Secularism in India

Commentary by Imtiaz Bokhary

-Thanks NS, for commenting on Secularism in India, you also submitted some comments. Indian constitution proclaims equality for all but in reality is different as you pointed out Muslim communities treated differently they never get a day in court, decisions are slanted toward Indians.
I assume you belief Indian Constitution is Secular, it is a good document only for libraries, but reality tells something different especially in Mod’s administration, where Hindu nationalist are in majority and get away with everything illegal. Constitution is not faithfully implemented; same is true about Pakistan so called Islamic Republic of Pakistan?
Mob violence perpetrated against Muslims “cow vigilantism” is rampant in Muslim areas carried out by BJP (B. Ajanta Party) unabated.
Since independence India hailed in Western world as a secular democracy but it is a farce.
Since N. Mod’s BJP won election political norms are perceptibly changed regardless of what constitution has stipulated as you pointed out so called secularism has been trashed; minorities have no rights, shows antipathy to Islam.
Muslim minorities are vulnerable their rights are being usurped and court system is very corrupt, they have no mechanism to redeem or rectify injustice done to minorities.
Indian secularism is does not protect minority’s rights especially Muslim religious rights and violates egregiously, no protection of Sharia laws it is a scarified at the altar of Hinu nationalism.
To support my thesis I am submitting an article appeared in today’s NYT by a Muslim journalist who live in New Delhi.
India’s Muslims and the Price of Partition
AUG. 17, 2017

Riots that took place in the streets of Calcutta in 1946 between Muslims and Hindus claimed thousands of lives. Credit Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone, via Getty Images
NEW DELHI — Seventy years after independence, India’s Muslim population has begun to fear that the dark fantasies of the Muslims led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League in the 1930s and 1940s — who fought for the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan as a homeland for the subcontinent’s Muslims — could well be coming true.
The Muslim League, a party established by Muslim landlords and the educated middle class, claimed that it alone had the right to represent Muslims and their interests. This brought it into conflict with the Indian National Congress of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, who argued that they represented all Indians.
In 1936-7, the British decided to conduct elections to 11 provincial legislatures. A large measure of administrative powers was to be transferred to the governments thus elected. The Congress, the League and a slew of provincial parties participated in the polls. Despite its claim of representing Muslims’ aspirations, the Muslim League polled less than 5 percent of their votes, which inspired fantasies and fears.
The League began to argue that the Hindu majority of undivided India would swamp Muslims and suppress their religion and culture. As evidence, the League pointed to Hindu-Muslim riots in the northern states of Bihar and the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), both ruled by the Congress, as an ominous portent. They argued that the movement to ban the slaughter of cows, led by an assortment of religious leaders, Hindu nationalist groups and some members of the Congress, was aimed at subverting Muslim culture. Unlike Muslims, Christians, Jews and animists, a segment of Hindus worship the cow and don’t eat its meat.
In 1937, Congress adopted as the national song of India some verses from “Vande Mataram,” or “I praise you, Mother,” a poem written in the 1870s by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, a Bengali poet and novelist, as an ode to the Hindu goddess Durga. The League objected to its singing as it depicted India as Mother Goddess, which the League construed to promote idolatry, anathema to Muslims.
Over the last three years, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party government, some of the League’s fears in the 1930s and ’40s have returned to haunt India’s Muslims — who acount for 172 million of India’s 1.3 billion citizens.
Punishment for cow slaughter, which is proscribed in most states of India, has become more severe. A conviction can lead to sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment.
The foot soldiers of Mr. Modi’s party and its affiliates have run aggressive campaigns demanding that, apart from giving up beef, India’s Muslims must not date or marry Hindu girls or women. They should reconvert to Hinduism, the B.J.P. and like-minded others say, because their ancestors were Hindus who were forcibly converted by medieval Muslim rulers. They must sing “Vande Mataram,” the national song, these proponents say, to prove their loyalty to India, and their children must perform yoga in schools to show respect for India’s culture.
Since some medieval Muslim kings demolished temples to build mosques, the B.J.P. and affiliates say, Muslims in modern, democratic India should voluntarily hand over various mosques and shrines to the Hindus.
The most alarming trend has been the lynching of Muslims suspected of possessing beef, for ferrying home cattle purchased legitimately from cattle markets elsewhere.
The markers of Muslim identity — beards, skullcaps and head scarves — invite frowns, even violence, in India. On a late June afternoon, Junaid Khan, a 15-year-old Muslim boy, was stabbed to death on a train near New Delhi. Mr. Khan was traveling with his older brother and two friends. They were identified as Muslim because of their clothes and skullcaps. After an argument over a train seat, their fellow passengers threw religious slurs at them, killed Mr. Khan and injured the other boys.
Hindu nationalists haven’t forgiven Muslims for the partition of India, but their fury is a little misguided.
Despite the mass violence and displacement of the partition, around 35 million Muslims stayed in India after the creation of Pakistan, which was carved out of Muslim majority provinces. Some of them might have subscribed to Pakistan but chose India because they didn’t wish to forfeit properties or sever ties with their extended families. Many might not have had any political opinion whatsoever. Many Indian Muslims, including religious scholars, ferociously opposed the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan.
Hindu nationalist ideologues have argued that Muslims can’t be loyal to India, as it might be their motherland, but it is not their holy land.
India’s Muslims have evolved their own survival strategy since 1989 and the rise of the Hindu nationalist politics under the banner of the B.J.P. They combined with other social groups to vote for the party best placed to defeat the B.J.P., but this strategy has yielded diminishing returns. Mr. Modi’s B.J.P. won the national elections in 2014 despite being mostly rejected by Muslim voters.
In an unconscious imitation of the strategy that is the obverse of what the Muslim League adopted between 1937 and 1947, the B.J.P. has propagated fictitious ideas of Muslim assertion. These ideas have acquired traction because of widespread Islamophobia and the insurgency in Muslim-majority Kashmir. Although Muslims outside Kashmir do not identify with the demand for independence that their culturally different co-religionists are waging, these factors have fanned the insecurities of a substantial number of Hindus. They perceive the B.J.P. as their savior, which was how a large segment of Muslims saw the Muslim League in 1946.
India’s Muslims didn’t feel secure and weren’t flourishing before the B.J.P.’s rise. There were Hindu-Muslim riots then as well; Muslims were targeted and discriminated against. Their representation in elite government services has been less than 5 percent, according to the Indian government report in 2006.
Today India’s Muslims are apprehensive. Before sectarian violence was often orchestrated to win elections in a clutch of seats, almost always followed by a process of reconciliation. The Hindu-Muslim rivalry never constituted the political language of the Congress Party, the principal recipient of Muslim votes for much of India’s 70 years. The B.J.P. seeks to permanently consolidate Hindus against Muslims and keep the social caldron simmering.
For India’s Muslims, their recompense is that their status is better than that of Hindus and Christians in Pakistan and Bangladesh. That is no consolation for Muslims whose ancestors did not succumb to the Muslim League’s fears and fantasies, which seem to be slowly spinning their way into the orbit of Indian reality.
Ajaz Ashraf, the author of the novel “The Hour Before Dawn,” is a journalist based in New Delhi.

Iqbal’s New Muslim Man

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Iqbal’s new Muslim man

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Global Rivalries are Destroying the Humanity

Global Rivalries are Destroying the Humanity

Mahboob A Khawaja, PhD

“War provides an outlet for every evil element in man’s nature. It enfranchises cupidity and greed gives a charter to petty tyranny, glorifies cruelty and places in position of power the vulgar and base.”  (C.E.M Joad. Guide to Modern Wickedness, 1936).

Symbolic Memorials Fail to Imagine the Reality of Wars

Memorial for the mindless atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will not erase the paranoia of vengeful hatred and perversion and cruelty against the mankind. On August 6, 1945, it was the US to victimize the Japanese people who were willing to surrender even without the nuclear option. Strange as is, Nazi Germany was a formidable threat to Europe and America and human causalities were greater, yet, Western allied nations rejected the nuclear option against fellow Anglo-Sexan race.  Recently, President Obama’s speech at Hiroshima was an expression of freewill vagueness to a critical issue of nuclear disarmament and safeguard of security for the futuristic generations. Both America and Russia possess the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons to undermine and destroy the humanity. They are competing not reducing the arms race. Perhaps global leaders appear to have lost the sense of purpose to safeguard the mankind from the scourge of wars and to undo the tyranny of competing and compelling hegemonic politics. The raging conflicts in Syrian, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Ukraine, Palestine and Israel are constant reminders of dreadful consequences for the whole of the mankind. Do the contemporary global leaders have any viable humanitarian imagination for the peace and security of the future generations?

Bombs and wars kill people – the living human beings, destroy humanity by enforcing barbarism and cruelty, practically denying all prospects of peace and co-existence. Traditional wars were aimed at annihilation of political and economic enemies but the 21st century conflicts are ready-made recipes not only to eliminate the mankind but also the environment in which human beings survive and the planet Earth that sustains life. Given the strategic know-how and the scientific-technological developments, it is an established fact that any futuristic global warfare will end the very existence of man and humanity on this planet. The Weapons of Mass Destruction that the US, West Europeans and Russian have placed on the planet and in space are a ready-made menace to the survival of mankind. Wars appear to be the outcome of sinister minds, devilish individual plans and monstrous scheme of things against the very humanity of which theses people are a living part. With massive news media propaganda campaigns and falsification of the facts of human life, common folks and even the intelligent ones do not seem to have the rational understanding of the wars and their consequential impacts on life and the universe. One would have imagined that more knowledgeable people become, more rational world will emerge in the coming ages of rational thinking. Not so, we continued to be occupied with false images and misleading rationale of global conflicts.  Like always, few cynical and mentally unbalanced people plan and wage wars against others, not mindful of the dreadful end results of their intrigues and conspiracies against life, human rights and dignity and futuristic possibilities of human survival on the planet.

Global Warriors are Competing to Destroy the Arab World

For centuries earlier, the Europeans (British, French, Italian and Dutch) built empires by colonizing the Islamic world. They used millions of subjugated people to fight the First and 2nd World Wars. The warrior masters viewed the subjects as unworthy creature at the ballot box and imposed Whiteman’s superior thinking, culture, language and laws on the colonized Muslim people. Out of favors, loyal tribal agents were transformed into kings, royals, presidents and dictatorship role. This is how Britain stole Palestine from its people. Now the people are awakened to pursue democratic change and the absolute rulers are a liability. The US led few West Europeans want to replace the historical dummies to articulate a different future of their own.  All the superpowers are collaborating military operations to destroy the entire Arab region under the pretext of “war on terrorism.”  This planned scheme of things will sideline the core issue of the Arab Middle East – freedom of Palestine and normalization of relations with the State of Israel. After the US planned destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria is virtually a collapsed country. It’s economic, civic and political infrastructures are in ruins. Millions of Iraqi and Syrian civilians are victims of insanity because of the authoritarian regime of Bashar-al-Assad, Al-Abidi or the coalition of the US-Russia and Europeans. Most West Europeans except Germany used the Arabs as soldiers during the Two World Wars are now treating the refugees as animal herd to be barricaded under razor wires. Is there a responsible global system of governance to safeguard the helpless mankind?

The UNO is overwhelmed with failure and inaction in situation of prevalent global crises. just a wait and see institution to make fake and unworthy declarations – the same chronic sickness that caused the downfall of the League of Nations and brought about the catastrophic curse of the 2nd WW.  Complacency joined by wickedness, few authoritarian Arab leaders are engaged in wars that make no sense to rationality of intent and purpose. Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq are targeted to be politically destabilized and torn apart by sectarian conflicts. Iran and Saudi Arabia’s reactionary policies are flaring up more disastrous sectarian killings. Many Iranian-backed extreme groups including Hezbollah are fighting in Iraq and Syria to maintain the cruelty of sectarian warfare.  Their support to the Al-Assad dynasty and fighting against fellow Muslims contradicts conventional wisdom and basic precepts of Islam. Nothing looks optimistic if these countries could ever recover what is destroyed and was built since the ancient time. Unpredictable but paranoid and vengeful political monsters have incapacitated the human faculties of rational thinking across the Arab-Muslim world to be morally and intellectually crippled nations in global affairs. After the WW2, it was Palestine, now the entire Arabian Peninsula will be occupied by the superpowers. The Islamic State phenomenon appears to be an inhuman experiment in the Middle East politics and a scapegoat to planned deaths and destruction across the Muslim world. American-Russian bombing are destroying the masses and habitats. If few millions – just the numbers are abstracted from the population data, it is statistic and nothing about human casualties. Arabs are vanishing somewhere, not the Americans or Russians. The police apparatus planned and managed by the Western nations have dehumanized the Arab population with fear and hatred of the authoritarianism. The Arab citizens are just helpless statistic. They could be easily broken and slaughtered. The civilians are escaping the insanity of foreign bombing and tyranny of authoritarianism.

Wars are Distraction for Planned Strategic Aims

The wars against the oil enriched Middle East are a distraction from the home-based political and economic issues, be it the US or Russia. “U.S. Spy Chiefs Think The World Is Pretty Much Going To Hell” reads the headlines of the Foreign Policy (2/9/ 2016)…..from the Islamic State gaining strength in Libya to Kim Jong Un shopping some of the world’s most dangerous weapons, here are the top takeaways from a grim day with the nation’s top spooks. The magazine wonders, “Why are Russian Engineers Working at an Islamic State-Controlled Gas Plant in Syria?” The world knows Russia and the US are collaborating the Middle East warfare for their own interests. Secretary Kerry alleges that Russia is not helping in peace talks. One wonders, who has the focused mind and rational agenda for peacemaking in the Arab world?  The need is urgent for the informed global community to intervene and to stop the daily carnage happening across the Middle East. Pepe Escobar (“Empire of Chaos Preparing For More Fireworks in 2016” Global Research: 12/24/2016), an independent geopolitical analysts and author of Empire in Chaos (2014), explains that “The Empire of Chaos, today, is not about complacency. It’s about hubris – and fear. Ever since the start of the Cold War the crucial question has been who would control the great trading networks of Eurasia – or the “heartland”….. Whatever happens in the so-called Syrian peace process the proxy war between Washington and Moscow will continue.”

Some scholars will argue that wars are planned in a cycle of chauvinistic historical events – every now and then wars are repeated – the “worst time in human history.”  Paul Buchheit author of America Wars: Illusions and Realities believes that “War or Revolution happen in Every 75 Years. It’s Time Again” He thinks of various developmental cycles including the revolution against inequality, French Revolution, time of Great Depression, WW2, and now after:  “nearly 75 years after we started World War 2 production, we again feel the agony of a wealth gap expanding, like grotesquely stretched muscle, to intolerable limits. If history repeats itself, we will be part of another revolution of long-subjugated people. Indeed, it has already begun, in Europe and Canada and with the Occupy Movement. The face of plutocracy has changed, but not the consequences. Just before the French Revolution, Paris and London were dismal places for the masses, with islands of unimaginable splendor for aristocrats, who, like the multi-millionaires of today, found it hard to relate to the commoners.”

Paul Buchheit (“War or Revolution happen in Every 75 Years. It’s Time Again” 06/11/2012) reminds us: “In our ‘civilized’ times people aren’t being run down by noblemen or forced to eat grass. The aristocracy has learned a lot about suppressing crowds in 225 years. But they need to fear the growing revolution. They need to fear, as Dickens put it, “the remorseless sea of turbulently swaying shapes, voices of vengeance, and faces hardened in the furnaces of suffering until the touch of pity could make no mark on them.” Chris Hedges – author of Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (“How to Think” Truthdig, 7/9/2012) gives context to the global dilemma:

And here is the dilemma we face as a civilization. We march collectively toward self-annihilation. Corporate capitalism, if left unchecked, will kill us. Yet we refuse, because we cannot think and no longer listen to those who do think, to see what is about to happen to us. We have created entertaining mechanisms to obscure and silence the harsh truths, from climate change to the collapse of globalization to our enslavement to corporate power that will mean our self-destruction. If we can do nothing else we must, even as individuals, nurture the private dialogue and the solitude that make thought possible. It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.

Towards Future-building in Peace and Security for All

More than a decade ago, American leaders and hired European politicians invaded Iraq and Afghanistan under a false pretext of combating “terrorism.” The only known terrorism of wars that the US and its former colonial Europeans are leading against the innocent people of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Northwestern tribal belts of Pakistan. None of the perpetrators of these wars of aggression are held accountable by the humanity except the few – George Bush and Tony Blair indicted by an International Court of Law but not punished. Nobody seems to be pursuing any rational course of plan to enhance global peace and understanding amongst different cultures and civilizations or the need to stop the bogus Wars on Terrorism and help the humanity to return to normal setting of co-existence. Iraq and Palestine are deliberately destroyed, Syria is on a deathbed – another catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the making after Iraq; people of Yemen are subjected to starvation and slow death; Libya was bombed and strategically crippled, Egypt’s democratic movement was replaced by military dictatorship, and all the oil exporting Arab States live under the shadow of constant insecurity and futuristic revolutions against authoritarianism. These are planned deaths and destruction of the Arab world leading to inevitable consequences of lost Palestine. Often petro-dollar could be termed as a curse rather than blessing to the Arab culture and its real identity. History has a role to teaching and learning which is denied by the global war strategists. All wars are the outcome of anti-human thinking and cruelty and none can or will bring peace and security to the humanity.

Global Warlords are haunting the mankind because wars are a racketeering enterprise. Most democratic leaders have no sense of humanity, peace and global security except militarization of the world. Aggressiveness, police raids and irrational harsh legal judgments do not articulate cooperation and respect for human dignity or social harmony and peace in human society but divide people in hatred, fear and more conflicts. You cannot change a society with law and order dictum. When a problem is misunderstood, its diagnostic approach will be wrong. An out of the official box approach to understand the problem is urgently needed. The major news media corporations in North America and Western Europe are aligned to the establishments and tainted with biased coverage as they get paid via ads and secret dealings. None of this is helpful to foster change and societal advancement for a peaceful future.  The mankind looks for change in strategic thinking and actions. “In the name of “System Change, Not Climate Change”, points out Paul Street (“For Intelligent Civilizations on Earth”) “we can rescue and preserve humanity and livable ecology through mass resistance and a revolutionary transformation that takes us beyond the world’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money, profit, empire, and eco-cide.”

Every beginning has its end. Those who perpetuate wars and victimize the mankind sooner or later will cease to exist. This is the Law of God that no worldly materialistic or political power can change or challenge it. Viewing a nation or a people most powerful on the visual screen is not a reality but a delusional imagery – falsification of truth carved out by the political propagandists and hired agents of influence. The historical record clearly demonstrates that whenever powerful nations and leaders went haunting the large segments of the mankind in farfetched lands, it is usually the end game of their role-play in global affairs. America and its allied European warmongers live in constant fear of being dominated and replaced by others in global economy, politics and culture – the natural course of history. All the great political powers have met the same end. America and its bribed–coerced European allies are at the top of waiting list to reach the end game. The recycled history will re-emerge with proactive transformational leaders moving forward leading progressive nations committed to One Humanity and the continuing process of normalization of peaceful co-existence and accord amongst varied cultures and civilizations.

(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution).


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