By Danish Ahmad Khan
March 23, 2009
“Why have Indian Muslims, most whom seem well-educated and demonstrate sound judgment on all other matters under the sun, suddenly lose sight of their bearings (and manners) when it comes to attacking all things Pakistani, be it the country’s politics, culture, food or fashion. Why are they hell-bent on defying common sense when it comes to writing off a whole country as being a terrorist hub?” This statement from a Dubai-based Pakistani writer Rabia Alavi whose half of extended family are Indians, is really shocking indeed. I don’t know how this shameless Pakistani woman gathered the gumption to dub We, Indian Muslims, as nonsensical and the ones who are ‘hell-bent on defying common sense when it comes to writing off a whole country as being a terrorist hub’. I just wonder why doesn’t this Pakistani writer – who is seemingly possessed with a squint and blinkered vision – see to it that it is Pakistan which is in fact proving to be no less than a terrorist hub when it comes to attacking all things Indian. My dear Ms. Rabia Alavi have you forgotten the 26/11 Mumbai attacks which claimed several Indian lives irrespective of the religions these martyrs belonged to. Which country did these ‘Islamic heroes’ nay ruthless inhuman killers belonged to? Can you deny that these ‘Jihadis’ did not belong to Pakistan? Your Pakistani government has itself publicly acknowledged that these goons hailed from Pakistan, whom it firstly tried to portray as non-state actors. Are YOU a MUSLIM or not? Are the rulers of Pakistan MUSLIMS or not? Does Islam ask to settle political scores by slaughtering human beings whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims? Is this what is JIHAD you Pakistanis call or think so? What kind of Islam are you Pakistanis propagating? You Pakistanis first of all need to get lessons regarding the true teachings of Islam. We, Indian Muslims, really don’t need to take lessons from you all. Your kind of Islam has miserably failed you all no ends, and Pakistan, which was formed in the name of Islam, is fast approaching to don the status of a failed state. Just cite me a single reason as to why We, Indian Muslims, shouldn’t acknowledge and proclaim Pakistan as a terrorist hub.
I simply look askance when Rabia Alavi daringly asks: “But why do Indian Muslims trouble themselves with Pakistan’s worries anyway? Don’t they have enough of their own? Need I remind them how uncomfortable their minority status is for them? Are they not second-class citizens in their own country? Are they not troubled by the countless assaults on the country’s minorities, the destruction of Babri Masjid or the slaughter of Muslims in Gujarat? Don’t they worry about the Modis and Sadhvi Pragyas of their country?” This is simply ridiculous. For your kind knowledge Ms. Rabia Alavi, We, Indian Muslims, don’t ever care about Pakistan or its worries. But, isn’t it a fact that Pakistan is constantly after us trying to create troubles whenever it’s possible. And, 26/11 Mumbai attacks is just another add on in its long list of crimes. Rabia would do well to at least acknowledge the fact that We, Indian Muslims, never sought help from Pakistan or any other country for that matter to take care of our problems. We, Indian Muslims, are ourselves strong and capable enough to tackle our own problems whenever need be.
I don’t buy your theory that We, Indian Muslims, are second-class citizens in our own country. Let me state that We, Indian Muslims, are thankful to the Almighty Allah and our country’s system of governance that we exercise our democratic rights on our own free will without any sort of coercion or favour whatsoever. Whenever need be We, Indian Muslims, have changed governments at the Centre and in the states that failed to deliver either in terms of development or providing security to lives of people. Yes, I do acknowledge that communal riots did take place. But, these are now becoming things of the past. Rabia, but what about democracy in Pakistan. Just see how the Pakistani Generals trample your democratic rights at their own free will. It is pitiable that even after 60 years of independence you all are struggling to let democracy prevail in Pakistan in true sense of the term.
Isn't it a sorry state of affairs for your beleaguered country? Don't you have your own problems? What about Jiye Sindh movement, Mohajirs and NWFP? Aren't these grave problems for Pakistan which it has squarely failed to handle? What about Pakistani Muslims who are being slaughtered daily by Talibani jihadists. Aren’t you seeing this? Don’t you have the courage to take these Talibani jihadis head on. I know you are meek and a coward. You won’t even dare to write or talk about the tribals in North West Frontier Province of your country Pakistan. If you ever dare to do so, well you know your fate? DEATH at the hands of NWFP Talibani jihadis! Ms. Rabia, I'm sorry to state that YOU are not a real Pakistani as you are writing sitting pretty well ensconced in secure confines in Dubai. And, just look at me. I'm writing my comments sitting in my own homeland. Just look how much guts you possess and what I possess. This is enough to prove that I'm not a second-class citizen, while I just feel sorry about your status at this critical juncture which your country is presently in.
Ms. Rabia Alavi, do you know that the foundations of the so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan was laid by an aristocrat Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who wasn't concerned with Islam at all except being a namesake Muslim. By the way, don’t you know that fact that Your Qaid-e-Azam Jinnah profoundly enjoyed alcohol, never entered a prayer hall or Masjid except for his marriage with Zoroastrian Rutten Bai. Jinnah loved consuming pork flesh and extracted its soup. Don’t you know that consuming pork and alcohol are forbidden in Islam? And, You still revere this Pork eating and wine consuming Mohammad Ali Jinnah – Your GREAT Quaid-e-Azam!! Please don’t take my comments as otherwise. I suppose this is what you really asked for while initiating needless debate regarding actions of Indian Muslims vis-à-vis Pakistani Muslims.
Present below is the Opinion of Dubai-based Pakistani writer Rabia Alavi and my comments above. The writer charges that Indian Muslims are hell-bent on portraying Pakistan as a terrorist hub. However, the entire world is now witness for what really Pakistan stands for. This Opinion was published in the Khaleej Times on 1 March 2009. This Opinion is being published for the benefit of my readers. -- Danish Ahmad Khan
The Problem With Indian Muslims
By Rabia Alavi
I try to steer away from the politics of India-Pakistan debates, partly for the reason that even though I am a Pakistani, half of my extended family is Indian, and they were part of the value system that taught me the rights and wrongs of life as I was growing up.
But I also refuse to indulge in these discussions where eventually you find yourself taking sides, because I cannot do away with a country that has much in common with mine – historical roots, cultural similarities and a language that is widely spoken and understood by the people of both countries, to name just a few.
Unfortunately, in the two years that I was watching my son grow out of diapers, a new generation of Indians has emerged — a generation that has forced me to take sides, albeit unwillingly. And while this generation has nothing to do with age, sadly, it does with creed. Yes, I direct my complaint towards Indian Muslims — a part of the Indian society that should be bound to Pakistan by ties of a common religion, to say the least.
Why have Indian Muslims, most whom seem well-educated and demonstrate sound judgment on all other matters under the sun, suddenly lose sight of their bearings (and manners) when it comes to attacking all things Pakistani, be it the country’s politics, culture, food or fashion. Why are they hell-bent on defying common sense when it comes to writing off a whole country as being a terrorist hub?
What used to be friendly bantering during India versus Pakistan cricket matches is not so friendly any more. What were merely funny punches about Lollywood’s efforts to imitate Bollywood are also beginning to hurt. These may be trivial examples, but the bottom line is, there seem to be serious efforts on the part of the Indian Muslims to hurt and incite Pakistanis into making emotional outbursts. They can then go about saying what an intolerant bunch those Pakistanis are.
Indian Muslims may rant and rave about what emotional fools Pakistanis are, or how they lack tolerance for other cultures or religions, while Indian Muslims get by quite amicably as a minority of 13.4 per cent (officially) in a country that is predominantly Hindu.
But let’s not forget that if it were not for Partition, this sweeping judgment would target them too. And while we are on the subject of tolerance, I must add that Indian Muslims can often not even bring themselves to be polite to their Pakistani counterparts. One has to wonder if this is just cold-shouldering of a people they dislike, or outright hatred that makes them not want to even look at their Pakistani counterparts.
Pakistanis might be more emotionally-charged when it comes to attacks on their country’s sovereignty and what not. But given the state of things in their country — a government that cannot prevent foreign attacks on its soil, a society that is practically illiterate and willing to believe just about anything that insurgents, liberals or the government want them to believe, and an economy on the verge of collapse – can you blame them?
Pakistanis don’t have answers to many of the questions that Indians, or anyone else, for that matter, ask of them. But don’t Indians know that already?
Why ask the Pakistanis, if not to hurt, and convince them that they are part of a failed nation. Even those Pakistanis who are resilient enough not to have given up on their country in these worrisome times are faced with constant reminders by their Indian brethren that they lack a future back in their country.
But why do Indian Muslims trouble themselves with Pakistan’s worries anyway? Don’t they have enough of their own? Need I remind them how uncomfortable their minority status is for them? Are they not second-class citizens in their own country? Are they not troubled by the countless assaults on the country’s minorities, the destruction of Babri Masjid or the slaughter of Muslims in Gujarat? Don’t they worry about the Modis and Sadhvi Pragyas of their country?
Understandably, actions committed in the name if all Indians are not actually condoned by any secular Indians, no matter what religion. In fact, they are a shame for those who see India’s secularism as a respect for all religions. But is India really that secular? This might not be the right piece to debate that question. But it certainly seems that the reason why Indian Muslims are on the constant lookout for one mistake that we Pakistanis make so they can pounce on us and cry ‘foul’ is that they are insecure. Not only does that put them on the defensive, to the extent of being paranoid, it also makes them shun a people who they could have been close to, had the circumstances been different.
And this is no thanks to the Indian media, which prides itself for being liberal and open-minded, oh, and supportive of the minorities.
Again, debating whether it is as all-embracing of the actions of minorities as it claims to be might be a question to be answered on another forum. I do wonder though why Indian Muslims have to be an extra bit smarter, a little bit more qualified, and a bit more Indian to ensure that their country is behind them at all times.
Let me not digress from my real concern in my hurry to find plausible explanations for the otherwise (excuse the word) spiteful attitude of many Indian Muslims towards their Pakistani counterparts. And that is a persistent worry that the bad side is winning in this battle of hearts.
And by that I mean those with vested interests, namely the people in power in both India and Pakistan who have always tried to drive a wedge between the people of the two countries.
When people like me, who grew up with such a fine mix of Indians and Pakistanis that I did not know the difference between the two, has to end up throwing her weight to a particular side, we are definitely losing. And it is up to us to decide if we want to give up on friends, family and relationships built over long periods of time only because they belong to the other side of the border.
[Rabia Alavi is a Dubai-based writer. Reach her at email@example.com]. (Courtesy: Khaleej Times)