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Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz

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Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (Urdu for "Marginalised Muslim Front") is an Indian Muslim social reform organization dedicated to the emancipation of the Dalit Muslims belonging to the "Arzal" Untouchable Caste in the Caste System among South Asian Muslims. It was founded by Ali Anwar in Patna, Bihar. Anwar himself is a Dalit Muslim belonging to the Ansari sub-Caste[1].

Anwar founded the organization after observing Caste oppression by upper-caste "Ashraf" Muslims on Muslim untouchables, causing him to become a leftist and associate with the Communist party of India (Marxist). He assembled a loose coalition of social reform organizations bringing awareness towards the plight of the Dalit Muslims and their complete neglect and persecution by the upper-caste "Ashraf" (supposedly "Arab-descended") Muslims in India.The Mahaz is a broad front of a number of Dalit and Backward Caste Muslim organisations from different states of India, particularly Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Delhi.[1]

The position of the Mahaz reflects that of Anwar, who posits that Caste Muslims have been trying to marginalize the Dalit Muslims by slyly asking for quotas for "Backward-class Muslims" while excluding the Muslim Dalits from this label.[1]. They oppose religion-based reservations on the basis of their assertions regarding Ashrafs hijacking them for their own purposes and thus want socio-economic conditions and not religion to be the basis of reservation.[2].Ali Anwar has said he has been networking with Muslim members across the political spectrum to raise the issue in the Parliament of India.[3]

The Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz advocates for Dalit Muslims in relation to issues of personal law, reservation and electoral politics, as well as demands of legal action against officials who physically attack Dalit Muslims.[4]They have also advocated for the rights of Dalit Muslims to bury their dead in conventional graveyards instead of segregated ones, as mandated in the Muslim Caste System.[5]

However, they do not advocate for the rights of Women in Muslim societies, even though the women of the organization resent having to be in purdah while the ashraf women went about with "bob cuts aur lipstick".[6]

Upper-Caste Muslims in India have tried to label the people of the Mahaz as "un-Islamic heretics", which the Mahaz protets as a form of propaganda against them.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Empowering Dalit Muslims, by Yoginder Sikand
  2. Nitish supports SC status for Dalit Muslims,Times of India
  3. Quota chorus for Dalit Muslims,The Telegraph
  4. Chilraon killings: Action sought
  5. Backward Muslims protest denial of burial, by Anand Mohan Sahay
  6. Persisting inequalities by VISALAKSHI MENON

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