Posts Tagged ‘Times of India’

Times of India leads the terror-mongering pack

April 13, 2009

TOI  leads the terror-mongering pack

 

By Zafarul-Islam Khan

 

New Delhi: Terror is the biggest business today at home and abroad. Everyone is a beneficiary. The government gets more clout and more powers over the lives of its hapless subjects through new terror laws and activation of old ones in an atmosphere where no one dares to question the motives of the politicians over the vital issue of “security”. Security forces get immunity for illegal acts and crimes for which they win medals, rewards, promotions and huge funds with no accountability attached. Newspapers and TV channels improve their circulation and ratings sensationalising real and imaginary terror stories with total impunity as no one would dare question their rightful concern for our safety and security. Sales of arms dealers and security providers skyrocket year after year and politicians get their usual kickbacks. Foreign arms and security manufacturers continue to do roaring business. Some political party may even try to usurp the security issue and snatch power playing on the fears of the people as BJP has been unsuccessfully trying for over a decade now. With trillions spent on security and defence, the common man is the real sufferer as the ever expanding budgets rely essentially on increased taxation and cuts in social security, healthcare and education resulting in ever-increasing poverty and suffering of the masses who nevertheless remain grateful that there are people at the helm who still work for the security of the common man and the country.

 

This intro was necessary to understand how the security issue remains our agenda number one and everyone benefits from this “flowing Ganga”. Late last month as Varun Gandhi was facing  imprisonment for his treason and our government at the fag end of its term was concluding one dubious and unethical deal after another with world’s leading terrorist regime while a previous deal is under investigation. Suddenly the security and terrorism issue returned to the front pages. Times of India, as usual, was the leader of this scare. On 31 March its campaign unfolded with a screaming headline: “India forced to reassess threat” which told us that “Jihadi” terrorism in Pakistan was about to spill over into India. In another story the same day it enlightened us that there was an “Alert in Kerala after terror-from-sea tip-off”. TOI story said that 30 members of Jamiat-ul-Mujahidin had arrived at Negombo. The information was so hazy that TOI could not rule out that they “could belong to LTTE”. Next day (1 March) the TOI struck it big with the screaming front page headline: “Chhota Shakeel planned to kill Varun”. The news, though related to Mangalore in Karnataka, was based on an unknown IB source in Lucknow and accompanied a photograph of Varun in crosshairs. The story claimed that the shooter assigned is a certain “Malbari” alias “Double” who was arrested on 27 March in BJP-ruled Karnataka wherefrom the “sharp-shooter” was preparing to move to Pilibhit. TOI  enlightens us with the reasons why the gangster was going to kill Varun could be: 1) kill Varun for his hate speeches; 2) to restore ‘confidence in Indian Muslims’ and 3) ‘disturb’ Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh (!) (TOI, 1 April). In another story same day, TOI tells us that the said Malbari entered India via Nepal but (curiously) instead of going straight to Pilibhit across the Nepal border, he decided to do a detour via sea landing on Karnataka coast in the deep south – a real Indian version of going north by north west. In two more related stories the same day, TOI tells us that Taj Group hotels have received email threats from Pakistan and that “Security beefed up at Taj hotels across country”.

 

Next day (2 April), TOI strikes it big again with a screaming first page headline splashed across the whole page: “Security shield for poll rallies after fresh terror threats”. Strangely, the big story has no byline as it is attributed to “Times News Network”. The whole story is about normal preparations by the police and security agencies to meet any eventuality in the national capital in view of the huge election rallies held by various political parties. The whole big story fails to offer us a single claim by any security agency about any imminent threat but an inside story tucked away on page 13 of the same issue tells us that the Union home minister has written to 40 top leaders “mainly SPG and Z-plus (NSG) protectees” of different political parties asking them “to take adequate precautions for their safety” – a fairly routine reminder to the protectees as a result of normal security reviews which are held periodically. Same day another box news datelined Mumbai on page one of TOI tells us: “Trained pilots sneak in on terror mission”. It cites an unverifiable “intelligence report” to claim that “7-8 trained pilots and around a dozen women fidayeen have entered the country on a mission to carry out terror strikes and hijackings”. A boxed item appearing with the story says that the group “May be Pakistani nationals” and that its reported mission was “to carry out terror strikes and hijackings”. The report adds in good measure: “The group may also be planning to disrupt Lok Sabha elections” (emphasis added). Inside the story we discover that the said report is based on a threat intimation received by the aviation ministry (and not by the intelligence bureau or the home ministry) and that the idea that the group may be planning to disrupt elections came from an unnamed “senior intelligence official” who was charitable enough with his comment: “We cannot take a chance…”.  An inside story in TOItucked away on page 13 on the same day (2 April) and armed with a question mark says: “Was Shakeel aid in India to kill Muthalik?” It tells us that the dreaded Malbari “had actually come to India to target Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik” and enlightens us that “the gangsters’ interest in pursuing jihadi design [is] to do something big which could vitiate the communal atmosphere in the country”. Strange indeed. Gangsters are now fighting jihad and want to vitiate the communal atmosphere by killing those who are doing this job free of cost and extremely successfully. But the same story in Hindustan Times same day (2 April) was not accompanied by a question mark and said plainly: “Target Sene chief, not Varun”. Another TOI story on same page (p. 13) same day betrays that TOI’s mission was accomplished. The headline says: “After threat, Varun’s cover upgraded to Z-category” which entails deployment of 13 cops and an escort vehicle.  According to the story, the request for security upgradation was made by Varun himself in a letter to the home minister way back on 20 March citing “current controversy” and his “family history”. So the whole idea of the hype, for which other Sanghis fake jihadi threats, was to secure highest level of security for Varun and the gullible State succumbed to the blackmail and agreed to provide security to the rabble-rousing criminal whose real place is a secure jail cell and not a posse of highly-trained commandos. But why complain? Many criminals who took part in Babri demolition, Mumbai riots and Gujarat pogroms and spew venom day in and day out, enjoy tight security at the expense of the benevolent State which spends taxpayers’ hard earned millions on protecting hard-core criminals whose counterparts never get such treatment in any other country.

 

As both print and electronic media with fake footage were playing up the terror threat and how 20 “fedayeen” had sneaked in to play havoc with the country’s security, the new no-non-sense home minister Mr Chidambram called a press conference on 2 April to dispel these unfounded claims. He told the media in a press conference that “there is no credible threat but we must remain watchful.” He trashed the story of the women fedayeen, said that there is no truth in the claims about imminent plane hijackings and that the airports alert has been cancelled. The home minister further cautioned the media not to publish news which had no basis. He termed as “blatant lie” the claim about the sneaking Pakistani fedayeen and said that despite occupying his position as home minister he had “no information about it while some people are claiming that the terrorists have not only sneaked in but that they also know that 20 terrorists have come to India via Bangladesh and that they are going to strike at Old Delhi’s busiest locality, Chandni Chowk. There is no truth in it”. This was promptly reported next day (3 April) by two Urdu dailies, Hindustan Express and Hamara Samajas front page news but TOI was still adamant to continue its terror farce. So for the third day it keeps up the hype and its front page headline announces that “Taj hotel gets fresh threat from Pakistan” and claims that a fresh email threatens “to blow up the heritage building…”.TOI kept the myth with another story, this time from Lucknow, containing quotes from an alleged transcript of calls between Malbari and Chhota Shakeel during 15-21 March in which the don orders his sharp shooter to kill Varun but the latter tells him that Pilibhit is far away and suggests to bump off Muthalik instead. A short news on the front page same day but in smaller print tells us that “Hijack alert issued to airports withdrawn a day later”. Indian Express front page story same day (3 April) is clearer with the headline: ‘No need for alarm but must be on guard’. IE’s report on the withdrawal of the airport alert, also on page 1, same day, is clearer with the headline: “Airport alert on women bombers not ‘credible’ so govt takes it back” while HT headline same day also did not try to mislead: “Safe to fly, terror alert withdrawn”. TOI’s real insult is tucked on page 11 (3 April) which says: “Chidambram plays down terror threat”. The report fails to report how Chadambram chastised the likes of TOI for playing up the threat while reporting that Chidambram said that the alleged threat to Varun was based on the interrogation report of a terrorist arrested in Mangalore which he termed as “exaggerated.”

 

Next day (April 4) on a page 13 Delhi-datelined story, TOI tells us: “Top Isro scientists on LeT radar”. The revelation, termed as “chilling”, comes from unnamed “officials” who refer to interrogations of a LeT terrorist [no question of the possibility of his being an alleged one] by, surprise, surprise, [BJP-ruled] Karnataka authorities which, and I quote, “showed that LeT was planning to despatch terrorists to assassinate senior members of Isro…” [emphasis added]. So the threat is not even credible or imminent but it is in the planning stage. Down the line we learn that an alleged terrorist extradited from Oman claimed that such plans“came up” for discussions with an alleged LeT member in Muscat! In other words, it was not even planned but was part of a chat no one knows how real or serious.

 

As the airports and Varun scare died down, our media discovered yet another scare – this time an imminent or possible or real sneaking in by terrorists across the LoC in Kashmir where army and police officers have been telling us for months that militancy has been contained and the assembly elections were held there only recently with unprecedented voter participation. But the scare was needed to ward off the threat of an imminent American intervention to force the spoilt brats of the Subcontinent to see some reason and cure the festering Kashmir canker. Something had to be done before the Holbrook visit which took place on 8 April. So we heard that terrorists, rather Taliban, had sneaked into Kashmir! Clearly their Afghanistan and Pakistan mission was accomplished and now they were turning their attention to Dilli. Soon it became clear that the whole story was concocted and there was no reason to fear Taliban showing up on our international border or on the LoC.

 

Fact or fiction, the show goes on for our print and electronic media with no holds barred and no questions asked. In this age of terror nothing sells better than terror-mongering. Terror is good for all with the sole exception of the common man who in the end pays the price whether terror attacks take place or do not take place.

*All references are to newspapers’ Delhi editions

 

(Courtesy: The Milli Gazette)

The Times of India does it again –VIII – By Ghulam Muhammed

December 4, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Times of India does it again –VIII

The city of Mumbai is barely recovering from one of the most unforgettable ordeal of siege and mass murder. The people of the city are in shock. A wave of intense feelings for fellow human being is sweeping over the city and a small beginning is made by people gathering around Gateway of India, in front of the Taj Palace Hotel, to register their defiance in the face of the terror attack. The mood is that of common bonds and the sense of one nation, one people. The time is to bond together and seek strength in unity of the people. However, India’s foremost newspaper has ideas of its own. It has given full freedom to one of its correspondent to sow the seeds of dissention and hate. Under the pretext of confronting the hate brigade, Times of India’s Muslim face is donned by Mohammed Wajihuddin and he is vigorously projecting and supporting a group of pseudo-Leftists with Muslim and Semi-Muslim names, that are out to spread hate and dissention in the society, with their most negative sloganeering that could only be the standard trade mark of the Hindutva Brigade, that thrives in demonising artificially invented enemies. The death of ATS Chief Karkare has virtually silence the Saffron brigade and it seems now their mission has been taken over by a professional group of agitators that hardly care for the community that they profess to support or protect. Muslims organisations, especially the religious kind and their social groups, have organised huge Muslim congregations all over the country, and categorically declared that neither they nor their religion supports terrorists and killing of the innocents. However, both the Saffron and Leftists will not rest and keep insisting that like their 5-time prayers, Muslims should condemn those fictitious terror groups that are conjured by the West or our own Hindutva zealots when they were in power. If the saffron hooligans will collar lone Muslims and force them to say Vande Mataram, the pseudo-Leftists want Muslims to organise ‘tabarrah’ rituals to demonise all the villains that come handy for them to force a sense of guilt by association on mainstream Muslims. In these disturbed times, instead of building bridges and promoting human brotherhood, they are bent on shaping up their own version of ‘Muslim leadership’ that casts divisions in Muslim community in the name of religion, as they would like to perceive it. They have become so desperate that it is reported they have manhandled a known liberal and promoter of composite Hindu-Muslim culture, historian, writer and activist, the venerable Amaresh Misra, in the august presence of Swami Agnivesh, for appearing to be a threat to their brand of phony Muslim courtship, that hardly has any mainstream following.

And the medium to give shape to such divisive forces, is none other than the Grand Old Lady of Boribunder, which fortunately escaped disaster when the terrorists banged on its closed shutters, pulled down by their alert security guards. Or they would have made news rather than just managing news in a most cocky and arrogant manner, without a constructive thought for building a peaceful composite society.

It is time they understand and acquire a sense of responsibility in managing the media power that goes with their enterprise, or they may have to face widespread public rebuke, if they persist playing dirty politics in matters of sowing divisions in Muslim community, through the means of hired hands and mercenary social activist groups.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

http://www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

Rejoinder to Yogendra Yadav’s TOI article: “Injustice can produce a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist” (Tuesday, October 28, 2008).

October 28, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

 

 

Rejoinder to Yogendra Yadav’s TOI article: “Injustice can produce a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist” (Tuesday, October 28, 2008).

 

 

 

If Yogendra Yadav is referring to the currently popular definition of the word ‘terrorist’, he is wasting his time on matters that are only part of the bigger whole. He must first clearly visualize what he would like to treat as terrorism and what he will not accept as terrorism. Peace cannot be achieved by one-sided colored view of the total picture. An analyst should be prepared to view both sides of the coin.

 

The timing of his article in TIMES OF INDIA, today, on Oct 28, 2008, a few days after ATS has made some arrests of Hindu Radicals from Sangh Parivar, is very significant as much as, before the public exposure of the involvement of Sangh Parivar’s minions in bombings and communal rioting, the whole blame of such ‘terrorism’ was squarely placed on a convenient agencies created invention called SIMI.

 

Even now in his present article, he seems to have written an apologia for the Hindu involvement in terror attacks, when he has finally brought up the subject of what triggers ‘terrorism’. I have not come across any of his writing earlier than this, trying to figure out what motivated SIMI to commit bombings, if at all it is involved and if they were subjected to some injustice.

 

If his main objective is to project how ‘injustice’ impacts the victims, he has not bothered to even hint what injustices had been inflicted on SIMI or Bajrangis and by whom.

 

If it is the state that is guilty of injustice, then why is Yadav so hesitant, circumspect and scared to take on the state as the real culprit who organises such orgy of violence for its own political exigencies?

 

Yadav wants to invite the victims to choose, either to become a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist.

 

However, it is not so easy to make a choice.

 

Even Gandhi and Mandela did not become ‘heroes’, without British co-opting them into carrying on their own political agenda. British were mortally afraid of another ‘mutiny’ in India. They transported Gandhi, a genuine pacifist — back to India to pacify Indian people —- just as they used to transport indentured labour to distant lands. It is the British that got Jinnah to organise a big welcome in Bombay for Gandhi, to project Gandhi as a big national leader. At every step of the way, Gandhi was courted at the highest level, to help British colonialists to maintain peace in the land. It is the British that left India for their own violation or compulsions, and not necessarily on Gandhi’s peace efforts.

 

British got Mandela out of prison after 27 years, when it became impossible to continue apartheid due to pressure from US Human Right groups, who wanted all US investments to pull out of South Africa as per US law requirements.

 

Terrorism in India has wider nuances than what Mr. Yadav has tried to present by way of enticing people to junk ‘terrorism’. His is a very noble exercise. 

However, if he really wants to contribute to clear up terrorism, he should do a deeper study of who is the mastermind behind the curtain manipulating of the pawns on the chessboard.

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

————————————————————————————-

TIMES OF INDIA – October 28, 2008


THE PEACE SERIES


Injustice can produce a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist

By Yogendra Yadav, 

Co-director of Lokniti and senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, reminds us that a terrorist is someone who at one point believed in the system


Terrorism is politics by other means. More often that not, a terrorist is a failed or disappointed reformist, someone who at one point believed in the system. Almost every act of mad terrorist violence is shaped by deep passion, not very different from the emotion that shapes any form of creativity. The wounds that a terrorist inflicts on scores of innocent victims are rationalized in the name of justice.


There are no doubt many a mercenaries among the ranks of terrorists, but those who we call terrorists often see themselves as nothing less than heroes, as persons who refuse to take it lying down or follow the conventional and ineffective ways of responding to a perceived injustice. Theirs is often the determination that produces a Gandhi, the quest for justice that creates a Mandela. When this kind of a person takes to terrorism, we lose a vital energy that could have shaped the idea of India.


If we agree that terror is failed politics, then the solution lies in firmly closing the back door of politics of terror and making sure that the front door of democratic negotiation, protest and contestation is kept open.

 

We have to think, in other words, about what the terrorists wish to say, about how they could have said it without taking this route. The trouble with so much talk about terrorism and ways of eliminating it is that it discusses only one half of the solution. Security experts talk only about how to close the back door of terror. But you cannot close all the doors for someone. You have to think equally hard about how to keep the front door of democratic politics firmly open for those who see no hope in the system.


This is not as simple as it looks. Following this simple formula requires complex negotiation with the orthodoxies that we have surrounded ourselves with. It requires not just confronting the bundle of lies perpetrated by communal politics, we also need to face some of the orthodoxies, silences and half-truths of the secular discourse.


How, for instance, do you firmly close the door of terror? This is not just a question for security agencies and terror experts, but also a question for human rights activists and secular politics. Left to themselves, the security experts will come up with solutions that are worse than the problem itself. Laws like POTA or AFSPA may occasionally succeed in nabbing a terrorist who escapes the net of ordinary laws, but the real-life implementation of such laws is bound to create many more terrorists than it nabs. Encounters like Jamia Nagar strike at the public trust in the police force. Reports like the Nanawati Report on Gujarat strike at the public confidence in judges as custodians of truth. The recent violence in Orissa strikes at the idea of rule of law. But those of us who rightly oppose these have a positive duty too. We must come up with an alternative, democratic way of dealing with the terrorists – Jehadis, Bajrang Dalis or whatever variety – that is at once effective and can respect the rights of every citizen.


The more important question in the long run is how do you keep open the doors for democratic negotiations? This brings us face to face with the delicate question of the involvement of some Indian Muslims in the recent acts of terror. Unfortunately one section of opinion in our country does not wish to acknowledge this fact while the other section does not want to look at the reasons why they may have taken to terror. It is only when we acknowledge that a tiny section of the Indian Muslim youth may be involved in it that we can begin to address some of the underlying reasons.


The way to keep doors for democratic politics open for this section of the Muslim youth is to create a space for open discussion about the condition of the Indian Muslims. The Sachar Committee report has done a great service to the country by making it possible to talk about some of these questions. Now we need to take the next step by debating the ways of addressing the disadvantage and discrimination that the Muslims face in every walk of life. We need to discuss modalities of affirmative action for the Muslims. We need to find ways of improving the political representation of the Muslims. Above all, the public arena needs to open itself to hear the voice of the Indian Muslims, their aspiration for dignity, identity and justice.


Secular politics has to evolve a language to speak about these issues to the public at large. In order to do so, it has to begin to address some difficult questions: How do we address some of the legitimate fears of the Hindus about large-scale institutionalized conversions? What are the rights of the Hindu minorities in J&K or in the North East? How do we react to the patently anti-democratic edicts of the Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee? Politics of secularism must not be seen to be weak on minority communalism.


If terror is politics in a distorted mirror, it follows that peace has to be politically crafted. This requires nothing short of renewing the idea of India for a new generation. This requires steadfast commitment to truth and the courage to question our own orthodoxies. We could do worse on a day to remember the maryadapurushottam.

 

[Ends]

Misguided scholarship By Ghulam Muhammed

October 7, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

 

Misguided scholarship

 

It is unclear who is primarily responsible for publishing the article: Making a mockery of Jihad by Asghar Ali Engineer in today’s Times of India; the TOI or the writer. But the timing of the publication of the article, when the whole of India is rocked by bombings and riots, cannot be missed as focusing the sin of violence on Muslims, in the pat theory that Islam and Jihad for Muslim go together. Why Asghar Ali Engineer should be targeting some imaginary misguided ‘Muslims’ for their misconception of Jihad, when there is no definite proof that Muslims enmass or in groups are behind the recent season of violence, that always traditionally precedes the season of ‘democratic’ elections in India.

 

Asghar Ali Engineer is led by the nose by his funders, throughout his career, to play the role of a paid piper; just as all think tank scholars invariably do.

 

However, at least, in such times of acute communal polarisation being on its most sensitive conflagration point, he could have better judgment than to send out his academic discussion on Jihad, to the TOI to bolster the media’s propaganda that all the violence in India is perpetrated by Muslims, as neatly supposed to be confirmed by ‘their’ favourite ‘Islamic Scholar’, Asghar Ali Engineer- taking such a robust stand in print now at this very juncture.

 

Without batting an eye, and with enormous volume of facts and analyses so readily available, Asghar Ali Engineer, glibly accepts that 9/11 was the work of Muslim or Islamic ‘terrorists’ or Al Qaeda and weaves an advice around that ‘crime of the millennium’.

 

He has no need to be skeptical about 9/11, as the Western propagandists have done a successful job of indoctrinating the gullible world.

 

Asghar Ali’s scholarship sticks to religious books with his own amalgam of logic from ‘Reform Bohra’ ijtehad and liberal Marxist clichés and to the guidelines that the propagandists want him to follow.

 

He has no independent intelligence to think as he has mortgaged his own thinking and judgment to the highest bidder that comes around at any given time.

 

He had been covering and writing on communal riots, but could never either figure out or could gather the courage to name Indian National Congress, as the chief organizers of so many riots, with the active help from RSS cadre. In a recent TV panel discussion, Congressman Salman Khursheed ended up responding to BJP’s Chari, that it was RSS cadre that helped Congress.

 

It is left to a foreigner, Professor Paul Brass, to expose the criminality of the political establishment, who used the massacre of Muslims, to achieve their twin game points; at the one end to convince their Hindu vote bank that they and their police are and will remain on their side; while on the other hand, demoralize the Muslim vote bank to the extant that they will be forced to seek security from their known tormentors.

 

Being in media, Asghar Ali Engineer was used to paper over their criminal conspiracies, by never ever hinting at the time that riots took place, to implicate the state agencies run by the Indian National Congress, while that has been the patent scenario all along.

 

He writes in the article: “One hopes that the misguided Muslim youth resorting to violent actions will realise the futility of terror attacks and renounce such sinful and criminal acts…”. This on the day, Times of India on its front pages reports about a police press conference, where Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor and Crime Branch Chief, Rakesh Maria, had come out with long list of names of Muslim accused of being the media wing of the supposedly Muslim terrorist organisation, “Indian Mujahideen”. Thus Times of India has taken full side with the police version, even though that has to be proved in court, if and if not all these arrests had be on fictitious grounds.

 

So it appears to be a grand conspiracy, for political mobilization to fight the coming elections, by demonising Muslims and unfortunately, the so-called Leftists with Muslim names, have no qualms in enrolling themselves in the noble cause.

 

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

http://www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIMES OF INDIA DOES IT AGAIN – VI : Has The Times of India, become ‘his master’s voice’?

August 4, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

 

 

TIMES OF INDIA DOES IT AGAIN – VI

 

Has The Times of India, become ‘his master’s voice’?

 

See how it picks up the new guidelines laid down by US States Department, hires a writer with a Muslim name but with famously known extreme Leftist orientations (check his writings), and gets a hatchet job on the so-called Muslim terrorists in India.

 

The article written by Mohammed Wajihuddin was published by Sunday Edition of The Times Of India, on Aug 3, 2008 under the title: ‘Don’t give KILLERS a halo’.

 

In nutshell, it vexes, on the use of terminology of Jihad, Jihadis and counsels Times readers in India and abroad, that by naming the Killers as Jihadis, they are giving some kind of religious halo, to the killers and it should be stopped.

 

Now read a quote from ‘Human Events’, a widely circulated US internet newsletter, in which Robert Spencer writes in his May 5, 2008 article: ‘No Jihadi here’:

 

Quote:

 

Last week, the State Department, the Department of Homeland security and the National Counter Terrorism Center issued new guidelines forbidding personnel from using the words “jihad” or “jihadist” in reference to Islamic terrorism and its perpetrators. A Homeland security report tellingly titled “Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims” explains that this initiative comes from a concern not to offend moderate Muslims. By calling the terrorists “jihadists,” American officials could be “unintentionally portraying terrorists, who lack moral and religious legitimacy, as brave fighters, legitimate soldiers or spokesmen for ordinary Muslims.” Using the term “jihad” may not be “strategic.” Why not? “Because it glamorizes terrorism, imbues terrorists with religious authority they do not have and damages relations with Muslims around the world.” American officials “should not concede the terrorists’ claim that they are legitimate adherents of Islam.”

 

Unquote—

 

(http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=26256&keywords=No+Jihadi+here)

 

 

Now it is for all Indians to judge, if Times of India, like a bonded slave, following the dictates of US State Department, US Department of Homeland Security, has agreed to carry out a campaign on behalf of the US warmongers?

 

The worst part of Times of India brand of proactive journalism is to let his writer use quotes from obliging Muslim commentators, who are possibly unaware of the wider designs of Times of India’s collaboration with a foreign nation.

 

One is sure that liberals like Dr. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, Asghar Ali Engineer, A.G. Noorani, Dr. J. S. Bandukwala as well as conservative Islamic scholar, Maulana Abu Hassan Nadvi Azhari, would be the first to be objecting to any involvement with a US Government based effort to influence Indians one way or other. None of them is clearly in the pay of the US Administration. They may be critical of so many incongruities in Muslim world. However, all of them are on record condemning the US, for its illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. The writer Wajihuddin had taken them for a ride, without giving full background to his motivation to follow the US line on how to deal with the Muslim at large through their deliberative change of official policies while he used their name and quotes to tailor his own agenda.

 

In his article Wajihuddin’s history starts with Syed Qutub, Hassan al Banna and Maulana Abul Ala Maududi.  Wajihuddin has failed to go back in history, when even in earlier centuries the imperialist powers had dreaded the very word of ‘Jihad’. British colonists supported Gulam Ahmed Mirza, the Ahmedi /Qadiani leader when he carried out his campaign against Jihad. British were most supportive of the ever increasing popularity of the earlier Tabligi Jamat movement, whose adherents toured every nook and corner of India, to exhort Muslims to strictly restrict themselves to prayers and shun Jihad, as any part of Islamic teachings.

 

It should not be surprising, that Wajihuddin/TOI has used the first title of the article as UNHOLY WAR. Since Wajihuddin has not bothered to write a single word against US war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be presumed that possibly he is convinced that President Bush is fighting a HOLY WAR in Iraq and Afghanistan and whoever opposes him, and that should include an overwhelming majority of world’s population, as clearly made out by a US poll, are in fact fighting an UNHOLY WAR against the US.

 

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

http://www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

 

 

 

PS: TOI’s article:

 http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOI/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIM&login=default&AW=1217769790390

 

 

UNHOLY WAR

 

 

‘Don’t give KILLERS a halo’

 

 

 

The Indian Mujahideen and others like them have shorn jihad of its moral and spiritual robe, says Mohammed Wajihuddin

 

 

 

 

   Two weeks ago, Zeenat Shaukat Ali, who teaches Islamic studies at Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College, screened Khuda Ke Liye, the widely acclaimed Pakistani film, for her students. During the subsequent discussion, many students asked Ali whether jihad, as the moderate Maulana Wali (Naseeruddin Shah) so passionately explains in the film, is not a war against infidels. “I am constantly asked whether killing of infidels and forced conversions are part of a jihad,’’ says Ali. “Every year, I give two lectures on jihad alone.’’

 

   That Ali’s students know so little about jihad is no news. Though this term is overused, no Quranic word has been more misinterpreted and misquoted than jihad and its derivative mujahid (one who undertakes jihad). Even those who bombed Bangalore and Ahmedabad last week chose to identify themselves as the Indian Mujahideen. Like their fellow travellers in Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Harkat-Ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI), the Indian Mujahideen, if they exist at all, have conveniently misappropriated a sacred Islamic word for un-Islamic acts. Outside the Muslim world it is as loosely used—noted security experts, including B Raman, called the Indian Mujahideen among the “Indianised jihadis’’.

 

   “The word jihad appears 44 times in the Quran. Nowhere has it been used in the sense of a war,’’ says Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer who has deeply studied the exact contexts of jihad in the Quran.

 

   Derived from the Arabic word ‘juhd’, jihad literally means to strive, to struggle. For war or battle, Engineer explains, the Quran has words like ‘qatal’ and ‘harb’.

 

   Engineer, like most Islamic scholars, both progressive and conservative, blames the media for loosely using the term jihadis for mass murders or terrorists. “Jihad is the media’s pet word today. Unknowingly or otherwise, the media gives the merchants of death a halo when it calls them jihadis,’’ he says. The brutal bomber is perhaps gloating when he is called a jihadi or a mujahid because that gives him a religious sanctity, elevates him to a pedestal he doesn’t deserve.

 

   If a “prejudiced’’ media has distorted terms like jihad and mujahid, Muslims themselves, especially the clergy, are no less irresponsible. Bhiwandi-based noted cleric Maulana Abu Hassan Nadvi Azhari accepts that the Muslims have failed to explain many things, including the concept of jihad, to the world. “Prophet Muhammad participated in 27 battles. But none of his warfare was offensive. He was forced to engage in battles where he had to defend himself and his then nascent community. This needs to be explained widely,’’ says Maulana Azhari, who trained at the Cairo-based famous Islamic seminary Al-Azhar.

 

   Maulana Azhari cites a classic example from the Prophet’s life where the founder of Islam articulated the importance of peace over war. On returning from a battle in Tabuk, outside Medina, the Prophet declared: “We return from the little jihad to the greater jihad.’’ “To engage in a combat is little jihad, but to fight the evils within, to overcome envy and spread peace is a greater jihad,’’ explains Maulana Azhari.

 

   Jihad was never the central tenet of Islam. It’s not even among the five pillars of Islam: Kalima (belief in Allah and His Prophet), namaz, roza, haj and zakat (charity).

 

   Jihad, even if it is used to describe conventional warfare for purely defensive purposes, can only be declared by qualified ulema (clerics), not by some misguided youths avenging real or imaginary injustices. “A war for territory like the Palestinians’ struggle to get their occupied land back cannot be called a jihad. That doesn’t mean the Palestinians don’t deserve their land,’’ says Vadodara-based scholar-peace activist J S Bandookwala who miraculously escaped the wrath of a marauding mob during the genocide of Gujarat 2002.

 

   Some scholars are worried at how a handful of hardcore political thinkers have hijacked jihad, denuding it off its spiritual and moral robe. Noted legal luminary-scholar A G Noorani has, through his writings, often opposed the so-called jihadis for misusing the ideal of jihad. After 9/11, a deeply anguished Noorani penned a slim book called Islam and Jihad where he named three personalities who misused jihad: Hasan al-Banna (1906-’49) who founded Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; Syed Qutb (1906-’66) who succeeded him on al-Banna’s assassination in 1949; and Maulana Abul-Ala Maududi (1903-’70) who founded Jamaat-e-Islami in Lahore on August 26, 1941. These ideologues propounded the theory that jihad could be used as a weapon to realise the dream of an Islamic State.

 

   “Maududi was opposed to the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan on the ground that nationalism was against the Islamic concept of the unity of the ummah,’’ writes Noorani. Interestingly, Maududi went to Pakistan after Partition. Noorani refers to Frederic Grare’s seminal book Political Islam In The Subcontinent which says: “He (Maududi) demanded a universal jihad, which he declared to be the central tenet of Islam. No major Muslim thinker had ever made this claim before.’’

 

   Decades later, a group of Maududi’s followers founded the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), now banned. “Jamaat-e-Islami distanced itself from SIMI when they deviated from the Jamaat’s principle. But anyone who fights injustice is a jihadi,’’ says Aslam Ghazi, Jamaat-e-Islami’s spokesperson in Maharashtra.

 

   Call them what you may, but don’t call mass murders jihadis or mujahideen.

 

TNN

mohammed.wajihuddin@timesgroup.com

 

 

TIMES OF INDIA DOES IT AGAIN – V

June 19, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

 

 

TIMES OF INDIA

DOES IT AGAIN – V

 

 

On the day, when India’s foremost fascist politician, the 80+ aging Shiv Sena Supremo, Bal Thackeray, called on ‘Hindus’ to produce suicide bombers to confront the Muslim suicide bombers, Times of India has chosen to publish a four column size colour photo of the rabble-rouser, that shows him without his current growth of unkempt craggy beard and looking much younger than his years. It is anybody’s guess, what is Time of India trying to project by publishing such a publicity oriented file photo with the story about how people have adversely reacted to Thackeray’s new fascist salvo. The gesture takes out all the sincerity of the supposed condemnation of Thackeray’s virulent communal outpouring that any law abiding entity from any walk of life, should have for Thackeray’s brand of open terrorism call. This reflects Thackeray’s own deep frustration over the democratic process that has failed to back his brand of fascist ideological underpinning of his political ambitions. 

 

Times of India, as a primer opinion maker of India, should have forcefully come out for the law of the land and roundly condemned any such threat to India’s internal and external security, its communal harmony and the national integrity. Times of India, seems to be running with the hares and hunting with the hounds. This brinkmanship is harmful not only for the credibility of a widely circulated mainstream national newspaper, but would spread the contagion of doublespeak to further polarize the nation on communal lines.

 

In fact, it should better be noted that all the communal clap-trap and propaganda against Muslims is fake and contrived to counter the fissiparous tendencies due to caste divisions in Hindu society. The fraudulent and fake nature of communal propaganda that is essentially criminal in nature, should be exposed by the media, if India has to enjoy peace within its borders and beyond. There is every possibility that the communal propaganda against Muslims may entangle our country to some international interventions of unsavoury kind. It is therefore incumbent on media to size up its responsibility not only towards its owners and investors, but its readers as well as the community at large.

 

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

 

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

 

 

There Are No Role Models – Indian Muslim suffer from a lack of leadership

May 30, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

 

 

TO: The Editor, The Times of India, Mumbai

 

RE: Leader article: There Are No Role Models – Indian Muslim suffer from a lack of leadership

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3084012,flstry-1.cms#write

 

MJ AKBAR has erred in trying to search for a flesh and bones leader of Indian Muslims when he writes that there are no role Models.

 

It is ironical that when Irshad Haqqani, one of senior Pakistani journalists is writing in Urdu and his article is published in URDU TIMES Mumbai on the same day TOI published Akbar’s article, describes how Israel’s doughty Prime Minister Golda Meir replied to a Washington Post interviewer, as to how she made up her mind to order huge amounts of guns, missiles and planes for 1973 war with her neighbours? He asked: Whether it was a spur of the moment decision or an old calculated strategy, as her entire cabinet was against it, citing heavy costs. Golda Meir said, I found my reasoning from the career of Prophet Mohammed, about whom I had studied in my comparative religious study classes in student days. When the Prophet died, his wife had to sell his shield to buy oil to light the lamp. Still he had nine swords hanging on the walls. History does not record his poverty. His triumphs are legend. Golda Meir reasoned that Israel’s history will not record how poor and destitute the Jews were during those early days. Only our triumph will be remembered and copied.

 

With a role model like the prophet, who had inspired even the present day Muslim’s worst enemies, how MJ Akbar seems to be complaining that Muslims have no role model?

 

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

http://www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

 

LEADER ARTICLE: There Are No Role Models
30 May 2008, 0034 hrs IST , M J Akbar

 

 

 

Bollywood is the clearest mirror of popular perceptions, reflecting part of the truth even as it shapes other parts.

 

Truth, after all, is a set of fragments, some contradictory, some complementary. When and how did the Indian Muslim become an indelible part of the Bollywood underworld.

 

The arc of decline from the misty world of Nawabs in Mere Mehboob to the sentimental glitz of goons in Maqbool is a trajectory of shifting role models among Muslim youth.

 

Villains change on screen as necessarily as they shift outside the cinema hall. The three stereotype villains of the Fifties all belonged to upper Hindu castes.

 

There was the violent, exploitative Thakur, whether in a classic like the Dilip Kumar-Vyjanthimala Madhumati or a potboiler like the Dharmendra-Jayalalitha Izzat.

 

The scheming Brahmin, Narada, was a constant of mythologicals. The Bania moneylender, epitomised in Mother India, was the worst, leering at women and extracting wealth out of famine.

 

These were not single-dimensional images: there was also the noble, patriotic, generous Thakur syndrome, for instance.

 

Perhaps the most powerful symbol of Sholay was the armless Thakur, turned impotent in the line of duty. Eventually, happy-go-lucky vagrants destroyed the evil Gabbar Singh.

 

By 1976 the saviour had become a variation of the emerging audience. As befits the new corporate age, crime became more professional and sophisticated, and space between smuggling, business and politics narrowed.

 

Gradually, the Muslim became the primary face among the foot soldiers of the underworld.

 

A role model must merge contemporary compulsions and aspirations. The model for young Muslims in the 1940s was obviously Jinnah.

 

They were oblivious of the traumatic potential of partition, and were charred by the killing hot winds of 1947 and the Fifties. Nehru, rather than Gandhi (who they had rejected), became the new model as he began, gently, to restore their self-confidence and nurture some degree of security.

 

But the security was partial, and Nehru did little to reverse the marginalisation of Muslims from the economy.

 

The Sixties were the decade of despair. Desperation discovered a strange role model: Haji Mastan. In the disturbed, distraught and fragmented mind of Muslim youth of the Sixties, no one else seemed to be giving Muslims any jobs.

 

Since they had no faith in the white economy, and the white economy seemed to have no faith in them, they turned to the black economy.

 

Haji Mastan was so impressed by the support he seemed to get from the community that he even started a political party. It did not work because crime does not work.

 

What was the alternative? The elite had disappeared on the auction blocks of Lucknow and Hyderabad (pace Mere Mehboob); the professional middle class of the north had migrated to Pakistan in large numbers.

 

 

 

Muslims felt deeply betrayed by Congress politicians, with their litany of double standards. The anger sharpened during the politics of Babri Masjid: the Congress was responsible for everything, from the opening of the locks in 1948 to laying the foundation stone of the temple in 1989 to indifference while the mosque was destroyed in 1992.

 

The BJP was the perceived enemy, of course, but the BJP could not be accused of betrayal, because it had never been trusted.

 

In this vacuum, the hysterical mullah, or his counterpart, became the role model of the Seventies and Eighties. There is little point in naming the prominent among them, for they turned irrelevant as quickly as they ascended.

 

The demolition of Babri in 1992, the riots that followed and the bomb blasts of Mumbai in 1993 were a historical watershed.

 

You cannot be disillusioned if you do not entertain illusions, so there was no rise in bitterness against the Congress; but there was sudden disillusionment with the Muslim purveyors of rabid rhetoric.

 

The role model split after Babri. The overwhelming sentiment is for a new Sir Sayyid Ahmad, founder of Aligarh Muslim University, who argued that salvation lay in both English and the English, the emblems of progress and success.

 

This is not a revival of the politics of separation; Indian Muslims know that they are the chief victims of partition.

 

This is a revival of the culture of modern education. I have argued at every public forum, and in my writing, that this thrust will not achieve its full potential until the girl child gets an equal place in the Indian Muslim’s quest for modernity. If gender bias is not eliminated, Indian Muslims cannot enter the 20th century, let alone the 21st. The good news is that girls are being educated in far greater numbers than ever before.

 

But there was another role model lurking in a corner of the consciousness, born out of the belief that those who started riots against Muslims were stopped only because of the 1993 blasts.

 

The anger of the victim justified terrorism. This is a minuscule section, but it exists and has merged its fantasies with the Osama bin Laden phenomenon.

 

This is the wart that could poison the future. It will not be eliminated by arbitrary repression; but it can disappear with the assimilation of the community into economic growth and educational opportunity.

 

Fifteen years after the watershed moment of 1992, Indian Muslims have reached another crossroads. The overwhelming majority will travel the road towards progress out of nothing more complicated than common sense.

 

But there is a regressive minority within this minority. It needs as never before the leadership of a modern Sir Sayyid. History has offered a role, but there is no one capable of being model.

 

(The writer is a journalist and author.) 

 

 

 

April 20, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

 

 

PUTIN AND RUSSAIN MEDIA’S ABUSE OF ITS FREEDOM HAS LESSONS FOR INDIA

 

The Times of India’s sister publication, Mumbai Mirror last week came out with a front page story about a Bollywood couple, splashing the news about their upcoming divorce after a 10-year long successful marriage. Surprisingly within 24 hours, the whole story took turn and next day the same Mumbai Mirror came out with the story that they had been fooled as the couple had staged the whole divorce drama to improve their headline presence in the media and that too on the advise of their media agents. It is not yet clear if the media advisors were from the Times of India camp itself. The suspicion is very strong that Times of India could itself have planned this phony scoop and next day played the anti-climax end of the story. The way Times of India is stooping to covert to the western mode of commercial exploitation of media, without any regard for either the truth or the worth of projecting pedestrian happenings to the level of headline news, strongly suggests that people’s guess about Times of India’s degraded journalism is well-placed.

 

In contrast, a similar incident rocked Russia, when a tabloid splashed the news that Russia’s popular leader, Vladimir Putin, is to marry a 25 year old gymnast from Tashkent, Alina Kabayeva, who is probably a Muslim girl, while having divorce his own wife. Putin was traveling aboard and he flatly denied that he is either divorced or is planning to remarry, much less the girl now in headlines around the world. Doubtless, by breaking the kind of story about Putin that Western media can lap up to add to its arsenal of anti-Putin and anti-Russian propaganda, there could have been some legal issues around the abuse of press freedom of the kind Western media is most enamored off, but which can cause serious personal, social and political damage to the people, their culture and their nation is involved. Consequently, the news that the tabloid after two visits by state authorities was closed down and its editor sacked, has some lessons for India. 

 

India media, both print as well as electronic, open to foreign investments and foreign guidance, has completely lost its bearing and has been so blatantly abusing its freedom of press prerogatives, that day in and day out, fake and untrue stories are planted to brainwash gullible audience into believing all such fictitious spin-doctoring exercises and there seems to be no accountability worth its name to put the media into docks. The Congress government, itself the clients of such slavish media proclivities, can hardly be expected to use the laws on the books to bring these abusers of the freedom of press to books. Consequently, unsubstantiated rumours, innuendoes and false news have now become the most lucrative stock in trade of the media.

 

The most favorite fare that media keeps feeding to the masses, in open disregard of any journalistic ethics, is to pick up police stories and splash it up as the holy truth, without bothering to check if whatever police is feeding them has any iota of truth. Media’s active participation in this jugalbandi between police, politicians and itself is so poisoning the polity that the communal harmony that is the most basic glue that ensures the integrity, security and peace of the nation is now openly being violated and disturbed while there is nobody to challenge the culprits.

 

It is time the civil society take notice of this most heinous form of corruption in our midst and rise up to trigger a movement against the abuse of freedom of expression and freedom of press, if India has to be saved from a  horrendous future of anarchy and civil revolt.

 

The Putin episode would be the correct solution to all such anti-people trend of media abuse to serve the commercial and political interests of their foreign investors. The UPA government should take lead in clearing up the mess, less they themselves may be swept away in this avalanche of the sinister absurdities.

 

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

<ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com>

<www.GhulamMuhammed.wordpress.com>

 

INDIA SHOULD STICK TO THE PAST ON CHINA, TIBET AND THE WEST

April 14, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

 

Comments posted on TOI site re: G. Parthasarthy’s lead opinion article: Avoid past mistakes.

 

 

“Whatever merits or demerits of our past policies vis a vis China in general and about Tibet in particular, we should not follow and should not appear to follow any US driven initiatives that always takes others for granted and summarily expects others to follow their game-plans. Apparently the current world-wide agitation on Tibet in the backdrop of coming Beijing Olympics would not have been launched by the West in consultation with India.

 

India has to have its own independent response as well as well thought out policy basics to China and keep US at an arms distance, lest we get sucked into the US/EU/Israeli world politics where as strategic partners we have to sacrifice our interests and our people, without any control on the developing scenarios.

 

India should observe a full moratorium of at least 20 years, before it can hazard any confrontational diplomacy with China. Let the US during these years; leave India alone to pursue its economic development plans, without having to get entangled into wars and skirmishes, especially in its neighbourhood.

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

<ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com>

www.GhulamMuhammed.wordpress.com

 

THE TIMES OF INDIA DOES IT AGAIN!

March 12, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

 THE TIMES OF INDIA DOES IT AGAIN!  Press Release The Times of India carried an extremely defamatory report on 28-02-2008 under the caption “New network of terror techies comes to light” and with a front page intro of similar caption. This was the worst example of how a reputed newspaper like Times of India has resorted to yellow journalism, wherein the reporter has reported an absolutely false and baseless information to increase its readership.  By defaming a respectable professional like Mr. K.M Sherif whose contribution to the development of the software industry is well known both as a pioneering software professional who helped establish Wipro’s Global R&D presence in the USA and as former Chief Technology Officer of Sun Micro System in India. He is currently a founding Director and CEO of iCalibrator Training Pvt. Ltd. whose mission is to improve the skills of Indian IT professionals. The Times Of India has invited upon itself criminal proceedings which have been filed in the 11th ACMM court for defamation under section 499, 500, 501 and 502 of the Indian Penal Code. A Legal notice has also been issued for damages in a sum of Rs 5,00,00,000/- ( Five Crore ) against the owners of Times of India i.e. Bennet and Colman India Ltd and the reporter, publisher and editor of the Times of India. The civil suit will be filed in due course. We will also be moving other forums like the Press Council of India for appropriate action. The Times of India falsely reported that the police is looking out for Mr. K.M. Sherif imputing that he is absconding. The report further falsely imputes that MITA is a terror organization. MITA is an informal group of IT professionals who want to help and give back to the society from what they have achieved and earned. MITA has sponsored the education of many poor children, held career counseling sessions on an annual basis and conducted career improvement sessions for those in the IT industry. This group has never been used for either logistic or financial support for any banned organizations or known members of any such organization. The only time mails have ever gone out in the mailing lists (or any announcement made in any gathering) for financial contributions, is in the case of masjids coming up in areas where IT professionals work/live or for sponsoring education of poor children or for well known NGOs working in the health/educational fields. The group has also never operated in a stealth mode. No IT professional who has requested to be associated (by just sending an e-mail or calling up) has ever been refused, as membership is nothing more than adding one’s name to the mailing list. Two or three times every year, large gatherings are organized which have been addressed by eminent IT professionals like Mr. Subroto Bagchi, COO of MindTree consulting and Dr. Sridhar Mitta MD and CTO of e4e. Such gatherings have also been addressed by public servants and IAS officers. Smaller gatherings (once in 1 or 2 months) address issues like preparing for IIM entrance, choosing between technical and management career paths, entrepreneurship which are all topics of interest to any IT professional.Mr. K.M. Sherif has worked in the IT industry for more than 25 years, including 10 years at Wipro, 8 years at Sun Microsystems, USA and 5 years in India as C.T.O of Sun’s India Engineering Center. He is the Chief Executive officer of a reputed IT firm whose clients include Infosys, Wipro, MindTree Consulting among others. All of his friends and acquaintances, which include top leaders of Indian IT industry, can vouch for his integrity and patriotism. It is unfortunate that Times of India did not bother to check any of the claims or contact any member of the organization for clarification. Instead it chose to slander and defame Mr. K.M. Sherif and the organization.This report and similar reports have done irreparable damage to the careers of all Muslim students aspiring to get into the IT industry and also to those who are already working in IT firms by planting suspicion and mistrust in the minds of people.Times of India should take punitive action against the reporter and publish a prominent, front page apology while publishing the details given above.I am Kalyan Banerjee; I work in the IT industry for last 22 years, and feel proud being an Indian. I have worked closely with Sherif in my early professional career for many years, and I must admit a lot of my early success, I attribute to him. Sherif was (and is) an outstanding professional and anybody who has worked with him will vouch for his high integrity. To people like me, he was a role model, and we grew up in our professions admiring him, hoping one day we can be like him. I continue to know him and remain connected with him, and with time, the respect has only deepened. I have very high regard for his integrity, patriotism and peaceful nature. I know him as a very religious Muslim and as someone who is very helpful to any one in need (whether Muslim or non Muslim). Accusing Sherif of violent or anti-national acts is preposterous. We continue to interact personally and professionally, and I feel proud to be associated with a person as deeply peaceful, patriotic, and humble as Sherif. I believe people like Sherif who create lives and dreams must be celebrated as the true icons of modern India, irrespective of their religion, language, or social status. Instead we have stories like these that are obviously false (like Sherif being wanted by the police, or providing logistics and financial support to anti national elements); such acts only expose motives not aligned with ethics, truth, or fair play. Also reflects the communal biases running deep in sections of our media, doing immeasurable harm to the social fabric of our nation. I am certain an overwhelming majority of my countrymen condemn such divisive motives, and will not allow such forces to succeed. Sherif’s attempts at helping the not so privileged sections of our society (whether Muslims or non-Muslims) are in tune with his patriotic and religious moorings and serve as an example for all of us to emulate. Kalyan Kumar BanerjeeSenior Vice President, MindTree Consulting

 

K. M. Sherif’s brief: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.Let me start by affirming my faith in free speech and freedom of press. These are the values that help keep a society in check and prevent it from sliding into tyranny and fascism. But, unbridled freedom, deliberate maligning and rumour mongering if done in the name of freedom of press will have the opposite effect. It leads to breeding of suspicion, unrest and civil strife. India started its life burdened with social and economic inequalities. Many years of effort did not help erase it. Though there was a slow reduction in inequalities in some cases, there was increase in others. These have been recorded in various studies conducted over the last 60 years. Even in private industry, where we have been claiming that merit is the only criterion for hiring, clear biases on the basis of caste and religion has been documented by a recent study. The dramatic growth of IT industry created an opportunity where such biases where non-existent, except due to historic educational backwardness of certain sections. These sections of society have all started working on removing this historic inequality. The IT industry also created a microcosm of the society where language, caste and religious differences were irrelevant and true feelings of secularism and pride of India as a nation were developed. Highly exaggerated and speculative reporting in the last few weeks have started destroying even this microcosm of equal opportunity and true Indian pride. Many reports have been carried with no checking of facts, and sometimes flying in the face against what the police themselves are saying. These were carried with no thought on the impact on lives of innocent individuals or the well being of the nation itself. One of the worst examples of this kind of reporting was a report carried in Times of India, written by Mr. N.D. Shiva Kumar on the 28th of February. Titled “New network of terror techies comes to light”, this article falsely imputed that a group called MITA is a terror network providing logistic and financial support to anti national groups. It further implied that I am absconding and the police is looking out for me. An environment has been created where the press can imply any random person to be a terror suspect, and the so called terror suspects are immediately judged by the press and fascist sections of the society to be terrorists with no due process available to them. In most cases, the people who are thus implicated have no backing or support and are isolated by the society and thus are doomed even when they are innocent. By defaming me using baseless allegations and innuendos, Times of India has created irreparable damage to me and to my company. I am a highly respected IT professional who has helped create the market for Indian IT services abroad. You can see from the various testimonials as to how very senior captains of Indian IT industry regard me, professionally and personally. My company is in the process of bidding for and negotiating many multi-crore contracts with Indian Software companies and the damage this report has done to my company is immense. I have requested the person in Bangalore who has known me for the longest time, from before my marriage, to speak about what he knows and how this report has impacted him. Mr Rajendra Khare had a room next to mine during our Engineering College times and we have worked together and been in touch with each other ever since. He was the Managing Director of Broadcom, India, one of the very respected semiconductor companies. He was the founding chairperson of Indian Semiconductor Association. I would request Mr. Khare to now speak. 

K M Sherif  

 I the undersigned have known Mr. K.M. Sherif for approximately 28 years, and have interacted with him professionally and personally. I have known him since my college days at Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani. He has been a very dedicated student and an excellent individual in all aspects – studies, at work. We had recently met during our Silver Jubilee reunion at Pilani where he gave a talk on Integrity, career planning, etc. He was admired at the Institute for being in the top 2-5% of our batch. I have very high regard for his integrity, patriotism and peaceful nature. I know him as a pious Muslim and as someone who is very helpful to any one in need (whether Muslim or non Muslim). Many of us have benefited from his academic and technical assistance. It is impossible for him to associate himself with any violent or anti-national act. It is also difficult to conceive his association with any person whom he knows to be inciting violence and anti-national activities. I have heard of MITA and I think that the kind of initiatives that MITA takes is essential and it is important in order to better integrate Muslims into the national main stream. I do get to see the young engineers (IT professionals & those working in high tech industries) taking initiatives to bring up the education of the under privileged. Many of the MNCs and other organizations contribute to the society as a way of doing our mite. In this context, it is very painful for me to note that one single individual or an organization with a good motive to be singled out based on the secular/ minority basis.    (D R Seetharaman)Director – R&D, Synopsys India Pvt LimitedBangaloreDate 1 March, 2008

 

  I the undersigned have known Mr. K.M. Sherif for 30 long years since my days in engineering education and ever since he has been one amongst my closest friends. I also had an opportunity to work together for several years with him and then later interact with him often on professional, personal and family front. He is clearly one of the most brilliant and patriotic persons I have come across and not only me, but everyone in our circle have had the deepest regard for his sheer brilliance, integrity, professionalism and above all loving nature. He returned from a lucrative career in US only to add his might in serving the cause of nation building.  I have known Sheriff as someone who is a deeply spiritual and a truly pious Muslim believing in tenets of Islam. It is his love for people and the deep urge to help others around him that he has been taking up initiatives in community education for long and further the cause of homogenous integration within the Society rising above sects or religions. It is impossible to even think that Sherif can be associated with any person or organization that does not have the good of the country and the society at large. MITA, the association that he helped form, is a thoroughly professional and respectable body that is aiming to do what a number of successful professionals ought to do to help the under-privileged within their communities to gain education and benefit from association with other professionals. Thanks to his stature and well meaning objectives, MITA has been able to involve luminaries from the IT industry irrespective of their religious origins. I believe we need more organizations like MITA to connect with the lower strata of the society and serve the cause of nation building from the roots.  Any disrespectful reference to organizations like MITA and people of Sherif’s integrity in the press can not only cause an irreparable damage to their reputation but also kill the initiatives people like him take to do their duty to human kind and to our country. On the contrary steps should be taken to celebrate the cause that people like Sherif and MITA have undertaken and show case the positive benefits of what they are aiming to do in order to encourage more people to engage in acts of giving and building the society from roots and bring about economic liberation through sharing education and professional experiences.   Sd/- Name : Rajendra Kumar KhareDesignation : Chairman and Managing Director, IndusEdge InnovationsDate 1 March, 2008

 

   I the undersigned have known Mr. K.M. Sherif for 30 years, and have interacted with him professionally and personally. We studied in BITS, Pilani together. He was one of the top rankers in the Institute. He was very studious, soft spoken and very helpful to all his fellow batchmates. Subsequently I had the fortune of working with him in Wipro Infotech, R&D in mid-’80s. He was one of the key members of the Operating Systems team and his colleagues and the senior management of Wipro had high regard for his contributions.  I personally learnt a lot from him professionally and he has been my role model all my life.  He participates with me, my friends and my family during Hindu festivals – Holi, Diwali etc. This indicates his respect for all religions. We have also visited his home and met his family on couple of occasions during Id, our get-together with batchmates when they come to India from US and during the launch of his company.  I have very high regard for his integrity, patriotism and peaceful nature. I know him as a pious Muslim and as someone who is very helpful to any one in need (whether Muslim or non Muslim). Many of us have benefited from his academic and technical assistance during college days and subsequently as a colleague. It is impossible for him to associate himself with any violent or anti-national act. It is also difficult to conceive his association with any person whom he knows to be inciting violence and anti-national activities. I have heard of the activities of MITA. We think that the kind of initiatives that MITA takes is essential and it is important in order to better integrate Muslims into the national main stream. Other disadvantaged, marginalized and ostracized sections of the society should also take up such activities. Such organizations should be encouraged, rather than being subject to witch hunting.    Sd/- Anant KansalDesignation: Chief Operating Officer, Indusedge Innovations Pvt. Ltd.Bangalore

 

  Sherif,

I am on travel to USA. Heard about a news article linking you in some anti-national activities. I am highly disturbed on such unauthenticated news appearing that too linking a fine gentleman like you.

I know you for more than 20 years and have seen many youngsters looking upon you as role model for your knowledge, sincerity, righteousness and helping nature. If freedom of press leads to all being painted by same brush, that will lead to loss of confidence in the media than a fine person like you.

I pray this event leaves you unhurt and look forward to seeing the same zeal and energy in you to lead the younger generation in the right path of national pride and peace and prosperity.

Regards,

Jani, President & CEO,R&D Services, MindTree Consulting

 

  I know Mr. Sherif since 1988. I have worked with him as a colleague, as a customer when he was with SUN and now as consumer of his services in iCalibrator. Sherif is one of the best Technologist in Operating Systems space that our country has produced. Today he has embarked on the key challenge of Indian IT industry i.e; improving the skill level of aspiring IT professionals. He is the finest gentleman with highest standards of integrity, with a large heart to help deserving students and an excellent friend. 
Thanks
Rajesh Ram Mishra
CTO, Telecom and Product Engineering, Wipro Technologies

 

  I was pained to see the name of my friend K M Sherif reported in a wrong context in  the Times of India News paper dated 28th Feb. I have known Sherif  for the last 26 years very intimately –  from early 1980s when we started our career at Wipro. He left Wipro after 10 years of bright career. In US he worked for a very reputed organization for several years.  After he came back from US , we have been meeting regularly . I have known Sherif as a highly intelligent and helpful person. He is  very active in his professional life providing us with very valuable  technical consultancy  when ever required. He is a simple and  pious Muslim who is engaged in doing only good things for the society. I have very high regard for his integrity, patriotism and peaceful nature.  I can vouch that Sherif will not get  associated with or indulge in activities that are mentioned in the  news paper. I strongly  believe  that people like Sherif can lead us to  create a better society. I am sure he is helping to  integrate Muslims into the national main stream. We must encourage  people like him and support him.  Divakaran MChief technology Officer

Wipro Technologies

 I the undersigned have known Mr. Sherif Kottapurath and his family since 2000. I have had the privilege of staying in his home on several occasions and his children are like my own. During this time I have developed the highest regard for his sense of public service and the love he bears for this land. He returned from the US where he held a very lucrative job in order to be of service to his country. I know him as a pious Muslim and as someone who is very helpful to any one in need. I  have known him to go out of his way to help poor people and to spend his time and energy especially in the field of education, helping young people learn computer skills so that they can get jobs. I simply cannot believe that he has any association with any person whom he knows to be inciting violence and anti-national activities.  I have heard of the activities of MITA, and have been invited to speak at MITA meetings. I believe that the kind of initiatives that MITA takes are essential in order to better integrate Muslims into the national main stream. Every meeting of MITA that I participated in focused on issues of social development, national integration, education and presenting Islam to society in its real form as a religion of peace and harmony. Mr. Sherif as its President exemplifies these issues and is a living model of what I believe a good practicing Muslim should be in our society. I wish there were more organizations like this, working to help young Muslims integrate better with our society and more people like Sherif Kottapurath. I was very sad and surprised to read the report in the Times of India. It was written in language that was insinuating and insulting and cast aspersions on a man who is honorable and worthy of respect. Is this what reporting has been reduced to? Can’t we sell papers without assassinating someone’s character? It is a matter of great regret and something that I wish all good, sensible, thinking people will get together and dialogue and resolve. Let us report facts. Let us not attempt to use innuendo and veiled references to steer thought in directions that may serve some vested interest but which do no good to our already troubled and divided society. Mirza Yawar Baig

 

  To whomsoever it may concern Feb 29, 2008 I, the undersigned have known Mr. K.M. Sherif for the last 27 years. He was my senior in college and was my first professional mentor. I have interacted with him professionally and personally. I have very high regard for his intelligence, commitment to build a strong technological community, integrity, patriotism and peaceful nature.  I know him as a pious Muslim and as someone who is very helpful to any one in need (whether Muslim or non Muslim). Many of us have benefited from his academic and technical assistance. It is impossible for him to associate himself with any violent or anti-national act. It is also difficult to conceive his association with any person whom he knows to be inciting violence and anti-national activities. I am fairly certain that his name is being pulled into unnecessary controversy by people with vested interests. N S ParthasarathyExec VP – Global Delivery and OperationsMindTree Consulting

 

 I the undersigned have known Mr. K.M. Sherif since 2002, and have interacted with him professionally and personally. Sherif reported to me as Chief Technical Officer for Sun Microsystems’ India Engineering Centre during my tenure as Vice President of Sun Microsystems India Engineering Centre from 2002 through 2005 and have been in touch with him ever since then in a personal capacity.  I have very high regard for his integrity, patriotism and peaceful nature. He is also someone that is highly respected in the Indian software community for his significant contributions to both industry as well as the technical community in Bangalore.  I know him as a pious Muslim and as someone who is very helpful to any one in need (whether Muslim or non Muslim). It is impossible for him to associate himself with any violent or anti-national act. It is also difficult to conceive his association with any person whom he knows to be inciting violence and anti-national activities. 
Vijay Anand  Mr. K.M. Sherif is my batchmate. In college I admired him for his great intellect and enthusiasm to bring about positive changes. I have a lot of respect for him as I consider him to be a person with high integrity. As I understand him, he is someone who is very helpful to any one in need. Many of us have benefited from his academic and technical assistance. I feel that it is impossible for him to associate himself with any violent or anti-national act. It is also difficult to conceive his association with any person whom he knows to be inciting violence and anti-national activities.  Ritu SharmaSoftware Quality Consultant

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