Saturday, November 24, 2007

SECULAR INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN

At long last, a few Indian Muslims have openly claimed responsibility for a series of terror attacks and also said that they have nothing to do with the terror outfits of neighbouring countries operating in India.

The responsibility for the serial bomb blasts in various courts in Uttar Pradesh on November 23, 2007, which claimed 15 innocent lives, has been claimed by a little known terror group which calls itself ‘Indian Mujahideen’. These attacks, as per an email received minutes before the blasts by Aaj Tak, were mainly in retaliation to the beating up by lawyers of three men, said to be Pakistanis, arrested by the police for plotting to kill Rahul Gandhi.

Not so long ago, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav had not only given a clean chit to the extremist Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) whose members had been involved in various terrorist and hateful fundamentalist activities, but also had declared it to be a ‘secular’ organization. This is the same set up in whose offices incendiary and seditious posters are openly displayed. ‘Waiting for Ghaznavi’, ‘No democracy, no secularism, only Islam’; these are the brazenly proclaimed objectives of this organization.

Who was Ghaznavi? He was an Afghan raider who ransacked and looted many Hindu temples including the famous Somnath Temple. According to some accounts, he personally hammered the Shiv Ling of the temple to pieces and carried the fragments to Ghazni in Afghanistan, where he buried them on the steps of a mosque so that people could trample over them everyday.

That is the Indian SIMI which was embraced by the Chief Minister of India’s largest state as secular. The same gentleman went on to fraudulently recruit a large number of Muslims and Yadavs to the UP Police, clearly so that he could literally hijack the state to ensure that he could, with wanton shamelessness and utter disregard for the grave aftereffects of his actions, ‘democratically’ perpetuate his rule in UP.

Mulayam Singh is not the only shining secularist who is leading this country towards a bloodbath. Another Yadav, Lalu Prasad, immediately on becoming Railway Minister, appointed a judicial commission headed by a pliant judge to give a clean chit to the fundamentalist Muslims who had burnt Hindu pilgrims in a railway coach at Godhra, following which Gujarat erupted in retaliatory frenzy. What was his objective? Again, it was to maximize his Muslim votes by abusing the hurt of the Hindus of Gujarat so that, coupled with the vote bank of the Yadavs of Bihar, his electoral victory and political weight in a fragmented polity would remain intact.

The most rabidly anti-Hindu secular group is, of course, the Left Front of West Bengal. This is the same ‘always talking freedom’ outfit governing that state that had banned a book written by the fugitive Bangladeshi Muslim writer Tasleema Nasreen because of protests by some Muslim groups. The crowning glory is that in the wake of the recent riots by Muslims in Kolkata over the massacres in Muslim majority Nandigram by CPI(M) cadres, which somehow were hyphenated with a fundamentalist demand to deport Nasreen, the government promptly threw her out of Bengal, sending her, yes, to BJP ruled Rajasthan! Why? Because panchayat polls are due in the state in few months and the Left cannot ignore the Muslim vote bank. So, all that liberal crap is shed with alacrity. Power alone matters, whether it comes through the barrel of Mao’s gun or communal politics.

The Congress seems to have completely forgotten the lessons of Punjab. Not many people remember that Indira Gandhi had adopted the classic divide and rule policy of the British Empire by promoting an obscure Sikh religious leader for dividing Sikh votes to defeat the Akalis. When the same Bhindranwale became her Frankenstein monster and Punjab was gripped by religious terrorism, there was a total paralysis in developing an effective response. Even then the Congress practiced the politics of pandering, fearing that the tough response which supreme national interest demanded would prove electorally expensive. The situation was thus helplessly allowed to go so completely out of control that in the end, Indira Gandhi was left with no alternative but to launch a military assault on the sacred Golden Temple, the price of which she paid for with her own life.

A brief re-look at the Gujarat riots. In the railway coach that was burnt in Godhra on February 27, 2002, 59 Hindu pilgrims were burnt alive, allegedly by fundamentalist Muslims. In the mayhem that followed, 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed.

Ever since those riots, all secular parties of the country, without exception, and the mainstream media, have savagely torn apart Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Sangh Parivar for that ‘genocide’ of Muslims in the state. Rolls and rolls of film and reams and reams of paper have been filled with the violent and ugly Hindu face and the persecuted and socially isolated Muslim one. Politicians, media personalities and social do-gooders have vied with each other to be seen on the side of the Muslim. Not one of them has gone to visit the relatives of those who were burnt in the coach. For them, the riots were totally unjustified-it was not a big tree which had fallen after all to justify the reaction-and the dead were only Muslims.

This love for the Muslim being shown by political parties has nothing to do with secularism at all. It has only to do with getting petty political power. That is the only bottom line that determines political strategy and response, the nation be damned.

This compulsion for getting the Muslim pie, without which achieving political power is getting increasingly difficult, has become the determinator of political behavior. The electoral arena in which the majority ‘Hindu’ vote has been splintered into numerous lines of cast, class and region, this political positioning is leading the country towards a communal disaster of unimaginable proportions.

Muslim voices are becoming more and more intolerant, exclusivist and fundamentalist, as they are becoming aware of their emerging electoral power as a block. This was bound to happen in the mess that petty politicians have created quite shamelessly, forgetting that there is a nation for whose governance this system of democracy was chosen by our founding fathers.

I may be sounding alarmist but the scenario is beginning to look a bit like a re-run of what was witnessed before Independence, when educated Muslims led by Jinnah were not willing to live in India in any other way except the Muslim way that they demanded. The country was then divided on communal lines and the Muslims who shared Jinnah’s ideology went over to Pakistan. Thanks to the persistent efforts of Pakistan to bleed India through a thousand cuts, and the inability of our political class and bureaucracy to develop an effective response to that threat, sections of Indian Muslims and some Muslim leaders have again started speaking the language of Jinnah ‘on behalf of the 14 crore Muslims of India’.

The skull-capped and bearded religious fanatics who appear to be leading this fundamentalist upsurge are actually just the visible instruments, the infantry of the network of terror that has been created and is being spread by well educated and wealthy leaders for whom religion is the tool for achieving their political objective. The epicenter of this ideology, as the whole world knows by now, is Pakistan.

In Punjab, the politics of pandering showed graphically what it could lead to. Though it was just a trailer limited to a small part of the country, it was more than enough to drive home a lesson which should never have been forgotten. That the lesson has not even been learnt shows either an unacceptable intelligence deficit or the fact that Indian politics has degenerated to such a level of immorality and narrow selfishness that it threatens the very foundation of India as an independent secular state.

If this state of affairs continues, don’t be surprised to hear politicians referring to those who got Nasreen thrown out of Bengal and the ‘Indian Mujahideen’ who claim to have carried out a number of terror attacks, as secular Indians, just as Mulayam Singh Yadav had called the SIMI. After all, you will hear them say for a few votes more, they were only voicing their unhappiness at unfair treatment and injustice; it is their fundamental right. So what if they killed a few people. Didn’t Modi kill many more in Gujarat?

Tragically, the country is headed towards proving that Pareto’s Principle applies to India's multi-party democracy too. 20 percent of the population will, if our politicians continue doing what they are, soon dictate 80 percent of the decisions that India takes or the measures that the country wants to put in place to keep its ‘tryst with destiny’.

The conditions will then be ripe for another internal combustion of horrendous proportions.

Surely that was not what Jawahar Lal Nehru had in mind on the stroke of midnight on August 14/15, 1947.