When Rahul Gandhi is going around crediting his family with every Indian achievement, can the Congress be far?
Taking cue from Rahul's foot-in-the-mouth spree, the Congress' minorities cell has brought out a booklet on why the Congress is the messiah of the Muslims.
Titled Musalman Congress ke saath kyon...?, the 12-page booklet was being circulated among Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, where elections are going on.
The booklet -- in Urdu and in Hindi -- not only goes about proclaiming that the Congress was responsible for extending opportunity to Muslims to occupy top constitutional and political appointments, but also goes on to take credit for the rise of celebrities like Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Sania Mirza as well as a number of Indian cricketers.
'It was only because the Congress never treated Muslims as outcasts and provided them an open, free and secular environment in this country that they could enhance their capabilities and inner talent,' says the booklet.
"And that not only helped in Azeem Premji emerging as the richest man in the country, but also forging stars like Dilip Kumar and Sharrukh Khan to the top rung in the Indian film industry," it declared. Lest his screen name be misunderstood, Dilip Kumar's real name -- Yusuf Khan -- was mentioned within brackets.
It then seeks to assign the same reason to the fame achieved by top musicians -- Amjad Khan (Sarod), Zakir Hussain (Tabla) and Bismillah Khan (Shehnai) besides cricketers -- Nawab of Pataudi, Syed Kirmani, Azaruddin, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Mohammad Kaif, Munaf Patel, Wasim Jafar , as well as tennis star Sania Mirza.
"If these people had not been provided a congenial atmosphere without any discrimination for being a Muslim, then probably no one would have heard of them," the booklet points out. And it says, "Who was responsible for creating such an environment? Congress."
While tracing the history of Muslim-Congress proximity right to the founders of the Congress party and crediting Jawaharlal Nehru for drawing the larger chunk of Muslims to side with India after the partition, the document sings praises to Indira Gandhi for carrying on her father's legacy.
"It was under Indira Gandhi's leadership that the Congress appointed not just one, but three Muslim Presidents of India, three vice-presidents, three chief justices, 18state governors, one Indian Air Force Chief and several state chief ministers as well as foreign ambassadors," the booklet boasts.
"Thiswas the only example on the globe where members of the religious minorities were given such top positions," it adds.
The booklet also reminds how the Congress was the only Indian political outfitthat had been headed by seven Muslims over different periods of time. "No other major political party in India had elevated any Muslim to the top organisational post," it points out.
Terming the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano case as the "biggest attack on Muslims", the booklet seeks to highlight "how Indira Gandhi's son Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed powerfor the sake of restoring the religious rights of Muslims by bringing in a new parliamentary legislation to nullify the Shah Bano judgment that was an infringement with the personal law of Muslims."
Evidently, it seeks to impress upon the Muslim youth that Congress president Sonia Gandhi was once again focused on insuring genuine economic and educational upliftmentof Muslims.
The minority-wooing exercise by the Congress gets milder only where it embarks on a reference to the demolition of the 16thcentury Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
"Itis true that the martyrdom of the Babri Mosque was a major setback to us, but some opposition parties tried to make political capital out of it by shedding crocodile tears," it says.
While pointedly raising serious questions against Mulayam Singh Yadav's honeymoon with rabid Hindu hardliners like Sakshi Maharaj, the booklet focuses on how, "Mulayam's refusal to issue a necessary affidavit savedtop BJP leaders like L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi as well as VHP supreme Ashok Singhal in the criminal proceedings they were facing in the Babri Masjid demolition case."
The concluding line adds, "The blood of Asfaq Ullah, Abdul Qadir, Havaldar Abdul Hamid and Major Usman was a repeated reminder of the fact that this nation is ours," in an obvious afterthought about the unparalleled contribution of these eminent Muslims to the freedom movement and thesubsequent wars respectively.