(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
The news from Bengaluru is disturbing. A facebook post on the Prophet Muhammad enraged a mob of Muslims; they went on a rampage; hundreds of vehicles were burnt; dozens of policemen injured; houses put to torch; people killed. Alongside are stories of how Muslims formed a human chain to protect a Hindu temple from being vandalized; how a Muslim father named his son as “Krishna” as he was born on Krishna Janmashtami.
Bear with me for a couple of minutes as I build the background for you to connect the dots. In the hope that you would become a careful consumer of news and not one who just swallows any vomit by our newspapers.
I not only consume but also create news so know where my objectivity ends and bias begins. It’s true for most. We won’t disagree too that Muslims by and large don’t favour BJP. Or that your Sikh cousins—intermarriages are common, my mom was a Sikhni—would greet you on Holi and Deepawali but try telling them that Sikhs have emerged from the Hindus. Or that Sikhs are required to this day to register their marriage as Hindus.
I also notice a practice which if you are not careful enough would pass you by. Whenever Muslims as a religious minority do something which alarms the nation, by causing riots, killing civilians or soldiers, stories would start doing rounds in newspapers about how a few Muslims are reaching out to Hindus and shielding them from arsonists, how a few Muslims are upholding the ganga-jamuni tehzeeb, how a few were exemplary citizens before the state turned them into monsters.
Barkha Dutt made sure that the nation never forgets Burhan Wani was the son of a school teacher even if he happened to be the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen; that another top Hizbul commander Riaz Naikoo was a math teacher; and so on and so on. Who would forget the Indian Express headline: “And they hanged Yakub Memon”? It’s a classic news report which should be a matter of eternal shame for the newspaper. Please read it.
If somebody was reading the story today, he wouldn’t have a clue what Memon did for which he was hanged. There is no mention at all of why the State deemed Memon to have done a crime grave enough to be hanged. NO MENTION AT ALL. All you have is a poignant report of a man preparing for his final moment; fresh white kurta pyjama, letters exchanged in English with his family etc. Oh, I must tell you Memon had been found guilty in 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts which had left 257 killed.
Why do you think this happens? Why the innocent killing of civilians, threat to national security, incalculable damage to assets fades into the background and the image of an innocent, lovable kid in the neighbourhood, one whose only affair was with books and academics, is kept in your face? Why no sooner Pulwama happens, which leaves 46 of our soldiers martyred, you find stories in our newspapers that Kashmiri students all over the country are being beaten in hostels, in streets, and that they are fleeing and railways stations are filling up? Why a sympathetic narrative is spun alongside a grave crime?
On matters of Kashmir Valley or Punjab insurgency, it’s simply to cast in stone the image of a carefree youngster who was alienated enough by the Indian state to turn into a terrorist. Remember, movie “Maachis”? The chief protagonist only loafs around with his friends when police frames them and puts them on the run, seeking revenge against the system.
Now let’s return to today. Let’s look closely at the Muslim man who has named his “Krishna” on Janmashtami. Aziz Khan belongs to Indore in Madhya Pradesh. India Abroad News Service (IANS) informs us that “the doctor Praveen Jadia asked for the baby’s name to be filled in for the form. I immediately named our boy as Krishna, as the day was Janmashtami.
“Although the doctors and other family members objected to it, but I told them that a father has the right to give any name to his child.”
The IANS further adds: Khan’s mother Yaniki had suggested another name “Kafir” but Aziz did not change it.
What say folks. Teary-eyed. Angry at right-wingers poking fingers at innocent, harried Indian muslims? The violence still on in Bengaluru already faded in your memory? The anger you felt at Muslims taking their reverence to their Prophet to murderous levels already diluted?
So let me disappoint you readers. This story is a dozen years old. This happened in 2008. Why this story is doing rounds now after 12 years? it’s commendable but what relevance it has to the present situation which would only polarize society, feed the islamist elements and is bad for all of us? Try googling this story and you would see every newspaper, magazine, website swooning over the exemplary Muslim.
That’s why I say folks connect dots. When your respected Tauji forwards a WhatsApp image moved by his proclivity for Narendra Modi or his undying faith in the Gandhi clan, THINK. When your aunt in Pondicherry has just forwarded a map which shows Chinese incursion in the Galwan Valley, PAUSE. I guess now there are more economists in our homes than we had ever suspected. Or the very next day, these economists are ready with their nuanced view on India’s latest defence purchase. If you, reader, are an evolved consumer of news, it would foil their sinister designs. India only breaks up when its citizens don’t connect what they consume as news.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Indian Muslims can no longer blame others of Islamophobia if they continue to defend or ignore what has happened in the wake of Tablighi Jamaat disaster.
It’s clear that thousands came over and stayed put in Nizamuddin markaz despite restrictions/lockdowns being in place.
We now have videos where they are seen eating from the same utensil, drinking and bathing from common tanks.
Hundreds slept in the same room.
When social distancing was being practiced by millions of Indians, their “maulana” or head preacher was allegedly suggesting that it’s a ploy to divide Muslims. “Being together is your strength,” was his alleged call.
While the nation, in the midst of a life-death battle, seethed at this blatant transgression, the Tablighi Jamaat devouts first refused to leave the markaz and then chose to spit on the policemen around them.
Subsequently, we have had videos of a Muslim locality in Indore throwing stones and hurting paramedical staff which came to save them from Corona Virus threat.
A few of Tablighi Jamaat Corona Virus patients under medical care in Ghaziabad, are walking semi-naked and passing lurid comments on nurses, as per an official complaint.
HImanta Biswa Sarma was almost in tears on national TV, stating Tablighi Jamaat attendees who have returned to Assam have gone in hiding. Sarma fears that his state, which had no case till the Tablighi Jamaat fiasco, could face a disaster if these men remained untraceable.
Their so-called leaders, like Asaduddin Owaisi, are suggesting that those who have lost the battle against Corona Virus are no less than “martyrs.” Amanatullah Khan is busy blaming the police.
There are a few attendant questions which India’s sizeable Muslim community needs to pause and reflect:
(a) Would you not fault one of your religious offshoots which want its followers to go back to the lifestyle of the seventh century? Is it in sync with modern realities and their own future?
(b) Those who are defending Jamaat at this grave criminal conduct, can they reasonably claim to be secular? Aren’t they being communal? Worse, aren’t they directing anger of India’s masses against you, the Indian Muslims?
(c) Aren’t these seculars widening the divide between you and the rest of Indian society? In which way is it helping you or your next generations? Can’t you see their only aim is your vote and not your welfare?
(d) There could be a widespread opposition among Indian Muslims on CAA-NPR-NRC. “Kagaz Nahin Dekhayenge -Won’t show identity papers—sounds revolutionary. But if the State has real numbers of its citizens, wouldn’t it help to dole out cash to needy? (That’s what US president Donald Trump has resorted to now).
(e) Would you blame the rest of India if it feels that “social-distancing” norm was flouted only because prime minister Narendra Modi had made this call?
(f) Would you fault intelligence agencies if they probe that a few in the vast congregation at Nizamuddin markaz could’ve been bio-bombers? I mean how could you rule out this possibility. More so when 100s of attendees have gone underground?
(g) Would you ignore the fact that Intelligence today points at a few Rohingyas who have slipped in as members of Tablighi Jamaat?
(h)Would you feign ignorance that Sri Lanka has tipped off India on a few extremists having crossed over as Tablighi devouts? After all one of your own, India’s minority minister, has termed Jamaat’s act as Talibani.
(i) How do you think India is today reacting when the NSA literally had to beg Tablighis to vacate the markaz?
The truth is: Everyone has failed you. And you yourself.
Your community leaders are out to use you.
Your “Mullahs” want to keep you blindfolded into ignorance.
your political suckers have kept you in misery for the last seven decades.
There is no point blaming others of Islamophobia; or wearing the “persecuted” mantle.
There is a reason why other minorities—Sikhs, Jains, Parsis—have done so well in the same milieu in which you breathe.
You can’t blame BJP also for they have emerged only recently. If anything, you were worse under UPA.
If Indian Muslims feel that rest of India is hostile to them, they first need to put their house in order. They need to be Indians first, Muslims later. It would mean calling a spade a spade. Find a voice to condemn Tablighi Jamaat. They have shackled you; their plan is—always has been to—use you to their own end. Rise above them and win India’s trust. Take to social media, exhort your own locality; for Allah’s sake do something. You can’t be sheep at their command. Stop playing the “Islamophobia” card. Your future lies with the rest of India; embrace it.
If I was an Indian Muslim, I would have a whole lot of questions today and certainly no answers.
So far, I believed in the pictures of Rahul Gandhi, skull cap and all, in Iftar party breaking his fast, so to speak, at sunset during a day in the Ramadan month. His remarks that Congress is a party of Muslims. Now, I read he said Tuesday in Indore that his party is one of Hinduism.
It raised a whole lot of issues to my mind. Does Congress stand for Muslims, Dalits, Hindus or everyone. So far I have been told the only protectors Muslims have are Congress. They engineered a special protection for my Jammu and Kashmir brethrens and sisters in Indian Constitution. They stood up for Sharia during the Shah Bano case; are most determined for Rohingya refugees; paralyzed the country on Kathua tragedy; stalled the Triple Talaq bill, spotlight every single–half or full–lynching incident in the remotest hamlets of the country. Now they say they are one of Hinduism.
All this while, they dubbed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as sectarian and communal even though Narendra Modi never once said he stood only for Hindus. Isn’t Rahul Gandhi now being communal by opening claiming his party is one of Hinduism? Isn’t it polarizing the communities? Widening the gulf of fear and insecurity between practitioners of two religions? Is this the vision of One India or daring of a burglar who wishes to rob the home of 1.3 billions of all its valuables?
Then I look at my newspapers. My day begins with Indian Express, the “journalism of courage.” For the last four years and half, they have reported every single incident against my Muslim community, and Dalits, with sincerity and not a little bit of imagination and creativity. They have marked anniversaries of Dadri, Pehlu or a Junaid by sacrificing the space for news of their front pages. They made sure my Muslim community didn’t forget for a single day the crimes which have been committed against them during the Modi regime (Nor did they Una or Bhima-Koregaon on behalf of Dalits). Indian Express seemed seriously concerned about the future of Indian Muslims.
And look at them, now that Rahul Gandhi has jumped the ship, to my eyes at least, Indian Express choose to completely blank out his Indore comment in today’s edition (31.10.2018). Why didn’t they report Rahul Gandhi for his communal and polarizing comment? Why did they desert me and million of Indian Muslims like me who dread a majoritarian narrative in this country? Could Indian Express be said to be standing up to the idea of secular, free and equal India? Just imagine if Modi had said BJP stands only for Hinduism? (They haven’t allowed him to live down the Kabristan-Shamsaan speech to this day).
If I could ask Indian Express why for a similar offence, BJP is communal and Congress is not. Why give ammunition to right-wingers who claim there is never a pro-Hindu story on your front pages? Why make even your die-hard fans like me and other Indian Muslims doubt your sincerity when you sweep Rahul Gandhi’s all-for-Hinduism comment under the carpet?
I’ve tried to give my faith in Indian Express a second chance. What if your reporter truly miss the Indore event? Extremely unlikely for Rahul didn’t offer his comment in private. It was a press conference. Even if your reporter missed the event, news agencies such as PTI must have brought the news on your teleprinters. On close inspection, I even find this Indore press conference of offensive-comment buried inside your newspaper (Page 8).
Then why did you throw a cloak on this Rahul remark from our views? Why have double standards on BJP and Congress? If you care about us Indian Muslims or the idea of India that you numb our minds daily with, why avoid the searchlight on Mr Rahul Gandhi? Is that an editorial policy or a direction you receive from “Above”? And who’s this “Above”? Does this “Above” have the welfare of us Indian Muslims or India as a whole in mind?
These are all very disturbing questions to my mind. I hope Indian Express takes my fears in the form of questions to Rahul Gandhi. Ask its editorial writers from JNU and Ashoka University; Kancha Ilaiahs or Apoorvanands, to prove they truly speak for us minorities. That their propagation of free and secular India is not fake. Scratch the surface of Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor who are never out of your reach, or representation, in your newspaper on a daily basis. You could even evoke write-ups from retired professionals such as Justice Fali S. Nariman or Chelameswar, ex-cop Julio Ribeiro, ex-election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi etc who don’t even need an invitation to fill your editorial pages.
After all, you are “journalism of courage.” You profess to stand up for us minorities. You claim to care for a free and secular India. The proof of burden that you don’t write on behalf of Muslims and Dalits only when it suits you.