Thursday, August 25, 2016

Indian Muslims' relationship with Hinduism, Hindu religious figures: Communal harmony project-31

These are the photos you may have often come across on the internet.

A Muslim woman, wearing a burqa, along with her child who is dressed as Lord Krishna.

On Janmashtami, I logged on to Twitter and saw Gautam Trivedi sahab's tweet.

Even if you have seen these photos many times, you feel happy to see them again.

These are all aspects from our daily lives. On one hand we hear stories of hate and discord on mass media.

But on the other hand we find such examples as innumerable Indians lead their lives in harmony, observing each other's faiths, finding nothing strange in celebrating festivals or dressing up their kids in accordance with a seemingly different culture.

Similarly, numerous schools that don't even have 5% Muslim children, are celebrating Eid every year!

These things may not be reported as much, but they need to be highlighted.

The other photos tweeted from the same account are also being posted here.

There are two more photographs below. In one of them, a Muslim couple is taking away their kid along, on the scooter.

Apparently, the child took part in fancy dress competition or was made to play Krishna's part in a school event. Another photo shows a Muslim woman, in veil, taking kids dressed as Lord Krishna.

Besides, there is another photograph that shows a Muslim teacher with the 'Bal Gopals. If anyone knows the persons who took these snaps, please do tell me, I would love to give the credit to the photographers.

[Harmony exists all around us but is often ignored. Instead, stories of hate, discord and communalism get spread easily.

There are a million examples in our daily lives across India but they don't get promoted, hence, news of hate and discord gets heard more. Let's change it, now. This is a small attempt to change it through Communal Harmony Project]

For reading similar reports on this blog, Click the link HERE and also find out more about Communal Harmony Project

#communalharmony #communalharmonyproject #india

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

8,000 killed in 30 years in Assam insurgency: Terrorism not linked to religion as terror groups' religious links in North East India prove

Just a few days ago, terrorists opened fire in a crowded market in Assam, killing 14 persons no the spot and injuring as many others.

It was one of the deadliest attacks at a public space in India, but it didn't lead to national outrage.

TV channels didn't focus on it much, and newspapers were content with small follow-up stories the next day.

The reason was probably because the outfit didn't have an Arabic or Islamic name. NDFB, a militant outfit, was the prime suspect behind the attack.

Reports didn't talk much about modules. Photos of main leaders of the groups were not shown either.

Alas, such attacks are not new to Assam, or even the entire North East. Recoveries of IEDs, killings, terrorism--all this has been a part of daily lives for millions of people in North Eastern India, for several decades.

A chart that shows figures of deaths [of civilians, security personnel and the militants] is also available along with this news item. Hundreds are killed every year in this state alone. You can read the Hindustan Times' report here. puts the figure of deaths at 10,000 in just one state [Assam]. Of the eight states in North East, Assam alone has seen 8,000-10,000 killings because of terrorism. The estimates depend on if you take last 20 yrs, 30 yrs or 35 years.

This figure increases manifold if its neighbouring states like Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur are included.

In fact, even Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh have had militant groups. And remember, they have nothing to do with Islam or Muslims.

In all these states, terror has killed thousands over decades. The figure of deaths due to terror* is among one of the highest in the world, in this region. 

[*You may call it terrorism, insurgency, radicalism, militancy or separatist movement--it's your choice but the killers are terrorists, without doubt.]

The chief outfits responsible for killings are ULFA--United Liberation Front of Assam apart from NDFB. ULFA is officially termed a terrorist outfit and is banned in India. Yet, it has one of the biggest cadres.

In terms of killings, these outfits have killed far more people--Indians, than any other outfit.

Still, wanton killings of 'Hindi speakers', 'non-Assamese', 'Bodo' or 'non-Bodo', Muslims and Biharis, are sadly taken less seriously in the media. The words like 'Rebel', 'Radical', 'Extremist', 'Insurgent' and sometime 'militant' are used, but not the word 'Terrorist'.

However, the truth is that no outfit or group stands anywhere close, not even 1/10th when it comes to the extent of killings and violence these groups have perpetrated.

The ULFA cadre belongs to Hindus. Some other outfits have other minorities including some Christians.

You may cleverly use the word 'separatist' but the fact remains that just like the terrorists in Kashmir, these terrorists in Assam have been bleeding the state for decades.

Terrorism is against humanism, against ordinary people. It is always condemnable--either it is Jihadi, Leftist, Right-wing, Islamist, Hindutva or indoctrination is by any means--for language or territory.

It harms when terror is linked to religion because it is basically irrational and absolutely incorrect. Clearly, terror can't be linked to any religion.


1. About ULFA on South Asian Terrorism Portal. READ
2. National Democratic Front of Bodoland. READ
3. Wikipedia article about Assam insurgency, ULFA and killings. READ
4. Lives lost in Assam due to insurgency. READ
5. Thousands killed in 24 years: Killings in Assam yr after yr [South Asia Terrorism Portal] READ

Monday, August 22, 2016

Muslim freedom fighters' sacrifices, role in Indian freedom struggle: Syed Naseer Ahmad documenting the immortals of Independence movement

By Shams Ur Rehman Alavi  
Innumerable Muslims sacrificed their lives for India's independence. Thousands were hanged soon after 1857. Along with Hindus, Muslims too played a major part in the freedom struggle, up till 1947.
However, the role of Muslim freedom fighters doesn't get properly reflected in text books. In voluminous history books, names are mentioned but everyone doesn't have access. Besides, role and contribution of many leading figures of Indian freedom movement, have been relegated to background or just kept in footnotes.
Realising that how contribution of Muslim freedom fights has been ignored, a man has made it his lifelong mission to document the role of Muslims in freedom movement. Meet the man who has been selflessly documenting it and publishing books, with his own resources.

Syed Naseer Ahamed, who took up this huge responsibility on his shoulders, hails from Andhra Pradesh. For years, he has been dedicated to the cause. The result are his series of books that throws light on the immense sacrifices of Muslim freedom fighters.

The Immortals is his most famous book. It is a momentous work and a must in every bookshelf. The 350 page book carries rare photographs along with information about the major Muslim figures of Indian freedom movement.

The Immortals documents the freedom struggle across a span of nearly two centuries--much before 1857. Apart from well-known figures of the freedom struggle, it informs us about those who have been denied their rightful place in the books.

While it tells the readers about the most well-known figures and their sacrifices, role of Bahadur Shah Zafar, Begam Hazrat Mahal, General Bakht Khan and Azimullah, it also delves into the role of freedom fighters like the revolutionary Sher Ali, who had assassinated Lord Mayo, and was hanged in Andaman.

From Shaikh Bhikari to Barkatullah Bhopali, the leader of Ghadar party who had formed the first government of India in exile with Raja Mahendra Pratap, it tells the reader about the people who devoted themselves to their motherland, but today are relegated to a few lines in texts.

'Immortals' focuses on the lives of 155 freedom fighters along with their portraits. It took years of effort that he managed to get photographs or sketches of the freedom fighters from libraries, universities, kin of the freedom fighters or other sources.

Another aspect of the book is that it also tells us about many Muslim women freedom fighters. Abadi Bano Begam, Beebi Amatus Salam, Kuslum Sayani, Masooma  Begum, Hajra Begum, Jamalunnisa Baji, Hajara Bibi Ismail, Anis Begum Kidwai, are among them.

Syed Naseer Ahamed hails from a small town in Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh. 'Immortals', is one of his major works. 
In fact, he has so far written ten books on Muslim freedom fighters, in English and Telugu. He also intends to publish his next works in Urdu and Hindi as well.
Ahamed, 59, was born in Purini, a village in Nellore. He had his early education in Purini and later studied at different places including Kavali, Narasaraopet, Bhopal, Chitradurga and Guntur.
He gave up government job to practice law. Later, he took up journalism. However, he realised that a work of such magnitude needed full-time research.

Hence, he took voluntary retirement and dedicated himself to rediscovering the role of Muslim heroes of freedom struggle.

The result is 'Immortals'. His works have been translated in many languages. However, this book is a must in every household. In fact, it is one of the most attractive books one has come across in years. Syed Naseer Ahamed truly deserves a salute for this monumental work. After the first volume, the second is ready.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Have you seen a djinn: Here is a real Djinn who walks on the streets in India

You must have heard so much about djinns [jinns] and their stories.

But have you seen a real jinn! Not the one you probably met in an abandoned structure or at night.

This is a jinn in flesh and blood, who walks the streets of Madhya Pradesh--Central India.

He looks like the jinns in Bollywood movies and their pictures in books-comics.

The djinn's name is Pappu Mastana.

But unlike the jinns who eat coal or bones, he needs real food. Also, he needs money to sustain himself.

Pappu Mastana is the friendly and ever-smiling djinn. He would be happy if you offer him a good dinner.

The photos are old. He doesn't tell us much about his personal life, though we gather his father and grandfather were also Djinns! Surprised!

No one has seen him fly or walk in air though he often vanishes--not visible on streets for long. When he is missed, he is suddenly out there in front of you.

Pappu Mastana belongs to Kannod in Madhya Pradesh. But you may find him more in Sarangpur. As he is a Muslim jinn, he is more visible in localities where there is a mosque and 'jinn food'.

Though entire central India is his territory, he is mostly visible in Sarangpur, Talen and Narsinhgarh towns near Bhopal.

But he is secular to the core though he doesn't know that secular is a bad word these days. People have seen him taking form of well-known Hindu personalities.

I don't know where he is these days. His pictures have not been clicked by me.

Who can click a djinn's photo? In good old days, the negative would be clear and the djinn would then enter the camera and get into your house.

I got these photos sometime back. If the man who captured the images, agrees, I will put up his name [due credit]. But the story about our jinn is not over.

Once his grandfather met the king [ruler] of the princely state. The ruler was so delighted that he gifted a tiger cub to the djinn family. Where's the tiger? This writer has no clue.

Talk about a djinn and there is always a djinn near you, that's an old saying. Some don't believe that he is a real jinn. But there are eternal skeptics who never trust anyone. In local parlance, they say, 'Arrey khaan. koi jin winn nahi, ye to bahroopia hai'.

They feel that he is an ordinary man who dresses up to eke out his living. Whatever. Pappu Mastana remains a Djinn for me. What else could be more real? You see him walk, sip 'namak wali chai' and talk to people.