Saturday, August 28, 2010

Terrorism, Indian Muslims and Muslim intelligentsia

Ever since my last posting has gone on the blog there have been quite a few reactions from friends – both known and unknown. Some have bombarded mails attacking for criticizing my ‘own fellow Hindumen’; while a few said I was not fair to Muslims and that reflected my personal prejudice.
Honestly, none of the versions is true. Without trying to glorify my own involvement, I have tried to put across certain ideas I thought I should write.
This has not happened for the first time. I had faced this on my book ‘Godhra – A Journey to Mayhem’. The argument put across that the post-Godhra violence had a salutary effect in uniting the majority community cutting across caste lines had left many angry.
The Hindus, housewives (many of them my innocuous aunts who have least to do with Sangh Parivar, BJP politics etc), eminent social workers, journalist friends, intelligence officers and academicians would nail me for attacking Hindus. Their argument was if Hindu unity is possible because of a riot so be it!
In fact, I have lost good relations with a family friend of mine. This retired Nagaland government employee, now residing in Kolkata, questioned me, “now that you have written so much against Hindus and RSS, tell me what’s your contribution for the Hindu society you belong to?”
I am struggling to form an answer to this question!
So Hindu unity or for that matter the desire for a Hindu unity and giving a sanction for violence for the same was not merely confined to boundaries of Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, so called Hindutva laboratory. It had takers even in Kolkata and other parts of the country, including Mumbai and of course Delhi and some overseas.
In fact, the theory of unity among the Hindus comes as a major achievement for the champions of Hindutva who have been struggling for decades to integrate various castes into a harmonious force. In Maharashtra, Bal Thackeray’s xenophobic Shiv Sena is seen in that perspective by many Hindus – including Bengalis and for that matter the North Indians though the Marathi chauvinism – especially by the splinter Sena group led by Raj Thackeray has left all and sundry shell-shocked.
This also underlines the success of a VHP line for over three decades that --- “all Hindus should unite against Vidharmis (non-believers)”.
So how much is it different from the schools o Islamic or jehadi terrorism?
No wonder, the Home Minister P Chidambaram’s ‘saffron terror’ remarks has assumed much political debate. Even Congress always keen to keep both sides happy eyeing the all important votes has again played safe. The party’s chief spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi, a point-man of Sonia Gandhi, distanced the party from Home Minister’s statement and even asked him to be cautious while choosing words.
This brings us straight to the definition of terrorism. The internet Wikipedia says, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism but largely it is considered that terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.
Terrorism, according to CIA’s definition of 1980, which was accepted by US State Department, is a threat or use of violence for political purposes by individuals or groups, whether acting for or in opposition to established government authority, when such actions are intended to shock, stun or intimidate a target group wider than the immediate victims.
In any case, the general understanding is that terrorism encompasses those acts which are intended to create fear (terror), and are perpetrated for an ideological goal --- mostly opposed by the other side.
The disregard shown to the safety of non-combatants forms a basic aspect of terrorism. But conflict remains whether ‘insurgency’ can be called terrorism. So is the debate with Kashmir conflict. Pakistan calls the “secessionist movement” as proclaimed by India as “freedom fighting”. Similar is the dispute as regard the ‘insurgency’ in Nagaland or Manipur!
Radicals from contradictory schools of thought want to dub Naxalism also as “terrorism”, while the secular brigade calls Hindu chauvinism and violence and rhetoric perpetrated by the Hindu groups as also terror.

Indian Muslims and Intellectuals:

Having taken a closer look at the historical factors those led to the present morass the Muslims as a community has landed into, it’s also important that we understand the role of Muslim intellectuals and the Urdu press.

Recently a practicing Muslim politician Farooq Abdullah while speaking in Lok Sabha (on August 26) folded his hands his hands as he looked towards the seemingly stunned press gallery above and urged them to be cautious about the style of functioning of a section of local Urdu press in the valley.
Earlier during the debate reacting to certain remarks by JD(U) leader Mr Sharad Yadav that elections in Kashmir was allegedly rigged in 1980s, Mr Abdullah sprang up on his feet and alleged that it is the media ‘which had ignited the fire”. Farooq Abdullah is not alone.

Moving onto another plane, Mohd. Wahiduddin in his book ‘Indian Muslims: Need for a positive outlook’ draws our attention to a these critical questions.
“The Muslim press has been suffering from what I can only call quite unjustifiable self-righteousness on the part of Muslim intellectuals,” writes Wahiuddin.
It’s typically on the same line, some of my intelligence agencies friends have spoken from time to time. There’s a pattern among “Muslim scholars, press and others” when they deliberately avoid gazing in their own hearts and to do stock taking on their own shortcomings. So the best option is to raise the bogey of “plots and conspiracy”! Therefore, these sections often end up instigating the minority community, mostly battered, playing up the never ending demon of “enemy” --- the Hindus, the Christians, the Jews et all. In the process, constructive engagements and objective way of looking at things is just not there.
Therefore, often non-issues are hyped. The campaigns are launched that “innocent Muslims” were framed and put behind prisons in India. They are “mentally tortured by pro-Hindu police” by depriving them of the Quran in their cells.
Otherwise, what’s the logic when we find local Muslims taking to the streets in Varanasi even preventing the arrest of a terror suspect?
Secular brigade and their distorted championing the cause of Muslims only make things further complex.
So who all are defended by secularists at the end of the day? Afzal Guru, man sentenced to hanging for attack on parliament; or Sohrabuddin in Gujarat!
On the other hand, in historical perspective, the ‘tyrant Aurangzeb’ is often regarded as a saint since he could sew caps and also sold calligraphic Korans to raise revenue for constructing mosques and even persecuted Hindus.
In his book “The World of Fatwas”, Arun Shourie tells how the fundamentalist Islamic Ulema controls each and every aspect of an orthodox Muslim’s life by giving a religious dogmatic dimension to even personal matters like shaving and having sex.
Muslims are also made to believe that the one who dies fighting his ‘jihad’ gets paradise.
Rightly goes that melancholic Urdu couplet, “…. Parai sholon ka dar nahi. Mujhe kauf Ataish Gul Se hae, yeh chaman kahin jala na de (I have no fear of aliens, but I fear that the fire of the rose can burn down the garden)”.


  1. The write-up made an interesting read. It's time that all class of people -- educationists, pychologists, religious leaders and most importantly the politicians -- start taking a serious note of the mind set of all kinds of fundamentalists. India at best is a nation of clusters. Hindus, Muslims and Christians constitue three major clusters within them there are subtle sub-clusters who do not have voice. Kerala will soon start burning because of these clusters. They all are reactionaries and have least faith in reason. Passion drive them to acts of self-destruction which sadly continues even after so many years of independence.

  2. Very good analysis of the problem, Dev. I am with you.