Monday, May 5, 2014

The (muslim) divisions of the Dewan (Ajmer)

It must be an irony of sorts that the two nation theory (TNT) which managed to strengthen the barrier between Hindus and Muslims (leading to disasters for both sides) has created that strange beast: a muslim who is considered as an outsider in both India/Pak. This can be a person from a liberal muslim family which chose to stay back in India. This can also be a Shia/Ahmadi in Pakistan who can still recall with pride the contributions of their families towards the Pakistan movement (and in support of TNT). These days such individuals/communities are branded as ISI agents in India and RAW agents in Pakistan.

As the latest outburst from Shaan shows, even an A-star hero like Ali Zafar will be accused of being a traitor because he works in Bollywood. How about the Pakistani authors (Mohsin Hamid, Fatima Bhutto) whose publishers are in India (and who have significant sales in India)? Fatima of course looks gorgeous in a (un-islamic) saree while managing to drive Paknationalists crazy. Tasleema Nasreen is an extreme example where liberal Hindus kept mum when muslim thugs in Kolkata and Hyderabad were violently assaulting her and rioting in the streets (the lib-Hs atoned by shedding crocodile tears when Hindutva forces launched a non-violent assault on Wendy Doniger's book). The vote-bank (women) politicians (Mamata in Kolkata and Sonia in Delhi) ensured that a renowned woman of arts became an outlaw in her adopted country.  

Which brings us to Kashmir. To the best of our knowledge there are no muslim organizations in India dedicated to the Kashmiri cause, also no prominent muslim voice who stands up for the rights of Kashmiris (muslims). They have the formidable backing of the upper-caste duo of Arundhati Roy and Pankaj Mishra....and that's it.  

But what about the maulanas who should have no fear of earthly agencies? Surely they can raise their voice against injustice of fellow muslims who are clamoring for Sharia rule? No such luck. Instead we have a war of words launched by the Dewan of Ajmer (dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti) against Pak Army chief Raheel Sharif (see below). This is not an isolated outburst. The Dewan had also proposed a boycott of Pakistan PM (Raja Parvez Ashraf) when he visited the dargah in March 2013, when the beheading of Indian soldiers (in Kashmir) was dominating the headlines. 
The dewan of Ajmer dargah on Monday asked the Union government to snap ties with Pakistan over its army chief Raheel Sharif's statement describing Kashmir as 'jugular vein' of his country. Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan while addressing heads of various shrines in Mehfil Khana expressed disappointment at Indian government's poor response to the remark.

"Such nonsense statements issued on a routine by Pakistan's politicians, diplomats and sometimes by their non-state actors should be reciprocated in similar manner. Kashmir is an integral part of India. It is highly uncalled for them to peek into our internal affairs at a time when they are struggling to control sectarian violence in their own land," Khan said. He demands a paradigm shift in Indian foreign policy especially towards Pakistan.

Islam preaches cordial relations with neighbors and Pakistan being an Islamic republic has never put this tenet in practice, he said adding that Pakistan's interference in our affairs gives them an opportunity to build a popular stereotype for Muslims here.

He also talked about terrorism and communal conflicts in the country and advised the upcoming government that every political party should come on a single stage on these issues. They should demand the ban of every sort of relations with Pakistan, he said.

Khan raised the issue of Muslim killings in Assam by Bodo terrorists as an apparent attempt to kindle sectarian violence in the north-east region. The heads of shrines unanimously condemned the killings and called for an action plan to ensure that violence ends and people who fled their homes may return.

"The fresh killings are an outcome of some political leaders fanning religious sentiments. These killings took place in the midst of Lok Sabha polls and Election Commission should investigate if these are fanned due to political reasons?" Khan said.

He also urged Muslims to rally behind the new government at the centre and participate in every nation-building activity. "Community is lagging behind in all social and economical parameters. Time has come that we should set short term goals including focus on educating our new generation," Khan said.

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