Guest Post by Salmaan Mohammed
[ Salmaan Mohammed, a twenty five year old philosophy student was arrested in Thiruvananthapuram on 19 August 2014 for sedition, and for allegedly dishonouring the national flag and national anthem. The complaint against him originated as a response to his refusing to stand while the national anthem was played in a cinema during a screening. Salman is currently out on bail, but still faces the prospect of a life term in prison if he is found guilty of sedition by the judicial process. We at Kafila have been in touch with Salman and he has recently sent us a translation of an audio interview he did after coming out of prison on bail so that the world outside Kerala (and those who do not read or speak Malayalam) can understand what he has been thinking.]
The soundcloud audio extract ‘Go to Pakistan? Why?” is a brief interview given by him after being out on bail.
Salmaan’s friend, Gilbert Sebastian, who contributes to the Facebook Page – ‘Justice for Salman’ – writes, introducing Salmaan –
“With his anarchist perspective, he (Salman) fails to appreciate the democratic content of the anti-imperialist nationalism in the context of a Third World country like India. But his viewpoint is definitely very democratic, true to his anarchist viewpoint which consistently opposes every kind of power structure whether before a revolution or after it!”
Interview with Salmaan Mohammed (translated by Dileep Raj)
Salmaan: ..I am an anarchist..such a person..a man like me..was put into prison..for 35 days..saying that I was a Pakistani spy..Why am I not a Chinese spy? Why am I a Pakistani spy? That is because of my religion..”
Interviewer: Were you unhappy about this? were you sad thinking public might think ill of you?”
Salmaan : I am not worried about what public might think about me..My face book page is my message..I have made sure that I have clearly articulated my political positions there..They knocked on my door at 12 o clock in the night and took me away..What democracy is this?”
Interviewer: So you are saying that you would have presented yourself during the day time if they had asked you to do so..?”
Salmaan: of course..
Interviewer: your father says that you are not a religious believer..That you are a rationalist..”
Salmaan: .No, I am not a rationalist, I am an atheist..Rationalists in Kerala are Islamophobics.
I am not a rationalist or a secularist..I am an atheist.. Atheism is not equivalent to rationalism..These are two different things..I am an atheist as well as a Muslim..”
Interviewer: What did this imprisonment teach you?”
Salmaan: Prison life is fabulous..Imprisonment is in fact an ontological violence..A lot of innocent persons are there in the prison solely because they don’t have money to pay for the bail..So called thieves doesn’t have nationality .. they liked somebody like me very much..That’s why I took my time coming out.. I bid farewell to everybody, they asked, ‘Salman, when will meet agian?’ ”
Interviewer: Did you conclude that people inside are much much better than people outside?”
Salmaan: Such a comparison can never be made.There are ‘good’ people outside as well as inside