Isn?t it loud enough?
In the past few years I have been reading a lot of articles asking liberal Muslims to speak up. In the aftermath of the Varanasi blasts, Vir Sanghvi repeats this demand (Against the current, March 9). My problem with this appeal, this demand, is with the belief that all Muslims are fundamentalists unless they speak up.Updated: Mar 14, 2006 00:25 IST
In the past few years I have been reading a lot of articles asking liberal Muslims to speak up. In the aftermath of the Varanasi blasts, Vir Sanghvi repeats this demand (Against the current, March 9). My problem with this appeal, this demand, is with the belief that all Muslims are fundamentalists unless they speak up, while all Hindus are liberals and only those like Praveen Togadia and Ashok Singhal are fundamentalists. The media also seem to fall prey to this perception and help spread this curious view.
Let’s take the Varanasi blasts. HT carried an article about Muslims condemning the blast, Muslims that included the Jamiat-Ulama-I-Hind, the vice- chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, both factions of the Hurriyat, the National Commission for Minorities chairman, a manager of schools, a student, a TV producer, a doctor and, of course, Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi. But somehow, this doesn’t seem to be enough.
No right-thinking person can support Yaqoob Qureshi’s call for the death of a Danish cartoonist. It was stupid, bad politics and did not help Muslims at all. Neither did the rallies (which were, incidentally, shown on the media again and again) do any good. But please tell me what the connection was between the anti-cartoon-anti-Bush rallies and the blasts?
When L.K. Advani took out his 1990 Somnath-to-Ayodhya rath yatra, thousands of Hindus supported him for they believed that the temple should be built. Which did not mean that they all supported the riots in Gujarat or Mumbai or the BJP’s charges that Muslims are anti-national.People lined up and cheered him on. But not for a moment did I think that the people who were cheering were in favour of shedding innocent Muslim blood.
Yaqoob Qureshi be damned for all I care. But it upsets me when the media scream for his resignation for putting a bounty on a foreigner’s head while at the same time an Indian chief minister continues in his post after being responsible for the murder of 3,000 Indians.
The Muslims came out in large numbers not to protest George Bush’s nuclear deal with India but to protest against the perceived anti-Islamic stance of his administration and to express their anger against the Prophet Mohammad cartoons. The politicians took advantage of this. Muslims in UP are not going to vote for the Left, and if they are going to vote for Mulayam Singh Yadav, it is not because of him not taking action against Qureshi, but because the BJP labels them ‘anti-national’ while the Congress remains politically insignificant in the state. So they will vote between the BSP and the SP to defeat the BJP. Can you blame them?
So when I can make the distinction between Hindu sentiments for the Ram temple and a support for the BJP, why can’t intelligent liberal editors like Sanghvi distinguish between protests against the cartoons and a support for terrorism?
One of the reasons why Indian Muslims are not part of any global terror group is because of the freedom that our Constitution provides to express their feelings peacefully. While Yaqoob Qureshi and the BJP play the same politics, the former will fade away (he is insignificant), but the BJP will not.
First Published: Mar 14, 2006 00:25 IST