Monthly Archives: March 2011

Marginalizing Muslims In Gujarat

History of Muslims in Gujarat is older than the idea of Gujarat itself, then how is it that Muslims now find themselves at the edge (both figuratively and literally) of the present day Gujarati society? In the aftermath of partition when most of north India was burning, Gujarat remained peaceful. The first major post-independence Hindu-Muslim violence took place in Ahmedabad in 1969. But if we go back in history, from 1714 to 1969 there were only two incidents of communal violence – 1941 and 1946. The violence of 1969, in which more than 1100 people were killed, was the beginning of separation of Hindus and Muslims but it was 1985 riots that sealed Muslims’ fate in the state for years to come. Muslims, according to Sangh Parivar, have no right to exist, are not part of Gujarat, have no history worth remembering or contribution in making of Gujarat. Continue reading

Posted in Featured, Remembering Gujarat | Tagged | 6 Comments

Mosques Of Gujarat

If one has to choose one image to represent Muslims in Gujarat, it has to be the famous jali of Sidi Saeed Mosque in Ahmedabad. Look closely and you will see a banyan tree occupying the entire screen and enveloping a palm tree. In other words, Muslim presence in Gujarat is a story of an overwhelming acceptance of local culture and tradition while maintaining the Islamic core.Sanjan, a small town 150 km south of Surat is probably the site of the oldest existing masjid of Gujarat. Jami Masjid was built by the founder of short-lived Muslim dynasty [813-841 CE] of Sanjan. Fadl, the founder of the Mahan dynasty build a jama masjid where khutba was read in the name of Abbasid Caliph Mamun. There is some confusion about the oldest mosque of Gujarat. While majority of scholars point to structures in Bhadresvar as the oldest Islamic structure. Continue reading

Posted in Remembering Gujarat | Tagged | Leave a comment

Women Empowerment: A Different Perspective

Here is the paradox. In one hand, we have ladies leading our countries and on the other hand, we are not even letting others see the face of the earth. Based on the declining sex ratio, a recent study has predicted that by 2020 India will experience twenty percent more males than females! This is the worst possible discrimination that we can inflict on women. We are denying them their right to be born! recently there has been considerable debates about ‘can Islam liberate women or not’, but the outcome, as usual, is blurred. Though the scriptures give a certain degree of rights, the practice of the followers i.e. the Muslims are significantly different from the scriptures. Although every society has had its share of discrimination against women, the west seems to be swiftly embracing the changing landscape of women’s participation in nearly all spheres of life, although with some if’s and but’s. Continue reading

Posted in Featured, Guest Article | Tagged | 4 Comments

Baba Ramdev: Yogi or Commissar?

Baba Ramdev has been probably most successful of God men of recent times. He claims to have a following of over a billion people. Baba in a short span of time has built a multi million empire, his Trust is owning series of Ashrams, ayurvedic drug factories, yoga training centers and many such things, in India and abroad. In our country where currently rational thought and scientific thinking has been pushed to the back foot, the claims that his methods are scientific go unchallenged by and large. As per him he can cure Cancer, AIDS and what have you. Generally the ‘divine’ people have to be standing for peace and harmony. One recalls that in the wake of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, Baba had exhorted Indian Government to attack Pakistan, and that he will fund the war against Pakistan. He is trying to ride on two horses, the one of spirituality-religion and the other of entrepreneur-politician, at the same time. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 1 Comment

Height Of Absurdity: Take Education Sportingly, But Treat Sports Like War

India has, of late, joined the leading nation of the world in making school education somewhat easy and simple. These steps are largely appreciated as unnecessary pressure on children was wreaking havoc among them and reportedly driving many teenagers to suicide. But may one ask as to what has prompted sports to become more serious than war––not to speak of education. After all games are best form of entertainment and people play or watch them to get relaxed. But, in this age of capitalism sports are causing more tension and rancour not only in the mind of players, but all those involved in it as well as those who watch it in the field or television sets.he corporate bosses, The match-fixers and betting mafia, who actually play the matches without taking to the field, have made the whole business extremely nasty, especially in the sub-continent. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Is Bhoomi Puja by state a Secular Act?

It is a common sight to see the statues, photos and symbols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in different Government owned public places like police station and other buildings. We have stopped thinking whether it is right. It is a common observation that most of the time Hindu rituals are performed while the construction of state projects, buildings etc are undertaken. The politicians are competing with each other to seek the divine blessing through different well advertised visits, the inaugural ceremonies of state sponsored buildings have the Brahmin priest supervising laying of the foundation stone and undertaking a bhoomi puja (Worship of Earth) and doing his best to get the approval of the supernatural powers though the chanting of Mantras. Such an act of worship violates the basic principles of the Indian Constitution, which is secular and lays the boundaries between the state and the religion. Continue reading

Posted in India, News & Analysis | Tagged | 10 Comments

India After Gandhi

A review of Ramachandra Guha’s book “India After Gandhi: The history of the world’s largest democracy”. Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Featured, Society | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Am Not An Expert On Minority Affairs, Al-hamdu lillah

Thanks to God Almighty, I don’t have the latest data on Indian Muslims. I don’t have the statistics about each constituency and the population of Muslims in it. I do not have the data about the Muslim MPs and MLAs who have fought and won or lost elections so far. I don’t know which constituencies witnessed the splitting or non-splitting of their votes and how and why. Praise be to Allah that I don’t know which place can I get these and many more data from. I don’t know which places I should contact for the most reliable database on Indian Muslims. Al-hamdu lillah I don’t know the individuals who are an authority on this subject and whom I should never seek any information from. Luckily I am not sure about the total budget earmarked by the Government for the development of minorities and am not able to organize any conventions for protesting against the unutilized budgetary allocations. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Article | Tagged , | 1 Comment

No Head-I-win-tail-you-lose Situation For Muslims

The campaign to wipe out the last Muslim Empire, (which had Germany as an ally), ended in disaster and the Allied forces had to retreat yet the West still recalls the day. It caused, according to one estimate, 1.25 lakh casualties. Western tourists make it a point to visit the place. So they do not only celebrate their victories but also make a serious introspection of what led to their defeat,and that too even 95 years later. Take the case of Muslims, especially of the Indian sub-continent. They tend to learn nothing or very little from reverses. They just believe in glorifying their past and are seldom prepared to re-assess historic mistakes, committed advertently or inadvertently. These Muslims seem to have no time to examine that by their action, some of them inadvertently, drive many non-Muslims or even ‘non-practising Muslims’ further away from Islam. Continue reading

Posted in Islam, News & Analysis | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Making Of Gujarat

Sultans of Gujarat ruled the region for over a period of 160 years but the marks that they left on the ground helped shape Gujarat for centuries to come. Gujarat was at its widest spread under the Sultans who governed a vast area which forms now part of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Gujarat as a state of Independent India was founded only on March 1, 1960 but its identity as a separate region with distinct language and culture was established under Gujarati sultans. Gujarati sultans were way ahead of their time by building an administration to not only govern but develop a region. They established new urban centers but also helped promote agriculture by giving lands to soldiers as part of their salary tying them to the land and increasing agriculture output. Thus the foundation of Gujarat was laid that survived later Maratha and British rule and emerged as a state in independent India on May 1st, 1960. Continue reading

Posted in Remembering Gujarat | Tagged | 1 Comment