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Source: Muslim Rashtriya Manch      Date: 13 Jan 2016 15:43:05

Muslim Rashtriya Manch

It was on December 24, 2002 a group of nationalist Muslims and functionaries of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) came together in Delhi. The occasion was Id Milan and the program was organized at the initiative of noted journalist, writer and thinker Padmashree Muzaffar Hussain and his wife Nafisa who was then Member of National Commission on Women in Delhi. The program was attended by the then RSS Sarsanghchalak K S Sudarshan, RSS ideologue M G Vaidya, Senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar, Madan Das, President of All India Imam Council Maulana Jameel Iliyasi, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid Maulana Mukarram, Sufi Muslims, educationists and other intellectuals. The core issue of discussion was naturally how to bridge the widening gap between Hindu and Muslim communities in India. Initiating the discussion Sudarshan said the world has seen only the violent of Islam. But it has the other face too-that of peace. Will there be any efforts to show this other face of Islam to the world?

He also wondered as to why Muslims in India accepted the minority status when they belonged to this land by birth and shared the same culture, race and ancestors with the Hindus? His questions set the ball rolling among the Muslim intellectuals and Maulanas and it was felt that they should strive afresh to provide satisfying answers to these questions. Thus, began the thinking process to bring closer the two communities. Senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar played a very important role of a facilitator in this process. He was provincial organizer of RSS in Jammu & Kashmir during the heydays of terrorism. Applying his mind to the problem of Hindu-Muslim divide, Indresh Kumar arrived at the conclusion that earlier two approaches adopted by Mahatma Gandhi and Hindu Mahasabha failed to bridge the gap because they were lopsided. Gandhi left no stone unturned to placate Muslims and the Hindu Mahasabha stretched the issue of hatred and separatism resulting in failure of both the approaches. So the third way was needed and that third way was the path of nationalism devised by Indresh Kumar.

Indresh Kumar believed that when we share the same ancestors, culture and motherland where is the scope for confrontation? Once the Muslims and Hindus understand and realize the spirit and soul of India, all artificial barriers will automatically vanish. Thus, began the new process of understanding and dialogue between Muslims and Hindus at the initiative of RSS leaders. The new movement was initially called "Rashtravadi Muslim Andolan-Ek Nayi Raah" which was re-christened as "Muslim Rashtriya Manch" in 2005. Since then there was no going back. The Muslim Rashtriya Manch ushered in a new era among the Indian Muslims. A new thinking has emerged amongst them who now link up their future with the future of this country. With this the image of RSS as diehard, communal, fundamentalist Hindu organization began to fade and Muslim intellectuals and religious leaders started coming openly in embracing RSS as their 'true friend' and Indresh Kumar as their messiah.