No, Muslims Can’t Be Blamed For Their Plight In India; It’s The RSS

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By Ram Puniyani  

 Naseeruddin Shah, in an interview to Karawan-E-Mohabbat, expressed his anguish and anger at the killing of Subodh Kumar Singh, the police inspector. Shah’s interview brought forth the issue of insecurity particularly for the religious minorities in India.

While this did remind the nation about the direction in which India has been heading during last few years, there was an angry response to Shah’s response from intolerant sections of society who left no stones unturned in calling him names and in humiliating him in social media.

At the same time RSS’ mouthpiece Organiser carried an interview of Shah’s cousin, Syed Rizwan Ahmad. Ahmad is introduced as an Islamic scholar. Ahmad, in the interview, says that Muslims are unsafe only in nations where Muslims are in majority, and that in India intolerance is the birth child of Muslim incompatibility to exist peacefully with other faiths.

He goes on to blame the Indian Muslims for their plight in this country as they failed to play a proactive role in cases like Shah Bano and Kashmiri Pundits. It is due to this that Hindus have started feeling that they are getting a raw deal. According to him, intolerance is the pseudo narrative of pseudo secular and intolerant Muslims.

As far as Muslims and other religious minorities are concerned, it’s good to introspect about their plight. But, we need to understand the broad political global phenomenon where Muslims are being blamed for their own plight? Can we present Hindus as a uniform community pitted against the uniform Muslim community? Globally, it is true that the Muslim majority countries in west Asia are witnessing more civil wars and insecurity.

Let’s also note here that while from the Indian side, we blame Pakistan for the acts of terror, the number of deaths of innocent civilians is much higher in Pakistan than in India, and let’s not forget Pakistan lost its Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a terror attack.

Again, we see the civil wars, wars and terror attacks have been more prevalent in oil rich zones. The coming up of Al Qaeda and Taliban among other terror groups in the region began the acts of terror and violence there. Has this been due to Islam? Why was this phenomenon not there during Cold War era or prior to that?

This violence in west Asia has been promoted primarily by the American policy of controlling oil wealth. In the wake of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, America was not able to counter it by sending its own army as the American army was writhing under the breakdown of its morale due to the humiliating defeat in Vietnam War. The US, by clever machinations, started promoting fundamentalist groups in these regions, they promoted the brainwashing of the Muslim youth in a few madrassas in Pakistan and richly funded ($ 8,000 mn) and heavily armed (7,000 tons of armaments, including latest weapons) these groups which came up through this process. This sowed the seeds of violence, terrorism and led to insecurity in the region.

Mahmood Mamdani’s book ‘Good Muslim-Bad Muslim’ gives the accurate account of the process which was employed by the super power to prop up terrorist groups. To add salt to the wounds, after the 9/11 2001 twin-tower attack, the American media popularised the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’ and laid the foundation of global Islamophobia. The wealth of the Muslim majority countries, oil, became its biggest handicap!

Islam came to India with Arab traders and later many embraced it due to various reasons, least of which was the need to escape the tyranny of the caste system. One recalls that Muslim kings like Akbar promoted inter-religious interaction and even the most demonised Aurangzeb’s top officers were Hindus.

In India, the impression being created is that Muslims are intolerant, the fact that during the medieval period, Hindu-Muslim interactions created the Ganga-Jumna tehzeeb, well-presented in Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Discovery of India’ and beautifully captured in the Shyam Bengal’s immortal serial ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’, based on this book.

During the freedom movement, the majority of the Muslims were with the Indian National Congress and were equal partners within the freedom movement. This gets well reflected in the Muslim freedom fighters like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khan Abul Gaffar Khan, and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai among others. Partition was the British Empire’s clever move to weaken India and to have a subservient state in south Asia in the form of Pakistan.

The communal poison was spread here by communal organisations, like the Muslim League, the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS. Sardar Patel goes to the extent of saying that it is due to the communal poison spread by the RSS, that the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered. The rising communal violence and the later arrest of innocent Muslim youths on the pretext of committing acts of terror, with the modern acts of lynching’s in the name of cow-beef have created massive insecurity within the Muslim community. We can see a correlation between rising insecurity and the rise in ghettoisation, fundamentalism and in the use of burqas.

It is nobody’s case that Muslims have also committed their fair share of mistakes. The section of Muslim community which stood to oppose the Supreme Court’s verdict on Shah Bano pushed the whole community back. The section of the leadership highlighting the Babri mosque demolition has also not been unfavourable for a large section of the community.

There is no doubt that the Babri Mosque issue has been doctored to show that it was the birthplace of Lord Ram. However, the Muslim leadership should focus more on the issues related to livelihood than these identity issues. The Muslim leadership needs to focus on issues of equity.

Now, into this debate wades in this so-called Islamic scholar who is trying to blame the Muslims themselves for their plight. Nothing can be farther from the truth for it is akin to blaming the victim for the crime!

Mahmood Mamdani’s book ‘Good Muslim-Bad Muslim’ gives the accurate account of the process which was employed by the super power to prop up terrorist groups. To add salt to the wounds, after the 9/11 2001 twin-tower attack, the American media popularised the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’ and laid the foundation of global Islamophobia. The wealth of the Muslim majority countries, oil, became its biggest handicap!

Islam came to India with Arab traders and later many embraced it due to various reasons, least of which was the need to escape the tyranny of the caste system. One recalls that Muslim kings like Akbar promoted inter-religious interaction and even the most demonised Aurangzeb’s top officers were Hindus.

In India, the impression being created is that Muslims are intolerant, the fact that during the medieval period, Hindu-Muslim interactions created the Ganga-Jumna tehzeeb, well-presented in Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Discovery of India’ and beautifully captured in the Shyam Bengal’s immortal serial ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’, based on this book.

During the freedom movement, the majority of the Muslims were with the Indian National Congress and were equal partners within the freedom movement. This gets well reflected in the Muslim freedom fighters like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khan Abul Gaffar Khan, and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai among others. Partition was the British Empire’s clever move to weaken India and to have a subservient state in south Asia in the form of Pakistan.

The communal poison was spread here by communal organisations, like the Muslim League, the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS. Sardar Patel goes to the extent of saying that it is due to the communal poison spread by the RSS, that the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered. The rising communal violence and the later arrest of innocent Muslim youths on the pretext of committing acts of terror, with the modern acts of lynching’s in the name of cow-beef have created massive insecurity within the Muslim community. We can see a correlation between rising insecurity and the rise in ghettoisation, fundamentalism and in the use of burqas.

It is nobody’s case that Muslims have also committed their fair share of mistakes. The section of Muslim community which stood to oppose the Supreme Court’s verdict on Shah Bano pushed the whole community back. The section of the leadership highlighting the Babri mosque demolition has also not been unfavourable for a large section of the community.

There is no doubt that the Babri Mosque issue has been doctored to show that it was the birthplace of Lord Ram. However, the Muslim leadership should focus more on the issues related to livelihood than these identity issues. The Muslim leadership needs to focus on issues of equity.

Now, into this debate wades in this so-called Islamic scholar who is trying to blame the Muslims themselves for their plight. Nothing can be farther from the truth for it is akin to blaming the victim for the crime!

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