The British taught us an ugly lesson; divide and rule.
Some of us still live in that slavish fear that we have to continuously divide Indians to remain in control of our own lives.
A few individuals dupe the masses against one Indian or the other; this is truly born out of a false fear that that someone's progress means their own extinction. Many a American Indians can grasp the idea that a few "falsely frightened" white folks are worried sick with the "invasion" of the Mexican Americans that their culture is not going to be the same. Indeed, when our numbers grow, the resentment may turn to us, the Indians.
America belongs to every one of us; Irish American, Vietnamese American, Egyptian Americans, Israeli Americans, Indian Americans or Hindu American, Jewish American, Muslim Americans, Sikh Americans or Jain Americans. Similarly
It is this criminal mind set that is dividing
The Muslims in
The Indians, who really care about
I will shout that loud and clear, will you?
Mike Ghouse for India
Why should a Muslim have to wear his nationalism on his sleeve?
TOI Crest, Feb 20, 2010, 11.25am ISTThe writer, who is vice chancellor of
We owe the young Muslim our trust, due process and the benefit of the doubt — so that when the horror of something like Pune happens, he can spontaneously share the revulsion of his fellow citizens without the insidious taint of guilt by association, writes Najeeb Jung.
Sixty-three years ago as Nehru spoke of
The '50s and '60s were difficult years marred by a sequence of riots where often enough Muslims were at the receiving end. Even the pluralist Nehru's commitment to a secular politics wasn't enough to curb the police's tendency to visit retribution disproportionately on Muslims in the wake of a riot. Misled by the platitudes and promises of the political elite, Muslims remained a community bereft of leaders. But a quarter of a century after partition, attitudes changed. Young Muslim boys and girls left behind the sense of alienation and exclusion that had beleaguered their parents. The partition of
Today, despite sectarian tragedies like the razing of the Babri Masjid or the
I work at a remarkable university where young boys and girls and grown men and women who truly represent
So when the horrors of Mumbai and Pune occur, and he hears the same cliches - Muslim alienation, local Muslims supporting Pakistani terrorists, the disgruntlement in Muslim youth after 9/11 and so on - he's gripped by that depressing deja vu. Once again Muslim men and women will be asked to wear their nationalism on their sleeves, be more vehement in their criticism of
If this patriotic Muslim citizen were to point out that in the aftermath of the Mecca Masjid blasts in Hyderabad, scores of young Muslim boys were yanked out of their homes, then either to be released after weeks of torture when there was no evidence to hold them or to disappear without trace, some columnist or pundit would comment on the defensiveness of the Muslim middle-class, or muse that educated Muslims were in denial. A single' encounter' in Batla House,
But here's the thing: young Muslims understand the piquant situation they are in. After all, there is truth to the charge that an earlier generation of Muslims asked for a separate homeland and got it. They know they belong to a proselytising religion; they are aware of the flourishing myth that Islam gives no quarter to 'kafirs'. They know that Islam is misunderstood by non-Muslims and often misinterpreted by their co-religionists. They're self-conscious about the controversy regarding Muslim polygamy, the stereotypes about jihad, the promised hooris in heaven, the hideous penal practices of certain 'Muslim' states, the barbaric instances of inhuman behaviour by the likes of Mullah Omar in
He knows that the violence practised by extremists makes the task of explaining Muslim belief and practice hard. With suicide bombers in the headlines, who cares to know that suicide is forbidden in Islam? Verse 195, The Cow, and verses 29-30,the Women, clearly state: "And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to your destruction; But do good." Every Muslim theologian will tell you that suicides are haram. Who wants to know that in practice having more than one wife is impossible because the conditions laid down for marrying again are so exacting, when people see manifestly imperfect Muslim men marrying again. Which non-Muslim will feel the resonance of Islam's assertion that all men are equal, when he or she can see Muslim states where Muslims are more equal than others, and Muslim men more equal than women?
The young Muslim in
Each one of them is aware of the numerous handicaps he faces, the hurdles, the prejudices he is likely to encounter, the shortcomings in his own community, its inherent backwardness, poverty, lack of modern education, lack of a youthful leadership. And yet he wants to overcome all this and be part of this great nation that his parents chose to stay behind in, to be share in the promise Nehru held out on the midnight of 15 August 1947: he wants to be part of this nation's tryst with destiny. What we owe him is trust, due process and the benefit of the doubt: so that when the horror of something like Pune happens, he can spontaneously share the revulsion of his fellow citizens without the insidious taint of guilt by association.