Ban forced SIMI to turn radical
By Ishtiyaque Danish
28 Sep 2008
When Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency in 1975, she banned the Jamat-e-Islami Hind and the RSS to maintain communal balance. Jamat leaders and acti
vists were jailed across the country. Many Jamat activists were poor; many the sole breadwinner. The Jamat had a considerable presence in Aligarh Muslim University. It also had a small but active student wing, whose activities were confined to the university campus. On hearing of the plight of Jamat members, the student wing decided to help them secretly. It was this decision that could really be seen as the beginning of what would later be formalised as the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
I heard about SIMI when I was a student at Jameatul Falah, Belaria Ganj, Azamgarh, a prominent religious seminary. The madrassa was unique in the emphasis it placed on or commentary on the Holy Quran. Its students were encouraged to master classical Arabic, especially that of the pre-Islamic period. This pursuit was considered essential in order to fully grasp the literary excellence and intellectual depth of the Holy Quran. Familiarity with word roots was thought invaluable to explain concepts.
A good example is the word 'Allah', the name of God in Islam. Most Muslims define Allah to mean the 'being' they worship. But Jameatul Falah insisted on its students knowing the word root, which is and means to move to someone with love and affection. Therefore, Allah can be both subject and object. He is the one who reaches out with unbounded compassion. He is the 'being' to whom men go with love and supplication. So too the word, which is derived from a root that means 'to take a thirsty man or animal to the source of water in a desert'. Islamic, therefore, is the law that guides mankind to the right path in the wilderness that is the world. This was how Falah helped us understand and apply Islam to life.
It was at this point that SIMI's message reached us, the young at a Muslim religious school. It helped that SIMI's torchbearers were men who had helped the needy during the dark days of the Emergency. SIMI's message appealed to me and many others.
I was at the Aligarh conference where SIMI was founded. There were about 250 delegates from across India. Among the foreign delegates was Anwar Ibrahim, then president of a Malaysian students' organisation known by its acronym, Abim. Today, Ibrahim, Malaysia's former deputy prime minster, is the main opposition leader.
In SIMI's early phase, we were a group of enthusiastic, sincere, honest people, prepared to sacrifice all we had, and much that we did not. We were required to be model students and exemplary enough to draw others into our way of life. There was no coercion. Our way was to impress others by good moral character and academic excellence. Every SIMI member was required to maintain a self-appraisal diary. It was meant to help character-building. One of the diary's unique features was the encouragement it offered to spending in the way of Allah .
But that was then. My formal association with SIMI ended when I left to study in England in 1985. Nevertheless, I continued to monitor its progress. It is safe to say it has changed. In the early days, SIMI had a near-perfect system of internal democracy, which ensured exhaustive discussion before decisions were made. This meant moderate views ultimately prevailed over the extreme. So too SIMI's early adherence to the ideas of Sayyid Abul Aala Maududi, a scholar-activist who fought for democracy. Maudidi did not believe in violent change. He had a 'hearts-and-minds' approach. Under Maudidi's influence, the Jamat ul-Islami remained a cadre-based organisation with limited mass appeal.
But when Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini brought about the Islamic Revolution, SIMI began to ask if it needed to continue its peaceful evangelism or approach the masses directly. At the time, the consensus was it remain committed to Maududi's ideology and methodology and yet strive to approach the masses directly. Soon after, SIMI began a phase of public-protest with processions on issues of the day. This annoyed the Jamat leadership. It became a major issue in the early and mid-1980s. Jamat demanded that SIMI become its official students' wing.
But SIMI resolved to remain independent, after long deliberations in Vijaywada in 1982. And yet, it wanted to remain closely associated with the Jamat. The Jamat was not keen and reacted by setting up its own youth wing, the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO). Despite the separation, the Jamat leadership remained in close touch with SIMI, providing it intellectual and religious training and leadership. But this arrangement broke down in the 1990s. Jamat leaders stopped attending SIMI events. Thus ended the sobering influence exercised by the Jamat on SIMI. It paved the way for SIMI's gradual radicalisation.
After the Babri Masjid demolition, SIMI was confronted with an ideological and methodological dilemma. It became more of a radical national part that tried to take an interest in issues relating to Muslims across India rather than the student segment in one fragment of the north.
And yet, the important reality was that SIMI's radicalism still remained verbal. It spoke of but did not start or sustain an armed struggle. All through the 1990s, the SIMI leadership seemed divided between radicals and moderates. Take it from this insider that as late as 2001, when SIMI was banned, moderates were in the majority.
But, even this small radicalism on SIMI's part made its retired leaders and members unhappy. In the mid-1990s, they decided they needed to exercise their influence to keep SIMI moderate. Their efforts went a long way towards strengthening the moderate element but failed to contain the tiny group of radicals. The extremism of this tiny group remained ideological. The Congress government, it would appear, ignored SIMI's radicalism as a fringe nuisance. While it is not clear if this was part of a well-thought-out plan or an ad-hoc, knee-jerk measure, it prevented SIMI's drift towards violence.
When the BJP came to power in the late 1990s, it began to take note of SIMI's radicalism. Between 1999 and 2001, cases were filed against SIMI leaders for delivering inflammatory speeches and disturbing communal harmony. Some of these were patently false charges. The BJP government proscribed SIMI in September 2001 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and put its activists behind bars. Almost everyone arrested were out of jail soon enough. Some were out on bail, others acquitted. Many of the trials bordered on mockery. This must have swelled the ranks of SIMI radicals. In jail, many were brutally tortured. I have seen signs of torture on their bodies.
It must be noted that before the ban, no SIMI activist was ever charged with violence or terrorism. It was only after the ban that cases began to be slapped against them. It should also be noted that moderates ceased their association with SIMI after it was banned. The radicals went underground. They are the ones now alleged to be engaged in terrorist activities.
The ban on SIMI only served to accelerate its drift towards extremism. A banned and underground SIMI is dangerous. The possibility of it going the way of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida is real. Had SIMI been allowed to operate overground, extremists may have been contained or neutralised. But with general elections around the corner, our political class cannot be expected to rise above "ban politics". And yet, democratic freedom may be a better leveller than the politics of proscription.
(The author teaches at Hamdard University, New Delhi)
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi
The Insider-II: No time to complain, time to be wise
By Ishtiyaque Danish
3 Oct 2008
Ishtiyaque Danish, a former founder-member of SIMI who now teaches at Hamdard University, New Delhi, cites Hindu-Muslim ignorance of each other’s cultures as the main cause behind the feelings of mistrust.
Even a madrassa education can be of help. One only has to look at successful madrassa graduates, especially from Falah, Islah, Nadwa and Deoband, to see how they moved on to modern universities and secured jobs.
Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer Bilal’s mother Zubeida Qureshi was punishing when she said, “Hang my son in front of me if guilty.” Soon after the Jamia Nagar encounter, accused Muhammad Saif’s father Shadab contacted a television channel to say, “If he is involved in such acts, I would prefer not to see his face and if he ever comes before me, I would shoot him down.” Harsh words from loving parents. But Zubeida and Shadab are confronted by the ‘reality’ of their sons possibly being terrorists. They will never have the luxury of living in peace or with honour. We can only imagine the intensity of their wounded feelings.
The parents’ eagerness to improve their image shows the mental agony of Indian Muslims who feel called upon to explain their position in the wake of terrorist attacks. It may be recalled that not too long ago, the Muslim community held rallies and seminars to condemn terrorism as un-Islamic. There is pressure on Muslims.
Moving to the bigger picture, ‘Incredible India’ has a tendency to become ‘dangerous’ at the slightest provocation, despite its strong social fabric. The biggest disease among Hindus and Muslims is a shared ignorance about one another’s religions and cultures.
There is no monolith India culturally, religiously or linguistically. Similarly, there is no monolith Muslim thinking. The community is as diverse as Indian society. In normal times, Indian Muslims do not behave as a pan-Indian community. But an issue like the Muslim personal law evokes a pan-Indian approach. At times Muslims feel under siege — post-Babri mosque demolition for instance or in the wake of terrorism. The Muslim response then is, naturally, monolithic and pan-Indian. The community is similar to any other social group. Muslims suffer, as do Hindus, from poverty and illiteracy. There is hardly anything that distinguishes the Muslim middle-class from its Hindu or Christian counterpart.
What cause damage are the sweeping generalisations. If the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is suspected in the recent blasts and is viewed as a terrorist organisation, nobody, Muslims included, should have any objection. The problem arises when SIMI’s alleged activities form the basis to assume that all Muslims support terrorism. Muslims are then seen as ‘the Other’.
The Sangh Parivar’s venomous anti-Muslim ideology and campaign are well-documented. The BJP practises politics of hate and exclusion. The Parivar’s purpose is communal polarisation. That said, it will be wrong of Muslims to believe the Sangh Parivar represents all Hindus.
There are many Hindus dead against its exclusionary politics. Most Muslims realise this. But, at times, Muslims do generalise. They view government or its institutions, the police for instance, as ‘the Other’. The police force’s track record during communal riots is not encouraging. Fake encounters have only contributed to the feeling that the police are biased against Muslims. The result is a huge trust deficit — the distrust was evident in Jamia Nagar.
The media must highlight examples of Hindu-Muslim cooperation: madrassas with Hindu teachers and students a case in point. Many Hindu NGOs work for the better of Muslims. They overcome obstacles with the assistance and cooperation of Muslim scholars.
A Hindu NGO in Haryana’s Mewat region asked me to address some Muslim notables. The NGO’s problem was that Muslim parents resisted the idea of wards being taught by non-Muslims. But their resistance evaporated when they were told that the Holy Companions had learnt from non-Muslims captured as prisoners during the Battle of Badr, Muhammad’s first armed clash with the Makkan infidels.
Indian Muslims are educationally backward, economically deprived and politically marginalised. They tend to focus on the wrongs done to them and rarely introspect. We complain that our religion is equated with terrorism. The other view is to blame ourselves for the inability to use the media to advantage.
Complaining will not work. We must develop capabilities to counter negative propaganda. To that end, Muslims are realising the importance of education. A section of the Muslim leadership is working hard towards this. There is a demand that government provide schools, instead of more police stations.
It is time for Muslims to be wise and not reactionary. We need to understand the new, emerging India. This is not being visionary. The point is that even a madrasa education can be of help. One only has to look at successful madrasa graduates, especially those from Falah, Islah, Nadwa and Deoband, to see how they moved on to modern universities and secured jobs.
The government is no longer the sole creator and provider of jobs. The private sector has thrown up opportunities like never before. Here the scope for discrimination and biases is minimal. When an India of opportunities seems to be round the corner, it is futile for educated Muslim youth to indulge in mindless violence and miss the bus of progress and development.
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi
The Insider-II: No time to complain, time to be wise
Sriharsha Nadiger, Bangalore, says: It is very good article. The people who are getting into Terrorist activities are barely 22 to 29 years, which is very alarming. Every terror attack, robbery, murder, underworld activities are being linked to muslim community. Why is that? If this war on terror has be stopped or won, it can only be by every Muslim in this world or in India to co-operate with the Authorities and feel that there are citizen of India. They should feel proud that they are Indian.
[3 Oct, 2008 1738hrs IST]
a c , pune, says: hello people the article was really great and yes every Indian should read it but coming back to the religious part people should understand that any religion is not forced upon them and as a human we cannot and will never be able to understand any holy book without a gods messenger in other words who is been blessed to explain the meaning till then the opinions of these holy books will differ from preachers point of view and never will be able to convey the true message. Believing in something is good but doing things without its understanding can cause trouble. so rather then cleaning peoples thoughts or taking measures on religious point it would be really productive if elders are given more education in terms of 21st century and simultaneously work on the younger generation because if 1 mango is rotten it will spoil every of its kind. so find the solution not the question and lets start working on it. This is my point of view no offence to any one.
[3 Oct, 2008 1703hrs IST]
deepak, Mumbai, says: Very rarely such balanced and apt articles are seen . I think likes of Shabana Azmi need to read, endorse and follow such attitude. This is the only solution to solve the problem. I am not grossly blaming them but they are playing safe.
[3 Oct, 2008 1651hrs IST]
sunil, Bangalore, says: I completely agree with the article. Only countries which accept the diversities are able to come above others in terms of prosperity. We should be talking about the brand - "Indian" rather than "Hindu/Muslim/Christian" or "North Indian/South Indian". Each one of us needs to understand that it is being an indian which will take us to places and give us the satisfaction at the end of the day, then just being a religious devotee. As the author points out, a slight provocation seems to be enough to ignite the whole situation. Having said that, we need to very strongly look at what is going wrong that we are facing terrorist attack every other day. That every other day, one of us is calling back home to check if there has been no blast victim in the family.... it is really sickening. Looks like we are heading in the backward direction to a medieval age of hatred, fight and war!!!
[3 Oct, 2008 1626hrs IST]
Sekhar, Bangalore, says: I wish the majority of both Muslims and Hindus realize the danger of generalization. Not only should they realize, but make their voice heard instead of leaving the minority "other" to take centre stage. Intellectuals like this author should do more to gather more positive voices fill the air.
[3 Oct, 2008 1619hrs IST]
manisha anand, new delhi, says: RAM is not a copyright of the saangh parivar & ALLAH is not a copyright of the maulanas & terrorist. the tradition of SUFI is accepted by both & followed by all. the SUFI saints are revered by all of us. similarly the festivals of GANESHOTSAV & DURGAPOOJA are celebrated together. so the seeds of difference were sown by the englishmen, & the people are unable to come out of it. secondly the world scenario, where the few muslim leaders are encouraging terrorism is spoiling the reputation of the innocent masses. terrorism in Punjab was overpowered when the SIKHS rose against the terrorists. this can also be eradicated if the Muslims rise against terrorists.
[3 Oct, 2008 1459hrs IST]
Kanak, Bangalore, says: As Muslims want to use the Koran to interpret everything, they should all go and live elsewhere, where laws are based on one religious scripture, instead of trying to modify laws in other countries. And Indian Christians should stop sitting on the fence and joining minority morchas with Muslims as they will be the first people to get massacred if India becomes an Islamic state.
[3 Oct, 2008 0924hrs IST]
KC, NY, says: The writer Ishtiaque Danish did what Zubidea Qureshi mother of the notorious Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer Bilal and Muhamad Saif's father Shadab did. First took out there vent and then added suger coating to minimise the damage done (as in this writing). The author as described is not a 'was' SIMI member but is an active member his writing depicts that. If the muslims are poor they are poor from the time of Independence and BJP came to lime light in the 1980's, why did the author single handedly pointed out this political party.Why did the author have no guts to ask this question to the ruling party those who have ruled India mostly? If today BJP is standing for the hindu cause they are not doing any thing wrong as some one have to speak for us too. Apart from BJP all other political parties are the friends of you muslims then till date why you guys are in poverty, why there is lack of education among you people? why do you people have no attachment to the main stream of India? You stay here physically but your soul is either in Pakistan or in Saudi or in Iran or in Dubai.
[3 Oct, 2008 0916hrs IST]
shan, california USA, says: Dear Danish, Your article really is an eye opener for Muslims and also we Hindus, the problem is WHO WILL PUT A BELL ON CAT. I remember a Urdu poet couplet which goes like " A BANDEY KAR APNE KO ITNAE BULUND KI KHUDA AKAY TUJSAY POCHI, BATA TERE MARZI KYA HAIN " ( Forgive me, if I made any mistake saying this couplet ) My point is why not Muslims in India think that they are also an Indians and then fight the administration. Why violence, why Muslims think they are Others, they are not, they are the part of India which our father of nation Mahatma Gandhi, asked the Hindu and Muslim to live together and we all are Indian, and He the great man went on Death bed to see that no Muslim is forced to go Pakistan without his own will. My request to Muslim and the Hindu is, let us live together and obey the land of law, the law is the same for every one, the Muslims must make them self educated and look forward, not back to 19th century, we all are living in 21st century. I really like your article, I hope the Muslims and Hindu should read this. It really pains my heart to read every single day, that we Hindus and Muslims are living in separate world, no we are not, we are the Indian first and the last.
[3 Oct, 2008 0859hrs IST]
Ravi, Mumbai, says: I really believe India is the greatest nation on this planet ! We might not be even close to "rich" yet in the Western notion of wealth.But in terms of standards laid down by our cultural heritage that every human is equal,every human being's thoughts & believes should be respected without causing harm or hurt to others,live & let live,self-restraint in pursuing peace with neighbors,capturing the world's imagination & respect with our "software"(culture), rather than hardware(war machines).We have several flaws also,despite this India's high moral ground can never be debated by any nation.BUT we need to learn where other nations succeeded & with our heritage of embracing everything that comes our way we will also embrace the good & "change" from other nations as well as perhaps some unsavory elements.The time for professing our patriotism to religion whether its the prehistoric times or 2nd century or 6 century or dark ages HAS ENDED,nationhoods have precedence over all identities.Time for Propogation of faiths or religions is over anywhere in the world.The status quo should be maintained(of existing faiths)rather than looking for growth of our "religious numbers" as the organised institutions of Christianity or Islam looks at this.Bloody & destructive propogation of faith took place in a time of ignorance.Main point is "religion" is our cultural heritage & past that needs to preserved not propogated,nationhood is our future which needs to propogated & preserved.Any nation or government that does not realize this will face & are facing serious social tensions.I don't think our leaders are mature enough to notice this fundamental change in the evolution of nationhoods or human populations !
[3 Oct, 2008 0848hrs IST]
roman, bangalor,india, says: Good article. Need more articles on the similar lines which will lead to unity and constructive discussion instead of playing in the hands of politicians who adovcates divisive policies.
[3 Oct, 2008 0848hrs IST]
Ajay, New Orleans, says: I may choose to correct Mr. Narendra Kale when he equates Dadabhai Navroji, Lokmanya Tilak and Veer Sawarkar with Mahatma Gandhi. The meaning Hindutva is correctly described however I agree to differ that Mahatma Gandhi visualized that 'Every citizen is treated equally,irrespective of any caste, religion.,language, domicile status etc. All this is covered under Hindutva i.e.Indianness.'. Thats not what we really see in the society currently. When application forms of any Government, educational etc organizations ask a person to fill their 'Caste and Race', it all wipes off the notion of equality. All the literal (wrong) meaning of Hindutva cropped up during the Congress rule which formed the first Indian government and is still being carried out (for political purposes) by the so called secular congressmen. May God save India from these pseudo-seculars. I am definitely sure that TOI wont publish this, but would appreciate if they do so.
[3 Oct, 2008 0845hrs IST]
Indian, Singapore, says: Dear Editor, Todays' muslims are not ignorant and iliterate. I've seen many muslim guys in my hometown openly support Pakistan esp in India Vs Pak matches. You might ask it might be very natural like some support Aus or South africa. Yes I agree but on individual basis. But this happens in a group level. I object the fact that they indeed have any Pan-Indian feelings. If at all it is very rare
[3 Oct, 2008 0844hrs IST]
Shilpa, USA, says: Your claim that BJP and Sangh parivar practise hate is baseless. Other political parties pander to the muslims and minorities to cash on their electoral vote banks. But BJP is not partial to the minority sect and that is why it is percieved as 'anti-muslim'. BJP's ideology i.e hindutva should not be confused with the religion hinduism. Hindutva is a way of life and it does not demand allegiance to any particular god or religion. What India is witnessing now is reverse discrimination. Even comparing BJP and the sangh with SIMI is absolutely unwarrented.
[3 Oct, 2008 0843hrs IST]
Dipak Ghosh, Kolkata, says: I agree with author that all Muslims are not Jehadi/terrorist. Its Wahabis/Deobandi radicals who are hell bent in creating mayhem, setup Islamic state in India. But its also true, a growing section of Muslims have soft corner for Muslim lumpens. Remember the anti-social from Ahmedabad who was elected from 10 corporation seats simultaneously in late 1980s/early 1990s? WHO VOTED FOR HIM? INDIA IS SECULAR BECAUSE OF ITS TOLERANT HINDU ETHOS. TIME HAS COME FOR MUSLIMS TO RECIPROCATE THAT IN KASHMIR, PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH WHERE ALL NON-MUSLIMS HAVE BEEN PURGED...ELSE, I AM AFRAID, AS HINDUS RADICALIZE, SOONER OR LATER, ITS GOING TO BE A HARDLINE HINDU STATE, AT LEAST CULTURALLY. Politicians are out to demonize whoever stands up for Hindus, and treat even those who support terrorists with kid glove. STOP THIS. NOW.
[3 Oct, 2008 0842hrs IST]
N.Vishwanath, Thane, says: I agree with Mr Raj from Melbourne when he says that Muslims are in a perpetual state of self denial. However that seems to hold true for all communities in India. The sikhs lived in a state of self denial in the 80's. They would not accept that Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was just another terrorist and that the blowing up of Kanishka over Cork in Ireland was an act of terror commited by some perverted members of their community. All those innocent lives lost were justified in the name of "genuine greviences" of the community .. now what these greviences were hasnt been explained to this day with any degree of clarity by anyone. Now after seeing Hindus defending the Sangh parivar in such large numbers despite overwhelming evidence of their atrocities on Orissa, it looks like the same mindset is beginning to be exhibited by them as well... Unless we learn to look at reality with open eyes, instead of looking at tnem thru the prism of identity, the same phenomenon will be repeated again and again. The Muslim community needs to do its bit to enpower their women.
[3 Oct, 2008 0834hrs IST]
Krishan Khetarpal, Canada , says: The very day when every Indian considers himself first as an Indian,leaving behind his cast,religion,parochialism,hypocrisy, fundamentalism on that India will be a free nation and will have her real place in the comity of nations. When I was posted abroad and dealing with public or meeting NRIs or PIOs they used to ask me Are you Keralite, Malayali, Tamilian etc. etc. I used to give back that I am Indian and my religion is humanity. If this spirit is imbibed in the upcoming children, I think great amount of mistrust of each other will vanish among many communities and religions. Unfortunately, our great politicians and so called neighbours will not let this happen. Of course, one cannot chose one neighbour but he/she can certainly chose the right politician which unfortuntely is again lacking. This will happen with the massive spread of education among the downtrodden irrespective of their religion,cast or creed which needs strong political will at the highest level and among all politicians. best regards,
[3 Oct, 2008 0829hrs IST]
Naveen, Bangalore, says: The only solution to these problems is remove Religion tag from the person. Don't identify anybody with the person's Relegion, culture, caste or by the reservation catagories. But unfortunately, all the govt forms identify person only by these categories. After independence, the new indian govt had been following devide and rule policy among various religions, caste etc. This should stop and have policies common for everyone. If govt wants to categories people, they categories based on their family income, ppl staying in rural area/urban which are common across all castes, religions.
[3 Oct, 2008 0827hrs IST]
Mumbaiker, Mumbai, says: HI, The Article was Good,but not motivational,India has been seperated because of leader like Jinhah.History has been proved that except few muslim Like Mr. Kalam other don't feel india as there home.I have born and brought up in Mumbai,i was staying along with Muslim.When there is cricket macth between India and Pakistan they used to pray that pakistan should win and when they win muslim used to burst cracker.In respect to EID,earlier they used to celebrate Eid when moon was seen in Pakistan (because of few patriotic Muslim this have Change).This community is reluctant to change,they dont prefer Change.The need of the day is to make them first feel that india is their motherland. Last but not the list as per newton's law for every action there is equal and opposite reaction.But we follow Gandhigiri. HINDUS are Minority community in the world,one day it will become MINORITY COMMUNITY of HINDUSTAN.
[3 Oct, 2008 0826hrs IST]
Dipankar, Hyderabad, says: One who has never attended the shakha or never interacted with RSS ideologue should never go by mere punch lines from the media. It is well known that India was delivered as a results of religion based partition. Even 60 years after that why the same religion again raises the question of parting the majority (and mainstream) society? When RSS speaks of "Akhand Bharat" they means integration, but these seperatist forces only knowns dis-integration.
[3 Oct, 2008 0826hrs IST]
Hyder, USA, says: Excellent article - Indian Muslims do not have a good leader currently. There is a dearth in leaderhsip and some self-serving folks have taken on the role of leadership posing to represent Muslims where as they are sering their own interests. I understand and acknowledge few Muslims support Pakistani in cricket which I can never imagine or grasp. I am ardent fan of cricket and Indian team, however goverment should also acknowledge that Muslims have been wronged in a very systematic and diplomatic manner. Congress took all the advantage of Muslims and returned nothing. They are given Hajj subsidies but schools, they are given personal law but development in their neighborhoods. The self serving Muslim leadership accepted these flashy candy and ignored to fight for real prizes which would help the community in the long term. Muslim neighborhoods are ghettos that have not changed in last 20 years whereas the Hindu neighborhoods are developing like anything. There are better roads, better shcools, no power cuts, regular water supply. Muslims on the other hand have same old raods where sewer flows openly, roads were probably last paved before independence, power is cut on a regular basis and water supply is sporadic. This is not an isolated incident. Issue is most of the Hindus live in nice neighborhoods and assume all neighborhoods are same. They are ignorent of Muslims neighborhoods and their pathetic condition. They do not want visit their neighborhoods for safety and security and hence speak ignoretnly about them. For this to be fixed both sides have accept the mistakes and then work towards fixing them. It is not 100% fault of Hihus and not 100% fault of Muslims. If there is blame to be put it is the policians who have used us like pawns for their self gain and power.
[3 Oct, 2008 0819hrs IST]
Amitabh, US, says: The author has written a good article and I respect his views. However his notion about RSS is wrong, I have gone to Shakhas since my childhood and I can tell you Sir, these RSS folks will shade their blood for such a son of mother India like President Kalam. The problem has been created by parties like Congress, who kept on harbouring people like Bukhari and others who always supported Taliban and such idiologies. I hope you agree to that. In fact Hindus feel so marginalized today that this is the only country where they have a majority and they wanted to live in peace with other religions, but alas, wahabi Islam and Taliban supporters are taking India for a ride. Indian Islam and Indian muslims are inherently different as majority of them have the same genes as Hindus do, there are muslims who take care of temples, there are muslims who organize Ganapati puja. Such persons need to be promoted and highlighted. The political parties have never been interested in the upliftment of poor and illiterate. They want them to be as unaware as possible and treat them as a vote bank. In earlier times when we had people like Aurangzeb, we also had muslims like Rani Jhansi's most trusted sardar (whos grave is still revered by all). Hindus don't and can't doubt all muslims, but the need is for patriotic muslims to come forward and say that they don't need a certificate from anyone, they have a vision for the country and want all including their community to be forward looking and part of growth in 21st century India.
[3 Oct, 2008 0814hrs IST]
Suman, USA, says: I have only one question - all the suspects of recent blasts in India were educated muslims. They all had good future ahead of them if they pursued it, yet they chose otherwise. Why?? I don't buy the poverty and lack of education logic. I see my Indian muslim colleagues showing there allegiance to Arabia, Pakistan and Iran while showing disgust of India. I am not trying to generalize - but this is not something rare among Indian muslims either. But I agree with the author on one point - its the muslims who need to introspect now.
[3 Oct, 2008 0613hrs IST]
Raj, Melbourne Australia, says: facts first: Muslims are in a perpetual state of self denial. - "We are being targeted , we are being marginalised". Its "us versus them" philosiphy which leads to them being ostracised by the rest of the world. Go to Thailand, they have problems with muslims, france - they have problems with muslims, and Australia- they have problems with muslims and so does Spain and the list goes on. Fact of the matter is this: Terrorists do principally come from the muslim communities. When fanatical religious ideologies govern your faculty of thinking there is no cure. Some freak in Denmark creates a cartoon of the Prophet muslims in UP go on a rampage burning properties and bringing the traffic to a halt. The fear factor was on such a high scale that the Danish PM had to cacel his India trip. On the other hand, M F Hussain continues to draw nude potraits of hindu gods-- Hindus are told to accept this as modern art- "respect creativity and freedom of expression" It is not fair to say that social backwardness is the cause of terrorism. If that were true, millions of hindus would have been terrorists. Muslims are not marginalised. In fact, India is the only so called secular country which has established unsecular laws for minorities: Muslim courts, Muslim madrassaas and the list goes on. Introspect and ask this question: How many islamic nations are broad minded?? I cannot even dare to carry the photograph of my Hindu god into Saudi whereas Mosques and madrassas thrive out in open in India. No non muslim can enter into Mecca, while, to visit Kashi Vishwanath temple I must pass through a mosque. India is a wonderful country becasue it gives you all the priviliges of a civilised democratic society along with a package of unsecular laws that favor some. You can choose to be an Abdul Kalaam or a shahi Imam. The choice is yours. Unfortunate a lot of muslims have chosen to accept the latter as their idol. Finally it is not fair to equate Bajrang dal/VHP in the same bracket as SIMI. If VHP has a grievance it does not plant bombs and blow up innocent people SIMI does. How many Hindu organizations of India have ever carried out terrorist activities to the scale of LeT and Simi? None at all. I suggest that its time to wake up and stop hiding under the blanket of excuses or else this community may not be able to redeem itself. Its time Muslims recognise how beneficial it has been for them to be able to come to India as brutal rulers in the past and still live a life of dignity and freedom in these modern times.
[3 Oct, 2008 0610hrs IST]
Mahesh, Maharashtra, says: It is clear that the author has misunderstanding about the sangh parivar!!
[3 Oct, 2008 0609hrs IST]
A Patel, Canada, says: There is no majority muslim country in the world that is secular and where the minorities live completely freely (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia etc). Conversely there are many majority non-muslim countries where the muslim population is by no means peaceful and refuses to integrate and talks of separatism and terrorism (India, UK, France, China, etc). Where there is smoke, there is fire. Islam needs to get out of 6th century Arabia and reform now, or else the world will continue to be a victim of it's intolerance. Until this happens, I am glad the Sangh Parivar has taken up the cause of Hinduism in the face of an apathetic government.
[3 Oct, 2008 0608hrs IST]
krishna, fremont, says: I can 100 percent that a muslim had posted this article.why are u blaming sangh parivar or bjp so much. Before you do that talk about any muslim party. They always talk about intrest of muslim population rather than talking about the any other issue. God only can save psuedo secular India ......
[3 Oct, 2008 0605hrs IST]
Rupert, Canada, says: Thank you Mr.I.D., for your fine article. I may go further and add on, it is not the Hindus nor the Muslims and now the Christians to blame for what is hapenning in Mother India. It is the stupid power crazy politicians who have created the problems. We have problems in Mumbai, because of a certain individual who wants power. We have problem in Singur, W.B., because of another politician. We had problems in Gujerat, due to another. We had problems in Ayodhia and now Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala etc., due to some other power hungry person. It is not the Hindus who belhive in Ahimsa, not the Muslims nor the Christians who are the trouble makers, and this is not what our founding fathers wanted when they sacrifised their lives for their country, but it is the current breed of dirty politicians who will go to any extent to obtain their seat of power and line their pockets. It is high time the Indian populace unite and form a party that is impartial and just to each citizen of this great country before it can disintegrate due to the selfishness and greed of our hyeana like politicians.
[3 Oct, 2008 0605hrs IST]
UMESH, USA, says: THEY HAVE TO STOP SHELTERING TO BE REAL INDIAN. IF THEY SHELTER PAKISTANI/TERRORISTS/BANGLADESHI/SIMI THEN THEY BETTER LEAVE AND JOIN THEIR TERRORIST BROTHERS.
[3 Oct, 2008 0559hrs IST]
manu, Mubai, says: Ishtiyaque Danish, Nice to see such an article.As you said, we should generalize from any point.Tell me who are these gangs operating in India killing innocent indians(there may be muslims in those ). If not SIMI, some body else. Bu they are from muslim community. do you agree ? you may say,do not genralize, yes I will not. But why these innocent people aredying . I have not seen any major muslim community leader comes out and condemn these acts. If they are widespread rally, but not really many. You have nicely explained aout Zubeida Qureshi exp, what about mothers, wife's, kids whose loved one's are dead. Come to the point, Tell me where in the world muslim's have more freedom than in India, comapre with pakistan or Suadi Arabia. Muslim have their own law, reservations and respect. What more muslims want. Take a statistics, how many hindu's killed and how many muslim's from the know past.you have masque's, madarasa's what not. Can I take hindu god effige to suadi arbia ? I am not saying, head for head killing. What I am trying to say this is always happening other way. This is time to control youth who have misguided by worng people. It is good time to implement strict laws . Mistake do happen in law, 98 % of time innocent will be safe. if you do not believe that, you do not believe in our constittion, or law. This leaves you to your own judgement what you can contribute to the indian socity. Hope you will help to bring back those misguded youth back into main stream. It will not run long this way
[3 Oct, 2008 0559hrs IST]
narendra kale, india , says: The concept of Hindutva is not related to Hindu religion but basically to Indianness which denotes the general culture and values,regarded and practiced in the multi religious, multi lingual,multiethnic,and multicaste and multi strata cosmopolitan society.In short Hindutva denotes nothing but patriotism.Thatis the reason why so many muslims are found in BJP.The controversy has been intentionally created regarding the term Hindutva to label it as communal so as to mislead the people.This is the policy as enunciated in proverbi.e.`give dog a bad name and shoot him' This is how political propaganda works.The sane people need to understand this and enlighten the people.All of us who accept the Hindutva have a responsibility to promote the concept of multi culture ,tolerant,liberal,cosmopolitan society governed by democratic values.There is no place for riots between two religious groups.There is need for understanding which means there is need of the policy `justice for all and appeasement of none'There is no need for our Prime minister to say that Muslims have first priority on the government exchequer. This statement stinks of very bad kind of appeasement of particular section of society.There is no need to discriminate by recognizing groups as majority and minority.Every citizen is treated equally,irrespective of any caste, religion.,language, domicile status etc. All this is covered under Hindutva i.e.Indianness.This is what has been visualised by those great men as Dadabhai Navroji, Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, swatantryaveer Sawarkar and others.
[3 Oct, 2008 0558hrs IST]
mano, ind, says: The problem is symptomatic. the tendency that has been seen many parts around the world, is individual followers of Islam tend to identify themselves more with the pan-islamic-world, rather the pan-nationalistic-society. In a democracy, or for that matter any given society the majority rules. And as a participant of such a society, it becomes the duty of every individual to work towards understanding and assimilating into the society. Is this aspect being addressed in madrassas ? Because it helps the ones being educated in such places to identify themselves as part of the society rather than different. what kind of Indian history do they learn there, that has a direct bearing on the current society. Unless the narrow minded approach is changed we cannot see a substantial difference in the attitude of the products of such a system.
[3 Oct, 2008 0555hrs IST]
Sandeep Salunke, Australia, says: Well written and insightful article! I suppose the challenge now is to disseminate and communicate such higher-order thinking and knowledge to a strata of society that is trapped in a bottomless quagmire. Perhaps, Government policy initiatives in this regard should focus on developing an effective communication strategy using 'community insiders' using a mix of traditional and modern media channels. It's not easy, but we have to start somewhere... it's been 50 years of this rubbish... and the sad part is that it is escalating.
[3 Oct, 2008 0554hrs IST]
Lalmani, USA, says: A very good effort to paint the real problem and most importantly providing a most viable solution. I think its time, "To change the perception of everybody against Indian Muslim Community" and resotre faith. Just because of few people we can't punish everyone. Very accurtely pointed out, "Education" is the answers for all these nonsense which a handfull people are trying to accomplish. Time has come to pullup the shocks to counter terrsiom.
[3 Oct, 2008 0554hrs IST]
M, NY, says: Truly said, and wonderfully ! I am a NRI, and where I work, I realize that how connected we as humans are in a web. I have many indians (both hindus and muslims), pakistanis, afghans in my place of work...and its really amazing how closely-knit we are. We look out for each other, and everybody is from "our place"...no mention of hindu, muslim, pakistani or bangladehi ! Education not only secures jobs..it opens up our minds beyond the confines of vision. It helps us understand who we are, and for what purpose !! At times, I really feel frustrated.. I cant understand why people have difficulty understanding the artificialness of religions...they are all man-made ! No child at birth knows whether he/she is hindu or muslim...the biggest orthodox hindu today would probably have identified himself/herself as a true muslim if he was nurtured by a muslim loving mother from day 1 after birth..and how come people suddenly become of a different religion by "changing religion"...isnt that proof enough of artificiality? !! I truly hope that we Indians would find ourself a light some day...we need a god as much as a messiah or a buddha....some divine power that can give us enlightenment !!
[3 Oct, 2008 0550hrs IST]
Purnendu Pattnaik, Bhubaneswar, says: A great Article except for the fact they,the author tried to isolate BJP for creating communal hatrad. I think they forgot what the congress did to sikh during 1984. Finding faults is actually a never ending process.What we need is media to inspire people with words of encouragement. Media is the 4th pillar of democracy,but till date No Newspaper/Media inspires people to Join Politics. Media has really potrayed politics a dirty game. Articles like this should come more often which gives people words of encouragement and inspiration.
[3 Oct, 2008 0550hrs IST]
Mark, USA , says: Blaming it on "ignorance" is a what we in America call being Politically Correct. This article seeks to blame a undefinable 3rd party that doesn't exist. Even an education to the beliefs of another culture does not quell violence. When there is hatred preached, there will be hatred in action.
[3 Oct, 2008 0542hrs IST]
GLN, USA, says: Very good article . The author's advice to the people of different beliefs to be more wise and not to be reactionaries has to be understood in proper perspective . It is ludicrous to imagine that different religions have different Gods and the respective subjects should annihilate the other religions to carve out a place for them in heaven .Aim of any religion is to show a disciplined path for God realization . Infact intolerance , hatred and violence towards other religions are great obstacles for God seekers . One should turn inwards and go through introspection and meditation to know the real truth .Saints of all religions followed that path , advocated compassion and peaceful coexistence .Every citizen must strive hard for the progress and prosperity of the country . Annihilate poverty which is the real cause of all evils . Let us all shun violence and exhibit love and compassion to one and all .
[3 Oct, 2008 0540hrs IST]
Manpreet, Mumbai, says: If you look at Singapore and Indonesia muslims, you will know how right this article is. Singapore Muslims are educated, have money (Home / job / Lifestyle) - consequently if they were to indulge in voilence (reaction) they have much to lose. However, Indonesian muslim has lower education and is poorer in terms of wealth, thus they have nothing to lose if they pick a fight. Crux of the matter is "fruitful" EDUCATION - Education that can get them a good job, good money etc. Who does not want a Good Life ? Show me one person - irrespective of religion.
[3 Oct, 2008 0535hrs IST]
Harendra Rai, Seattle USA, says: This gives us an insight into the cause of misunderstanding between to big communities of Hindus and Muslims. Instead of singing the song of religion we should be teaching our kids the lesson of brotherhood and part an education which can earn Roti, if more then some good work for society.
[3 Oct, 2008 0527hrs IST]
Siva, USA, says: Muslims should question them selves, by terrorising the others what are they gaining ? For some time other communities would tolerate then the Newton's law comes in, "every action will have equal and opposite reaction". So where will it end ? What are they going to achieve ? Will their actions still prove that ISLAM is a peaceful religion ? Question thenselves, is there any islamic country which secular.
[3 Oct, 2008 0527hrs IST]
Siva, USA, says: In most of the terrorist cases, police found the people involved are well educated with briliance. When such educated people who can distinguish between right wrong involve in these terrorist activities who can prevent an illitrate, who are being exploited by all the mullas & moulivies.
[3 Oct, 2008 0520hrs IST]
ak, us, says: Very good article. interesting know that this is coming from a former founding member of SIMI
[3 Oct, 2008 0519hrs IST]
Mohnish, Washington, says: Very unbiased and truth indicating article. If Islam needs to get decoupled from terrorism then the Muslim youth is th eone which holds the major responsibility. Beyond any doubt, that can make an impact on the society.
[3 Oct, 2008 0504hrs IST]
Vic, Houston,Tx, says: Well said,brother. It finally has to boil down to a person's ability to put food in front of his family, to provide good education to his children, to lead a comfortable life in accordance to his principles. "My god better than your god" is the most childish, ignorant rant ever.
[3 Oct, 2008 0501hrs IST]
pankaj, uk, says: nice aritcle, i appreciate it....keep up the good work....warm regards
[3 Oct, 2008 0459hrs IST]
fateh, usa, says: please stop publishing articles like this that appease pseudo secularism and are politically motivated.
[3 Oct, 2008 0455hrs IST]
SIVARAM, INDIA , PRESENTLY U.S.A, says: This article is very interesting . There are certain positive points . The Negative Propaganda is on either side . The Super Rich Muslims have not done anything for Economic Upliftment of Poor Muslims . The Muslims should learn to coexist with Other Religious Groups especially Hindus . It is proved beyond doubt that dividing Countries on the basis of religion is big folly as can be seen in the case of PAKISTHAN which is on the verge of total collapse . There have been any number of instances of violent clashes between SHIA AND SUNNI sects among MUSLIMS . The MUSLIMS have to realize this as soon as possible .
[3 Oct, 2008 0451hrs IST]
Indian Muslim, India, says: I completely agree. What we need is for young muslims to take charge. Rather than spreading violence (this goes for not only muslims but also the hindus), take charge of things. Join politics! Make things better. Force the government to provide schools. Provide shelter for everyone. And get rid of discrimination. Go out and protest (though, peacefully) against the government for not developing the country properly. This will actually get you somewhere, as opposed to just sitting at home and complaining about being discriminated against. Everybody in India suffers. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and what not. They've all suffered. Rather than fighting with each other, we need to work together to get rid of corruption, and political groups such as VHP, Sangh Parivar, as well as outfits like SIMI! Only then can we truly progress.
[3 Oct, 2008 0438hrs IST]
Amit, Noida, says: Good job TOI. Well balanced journalism demands not only reporting the worst in the society but also highlighting the positive and, even more important in a society like ours, to provide a platform for the forward-thinking and progressive intellectuals of all communities. Besides, too much emphasis on the negative tend to bring the same out in the people. Well done.
[3 Oct, 2008 0427hrs IST]
Nikhil, USA, says: Nice article .... Very True
[3 Oct, 2008 0423hrs IST]
Viral, USA, says: Agreed...but Muslims must understand that the fundamantalists among them think that whole world can be and should be converted into border free islamic country which is completly wrong and way far from reality. Now behind this idiology they kill anyone who is not Muslim whether a Hindu in India or Christian in US and moderate so called secular Hindu parties like congress and its friends expect that Hindu should not react to it and sit as is facing their own killing which is not going to happen. RSS and BJP are nothing but representation of all these hindus who have suffered and will be suffering islamic exteremisum. RSS and BJP never said that muslims should be punished because of their riligion. they always are in favour of punishing few guilty muslims who are involved in terrisum which is true in all sense and its a shame that other hindu parties like congress and its friends and moderate muslims do not support this. Somebody should be blammed then its Rajiv Gandhi who opened doors of Ram Mandir in first place to cash some hindu votes in UP. At this point Muslims must work among their selves to eliminate extremists from their community and help police to identify and punish them. No hindu as forgotten aobut anyone's culture if that would have been the case then India could never become secular country in 1947 with 80% of hindu living in the country.
[3 Oct, 2008 0422hrs IST]
Unkown, Raipur, says: This very good article. I hope country follows steps mentioned in article
[3 Oct, 2008 0420hrs IST]
Saccha Gujarati, Doha, says: Great Article, but many people are not ready to accept it. I have more than 25-30 hindu friends and we are only 3 among these, but till date we have never realized that there is any difference between us. There is no difference, only this political parties like BJP and Shangh parivar is creating the differences. We are like brothers and we will remain the same. Even all my hindu friends critize such parties. Educated secular people understands very well, what is right and what is wrong and always refrain in getting indulge in communal fights. Now all the people of india has to decide, whether they have wisdom to choose who is right or wrong. I prefer to vote for the party who conveyes love instead of religion hatred. Choice is yours. Jai Hind
[3 Oct, 2008 0417hrs IST]
Vinod Krishnan, San Francisco, says: Ishtiyaque .. your article is really inspiring.Its for the common citizens now ,both hindus and muslims to take the initiative to get closer.We are kids of the same mother,just because our mother showed more affection to one of her sons,the other has developed some mistrust.I think its high time for we hindus to understand our muslim brothers and give them a jaduu ki jhappi.
[3 Oct, 2008 0417hrs IST]
where?, Delhi, says: I keep reading/hearing how the whole community is blamed and is labeled terrorists because of few and how bad it is and injustice to them etc etc..I have not heard one news where it is actually said..Nobody blames the whole community..but muslims will keep crying how they all are blamed and labeled..this is just a ploy to look like a victim and blame everybody else! and thats is what irks the majority more than terrorists...
[3 Oct, 2008 0416hrs IST]
Musing, US, says: There is a Koranic practice called Al-Taqiyah. Which advocates - equivocation, sophistry and mendacity. This article is written in the glorious principles of Taqiyah! If one reads the mails of Indian Mujahideen (freely available on the net) - one sees very clearly that this is a trip by muslims to seem themselves as ghazis and people who are doing jihad-al-kuffar. Jihad to kill the infidel Hindu's and subjugate them, spout hatred for Hindu gods and all that. Its not about any perceived wrong doings or any inferiority etc. So let's call the kettle by its name and call this a Jihad and not refocus this as oppression of muslims and a revolution etc..
[3 Oct, 2008 ]