Tag Archives: Indian Muslims

Have Indian Muslims become the new ‘Make in India’ Punching Bag? Sabiha Farhat

Guest Post by Sabiha Farhat

[ A month ago from yesterday, a teenager called Junaid was lynched and murdered on a train in Haryana. Sabiha Farhat writes in the wake of visiting his house and meeting his family. The news cycles may have moved on to other stories, but we need to keep remembering Junaid, and why he was killed. – Kafila]

Once upon a time there  was a 15 year old boy called Hamid, who went shopping on the day of Eid with his Eidi .  A few days ago there was Junaid who went shopping on the eve of Eid.  Premchand’s Hamid was an orphan and lived with his grandmother in extreme poverty.  Junaid lived surrounded with love of his brothers, a sister, a doting mother, father and friends. Instead of the old, decrepit house of Hamid,  Junaid’s house has two rooms, it is not falling apart but it’s size and unplastered walls, do speak about the economic condition of his family.

As we approached Khandawli, Junaid’s village in Ballabhgarh a fear gripped me.  I did not have the courage to walk upto the house.  Junaid was brutally murdered on 22nd and here I was on 25th.  It was too soon, my mind said.  I should have let Eid pass.  But how could I have prepared Sewai in my house when a mother like myself had lost a young, healthy, happy child to hindutva fanatics?  I am a mother, I was angry and ashamed at home. And here, standing outside Junaid’s door, I was weak and helpless. Useless too.

Continue reading Have Indian Muslims become the new ‘Make in India’ Punching Bag? Sabiha Farhat

A Memory from the 1970s

This is from a long time back.

I was eight or nine, a child obsessed with day-dreaming and playing alone with the tiny grass-flowers that grew abundantly in our yard. Memories of those times are coloured a brilliant green because that was the colour that overwhelmed all the seasons of the year. Our home at Muthukulam in Kerala comes back to the mind’s eye in greens of all shades, browns, rich reds, bright blues, silver of the ponds,canals, and the lake, the  bright yellow of the mangoes and jackfruit, and innumerable flower- and fruit-hues. Continue reading A Memory from the 1970s

Muslims should Counter the Divisive ‘Love Jihad’ Campaign with Friendship Towards Secular Hindus: Kaleem Kawaja

This is a guest post by KALEEM KAWAJA

Abhee sub kuch nahin mita shaayad
Hindu-Muslim main pyaar baaqi hai
Ek Bhaayee kaa ek Bhaayee pur
Pyar ka kuch udhaar baaqi hai … 

Jawaid Badauni.

unnamed

Since the past one year, especially after the parliamentary elections were looming close, extremist RSS elements have become all the more aggressive all over the country, especially in the north, east and west. They have taken pains to circulate false news stories about Muslims in general, and Muslim youth in particular, as somehow prone to violence ,and conniving to entrap Hindu girls in romantic relationships with the sole object of securing their conversion to Islam. Regional vernacular newspapers have carried fabricated stories about Muslim youth turning to terrorism and planning bomb blasts in many Indian cities.

Since the past one year, especially after the parliamentary elections were looming close, extremist RSS elements have become all the more aggressive all over the country, especially in the north, east and west. They have taken pains to circulate false news stories about Muslims in general, and Muslim youth in particular, as somehow prone to violence ,and conniving to entrap Hindu girls in romantic relationships with the sole object of securing their conversion to Islam. Regional vernacular newspapers have carried fabricated stories about Muslim youth turning to terrorism and planning bomb blasts in many Indian cities. Continue reading Muslims should Counter the Divisive ‘Love Jihad’ Campaign with Friendship Towards Secular Hindus: Kaleem Kawaja

क्या निराश हुआ जाए?

क्या निराश हुआ जाए? कल सुबह से हजारी प्रसाद द्विवेदी  का एक अन्य  प्रसंग में किया गया यह प्रश्न मन में घूम रहा है. चुनाव नतीजों के पहले ही चरण में पिता ने फोन पर कहा: “यह तुम्हारा पहला कड़ा इम्तहान है.”पिता ने, जो अब जीवन की सांध्य वेला में हैं, कहा, “हम तो किनारे पर खड़े लोग हैं, तुम सब अभी इस जिंदगी के रेले के ठीक बीचो-बीच हो, भागने का न तो कोई उपाय है और ऐसी कोई भी इच्छा कायरता होगी. इसका सामना करो और इसे समझो.” हजारीप्रसाद जी और अपने पिता को कहना चाहता हूँ, वह जो रवींद्रीय ब्रह्मांडीय उदारहृदयता का स्वप्न आप सबने दिखाया था, कामकाजी रोजमर्रापन की तेज रौशनी में खो गया जान पड़ता है. शायद हम सब अब तक सो रहे थे,अचानक जगा दिए गए हैं. निराश या हताश होने की सुविधा नहीं है. समझने की कोशिश ही शायद इस यथार्थ का सामना करने के साधन देगी! Continue reading क्या निराश हुआ जाए?

Fundamentalism, Liberalism and Muslims – Review of Hasan Suroor’s ‘India’s Muslim Spring’: Abhay Kumar

ABHAY KUMAR reviews Hasan Suroor’s India’s Muslim Spring: Why is Nobody Talking about It?, Rupa Publications, New Delhi, 2014.

Hasan Suroor is a London-based veteran journalist. He began his career with The Statesman and later he worked as The Hindu’s UK correspondent for over a decade. He continues to write in newspapers on important issues such as Muslim identity, secularism, communalism and Islam. He was brought up and educated in Delhi after his family left Lucknow for the national capital post-Partition. Their new destination, at least in the beginning, did not receive its guests warmly as his parents’ identity as Muslim worked as a hurdle for them to rent a flat in New Delhi. Eventually they had to seek refuge in the Muslim-majority Ballimaran of the Walled City where his mother worked as a Communist Party activist. Suroor, who is regarded as one of the “progressive” and “liberal” voices among Muslims, has recently been in news for an interesting thesis which he offers in his new book, India’s Muslim Spring: Why is Nobody Talking about It?

He argues that for the first time since Independence a “seismic” and “tectonic” shift has taken place in Indian Muslim community with an emergence of “liberal spring” among new generations Muslims, who were born after the late 1970s. For Suroor, the elder generations of Muslim were “fundamentalist” and “emotional”, “intolerant” of freedom of speech, prioritized “cultural” and “identity” issues over substantive ones, had “contempt” for women and blamed others for the plight of Muslim community while the young Muslims are just the opposite of their elders; they, are  “tolerant”, “pragmatic”, “moderates”, “secular”, “cosmopolitan”, “optimistic” and “confident” and “forward-looking” as well as “nationalistic”. In short, he creates a binary between fundamentalist old Muslims versus liberal young Muslims. Continue reading Fundamentalism, Liberalism and Muslims – Review of Hasan Suroor’s ‘India’s Muslim Spring’: Abhay Kumar

A letter to Chetan Bhagat from Indian Muslim Youth

Given below is the text of a letter that was initially written by a group of individuals and sent as a rejoinder to the article written by Chetan Bhagat titled,Letter from an Indian Muslim Youth published in The Times of India on 30 June 2013. The letter was sent to The Times of India The signatories include non-Muslims, because a large number of the emails read, ‘I am not a Muslim but I am equally disgusted by Chetan Bhagat’s letter’. Given below is the text of letter followed by more than 200 signatures:

A Letter to Mr. Chetan Bhagat from Indian Muslim Youth

3rd July 2013

Dear Mr. Bhagat, Continue reading A letter to Chetan Bhagat from Indian Muslim Youth

Sinful liberals and the war against jihadi terror: Manisha Sethi responds to Praveen Swami

Guest post by MANISHA SETHI: It has been seven months since the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association brought out its report, Framed, Damned, Acquitted, chronicling in detail how the Delhi Police’s Special Cell implicated innocents – former militants, police informers, businessmen, and just ordinary, unlucky men – as terrorists. It is one of the few documents that lends evidentiary credence to the widespread sense amongst Muslims that they are being targeted in the war against terror. Apologists for the police and investigative agencies however do not tire of contesting its conclusions, namely that there is a systemic and systematic bias against minorities when it comes to terror investigations. What bias, they ask. As does our chief National Security ‘analyst’ Praveen Swami, who has stressed that “liberals are compromising the war against jihadi terror“.

Could such ‘analysts’ be echoing the sentiments of a judge of the Allahabad High court, who less than two decades after India gained independence, noted, that “in the entire country there is not another criminal force whose misdeeds can come anywhere near the list of crimes of that organised body called the Indian Police force” (All India Reporter, 1964, Vol. 51, 702). Do they mean, that our extraordinarily brutal police force is even-handed in its application of cruelty across the spectrum of our citizenry, and is not especially biased against the Muslims, or Dalits, adivasis and so on?

Continue reading Sinful liberals and the war against jihadi terror: Manisha Sethi responds to Praveen Swami

राज्‍य हिंसा का एक और नमूना – धुले

(An edited version of this Fact-Finding Report appeared in February issue of Samayantar)

गुजरात और मध्यप्रदेश की सीमा से लगे हुए महाराष्ट्र के धुले जिले में 6 जनवरी को होटल में पैसे के लेन-देन के आपसी विवाद को लेकर शुरू हुआ झगड़ा जल्द ही हिन्दू एवं मुस्लिम समुदाय के बीच पत्थर बाजी में तब्दील हो गया। इस हिंसा की परिणति पुलिस की गोली से मारे गए छः मुस्लिम नौजवानों (1) इमरान अली कमर अली (25) (2) असीम शेख नासिर  (21) (3) सउद अहमद रईस पटेल (18) (4) हाफिज मो. आसीफ अब्दुल हलीम (22) (5) रिजवान हसन शाह (24) (6) युनुस अब्बास शाह (20) के रूप में हुई। लगभग 55 मुस्लिम नौजवानों, जिनमें से लगभग 40कोगोली लगी, पुलिस की हिंसा के शिकार हुए। 58ऐसे लोग हैं जिनके घर,वाहन, दुकान, ठेलागाड़ी को क्षतिग्रस्त किया गया। धुले में हुई इस साम्प्रदायिक हिंसा की खासियत यह है कि न तो पुलिस और न ही कोई साम्प्रदायिक संगठन झूठ बोल सकता है, क्योंकि धुले में लगभग 3 बजे के आसपास जब विवाद ने पत्थरबाजी का रूप ले लिया तब उसके बाद के ज्यादातर फुटेज वीडियोक्लिपिंग अथवा फोटोग्राफ के रूप में मौजूद हैं। धुले में हुई इस हिंसा की हकीकत जानने के लिए वर्धा के हिंदी विश्‍वविद्यालय के अध्‍यापक, छात्र, सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता एवं पुणे के स्‍वतंत्र पत्रकार ने 19-20 जनवरी को धुले जिले का दौरा किया। Continue reading राज्‍य हिंसा का एक और नमूना – धुले

Kai Po Che and the reduction of 2002: Zahir Janmohamed

Guest post by ZAHIR JANMOHAMED

A still from Kai Po Che
A still from Kai Po Che

When I started conducting research in Gujarat two years ago, I kept being asked the same question among middle class youth in Ahmedabad: “Have you read Chetan Bhagat?” When I asked what other books they have read, I often heard, “Actually I only read Chetan Bhagat.”

So I started to read Bhagat because I wanted to relate to many of the young people I was interviewing. But it was not an easy task.

I understand the frustration with Bhagat’s writing. Unlike other young adult authors like JK Rowling or Suzanne Collins, Bhagat’s books rarely reward a second reading (and yes I have tried). Continue reading Kai Po Che and the reduction of 2002: Zahir Janmohamed

Prof VK Tripathi and the fight for Schools in Juhapura: Zahir Janmohamed

Guest post by ZAHIR JANMOHAMED

A school in Juhapura. Photo credit: Atish Patel
A school in Juhapura. Photo credit: Atish Patel

On Tuesday, February 19, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation ratified its budget and elected to build the first municipal school in Juhapura, the largest ghetto of Muslims in Ahmedabad. Juhapura was incorporated into the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation five years ago and many residents wondered why the AMC took so long to build a school to serve Juhapura’s 350,000 residents. At the forefront of this struggle is IIT Delhi physics professor VK Tripathi. It was during a chance meeting with a sandwich shop owner in Washington DC that Professor Tripathi first learned about Juhapura. Continue reading Prof VK Tripathi and the fight for Schools in Juhapura: Zahir Janmohamed

राष्ट्रवादी न्याय से करुणा की विदाई

“अगर हम ‘लोकतांत्रिक सरकारों के छिपे इरादों और गैरजवाबदेह खुफिया शक्ति संरचनाओं की जांच करने और उन पर सवाल उठाने से इनकार करते हैं तो हम लोकतंत्र और मानवता, दोनों को ही खो बैठते हैं.” पत्रकार जॉन पिल्जर का यह वाक्य आज हमारे लिए कितना प्रासंगिक हो उठा है! हमें नौ जनवरी को खुफिया तरीके से अफज़ल गुरु को दी गयी फांसी के अभिप्राय को समझना ही होगा. काम कठिन है क्योंकि इसे लाकर न सिर्फ़ प्रायः सभी संसदीय राजनीतिक दल एकमत हैं बल्कि आम तौर पर देश की जनता भी इसे देर से की गई सही कार्रवाई समझती है.

नौ जनवरी के दिन के वृहत्तर आशय छह दिसम्बर जैसी तारीख से कम गंभीर नहीं क्योंकि इस रोज़ भारतीय राज्य ने गांधी और टैगोर की विरासत का हक खो दिया है.अगर अब तक यह साबित नहीं था तो अब हो गया है कि भारत की ‘संसदीय लोकतांत्रिक राजनीति’ का मुहावरा उग्र और कठोर राष्ट्रवाद का है. और राजनीतिक दलों में इस भाषा में महारत हासिल करने की होड़ सी लग गयी है.

Continue reading राष्ट्रवादी न्याय से करुणा की विदाई

Newslaundry ki dhulai: Kashif-ul-Huda

Guest post by KASHIF-ul-HUDA

In just a year, Newslaundry has achieved quite a following for its in-depth and hard-hitting interviews.  “Welcome to newslaundry – Sabki dhulai. You watch. We’re watching,” says the “About Us” page of this website. But the question is who will do dhulai of Newslanudry?

Newslaundry’s interview of eminent Islamic Scholar Asghar Ali Engineer makes you wonder what kind of preparation did Madhu Trehan did before doing this interview? How is this interview, asking stupid questions on the topic of women’s education, Salman Rushdie, purdah, etc., any different than idiots that play journalists on news channels? Continue reading Newslaundry ki dhulai: Kashif-ul-Huda

On Hindutva terrorism

This joint public statement, signed by 34 citizens whose names are given at the end, was put out on 25 January

Swami Aseemanand (second from right): Terrorist?
Swami Aseemanand (second from right): Terrorist?

While one may or may not agree with the terminology employed by the Home Minister in his recent speech at Jaipur, we feel that for long prejudice has ruled investigations, obscuring the role of organizations and their multiple affiliates in planning and executing of attacks and bombings in the country. The veneer of ‘nationalism’ — narrow, exclusionary and based on hatred for minorities as it is– cannot hide the violence that Sangh and its affiliates beget and peddle.  Continue reading On Hindutva terrorism

On the Karnataka Police’s charges against KK Shahina: IFJ

This release was put out by the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS on 15 January 2012

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is extremely concerned to learn of the criminal charges filed against investigative reporter K.K. Shahina by police in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Shahina, who currently works with the weekly magazine Open, faces charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including criminal conspiracy and intimidation of witnesses with intent to commit a crime. The chargesheet filed in the sessions court in the district of Kodagu in Karnataka state, also indicts her under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which is most commonly invoked to deal with terrorist offences.

These charges stem from a story published under Shahina’s byline in the weekly magazine Tehelka in December 2010, which appeared to cast doubt on the prosecution of a prominent Islamic cleric and political figure on terrorism charges. Continue reading On the Karnataka Police’s charges against KK Shahina: IFJ

An open letter to Madhu Purnima Kishwar: Zahir Janmohamed

Dear Madhu ji,

I was very excited when I learned you were coming to Ahmedabad and I was honoured that you expressed interest in possibly meeting with me.

I was sitting with a journalist friend when I read your Tweet about visiting Ahmedabad and he told me you are a “pioneering feminist who did ground breaking work.” He also told me that in 2005 you signed a very strong petition calling for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s dismissal because of Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. He also added that you have been very vocal on behalf of Kashmiri Pandits. After I witnessed the Gujarat riots in 2002, I returned to the United States—where I was born and raised—and I gave lectures for six months about the violence I saw. In each lecture, an audience member would inevitably shout at me that I have ignored the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits. It is true. I know very little about Kashmir, and for that matter Kashmiri Pandits, and I would have enjoyed and benefited from listening to your views on the conflict there.

I understand from your Twitter feed that you have left Ahmedabad. I know your days in Ahmedabad were limited and I fully understand that you were not able to meet. Therefore in this letter I will try to convey some of the things I had hoped to tell you in person, in particular about your Tweets. Continue reading An open letter to Madhu Purnima Kishwar: Zahir Janmohamed

Now that Owaisi is in jail, how about Praveen Togadia?: Mahtab Alam

Guest post by MAHTAB ALAM

Akbaruddin Owaisi, an MLA of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, who belongs to a Hyderabad-based political party All India Majlis-e-Ittihad al-Muslimin, better known as MIM, and its floor leader in the Assembly made an inflammatory speech against Hindus on 24 December 2012 at a public meeting in Adilabad District. The speech attracted widespread condemnation by Muslim activists, rightly so, apart from left, liberal individuals and organizations. Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, President, All India Muslim Majlis e Mushawarat (AIMMM), an umbrella body of prominent Indian Muslim organizations termed it ‘a hate and rash speech’ arguing, ‘words that should never have been uttered by a responsible person, let alone a political leader, were used’.

Shabnam Hashmi, a prominent social activist and who has been relentlessly working on the issue of minority rights registered an FIR in Delhi against Owaisi stating, ‘the whole speech is highly objectionable, inflammatory and against the values of our constitution, democracy and secular values’. Similarly, FIRs were also registered in the State invoking section 295 A (for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Owaisi was arrested finally arrested on Tuesday (8th January) and sent to 14-day judicial custody. Continue reading Now that Owaisi is in jail, how about Praveen Togadia?: Mahtab Alam

The muezzin’s last call at Babri Masjid: Krishna Jha and Dhirendra K Jha

This guest post by KRISHNA JHA and DHIRENDRA K JHA is an excerpt from their book, Ayodhya: The Dark Night, about the original Ayodhya conspiracy of 22 December 1949

Published December 2011 by HarperCollins India;Rs 499; Pages 232
Published December 2011 by HarperCollins India; Rs 499; Pages 232

The sound of a thud reverberated through the medieval precincts of the Babri Masjid like that of a powerful drum and jolted Muhammad Ismael, the muezzin, out of his deep slumber. He sat up, confused and scared, since the course of events outside the mosque for the last couple of weeks had not been very reassuring. For a few moments, the muezzin waited, standing still in a dark corner of the mosque, studying the shadows the way a child stares at the box-front illustration of a jigsaw puzzle before trying to join the pieces together. Continue reading The muezzin’s last call at Babri Masjid: Krishna Jha and Dhirendra K Jha

Seeing Pakistan from Juhapura: Zahir Janmohamed

Guest post by ZAHIR JANMOHAMED

Since I started conducting research in March 2011 about the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots, I have learned that the worst way to begin a conversation with a Muslim here in Ahmedabad is to ask about the 2002 riots. I was an eye-witness to the riots in 2002 and I thought my experiences might make some Muslims in Gujarat feel more comfortable speaking with me. I was wrong.

Sometimes I had to interview a person four or five times before they felt comfortable speaking about the 2002 riots. The reasons are varied. Some feel there is no use speaking about the riots as they know justice will never come under Narendra Modi’s watch. Others feel exploited by NGOs and Islamic groups who have used their stories to raise funds for their organizations abroad. And others, as one rape survivor told me, do not want to “relive the trauma.”

But if you ask Muslims in Ahmedabad about Pakistan, chances are you will walk home with a notebook full of comments. Earlier this week I went around my neighborhood of Juhapura—an area pejoratively known as “mini Pakistan”—and asked residents for their comments on Pakistan. The answers are telling. Continue reading Seeing Pakistan from Juhapura: Zahir Janmohamed

The Uttar Pradesh administration has a prominent role in the burning of Bhadarsa: Rihai Manch

This release was put out by the RIHAI MANCH on 9 November

Jannatunisa, a victim of violence in Bhadarsa

Faizabad 9 November 2012: An investigation team of Rihai Manch visited the Bhadarsa village which was affected by communal violence during Dussehra celebrations. The team found out that the violence was well planned and was executed by communal elements in connivance with the administration. The role of the media in this incident is also suspicious. The team also found that the administration is forcing the affected families to erase any evidence of the incident and they have not even been compensated. No FIR has yet been registered yet. The team has also requested the Sheetla Singh Investigation Commission (constituted by the Press Council of India) to visit the area. Continue reading The Uttar Pradesh administration has a prominent role in the burning of Bhadarsa: Rihai Manch

JTSA responds to Delhi Police’s comments on their report “Framed, Damned, Acquitted”

This guest post by the JAMIA TEACHERS’ SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION is a response to the Delhi Police’s comments on their report, “Framed, Damned, Acquitted”

Did you think that the Special Cell or the Delhi Police would introspect on its ways after the publication of Framed, Damned, Acquitted? How wrong you were. It is now attempting desperately to defend the indefensible by hiding behind a maze of statistics, ignoring the real questions that the report has raised: namely the brazen and systematic violation of all established legal norms and due process. Continue reading JTSA responds to Delhi Police’s comments on their report “Framed, Damned, Acquitted”