A wave of simmering anger can be felt among the Pasmanda community members. This anger is more prominently visible in Bihar where the social justice parties have completely ignored the community in Lok Sabha ticket distribution. A change.org petition started on 23rd March by sociologist Khalid Anis Ansari was being shared enthusiastically by Pasmanda community members and their allies. The petition demanded RJD give Mr. Ali Anwar the Lok Sabha ticket from Madhubani. The Petition also alleged that RJD has always disproportionately favored upper-caste Muslims while distributing the tickets. It was also asserted that in Bihar, despite the population of Pasmanda (SC/ST and OBC) Muslims being around 85% of Muslim population, they are not proportionally represented in tickets given by RJD. Ali Anwar is also a known face of social-justice movement and secularism and is famous for his grass-roots work apart from having an iconic image as the leader of Pasmandas. Therefore, the community believes that a Lok Sabha ticket to him would only mean strengthening the ideals of social justice.
Interestingly, this demand is not only being supported by Pasmanda community members but also from quarters beyond this community. Intellectuals, scholars and activists from various hues and shades have signed the petition and supported the demands of this marginalized community. Some of the notable signatories are Prof Chauthi Ram Yadav (BHU), Dr Hilal Ahmed (CSDS, Delhi), Dilip C Mandal (Senior Journalist and Intellectual), Dr Ratan Lal (Hindu College), Dr Sumeet Mahaskar( OP Jindal University), Kuffir Nalgundwar (Founding Editor, RoundTableIndia), Shadan Farasat (Advocate, Supreme Court), Ashok Choudhary (Social Activist), Dr Santosh Kumar Rai( Delhi University), S. Anwar (Social Filmmaker, Chennai), Samrendra Das (Social Activist, United Kingdom), Prof. Nishat Quaisar (Jamia Milia Islamia), Divya Kandukari (Journalist), Rakesh S Ram (Round Table India, Bangalore), Pradnya Jadhav (Editor RTI- Marathi), Gaurav Somwanshi (Consultant, Chattisgarh), Anu Ramdas (Writer, USA), Noel Dilda (Social Activist, USA).
Haji Nisar Ahmed, National President, Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz says that a copy of the petition is already received by senior leaders of RJD especially Tejaswi Yadav and Prof. Manoj Kumar Jha and he is expecting a positive response for this genuine demand of the community. Naheed Aqueel, President, Women’s wing, Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz, says that a failure by RJD to give the ticket to Ali Anwar would be a deceit to the community as Tejaswi Yadav must remember that when Nitish Kumar did ‘Palti’ and joined the hands of BJP, it was Ali Anwar who prominently raised his voice for which he was penalized and ousted from Rajya Sabha on taking this principled stand. Pasmanda Activist Naaz Khair believes that both Ali Anwar and Sharad Yadav left JDU but Sharad Yadav is being rewarded and Ali Anwar is being ignored. “Is this not a kind of casteism? What kind of Social Justice is this?”, she asks.
Sources have informed that RJD is making up its mind on giving the ticket to Ali Anwar, and Tejaswi Yadav has discussed with Ali Anwar on phone. Abdullah Mansoor (Lenin Maudoodi), young Pasmanda activist, says “Any thing is possible in politics therefore we are constantly asserting our demand. Some of our young Pasmanda activists are constantly sharing their writings on Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter. Video appeals are also being shared on social media. If nothing happens in a day or two, our delegation will go to Patna to talk to Tejaswi Yadav and do a press conference too”.
Translated from Hindi by Shafiullah Anis