16 May, 2009
The Lok Sabha elections of 2009 to select India's central government are finally over, and the results are out. Some analysts have pointed out that the Muslims of north India were one of the important deciding factors for the success or defeat of the different parties (see the links at the bottom). If one observed the Urdu newspapers in north India, one could easily see how different parties and candidates tried to attract the attention of Muslim voters by engaging them on a number of issues from development and employment to terrorism and communalism.
While Congress and its allies have emerged once again to form the government, one can see how they and the other parties didn't leave any stone unturned to present a favourable image of themselves, while painting their opponents as the worst enemies of the Muslims. Interestingly, many of these advertisements have bylines not of the main parties they represent. Rather, these have been issued by hitherto unknown organizations and NGOs of local Muslims, and in some cases, religious clergy or even the keepers of local Sufi shrines, who have a great following among the Muslims. While this is not the first time that Muslim religious leaders have participated in the campaign for political parties, but they have certainly come out more openly this time, often using the iconography of their religious authority.
We present a few examples of such campaign advertisements from some newspapers published in Delhi in the last few weeks.
See some interesting related links below:
BJP leader lists error: didn't woo Muslims
Scramble for Muslim votes in Uttar Pradesh
Holding back the “religion card” in India’s election campaign
Muslim vote key in final U.P. phase
India's ruling party courts Muslim voters
Mosque-temple controversy: Wooing Muslim voters
Congress brings in Maulana Bukhari to woo Muslims
Indian Muslims and Lok Sabha elections (by Asghar Ali Engineer)
Five myths about the Muslim vote
Muslim vote is a positive vote this time, claims BJP leader
SP goes into overdrive to woo Muslims, Kalyan waits
"Why should Indian Muslims vote BJP?"
Related Visual Essay:
This is What They Look Like: Stereotypes of Muslim Piety in Calendar Art and Hindi Cinema (by Yousuf Saeed)