Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Fear of Minorities: Rise of majoritarianism and Hindutva in India, need for introspection among Muslims as well



Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Often it happens, that some Muslims in India rue, 'we are not snatching their jobs, we don't have adequate representation, we are being demonized, we are being lynched, still why the majority doesn't understand us or feels sympathy'. Why there is hate or anger?

A lot of it is valid and as a person belong to minority community, it would seem so that they we are wronged. We want justice but are we doing justice? Just after the Ayodhya verdict, I saw posts in FB groups about pictures of RSS leaders with Muslim Ulema. On pix of Shia leader with Sangh-BJP leaders, there were comments that would disgust you.

After all, when we don't trust own minority, always suspect-accuse them, and forget how many of mainstream Sunni leaders go-meet, involved all sorts of parleys but still target 'own minority'. Many of us publicly act suave but we too are like a 'mob'. We want our minorities too to 'behave'. It is so easy to term any sect 'Kharijite' in normal conversation.

I don't generally talk about Pakistan. But see, when you don't consider Ahmadiyyas as 'Muslim', leave them alone or give them the rights for a non-Muslim minority but you are angry, as they are not on your path, so the less than 0.5% minority is always an eyesore.

So much energy is spent on conferences, morchas on the issue, as if Ahmadiyyas are a huge sect. No, they are not but the moment you have a leader or politician behaving against norm, you start whisper campaigns that he is 'Qadiani'. Why do you feel so insecure, so threatened?

Clearly, a minority has to abide by certain rules. So when you have a huge minority, not 0.2-.4% but 15% around in India, here too majority will feels 'threatened', that they were 'own people' who got converted and now creating trouble, similar feelings.

The majority may get upset if you retort or even if you talk like equals. So that's how mindset of majority works. The reality is that not everyone will get a good job or earn well. Rather than looking for reasons behind our failure, it's very easy to blame the 'other', the minority, believing that things would have been better without them.

And also 'hate' as a passion, drives people, gives them the 'jeene ka maqsad', the kick many need.
Just sometime ago, I got message (from Muslims) calling for boycott of Mulla (Bohra) businesses. Now imagine, in a country where we face it--calls for boycott of Muslims, and we feel so hurt, many of us do it so casually and no one is bothered.

We don't even 'see' or talk about this blatant badmashi. That's majoritarian privilege within the community. When leaders of Barelvi or Deobandi school go to meet right-wing leaders, whose boycott are you going to call for?

Anyway, the levels of majoritarianism also depends on how 1-2 leaders may succeed in a society or by misuse of mass media. All this needs to be analyzed and tackled. But we must also keep introspecting, when we expect justice, we should also do justice.

Sometimes we have to get out of the 'complaining mode' or tackle the media-created image of minority. It needs an effort but it is not impossible. There are several successful examples. But we must be ready to accept our own failures, our drawbacks and must not lose our cool the moment we hear a contradictory opinion or hear our criticism.

Right now, we are facing injustice, a lot has happened that depresses us, that takes us to negativity. But we are facing a group that worked hard for eighty years, the right-wingers who have democratically got power, worked extremely hard to achieve the objective. We need to improve ourselves, learn, introspect and work.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Twitter faces backlash for allowing 'hate' on its platform in India, users ask it to act against hate, Islamophobia


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Social media giant Twitter is facing a huge backlash in India.

It is because of the company's perceived failure to stop hateful messages and even allowing users who give 'calls for boycott and open discrimination' to remain on Twitter.

The accounts that trended in support of boycott of an entire community [Indian Muslims] were not blocked & even the objectionable trend was not removed, though trends inconvenient for Twitter are removed suddenly.

On the other hand, several accounts were suspended or blocked on flimsy grounds--like posting a phone number seeking help or for seeking blood for a patient. Senior lawyer Sanjay Hedge's account was suspended for reasons best known to Twitter.

But those abusing people freely, issuing threats or posting fake news remain active and there is no one stopping them from carrying on misinformation. Many of them even have 'verified' status. Already, Twitter is facing flak for its strange social media policy.

Bahujan activists have demanded transparency in its verification process. Today, Bhim Army members reached Twitter office to seek clarification over its policies and that why Backward, Tribal and Dalit leaders don't get 'verified'.

The reality is that over a period of two years, Twitter has said that its 'verification' process is on hold. However, people with little or no following and even those who have tweeted fake news repeatedly, keep getting the blue tick (verified), though there is no contact or email on Twitter's website.

No criterion or parameter is known. Mostly, the PR agencies or middle-men are engaged in the job to get people verified. However, allowing hate and fake news is a much more serious issue. Users who have repeatedly shared fake news that had the potential to disrupt communal harmony are not suspended or blocked.

Instead, if a person who is not aware of Twitter's policy that someone's phone number can't be shared, gets suspended even for trying to help someone who needs blood in emergency. Twitter hasn't said it openly and clearly about it and most users aren't aware.

STOP HATE: Citizens' statement against Twitter for failing to stop offensive content, hate

This has been a long-standing problem with Twitter in India. Users who have been sending messages that disrupt social harmony or abuse religious figures or go to the extent of call for complete boycott of an entire community, are not punished.

Isn't it shocking that people who say that Muslims ought to be economically insulated in India--clear incitement (that is against the law of the land too), and violates constitutional provisions, face no action on Twitter.

READ: How Twitter gives free run to fake news, serial hate peddlers on its platform

In the past, such propaganda, demonizing minorities and hate has led to Rwanda genocide. In recent years, we saw killings in Myanmar. Yet, Twitter fails to even act despite hundreds of people reporting these tweets.

Independent fact-checkers have repeatedly exposed the people who are misusing the platform. These tweets make way to people's phones through screenshots, in WhatsApp, and go to rural areas where there is no system to debunk them or find their veracity.

PETITION: Twitter must stop hate, Nazi style propaganda on its platform in India


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Muslims get temple reconstructed after it was razed in road widening: Communal Harmony Project-51



Muslims in a town in West Bengal, raised money to build a temple that had come in way of road widening.

They also purchased the land for relocating the temple and then helped reconstruct the Kali temple for the Hindu community.

This is another of the umpteen beautiful stories about harmony we get to know from the ground, far away from the discord that is visible on social media or the hate on TV channels.

The cleric, Nasiruddin, a Maulvi, was present when the temple was reconstructed. This happened in Basapura in Nanoor, which is 160 kms from Kolkata (Calcutta), mentions Koushik Dutta, in his report in Hindustan Times.

“I have inaugurated mosques and madrasas. But this is the first time I have inaugurated a Hindu temple. It’s a different feeling altogether,” Mandal said, in the report published on October 29, 2019. Out of Rs 10 lakh that was collected, nearly 7 lakh was contributed by Muslims, temple puja committee's Sunil Saha was quoted in the report.

“The temple was demolished for widening a road that was an urgent need of the locals. The temple was about 30 years old and devotees regularly came here,” Nikhil Bhattacharya, a resident said.


“If local Muslims did not help us, organising the puja and rebuilding the temple would not have been possible. So we invited Nasiruddin Mandal to inaugurate the temple on Sunday evening,” said Saha further in the report.

The report also mentions incidents like how Mohammad Faruq, a 58-year-old resident of Dubrajpur area in Birbhum district, donated land for setting up a crematorium for Hindus. The land that he gave had a market value of about Rs 10 lakh.

And also the incident when a Muharram committee of Kharagpur town in West Midnapore district decided not to organise Tajia, and instead, gave the money to a Hindu cancer patient for his treatment in the year 2017.

In the same year, when no drum beater turned up to perform at a Tajia in Muharram in Suvur village of Bhatar area of East Burdwan district, the dhakis at the Durga Puja in the village replaced them.
In another incident in November 2017, a group of Muslims came forward to fund the wedding of a Hindu woman in Khanpur village of Malda district, when her family could not afford it.

Clearly, it's all so common but this doesn't get to headlines and TV channels keep raising the communal temperature, creating an image as if the communities are always fighting or at logger-heads. Photo courtesy [Pexels.com]

[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

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Facing hatred, Muslims spread love, take teachings of Prophet Muhammad to millions on Twitter: Lessons from Prophet's Life



Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

When a few misguided souls tried to spread hate by targeting Islam and Prophet Muhammad, Muslims responded with teachings of the Holy Prophet.

Innumerable Muslims responded on Twitter with love and kindness. They began sharing the teachings of the Prophet.

Within a few hours, Twitter was witnessing #ProphetofCompassion and #ProphetMuhammad trending on Twitter.

Tens of thousands of people were writing and millions saw it on their timeline. People who had little idea about teachings of Islam came to know about. That Prophet Muhammad was not just a messenger for Muslims, but for entire humanity.

[UPDATE: Again on Eid Miladun Nabi on November 10, again #KnowMuhammad was the top trend on Twitter in India with over 51,000 tweets till 10 pm.]

That how he abolished slavery, usury, ended apartheid, infanticide, discrimination of caste, colour, creed and gender and the message of Islam spread across the world. That no one was superior on the basis of birth and came up with right of inheritance and divorce for women.

Even providing legal contractual framework for marriages and divorces. Highest standards of justice, irrespective of faith of citizen. Protection to non-Muslims in Islamic societies. And we know apartheid and slavery remained legal in 'modern era' in the West till recently.

Prophet's sayings like, 'One must pay the worker his wages before his sweat dries' and how he treated adversaries, his worst enemies with kindness and mercy, reached those people who had little interaction with Muslims or Islam.

Muslims didn't choose harsh words to respond to provocative tweets that had started in the morning in India. Twitter hadn't even put a check on those tweets. But Muslims responded in a totally different manner.

The Prophet's quotes, his sayings, quotes from hadith and incidents of his life were narrated in tweets. In a tweet, I mentioned how Islam stresses on:

Justice. Equality. Kindness. Modesty. Charity.

Against discrimination of any form. Stand against oppression. Shun arrogance. Value of learning. Avoiding harsh language, hurting people. Teachings we grew up with & they must guide our lives.

Such focus on character, values. Even doing charity not looking at person in eye, lest we get sense of false pride. That even if you buy something for a poor man or servant, choose for him what you choose best (for yourself).

That's the way forward. We need to do more to ensure that Islamic values are reflected in our life. Rather than nitpicking and judging others, we must set example by imbibing the values and teachings in our lives.

Twitter users mentioned examples from Prophet's life like how a woman who used to throw garbage at him daily and when day she didn't throw it, the Prophet went to enquire about her health. This act of compassion overwhelmed her and changed the woman's life.

People said that how Hazrat Bilal was made the first muezzin, status to someone from black community when it was unthinkable, as apartheid continued till recent years and blacks face racial discrimination in US, West even today.

Not just Muslims, Hindus, Christians and people from other communities too cited examples of Prophet's teachings. Jagrati Sablok tweeted:

"A person asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) : Who is Most Deserving of Respect? He said: Your Mother. Person then asked: Who next? Your Mother, Prophet replied Again the person asked: Who next? Prophet said: Your Mother"

Some of the most tweets mentioning Islamic teachings and Prophet's sayings that were widely circulated on social media, are being mentioned here:

* The strongest among you is the one who controls his anger
* Do not waste water even if you were at a running stream
* Do not do evil to those who do evil to you, deal with them with forgiveness and kindness
* He is not a believer whose stomach is full while his neighbour goes hungry
* The best of you are those who are best to their women
* I and the one who looks after an orphan will be together like this in the next world.
* Feed the hungry, visit the sick, set free the captives
* A Muslim is the one that others are protected from his hand and tongue
* The best of houses is the house where an orphan gets love and kindness
* When you speak, speak with justice, even if it is against someone close to you
* Lucky is the woman whose first child is a daughter
* Be content and you will be the richest
* The best of you are those who are best to their women 
* An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab. A white has no superiority over a black (or vice versa) except by piety and good action.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

How religious processions can bring Hindus and Muslims closer, a tradition from Mandideep: Communal Harmony Project-50


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

A large number of Muslims welcomed the Vijayadashami procession in Mandideep, the satellite township near Bhopal.

At two different places, Muslims welcomed the Hindu community members who participated in the procession.

They garlanded the Hindu brethren, welcomed them, threw rose petals at the procession and also shared sweets.
But this is not the first such instance. It has been a tradition in Mandideep.

For, at least, thirty years, local Muslims have been garlanding and welcoming the procession in the 'Vijayadashami Juloos', mentions journalist Ateek Ahmad. In fact, such gestures go a long way towards strengthening bonds among communities at the local level.

At the Station Road, lot of Muslims led by Iqbal Ali and Salman Bhai welcomed the procession and garlanded the people. Later, Akhtar Ali, Ramzan Khan and many others too felicitated the prominent members of the Hindu community including the priests.

These traditions over a period of few yrs become strong and people start taking pride in 'our city's tradition', helps solve law-and-order issues too. Those doing it get respect, recognition too. In Bhopal too, Hindus and Muslims have welcomed each others' procession, historically.

[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

[Photo courtesy: Nai Dunia newspaper]

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Qasbahs of Awadh: The uniqueness of Lucknow, strength of its culture, bonding with its satellite towns


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Lucknow's connect with its satellite towns is a unique cultural and social aspect.

These qasbahs or the towns have a historical bonding with the city and the culture of Lucknow was considered incomplete without them.

Malihabad, Kakori, Mohan, Nagraam, Juggaur, Satrikh, Bijnaur*, Mahmudabad, Dariyabad, Haidargarh, Rudauli, Safipur, even up to Dewa-Barabanki [*another Bijnaur, not West UP].

These are the most famous ones. They were always considered an extension of Lucknow and Lakhnawi culture. No other city I know has such a bonding or connect with towns around it. Neither Bhopal, nor Hyderabad or other major cities I personally know.

People in these towns had unique relations, apart from locals' sense of kinship, marriages, a strong cultural bond with Lucknow. And so were Lucknow people attached to these towns. This is the DIFFERENCE when it comes to Lucknow (Awadh) and other cities.

This combined feeling of a common culture and shared heritage, helped Lucknow. Even after the onslaught after 1947, when culturally Lucknow saw major changes, a lot ended but a lot survived. That's due to these towns too.

Qasbah or Kasba is a place that is much bigger than village, it is a bit urban but not as big as city. These historic qasbahs now mostly have population in the range of around 15,000-50,000, life has urban elements, while also retaining a rural charm & leisurely life.

No other city has such qasbahs around it. These qasbahs produced eminent personalities, litterateurs, writers and people who achieved prominence in diverse fields. When I wrote the names on Twitter, many others came up with names of the Qasbahs that haven't been mentioned.

Sandila is slightly far, isn't it! But it has strong cultural links with Lucknow. In fact, it is a phenomenon outside Awadh (Oudh) too. Towns like Bilgram, Khairabad, Masauli, Nehtaur, Safipur are other examples in UP, to name a few.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Muslims extend helping hand, join Hindu neighbours in preparation for Dussehra: Communal Harmony Project-49


This is a photograph of local Muslims extending helping hand to Hindu neighbours, ahead of Dussehra.

This picture is from Bhopal. In Karod locality, the Dussehra Maidan is being readied for the festival.

The Muslims decided that they would join their neighbours in clearing the ground and in the preparations for the festival.

Just one of the innumerable such examples that we see in our daily lives in India.

Shouldn't we feel this is the real and normal India. Why not carry these photographs, share them and show them to people who feel that there is another India where just hate, abuse and lynchings happen!

It is all in our mind. If we make a resolve that we will spread positive narrative and circulate good news along with encouraging people to share such stories, perhaps, things can change a lot. So do share positive stories.

[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. Photos courtesy Mr Shafi Khan.

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

Multi-edition Urdu papers now printing in remote corners of country: Urdu newspapers in Gangtok,Guwahati



Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Once it was unthinkable that an Urdu daily would be published from a city in a state like Sikkim.

But today Urdu papers are being published from Gangtok (Sikkim) and Guwahati (Assam).

Taasir is a newspaper that is published from ten cities that include Patna, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Ranchi, Howrah, Bangalore and even down South, Chennai.

This is a new trend as multi-edition Urdu newspapers are now publishing from cities that were not considered 'Urdu cities'. Roznama Sahara has nine editions and the other major newspaper is Inquilab that has even more editions.

Inquilab focuses more on UP and Bihar. Apart from Delhi and Mumbai, its editions are in Lucknow, Varanasi, Meerut, Aligarh, Bareilli, Gorakhpur, Allahabad and Kanpur in UP. The other editions include Patna, Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur. In all, it has 13 editions.

It is an interesting aspect that major Urdu papers are now getting published from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. That not just Allahabad, Banaras, Aligarh and Gorakhpur or Meerut, but Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Saharanpur have Urdu paper(s), is quite heartening.

Sahara has nine editions that include Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Patna, Gorakhpur and Kanpur.

Earlier, In Dinon was probably the first paper that was published from many big and small cities across the country.

Today, it has these editions--It is now published from New Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Saharanpur, Patna, Mumbai and Bangalore.

There are umpteen papers in states and are published from different sets of cities. For example, Saeban is published from Delhi and the two major state capitals, Patna and Bhopal.

Qaumi Muqaam is published from Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Mirzapur, Raipur and Lucknow. Urdu Action from Burhanpur and Bhopal. Similarly, there are several papers with editions in Jharkhand-Bihar and West Bengal, the Eastern part of India.

And, papers that are published from different cities in Karnataka apart from Hyderabad like Salar and Siasat. Salar is published from Bengaluru, Hubli and Kalaburgi (Gulbarga). Siasat too has an edition in Bangalore.

However, reaching cities down South and North East is important. The papers also need to publish from Western part of the country, particularly, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Konkan belt, though Mumbai is a big centre.

[Shams Ur Rehman Alavi, is a journalist for more than two decades. He had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Later, he worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, also as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, subsequently Metro Editor with Absolute India, Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post. He has written for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.]

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A primer of Muslim names, Islamic terms and Urdu words for journalists, writers


It is the basic rule of journalism to ask a person--his name, how he or she spell it, how it's pronounced.

If someone's name is Hamid, you call him 'Hamid' as in 'Haamid', NOT Hameed.

Both are different names. Journalists, writers are supposed to know it. That's too basic, too simple.

And, for those born and brought up in India, who have lived here, and could pronounce Jean and Jose, perfectly, but don't know Rashid and Rasheed are different names, write 'Hazi' or 'Burkha', don't even know dictionaries in Roman exist, a primer needed.

*It is Burqa, not Burkha. If you aren't comfortable how to speak certain letters (Kaaf and Qaaf) you can at least write, correctly. No! There are hundreds of such words in newspapers. On TV channels, anchors act is if they are from another planet, especially, when they take Muslim names.

This will start from tomorrow: It will be quite long, will be constantly updated.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Photo that shows Hindu-Muslim bonding, brotherhood has taken social media by storm: Communal Harmony Project-48

This photograph has just gone viral on the internet. 

So many people are sharing it on social media, admiring it.

Of course, no caption is needed for the photo. It shows two processions passing by a route and the participants meeting, greeting the other(s)

There are positive vibes that come out. It all looks so good, almost surreal. 

That's different from another parallel world where even an advertisement that gives a message of brotherhood, can lead to people calling for boycott of brands.

Frankly, there are still lot of mixed localities in most cities in India. There are committees that organise events, take processions and have members of different communities in them. 

And, there are organisations, peace committees, where too they interact, support each others in events. Culturally too Muslims visit many Hindu functions and Hindus visit many Muslim events.

Just that we must share these stories and pictures as much as possible. It is learnt that this photo is from Silwassa. The Muharram procession and the Ganesha procession were passing through the same road. 

[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, September 11, 2019

Power of Propaganda: How lies about Hindu-Muslim population in India, Pakistan post-partition are considered 'true'

The power of propaganda is such that people don't even think twice before peddling fake information and rather than facts, rely on WhatsApp forwards.

To say that Hindus-Sikhs formed 23% population in Pakistan and in the last seventy odd years they have reduced to 1.6% is just one of the several such false stories that are fed daily to people.

It is like someone saying that Punjab had 53.2% Muslims before partition and now there are not even 2% Muslims in Punjab. No, this was the population of undivided Punjab, not Indian Punjab and after partition Muslims left from this state, just like Hindus and Sikhs came to India from Sindh and Punajb in Pakistan.

This figure of 23% includes West and East Pakistan, Bangladesh got separated in 1971. The truth is that Hindus were 1.3% in Pakistan (this part, that was earlier called Western Pakistan) in 1951. The population has seen an increase to 1.85%.

The Hindu population in present day's Pakistan [West Pakistan] was 1.3% in 1951, 1.4% in 1961 and 1.6% in 1998. Now it is around 1.85%. You can check NewsLaundry report too for the statistics in this regard.

This is close to percentage of Sikhs in India. In India, percentage of Sikh and Christian population has been going down. But this is due to different factors. In Jammu, Muslims formed a majority before partition but now they are a minority because of the killings that are less talked about.

Propaganda, falsehoods are spread with a motive, they help parties in their agenda. It is aimed at justifying hate against Muslims in India and pushing Islamaphobia further, so that victimhood could be instilled in Hindus & this hate can fetch votes.

Statistics are available but little attention is paid. Who cares when you have info reaching your inbox, the Whatsapp messages or the forwards. But facts are sacred. And every country must take care of its minorities.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Remember freedom fighters' sacrifice, their struggle for independence, stop hate and save the nation: Communal Harmony Project-47


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Can we look at them from a religious prism?

Who can dare do that? These are our heroes, the men who gave away their lives for the cause of India's independence.

Their idealism, their hope, their immense courage resulted in awakening of masses in the country.

They represent our freedom movement, the shared heritage, the combined struggle, they symbolise our unity. Just don't fritter away this great legacy.

We must corner, shame those who spread hate and divide people among religions. Be proud of our common heritage, spread love and brotherhood, harmony, save the country.

Today, as we see hate, communalism and religious divide, people spreading false messages and targeting each other, it is all the more a reason to remember their sacrifices. For the freedom fighters, their identity as an Indian was more important.

They gave their precious lives for the sake of freedom. We need to confront hate, take the hate-mongers head on and fight. We need to live up to the ideals of the freedom fighters whose struggle gave us independence.

Take a pledge, shame those around you who divide people on communal lines. Speak forcefully about unity, defend the 'other', take stand for everybody. This will be the biggest service to the nation and also to those who died just because we could live in freedom.

We need social movement, must shame those who create divide or talk ill of others. It is a fact that hate speech & attacking others on religious lines hurts people, weakens the country. Shun people who do it, make it 'un-cool' again. Stop hate. Save India.

[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

Friday, September 06, 2019

Islamophobia in Hindi newspapers: Dainik Bhaskar front page report reveals bigotry under the garb of journalism

How prejudices get reflected into newspapers, a lot is subtle or clever.

On Teacher's day, Hindi paper Dainik Bhaskar interviewed Yuval Noah Harari as Page 1 lead.

Reporter questions him about threat of technology getting into hands of 'Islamic nationalists and terrorists'?

If paper feels that 'nationalism' (or ultra-nationalism) is bad, then it has to be all nationalism, why just 'Islamic nationalism'. And if it is Terror, then do you link it just with one ideology or faith? Trying to push own agenda!

You are well aware of White nationalism, if extremism is concerned, you have the neo-Nazis and racists who are behind most shootings in USA. Even if one person pushes own agenda, Islamophobia, then where is the desk? On front page, a mass circulating Hindi paper, lets anything go

What context? Not the first incident. But must be a test case & for future as well. Serious lapse. Perhaps, when papers don't have diversity in newsrooms, it happens. Lapse. But, there are sub-editor, news editor for this!!!

If you claim to be India's top Hindi paper, at least, have basic understanding. Name all, Jew-Hindu-Islamic-Christian-Sikh-Buddhist-Jain, if you have to name. Or if you want to link it with just one faith and show bigotry, then let us be clear. Wonder if you will explain!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Petition asks Twitter to stop hate peddlers involved in Nazi style propaganda and spreading fake news in India

This petition puts on record the failure of Twitter to act against serial hate peddlers who spread Nazi style propaganda against minorities.

Forget banning or disabling their accounts, Twitter doesn't even remove the tweets, either because they are either 'influential' or support the ruling party in India.

The petition demands that Twitter India must act against these serial offenders who push false stories and repeatedly exposed by police officials, authorities. Yet, Twitter refuses to act against them.

"These handles that have huge followers, constantly indulge in spreading lies, fake news and manufactured information to spread discord. Even though such misinformation is causing mob attacks and lynchings, Twitter fails to even remove the tweet, let alone ban the user", says the petition.

"In the latest incident, activist Saket Gokhale has made a formal complaint to the Delhi police regarding Madhu Kishwar's objectionable tweet. She has been spreading fake news that has the potential to damage communal harmony and social fabric in India".

"Shockingly, people who even give an open call to economically boycott Muslims in India, a statement that is against the law of the land too, and violates constitutional provisions, face no action on Twitter".

"In the past, such propaganda, demonizing minorities and hate has led to Rwanda genocide. In recent years, we saw killings in Myanmar. Yet, Twitter fails to even act despite hundreds of people reporting these tweets."

"Independent fact-checkers have repeatedly exposed the people who are misusing the platform. These tweets make way to people's phones through screenshots, in WhatsApp, and go to rural areas where there is no system to debunk them or find their veracity".

Sign and Support the Petition:

LINK: Twitter must stop supporting hate peddlers who indulge in Nazi style propaganda in India

For more info, do read the background.

Fake News, Propaganda and Hate: Twitter gives them free run

Monday, August 26, 2019

Muslims serving the Hindu pilgrims during Kanwar Yatra in Uttar Pradesh: Communal Harmony Project-46


Is it not a wonderful sight to see Muslims tending to the Hindus who are part of the Kanwar Yatra, a religious journey?

This is a scene from a street in Uttar Pradesh. At this camp, the men who are part of the Yatra and get injured in the long walk, are given medication.

The volunteers provide health assistance, apply medicines and provide first-aid. This is just an example of what happens on the ground.

Unfortunately, this is not reported much and we hardly catch a glimpse of such stories on TV. The headlines will always be about conflict, controversy or communal hatred, inflammatory speeches or divisive politics.

As a result, people get a different perception. Being good or doing good, doesn't make it to the news. If you are a vandal or you break a law, you are on TV. Just because the saying among journalists is, Dog biting Man is not news, Man biting Dog is the news.

However, this is all the more a reason to write about communal harmony and the love-brotherhood in real life. This photograph is from Khudai Khidmatgar camp in Muzaffarnagar. The information about the revival of Khudai Khidmatgar group in India, is available here.

[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

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

White Supremacist Terror stuns America: 22 killed in El Paso, 9 shot dead in Dayton

White Supremacist Terrorism has once again come back to haunt United States of America.

In El Paso, a town in Texas in USA, a lone wolf went on a shooting spree that led to 22 deaths.

The initial figure was 20 but later two more people succumbed to injuries.

"Seven Mexican citizens, 13 US citizens, one German citizen and one victim whose nationality could not yet be determined were among the dead in El Paso, authorities confirmed on Monday".

"The 22 victims ranged in age from 15 to 90 years old", reported the Guardian.

The shooter had posted anti-immigrant manifesto before the shooting and had a stone-cold look when he was arrested, reports New York Post, a newspaper known for often giving twist reports in case of white supremacists.

And also for linking it to mental disorder or making them appear as innocents by their focus on their 'good behaviour' elsewhere, that would sound them 'normal' and 'humane', unlike the image of a killer.

The second incident occurred in Dayton in Ohio. Nine persons were shot dead in an attack that came just 13 hours after the El Paso incident, the assailant has so far given no clue to his motivation.

The Dayton police chief, Richard Biehl, confirmed that the victims of gunman Connor Betts include his own sister, 22-year-old Megan Betts", the paper further mentioned.

Connor Betts fired 41 shots in less than 30 seconds, killing nine people. He used a .223 calibre high capacity rifle that had 100 round magazines. Over a dozen people were injured in the attack. He even shot dead his own sister.

Betts was armour-wearing and masked when he fatally shot these people in a bar-cum-restaurant. Described a 'bully' since his schooldays.

Also, he kept a hit list and 'rape list'. In this case, probe is on to find what was the motive and whether he was a supremacist too, but Connor  Betts is a White American.

The newspaper reports again used the terms, 'gunman' and 'shooter', not TERRORIST or the attack as Terror attack.

It has been a long-standing issue in US media that white men who are involved in majority of domestic acts of extremism are not called Terrorists and their acts not termed 'Terrorism'.

LINKS:

1. Terrorism in US: White man is always shooter or gunman, NEVER a terrorist

2. Insane gunman or Temple shooter but NEVER a terrorist: Media must de-link terror from religion

3. When 'White terrorist' kills 10 students in Oregon, US media calls him lone wolf or gunman

4. Florida airport firing: Once name was known, 'terrorist' became 'gunman', headlines diluted

5. Majoritarianism, racism: Why Dylann Roof not called terrorist despite killing people in US?

6. Alexandre Bissonnette attacked mosque, killed people, was fan of extremist right-wing leaders but he was not called terrorist

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Shameful role of Hindi newspapers in spreading lawlessness, mob violence and hate crimes: How can goons be termed 'gau rakshak' or gau bhakt'?



Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Role of newspapers in giving legitimacy to lynchers and goons by calling violent mob as 'rakshak' [protector] or 'gau bhakt', is a common practice in North India.

In fact, this needs to be said clearly and more forcefully now as India has seen rise in hate crimes and mob attacks in recent years. There are circumstances that are created which embolden the members of these self-styled Senas and Dals. And vernacular media plays a significant role in it.

I will give an example. A couple of days ago in a city in MP, goons claimed that they got whiff of 'cattle transporters & meat trafficking', hence they gathered and attacked the transporters, beat them up. Subsequently, the injured persons were handed to the police.

But one of the papers on front page gave a headline that termed them as valiant warriors. This vigilantism and lawlessness was praised and the term 'gaubhakt' was used to make this act sound 'positive' though no police statement was mentioned in the report so that reader could have got the correct facts a bout the incident. 

Yet another Hindi paper that is based in UP, highlighted the vigilantes' excesses but still called them, 'gau bhakts' [See photo]. The 'gau rakshak' is not an honorific or a post for anybody taking law in their hands and committing violence. But newspapers term them 'gau-bhakts'--i.e. those who serve the cows or cow protectors.

A similar incident had occurred in Khandwa recently, when many people were accused of transporting cows. These people were beaten up, tied to a rope and humiliated. Those who committed this insane act are not shown negatively in Hindi media.

In fact, those people who were mistreated, beaten and humiliated, were seen as cow traffickers even though there was no police probe over by then or any proper briefing to media that whether they had documents or not (and whether transportation was an illegal act, at all!).


This was an unfortunate incident. The victims included mostly poor Hindus and a couple of Muslims too. But more than that, it is about human dignity.

Just think of it--Indian citizens were humiliated on their own land. How can anyone can beat them up, round up, force them to chant slogans and tie them up. It is cops' job to act or check papers or this has been outsourced to vigilantes!

However, the character and composition of newsrooms in Hindi media is such that there is always a clear bias and support for right-wing goons.

When Hindi media treats this sort of lawlessness as a positive act--majority of people in newsrooms support these Dals-Senas from their hearts, have power to create false perception, change opinion & such page 1 coverage pushes govt-cops to wall, what's the hope?

They write as if the vigilantes had the right to catch and beat the people. Just see the headlines and the reports, you will realise this sympathy and support, putting the vigilantes on a higher pedestal. Readers get impression that these vigilantes are doing something right. Also, in process the belief in system and police is affected.

Naturally when majority of people who form opinion on the basis of these mass-selling papers, read daily about gaurakshaks and the 'supposed bhakshaks', the biases are strengthened. Media in India can't escape the blame as it is responsible for the situation, for this divide in society, weakening the nation & institutions.

Multiple abortions, killing baby girls in womb doesn't affect media, politicians or society in India


Sumati as horrific dreams and wakes up traumatised in the middle of the night as the 31-year-old had to undergo seven abortions in the last 10 years of her married life because it was a female foetus every time. 

That's one of the biggest social evils plaguing Indian society--tens of millions of girls have disappeared in the last few decades. 

But no, TV and papers won't hold debates on it, they will raise the issue of Vande Matram or Nationalism, Talaq or Halala, to divert, even if at the cost of letting this regressive practice continue.

This is the real tragedy for India. Here, the real issues never get discussed in media and hence, society doesn't care about reforming itself. So what if 30 million girls have died because of this regressive practice!

The focus will be on one incident in which it will be a religious conflict--Hindu Vs Muslim, that will fetch TRPs for channels. The politicians who never tire from inflammatory speeches, and worry about the growth in Muslim population, and go on with their propaganda.

However, they will never express concern or raise awareness about such a critical issue. Why they don't care about deaths of millions of Hindu girls in the wombs? That's just a double-faced society and unfortunately that's the reality of this country and the media-politician nexus that promotes just one kind of discourse. 

LINKS to the report in English and Hindi newspapers about Sumathi's story. HERE and HERE.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

SHAMEFUL: Twitter India promotes hate-content, Islamophobia in India, refuses to act against hate preachers


Social media giant Twitter has failed to act against 'verified' users spreading hate in India.

Contrary to its claims that it has been tough on hate speech, Twitter has not even bothered to take action against users who pour venom.

One of the examples is Abhishek Mishra, who openly gave a call for economic boycott of Muslims in India.

This is not just hate and Islamophobia, but also breaking the law of the land. You can't discriminate against a fellow Indian citizen, this is against constitution.

No one can exhibit-practice such bias on the basis of caste, colour, creed or community. Besides, the user's comment is punishable under 153, 505 and 295 (A) apart from other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

In fact, the user Abishek Mishra, (@Abhishek_Mishra) who is associated with Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), has made controversial comments earlier also. He has been consistently spreading venom against minorities in India. However, he is a 'blue tick' guy--who has a verified account.

Despite numerous users reporting the tweet, Twitter hasn't taken action against it. From IP Patel to Madhu Kiswhar, there is a long list of people who indulge in propaganda, fake news and false information that has potential to disturb law-and-order.

Such behaviour emboldens others who in turn spread even more hate and spread Islamophobia. Clearly, Twitter India is complicit and its role in promoting-protecting such content, must be put on record.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Banned terror outfit's attack killing lawmaker, 10 others got little attention in mainstream media



A banned outfit that has been involved in terror and violence in the past, attacked a legislator and killed 11 persons.

This incident occurred in Arunachal Pradesh. The legislator--Tirong Aboh, and his son were among the 11 victims in this daredevil terror attack.

Aboh had got warning from the outfit earlier too. It must be remembered that NSCN (IM) is a banned outfit in India, and hence its actions must be termed as terror attack just like other similar banned outfits.

When the incident occurred, national media didn't have any other big news. The Lok Sabha elections have been on for nearly two months. Now it was just the wait for results.

However, channels didn't focus much on the terror attack. There were tickers on some channels but no special story, no reports sent to spot from Delhi or Kolkata to get special stories. Nothing about the outfit, the circumstances about the incident and, of course, just no photos of the 'terrorists' on screens.

Generally, in most cases, TV channels show the sketches and photos. It earns them TRP. But in this case there was no interest. The next morning, newspapers also showed similar disinterested. In some papers, it was page 1 story but with no insights, plain reporting and a day later, no more follow-ups.

LINK: 11 killed in terrorist attack on MLA's cavalcade in Arunachal Pradesh, legislator and his son dead

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Menace of Maoist Terrorism: 15 commandos' deaths in Maharashtra, Five including MLAs killing in Chhattisgarh

Deadly attacks by Maoist terrorists on security personnel took place in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, in recent weeks.

First, in Chhattisgarh, a BJP MLA was among those killed when his convoy was targeted in the Bastar region. Then, 16 persons including 15 commandos and a driver, were killed in the IED blast in Maharashtra.

These were apart from other attacks by Maoists in this period. However, the killings of security personnel that are otherwise played in media, didn't evoke much response on these occasions. Just a few months ago, deaths of CRPF personnel in Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir) prompted nationwide anger.

In the case of Kashmir, TV channels just didn't let the incident go and kept showing the visuals for days and nights, until there was such outrage that across India, people took out rallies. In almost every city and town, youngsters came out on streets.

This also led to attacks on Kashmiris. What was the fault of Kashmiris living in other cities or hostels or students, traders in Meerut or Lucknow? But when the Maoists set off blasts in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, TV channels didn't have much time.

No questions are asked as to how so much explosive reaches these forests. Or, how Naxalites continue to get the weapons. Just a few days later one or two persons may be killed in an encounter and the 'claim' of killing conspirators are accepted in the press.

These incidents were not given focus though Pulwama had seen nonstop coverage. In the case of Naxal attacks, there was no report about identity of killers and there were no discussions. The focus remained on Lok Sabha elections.

Neither reporters talked about last rites of martyrs or cared about the compensation or how bodies reached the homes. This is strange. In case of Maoist terror, there is no seriousness and unfortunately for TV channels -newspapers it is just another attack.

LINKS:
1. No end to terrorism as Maoists kill 16 in terror attack in Maharashtra. CLICK
2. BJP legislator, security personnel killed in terror attack in Chhattisgarh. CLICK

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Communal reporting, Islamophobia in Hindi newspapers: Nav Dunia peddles propaganda, brands Muslims as infiltrators

This is just a reflection of how Islamophobia and branding Muslims, goes on in Hindi newspapers in Northern India.

This report tells that all 'ghuspaithia' [infiltrators] are Muslim--totally one sided view and peddling the BJP-RSS propaganda.

The illustration shows a man who has to 'appear a Muslim'. So this man is shown here wearing a skullcap. He is a Muslim, so he must have a beard and also because the 'Islamic colour' had to be brought, the kurta was painted green.

The man shown is poor but still his footwear has nails--for hurting our land! Everything has been done to create perception of an 'enemy'.  It is clear cut case of Islamophobia and showing Muslims in a negative manner.

Such hate is causing attacks on Muslims. It is high time communal reporting is contained and there is check on it. It is this image of a 'Muslim' that is being persistently pushed into the minds of the people.

The paper also goes on to support NRC, though it is not an editorial. The entire page doesn't at all tells why people migrate and why Hindus from other countries are being given preferential treatment in citizenship.

For these papers, it is not an issue why people come from Nepal or from other countries. And if at all they come from Bangladesh, what's the reason. For the paper, it's just nothing but taking the RSS line without using any brains.

This is horrific level of one-sided propaganda and gutter-level journalism. Further, this is being published just when India goes to polls. Unless people object, raise voice, speak to media house owners, drag them to panels, this won't stop.

In fact, his is the biggest threat to Indian democracy. The newspaper owned by Dainik Jagran group. In most cities of MP-Chhattisgarh, it sells as 'Nai Dunia' but due to a 'title issue', in Bhopal, it is called 'Nav Dunia.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Terrorist attack on New Zealand mosques leaves 40 dead: White supremacist terror emerges as big threat to West


Terrorists have struck once again--attacking two mosques in Christ Church city in New Zealand, leaving 40 dead.

The horrific attack has once again shown that White supremacist terror has emerged as a big threat globally, especially, to the West.

The incident occurred at Al Noor mosque in Christ Church apart from Lingid mosque.

Armed terrorist stormed inside the mosque on the day when Muslims congregate for special Friday prayer.

The indiscriminate shooting led to over two dozen deaths apart from many injured. Police say it was a coordinated attack, hunt on for other suspects. Security has been provided to all the mosques across the country. Initial reports said that four persons have been arrested.

One of the darkest days in the history of New Zealand, says New Zealand Prime Minister after terror attack at mosques in Christ Church.

The Bangladesh cricket team was in the mosque but the members survived this terror attack.

Even more surprising is that the suspected terrorist live streamed the entire attack with the camera fitted in his helmet.

Media reports say that, 'The gunman who livestreamed himself opening fire on a Christchurch mosque has posted a manifesto online explaining why he committed the attack'.

READ: 'Insane gunman', 'madman' or 'shooter' but NOT Terrorist: Media soft on White Terrorists

READ: White supremacist terror emerging as a global threat to security, especially, in the West.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Muslims help restore 80-year-old temple for Kashmiri Pandits: Communal Harmony Project-45


It is another hearing story. Kashmiri Muslims helping restore an old temple so that the Kashmiri Pandits can worship, there.

This is happening in Achan village in Pulwama. Local Muslims have joined hands with their neighbours to rebuild the Shiva temple.

The chairman of the local Waqf committee, Nazeer Mir, said that the Kashmiri Pandit family wanted the temple to be restored, so that devotees can again come here and worship.

In the past, people came from far and wide to pay obeisance at this temple. But after militancy began, the situation changed. Most of the Pandits had migrated from Achan, years ago.

The lone Hindu family in Achan wanted temple to be restored and hence local Muslims took up the task. Got Rs 4 lakh sanctioned from the district administration. They hope that the temple that was neglected for long, would be read soon for the devotees.

A report in The Tribune by M Aamir Khan mentions  that, "This temple is famous for a spring that changes colours and devotees from all over the country used to come here".
Mohammad Yunus, a member of the Auqaf Committee, said they wanted that the temple bells and ‘azaan’ (call for prayer) were heard together at Achan. “It is our wish that Pandits return and live together with us like before. 
Though the restoration work started in August last year, it had to be stopped in the winter due to heavy snowfall. By summer, we are hopeful that our village will hear the ‘azaan’ and temple bells together,” he said.
NDTV report by Nazir Masoodi quotes Bhushan Lal, "Our neighbours who are Muslims are doing it because they respect this temple". His younger brother, Sanjay Kumar, said it's their Muslim neighbours who are more important to them than their relatives who have migrated from the village. 
He said it's not just restoration of the temple but they take care of everything in most troubled times. "We live here like brothers and the Awqaf committee helped us in its restoration" said Mr Kumar.