Ghulam Muhammed’s response to Tavleen Singh’s email:
from Ghulam Muhammed <firstname.lastname@example.org> hide details 11:46 pm (4 minutes ago)
to Tavleen Singh <email@example.com>
date Aug 30, 2008 11:46 PM
subject Re: your communal letter
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Dear Tavleen Singhji,
Thanks for your kind response to my kind of letter. You magnanimity is acknowledged.
You however did not reply to my accusation that you did not use the word URDU in your article, not even once, even though now you profess Urdu to be your language. I have been noticing this ‘benign’ or rather ‘malign neglect’ of URDU with your kind of journalists.
Again, when you presume, that since I am not from UP, Bihar, Punjab or Madhya Pradesh, Urdu is not my language, you yourself want to limit the majesty of Urdu language that has spread out all around the world and though it has been deliberately and communally banished from its own native place of northern India and Punjab, it has kept alive by the kind of people in India, whom you continue to detest, when you say Faraz does not need defenders like me. URDU is not a territory. It belongs to its lovers, be that from any religion, any region, any ethnicity, any caste, any status in life or any ideology. It is the bigoted who have slotted the most secular of languages in Indian history.
For your information, I am from Uttar Bharati parentage, with my mother language being URDU. I have studied in Urdu medium school till SSC. Still I am the last person to claim any exclusive rights on Urdu, in as much as it belongs to all its lovers.
You are right when you say that I am communal. I am proud to be a minority communal who is fighting the majority communalism. I am from a victimized minority and I need not apologise for my minority communalism.
You have every right to detest Islamism and Jihadism on the ground that they are guilty of violence. My charge against you is that you are not against the violence of the Hindutva kind, and have shown no inclination to oppose them as you so most vehemently oppose and condemn the supposed acts of commission and omission by Islamists. Yours is a one-eyed brand of justice.
You have dared me, not to give Urdu a religion. I firmly believe that that will be the death of Urdu. On the other hand, I have legitimate question to ask of you: why majority of Urdu-bashers are from one particular religion only — the extremist Hindutvadis? Why have you not come out publicly against those religionists who have for 60 years institutionalized active discrimination and demonisation of Urdu with the result that millions from three generation of even Urdu speaking people had been deprived of their favourite Urdu. Why Punjab turned the partition experience into communal divide and targeted Urdu as the ‘language of the enemy’. Was it not the religion that came into picture to distort and obscure the beauty of Urdu? Now I will dare you, Tavleen Singhji, to shun the religious prejudice and give URDU its due. Don’t bring religion into Urdu discourse.
If as you claim, Urdu is yours, how can any one take it away from you on the basis of religion? Your blame game is very spacious and convoluted.
It is the continuous demonisation of India’s Muslims, as the ‘other’, that has so poisoned the nation, that a big responsibility rests on people of your kind, to stop and ponder deeply, as to where you are dragging this nation. India is at the threshold of disintegration and the blame will entirely lie with the likes of you.
I will write with full sense of responsibility that your poison pen is one of the most virulent instruments to succor and sustain the communalism of the majority. Politicians had resorted to organise communalism for their vote bank politics, but journalists of your kind have given the divisive communalism a life of its own.
I hope you will realise the dangers inherent in your obsessive hatred of Muslims in general and accept the fact that India can only survive and prosper, when all its diverse communities are treated with equal respect, dignity and fairness. We have seen how great Mughal Empire disintegrated when it lost its goodwill with the people. At this point of time, India is in the grip of a tyrannical regime and I am among a vast group of people that feel you as a regular columnist are part of that tyrannical regime.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
On 8/30/08, tavleen singh <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
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Dear Mr. Ghulam Muhammed,
I usually do not reply to your kind of letter. I do this time only in the faint hope that I might help you understand that it isn’t me who is communal but you.
For a start Urdu. I am Punjabi and have lived all my life in Delhi. Urdu is my language as much as Punjabi is. I think you are not from Northern India and so Urdu is not your language but when Muslims from across the Indian sub-continent claimed it as theirs they took it away from us whose language it really is. We should have fought for it sooner and we did not but if you are not from northern India Urdu is not your language. Get that through your head.
After that ponder a little on your charge that I have damaged Hindu-Muslim unity. Its true that I detest Islamism and jihadis of every kind and I think the world needs to deal as harshly with them as we would with other cowards who fight wars by killing innocent women and children in the name of some ridiculous god. I do not believe that religion has any place in the public square. Believe what you want to, worship who you want to but in your private space. I have attacked Hindus and Sikhs when they have tried to impose their religion on the public square and I will attack Muslims who do it. If that is communal I am proud to be communal.
But, please don’t you ever dare try to give Urdu a religion. If you know anything of this language or respect it even a little people like you should stay away from it. The last thing Faraz, God rest his soul, needs is defenders like you.