Hinduphobia

Triple Talaq Bill: Are Indian Muslims now political orphans?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Indian Muslims, most of whom are political, have a difficult choice today.

They number most in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal and switch between SP and BSP; JD(U) and RJD; and CPI(M) and TMC. None of them stood by them on Triple Talaq Bill, not at least as a complete bloc.

They have been steadfast to Congress for all the independent years of India, ignoring few seats the party afforded to the community in Lok Sabha and promises which were never kept. This boat is close to capsizing now in the political churn whipped up by India’s dominant right-wing party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Worse, in five desertions in Rajya Sabha, its Gandhis and Vadras have betrayed their poor hold on the flock.

Your newspapers are unlikely to tell you that between 1952 and 1977, when Congress and Congress alone mattered, the Muslim representation was never more than seven per cent in the Lok Sabha.

Political parties, specific to Muslim identity, such as AIMIM, the Indian Union Muslim League and All-India United Democratic Front—in all there are seven Muslim parties– have looked to fish in the troubled waters. They have caught little except that Asaduddin Owaisi makes an appearance in your drawing rooms, finger-wagging and presenting his report card in newly explored regions of Maharashtra, UP and Bihar. Truth to tell, AIMIM is confined to Hyderabad alone though West Bengal has lately figured in Owaisi’s radar. Imams and Bukharis are good only for religious and moral discourse; as a political influencer, they stay in the basement.

Ironically, your Muslim and my Muslim could be two entirely different human beings.

The community is geographically dispersed across the country and is not a monolithic group. They have never voted with a singular national Muslim aspiration. Language, caste and social hierarchy fragment them; the supposed composite glass never existed. Shards on the floor are visible to even naked eyes.

India’s Liberal-Leftist media, Lutyens Media per se, have worked overtime in conjuring up Hinduphobia with an exaggerated focus on stray lynchings and the narrative of “saffron terror”in forced rendition of “Jai Shri Ram” etc but on ground, it has had had no traction whatsoever. In 80 of Lok Sabha’s 543 seats, Muslim number more than 20 per cent Yet, BJP won 58 of these 80 seats in 2019 Polls. One-fifth of UP is Muslim; yet BJP claimed 325 of 403 seats in 2017 assembly polls without fielding a single Muslim candidate!

The propagandists are elephants gone wild who are crushing the very narrative they are looking to fabricate. The signs of Muslim consolidation is nowhere but one of Hindus is visible everywhere. In constituencies where Muslims pack a punch, Hindus are coming as one in polling counters. BJP worked it out long before the first vote was cast in 2019 polls.

An average Indian Muslim today knows that beyond rhetoric, SP or BSP, JD(U) or RJD have no interest of their community at heart. Their agenda is to keep Indian Muslims poor, uneducated and thus malleable. It’s true of their last plank of hope too, i.e. Congress. They would do better to pay heed to the words of Arif Mohammad Khan who exhorts the community to uplift from within instead of blaming others for their mess. The community needs to trust India and its cultural heritage which is too big to be put on a leash even by a million Modis. It must stop looking for reservations or suffer from a persecution complex. It’s time to give up on false prophets. Educate and reform are two mantras it can’t do without.

 

Pehlu Khan, a cow-smuggler: Indian Express, enough is enough

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Indian Express can’t expect its readers—and I am one—to be polite any longer. The newspaper is telling lies, promoting communal divide and Hinduphobia for years now. And it’s happening because they are unaccountable to readers, appeased by Press bodies and handled with kid gloves by the executive and judiciary of this country.

Indian Express has published a front page screamer today in which they inform the readers that the “dairy farmer” Pehlu Khan who was “lynched” by “gau rakshaks” in Alwar two years ago has been charge-sheeted by the Police as “cow-smuggler.”

First thing first.  Pehlu Khan was a “cow-smuggler” first and a “dairy farmer” later. Dairy farmers don’t buy non-milch cows and move in pitched darkness through a forest. You don’t expect readers to believe you and not the Police that he was a cow-smuggler. It was convenient for you to paint Rajasthan Police as compromised since the BJP was in power in the state in 2017. Now Congress rules the state. The bias factor is flushed down the drain.

Your harping on “gau-rakshaks” too need a firm rebuttal. Alwar is the den of cow-smugglers who number in excess of 500. Cattles are picked from the streets and homes, stuffed into vehicles and mostly slaughtered in Mewat (Haryana) which comprises mostly Meo Muslims. “Gau-Rakshaks” are activists who, police acknowledges, tip them off against cow-smugglers. Indeed, police asks “gau-rakshaks” to accompany them in raids against the cow-smugglers.

Last year, police caught three women packing 60 kilos of beef in packets in Gobindgarh, Alwar. It allegedly was of a cow slaughtered in the jungle by the owner of the house, Sakeel. Police raided two more godowns in the same area: They were stocked with 221 cowhides, not more than a month old.

In the inside pages, Indian Express has another story which details the Pehlu Khan trial in progress. It mentions the accused who have been given “clean-chit” by the police and which has “resulted in widespread criticism for the then BJP government in Rajasthan.” It mentions the case has been transferred from “Behror” to “Alwar” since the witnesses alleged they had been “fired at.”

One of the witnesses was Pehlu Khan’s son Irshad. The police later found out that the “firing” episode was fake. “No firing on the witnesses took place and the complaint was fake. There was no circumstantial evidence of firing and no such vehicle, as described by the complainant is seen in CCTV footage,” said the police.

Yet the Indian Express is on its own trip. It quotes “fake” Irshad at length in its front page story, as outraged perhaps as Pehlu’s son is. “We lost our fathers in the attack by cow-vigilantes and now we have been charged as cow-smugglers. We had hoped that the new Congress government in Rajasthan will review and withdraw the case against us.” Could you believe it! A fake narrator is being given a platform, never put to searching questions by the “Journalism of Courage.” A crime is viewed from political lenses.

Indian Express has headlined its Front Page story: “Pehlu Khan was lynched; now charge-sheeted by Congress government.” It’s inside story also has “lynching” in the headlines. Clearly, the newspaper is loathe to let go on the word “lynching.”

So let’s look at this lynching bit. For over a decade now, Alwar residents are keeping vigil on their livestock in the night given the region being a beehive of cow-smugglers. Yet there are instances of farmers who had 10 cows once are now left with none, all stolen. Says son of one such robbed farmer: “We lost our cattle and learnt a new word—mob lynching. So if you resist a thief, they will say mob lynching happened.”

Cow-owners are terrorized, fired at, killed by cow-smugglers in Alwar. Yet, a Pehlu Khan is “awarded with a flat in Greater Noida and lakh of rupees.” Another (Rakbar) was given a grant of Rs 8 lakhs. What do those who lose their cattles and lives get in return, the activists ask? The tag of  cow vigilantes/”gau-rakshaks and lynchers.

There is little doubt in my mind that Indian Express has written more on Pehlu Khan than the entire media put together in the last two years. It has beefed up the story on false, motivated reporting. There is also little doubt Pehlu Khan wouldn’t have merited such a sustained coverage if he was not a Muslim. This is treating crime along the religious lines: Gau-rakshaks killing Muslim dairy farmers. “Saffron terror” against helpless minority.  Hindutva brigade brutalizing peaceful Muslims.  A criminal’s son, who himself has been shown to be fake by the police, is being quoted at length. Nobody condones Pehlu’s killing but he was a cow-smuggler, not an innocent.

And just imagine the incalculable harm this biased, condemnable reporting does.  An Asaduddin Owaisi builds on the narrative to whip up fears of millions of Muslims. Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti chime in rhyme. Shabana Azmi descends on streets with placards. A Naseeruddin Shah buys the lie without a question. Javed Akhar, Kamal Haasan, Aamir Khan, Swara Bhaskar, Prakash Raj all rustic to nuances of agenda, if not Hinduphobic, add their bit.  It shapes the “Report of Religious Persecution” in India by the United States.  New York Times, Time and other beacons of Western press have pieces on intolerance in Modi’s India. And yet, merrily chugs the Hinduphobic train on the steam of an agenda.

 

Does Express has anti-Hindu agenda?

Indian Express, with its story today (image above) leaves no one in doubt that it’s following an anti-Hindu narrative.

It can only be termed an Indian Express story, despite crediting it to New York Times, given the way it has omitted and manipulated, the original story which appeared in NYT on May 4, 2016.

It took them a good part of a week to present this “revised” story. Take a close look at the original story and what has appeared in Indian Express today (image above).

Before I list the shockers, to save your time, first a gist of the matter is important:

California, through an education committee, is in the process of revising texts in history books where Pakistan and Nepal are NOT referred to as part of Indian subcontinent but as one of South Asia. It has brought a spirited resistance from Hindu American Foundation, which through its social media campaign (#DontEraseIndia), has reflected the anger of Californian Hindus, who number half of the 2.5 million Hindus living in the United States.

Indian Express obviously doesn’t believe in the cause of millions of Hindus in India, US and elsewhere. It wouldn’t matter to it if the very identity of India is distorted and future generations are crippled culturally so that India never rises to its full potential.

Have a look at Express’ omissions and manipulations in today’s story:

ORIGINAL PIECE:

“The victors are said to write history.”

(Omitted: The very opening line is conveniently cut in Express. Why? Could it be because it would show the worthiness of Hindu American Foundation cause? Or that the present attempt in California is a part of the cultural imperialism?)

ORIGINAL PIECE:

“State educators have also heard debates about the portrayal of so-called comfort women in World War II, the Armenian genocide and discrimination against Sikhs in the United States. But none of the arguments have persisted as strongly as the fight over the Indian subcontinent.”

(Omitted: This paragraph would’ve shown the US and Western powers in poor light.  Or that Sikhs are being discriminated in the US. More so, that Indians are up in arms to protect its cultural and historical legacies).

ORIGINAL PIECE:

“Vidhima Shetty, a high school freshman, told the committee that using the term South Asian would be akin to asking her to change her name.

“Names are what define us as people; they represent character and personality,” she said. “The board is confusing our cultural terms with geographical terms. By removing India as a term from the textbooks that leaves Indian-American children with no ethnic or cultural identification to turn to. When we acknowledge ourselves as South Asians, us Hindus are forces to re-identify ourselves as something we are not.”

(Omitted: Such a powerful reasoning is cut out in Indian Express. Neither Vidhima Shetty, nor her convincing views, are relayed to Indian readers.  Is it because Shetty’s views are a clincher?)

ORIGINAL PIECE:

“During a hearing last month, dozens of Indian students spoke out against the changes the South Asian scholars have suggested to the commission, accusing them of “Hinduphobia” and robbing them of selfhood.”

(Omitted: No mention of students protests on Hinduphobia at all in Indian Express).

ORIGINAL PIECE:

“Ms Suhag Shukla (executive director of the foundation) is also pressing the state to include the idea that Hindus in India have a historical acceptance of religious diversity, allowing Jews and Zoroastrians to come to India as they escaped persecution in nearby lands.”

(Omitted: Predictably, Indian Express cuts it out. How could really Hindus be shown to be tolerant? Isn’t against the narrative of Indian media against the Modi government?)

ORIGINAL PIECE:

“The Hindu-American group is hardly alone in pushing for changes in the way ethnic groups are portrayed. The state’s committee also heard from Filipino, Korean and Mexican advocate. There have been a lot of groups that are eager for us to include their history in the framework.”

(Omitted: Predictably left out by Express. For it would have shown an attempt in US to wipe out the cultural identity of migrant populations, not just Hindus, and strengthened the Foundation’s case).

ORIGINAL PIECE :

“But the Hindu-American group has been particularly active in trying to shape California’s history curriculum. For the last decade, it has been pushing — unsuccessfully — for public schools to give more attention in the curriculum to the Hindu religion and Indian culture.”

(Omitted: Predictably by Express. For it would have shown California’s history curriculum erasing the Hindu history and cultural legacy systematically for a decade now).

ORIGINAL PIECE:

“Debate erupts in California over Indian history”

(Manipulated: This was the original headline in New York Times.

And see what our admired newspaper offers the headline to its readers:   How contesting idea of “India” are fuelling a debate in US.

Mark “India” in quotes!!!).

NewsBred would advice Indian Express that instead of going to town about history text book revisions in Rajasthan, it should justify it given how imperialists powers rewrite history of subjugated nations—as is being done in California now. It should also be gracious enough to give credit where it’s due—to Hindu American Foundation for fighting the cause.

And for god’s sake, don’t manipulate and omit facts to suit your agenda.