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How much is a life worth in India? by Shefali Vaidya

(Our thanks to Shefali Vaidya who posted this on the Facebook)

Warning – Graphic Image

A lot, if you happen to be a Ph.D student and your tragic suicide can be used to malign the Hindus and to further a vicious casteist agenda.

However, if you are just a poor, uneducated Hindu kid of 16, burnt alive by Muslim criminals, your life is not worth the amount of petrol used to turn you into a human torch!

Sawan Dharma Rathod discovered this tragic truth at the cost of his life. He died in Pune around the same time Rohit Vemula committed suicide in Hyderabad.

The death of Sawan Rathod was no accident, nor was it a suicide. Sawan Rathod was burnt alive by three people. According to newspaper reports, their names were Ibrahim Mehboob Shaikh, Zuber Tamboli and Imran Tamboli. As per the newspapers, Zuber Tamboli is a known history-sheeter and has several cases against him, including a charge of attempted murder.

Sawan Rathod

In a video statement recorded in the hospital just before he died, Sawan says his murderers burnt him alive just because he was a Hindu!

I have a copy of this video statement in my possession and believe me, I could not sleep the night I saw the 79 seconds video. According to his lawyer Ramesh Rathod, the police did not record his dying declaration as per procedure.  The video statement has been given to the police by Ramesh Rathod.

Sawan Rathod was a poor boy from the Banjara community. His father works at a brick kiln in Pandharpur. Sawan had come to Pune to seek work, following a fight with his father. As per his dying declaration, Sawan Rathod was allegedly accosted by Zuber Tamboli and his friends at night while he had stopped in a narrow, dark lane in the city to relieve himself. They asked him his name. When he replied ’Sawan Rathod’, they allegedly asked him ‘Are you a Hindu’? Sawan clearly mentions this on the tape. When he turned away, they poured something over him from a can and lit a matchstick. Zuber and his friends then watched Sawan as he screamed for help, tormented by pain as his body was engulfed in flames.

They then put a badly burnt Sawan Rathod in a tempo and abandoned him at an isolated spot on the river bed. Sawan lay there writhing in pain for several hours till some rag-pickers found hims and called the police. He was admitted to the hospital with 75% burns. Sawan Rathod died the next day, consumed by his pain.

The FIR mentions that Sawan was burnt alive by three ‘persons’ who suspected that he was stealing batteries of vehicles on the street, but Sawan’s video statement clearly reveals another angle to the story, a sinister narrative of communal hatred.

Sawan Rathod is gone forever. His life ended before it began at the young age of 16. There will be no TV debates conducted to discuss his murder. There will be no op-eds dedicated to him. No chief minister of Delhi will fly to Pune to meet his parents, no politician will offer his family a flat.

Truth is, no one cares for the cold-blooded murder of Sawan Rathod! The names of his murderers reveal an inconvenient truth; they belong to the ‘right’ faith!

– Shefali Vaidya

 

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CAUSE TO CELEBRATE- Swapan Dasgupta on Gujarat after 2002 in Telegraph

– Peace and prosperity after bloodshed in Gujarat

Swapan Dasgupta

(The Telegraph, Friday, March 2, 2012)

 

It may sound callous, but there was something patently disgusting about the way the media and activists colluded to turn a grim 10th anniversary of the 2002 Gujarat riots into a celebration of victimhood. From star anchors rushing to Ahmedabad to hug victims to the overuse of the photograph of the unfortunate Qutubuddin Ansari pleading for his life, every tear-jerking potential was cynically exploited. What should have been a solemn occasion of remembrance, perhaps leading to a pledge to make sectarian violence a thing of the past, was, instead, turned into an all-too-familiar Indian tamasha, culminating in riotous television discussions.

The reason for this ugly turn of events should be obvious. Ten years after the arson attack on the Sabarmati Express in Godhra became the trigger for murderous violence throughout Gujarat, the issue of ‘justice’ has been transformed into a political blame game. The activists who have doggedly kept the issue alive, despite the apparent lack of responsiveness in Gujarat, have shifted their priorities markedly. The issue is no longer one of securing the punishment of the rioters and those responsible for inhuman conduct, but the political targeting of one man: the chief minister, Narendra Modi.

The unspoken assumption is that justice will be served if Modi can be prosecuted for personally facilitating the carnage. As an additional bonus, the framing of charges against Modi is calculated to ensure his exclusion from the political arena and consequently bring to an abrupt end any possibility of him being in the reckoning for the prime minister’s post. In short, if you can’t beat him, disqualify him.

Had Modi shown himself to be electorally vulnerable, the need to fight him judicially would have evaporated. A Modi defeat in either 2002 or 2007 would have prompted the self-satisfied conclusion that “Gujarat has redeemed itself”— in the same way as, it is proclaimed, Uttar Pradesh redeemed itself by rejecting the Bharatiya Janata Party after the demolition of the Babri shrine in 1992. However, the prospects of the clutch of activists moving on to the next available cause have dimmed following the realization that not only has Modi strengthened himself politically but that the Congress in Gujarat lacks the necessary qualities to mount an effective challenge. Consequently, the only way they see to fight Modi is to remove him from politics altogether.

There is another factor at work. Over the past 10 years, Modi has transformed Gujarat spectacularly. After winning the 2002 assembly elections in a communally surcharged environment, he has deftly shifted the political focus of Gujarat from sectarian identity issues to rapid economic development. Gujarat was always an economically vibrant state and entrepreneurship is deeply ingrained in the DNA of the average Gujarati. Modi has played the role of a great facilitator by creating an environment that is conducive to the double digit growth of the state’s gross domestic product. He has toned up the administration, improved the finances of the state exchequer, brought down corruption markedly and made every rupee expended on government-run schemes a factor in economic value addition. Modi has been the model rightwing administrator pursuing the mantra of minimal but effective governance. His election victory in 2007 wasn’t a consequence of Hindu-Muslim polarization; it was based on his ability to deliver good governance.

Secondly, Modi successfully shifted tack from Hindu pride to Gujarati pride. This meant that hoary grievances centred on sectarian hurt were subsumed by a common desire to take advantage of the dividends flowing from a prolonged period of high economic growth. The popular mentality of Gujarat has undergone a discernible shift in the past decade. In the 30 years since the Ahmedabad riots of 1969, which left nearly 650 people dead in just five days of mayhem, Gujarat had become a riot-prone state.

With its sharp communal polarization, Ahmedabad epitomized that trend. After the 1969 flare-up, there were riots in 1971, 1972 and 1973. Then, after a period of lull, rioting resumed in January 1982, March 1984, March to July 1985, January 1986, March 1986, July 1986, January 1987, February 1987, November 1987, April 1990, October 1990, November 1990, December 1990, January 1991, March 1991, April 1991, January 1992, July 1992, December 1992 and January 1993. This chronology, assembled by the political scientist based in the United States of America, Ashutosh Varshney, in his Ethnic Conflict and Civil Life (2002) tells a story of unending curfews, social insecurity and escalating hatred affecting the two communities. It was a story replicated throughout Gujarat, including the otherwise integrated city of Surat that witnessed fierce riots in 1993.

Since March 2002, Gujarat has been riot-free. Curfews have become a thing of a distant past. What has occasioned this exemplary transformation? The facile explanation, often proffered unthinkingly by secularists anxious to find fault with Modi, is that Muslims have been too cowed down by the sheer intensity of the post-Godhra majoritarian backlash. Such an explanation presumes that riots are invariably begun by a section of the Muslim community — a problematic proposition and not always empirically sustainable.

More compelling is the explanation that factors in the larger administrative and economic changes in Gujarat over the past decade. First, both the civil administration and the political leadership have internalized the lessons from their inability to control mob violence in 2002. The police have been given a free hand to operate without the interference of small-time politicians attached to the ruling party. There has been a crackdown against the illicit liquor trade and the underworld that gained its muscle power from its proceeds. At the helm, there is an unspoken understanding that another riot, with its attendant TV coverage, would extract an unacceptably high political cost. That is why there is special attention paid to curbing Hindu extremism — a phenomenon that will affect Modi most adversely.

The biggest change has, however, been at the societal level. Gujarat today is a society that is obsessively preoccupied with making money and taking advantage of the economic opportunities that have presented themselves. With the end of boredom, a happy present and an appealing future, the belief that riots are bad for dhanda has seeped into society. This is not to suggest that the bitterness of the past has been replaced by idyllic bonhomie between communities. Far from it. Sectarian conflict persists in cities such as Ahmedabad, and less so in Surat. But there is a distinction that Varshney makes between sectarian conflict and sectarian violence. One need not necessarily lead to the other if contained within the parameters of economics and politics. The Muslims of Gujarat don’t possess the political clout they enjoyed earlier under Congress rule. But this has been compensated for by growing levels of prosperity. Those who argue that the economic development of Gujarat has bypassed Muslims should look at the economic empowerment of communities such as the Bohras, Khojas and Memons.

To many, Gujarat’s obsession with economic betterment may seem an expression of denial for the larger societal involvement in the 2002 riots. This may be partially true, since Gujarati Hindus view the post-Godhra troubles as something they don’t want to be reminded of incessantly — a point which the state Congress has grudgingly acknowledged. But it doesn’t distract from Modi’s undeniable success in changing the agenda dramatically in 10 years to the point where hardened Hindutvawadis now regard him as an enemy of the cause.

The riots of 2002 were horrible. But the important thing to note is that 10 years after the butchery, Gujarat is basking in peace and unprecedented prosperity. Now, that is something to celebrate.


Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed Offending Bharat

Union Law Minister Offending Bharat – Dr Pravin Togadia

VHP Press Release
Gwalior, February 10, 2012
In an election public meeting in Azamgad- Uttar Pradesh, the Union Minister of Law Salman Khursheed has crossed all limits in his constant endeavour to offend the majority of Bharat. Criticizing Salman Khursheed’s remarks about Batla House encounter, Dr Pravin Togadia, International Working President of VHP said, “Salman Khursheed claims that the encounter was fake, the govt was going to take action against it but kept quiet due to election & Sonia Gandhi’s eyes were full of tears seeing the photographs of the encounter etc. To win Azamgad seat & dreaming of winning Uttar Pradesh election to save Rahul Gandhi’s image, people like Salman Khursheed are going to the extent of offending Bharat, our brave Army & Police. The PM cries seeing pregnant wife of Dr Haneef who was caught by Australia, PM also cries & begs to Kuwait when a Muslim man is punished with removal of his eyes per their own law, now Khursheed claims that Sonia Gandhi cried seeing dead Jehadis in Batla House encounter! Tears of the Govt representatives flow freely only for Muslims & never for Sanaatani Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Tribals, OBCs, SCs & others! Neither PM, nor Soniaji nor Salman Khursheed or anyone ever cried for the thousands of army men & police killed at the hands of Jehadis in Kashmir, Assam, Mumbai, Delhi or at the hands of Naxals!
Now the time has come for all patriotic & truly nationalist citizens of Bharat to democratically stand up against such anti-national remarks & actions – be it elections or by democratic agitations. The same Salman Khursheed – Bharat’s sitting Law minister promised in his wife’s election campaign 9% snatching from OBC quota for Muslims & now like a serial offender he again insults Bharat & the late police officer who was rewarded for his bravery in Batla house for the same encounter. If Salman Khursheed, as a Law Minister is against his own Govt’s decision that the Batla House encounter was a brave deed by the police, then he has no right to be in the govt neither as a Law Minister nor even as an M.P. of Bharat. Those who have any sympathy towards Jehadis have no place in the democracy. Thousands of innocent Indians were brutally killed & maimed by Jehadi attacks from Delhi to Mumbai & Bengaluru to many places. But neither Salman Khursheed nor his superiors shown any sympathy for the victims, instead, they are siding with the Jehadis! After a conspiracy to snatch all castes’ Hindus’ Roti, Education, Employment, Bank Loans to be given to Muslims, now the govt is systematically moving towards persecuting majority of Bharat to appease Muslims. Muslim League did the same at the independence time & Bharat was forced into partition. Now this entire ‘I am with Jehadis; NOT with Bharat’ gang is breaking Bharat again. VHP condemns all these efforts & appeals all to protest against this behaviour democratically

For information, contact: drtogadia@gmail.com ; 098253 23406

Hindu, Muslim and Sikh leaders to attend Vatican peace meet

So Hindus (and Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists) are still gullible. They consider it a privilege and status symbol to be invited by the Pope. This is akin to a lion (actually a cunning fox in this case) inviting a lamb for the dinner where the lamb  does not know that it is the main course!

Remember the Pancatantra story of the monkey who was being lured by the crocodile to satisfy his wife’s craving for a monkey liver? of course, he was smarter than current crop of Hindu leaders.

I would love to see names of these Hindu “leaders” so that we can expose and shame them.

Oct 18, 2011

London: Over 200 spiritual leaders, including Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, will attend a multi-faith meeting being hosted by Pope Benedict XVI on 27 October in Vatican to promote world peace.

Pope Benedict XVI is hosting the multi-faith meeting in favour of world peace, which was started by his predecessor Pope John Paul II, the Vatican said in a statement today. The spiritual leaders invited are from Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Confucianists, Baha’i, Jains, Jews, Taoists and Zoroastrians, it said.

The meeting would call for “a common path” to peace. Reuters

Among the Hindu invitees are Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi, who has already participated in an earlier meeting. Three Jains, five Sikhs and 67 Buddhists leaders are in the list of invitees.

Around 70 Muslim leaders, including from Iran and Saudi Arabia, will also be present on the occasion, said Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, chief of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The meeting would call for “a common path” to peace, he said, adding the participants will pray in silence during a short procession to the basilica of Assisi and in separate rooms after the ceremony. However, the Grand Imam of the Egypt-based influential Al-Azhar mosque has called for a boycott of the conference since the pope expressed solidarity with Egyptian Copts following a New Year’s bomb attack on them.

The event will also mark the 25th anniversary of the historic multi-faith meeting held in Assisi on 27 October 1986 by Pope John Paul II.

PTI

http://www.firstpost.com/fwire/hindu-muslim-and-sikh-leaders-to-attend-vatican-peace-meet-111038.html

Muslims who repaired Rath during Rathyatra honored

Ahmedabad, 11 July, 2011

The Muslims who had voluntarily welded broken hook of wooden Rath during Ahmedabad’s annual Rath Yatra in Muslim dominated Dariapur area were honored by Ahmedabad Police on Monday.

Police Commissioner Shri Sudhir Sinha honored Mohammad Arif, Mohammad Asif, Ahmed Hussain and Shahid on Sunday at Dariapur police station in a function. They were given certificates of appreciation.

It should be mentioned that Ahmedabad’s Rath Yatra passes through about half a dozen Muslim dominated areas on the route.

This year like past many years, the Muslims overwhelmingly welcomed Rath Yatra, they volunteered by setting up stalls to offer free water and sweet drink. They welcomed Jagannath Mandir’s Mahant in groups, took prashad and also repaired a hook of the Rath when Rath yatra had to be halted due to broken hook of wooden Rath.

Must visit story: Ahmedabad Rath Yatra 2011, amazing show of Hindu Muslim unity(Photo story)

 

 A picture of Muslim repairing the rath

http://deshgujarat.com/2011/07/11/muslims-who-repaired-rath-during-rathyatra-honored/

Muslim Karnataka Minister asks Muslims to back anti-cow slaughter Bill

Note: This is an old news item but it is relevant. Both communities should be mindful of each others’ sensitivities and realize that they can prosper in an environment of mutual trust, respect and harmony.

-Moderator

 

February 20th, 2010, 8:51 pm (The Hindu)

HASSAN, Karnataka: Minister for Wakf and Minorities Welfare Mumtaz Ali Khan has
called upon Muslims in the State not to oppose the Bill banning cow
slaughter.

The Minister said he too would not oppose the Bill as only 30 per cent
of Muslims consumed beef. Moreover, the Bharatiya Janata Party
Government was committed to improve the lot of the minorities, even
though they had been used as vote-bank by the Opposition, he said.

Speaking to presspersons here on Wednesday, Dr. Khan said the State
Government was committed to providing financial assistance to all
those who stood to lose their livelihood following the Government’s
decision on the ban. The Minister said that Chief Minister B.S.
Yeddyurappa would increase the allocation for minorities welfare from
Rs. 186 crore to Rs. 300 crore. The funds would be used for the
overall development of minorities in the State, he said. The literacy
rate among Muslims would also be increased to help them secure
employment, he said.

Muslims debate need for new Islamist-backed political party

Yogi Sikand (in Rediff)

April 22, 2011 14:53 IST

The men behind the new party insist that it is not a Jamaat front, though critics argue otherwise, pointing out that the top-brass of the party are mostly senior Jamaat activists, reports Yogi Sikand 

 

The floating of a new political party, styling itself the ‘Welfare Party of India’ [ Images ], by the Jamaat-e Islami Hind late last week has, predictably, set off a vigorous debate in Indian Muslim circles.

The men behind the party insist that it is not a Jamaat front, though critics argue otherwise, pointing out that the top-brass of the party are mostly senior Jamaat activists and that everyone knows that the party has been set up under the orders, and with the blessings, of the Jamaat top-brass. The party, for its part, explains its agenda in predictable terms: of promoting ‘genuine’ democracy, secularism, human rights, social justice and so on. The subtext that underlies its justification for its formation is that Indian Muslims have been denied justice by existing political parties, and so a new party is necessary to secure justice for them, in addition to other marginalised communities.

No sooner had the WPI been officially launched in New Delhi [ Images ] than Muslim supporters as well as critics began posting their comments on various, mainly Indian Muslim, websites, arguing for and against the party. Some, mostly members or sympathisers of the Jamaat, hailed the new party as a welcome development.

One such enthusiast praised the Jamaat as supposedly being a team of dedicated and sincere Muslims, and hoped that the new party would help bring ‘morals and ethics’ into the Indian political system where, he said, they were badly missing and sorely needed. He even opined that the WPI and its ‘value-based politics’ would be ‘a role- model for other political parties inIndia.’

Another supporter claimed that by setting up the WPI, the Jamaat was working for the broader ‘Islamic cause’ because, he claimed, echoing the Jamaat’s consistent line, ‘Islam is a complete way of life, with solutions to all problems, and it does not recognise any distinction between religion and politics.’ The WPI, he hoped, would help the Jamaat in its agenda of ‘establishing Islam’ or iqamat-e deen, in all spheres of Indian social life — possibly a subtle reference to working for the eventual formation of an Islamic State (on which the Jamaat’s understanding of Islam is based) in India.

Yet another ardent supporter welcomed the formation of the party by expressing the hope that it would consolidate Muslim votes acrossIndia, which would make Muslims a political force to reckon with, as a result of which other parties would no longer be able to ignore them or take them for granted. This, he argued, would be a powerful counter to forces that were bent on further marginalising Muslims.

The floating of the party was met with trenchant criticism by many other Muslims, however, who feared that it boded ill, rather than auguring well, for Indian Muslims. One such critic, who identified himself as a  ‘Salafi’, thereby indicating his affiliation with Saudi-style Salafi Wahhabism, argued that by forming a party that would operate within the Indian system of democratic politics, the Jamaat had accepted democracy and, therefore, had turned its back on its original agenda of struggling to establish an Islamic caliphate in India. In doing so, he claimed, it had abandoned the vision of the Jamaat’s founder, Syed Abul Ala Maududi, who had been viscerally opposed to democracy as a man-made, and, therefore, ‘un-Islamic’, system. He warned the Jamaat that if truly wished to establish the caliphate, which considered an Islamic imperative, ‘it could not do so by remaining enslaved to the existing false and polytheistic political system.’

Criticism of the WPI on such supposedly ‘Islamic’ grounds seemed to be less of a concern for most other Muslim opponents of the party who commented on it on various websites and online discussion groups. Instead, many of them expressed the worry that by entering the field of electoral politics, the Jamaat would give a fillip to anti-Muslim Hindutva forces. If the WPI intended to consolidate Muslim votes, it was bound, they argued, to further widen existing antagonisms between Hindus and Muslims, which would only benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

An irate Munaf Zeena, an Indian Muslim based in London [ Images ], remarked that the WPI ‘seems destined to create a predictable onslaught on the Muslim community of India’, predicting that the party would also fail in its ambition to politically unite the Indian Muslims because most of them were not ideologically linked to the Jamaat. Instead of setting up ‘separate’ platforms like the WPI, which could only result in ‘chaos’, he sensibly urged that ‘all Indians should work together for the benefit of all.’

Another such commentator argued that the WPI would serve as ‘a boon and bonanza for the RSS’. He reminded the Indian Muslims of the advice given to them by Abul Kalam Azad soon after the Partition — to desist from setting up their own political party on the grounds that this would strengthen Hindu reactionary forces. Sadly, he said, the Jamaat leaders had ignored this sage advice, and he accused them of being politically illiterate. Rather that jumping into the political arena, he went on, Jamaat leaders should concentrate on promoting modern education among Muslims, including among themselves, which, he remarked, was woefully lacking.

Yet another critic, a certain Dr. Mookhi Amir Ali, likened the WPI to the BJP and opined that the two would have a symbiotic relationship with each other while posing a grave danger to secular, democratic and progressive forces. He scoffed at the claims of the WPI of being a ‘truly’ secular, and not an exclusively Muslim, party. Simply because one of its several vice-presidents was a Catholic priest who recited the Gayatri Mantra at the inauguration of the party, it did not make it secular, he insisted.

‘The Welfare Party of India, spawned from the Jamaat-e Islami Hind, reminds one of the BJP, the offspring of the mother RSS. Its Christian vice-president Father Abraham Joseph brings back memories of the BJP’s almost permanent vice-president, a Muslim Sikandar Bakht. When Ashok Singhal of the VHP hears of the Gayatri Mantra being chanted at the launch of the WPI, he will exclaim, “I am loving it!”‘ Mookhi caustically remarked.

In a similar vein, in a mail sent to members of the progressive Indian Muslim online discussion group, The Moderate Voice, a critic, calling himself simply ‘Ansari’, mocked the claims of the WPI of being genuinely committed to secularism, democracy and social justice. ‘”Welfare Party” by Jamaat-e Islami? Hahaha! Must be a joke,’ he scoffed.The main aim of the Jamaat is to establish an Islamic State in India on the lines of the caliphate. […] The Jamaat is a mirror image of the Hindutva parties. Let it first deny [this] claim before trying to fool people in the name of welfare.’

In a similar vein, a certain Dr Irfan Waheed, writing in NewAgeIslam.com, claimed that the WPI might give a boost to unwanted tendencies among Muslims, and that it might incline them even more towards conservatism, and even possibly extremism. ‘There is a possibility,’ he wrote, ‘that the rise of a right-wing Muslim political party like the WPI will give rise to radical Islamic thought and a rigid un-pluralistic outlook among the Muslims who have very successfully integrated themselves into the secular and cultural atmosphere of the country while retaining their religious identity.’

Dr Waheed also noted that the claims of the WPI of being genuinely committed to social justice could easily be questioned by its critics. For instance, he explained, the WPI would be unable to deny that the Jamaat’s ideological mentor, Syed Maududi, was on record as having declared that ‘he did not bother if the Hindus treat the Muslims of India worse that the mlechhas’ because ‘he was only bothered about making Pakistan an Islamic state at any cost.’

Further, he went on, the Jamaat could not deny that the Pakistani Jamaat-e Islami, then under Maududi, ‘not only extended ideological support to the Pakistani military’ in the 1971 Bangladesh liberation struggle, ‘but actually formed a militia whose members fought the Bengalis, killed and raped both Muslim and Hindu women and declared that no library in Bangladesh would have any book on secular topics either by Hindu writers or Muslim writers.’

In other words, what Dr Waheed seemed to suggest, the devastatingly stained record, as far as secularism, democracy and social justice were concerned, of the Jamaat’s own founder Syed Maududi rendered the Jamaat morally totally incapable of defending what it presented as the rationale for the floating of the WPI.

Challenging this view, a few commentators opined that the WPI would actually help promote moderation and act as a dampener to fringe extremist elements among Muslims, rather than promoting radicalism. Thus, a certain Ilyas Ameen pointed out that what he characterised as a radical Islamist outfit, the Popular Front of India, was  spreading ‘like cancer’ across the country, and noted that this boded ill for Hindu-Muslim relations. He suggested that the Jamaat could act as a counter to the Popular Front, by weaning away Muslims who had been attracted by the Front’s rhetoric.

Another such critic, who chose to remain anonymous, said that because Muslims lacked an all-India party till now, ‘some extreme groups tried to fill the vacuum’, but this had ‘brought only humiliation’ to the Indian Muslims. Hence, he hoped, the Jamaat’s political party could help curb such radical tendencies.

Critics voiced their apprehensions about the WPI using other arguments, too. One anonymous commentator scoffed at the claims of the Jamaat of being sincerely committed to Muslim welfare by pointing out that it had done little, if at all, all these years for the social and economic development of the poor among the Muslims, accusing  Jamaat leaders of being interested only in feathering their own nests.

‘Many of them have sent their children abroad, to the Gulf and even to the USA, where they live comfortably and have become exceedingly rich. That is a true measure of their supposed commitment to the plight of the Indian Muslims!’ he remarked.  He further noted, ‘The Jamaat and WPI harp on democracy and secularism in India, where we Muslims are a minority, but they, like other Islamists, vehemently denounce secular democracy as anti-Islamic in Muslim-majority countries. Is this not hypocrisy? Why don’t they condemn the persecution of non-Muslim minorities in Muslim countries, often in the name of Islam, if they are really sincere about social justice, which is what they claim the WPI will struggle for inIndia?’

Similarly, a certain Pervez Yusuf mocked the claims of the Jamaat, including the men behind the WPI, of being dedicated to the welfare of the Indian Muslims. ‘Their social work is only visible in ‘Abul Fazl Enclave’, he sarcastically remarked about the Jamaat, referring to the Muslim locality in New Delhi where the Jamaat has its national headquarters. 

Questioning the Jamaat’s and WPI’s claims of disinterested community activism, he added, ‘They collect funds from Middle East,’ leaving it to readers to make of this not-so-cryptic statement what they wanted. Likewise, a certain Wajid caustically remarked that the leaders of the Jamaat were ‘intellectually corrupt, ambitious and power hungry’ and suggested that the WPI could hardly be expected to live up to its tall claims.

Other critics feared that far from consolidating Muslim votes and thereby empowering the Indian Muslims, as it claimed it would, the WPI would only further fragment the Muslim electorate. One anonymous critic pointed out that numerous Muslim parties in the past had failed,  such as the maverick politician Syed Shahabuddin’s Insaf Party, the short-lived Ulema Council of India, the Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi, and so on, and raised the possibility that the WPI could go the same way, too.

A certain Tahira Hasan suggested that the WPI might follow other such Muslim political parties, which, in her words, ‘just do not work for community’, but, instead, enter into pacts with ‘mainstream’ parties in order to promote the interests of their leaders. Such parties, she went on, ‘never raise voices against assaults on Muslims’, while ‘secular’ non-Muslims do so, thus suggesting that Muslims must look to the latter rather than the former for hope to secure justice for themselves.

Another such commentator, Zaheer Ali, opined that by entering into the political arena, the Jamaat would be forced to make ideological compromises, indicating, for instance, the recent support given to the CPI(M) by the Jamaat in Kerala [ Images ], although ideologically the Jamaat was vociferously opposed to Communism.

Several of these comments on the WPI, whether for or against, were hosted on okhlatimes.com, a website run byAsad, a young Muslim man based in Okhla, the same locality in New Delhi where the Jamaat has its national headquarters. In an article on the WPI hosted on the website, a commentator noted that from discussions about the party on Facebook, for instance, ‘it could be made out’ that the Jamaat ‘is fast losing its respectability.’ In another article on the WPI on the same website, tellingly titled, ‘All is Not Well With the Jamaat-e Islami Hind’, Asadhimself wrote:

‘Over the years, the JEIH [Jamaat] has undergone a sea change. Of late, it has built swanky offices in Abul Fazal Enclave, equipped with all the latest facilities. Also, its senior members don’t miss the opportunity to share a podium with powerful politicians. Most of the senior JEIH leaders have adjusted to the changing time well by giving up a frugal lifestyle. Will it also adapt to the Indian politics that is out-and-out corrupt?’

And that is a question that is troubling numerous Muslims concerned about the implications of the WPI for Indian Muslim politics.

Yogi Sikand

 

http://www.rediff.com/news/special/special-muslims-debate-need-for-new-islamist-backed-political-party/20110422.htm

 

A comment on a mail group:

Beware of nefarious ideology & its supporters, local as well as foreign based in their aims of “Breaking Hindusthan” Outsiders/enemies just need excuses to intervene similar to the way it is being played in Libya & other muslim countries. It is just a precursor of things to come, of course being furthered by evil, corrupt, anti-national congi-commie seculars on firengee payrolls.

 

 

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