Once again Lucknow witnessed a Shia-Sunni clash on Tuesday. Though over a dozen persons were injured, the violence didn't spread and was effectively controlled.
It was the same area of Walled City: Husainabad, that again witnessed the groups of Shia and Sunni youths indulging in stone pelting and rioting.
The trouble started over a petty argument over rickshaw fare and as those quarrelling belonged to different sects, it led to tension and soon supporters of both the sides came to streets.
Though Lucknow has a long history of such sectarian conflict, it was felt that old days of Shia-Sunni tension are a thing of past. Specially after the ban on Azadari and the Madah-e-Sahaba procession was lifted, it was believed that the things would get normal. However many such clashes have occurred in Old City in the last couple of years.
Lucknow is known to be a City that doesn't have a Hindu-Muslim friction, rather it is Shia-Sunni schism that this place is notorious for. Though the scale of violence was not much on this occasio and police controlled the situation well, such incidents that keep occurring at regular intervals keep the tensions alive and the mistrust among both sects continues in the City.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Once again Lucknow witnessed a Shia-Sunni clash on Tuesday. Though over a dozen persons were injured, the violence didn't spread and was effectively controlled.
Friday, April 25, 2008
You just need to read the following instances to get an idea how an entire community is maligned by the State and its machinery through smart media manipulation:
1. Madhya Pradesh police claimed that terrorist camps were organised near Choral in Malwa region. All national papers and electronic channels, as usual, accepted the claims. Local Hindi newspaper 'Prabhat Kiran' (and later other papers too) in Indore exposed the claims and told the real story that there was no camp ever held.
The policemen had organised a 'live raid' and arms had been hidden by policemen themselves earlier, in order to later recover them and prove that they had caught anti-nationals who were planning a major strike. The police's story fell flat and the SP had to go on leave due to embarrassment but this truth about the fabricated story was never printed in national media. Channels ignored it.
2. A journalist, Nadeem Ahmad, who represented fortnightly English newspaper Milli Gazette, had gone to cover riots at Sarangpur in MP. His editor asked him to also go to the region and cover this issue. The police caught him for no fault of his.
They didn't tell him reason for his arrest, kept him in confinement in police station in Khargone for 48 hrs and only when local papers published the news of police 'abducting' him, and his editor planned to file habeas corpus in Supreme Court, that he was forced to board a bus and sent back. He was not allowed to go to the places where he had to for reporting.
Nadeem did have a beard. Was this his fault? He was told that there was suspicion that he was a SIMI activist, though he had his identification cards. Could they have dared stop a journalist of say, Dainik Jagran or Indian Express! Again this was not reported in mainstream media.
3. Some SIMI activists were caught near Indore. Soon police in every district were catching SIMI activists. Innocent guys who were not at all related were caught. They included professionals, whose careers and jobs have been jeopardised.
Mind you, once caught for any section under IPC, but in the name of SIMI, a person is branded 'terrorist' by police and the media buys the story immediately. It's a different matter that the districts police forces were just doing that to show their performance in the state headed by a BJP government. Courts have started acquitting many of the accused as there were no charges at all. But who cares?
Muslims are too afraid to speak up. Always expected to prove their patriotism, how can they speak for any person who has been branded a terrorist. Solely it was the Communist Party that did speak on the issue and said that it was an effort to communalise the situation in the election year, with an eye on vote. Cops are fetching money from those who are arrested and it's good extortion business.
4. Now those caught are mostly poor who have no connections. They don't have money or resources. And the jingoistic Bar Councils have decided that no lawyer would be allowed to fight their cases. A lawyer from Ujjain dared to go. But he was beaten up by a group of Hindutva organisation in the court, in the presence of police. Isn't it the end of road?
5. Now the story behind SIMI arrests is also political. The BJP MLA wanted to grab the grave yard land. He called the Chief Minister for 'bhumi puja' on this land but when he came and faced protest, the MLA was pulled up by CM for misleading him. The MLA was upset with the local Muslims and pressurised the police to arrest his 'opponents'. Scores were sent behind bars and the police claimed that they were all 'mischievous elements'. All in the name of democracy, justice and, in a free society, where the media is fair. But this also escaped the media in Delhi and Mumbai.
What is the option for Muslims? Shouldn't media write on this major issue. How a police force could fake a terrorist camp? That's a serious matter and everybody needs to ponder over that. Of course, any member of a banned organisation like SIMI ought to be arrested and put behind bars. But not innocents (again I insist, poor) should be victimised by the state, police, lawyers, media and everybody.
Read the report about journalist Nadeem Ahmad's arrest in Central Chronicle.
[I generally avoid writing tales of such persecution and harassment on this blog, as I feel, all the time writing about such things, brings the 'victim complex'. And that there should be positive stories and more posts on harmony. But when things go so bad. What should one do?]
Photos: Journalist Nadeem Ahmad
Posted by editor at 10:59 AM
Monday, April 21, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
In the three Assembly by-polls, the share of votes in Muradnagar, Colonelganj and Bilgram, the party has been extraordinary low. It could get just 1.35%, 3% and 5% votes in the elections, the results for which were announced two days back. The BSP won all the three constituences, as also the two Lok Sabha seats.Surprisingly, the Lotus has wilted in the state where it emerged in the mid-80s pitting Hindus and Muslims against each other. And today it seems both Hindus and Muslims have forgotten this party in India's most populous state.
This is shocking for the party that it got such a low vote shate. And it has happened barely two decades after the Ram Mandir movement threw the country into communal flames. Clearly the electorate no longer considers BJP as a political option.
It was this state where the BJP had got 57 seats out of 85 at the height of Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir movement in 1989. And exactly twenty years after that, VP Singh' Mandal card has killed the BJP's genie.It is now crystal clear that even the Brahmins have deserted the BJP. The OBCs were once a strong votebank and also section of Dalits. But that is an old story. Today, it's a reality that BJP has lost Uttar Pradesh.
Though it is also an irony that the party has reached this state at a time when it is believed the architect of Ayodhya movement, LK Advani has become politically 'touch-able' and hopes to become Prime Minister of India.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The counting began in the morning today and soon it was clear that Congress' prince Rahul Gandhi's whirlwind tours across the Hindi-Urdu heartland and his stays at the dwellings of Dalits, have failed to cut any ice with the electorate.
In Azamgarh, its maverick candidate Akbar Ahmad Dumpy won whiile BS Tiwari won the Khalilabad seat. Dumpy was once a close associate of Sanjay Gandhi. A turncoat, he had sometime back joined the BSP.
The party also won Bilgram (Hardoi), Karnalganj and Muradnagar seats--leaving the entire opposition raning from Congress to Samajwadi Party and the BJP stunned. Unstoppable Behenji!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Three statements on the issue of price rise by UPA leaders show their arrogance:
The arrogance is similar to the one displayed by BJP in the last election. When they kept claiming that India was 'shining'. Every advertisement of India Shining hurt the common man who is getting marginalised year after year.
The common citizen doesn't expect much from the politicians. But it becomes unbearable when they are ridiculed and mocked at. Congress needs to rein in its ministers, else it will have to pay heavily in the elections.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The photo shows a veiled woman who has also got the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mahila Morcha's band tied around her head.
Just around 10 years ago it was extremely tough to find Muslims in BJP. Those who joined the BJP were looked down upon in the Muslim society.
A few years after demolition of Babri Masjid, particulary after 1995-96 Muslims slowly started getting into the party. Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had been forgotten, came back to the centre-stage so that the party could get more acceptability.
Many Muslim politicians joined it either due to lack of opportunity to rise in Congress or because they felt BJP is a much better option than Congress which had only exploited Muslims for half-a-century.
And when the party failed to prove its majority in parliament after a 13 day government, it again projected Vajpayee as a Mukhauta. More Muslims joined the party. Once aggressively anti-minorityism, the party also formed Alpasankhyak Morchas (minority wings) in all states.
And after the second failed attempt in 1998 when the NDA government lost by one vote, the attempts to reach out to Muslims also intensified. Remember the days when a group of Urdu poets was singing paens of BJP and Vajpayee.
Iftaars were organised. The days were gone when BJP had either a Sikandar Bakht or Arif Baig. Now it had so many Muslim leaders that in states there were fights over posts of Minority Commission, Waqf Board and Urdu Academies among BJP's Muslim politicians.
The anti-Muslim rhetoric was almost a thing of past. But still BJP never evoked the feeling of trust among Muslim masses. Their worst fears came true during the Gujarat carnage when the 'mascot' came off.
A couple of years down the line, many more Muslims have joined the party in the states at the karyakarta (worker) level.The RSS is almost ready to open its doors to the Muslims. Now you don't need to search for Muslims in any BJP meet.
In fact, 'daadhis', 'topis' and also 'burqas' have become common. Many Muslim workers say that Gujrat was an exception, after all, Congress didn't do anything during the Mumbai riots and the Ahmedabad riots of 1979 and all major riots in North India were during Congress regimes in the 80s, 70s and 60s.
Is it a convincing argumen. Only time will tell. But one thing is sure. BJP that was once a openly communal party, has understood the realities of modern India and almost become what the Congress was during the first decade after partition, when it was the sole personality of Jawaharlal Nehru that kept it from becoming a hardline right-wing party.
The BJP has shown crass opportunism by trying to get Muslims in its fold. Who can forget the promises of lakh of jobs for Urdu teachers by Vajpayee and other sops? In a pluralistic society like ours, it is unhealthy for a group of population to treat a party as pariah and for a national party to treat the Indian Muslims, who number more than 150 million, aloof.
There is definitely quite a lot wrong with its 'niyat' about Muslims. Didn't Rajnath Singh say that if the party came to power it will scrap all the pro-Muslim schemes of UPA (United Progressive Alliance). The party is still unsure how to deal with Muslims. It doesn't want to become a second Congress and lose its core Hindutva constituency.
The choice is for the BJP.
[Photo: It shows a Muslim woman in burqa with a Saffron band in the BJP's Sankalp Rally in Patna, Bihar]
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Wishing all of you, a happy New Year on Gudi Padwa to all from An Indian Muslim.
Gudi Padwa, also known as Ugadi and Vishu, is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra, which falls on April 7 this year. This marks the beginning of Hindu New Year.
Also, Chaiti Chand is celebrated today. Please tell me if I am wrong anywhere. The Indian government's Calendar Comittee had agreed upon the Saka (Shaka) era and Chaitra 1 as the beginning of the New Year.
May the New Year bring prosperity to everybody and the nation. Also, let's make resolve for greater interaction among Hindus, Muslims and other sections of the society, and make efforts to reach out to the other and work for harmony in the society during the year.
Friday, April 04, 2008
That was the era when RSS didn't have historians, scientists, writers, journalists, doctors, academicians and other professionals in its fold. But Oak, was quite dedicated to his cause. He was mocked at, but he continued to publish his works, make such claims and write letters in newspapers.
Oak died sometime back. Not many tears were shed. Perhaps, because he had become irrelevant. Or may be, the Saffron brigade now had an army of able professionals to espouse its cause in every field, much more eloquently in TV cameras.
Still, one expected a few obituaries. Hardly any attention was paid to the demise of the original Hindutva Historian. The man who had founded the Institute for Writing Indian History, spent all his life, for the cause, especially in the era when Marxist historians dominated all institutions.
Ironicallly, the Indore-born Oak didn't get much attention in the era when such theories which were then considered wild are now heard quite attentively and are lapped up by the monster--live 24 hr news channels.
After all, Rupert Murdoch's Star News happily beams the stories about the evidence of existence of Ravana's air-craft repair centre in Sri Lanka, and mythology has gained more credence than science in our age, the era of the death of rationalism.
We have often heard that Saffronites dump the guys when they lose their utility. (Has anybody heard the name of 88 year old Balraj Madhok, the founder of Bharatiya Jan Sangh, for years and that he is still alive!).
I remember reading Oak's letters on the editorial pages of newspapers, sometimes with irritation and sometimes with an awe over his 'single-minded devotion to an almost lost cause in the early 80s".
Today RSS has no dearth of experts on any subject who can forcefully argue on any subject from astrology to zoology in accordance with Sangh's views. It pays these days to be on its side. In the era of PN Oak, it was neither lucrative nor glamorous, rather it invited trouble and the risk of getting branded as a 'crackpot' or Sangh historian unlike today (Professor KS Lal and a host of others).
Still, he was not missed much even among the rank and file of Sangh Parivar and media sympathetic to its cause. A website, Hindu Jagrati, did recall him as the lone fighter in an obit.
Purushottam Nagesh Oak was 90 and died just a couple of days before the anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition.
But one does feel bad for him. He was one of his own kind. Not like the hate-preachers and vitriolic Togadias of today.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The masthead, the photo of which is shown on the top left, will be remembered for a long time. Till its last day of publication, the words :"Baani: Jawaharlal Nehru" (encircled in red for those who can't read Urdu)", were printed in the same manner.
National Herald has also closed down. The papers were earlier published from Lucknow and nearly a decade back, the Lucknow edition was closed Pandit Nehru, the great visionary, and founder of modern India, had established these papers.
Ironically, the newspapers closed despite all possible resistance and the fact that Qaumi Awaz still used to sell and had a good circulation though there was no money.
And it all happened when Congress-led UPA is in the office and Sonia Gandhi's intervention would have saved the papers.
The English daily could also have been revived (Qaumi Awaz was doing well). But the Congress leadership preferred to look askance though they had a responsibility also. The party is not short of funds. Forever I will miss the newspaper that was once largely circulated in entire North India.
The last day of the National Herald editorial titled 'Herald hopes for a better tomorrow". This newspaper was founded in September 1938 and after 70 years, closed down.
The papers could have been given to private hands, which could have run them efficiently. Many people were interested in running Qaumi Awaz and restart its Lucknow edition, specially in view of Roznama Sahara's success.
Even today one could get Qaumi Awaz' late city edition in most Indian cities that reached in the evening. Employees have been given VRS and the era of National Herald, Qaumi Awaz, Navjivan, has gone.
Today BJP, which always needed a mainstream English daily, has acquired a newspaper after years of effort (The Pioneer) to propogate its policies and the Congress simply lost its established papers. The Hindi version Navjeevan was closed long ago. But who could have convinced the party! They have lost UP but can anybody put sense in their head.
I still remember it was once used to be published from Mumbai and Hyderabad also. And had tremendous circulation in Awadh. Qaumi Awaz, the nationalist voice, that got revived under Mohan Chiraghi's stint as editor, ultimately became history.
Nehru's dreams had died long ago. His papers also died. Alas!
[The other photo shows Qaumi Awaz (encircled) on the newspaper stands]