"Visit My Masjid" Programme gets a warm response in Tamil Nadu

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 11 March 2020 | Posted in , , , , , ,

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Chennai: In wake of discretion of mosques and killing of ‘Imam’ at the recent riots in Delhi, some Muslims in ‘Vaniyambadi,’ a town about 200 km from Chennai, organized a ‘Visit My Masjid’ programme at Masjid-e-Khaderpet on  Sunday, March 1, 2020.

This was done to strengthen inter-faith relations and build a constituency of peace and communal harmony among the people of different faiths in Vaniyambadi, one of the hubs of leather exports at Tirupattur District in Tamil Nadu.

It was for the first time a mosque’s door was opened to people belonging to different faiths. More than 400 non-Muslim brothers and sisters visited Masjid-e-Khaderpet under the "Visit My Masjid" programme. 
They were curious non-Muslims visitors from all walks of life such as students, professionals, politicians and businessmen etc. They were welcomed with open arms by the volunteers, trustees and committee members of the Khaderpet mosque. 

They were taken to the different portions of the mosque and volunteers explained to them about the rituals and concepts of Islam. The explanation started with the water tank (Hauz) where the visitors were told about the way a Muslim perform ‘Wuzhu’ (ablution) before saying the prayers. This was to convey the message of importance of cleanliness in Islam.

Some visitors showed great interest in learning the way of performing the ‘Wuzhu’ and few tried to clean their hands and legs, nose and mouth in the Islamic way of ablution.

The visitors were them taken to the place from where the ‘Azhan’ call for prayer, was given. The Arabic words of ‘Azhan’ were translated and its meaning was explained to the guests.

This was followed by the explanation on the timings and names of daily five time prayers. They were also explained why the timings vary in hours. The guests were then taken to the prayer hall of the mosque. They were explained about the architectural features of the prayer hall like ‘Mihrab’, ‘Minbar’ etc.

They were explained about the ways of prayers in the mosque are performed.  How lining up or ‘Saf Bandi’ in prayer is being done. How “Khutba” or sermon in congregation prayers like on Friday prayers is made. The visitors were also told about the importance of “Imam” in leading the prayers.

Placards were at display in few places of the mosque to help the visitors understand the concepts of Islam and the way Muslim pray in a mosque to add clarity to ‘Visit My Masjid’ programme.
The visitors were then taken to nearby the graveyard or ‘Qabrastan.’ They were explained about the way funeral prayer is performed and how burial is done.  The visitors were also explained about the concept of ‘Aaqirath’ or life after death in Islam.

They visitors very much appreciated the "Visit My Masjid" programme.  They were impressed by the way they were welcomed and treated in the mosque. They gave their feedback in a form and also recorded their experience on video camera about their enhanced knowledge and understanding about Islam and its teachings.

The SIO Vaniyambadi Unit and members of the Masjid-e-Khaderpet deserve special thanks to initiate such a peace loving concept of "Visit My Masjid" programme. The organizers can be contacted at 9500359571 and 8148989402.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

Pakistan: Pro-feminism organizations hold rally in Sukkur

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , ,

By Abbas Kassar

Hyderabad, Pakistan: Various pro-feminism organizations took out a big rally in upper Sindh city of Sukkur, the epicenter of anti-feminism in Pakistan.

Various organizations, civil society, lawyers, journalists, writers, poets and social workers took out rallies from Lab Mehran (bank of Indus River) to the press club. Apart from women, a large number of men also participated in the rally.
The rally after reaching in front of the press club turned into a big public meeting. It was led by professors Arfana Mallah, Amar Sindhdi, Haseen Musrat Shah (Khana Badosh fame) Aalia Buxual, Attiya Dwood, Marvi Palijo, Rukhsana Preet Channar, HRCP Coordinator Imdad Chandio, noted writers and poets Taj Joyo, Adal Soomro and Ayaz Gul, advocate Shabbir Shar, Jami Chandio, Hamida Ghanaghro, Aisha Dharejo and others. A delegation of Sindhi Adabi Sangat led by Ahmed Solangi, Azad Anwar Kandhro, Prem Pittafi and Sajjad Mehr also participated. Police provided full security to Aurat Azadi March with 4 DSPs, 40 S.H.Os and 1000 COPs.

Addressing the rally at press club the speakers demanding right of freedom to women said women are facing anti-human atrocities including killing them under Karo-Kari (honor killing), giving in exchange for crimes of family males, cruelties under parenthood patronage, enforced marriages, domestic violence, social inequalities, and keeping them out of education. They said in upper Sindh area no voice was raised before, but now that women freedom voice has been raised and vowed to fight against deprivation and discrimination of women henceforth.

[Abbas Kassar is a Senior Journalist based in Hyderabad, Sindh (Pakistan). He can be reached at kassarabbas@gmail.com]

OPINION: Political, religious & demographic dynamics in South Asia & threatened co-existence of people with pluralities

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , , ,

By Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal

‘Rising Asia’ now runs as a myth in many Asian and non-Asian countries. But such a myth hides many awful realities. The case of ‘rising Europe’ in the past with its mighty economy, military and technology provides valuable insights to analyse the so-called myth of ‘rising Asia’. While Europe showed its fastest economic growth, also showed its fastest morale down-turn. Because of such moral down-turn, Europe could become the fertile breeding ground for evil ideologies like colonialism, imperialism, white supremacism, nationalism, racism and fascism. In fact, genocidal wars, colonial wars, World Wars and ethnic cleansing owe to such moral down turn. In those rising days of the west, the moral down-turn went so low that it couldn’t find any wrong in elimination of Red Indians from Americas, aborigines from Australia and Maoris from New Zealand. And, killings could be done on an industrial scale. As a result, they could kill about 75 million people only in two World Wars. This is why, the worst catastrophe in whole history is not caused by earthquakes, epidemics, cyclones or tsunamis; but by humans.

The same myth of economic development now dominates the socio-political spectrum of South Asia. The economic development has overruled the importance of moral development. And moral ill health or death now shows its own expression. In India, Muslims are being lynched to death on alleged accusation that they eat beef. On such a pretext, 25 Muslims are killed by the Hindu radicals in a period from 2015 to the middle of 2017. (Ananda Bazar Patrika, 2020). In 1992, more than 500 year-old historical Babri Mosque in Ayodhya was razed to the ground on a mythological assumption that Ram –a Hindu deity was born there. The Supreme Court of India declared in its recent judgement that there exists no evidence that the mosque was built on a Hindu temple. Surprisingly, absence of evidence couldn’t prohibit the Supreme Court judges from incorporating the Hindutva motive in their judgement. Therefore, the judges gave the dismantled mosque site to the perpetrators of the crime to build a temple there! Whereas in a previous ruling, the same judiciary condemned the destruction of the mosque as a heinous crime. Therefore, with the Hindutva fascists in power, everything looks changed. The police, the prosecution, the Hindutva politician, the judiciary, the media and the executive branch of the government now work together to promote the same Hindutva objective. Now, appeasement of the ruling Hindutva forces overrules the delivery of fair justice.

The Muslim population of India is about 200 million –larger than the combined population of France, Germany and the UK. The development of a state is indeed the aggregate development of all people of all denominations. Hence hindered access to education and training, employment opportunities for everyone and optimum utilisation of every talent and skills are vital. Any obstruction or exclusion of anyone restrict development. The GDP of country is indeed the summation of added values not only on land and materials but also on every individual. Therefore, if 200 million people are kept out of the value-adding process and employment, how can a country progress? Awfully such a basic rule of development is ignored only to harm Muslims. They also ignore to realize that such a policy immensely harms India. The impact reflects on the economic indicators. In terms of per capita income and hunger index, India stands lower than even Bangladesh –the bottomless basket case of the early seventies.

Currently, Muslims constitute about 15 per cent of the Indian population; but only 4 per cent of them are graduate and only 5 per cent are in the government jobs. (Sachar Committee Report, 2006). The maximisation of economic wellbeing of the Hindus and their access to the government offices are being achieved and sustained by maximum deprivation or exclusion of the Muslims. Such a discriminatory and restrictive policy was first initiated by the British colonial occupiers since they snatched power from the Muslim rulers. But it hasn’t been changed by the subsequent Indian governments. Now, with the Hindutva forces in power, the exclusion of the Muslims has become an overt government policy. More than 44 million Muslims live in Uttar Pradesh –the country’s largest province, but in 2014 election not a single Muslim was allowed to sit in the parliament. It is also worth noting that the Hindutva forces are not happy with the current level of exclusion, they want to put more restriction. In order to put permanent prohibition, they want to deprive Muslims of their citizenship rights. So, tools like National Citizenship Registrar (NCR) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are introduced. BJP’s West Bengal chief told in public that 10 million Muslims will be evicted from West Bengal by deploying NCR. (Ananda Bazar Patrika, 17 February 2020). Millions of Muslims are targeted to make them stateless on the accusation that they have illegally infiltrated from Bangladesh. Bangladesh has already labelled it baseless and has expressed its refusal to take any stateless people from India. Hence such stateless Muslims face no option but to stand de-enfranchised and dumped in concentration camps. Already such concentration camps are being constructed in the state of Assam where 1.9 million people stand stateless because of exclusion from NRC. Such inhuman act stands unique in the whole human history.
The Hindutva fascists want to make India a Hindu state – as envisioned by their guru Savarker. Muslims and other minorities will survive only as second class citizen without any social, political and economic participation. This is why, even the publication of Sachar Committee Report that exposed sheer deprivation of the Muslims is so unwelcome in the Hindutva circle. Their argument is clear. While they do not bother to alleviate the deprivation, why do they need its publication? The Muslim rule in India in the past is being used to ignite the politics of revengeful anguish against the present days’ Muslims. In fact, resurgence of such Hindu vengeance forms the basis of Hindutva politics in India and gave birth to world’s largest NGO called Rastriya Shevok Sangha (RSS). The sole objective of RSS is to make India a Hindu state.-(Andersen, Walter; Damla, Shridhar, 1987). In the early days of independent India, RSS leaders opposed the Indian constitution for three main reasons. These are: 1). its secular character, 2). non-inclusion of ancient law of Manu, 3). equal rights for people of all clasts and religions. (Hadiz, Vedi). They also opposed tricolour Indian national flag. Instead, they wanted a saffron flag as an icon of ancient Hindu identity. For 52 years since independence, they didn’t hoist tri-colour Indian national flag in RSS head quarter; for the first time they did it in 2002. (The Times of India, 2002)

While M.S Golwalker became the RSS President in 1940, he set it a goal not to fight against the British. (M.S Golwalker, 1974). Muslims were stipulated as the number one enemy and not the British occupation. Hence, from day one of its inception in 1925, RSS was focussed on mobilising and strengthening the Hindutva recruits to fight against the Muslims. In 1927, within two years of its creation, the RSS launched its first Muslim cleansing operation in its birth place in Nagpur in Maharashtra. Its militants launched an organised attack against the local Muslims and the campaign went on for 3 days and forced the Muslims to leave the city. The creation of Pakistan in 1947 infuriated the RSS cadres; as if Pakistan has cut into pieces their mother India. Now they take the revenge from the captivated Muslims those who didn’t migrate to Pakistan. They consider every Indian Muslim a traitor cum termite and a Pakistani insider. (Ashish Nandi, 2002). For its terrorist activities, the RSS was banned 4 times in the past: in 1947, in 1948, in 1975 and in 1992.  During British raj, it was banned for its communal terrorism by the provincial government of Punjab in 1947. In 1948, it was banned for killing Gandhi. In 1992, it was banned for destroying the historic Babri Mosque. Since Norendra Modi -a lifelong member of RSS, became the Prime Minister, everything changed. The RSS is no more alone in its mission; the whole state apparatus, the media, the police and the army are now working hand in hand to attain the Hindutva objective. The policy of political and economic exclusivity and even cleansing operations against the religious minorities gets sanitised in the name of the democratic rights of the majority. Thus, the Hindutva majority has established marginalisation of the minorities and deprivation of their basic rights as the new normal.

The NRC project was first started in the north-eastern state of Assam. Because of it, 1.9 million people became stateless. Contrary to the Hindutva expectation, more than 70% of the victims turned out to be Hindus. Since exclusion of Hindus has never been the agenda of the ruling Hindutva extremists, the Citizenship Act was quickly amended to award them citizenship. But the door is kept closed for the stateless Muslims. A Hindu – even if born outside India, can get citizenship because of his religious identity, but a Muslim born in India needs to submit documents for that. Thus, NRC and CAA are being used as the discriminatory instruments against Muslims either to evict them as foreign intruder or dump them in newly built concentration camps as de-enfranchised and de-humanised alien creatures. 

Cross-party epidemic

Like virus, toxic ideologies never stay confined within the premise of a single political, religious or terrorist outfit. It shows a cross-party, cross-country and cross-border epidemic. Hence, what is happening in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka against the Muslims shows the similar symptoms and signs. This is why, the anti-Muslim hatred in Indian politics is not a monopoly of RSS-BJP axis, and the parties like the Indian National Congress and many others have also been infected with the same toxicity. The spell of the Hindutva venom over the politics of Indian National Congress was exposed during the election campaign of 1989. To appease the Hindu voters, Rajiv Gandhi –the Congress Party’s incumbent Prime Minister attempted to snatch the Hindutva mantra from RSS-BJP family by outplaying the issue. He started his campaign from the district of Faizabad –known for its historic Babri Mosque. Dispelling the previous secular stand of the Congress, Rajiv Gandhi took the banner of Hindutva agenda in his own hand. He promised inauguration of Rama Rajya –the rule and the kingdom of Rama, in India.-(Pradeep Nayak, 1993). It was a clear departure from declared secular ideology of the Congress. He even opened the door of the Babri Mosque for the Hindu worshippers –which was strategically avoided by every Congress and non-Congress government in the past. By adopting such a communal agenda, Rajiv Gandhi enhanced Hindutva radicalization of his own party the Indian National Congress. He preferred getting more votes over higher human values, secular ideology, justice and respect for the minority rights. Such a policy of sliding towards the Hindu majority vote bank and turning a blind eye towards the Muslim minority, prompted the Muslims –the party’s traditional vote bank to quickly leave Congress. Along with the loss of Muslim votes, his hoax to amass Hindu votes didn’t work either. He failed to defeat the old and original vanguards of the Hindutva outfit like BJP. As a result of losing Muslim votes, the Congress Party ceased to exist as an electable contender of power in Indian national politics. It could show up only as a partner of regional parties to share power in some smaller states.  

However, Rajiv Gandhi is not the only Congress leader to embrace the Hindutva ideology. Even, Mr. Nehru -the first Prime Minister of independent India didn’t prove different either. Nehru couldn’t hide his affinity towards Hindutva extremism while he embraced Shyama Prasad Mukherjee as his first post-independence cabinet colleague. Incorporating a leader in the cabinet doesn’t go alone, it needs to accommodate his ideologies, too. Mr. Mukherjee is known as one of the most original gurus of Hindutva radicalization of Indian politics. He was the former President of Hindu Mahashava and the founder of Jana Sangha –the parental organizations of today’s BJP.

Nehru’s policy towards the Muslim rule in Hyderabad and the Muslim population in Kashmir –the only Muslim majority state in India, also proved terribly sinister. The first post-independence genocidal massacre of the Muslims that took place in Hyderabad in 1948 wasn’t the crime of RSS-BJP goons. It happened under the watch of Congress Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. His government didn’t bother to do a body count of the dead. The lowest estimate of the Muslim death has been reported to be 40, 000 (Komireddi, 2019). In other estimate, it is 200, 000. (Noorani, 2001). Muslim houses were looted and thousands of Muslim women were raped. Thugs and rapists were let loose to commit the crime; and hardly anyone was punished for such a horrendous crime.

Under Nehru’s rule, a massive genocide also took place in Jammu – a southern district in united Kashmir. Prior to Indian occupation in 1947, Jammu had Muslim majority population. The genocide was carried out under the direct command of Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir -as a part of the desperate move in his last days of rule, to make it Hindu majority area. Since there was no body-count, there exists gross variation on number of the death. It is stated 20,000 to 100,000 Muslims were killed and many more were evicted from their home. (Snedden, Christopher, 2015). But most the researchers agree that RSS cadres were brought in to conduct the genocide under the direct watch of Maharaja Hari Singh. (Chattha, 2009). Although Prime Minister Nehru considered Hari Singh guilty for the massacre, but gave him a safe sanctuary in Mumbai. (Praveen Swami, 2007). Because of signing the ‘Instrument of Accession to India’, Hari Singh has not only been exempted from legal prosecution but also his genocidal crime was airbrushed from history. (Komireddi, 2019).
Mr. Narasima Rao – Congress Party’s another former Prime Minister also showed anti-Muslim sentiment from his early career. He joined an armed group to fight against the Muslim ruler in Hyderabad. (K.S. Komireddi, 2019). While he was the Prime Minister, he allowed the destruction of Babri Mosque by his visible inaction. His government showed utter failure to prosecute those Hindutva extremists who committed such a heinous crime. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee – a former President of India and leader of the Congress Party also couldn’t hide his affinity towards RSS. He visited Nagpur –the birth place of RSS, to pay his deep homage to the RSS founder Mr. Hedgewar in 2018. The issue didn’t stop at his homage; Mr. Mukherjee exulted the RSS founder as “great son of Mother India” in the visitor’s book. Only a man with full endorsement of Mr. Hedgewar’s Hindutva ideology could write such a high eulogy. On behalf of RSS, it was acknowledged that after Mr. Pronab Mukherjee’s homage to Hedgewar, there was an upsurge in RSS’s membership. It is worth noting that Mr. Pranab Mukherjee is not alone to show the affinity to Hindutva ideology. Congress Party – the so-called secularist outfit proved to be embedded with many more like Mr. Mukharjee. In 1954, a Congress MP named Seth Govind Das moved a resolution in the Indian parliament for imposing a total ban on cow slaughter. Mr Vasan Sathe -another leading Hindutva fan in Congress, threatened to resign from the party if the party opposes the installation of a portrait of Mr. Savarkar – the original guru of Hindutva politics in India, in the parliament. (Naqvi, 2019).

Mr. Hedgewar’s ideology and his political objective were never hidden. Mr. Hedgewar proclaimed that India is a land only for the Hindus; and consistently loathed the Muslims. He could never swallow the six hundred years’ Muslim rule in India. He considered Muslims’ rule as a disgrace for the Hindus; and showed his obsession to take the revenge. Like Savarker, Golwalker and other Hindutva ideologues, he couldn’t think of Muslims as equal citizens. His obsession to take the revenge prompted him to form the RSS. His successor, Golwalkar, was an admirer of Hitler and his policies towards the Jews. He even wrote that Nazi Germany provides a “good lesson for use in Hindusthan to learn and profit by.” In such writings, Golwalkar’s implied message is clear. The Germans had the Jews and the Indians have the Muslims. Hitler had nothing to teach Indians on Hindutva ideology; but had a lot to teach how to carry out genocidal cleansing of the Muslims –as he did against the Jews. Hitler could also teach how he was successful to mobilise and motivate the German people to commit one of the ugliest crimes on earth like taking Jews to the gas chambers. Mr. Golwalkar was highly impressed by Hitler’s quick success; hence asked his Hindu compatriots to apply the same methodology against the Indian Muslims. How a man with an iota of morality can endorse or appreciate such a toxic ideology? But Mr. Pranab Mukharjee travelled to Nagpur to pay homage to the icon of such ideology. A Muslim can easily understand how dreadful to live amidst hordes of such indoctrinated people. In a conventional war, fear of death runs only through those who are in the battlefield. But for Muslims, the whole India had turned into a fear mongering corrosive battlefield.
                                                                                                 Deployment of more than 700,000 troops in Kashmir – the only Muslim majority state in India, tells another story of ongoing marginalisation and persecution of the minority in India. Kashmir is now the most militarised zone in the whole world. Because of recent abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir no more exist as a state; it has become a federal territory directly under the rule of Delhi. The whole state has turned into a prison. As a part of the punitive measures, curfew has been imposed for months after months. To disconnect them from the outside world, the internet services are either cut-off or given restricted access. Thousands of people are taken to prisons outside Kashmir. Such state-run killing, oppression, injustices and marginalisation only could work as the precursor of social unrest and militancy among the victims. As usual, such state-ran terrorism gets cover-up in the name of keeping stability and fighting the militancy. Because of similar punitive policy of the Myanmar government against the minority Rohynga Muslims, the country could become the “text book case of ethnic cleansing”. The situation in Sri Lanka is not different either; it only differs in severity from that of India and Myanmar. There too, the Muslim and Tamil minority suffer in the hand of the Buddhist Sinhalese majority.

All RSS compounds in India indeed work as training centres to make the party cadres ready for a Hindutva victory over the whole South Asia. The division of the sub-continent into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has never been accepted by them; Gandhi –the father of India’ independence was murdered for accepting the division. The map that is displayed in RSS central office in Nagpur doesn’t show Pakistan and Bangladesh. (Al Jazeera English documentary). Accepting the RSS project to make India a Hindu state is projected as a marker of patriotism. Failing to fall in line with such a RSS vision is labelled as a Pakistani insider; and gets subjected to public lynch, rape, torture and mass slaughter on streets and also in domestic premises.

Muslims aren’t the only target

Muslims are not the only target of the Hindutva fascists. Non-Hindus like Sikhs, Christians and the untouchables also became the victims. What happened in Delhi in 1984 in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Ghandi is indeed an organised slaughter of Sikh men, women and children abetted by the state. By official estimate, 3,000 Sikhs were murdered. The unofficial figure is much higher. Surprisingly, the Government ruled by Congress didn’t intervene – as was the case in 2002 in an anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujrat under Modi’s watch.  Two weeks later Rajiv Ghandi used a clarifying metaphor: when a big tree falls, the earth shakes a little. (Komireddi, 2019). The bloodbath of Sikhs appeased the Hindutva radicals so much that in 1984 election, the Hindutva activists like RSS cadres campaigned for Rajiv Gandhi. He was elected with 416 out of 543 seats in the parliaments. It was indeed one of the greatest electoral victory in the history of Indian National Congress. So, it ratifies the reality that if politics gets polarised with vitriolic hatred and massacre against minorities, brings land slide electoral victory to the perpetrators. In a milieu of such ideological intoxication, perpetrators of innocent men, women and children of the minority community never get prosecuted; rather receive honour with electoral triumph. In fact, Mr. Narendra Modi and his party BJP are the perfect example of that. Because of the heinous atrocities against the minorities in Gujrat, Muzaffarnagar and other parts of India, Mr. Modi and his BJP could quickly jump up in the popularity ladder. In such politics of populism, higher values or principle doesn’t work. This is why, it is the political strategy of the extremist forces to invent more pretexts to scale up atrocities against the minority. In Kandhamal in Orissa, Dalit converts to Christianity were the target of two and a half months of violence that left at least 16 dead and 40, 000 driven out of their homes. (The Hindu, 2008).  It is worth mentioning, that Christians were persecuted even by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his early days of rule. He authorised the bombing of the north-eastern Christians majority state of Nagaland for demanding the same independence that India got from the British. (Komireddi, 2019).

Right to rule as if the right to murder      

Appointment of Mr. Narendra Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat tells a lot about the political objective of the Hindutva forces in India. He was groomed as an obedient RSS cadre. To give more time and commitment to Hindutva mission, he even left his newly married wife. In 1992, he played a key role in mobilizing the RSS cadres to destroy Babri mosque. Such a role enhanced his credential among the key stakeholders of the party. In early October 2001, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee summoned Norendra Modi to his residence and offered him the chief minister’s job of Gujrat. (K.S. Komireddi, 2019)
Mr. Vajpayee is usually projected as moderate leader in the RSS-BJP camp. But how a moderate man can be compatible with an extremist man who could engineer destruction of a mosque? People of opposite intention and ideology can never work together. They need ideological match. Later on, Modi as a chief minister of Gujarat revealed not only his own color, but also the color of Mr. Vajpayee. That moment came within 4 months of his appointment.  In 2002, a train carrying Hindu extremists returning from the site of demolished Babri mosque caught fire. Fifty-eight people were burned to death. Mr. Narendra Modi didn’t wait for the police enquiry, rather grab it as an opportunity to do what he wanted to do. He instantly called it the work of the Muslim extremists. Modi’s announcement was enough to incite genocidal massacre against the innocent Muslims in Gujrat. In one Muslim neighborhood, a mob of about five-thousands Hindus made their way through a slum and hacked ninety-seven Muslims to death and a mosque was blown up with liquefied petroleum. Across the road from the scene of carnage, stood a reserve police quarters. But no one from there lifted a finger. (Human Rights Watch, 2002). In a civilized country, police reach within minutes if a house is under attack by a killer or robber. But Modi proved that India hasn’t reached to that stage. Under his rule, the state of Gujarat turned into a deep and distant jungle; no police appears in the site of carnage -not in hours, and not even in days. So the killing, the mass rape and the arson continues unabated. Thus, as a chief minister, Modi showed his own complicity in the crime. He need not kill or rape anybody himself; but his robust inaction worked as huge encouragement for the killers, the rapists and the arsonists to commit such crimes in thousands.

In an anti-Muslim pogrom, social position or contribution of a Muslim makes no difference to make him the worst victim. Mr. Ehsan Jafri -a former MP of Indian Parliament, was a very prominent Muslim leader of Gujarat. He had close acquaintance with Sonia Gandhi –the leader of Congress and personally known to Prime Minister Mr. Vajpayee. Mr. Jafri was sheltering about 250 helpless Muslims in his residence. He spent hours making desperate calls to Chief Minister Modi’s office, but received no help. Modi turned deaf. At the end he urged the attackers, “Whatever you want to do with me, do it; but please don’t kill those who have taken shelter in my house.” But his appeal felt on deaf ears. Mr. Jafri was dragged out of his house by the Hindu mob, tortured with all possible cruelty and sliced open with swords. At the end, he was burnt alive. Sixty-nine people of those who were seeking refuge inside Jafri’s house were killed in broad daylight over seven hours. But during the long period of seven hours, the state police didn’t bother to show up in the scene to stop this preventable massacre. (Vinod Jose, 2012)

The calamities of unequal development

Social, political and economic calamities in South Asia also owe to highly unequal development of people and the society. Indicators like per capita income, GDP (Gross Domestic Product), life expectancy and purchasing power of the people can’t capture information on all indispensable elements of inclusive development. The issues like moral and spiritual development, crime prevalence, per capita feeling of peace and sense of security, per capita access or deprivation of social, educational, economic and democratic rights, rule of law, state of access to the judiciary, and the state of persecution, deprivation and marginalisation of the weaker community still stay out of the focus. In fact, the UNDP’s indicators like life expectancy, education and purchasing power parity appear more narrow and restrictive to reveal any real state of the people. How one can give an estimate of human development without a proper estimate of the development of humans in humane parameters. The highest importance is given to security of the state, economic prosperity, infrastructural development and purchasing power of the people. As a result, moral failures like state-run policy of discrimination, persecution, deprivation, fascism, concentration camps and even genocide against minorities stand unrecorded in a maze of so-called economic development. India is labelled as an economic tiger; but basic human rights of millions that are consumed by these tigers stay ignored and unrecorded. Robbery, thievery and persecution against other people can’t be labelled as economic work. Similarly, development at the cost of deprivation of others can’t called as real development either. Such an asymmetrical and unjust developmental priorities were first seen in Europe and proved catastrophic for the whole mankind. Because of wrong parameters, the lethal ideologies like racism, nationalism, fascism, colonialism, imperialism and the projects like ethnic cleansing, lynching of the minorities, slave trading, colonial wars, World Wars could find foot-soldiers to carry out the vicious plans.

It is true that the South Asian countries have made some economic progress. But the newly gained economic strength is enhancing the political ability of the ruling elite to execute their evil agenda. The fascists always thrive on political polarisation based on hatred against the people of other faith, land and ethnicity. The multi-ethnic and multi-religious demography in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka prove fertile for such polarisation. The majoritarian fascists could easily label a people of dissimilar ethnicity or religion as the enemy to perpetuate massacres. The German fascists could put a tag on the Jews fit for gas chambers. The fascists of India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka could also put a tag on Muslims for discrimination, persecution and elimination. The ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, lynching and genocidal massacre of Muslims in India and attacks on the lives and properties of the Muslims in Sri Lanka tell a lot about the horrors that are being inflicted on the minorities in South Asia. In a hype of Islamophobia, such crimes usually get sanitised, belittled or ignored by the global players only to promote their business interests. Therefore the travel ban on Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India for alleged complicity in the massacre of about 2,000 – 5000 Muslims couldn’t survive longer. It was lifted by the USA and the EU; and his evil motive was ignored and sanitised to access a market of about 1.3 billion Indians. In such a permissive and opportunistic world-order, China could construct the largest concentration camp on the planet for more than a million Uighur Muslims. So-called rising Asia indeed moving fast to that end.


The fate of a people is not decided by mere economics; rather more decisively by dominant ideologies. While two World Wars caused terrible havoc on earth, the economy wasn’t bad either. Persecution of people and peace can’t go together. Therefore, toxic ideologies like fascism, racism, must nationalism, colonialism and imperialism that promote persecution of people must not exist anywhere on earth. Otherwise, peaceful co-existence of people with diversity become impossible. Then, war may not be on the frontiers but enters into cities, villages and houses to kill innocent men, women and children. Because of Hindutva fascists in India, military racists in Myanmar, power-grabbing fascists in Bangladesh and ethnoreligious opportunists in Sri Lanka such wars have already done a great damage against the prospect of peace in South Asia. It is indeed a huge humanitarian as well as social science issue. Economy can’t fight toxic ideologies; it needs an ideological fix. Strong economy can even strengthen the lethal power of evil ideologues –as German’s strong economy did to fascist Hitler. It is indeed the most responsibility of the social scientists to bring social pathology to the limelight so that the political activists, the social engineers and the reformist philosophers can take cues to make an appropriate treatment plan. Only this way the growth and sustenance of human civilization can be influenced positively. Otherwise, in this global village, peaceful co-existence of people with pluralities will survive only as a dream. 

[Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal is a post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from University of London; physician in Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh & the UK; researcher in social sciences and presented research papers at international conferences of IUSSP (International Union of Scientific Studies of Population) at Beijing in 1997 and in Brazil in 1998; writes articles, newspaper columns & books in Bengali and English on various social, political, cultural, educational and international issues. He can be reached at firozkamal@gmail.com]

UK Diaspora Groups demand Home Minister’s resignation over Delhi pogrom

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , , , ,

IMO News Service

The UK Diaspora Groups – South Asia Solidarity Group, SOAS India Society, South Asian Students Against Fascism, Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO) and Co-ordinating Committee of Malayali Muslims – have issued a statement condemning the recent state-sponsored pogrom against Muslims in India’s capital New Delhi recently during the visit of the United States President Donald Trump. Hindutva nationalists supported by the ruling BJP had threatened Muslims to call off their peaceful protests against the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and proposed National Population Register (NPR) census and National Register of Citizens (NRC). The statement reads: 

We demand:

  • The resignation of the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, for his gross failure to maintain peace.
  • The immediate arrest of the BJP politicians and leaders who instigated the pogrom – Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Singh Varma and others and that all the perpetrators of the pogrom are brought to justice.
  • That the injured are given appropriate medical care and the victim families are rehabilitated and compensated for the loss of lives and livelihood.
  • That the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP government play their constitutional role by taking effective measures to ensure peace and  justice for the victims and survivors.
  • That the UK government immediately issues a strong condemnation of the Narendra Modi government for sponsoring the anti-Muslim pogrom in Delhi

While Narendra Modi was feting US President Donald Trump, Delhi was ablaze in the fire of a targeted anti-Muslim pogrom which has already claimed 38 lives and left hundreds critically injured. Vast areas of North East Delhi have been devastated with hundreds displaced, their homes burnt and livelihoods destroyed. The fire of genocidal violence was lit and stoked by the ruling BJP over the last six years but triggered, more immediately, by the poisonous anti-Muslim rhetoric and the 'Desh ke gaddaro ko goli maro’ (‘shoot the traitors’) call to action by a series of BJP leaders. Many were reminded of the genocidal violence against Sikhs in 1984 and against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. 
The attacks have been overwhelmingly targeted against the poorer sections of the Muslim community in Delhi. The Delhi Police, which is controlled by the ruling BJP, have destroyed CCTV cameras to protect the identities of the leaders of the violent anti-Muslim mobs, used Islamophobic abuse, publicly humiliated and beaten Muslims, arrested Muslims on false pretexts, and broken into Muslim homes to allow anti-Muslim mobs to plunder them. They have also allowed these mobs to prevent the injured from reaching hospitals. It was only after the Delhi High Court ordered the police to ensure safe passage to ambulances that the wounded were transferred to hospitals with adequate medical facilities.

Why did it happen?

The underlying causes for the unleashing of genocidal violence at this point appear to be:

(a)  the entirely legitimate dissent of ordinary people against a fascistic citizenship law- the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and its accompanying registers of citizenship, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) -  which acting together will leave Indian Muslims disenfranchised - and constitute a first step to ethnic cleansing. The powerful countrywide wave of protests against the CAA-NRC-NPR found a strong and resilient citadel in Delhi with continuous sit-ins by thousands of Muslim women, which are still continuing. The rattled Modi-Shah regime is now trying to drown the peaceful power of protests in blood; (b) the spectacular snub given by the Delhi electorate to the BJP's viciously Islamophobic Assembly election campaign.  It is significant that the centres of the pogrom are precisely the few areas where the BJP managed to win in the Assembly elections.

However, there have been many heartening instances of Hindus, Dalits and Sikhs protecting their Muslim neighbours, and Sikh gurdwaras opening their doors for victims fleeing violence.

We stand in solidarity with the survivors of the Delhi Pogrom and with the courageous citizens of Delhi as they fight for justice and peace!

“As members of the Indian and South Asian diaspora in the UK, we stand with the survivors of the Delhi pogrom and the courageous anti-CAA movement. We condemn the close relationship between the Boris Johnson government and Narendra Modi’s genocidal BJP government. This alliance of far-right regimes has been deepened by the appointment of British Indian Modi supporters including Priti Patel and Rishi Sumak to key cabinet positions. They do not speak for us!” - Nirmala Rajasingam, South Asia Solidarity Group
“The Delhi Pogrom has already killed 38 Indian Muslims, with many injured. This is no accident, Modi has led India here and the horrific scenes in Delhi show BJP ideology in action. British Indians will not be silent.” - Nadia Whittome MP

"The violence in Delhi must not be seen as a riot. What has happened is a state-sponsored pogrom against the city's Muslim communities. There is a mountain of evidence showing how BJP leaders and their media ecosystem incited mobs to commit violence, how the police either stood by or actively participated in this violence, and how the courts have completely abdicated responsibility" - South Asian Students Against Fascism

"India is now a fascist Hindu dictatorship where the rule of law has been suspended. If the world does not take note and react urgently, the consequences will be disastrous."– SOAS India Society

“We are shocked by the horrific anti-Muslim pogrom spearheaded by the Hindutva right this week. But we are truly inspired to see that the women of many areas of Delhi have returned to their sit-in protests. These women have been occupying these sites like Shaheen Bagh for the past two months in the bitter North Indian winter cold. We in the UK and across the world must learn from their strength and courage in these turbulent times of increasing fascism” - Anjum Mouj, London Black Women’s Project

More details: 07846873341 / southasiasolidaritygroup@gmail.com.

South Asia Solidarity Group is an anti-imperialist, anti-racist organization based in Britain. We are committed to supporting, publicising, and building solidarity with people’s struggles for justice and democracy and against exploitation, imperialism and war in the countries of South Asia. We are involved in developing links between these movements and  similar struggles in Britain. Our activities and analysis make the links between the global, US-led ‘war on terror’, neoliberal economic policies which mean corporate plunder of the people and resources of South Asia and the current human rights violations, attacks on basic services  and intense racism of the British state. We aim to develop and project an understanding of the resistance to these processes taking place in South Asia, Britain, and globally from a revolutionary left perspective. 

Research Methodology Workshop conclude at Aligarh Muslim University

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

IMO News Service

Aligarh: “The research methodology is the first step towards an invention, and judicious use of technology can be beneficial to a researcher,” said  Professor Akhtar Haseeb, former Pro Vice-Chancellor while addressing the concluding session of a three-day workshop on research methodology organised by the Department of Law.
He advised the law students to increase the radius of their research as it must contain the analysis of philosophers, understanding of courts at different levels, parliamentary and constitutional debates concerning the day to day life of an individual.

Addressing the gathering, Prof. Mohd. Shakeel Ahmed Samdani, Course Director and Dean, Faculty of Law, AMU said that Law is a profession where there is no retirement age and a lawyer can practice in court till his last breath. He advised the delegates who attended the workshop to work hard as 'there is no substitute for hard work.' The research scholars should focus on their research work and try to complete their PhD. work within three years. The students and the research scholars should respect their teachers and supervisors. He also emphasised to preserve the great traditions of Aligarh Muslim University and refrain themselves from unproductive and harmful activities.
Prof. Wasim Ali, Proctor, AMU said that research methodology is the backbone of Thesis and Dissertation. A good research work increases the reputation of the university, and proper research can only be done when researchers are aware of the right direction in which they have to proceed.
Report of the three-day workshop was presented by Dr Zeba Azmat and Dr Tabassum Chaudhary; Assistant Coordinator welcomed the guests. Vote of thanks was proposed by Prof Javaid Talib, Chairman, Dept. of Law. Prof. Shakeel Samdani, Course Director, Prof. Zafar Mahfooz Nomani, Course Coordinator, Prof. Akhtar Haseeb, Prof. Javaid Talib, Prof. Ashraf, Prof. Badar distributed certificates to the delegates. The program was successfully conducted by Abdullah Samdani, Secretary, Law Society.

In this workshop, Prof. Mohib Ul Haque, Prof. Upendra Chaudhary, Dr S.M. Khan, Prof. I.A. Khan, Dr Rihan and Dr Jameel Ahmad delivered lectures as resource persons. Talat Anjum, Shailja Singh, Fozia, Shoeb Ali, Kashif Sultan, Anas Siddiqui, Afif Jilani, Sabeeh Ahmad, Alveena, Aditya, Kaif Siddiqui, Samra Hashim, Ayesha and Chandan acted as Rapporteurs.

10 Things that Make Kashmiri Women Special

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , ,

By Ain Wani


Kashmiri women are beyond beautiful. Almost every woman in Kashmir is above average when it comes to beauty. There is beauty in their simplicity and in their sophistication.

Our women are the most hospitable creatures ever born on the face of this planet. They are very friendly and generous when it comes to serving food to friends, guests and even strangers. You can feel their warmth in their wide open smiles while they feed you food. Na na myoni marun chui,byaakh piece pae khyon) Whenever we Kashmiris have guests come over, there are mini wars going on over food in the guestroom. Our mothers make sure they win the war and that your plate is clean and mouth full.

Kashmiri women have a very unique way of offending people and venting out their anger. Kashmiri women don’t even exactly spout obscenities.Their word abuse is extremely funny. They would call you a phatwangun (a burst out Brinjal/Eggplant ) and you could still get offended to unimaginable levels. Another one of the many is ‘Pae buth wasith’ (May your face fall).

The ‘Mubarkas’ tradition

Women in Kashmir follow this tradition very religiously. Whenever there is any good news in the family or in the neighborhood, they rush to their houses to congratulate them with three to four bags of goodies. It might contain fresh fruits,fresh pastries from the famous confectionaries in town or packets of almonds and candy.

The Rain of Almonds
Whether the good news is someone getting married or passing matriculation exams or cracking a professional entrance examination, Kashmiri women will shower you with almonds, candies and the signature ten rupee notes, pleated in a fancy fashion.

Burning the Persian rue  popularly called Isband or Isphand
Kashmiri women burn the Harmal seeds or the Persian Rue in their kangris (earthen pots full of burning coal,used to keep one warm in winters) and make loved ones sniff its fumes to save them from the evil eye. They consider it as folk medicine for all ailments and use it in spiritual practices.


On weddings, Kashmiri women carry colorful envelopes and load it with cash money as a token of love for the bride or the bridegroom. Do not be surprised if it is an odd number of notes.Their favorite numbers are 1,11 and 21.

The Wanwun is a unique way of singing on weddings.They joyfully make two singing groups, divide the verses of a song amongst the two groups and each group sings them alternately.They include the mother,the father,the uncle,the aunt and almost everyone in the song. They’ve mastered the art of playing ‘tumbakhnaaris’ which are one form of desi earthen drums, open on one side and sing to its loud beats.

Lovely Expressions

Kashmiri mothers will take all the misfortune of their children upon them.They say things like ‘Laegsai balaai’ (May all your misfortune be upon me instead of you) and ‘Vondmai zu’. If you are a Kashmiri, you sure are well acquainted with these loving expressions.

The Wazwan is so loaded with different varieties of food,mutton in particular, that it gets too much to eat just for one meal. Earlier Kashmiri women used to carry plastic bags with them and sneak in the extra food, and try not to be seen, to avoid the embarrassment. Now they are provided with fancy resealable zap bags to take the extra food home and relish it with the uninvited members of the family (Like a boss !)

Their love, simplicity,chastity and hospitality is irreplaceable.

They are all about love and sacrifice.

And you don’t even have to be a Kashmiri to notice how warm they are, it reflects in their selfless smiles and on their innocent faces.

There definitely cannot be anyone like a mother, specially a Kashmiri mother.

And I am sure you all agree.

(Courtesy: Gyawun)

PEOPLE: Madhu Kishwar – A Chameleon Academic!

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , , , ,

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Madhu Kishwar, well known feminist and editor of women’s magazine Manushi, is once again in the news for peddling communal material alleged to be fake news.

This time this pioneer scholar of women's studies in India has put up a video on her twitter handle alleged to be footage from Bangladesh where a group of Muslims wearing skull caps are indulging in act of violence against another group.

Kishwar, passes this video saying it is from the recent Delhi riots where Muslims are instigators of Violence.  

Madhu Kishwar, is currently employed as a chair Professor in the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

Well once I have been admirer of Madhu Kishwar, particular in the late 80s and early 90s when she was a secular and progressive writer and can be equated to Arunditi Roy of today’s India.

This was the time when there was no social media and Kishwar was taking cudgel against Hindutva protagonist Arun Shourie and Swapan Das Gupta who were spewing venom against Muslims in the English press.          
Madhu Kiswar through powerful writing in the dominant English press attracted many eyeballs as she opposed militant Hinduism. As she opposed Hindutva politics tooth and nail, she was a natural cynosure of many Indians like me.

It is a mystery best known to her why she did somersault and changed her colors to embrace the Hindutva ideology. I find such symptoms in Madhu Kishwar abnormal and bizarre. What prompted her take a U turn when she already had attended recognition as an academician and have gained considerable respect? It is certainly an enigma what prompted her to start championing the cause of Hindutva.

If we go Freudian theory of psychoanalysis, a human’s conviction settles by the time of adolescence or youthful stage of life and not when one gains maturity and has climbed the summit of name and fame.

Kishwar’s reputation has got considerably tarred, once she openly started writing in adulation of Hindutva. She is now being noted for her praise for Narendra Modi to the extent of comparing him with Mahatma Gandhi.

She had also written a book 'Modi, Muslims and Media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat' (Manushi Publications, 2014). This book absolves Modi, then Prime-Ministerial candidate of any involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots and effusively praised him as a non-communal politician.

I can understand politician doing the chameleon act, but what prompts academics to do such activity. Such a person is a shame, a slur on all those who are engaged in the noble cause of pursuing knowledge.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

‘Hyderabad's Charminar inspired the design of Taj Mahal’

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , ,

Four Minarets of Charminar Perfected in Taj Mahal

By Syed Khaled Shahbaaz

Hyderabad, Telangana: Charminar's design, particularly the four minarets, has strongly inspired the design of Taj Mahal, said former Deputy Director Archaeology, Government of Andhra Pradesh Mr M A Qaiyum. Speaking at a talk titled 'Glory of Taj' organized by Media Plus Foundation at Media Plus Auditorium in Hyderabad, Mr. Qaiyum said, "The four minarets of the Taj Mahal were also influenced by the mausoleums of the Shah Jahan's father Jahangir and his father Akbar. There are strong similarities in the Moghal architecture found in Hyderabad Deccan and Taj Mahal."
Originally, the Charminar featured four minarets. Its construction was complete in 1591, just around the time Shah Jahan was born. Forty years later, construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631. Around 1612, Akbar's mausoleum was constructed and it had four minarets. Subsequently in 1627, Noor Jahan built a mausoleum for her husband Jahangir which also had four minarets as a grand imposing structure. These minarets have a dominant effect on the entire mausoleum.

He said "Shah Jahan and his wife had once travelled through Deccan region (now Hyderabad ) and that's how Charminar influenced the design of Taj Mahal."
When the Taj Mahal was being planned, and artists started presenting the models for construction, Shah Jahan had the four minarets in mind from the original Charminar at Hyderabad, and the subsequent structures with four minarets found in his father Jahangir's and grandfather Akbar's mausoleums, he said.

According to Mr. Qaiyum, the "Taj Mahal continues to amaze architects with its impeccable design, structure and grace. However, the structure design of minarets attained perfection with their impeccable construction in Taj Mahal.
Furthermore, the minarets of the Taj Mahal are designed leaning slightly outwards. This is an engineering marvel to protect the Taj Mahal if the minarets were to collapse in the event of an earthquake." The structure itself stands on the edge of the Yamnuna river, and was built to fulfill to honour the last wish of queen Arjumand Bano.

Arjumand Bano, popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal, who wanted the king to build a mausoleum for her, the magnificence of which the world has never seen. The queen also asked that the king would never marry after her death.

Mr. Qaiyum said "Moghal Emperor Shah Jahan was one of the wisest and most influential king of the Moghal era. He had great command over artisans who were roped in from different parts of the country, to erect the structure". Similarly,  "many of the jewels adorning the Taj Mahal were transported from Hyderabad".

In an attempt to fulfill the wish of his beloved wife, who was always on his side in travel and at palace, Shah Jahan commissioned more than 20,000 workers supervised by dozens of architects, engineers and maestros in their field. More than 350 years later, the Taj continues to draw millions of visitors every year.

The central dome of the Taj Mahal stands without the help of any reinforcing material, and was built after the emperor's wife died during childbirth in 1631. Taj Mahal, a magnum opus of eternal love was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

The presentation featured rare pictures, paintings of Shah Jahan and his wife, artistic depictions of the construction of Taj, and different pictures of the iconic Taj Mahal with interesting narrations on each.

Eminent personalities from different walks of life including academicians, teachers, students, and admirers of history were also present. Earlier, former Islamic Development Bank Jeddah Chairman Mr Zafar Javeed felicitated Mr. Qaiyum for his work and research on Taj Mahal. Dr Anupama Koneru, Prof. Shehbaz Ahmed, Ms Vibha Asthana, and others were also present on this occasion. Syed Khaled Shahbaaz compeered the program.

[Syed Khaled Shahbaaz is a journalist based at Hyderabad, He can be reached at syedkhaledshahbaaz@gmail.com or on his Mobile # +91-9652828710]

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