26.7.11

If you call me a bigot, then what does that make you?

It disturbs me to be personally branded if I discuss issues that have to do with the Muslim world. And when I don’t, then the demand is that I do not wish to talk about it.

This is so pathetic.

Here are some comments and my responses. You might see it as self-indulgence, but I am tired.

This one is on my piece on Justice Iyer’s remarks. He has been quoted verbatim, the source has been provided. Yet, take a look (am withholding the names because this was an ongoing discussion on a forum where I am not a member and it started with someone commending me and then it took off with this one person who I am quoting):
please notice that iyer has used the word Indian and not muslim. i find farzana's interpretations of what Iyer has said and meant as i understand it highly objectionable.
Farzana says “your views expressed here are quite disgusting…you apportion blame on a community that does not only have to deal with suspicion but also keep a lookout for secret manoeuvres of hostile elements. Does that include non-Muslims? Please clarify this. It is important.” why is she obsessed with Muslims?
(Then in another reply):
first of all he uses the words indian and muslims both. what he writes for muslims is very correct, that their degree of loyalty to bharatmata can be suspected, primarily because they are so religion bound. i too feel so
i see iyer's statement as a step in the direction of finding alternatives to today's highly increased and yet inadequate security arrangements all over india. the very biased and highly mistrustful approach of farzana will never help us in finding peaceful alternatives.

Who was the one doing the mistrusting? Who revealed a biased attitude? Justice Iyer. He mentioned Muslims where loyalty and suspicion was concerned:

"I am not challenging the patriotism of the Muslim organisations in India but do suspect the degree of their loyalty. If every Muslim in India feels India to be his motherland and wants to defend it, the Indian police intelligence will easily get information about the secret manoeuvres of hostile Muslim elements.”

There was no obfuscation. So, who is reading what and why?

The same person in another response states:

why does the world-view of many people consist of thinking in extreme terms and negative too? the majority does not belong to these extreme situations. I mean it seriously, that we intellectuals tend to problematise situations sometimes a bit too much, because we cant/dont want to anymore celebrate life. i am being romantic, you will say. i know it. when i look at the rural women around, who can put flowers in their hair and sing, while doing extremely hard work in the fields AND when they make loads of food to generously distribute it to their neighbours, on festival days and all this whereby they dont have enough to make both ends meet, according to our standards, i feel challenged to think this way.
also it depends on WHO is putting these surveillance measures and for WHAT PURPOSE. sometimes one has to accept some bad times too, for ultimate good. i may be becoming philosophical, i am able to afford that eliteness, i know, but it is true nevertheless.
This is rather smart. Romantic? We all have seen the celebration of life and participated in it. Does it mean that a discussion should not raise doubts? It is not only the rural women, but also the ones in the cities who wear flowers in their hair and travel in crowded local trains and chop vegetalbles during their commute and distribute sweets. Many do not know what the good judge said, but they know when they go out to seek a house what happens, ok? They know when the “surveillance” includes being looked at with a special eye for ‘traits’. I too would like to know WHO put those surveillance methods and for WHAT PURPOSE.

Was there such surveillance in Gujarat after the riots? Was there any after the Bombay riots? After Malegaon? No. But there was in Ayodhya to protect a makeshift temple after the mosque had been demolished.

The spirit of Bharat Mata is not about keeping an eye on your fellow citizens.

It is pretty obvious as to who is obsessed with Muslims.

- - -

These are two responses at the CC site where They don’t have terrorists in Norway? also appeared.

-1-

This would be an entertaining rant if its moorings in reality hadn't snapped. Versey puts the word heroism in quotation marks but no citation is given. i do not know of anyone who has said these murders were heroic. You might find some skinhead who thinks so, but he is no more representative of mainstream Western opinion than the al Qaeda is of Arab discourse. Everything I've read, and everyone I've spoken to, has expressed nothing but contempt for breivik and his sociopathic act.

You would not have demanded a citation had you read the piece instead of merely seeking entertainment. Heroism is in single quotes that are often used for emphasis, or to dispute the validity of a word/term, and not as an affirmation or to quote someone unless it is a quote within a quote. It followed the statement I made about his wanting to explain and to wear uniform for the court hearings.

There is a world outside the “everybody I spoke to” and “everything I read”. It is called a non-linear argument. Sure, he is a skinhead and does not represent mainstream discourse, but will any society start rounding up suspects of his faith based on his act? Think about the number of people who are rounded up only because they are affliliated to the “Arab discourse”. It might be of some interest that the Islamic world is way beyond the Arab world – think Asia, think Africa, at the very least. Calling it a “sociopathic act” fits in with my thesis of ‘madness’. Where is terrorism in this?

Likewise Versey insists we call Breivik a terrorist. Who doesn't? Is the author actually parochial enough to suggest that Westerners as a class are more sympathetic to White terrorism than other kinds? If so she might consider removing her blinders and take an unjaundiced look at what is happening and what is being said. All of it, not just the scarce bits that align with her passions and prejudices.

Who doesn’t? The whole NYT piece I mentioned. The BBC did not. We are talking mainstream and we are talking about the idea behind it. (Incidentally, there has not been much gloating in the Muslim world over this other terrorism.) I am surprised that “White terrorism” has even been uttered, for you’d need to do a check as to when it was last used. This is not about whether Westerners are more sympathetic because they are not sympathetic to any other acts of terror, as no one ought to be. The discourse is about projection, and I have clearly outlined it in the closing paras where even the victims’ families might not be spared. Is it your blinders that make you see discussions about “White terrorism”? It is immensely revealing that you use such a term at all, for not all Westerners are White. But then, perhaps, you like it your way. No multi-culti in terrorism too.

Whatever good might have come from Versey's pitiless critique is undermined by the fact that she suffers more acutely from the vice which she denounces than do the targets of her abuses. If she wants to know why the world is so riven with sectarianism, she might find the first clue in the mirror. The ugliest thing I've read on the horrors in Norway came from her pen.

If questioning how the media and social commentators choose to see such events amounts to “abusing”, then perhaps it is. Sectarianism existed before my time and it is not about to end. My mirror is reflective glass, so I can see myself too. This is a response to the constant pillorying of the people who have no links with terror groups based merely on the faith they were born into or their names.

How would it feel if every blond Westerner were seen as suspect after this act in the non-Western world? Have you wondered about it, or has the reality snapped?

-2-


Ma Versey first sets up an imaginary entity - an European media that either lauds or tolerates or sympathizes with this Breivik, and conspires to absolve him - and then proceeds to demolish it. What's the point? All the media coverage from the west so far is about the inspiration provided to this demented animal by racist and Islamophobic groups. So what is her crib? If three national leaders have pronounced multiculturalism a failure, they are right insofar as it certainly is a failure as an "ism". If a plump young Bangladeshi imam blandly tells Stephen Sackur, shortly after the 7/7 and Madrid blasts, that all violence will stop if Britain just accepts Islam, he clearly has not learnt to live in Britain and does need to be told how to integrate. Nor is he by any means an exception, as either a Muslim or an immigrant. Ms Versey's piece suffers from all the symptoms of the Muslim liberal who feels a duty to advertise both her liberalism and her Islam without adding a single sensible idea to the discourse.

I would love to hear your sensible ideas, because it is utterly puerile to suggest that the “European media that either lauds or tolerates or sympathizes with this Breivik, and conspires to absolve him” is an imaginary entity I have created. “Demented animal, Islamophobic groups” all follow the structured pattern of convenient explanations. Why does Islamophobia exist and what do Western societies do about it? This includes the governments of several countries. This is ignored. It is not merely about three leaders pronouncing the failure of multiculturalism, but the ground reality of how such declarations reveal a limited idea and impact on people living in those countries as well as others that are sympathetic to such ideas. It is disingenuous, not to say amusing, to bring in some plump Bangaldeshi Imam who believes that violence will stop if Britian adopts Islam. Why is he not called “demented” instead of giving us a quick-fix homily about not learning to integrate?

Regarding the symptoms of a Muslim liberal that this piece suffers from, perhaps you’d be surprised to know there are several layers between such pat nomenclature. I do not need to advertise either “my liberalism” or “my Islam”; the latter would be wrong because I am not a practising Muslim. I can see that without the branding, it is difficult to even fathom that a discourse exists. Honestly, if it is seen as a crib, then it exposes the interpreter’s interpretation.

Had this been written by a non-Muslim, I am quite certain the response would have been different.

- - -

Now comes this business of Maulana Vastanvi of the Deoband. He has been thrown out because he praised Modi; his people have filed a PIL. What surprises me is that even hardcore Hindutva people who had often cast aspersions about the Darul Uloom are so keen on this man’s fate. Why?

In my article A Deobandi as Modi’s brand ambassador, I had written, among other things:

Let us not forget its (Darul’s) disgusting record of fatwas in the Imrana case or objecting to women working or the clothes people wear. The latest in the list is a fatwa issued this month that prohibits the practice of prophecy by Muslims. It cites the Shariah and warns that if a follower of the faith indulges in soothsaying, his prayers for 40 days become unacceptable.
Will the Deoband then ban all the caretakers at various shrines who after the prayers have been said, offering made and money deposited in the donation box swoosh a peacock feather over the devotee’s head and prophesise that all wishes will be fulfilled? What about the various pirs who advertise their powers to predict the future and the past? What about Islamic scholars that give their interpretations of Islam and further divide the community? What about the Deoband itself that issues these edicts? It may now say that it is only advice based on queries raised, but that is precisely what soothsayers do.

Was this not important? It was primarily seen as an anti-Modi tirade. Not only that but, “Something has seriously gone wrong with Farzana's mind. She has started speaking the language of extremist/fundamentalist Muslim. Somebody in Bombay please urgently get her medical help.”

What can I say?

Yes, I am a bigot because you say so. What does your saying so taking bits and pieces from the larger arguments make you, then?

You flash a torch in the tunnel and you think it is the light at the end of it. I stand in the light and look inside the tunnel. So I am not blinded by the light nor do I go blind in the dark.

Yes, that makes me a bigot.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.