi Arabia will not tolerate a communist.
So what can be the common ground to forge an alliance?
Both see a common enemy in nationalism, a philosophy of love for your own country transcending all the cultural, ideological differences. Nationalism has reduced communism to fringes and made the percolation of wahabism in general public very difficult owing to both foreign and violent character of both the philosophies.
So both the struggling philosophies have kind of entered into an political understanding finding a common enemy in nationalism. It’s very common politics for foes to forge alliances. You can take example of recent political development in UP where once sworn enemies Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi party forged alliance as both parties were facing an existential crisis and found a common enemy in Modi. Same thing is happening with communism and Wahabism.
The common mode of operation: Widen social faultlines
Communism carves out its political existence through social differences. It tries to widen the social fault-lines. Wahabis have also the same agenda. Recently Pakistani Wahabis senate think tank sat down to counter India after strong reaction to Pulwama attacks. Check out the point number 8 of the action plan finalized against India.
The objective 8 not only is similar to what communists do, but the terminologies used are exactly similar that is used by communists in India. There appears to be an ideological understanding. The number of hate spreading caste based leaders (like Mewani, Hardik Patel etc.) that have sprang up just can’t be a coincidence. There is a conscious attempt to counter nationalism by promoting linguistic, regional, caste based divisions. Even certain journalists especially in outlets like The wire etc. are unabashedly done caste and religious based divisions exactly on lines of what the Pakistan think tank seeks to achieve. Shekhar Gupta who has worked with NDTV and is perceived as a congress loyalist has written articles on his media start up from caste and religious angles. Shekhar Gupta is now the President of Editors’ guild makes it more worrisome.
There is a conscious attempt from a group journalists gives an impression that a cabal as at work. Example.
- The leftist realize that cricket is the main source of unifying India. So the following article appears an attempt to wrack it.
Cricketer Muhmmad Kaif quickly saw what the vile journalist of Wire was trying to do.
- Journalist Ajaz Ashraf within days of passing of course of action in Pakistani senate wrote the following article in a leftist “news” outlet Caravan, exactly on line of point number 8 of the memorandum.
So if you find a Muslim claiming to be communist or a supporter of communism, he would essentially be more political than religious. You can take example of Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid. I have had a discussion with few Pakistanis few months ago and asked them if they think Pakistani army general should ask China of to stop torturing uighur Muslims in the concentration camps. The usual excuses were 1. China is an atheist state, so their action is justified. 2. It’s china’s internal matter. China and Pakistan have found a common enemy in India, hence the political alliance.
I have found Muslims claiming to be communists or supporter of communism to be much more divisive than just communists. Their focus is more on politics than religion. So don’t think they will refer Quran for their actions. Hate for other religion is bigger than love for his very own for a Wahabi. In fact both Communism and Wahabism is all about hate and that’s the de facto religion.
The Article was first published on Quora and has been republished on The South Asian Express with Author’s permission.