some of the highlights of the interview:
(AK): In his first speech in the Parliament, PM Modi talked about how Congress
wants Muslims to stay in the gutter. Why after 33 years Modi, who got a
thumping majority, with almost none or minimum Muslim support, does he keep
talking about Muslims and Congress?
Mohammed Khan (AMK): You are mixing two things: speaking about Congress and
they getting a thumping majority. They are both different things. They got
thumping majority because the country wanted them back. Both sides criticising
the other is a part of democracy.
AK: Why did
they even have to bring it up?
is not a new thing. This is normal. This never stops in democracy. The PM did
not bring it (triple talaq) on his own. He spoke of an old interview where a
Congress minister took a stand against the government during the Shah Bano
case, and reminded everyone how Congress does not have the political will to do
things which are being referred to as appeasement. Congress did not have an
intention to benefit a common Muslim, just a class which is a privileged class.
Bano judgement was reversed in 1986 and the first bill Modi government tables
is on triple talaq. You seem to have become a prisoner of 1986 (when Shah Bano
judgement was reversed by Rajiv Gandhi government).
the issues which came up in 1986 been solved?
circumstances have changed.
are contradicting yourself. You yourself said that the first bill introduced is
based on the issue which brought Shah Bano case to limelight. She was given
triple talaq. Ayodhya. Is the issue solved?
government wants us to be stuck on these things.
to that thing which you said. Tell me, are the issues which were created in
1986 solved? I am not stuck in 1986. The issues which were created in ’86 took
the country back to 1947. Wish we were in 1986. The hatred which was sowed in
1947… Do you know how many people were lynched in the 50s? Millions were
killed. Always remember, when you try to live in the moment, you will always be
disappointed. Do not let go of the perspective.
politics of 1947 was different and politics of 2019 is different. You are even
saying that the Muslims shouldn’t be afraid of Hindutva politics.
answer my question. If the issues of 1986 are still alive as they were back
then, and the problems this Personal Law Board created for the nation are still
as relevant even today. On 6th February, Rajiv ji had told me that no Muslim
leader will oppose the lock which has opened in Ayodhya. I asked how? He said I
had informed everyone before the locks were opened.
issues are still alive and took us back to the time when India faced partition.
bring 1986 issues now?
Because they are not solved. UPA had ten years, why didn’t they solve?
there were other issues. Committees were set up.
were identified long back. Please don’t try to mislead people.
there no difference between the Modi government and previous Congress governments?
Shah Bano case, Shahbuddin sahab worte a letter to the Prime Minister and
Satanic Verses was banned. I want to ask you, what is the purpose of banning a
book? The purpose is that things which are problematic should not be made
available to people. After the controversy, I went to a book store in Khan
Market. I had a copy which I had returned (before the ban). I asked whether
that book is still available. I was informed as many as you want they are
available. 7 copies were sold prior to the ban and after the ban 10,000 copies
were sold. Another store also confirmed it.
I came back
and put up an unstarred question in the Parliament when was the book banned and
how many were confiscated. I was informed that not a single copy was
So what was
the intention behind banning the book? You agree with this duality? In last
five years not a single riot took place in the country.
about small incidents?
AMK: I just
told you it is not new.
before any elections, riots took place. If you remember 2013 riots in
Muzaffarnagar, though another party was in power. There are all evidences where
BJP officebearers and MLAs were involved who are now promoted and made
responsibility was it to stop the riots in UP?
AK: But if
on the grassroot level…
Amazing. Why did this hatred develop in the crowd?
AK: So you
are saying communalism should be done openly.
are saying this.
months back, Ghulam Nabi Azad in a meeting at Aligarh said the communalism in
the country has increased so much that the candidates who used to call me, now
80% of them no longer invite me. Were those BJP candidates who used to invite
him? Which party has become communal?
AK: Do you
then agree that our country is becoming communal?
country is not becoming communal. Till those people who talked about one
community and were so short-sighted that they didn’t realise it will have a
reaction on the other side too… who made up those slogans?
majority communalism a reaction to minority communalism?
AMK: Do not
use the term minority. I have not used this word and I will not use it.
second term is going on as PM. What is the future of Muslims in India?
question ‘what is the future of Muslims in India’… Whatever is the future of
India is the future of people who live in India. That includes Muslims too.
identity does not hold any significance?
associated with their identity?
my identity be that I give triple talaq to my wife and throw her out of the
house? Should my identity be that I don’t have resources to maintain one wife
but I can go ahead and get three more wives? In any society, the professional
clergy cannot survive till the people are not kept in the dark.
are raising concerns that India is moving from being a secular democracy to a
Hindu Rashtra. Do you agree?
you ever oppose those countries which are Islamic?
from India’s perspective.
world is a global village. And what do you understand by Hindu Rashtra?
minorities, Muslims or Christians they will become second class citizens.
concept is only in other religions. Hinduism does not have a concept of second-class
citizens. No one becomes a ‘dhimmi’, no one is asked to pay ‘jaziya’.
deny ‘Hindu supremacy’?
country’s smallest minority is Parsis. They also don’t have a single
representative in the Parliament. They are not crying for representation. How
many Christians in the country?
AK: But you
are now forgetting history. How so many poor people…
did they become so poor? Sir Syed said no one has made us poor. When the
British started English medium education and a few years later 8,000 maulvis
gathered and said that the English schools are a threat to Islam and opposed
education of Muslim children in English medium schools. So who is responsible
for keeping us poor?
this is even before 1947.
attitude is still alive. I can show you discussion of Deoband which discouraged
everyone from taking up modern education.
AK: The communalism,
conservatism, fundamentalism you are talking about, I do not disagree. Muslim
community also has it and other communities also have it. Only difference is
that the clergies you mention do not have support of the government. Those who
believe in Hindutva politics they have patronage of the party in power. You
still say that Deoband is a bigger threat.
problem is that as a journalist you cannot put words in my mouth.
questions. What is a bigger threat? Deoband or Nagpur?
AMK: I can
fight against my own selfishness, not against others’. Understand that if you
could. You had written on Facebook that you will play Holi while saying
Bismillah. Remember what was said about you? I remember. I had read all those
comments. Where did this intolerance come from?
AK: I agree
there is conservatism in either side.
AMK: But we
will always attack the other side. But not look inward at our own flaws because
it is easier to point at others.
AK: I have
a problem that you are ignoring the conservatism and fundamentalism of the
other side which has patronage of the government.
must fight. I will say that this is a country where Sai Baba whose temples are
across the country. Every devotee of Sai Baba knows he was born to Muslim
parents. But because people have faith in Him, he is made an avatar and is
worshipped. If you become helpful to the nation, you are put on a pedestal like