By Antara Dev Sen
Sep 1, 2012
Kodnani helped kill 35 kids, 32 women and 30 men. Almost as a reward, Mr Modi made her state minister for women & child development.
Our justice system presented us with two enormously important judgments on Wednesday, August 29. Both were about mass murder. Both were about massacres that had horrified the nation. Both had a sectarian angle. Both verdicts proclaimed that there was a larger conspiracy and meticulous planning behind the mass murders. Both found the accused guilty of pre-meditated mass murder.
But we responded to these two verdicts very differently. Which once again gives away our shameful prejudices, mindless priorities and silent fears.
The Supreme Court verdict on Ajmal Kasab upheld his death penalty awarded by the Bombay high court for the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26, 2008. And the verdict of a special court convicted 32, including two powerful political figures, for the Naroda Patiya massacre in Gujarat in 2002. Sentencing is awaited as I write this. The death sentence is a possibility, but life imprisonment is more likely. Especially given the VIPs convicted, and the fact that as far as I remember no one has got the death sentence for the massacre of Muslims in the post-Godhra violence till now. The only ones sentenced to death for the 2002 violence were 11 Muslims convicted of the Godhra train burning.
The SC’s verdict on Ajmal Kasab, a terrorist responsible for the “26/11” attack on Mumbai, was a foregone conclusion. Kasab was a self-confessed Pakistani terrorist, the only one captured alive of the 10 attackers who killed 166 in Mumbai, and his chance of escaping the death sentence was practically non-existent. But the 32 Indian citizens of Gujarat, convicted of murder and criminal conspiracy in the Naroda Patiya massacre that left 97 dead in 2002, had every chance of getting away with murder, like thousands of their fellow killers. And thus the conviction — especially of sitting MLA, former minister and Narendra Modi’s close aide Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi — made us sit up. Such verdicts were not for powerful folk. Whatever happened to our carefully nurtured political culture of impunity?
So our belligerent baying for Kasab’s blood is in stark contrast to our cautious, measured and often defensive response to the conviction of Kodnani and Bajrangi, along with 30 others. Even the media shows double standards in the way it humanises the ruthless killers who gleefully butchered 97 in Naroda Patiya, while demonising Kasab, who with his partner, shot dead 58 at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).
We are offered heart-wrenching images of weeping mothers, wives and sisters of the killers of Naroda Patiya. Killers who blocked escape routes and hacked to death little children and women, burnt babies alive, set fire to helpless old people and terrified men, women and children, raped and tortured their victims before burning them alive. Killers who slashed open the belly of pregnant women to carve out the womb and kill the foetus before the mother. Ten years later, when gruesome details of their brutality have faded, must we share the sorrow of these killers’ families hurt by justice? And if we are to look at the human face of inhuman killers, why don’t we witness the sorrow of Kasab’s mother, too? Dear God, no! That would be treason!
Hang Kasab publicly, demanded some of our political leaders, who would clearly prefer lynching to our staid process of justice. The Shiv Sena demanded that he be hanged at CST. “Does the government have the guts to carry out the sentence?” challenged Uddhav Thackeray.
In fact, our netas are falling over each other to insist on Kasab’s hanging right here, right now. It seems to be the only way to assert their patriotism. So BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi roars: “Kasab should be hanged without delay! Enough of biryani for him!” We even grudge him the basic jail food. And we hate the fact that Kasab has a right to appeal for mercy. Even a former solicitor-general of India, Harish Salve, raged that Kasab’s mercy plea, if there is one, should not be entertained at all by the government. And the Shiv Sena plans to seek amendments to Article 72 of the Constitution so that only Indians can seek clemency. “Are our laws meant for Indians or Pakistani nationals?” shouts Mr Thackeray.
So go get the hangman. The last hangman in the region, the old, infirm and very retired Arjun Jadhav, has agreed to do the honours. Not necessary, says Swati Sathe, a top cop in Maharashtra and former jailer of Arthur Road prison which holds Kasab. We could do it. Cops could legitimately hang him. “I would not have flinched if I was ordered to hang Kasab,” says she.
In contrast, those screaming loudest for Kasab’s blood practically dismiss the Naroda Patiya verdict as irrelevant. The BJP talks of “progress” and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s “good governance”, and brushes aside lesser “issues like this conviction”. Clearly, mass murders and conspiracy to massacre by an outsider is unforgivable, deserving of the highest punishment. But mass murders and conspiracy to massacre by our own leaders and elected representatives is not. Why is butchering those you are supposed to protect using the state machinery and public money and then using the state machinery to shield oneself less of a crime than murdering unknown people in a no-holds barred suicide attack?
Let’s look at Kodnani. This BJP MLA is a gynaecologist, and has been the trusted representative of Naroda for years. The doctor knew her locality well, and helped kill 35 children, 32 women and 30 men by supplying the rioters with information, access, weapons and fuel. Almost as a reward, she was made state minister for women and child development by Mr Modi.
I am not in favour of capital punishment. But I believe we must reduce our double standards in justice delivery. The SC says it has no option but to hang Kasab because he was part of a conspiracy to wage war against India and fuel communal tension. We leap in joy. But neither we nor the courts talk of waging war against the very idea of India, and fuelling communal tension by ruthless sectarian massacres by trusted state agents. That’s a war that can destroy India from within. And for ever. It is far more dangerous than sporadic terrorist attacks by outsiders.
The writer is editor of The Little Magazine. She can be contacted a: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, I welcome you Mohd
Yunus (2) for your request to learn true meaning of Islam. But let me make it
clear, that the learning will come to you depending upon your sincerity to
learn. If you learn nothing or something that I do not approve of, then it will
be deemed to be because of lack of your sincerity. This is the first thing that
I have to say.
Coming to your objective
question answer module as a technique to learn Islam, it is like trying to
learn Physics by working out on Engg. Entrance Exam. Question Papers. But if
you learn Physics well enough, the way it should be learnt, then you can find answers
to your questions and doubts which I can approve.
To begin with, please
understand that there is nothing much in Religion itself and then not to talk
about Islam. It is all within the mind. When people found themselves wanting to
pray, all their concept of God and Heaven and Hell came up. Now why people
wanted to pray is something we do not know, but the fact is that people, many
people, if not most of them, wish to pray, and nothing can be done to stop them
from wishing in their heart to pray. Some pray to one God, some pray to more
than one, and some pray to zero God. To everyone, their convenience.
With differences in the
number of God, and ways of prayer there sprung up all these different
nomenclature that you know; Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Atheism etc. But
basically they are all like different brand names of inherently same
phenomenon. People are really stupid to
fight over which brand they should follow.
Of these, Islam is the one
which this website focuses on. This
religion like other religions has its set of beliefs. Its architecture has a
definite arrangement. It has its Prophets (Peace be upon them), it has their followers,
then, some places as their rallying point, and some rituals to identify
themselves with the Philosophy of their religion.
The Philosophy of Islam,
or as I should say, the idea behind Islam is to make people give-up, on their
own, some practices which otherwise makes them unjust, selfish, and dirty.
The evidence and
confirmation of such an idea existing and available with Islam (and as claimed
by others too to be part of their religion) is that Quran and the Prophet who
read out Quran, have repeatedly emphasized on these aspects of mind frame.
A layman, and mostly of
the people who somehow want to pray to God and follow any one particular way of
it because of whatsoever reason, is very well able to pray and claim to be
following a path without needing to get into nitty-gritty of things but by attending
to just this much of basics. Those who follow Islam, consciously, but are laymen,
try to pursue the path that should make them just, selfless and clean. They
find inspiration from the Quran and from the life of the Prophets.
What means what in
Quran, who compiled it, what got collected, what Bio-Data Prophets had and such
queries are not more than the subject matter of academic interest. Reading too
much of things over there, analyzing too much, brings out those things which are
irrelevant to being a follower of Islam. It is also irrelevant for any follower’s
inherent tendency to pray to a God.
Let me attempt to search
for an answer for as to why do they wish to have a God and why do they want to
pray. My estimate is that they pray to retain their sanity and to stay sober
under mind-boggling events of life surrounding them, where they find themselves
at any given time, larger than life size individual but at that very same moment
they are absolutely nothing bigger than microscopic individuals enveloped
within the vastness of universe that universe which is itself with its
penultimate richness and details. All these events and creations have been plotted
and created by someone else, not him, the individual, but Him the God, they
conclude. And therefore the God is needed by them. And then they have a way to
pray and there the religion comes up. While those who become religious realize their
humble existence viz a viz the greatness of God they also realize the need for
God, one or more or zero, but they do not make the numbers or different ways of
praying, an issue. Those who never realizes the importance to stay sane and
sober, intoxicate themselves with beside other notions, sometime with religion,
and think that God is their horse to ride on and then to trample upon others.
To be continued...
My2: I read your four continuous comments addressed to Mr Sadaf without answer full of stupid things that is wasting the precious space of the site and time of the readers, I am so sad, Allah had given wisdom Firoun, Hisham and Tabri also, but he kicked you from the line, I wanted to weep at your zero-wisdom. But I can't waste my tears upon the idiocities of a nonsensical person.
What is the sense in ranting like a fool if some one is not replying to you or your comments which are unworthy of reply. Heavens will not fall if some one is going to other faiths. You asked explanation of the following verse, " If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, "I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together."(Q.32.13). Yes, of course, Allah will keep his promise, Maybe, I suppose, JAHANNAM will be filled by people like you. Isn't it?
@Mohd Yunus, ‘Boqrat’ wali
baat ekdam sahi nishaane pe ja lagi hai. Aisi aur bhi bahut si baatein hain jo
seedhe dil ke paar ho jayengi. But anyway. As for insulting Prophet Muhammed
(Peace be upon him), you have clearly done that and now you are lying. Lying
not because you fear anyone, but you are lying just because you want to do some
hair splitting by saying that it is not you who have insulted, but it is us who
do it, on regular basis, without ever realising it. But don’t you know,
whatever we do without ever realizing is pardonable?
Reforming Islam is your
agenda actually. Yes Islam, and not Muslims. You believe Islam is not perfect.
Don’t you? And therefore you want to reform it. But beta, all reforms must come
from within to be sustainable. Not as
lecture from self proclaimed atheist. As for your question about where is my
reform plan, then why should I tell you all that, particularly so when you say
you are an enemy? Kuchh to yaar Boqraat intelligence ka istemal karo. Kuchh
boqraati karo. By the way, yes, I have authority, guts and knowledge, but which
you will never believe. I will however not divulge any more details for
strategic reasons. As for Taameeri work I do not show those to even my friends,
so there you stand absolutely no chance to see it.
Meanwhile I agree that many
Muslims are living in false pride but as Quran says, a person with an atoms
weigh of pride will not enter heaven, so such Muslims would be loser. Islam
clearly discourages from nursing supremacy by this very statement.
Internet has enabled
Non-Muslims to understand Islam better and some of them are turning away
because of the content about Islam and some of them are embracing Islam
partially, or fully because of the intrinsic worth of Islam.
If people kill someone
for proposing reforms, it is people’s fault. But as you mixup people with
Islam, you blame Islam for people’s action. You end up trying to reform Islam
while you intended to reform people. And when you say reform in Islam is
impossible, you contradict it by trying to do that very impossible reform. If not for reforms then what are you here
for? But let me assure you, all your efforts will not make much difference even
if you sincerely work for it and it will definitely not work in the reverse
gear that you like driving your message.
You claim to be born in Muslim family,
but so what? That doesn’t make you a Muslim. Your guardians failed to inspire
you with their practice of Islam. Now you will claim, “no no, they were in fact
very much into Namaz & Roza”, but that is precisely where the problem is.
These rituals do not constitute the whole of Islam. And since they failed to
inspire you with the real message of Islam, and in all probability, must have
in fact pushed you very hard for rituals and conformation, you decided to hang
them upturned by reading more and more of the literature that they have been
reading, but only to find flaws therein.
Quran, you must have read in
literalist fashion. And other unauthentic hadees sold as authentic ones too and
you feel you have mastered Islam. Well, all that you have mastered is Boqraati
where people who are literalist can easily be overwhelmed by a little
Panditbaazi; Ponga Panditbaazi I should say.
Meanwhile I can read you
inside out as I have first hand experience of handling cases as yours. I also
know, you feel entertained to get responses and as I take more interest in you,
that is what you really want. Apart from
just having the perverted fun, you have an agenda too, and that is to reform
Islam while you keep saying that it is impossible to reform Islam.