Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bihar court blast not termed terrorist act: Urgent need to stop distinguishing crimes on the basis of culprit's religion

On Friday, a blast in a court in Bihar led to two deaths and 17 persons getting injured. 

But wasn't termed a terror act, either by the police or the media. Reason?

Immediately after the blast, it was clear that the woman responsible for the act, did not fit into the 'criterion' (she was not a Muslim*). 

So it is just a 'crime' and won't be labelled as an act of 'terrorism', which would have led to round the clock coverage, talks about modules and Bihar becoming particular organisation's den or about handlers.

Cops say, 'no terror link'. What does that mean? Journos also parrot the same line. In a way its good that there is no scare, no panic caused through mass media. There are no indiscriminate arrests and detentions.

TV channels didn't stop other stories to show the incident for hours and hold panel discussions, there is no NIA teams rushing there, no senior spymaster's visit (unlike in Bardwan where no one was killed), papers just reporting it plainly without screaming headlines. 

The coverage of crimes in media and TV should also be balanced and similar. That reporters on National Security Beat would suddenly get active and start holding forth just because a crime is committed by a Muslim but ignore and pretend as if nothing has happened, if there is no Muslim connection, shows their hollowness and lack of professional ethics.

Real terror in public mind is created through coverage and by distinguishing acts of crime as 'crime' and 'terror'. All incidents of crime should be dealt with equal toughness, but without distinguishing the ideological motive or religion of culprits. 

Two posts on this blog on the same topic. How to defeat terror and stop getting terrorised, and the role of media in the entire issue.

[*Police identified the woman killed in Ara civil court as Rina Gaud of Ballia district in UP. She was known to 2009 Ara court blast convict Lambu Sharma, who escaped from custody after the explosion along with another rpsinoer on Friday. Reported Indian Express on January 25, 2015 ]

READ: 80 including 29 children killed in Bodo outfit's attack in Assam but this is not Terror

READ: Media's hysteric coverage leads to worldwide panic, just one madman enough to scare us?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nasheman: Reading the weekly Urdu newspaper from Karnataka

That's Nasheman, the Urdu newspaper, on my table.

It comes to me from a distant place--1500 km away i.e. Bangalore.

So when it comes from that far, you do take sometime to read it, at leisure.

The paper that has a pan-India circulation, has been running for 54 years.

I grew up reading this paper and hence I was dejected when it ceased publication for a while. I had written a post on this blog about Nasheman, its uniqueness and its history. But, Rizwan Asad sahab has revived it.

Now the paper looks more impressive. It also has a website that has English news, apart from plan to put up the Nasheman epaper. Of course, the columns, the tone of the paper and the satirical style remains same.

Karnataka has a large population of Urdu speakers, however, it is a mystery that overall on the map of Urdu, this state is not given its due. While Hyderabad has far more Urdu speakers and newspapers, surprisingly, none of them could get pan-Indian readership to such an extent.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Crisis in Islamic world: Heads of states, clerics have failed; Muslims desperately need statesmen now


A group of terrorists commit an act in a city but Muslims across the world, in towns and cities in faraway countries bear the consequences.

They are expected to condemn it (everywhere--online and offline), worry about hate crimes or Islamophobia and face even more trouble in finding rented accommodations or getting jobs.

This is an unprecedented situation today. The argument is that these terrorists commit crime in the name of Islam.

Yes, they might, but Muslims repeatedly say that terrorists are defaming the Islamic teachings and their acts have nothing to do with Islam.

A man holds a few persons hostage in a city in Australia and because he is a Muslim, the images are shown live across the world, and it becomes a global problem. However, crimes of much higher magnitude are often not reported outside particular countries.

But when a crime qualifies to be 'terror', it becomes an international issue. And when does a crime become 'terror'? It is when the perpetrator is a Muslim. So when a 'terror' releated report breaks out, TV channels and media lap it up, shows it round the clock, and this in turn leads even more scare and 'terror' for society.

Terrorism COULD BE TACKLED and contained if crimes aren't distinguished i.e. crime remains crime irrespective of perpetrator's faith and if terrorist aren't given publicity, which they badly want. There is no dearth of loonies in our society.

Many commit such acts because they know media would fall in the trap. So the incidents keep happening. Muslims feel that why 1.6 billion people are stigmatised because of acts of a few individuals. But the other argument is always ready, 'the commit the act in the name of Islam'. Huh.

So what's the solution? After 9/11, the Us Vs Them stand has brought the situation to such a passe that no one wants to listen. This is a terrible situation where the entire Muslim world find themselves in. And it's even sad that we have no VOICE.


The entire Muslim world hasn't produced an intellectual voice, a statesman, a leader of leaders in these years, why? That's a crucial question.

Though I am not a big fan of Saudi monarchs, but they could have taken the lead, given their celebrity status and their being custodians of the holy mosques.

But they don't utter a word or shown any interest in this regard. The truth is that if they speak, despite the sectarian differences, everybody would pay heed.

They have excellent rapport with the Western rulers, but have remained content with the relationship as long as West doesn't interfere in their internal issues, especially, their poor human rights record and their treatment of women and minorities.

Further, they seem more interested in containing Iran's influence or maintaining their regional supremacy, rather, than taking up a stand. It is such an irony that none of the countries in entire Middle East, has a leader whose voice is heard. Or even who is willing to speak.

The Saudis have a privileged position and could have used it to issue diktats over Islam's liberal tradition, and for shunning fundamentalism. Millions of Muslims go for Haj and throughout the year too for pilgrimage, and appeals or messages by Sheikhs would have worked.

Had they taken a stand to urge Muslims and reminded them about Islamic tradition of tolerance and good treatment of minorities, it would have been heard, and also message would have gone to rest of the world too.

But they are happy living in their ivory towers and managing 'order' in their nations. If not rulers, the religious personalities like Imam Haram could have issued a diktat. Sad. Nothing of that sort is even expected.

Why don't we hear a strong word from them against Boko Haram, Al Shabab or regarding the mindless sectarian violence in many Muslim countries. It is simply beyond comprehension why Muslim world doesn't have a leader today?


There is a need among Muslims to hear a leader, a statesman who can have DIALOGUE with the West. It is not that you always end up blaming US attacks on Iraq or Afghanistan, for problems in Muslim world.

There is restlessness among Muslims, who want someone to take up the position.There is a vacuum, but no leader is stepping in to the shoes of the statesmen of the past. No one is taking the lead.

Someone who can urge Muslims to do inward looking too. Someone who can also talk to France over the ban on Hijab, if not resolve it, but put this point across. Someone who can tell the world to stop the practice of terming particular crimes as terror, and then putting the entire community in the dock.

Someone who can remind Muslims about the Prophet's teachings regarding tolerance, how Muslims treated their minorities fairly, how to stop the barbaric practices, how to stop misusing laws on blasphemy, give call to make Muslims focus on education rather than sectarian divides, reviving intellectual tradition.

Muslim world should have many statesmen today. Sadly, it has none. Why there are no public speakers, motivators, statesmen who could have come from countries like Turkey, with its cultural affinity to both East and the West.

In the early part of 20th century, we had visionary leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in India. Even Agha Khan was a major figure in British India.

In those days no one thought which leader belonged to which sect.If today, the current Agha Khan, speaks, won't the world listen? 

I have taken his name just as an example. The point is that there is a space, a huge vacuum. We want to hear someone take intellectual leadership.

No one would prop you up, rather, you have to take up the leadership. But no one is willing to speak to the large number of Muslims and also on behalf of them.



Islam doesn't have a system of institutionalised clergy. It was once a boon, as there were no separate class of Monks or Gurus.

Unfortunately, it is the clergy which is today seen as the voice of Muslims. But clerics have failed us. BADLY. Another tragedy is that motivational and articulate 'Islamic' speakers who have a huge following, rather than talking of reason, turn towards bigotry and sectarianism--thereby harming the community.

There is need for modern, educated, sensible, liberal Muslim to come forward and claim his religion from the clergy. There is dire need for this. Muslims in countries where they are in a majority, especially, in Middle East, probably don't realise this as much.

The reason could be that they don't face religious prejudices (or Islamophobia) on a daily basis, in their own land, but across the world, Muslims are fed up of the situation. They do feel the need for saner voices.

They won't come from the skies. It's we who have to speak and fill this void.

READ: Media's excessive, hysteric coverage of Australia hostage led to worldwide panic

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Saluting the Suregon: Courageous Haryana doctor confronted Bajrang Dal activists over a hate speech against Muslims, gets attacked

Dr Jitender Phogat, a eye surgeon, was going to the chowk, when he heard a group of right-wing activists spewing venom against Muslims.

The doctor took a brave stand, he confronted the Bajrang Dal activists on the spot.

He was the lone voice against the hate speech, and was assaulted. The doctor was injured in the attack, and approached the police.

It is a different issue that the police are yet to register a case for either hate speech or assault. But the doctor did what many of us don't.

The harsh truth is that generally educated people don't take stand and this is the reason that extremists--Hindu or Muslim, get emboldened.

This is no doubt inspiring. A man sees that there is something very serious going on in front of our eyes, and the police are standing silent, he dares to object. Dr Phogat, 38, is a surgeon with the PGIMS at Rohtak (Haryana).

Journalist Sat Singh reported the news in Hindustan Times, and soon it became viral on internet. Dr Phogat is getting praise from all corners. In fact, it is inspiring and if we intervene against Hindu, Muslim radicals, with the same passion, we can change our society for good.

The Bajrang Dal workers at the same spot, caught a Muslim pearl-seller, termed him a spy and handed him to police, though the police said that he was targeted just because of his religion. READ THE NEWS at this LINK.