Indore: With a handshake and a warm hug, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met the religious head of Dawoodi Bohra community Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city Saifee mosque, where the head of the community is holding a nine-day religious discourse since Wednesday.
Speaking to over 2 lakh members in Madhya Pradesh’s Ashara Mubaraka, the commemoration of the Martyrdom of the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, organized by the Dawoodi Bohra community, Modi said that he is obliged to be a part of the commemoration of Martyrdom of Imam Husain. Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had also accompanied the PM to the event.
Appreciating the work done by Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the current Da’i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras, which has a good number of commercial enterprise across the country, Modi said love and dedication towards the nation are hallmarks of his teachings.
During his in a 33-minute address, Modi said, “his government has given a clear message that rules will prevail by bringing in laws like GST and Bankruptcy Code”. He said, “the Dawoodi Bohra community has reaped the benefits of this policy of encouraging honesty”. To this, Bohra community member who attended the event said “Narendra Modi talked about what he has done for Bohra community and India… he also talked about GST which is very much beneficial for our community.”
With a total population of 9 lakh, the community has been able to maintain an identity that is of educated, affluent and non-threatening. As opposed to the 57.3 percent literacy rate of Muslims in India, Bohra Muslim’s literacy rate touches a high of 95 percent.
To Modi’s speech, another Bohra community member said “PM Modi came here and accepted the commemoration of the Martyrdom of Imam Husain. We are very happy that he personally came to Indore to attend the function. It is a very big thing for us”. Modi is the first prime minister to address a religious congregation of Dawoodi Bohras, who are a sect among Shia Muslims. Earlier in 2016, he had also attended the World Islamic Sufi Conference in Vigyan Bhawan.
During his speech, Modi also said, “the Bohra sect is integral to peace in India and has contributed to our unity on diversity,” said Modi. Reacting to this, a member of the Bohra community said, “PM Modi talked about peace in Bohra community and India should also learn how the Bohra community is following the law”.
Modi said his relationship with the Bohra community was very old and they supported his endeavours when he was chief minister of Gujarat.
“It is my good fortune that I have always got your affection. There will probably be no village in Gujarat which does not have a businessman from the Bohra community. When I was chief minister, they gave me support at every step. Your warmth has brought me here,” Modi said.
He said the Bohra community had helped the Gujarat government cope with the water problem and malnutrition and had built 11,000 houses for the poor. The 24th Da’i al-Mutlaq moved to Gujarat and from that time, the Muslim community has been majorly involved in affluent business and trade.
The opposition termed PM Modi visit a political gimmick. In the state, with black flags, the leaders of the Youth Congress held a protest in Indore against Modi with slogans of ‘Modi go back’.
Madhya Pradesh will soon turn into a political battleground as elections are scheduled to be held this year-end in 230 Assembly constituencies. Here, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan faces 15 years of anti-incumbency and in order to be successful, BJP needs swing votes in its favour across religious lines.