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Indian Muslim

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    By Ram Puniyani,

    Identity issues are at the fore in current times. Those basing their politics on the identity issues have lot of assertions about who the ‘others’ are. There is a constant ongoing attempt to assimilate them in the umbrella of their religion and culture. Current times, where religious nationalism dominates, the scene is that amongst all our multiple identities, the religious one is kept at the fore. In this attempt one recalls that it was Murli Manohar Joshi of RSS-BJP who coined the term Ahmadiya Hindus for Muslims and Christi Hindu for the Christians. Not only this is meant to assimilate the other religious minorities, RSS has also been saying that Sikhism is just a sect of Hinduism not a religion by itself. There are multiple assertions at different times; the goal is to somehow label all the people under the umbrella of Hinduism, to label most as Hindus, either on the ground of religion or culture. Sometimes Muslims are told that their ancestors were Hindus and so what has changed is just the mode of worship.

    On the same pattern the Goan Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is the latest one in this direction of appropriation of the ‘other’. In an interview he put forward his take on the issue of culture of Goan Catholics. Talking to the New York Times India blog (06, Sept 2013) he said that Catholics in Goa are culturally Hindu and that India is a Hindu nation in cultural sense.

    What is this Hindu culture Parrikar is talking about? Let us understand there is no uniform Hindu culture. Amongst Hindus the cultural variations are vast; they are affected by the region, the area in which they live, caste and economic status amongst other things. The hall mark of the society is that culture is basically diverse and most affected by region, so culture generally is not labeled with religious prefix. Diversity is the core of culture of the society. Parikkar does say that culture of a Goan Catholic is different from the one in Brazil. Let’s remind him that culture of Catholics in every country is different. Within the same country it is again not uniform. To say that there is something like Hindu culture out there is an attempt to hegemonize, to impose some sort of homogeneity on something whose life breath is diversity.

    There have been the theorists who argued that as different cultures meet they will merge into uniformity, what is popularly called as the ‘melting pot’ model. This is not what the society has seen. What has been observed is the ‘mosaic model’ or a ‘salad bawl’ model, where different shades, colors remain and add to the beauty of the whole. In cultural arena a dynamic interaction and some synthesis does take place while the different shades also continue to add their essence to the whole. There are many Hindus who will visit the Dargah of a Peer or Sufi saint and many Muslims who follow the Hindu saints of medieval times. Many a time’s food habits also become important ingredient of culture. While currently it is projected that eating beef is against Hindu practices there have been large number of Hindu communities eating beef. At personal level one recently came across a Hindu family on a tour to Europe, which was longing to relish beef. The tour operators had organized a vegetarian- non beef meal for the Indian tourists. This family made their own arrangement to eat beef somehow. Anthropological survey had identified large number of Hindu communities consuming beef. Now how will Parikkar handle the fact that Goan Catholics consume beef as well as pork, will he call it a ‘Hindu culture’? Currently cow is one of the major tool-symbol of Parrikar brand of politics, the one of Hindutva. How will Parrikar engage with Catholics eating beef?

    Catholics of Goa may not have much in common with Catholics of other countries but that does not make them part of ‘Hindu culture’, if at all such a category can be coined. The core point is cultures cannot be restricted to religious categories. There are nearly 56 Muslim majority countries in the World, and their culture is as diverse as the cultural diversity within India. There is a vast range. Hinduism has been mostly restricted to India, there are Hindu communities in different parts of the World to be sure, but culturally they are as diverse as any other religious community.

    So why is RSS swayamsevak Parikkar trying to appropriate the Catholics into Hindu cultural fold? The idea is that RSS-Parrikar politics is founded on the premise that India is a Hindu nation. So something Hindu has to be tagged on to other religious communities to claim their support at electoral level. There is a complex policy towards minorities as far as RSS progeny is concerned. At electoral level their support has to be won over, so some sort of Hindu label is to be put on them. There is also an attempt to impose Hindu norms on them, so some times they are called Ahmadiya Hindus or Christi Hindus. This gives RSS politics a scope to force them to adopt Hindu deities over a period of time. At the level of Governance and social politics, the idea is to subjugate them through violence and marginalization. We have seen enough propaganda-blames on Christians and Muslims, blames about conversion, beef eating, loyalty to other nations etc., the propaganda which is the base of ‘Hate other’ ideology, and communal violence. The burning alive of Pastors, rape of nuns, burning of Churches, violence against Muslims and Christians has been stalking the country. At the level of Governance, in the political arena the Parrikar parivar agenda is to oppose affirmative action for religious minorities or even to the socially disadvantaged people.

    Indian Constitution and norms of United Nations do recognize and value the diversity of culture of people. The sectarian political tendencies all over, Parrikar included, begin with labeling them in their own hegemonic version of culture and politics and then go on to impose the same on ‘others’. The cleverness and shrewd maneuvers don’t end here. Simultaneously they can go on with anti minority propaganda and their marginalization in the social-economic terrain.

    (Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. He is involved with human rights activities from last two decades.He is associated with various secular and democratic initiatives like All India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism.)

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: The Aligarh Muslim University Teachers’ Association (AMUTA) has expressed deep concern over the prevailing communal discord in Western Uttar Pradesh, particularly in Muzaffarnagar and its surrounding areas where continued communal violence has claimed more than 50 lives so far.

    AMUTA Secretary, Dr. Aftab Alam said that the situation in the area is still out of control. People have been forced to live in the relief camps in a large number and migration continues to take place in search of safety and security.

    Dr. Alam said that AMUTA also criticized the administration for its failure to act in a timely manner to prevent the violence. It condemned the attack on students of Darul Uloom Deoband in trains while they were going to Deoband via Muzaffarnagar. It said that the administration allowed tension simmering leading to a large scale communal riot. It felt that strong preventive measures by the administration would have prevented the situation from escalating to this level. The administration also failed to respond swiftly when the news of communal violence broke out and remained a mute spectator.

    The AMUTA in a resolution said that the communal violence was a deliberate attempt to create tension in the State ahead of 2014 parliamentary elections in order to polarize voters on communal lines and gain mileage.

    AMUTA demanded urgent and strict measures to bring the situation under control and take stern action against the officials who miserably failed to control the violence. It demanded a high level time bound enquiry by a joint team of the National Human Rights Commission and National Commission of Minorities. AMUTA called upon the state government to bring to book all involved in killing and arson and establish a fast track court to try and punish the guilty. It also demanded deployment of paramilitary forces in the minority concentrated areas of the affected region to ensure security and safe return of those who had to flee from their villages. It urged the administration to moot an effective rehabilitation plan for those living in the relief camps.

    AMUTA urged all political parties not to play politics over the dead bodies in this time of crisis and avoid making statements which may further flare up the situation.

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  • 09/12/13--01:10: Beginning of the End of SP
  • By Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam,

    When small things start casting long shadows, it is time for the sun to set. Small time goondas in UP have started casting giant shadows and announcing the beginning of the end of Samajwadi rule in the next assembly poll. For that party, it is going to be a long night of political wilderness.

    In UP it is a dramatic role reversal. The short arm of goondas has lengthened, and the proverbially long arm of the law that could stretch beyond international borders to grab absconding criminals by the scruff of their necks has shrunk to the size of a toddler’s arms. Law has become a pygmy and law breakers have turned into giants in the killing fields of UP.

    Human blood has become cheap once again, to be spilled at will. The communal conflict of Muzaffarnagar and adjoining villages is symptomatic of that malaise. At the last official count the death toll was 38, but independent estimates put it at 50.

    Whatever the immediate reason, a lot of hate creation had been going on for the last several weeks by the same gang that prides itself on the successful “Gujarat laboratory experiment” of 2002. Right at the time the first killings started a Dharma Sansad was going on in the town with usual fire-spitting against Islam and Muslims. A Dharma Sansad (literally, religious parliament) is VHP alternative to Indian parliament.

    Knowing the mischief potential of VHP-RSS-Bajrang Dal-BJP, the UP government had foiled their plan for a “Chaurasi Kosi Parikarma”, a march through several districts surrounding Ayodhya, but for some reason, best known to the administration, it allowed the Sansad at Muzaffarnagar. To compound that, the administration also allowed a Jat conclave.

    The administrative lapse which, in fact is a sign of weak political will, has been evident right from the time Akhilesh Yadav took up the reigns of power. In UP, the current political joke is that there are three and a half chief ministers in the state. Mulayam Singh Yadav and his two brothers make three CMs and Akhilesh is half of a CM.

    The result has been there for all to see. Ulema of Deoband have rightly observed that even if the trigger incident of the present round of killings in Muzaffarnagar had not happened, the huge manslaughter would have occurred nonetheless. They argue that the communal mobilisation and hate campaign would have had the same result.

    Interestingly, this is what the British High Commission and European Union enquiry commissions on Gujarat 2002 had said about the pogrom. The massacres would have happened, Godhra or no Godhra. There is more Gujarat connection here than meets the eye. One of them is Amit Shah. Another is VHP-RSS.

    Since 1947, RSS has marked Western UP for ethnic cleansing. At every point they try to implement the scheme. To their credit, people in Muzaffarnagar area have not been communal. Even in 1947 they were not. Jats were Jats, and even Muslim Jats observe gotra and identify themselves as such. Communalising them has been difficult for the mischief-makers.

    However, once a Jat is angry he is difficult to restrain.

    The Muzaffarnagar tragedy should be seen in the background of the general communal atmosphere in UP where, according to the media, more than 50 communal riots have occurred during Akhilesh Yadav’s rule. According to a recent lecture at Observation Foundation 120 riots, big and small, have happened during this period. By contrast, no riot was allowed during Mayawati’s rule. It is clear whose rule the minorities and other weaker groups would prefer.

    In India it is common knowledge that no riot can last more than a few hours if the chief minister of the state does not like it. Mulayam Singh Yadav has been lenient with the likes of Mahant Aditya Nath and Raja Bhaiya for too long. He has been secretly hobnobbing with men like Ashok Singhal. If you sow such wind you will reap the whirlwind.

    For the moment, it is time for the SP government to focus on limiting and dousing the fire. Treatment of the injured, compensation for the dead and wounded and property destroyed, relief and rehabilitation, have to go hand in hand.

    (Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam Chairman Institute of Objective Studies.)

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Congress leader Manish Tewari Thursday termed the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh as "unfortunate" and blamed the Samajwadi Party government for the situation in the state.

    "Whatever has happened is very sad and unfortunate. This is the responsibility of the state government," Tewari told reporters here.

    He said the biggest challenge now was to bring back normalcy in the affected areas.

    "People must be brought to book. It is not necessary to politicise every issue," he said.

    Muzaffarnagar, which witnessed communal riots in which 38 people were killed, was largely calm Wednesday.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : Over 10,000 preventive arrests have taken place following the communal violence in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district which was calm for the third consecutive day Thursday, officials said.

    Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar said arrests were on and so far over 10,000 preventive arrests had been made till Wednesday.

    As many as 2,000 licensed arms have been seized by the district administration and their licences cancelled.

    "Things are looking up now and life is getting back to normal and no fresh case of violence has been reported," Kumar said.

    Police officials are carrying out door-to-door checking to identify "any remnants of mobs" and have since confiscated a large amount of ammunition, including 41 cartridges of AK-47.

    Muzaffarnagar district witnessed communal violence last weekend that left 38 people dead and compelled the authorities to call in the army.

    With calm prevailing for the third consecutive day in Uttar Pradesh's violence-hit Muzaffarnagar district, authorities moved on to identifying the victims, their lost property and began work on rehabilitation.

    Officials told IANS that till now their priority was to contain the communal violence and the situation thereafter. But now their focus has shifted to ensuring proper and adequate supply of essential items, reopening of educational institutions and identifying the victims.

    "The first half of the week has gone in controlling the violence, we are now focused on bringing life back to normal and the process of identifying people affected by the riots -- deaths, injuries, and loss to property be it home or commercial establishments," an official said.

    Home Secretary Kamal Saxena said 10 shelter camps for the displaced in the riots have been set up in which roughly 10,000 people have taken refuge. The relaxation in curfew has also taken place, he added.

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  • 09/12/13--02:33: In quest for commonalities
  • Perhaps for the first time since 9/11, the day passed off without many people remembering it, mainly because media was busy into several more pertaining issues, Muzaffarnagar riots, verdict in Delhi gang rape to BJP’s PM hopeful back home while international media is spiraled into Syria crisis. This is an old article that I wrote in 2011 on the decadal anniversary of 9/11, that originally appeared in HardNews . A slightly edited version is reproduced here:

    By M Reyaz,,

    I still remember 9/11 very vividly for we (I and my younger siblings) were all waiting for this day to arrive for weeks. No, don’t take me wrong, I had no inkling that day would become unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

    Incidentally that was the day; we brothers got our first desktop at home after weeks of persuasions to our father about the importance of computers. We were excited but it was taking too long to assemble its different peripherals. I got impatient and came to other room and switched on the television. To my (and the world’s) horror, we saw visuals of twin towers of the World Trade Centre being hit by two hijacked planes and they crumbling like a pack of cards.

    The rest is history. But the last decade is a living history. We very much lived this history. I was 15 when the incident happened, a high school student. I am research fellow and a media professional now. In many ways, the event of 9/11, its aftermath; as many events before and after it, was the raison d'être for me, son of a middle class trader to choose this path.

    Explaining in detail what shaped my decision here is unnecessary and uncalled for.

    Muslims (and the world at large) are still trying to grapple with the situation and trying to come to terms with the changing realities of the world. In academic circle if one theory and name that did most rounds in the last decade was Samuel Huntington and his theory of the ‘Clash of civilizations’. Its different matter that the argument had equal number of people who refuted it or those who agreed that the ‘fault lines between civilizations’ are indeed ‘the battle lines of the future’.

    Its different matter though that geo-politics, economics and ‘interest’ of nations (often short sighted) determine these fault lines in reality.

    The Islamophobia has certainly taken deep roots and will not cease in a day. A certain Muhammad who was a firefighter at the Ground Zero and died saving people, was initially thought to be a ‘traitor’ and terrorist because he was Muslim and was missing. His mother says it’s not easy for Muslims to live in the West even a decade later. Ten years down the line have things changed? When “modern day crusader” Anders Behring Breivik bombed and opened fire and killed his fellow citizens in Norway to register his protest against the transformation of Europe into “Eurabia,” it was initially thought to be the handiwork of “global jihad.” In fact experts elaborated on the plan of these ‘jihadists’ and the reason behind the attack.

    Back home, there have been cases where attacks initially thought to be carried out by ‘Muslim outfits’ are now linked to ‘Hindu’ extremists.

    It is instances like these that make Muslims feel ‘insecure’ and the apprehension of being roughed up for being ‘Muslim’ and take refuge in ‘conspiracy theory’. Non-Muslims, on the other hand, believe that Muslims are under a ‘siege’.

    But is only history and wrongdoings or misjudgments of ‘others’ responsible for the fate of the Muslims? The mess in Afghanistan is the handiwork of USA, no doubt. But does it absolve Pakistan and its rulers and most importantly the warlords of Afghanistan of their faults and petty politics.

    Muslims in India love to point out the ‘biases’ in Indian media against them, especially when reporting on terror. But the table is turned upside down on reporting of say Norway episode or the news of ‘Hindutva’ attacks are seen in no-better taste in Urdu dailies or in handful of English (often English translations of Urdu write-ups in form and substance) periodicals.

    The moment words like terror or jihad come, Muslims withdraw to shell and start quoting Quran to say how a “true” Muslims cannot be a terrorist. They will instantly point to Zionist, RSS, the likes of Pragya Thakur and Colonel Purohit.

    But why can’t Muslims accept that there can be fringe lunatic groups or individuals among other communities, there can be handful of black sheep among us as well. People inspired by certain ideology, desperation, sense of injustice, poverty or certain permutations of these.

    A small incident of a teacher joking about names or dresses of Muslims in Jamia Millia Islamia was blown out of proportion. It’s a different matter that most of his former students swear by his name and agree that he was outspoken and rabid at times, but has “no communal intentions.” In fact some students blamed the ‘internal politics’of the department for the mess.

    Lessons have certainly been learnt. Western academics introduced more and more courses and researches on “Muslims in the West.” Studies on the states of Muslims, Integration Council and the PM’s 15 points Programme are some of the measures taken by our government.

    Dr Manmohan Singh too wants to “identify and address the causes of radicalisation of some of our youth” for their larger integration. However, feelings of ‘injustices’ and being left behind in this surge of globalization, a sense of alienation and desperation are still very high.

    I am very different from my brother who is an entrepreneur or my father, and so am I from several other fellow Muslims. The differences are even deeper with non-Muslims. But it was never as simple for I would often identify more with a Hindu Indian than say an Arab Muslim.

    I had this realisation twice once when I was in Pakistan and then again when I was in Germany.

    People have at least started talking, and hopefully things will only improve from here. Differences are bound to be there. But there should be an urge to “come to common terms as between us and you” (as taught in Quran) for peaceful coexistence and not just look towards ‘others’ as conflicting parties – to clash with.

    A decade is long time but it is still too early for me to decide if my decisions have been right but my quest for “commonalities” will continue…

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The Supreme Court Thursday issued notice to the central and Uttar Pradesh governments on two petitions seeking a CBI probe into the Muzaffarnagar clashes that left 38 dead and for providing relief to victims.

    A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notice on two petitions -- one by Mohammad Haroon and eight other residents of Muzaffarnagar and the other by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).

    The court made it clear that it was not commenting on the plea to direct the central government to discharge its obligations under article 355 of the constitution which is linked to President's Rule.

    "We are not saying anything on article 355," said Sathasivam.

    Failure to act in accordance with the direction of the central government under article 355 could invite the dismissal of the state government and imposition of President's Rule.

    The court also directed the central and Uttar Pradesh governments to inform it about the steps taken to assist the people stranded in Muzaffarnagar without food, water and shelter.

    It sought details on further steps being contemplated by the central and state governments to mitigate the suffering of the riot victims.

    The court also sought details on the opening of proper relief camps and providing psychological help to the victims.

    It kept open the prayer seeking a high-power inquiry committee headed by a retired apex court judge of "reputation and integrity" to inquire into the violence.

    Appearing for Haroon, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, senior counsel Gopal Subramanium told the court the incidents leading to the communal violence were taking place in the state for nearly a year.

    Things were building in Muzaffarnagar since July and there were intelligence reports but nothing was done to address the situation, he contended.

    "According to you, in such a situation, the role of the government of India is much more," Chief Justice Sathasivam said, as Subramanium sought lay equal blame on the central government.

    "Every person under the sun was contacted. Prime minister, secretary, ministry of home affairs and the (Uttar Pradesh) governor and there was no response," Subramanium told the court.

    SCBA president M.N. Krishnamani pressed for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Muzaffarnagar violence.

    Resisting the prayers for a CBI probe and direction under article 355 of the constitution, senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, urged the court that it should limit its notice in respect of the prayers seeking relief for the victims and stranded people.

    The court directed the matter to be listed for Sep 16.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : Four children and a woman were killed in a house collapse in Uttar Pradesh, police said Thursday.

    The mud house of farmer Amzad collapsed late Wednesday in Manmau village of Kaushambi district, 173 km from here, police said.

    Sufiya, 10, Nisha, 8, Ruby, 5, Dilfan, 4, and Shanno, 39, were buried under the debris, district police officials told IANS.

    Amzad and Shabina, a relative of the family, were injured, police said.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : Union Civil Aviation Minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Ajit Singh Thursday alleged that in his greed for votes, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had thrown Muzaffarnagar and neighbouring areas into communal strife.

    Saying that the Akhilesh Yadav-led state government had completely failed in protecting its people, Ajit Singh said Mulayam Singh Yadav was "ruining the area" by polarising people, he told a TV channel.

    "Mulayam Singh Yadav is ruining the entire western UP for his political gains by polarising the area but he does not understand that he stands exposed before the people," the RLD leader said.

    He also said Yadav should realise that his greed for votes would end up ruining the entire western Uttar Pradesh, which was not in the interest of any party.

    Accusing Mulayam of following very communal and polarising brand of politics, Ajit Singh feared the moves by the SP chief could end up helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reap a windfall in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

    "No body can ignore the history that BJP benefits whenever there is polarisation," he said.

    Ajit Singh, member of parliament from Baghpat in neighbouring Muzaffarnagar was Thursday prevented from going to his constituency. His motorcade was stopped at the Loni gate on the UP-Delhi border.

    UP police officials curtly told the minister that in wake of the ground situation in the area, he could not be allowed to proceed any further. Angry supporters and RLD activists accompanying Ajit Singh raised anti-government slogans and demanded that their leader be allowed to go to the violence-hit areas.

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    By IANS,

    Agra : The Samajwadi Party "deeply regrets" the violence in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh that has left 38 people dead, a party leader said Thursday.

    "The party leadership is deeply moved and regrets the tragic incidents in Muzaffarnagar," party secretary C.P. Rai told IANS after the Samajwadi Party ended a two-day national executive meeting here.

    "Our government will do everything to help the victims and bring them back to (the) mainstream," he said.

    Rai added that the Samajwadi Party had warned its members to be careful of the designs of "communal elements" in the state.

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    By TCN News,

    Boston: Americans Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) has condemned the Muzaffarnagar violence and has asked the UP government to compensate the victims and bring the culprits to justice.

    The violence has led to “hundreds of thousands Muslims have been displaced and have become refugees in their own hometowns.”

    AFMI in a statement strongly condemned the communal violence and the politicians that have stirred these tensions. “AFMI urges the Muslim leadership of India to work across party lines to bring peace and security to the region. The polarization on the basis of religious identity does not bode well for India and has the potential to hamper India's progress domestically as well as internationally,” read the statement.

    AFMI demands:

    1. The victims are adequately compensated for loss of life and property
    2. The displaced people are rehabilitated in their villages and homes
    3. The criminals are brought to justice
    4. The local party leaders responsible for flaring tensions are arrested and prosecuted.


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    Dr. Mohammad Nazrul Bari,

    Since the Godhra riots of 2002, voices ranging from Congress party members, Muslim interest groups, social activists, and print and television journalists have accused and insinuated that Modi was responsible for the violence.

    The most famous Congress byte on him was when party president Sonia Gandhi called him a 'maut ka saudagar' (Merchant of death). Last year, another byte came from Congress veteran Mani Shankar Iyer who said that Modi wasn't being demonized, but in fact was a 'Ravan'. He also termed him as “Lahu Purush” (blood man) in the wake of 2002 Gujarat riots. Congress Rajya Sabha MP, Hussain Dalwai, said “Modi is just a mouse before Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel”. Bharat Solanki, Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, decided to beat all in the abuses being hurled at Modi and termed him as “Nathuram Godse” and alleged that “under the BJP rule in Gandhi’s Gujarat not truth but lies carry more currency”. Salman Khurshid, two years back said that Muslim support to Modi in Gujarat is a result of "Stockholm syndrome...where the oppressed praise the oppressor". In fact, as the data suggest it works in favour of Modi who will continue to espouse the cause of Gujarati Asmita and portray himself as a lone gladiator taking on the baddies for Congress.

    Narendra Modi

    The Congress party, nonetheless, has lot of ammunition in their arms if they focus on the dark side of Gujarat's development success story. The 2011 India Human Development Report found that Gujarat had one of the worst levels of hunger and malnutrition in the country and indicated a lack of basic amenities for the welfare Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe communities. The state's development story has exposed the natural urban-rural disharmony in India as farmers in the state regularly protest against land-acquisition for industrial and urban development projects. In August, 2010, over 60 villages in the Vadodara and Baruch districts held a rally protesting the acquisition of their lands under the National Highway Authority of India Act demanding a compensation package not even guaranteed to them under the law. In May, 2010, more than 5000 farmers staged on a protest march, dubbed as the 'Jal Jameen Jungle Bachao Yatra', in Bhavnagar district against the state government's industrial policies to convert farmland into industrial zones. The Government of Gujarat has displaced Sikhs from Kutch region in the name of development. On top of that, the state government detained participants and prohibited the farmers from carrying out the rally. In my opinion, the Congress party should make the urban-rural disparity in the state their prime cannon in a sustained offensive, to turn Modi's 'Development Guru' image on its head and gain some level of political traction in and outside Gujarat. Yet, only the party leadership knows why they don't make as much noise about these issues!

    In the assembly election last year, people in Gujarat handed over to Narendra Modi’s BJP on a platter. The row kicked up by other parties and the media — with Sonia Gandhi calling “merchants of death” — is worked entirely to Modi’s advantage. The violation of human rights, which worries those outside Gujarat, appear to bother Gujarati Hindus very little. They are more worried by Islamic militancy, and support fake encounters to overcome it. Modi appeals to the Hindu vote by saying that so called Islamic terrorists have killed 5,617 Indians in the last three years, but only one has died in Gujarat, showing how well the BJP protects Hindus. Sonia Gandhi may be accurate in calling Modi and his satraps merchants of death. But since so many Gujarati voters view these very merchants of death as extra-judicial protectors of Hindus, the accusation may work to Modi’s advantage.

    Now the question arises that is Congress’s negative campaign against Narendra Modi on regular interval is the part of a larger game aimed at its own advantage and part of a hidden agenda?

    The elections analysis since 2002 Assembly (Gujarat) and 2004 Loksabha is definitely pointing out to some other direction. In 2002 and 2007 Gujarat’s Assembly elections 66% and 69% Muslim voted in favour of the Congress while 20% and 24% voted for the BJP even after Gujarat carnage under the leadership of Narendra Modi. The vote share of the Congress at the both the time was 39% only even after so much of personal attack related with Modi’s role in Gujarat riots. Surprisingly, Congress vote share in Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2009 remained intact at 43% in Gujarat. But aggressive campaign against Modi and BJP’s communal agenda is working in state where Congress has a direct fight with BJP and regional parties as reflected by voting pattern by the Muslim especially.The Muslim voters returning back as reflected by 69% votes in 2004 and 70% in 2009 Lok Sabha election to Congress where they had a direct fight with BJP while in the states where regional parties are there, Muslim now start trusting Congress as proved by 29% and 33% by them in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Above analysis is also reflected by the total all India share vote share of Congress in 2004 which was 26.5% and 28.6% in 2009 while in bipolar contest they got 39.6% to 42.3%. In states where regional parties were in the fray the share was 22.5% and 24.9% in the same period show CSDS data.

    How this development is not known to Congress stalwarts? Is the negative campaigns on Modi by Congress is really helping both Congress as well as Modi? As per the record, Congress is getting personal in its attack on Modi during the Assembly elections in Gujarat since 2002 which helped Modi to polarize the support for his image of “Hindu Hirdey Samrat” and Congress is now successful projecting him Prime Ministerial candidate inside BJP against Advani and others as now visible through resentments within BJP.

    As in 1998 and 1999 (NDA Government) many regional parties including Telgu Desham Party (TDP), Trinimool Congress, JD(U), BSP etc. supported BJP’S Prime Ministerial candidate Atal Bihari Vajpaee because of his soft hindutva image but had objection on the name of Lal Krishna Advani (the Mascot of BJP in 1980s and 1990s). Now the same political parties like JU(U), TDP, Trinamool Congress and others maintaining distance from BJP on the name of Modi.

    At last we can safely conclude as per the evidences that Congress is possibly hitting three birds in one stone by targeting Modi in his role in 2002 Gujarat’s pogrom. First they are successful in polarizing anti-Modi especially Muslim vote in Loksabha as reflected in 2004 and 2009. Secondly, it is creating rift within BJP and NDA in the name of Modi as a next Prime Ministerial candidate and third to polarize the people on the name of secularism and secular fabric of India.

    I wish I could be wrong.

    (Dr.Mohammad Nazrul Bari is the Assistant Professor at the Department of History in the Central University of Karnataka, Gulbarga.)

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    By TCN News,

    Lucknow / Delhi: A number of civil society groups and memebrs have issued a joint statement condeming the Muzaffarnagar riots. “We strongly condemn the communalisation of politics and hope that people will teach a lesson to the parties indulging in this in the next elections,” they said in a joint statement, adding, “It is sad that parties like SP and BJP have brought back the politics of riots full fledged. They are playing with fire while people pay a price with their lives.”

    The joint statement is endorsed by Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, S.R. Darapuri, and Advocate Mohammad Shoaib among others.

    The added, “While Durga Shakti Nagpal was suspended because of a minor act which did not even succeed in provoking any communal feeling, we're yet to see action against any high ranking official in Muzaffarnagar.”

    Full statement:

    Just when it appeared that Samajwadi Party government had handled the 84 Kosi Parikrama incident quite well and had emerged as a hero in the eyes of Muslims, Muzaffarnagar has happened. It has painted the government in a very bad light. There was communal tension in the air in Muzaffarnagar for more than ten days, Muslim leaders had already met Mulayam Singh and requested on September 1 for paramilitary forces to be posted there.

    38 people are already dead, many more have been injured, thousands displaced and there has been huge loss of property. While Durga Shakti Nagpal was suspended because of a minor act which did not even succeed in provoking any communal feeling, we're yet to see action against any high ranking official in Muzaffarnagar. Only two SHOs have been suspended. If a huge mahapanchayat is allowed to be held in which people came armed, when section 144 was in implementation, it shows complicity of administration. At what level the decision was taken to allow the mahapanchayat to be held? Obviously, it couldn't have been the two suspended SHOs. Responsibility will have to be fixed and action taken against guilty officer(s).

    The meeting was dominated by BJP leaders who gave provocative speeches. Sangh parivar played a crucial role in mobilisation. It couldn't have been BKU alone. Currently the BKU can't possibly organise farmers on their own issues in such a large number. Why would the farmers assemble on a communal issue? It couldn't have happened without the communal machinery of RSS at work. The question is when the Sangh parivar leaders are clearly identified, who added fuel to fire, why are they being spared? What is the Samajwadi party government afraid of?

    While communal riots have taken place earlier also in this SP regime but none was so bad as this one in terms of giving the rioters free hand and clear involvement of BJP leaders. Is it a coincidence that the communal atmosphere has suddenly worsened since the arrival of Narendra Modi on national scene? It is a speculation that Modi was testing the waters in Ayodhya through the 84 Kosi parikrama. It became clear very soon that Ayodhya issue can't be milked any more in the same manner as in post-masjid demolition phase. But the 84 Kosi parikrama did serve the purpose of charging the cadre. Now the energies of this cadre have been used in Muzaffarnagar.

    The polarisation has been complete. Some of the traditional vote bank of Ajit Singh has shifted to BJP, at least for the time being and possibly till next election. Mulayam Singh's calculation may be that while his rival RLD would weaken, the gain for BJP may not be enough to convert into seats. He, of course, is still counting on counter-mobilisation of Muslims in his favour. This strategy of weaken your rivals to strengthen oneself may backfire if things go out of control as they look at this moment in Muzaffarnagar.

    It is sad that parties like SP and BJP have brought back the politics of riots full fledged. They are playing with fire while people pay a price with their lives.

    We strongly condemn the communalisation of politics and hope that people will teach a lesson to the parties indulging in this in the next elections.

    Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Gabriele Dietrich, S.R. Darapuri, Arundhati Dhuru, Mohammad Shoaib, Mukta Srivastava, Girish Kumar Pandey, Omkar Singh, Rajeev Yadav, Shahnawaz Alam, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant, Madhuresh Kumar, Rajendra Ravi, Vimal Bhai, Bhupender Singh Rawat, Manesh Gupta, Sanjeev Kumar

    Socialist Party (India), Rihai Manch, National Alliance of People's Movements and Delhi Solidarity Group.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: To raise their voice against the recent communal flare-up in Uttar Pradesh and oppose the machinations of UP government and the RSS-BJP combine to polarise the state for electoral gains, concerned citizens, students, artists and activists jointly organized a protest demonstration under the banner of Aman Ekta Manch at the UP Bhawan in New Delhi Thursday.

    They demanded that the communal tension and violence in UP must be brought to an end immediately. “The consolidation of BJP's communal fascist agenda in UP in the recent past, as manifested in the 84-kosi parikrama in Ayodhya and appointment of Amit Shah as state BJP's in-charge, is a ploy to engineer riots and bloodshed. The silence and complacency of the Samajwadi Party government in UP on this is unpardonable,” read a statement released by the group. “The secular fabric of India cannot be allowed to be torn by the communal politics and nefarious polarizations,” it added.

    [Photo: S M Raghib]

    The activists assembled at UP Bhawan urged the larger society to remain vigilant against such machinations which are underway in the run up to the 2014 general elections.The protesters condemned the degeneration of the Samajwadi party which was once considered a secular force in the country. To expand its electoral lot, the SP is venturing into dangerous communal gameplan which will only strengthen the RSS-BJP. Silence and reluctance of the Akhilesh Yadav government must be exposed. The protesters also demanded immediate intervention to restore peace and security in the burning districts of Uttar Pradesh.

    They also submitted a memorandum to the resident commissioner addressing the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. The protesters included teachers and students from DU, JNU, Jamia and Ambedkar University apart from social activists and journalist. Some of the prominent who people participated in the protest are Prof. Apoorvanand, Prof. Ali Jawed, Mona Das, Dr. Arjumand Ara, Dr. Sadashiv, Dr. Tanweer Fazal, Himanshu Kumar, Khurshid Anwar, Bhasha Singh and Madhuresh Kumar.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court issued notice and admitted a petition filed by Rais Ahmad Daulat Patel, father of Saud Patel shot down by the Dhule police on January 6, 2013 demanding a CBI probe into the unlawful killings, prosecution of the guilty police officers involved as also Stringent Operation Procedures for Recruitment to ensure the independent and non-partisan functioning of the Maharashtra police.

    The Mumbai-based Citizens for Justice and Peace are also co-petitioners in Writ petition (Crl) 143/2013 as also other eye-witnesses and residents of Dhule. The Petition specifically also prays for the implementation of a well-crafted Hate Crimes Manual that deals with the institutionalized prejudice against religious minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and women within our police that specifically deters its non-partisan functioning. The petition also seeks more accountable compensation and reparation to the dead, injured and those who’s homes have been destrored.

    The petition came up before Justices Surinder Singh Nijjar and Fakkir Ibrahim Kalifulla on September 10. Advocate Aparna Bhat with Ramesh Pukhrambam appeared for the petitioners.

    Due to the public outcry, the state government had been compelled to suspend two Police Constables after going through the Interim Report submitted by the Deputy Superintendent of Police for misconduct during the curfew but repeated attempts, all through February 2013, by survivors to register a complaint against the police were repeatedly refused on the spurious ground that the Police had already registered two FIR of the riots and the same is being investigated by the Police. The Police have registered two FIRs for riots against 2 Hindus and 4 Muslims and about 2000-3000 unknown persons but no police officer has been named in the FIRs. The Petitioner No.1 and other victims had specifically demanded investigations against the Police Personnel for their involvement in the riots but the same were refused.

    On January 6, 2013, the lackadaisical attitude of the Dhule police in acting Swiftly to defuse tensions after a brawl over a payment of a hotel bill between members of two communities, in communally sensitive Dhule had blown out of all proportion with sections of the police siding with Hindu rioters and shooting (to kills) innocent Muslims. Video clips taken on the spot, shamefully record this shooting as also policemen destroying and plundering homes and shops of the minority community.

    On, 8.02.2013, 6 Police Personnel out of which four State Reserve Police (SRP) personnel and two police constables police were arrested on charge of breaking open and looting a stall during the Dhule riots of January 6, have been charged with theft and dishonestly breaking open property under Sections 380 and 461 of Indian Penal Code. However no action has been taken by the State to register an FIR against the Police Personnel for the riots and murder of 6 people and attempt to murder of about 40 people.

    The petitioners have stated in the substantive petition that:-

    a) A magisterial probe and a Judicial Inquiry had been ordered into theincident but both are proceeding at a snail’s pace, petitioners have urged. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Anju Chaudhary versus State of UP and another reported in 2012(12) SCALE 619 that in cases where The incident is separate, offences are similar or different or even where the subsequent crime is of such magnitude that it does not fall within the ambit and scope of the FIR recorded first, then a second FIR could be registered;

    b) That the Police Personnel were actively involved in the riots and instigated the riots. The Police personnel instead of maintaining the law and order had instigated the communal riots between the Hindu and the Muslim community where the Muslim people were targeted and led to open firing without any warning. They ought to be charged for offences under relevant sections of the CrPC and Indian Penal Code;

    c) That the violence could have been prevented, if the Police has chosen to act on time, instead it asked the complainants and other people to take the law in their hands further instigated and created an environment of communal disturbance;

    d) That the police action was selective and directed against the Muslims community only. More so the Police Personnel chose to act in connivance with the Hindus to attack the Muslims. The Police alongwith the Hindus looted their shops, houses, burned down their homes and open fired at them which resulted in killing of 5 Muslims and injuring more than 40 Muslims. The medical record and videos clearly show that the firing was specifically directed towards Muslims;

    e) That as per the Rules and guidelines governing the Police personnel, the Police were directed to use minimal force and to disburse the crowd. However the Police instead started firing with intent to kill the Muslim. All the gunfire, as seen from the medical records are above knee, on chest, shoulders, some were shot at back which suggest that they were running away from the police but the police still chose to shoot them;

    f) That though the State has accepted that the Police firing was excessive but the State has not accepted that the same was directed towards killing of Muslim People and was part of a greater conspiracy. It is further submitted that no FIR has been registered against the Police for the said act;

    g) That the victims of police firing were left unattended by the police and were not taken to hospitals. That the victims were taken to hospitals by their relatives or friends. That there was serious and severenegligence and tack of responsibility displayed by the Dy. Divisional Police officer, Dhule by filing false complaint at Azadnagar Police Station, Dhule in CR No 05/2013 in r/o riots at Dhule on 6-1-2013; That there was serious dereliction of duty and neglect of Constitutional obligation committed by the District Magistrate, Dhule by not filing FIR on receiving complaints from victims and witnesses to riots erupted at Dhule on 6-1-2013;

    h) That the injuries suffered by the police personnel and the Hindus were minor in nature and they were discharged from the hospital after giving first aid treatment. This shows that the police personal were biased towards one section of Indians, the Muslim and the Muslims community have been targeted by them. The act of the police was highly gruesome and insensitive;

    i) That the burning and looting of Muslim household and shops was done by the Hindu mobs in the presence and with assistance of the police personnel. From the video footage obtained it is clear that Police also indulged in burning Muslim houses and destroying their property;

    j) That Fire Brigade was not allowed to come to the Muslim locality to douse the fire;

    k) That the victims were also threatened when they tried to register FIRs and no FIRs were registered against the police;

    l) That no criminal action whatsoever has been taken against the police and none is likely to be taken as the State authorities are trying to cover up this entire episode;

    m) That inadequate and insufficient compensation has been paid and/or being paid to the victims and their relatives aggrieved by the riots erupted at Dhule on 6-1-2013;That inadequate and insufficient investigations have been carried out by the local administration of Dhule in violation of section 3 and 4 of the prevention of damage to the Public Properties Act and Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment while investigation the CR No. 05/2013 with respect of riots at Dhule report on 6-1-2013 have been kept secret.That there is also the matter of violation of Section 6 and 7 (8) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 by the Dy. Supdt Police, Dhule, while rejecting application under RTI Act 2005 by the Victims;

    n) That while the establishment of a Judicial Commission was announced little has been done to pursue it efficiently.

    The petition makes some fundamental points:-

    A. That repeatedly Judicial Commissions established from 1960s onwards have observed and commented about the biased role of the police in communal violence. Madon Commission Report, Shrikrishna Commission Report, Reddy Commission Report are illustrative of this fact. However the bias role of the police is still continuing without a check.

    B. That a large part of the problems concerning the functioning of the police arises due to the failure of the State authorities to provide adequate sensitisation and training concerning communal bias as well as violence both prior to and after induction of candidates into the police force. The Petitioners crave leave to present the Guidelines for Communal Harmony etc brought out by the Central Government (Ministry for Home Affairs) that are meant to address these tendencies but have been ignored in Maharashtra.

    C. That it is absolutely essential to bring out a best practise and worst practise manual in times of communal violence to guide the police and hold them accountable against the dos and don’ts of such a manual.


    Civil society fact finding team questions police ‘bias’ action in Dhule

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Welfare Party of India has welcomed the judgment on Delhi gang rape by the fast track court which held all the accused guilty. It demanded severest and strongest punishment to the guilty which can act as a deterrent in bringing down the number of crimes against women.

    Sheema Mohsin National Convener of women 's wing WPI said, that we welcomed the judgment even though it was 9 months of agonizing wait for the victim's family. She pointed out at the number of such cases still pending in the courts for many years and said they should also be decided speedily without people having to come out in streets demanding justice.

    She demanded the police to be always vigilant, provide security to women and bring to book the perpetrators.

    Welfare Party of India appreciated the decision of the State government of Karnataka to set up ten special courts throughout the state to try cases of crime against women.
    Congratulating the Karnataka state minister for Law and Parliamentary affairs Mr. T B Jayachandra, National Convener of Women's wing Ms Sheema Mohsin said it will certainly help in speedy disposal of cases and install confidence in judiciary system.

    She further appreciated Mr. Jayachandra's decision to appoint a gazette officer to monitor the portrayal of women in advertisement and films and imposition of Rs. One lack and an imprisonment of One year as per the existing law on the guilty who portray the women in obscene manner.

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    By TCN News,

    Mumbai: Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind Mumbra organised the ‘Save humanity and Democracy’ to condemn the “ongoing barbaric act and spread awareness about it among people,” last Sunday at the Zam Zam Hall.The programme was supported by various other organizations including Shivraj Pakash, Ehtijaj Foundation, SIO, Al-Aqsa Trust, Al- furqaan Trust etc.

    The program started with the recitation and translation of the Holy Quran. A brief account of the events taking place in the Middle East and information about the program was presented by Abdus Salaam Malik the organizer of the program. “This program is part of series of efforts for the rights of the people by concerned NGO’s from Delhi to Bangalore” said Abdus Salaam. “It is sad that authorities in Mumbai did not allow us to organize this event.

    “The ongoing brutal killing of thousands of men, women and children in Egypt and Syria is being overlooked by the world. The overthrowing of democratically elected govt. in Egypt by the military and silence of the so called democratic countries on this is shocking. Thousands of peaceful protestors are being killed in Egypt by the military. Superpower USA, the EU, the UNO far from condemning the attack is being remaining silent. What is even more shocking is that countries like USA and Israel are exploiting the situation for their own political interest. Few have come forward to speak against it,” read a statement issued by the organisers.

    Shafque Nadvi head of Jamiat-ul-ulma-e-hind, Maharashtra thanked JIH for creating the opportunity to speak against the “horrendous crime.” “This events and killings were preplanned and did not start all of a sudden. We must not at all get disappointed due to the situation; we must keep hope and stand together with constancy and patience,”he said.

    He openly condemned the USA and Saudi Arabia for supporting the military in overthrowing the democratically elected government. Mufti Huzefa, head of Jamiat-ul-ulma -Hind, Maharashtra said, “USA ,the so called protector of humanity does not consider even the basic rights when it comes to protecting its own interest, killing millions of innocent people in the name of ‘war on terrorism’. India which in past openly opposed the act is now silent. If we cannot help the Egyptian and Syrian people directly we must at least condemn it. Such programs should be organized everywhere, I congratulate JIH for the initiative.”

    Javed Shaikh president of JIH Mumbra thanked all the organization for supporting the cause. “We are all responsible citizens and as responsible people it is our duty to condemn the killing of thousands of innocent people. It is good to see by the gathering that so many people are concerned about it”. I. A Mali said “we must concentrate on education of the next generation. We must unite to fight the injustice in India and World over with education as our weapon.

    KK Suhail director of the Human Welfare Trust and former national president of Student Islamic Organization said the protest in Egypt is the rarest of rare event, where thousands of men, women and children keeping their life on the verge have come to protest peacefully without a single weapon and on the other hand is the powerful Egyptian military supported by the U.S.A who has the largest number of weapons of mass destruction”. Finally together on behalf of JIH and other organizations the following demands were put forward;

    1) Immediate restoration of the democratically elected govt of Freedom and justice party.

    2) Immediate release Dr. Mohammad Mursi and his reinstatement as the President of Egypt.

    3) The army officers involved in the illegal coup should be suspended immediately. They must be punished for their crimes.

    4) The political parties supporting the despotic military coup should immediately be banned.

    5) Compensation to the kith & kin of the deceased and also to the wounded.

    6) Immediate release of people unlawfully detained.

    7) Peace to be restored in Syria and a democratically elected government be formed immediately.

    8) Syrian refugees to be rehabilitated back to their own country.

    9) We strongly condemn the chemical attack on civilians and innocent children.

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    By Danish Khan,

    Farzana Shaikh’s Community and Consensus in Islam: Muslim representation in Colonial India,1860-1947, and Ayesha Jalal’s The Sole Spokesman offered two different narratives of the Muslim League’s and Jinnah’s politics. While Shaikh focussed on the religious dimension, Jalal argued that League’s politics had much more flexibility towards Hindus where Pakistan was used as a bargaining counter.

    Commenting on these two narratives, Gail Minault wrote: “In any case, drawing a line in the sand and lining up votaries on either side of that imaginary line does little to advance our collective search for historical understanding.”

    [Photo Courtesy:]

    Faisal Devji’s Muslim Zion – Pakistan as a political idea, is a refreshing addition to the study of politics of Muslim League and Jinnah’s personality as it traces the creation of Pakistan (just like Israel’s a year later) in an ‘ambiguously religious way of imagining nationality in an alien geography, without a necessary reference to shared blood…’ To borrow Minault’s observation it is free from the drawing of an imaginary line in the sand. As the name suggests, the book explores the common characteristic of international or non-national state between Zionism and Muslim nationalism in India, a departure from the dominant variables of examining the Muslim League and Jinnah with the British, Congress and the high politics of Partition.

    Early on in the introduction, Devji makes it clear that for him history is not to be ‘written as a police report or judicial decision’, instead his interest lies in the ‘forms of argumentation and lines of reasoning that both transcend and survive such intentionality to shape the prose of history’. The book makes some complex and nuanced observations spread over six chapters.

    Muslim League’s ambivalence towards history and geography

    Devji contends that both Zionism and Muslim nationalism share more with each other than with their immediate neighbours. This ambivalence towards history and refusal to be defined by geography, Devji writes “led them to conceive of a novel and remarkably abstract form of political unity premised upon a paradoxical rejection of the past.” One can infer that it is perhaps this rejection and ambivalence that bases them on “national will the greater part of whose history lies outside their borders.”

    Does this explain the rewriting of history textbooks in Pakistan which is in complete opposite to Jinnah’s disdain of India’s Muslim history. Devji sees a pattern in this disdain, as the whole Pakistan movement was based on tying it to the recent colonial history rather than tagging it to the past.

    What also made Jinnah uncomfortable was the realisation that Hindustan would be claimed by Congress as ‘preexisting India’, with Pakistan coming out as a secessionist.

    Devji quotes Jinnah in a 1944 meeting with Gandhi: “Ours is a case of division and carving out two independent sovereign states by way of settlement between two major nations, Hindus and Muslims, and not of severance or secession from any existing union which is non-existent in India.”

    That Jinnah was much of a constitutional player rather than operating in the religious realm is well known, but Devji’s extrapolation of and subtle use of Islamic and Muslim philosophy in the British colonial framework adds to our understanding of Jinnah’s and League’s politics and the subsequent creation of Pakistan. “Instead of being tied to a language of historical and territorial integrity nationality for Jinnah was a purely constitutional category, one crucial to the making of a social contract.” (page 105)

    According to Devji, Jinnah’s opposition to Khilafat was not due to ‘generalized advocacy of secularism’, but rather due to its ‘appeal to Muslims as merely religious group.’ This was because it risked reducing Muslims merely as a religious group and thus relegating them to a minority in religious terms that could easily overshadow their distinct political place.

    Chaudhury Khaliquzzaman in his autobiography gives air to his disappointment to the fact that Maulana Azad avoided mentioning Khilafat, in which he himself played an active role, in his book.

    Was it because, as Devji notes that Gandhi was able to ‘seduce Muslims into a religious madness’ that Azad did not want to chronicle those days?

    Alliance with non-Congress groups

    Devji is not satisfied with the categorization of League’s leaders and members in terms of their attitude towards the British. Without naming Francis Robinson it is obvious that when he mentions the categorization of League leaders into the old and young party he is referring to his copiously referenced book Separatism Among Muslims.

    “Because of the curious demographic configuration that Muslims possessed in colonial India, they were able to deploy two kinds of political strategies, one defined by the category of minority and the other by that of the nations.” (Page 184) It was this nature of Muslim politics that Devji argues made it possible for the League to link up with other minority groups. Why then was there no effective coming together of Jinnah and Ambedkar?

    Taking through the possibility of Jinnah aligning with the non-brahmin and Dalit parties, Devji wonders whether it demonstrated ‘remnants’ of Jinnah’s ‘loyalty to India in some perverse way’ or his desire to be the ‘only one to destroy the country he had fought to kept united for so many years’. The part dealing with Muslim-Dalit politics makes for some fascinating reading. Apart from being representatives of two major minority groups, Ambedkar and Jinnah also shared the common resolve to constitutional methods. Arguably much of the current Muslim-Dalit political dynamics in India can be traced to the nature of this relationship and parleys.

    Muslim Zion brings forth the collaborative and competitive politics of Ambedkar and Jinnah, a much ignored aspect. The book thus effectively traces the creation of Pakistan by mapping Islam, Muslim, and minorityism packed with some fresh and original perspectives on Sir Syed Ahmed, Allama Iqbal, and Syed Ameer Ali among others.

    Muslim Zion will also be of interest to those seeking to have some understanding of the Shia sub-sects. Devji suggests that the interest of prominent Shias in the politics of Muslim League had got to do with the fact that they wanted to protect themselves from both the Hindu as well as the Sunni majority.

    While Devji rightly points out the near absence of scholarship on the prominent trading and merchant groups of Bombay, it would have been great if he had elaborated more on the ‘long and unresolved struggle’ to control the League and its policies between North India’s Muslims and the merchants and landowners of the cities.

    Even as the book explores on the idea of Pakistan, the amazing parallels between a Muslim homeland and Jewish settlement seamlessly runs through the narrative making it eminently readable. Muslim Zion is a provocative and fascinating piece of scholarship with some very complex and tight observations and arguments.


    Danish Khan is a London-based freelance journalist..

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  • 09/12/13--09:35: Punjabi translation of Manto
  • By TCN News,

    Aligarh: Punjabi language is one of the sweetest and most effective language which is spoken in the whole world and Dr. Kranti Pal must be congratulated for translating work of renowned Urdu story writer Saadat Hasan Manto into Punjabi language said Brigadier Syed Ahmad Ali, Pro Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) while releasing the translated book of Dr. Kranti Pal. Syed Ahmad Ali said that he has spent five years in the Punjab and the Punjabi culture has influenced him much. He pointed out that the nation needs language unity and harmony.

    Dr. Kranti Pal, Associates Professor of Punjabi language in Modern Indian Languages and the translator of ‘Manto ki Charchit Kahaniya’, said, It was my wish and desire to bring the work of Urdu writers before Punjabi masses as the literature is not limited to any region, language or religion. Dr. Pal emotionally said that if I had not been in AMU and may not have a close relation with it, I may not have executed such a work.

    Prof. Sheikh Mastan, former chairman of Modern Indian Languages said, “Dr. Kranti Pal has given a new life to an Urdu writer in Punjabi language.

    Jasim Mohammad, Editor of Aligarh Movement magazine said, Aligarh Muslim University is a centre of language unity and harmony. Today the nation urgently need language harmony and the literature is most effective medium for that.

    Apart of some others notably AMU Proctor, Dr. Jamshed Siddiqui was also present on the occasion.

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    By M Reyaz,,

    New Delhi: Former Additional Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh Vibhuti Narain Rai condemned the Muzaffarnagar riots, adding that any riot can be controlled within 24 hours if the government and administration is willing to check the rioters.

    IPS VN Rai, who was SSP of Meerut during the infamous Hashimpura riot said, “If any riot is not quelled within 24 hours, then either the government is inapt or complicit,” for some political agenda.

    Retd AIG of UP and current VC of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya at Vardha, VN Rai.

    VN Rai, who has authored five novels in Hindi and is currently serving as the Vice Chancellor of the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya at Vardha was speaking in the capital in a programme organised by the Urdu Press Club International at Delhi's Mavlankar Auditorium on Thursday evening on the Anti Communal Violence Bill.

    Pressing for a comprehensive Anti Communal Violence Bill, he said that although the present laws are also sufficient and if implemented with good intent, all sorts of violence could be curtailed, however, what the present system lacks is the accountability of the police and local administration and compensation package.

    He said that if local administration and police are made accountable vis a vis incidents of riots, cases of riots would be reduced considerably, adding that the compensation and rehabilitation of the riot victims should be the responsibility of the State.

    other speakers in the programme included Justice MSA Siddiqui, chairman, National Commission for Minority Education, Chairman of All-India Muslim Backward Classes Federation (AIMBCF)Ibrahim Qureshi and Swami Agnivesh among others.

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