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Posts Tagged ‘Muslim’

Modern India: Are Muslims Safe In A Hindu India?

November 28, 2012 4 comments

While Hindus have no freedom in any Muslim country, is there any country that gives more freedom or safety than India to Muslims.

Indian Muslims thought that Hindus cannot be trusted. If some of you still have doubts, the gates to Pakistan are still open  |  A March 2004 cartoon by Zahoor.

Indian Muslims thought that Hindus cannot be trusted. If some of you still have doubts, the gates to Pakistan are still open | A March 2004 cartoon by Zahoor.

In an atmosphere of mistrust, being a Muslim and on top of that a ‘rebelling’ Kashmiri is a double whammy. For such a person like me, to articulate my unexpressed feelings about Bal Thackeray, whom I earnestly believe to have lived his entire life as a demagogue if not a blood-letting fascist, even within my deep thought processes sounded to be a sacrilegious act.

Bier draped in Tricolour and not only people like LK Advani, the ideological equivalent of the deceased leader, but also the apparently staunch political rivals like Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and Sharad Pawar making all efforts to be seen amongst the sea of people at Shivaji Park was enough to cast a drowning feeling that the country has already accorded its recognition to a man who divided the society not only on religious lines but also on the very basis of regional identities. Moreover, the so-called leading lights of civil society, normally considered to be the standard-bearers of the public behaviour, also making a beeline to pay their homage sapped all the courage within me to register my dissent.

My question is to the authorities who decided to bestow an honour of state funeral to the departed leader: Was he a constitutional figure that warranted a gun salute? Obviously he was not and in case his popularity necessitated a military honour then the powers to be are setting a very dangerous precedent. If a state recognition to a divisive figurehead in his death was out of compulsion as two-million mourners joined the funeral, then it truly underscores the sorry state of affairs.

In case tomorrow a majority of India turns out to be supporters of Gandhiji’s killer, will the cowardly rulers, having no conviction left, declare Nathuram Godse as the new father of the nation? And provided the rulers affirm not to be cowards and claim that the decision to accord gun salute to the funeral of a Hindu extremist leader who believed India to be a Hindu Rashtra was made purely on merit, then what stops India to be a Hindu state in near future?

The brute and raucous majority only has to decide the fate of the nation and not the secular principles as the rulers pretend to follow, and then what inhabits us not to dread that the soul of India has been lost, since long?

via What stops India from becoming a Hindu state? – Analysis – DNA.

Birbal’s beard

Does this article also remind you of चोर कि दाड़ी में तिनका  (roughly meaning: guilty conscience pricks the mind)? I was grossly reminded of Birbal feeling his way through the beards of possible suspects.

Bad Hiding Place

Hiding behind Gandhiji’s loin-cloth, we have Firdous Syed raising a spectre of Nathuram Godse becoming the Father of the Nation. To nurse and espouse such an idea just shows what poor opinion the English-speaking elite have of Indians.

If he counts himself as an Indian – it is a sad reflection on his self-esteem. If he sees himself as a pragmatic Indian – till he can get a better passport, it just shows complete lack of character.

While on the subject of Gandhiji, two points.

One, like Bal Thackeray, Gandhiji had no constitutional or official capacity. Would Firdous Syed deny Gandhiji similar tribute? The Indian State gains by respecting Gandhiji. Gandhiji did not need a Nobel Prize to gain respect and admiration.

The other point. The last man to accept the partition of India was Gandhiji. To give security to all the Indian Muslims who felt insecure in a Hindu India. That was the deal, Firdous Syed. You can still go to Pakistan, if you are feeling insecure in Hindu-India.

Alibaba ate food without salt

Of the Forty thieves fame, ate salt-less food at the den of thieves. That is the respect, Muslim culture is supposed to have for hospitality. If you, Firdous Syed are using Indian nationality as a temporary shelter, at least have some basic respect for your Hindu hosts – while you get a passport of your choice.

If you are the Kashmiri-azaadi spouting liberal, let me see you criticize any Muslim-separatist, sitting in Srinagar. On any day of the week – leave alone a Friday. While Hindus have no freedom in any Muslim country, is there any country that gives more freedom or safety than India to Muslims.

Or are you, Firdous Syed assuming that who you calls Hindus are like Pakistanis who showered rose-petals on Salman Taseer killers? On the subjects of those who you call Hindus, has it ever occurred to you, to ask a question, why Hindu-Indians are welcome in secular Britain – but Pakis has become a pejorative?

Facebook, Facebook on the wall

Firdous Syed, are you aware that secular Great Britain, has prosecuted, fined, imprisoned nearly 5000 people in the last three years for making ‘insensitive’ comments on social media. That Vikram Buddhi languishes in an American prison because he said George Bush murdabad on the internet – in support of Iraqi Muslims.

In Mumbai, India, these policemen have been suspended for prosecuting one case. Indian courts sprang to cartoonist Aseem Trivedi’s bail application. EVM-activist Hariprasad found Indian courts sympathetic.

Vikram Buddhi reminds me. I know hardly any Hindus have supported Vikram Buddhi. But, have any Muslims supported him, for whom he is in prison for nearly 5 years now?

Or do you think India should be secular like Switzerland, which is afraid that a third mosque in Switzerland will change the national character of Switzerland? Or do you want Manmohan Singh to say like Angela Merkel on television that multi-culturalism has failed? Or do you think India like Denmark should pay Muslims money to emigrate out of India?

Firdous Syed you can claim Rs.11 from me any day that you want to leave India.


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Social Media Bodo-Muslim Breakdown in Assam: Reportage and Reactions

Flashpoint

Mass media is largely reinforcing the official narrative.

In India, however, if there is a large strong oral and social narrative.

If dissonance between the official narrative and the oral, social narrative, is big, mass media and the Government stand compromised.

Both in terms of credibility and effectiveness.

So, dissonance, if any, has to be minimal and credible.

https://twitter.com/PrabhjotSK/status/238179769273946112
https://twitter.com/VoiceofIndia365/status/238749348412936192

https://twitter.com/kao1306/status/236644403341586433

https://twitter.com/kooolkaran/status/238201422074769409

https://twitter.com/BeingHindu/status/238156597698887680

https://twitter.com/i2076/status/237842806272573441

Aftermath

Handling by the Government

Mood

Media

https://twitter.com/sundaram222/status/238797590529970179

Censorship

https://twitter.com/ScamSutra/status/238685597168967680

https://twitter.com/sahalhemant/status/238189400079601664

The Players

https://twitter.com/kashifbangalore/status/236058175625887744

https://twitter.com/MiteshSevani/status/238182756704735232

Voices in the dark

https://twitter.com/sariasheikh/status/236100448023633920

Comedy Central


Mumbai Muslims Protest: Collusive Democracy At Its Best

August 11, 2012 7 comments

So, who is not a psuedo-secularist? Will any political party confront Raza Academy? Congress, BJP, Shiv Sena?

Basic Issues

https://twitter.com/ffaaiizzuu/status/234098515947700224

Taking it no more

https://twitter.com/Arifism/status/234349571575267329

Guilty Parties

https://twitter.com/emkay456/status/234638753963057153

https://twitter.com/mayaadvaita/status/234282442742190080

What to do

Shape of things

Say it again … I didn’t catch that …

https://twitter.com/Marathi_Rash/status/234341938516598784

Some tweets supporting Raza Academy

A Facebook Montage

  1. Mohd Anjum
    Two dead in Mumbai protest over
    Assam riots (Update-Mumbai
    Violence)
    At least two persons were killed
    during a protest demonstration near
    Mumbai’s Azad Maidan on Saturday.
    The deaths occurred as police moved
    in and baton-charged the
    demonstrators who were protesting
    against the recent ethnic and
    communal riots in Assam.
    The protests turned violent with the
    demonstrators torched a media
    vehicle, damaged buses and indulged
    in stone pelting, prompting the police
    to fire in the air.
    Hundreds of protesters gathered at
    the Azad Maidan in south Mumbai
    this afternoon following a call by the
    Mumbai-based Raza Academy to
    denounce the violence in Assam.
    Azad Maidan is located near the
    offices of the Brihan Mumbai
    Corporation and the Chhatrapati
    Shivaji Terminus Mumbai railway
    station. (ANI)
    Sat, Aug 11 2012 13:15:49
  2. Syed Qadir
    2day Mumbai news:
    20 muslim killed by mumbai police
    protest against Assam riots gets violent in Mumbai
    Shanti Ghimire | August 11, 2012 | Comments (0)
    Rate this
    The protest by several Muslim organisations at
    Mumbai’s Azad Maidan against the recent riots in
    Assam and so-called attacks on Muslims in
    Myanmar turned violent on Saturday.
    The protesters set several vehicles on fire,
    including an OB (Outside Broadcast) van of three
    private news channels. Police had to fire and
    resort to lathi-charge to disperse the violent crowd
    of protesters.
    The situation is currently under control, said IG
    Law and Order, Mumbai.
    The protests was led by Raza Academy, an
    organisation working to promote Islamic culture,
    were supported by other organisations like Sunni
    Jamaitul Ulma and Jamate Raza-e-Mustafa.
    Hundreds of members and activists of these
    organizations, sporting black badges, earlier
    converged at the Azad Maidan and expressed
    concern over the massacre of the Muslim
    community.
    Maulana Syed Moinuddin Ashraf, president of
    Jamia Qadriya Ashrafiya, has asked the central and
    state governments to interfere.
    Maulana, who is also known as Moin Miyan said
    “With regards to the massacre in Myanmar, we
    understand it is an external problem and that
    certainly should be taken care of, but what is
    happening in Assam reflects on the state of affairs
    of the country”.
    “It is the responsibility of the Congress
    government to protect the Muslims, and for that
    matter each and every citizen,” he added.
    Raza Academy Chairman Saeed Noorie said that “A
    large number of Muslims have been rendered
    homeless and are now living in camps”.
    Noorie said they have written to the government of
    Myanmar, the United Nations, the International
    Human Rights Organization, Organization of
    Islamic Countries, President Pranab Mukherjee
    and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to highlight
    the massacre of Muslims in Myanmar
    Sat, Aug 11 2012 12:49:19
  3. Pallab Ghosh

    friends, I was deliberately keeping silent on the statement of Asaduddin Owaisi, a Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad and the president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Lok Sabha a few days ago that sparked off communal controversy…today a friend mailed and wanted to know why I am quiet on the issue…honestly, I was reading the speech rendered by him in Lok Sabha especially after the special phone-in and studio live shows on television news channels…I was surprised to hear on a Hindi News Channel ‘Assam pe phir ekbar firkaparast tatvon ka kahar’ (yet again the communal forces attack Assam)…two things that I wanted to tell the Editor-in-Chief of this channel and likes…reporting should not have the ingredients that instigate the masses and secondly I did not understand why Asaduddin Owaisi’s statement were being continuously played as the words were enough to instigate communal forces…now on to Asaduddin Owaisi’s remarks…after going through the speech in details I feel his grievance was on calling Muslims residing in Assam as illegal migrants from Bangladesh…I accept this this was a wrong as entire Muslim population residing in Assam can not be illegal migrants…however, I did not understand his comments on a popular English satellite news channel ‘are you scared of the growing Muslim population’ (what was he hinting at by saying ‘scared’…I felt he was using his Assam visit as a political-religious platform and a well orchestrated election campaigning speech…his deliberately mixing the plight of hapless Muslims across the violence stricken Assam was a deliberate instigation…this entire issue being used as a poll perspective…if leaders like Owaisi and likes instead of trying to pacify the situation prefer to instigate the masses by taking refuge in the age old religion card then indeed the situation is volatile…

    there are various issues which led to the Assam tragedy and many things will have to be taken into account if such violence are to be stopped but taking refuge into communal cards is certainly not a solution…

    I fail to understand and want to ask communal factions irrespective of religion preferences, was the partition of India which decided both the countries enough to realize the negativity of pseudo religious cult…can we not say no to communal factions…

    Sat, Aug 11 2012 13:15:08
  4. Mim Zindabad
    Dear Friends,
    Pl watch the debate which was deliberately made controversial and I have listened to the debate ten times and I feel that Janab Asaduddin Owaisi has not said anything out of context and wrong. What he said that, it is the natural process if the justice is denied or delayed and he meant that the occurances of incidents like Babri Masjid, Godhra etc should be avoided in the interest of the nation which otherwise would encourage the feeling of helplessness and despair among the youth….
    http://www.timesnow.tv/The-Newshour/Debate-Communalising-Assams-problem–1/videoshow/4408138.cms
    Sat, Aug 11 2012 14:34:32
  5. Pradeep Khuba
    Watch this Video from 8 Min: Hyderabad MP Owaisi says Indian Muslims will turn terrorists if Bangladeshi Muslims are sent back.
    Sat, Aug 11 2012 13:50:37
  6. Maajed Abu-Muslim
    Protest in India, by Muslims, against the atrocities being committed in Burma.
    Sat, Aug 11 2012 13:48:56
  7. LaelahaellAllah Mohammadarrasoolollah
    THOUSANDS OF OUR MUSLIM BROTHERS IN MUMBAI PROTESTING AGAINST THE GENOCIDE OF MUSLIMS IN ASSAM AND BURMA!
    Sat, Aug 11 2012 14:00:53
  8. Asim Sayaam

    Asaduddin Owaisi, a Lok Sabha MP from INDIA (Hyderabad) and the president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), has visited Assam twice in the last two weeks.The people in and around Kokrajhar are living in an abject situation. And there is no one to look after them. In Jugirmahal High School in Dhubri area in Bilasipara, I saw 6,500 people living in a miserable condition. The building can only support 300-400 people, but I saw such a huge crowd there.

    The government nurse there only had 10 bottles of cough syrup and a few medicines – just imagine! For a large number of people, only 10 bottles?

    Similarly, in Kokrajhar, in Jamanganga High School, I saw 7726 people. Out of these, there were 412 baby boys and 366 baby girls. And just by looking at them, I figured out that all these people are 100 per cent sick. Even such small children. It was too much for me, I also have a family here, and young children. I just couldn’t look at them.

    These people are suffering from various ailments. There is no baby food, they are suffering from diarrhea, their mothers are worried because they have been uprooted from their native places. They don’t even have clothes apart from those which they could gather when they ran away from their places.

    There is a great human tragedy which we are witnessing in Assam. I visited nine relief camps, and so pathetic are the living conditions there that even I fell sick with a cough. And I just spent 2-3 hours in each camp.

    This was my second visit, the first one was when the PM visited Assam. When I went there with him and saw the ground situation with my own eyes, I thought about doing something about this. So when I came back I had discussions with my partymen and we decided to do something for them.

    I went with a team of doctors – basically 12 specialists including pediatricians – and medicines worth Rs. 20 lakh. During my second visit, I saw that the situation has deteriorated….

    KAASH ARAB COuntries aur dusr muslim mumalik bhi ASSAM aur

    Thu, Aug 09 2012 02:24:18
  9. Mohsin Inamdar
    2day Mumbai (india) news:–MUST SHARE–
    20 muslim killed by mumbai police
    protest against Assam riots gets violent in Mumbai
    Shanti Ghimire | August 11, 2012 | Comments (0)
    Rate this
    The protest by several Muslim organisations at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan against the recent riots in Assam and so-called attacks on Muslims in Myanmar turned violent on Saturday.
    The protesters set several vehicles on fire, including an OB (Outside Broadcast) van of threeprivate news channels. Police had to fire and resort to lathi-charge to disperse the violent crowd of protesters.
    The situation is currently under control, said IG Law and Order, Mumbai.
    The protests was led by Raza Academy, an organisation working to promote Islamic culture, were supported by otherorganisations like Sunni JamaitulUlma and Jamate Raza-e-Mustafa.
    Hundreds of members and activists of these organizations, sporting black badges, earlier converged at the Azad Maidan and expressed concern over the massacre of the Muslim community.
    Maulana Syed Moinuddin Ashraf,president of Jamia Qadriya Ashrafiya, has asked the central and state governments to interfere.
    Maulana, who is also known as Moin Miyan said “With regards to the massacre in Myanmar, weunderstand it is an external problem and that certainly should be taken care of, but what is happening in Assam reflects on the state of affairs ofthe country”.
    “It is the responsibility of the Congress government to protect the Muslims, and for that mattereach and every citizen,” he added.
    Raza Academy Chairman Saeed Noorie said that “A large number of Muslims have been rendered homeless and are now living in camps”.
    Noorie said they have written tothe government of Myanmar, the United Nations, the International Human Rights Organization, Organization of Islamic Countries, President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to highlight the massacre of Muslims in Myanmar. —
    Sat, Aug 11 2012 14:06:23

I thought the Partition of India was clear.

To all those, to whom their Indian-Muslim politico-religious identity was important will go to Pakistan. In India, Indian identity will prevail.

Zero Muslim politico-religious identity.

In India, total freedom for Muslim worship, prayer, dressing, social customs. etc. But, Zero Muslim politico-religious identity was the deal.

Why is Muslim leadership allowed to promote politico-religious identity?


 

One ‘Birather’ to Another?

June 1, 2012 2 comments

Back in 70s, the new-found power by the Islāmic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity? What now …

The State of Public Policy  in Pakistan  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today  |  Click for image.

The State of Public Policy in Pakistan | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today | Click for image.

Oil wealth

The oil riches, glitzy infrastructure boom of the Middle East, after the 1973 Oil Embargo, had a profound effect in Indian Muslims. The new-found power by the Islamic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity.

For the general Indian, the Middle East was the answer to the slow Indian economy. In an economy of shortages, with an over-valued Indian currency, the Dubai allure was irresistible. It was the passport to wealth and abundance.

Jannat lost?

It took another 10-15 years for Indians to discover the underbelly of Dubai.

To an average Indian, the prospect of slow career growth in Dubai, limited growth opportunities, the discrimination between the Western expatriates and Indians (and others) had a telling – and chilling effect. The Indian-Muslim, expecting a warm welcome in sandy climes, found a sneer instead.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy - time.com). Click for larger image.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy – time.com). Click for larger image.

Unfortunate victims in this labour-import by the Middle East, many are in the Saudi Arabia. With a rich Welfare State, high disposable incomes

THE presence of a housemaid in a Saudi house has become inevitable. If this inevitability is not because of her services, then it is because of the need to imitate others. This is a fact that everybody knows. The need for housemaids is connected to the ways Saudis live — women go to work, responsibilities for the social and educational welfare of children, men failing to help with house duties, few day-care facilities for children, large and spacious homes, extended families and increasing numbers of children. The net result is that the majority of families need to have housemaids. The truth of the matter is that some of us need more than one housemaid. (via Saudis and domestic help — ‘maid’ for each other).

This above extract on Middle East does not utter the word India even once – or the abuse of these maids – as another story, from the same publication shows.

But now the 40-year-old woman says her sponsor stopped paying her four months ago and then sold her to a labor placement agency in Riyadh for SR13,000 (about $3,460).

After promising to pay her the back salary, the agency sent her to work for another Saudi family without paying her the promised sum. And she claims her new employer, a Saudi woman, is treating her poorly, such as not paying her a salary, keeping her locked up so she won’t flee and denying her medical attention.

“I’m sick and this woman won’t give me even a Panadol, and she has not given me salary,” Beevi told Arab News.

“There are three other maids here, too: an Indonesian, a Sri Lankan, and one from Morocco. They have not been paid their salaries either.”

If the allegations are true then a number of Saudi labor laws have been violated by Beevi’s first sponsor, the labor placement agent and the new employer.

Besides the obvious illegal practice of not paying a salary, a sponsor cannot sell off an employee to a third party agent. That third party agent is likewise prohibited by law from then hiring out a worker under somebody else’s sponsorship.

The new employer has also broken the law by taking in a worker who is not under her sponsorship. Beevi says she is still under the sponsorship of her first sponsor.

Beevi has complained to the Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA), which has filed a petition on her behalf to the Indian Embassy in Riyadh. (via Housemaids bought, sold like chattels | ArabNews).

Welcome to the party

But for Pakistanis the story has been different.

Brought up on a history that glorified Mohammed Bin Qasim, Pakistan’s official history hitched itself to Muslim ‘invaders’ and ‘conquerors’ of ‘idol-worshiping’ India. Even invoked on cricket fields, the Mohammed Bin Qasim narrative gained further strength in Pakistan with the Oil Boom in the Middle East.

From 1975-2005, as India slowly and inexorably pulled away and ahead of Pakistan, this narrative started sounding rather tinny. Further, the plateau and decline of the Oil Boom in the Middle East, diluted the power of this narrative.

What of Pakistani perception of treatment of Pakistanis by the Saudis?

Not very complimentary if this report is anything to go by.

RAWALPINDI: Airport Security Force personnel at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport allegedly entered into an altercation with the military attaché of the Saudi embassy on Thursday, after he refused to cooperate during security checks and abused Pakistan and called Pakistani officials his “servants”.

According to officials from the ASF, Colonel Sukhari, who was meant to fly out to Riyadh, refused to get a routine body check and started quarrelling with the security personnel at the airport.

The Saudi embassy official became abusive and attacked the ASF officials, say eye witnesses. He also abused Pakistanis in general and called them “servant class,” said eyewitnesses.

An official from the Airport Police said the Saudi official started the fight by slapping an ASF official, identified as Idrees. (via Refusing to cooperate: ‘ASF men rough up Saudi embassy official’ – The Express Tribune).

Not surprising this ‘official’ history attracts sarcasm and derision in Pakistan.

For instance this tweet.

https://twitter.com/majorlyprofound/status/208440711551524864


Oil was not well in Hyderabad

October 27, 2011 5 comments

Middle East oil riches moved Indians Muslims also towards ‘purer’ Islam.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy - time.com). Click for larger image.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy - time.com). Click for larger image.

Growing up in Hyderabad

A burkha (hijab) in Hyderabad (earlier capital of the Nizam State; India’s largest non-British city; with 40% Muslim population) was a rare sight till the early 70’s. From mid-70s, burkha (hijab) usage started gathering steam. Used to modern Western discourse based on Islamic demonization, it may appear far-fetched, but the Hyderabadi Muslim of 1960’s was more ‘modern’ and ‘liberal’ than today’s ‘Hindu’ – a development with many nuances and qualifications.

If one dusts a few Urdu periodicals from more than a century ago, several episodes of women’s rights movement can be found having roots right here in Hyderabad.

A debate on women’s liberation was raging in Hyderabad in the 1880s, reveals noted scholar on Islamic affairs Anwar Moazzam. The first Urdu journal on women, ‘Mu‘allimi-Niswan,’ published from Hyderabad, had initiated a heated discussion on the subject which was followed by an agitation on the issues of pardah (veil) and rights for Muslim women. There were several voices raised against the practise of pardah. The other magazines that carried forward the debate in the early decades of the 20th century were ‘Tahzib-i-Niswan’ and ‘Ismat.’

“But no systematic study has been taken up on this subject due to lack of access to the periodical data. There are several other insights available in this source (Urdu periodicals) in the Indian cultural tradition,” he remarked.

Moazzam, former head of the department of Islamic Studies at Osmania University, said that while he was working on the preparation of catalogues on Urdu books he found that journals in Urdu have never been researched for political, social and cultural issues.

Giving background of the Urdu Documentation Centre (UDC) project, he said it began in 2002 with sponsorship from a consortium of US universities led by the University of Chicago under the leadership of its bibliographer James Nye. The cataloguing work was taken up first at the Sundaryya Vignana Kendram and then at the State Central (Asafia) Library. (Women’s lib was hot topic in city in 1880s).

Oil wealth

After the 1973 Oil Embargo, the oil riches, the glitzy infrastructure boom of the Middle East, had a profound effect in Indian Muslims. The new found power by the Islamic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity.

For the general Indian, the Middle East was the answer to the slow Indian economy. In an economy of shortages, an over-valued Indian currency, the Dubai allure was irresistible. It was the passport to wealth and abundance.

It took another 10-15 years for Indians to discover the underbelly of Dubai. To an average Indian, the prospect of slow career growth in Dubai, limited growth opportunities, the discrimination between the Western expatriates and Indians (and others) had a telling – and chilling effect. The Indian-Muslim, expecting a warm welcome in sandy climes, found a sneer instead.

Low RPM engine

As the Indian economy slowly started revving up in the 1980′s – starting with consumer electronics and auto-sector de-licensing, Indians found a new modus vivendi with Dubai and himself. The nineties saw this trend only become more pronounced. The Arab ‘sheikh’ marrying poor girls from Hyderabad peaked during this period.

In the last 10 years, as Saudi debt ballooned, Dubai’s problems also became apparent. Just as it was apparent, and Quicktake pointed nearly 3 years ago, that wheels are coming off Dubai. Most oil producing countries, are now living at the edge.

Kaal-chakra

The Indian Muslim in the meantime, has also come a full circle.

The colonial-era myth of ‘Muslims were the erstwhile rulers of India’, has weakened. The few ideological acolytes of Jinnah in India, have wilted in the face of a imploding Pakistan. To this combination, add an anti-Islamic West and declining Middle East. This has forced Deoband to admit that

for Muslims, there is no better country than India, no country in which Muslims are doing as well as they are doing in India. Our complaints, our objections, our problems exist, and we will continue to fight our fight for justice, but in other countries the situation is much worse.

For most Indian Muslims, the Middle East sheen, by this time, has worn off. Increasing incomes in India and stagnant incomes in the Middle East- and the circle is complete.

India’s Partition – Unknown Aspects

September 28, 2011 3 comments

There is some weight to the argument that even ‘Hindus’ wanted Pakistan.

A cartoon in the Amrita Bazar Patrika published in May 1947, graphically captured the doubts and confusion in people's minds.5 Titled, ‘Who is Right?’ it showed four key public and political figures, H. S. Suhrawardy, Shyamaprasad Mookerjee (the leader of the Hindu Mahasabha), M. A. Jinnah and M. K. Gandhi each with a placard with their supposed propositions. Thus Suhrawardy holds ‘United Bengal in Divided India’, Mookerjee ‘Divided Bengal in United India’, Jinnah ‘Divided Bengal in Divided India’ and Gandhi holds up a sign with ‘United Bengal in United India’ (Cartoon Source - journals.cambridge.org. Attribution - Figure 1. ‘Who Is Right?’Source: Cartoon in the Hindustan Standard, 17 May 1947, 5.). Click for larger image.

A cartoon in the Amrita Bazar Patrika published in May 1947, graphically captured the doubts and confusion in people's minds.5 Titled, ‘Who is Right?’ it showed four key public and political figures, H. S. Suhrawardy, Shyamaprasad Mookerjee (the leader of the Hindu Mahasabha), M. A. Jinnah and M. K. Gandhi each with a placard with their supposed propositions. Thus Suhrawardy holds ‘United Bengal in Divided India’, Mookerjee ‘Divided Bengal in United India’, Jinnah ‘Divided Bengal in Divided India’ and Gandhi holds up a sign with ‘United Bengal in United India’ (Cartoon Source - journals.cambridge.org. Attribution - Figure 1. ‘Who Is Right?’Source: Cartoon in the Hindustan Standard, 17 May 1947, 5.). Click for larger image.

Caught between a neo-colonial narrative jointly crafted by the British and Congress Governments in India, events have a way of being losing context and substance. Jinnah as the man behind partition, is a story that is only partly true.

Three interesting incidents in that crucial period make for a counter-balance to the Jinnah-as-the-villain story that is made out.

The Gallup Poll

Over a period of at least 50 years, successive British bureaucrats and propagandists sold India the story that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together.

On April 23, 1947, the ‘Amrita Bazar Patrika’ featured results of a poll where it had asked if Bengali Hindus wanted a “separate homeland”. An overwhelming 98.3% Bengalis voted in favour, and 0.6% voted against the division of the province. On being asked about this poll, both Dutta Gupta and Singha express concern and suspicion about this poll and many other public discourses that came to conclusions that completed neglected the voice of Hindus living in East Bengal. (via ‘We can only carry India in our hearts’ – Times Of India).

These surveys, were engineered by the Gallup Organization, a leading opinion-polling agency, which controlled India from UK. There was a large body of opinion and support for Muslim autonomy in Muslim majority areas – and ‘Hindu’ support for a Muslim Homeland was in this context. Also, must be the remembered that in polls like this, the question is more important than the answer.

And the reason for the result of this poll, was the questionnaire.

Lala Lajpat Rai asked for Pakistan

Another significant votary for Muslim autonomy in Muslim-majority areas was Lala Lajpat Rai – whose ideas are being projected as support for Pakistanand Partition of India.

(Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 4th May 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

(Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 4th May 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

The ‘innocent’ Indian Muslim

Just like ‘Hindu’ support for Pakistan is being twisted out of context, it is equally true of ‘Muslim’ support for Pakistan.

For another, we forget that Indian Muslims from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan did not vote for Pakistan or Jinnah.

It was a small minority, of less than 5 lakhs who voted for the Muslim League, carefully selected by the British, which was designated as representative of Muslim interests, that voted for Pakistan. From the nearly 10 crore Muslims. A fact we would do well to remember.

Indian Muslims did not chose the Muslim League. British policy in India made it seem that Indian Muslims had chosen the Muslim League. Of the nearly 10 crore Muslims, less than 5 lakhs voted for the Muslim League. Jinnah’s claim and bravado sprang from the backing of half a per cent of India’s Muslim Population.

Popular leaders like Sheikh Abdullah of Kashmir or the Deoband Seminary rejected emphatically Jinnah and his Pakistan theory. The ordinary Muslim had no truck with Jinnah or Pakistan. Meanwhile, Sachar Committee report notwithstanding, the ‘ordinary’ Muslim before Independence was behind the general population – and remains so.


Hindu Muslim Bhai-Bhai – End of an Era

September 1, 2011 1 comment

Urbane, educated, certain local and foreign elements served the British, Pakistani leaders, Indian princes, appealed to Hindus, Muslims using religion – and gained everywhere. But in each case, India lost.

Bhishma on the Bed of Arrows (image source and courtesy - http://www.harekrsna.com). Click for larger image.

Bhishma on the Bed of Arrows (image source and courtesy - http://www.harekrsna.com). Click for larger image.

My grateful  acknowledgments are due to His Highness the Nizam and His  Highness the ruler of Mysore for their princely donations. The  Nizam is a Mahomedan prince. Any contribution coming from him in aid of a work like the Mahabharata could not but  indicate His Highness’s enlightened sympathy for literature in  general, irrespective of the nation or the creed which that  literature represents.  As an administrator, Sir Asman Jah promises to rival the  fame of Sir Salar Jung. So long also as an officer like  Nawab Sayyed Ali Bilgrami is about the person of His Highness … (from the foreword of The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (Anusasana Parva) Translated into English prose Published and distributed by Pratapa Chandra Ray Published 1893 by Bharata Press in Calcutta . Written in English).

What’s religion got to do with this?

Soon after the 1857 Anglo-Indian War of 1857, we had the remarkable instance of the Baroda Gaikwad commissioning a ‘Basra’ pearl carpet for the prophet’s tomb at Medina, which was recently auctioned for US$5.5 million.

And here we have the case of a Muslim king, the Nizam of Hyderabad, who partly funded the translation and publication of the Mahabharata in English.

Coming storm

But, this was soon to change.

In 1905, Bengal was partitioned along religious lines, by Lord Curzon. West Bengal, Orissa, and Bihar on one side and the erstwhile East Bengal and Assam were divided into the other part. All India Muslim League and All India Hindu Mahasabha followed. The official logic was that Bengal was too large a province to be administered by a single governor.

An India that seemed possible and probable was brokento two pieces - and a Kashmir legacy left behind.

An India that seemed possible and probable was broken in to two pieces - and a Kashmir legacy left.

This explanation did not account for communal boundaries – and did not explain Curzon’s tour of East Bengal in February 1904, where he promised a separate zone for Muslim Bengalis.

Protests against this partition in the form of Arandhan (no food was cooked across Bengal), boycott of British goods, and Tagore suggested that Raksha Bandhan would be observed in a spirit of brotherhood between Muslims and Hindus. Lord Minto’s ‘reforms’ in 1909, was the next major step in division of India along religious lines.

Simultaneously, soon after the publication of Tarana-e-Hind (Song of India) in 1905, of the sare-jahaan-se-achcha hai-hindustan-hamaraa fame, Iqbal was sponsored by British authorities for ‘modern’ studies in Europe in 1906. In England Allama Iqbal joined with Major Syed Hassan Bilgrami, ex-Indian Medical Service, to form and promote the Muslim League in England, in 1908.

The mechanics of divide et impera

Major Syed Ali Bilgrami wrote the text for Simla deputation, headed by the Sir Sultan Muhammad (the Aga Khan), who with seventy ‘representatives’ of the Muslim community, asked the Viceroy for elections along communal lines.

The immediate cause for the Simla deputation was the matter of language. Soon after 1857, at Benares in 1867, with the expanding role of the State, a case for using Devnagari script was made. This issue simmered and in 1900, the Urdu-Nagri Resolution was notified by Sir Anthony Macdonald, Lieutenant-Governor, United Provinces, in April 1900 giving parity to Hindi as a official-language along with Urdu in UP. Muslim paranoia was watered and nurtured by the British.

By creating claims and supporting counter-claims, responding to alternate parties, the British administration created frenzy around a simple administrative issue. Pakistani historians to this day see this as “the machination of Dr. Feelan, District Inspector of Schools and Anthony Mac Donald, then Collector of Muzaffarpur, the two bitterest antagonists of Urdu”.

Major Syed Ali Bilgrami wrote the Simla address - presented to the Viceroy on October 1st, 1906, calling for separate electorates. (Image source and courtesy - storyofpakistan.com).

Major Syed Ali Bilgrami wrote the Simla address - presented to the Viceroy on October 1st, 1906, calling for communal electorates. (Image source and courtesy - storyofpakistan.com).

The rest of the story, most of us know.

Behind the man

Major Syed Hassan Bilgrami, an academic from Lucknow, was also from the same family as Sayyed Ali Bilgrami. Sayyed Ali Bilgrami was selected for employment by Salar Jung, one of the nobles in Nizam’s kingdom.

Syed Ali Bilgrami (Image source and courtesy - themuslims.in).

Syed Ali Bilgrami (Image source and courtesy - themuslims.in).

Designated as Imud ul-Mulk Bahadur, he presided over the setting up of Dairatul-Maarifil-Osmania, Hyderabad (or the Osmania Oriental Publications Bureau) in 1888. For some time, he was the tutor to the future Nizam of Hyderabad,

Connections everywhere

Sayyed Ali Bilgrami donated his own collection of books, manuscripts and texts to form a core for the Asafia State Library (1891). Of the initial nearly 24,000 volumes, nearly 16,000 were Persian, Arabic or Urdu. Some 7600 were in English and other European languages. There was, of course, no place for any books in Hindi, Telugu, Sanskrit, Marathi, Kannada – which was the languages used by more than 95% of the Nizam Kingdom’s population.

Sayyed Ali Bilgrami studied at Kolkatta where he also learned Sanskrit – and later translated the Atharva Veda. That possibly explains Sayyed Ali Bilgrami links to Kisari Mohan Ganguli and the publication of Mahabharata by Pratapa Chandra Ray – and funding through the Nizam Government.

Soon after 1905, Sayyed Ali Bilgrami became an activist in affairs of Urdu and Muslim affairs. Another member of the family, active academically, was Syed Asghar Ali Bilgrami who published Ma ‘athir-i-Dakan (Hyderabad, 1925) in Urdu and another study in English, called Landmarks of the Deccan (Hyderabad, 1927).

Collaboration Chronicles

Urbane, educated, the Bilgramis served the British, Pakistan, Indian princes, appealed to Hindus, Muslims – and gained everywhere. Post-independence, some of the Bilgramis moved to Pakistan. A few members of the family chose to remain in Hyderabad, and other parts of India. Today, they can be found in the UK, Germany, UAE – and many emigrated to the US.

This translation of the Mahabharata, by Kisari Mohan Ganguli and publication by Pratapa Chandra Ray, for which one of the Bilgramis arranged funding, remains the most popular and accessible work of the last 100 years.

Below are book extracts from a rather revealing and well-researched work on British colonialism in India.

Chronicles of Collaboration. Excerpts from Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic identity: the search for Saladin  By Akbar S. Ahmed, pages 56 and 64). Click to go source at books.google.com

Chronicles of Collaboration. Excerpts from Jinnah, Pakistan and Islāmic identity: the search for Saladin By Akbar S. Ahmed, pages 56 and 64). Click to go source at books.google.com

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