Modi hails Dawoodi Bohra Muslims: Why PM's outreach to community significant
Last month, PM Modi had called upon Bharatiya Janata Party workers to reach out to marginalised communities, regardless of whether they vote for the party or not.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the Mumbai campus of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah Arabic Academy, the principal educational institute of the Dawoodi Bohra Community. Modi said he was attending the inauguration event as a family member and “not as the prime minister”. Modi is known to have close ties with the community.
“Coming to you all feels like coming to a family. I saw your video today. I have a complaint. You repeatedly said the prime minister or chief minister. I am your family member, I am neither a prime minister here nor a chief minister. I consider myself fortunate that I have something that few have. I have been connected to this family for four generations. All four generations have visited my home,” Modi said.
Lauding the community, Modi added that it has always stood the test of development.
"Today, the opening of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah is a symbol of development with the changing times. The Dawoodi Bohra community has continually progressed with time. When there is good intent behind aspirations, the results will always be positive. Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah is an example of this," Modi said.
Why reaching out to the Bohra community is significant for BJP?
> Last month, Modi had called upon Bharatiya Janata Party workers to reach out to marginalised communities, regardless of whether they vote for the party or not.
> The Bohras derive their name from the Gujarati word “vahaurau”, meaning “to trade”. “The Bohras include, in addition to (the) Shia majority, often of the merchant class, a Sunni minority who are usually peasant farmers. The Mustali sect which originated in Egypt and later moved its religious centre to Yemen, gained a foothold in India through missionaries of the 11th century. After 1539, by which time the Indian community had grown quite large, the seat of the sect was moved from Yemen to Sidhpur (Patan district of Gujarat), India,” according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica:
> The Print reported that the total Indian Bohra population is estimated to be in the range of about 10-12 lakh with many settled abroad. According to a rough estimate, the Bohras account for 10 per cent of the total Muslim population in India.
> When Modi launched his prime ministerial campaign in 2013, one of the best-known and most vocal Muslim faces of that campaign was Zafar Sareshwala — a Bohra Muslim businessman, The Print added.
> The PM’s visit to the city less than a month after he inaugurated a slew of infrastructure projects in Mumbai is seen as part of the BJP’s outreach programme ahead of the forthcoming civic polls and the general elections.
> A BJP leader told HT that Modi’s inaugurating of the Arabic Academy sent out a “loud and clear” message. “The next parliamentary elections are crucial for us, and an inclusive approach is vital for victory,” he said. “The Bohra community is an influential one, hence the gesture.”
(With inputs from Surendra P Gangan in Mumbai)