Date: 9/30/2003


Deccan Chronicle

The secular Trojan horse

By Balbir K Punj

Set up Sharia-panchayats for settling disputes. Killing of the infidels is jihad. Religious madarasas need to be established in every village throughout the country.

"Globally there are attacks against mosques, madarasas, the Quran and other such Islamic symbols like beard, veil and the Islamic dress code. They want to discourage the Islamic norms and want everyone to be brought into the mainstream."

"Fight out the evils of television channels. Glamourising vulgarity has a bad effect on our culture. It has discouraged the purdah system amongst our girls and women folk."

"Have centres for preparations for private examinations in Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Persian etc. In the curriculum of Deeni Madarasa Islamic Art and Literature, Arabic language and contemporary subjects should be included with short duration course." The country, in fact, belongs to the minorities who together constitute the majority.

If you think these are the action plans or demands put by a socially outcaste - the Indian Taliban - you need to guess again. These are the essence of the demands of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind which the 'secularists' ranging from the Congress to the Samajwadi Party have been endorsing by their presence in skullcaps at programmes organised by the JUH.

The latest such show was at Lucknow on September 21, 2002. The Uttar Pradesh chapter of the JUH organised a 20,000-strong Jasla-e-Alam rally at the Jyotiba Phule Stadium.

Sonia Gandhi had deployed a team of senior Congress leaders who attended the meet - Ghulam Nabi Azad, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, Subodh Kant Sahay, Jagadambika Pal, Pramod Tiwari and Ammar Rizvi. Rashid Alvi represented the BSP while Rizwan Zaheer the Samajwadis.

The speakers at the rally were passionate and their hearts bled for the minorities, particularly the Muslims. They blamed the upper caste Hindus and particularly the Sangh Parivar for their miseries and extended support to the JUH whose pronounced aim is to push Muslims back to medieval times, as is evident from the above mentioned agenda.

The secularists did speak about the scourge of terrorism. But they absolved the madarasas, hardly mentioned Pakistan, spewed venom at the Sangh Parivar and termed those in power in Delhi as terrorists. Could Pakistan do better than this to free itself from the charge of exporting terror to India?

Imagine for a moment if these leaders would have attended the meeting of the RSS/VHP, or sported any of the Hindu symbols. It would have been deemed as transgression of 'secularism'.

Sanskrit is 'communal', but Arabic-Persian is 'secular', astrology as a vocational course is obscurantist, but Islamic arts and culture over contemporary studies in futuristic, co-education and cable television must be scrapped and more veils should be produced in the country, Saraswati Shishu Mandirs which teach 'Bharat Mata ki jai' should be shut down and madarasas should be opened in every village, Rastraguarav is chauvinistic and jihad is glorious! This seems to be message the 'secularists' endorse.

The JUH action plan quoted here is culled from the presidential address delivered by Amir Al-Hind Hazrat Molana Syed Asad Madani, president, Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, the suppositious representative of defunct Caliph in India, at the Ram Leela Ground in Delhi on March 9, 2003. I am not surprised by the stand of the JUH, which wants to fortify Islam in the last consequential . . . .

There is something to begrudge the 'secularists' a la Arjun Singh, Ram Vilas Paswan, Arif Mohammed Khan and Udit Raj who attended that March function and endorsed the JUH agenda and ultimately Sonia Gandhi who had sent out a complimentary message of 'secularism'.

Of course the secularists' tryst with the JUH has gone to greater heights. Remember how a committee was set up between 1996 and 1998 in defence of the 11 persons sentenced to life in the infamous Radhabai Chawl (Jogeshwari in Mumbai) Case during 1993 Mumbai riots by a Tada court.

The victims of that gory episode were all Hindus including children and women and convicts all Muslim history-sheeter hoodlums. The defence committee floated by Abu Asim Azmi, president of the Samajwadi Party's Mumbai Unit, included members of the Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Hind and Muslim League.

The Samajwadi Party met the legal expenditure out of its party funds, and the venture was a success when the Supreme Court released all the Tada court convicts in April 1998. Of course Dara Singh or the Best Bakery accused can't get the same privileged treatment from the secularists for they are Hindus and victims are non-Hindus.

We now know what the JUH preaches. But what does it practice? Here is a glimpse. The Hindustan Times of August 13, 1999 - "Goalpara district vice-president of the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, Maulana Mohammed Muslim Ali alias Muslimuddin has been arrested. He is also the chief organiser of the Harkat-ul Mujahideen in Assam.

Police said he admitted to being the agent for sending Muslim youths to Pakistan to undergo arms training. He had visited Pakistan on five occasions. The police recovered five passports from his possession." One only hopes that this was an aberration.

To prove the secular credentials of the JUH, the secularists will say that the organisation had worked with Mahatma Gandhi, it had participated in the freedom movement and opposed the British. All this is true but it is not the complete truth.

The Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind was founded in 1919. Its leaders were important sponsors of the Khilafat Movement to restore to throne the Caliph-cum-Turkish Sultan in whose name the Indian Muslims read Khutba since the abdication of last Muslim Emperor of India Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1859.

The JUH did not join Gandhi. It was the other way round; Gandhi supported the Khilafat movement which ended in Mopla riots claiming the lives of thousands of innocent Hindus. Some of its thinkers envisaged an Amir-e-Hind, a scholar of religious law and delegate of the Caliph (Khilafat had already been abolished), enforce the Muslim Law (Shariat) within the community.

Most of their opposition to the British rule was based on the premise that the Muslims were losing their Islamic identity and were getting westernised. They opposed Jinnah's Pakistan plan fearing that division of the subcontinent into separate States would compromise the position of residual Muslims in India and inhibit Muslim missionary work amongst non-Muslims.

With one-fourth of its population and united India as envisaged by the JUH would have been anything but secular, it would have been a patchwork of interlaced Indias and Pakistans all over the subcontinent.

'Secularists' have always cultivated and encouraged fundamentalist elements among the Muslims. For example, Sonia Gandhi in July 1999 at Lucknow attended a meeting by Ali Mian (Syed Abul Hassan Ali Nadvi) and praised him for the "nationalistic character of this wise man of religion".

Only days before (on June 30) this 'nationalist wise man of religion' had distributed a message to the participants of a large congregation of Talibi Jamaat at Nadwatul Ulema which inter alia said: "whichever group of people came to the land of Hindustan during its history lost its communal power and identity. Everyone was painted in Indian colours. It was only the power of Islam which enabled the Muslims to retain their identity". What an example for national unity?

In the same congregation a suggestion to pray for the victory of Indian forces then fighting infiltrators in the Kargil War was also turned down by Ali Mian at the congregation saying that Indian soldiers were fighting jihadis and "to pray for soldiers would mean to pray for the defeat of jihadis".

The same 'nationalist wise man of religion' speaking at the First Asian Islamic Conference in Karachi in July 1978 had conveyed the immense grief of Indian Muslims at the defeat and dismemberment of Pakistan, the then most populous Muslim country, in the Indo-Pak War of 1971.

Last but not the least the JUH and its fellow travellers 'secularists' have called upon Dalits and other minorities to join the Muslims in fighting 'fascist Hindu communalism'. How different is this call from that of the Hizbul Mujahideen (a strong votary of Kashmir's complete Islamisation and merger with Pakistan) invitation to Kashmiri Pandits to return to valley and 'join the war of independence' against India.

The only scheduled caste leader of Muslim League Jogen Mandal had to flee 'egalitarian' Islamic Pakistan and take refuge in 'fascist' Hindu India when he found his community absolutely battered by Muslim marauders in the 1950 riots. As even Ambedkar advised to his people: "I would like to tell the Scheduled Castes who happen today to be impounded inside Pakistan to come over to India by such means as may be available to them. The second thing I want to say is that it would be fatal for the Sch eduled Castes, whether in Pakistan or in Hyderabad, to put their faith in Muslims or the Muslim League. It has become a habit with the Scheduled Castes to look upon the Muslims as their friends simply because they dislike the Hindus. This is a mistaken view". (quoted from Dhananjay Keer's Ambedkar with reference to The Free Press Journal, November 28, 1947).

By endorsing medieval programmes the 'secularists' not only add fuel to the fire of communal frenzy but it is also a part of their well thought-out plan to confine the Muslims to ghettos and use them as a vote bank.

The 'secularists' with willing collaboration of organisations like the JUH wish to restrict the identity of Indian Muslims to beards, purdah, skullcaps, mosques, jihad and Arabic. The Dalits have heeded Ambedkar's advice and benefited. The Muslims have suffered for too long by allowing 'secularists' to define their priorities.