Friday, September 19, 2014

Muslims are patriotic Indians, no debate please!

This blog piece is coming close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rather historical assertion about the patriotism of Indian Muslims. But about a week back, precisely on September 14, 2014, exactly four days before Modi’s interview to Fareed Zakaria I had posted the following para on the Facebook:

“There's a general trend in arguing these days that ISIS is making impact in India and wooing Muslim youths, but my firm contention is that it could be still far-fetched to say that Al-Qaeda’s message of jihad is reaching Indian Muslims now.”
There can be no dispute about the correctness of the statement; and only issue being the timing. Modi's 'Muslims are patriotic' lot remarks come two-day after UP by-elections debacle wherein Love Jihad campaign failed and about a week before his US trip.
So probably the piece would have come even without Modi’s statement wherein he waxes eloquently: “If anyone thinks Indian Muslims will dance to their tune, they are delusional. Indian Muslims will live for India, they will die for India--they will not want anything bad for India". He was responding to a question on the impact of the Al Qaeda appeal to Muslims in South Asia.

Indian Muslims are not actually new to the influence of radicals or terrorist campaign but the ‘Bharatiyata’ (commitment to Indian nationhood) has prevailed among the minorities in this country notwithstanding an effort being made by so called secular elements to keep them isolated from the mainstream. There is little to dispute that such divisions have been exploited by the champions of Hindutva, the RSS and even Narendra Modi himself also. The majority of Hindus who clamoured just a few months back for getting Narendra Modi as their Prime Minister are actually enamored more by Modi’s developmental plank than his Hindutva image. They, however, looked upon Modi as the only chief minister in independent India who stood by Hindus. Why such a perception has come to stay remains to be debated. 
Fareed Zakaria

And if communalism was also a factor to attain reverse polarization it was perhaps more by the anguish towards secular bogey’s attempts to taunt Hindus, especially the middle class and upper castes. The most unprecedented comments on these lines came from Dr Manmohan Singh, who as Indian Prime Minister, indeed insulted the majority community when he said the first right to natural resources is for minorities. 

The over estimated economist and country’s most under estimated politician in recent times was actually leading a large number of moderate Hindus towards a sure and certain communal trap. 

I have interacted with intelligence officials and security experts – both serving and retired – and quite a few of them discard the theory that ISIS or Al Qaeda influence can wean away considerable number of Muslims in India even as there have been reports of some youths getting excited about the idea of Jihad. The general refrain and I am also convinced about it is that the young Muslims in India (20 something) are far more PRAGMATIC and 'career oriented' than 30 plus or so. Indian security agencies nevertheless should be on guard.

India has sizeable Muslims no doubt. And thus it is natural ISIS or Al Qaeda would approach Indian Muslims and it is also likely that a few misguided elements would latch on to the ‘opportunity’ to join the Jihadist forces. Now whether such Jihadi movement can bring salvation to Muslims all over the world remains a debate for some other day.

The history of Muslims in India can be easily described as an uninterrupted tale of woes barring the glorious past when they ruled supreme from Kashmir in the north and beyond to down south. The tragedy for Muslims in this country is that despite being loyalists, they have been termed pro-Pakistanis as some ill-advised youths support Pakistan cricket team. At the same time, those Muslims who migrated to Pakistan in search of their ‘holy land’ from India were called ‘Mohajirs’.

The Muslim contribution to India’s freedom struggle cannot be underestimated ever.

In fact, even for someone like Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, it would not be out of place to say that focusing on Jinnah’s later career and examining it in isolation from his early years will be unjustified. When Jinnah returned to India, originally inspired by Dadabhai Naoroji, Jinnah was a moderate and a secular. 

While some say Jinnah was ambitious, others say Jinnah’s concern for Muslims and in the process Muslims endorsing his two-nation theory largely revolved around social issues. 

Muslims in general from 1857 to at least 1920s remained ‘nationalistic’ and to a degree idealistic.

The problems probably started after that. Things only worsened when after independence and especially under Indira Gandhi, the Congress party played the dirty ‘appeasement card’. 

So much for the cause of false championing of Muslim cause that even in Kerala or Bengal, Muslims were forced to support the cause of Urdu language.

On the other hand, the post-1992 or post-2002 politics in India gave an opportunity to “traders” of secularism – I often dismiss as SICKULARISM – and power-brokers like the Leftists and Lalu Prasad and H D Deve Gowda –
to encash the ‘appeasement’ card for their selfish benefits. In the process, we saw a Left-ruled West Bengal’s Muslim conditions far below the national average, courtesy Sacchar Committee report appointed by UPA-1 supported by the Leftists themselves.

One ought to be reminded at the end that like that proverbial parrot and demon story, the life of Hindu communalism lives in the parrot called FALSE APPEASEMENT of Muslims! This imbalance needs to be corrected.

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