On March 25, Yogi Adityanath took oath as a Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the second time in Lucknow. Among the 19 ministers of state who were included in the cabinet, 32-year-old Danish Azad Ansari stood out after he was given the charge of the minority affairs ministry by Yogi Adityanath.
उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार में राज्यमंत्री बनाए जाने पर शीर्ष नेतृत्व का हार्दिक आभार एवं धन्यवाद। @narendramodi @AmitShah @sunilbansalbjp @JPNadda @myogiadityanath @swatantrabjp @kpmaurya1 @brajeshpathakup @ianuragthakur @dpradhanbjp @RadhamohanBJP pic.twitter.com/VPVylcWWpx— DANISH AZAD (@danishazadbjp) March 27, 2022
Danish Azad Ansari started off as an Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad member during his graduation from Lucknow University. In 2018, he was nominated to the Urdu Language Committee in the Yogi government, with a status equal to the minister of state. Before the assembly elections in 2022, Ansari was appointed as the general secretary of the minorities cell of the BJP. While he has secured a place in the Yogi Adityanath-cabinet 2.0, he is facing online attacks from the Muslim Community over his so-called lower caste and political ideology.
Danish Azad Ansari has been made a subject of abusive attacks for making it big in the Hindutva-centric BJP while belonging to the Pasmanda Indigenous caste among Indian Muslims. Author and columnist Faiyaz Ahmad Fyzie has pointed out that Ansari is being attacked by so-called upper caste Ashraf Muslims after the BJP decided to ascertain political representation to a person belonging to the indigenous Pasmanda Muslim community. He tweeted, “Have you ever seen a Hindu backward Dalit being abused by the upper castes when he gets political participation the way Ashraf youth and elders are lashing out after an indigenous Pasmanda member gets his share?”
क्या आपने कभी ऐसा देखा है कि किसी हिन्दू पिछड़े दलित को राजनैतिक भागेदारी मिलने पर सवर्ण समाज की तरफ से इस प्रकार गाली गलौज किया जाता है? जिस तरह से अशराफ़ समाज के नौजवानों और बुजुर्गो द्वारा एक देशज पसमांदा को भागेदारी मिलने पर लगातार किया जा रहा है।— Faiyaz Ahmad Fyzie (@FayazAhmadFyzie) March 29, 2022
इससे पता चलता है कि 1/2 pic.twitter.com/iK4g8TJB5f
Fyzie added some screenshots in his tweet which showcase the vile abuses on Danish Ansari’s Facebook profile after he became the minister. Some comments targeted collectivist attacks on Pasmandas as ‘low-born’, while others shamed women from the community with abuses. Faiyaz Ahmed Fyzie added that the rot of casteism and racism lies deep within the Muslims and why social justice needs to be taken seriously in this case.
देखें कैसे विदेशी अशराफ़ वर्ग एक देशज पसमांदा के मंत्री बनने पर अपनी कुंठा छुपा नहीं पा रहा है— Faiyaz Ahmad Fyzie (@FayazAhmadFyzie) March 28, 2022
लगातार इनके बड़े बुजुर्गो और नौजवानों की ओर से गाली गलौज जातिसूचक शब्दो कर प्रयोग किया जा रहा है pic.twitter.com/czOymxyiqW
Danish Azad Ansari, the only Muslim given ministerial birth in Yogi’s cabinet heading towards pasmanda revolution via BJP🤣 pic.twitter.com/pPluGjC3za— Amir Sherwani (@Amir_Sherwani) March 26, 2022
The single-handed targeting of Danish Ansari is not an isolated case while the discrimination against Pasmanda Muslims remains a cause of grave concern in the Muslim society in India. In an earlier interview, Faiyaz Ahmed Fyzie talked at length about the discrimination and isolation faced by the community at the hands of Muslim scholarship and the high-ranked aristocracy. Fyzie said that while 90% of Muslims in India are considered to be Pasmanda, when it comes to discussing the rights of Muslims, no one considers their voices.
Pasmada refers to the mass of Indian Muslims who once deflected to Islam due to historical reasons. The Pasmanda community is considered a lower jamaat among Indian Muslims by the higher-caste Ashrafs who claim their direct origins from the Arab region. The Pasmandas have also been sidelined in the Islamic realm for they often indulge in practices sympathetic to their earlier indigenous faiths. With a Pasmanda Muslim now in charge of the Minority affairs in UP, casteist sentiments have rattled over his appointment as a minister.
Talking about the appointment of Danish Ansari, noted BJP spokesperson Guru Prakash wrote, “For the first time in the Uttar Pradesh government, Muslims of Indian origin (Pasmanda) have been given representation in the form of Danish Azad, which shows the seriousness of the BJP towards social justice in Muslim society.” Guru Prakash, who often speaks on the issues of Dalits also noted that while indigenous Pasmanda Muslims constitute 90 per cent of the total Muslim population, representation of Muslims always ends up in the hands of the foreign ruling class of Ashraf Muslims.