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The secular Trojan horse

The secular Trojan horse

Author: Balbir K. Punj
Publication: The Asian Age
Date: September 30, 2003

* Set up Sharia-panchayat for settling disputes.

* Killing of the infidels is jihad.

* Religious madrasas be established in every village throughout the country.

* Globally, there are attacks against mosques, madrasas, Quran and such Islamic symbols as beard, veil and Islamic dress code. They want to discourage Islamic norms and want everyone to be brought in the mainstream.

* Fight out the evils of co-education.

*  TV channels glamorising vulgarity has badly affected our culture. It has discouraged the purdah system among out girls and women folk. We should endeavour to stick to purdah strictly.

* Have centres to prepare for private examinations in Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Persian etc.

* In the curriculum of Deeni Madrasa Islamic Art and Literature, Arabic language and contemporary subjects should be included with short duration courses.

* The country, in fact, belongs to the minorities who together constitute the majority.

If you think this is the action plan or demands put by a socially outcast Indian Taliban, you need to guess again. This is the essence of the demands of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUH) which the "secularists" ranging from the Congress to the Samajwadi Party have been endorsing with their presence at JUH programmes, wearing skullcaps.

The latest such show was on September 21 at Lucknow. The Uttar Pradesh chapter of JUH organised a 20,000 strong Jasla-e-Alam rally at Jyotiba Phule Stadium for which Sonia Gandhi deployed a team of senior Congress leaders to attend 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 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 the medieval times as is evident from the above mentioned agenda. The secularists did speak about the scourge of terrorism. But they absolved the madrasas, hardly mentioned Pakistan, spewed venom on 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 Hindu symbol! 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 art and culture over contemporary studies is futuristic; co-education and cable televisions must be scrapped and more veils should be produced in the country; Saraswati shishu mandirs which teach to say, "Bharat mata ki jai" should be shut down and madrasas should be opened in every village; rastragaurav is chauvinistic and jihad is glorious! This seems to be message the "secularists" endorse.

The JUH action plan quoted here is culled out from the presidential address delivered by Amir Al-Hind Hazrat Molana Syed Asad Madani, president, Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUH), the supposed representative of the defunct Caliph in India, at the Ram Leela Ground in Delhi on March 9. I am not surprised by the JUH stand which wants to fortify Islam in the last consequential Dar-ul-Harab left un-Islamised between West Asia and South East Asia through these programmes. But there is something to begrudge the "secularists" - Arjun Singh, Ram Vilas Paswan, Arif Mohammed Khan and Udit Raj who attended that March 9 function and endorsed the JUH agenda and ultimately Ms Sonia Gandhi who sent out a complimentary message of "secularism."

Of course, the secularists' tryst with JUH has gone to greater heights. Remember how a committee was set up between 1996 and 1998 in defence of 11 persons sentenced to life in the infamous Radhabai Chawl (Jogeshwari in Mumbai) case during the 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 Samajwadi Party's Mumbai unit, included members of Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Hind and the 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 the 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 says, "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 of 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 credential of JUH, the secularists will say that the organisation had worked with Gandhiji, it had participated in the freedom movement and opposed the British. All this is true but it is not the complete truth. The Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Hind was founded in 1919. Its leaders were important sponsors of the Khilafat movement to restore the Caliph-cum-Turkish Sultan to throne in whose name the Indian Muslims read the Khutba since the abdication of the last Muslim emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar, in 1859.

The JUH did not join Gandhiji. It was the other way round; Gandhiji supported the Khilafat movement which ended in the Moplah riots, claiming the lives of thousands of innocent Hindus. Some of its thinkers envisaged an Amir-e-Hind, a scholar of religious law and the delegate of the Caliph (Khilafat had already been abolished) to enforce 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 the 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, the united India as envisaged by JUH would have been anything but secular - it would have been a patchwork of interlaced India and Pakistan all over the subcontinent.

'Secularists" have always cultivated and encouraged the fundamentalist elements among Muslims. For example, Sonia Gandhi, in July 1999, attended a meeting at Lucknow 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 Muslims to retain their identity." What an example of national unity!

In the same congregation, a suggestion to pray for the victory of Indian forces then fighting the 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, the "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 Hizbul Mujahideen's (a strong votary of Kashmir's complete Islamisation and merger with Pakistan) invitation to Kashmiri Pandits to return to the Valley and "join the war of independence" against India? The only Scheduled Caste leader of the 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 Scheduled 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 up on the Muslims as their friends simply because they dislike the Hindus. This is a mistaken view." (Quoted from Dhananjay Keer's Ambedkar, pg. 399, with reference to the Free Press Journal, November 28, 1947.)

By endorsing such 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, jihads 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.

(Balbir K. Punj is a Rajya Sabha MP and convener of the BJP's Think Tank.)
 


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