Friday, September 05, 2008
Ghulam Muhammed’s Rejoinder (embedded in blue italic text) to:
Islamism is the main threat to India
By Tavleen Singh
(Published in Afternoon Despatch & Courier, Mumbai, on Friday, September 05, 2008)
Nothing is more important in today’s world than a public debate on the growing threat of Islamism and its evil cult of death and destruction. It is a huge problem not just for us on the Indian subcontinent but in the whole world; so I am happy to talk about it any chance I get. And, because most Indian columnists are too politically correct to discuss the problem I get labeled anti-Muslim.
(You are merely parroting the neo-con Jewish line that they have fed to the western media. Islamism and terrorism were non-existent from world public discourse when the US-backed the so-called gullible ‘Jihadis’ were fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
Once US realised that Mulla Omar, who defeated the other two fighting forces of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ahmed Masood in a long drawn civil war and became the head of Taliban government of Afghanistan, was not willing to yield to their demands to allow oil pipeline project of UNOCAL to pass through his conquered territory, the US completely changed its strategy and resolved to throw out Taliban. As is the classis pattern developed by US and Israeli Zionists, before physically attacking and invading a country, they organise massive demonising propaganda against their target. They did it against Soviet Russia, when US President Ronald Reagan branded it as an ‘evil empire’. Taliban leader, Mulla Omar had visited US for negotiations with the US over pipeline project. But the negotiations fell through and Taliban became the no. one enemy of the ‘free world’.
If you know the whole scenario and are still brainwashed by US and Zionist propaganda, and willing to echo ‘his master’s voice’ by raising the bogey of Islamic ideology and terrorism, then you cannot escape being called a gullible soul.
It is people like you that fudge the difference between US/Israeli hegemonical worldview and an independent freedom loving secular democratic worldview, that fight phantom wars .Have gun will fight, have pen will write. They fail to exercise their own intelligence to judge the issues and events and feel cozy wrapped up in their cocoons of ignorance.
Islamism, even if at all be called an ideology driven political doctrine to conquer the world, how does that differ from several other world hegemonic doctrines? Why for India and you personally, a communist world, or a Zionist world or a Christian world order or even a Ram Rajya, is not a threat but Islam is the main threat?
Besides, in India, all religions and ideologies are free to profess and propagate as per freedoms guaranteed by our constitution. So by what yardstick you are discriminating against Islam.
If you are against Islam as a religion, and believe that religion should not enter public domain, how can you explain such a heavy intrusion of Hindu culture and mythology in state affairs so overwhelmingly dominating Indian polity, without any body declaring it as a main threat to India?
I would like to paraphrase your headline. In fact, it is bigotry that is the main threat to India.)
A debatable heritage
I bring up the subject this week because of a letter I received in response to my column last week on the death of the poet Ahmed Faraz.
The gist of that piece was that it was tragic that sixty years after independence we remained so colonized that Indians writing in English got all the credit and recognition while our best writers wrote in Indian languages and remained un-translated and ignored. Personally, I thought it was harmless bit of musing but it provoked a correspondent by name of Ghulam Muhammed to accuse me of not acknowledging Urdu as an Indian language. It was a bizarre conclusion for him to draw since nearly every writer I mentioned wrote in Urdu.
But, Ghulam Muhammed’s main purpose in writing his letter was to charge me with causing damage to ‘the Hindu-Muslim unity of the nation by her (my) warped line of communal writings’.
Happy to engage him I wrote back saying it was he who was guilty of communalism because he sought to link Urdu with Islam. It is because Pakistan did this when came into being that Urdu was replaced by Hindi in India and not given the importance it should have been except in Bollywood where it remains till today the language of Hindi cinema. It has been given renewed life by Hindi television channels who long ago abandoned AIR ‘shudh’ Hindi for Hindustani.
(Once Indian leaders agreed to the division of the country, why should they care how Pakistan is organising itself? Since Pakistan became an independent state, they had every right to claim Urdu or Punjabi, Bengali, Sindhi, Pashto, Baluchi, as their national language. They chose Urdu for its wider acceptance. Where does religion come into the picture?
The main question for India that should concern us as Indian is, that once India had declared itself to be secular, how can it brand one of its own languages to be as non-secular or religious. India has no right to be communal on the pretext that Pakistan had become communal.
Besides, it is a historical record that Urdu lost to a casting vote by a person, less committed to secularism. Why Indian Muslims should be blamed for turning Urdu into something religious. It is the Hindus who forsake Urdu on communal grounds.)
But, it was not the piece about Urdu; it is about my ‘communal writings’. Ghulam Muhammed responded to my letter by writing a long, insulting letter which he circulated by –mail to everyone he knows.
It is too long to reproduce here but contact email@example.com and I am sure he will send you a copy. He charges me with demonizing Muslims, while not speaking out against the ‘violence of the Hindutva kind’, of using my ‘poison pen’ to ‘succour and sustain the communalism of the majority’ and an ‘obsessive hatred of Muslims’.
It is journalists like me he says who will be responsible for the ‘disintegration of India’.
(I stand by my stand.)
These charges are made all over the world against anyone who dares raise their voice against Islamism. Writers far more famous than I have been killed for daring to speak out and some like Ayaan Hirsi Ali have been forced into permanent hiding because of their courageous stand against Islamism. Meanwhile, the popularity of Islamism among supposed moderate Muslims all over the world continues to grow as can be seen from the change in Islam that has come about in formerly liberal Islamic countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.
(Revival of religious fervor is directly related to world demonisation of Islam and Muslims after 9/11; which itself is widely reported to be an inside job. Muslims have every right to raise their voices against uncalled for and undeserved demonisation. Even overwhelming moderate majority of Muslims have now come to realise that anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim propaganda is political and ideological driven and are more vocal protestors against such Goebbellian propaganda. It is this backlash that has radicalize even liberal Islamic countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.)
In India we see the change everywhere. Liberal, moderate schools of Islamic thinking are losing the battle to those of the Darul Uloom variety who remain mired in the 7th century Arabia. Anyone who doubts this need to make a quick trip to the Darul Uloom’s headquarters in Deoband and see what it looks like and the kind of Islam it preaches to its students. It was the ideology preached at Deoband that gave birth to nasty organisation like SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India). There are those who defend SIMI on the grounds that the allegations of terrorism against their member remain unproven. Perhaps. But, what about their ideology that is based on the principle that the values of Islam have to be imposed on India and that such values that India cherishes like secularism and democracy are nonsense. Surely it is this kind of ideology that produces evil cowards who wander about the country killing innocent people in the name of Allah.
(Your charges against Darul Uloom and SIMI are baseless. Darul Uloom has been teaching the same Dars e Nizami syllabus since its inception over more than a century ago. It is the same teachings that motivated Darul Uloom elders to oppose the establishment of Pakistan. Nobody can deny except the ignorant, that Darul Uloom was in the forefront of India’s unity and it backed Indian National Congress to the fullest. How the same Darul Uloom now has become ‘the hotbed of terrorism’. Isn’t this the US propaganda that gullible scribes in India are slavishly following?
The connection between Taliban and Darul Uloom is most outlandish. When US had to fight young generation of the Afghan refugees that had fled to Pakistan during Afghanistan’s war against the occupying Soviet forces, they chose the common linkages in the syllabus that the Taliban had been taught in to denigrate all madrasas. Such stupid linkages can only convince either the ignorant or the bigots to believe that fault lies with Islamic teachings and not with the US forces invading a foreign country on false pretexts. Even after so many years, if Indian journalists are still harping the same old tune, without using their own independent judgment and intellect, it exposes their utmost ignorance and herd mentality.
The case of SIMI is still another example of dimwit commentators ignoring the state’s propaganda and demonising of Muslims, that had invented an enemy and indulging in their sadistic criminalities. Perfectly innocent people are arrested and tortured and the so-called liberals and secularists are keeping aloof, just because the victims of state terrorism are ‘Muslims’. Isn’t this communalism of the most glaring and obnoxious variety? Where are all human rights organisations? There is strong belief among Muslims that a Zionist advisory is most probable suspect of this copycat strategy to target Muslims in India..)
If saying this is ‘demonising Muslims’, I plead guilty. If stating that religion must stay out of public square is an attack on Islam, then I plead guilty again. Whenever Hindutva has raised its evil head I have attacked it in exactly the same words I use to attack the jihadis. And in the days of Bhindranwale I was among a small handful of journalists who openly opposed the fanatical Sikhism he was preaching. I was put on a hit list for my pains and continue to be on a Hindutva hit list so I must be doing something right.
Anybody who believes that the Islamism is not the main threat to the existence of India as we know it need only examine what has happened in Kashmir. Fifteen years ago the movement for ‘azadi’, was secular and the militancy did not have the hint of jihad in it. Today the ‘secular’ leaders of Kashmir have been forced to follow jihadis who have no hesitation in shouting Islamist slogans in public and making hatred for Hindu India known. They speak openly against ‘Indian culture’ and have turned Kashmir into a place where going to the movies is considered a sin. Islamism works ideologically and through terrorism. It has to be fought at both fronts…
(Before condemning Muslim reaction in Kashmir as well as in India, you must consider if Indian administration had been above board in its dealings with the Muslims. Some disgruntled could have taken to arms, but to treat such outlaws as being Jihadis is an affront to Islam. Unless it is excused as ignorance of Islam, both by the outlaws as well as their detractors.) ■