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Medieval trap

Medieval trap

Author: Tarun Vijay
Publication: The Times of India
Date: November 5, 2009
URL: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indus-calling/entry/medieval-trap

When the nation is facing grave threats from the Maoists and the Lashkar-e-Taiba's Islamist mad-heads, and discussing how to counter the Chinese arrogance, suddenly mullahs living in a frozen Arabian time zone have cried that they won't sing "Vande Mataram".

Are they concerned about the people? People whose lives they think they govern through some fatwas and scriptural instructions? Do they realize that hardly any educated Muslim with his head firmly positioned where it should be, listens to them leave aside "obeying" their dictates? Still they make some noises to get media attention and register their political presence.

What was the compulsive necessity for making such an announcement while the home minister was there to have a plateful of appeasement biryani in hope of garnering their votes for a 21st-century government?

One explanation that has come to us through Deoband observers is frighteningly pregnant with serious consequences to our already strained social fabric. The Congress wants to create another monster out of Muslim fanatics to further erode Mayawati's vote bank and simultaneously distract public attention from its failure on the Maoist front and keep the public debate away from the price rise. These are the issues it couldn't handle; hence, the distraction was immediately needed. And the way fanatics helped the British before India was vivisected, the maulvis have obliged the party in power. It's advisable not to get trapped in this political lunacy, but then the media will be taking it up in a big way for certain unexplained reasons and there will be obvious reactions and diatribes from both sides to keep the issue alive.

Public memory shouldn't be too thin. Remember how Bhindranwale was created, the statements about his "saintliness", the permission to his brigands to roam free through Delhi's roads brandishing AK-47s on top of buses. And then only too recently, Raj Thackeray was propped up to counter Shiv Sena-BJP's growth in the Maratha land.

They forget that a Bhindranwale and a Raj results in self-defeat, a defeat for the national unity and collective goals of economic prosperity. The Deoband mullahs have never helped their community in making economic, social and educational progress. At any moment of a social crisis among Muslims, they have delayed any decision or taken a retrograde stand. The "shining" examples of their fossilized mentality were too visible during the Shah Bano case, Gudiya's tragic story and equal right to Muslim women. They kept a studied silence when five lakh Hindus were driven out of their homes in the Kashmir valley, after announcements were blared out on the dreadful night of January 11, 1989, asking Pandits to get out and leave behind their women. Jammu & Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority state in India and if Deoband is "concerned" about Islam's peaceful, and humanitarian face, why should it not try to influence the terror groups operating in the name of their religion and in turn, as the maulvis say, bringing bad name to their great message of universal brotherhood?

But never will one find them engaging the "bad elements" and issuing a fatwa against their "anti-Islamic" action. All they would do is to irritate Hindus and punch the patriotic people belonging to all denominations with untimely and out of context pronouncements like the one they made while the "man with a mission" Chidambaram was in their midst.

They know very well that "Vande Mataram" is a song celestial for a patriotic Indian no matter to which stream of faith he belongs. It's a song that inspired Bhagat Singh and Ashfakullah alike and is more popular with an electrifying affect than any other song. An A R Rahman refashioned it and offered a beautiful rendering of it with Bharat Bala making its universal appeal more thrilling. Millions of Indians, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and all denominations sing it with pride and confidence. It was the song which united India against the British repression that had caused the death of millions in Bengal creating an unnatural famine .The original song appears in the famous novel of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay named "Anand Math" which describes a revolution against the foreign yoke led by ochre-robed monks. The deity is Mother India, the song is in praise of the Mother and it's accepted as a national song by the Constitution. No organization can be given an option to denounce or reject the icons representing the national ethos and the spirit of the freedom struggle. If they don't belong to us, they don't have a right to enjoy the fruits of a pluralist society, democracy and a Constitution that gives them more than their ilk offers to any non-Muslim anywhere. Instead of making an Indian identity stronger and helping their community to join the national mainstream endeavouring for a happy and progressive life, they are, at a time when an average Indian is more concerned about dal roti and security, more concerned about a song that was opposed in the same manner by Pakistan seekers pre-1947.

Then to which country these Deobandis and Jamiat's big-mouths belong? What's their problem?
It's not the song they are opposing. The message is loud and clear that they don't want to forge a sense of unity with the national life. They want to create a divide on the lines of a Muslim Indian and an Indian Muslim for political leverage. P Chidambaram is certainly not a scholar of Islamic theology that they invited him for a religious discourse. The home minister was there on a political mission. The home minister of India must have made them sing an Indian song rather than emboldening them to oppose it.

Their Arabian-night fever must be brought to an end with the firmness of a united Indian patriotism symbolized in our Constitution and the ever victorious tricolor.

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