Immediately after a soft piece on literature, I am back to more hardcore subject. But the provocation was from one of the responses to my last blog on my new book ‘Ayodhya: Battle for Peace’. As the comments box suggest, one esteemed patron wants me to analyze little more on Hindu-Muslim relations and the more hardcore stuff about Islamic fundamentalism, or Jehad as is romanticized often.
Firstly, let me make it clear about my impression that the 30 September, 2010 Ayodhya verdict has opened avenues for talks between the Hindus and the Muslims – though hardliner elements in both the camps have refused to buy the line.
In the book I have said that “One primary aspect, I think, that should be underlined is the emphasis on peace and reconciliation made by Justice S U Khan, a prominent figure of the august bench. The most laudable aspect of Justice Khan’s ruling is his appeal to the Indian Muslims to tell the world the “correct position” of Islam.”
In fact, if this aspect of Justice Khan’s ruling is adhered to, I have rather asserted in the book that “many misgivings on Jihad as propounded in Islam could also be put to rest”.
True to the spirit of the words of wisdom from Justice Khan, I must say, Indian Muslims would also do well to understand what London-based author, Irfan Hussain wrote for Pakistani newspaper, ‘The Daily Times’. Hussain pointed out ‘Seen through Hindu eyes, the Muslim invasion of their homeland was an unmitigated disaster. Their temples were razed, their idols smashed, their women raped, their men killed or taken slaves. When Mahmud of Ghazni entered Somnath on one of his annual raids, he slaughtered all 50,000 inhabitants. Aibak killed and enslaved hundreds of thousands. The list of horrors is long and painful.
Having said these, ‘Ayodhya: Battle For Peace’ also tries to argue that
the desperation of the US government to make exit from Afghanistan reveals that the Muslim (read Taliban) militants are capable of employing complex new tactics and fighting it out.
“The key aspect of the radical face of Islam can be seen in the context of Salafi thought and Khurasan Front in Afghanistan …… Now where from comes the resilience power? It’s more in the heart and mind than the technology of modern warfare,” says my book ‘Ayodhya: Battle for Peace’.
The book waxes eloquent that though emergence of Bangladesh has proved that the issue of nationality “cannot be mortgaged to religious affinity, yet often Muslims have given the impression that the sense of nationhood was less than their religious identity.” This is why organizations like SIMI and Indian Mujhaideen have flourished, claims Dev, who has in the past also penned a book on Gujarat riots of 2002.
It is on this backdrop, the book says the Muslim fanatics “have a will to kill themselves and everyone” around them in order to accomplish religious as well as strategic ends.
“…… for Taliban and the Afghan fighters, it would not be wrong to suggest that in the case of Osama bin Laden, they see in him not only a ‘hater’ of all things Western, but more importantly a catalyst for a cultural and religious war, the Jehad as the media world has hyped and romanticized,” it says.
The book, which otherwise claims that the fundamentalism would ‘bury its head’ soon in South Asia including India and Pakistan, maintains that “the Bin Laden forces have stayed back because of Afghanistan’s strong identification with “Bilad-i-Khurasan’ - a land, Muslims believe, where Islamic armies will finally regroup and go to liberate the “land of Abraham” from the “enemies”.
Importantly, the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan is viewed by global strategic studies experts and also the militia as a part of the promised battles of Khurasan, ancient Khurasan comprising mostly Afghanistan, the Pakistani tribal areas and parts of Iran.
One cannot agree more with Justice Khan, as he says, "Muslims in India enjoy a unique position. They have been rulers here, they have been ruled and now they are sharers in power. They are not in majority but they are also not negligible minority. In other countries either the Muslims are in huge majority which makes them indifferent to the problem in question or in negligible minority which makes them redundant. Indian Muslims have also inherited huge legacy of religious learning and knowledge. They are therefore in the best position to tell the world the correct position."