Mumbai (Maharashtra): To reduce the impact of steep increase in the fuel prices on the quantum of Haj subsidy provided in the Union Budget, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is reported to have suggested an increase in the airfare charged from Haj pilgrims from Rs 12,000 to Rs 16,000. However, the Union Cabinet has turned down the proposal on the ground that the increase would not be "in keeping with the commitment of the UPA Government to protect and promote the welfare of the Muslim community".
As a result of this decision, the total Haj subsidy is expected to rise from Rs 343 crore to Rs 368 crore. It is not the Centre alone that has been spending money on Haj subsidy -- almost all State Governments have set up Haj houses. In fact, State Governments across the country spend roughly about Rs 1,000 crore annually.
The granting of subsidy to Haj pilgrims to Jeddah and Medina is flawed on more than one count. First, it is against the spirit of the Constitution as it promotes communalism. Second, it is an insult to Hindus and Sikhs who were thrown out of Pakistan in 1947. Third, these Hindus and Sikh refugees have already paid the price of Partition. Under no circumstances should the money collected from these Hindu and Sikh tax-payers be used to fund Haj subsidy.
Fourth, Hindus who were not affected by the country's division on religious lines be asked to foot the bill as it is their turn to bear the cost of minority appeasement. Fifth, the payment of Haj subsidy is similar to the levying of jizya on Hindus. For almost 600 years, Hindus paid jizya during Muslim rule. The manner of payment of jizya was most humiliating.
Sultan Alauddin Khalji once asked a qazi: "How are Hindus designated in the law?" The qazi replied: "They are called payers of tribute, and when the revenue officer demands silver from them, they should without question, and with all humility and respect, tender gold. If the officer throws dirt in their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths wide to receive it. The due subordination of the dhimmi is exhibited in this humble payment, also by throwing of dirt into their mouths." (Indian Islam by Murray Titus).
The Government should, therefore , do away with Haj subsidy. Hindus cannot be expected to pay for the religious duties of Muslims.