8.6.11

Sikhs, Muslims and Osama's Ghost

He lost three teeth because of Osama. This Sikh gentleman has had to go through the ‘mistaken identity’ crisis like quite a few before him post 9/11.

Jiwan Singh, an employee of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) he was attacked in a train in Brooklyn by a black guy in his 20s who demanded he get up from his seat, although there were other vacant ones. When Singh pointed this out, the man grabbed him by the collar, hauled him into another seat and said, “Taliban, you sit there!” He was also punched in the face.

The crimes task force is investigating it as a bias crime. Is this only bias? Were there no incidents before Osama? Has he not heard about the dot-busters? About Enoch Powell? Why, blacks have not had it great themselves. And incidents such as these show that externals suffice – a long beard, a turban are enough. Two years ago his son lost an eye in a stabbing incident. There are such cases in other countries.

Singh’s anger is directed not against the stereotypes or the lack of knowledge. He has only one complaint:

“We are Indians…Due to that bastard, I have suffered so much, my family has suffered so much, my community has suffered so much.”

It is indeed true (and we won’t go into the murders in Australia that have nothing to do with religion). He can now imagine how many Muslims suffer due to it. And he might like to flashback to 1984. At that time his community suffered so much in his country – India. 3000 Sikhs were killed because Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguard, who happened to be Sikh. People had to shave off their beards, discard their turbans, hide, escape. Who were the bastards then?

When we talk about biases we need not look from the other side, as I have been told to, but from right under our noses.

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Here is a comment in the same vein:

…FV consistently replies to assertions about lack of religious and political freedom in Muslim majority countries with a boiler-plate answer that they are declared theocracies.

Is that supposed to incite India to declare itself Hindu theocracy and thereby prevent any further discussion of rights of minorities or is it the frustration that India has been running a pseudo-hindu government in the disguise of a secular democracy?
 My response:
  • The declared theocracies are a fact, boiler-plate or no boiler-plate.
  •  The Indian Constitution is the basis on which we base our arguments. The Hindu theocracy that has entered political discourse in a secular society does not need to be incited. Is the Sangh Parivar a response to Muslims? Then they are even more pathetic than one would have thought. 80 per cent of the population does not need to be so insecure. When it comes to caste, and it has to be addressed, people are ready to discuss it although many do sanskritise themselves. What must Muslims do? Convert? Perform the Ram leela? The rights of minorities has to be discussed if they are denied them on the basis on religion that they are free to practise, as per the law. I find it facetious that Indian Muslims are thrown this crumb of an argument: “Oh, so what about Saudi Arabia?” Members of other faiths have gone there out of choice to work and earn. They know what they are in for. It must be clarified that in social aspects non-Muslims are allowed to practise their faith in Muslim countries and eat and drink what they want.  
  • If discussing the manner in which some Muslims are treated and riots engineered to target them amounts to championing their cause, then it must jolly well be done. There is nothing like “same discussions” regarding Islamic countries, because they are not the same. I am talking about Indian Muslims because I live here. If there is a case where a Hindu or Christian is ill-treated in a Muslim country people not only talk about it, there are loud discussions. They become international subjects. Have the Bombay riots and the Gujarat riots become internationalised despite the sheer immensity of the carnages? (I am against international interference, but posit the coverage of the 1993 riots and the 2008 Mumbai attacks.)  
  • No one has stopped people from talking about what happens in Muslim countries if it gives them a high and makes the Hindu cause seem right. In that case, as I have said often, first the Indian Constitution has to be nullified, then start the process of declaring India a Hindu state – the visions of Ram Rajya being thrown in our secular faces is a most despotic attitude – and then come to the table and see whether Indian Muslims can and will stay in such a situation. I know of many Muslims who find living in Islamic countries claustrophobic or limiting; I should imagine there would be several Hindus who would too. This is aside from the fact that most of these debates of how India should function come from those who are not in India anyway.
  • The patronising tone of believing in the rights of Muslims because they are not responsible for what Muslims do elsewhere might fit the shoe better if I turned around and said, hey, it’s okay to be a Hindu even though in this beloved land that you live in or originate from Muslims were killed while you were fiddling. You’ve got to be kidding if you believe that it is because of what Saddam or Osama or Ilyas Kashmiri have done. Check out the secular component of Dawood Ibrahim’s ‘cabinet’. Find out what saffron terror is all about. Check on the number of armed forces personnel who had joined the Hindutva movement. Because people were killed in the border areas? How many borders do we have? Why is it only one country that gets us so itchy? History? Then live with it.

The world is large enough and the questions are more revealing than the answers. The jihad, besides its terrorist meaning, is essentially what the elite snort. After all, it is about egotistic self-realisation – and the real meaning of jihad is to fight the demons within. I guess it is time for some exorcism.

4 comments:

  1. >>>The declared theocracies are a fact, boiler-plate or no boiler-plate.

    So, anything goes then....

    >>> The Indian Constitution is the basis on which we base our arguments

    But, may be this is the ideal to pursue:

    >>>Members of other faiths have gone there out of choice to work and earn. They know what they are in for. It must be clarified that in social aspects non-XYZ are allowed to practise their faith in XYZ countries and eat and drink what they want.

    >>>80 per cent of the population does not need to be so insecure

    and billion+ Muslims need to fear for their faith if French decide to ban the "burqas".

    >>>Have the Bombay riots and the Gujarat riots become internationalised despite the sheer immensity of the carnages?

    Narendra Modi will deeply appreciate if you can secure him a VISA to US. Which by the way has done nothing to redress the wrong that was done to those people.

    >>> This is aside from the fact that most of these debates of how India should function come from those who are not in India anyway

    But, how American should respond to terrorism or France should treat minorities can come from anywhere (esp. India) because we are such model world citizens.

    >>> History? Then live with it.

    Thanks for the elegant solution but I will take the alternative. Oh wait, there is none.

    >>>The patronising tone of believing in the rights of Muslims because they are not responsible for what Muslims do elsewhere might fit the shoe better if I turned around and said, hey, it’s okay to be a Hindu even though in this beloved land that you live in or originate from Muslims were killed while you were fiddling

    There isn't a single ethnic/religious/caste group that has not faced terror and violence in India.

    If supporting the rights of Muslim is patronizing, and any criticism is unwarranted interference then what is really desired is to be truly left alone, like a state-within-state. Oh wait, we tried that too...

    >>>The world is large enough and the questions are more revealing than the answers.

    But, if answers mostly consist of just more questions, they can be as revealing too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. FV,

    For Allah's sake, sit down, breathe deep, count ten, have a glass of water, then we will talk! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just want to add one more thing, regardless of what we choose... it does seem to me (based on the experience of every other modern state) that if we are not secular, then we will not be democratic for long either.

    People all over the world have occasionally dabbled in the sado-masochistic fantasies of military dictatorship with very poor outcome.

    But, to each their own....

    ReplyDelete
  4. FV,

    Thanks for heeding my advice. Now:

    1. Does the fact that a state is theocracy mean that the concept of religious freedom has to be modified? Then why not modify it in India which is a Hindu majority country and has suffered a bloody partition due to militant Islam?
    2. A community which is probably 40% of the world population need not be so insecure and rigid.
    3. In spite of Godhra, Ayodhya and etc etc, Muslims have continued to work and earn in India out of their free choice (some have even infiltrated from other countries, but let that be!). Does that not mean they are happy with the religious freedom here?
    4. Why do you think Islamic countries are "not the same", if not solely because of the fact that they put apostates to death - legally or otherwise? Does this not indicate an "Islam is off-limits" attitude on your part too?
    5. Madam, Saudi Arabia is brought into the debate because the simple reason that Quran can not be. Muslims consider Quran above debate. So the next option is to show a state supposedly based on Quran for waht it is and hope that the community will see reason.
    6. I do not mind the patronising (and forgiving!) attitude. Only if more Muslims began displaying it! Let us start with Salman Rushdie!

    ReplyDelete

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