By Shahab Ansari
May 30, 2016
Dr Farid Ali Shamsi, a social activist, scholar, a beacon of light and a true crusader for the rights of the weak and the oppressed in secular India for over 40 years, has urged the promotion of goodwill and a long-lasting relation between the two neighbours, based on sincerity and honesty.
This was the resolve of this social activist and retired director education, who has a doctorate in political science from Aligarh University, one of the most prestigious universities in the sub-continent.
In a recently published collection of his letters and articles appeared in the top newspapers of India, Dr Shamsi has emerged as a lone crusader of people’s rights and a fearless critic of every unjust act committed by an individual, institution of a government functionary or a writer in India. Dr Shamsi has a reputation for being blunt and merciless when it comes down to differentiate truth from a myth.
In a letter published in Hindustan Times in 1986, commenting on renowned writer and journalist Khushwant Singh’s (KS) impressions penned down after his ‘Journey to Pakistan’, Dr Shamsi wrote “ In fact, there is a lot of contradiction in the things KS claims to have observed so keenly, namely goodwill and apprehension of an Indian attack. Psychologically speaking, a true, faithful and honest friend and neighbour can never and should never nurse a fear of being knifed by one from whom he has ‘goodwill’ in abundance”.
Taking the biggest daily of India to the task, Dr Shamsi blasted the newspaper in an editorial titled ‘Where is secularism’, which appeared in the same paper on 31st of May, 1988, “Over the years, I have made it a point to see whether you wish Eid to your readers or not. But, each year has been a year of sorrow and disappointment. If a daily of such a high repute can wish Holi and Diwali to its readers without fail, what prevents it from making the same good and humanly gesture when Eid is celebrated throughout the country”.
Yet in another letter to the Editor, printed in The Guardian, London in 2008, Dr Shamsi defended the Muslim emperors of India against an article written by one Mr Anil Bhanot titled Recurring Clashes of Faith’, Dr Shamsi maintained that “It is absolutely incorrect to mention a conqueror Baber as invader. The era Mr Bhanot has mentioned was of monarchy, not of democracy, liberty, fraternity and equality, though all this is still on papers only even in the so-called biggest democracies of the world”.
Dr Shamsi pointed out that Islam does not preach hatred and violence. It teaches ---“Live and let live, forgive and forget”. He added “since Muslims have only one God who does not preach violence by holding war weapons, it’s absolutely wrong and baseless to stigmatise Muslim Emperors that they forced the Hindus to demolish their temples.
In a letter titled ‘Hatred against Muslims’, on an article written by one Syed Athar Ali, Dr Shamsi commented “He seems to be at his devastating best in highlighting the sequence of events that has badly tarnished the image of an already destroyed and deprived Muslim community. There are enemies of India who spread hatred against Muslims. But they are considered as the most loyal elements of the country”. Dr Shamsi pointed out that terrorism could be classified in many forms and shapes. He maintained “whatever has been done to the Muslims right from the time of partition is also to be classified as terrorism.