Muslim Members In NCM Disappoint

Harcharan Singh Josh, the Sikh member of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has been making whirlwind tours of various states, listening to complaints, preparing reports and all that is expected of NCM member.

True to his name, Josh has surprised everybody with his energy. He speaks to everybody, gives interviews to journos, is aware of persecution of minorities in various parts and wherever he tours, the SPs, district collectors and administraton take him seriously because they know this man means business, can drop a bombshell (giving media a quote that would make a national story and thus adversely affect the reputation of the state or the district).

And in comparsion the Muslim members are hardly visible. Josh is a political appointment but Hamid Ansari and Zoya Hasan representing Muslim intelligentsia are almost invisible. Ansari has not stepped out of Delhi, such is his lethargy, unlike other members including the Venerable Lama Chosphel Zotpa (Buddhist) who even made rounds to states affected with anti-Christian violence and attacks on Churches. Zoya has been recently appointed but there are little hopes.

So that again leaves Muslims with the same problem of leadership. Those who are suave, educated and articulate fail to understand the real issues of Muslims in rural areas, far away places and are unable to strike chord with them. They may look good on television but don’t do justice to an organisation like NCM that is quite effective and whose recommendations often force even hostile state governments to take action.

Mumbai Mirror’s Lakshmi Iyer reports this.

So, The Danish Cartoonist Was Burnt Alive?

No he wasn’t. Or to be factually correct, they weren’t. Now, a little background. ‘The Nation’, a Pakistani newspaper published a news item quoting a Saudi newspaper that the editor of Danish newspaper ‘Jyllands Posten’ was burnt to death.

The editor of the Danish newspaper ‘Jyllands Posten’ was burnt to death when a fire mysteriously broke out in his bedroom, a Saudi newspaper claims.

According to the newspaper, the editor was sleeping in his bedroom when the fire ravaged his bedroom. He and his newspaper became controversial when it had published blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Through Yahoo messenger offlines and SMS text messages, the editor soon became THE cartoonist (so what if there were 12 of them) and the rumour spread all over the Muslim world. So much for the background. Now, I am yet to see the name of the Saudi newspaper. Even ‘The Nation’ does not name the source and that tells us something about the journalistic standards of our times. The news editor of ‘The Nation’ actually thought that such a big news would be blanked by the world media and would find outlet in an obscure (and unknown, till now) newspaper (of all places) in Saudi Arabia. Obviously, he believed that the Danish government was trying to cover up the news of the death, as the news item further states. Conspiracy theories such as these are not uncommon and have become quite popular these days with internet and email contributing their bit. So, why am I writing about this?

Because I got the following message. Third time in three days.

the artist who drew the pictures of the Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W)has died in a fire. He was burnt alive. Denmark government is hiding the news from the public and everyone has got to know. Plz spread this…. (its the price one must pay 4 the insult of Allahs Prophet(S.A.W) plz copy and paste this as many ppl ignore forwaded mails… thank you for your co operation subhan ALLAH ghgustakhay RASOOL ka hashar akheratt mai tu bura hoga he liken ALLAH pak nay RASOOL (S.A.W) kay ghustakk ka hasharr dunya mai he dekha deya ……….gustakh RASOOL aur bughsia RASOOL rakhnay waloon ka ye hashar hooga ………….ALLAH hum sab ke bukhsish farmai (ameen)

The first part of the message is obviously a lie and a dangerous one at that. Anyone with a keyboard, sinister mind and bad vocabulary could compose it. The real surprise were the people it came from. These are educated people, graduates and involved in research activities. If they wouldn’t verify the authenticity of such a message before passing it on to others, then who will?

The second part of the message is more worrisome. Here is a rough translation:

People disrespecting the Prophet have to pay for their acts in the after-life but Allah has shown the fate of such people in this life as well. People disprecting and maligning the Prophet would have this fate. May Allah forgive all our sins. Amen.

It is sickening to see some Muslims revelling in the death of others. It is as un-Islamic as it gets and as distant from the path of the Prophet Muhammad as it goes. There is that oft-quoted and quite inspiring story of a lady in Mecca throwing rubbish on Prophet whenever he passed her house because she did not like the his message of Islam. The Prophet never said anything to her. One day she wasn’t there to throw the rubbish and so the Prophet went to her house to enquire about her well-being. She was so impressed by his behavior that she accepted his message.

I wonder what the Prophet old lady would have thought of this message.

Kashmiri Hindus Overwhelmed With Love Across The Border

Five elderly men who went to Pak-occupied Kashmir to see their ancestral place were overwhelmed with the love they received on the other side of the border.

Yuvraj Gupa, Yashpal Gupta, Rajkumar Kohli, Shivdas Sahni and Kulbhushan Kumar were permitted by Pakistan government to visit their hometown. Wherever they went, the hospitality astonished them.

The leader of the group Yuvraj Gupta said, ‘We have learnt that the bond of language and culture is too strong. We had few words but tears did most of the talking for us”.

The group went to Mirpur, Kotli and Bhambher. Everywhere the residents were eager to invite them at their house. At Mirpur, people got so emotional that they offered land to construct their houses and live. In Kotli, the group was welcomed at the local mosque.

Yuvraj Gupta was asked to give a speech but he got so emotional that he couldn’t complete his speech. He wished to touch feet of a Sufi saint. They went to their schools where children welcomed them and sent message for Indian children.

SC Judges’ Injustice To Indian Minorities – II

“…Commissions set up for minorities have to direct their activities to maintain the integrity and unity of India by gradually eliminating the minority and majority classes,” the judges said.

Haven’t we heard this before? “We don’t accept the concept of minorities at all, ” RSS chief KS Sudarshan told Karan Thapar on August 14, 2000. The RSS was opposed to the establishment of the Minroities Commission. The BJP followed suit.

“It is therefore necessary, that the minorities commission should act in a manner so as to prevent generation of feelings of multi-nationalism in various sections of the people of Bharat.

The commission, instead of encouraging claims from different communities for being added to the list of notified minorities under the Act, should suggest ways and means to help to create social conditions where the list of notified minorities is gradually reduced and done away with altogether.”

It is however the religious minorities that bother the judges, however, illogical the distinction they draw. Linguistic minorities are understandable but if the same concept of minorities on the basis of religion is encouraged the whole country will further face division on the basis of religions diversities. We should guard against making our country akin to a theocratic state based on multi-culturalism”.

Theocracies come up when the state proclaims the faith of majority as a ‘general religion and common faith’ of the land. The constitution, wisely, explicitly confers fundamental rights on religious minorities. Three judges of the apex court including the CJI want to do away with that. There is only one political party that supports the judges’ thesis–the BJP.

The Minorities Commission can not lawfully act on the judges’ views based on a flagrant disregard of the constitution. Under the Constitution, only the ‘law’ laid down by the Supreme Court is binding. The petitioners had asked the court to issue a writ to the Centre, not to deliver a lecture to the Minorities Commission.

Minorities are not peculiar to India. They are not a product of British rule or the partition. The UN International convenant or Civil and Poltiical Rights recognises ‘ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities”. The General Assembly adopted a Declaration on their reights in 1992.

The outlook that the three judges bared is in fundamental conflict with that on which the Constitution and the international order rest. This is notthe first judement of its kind. The Supreme Court’s split ruling in the Ayodhya case and the one on Hindutva, which protected the BJP and Shiv Sena’s election campaigns, are otehr instances.

On April 16, 1996 a bench of three judges suggested that the CJI constitutes a larger bench ‘at an earlier date to resolve the conflict in rulings on Hindutva. A decade has rolled by. One wonders when the court will undertake this review.

[Actually, an organisation representing a section of Jains moved the High Court for a writ to notify Jains as minority under the Act. The Supreme Court ruled in the TMA Pai case that the ‘religious and linguistic minorities who have been puton part in Article 30 have to be considered statewise”. Artcile 30 confers on these minorities the fundamental right ‘to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice’.

Thereupon, the centre told the HC that the decision now belonged to the states. Some, Maharashtra included, had already notified Jains as a minority under their State Minority Commission Act. The petitioner, however, argued that the Centre could not ‘shirk’ its duties under the central Act.]


SC Judges’ Injustice To Indian Minorities – I

(Excerpts from a very important article by AG Noorani on a SC ruling where the judges came close to asserting that Hinduism is the national religion, the rest are converts, which is the Sangh parivar’s central thesis. )

A grave lapse was committed by the then Chief Justice of India, Justice RC Lahoti and Justices PK Balasuramanyan and DM Dharmadhikari of the Supreme Court in a judgement that the latter delivered on behalf of this bench in Bal Patil and Another Vs Union of India and Ors. Half of it was devoted to an irrelevant political disquisition that would have caused no surprise had it come from the RSS or BJP.

The facts were simple. Section 2(C) of the National Commission for Minorities, Act, defines minorities as community notified as such by centre. An organisation representing a section of Jains moved the High COurt for a writ to notify Jains as minority.

The Supreme Court declined to interfere, with respect, rightly but it proceeded to devote five out of a total of ten pages to a political disquisition. “The history of the struggle for independence of India bears ample testimony of the fact that the concept of minorities and the demands of special care and protection of their religious and cultural rights arose after the latter’s experience of religious conflicts that intermittently arose in about 150 yrs of the British rule. The demand for partition gained momentum at the time the Britishers decided to leave by handing over self-rule to the Indians.”

Surely, even if the British had not ruled, minorities would have existed and India would have devised safeguards for them, as it would hav done it if it was not partitioned.

The judges said, “Muslims constituted the largest religious minority because the Mughal period of rule in India was the longest followed by the British rule, during which many Indians had adopted Muslim and Christian religions…The so-called minority communities like Sikhs and Jains were not treated as national minorities at the time of framing the constitution. Sikhs and Jains, in fact, have throughout been treated as part of the wider Hindu community…”.

Comment on this gem is best withheld. The judges opine that,“Hinduism’ can be called a general religion and common faith of India’ where as ‘Jainism is a special religion formed on the quintessence of Hindu religion.” This is perilousy close to asserting that Hinduism is the national religion, the rest are converts, which is the Sangh parivar’s central thesis.

The purpose behind this excercise is not concealed. “The group of articles 25 to 30 of the constitution, as the historical background of the Partition of India shows, was only to give a guarantee of security to the identified minorities and thus to maintain the integrity of the country. It was not in the contemplation of the framers of the constitution to add to the list of religious minorities…. The constitution has accepted one common citizenshop for every Indian, regardless of his religion, language, culture or faith…The constitutional ideal is to create social conditions where there remains no ncessity to shield or protect rights of a minority or majority. The above-mentioned constitutional goal has to be kept inv iew by the minorities commissions set up at the central or state level.

(To be continued…)

Bukhari Sahab, What About Urdu Schools?

Ahmad Bukhari, the Imam of Jama Masjid, is busy forging an alliance of Muslim political parties, with an eye on the forthcoming elections for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

Alas, Bukhari Sahab is putting in so much energy in his efforts but has hardly shown an interest in launching a campaign or raising his voice for improving the status of Urdu medium schools just in Old Delhi (I am not talking about Hindustan or UP, just Delhi).

The entire Muslim leadership in Delhi has turned a Nelson’s eye towards the education scenerio of Muslims. The condition of Urdu schools is pathetic–they are short of teachers, many schools did not have a single successful student this year (CBSE results) and a historic school is running in tents.

Urdu papers are full of articles on the subject but not a single leader comes out and dare ask Sheila Dixit’s Delhi government and the centre why no attention is paid to Urdu medium schools, many of whom are facing the risk of closure.

None of these leaders/politicians have time to go for agitation on the issue–govt’s apathy towards Urdu schools but boast of addressing the conerns of Muslims at the national level. Every year the text books in Urdu schools are not available only after December-January and the dozens of academies and otehr institutions of Urdu remain content with organising seminars and conferences on literature.

The mention of Imam Bukhari is just symbolic as the onus is on all these self-styled leaders–Delhi has no dearth of them–to come out and protest. The Centre will surely listen. Only if one of these leader is able to bring thousands of Muslims on the streets on the issue of education just like they came during the protest against Danish newspaper’s offensive caricatures, things would surely change.

Adnan (

Local Mosques As Schools

Faizabad EducationKashif Hoda offers a nice suggestion that small Madrasas attached with local mosques can double up as primary/secondary schools in India, considering the relatively lower literacy rate of Indian Muslims. Since most Muslim communities have a mosque and they are used for either prayers or as a part-time Madrasa, it would be a good idea to use them as schools as well. Rather than looking for more resources (which are hard to come by, anyway), why not utilize the existing ones more effectively?
However, there might be a few problems at the ground level:

  1. Mosques are usually considered to be associated with the spiritual, therefore there might be a mental block in using it for supposedly mundane things.
  2. Lack of leaders at the ground level to make the program a success. Also, the dearth of good teachers.
  3. Intra-mosque politics might be a hindrance.
  4. Most mosques are still under the influence of local clerics who view any new development with cynicism. They might perceive it as a challenge to their control of the mosque.

All these concerns are real but manageable. It would need some convincing on the part of people taking the initiative. Later on it would need hardwork to get good results and win more converts. I personally know at least two individuals who have been able to do that successfully, Irfanullah saahab in Faizabad and Nafisul Hasan saahab in Dehradun. Although, there initiatives were not exactly started in the mosques, much can be learned from their early struggles and their approach in overcoming the obstacles.

Mosque Desecration: Army Fires At Protesting Villagers

Two cases were registered against armymen for firing at the villagers in Kupwara, storming into a mosque and allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran.

The villagers were protesting the army personnel’s alleged desecration when the army fired at them. One person died while at least three others were injured. The villagers were angry that the army men had desecrated the copies of Holy Quran and misbehaved with the Imam of mosque. They had reportedly entered the mosque wearing their boots.

But the protestors were fired at. Ironically it has almost become a norm to fire at the protestors in Jammu and Kashmir. Never tear gas, never water cannons and never rubber bullets.

That’s where the healing touch fails. Unfortunately this has come just at a time when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged the security forces to be firm but humane. The PM had advised the army to be vigilant and provide maximum security but with least intrusion.

However, what one gets to see is killing of ordinary residents in cold blood. Is this way the army and establishment wants to win over the hearts of the people?

Wasim Jaffer’s Double Ton & Cricketers From Humble Background

With his double century Wasim Jaffer has joined the elite club of Indian batsmen who have hit score of over 200 in test cricket.

Batsmen of the calibre of Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajit Wadekar, Vijay Merchant, Vijay Manjrekar, Saurav Ganguly, Mohinder Amarnath and Vijay Hazare could not reach the figure.

In fact, Mohinder Amarnath’s highest score was just 138. In sharp contrast, Anshuman Gaekwad and Ravi Shastri hit double centuries. However, Vinod Kambli had two double centuries but his career was short-lived. One hopes that Jaffer would have a long career.

M Azharuddin had half-a-dozen scores from 150 to 199 including 179, 182, 199, 192 etc but could not reach the magic figure. Amongst Muslim cricketers who represented India, the one-eyed Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi had hit a double century (203).

Along with the likes of Dhoni, the emergence of Muslim cricketers from humble background has come as a positive sign. Munaf Patel’s father is a farmer, Irfan’s (Pathan) father was muezzin and that of Wasim Jaffer was a bus driver. All of them fought hard to reach the top.

That’s surely going to give confidence to youths and seek inspiration from the heroes. Even M Azharuddin’s background was middle-class but these cricketers have come from lower-middle class and almost poor families.

Adnan (

Kiskii Nazar Lag Gayii Aligarh Ko?

Who has cast an evil eye on Aligarh? The last one month was especially hard for residents of the City. The 6,000-odd units manufacturing locks remained shut and ordinary people were both affected due to the tension, killings and curfew.

On April 6 and 7, six Muslims killed in riots. On April 10, A BJP MLA’s son killed, mistakenly buried, then body exhumed and cremated

On May 19, Raju Kumar, an accused in a communal riot killed. On May 22, Raman Gupta, a chemist and a riot accused shot dead. Six days later a BJP leader and trader was shot.

On May 28: Two Muslims killed. People were killed–both Hindus and Muslims, basically Indians, humans.Tens of thousands of people are employed in the lock industry that has a turn over of Rs 200 crore, reports Indian Express. “Already the industry is passing through a difficult phase owing to low-cost Chinese locks and the recent incidents have only hit the industry”, adds Aman Sharma.

The Indian Express writes that there could be a design in this. Aligarh is on the boil again. Mercifully, the situation did not get out of hand and there were occasions when people showed restraint despite provocation like the PAC personnel’s killings.

Ironically, with the boom in electroic media, every time a city erupts it just becomes a sensational news. The deaths are often counted and seen in terms of OUR NUMBER and THERE NUMBER. Who suffers, a city, a culture and the citizens.