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Dangerous illusions, destructive indulgences

Dangerous illusions, destructive indulgences

Author: T R Jawahar
Publication: News Today
Date: March 11, 2006
URL: http://www.newstodaynet.com/point/1103ss1.htm

Muslims have a particular responsibility because these extremists are part of their community. We do not mind where people come from, as long as they become Australians. We went through a period in the 1980's and '90s of sort saying, we can build a federation of cultures in this country. You can't. You've got to have a dominant culture. Ours is Anglo-Saxon our language, our literature, our institutions. But you can be part of the mainstream culture and still have a place in your life and your heart for your home country': Thus spake the Aussie PM, John Howard, in an interview to Time magazine last week. Newsweek, in an article captioned, 'The End of Tolerance' the same week, has this to say of recent trends in Europe: Europe is everywhere on the defensive ... But make no mistake, Europeans are no longer willing to tolerate a European melting pot - a broadly multicultural society - where different cultures live by widely different cultural norms ... past models of integration have failed ... this see-no-evil attitude was wishful thinking.

But alas, secular India, does not want to see or hear any evil, even when it manifests itself loud and clear, as in Varanasi. Cartoon bombs do not go off, but live bombs do! Which is worse? And, are blasts in temples thronged by devotees during auspicious days and hours, less blasphemous? The cartoons may have hurt feelings, but the bombs killed and maimed scores. And Varnasi is as holy to Hindus as Mecca is to Muslims. The sight of blood and gore of the victims on the temple Praharas and the teeming security men in places of worship were all grim reminders of where secular India has finally arrived.

But adding insult to injury are the 'secular' politicos, the mainline media and sundry other self-styled intellectuals issuing lofty statements calling for calm and advising restraint to the lambs even as the wolves are on the rampage. The marked reticence to utter the phrase 'Islamic terror' was matched only by the spontaneous spurt of concern about 'Hindu communal forces'. To these dense minds, even self-defence would seem communal and legitimate protests be deemed political. After all, does not the law of the jungle ordain that the carnivores should eat up the herbivores? India's secular rulebook sounds strikingly similar!

So, should the entire Muslim community be held responsible for the acts of a few monsters? Readers are advised to read, re-read and repeatedly read the first para, word by word, line by line and even between the lines! The message is clear: The West does not want to take chances, be numbed by secular courtesies or 'wishful' thinking and entertain hopes of integration. 'Just in case', is the reigning motto. In fact, in most European nations there is an increasing assertion of the 'dominant' culture, even at the official level and laws are being re-written so that Muslims cannot any longer live by their own rules dictated by the Shariat or whatever. Says a Dutch High Court Judge: We demand a new social contract ...we demand they stop bringing in young brides from the desert and locking them up in third-floor apartments. Period.The West has woken up with a start. But dawn appears to have skipped Bharat on its westward march.

See what official India is doing instead - quotas in government jobs, headcount in the army, special status and endless privileges. The overwhelming political dictum is that nothing should be done to hurt Muslim sentiment. The indulgences are even retrospective with history textbooks altered to shed references to Mughal atrocities; for Indian children, barbarians like Babar and Aurangazeb would now seem like saints. And all this in the face of clear evidence that such appeasement only feeds and furthers Muslim exclusivism. Little wonder, they have taken such deference for granted. For instance, will the Muslims countenance a roll back of the Haj subsidy, even if it is purely on economic considerations? Or the prospect of a common civil code? India would be on fire then.

Such pandering has become India's national policy owing to certain illusions, not just with the vote-conscious politicos but even among the non-Muslim populace. The foremost illusion is that Islam can co-exist with other faiths. But for most Muslims, even the so-called moderates, religion is first and non-negotiable, unlike other communities that can think outside the perimeter of their faith. Sober Muslim voices are easily silenced by the sabre. So the world has little choice but react only to the hot heads, because it is their writ that runs in Islam. Who is to blame for the Islamophobia? Now with liberal Europe drawing the line, what should India do?

First, is there any meaningful debate about Islam in India? There will be if we are ready to brave bombs and bullets! Indian's cultural schism with Islam is very deep and wide. Hindus may gloss over it, but Muslims don't. For instance, the Muslim ire over the cartoons is more for the very depiction of their prophet than the way he has been depicted, because Islam condemns idol worship. Now the huge mass of Indians worship idols and they have a rationale for that. What do they do when what is sacred to them is inherently blasphemous in Islam? Break the idols themselves before they are bombed out by jihadis? Or consider cow slaughter, which offends the religious sensibilities of the Hindus who constitute over 80% of the population. Whose will should prevail in a democracy? But is that will enforceable in secular, democratic India? Why are not the Muslims urged to show some secular deference?

Another illusion perpetrated by secular spin doctors: The terrorists want to tear India's secular fabric. Hogwash! From Ghori to Gajjini and Jinnah to jihadis, India is targetted because it is deemed a Hindu nation, a land of kafirs and not because it is a secular nation. The terror manuals of LeT, JEM etc plainly declare that Hindu India has no right to exist, just as Iran has vowed to wipe out Israel. Naive Indians may feel secure with their secular status, but that is no innoculation against the jehadi virus and instead only destroys their immune system! Your friendly Muslim neighbour is powerless against those violent elements. Much less our secular State or the sundry secularists, who abound in print, prime-time and politics. Rather, they too, the Arjun Singhs and N.Rams, are as much kafirs as Togadias or Advanis, in the jihadi's eyes! Communal or secular, kafirs will share a common nemesis! The killers are quite clear in their minds! Only the sheep has wool over its eyes but that will not save its head anyway!

The solution? Europe shows the way. The onus of integration and coexistence should be on the Muslims. Hindu -Muslim unity must cease to be a Hindu project, rather it should be a Muslim endeavour. Being a democracy, the 80% should determine the norms as well as the tolerance levels, because it is their history, heritage, symbols, land, life and limb that are at stake. What's good for them is good for the country. No Muslim exclusivity can be guaranteed, if it seeks to violate those norms or cross those limits. Islam cannot be obliged at the expense of the belief system of the bulk of Indians. At any rate, not with guns pointed at the temple and bombs in Temples! And the larger Muslim community, in their own interest, cannot remain aloof to the machinations of Mullahs and maulvis or the monstrosities of the militants, who all claim inspiration from Islamic injunctions and seek to act on their behalf. But irrespective of that, non-Muslim India should shed its genetic coyness and gentle courtesies and instead get cautious! If getting careful is communal, then so be it!

But most important: The Muslim vote should not become the Muslim veto!

e-mail the writer at trjawahar@vsnl.net

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