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.

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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”