Friday, April 28, 2006

From community to sects, sub-sects: Now a Shia TV Channel ?

QTV, now known as ARY
Just got to know that the Shia community in India is planning to start a television channel of its own. I am not very much impressed.

Already the cable-wallahs have little bandwidth to show fresh channels and given the fact that Shias are a minority within a minority it will be even difficult to get it viewd.

Except in Hyderabad, Lucknow and parts of Kashmir where else would peope able to force the cable-wallah to show it.

Meanwhile, I have yet to hear about any sub-sect launching its own channelI mean I find Hindu channel, local small-time Jain religious channels, Christian channels but not of sub-sects. In fact, some Hindu religious channels show the programmes of Jains and Sikhs also.

It would be better if Q TV [now ARY] allots sometime to the Shia brothers as well. But I don't think any of the side would like it. This [Shia channel] is the plan of the recently floated All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB). 

The other day an elderly gentleman was telling me that how Q TV is 'corrupting' the Muslims in India with its Barelvi overdose [qawwalis and similar things that irritate this man who probably finds all this un-Islamic] though indulges in a hundred other 'bidah' himself.

But nobody wants reconciliation, everyone seems so rigid that only their personal interpretation and understanding of faith, sect or sub-sect is correct and the rest are all--astray. Long ago I had decided not to discuss and disssect religion and religious practices.

There is quote or saying that it is a great fallacy that talking out things help rather they aggravate. So let us have all sorts of religious TV channels representing all thoughts. I already watch none except Pogo [the kids' channel] and often the corrupting Fashion TV FTV.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The practice of Triple Talaq among Indian Muslims: Is Talaaq = Mazaaq?

Initially titled 'Talaq', but later released as Nikaah*
In Islam, marriage is a contract as per which a man has the right to divorce his wife in extreme situations.

Also, a woman can seek Khula'a and get out of the wedlock. But the abuse of the religious sanction of talaaq is aquiring bizarre proportions lately.

A man gave talaaq to his wife on cell phone, another just sent an SMS message with talaq written thrice in it and the third person uttered the word thrice either in a drunken state or in his sleep.

All these incidents were reported recently. In the last incident, it was the wife who sought the advice of neighbouring women for opinion and from there the news spread.

Despite the fact that even pronouncing talaaq thrice in one sitting should be counted as just one, the local residents insist the marriage is 'haraam' and the poor family is suffering and husband, wife living separately. Their kids are the worst sufferers.

When I was a teenager, I felt that the practice of talaaq is too much vilified by other communities. After all, it was also a facility. You had the option to get out of a bad marriage, if there is abuse or other issues. There was no bondage for entire life [or even afterlife].

But now I feel anguished at such abuse of a religious practice. So what should be done? The Ulema are silent at this blatant misuse of a 'right' or say option to separate. Should we expect something from umbrella organisations like AIMPLB that have 201 members belonging to all Muslim sects.

But they are silent. The demand for a law to stop the misuse should come from within the Muslims else it will be deemed a 'madakhlat' or intervention in Muslim affairs. Shouldn't Muslim society see the need and do something to ensure that the sacrosanct contract of marriage does not get so abused. 

It is a fact that the fear of triple talaaq hangs on the head of women like a sword. At least, it should be decided that triple talaq is one sitting be held as single pronouncement and the next pronouncements should come after the proper duration. [Though this is the way in several Muslim countries as per Shariat].

But we have not yet managed to get a consensus on this. More than media criticism or the sullying image of Muslims, one should genuinely feel concerned. And a system to adhere to the proper adehrence of the process to give talaaq is needed for the Muslim society as a whole.

Politicians aren't supposed to do that. Muslim intellectuals and leaders who are progressive are few and lose touch with the poor masses. We have given up on Ulema, some of whom are just happy getting Rajya Sabha seats like the Madani family that heads the influential Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind. Blogging and giving vent to our frustration wouldn't help.

I know a girl, who was married to a youth living in USA. The NRI came and married and returned alone with the promise of taking her later. However, he never took her. The girl's parents made umpteen pleas and sent messages but he stopped responing or taking calls.

He sent a written note of divorce one day as he had later married in US and had earlier come to India and married under his parental pressure. Now what is that? Such criminal carelessness with which talaaq is given must have shaken us but we don't seem perturbed, why?

Time for the Muslim society to stand up. Evolve a consensus and do something to stop this malpractice. Devise an internal mechanism and then approach government to get the needed changes in the Muslim Personal Law passed.

The Muslim society must decide whether they have to take the marriage seriously or at least in the name or observign religious tenets strictly. Redeem the institution of marriage. Otherwise it will be nothing but Mazaaq [Joke].

Read another post 'Triple Talaq And Deoband Turns into a Fatwa Factory' that was written much later on this blog.

[*The Salma Agha-starrer Nikaah was a Bollywood movie that had created awareness about the prevalence of the malpractice of triple talaq in Indian Muslim society. The BR Chopra movie had Raj Bbbar play the lead role.]

Nida Fazli's Urdu ghazal: Poetry praising the mother

Nida Fazli is a renowned Urdu poet and lyricist, who has penned numerous songs for Bollywood movies. I have written a separate post on this blog about Nida Fazli and his contribution to literature.

You can also read his verses in Urdu, Hindi and English scripts at the website BestGhazals.Net here. But right now, here is an emotional poem titled Maa.n [Mother]. 

I hope you would like it. 

Besan ki sondhi roti pe khatti chatni jaisee maaN
Yaad aati hai chauka besan phukni jaisi maaN

Baan ki khurri khaat ke oopar har aahat par kaan dhare
Aadhi soi aadhi jaagi thaki dopahri jaisi maaN

Chiriyon ki chahkar goonje Radha Mohan Ali Ali
Murghe ki aawaz se jagtee ghar ki kundi jaisi maaN

Beewi, beti, bahan, padosan thodi see sab mein
Din bhar ek rassi ke oopar chalti natni see maaN

Baant ke apna chehra matha aankhein jaane kahaN gayee
Phate purane ek album mein chanchal shokh ladki jaisi maaN

Nida Fazli

Read Nida Fazli's poetry at this link. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Nothing 'Shahi' about the Imam or his conduct

'Shahi Imam' Ahmad Bukhari has embarrassed many of us with his conduct. Even if a journalist had made a comment, such verbal abuse coming out of Bukhari is unacceptable.

It was more upsetting as the unsavoury incident occurred near PM's office in front of the national media.

Just when it seemed that Bukhari was turning into a responsible person and the image of the Shahi Imam, as created by his father who did tremendous damage to Muslims through his 'fatwas' at the time of elections, was poised for a positive change, the ugly side came up.

I have seen journalists ask much tougher [and harsher] questions and people replying without getting angry. Journalists [representing society] speak for the people and thus often make the public figures [including politicans] uncomfortable.

But Bukhari and his supporters rather than keeping silent or just ignoring the question, instead went after the journalist in an uncivilised manner. Time to stop calling him Shahi Imam. There is no such post and nothing regal or royal about him. Imams in all mosques are equal and respectable because they lead prayers and that's all.

And now Bukhari says that he will float a political party.What a joke! Does he have any idea of his influence. Parties may think that he has an influence. Even in the Jama Masjid area let alone Delhi, he does not have a strong following. I am sure except his household no body is going to vote for his candidates. 

If he stays mum, he will do lot good for Muslims in India.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

RSS chief doesn't know, Indian Muslims respect Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and all major figures of Hinduism for ages

So RSS Chief Sudarshan has asked Muslims to give respect to Krishna and treat him as one of the paighambars/ prophets.

Mr Sudarshan, which world you live in?

I am sure you know nothing about the culture of this country, at least above the Vindhyas which is often termed as Cow Belt.

My dear, we always treat Rama and Krishna respectfully. And this is true. As a child my father always used to chide me if I said Krishna or Rama.

He always asked me to say Krishna Ji and Ramchandra Ji. Unlike just Rama or Krishna as my non-Muslim friends used to say.

This concept of 'waza-daari' and the mutual respect of culture was part of Oudh, Bihar, MP and all over Northern India including Bengal.

Sudarshan may not be aware of that. It is not just cultural reason and that because we are living in India among Hindus, but also as per our religious beliefs, Lord Rama and Lord Krishna or other religious figures are to be respected.

The Holy Quran says that Allah sent messengers to all lands, to all people and amongst all religions. How is it possible that  he didn't send them to India? Do RSS guys have any idea about the culture existent for centuries where Muslim poets used to write poetry praising Krishnaji and Hindus wrote 'na'at' in praise of Prophet Muhammad. 

This was not for sake of any social responsibility but for one's inner self, beliefs and the true feeling of respect towards the great and reverential figures. The RSS fellows would never appreciate this because they can't read Mohsin Kakorvi's 'Simt kashi chala jaanib-e-mathura baadal...' which is in Urdu.

All over India ordinary Hindus continue to observe Muharram despite the rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric. So what if you consider going to Dargah as a 'Muslim practice, Hindus continue to go to Sufi saints' graves, though even sections of Muslims now avoid going to mazaars.

The lesson: Hate never succeeds. The RSS has a huge cadre. They should try to reach out to Muslims. Why don't they go to Muslims, meet Muslims, increase the level of interaction with the minorities? This could be the real step towards integration.

They talk about ghettoisation but do they raise voice about the fact that section of Jains and Gujarati Hindus [housing societies] never let Muslims buy a land or flat in their area?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ancient Indian arts of self-defence: Akhadas carry the age-old tradition

Raeen Muslim Akhada boys test their skills

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
Many of you must have heard about 'baana', banethi, binwat [binnaut], khari gatka.
These are all traditional arts of self-defence. These days, it's not easy to find the experts, as Akhadas are losing popularity to the sophisticated Gyms.

Some may have even seen the skills of people--a hen pushed under a cot and a man standing on the cot moving the lathi so fast that the hen unable to find away to get out of any of the four sides of the cot.

It was because the hen felt that a cloth was wrapped all around the 'palang' from four sides. Such was the lightning fast movements at which he moved his lathi!

The poor hen would rush towards all sides but couldn't come out because of the speed at which lathi moved, on all four sides made it impossible for it to get out. Umpteen such martial arts like the one in which a coin was tied in a piece of cloth and even this 'weapon' turned lethal for the attackers have now become history.

Or the breathtaking display of fire where a man plays with balls filled with embers creating a brilliant spectacle at night. Unfortunately, lot of practices and demonstration of the skills stopped, in most of the places. Akhadas still exist. But mostly before Muharram, a few days' practice.

When the martial arts came to us from the West, everybody imitates them and classes are run to teach them but our native arts are all gone. In fact, the native arts brought Hindus and Muslims nearer. There was display of such skills on Muharram, Dussehra and other religious events.

In Akhadas, Hindu Ustaads often had Muslim disciples and vice versa. Due to the vows of using such arts only in defence and for saving the weak against strong, the exponents of these arts never misused their skills. Still these arts were discouraged after independence.

While the thugs of the political parties on the loony fringe who have no command over any traditional arts are allowed to carry the guns, trishuls and all sorts of weapons, the real pahalwans who used to spread harmony and displayed their skills thereby causing awareness about health and fitness were shunted to the periphery.

On Muharram, Milad-un-Nabi and Dussehra, the Hindu and Muslim akhadas all over India used to display their skills. It was such healthy competition. Today all this is lost, though there are exceptions. in a few cities.

Unfortunately we are such monkeys that one day these skills would be brought to us in the name of Samurai by Westerns and we will all rush to learn them. Right now, it's Gym and walk, that's enough for the health-conscious!

[In picture: A scene of traditional Indian martial arts in India. Akhadas perform during Muharram and Milad Un Nabi processions]

Friday, April 07, 2006

Man who changed Indian politics forever dies: Shah Bano's husband

Shah Bano
Mohammad Ahmad Khan, the husband of the legendary Shahbano died in Indore this week. Khan was 94.

Khan, a lawyer, had given divorce to his 62-year-old wife Shah Bano in 1978 after she had given birth to five children from him.

Shahbano went to the court seeking maintenance and fought up to the Supreme Court that also ruled in her favour. But the turbulent decade of 1980s brought Muslims on the streets.

It was in the backdrop of the Shilanyas and Hindus saw it as another minority appeasement when Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress brought an amendment and enacted the Muslim Women [Protection of Rights] Act.

From here, came the word 'appeasement' or 'tushtikaran'. The word was coined by right-wing to prove that in case of Muslims, even court's judgement is overturned, while Hindus don't get a fair deal despite being the majority community.

The Shahbano case saw the birth of the fiery Syed Shahabuddin and several other leaders. He made several irresponsible comments and gave suc speeches that angered Hindus. Already middle-class was getting lumpenised.

LK Advani seized the opportunity. The rise in communal feelings led to the resurgence of BJP that increased its number from 2 seats to 86 in Parliament. This later caused the demolition of Babri Masjid. The heat is felt till today. Shahbano case was a watershed.

She died a couple of years back in Indore, lonely with almost no media attention. Her husband died now. Their eldest son is a senior lawyer now.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Jawaharlal Nehru's tribal 'wife': Girl garlanded Prime Minister, regretted it all her life

Budhni was a tribal girl. She had been asked to garland Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to welcome him when he visited Purulia in West Bengal in 1959.

The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) chose this 15-year-girl working as a labourer to welcome Nehru. But when she returned after welcoming him, the villagers treated her as outcast because as per their tribal custom she was married to Nehru.

It was because of the garland. Worse, she was considered 'wedded' to an outsider so she was to have no relations with them in future. What a cruel joke fate had played on her.

In a meeting of tribal elders it was decided that Budhni was Nehru's wife. She was evicted from village and not even offered a glass of water at any door.

It is really a sad story. For her, it was fate. She didn't do anything on her own but her life was thrown into turmoil just because of a single incident. Later in life, she started living with one, Sudhir Dutta, and their daughter was also not accepted by the tribal community.

But suddenly she was sacked by DVC for reasons that were never made public. In 1985 she went to Delhi and met the then PM Rajiv Gandhi who ordered her reinstatement. Her fate is not known thereafter.

[Source: Deccan Chronicle and]


Budhni is alive in the year 2012. After false news about her death was reported in English media, the Hindi newspapers located her. See her photograph and read the news AT THIS LINK.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Congress party's 'anti-Urdu' policies: BBC planning to launch Urdu TV channel

Once again I feel frustrated at the brazen opportunism of the Congress party.

For more than a decade all the major languages have television channels run by government except Urdu.

Several months back the government promise that it will start the DD Urdu channel. There is no channel in sight even now.

Meanwhile, Sahara group is all set to launch Urdu channel and now the BBC is also planning the same along with a Hindi channel.

This is the same Congress that came on pro-minority plank. It appointed a governor in UP that did his best to stall the establishment of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar University at Rampur.

For decades it was in power in UP and systematically killed Urdu. This linguistic genocide is unprecedented in world history. Overnight Urdu medium was abolished in lakhs of schools and UP with 35 million Muslims remain the only state in India where there is a clause that does not allow running schools in any language other than Hindi and English.

This Congress party has a government in Delhi that gave Urdu the status of official language and what has happened. Another famous Urdu school in the walled city is on the brink of closure. No new schools are opening.

They sound pro-Muslims but are responsible for keeping Muslims backward, betrayin them, making them insecure with the veiled threat of BJP and think the Muslim vote is their birthright. Leaders like Gulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid and Ahmad Patel who can't win Lok Sabha election  and don't speak the language of Indian Muslims or feel their pain and happiness are the Muslims faces of Congress.


This is an old article, written in 2006. A few years later the Doordarshan's Urdu channel was launched. Read a post about DD URDU on this blog.