Main litigant who fought for Ayodhya Mosque kicked out for not being of the upper caste

A few days ago, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board, one of the foremost litigants of the Ram Janmabhoomi case, completed the nomination of the people for Indo-Islamic cultural foundation trust- which is responsible for building a mosque in Ayodhya. The verdict was given by 5 judges bench of Supreme Court in Nov 2019 that the land shall be handed over to a trust to build the Ram temple and the Sunni Waqf Board to be given another 5 acre land in Ayodhya to build a Mosque.

The Sunni Waqf Board formed a 15 member trust to commence the task but Iqbal Ansari, the son of the oldest litigant from the Muslim side, Hashim Ansari, has not been included in the trust. Hashim Ansari was a Pashmanda (backward caste) Muslim and passed away in July 2016, almost three years before the final verdict on the case. All India Pashmanda Muslim Mahaj–an organization of backward caste Muslims–has started a protest against the members of the trust as all of them are upper caste Muslims. According to All India Pashmanda Muslim Mahaj, backward caste Muslims constitute 90 per cent of all Muslims population in India, but, they are not given representation in any socio-religious body of the Muslims.

The Muslims of India practice a strict caste system, although the non-Muslim community of the country is not aware of this. The left-liberal intellectuals of the country, as always, are unaware of the problems, and caste system among Muslims is very little discussed in the English speaking mainstream media.

The Muslim community of the country practices caste system and even untouchability, which is traditionally seen as a trait related to Hinduism. Research on untouchability among Muslims in the state of UP, published in Economic and Political Weekly, concluded, “The precarious condition of Dalit Muslims due to the actions of the state is further complicated by the position taken by the conservative elite of their own community. Every attempt of this marginalized group for recognition is countered by conservative Muslims citing certain Quranic verses.”

There are more than 200 members in the most powerful Muslim body of the country (All India Muslims Personal Law Board), but the number of backward caste Muslims among them is negligible.

Dharam Sikarwar
Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.