Monthly Archives: March 2012

Hatred doesn’t come free.

After decades of promoting and indulging in Free sex, they have now shifted to endorsing Free Speech. While the popularity of the former was arrested by a certain incurable virus, the latter is growing unhindered across blogs, tweets and discussion fora. What could have triggered this ado? Do a Google search and you can instantly locate the partisans on either side of the battle lines. Fierce looking Muslim youth holding placards reading “Death to those who defame Islam” on the far right (literally) , and liberal, cool, inspired, educated ,intellectuals on the other- The proverbial clash of the civilizations . The community has once again worked itself into a nasty corner. Changing their online status from “Victims” to “Aggressors” overnight- due to their reactive, crude style of activism. Flag burning is permitted in America, because it is a free country, they say. But the flag burners invariably end up, spied and stalked forever or even in orange overalls behind barbed wire enjoying generous doses of water boarding. And even in the strongest bastions of freedom, holocaust denial is taboo. In the recently held UN World Conference Against Racism- Canada, Italy, America and the best of the west announced they would boycott the session if Israel is criticized. A spokesman for Franco Frattini, Italy’s foreign minister, said that a proposed passage, which relates to the situation in the Palestinian territories, contains “unacceptable, aggressive and anti-Semitic phrases”. The champions of free speech went on to drop that passage unanimously. But as long as it is not on the streets and not as outrageous as the placards, America is a free country and its these radicals who are against free speech.

Most write ups for Free speech reveal the Villain in the first paragraph itself. And the heroes are always the ones who provoked the antagonists in the first place. Though I cannot speak on behalf of the whole community, I can confidently say that believing Muslims have never been against “Free Speech”. It is perfectly fine to disagree, discover, debate, decide and then strive to make a difference. But it is just not ok to use one’s uninformed assumptions and prejudices to abuse, hurt and attack the dignity of others. It is said that over 60,000 books were written against Islam in the last century. Go to Amazon and search for “Islam” and see the number of books for and against it. In my last count, I found 4 books FOR and 18 AGAINST. No problem mate. But when someone doles out “classics” calling the prophet a dog and his wives prostitutes, any self respecting community will definitely have a problem with that. For that is Hate speech disguised as Free speech.

Mahatma Gandhi, Prophet Muhammed and Joseph (The husband of Mary) married women aged below 13 years. All three girls had attained puberty and had agreed for the nuptial union. But if you are uncomfortable about the age, please take some effort before shooting off. Read books from sources close to them, ask the scholars and try to understand the context behind the event. If you still feel uncomfortable, go ahead and express it by all means. But make sure that what you say is True, Kind and above all is intended to reform and not to insult and provoke. This is hugely different from degrading them as “lusty pedophiles”. I can express my reservations against girls wearing miniskirts, but if I call them sluts, then I am asking for trouble. The fact that technology makes it easier to make our voices heard (even my blog has over 3500 followers) makes it incumbent upon us to be even more responsible and careful. In a recent poll that I conducted online, I had posed the question “What hurts longer and more- an insulting verbal attack in public or a slap?”. The results are given below and are self explanatory.

Let us go by what the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him speak good (khair) or remain silent.” Disagree by all means, but be true and kind with the intention to reform.

Coming back to the double speak of the enlightened west, Noam Chomsky, summed up the western concept of freedom of speech when he said: “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favour of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favour of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”

Going by this- forced detentions, banning the niqab & the building of minarets and burning the quran are the best examples of efforts against “Free Speech”, not the angry youth with the placards.


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What hurts longer and more?

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India’s heroes in her fight against communalism

Ten years have passed since the Gujarat riots. The images of burnt houses, smoking villages, charred babies, brutalized women and murderous sword brandishing mobs are still fresh and vivid in our psyches. It is very sad that thousands still languish in refugee camps and many more live on in terror, alienated within their own land.

Such examples of planned polarization, arson, looting and carnage aimed to further petty political ambitions make even the most optimistic evangelists of “Unity in Diversity” disheartened and skeptical. Are our differences so irreconcilable and our past so traumatic that we have to commence self destructing cycles of provocations, revenge and counter revenge at the drop of a hat? Is the dream of a unified India, proactively working together to realize its deserving place in the world community too utopian? Are we destined to sporadically and almost automatically trigger self defeating pogroms that undo everything that we have done so far? Can’t we just forget the past, quell the anger and hatred and move on? Can’t we diffuse and throw away, the time bombs loudly ticking all around us?

Today, I have a story for you that will give all the optimists and well wishers something to cheer for. A story that will definitely resuscitate hope within our hearts. Hope that our children won’t make the follies their predecessors did. Hope that the underlying foundations of love, tolerance and camaraderie that have been pushed deep down by the belligerent war mongers, divisive politicians and sectarian war lords will shrug off the layers of abhorrence and appear again. Hope that the true spirit of India, which has manifested itself every time our country has faced a real threat (Internal or external), will resurface once again… in a new invincible all pervading avatar.

My story is about the valiant fight put up by a defiant and fearless group, consisting mostly of non Muslims to win justice for the victims of the Gujarat riots. People who have put their own lives in extreme danger to struggle for the rights of their hapless brothers and sisters.

This is an incredible story- a riveting tale of sting operations, court cases, movie productions, digital protests, whistle blowing and bold social activism. This is the story about how our Non-Muslim leadership fervently stood by Gujarati Muslims. And this is the story of true India.

We have Harsh Mander, who resigned from Indian Administrative Services (IAS) after the riots, openly saying that his colleagues didn’t do what was expected from them during the pogrom.

We have Teesta Setalvad who has become a Messiah for poor muslims, their leader in fighting for relief and rehabilitation.

And Mukul Sinha who painstakingly collected vital evidence against the rioters after scanning thousands of records.

Prashant Bhushan, who uses every forum to take up the cause of the victims.

Whistle blowers- RB Sreekumar and Sanjeev Bhat who exposed the state- rioter nexus

DIG Rajnish Rai who is trying hard to expose all the post riot fake encounters.

Rahul Sharma, the IPS officer, who ordered firing on the mob who attempted to burn down a Madrasa and kill 300 children in Bhavnagar.

Officers like V K Gupta, Manoj Shashidhar, Narasimha Komar, Vivek Srivastava, M D Antani, Upendra Singh and Keshav Kumar who went against official dictates and ensured that violence was controlled in their areas.

Socialites like Mallika sarabhai, and Nandita das who gave vent to the sufferings of the victims through films, documentaries and talk shows.

The reporter who through a sting operation disproved the government’s take on the Godhra burning, the police officer who arrested the Sangh activists who hosted the Pakistani flag in Karnataka to trigger communal riots, the journalist who traced the true sources of Love Jihad propaganda. They were all non Muslims.

These are just a few names from the heroic cast of India’s epic battle against sectarianism and tyranny. I am sure that there are many more of these valiant fighters who shut out brainwashing attempts and rise over narrow communal inclinations to stand up for pluralism and togetherness. Every single one of them is India’s answer to the demigods of strife and odium.

While these heroes inspire me, they put me to shame as well. For I will find it hard to name even a handful of Muslim leaders who took up similar positions against the ethnic cleansing of pundits in Kashmir and the harassment of non Muslims in certain Muslim countries. But I hope that the selflessness of these heroes will inspire me and countless other fellow men to follow their steps- and to make the True soul and spirit of India stronger.

With gratitude towards my mentor, the author of the blog for inspiration, context and data- Jai Hind


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History keeps repeating- Burning the reformers at the stake

The Spanish Inquisition is back… with a difference. The reformer that is getting burnt at the stakes today is a book revealed to mankind 1400 years ago. Though, the fervent clamors of the Florida pastor fizzled into a “No show”, the most civilized army in the world went ahead and burned the book. Big boys are all over the media issuing apologies, not because they deplore the act, but because the crocodile tears may reduce the likelihood of increased threats to their invading and ravaging forces.

They have always hated reformers. And have unapologetically used the Assimilate or Annihilate strategy against them. And history tells us that has succeeded to an extent. May reformists changed their viewpoints and started toeing impotent official lines. Other were either made irrelevant or outrageous thorough the media or just bumped off. But unfortunately, they can do neither with this book, though they are trying hard.

Why do I call this book a reformist? Let me answer using the words of eminent western historians and sociologists.

It inspired an ideology that was the first to denounce aristocratic privileges and reject hierarchy. So says the Great Bernard Lewis. The Constitution of Medina, drafted and implemented by the Prophet in 622 is the first instance of a charter that brought together different religions and tribes, with specific rights and responsibilities within the fold of one single community- the Ummah. John Esposito credits Islam and the Quran with the abolishing of rampant customs like Female infanticide, exploitation of the poor, usury, murder, false contracts, adultery and theft. The Quran has a specific verse on infanticide- “When the sun shall be darkened, when the stars shall be thrown down, when the mountains shall be set moving, when pregnant camels shall be neglected, when the savage beasts shall be mustered, when the seas shall be set boiling, when the souls shall be coupled, when the buried infant shall be asked for what sin she was slain, when the scrolls shall be unrolled, when heaven shall be stripped off, when Hell shall be set blazing, when Paradise shall be brought nigh, then shall a soul know what it has produced”.

The Quran was the first book that established a process towards purging slavery. Trading of slaves was prohibited. Slavery was permitted only as a mechanism to save and accommodate prisoners of war who were previously executed ruthlessly. The prophet made it the responsibility of the Islamic government to provide food and clothing to captives, regardless of their religion. Jonathan Brockopp writes that the idea of using alms for the manumission of slaves and the practice of freeing slaves in atonement for certain sins is unique to the Qur’an. John Esposito categorically states that the Quran’s reforms affected marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Women were not accorded with such legal status in other cultures, including the great west, until centuries later. Gerhard Endress states: “The social system builds up a new system of marriage, family and inheritance; this system treated women as an individual too and guaranteed social security to her as well as to her children. Legally controlled polygamy was an important advance. It was only by this provision (backed up by severe punishment for adultery), that the family, the core of any sedentary society could be placed on a firm footing.” “Women were given inheritance rights in a patriarchal society that had previously restricted inheritance to male relatives” says Annemarie Schimmel. She continues- “Compared to the Jewish and Christian position of women, Islamic legislation meant an enormous progress; the woman has the right, to administer the wealth she has brought into the family or has earned by her own work”

No wonder they are paranoid. They had painfully, through media and technology, created a culture that openly promotes loose values and low living, allowing man to be driven by his hedonistic animal instincts-Man who would never question their masters as long as their primal desires are met. However people in droves are rejecting the world they have created and are pursuing their higher spiritual and self actualization goals- Read this article (Click Here)from CNN.

This also proves that the “TERROR TAG” isnt working either.

No wonder they are fervently arranging the stakes again.

But will burning the book do any good? It is estimated that over 5 million people around the world have memorized the Quran. Even if you burn every single copy on the face of the earth, it cannot be destroyed. Believers from US, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ghana and every country in the world can come together and recreate the book within hours.

So much for the arsonists. History keeps repeating- Truth does rise from the ashes.

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