There have been only two Muslim Chief Ministers in Bihar, populated by over 16 per cent Muslim community—one before Independence and the other after Independence. Mohammed Yunus was the pre-Independence Muslim Chief Minister while Abdul Ghafoor the post-Independence Muslim Chief Minister. Parveen Amanullah, who took oath on November 26, 2010 as the Social Welfare Minister in the Nitish Kumar-led JDU-BJP coalition government in Bihar, is the first Muslim woman minister in the state since Independence.
According to late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in his India Wins Freedom, there was every possibility for Dr Syed Mahmood to become the first Chief Minister of the state following Independence but instead Dr Sri Krishna Singh was chosen for the coveted post.
It is really surprising that not a single Muslim woman ever got a berth in either Congress or other non-Congress cabinets in Bihar since Independence. The credit goes to the JD (U)-BJP coalition government to honour a Muslim woman. The present Bihar government has, indeed, made a history.
A graduate from Delhi University, she is the daughter of Syed Shahabuddin, former diplomat, parliamentarian and President of All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat (AIMMM) and wife of Afzal Amanullah, Secretary to Governor.
Parveen Amanullah’s contesting assembly election on the ticket of JD (U), a senior ally of the BJP, followed by her joining the JD (U)-BJP coalition government, has, of course, surprised many. It was a pleasant surprising event too on November 26, 2010 when the daughter of stalwart of Babri Masjid movement Syed Shahabuddin was taking oath, the stalwart of Ram Mandir movement and an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case Lal Krishna Advani was present in the swearing-in function. However, when asked by TwoCircles.net Editor Mumtaz Alam Falahi as to how would she describe it---just a cycle of time, luck or just a political incident or political coincidence---, she termed it “just a political coincidence”.
---A U Asif, Editor, www.fanawatch.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org