A Report on Tarek Fatah’s IIT Bombay Talk – Change in approach?

In the excitement of bashing Pakistan and militant Jihadis, many people became ardent fans of Tarek Fatah. Infact he was almost treated as a Nationalist Muslim.

However, after hearing his views, first in a closed room and then in a talk that he gave at IIT Bombay, I think we all need to pause and look at Tarek Fatah in an objective manner.

He is certainly not a wolf in sheep’s clothing; he does take a stand against Jihadis but may be it was a hasty conclusion on the part of many RW thinkers to view him as a “nationalist” Muslim.

I have compiled few points that Tarek Fatah made at IIT Bombay. I would list them first and then list my closing remarks:

  • To say that India had a glorious past is a big bogey. Present time is the best time that India ever had. Indians should stop looking back at some “glorious past” and look forward.
  • If Mohammad’s journey on a flying horse is myth so is the story of a monkey carrying mountain.
  • Indians ill-treat economically backward section extremely shabbily; perhaps more shabbily than their Pakistani counterparts.
  • An obsession with Kanhaiyya is somewhere linked to him being a village bumpkin. His voice and his views have to be heard. Although he might be a half-baked Marxist, he deserves a voice. The disdain shown towards him, is somewhere linked to his rural background.
  • Organizing Sufi conference was tokenism and a needless attempt that benefits nobody.

I would like to conclude by saying that we all should remember that he is an avowed Marxist. He differs from Indian leftists because he opposes Islamic militancy openly. However in India, he does take a stand against – what he thinks – the dominant right, the Hindu Nationalists.

That said he has made a decided change in his strategy. When I last saw him in Firstpost Salon. He was stridently anti-Pakistani and anti-Jihadi. He was by and large pro-Modi. But in 4-5 months, there is a shift in his tone and tenor.

This requires a more detailed analysis.

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