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Jamiat's insidious agenda

Jamiat's insidious agenda

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: November 5, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/213460/Jamiat's-insidious-agenda.html

Rejecting Vande Mataram is insulting India

The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has not done the Muslims of India any favour by adopting a clutch of resolutions that not only reflect the regressive agenda of the ulema but also strengthen the stereotyping of the community as backward-looking and refusing to change with the times. The most provocative of the resolutions is the one which endorses the 2006 fatwa issued by Darul Uloom, Deoband, prohibiting Muslims from singing the National Song, Vande Mataram, even in its truncated form which is the 'official' version. That the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind should have thought it fit to recall a fatwa issued three years ago is not without design: Clearly the mullahs who had gathered for the organisation's 30th general session at Deoband intended to demonstrate that the Muslim community is not bound by the national identity with other Indian communities. In a sense, the resolution against Vande Mataram is as much a reiteration of Muslim separatism as the resolution which calls upon Muslims to "don their Islamic identity" and say salam instead of namaste. Both the resolutions are of a piece with the 23 others that seek to carve out a separate space for India's Muslims where they will have the right to deprive women of their dignity as "bringing women into the mainstream will create social problems and issues including their security", enforce sharia'h on girls once they are 10 years old, prevent people from watching either cinema or television, and say no to the state's efforts to contain diseases like AIDS and polio. In brief, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind wants a separate state within the Indian state which will be ruled by mullahs. At the same time, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind wants all the benefits of a secular state to accrue to the Muslims. Apart from jobs in the public sector and education funded by tax-payers, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind also wants proportionate representation for Muslims in elected bodies, including Parliament. The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind does not want the Government to interfere with madarsas by way of setting up a Central Board because theological schools are meant to produce clerics. If so be the case, then the Government must not only cut-off all funding for madarsas but also withdraw recognition for certificates issued by theological schools. The public exchequer is not meant for producing Islamic clerics.

Tragically, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind's antediluvian though insidious agenda and its provocative assault on Indian nationhood by reiterating the fatwa against Vande Mataram have been legitimised by the presence of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram at the Deoband gathering. This is not to suggest that he was party to the outrageous resolutions; after all, as Mr Chidambaram has pointed out, all this was done before he arrived to address the gathering. But two points merit mention. First, as Home Minister, he should have been aware of what had transpired at the meeting. The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind did not keep the resolutions a secret; on the contrary, they were posted on the organisation's website. Second, it was expected of him to unequivocally condemn the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind's denigration of the National Song and register his disagreement with the ulama's vision of a joyless world where women are treated as no more than chattel and where modernity is shunned with vengeance. It is immaterial that the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has craftily parroted the oft-quoted definition of jihad as being different from terrorism. Such vacuous declarations convince nobody, least of all jihadis who kill in the name of Islam.


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