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Misinterpreting religion: hate mongering and other sins

Now some Muslims want to build an Islamic Centre including a mosque near the site of the tragedy. Don’t they realise it will become an eyesore to most Americans? Or have they gone mad? Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: Sep 25, 2010 23:21 IST

Nine years ago, a pilot belonging to a radical Muslim terrorist group rammed his plane into a skyscraper in New York killing himself, all the passengers and many hundreds in the skyscraper. Understandably, all Americans were deeply upset and developed acute Islamophobia. Now some Muslims want to build an Islamic Centre including a mosque near the site of the tragedy. Don’t they realise it will become an eyesore to most Americans? Or have they gone mad?

Then an American Pastor in Florida announced that he would make a public bonfire of 200 copies of Koran to mark the 9th anniversary of the bombing. Even if dissuaded from doing so, his saying he would have liked to do so was an insane thing to do. Muslim communities world over were incensed. A church was burnt in Makka and violence re-erupted in Kashmir. One can detect symptoms of madness in these acts.

Another example of insanity is the grant of a visa to Sadhvi Rithambara to visit America. Did the American embassy in Delhi not know she is a notorious hate-monger and was involved in the destruction of the Babri Masjid? They are very fussy about granting visas, but in the case of the self-styled Sadhvi it seems to have acted irresponsibly. She appears on Indian television as a loving mother walking with three children, displaying her massive derrière but spouts venom against Muslims. The eminent psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar has quoted her verbatim mocking Muslims beliefs and practices.

And finally the resurgence of the Bhindrawale cult among witless Sikhs. He preached hate but has become a hot-selling item of his mementos: cassettes of his speeches, enlarged photographs and ‘T’ shirts bearing his name and sketches of his likeness are in great demand. His support for Khalistan was a betrayal of all that the ten Sikh gurus stood for and is self-destructive. It is worth noting in all these cases religion has played a negative role.

A Policewallah speaks

Ask any Indian: who is the most corrupt and feared person in society and nine out of ten will answer, a policewallah — haraam ka paise banaata hai (he makes a lot of illegal money) and danda bhee lagatta hai ( and he also wields a stick). I go along with the aam admi’s verdict. Senior policemen are by and large not corrupt but their juniors, down to constables, make illicit money by bullying everyone they can.

Among the glorious exceptions to the general rule of corruption and bullying prevalence in the police is Ved Marwah. He has been head of police in half-a-dozen states of India — Manipur, Jharkhand, Mizoram and Bihar. He is the most trusted adviser of the Government in matters conferring law and order. So what he says has to be heard with respect. He has spelt out his views in Indian in Turmoil (Rupa). I chose to read his analysis of the 10 years of turmoil in the Punjab preceding and following the advent of Bhindrawale. While I agree that personal differences between Giani Zail Singh, then Home Minister of the Central Government and Darbara Singh, chief minister of Punjab, contributed a great deal to the rise of Bhindrawale and the spread of terrorism in the State because of Gianiji’s allergy towards Darbara Singh. I do not agree with his views of the demand for a Punjabi Suba and the way terrorism spread. He gives no credit to either of the police chiefs, Reberio or KPS Gill for combating it — their names do not appear in the index. This is unfair. However, Ved Marwah deserves to be read by all who are concerned with the future of their country.

Ghost Driver

Santa was taking an evening walk, when it started to rain. To his relief, a car coming slowly towards him stopped next to where he was standing. Santa opened its door and jumped in. Once inside, he realised that there was no one else in the car. Thinking the car was haunted, Santa started screaming. Then he heard Banta’s voice, ‘Oye Santa, what are you shouting for? Instead of sitting inside, come out and help me to push the car. I have run out of petrol.

(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, New Delhi)

Pakistan Zindabad

Asalam Alekum, this is Pakistani Radio Broadcasting Corporation

The Sports News:

First we’ll start with the results of tomorrow’s cricket match...)

(Courtesy : Vipin Buckshey, New Delhi)

*The views expressed are personal

First Published: Sep 25, 2010 23:16 IST