Wikileaks Has Plugged Few Holes For Indian Muslims

By M. Zajam,

India and Indians hold West and especially USA in highest regards. We always look westward for appreciations, recognitions and ideas. Any appreciation received from the West especially USA is much valued here. We are so much influenced by the USA that now every major policy decision is taken keeping USA view in mind. During recent Obama’s India visit, India media debated whether Obama will use the “K” word or not and his opinion about the India candidature to US security council permanent seat.

Wikileaks has placed few US diplomatic cables originated from India in public domain. These cables have brought discomfort to Congress and BJP. But surprisingly a few leaked cables have brought relief to Indian Muslims. This cable was sent by David Mulford to US State Department in December 2005.

Cable Text

“India’s over 150 million Muslim population is largely unattracted to extremism. Separatism and religious extremism have little appeal to Indian Muslims, and the overwhelming majority espouse moderate doctrines.”

“With Indian Muslim youth increasingly comfortable in the mainstream, the pool of potential recruits is shrinking, while Muslim families and communities provide little sanction or support to extremist appeals.”

“Islamic extremism is not popular in India and most adults are not interested. This forces extremists to pitch to young and naive audiences who may be more amenable.”

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Above view expressed by former US ambassador about Indian Muslim’s rejection of extremism and is quite contrary to image portrayed by right wing parties and certain section of media.

Earlier bomb blasts were blamed blindly on Muslims and innocent Muslim youths were locked up. Whole community and religion was blamed for either supporting terror activities or not doing enough to stop it. Few parties and organization held the notion that “all Muslims are not terrorist but all terrorists are Muslim.”

It took some time for Muslim community to get grasp of the situation. Muslim community and religious leaders campaigned actively to change the perception and isolate any extremist element in the community. They held close to 40 anti-terror rallies all over the country and issued fatwa denouncing terrorism. The massive public gatherings in May 2008 at the Ramlila Grounds of Delhi and in November 2008 in Hyderabad have helped in mobilising the Muslim masses against terrorism. Imams at the local Masjids also got involved actively in this task and spread the message of peace. Community themselves initiated neighborhood watch schemes to keep unwanted elements out.

George Bush reportedly introduced Manmohan Singh to his wife, Laura, as “the prime minister of India, a democracy which does not have a single Al Qaida member in a population of 150 million Muslims”.

USA was convinced about Indian Muslim rejection of terrorism but Indian leaders and media were not. We never heard these encouraging words from Indian leaders or even intellectuals. None of them came out and vouched for Muslim’s integrity. Muslims were left to fight these twin battles all alone, one was to counter the propaganda and other to isolate extremist element in the community.

Earlier, all the blasts were blamed on extremist Muslims but 2008 Malegaon blast changed it all. Malegaon blast investigations led to extremist Hindu groups. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit are the main accused. After their arrests all right wing parties and group like RSS, VHP, Hindu Mahasabha and Shiv Sena came out openly in their favour. BJP President at that time Rajnath Singh declared “those believing in cultural nationalism cannot ever take to terror”. BJP Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani forcefully took up the alleged torture case of the Malegaon blast suspects, Lt Col Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya with PM Manmohan Singh. After this, National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan, along with Intelligence Bureau chief P.C Halder, called on Advani at his residence with all the evidence of Malegaon Blast case which Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) led by Hemant Karkare was investigating.

A TV channel broke the story of extremist Hindu group plot to target Vice-President Hamid Ansari and planning an underground outfit to kill Muslims. The channel was attacked by the RSS workers. RSS initially accused the opposition and the media for conspiring and targeting Hindu leaders and saffron-robed sanyasis” and now they maintain that terror and religion should not be mixed and the word Saffron terror should not be used.

Cable Text

“India’s Muslim population is estimated to be as large as 150 million (the second largest in the world after Indonesia), and suffers from higher rates of poverty than most other groups in India, and can be the victims of discrimination and prejudice. Despite this, the vast majority remain committed to the Indian state and seek to participate in mainstream political and economic life.”

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This observation comes when Indian Muslims are asked to prove their loyalty to India time and again. This clearly shows that inspite of abject poverty and discrimination, Indian Muslims faith on Indian state is unshaken.

Right wing parties and organization continue to blame the government for minority appeasement. It was difficult to understand what kind of appeasement brought Muslims to become worse than dalits, who have faced discrimination for thousands of years.

Muslims continue to use the legal and political means to address their economic and social problems. They have high hopes from government, judiciary and media. They have used legitimate means like protest rallies,signature campaigns and legal route to press for their demands be it implementation of Sachar Committee report, Babri Masjid demolition case, Batla House encounter, detention of innocent youths, demand for reservation or other demands. Whereas Jat had cut off water supply of Delhi and threatened to block supply of vegetable, food and milk to press for their demand of reservation. Jats even threatened to to disrupt the Commonwealth Games if their demands were not met. Gujjars in Rajsthan blocked and disrupted the main rail routes and roads for days demanding reservation. Other marginalized section have taken up arms in form of Naxalism. PM Manmohan Singh termed naxalism as “The single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country”. Naxals are active in around 200 districts of India. They claim to represent the most oppressed people in India, those who are often left untouched by India’s development and bypassed by the electoral process. Invariably, they are the Adivasis, Dalits, and the poorest of the poor, who work as landless labourers for a pittance, often below India’s mandated minimum wages. Thousand of Indian lost their life in this battle including 76 CRPF jawans, who lost their life in deadliest single strike against government forces in April 2010. Right from political leaders, intellectuals to religious leaders have sympathized with the naxalites.

Cable Text

“The Indian media has published colorful stories implying that Madrassas are recruiting centers for Islamic terrorism and that many are funded by Pakistan’s ISI.”

“The accounts are mostly anecdotal, however, and there has been little or no hard evidence linking Indian Madrassas to terrorist recruitment.”

—-

This observation also breaks the myth propagated by certain section of Media and right wing parties. During NDA regime, Madrasa were the targets with L K Advani taking the lead in the attack. He as Home Minister had termed the Madarasa as breeding ground of extremism and dens of Pakistani espionage and training ground for the terrorists

Cable Text

“Attempts by extremist groups to recruit children from Muslim homes are likely to run into a wall of opposition from parents who would see involvement in extremism as counterproductive and a threat to future success of their children. This means that extremism is most attractive to children from families that are so poor that opportunities for education and advancement are all but non-existent.”

———-

It is the fact the poor are most vulnerable to extremist groups. Though majority of Muslim population living in abject poverty they have manage to keep these groups at bay. This shows that inspite of living in hopelessness they have faith on Indian government and system.
Muslims have continued to be loyal and proud citizen of India. It is high time that their loyalty test is put to an end. Few members of other communities who are much better off are indulged in all kinds of anti-national activities like corruptions, scams, siphoning off money to Switzerland, tax evasion, adulteration of milk and food, hording and making spurious drugs, but their loyalty are never in doubt. Their actions are taking India down the slope.

Hopefully this US convictions reflected on this cable will help Muslims in regaining some credibility which they lost during smear campaigning. Their loyalty test will be over for once and all. It is imperative that Muslims are not kept away from the development. Inclusive growth will be the real growth for India. Muslims have no doubt in their mind about their Indianness and they just want others also to not to doubt. Politicians, intellectuals and media need to work towards undoing the damage done by malicious campaigning against Indian Muslim. Muslims are ever hopeful, optimistic and faithful, now it is turn of the government to pass this faith test.

A Du‘aa’ For AMU, JMI & Jamia Hamdard

By Dr Wasim Ahmad,

Du‘aa’ is not an alternative to action. It is only for reinforcement of actions. It reinforces the actions by making us concentrate more and focus our energies. A lot of research work and educational activities are taking place in the Aligarh Muslims University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Jamia Hamdard. Let us reinforce those very important activities with a collective prayer in the following words (besides all other prayers):

“Almighty Lord! Make our students understand Your Book in its totality and become leaders of the entire humanity. Almighty Lord! Help our students abolish the division between dunyaa and deen. Almighty Lord! Help our students eliminate the division of knowledge into ‘secular’ and ‘religious’. Almighty Lord! Help our students develop a coherent body of ideas and creatively reach out to the unknown with critical and scientific thinking. Almighty Lord! Make our students master all the sciences of the world and become founders of many more. Almighty Lord! Make the Muslims contribute their maximum to the world civilization and enrich it to the best of their capacities.”

Let the above prayer be said by the Imams after every Salaah loudly and especially on Fridays in the masjids of the AMU, Jamia Millia Islamia and Jamia Hamdard. Let it leave a lasting impact on the minds of our youngsters. Let it become a formality. Not a problem. We can live with this formality.

Let any other educational institutions and masjids adopt this du‘aa’ if they desire so and I wish they do. If the sea creatures pray for students why not all the masjids and earthly creatures do that? Let the above du‘aa’be also said in due course after every Salaah in the masjid of Markaz Jamaa‘at-e-Islami Hind. It might help the Jamaa‘at to focus on the all important agenda of holistic education. The above du‘aa’ might also help it to stop quoting from Qur’an selectively (disregarding its collective spirit).

If the Jamaa‘at-e-Islami Hind chooses to turn its headquarters into a University, here is a VISION for that University: The students coming out of this University should have Qur’an in the right hand, most modern scientific and technological advancements in the left hand and the crown of Laa Ilaah on the forehead. So that the Muslims regain the same glorious status of founders and promoters of science and technology as they did during the ascendance of their civilization.

This change of direction is more expected from the Jamaa‘at-e-Islami Hind as it has very sincere and educated cadre. With a fresh orientation its members can do a lot. If they devote their resources for the significant agenda of education the country as a whole and the Indian Muslims in particular will be grateful to them. They will pioneer a new and much desired trend and many other Organizations will (have to) follow suit. This will bring about a happy change in the scenario of India and later in the world.

A VISION of an organization makes the job a lot easier. It serves as a criterion to decide the desirable from the undesirable. Decision-making is the crucial thing in any set-up. Once a VISION is arrived at we can always go back and check all the minute details if they are in accordance with that VISION or not. Normally, we don’t decide the VISION and keep beating about the bush and grope in the darkness of confusion.

For instance, we spend a lot of energy and resources figuring out the teaching methodology etc. However, if we give our teachers the correct definition of knowledge (Developing a coherent body of ideas and creatively reaching out to the unknown with the power of critical and scientific thinking), to start with, it will be very helpful. Classroom teaching / lectures, assignments and questions for examinations etc should all be aligned with the VISION and the correct concept of knowledge (as different from merely ‘knowing the known’). There should be measures to monitor the entire process of education – knowing the fact that spoon-feeding is the antithesis of grooming leaders. And knowing the fact that only leaders can produce leaders, we should regularly assess if we are getting leaders from our institutions or we aren’t.

The prayers suggested above – coupled with the crucial and unavoidable actions in this regard – will help remove the self-doubt of the ‘modern’ educated which will then lead to excellence. This is essential because no excellence is possible with a degree of self-doubt. On the other hand, it will make the ‘traditionally’ educated rethink about the misconceived division of knowledge into ‘religious’ and ‘secular’. It will make them rethink about the ill-conceived division between dunya and deen.

(The writer is Dept Head, Islamic Studies, Preston University, Ajman, UAE)

Rahul Gandhi’s Comments On Hindutva Terrorism: An Analysis

By Syed Zeeshan Ahmed,

Rahul Gandhi’s comments that home-grown Hindu extremist groups are bigger threat to India than Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba and Muslim militants during his conversations with US Ambassador Timothy Roemer and leaked out by Wikileaks have provoked the Hindutva outfits and their sympathizers to accuse him of “dividing India again on communal lines” and “playing vote-bank politics.”

But those attacking him need to go into the depth of the remarks that young Gandhi has made. He and his family are themselves victims of religious and linguistic terror and hence who can understand the issue better than Rahul himself.

While his grandmother Indira Gandhi died to the bullets of a Sikh soldier influenced by Sikh religious militancy led by Sikh religious leader Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, his father Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a suicide attack by a Tamil woman sympathetic to Tamil extremist movement led by LTTE in Sri Lanka.

So, Rahul is not wrong when he says that there is greater threat to India from local Hindutva extremist forces than foreign-based Muslim militants. We need to analyse the issue in its proper perspective because Rahul having been groomed up in India’s top political family seems to have studied the subject well. So, his statements need to be read between the lines.

We need not go far to study the issue. We just need to see what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We all know that religious militant groups were backed by the United States of America and Pakistan in order to drive away the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. In fact, it was the necessity of Pakistan to force the Soviet Union to quit Afghanistan as Soviet presence on its borders was against its interests. Similarly, it was also against the geo-political interests of US to have USSR expanding its boundaries up to the Pakistan border. So, it was the common interest of both the countries to get united to push Soviet Union out of Afghanistan.

Both the governments provoked religious sentiments among Muslims not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan but all over the globe against heretic or Godless Soviets to drum up support from the community and get unending supply of motivated fighters. The strategy succeeded as Muslim youths from every corner of the world, barring India, joined the war against the Soviets. The joint US-Pakistan venture resulted in a number of armed groups like Al-Qaeda taking birth. Pakistan also saw a number of militant groups emerging within its boundaries during the period. Since it were primarily the unorganized Muslim groups, particularly from Afghanistan, Pakistan and some of the Arab countries, who took part in the Afghan war and succeeded in driving the highly trained Soviet forces out, it bolstered their morale and made them feel that they could succeed elsewhere as well.

Though the US and Pakistan tried to dismantle these militant groups but they could not succeed to eliminate them completely. While some of these groups hit the targets outside Pakistan, particularly in India, splinter elements from these groups are now targeting Pakistan itself. These groups are not targeting only military but civilians as well. Bomb explosions and killing have become the order of the day in Pakistan.

We need to take a lesson from it. Now it is an open secret that it were Hindutva groups who were involved in terror incidents like bomb attack at Ajmer Sharif dargah in Rajasthan, Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, bomb explosion in Malegaon(Maharashtra) and Modasa (Gujarat), and Samjhauta Express carrying Indian and Pakistan passengers to Pakistan.

What has emerged as significant in the investigations conducted by various Indian investigative agencies is that the Hindu militants involved in these attacks were highly motivated by their religion and connected with religious groups, with direct and indirect support and sympathy from some unscrupulous elements of our Army. If such unscrupulous elements are not curbed immediately, we can well imagine the state of things to emerge in future in the country. With their pan-India presence and networking at grassroots level, they can do unimaginable damage and it will be very difficult task to check them if they are allowed to spread their tentacles like the terror outfits in Pakistan. This is what Rahul Gandhi wants to convey through his statements. As for threat from Pakistan-based militant outfits, they are operating from outside and it is easier to keep watch on them and their sympathizers in India. Moreover, while Lashkar-e-Toiba and other Pakistani outfits are mainly hitting the targets outside Pakistan, Hindutva outfits targeting their own countrymen though the activities of both the groups are anti-human.

We have already seen the horrors of the Hindutva groups inflicted in shape of the bulldozing of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 and mass carnage of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. The entire operation is so devised by the Hindutva groups that the blame is placed on Muslims for the crimes committed by them, with the media coverage of such events giving a perception that Muslims are attacking fellow Muslims and that too at venerable places like Masjids and dargah. If such elements get an upper hand in India, the safety and security of minorities, particularly Muslims, will be at great risk.

This crisis, if unattended, can lead to a total alienation of Muslims from the country. Oddly this is exactly what Hindutva desires. But it could be disastrous for Muslims as well as for the country.

(The writer can be reached at zeiahmed@gmail.com).

National Commission For Minorities: Serving Whose Interest?

By Mahtab Alam,

Yet another National Minority Rights’ Day, the day about which you can’t find single information on the official website of National Commission for Minorities (NCM) except some about Minority Rights’ Awards. But forgive them, a website named, www.indianchild.com tells us what is the day about. “The National Commission for Minorities celebrates the Minority Rights Day every year on December 18. The commission has played a major role in protecting the rights of the minority communities and in bringing about better understanding among the various religious minority communities in India,” it reads. Though we are yet to know, why it is been celebrated on 18th of December.

But let us ask, how do NCM protect the rights of minorities? According to Minister of Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid told Rajya Sabha on 17th March 2010, during 2008-09 a total number of 2,268 complaints from different quarters. And the complaints were regarding law & order, economic matters, cultural rights, religion based harassment, waqf matters, and compensation for the victims of the riots.” No information is available on how many of these complaints were resolved,” he informed the Rajya sabha. When one tries to know status of complaints now, the section—Complaint Monitoring System, on the official website of the Commission, it reads “Under Construction.”

If one have a look on the budget and expenditure of the year 2009-10, the highest amount is spent on Salary i.e Rs. 323.43 lakhs, which is around 72% of the total expenditure of the year.On the other hand on research studies and publications, it has spent only Rs. 4.14 lakhs which amounts even lower than medical treatment, Rs. 5.85 lakhs. What about annual plan of action? There are 35 items or work listed to be done during the year of 2010-11. Most of the works are procedural in its nature like preparation of annual reports, News Letter, Updating of website the Commission, etc, except workshops for training and sensitization. Regarding website updation it says, it may be done by second quarter of the year, but what we can see it is yet to be updated.

One wonders, it is what NCM meant for! .

Perhaps, yes. That’s what it meant for if one have look of the profile of the members of the commission. There are 5 members in the commission including Vice Chairman and there has been no Chairman since September 2nd, 2010 when last chairman Shafi Qureshi completed his term. The current NCM consists of two Congress party member, one retired civil servant, one advertising professional and there is no details about fifth person except his name. Mr. Harvendra Singh Haspal, who is portrayed as the representative of Sikh community is a retired congressman and a former M. P. of Rajya Sabha.

His credentials reads, “Became Senior Vice President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee in 1992 when Late S. Beant Singh was President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Later remained Senior Vice President of the PPCC under the leadership of Capt. Amarinder Singh. The Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi deputed him as Observer for many states in the elections held to the Parliament and various State Assemblies.Widely traveled as he is, Sh. Hanspal has led political and official delegations to many countries. Has been General Secretary of the Minorities Department of the AICC and Chairman of the Disciplinary Action Committee of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee till he was elevated to the coveted post of President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee on 31st of July 2002.”

While Christians have no representative, but the worst is the ‘representative’ of Muslims, Mrs. Syeda Bilgrami Imam, an Advertising and Communication professional. Her profile reads, “Her Public Service work too has been highly acclaimed and awarded (including Max Lewis): on Road Safety and Loss Prevention, on the Girl Child, Conservation, Afforestation, Communal Harmony, Family Welfare. Anti-Dowry, Blood Donation and Nation-building (11 Mera Bharat Mahan films). “What work she has done for the Muslims? She has written a book on Charminar, Hyderabad and something on Rumi. Is not that more than enough to be the Muslim member in the National Commission on Minorities?

Link: http://ncm.nic.in

From Rimland To Heartland: BJP Squeezing To Centre Of Power?

By Soroor Ahmed,

Sir Halford Mackinder was a famous geographer, who in 1904 came up with the Heartland Theory. According to him those who rule Eurasia, that is East Europe and West Russia, command the heartland, thus control the world.

However, during the high time of World War-II, that is in 1942, another scholar, Nicholas Spykman challenged Mackinder’s Heartland Theory. He stated that Eurasia’s Rimland, the coastal areas or buffer zone, is the key to controlling the World, not the heartland. This was later known as the Rimland Theory.

Something similar seems to be happening in Indian politics. In the earlier decades after independence it was often felt that the political party, which controls the heartland states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and even Madhya Pradesh, rules the country.

Now just opposite is happening. The party or group of parties, which are ruling India has virtually no base in the heartland of the country. In fact the Congress party is in power in bordering states of Assam, Rajasthan and in the coastal states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The party is prominent opposition in the coastal Kerala and Karnataka, where it has the potential to stage a comeback sometimes in the future.

In the heartland the Congress has completely got decimated with no chance of returning to power, at least in the near future. True it did perform slightly better in UP in the last Lok Sabha election yet is far away from coming back to power in that state too.

Not surprisingly, in the heartland even the major opposition party the BJP lost much of its hold. It indulged in the systematic self-destruction in UP, from where till 2004 it used to send more than 50 MPs to Lok Sabha. In Jharkhand too it got virtually wiped out in 2004 parliamentary election and performed very poorly in Bihar too.

The only two states in the heart of India, where it remained relatively strong even in 2004 were Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which was earlier its part.

Like the Congress the BJP too is in power in coastal Gujarat and Karnataka, where it won Assembly election for the first time in 2008. It occupies the highlands of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

While the two national parties are trying to re-capture the heartland it seems that the BJP is able to regain the lost ground much faster than the Congress.

The Bihar Assembly election victory of 2005 came against the run of play for the NDA, when everything was going wrong for it. The win came as a morale-booster. Subsequently the party’s performance in Jharkhand, Bihar and even in UP was much better in the 2009 Lok Sabha election. By 2010 it was back to power with the JMM in Jharkhand and in Bihar it helped Nitish Kumar win 206 seats. While Nitish’s Janata Dal (United) tally increased by just 30 per cent––from 88 in 2005 to 115 in 2010 BJP’s seat jumped by 70 per cent––from 55 to 91.

What is interesting is that the BJP’s decline in the heartland has much to do with the exit of strong former chief ministers from the party: Kalyan Singh in UP, Babulal Marandi in Jharkhand, Uma Bharati in Madhya Pradesh and Madanlal Khurana in Delhi. However, Madhya Pradesh is the only state where the party soon discovered a new leader, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who was till lately a lesser known name outside the state.

Kalyan Singh left BJP several years back only to return to the party fold just on the eve of the 2004 Lok Sabha election. But again on the eve of 2009 Lok Sabha poll he joined hands with the Samajwadi Party. After the poll Mulayam Singh and Kalyan parted ways. Now he is likely to knock at the door of the old party once again.

Madan Lal Khurana, the former Delhi chief minister, too left the party in a huff only to make a re-entry. Babulal Marandi, the longest serving chief minister of Jharkhand, left the BJP after he too became the victim of infighting. He formed his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and fought election in alliance with the Congress. It did better in the last December assembly election but is no way going to return to the BJP as the party has by now got Arjun Munda as an alternative tribal face.

But there is one state where the departure of the former chief minister did not affect the party too much and that is Madhya Pradesh. Though Uma Bharati was one of the champions of the Babri Masjid demolition movement her exit from the party after being removed from the post of the chief minister did not cost the BJP so much. More than Shivraj Singh Chauhan factor, it was the absence of regional party leaders––for example like Mayawati and Mulayam Singh in UP––which saved the BJP from getting decimated there. Congress, even though it has leaders like Digvijay Singh and Arjun Singh (now old and ailing), was in no position to make a revival in that another crucial state in the heartland. This fact goes on to prove that it is the regional parties and not the Congress, which is stalling the advancement of the BJP in many states of the country.

In Madhya Pradesh Shivraj ably capitalized on this situation rendering Uma Bharati homeless. When she lost all her bargaining power and her own outfit was completely wiped out no option was left for her. In the last few months she started showing inclination to return to the party fold but found the doors shut. The man, who was stonewalling her entry into the BJP is none else, but the same Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

However, after the election of Nitin Gadkari as the BJP chief, Uma Bharati, again made a bid to knock at the party’s door. On September 25, 2010 she accompanied Lal Krishna Advani to Somnath Temple to mark the completion of 20 years of Ram Rath Yatra, the movement which ultimately led to the demolition of Babri Masjid.

Now Uma is virtually back in the party––would be joining it after Tilsakrat (January 14, 2011). But Chauhan has partially succeeded in his objective. She would not be entering the Madhya Pradesh politics, but would concentrate in Uttar Pradesh to work for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Uma also said that she would be working for the reservation of women of backward castes in the women’s reservation.

The BJP has got a big boost in the heartland recently. As mentioned the landslide NDA victory in Bihar and the coming to power in Jharkhand, where it did much better in 2009 Lok Sabha election too, have raised the hope of regaining foothold in the heartland.

With Uma Bharati almost in and other backward leader Kalyan Singh not so hostile now the party is leaving no stone unturned to regain the lost ground in UP. It was with this confidence that Advani, on December 14 almost accepted the challenge of a mid-term Lok Sabha election.

Ayodhya Verdict, Temple And Indian Nationalism

While Ayodhya verdict is under criticism from various quarters for ignoring the basic issue of land dispute, for ignoring the illegal installation of Ram Lalla idols on the night of 23 Dec 1949 and the demolition of the masjid by Sangh Parivar on 6th December 1992, a new dimension has been added to the issue. In the aftermath of the judgment, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat (30th Sept 2010) had welcomed the judgment and stated that this judgment paves the way for grand Ram Temple as court has already allotted 2/3 of land, where the mosque, is located to Hindus. Now (Dec 12, 2010) he goes further to say that division of land is unwarranted and all land should be given to Hindus as division always creates problems as in the case of Kashmir, and that all the land should be handed over to Hidus. According to him this will also be in the fitness of nationalism as it will wipe out Babri Masjid, the symbol of foreign rule. The temple will create the ‘Bharat’s self consciousness’. Giving hint of the future plans, the RSS supremo further said that it is time that we re-establish all such symbols that portend Bharat’s self-image and nature that was razed during the foreign rule.

The statement of Mr. Bhagwat is quiet in tune with the politics, ideology and agenda of RSS. Needless to say the comparison with division of Kashmir is totally warped and illogical. Kashmir was an independent state attacked by Pakistan. Kashmir acceded to India in the face of this aggression and there were clauses of full autonomy of Kashmir barring the matters related to defense, communication, currency and foreign affairs. Indian army entered Kashmir after this accession by which time 1/3 Kashmir was occupied by Pakistan army. It was not a division by any legal authority. The occupation of Kashmir by Pakistan was an act of aggression and United Nations had mandated for plebiscite in Kashmir, which never took place. And Dr. Bhagwat/RSS is worried about the ill effects of division, they can very well leave the ‘manufactured claims’ and restore the masjid pre 6th December 1992 and pre 23 December 1949. That will be an appropriate way to avoid division and solve the issue, releasing us from the vice like grip of identity issues so that nation can focus on infinite ills ailing the country.

In case of Babri masjid it was a protected monument under the Indian act and on the night of 23 December 1949 some motivated elements, hand in glove with sympathizers of Hindu nationalism installed the idols there. Then, RSS elements (Advani and co.) took over the issue in the decade of 1980 and demolished the masjid, which has been one of the biggest crimes in Independent India. It was also an assault on Indian Constitution. The Court gave the verdict in a Panchayat style ignoring the core elements of the case, also under the dominating influence of communalization of society which has been unleashed by the communal violence and propaganda. What is needed is to look at the clauses of Indian Constitution and restore the land to the Sunni Wakf Board, under whose possession that land has been for long enough time to be legally valid.

To regard the structures built during medieval period as symbols of foreign rule is contrary to the concept of Indian Nationalism. Indian Nationalism regarded British rule as foreign rule and struggled against it. Still it did not talk of wiping out the structures built by British during their rule. RSS type ideologies never struggled against the foreign rule, British rule, and regard the period of Muslim Kings as the period of foreign rule. This again goes against the understanding of Indian nationalism. Kingdoms are Kingdoms and we can’t equate Kingdoms to nationalism. Kings of different religions have ruled for power and wealth. They were neither representative of the people nor of their religion. Since RSS ideology emerged form the declining social sectors of Hindu Kings, Landlords and clergy they have deliberately accorded to Kings’ rule the status of nationalism. Same applies to the Muslim communal ideology that accords the status of nationalism to the rule of Muslim Kings. There is a deliberate confusion between the concept of Kingdoms and Modern nation states in communal ideology. Communal ideologies imagine that all religious communities were homogenous and fighting against other religious communities.

Hindu Kings were exploiting Hindu peasants and Muslim kings were not targeting Hindu peasants just because they were Hindus. Barring few exceptions religion was not the goal of kings Also it is interesting that except initial plundering by some Muslim Kings, once they settled here in collaboration and alliance with Hindu Kings, they did not take away the wealth of this land to other places. On contrary British rule was primarily for plunder of resources of the country. The RSS, communal ideologies’ ignoring the British exploitation and harping on Muslim Kings is due to their agenda of religious nationalism, which is away from the values of freedom movement; Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. In Modern nationalism, Indian Nationalism, the past is not looked through religious angle and the main goal is to build the future on the principals enshrined in Indian Constitution. That’s how Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru emphasized on ‘new temple’ of Modern India; Educational institutes and industries. Contrary to this for RSS the temples of past when Hindu Kings ruled and applied the laws of Manu, birth based hierarchy of caste and gender, is their political and social agenda.

British deliberately gave a communal twist to the History by projecting Kings as Hindus or Muslims and sowed the seeds of division between the people. Muslim League on one side and Hindu Mahsabha-RSS on the other played a compliant role to British Policy, accepted their version of History, and spread hatred against the other community. This ‘Hate other’ laid the foundation of communal violence and Partition of India, which was the highest index of success of British policy of divide and rule, in which communalists came in handy to execute the British designs of splitting the communities along religious lines. Muslim League-RSS were ideal puppets in the hands of British. Today in India the divisive politics is again being deliberately promoted to sidetrack the core issues related to bread, butter, employment and shelter, to undermine the concept of rights and dignity of average people.

RSS Chief’s call to reestablish all such symbols is fraught with danger. Where will one stop? With rule of Hindu Kings?; some may like to go further back to the demolition of Buddha Vihars by Hindu rulers? And then what will one do with the Aryans coming to India and their dominating the native Adivasi and others? The whole country did accept 15th August as the starting point of our nation, and made it a point of departure from the past to initiate the future building of peace and progress. The ideologies and calls being given by RSS family are something alien to Indian nationalism and they need to be combated against to preserve and protect the very idea of India as it emerged during national movement and as it was nurtured by the founding fathers of India.

Ayodyah judgment also needs a relook form the same barometer of Indian legality and not RSS agenda of dividing people along religious lines. It is needed that all those committed to the values of amity of communities, and Indian Constitution, all those valuing the concept of Human rights come forward and spread the awareness about the Indian nationalism and build the bridges amongst religious communities to focus on progress of the nation in the field of education and industrialization on the basis of Human rights of all Indians, leaving the mosques and temples in peace, as they are; where they are.

Something Rotten Between Raja And Judiciary

By Soroor Ahmed,

Two wrongs––or even three four, five––do not make one right. So when A Raja as the then Union Telecom Minister (on June 12, 2009), through a lawyer friend, called upon Justice Raghupaty of the Madras High Court to seek favour for the bail application of a doctor friend and his son, allegedly involved in the MBBS mark sheet racket, he cannot be defended on the plea that “there is something rotten” in the Indian judiciary.

No doubt things are alarmingly bad in judiciary and the above Shakespearean expression on rottenness was used on November 26 last by the two-member bench of the Supreme Court, which flayed the Uncle Judge syndrome in the Allahabad High Court.

The Supreme Court bench said “Some judges have their kith and kin practising in the same court…And within a few years of starting practice, the sons or relations of the judge become multi-millionaires, have huge bank balances, luxurious cars, huge houses and are enjoying a luxurious life.” These lawyers are “shamelessly taking advantage of this relationship” and getting favourable judgement for the clients.

True, when the judiciary has become rotten anyone can use influence; and who can do this better than A Raja, who himself is by profession a lawyer. However, it should also be understood here that A Raja did so not just because he was a Union minister but also because as a lawyer he was aware of what is going on in judiciary and how much influence he can exert.
But there are many rajas and ranis in the Indian democracy who have twisted the arms of judiciary. In fact what happened in the run-up to the imposition of Emergency in India on June 25, 1975 should not be forgotten when the Allahabad High Court gave verdict against the election of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. While some in judiciary stood up, some others bended, and even crawled, before the political executive.

However, it would not be fair to put all the blames on the political executive, or even for that matter permanent executive, that is bureaucracy. The judiciary itself is no less responsible.

This can be exemplified by what former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, himself a product of struggle against Emergency, told the Supreme Court a few months back. He said that at least eight of the 16 Chief Justices of India (CJIs) were ‘definitely corrupt’. In his affidavit he said that two former CJIs had personally told him that their immediate predecessors and immediate successors were corrupt judges.

But Justice Raghupaty of the Madras High Court may have been different. He is among those who chose to take on the pressure from the political executive head on. He not only mentioned in the open court that he got a phone call from a Union minister regarding bail petition but also reportedly wrote about it to the then Supreme Court Chief Justice, K G Balakrishnan.

Interestingly, Justice K G Balakrishnan denied that he had then received any letter. Instead he said that he had asked for a report on the incident from the Chief Justice of Madras High Court. He also said that the High Court itself was capable of serving contempt of court notice to the minister.

It was only on December 7 that the Madras High Court made public the name of the then Union minister. However, legal luminaries have started asking as to why the name of the minister was disclosed after his exit from the Union cabinet on November 14 and not earlier. Is it because he has now become a favourite whipping boy?

More surprising is the fact that a few days after Justice Raghupaty last year June mentioned in the court about a phone call from a Union minister, AIADMK supreme leader, Jayalalithaa told the media that the said minister is none else but Andimuthu Raja, the Dalit face of DMK.

How come she knew about it? Was it a mere conjecture or had she got some leak from the judiciary? If it is the latter then it is not a good sign either. The judiciary should have, then and there, made the name public rather than use the same political class to settle the score.

The Facade Of Human Rights In India

By Afroz Alam Sahil,

10 December is celebrated as the World Human Rights Day but actually for the governments across the world it is just another day under the aegis of an international body like United Nations which they are forced to observe.

In reality human rights are violated throughout 365 days including on the “World Human Rights Day.”

Human Right is a birth right which a human being is entitled to, not because of being a citizen of any country but because of being a human being. That is why, in Europe human rights have been regarded as natural right.

In 1948, the United Nations marked 10 December as the World Human Rights Day in order to ensure that the human rights of people across the world will be respected and there won’t be any oppression or exploitation of any body. But let alone the world, in India, in spite of many national laws and international conventions on human rights oppression on Dalits and minorities is widespread and is continue,.

The situation of Jammu and Kashmir on the issue of human rights is pathetic. According to a report, since last two decade more than 1514 FIR against army men have been registered in human rights violation related cases, out of which just 100 army men including 48 officers have been punished. Needless to say that this sitiation exists when getting an FIR registered against an army man in a conflict zone like J&K is a tough task in itself.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an organization without having much effect. People have to wait for decades to get justice. The situation of NHRC is that its officers present reports without visiting the accident site or meeting the victims. For instance Batla House fake encounter case where the NHRC presented the report by relying on the statements of Delhi Police, the same people it was supposed to investigate and that too without ever visiting Batla House, the site of the fake encounter and without meeting the victims. The result is that people have lost faith in this kind of human rights commission.

The most shocking fact is that in J&K, where according to one report more than 8000 cases of missing persons have surfaced, only 34 of them have been registered in NHRC. Likewise since 1993 only 18 cases of fake encounter and only 12 cases of death in police custody, 9 deaths in judicial custody, 24 cases of communal violence and 104 cases of harassment of women have been registered from the state by the human rights agency.

Interestingly out of these, just 20 cases have been deemed fit to be considered as cases of human right violation by the agency for which 48.6 Lakh has been spent as compensation by the NHRC. (The above mentioned numbers have been obtained by the author through the RTI)

The truth about J&K is that this is one of the states in the country where police outnumber the civilian population. Every child of this conflict torn state doesn’t know what childhood means. In revenge of the death of just one army man the Paramilitary forces destroyed the entire Sopore Market and shot the standing nearby on lookers. The Indian media might not have highlighted this but Times magazine did mention this horrible example of human rights violation by the Indian state.

My question from the Indian state is that if it considers Jammu and Kashmir as an inseparable part of India then why this kind of oppression on them? Instead it should have treated Kashmiris with much needed love. Believe me they won’t ask for Freedom if the Indian state treats them with the much needed love and heals their wounds. If it can’t love them then at least it should leave them in peace.

[Photo by http://passiontounderstand.blogspot.com]

Ayodhya Verdict Of Sep 30 And My Daughter

By Yasir bin Taiyab,

30th September 2010 was my daughter Eliza’s first birthday. Since the morning I was very excited as the first birthday is always special. All the day I was planning for the evening and was expecting a gift from Lucknow for my sweet daughter, where the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court was pronouncing the judgment on Ayodhya title dispute. Being an Indian Muslim I was not too ambitious; therefore simply expected a fair judgment if not a decree. I also wanted to show my Kashmiri wife that it is still a good idea to believe in the India, and none but the Law is the saviors.

When the judgment was actually announced I was numb and concerned. The first thought that came to my mind was ‘How will I respond to my wife?’ Kashmiris have almost lost their faith in Indian State and have always been arguing against my faith in the state. This judgement will transfer even more arsenals into my kitchen and for next few weeks I will be left with no option but to defend myself on the dinning table.


The second thought that crossed my mind was ‘Why our ancestors stayed in India after the assassination of Gandhi?’ The migration continued for almost two decades after Gandhiji’s assassination, therefore they had enough time to introspect and decide. I don’t know what made them to stick to their decision that they took in 1947. There would have been some good reason for the stay but I will never know the reason as it was decided by my grand father who died 9 years before I was born. But for me it is indifferent to stay on either side of the Radcliff line as conditions are the same.

Lastly, I wondered, ‘Whether we should still show our faith in the Indian judiciary?’ I can only say I hope so. I don’t have clear answers to the above questions but I am desperately searching for answers, as I believe my daughter deserves to know the answers someday.

What I am in search of is: Why has the Lucknow court not provided any legitimate reasons backed by evidences for its judgment? How can a court announce an important judgment based on mythological believes and not on facts and evidences? When was the court pleaded to divide the land or decide about the birth place? I don’t know much about Law but I definitely know that the courts need evidences to decide a plea.

This re-conciliatory/political judgment is like endorsing the act of demolition and succumbing to fear of the violent reactions from either party if denied with the disputed land. If the madam justice was blind then how did she anticipate the repercussions of the judgment? Another disturbing signal is coming from those who are endorsing the judgment for sake of peace. But knowingly or unknowingly they are shifting the Rights of 90s to the Center in 2010. This movement of reference point is alarming, as it might take India towards the deeper rifts.

I am forced to think why there is no judgment on the Babri demolition but judgment on Babri land dispute, no judgment on Mumbai riots but on the Mumbai blast, no action on the Sri Krishna and Liberhan Commission reports, the list of denied justices is getting longer every day. This forces me to think that when ever it is the time to give justice to Muslims it is delayed or reversed. I don’t know if it is meager coincidence or deliberate attempt.

I am still clinging to my faith in the judicial system and I am hoping that the Apex court will not deny us that which is our right. The only thing that we would be interested in is that the court upholds the rule of Law, i.e. if it decides on the basis of facts and evidence or hysteria and myth. And in doing so if they decide against the Muslims I will definitely welcome the judgment.

I don’t want my daughter to hear about her first birthday with her mother’s prospective. But I want her to believe what her father and her ancestors have believed since 1947 that India is governed by LAW.

(The writer is Environment Consultant in UAE, can be contacted at yasirbintaiyab@yahoo.co.in)

[Photo by dawnexhibitions.com]

Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi And Impact Of His Ideas On Muslim Politics

Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi is a major figure and most controversial too, among Ulama during the Mughal period who left great impact on religious and political ideas of a section of Muslims not only during the Mughul period but also on subsequent periods, particularly during 19th and 20th centuries. He had both followers as well as opponents among Muslims in India. It is, therefore, quite interesting to throw some light on his ideas.

Akbar’s policies led to acceptance of religious pluralism and integration. Akbar happen to come under the influence of Mulla Mubarak’s two sons Abul Fazl and Faizi. Both brothers were persecuted by orthodox Ulama and ultimately found refuge in Akbar’s court. Both belonged to wahdat al-wujud school of Sufism. Wahdat al-Wujud (Unity of Being) is the most liberal Sufi school.

Wahdat al-Wujud emphasizes that there is one being and we are all its manifestations. Thus all human beings are one in origin despite different religions, cultures and languages. The second major doctrine of this school is sulh-i-kul i.e. total peace and peace with all, a doctrine that eliminates all conflicts and discrimination on all grounds. Akbar was greatly influenced by both the doctrines and he had inquisitive mind which wanted to know basic tenets of all religions.

Thus Akbar was convinced of truth of all religions and played major role in bringing people of different faiths together. India has been a country of great diversities, religious diversity, cultural, racial and linguistic diversities. It never was mono-religious in its history. Any tendency to assert truth of only one religion thus gives rise to conflict and separatism in India. The religions which arose in India – Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism besides several tribal practices also accepted diversity of views. The famous doctrine that ‘truth is one but it is manifested in different ways’ was also product of this diversity.

Akbar’s greatness lay in the fact that he understood and accepted this Indian reality although he himself belonged to Islamic faith. As a just ruler he should have been neutral but Akbar was not only neutral but also accepted truth of other religions. He never considered people of other religions as kafirs as many orthodox theologians would do. Qur’an also never called people of other religions ‘kafirs’. On the contrary it asserted that a true Muslim is one who shows equal respect for all prophets and also said that ‘We have sent guides to all the nations’.

Thus every nation (or tribe or country or qaum) has been blessed with a guide from Allah and thus have been given truth from Allah. Qur’an addresses only those Arabs of Mecca as kafirs who denied truth preached by Muhammad (PBUH) although they had no truth of their own or any revealed scripture. And Qur’an preached doctrine of co-existence even with those kafirs who did not persecute Muhammad and his followers. It propounded doctrine of ‘for you is your religion and for me is mine’.

However, for various reasons this liberal and open approach of the Qur’an and Prophet (PBUH) did not always find acceptance with some narrow minded Muslims and they denounced not only non-Muslims but also those Muslims as kafirs who did not agree with them on theological matters. These theological differences are so sharp until today that every sect of Islam considers the other sect as having gone astray and ‘kafir’

The Sufis, especially those belonging to Wahdat al-wujud School, did not agree with such exclusionary approach and always recognizing truth of other religions. Akbar was also subscribed to this approach under the influence of Faizi Brothers. But he went a step further and floated his own creed which he called Deen-i-Ilahi. I think it is not for a ruler to start his own creed. It will always be seen in the perspective of political interest and not a matter of heart and soul or something spiritual.

It was not for nothing that all prophets in the Qur’an (with two exceptions) were from amongst poor shepherds or from amongst ordinary people having no such interest. A founder of religion cannot be seen as one having some political interest. It is not then surprising that even those closest to him did not accept his Akbar’s Deen-i-Ilahi and it soon died down. It did not survive after Akbar’s death.

However, this does not detract from Akbar’s greatness and his attempt to integrate people of India and adopt an exclusionary approach. But, as pointed out earlier, those with narrow theological approach to religion did not like Akbar’s policies and wanted to assert superiority of Islam, especially as it belonged to the ruling class. It must be pointed out here that religion should be treated primarily as spiritual approach creating humility and spirit of truth and should not be allowed to become an instrument of power.

The theologians, however, take religion as a source of power and matter of sole truth which creates attitude of arrogance. Sheikh Sirhindi and his followers belonged to this school of thought. They believed their version of Islam was the source of sole truth and all those who differed from them had gone astray. Sheikh Sirhindi considered it as his mission to revive true Islam. As he was borne on the eve of second millennium of Islamic calendar, he was referred to as mujaddid alf-i-sani i.e. renewer of second millennium.

Thus Khalid Umri from the school of Ahl-i-Hadith says that the ulama lost their influence in Akbar’s court and this encouraged the Hindus to assert themselves and this prepared the way for founding the creed of Deen-i-Ilahi. Mulla Mubarak and his sons Abul Fazl and Faizi inculcated ‘anti-Islamic’ attitude in Akbar in order to serve their own interests and to seek closeness to Akbar. Abul Fazl and Faizi made Akbar hostile to ulama and to take revenge[1].

The orthodox ulama saw these developments in Akbar’s court as corruption (fasad) and condemned it. Khalid Umri considers Deen-i-Ilahi as harmful and writes that this Deen-i-Ilahi brought harmful changes in Akbar’s court and then whole country was affected by it and the ulama prepared themselves to confront this situation and the way they tried to revive religion and then he quotes Qazi Aslam Saif:

Prostration for respect (isajda-i-ta’zeem) before Akbar was made obligatory. Names like Muhammad and Ahmad were banned. Circumcision was not allowed. Cow slaughter was banned and pork was permitted so much so that breeding of dogs and swines were considered part of culture. The Shari’ah rules were ridiculed. Shi’ah beliefs and innovations were permitted. Temples were patronized and respected and mosques were locked. The Ulama and Mashaikh (elderly divine persons) were persecuted and harassed. The Sufis were treated with contempt and a campaign was launched to create contempt against them.

The dangers of Akbar’s Deen-i-Ilahi were felt throughout Islamic world and some servants of Allah showed courage and declared their opposition to Deen-i-Ilahi. They worked for renewal of faith and tried to promote tawhid and sunnah with firmness and courage.

One can see in these lines the highly exaggerated opposition to Akbar’s liberal and integrative policies. The account given by Qazi Aslam Saif is far from true. No ruler can afford to lock the mosques and allow pork while banning cow slaughter. Or ban the names like Muhammad and Ahmad. This only shows the depth of opposition to liberalism and inclusive and integrative policies.

It was in such atmosphere created by the ulama against Akbar that Sheikh Sirhindi launched his campaign against Akbar, on one hand, and, Sufis like Abul Fazl and Faizi, on the other. The Sheikh’ and his followers wanted to revive strict application of orthodoxy and this is what they mean when they refer to Kitab wa Sunnah (i.e. the Qur’an and the Prophet’s sayings and doings – sunnah). They forget that there have been different interpretations of Holy Book and also there is no unanimity about hadith.

What Sirhindi was opposed to was liberal approach to religion and hence he firmly opposed the doctrine of Wahdat al-wujud (unity of being) which opens the doors to all religions and makes them acceptable and respectable. He came out with his own doctrine of Wahdat as-shuhud i.e. unity of witnessing or appearance. Wahdat as-shuhud strengthened orthodoxy.

Though Emperor Jahangir did not advocate Akbar’s Deen-i-Ilahi, he did adopt liberal approach. But unlike Akbar, Jahangir had not much love lost for Sufism or for religion as such. But he too, continued with the practice of sajda-e-ta’zeem. He once summoned Sheikh Sirhindi and expected him to perform the sajda’. However, the Sheikh refused and greeted the emperor with Islamic way i.e. As Salam-o-Alaykum (peace be upon you).

This offended Jahangir and he imprisoned the Sheikh in Gwalior fort where he spent more than two and half years However, the Sheikh had following among a powerful group of courtiers who pressurized Jehangir to release him and he was released honorably. Sheikh Ahmad had created spheres of influence among courtiers and their followers. The Kitab and Sunnah discourse had their own attraction and many people thought, as it often happens today too, their problem is because they do not follow Qur’an and hadith.

Since Sheikh Ahmad was opposed to the doctrine of Wahdat al-wujud, it resulted in separatist politics too. The ruler, according to him should rule as per Qur’an and Sunnah ignoring Indian realities. It was negation of Akbar’s inclusive policy. Rule according to Qur’an and sunnah could be valid in Muslim majority countries but not in countries like India where Muslims were a small minority.

Jahangir and Shahjahan too understood Indian reality which was much more complex and more or less followed the policy of integration than separation. But things changed with Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb was a very shrewd ruler. He wanted to seize power from Darashikoh whom Shahjahan had appointed his heir apparent. Dara Shikoh, like Akbar, was under the influence of Sufi Islam. He had studies Hindu scriptures in Sanskrrit and also translated Upanishads in Persian under the title of Sirr-e-
Akbar (The Great Mystery). He also wrote a book Majma’ul Bahrayn (Co-mingling of Two Oceans- Islam and Hinduism). He compares teachings of two religions and finds great deal of similarities.

Thus Darashikoh had gone a step further than Akbar and had he come to power he would have followed policies to bring people of India together irrespective of different religions. Aurangzeb was disciple of son of Sheikh Sirhindi and had imbibed Sheikh’s outlook through his son. Also, Sirhindi, as pointed out before, had influence over several courtiers and wanted to get their support for seizing power from Darashikoh and following Sirhindi’s policies suited him politically too.

However, Aurangzeb was politically very shrewd and he won over some important Rajput Sardars like Mirza Raja Jaisingh and ruler of Jodhpur on his side and made Mirza Raja Jaisingh his army chief. Thus on one hand he encouraged Islamic orthodoxy to win over the Ulama and those nobles who were under the influence of Sheikh Sirhindi, and influential Rajput Sardars, on the other. But on the whole Aurangzeb’s rule resulted in separatism rather than integration. Later on he also re-imposed jizyah on non-Muslims which alienated many Hindus.

None of Aurangzeb’s sons proved to be strong enough to ensure stability of the empire and Marathas who had challenged Aurangzeb’s rule under the leadership of Shivaji, began to attack Delhi and indulged in plunder and loot. Jats and Rohillas too attacked Delhi and resulted in anarchy. This prompted Shah Waliyullah to invite Ahmadshah Ab- dali to come and teach Marathas a lesson.

Shah Waliyullah, it is important to note, was man of vision. He tried to bring about reconciliation between the doctrines of wahdat-ul-wujud and wahdat al-shuhud to unite Muslims following two different schools of thought. However, despite Shah sahib’s sincerity, it did not work Also. Inviting Abadali was not a politically wise decision. Whatever Shah Sahib’s intention – to weaken Maratha power, it did not work out that way as world of political power struggle has its own dynamics and Abadali was, after all, a foreign invader. He came, looted and plundered and killed and went away.

Shah Waliyullah was a great thinker and observer of socio-political scene but could do little to change the balance of political power. He was not like other theological thinkers who confine themselves to theology but a keen observer of social scene and an analyst. He could analyze the causes off decline of Moghul Empire but it was not in his power to reverse the trend.

His followers were divided into two groups those who accepted composite nationalism and prominent in this group was Deoband School and Jami’at al-Ulama-i-Hind. Jami’at, in fact opposed separatist politics and challenged two nation theory and stood behind Gandhiji’s leadership. Maulana Qasim Ahmad Nanotvi had issued a fatwa urging Muslims to join Indian National Congress and collected similar fatwas from other Ulama and published under the title Nusrat al-Ahrar. Thus right from the beginning these Deobandi Ulama stood with composite nationalism.

As opposed to this group of Muslims there were those who came under direct or indirect influence of Sheikh Sirhindi and adopted separatist politics. Among them there were both theologians as well as intellectuals. However, here some qualifications are necessary. All those who rejected composite nationalism and opted for separate nationalism were not necessarily influenced by Sheikh Sirhindi. Jinnah, for example, had his own reasons to opt for separatism. He in fact shifted his position from composite to separate nationalism. It was more for personal than ideological reasons. He probably might not have even heard of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi.

But among theologians and secular intellectuals there were those who came directly or indirectly under the influence of Sheikh Sirhindi and became separatists and rejected composite nationalism. Also, there were those who admired Sirhindi but did not necessarily agree with separatist politics. Iqbal was among them. Iqbal was undoubtedly admirer of Sirhindi but his political position was much more complex.

He was and was not separatist in politics. He neither adopted clear separatist stand nor denounced it. Iqbal had great attraction for power. He wanted to see Muslims of Indian sub-continent empowered. Also, ideologically Iqbal was internationalist and rejected nationalism as narrow and unacceptable. He considered Muslims an international community both politically and spiritually. He said in one of his poems that nationalism is the shroud of millat (i.e. international Muslim community).

Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, on the other hand, considered Muslims a millat only in spiritual sense but accepted composite nationalism in political sense. He separated spiritual from political. Muslims of Indian sub-continent greatly admire Iqbal’s poetry as he wants to see Muslims of subcontinent duly empowered and criticizes mullahs for whom Islam is only saying Namaz in mosques, nothing more.

It is interesting to note that there is qualitative difference between Jinnah’s separatism and Iqbal’s seeing Muslims politically empowered. Jinnah was hardly ideologically committed to Islam or even interested in Islam. His was purely political fight and partition came about on certain political questions, constitutional arrangements and sharing power.

For Iqbal it was not merely a secular question of constitutional arrangement or share in political power. More than anything else it was question of Islamic vision. According to Iqbal Muslims will not accept Nehruvian atheistic socialism but would like to have an autonomous region to experiment with Islamic socialism. Thus Iqbal’s was a unique and complex position. He was against narrow secular nationalism and critiques western concept of nationalism in his poetry.

He was also not, at the same time, a separatist like Maulana Maududi who rejected any concept of secular politics and modeled his concept of Islamic state on communist model, one party system with caliph, the ruler having all the powers. The Islamic party Maududi calls as hizbullah i.e. party of Allah. He advised his followers in India too not to participate in secular politics.

Iqbal, on the other hand, was much more open and does not devise any closed political system although he talks of experimenting with Islamic socialism. Maulana Maududi’s system is too conservative whereas Iqbal’s is quite revolutionary. Iqbal is much more open to other faiths and his vision is much broader and modern. Iqbal is a category by himself. He is neither a separatist nor a nationalist.

Thus it would be seen that there are different categories of separatism among Muslim political system builders. There is no single system available. In most of the Muslim majority countries one finds authoritarian regime, more feudal than based on modern political or Islamic theories. In fact throughout history it was personal authoritarian rule rather than based on any Islamic theory and the same continues until today.

There is no Islamic political system in any Muslim country including Pakistan. Partition itself was on secular lines and it was Zia-ul-Haq who declared Pakistan as ‘an Islamic state’ though he himself was not clear what it meant except that he enforced hudud laws. His rule itself never derived legitimacy from any Islamic source. He was, at best, a military dictator.

Also, in the globalized world, separatism is loosing its political significance. Large number of Muslims is migrating to other non-Muslim countries and today a significant number of Muslims live as minority and Islamic separatism has no meaning for them. It is composite nationalism which would serve their purpose. Thus those who opposed separatism in Indian sub-continent were more relevant and realistic. Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi has very narrow circle of followers.

Sheikh Ahmad’s theology poses another major problem. Even if Islamic polity is to be based on Qur’an and Sunnah, which interpretation would be acceptable?