Sunday, September 20, 2020

Unethical, inflammatory reporting in Indian Media: Jagran group's newspaper Nai Dunia turns into Saffron groups' mouth piece!

 


This is just an example of how newspapers can give a twist, play in the hands of communal elements and demonize entire community. 

Nai Dunia, a newspaper in Central India, which is published under the title Nav Dunia in Bhopal, has published this report. 

The paper uses the term 'Love Jihad' in a way as if it is a 'known practice' or there is a finding or a judgment about it. 

Besides, there is no 'alleged' as prefix along with the term. Not even the inverted commas to suggest that this is what VHP says. With total finality the term is used, as if it is a phenomenon and an established thing!

This report has been splashed as if it is one of the biggest issues facing the nation. Of course, they didn't even bother to publish any data or figures to suggest that there is anything as sinister as they claim in this report.

If they just do their bit & get info directly from DM's office or through RTI about number of Muslim girls who marry Hindu boys and Hindu girls marrying Muslim boy. Even though there is nothing illegal in inter-religious marriages, the paper presents VHP claims as news.

The reader gets a feeling that Muslim youth as involved in luring Hindu girls for marriage--demonizing and accusing the entire community. 'Nav Dunia' in Bhopal was once considered a prestigious newspaper.

Further, if you don't have any ulterior motive, why don't you give figures that are easy to obtain. There are inter-faith marriages & in states, assent is needed before conversion. term is 'floated', then these papers do every bit to ensure that they pass it off as something real, not even 'alleged Love Jihad'.

Of course, these papers have taken upon themselves the task to keep this society in conflict, forever. In small cities, more rabid. If any organisation or party has issue with Hindu-Muslim marriages, please go ahead and press for a law that stops such marriages and term them illegal. 

Also, ban inter-faith marriages and get the Special marriages act, quashed. Don't act mercenaries under garb of journalism. Society that consumes this level of trash,  remains silent, such irresponsible & unethical journalism where journalist, just because of privilege of being at a position, can demonize communities, act as mercenary of a group & create social divide, how things will improve, ever?

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Revolutionary freedom fighter Turrrebaz Khan and the soldiers who led attack on British Residency: Independence Movement's Martyrs in Hyderabad

 


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Tura Baz Khan alias Turrebaz Khan was the fearless revolutionary who led the audacious attack on British residency in Hyderabad. 

This heroic act and the supreme sacrifice of soldiers, had caused a stir in the entire region, during the first war of Independence in 1857. 

The attack was planned in order to free the rebel Indian soldiers who were held in prison, there. 

Earlier, as news from the North about the revolution in Oudh and other regions arrived, there was resentment among people in Hyderabad too. Like most of the other princely states, here too the ruling class was pro-British. 

Cheeda Khan had revolted against Britishers when the state contingent's 3rd cavalry was ordered to march to Delhi, at Buldhana. He had refused to fight for the East India Company and left with other soldiers. However, they were arrested and handed to Resident. 

In order to rescue them, 'Sher-i-Hyderabad' Tura Baz Khan and other revolutionaries surrounded the Residency. As large number of rebel soldiers reached, Turrebaz Khan and Maulvi Alauddin along with Rohillas demolished wall and broke into the residency. There was a full-fledged battle. 

A large number of rebel soldiers were martyred. Treachery and deceit, particularly, role of several officials who had sent information to British officials about the impending attack, was responsible for the defeat. 

Turrebaz Khan got injured but managed to escape. He was later identified and arrested. He was asked about whereabouts of Maulvi Alauddin but he refused. He was to be sent to Andaman Nicobar but he managed to escape from the prison on January 18, 1859. 

Now, an amount of Rs 5,000 was announced on his arrest. This was a huge cash reward by the standards of the era. He was caught and killed [shot dead]. Tura Baz Khan's body was hanged by a tree near Residency. This was to send a strong message to the revolutionaries as well as the ordinary people. 

But the sacrifice of revolutionaries is an important chapter in the history of freedom struggle. There is a memorial and a road has also been named after him, however, despite the act of valour, his name is missing from text books and he was termed an unsung hero. Of course, the memory of such martyrs and revolutionaries remained in the hearts of people. 

Journalist Papri Paul, in a Times of India report rightly says that," ...this revolutionary act brought Hyderabad on the map during the first war of independence in 1857". Of late, there have been efforts to remember the freedom fighters and a play on his ultimate sacrifice was staged in Hyderabad.

The photograph above [on the right] is the title of Devireddy Subramanyam Reddy's book Uprising of 1857 a movement that defined India of August 15, 1947. It is available on Amazon, at this LINK. He is also the author of Colonialism and Resistance in India.

READ: The story of Turrebaz Khan, the forgotten hero

READ: Turrebaz Khan, the forgotten hero of freedom movement

Photo of the memorial above, courtesy Mr Kavali Chandrakanth

Friday, August 28, 2020

Revolutionary freedom fighter Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi who was jailed in Andaman Nicobar: Exiled, died in prison, buried in Port Blair




Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Revolutionary freedom fighter Allama Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi who had given an open call for armed struggle against British, in the capital of India, rests in eternal sleep in his grave in Andaman Nicobar where he was exiled.

Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi had given this open call in Delhi, also giving the speech after over 14,000 soldiers had arrived, soon after uprising in Meerut and Awadh. He had issued the diktat at Jama Masjid. 

The widely respected scholar and author had taken upon himself the role to exhort Indians to fight the British. In fact, soon after reports of rebellion came, he had left Alwar and arrived in Delhi. He took part in framing the constitution for the the rebel army that had now set up administration in Delhi. 

In 1815-16, he had joined royal service. A farsighted man, as early as in 1826, he had petitioned to the Emperor Akbar Shah II [Saani], as a people's representative. In this Persian letter, he had mentioned how Company rule was crushing the people, and this was resulting in misery, loss of jobs.

He wrote that how trade was captured by foreign 'taajirs'--from cloth to horses, everything was in their hands and also gave insight about farmers' poor condition. Besides, wrote about the situation that had actually arisen due to Metcalfe's orders--thehardships in Delhi and around. This gives an indication about Allama Fazl Haq Khairabadi's vision.

In 1831, he had left Delhi for Jhajjhar. Zafar was now the Emperor and he was saddened to see him leave. He served at top posts in several princely states and made valuable suggestions to Mirza Ghalib, about his divan. 

From 1857 to 1859, he remained active from Delhi to Awadh, however, he was finally captured. He was made to face trial. A man of conviction, he said, 'I issued the fatwa and I stand by it'. His property was seized and he was sent to Kala Pani i.e. Andaman Nicobar islands. 

In the 'Sage journal' article, Jamal Malik, points out how Fazl Haq Khairabadi's role was ignored and his contribution sidelined despite his role and the fact that he drafted the constitution based on democratic ideals. It also cites his prison diary, letters and texts. 

Allama Fazl-e-Haq [also spelt, Allama Fazl Haq Khairabadi, Fazal Haq Khairabadi] was incarcerated and in his jail diaries, he wrote about his sentiments against the East India Company. In the prison in Andaman, he wrote, 'I did not commit any crime, I did not like British who...".

British government considered him one of the biggest threats and he was among the initial freedom fighters who were sent to Kala Pani. One must remember that, 1857 was not mutiny, but revolution across North India. 

People from all cross-sections were part of it--farmers, land owners, artisans, religious leaders, workers, sepoys. In 1857, when the revolution began, he was in Alwar. Allama came to know about situation in Meerut and Delhi. Hence, he returned to Delhi. 

Due to his stature and authority, there was massive support in favour of the rebels. He had also told last Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar that royal employees were inefficient and that there was need to ensure food supply. 

Born in 1797, Fazl Haq Khairabadi was son of Allama Fazl Imam Faruqi Khairabadi, who was Sadr-us-Sudoor, Delhi, was a scholar of immense repute and wrote 'Muraqqat' on Ilm-e-Mantiq. Fazle Haq Khairabadi learnt from his father, also from Abdul Qadir Muhaddis Dehlvi and Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddis Dehlvi. 

He had quit royal service as he was not happy with the way things were going on, and he joined the court of the Ruler of Jhajhar, Nawab Faiz Mohammad Khan. Later, he went to Alwar. Subsequently, stayed in Saharanpur and also Tonk. Later, in Lucknow, where he was posted as Sadar-us-Sudoor. 

In 1856, he met great freedom fighter Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah Madrasi. Allama wrote several famous books. He also wrote his memoir in Andaman, which reached India through Mufti Inayat Ahmad Kakorvi. In 1857, when General Bakht Khan arrived with his army of 14,000 from Bareilly, Allama gave the speech at Jama Masjid. This created a stir. 

Soon tens of thousands of soldiers gathered. There were several reasons that led to the failure of the first war of independence and this included treachery as well. However, Delhi fell, finally, and he reached Oudh in 1858. Subsequently, he was arrested. 

On January 30, 1859, he was arrested and accused of inciting Indians to rise against the British. On October 8, 1859, the ship Fire Queen took him along with other freedom fighters to Andaman. He died in 1861. He was 64,

The great revolutionary was buried in Nicobar islands. The Andaman Nicobar waqf board takes care of the grave that is visited by lot of people who pay respects to this great soul of India. Locals also organise the Urs annually. In Khairabad too, tributes are paid to him on his birth and death anniversaries.

Abdul Shahid Sherwani mentions that as per his son's will that after the British would leave India, Najmul Hasan Razwi and a big crowd reached the grave on August 15, 1947, and organised an event--milad and recital of fatiha, paid respect to the valiant revolutionary.

[Photo shows location of his mazar in Andaman. Inset, Allama Fazl Haq Khairabadi. Photo of poet Chander Bhan Khayal paying tributes to the revolutionary. The phorotgraph of mazaar, courtesy Mohammed Obaid Khan.]

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Lessons from Tablighi Jamat case verdict and TV channels' campaign to demonize the group


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

There are several lessons from the vile campaign that was launched against the Tablighi Jamat, which resulted in hate towards Muslims.

It was a crucial juncture, the country was supposed to fight Coronavirus, but the media's focus was on demonizing Muslims, 'otherizing' them and cooking up false stories about Tablighis 'spitting or refusing to eat', most of those stories turned out to be totally false. 
Now, the Bombay High Court judgment has come as a relief. However, the foremost lesson to be learnt from this controversy is that you can't throw your own people under the bus, just to get a foothold among section of opportunistic liberals or in the hope that you will be 'accepted' by accusing-busing your own. They will come for you too, later.
Never try to 'fit in' among any circle just to show 'we're different, they are backward'. Courage is to take stand. No one has the right generalize, demonize an entire section. Even if you hear anything against an entire group of people and you've a bias against them, you can't play a part in vilification. Everyone knows propaganda can pass off victim as aggressor, and this happened in front of our eyes.
Media has the power to blow anything out of proportions We may have issues but when an entire group is being targeted & we know it is being done 24/7, totally one sided, say that it's wrong. Those who have voice must take stand.
Poor vegetable vendors were discriminated, boycotted due to these false stories. The most vulnerable, poorest of poor, who lives in rented house, who doesn't have an idea how next day earning will come from, and it is he who bears the brunt on the street. People like Dilshad who didn't test positive, yet, he was boycotted and the result was his death. 
If the privileged among us who have money, house, property, too don't speak up and rather than taking stand, are unable to see this vilification, then what's the hope? It happens that many say, 'yes most of our community is backward, uneducated' or things like 'they may have done all this' just to be accepted or because of the influence of TV news.
No, when your community is being demonized, you too are part of it. You can't escape it, even if you feel that for the moment, you saved yourself. Lot of Muslims too were taken in by the propaganda, others wanted to sound 'modern', not to be seen with 'regressive' or 'backward' people.
But remember, those opportunists who had the audacity to openly accuse people belonging to your religion in front of you, those who didn't stand with you and despite being friends with you, never thought twice before hurting your sentiments as they openly shared propaganda, will not be your friend either.
Hence, it's the duty of our privileged class too, who know the pattern, that they must not close their eyes and at least speak up. If nothing else, at least do NOT side with tyranny. Believe me, TV channels and media's constant propaganda, have this power to push you to the corner and make you feel 'embarrassed of even your own existence'. 
This is the level of fascism and if you can't speak up, at least, be silent, rather than promptly accusing 'your own'. Now, you know well how stories are planted, false narrative is created to target you and keep focus away from other issues.
Those living alone in localities feel such pressure! Thus, speak up, do your bit to demolish the fascists' arguments, side with the victim, not the propagandists. We all learn at different times in our journey. These are the times most have us have seen how things can be presented, misrepresented. 
We can give benefit of doubt to some among us but now even the most gullible among us have seen how it happens. So let's not be like oppressors or mob, hopefully we all get educated by these experiences and learn. Take stand, speak up, always.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Great Freedom Fighters of India: Revolutionaries who were hanged for the role in independence movement during the British rule

Mohammad Abdullah who was hanged 


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The role of revolutionaries in creating the awakening among masses and their sacrifices for the motherland, can never be forgotten. 

The fact is that martyrs were the real heroes--those who hanged and happily went to gallows for the cause of freedom. 

Remember, it was an era when Indians were treated like slaves and there were large-scale killings after 1857. 

Even in later years, the Jallian Wala Bagh Massacre and Qissakhwani Bazar Killings, had infuriated Indians. 

After 1857, freedom movement saw participation of hundreds of such patriots who were willing to give their life for the cause of independence.

Each such martyr--every hanging and freedom fighter shot or matyred, was responsible for the rise in nationalistic fervour and as a result created awakening among the people. The list of martyrs and revolutionaries is long from Tatya Tope, Azimullah, Sher Ali, Bhagat Singh, Ashfaqullah, Rajguru, Madanlal Dhingra, Mohammad Abdullah to Chandrashekhar Azad and many others.

Mohammad Abdullah had assassinated the judge who was known for giving harsh sentence to freedom fighters, especially, the revolutionaries. History books mention that John Paxton Norman was assassinated by Mohammad Abdullah. 

The incident took place in Kolkata (then, Calcutta). The judge John Paxton Norman was known for harsh sentences on freedom fighters and revolutionaries. Historians, for this reason, mention that the revolutionaries despite strong repressive measures, preferred to die but remained committed to the cause of freedom. 

Sir Paxton Norman was acting chief justice of Calcutta High Court in 1871. Abdullah was later hanged. His portraits adorn museums and homes, now. Just like later years freedom fighters and revolutionaries who wanted the atrocities to end, and took up initiative--Bhagat Singh and Rajguru killed Saunders, and got hanged, the flame of resistance continued to burn. 

READ: Sher Ali, revolutionary freedom fighter who assassinated Viceroy, got hanged

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Policemen's promptness in firing, role of media in branding Muslims and shifting focus from victims


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

It's very easy to dismiss someone by throwing a label at them, also, there is a lot between being 'liberal' and 'illiberal' in real world. 
Regarding Bengaluru firing, it is clear that everyone is against violence, no one supports it. But it's not as simple, as media makes it. 
While many of us may claim that we don't watch TV news, but headlines can still indirectly shape our thought process & it is also the reason, how a victim can become a hooligan in our eyes.
First, a basic thing if someone abuses a woman or man, targets or indulges in character assassination, its termed 'harassment' & there are proper sections under IPC for registration of case. If action is not taken, there is harsh criticism of authorities. People stand with victim. Obviously, the victim is not asked why he or she went to lodge a FIR. 
Routinely people get booked for defamation or online abuse, arrests or convictions are at a later stage. Now, whenever it comes to Muslims', it is claimed that the community is 'over sensitive'. Section 295 (A) of IPC is for deliberate & malicious acts, intended to outrage feelings of any class. Now let's see.
Imagine, one group can claim that its sentiments got hurt over a historical movie, say Padmavat, go about ruckus and arson in different cities, (remember that bus carrying kids) but no where police would open fire. Right-wing groups have attacked police stations in different cities in the past, but never face bullet.
Despite the threatening language and scale of violence over days, these groups or Senas won't be termed 'extremist', no news would be planted about their links, and even in vernacular papers attempts would be made to term lawlessness as result of a 'genuine grievance' of 'false depiction'.
There are umpteen examples. Remember when a cop was shot dead in UP, and the accused was not arrested for days and later came out of jail as 'hero'! What provisions of law were used, which property was seized. Now, this post is not just about comparing different incidents of vandalism. No.
It is about something that even 'liberals' fail to realise. Whenever it comes to Muslims', it is claimed that the community is 'over sensitive'. In this case, a complaint was made. Case was not registered, there was delay. There was ruckus, but in this case cops fired, 3 died.
There're cases in the country where  police stations are targeted or vandalized but cops don't fire. Even after failing to get FIR registered and losing lives--no debate on excessive use of force, pm report or compensation, media presented it as a case of 'bloodthirsty mob'...
Violence is no solution, everyone condemns ruckus and commotion. But there are protests and mob attacks at many places. Here, in Bengaluru, people faced bullets, they were killed but there is no focus on deaths. No sympathy for victims, some of whom were perhaps not in crowd, as we found that one of them the sole breadwinner who was caught in melee on way home.
In case of Muslim protesters, stories are readily planted to link them to certain 'group', wild theories, suggestions about the role, attempts to bring 'extremist' angle. So, people get angry at them. You instantly accuse them, believe that 'they were wrong', even after they were killed.
It is not just majoritarian privilege but inequality, gross difference in how action is taken. Remember, even after acting sensibly you may be presented as a troublemaker while the goons treated with respect--that's narrative, media power. Remember Malcolm X words! So that's it.
It's something you need to know, yes, be very very careful in any protest or delegation that even if you've been wronged & you seek justice, one mistake, one or two persons infiltrating and creating ruckus, would lead to serious consequences. Because harshest action will come.
People who claim that they don't watch TV or go to WhatsApp, even they'll say, 'why this hooliganism?', 'why so intolerant?'. Not their fault either, that's how system works. How dare you speak, how dare you demand an FIR, how dare you be visible. Killed, but no word on justice or condolence.
Law should be visible on the ground, applied fairly, at least, to some extent. If others go about ruckus, its their privilege, you can't afford a minor slip. As, unjust portrayal can make you appear terribly lawless, madman, even if you want to pursue something legally & lawfully.
Such is the skewed system that someone comes and ask me after the killings, that why are 'they' so 'over-reactive' and 'bloodthirsty'? Who is bloodthirsty! I tell, I just want that if there is a hate crime or speech, anyone Hindu or Muslim, should face similar charges, action..
Ground reality is that we've our 'aasthas' over everything, because we are a majority. We can imagine what you eat, enter your house & thrash you but if you get wronged, don't dare speak or file FIR. Intellectually, too, we can label you 'backward' for anything. Be, live like a 'subject'!
And, even talking about all this on social media is something that shocks-hurts them. How dare this guy lives here, speaks this much, talks about 'double standards', so let's get into his FB-Twitter timelines and question him. A lot of guys have the gall to 'question'. Now, label us whatever you want. Fine!
Bottom line. You are engaged in most restrained behaviour, you try to be the most ideal citizen, you are always law-abiding but even one incident among hundreds, here too you face atrocities but you'll be again termed 'bloodthirsty mob' or backward and even you will accept it. 
In the case of Bulandshahr, when inspector Subodh Kumar was killed, police post was set afire, but not a single newspaper could write, 'Bajrang Dal attacks police station'. The harsh sections, special acts, UAPA are not meant for all, isn't it!
Understand these aspects, also, how narrative is created, how we fall in trap. How to be more careful, how to deal with this level of branding. The need to talk more about diversity in newsrooms, at least, at local level, city and state, are some of the main points that need urgent attention.


[Photo is for representational purpose]