Monday, March 10, 2014

The Begums of Bhopal (new edition)

Bhopal was ruled by Nawabs and Begums stretching as far back as 1723 (dynasty founded by Nawab Dost Muhammad Khan Bahadur) [ref. wiki]. When India became independent Begum Sajida Sultan (1915 - 1995) was the last titular Begum of Bhopal until 1971 when India abolished royal entitlements. Upon the demise of Begum Sajida in 1995, the title was left to her oldest daughter Nawabzadi Saleha Sultan Begum Sahiba, Bhopal being a matriarchy.

File:Begum sajida sultan.jpg 

There are no more Begums, instead we have the cardholders of the Indian Muslim Women's League (BMMA) who are meeting in Bhopal and developing strategies that will strive to preserve the secular, democratic nature of the Indian Republic. As the times change, it is fitting that people (and systems) change as well- common people coming together to shape the future of their fellow citizens as opposed to blindly following the dictates of a (not always) benign monarch.

....      Women leaders and volunteers of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) have urged women belonging to the minority community to come together with men to safeguard democracy and secularism in the country.

In a clear indication that it does not want members of the minority community to vote for the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the press release said the BJP was propping up a prime ministerial candidate with a tainted record of deaths of innocents in Gujarat in 2002.

"There have been several riots across the country in the last two years. All this really points to the potential return of communalism to the centre-stage of Indian politics. It also indicates the fragility of communal peace and the continuing communalisation of mind-sets and sections of society.  
 The development bandwagon cannot continue in the face of poverty, injustice and communal violence taking place in different parts of the country,'' said the press release. 


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