After being attacked by the bombs of the terrorists (13/7, 2011), Indians are facing the barrage from the ideologues of Hate and divisiveness. Many an ideologues of religious nationalism have come out with outpourings associating religion, Islam and so Muslims with terrorism and the need to confront this attack of terror by uniting as Hindus, voting a Hindu party, taking away the citizenship rights of Muslims, and declaring India as a Hindu nation. One such ideologue Subramanian Swamy (SS) says the terrorism is an attack of Islam on Hinduism. Islam wants to take over India. So Hindu mind set has to be promoted, temples built at Ayodhya and Varanasi, article 370 abolished, conversion from Hinduism to other religions banned while conversions to Hinduism not be stopped.
BEING SECULAR, SHOULD INDIANS BE ISLAM HATERS?
by Ram Puniyani
After being attacked by the bombs of the terrorists (13/7, 2011), we are facing the barrage from the ideologues of Hate and divisiveness. Many an ideologues of religious nationalism have come out with outpourings associating religion, Islam, and so Muslims with terrorism and the need to confront this attack of terror by uniting as Hindus, voting a Hindu party, taking away the citizenship rights of Muslims, and declaring India as a Hindu nation (Subramanian Swamy 16/7, 2011). SS says the terrorism is an attack of Islam on Hinduism. Islam wants to take over India. So in response Hindu mind set has to be promoted, temples built at Ayodhya and Varanasi, article 370 be abolished, conversion from Hinduism to other religions banned while conversions to Hinduism should not be stopped. India should be declared as Hindu Rashtra and Muslims should be disenfranchised.
Right: Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, trying to parallel himself with Samuel Huntington in the USA, is trying to evolve his own philosophy of a Clash between the Hindus and Muslims of India. The JP leader in a shocking news, wrote in an article that the government should re-think on the voting rights of Muslims to wipe out Islamic terror in the country. Following his controversial article, Maharashtra Minorities Commission has asked Mumbai police to charge criminal case against him. Commission’s vice chairman, Abraham Mathai wrote to Mumbai police seeking actions against Swamy for his “extreme xenophobic right-wing thoughts” he expressed in his article.
While being put forward in a brusque and blunt fashion, there is nothing new about his article, as this is precisely the agenda for which RSS combine has been working and spreading the ‘Hate politics’ in India. The political ideology making Hinduism as its political base, the Sangh Parivar, has been propagating this from close to a century by now. And to add to this the US propaganda, US media coining the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ has added further grist to the mill of hatred.
Terrorism though a centuries old phenomenon has come to global prominence especially after the creation of Al Qaeda, Taliban; in the especially set up Madrassas by US. The whole US design in the last three decades of last century was to dominate in West Asia, one of the richest oil reserves. While the US as a state manufactured one or the other pretext to attack these countries, it had already sown the seeds of formation of Israel at the end of Second World War and the idea was clear that this emerging global power needed a close ally to conquer the oil fields of the West Asia. This zone was predominantly inhabited by Muslims, some compliant Muslim Sheikhs and tyrants were easy enough to find in the region to collaborate with. The best allies, of the ‘Democratic US’ have been, the tyrannical rulers in West Asia and other parts of the World.
While the US state was preparing one or the other pretext to attack different countries in the World, in the oil zone the story had already begun by overthrowing the democratically elected Mossadeq in Iran, who had tried to nationalize the oil wells and thereby harming the interests of US-UK oil corporates. Later with Soviet army occupying Afghanistan, the need to ‘use’ Muslim youth for anti Russian fight was fulfilled through these Madrassas especially opened in Pakistan with US assistance and encouragement. It is these Madrassas which distorted the meaning of word Jihad (Jihad in Koran means striving to utmost) to killing the Kafirs, (Kafir in real sense means those hiding truth), presented as those not believing in Allah. Parallel to this Samuel Huntington floated the theory of ‘Clash of Civilizations’. According to this theory, with the decline of Soviet Union, the clash is no more between free-democratic Worlds (US-UK etc.) but between the backward Islamic civilizations versus the Western civilization.
This theory gave impetus to the whole distortion of Islam, which came to be projected as backward and violent. The madrassas created a mind set, the fanatics who in the name of Islam were willing to kill and maim at the drop of the hat. US carefully nurtured these groups by supporting them financially and with armaments. With Ayatollah Khomeini coming to power in Iran, US media coined the word, Islam the New threat and with 9/11 attack being presented as the handiwork of Osama, Al Qaeda, the US media created the word Islamic terrorism. Needless to say neither Islam nor most of the religions permit the killings of innocent people. While the political groups like Irish Republican Army to Liberation tiger of Tamil Elam or Khalistanis or ULFA did undertake acts which were having political goals but in the process they also killed innocent people. This was the process of demonization of Islam and Muslims which was seen in its highest form in Danish cartoons, showing the Prophet of Islam keeping bombs in his turban.
In India the earlier process whereby the British policy of divide-and-rule promoted a communal view of History aimed to create mutual hatred against the two major communities, Hindus and Islam, got mixed up with the new propaganda associating Islam, Muslims with violence and terrorism. The points raised by SS, using the cover of Hindu religion are obnoxious. The terror attacks are not aimed at any one religious community, barring the one’s which were especially done in front of mosques or places of Muslim congregation by the likes of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Aseemanand. In the biggest terror attack of 9/11 2001, people of all religions and counties were killed. The victims of Al Qaeda terror are equally there in Pakistan.
To think that Muslim Kings came here to spread Islam is sense-less, as religions were not spread by Kings, barring King Ashoka who spread Buddhism by peaceful means. Islam in India was spread by Sufi saints and it was embraced by the shudras in main to escape the tyranny of caste system. To think that Muslims want to convert India into Darul Islam by killing Hindus and increasing their tribe by producing more children is a figment of imagination as during last 60 years (from 1947 to 2001) the percentage of Muslims went up by nearly 0.8%, as during the same period the percentage of Adivasis went up from 7.5% to 8.5%, the reason for both being poverty and illiteracy rather than a conscious program to increase population.
The extension of ‘Clash of civilization’ theory is the prevalent perception that ‘all terrorists are Muslims’. One concedes that the Muslim youth lured by the Madrassas set up by US, were programmed for killing in an insane way. Most of the misplaced arrests of Muslim youth in India later turned out to be baseless and showed the bias of investigating agencies.
To believe that in India only Hindus get killed in the terror attacks is totally false, in the 26/11 2008 attack the number of Muslims killed was much higher than their percentage in population and even in the current 13/7, 2011 attack also people from both communities have been killed. The solutions being offered that Hindus must give a unified response, vote for a Hindu party smack of sheer propagation of Hate politics. India has been secular due to the choice of people of India who rejected the notion of Islamic state and Hindu state during freedom movement and the same values got enshrined in our Constitution.
We cannot forget the investigations done by Hemant Karkare, who meticulously unearthed the link from Pragya Singh Thakur to Aseemamand to Indresh Kumar, the RSS functionary. The indoctrination of people in the Islamic state or Hindu state ideologies is a political goal either of global super power or of local groups aiming to suppress the democracy and pluralism of our county, which are the highest values emerging from our freedom movement. By retaliating, (against whom?), attacking Pakistan is an idea close to insanity and a sure recipe for disaster in the subcontinent.
To accuse any community of harboring terrorists is wrong, a few Aseemanands or Dayanand Pandeys don’t make all the Hindu community as terrorists
Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. He is involved with human rights activities from last two decades. He is associated with various secular and democratic initiatives like All India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism and ANHAD.
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