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Taliban- Islam- and India

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Many a time, when it comes to debate upon formidable issues regarding the subtle relationship between other people and Muslims, we forget or fail to take into account the deductions of common men in both communities who have nothing to do with the political axes the front liners have got to grind. Intellectuals on both left and right wings exchange vigorous comments, as if all the Hindus are backing BJP and RSS practically and theoretically and all the Muslims are in favour of Taliban or Pakistan. In Indian Television penal discussions, one might have seen resource persons with suspicious backgrounds along with the way they put forward their contention with unwanted vigor. Every resource person becomes a solitary representative of the community he or his party is determined to justify. Surprisingly, representation for those independent common men on both sides is conspicuously absent. The lowest rung in every community is always taken for granted whenever their problems will come up before any public forum for so called rational debate.

In the case of Taliban too, our Medias were seen engaged in speculating upon the interpretation of the symptoms of a disease instead of taking intellectual strain to diagnose the root cause of a fatal disease.

Any religion which never encountered serious mass movements for its reform will have produced similarly dreaded Taliban and women will be the pathetic scapegoats of ancient orthodoxies. The innocent common folk, of primitive communities never exposed to modernity and their vulnerably raw minds. will be ruled by all sorts of political outfits to grab easy political mileage. Islam appears to be the one and the only religion on this planet, in which its internal turmoil never reached its logical end. A systematically organized attempt to rationalize this religion so as to suit it to the modern world has ever been done neither from inside nor from external forces.

The Christianity embraced rationality to some extent even centuries long ago by challenging the supremacy of Roman Catholic Church albeit after a long lasted battle among its own followers in Europe. Now the Christianity has been elevated to such a maturity with which they can strike out a balance between personal liberty and religious orthodoxies. The Hinduism opened up to liberalism even during twelth century when Adi Shankaracharya dared to reinterpret the hitherto unammendable Vedas to lure its own detractors who were falling prey to Buddhism across Indian subcontinent then. That during 19th Century reformer Raja Ram Mohan Ray demanded the British Government to abolish inhuman ‘Sati Sahagamana’ system-i.e. wife sacrificing herself in the flames in which her husband’s dead body is being burnt, can be sited as one more example of reforming Hindu social system. Any community, once introduced to the delicacies of modernity and once tasted the liberty and equality like Christianity and Hinduism, can never give birth to ‘Taliban,’ unlike Islam.

Globalization coupled with technical advancements in communication systems have been mercilessly shedding bright light upon the political and ideological hypocrisies which go hand in hand with public Medias over powered by the open social Medias worldwide. Until recently common man would have to be content with the selective materials supplied by the News Papers and TVs which would mould the public opinion in their own way so as to downplay the paradoxes of their ideological foundations. In the changed scenario no politician, no intellectual, no omnipotent almighty god can justify his theories without explaining away the disturbing contradictions which haunt laymen  in the timelines of their profile day in and day out. No one is in a position to confine his thoughts within the narrow boundaries of his nation and nothing can be established without referring to the social and political calamities beyond the boundaries of one’s own country.

One word coming up for consideration is ‘Islamophobia’. The suffix ‘phobia’ can be added after the name of any religion to create a new form of phobia only to exaggerate the mischief’s of some fanatic miscreants of any religion. But the factual evidences coming to surface from many corners of the world, time and again, are such that they at least persuade even the most secular intellectuals standing by the Islamic community, to think as to why if at all Islamophobia is an illusion, why then there is no illusion of ‘Christanophobia’, why there is no ‘Hindu phobia’ or ‘Buddhist phobia’ at all. 

Religious policies of many nations towards their Muslim subjects indicate that unless more stringent law is enacted to regulate social life of Muslim community within their territory, they would most likely  turn out to be fatal to national unity and integrity. Justifying a law passed in the parliament to impose certain restrictions upon Mulsims subjects, the Frech President Macron claims that Islamists are closing themselves off from French society by refusing to embrace secularism gender equality and other French values. China- being a communist nation has been reported to be persecuting Uighur Muslims for religious reasons. Though the Chinese administration justifies its clampdown on the Uighur Muslim minorities by saying it is trying to eradicate extremism and separatist group and China has maintained that it is another important contribution of china’s to the global counter terror field. However, it is important to note here that no other community in China has ever come up with complaints of any kind of religious persecutions by the communist party of china.

No nation predominantly inhabited by Muslims has been a secular nation in its strict sense of the word.  Some of the Nations have expressly replaced the term ‘secular’ with  holy word ‘Islamic State’ in the preamble of their very constitutions  and many nations are secular to the extent to which it is necessary to subsist amongst other secular nations. The only acid test to find out the secular credentials of a nation is to count the number of public representatives belonging to the minority religions in its parliaments. In nations where Muslims are a major community we rarely see non-Muslim public representatives in their political rungs let alone heads of states, ministers and administrators of high ranks.

It is a humorous paradox that when a legal and constitutional effort is attempted by secular nations, attack on Islam is alleged vigorously by public protests in and out of that nation with pla-cards displaying ‘stop stigmatizing Islam’ ‘protect minorities’ from discriminating laws but the everlasting persecution of minorities in many Islamic countries encounter no protest as they will be done unofficially against the dead words of law in those nations. Forget the condition of minorities in Islamic nations, even the common men of Islamic community themselves do not enjoy fundamental freedom of speech and expressions. In some Nations like India where the Hindus are more in number, anyone can abuse Hindu gods and goddesses and the matter will end up with some extremists counter abusing such abnormal intellectuals in TVs and social Medias. And Muslim god is as safe in India as he is in Pakistan or Bangladesh. 

Other nations, political parties, many international NGOs, intellectuals and economists can be seen shamelessly downplaying the socio religious cause of terrorism or full or partial Talibanization in any country. Democrats never assert that there must be virtual democracy in Muslim Nations. When Panjasheer province bravely retaliated against Taliban  the United Nations became a dumb witness of the sacrifice of warriors left with insufficient arms and ammunitions. No democratic and secular nation openly went forward to lend military and moral supports to vanishing Northern Alliance. The final victory of Taliban force in Panjasheer very much resembled the ruthless Aurangzeb’s battle with his brothers for the throne which was still occupied by his aged and ailing father –the Mogul Emperor Shahajahan. 

NGOs launching rhetoric preachings of secularism in liberal countries play purposeful low profile in Islamic nations. Then, such is the stance of self styled protectors of human rights, that the norms- not to violate human rights are applicable only in secular and democratic nations only.  Economists of international fame do not dare to express their real opinion about the bearings of religious orthodoxies upon the socio economic conditions in many backward Islamic nations.

Even as the videos, news trails and photographs of Taliban warriors ill treat Muslim women clad in black bhurkas, astonished world reacted with great resentment about the condition of Afghanistan.  In India, as usual rightists acknowledged the ongoing incidents as the practical proofs of ‘beware of Muslims’ slogans and leftists and the opposition congress were content with posting a ridiculous comparison of photographs of saffron clad Hindu activists carrying sword and ‘trishool’ along with the ones of turban headed gunmen Taliban, expecting to mitigate the ill impression of the Islamic fanaticism which they indirectly nurture for political gains.

Why then Islam is not opening up for reform even in democratic and secular Nations like India?    In India when the constitution was adopted in 1950 itself the Hinduism underwent drastic reforms under many historical articles in the constitution and equally historical was the fact that the crores of people of a majority religion, which bore the brunt of religious unrest during the partition on the ground of religion itself just two three years earlier, accepted the eradication of many superstitious systems their own religion had perpetuated for millenniums and that no Hindu religious leaders or motifs raised any strong protest against the abolition of ancient four cast system[chaturvarna] which their holy scriptures initiated from the time immemorial.

But to the contrary Indian Muslims were granted minority status but this constitutional status was used more to propagate Islamic conservatism than for reforming it. In a bid to solicit the enormous Islamic vote bank, Indian political parties kept on playing dual policies when it comes to reformative measures in Islam. India had to wait more than seven decades to see that the barbaric triple talaq to be abolished. Surprisingly, left oriented feminists,-who have penned hundreds of fictions based on discrimination of women among Hindus, were not much amused about the abolition of triple talaq.

From the very beginning Marxists and the congress surrupticiasly joined hands with each other to relegate the Indian Muslims to the condition of being in a reserved vote bank by directly and indirectly instilling and strengthening conservatism in the name of secularism. The number of ways in which these two outfits accomplished this dangerously hidden political agenda in decades after independence can be a rich subject for profound study. It is possible to convincingly establish that politically motivated wrong policy towards the Indian Islamic Community under the guise of secularism must have inspired the majority Hindus to be defensive as against Islam. This , perhaps, accounts for the unprecedented popularity of PM Narendra modi beyond all dividing boundaries of casts among Hindus. Now the Congress, Leftists and their supporting intellectual class, have come up to the point in which they are at loss to rebut the historical errors themselves committed in the past.

The ground reality, of millions of innocent Muslims being ready to accept the rationalization of Islam for the sake of their own upliftment, is systematically concealed from the outer world in two ways- firstly the Congress and leftists and their intellectuals highlight the same conservative Muslim leaders and intellectuals and the real representatives of Islam and secondly, the Hindu rightist outfits generalize all the Muslims as Jihadist as a result of which the common Muslim is falling back upon defensive measures of blindly supporting the orthodox Muslim Clergymen who launch Fathvas or Farmans to save them from Hindus. These circumstances have elevated the dreaded Tippu Sultan to the position of Islamic Icon and have made Muslim youths cannot feel proud of Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam and his contributions to the Nation.

Much more disgusting is the marginalization of progressive Muslim leaders as well as intellectuals. Though there are number of Muslim intellectuals who advocate reforms in Islam they are neither critically understood by the Hindus  nor the leftist and Secular parties like the Congress adequately accommodate them as the Muslim vote bank is still  under the strong control of conservative Islamic clergymen.

Language is another hurdle in the way of overall development of Islam in India. Even today youths among Muslims-living in vibrant society, are not proficient in regional languages as a result of which they have to find their livelihood in all kinds of illegal trade practices. Very few Muslim parents prefer to give their children modern education as against madrasa training. Amidst hundreds of Hindu girls a few Muslim girls in a separate group with their glittering eyes in side hijab, anxious to reach home as early as possible after collage hours, is a common scenario unfolding   around our college campuses everywhere; much less than that of the girls is the number of Muslim boys who go in search of employment after they finish madarasa course. This has placed the Muslims in much more pathetic condition than illiterate Hindus who could, with their little education, can still interact with others of the vider society. Then the real terrorism lies in misleading those hapless Muslims- who cannot rationally appreciate the national and international happenings just because of their educational condition, to the effect that ‘the Muslims in India are not safe’. This wicked task is being successfully done by the ones like former Voice president Hamid Ansari to the last rung congress and left party workers.

All these erroneous political, educational and religious policies across the country from seven decades after Independence have afforded convincing grounds for the majority Hindus to feel not safe as against the Muslims who are still allowed to marry more wives to beget more children to outnumber the Hindus even as enjoying legally granted privileges of minorities. Though the congress and left parties have run the risk of loosing popularity among Hindus, have pethetically failed to convince the everage Hindu mind that the fear that the Indian Muslims will not claim a separate nation once again, is unfounded.  It is this wrong politics of so many years that has created a politically conducive situation out of which Narendra Modi could emerge as the most popular national leader today.

That the demonization of Muslims across the globe was more due to the insensitive conservatism on their own part than the ill treatment they occasionally suffer in the hands of others, is a reality which the progressive  Muslims are supposed to know as early as possible. Or otherwise the next world war will be between Muslims and Kaffirs- and the resultant war may ensue between Hindus and Muslims in India too which cannot afford to divide the Nation once again even after they have learnt an elaborate lesson out of bloody history of partition of India and Pakistan.

-K.Gopalkrishna Bhagvat

[The auther is the editor of a cultural magazine entitled ‘Yaksharanga’ in Kannada and also an Advocate]

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