Guest post by AEJAZ AHMAD and IRSHAD RASHID
What does turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque mean for global political practice?
In an unusally brazen move Turkey’s top court recently ruled in favour of transforming Hagia Sophia, a museum of global tourist attraction, into a mosque. Originally a cathedral built in pre-Islamic Turkey but converted into a mosque when Ottomans invaded Constantinople in 1453, with the liquidation of the Ottoman Empire, Attaturk transformed it into a museum in 1934 as a secular gesture to herald what is called modern secular Turkey. This was more recently followed by transforming another historic Chora Church, that went exactly through the same iteration, into yet another mosque.
Continue reading Ethics of Selective Outrage – On Converting Mosques and Museums: Aejaz Ahmad and Irshad Rashid
( Till 1992, 6 th December was remembered as ‘Parinirvan Divas’ of Dr Ambedkar, legendary son of the oppressed who had clearly recognised the true meaning of Hindutva and warned his followers about the dangers of Hindu Rashtra ; post 1992, 6 th December has an added meaning and it relates to the demolition of Babri Mosque undertaken by these very forces.
Apart from the fact that this event led to the biggest communal conflagaration at the national level post-independence, whose repercussions are still being felt and whose perpetrators are still roaming free, we should not forget that it was the first biggest attack on the principles of secularism and democracy, which has been a core value of the Constitution drafted under the Chairmanship of Dr Ambedkar.
What follows here is an edited version of the presentation made at Dept of Social Work, Delhi University, during their programme centred around 1 st Ambedkar Memorial Lecture)
“If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.”
– Ambedkar, Pakistan or Partition of India, p. 358
‘Indians today are governed by two ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity whereas their social ideal embedded in their religion denies it to them’
Continue reading Ambedkar For Our Times!
(Photo Courtesy : ibnlive.in.com)
Guest Post by SANJAY KUMAR
By stealth, wealth, and media barrage a phalanx of powerful interests is trying to create a public opinion favourable to Mr Narendra Modi. It appears the entire privilegenstia of the country, the super rich capitalists, professional elites, entrepreneurs of the religion, top bureaucracy, including retired army men and police, upper castes, media pundits, even NRI academics, are united in their enthusiasm for Mr Modi. From Ratan Tata to Ramdev, people have been told how the man is the only saviour of a country in crisis. What exactly do this bunch of rich and privileged, but discontented people hope from Mr Modi as PM is important for the future of the country. The moot point here is the difference between declared intentions and actual motives. Perhaps even more important is the response of Mr Modi’s political opponents, because that indicates the kind of resources the country can fall back upon when confronted with the reality of him in power. The moot point here is a lack of understanding of the significance of the usual, non-Modi type politics for ordinary Indians. The stakes are high indeed. Far from what the phalanx and its ideologues claim, it is actually this politics which is their target, and which they wish to change under Mr Modi.
The most prominent charge leveled by Mr Modi’s opponents is that he is communal and divisive, and will alienate minorities. From Mr Lalu Prasad to Prof Amartya Sen, that appears to be the chief misgiving. If the charge against Mr Modi is so framed, then by implication it also appears to be asserting that if there had been no Gujarat 2002, Mr Modi and the kind of politics his party represents will be as good or bad as any other party politics. Are minorities’ misgivings about Mr Modi’s the only fact that the rest of Indians should worry about? Is the hesitation of minorities about him the only legitimate concern that may stop the man from reaching the PMO? Continue reading Should only Minorities be Worried over Mr Modi? Sanjay Kumar