Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Media covers up right-wing groups' inflammatory acts and vandalism in Ujjain, Indore and Mandsaur


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The role of local media during the violence in Ujjain, Indore and Mandsaur where right-wing groups took out rallies, has been shocking to say the least.

The tilt of Hindi media and local TV channels in North India, is not a new phenomenon.

But the manner in which the acts of provocation were covered up, takes the art of 'embedded journalism' to another level. 

Despite the shocking images, neither the videos, nor the acts of extreme provocation, were reported at all. 

The incidents in all the three places--Ujjain, Indore and Mandsaur, were given a twist and headlines were similar in TV channels as well as newspapers. 

The 'rallies were targeted' became the standard line, as if there was a communique send from an org's office and orders given to just stick to it, and not report anything at all.

Rather than questioning role of administration or how these rallies were allowed and why no responsibility is fixed on officials, papers put the blame on victims. There was nothing on TV about these acts of vandalism at mosque. 

Also, no anchor or editor questioning Collector, SP. Till a few years ago, any newspaper report would have raised questions on failure of intelligence. Also, restrictions on big gatherings continue due to Covid 19, yet, they were flouted.


But there was not a single report that mentioned these aspects. Neither it was asked why there was witch-hunt against the victims, why one-sided action taken, the houses were demolished swiftly and cases registered under NSA. 

Years ago, it was mentioned that how the vandals and rioters often boasted, 'Ye andar ki baat hai, P.... hamare sath hai'. Now, perhaps, this P might stand for Patrakar or Press too?

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Policeman carries elderly woman pilgrim for 6 km after she faints: Communal Harmony Project-56

 

A policeman has received praise from all corners after he carried a woman on his shoulder for six kilometers.

The policeman, Sheikh Arshad, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, carried the 58-year-old woman, who was on a pilgrimage.

She was going to the temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala Hills when due to exhaustion, she fainted.

Sheikh Arshad found her lying her in a semi-conscious state. He says that it was his duty and that when he saw her, he thought of his mother. 

Finally, she was administered medication. “When I saw her in a semi-conscious state, I thought of her as my mother and wanted to help her. There’s nothing great in what I did. It was just my duty, and service to Lord Venkateswara,” Arshad says, as quoted in a newspaper report. LINK.

Nageswaramma was on a pilgrimage and was walking the steep 18 km long pathway, when she had fainted. The temple is located in West Godavari district in Andhra. Shekh Arshad got praise from top cops apart from appreciation on social media.

READ‘Was just doing my duty’, says Cop who carried elderly Tirumala pilgrim for 6 km

[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

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Muslim man donates precious land for temple construction: Communal Harmony Project-55


A Muslim man donated precious ancestral land for expansion of a temple in Karnataka.

The temple management needed land because a part was coming under highway project.

When HMG Basha came to know that the temple committee needed land, he decided to gift the land, rather than sell it. 

The has been reported from Hoskote near Bengaluru in Karnataka. Basha says that the communities have been living together for centuries and unity is must for progress. He transferred the land to the trust, free of cost. LINK 

The temple authorities and local residents were so delighted that they put up a hoarding with his photograph along with his wife's photo on the premises, thanking him for the gesture. 

People were surprised and lauded him. Now the temple trust is planning to revamp the temple. Basha said that people were struggling for space to go around the temple and hence he took the decision, reports The News Minute. 

Photo Courtesy--The News Minute.

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

There are innumerable examples of harmony in our daily lives across India but they don't get promoted, hence, news of hate and discord gets noticed 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, December 22, 2020

Media working as agent of right-wing: Inter-faith marriages are hailed when groom is Hindu, targeted if groom is Muslim


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Media houses that take up active role in case of inter-religious marriages when groom is Muslim & create havoc with inflammatory reports, suddenly turn liberal when a Hindu man marries a Muslim girl & term it 'breaking shackles of religion. 

These are clear double standards. They hail any marriage in which a Muslim girl marries a Hindu man, but if a Muslim man marries a Hindu girl, it is termed 'Love Jihad' and there is not just strong condemnation but law misused to target the couple. 

This is exactly the stand of the far right-wing that was termed 'fringe' till now, as they considered it a sort of 'victory'. However, media houses too follow the same strategy and this is something that needs to be understood.

Above, the news reports show two instances of inter-faith marriages in two states, published in different Hindi papers. In both the cases, Muslim girls married Hindu boys through Hindu rituals. And, the papers praise the act. 

In case, groom is Muslim, papers create so much hatred using the word 'Love Jihad' that not just groom, his family also suffers. Either you support all inter-faith marriages or none. Here, Hindi papers become 'Hindu papers', who write in order to send the message to the society that Hindus should bring Muslim brides and if a Muslim groom gets a Hindu bride, they ought to be punished.

Here, journalists take up the role of agents of right-wing and wear identity and religion on their sleeve. They are not journalists, they are not just some unethical people or involved in false reporting. In fact, they have been preparing the ground for fascists to take over the society, by dividing people. 

It is media, many journalists in these newsrooms who work as mercenaries of hate and spread poison in society. It is they who are responsible for communalism & hate that results in assaults, false cases, lives getting lost.  

And, it doesn't stop at marriages. For decades, they have been injecting this slow poison from newsrooms--injecting communalism, hate, distrust of other community, and doing their job with zealousness & doing it cleverly. In ordinary reports, not easy to spot how twists are given.

They have innumerable ideas, if 'Love Jihad' propaganda gets a bit too much to handle, they will come with another. The problem is this level of indoctrination that makes 'journos' misuse their power to spread hate, put harmony of country at stake, is ignored.

Every story gets twisted, based on these biases. This is the gutter level to which Indian Journalism has fallen into.  They will never share data, statistics, just mislead society.  There was one radio station in Rwanda, but we've innumerable media houses, packed with such people peddling this agenda of hate, under the garb of 'journalism'.

READ: How newspapers, TV channels in India create the bogey of 'Love Jihad' 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

How journalism based on 'anonymous sources' leads to violation of rights and destroys lives: Tablighi Jamaat members suffered due to media's misinformation campaign


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Earlier this year, after a media misinformation campaign, Tablighi Jamaat members were booked across the country and they were sent to prisons. 

Due to the hostile and one-sided reporting, harsh sections of IPC were used in several places and they were denied bail. 

The result was that they spent a long time in jail, for no reason. It took nearly months before many of them could get bail or were acquitted.

Now that courts have discharged most of them, a lot of people talk about justice being done finally. However, the point is that it comes after a long ordeal, punishment for no reason, the suffering and spending time in jail. The issue is this process that punishes.

The Tablighi Jamaat members who were not even tested positive for Coronavirus, were accused of 'spreading the virus'. They were targeted, blamed, booked, sent to jails. Media was willing partner in this vilification that was used to harass Muslims, even poor vendors were targeted.

Such was the climate that there were boycott calls, certain groups were asking vendors to put up Saffron flag on their hand carts while entering neighbourhoods so that their religion was known. Many people were beaten too. 

Anything can be made credible when channels start round the clock, propaganda, false news. This was how innocents were framed, lives destroyed, use it to divide society, brand entire community linking with just anything anything & another year goes, agenda continues. 

Remember, the man who died in jail, wife took her body. This couple had come from Bangladesh and both the husband and wife were booked, arrested and sent to prison. After months, when they were about to get released, the person had a heart attack and died. 

Everyone suffered but not each story was even reported. This immense power to pin blame on someone innocent & then make the person look devil, using it to continue your hate project, is decades old and it continues. Either arrests in UAPA or SIMI link or Corona spread, dozens who are termed suspects by special cell, over the years.

For years, 'according to sources' journalism has destroyed lives. Like a man booked, immediately local papers term him 'terror mastermind arrested'. *No officer quoted, just 'sources say that he might have links'. Court finds him innocent, papers write, 'terrorist acquitted'. Even after acquittal, the 'tag' remains.

This continues because when a person is framed, kin's first priority is the case. Years later when released, he is often so traumatized that he doesn't have the will or resources to fight this or drag to court, the people who played a role in framing him, just for sensationalism.

How false stories are planted just because of bias or just for the sake of sensationalism

Let me give just an example. Once, an editor in an English newspaper in Bhopal, wanted a story about particular fundamentalist group's presence in the region. Reporters kept saying that it was not possible but he wanted a 'big, sensational story'. 

So for this, reporters use, 'source said, 'an officer on conditions of anonymity', to create. That group was not even strong in S Asia, let alone have presence in this region of India, but he wanted story to beat other papers and create a buzz, by claiming that there was a network of people associated with it. 

Imagine what happens when such stories are carried. Stories are planted cleverly like 'worries about this growing here too', cops say 'will look into it'. So you get validation, give a quote in the end, 'cops don't deny, will look'. 

READLessons from Tablighi Jamat case verdict and TV channels' propaganda to demonize group

So basically it is the role of media that is responsible for not just attitude of society but also excesses by officials. Hence, there is need to talk more about the structure of media, the composition of newsrooms, the lack of ethics.

It is an example of how ideology driven people are responsible for this situation where innocents get implicated. But those are involved in misinformation just because of their presence in newsrooms, get away, don't feel ashamed, have no accountability and are never punished. 

Photo is representative. Felipe Vallin, Pexels. LINK

How media fails to take up serious cases of rights abuse, 'normalizes' acts like illegal detention and other atrocities


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

A man was suspected of stealing a cell phone. Now, in order to force him to surrender, police brought his sister to police station, which was basically illegal detention of a woman who had nothing to do with her relative's actions.

She got traumatized and consumed poison, had to be rushed to the hospital. In case of VIPs--the rich and well-connected, this doesn't happen that other family members are forcibly taken to police station to put pressure--a sort of blackmail. 

Even in extremely heinous crimes, this doesn't happen that if an influential man is wanted, the police would take the kin to police station. But this is very common in case of ordinary citizens, poor, those with no connections. That's the difference, how law is misused.

The particular case is just an example. Now, the woman, is in hospital. Her brother, Vinod, is in police custody. The family members said that cops made the woman sign on blank paper & it had 'supurdnama' written on it. 

Later, when this was revealed, policemen had the audacity to say, 'we didn't beat her' & 'we let her go before sunset', etc etc. Imagine, they are not apologetic or worried about any action, in fact, they plainly state the fact--'we didn't beat her', as if illegal detention was okay. 

This is a regular practice. Just that someone is poor, their relatives are picked up and cops use the term, 'baithaya hai' for detaining the person. The fact is that no one else can be made to pay for someone's offence. 

In many cases a person is innocent and the charge if not correct but due to women relative or a family member taken to police station and illegally detained, the person agrees to appear, surrender and get arrested. No power can change it on ground.

As media doesn't report it, society doesn't know that such practices are illegal, common 

The worst aspect is that for general society, it is like 'how can it happen', 'we never knew'. Increasingly, these reports don't get published in big editions, just buried in regional page, unless someone dies. It is accepted in newspapers, 'ye to chalta hai', so ignore it.

The decline in standards of newspapers and the kind of editors coming as Editors who have little field experience & more happy to befriend one or two bureaucrats & consider it their lifetime achievement, even the basic, mild critical reports have no space in newspapers.

Basically, you can't even make people realise what's happening and the extent of the rot, if newspapers and media stop publishing it. Recently, a senior journalist who was being considered for the post of chief editor, was asked 'liasoning to kar lenge na' [You'll be able to liaison...?]. 

Certain dealings are expected in the interest of the media house owner. However, that's another aspect which needs a separate long post. Here the issue is that as media doesn't adequately report such instances and due to several reasons local journalists feel that it is the norm, the society remains oblivious to the extent of such acts and everyone gets to known only when they have to personally face it. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Media Bias: Muslims termed fundamentalist for no reason but others never termed fundamentalist

 



Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Long back, in early 1980s, the most circulated English news magazine of the country, did a story on some Muslims not taking interest on their deposits in banks, and it had termed the act as sign of growing 'fundamentalism' among Muslims. 

How often do you see such alarmist articles or headlines in a major newspaper or magazine that talks about worries regarding growing fundamentalism among other religions in the country?

In that case it would be termed a sweeping statement or there would be outrage over how issue is being generalized. But in the case of Muslims, let's see how this narrative is created. 

We've not reached here in a day, it has taken years of such biased media coverage that lumpenised the middle-class and strengthened an impression that Muslims are 'regressive, backward and fundamentalist'. 

Term astrology a science, hail benefits of gau mutra or break coconut when plane brought or endless acts even in official ceremonies. Nothing is considered going back to 'fundamentals'. Ever heard the term used elsewhere, for others?

There are lynchings, forcible separation of couples, spouses separated by these self-styled vigilantes, murders in the name of cow and open threats over conversion, the threats to our religious structures and inflammatory speeches that talk about Hindu Rashtra. 
When almost everything we do, from the food we eat, rituals, lifestyle, wedding, religious symbols, everything is under attack, constantlly and factories continue their work round the clock, institutions have failed, laws are being misused. 
Besides, despite people like Shambhu Raigar, Dara Singh or Babu Babu Bajrangi, any article on radicalism among Hindus? No. The article was published in early 1980s. While Kerala Muslims went out, sent remittances, helped our economy grow.
From the Ram Janmbhumi movement to Gujarat riots, from marginalizing Muslims in jobs to avoiding homes on rent, there is a lot to show how right-wing fundamentalism became mainstream in India. That majority community has allowed the vigilante groups and not spoken against them, strongly, is never made an issue.
In a recent piece just a few days ago, it was casually mentioned that the sportsperson came from a 'orthodox Muslim family'. Now what does it mean! A normal Muslim family that prays or believes in its religion is 'normal or orthodox'. Does a Hindu who goes to temple or prays, is termed 'orthodox Hindu?. A normal Hindu or Muslim are those who believe in Hinduism and Islam, period.
However, when you are already having such strong stereotypes and see Muslims as the 'other', your coverage begins on this pattern. Hence, the mere fact that Muslims in Kerala were financially getting strong, couldn't be digested even then. So, the narrative of Kerala Muslims turning fundamentalists was peddled, so that there could be witch-hunt. Tough laws are brought on the basis of such reports that give credence to lies and more powers given to agencies. The pattern is always the same. 
Dollars are welcome, always, but when Muslims are involved, a spin is given to the story. The false bogey of Muslim infiltration in Bengal and Assam, which was exposed after Assam NRC, too shows how media has for ages played this dirty game. [Photo courtesy, Mr Terje Sollie, Pexels.]

Monday, December 14, 2020

Dealing with Dissent: Term a person 'troublemaker', demolish house or attach property, make entire family suffer




Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Unfortunately, it is becoming common to initiate proceedings for attachment of property or ordering demolition of a house, just to send a message to the opponents, dissidents or vocal critics. 

A person may have been part of an agitation or may not have even attended a protest but, still, case can be registered under different sections. Once case is there, he is 'accused'. Local media doesn't raise questions, rather, it readily terms him as troublemaker and the result is that the entire family suffers.

If someone is accused of participating in agitation, delivering a speech or even organising people, is it a crime? Even if the person's act was unfair, first try him or her in court and let there be a judgment. If he gets sentenced, will go to jail.

But, who waits for trial? Idea of breaking houses, attaching properties is becoming so common that in cities, people don't even find it odd. If a person is convicted, he can pay for his 'act'. But, rather than justice there is a display of brute power, vengeance on entire family that includes women, children, is becoming common.

There can be numerous examples but this post doesn't list specific cases or any region, because it just aims to tell how this happens and there is little outrage. As, people in positions are able to misuse the powers. If a CM wants someone 'fixed', entire system, officials from top to bottom, just follow it. 

If someone is 'targeted', multiple cases registered & ground is prepared for such actions. No anger or even feeling of uneasiness is seen in society. All this happens even before there is a charge-sheet, let alone case reaching the court. 

So, those who feel that things can be dealt with, should understand that this is at a level where it is happening in cities [within states faraway from national capital] & no outrage or interventions. It's normal. Earlier, what happened was that if it was 'decided' that someone was to be taught a lesson because he was vocal or active, few cases were registered & person was externed from district.

If the person was a fighter and had some resources, he could approach high court & get some relief. Now 'family' also becomes a target. As far as public is concerned, it is least bothered. Firstly, the news that reaches people is through media.

When you destroy a person's reputation and term him 'accused' or 'suspect' or some similar word, it's okay, the exercise of demolition of a house or structure becomes a mere spectacle. Even municipal babus get a high, feel as if they are bureaucrats with real power, on that day, when the house is termed illegal and demolished.

This suits officials too who go by the ruling party leaders' diktats. But where are the checks and balances--role of judiciary and press? Even opposition remains silent and media presents every such action that overrides law as 'strength' of govt or a 'dabang afsar'.

In one particular case, one newspaper in a small item on the same page, carried how children were crying, girl saying that the kin who was termed a 'lawless' person wasn't even staying with them for years but the entire house was demolished just because of it, to show 'strong sarkar'.

Also, that family was not Muslim. I mean, such is the level of 'complicity' of press, that any law can be broken, civil rights trampled upon, all sorts of injustice, everything is justified and hailed through headlines in these 'mass circulated' vernacular dailies in states.

Worse, people even think of 'legal' and 'illegal' on the basis of names. Big players who destroy forests, interfere with environment, never identified, nobody will dare talk about them. That's why they run media houses, make you feel good about action on 'other community'. 

On one hand, a year old basti can be legalised before election, a fifty year old house or settlement can be termed 'encroachment' and bulldozed. This is the harsh truth and newspaper headlines would make people believe that the particular structure had to be demolished, and 'it is good for the city'.

Media houses are part of huge encroachments, those owning the big newspapers, also run schools and colleges, institutions on encroached land, and hence, they are always on the side of establishment. Also, there are a lot of other factors.

Take instance of a vocal legislator of the opposition who get targeted. First he was booked for delivering an inflammatory speech and later on the basis of this, case was registered against him under harsh sections. 

As newspapers created the impression that he was trying to create a divide in society, the administration went out demolishing part of his college, terming it encroachment. As the leader was Muslim, this sent a message to electorate that the government is 'strong', and tough on 'minorities'. 

However, it later came out when the case reached High Court, that the speech had no such thing that was claimed in the FIR. In fact, it was completely twisted to prepare a case. However, the result was that others who don't have clout or political connections, get scared that if a legislator can face it, then who are we!

Making not just dissenter, but his entire family suffer is the mantra. So that people should think twice before even speaking up. In fact, people are ready to face false case, incarceration but the thought of entire family suffering because of them! That's the ploy.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

'You don't look like a Muslim': The oft-repeated line reveals prejudice, generalization and biases


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

I really wonder what's wrong with our society that people look down upon anyone working hard to earn a living. Is dignity of labour, such an alien concept in our society!
Of late, the term 'puncture wala' is so often used to target an entire community in India.

Why this contempt for hard work and labour? Just because people feel lot of Muslims mend tyres, they use the term for Muslims in conversations on social media. In my housing society alone, there are over 50 domestic helps, all of them are Hindu. So should on a limited experience...

....someone can feel that all Hindus are poor? In the several cities, I lived, in localities of all kinds--Hindu majority & Muslim majority, there were always very few Muslim domestic helps. So can on this basis Muslims make conclusion that Hindus are more poor? 

Someone just wants to believe that 'Muslims are backward'. They even know dozens of educated Muslims but still remain so opinionated that when they have educated Muslim friends and acquaintances around but would still call them 'exception' & hence say, 'you don't look like Muslim' because for them others are always backward.

This is what is called as PREJUDICE. You want to believe it, as it gives cheap satisfaction about self worth. You either grew on propaganda, believed these stereotypes or didn't have adequate experience but still want to believe wild things like an entire community is backward & poor. 

Though, you know that both communities are huge, hundreds of millions of poor in each those working hard, self-reliant. Everyone must respect hard work. Also a huge middle-class in each group, similarly rich and educated too. 

Check data or see who are the poorest of poor who die most of malnutrition, who live in countless villages of India, who die most of starvation. Are they Muslims? Just believe 'others are poor' & you feel rich. Convenient for your self-esteem, rather than appreciating hard work

More people who die of hunger or the poor & homeless who die because of natural factors--heat or cold in extreme seasons, while sleeping in the open, are Hindu. 'Not own'! They becomes another category--caste or tribe, not 'Hindus'. Biases are acquired too, from society...

...and in our times, TV & social media. Despite under representation in jobs, large number of Muslims worked really hard, stand on feet, become self-reliant. Perhaps, many get satisfaction to believe that 'I may not be doing great, but the other is doing really bad'.

It's easy to do well when you inherit property or have kin in jobs or parents owning business.The real heroes are those who start from the scratch or those battling all odds--Hindu or Muslim, puncture wallas or road side vendors, anyone who earns with hard work. Respect them.

It's very cheap when you make fun of a person who earns living with hard work. I didn't even like to give the example (at the beginning of this thread) but sometimes, you've to write certain things because 'entitlement' is such that people just grow on biases & 'generalize'

Slightly different but happens that lot of people in North form weird notions about people from certain regions, looks, habits. Can't broaden vision, stubbornly believe, then it's bias. If you haven't seen, met & from firm opinion based on your limited experience, it's your issue.

READ: Why not to judge a person by his name, appearance or shop

Now, if I come from a region, I, of course, may not have great knowledge about other part, but how can I always be so opinionated & generalized sweeping statements that 'entire particular group or section comprising crores are always backward....'.

A guy one day started conversation, said, 'I find many Muslims here having lot of books, personal libraries at homes...' & went on to say a lot. The village he belongs to, had few Muslims & based on this experience & hearsay he made up his mind & got surprised to see opposite.

Remember, another factor is social. That you have mostly met and seen more people from the section of society you come from--class, caste and religion. So you may not have seen lot of 'others'. Try to learn, interact with more people, explore the world before forming such opinions, crude and crass comments.

Photo: Mr Bhavesh Jain, Pexels

Monday, December 07, 2020

Urdu short story on Internet: How afsana, mini stories reach audience in the era of social media

 

On one hand, there is a fear that social media is affecting the print.

But on the other hand, it also provides opportunity to take your writings to a wider audience. 

As usual, there are pros and cons. Urdu readers and writers are using the new media to express themselves.

One of the biggest challanges is that Facebook is auto-translating posts.

Hence, if you write something in Urdu text from a region where Urdu is the not the first language, then for the reader it automatically translates it into Hindi or English or Kannada.

To deal with this, the best way is to write text and then post it in 'Image form'. 

Imagine, an eminent author wrote a long article in Urdu and on Facebook, it was translated in English by the social media network, extremely bad translation and even author's name was translated!

So, in order to deal with these issues and to ensure that not just the font is readable but also what you write, is visible to the reader, not some 'auto-translation'. On Twitter, there is a restriction--you can't post more than 280 characters, which means just 2-3 short sentences, hence, this is the way to tackle the restriction. 

So an afsaana or 'afsaancha' i.e. short story or mini story or any other creative work can be posted under the hashtag #Urdu and #UrduTwitter. As there is limit of 280 characters for a tweet, this is posted as an image file, and appears as photo, and hence even an entire short story fits in one tweet.

These are just a few examples of these short stories in Urdu.

You can read some of them under this hashtag at these links:

1. Jalwa dikhane ka shauq LINK

2. Aapki zabaan alag, Aapka culture alag LINK

3. Ansune naam, Anjaane log LINK

4. Qissa-e-Kitab LINK

5. Ye Urdu ke dost hain ya dushman LINK

6.  Whatspp group ka Sher  LINK

7. Fatihana muskurahat LINK

8. Woh be-imaan kaise ho sakta hai LINK

9۔ Yagya jaari hai LINK

10. Guzishta sadi ka Shahar. Khawab Kahani. LINK

Saturday, November 28, 2020

How fake news is planted in newspapers: Role of Hindi media is spreading misinformation and passing off false claims as facts


This report that is being shared widely on the social media, is apparently from Dainik Jagran. 
It claims without any basis that these 'objectionable slogans' were raised during farmers' protest.
However, there is not even the 'exclamation mark' or 'Question mark'. The headline passes off a false and imaginary claim as true.

Inside the report, they clearly mention that it is 'not confirmed', also the cops deny anything about the slogan. 

But headline does it, it creates a wrong perception. That's how people are misinformed, propaganda & lies are given credence & due to the immense power--huge circulation and reach, the papers are able to create a false narrative

These papers that sells millions of copies, have been doing it for ages. Utterly shameful & disgusting. The report mentions three people--one of them, the MLA whose claim is basis of this story, didn't pick up phone. SSP is quoted that he didn't receive any such information and Additional SP too said that he was at the spot but not aware of such slogans. Yet, the newspaper spreads fake news.

For decades they have done it--if there is a demonstration in varsity campus or a Muslim-led protest, the 'journalist' sitting in his office, will imagine and write about 'seditious slogans' raised & will print it, no shame, no fear, no accountability.

Sadly, you find such weirdos and indoctrinated guys in most newsrooms across North India, their aim is to turn the entire society just like 'them' & they have been supplying this filth, such poison and been misinforming society through their reports--for as long as one remembers.

One paper publishes, other sites too pick it up and something that was non-existent, is shared through FB pages & passed off as 'news'. Every time it happens. Any other profession where there is no checks-balances, responsibility! That's Indian journalism, sadly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Communalism in Indian Media: How Hindi newspapers, regional media created 'Love Jihad' bogey



When a Muslim youth changed his name & embraced Hinduism, the papers praised the act and write--religion no bar, love wins. 

Otherwise, even if there is no conversion & just a girl and boy with different faiths, marry, it's termed 'Love Jihad' & crime & conspiracy. 

More than politicians, it's the local media that is responsible for communalizing, spreading poison & hate. 

Strange it may seem to an outsider, but this entire campaign and propaganda against inter-faith marriages gets real push from media. 

In fact, most of the times, even if politicians want to avoid after a couple of days, the guys with the mike would insist and still ask the same question again & again, coming across the politician at his bungalow, at a meeting, on way to a public event, at Airport, or anywhere else.

If you want to seriously write about inter-faith marriages, you can get annual figures of your district, but no newspaper would even do this much. They will just peddle propaganda, theories and conspiracies. Not information from data regarding marriages under Special Marriage Act, records in the Collectorate. 

But the level of journalism is such that any marriage in which it's a Hindu girl marrying a Muslim boy, it gives heart burns to journos, and they on their own start mentioning that it is a case of 'Love Jihad', though the term has no legal basis.

India's investigating agencies have said it that there is no such concept and even a Union minister made it clear in the Parliament. However, the right-wing agenda continues. A 'Hindu girl going to a Muslim boy' is taken as a case of 'defeat', irrespective of the fact that many Muslim girls too marry Hindu boys.

Just see how without data or statistics, propaganda makes people believe that there are more marriages and 'our girls' are being snatched. And, all such theories, conspiracies get legitimized through newsrooms in regional papers. If you're in a newsroom, you have a responsibility.

In a society, where there are people from diverse sections, there will always be some inter-faith marriages. If you even want to debate it in a secular state, at least, talk on figures. But this is not even mentioned in papers. 

The journalists become representative of not just a religion, they take upon themselves the task to do moral policing, act like right-wing fringe and flag-bearers of majoritarian fascism, blaming Muslims and giving this shameful perception that 'Muslims deliberately lure Hindu girls' or as if 'Hindu girls are eager to go to Muslim boys' (sic).

Friday, November 13, 2020

How to form political connections, gain clout and establish yourself in society: Learn the most basic model from Mr Agrawal

 


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
Agrawal Sb is just an 'active' citizen. Always having important numbers & ready to make call to police station, a municipal official or minister's bungalow.
He presents himself as a man who ensures votes from entire housing society, in a candidate's favour, hence, gets attention. 
In fact, 1000-1500 votes that he claims from his entire locality, are not less, as this is more than the victory margin in closely fought polls.
He arranges visits of politicians to area & before MLA or leader's arrival, ensures that some people are ready--from guard to his trusted ones with garlands. 
Leader feels good, ensures that his representative, bungalow staff always respond to this man promptly. Interestingly. He (on behalf of others) makes similar promise to other important candidate too. Anyone wins, no issue.  In colony, he is not liked, people call him 'sharp' and 'go-getter' but when faced with an issue, seek his help. 
Though his community has less strength among the electorate, he is able to present self as important to all. It is about being active, smart & able to 'claim' and 'sell' others as your 'people'. Others too don't have an objection.
It is not even too much hard work, just systematically doing certain things over a period of time. And, it is mostly such people who are able to create 'clout', at a city level without doing great. Just marvel at those who 'manage' to do all this, find a way to become 'some sort of operators' in the city, region. 
You may feel it's petty but in times of need, it is important. Anything demands sustained work, cultivating people, yrs. It is not that politician doesn't know that any X, Y or Z can't get you votes. Who can? 
But, it's about claiming, arranging, playing the role of the 'in-between'. The netas also enjoy a show when in a locality they get genuine support from locals without party organisation or workers' involvement. There are many other models but this one is the most basic.

PHOTO: Aleksejs Bargmanis, Pexels

Friday, October 30, 2020

Open letter to Dainik Bhaskar: Stop publishing biased, inflammatory reports that divide society


It's shocking how journalism takes a backseat and propaganda, falsehoods and terms that are inflammatory, objectionable and divisive appear in news items of the paper.

It was a gory crime, a youth kills a girl (published on October 28, 2020) but the news was presented in Dainik Bhaskar as a case of Love Jihad. 

There was no 'alleged' as prefix or even the term in inverted commas though the reality is that there is no Love Jihad either in Indian Penal Code & Home Ministry has clearly said that this term has no legal basis.

Every day there are innumerable killings across the country but if in one case, if it is an inter-religious crime, the newspaper uses this term to strengthen this propaganda though Love Jihad was a term used by ultra right-wing groups and it is a figment of their imagination. 

However, they succeeded in repeating this charge and the term was brought in usage. But when a newspaper on its own starts using it, it not only makes a mockery of journalistic standards, but also divides society and tries to give the impression as if it is mouthpiece of a ultra-right wing group that feels there is a conspiracy and one community is targeting girls belonging to other community.

A crime is a crime and the accused must face action in accordance with law, that's all. There are no ifs and buts, stern action must be taken. But how the paper on its own decides to use this term, a usage which cleverly pushes forward a shameful narrative that demonizes one community, it is a dangerous thing. A newspaper is for public information, not to strengthen biases and create communalism or mistrust in society.

When you are fully aware that Home Ministry has said that there are no Love Jihad cases, the term has no legal basis and that no such cases have been reported by central agencies. This has been stated in the Parliament. So who uses this term? Did police tell the reporter that this was a case of Love Jihad? No. How, your editorial team on its own used this term?

That's not the first occasion. You need to be sensitive and practice journalism. Does your news organisation even have a basic diversity, representing the region's population or your editorial team doesn't have representation of all communities and sections. As, the reporting quite often shows deep biases and failure to adhere to high standards of fair journalism.

On the same day, another news from Indore came--a man killed his newly wed wife by strangulating her with dog leash (chain) and later stabbing her repeatedly. In this case it was not Hindu-Muslim issue, so it didn't get attention. Unfortunately, of thousands of cases if one case has an inter-religious angle, it is played up and people fall for the propaganda when newspapers too take such stand rather than reporting crimes as crimes.

Petition urging the newspaper to stop publishing biased reports and adhere to journalistic standards and media ethics

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Indian politics: From blaming 'foreign hand' for troubles to 'inventing' enemies to for polarization, inflaming passions



Till 1980s, national politics was about blaming 'external hand' for any disaster, failure and to divert attention.

It was so common that at the slightest opportunity, leaders would either blame an outside agency for the troubles or it was believed that certain leaders were working at the instance of the 'foreign forces'. 

But now it's a totally different scenario in India. Our own people are branded, enemies are 'invented' within the country in order to inflame passions and for polarization.


Entire groups-communities are defamed, targeted and hate fuelled through IT cells, media & propaganda. 

The strategy now is to term a group 'anti-national' & hound it through TV and social media. It becomes a 'tamasha' and weeks, even months pass as channels and newspapers enter the fray, forcing people to discuss, while forgetting all other pressing issues. 

Effort is made to pit own people against each other, at least that way focus is away from failure on development, other issues. There is always more passion when there is hate & rivalry among groups. TV is playing a major role in this sinister campaign. 

New terms are coined, dissenters can be branded, one is Urban N, other is Tukde Tukde Gang or Love Jihad, et al. And above all this Hindu-Muslim issue. Anything from what one eats, what one sells or cooks, from Vande Matram to Cow, Madarsa, Jinnah, Burqa, Marriages, name a word, even one of them can be used to spread hate through 9 pm debates, FB pages that are for this reason & it just never stops.

It's not that people don't know. You have to live together, hundreds of millions of each community, no one is going anywhere. You know, this hate is manufactured, it serves a purpose but still people continue to fall for this. Distrust and hate keeps going up, people do not even get tired! 

Now it has hit the level of creating enemies from within, own people termed outsiders, students and activists branded, sometime it is religion, then regional from M'shtra Vs Bihar or anything that just pits one group against other, keeps minds occupied, grab eyeballs, inflames passion.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

America yet to elect first women president in 230 years, Asian countries chose female heads of states long back

It has taken 230 years. America has seen 45 presidents in history.

But not a single woman head of state, till now.

That's strange, isn't it?

In a few weeks, results would be known and we will know if United States of America (USA) is going to have a new President. The contest between two men, once again.
And, no woman in sight, as yet. In the last elections, there was a chance.
In fact, Hillary Clinton was expected to get elected, but ultimately Donald Trump became the president.

Compared to the 'progressive' USA, countries in other parts of the world, Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania have elected many women head of states including Presidents or Prime Ministers.

Today, Europe has Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany and there was Theresa May in Britain, till sometime ago. However, in Asian countries--Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim nations, there is a long history of popular women leaders who led their countries.

Srimavo Bhandarayaka was the former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka [Ceylone]. Indira Gandhi was, of course, Prime Minister of India, for so long. Benazir Bhutto, the former PM of Pakistan, was a charismatic leader. Tansu Ciller was Prime Minister of Turkey.

Bangladesh has the best record of electing female leaders. The contest has been between Sheikh Hasina Wajid and Begum Khaleda Zia. Both of them have been PMs in the country. Among the initial women leaders was Golda Meir, the former PM of Israel.
One of the most well-known women politicians to lead a country was Margaret Thatcher in UK. There have been many more names. It is surprising that America hasn't had woman president before or even a serious contender. This is surprising because countries where women empowerment is believed to be far less and where literacy among females is quite less, have had female leaders. Sylvie Kinigi was acting president in Burundi (Africa) and later women leaders were elected in other parts of Africa too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Great Freedom Fighters of India: Revolutionaries who were hanged for the role in independence movement during the British rule

Mohammad Abdullah who was hanged 


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The role of revolutionaries in creating the awakening among masses and their sacrifices for the motherland, can never be forgotten. 

The fact is that martyrs were the real heroes--those who hanged and happily went to gallows for the cause of freedom. 

Remember, it was an era when Indians were treated like slaves and there were large-scale killings after 1857. 

Even in later years, the Jallian Wala Bagh Massacre and Qissakhwani Bazar Killings, had infuriated Indians. 

After 1857, freedom movement saw participation of hundreds of such patriots who were willing to give their life for the cause of independence.

Each such martyr--every hanging and freedom fighter shot or matyred, was responsible for the rise in nationalistic fervour and as a result created awakening among the people. The list of martyrs and revolutionaries is long from Tatya Tope, Azimullah, Sher Ali, Bhagat Singh, Ashfaqullah, Rajguru, Madanlal Dhingra, Mohammad Abdullah to Chandrashekhar Azad and many others.

Mohammad Abdullah had assassinated the judge who was known for giving harsh sentence to freedom fighters, especially, the revolutionaries. History books mention that John Paxton Norman was assassinated by Mohammad Abdullah. 

The incident took place in Kolkata (then, Calcutta). The judge John Paxton Norman was known for harsh sentences on freedom fighters and revolutionaries. Historians, for this reason, mention that the revolutionaries despite strong repressive measures, preferred to die but remained committed to the cause of freedom. 

Sir Paxton Norman was acting chief justice of Calcutta High Court in 1871. Abdullah was later hanged. His portraits adorn museums and homes, now. Just like later years freedom fighters and revolutionaries who wanted the atrocities to end, and took up initiative--Bhagat Singh and Rajguru killed Saunders, and got hanged, the flame of resistance continued to burn. 

READ: Sher Ali, revolutionary freedom fighter who assassinated Viceroy, got hanged

Revolutionary freedom fighter Turrrebaz Khan and the soldiers who led attack on British Residency: Independence Movement's Martyrs in Hyderabad

 


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Tura Baz Khan alias Turrebaz Khan was the fearless revolutionary who led the audacious attack on British residency in Hyderabad. 

This heroic act and the supreme sacrifice of soldiers, had caused a stir in the entire region, during the first war of Independence in 1857. 

The attack was planned in order to free the rebel Indian soldiers who were held in prison, there. 

Earlier, as news from the North about the revolution in Oudh and other regions arrived, there was resentment among people in Hyderabad too. Like most of the other princely states, here too the ruling class was pro-British. 

Cheeda Khan had revolted against Britishers when the state contingent's 3rd cavalry was ordered to march to Delhi, at Buldhana. He had refused to fight for the East India Company and left with other soldiers. However, they were arrested and handed to Resident. 

In order to rescue them, 'Sher-i-Hyderabad' Tura Baz Khan and other revolutionaries surrounded the Residency. As large number of rebel soldiers reached, Turrebaz Khan and Maulvi Alauddin along with Rohillas demolished wall and broke into the residency. There was a full-fledged battle. 

A large number of rebel soldiers were martyred. Treachery and deceit, particularly, role of several officials who had sent information to British officials about the impending attack, was responsible for the defeat. 

Turrebaz Khan got injured but managed to escape. He was later identified and arrested. He was asked about whereabouts of Maulvi Alauddin but he refused. He was to be sent to Andaman Nicobar but he managed to escape from the prison on January 18, 1859. 

Now, an amount of Rs 5,000 was announced on his arrest. This was a huge cash reward by the standards of the era. He was caught and killed [shot dead]. Tura Baz Khan's body was hanged by a tree near Residency. This was to send a strong message to the revolutionaries as well as the ordinary people. 

But the sacrifice of revolutionaries is an important chapter in the history of freedom struggle. There is a memorial and a road has also been named after him, however, despite the act of valour, his name is missing from text books and he was termed an unsung hero. Of course, the memory of such martyrs and revolutionaries remained in the hearts of people. 

Journalist Papri Paul, in a Times of India report rightly says that," ...this revolutionary act brought Hyderabad on the map during the first war of independence in 1857". Of late, there have been efforts to remember the freedom fighters and a play on his ultimate sacrifice was staged in Hyderabad.

The photograph above [on the right] is the title of Devireddy Subramanyam Reddy's book Uprising of 1857 a movement that defined India of August 15, 1947. It is available on Amazon, at this LINK. He is also the author of Colonialism and Resistance in India.

READ: The story of Turrebaz Khan, the forgotten hero

READ: Turrebaz Khan, the forgotten hero of freedom movement

Photo of the memorial above, courtesy Mr Kavali Chandrakanth

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Muslim woman donates own land for construction of temple in Uttar Pradesh: Communal Harmony Project-43


It is another heart-warming story that tells about how communal harmony exists on the ground and people go extra-mile to help other communities.

The Muslim woman decided to donate own land for construction of temple.

Not just her husband but entire family including the son, supported her decision.

This incident has occurred in Uttar Pradesh--the same state from where we get so much bad news--crime and lynching incidents.

This is all the more important as UP is the same state where the dispute at Ayodhya continues for ages and hundreds have died in communal clashes across the country, over the temple-mosque dispute.

According to reports, Akbari, who lives in Siwalkhas, nearly 20 kms away from Meerut, was approached by local residents who wanted a donation for construction of temple.

Rather than donating a few hundred rupees, she instantly committed that she would give her own land--more than 1,350 sq ft [150 sq yards]. This is indeed exemplary and rare. Her husband was not at home then. When he returned, he supported his wife's stand.

Aas Mohammad is a retired teacher. His wife Akbari says that when the delegation of local Hindus arrived at her house, she felt that she had donated for construction and repair of mosques earlier, so she offered the land to temple.

Siwalkhas is located on Meerut-Baghpat highway. It has nearly 80% Muslim population. People like Master Ram Gopal, Ravinder Sharma and local Hindus who were part of the delegation were overwhelmed.

Now, the agreement has been finalised on paper. It has been a talk of the town and also in neighbouring cities, that how a Muslim woman took the decision in the times when land prices have skyrocketed.

MUSLIM WOMAN GIVES LAND FOR TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION IN MEERUT: LINK

[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

Saturday, October 10, 2020

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

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Unethical, inflammatory reporting in Indian Media: How vernacular Hindi newspaper turns into Saffron groups' mouth piece!

 


This is just an example of how newspapers can give a twist, play in the hands of communal elements and demonize entire community. 

Nai Dunia, a newspaper in Central India, which is published under the title Nav Dunia in Bhopal, has published this report. 

The paper uses the term 'Love Jihad' in a way as if it is a 'known practice' or there is a finding or a judgment about it. 

Besides, there is no 'alleged' as prefix along with the term. Not even the inverted commas to suggest that this is what VHP says. With total finality the term is used, as if it is a phenomenon and an established thing!

This report has been splashed as if it is one of the biggest issues facing the nation. Of course, they didn't even bother to publish any data or figures to suggest that there is anything as sinister as they claim in this report.

If they just do their bit & get info directly from DM's office or through RTI about number of Muslim girls who marry Hindu boys and Hindu girls marrying Muslim boy. Even though there is nothing illegal in inter-religious marriages, the paper presents VHP claims as news.

The reader gets a feeling that Muslim youth as involved in luring Hindu girls for marriage--demonizing and accusing the entire community. 'Nav Dunia' in Bhopal was once considered a prestigious newspaper.

Further, if you don't have any ulterior motive, why don't you give figures that are easy to obtain. There are inter-faith marriages & in states, assent is needed before conversion. term is 'floated', then these papers do every bit to ensure that they pass it off as something real, not even 'alleged Love Jihad'.

Of course, these papers have taken upon themselves the task to keep this society in conflict, forever. In small cities, more rabid. If any organisation or party has issue with Hindu-Muslim marriages, please go ahead and press for a law that stops such marriages and term them illegal. 

Also, ban inter-faith marriages and get the Special marriages act, quashed. Don't act mercenaries under garb of journalism. Society that consumes this level of trash,  remains silent, such irresponsible & unethical journalism where journalist, just because of privilege of being at a position, can demonize communities, act as mercenary of a group & create social divide, how things will improve, ever?

Friday, August 28, 2020

Revolutionary freedom fighter Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi who was jailed in Andaman Nicobar: Exiled, died in prison, buried in Port Blair




Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Revolutionary freedom fighter Allama Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi who had given an open call for armed struggle against British, in the capital of India, rests in eternal sleep in his grave in Andaman Nicobar where he was exiled.

Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi had given this open call in Delhi, also giving the speech after over 14,000 soldiers had arrived, soon after uprising in Meerut and Awadh. He had issued the diktat at Jama Masjid. 

The widely respected scholar and author had taken upon himself the role to exhort Indians to fight the British. In fact, soon after reports of rebellion came, he had left Alwar and arrived in Delhi. He took part in framing the constitution for the the rebel army that had now set up administration in Delhi. 

In 1815-16, he had joined royal service. A farsighted man, as early as in 1826, he had petitioned to the Emperor Akbar Shah II [Saani], as a people's representative. In this Persian letter, he had mentioned how Company rule was crushing the people, and this was resulting in misery, loss of jobs.

He wrote that how trade was captured by foreign 'taajirs'--from cloth to horses, everything was in their hands and also gave insight about farmers' poor condition. Besides, wrote about the situation that had actually arisen due to Metcalfe's orders--thehardships in Delhi and around. This gives an indication about Allama Fazl Haq Khairabadi's vision.

In 1831, he had left Delhi for Jhajjhar. Zafar was now the Emperor and he was saddened to see him leave. He served at top posts in several princely states and made valuable suggestions to Mirza Ghalib, about his divan. 

From 1857 to 1859, he remained active from Delhi to Awadh, however, he was finally captured. He was made to face trial. A man of conviction, he said, 'I issued the fatwa and I stand by it'. His property was seized and he was sent to Kala Pani i.e. Andaman Nicobar islands. 

In the 'Sage journal' article, Jamal Malik, points out how Fazl Haq Khairabadi's role was ignored and his contribution sidelined despite his role and the fact that he drafted the constitution based on democratic ideals. It also cites his prison diary, letters and texts. 

Allama Fazl-e-Haq [also spelt, Allama Fazl Haq Khairabadi, Fazal Haq Khairabadi] was incarcerated and in his jail diaries, he wrote about his sentiments against the East India Company. In the prison in Andaman, he wrote, 'I did not commit any crime, I did not like British who...".

British government considered him one of the biggest threats and he was among the initial freedom fighters who were sent to Kala Pani. One must remember that, 1857 was not mutiny, but revolution across North India. 

People from all cross-sections were part of it--farmers, land owners, artisans, religious leaders, workers, sepoys. In 1857, when the revolution began, he was in Alwar. Allama came to know about situation in Meerut and Delhi. Hence, he returned to Delhi. 

Due to his stature and authority, there was massive support in favour of the rebels. He had also told last Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar that royal employees were inefficient and that there was need to ensure food supply. 

Born in 1797, Fazl Haq Khairabadi was son of Allama Fazl Imam Faruqi Khairabadi, who was Sadr-us-Sudoor, Delhi, was a scholar of immense repute and wrote 'Muraqqat' on Ilm-e-Mantiq. Fazle Haq Khairabadi learnt from his father, also from Abdul Qadir Muhaddis Dehlvi and Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddis Dehlvi. 

He had quit royal service as he was not happy with the way things were going on, and he joined the court of the Ruler of Jhajhar, Nawab Faiz Mohammad Khan. Later, he went to Alwar. Subsequently, stayed in Saharanpur and also Tonk. Later, in Lucknow, where he was posted as Sadar-us-Sudoor. 

In 1856, he met great freedom fighter Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah Madrasi. Allama wrote several famous books. He also wrote his memoir in Andaman, which reached India through Mufti Inayat Ahmad Kakorvi. In 1857, when General Bakht Khan arrived with his army of 14,000 from Bareilly, Allama gave the speech at Jama Masjid. This created a stir. 

Soon tens of thousands of soldiers gathered. There were several reasons that led to the failure of the first war of independence and this included treachery as well. However, Delhi fell, finally, and he reached Oudh in 1858. Subsequently, he was arrested. 

On January 30, 1859, he was arrested and accused of inciting Indians to rise against the British. On October 8, 1859, the ship Fire Queen took him along with other freedom fighters to Andaman. He died in 1861. He was 64,

The great revolutionary was buried in Nicobar islands. The Andaman Nicobar waqf board takes care of the grave that is visited by lot of people who pay respects to this great soul of India. Locals also organise the Urs annually. In Khairabad too, tributes are paid to him on his birth and death anniversaries.

Abdul Shahid Sherwani mentions that as per his son's will that after the British would leave India, Najmul Hasan Razwi and a big crowd reached the grave on August 15, 1947, and organised an event--milad and recital of fatiha, paid respect to the valiant revolutionary.

[Photo shows location of his mazar in Andaman. Inset, Allama Fazl Haq Khairabadi. Photo of poet Chander Bhan Khayal paying tributes to the revolutionary. The phorotgraph of mazaar, courtesy Mohammed Obaid Khan.]

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Lessons from Tablighi Jamat case verdict and TV channels' campaign to demonize the group


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

There are several lessons from the vile campaign that was launched against the Tablighi Jamat, which resulted in hate towards Muslims.

It was a crucial juncture, the country was supposed to fight Coronavirus, but the media's focus was on demonizing Muslims, 'otherizing' them and cooking up false stories about Tablighis 'spitting or refusing to eat', most of those stories turned out to be totally false. 
Now, the Bombay High Court judgment has come as a relief. However, the foremost lesson to be learnt from this controversy is that you can't throw your own people under the bus, just to get a foothold among section of opportunistic liberals or in the hope that you will be 'accepted' by accusing-busing your own. They will come for you too, later.
Never try to 'fit in' among any circle just to show 'we're different, they are backward'. Courage is to take stand. No one has the right generalize, demonize an entire section. Even if you hear anything against an entire group of people and you've a bias against them, you can't play a part in vilification. Everyone knows propaganda can pass off victim as aggressor, and this happened in front of our eyes.
Media has the power to blow anything out of proportions We may have issues but when an entire group is being targeted & we know it is being done 24/7, totally one sided, say that it's wrong. Those who have voice must take stand.
Poor vegetable vendors were discriminated, boycotted due to these false stories. The most vulnerable, poorest of poor, who lives in rented house, who doesn't have an idea how next day earning will come from, and it is he who bears the brunt on the street. People like Dilshad who didn't test positive, yet, he was boycotted and the result was his death. 
If the privileged among us who have money, house, property, too don't speak up and rather than taking stand, are unable to see this vilification, then what's the hope? It happens that many say, 'yes most of our community is backward, uneducated' or things like 'they may have done all this' just to be accepted or because of the influence of TV news.
No, when your community is being demonized, you too are part of it. You can't escape it, even if you feel that for the moment, you saved yourself. Lot of Muslims too were taken in by the propaganda, others wanted to sound 'modern', not to be seen with 'regressive' or 'backward' people.
But remember, those opportunists who had the audacity to openly accuse people belonging to your religion in front of you, those who didn't stand with you and despite being friends with you, never thought twice before hurting your sentiments as they openly shared propaganda, will not be your friend either.
Hence, it's the duty of our privileged class too, who know the pattern, that they must not close their eyes and at least speak up. If nothing else, at least do NOT side with tyranny. Believe me, TV channels and media's constant propaganda, have this power to push you to the corner and make you feel 'embarrassed of even your own existence'. 
This is the level of fascism and if you can't speak up, at least, be silent, rather than promptly accusing 'your own'. Now, you know well how stories are planted, false narrative is created to target you and keep focus away from other issues.
Those living alone in localities feel such pressure! Thus, speak up, do your bit to demolish the fascists' arguments, side with the victim, not the propagandists. We all learn at different times in our journey. These are the times most have us have seen how things can be presented, misrepresented. 
We can give benefit of doubt to some among us but now even the most gullible among us have seen how it happens. So let's not be like oppressors or mob, hopefully we all get educated by these experiences and learn. Take stand, speak up, always.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Policemen's promptness in firing, role of media in branding Muslims and shifting focus from victims


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

It's very easy to dismiss someone by throwing a label at them, also, there is a lot between being 'liberal' and 'illiberal' in real world. 
Regarding Bengaluru firing, it is clear that everyone is against violence, no one supports it. But it's not as simple, as media makes it. 
While many of us may claim that we don't watch TV news, but headlines can still indirectly shape our thought process & it is also the reason, how a victim can become a hooligan in our eyes.
First, a basic thing if someone abuses a woman or man, targets or indulges in character assassination, its termed 'harassment' & there are proper sections under IPC for registration of case. If action is not taken, there is harsh criticism of authorities. People stand with victim. Obviously, the victim is not asked why he or she went to lodge a FIR. 
Routinely people get booked for defamation or online abuse, arrests or convictions are at a later stage. Now, whenever it comes to Muslims', it is claimed that the community is 'over sensitive'. Section 295 (A) of IPC is for deliberate & malicious acts, intended to outrage feelings of any class. Now let's see.
Imagine, one group can claim that its sentiments got hurt over a historical movie, say Padmavat, go about ruckus and arson in different cities, (remember that bus carrying kids) but no where police would open fire. Right-wing groups have attacked police stations in different cities in the past, but never face bullet.
Despite the threatening language and scale of violence over days, these groups or Senas won't be termed 'extremist', no news would be planted about their links, and even in vernacular papers attempts would be made to term lawlessness as result of a 'genuine grievance' of 'false depiction'.
There are umpteen examples. Remember when a cop was shot dead in UP, and the accused was not arrested for days and later came out of jail as 'hero'! What provisions of law were used, which property was seized. Now, this post is not just about comparing different incidents of vandalism. No.
It is about something that even 'liberals' fail to realise. Whenever it comes to Muslims', it is claimed that the community is 'over sensitive'. In this case, a complaint was made. Case was not registered, there was delay. There was ruckus, but in this case cops fired, 3 died.
There're cases in the country where  police stations are targeted or vandalized but cops don't fire. Even after failing to get FIR registered and losing lives--no debate on excessive use of force, pm report or compensation, media presented it as a case of 'bloodthirsty mob'...
Violence is no solution, everyone condemns ruckus and commotion. But there are protests and mob attacks at many places. Here, in Bengaluru, people faced bullets, they were killed but there is no focus on deaths. No sympathy for victims, some of whom were perhaps not in crowd, as we found that one of them the sole breadwinner who was caught in melee on way home.
In case of Muslim protesters, stories are readily planted to link them to certain 'group', wild theories, suggestions about the role, attempts to bring 'extremist' angle. So, people get angry at them. You instantly accuse them, believe that 'they were wrong', even after they were killed.
It is not just majoritarian privilege but inequality, gross difference in how action is taken. Remember, even after acting sensibly you may be presented as a troublemaker while the goons treated with respect--that's narrative, media power. Remember Malcolm X words! So that's it.
It's something you need to know, yes, be very very careful in any protest or delegation that even if you've been wronged & you seek justice, one mistake, one or two persons infiltrating and creating ruckus, would lead to serious consequences. Because harshest action will come.
People who claim that they don't watch TV or go to WhatsApp, even they'll say, 'why this hooliganism?', 'why so intolerant?'. Not their fault either, that's how system works. How dare you speak, how dare you demand an FIR, how dare you be visible. Killed, but no word on justice or condolence.
Law should be visible on the ground, applied fairly, at least, to some extent. If others go about ruckus, its their privilege, you can't afford a minor slip. As, unjust portrayal can make you appear terribly lawless, madman, even if you want to pursue something legally & lawfully.
Such is the skewed system that someone comes and ask me after the killings, that why are 'they' so 'over-reactive' and 'bloodthirsty'? Who is bloodthirsty! I tell, I just want that if there is a hate crime or speech, anyone Hindu or Muslim, should face similar charges, action..
Ground reality is that we've our 'aasthas' over everything, because we are a majority. We can imagine what you eat, enter your house & thrash you but if you get wronged, don't dare speak or file FIR. Intellectually, too, we can label you 'backward' for anything. Be, live like a 'subject'!
And, even talking about all this on social media is something that shocks-hurts them. How dare this guy lives here, speaks this much, talks about 'double standards', so let's get into his FB-Twitter timelines and question him. A lot of guys have the gall to 'question'. Now, label us whatever you want. Fine!
Bottom line. You are engaged in most restrained behaviour, you try to be the most ideal citizen, you are always law-abiding but even one incident among hundreds, here too you face atrocities but you'll be again termed 'bloodthirsty mob' or backward and even you will accept it. 
In the case of Bulandshahr, when inspector Subodh Kumar was killed, police post was set afire, but not a single newspaper could write, 'Bajrang Dal attacks police station'. The harsh sections, special acts, UAPA are not meant for all, isn't it!
Understand these aspects, also, how narrative is created, how we fall in trap. How to be more careful, how to deal with this level of branding. The need to talk more about diversity in newsrooms, at least, at local level, city and state, are some of the main points that need urgent attention.


[Photo is for representational purpose]

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

More Indian Muslims need to take up politics as full-time career: Reasons Muslims are not successful in politics in India


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

You often get to hear arguments about reasons Muslims are not doing well in politics, or about dwindling representation in legislatures and parliament. 

Also, there are people who have quick-fix solutions and even go to the extent of saying that Muslims should avoid electoral politics. 

This is immature and emotional talk. Any community needs leaders, not just political but social, intellectual and community leaders. However, politics is full-time job, a profession, you need hard work to succeed, you've to speak up constantly, ensure that your voice reaches people. 

It's not about party or region, you have to do work on a daily basis, ought to be strong enough not to be irked by criticism. Leadership is social, political, community, intellectual. If you have the drive to hone your skills, know a few facts and can speak decently to media, you can become a voice too.

Lucknow, that was considered heart of Muslim politics for ages, known for institutions like Nadwatul Ulama, personalities like Ali Miyan. Today, it's sadly, Khalid Rashid Firangimahli and Bukkal Nawab, who have come to represent this great city. We deserve better. It's not the fault of political parties, alone. 

People have to come forward, work hard, speak up, take politics as full-time career, issue statements, at least, show that they can talk sense. You don't become 'voice of region' or 'representative of community' or MLA-MP, one fine day.

It needs planning, serious ground work. This city has no dearth of educated Muslims, despite all nonsense and propaganda, this city is home to one of the most educated and affluent Muslims too, who have political sense as well as command over multiple languages. 

A legislator, or corporator or even a strong voice from capital, has great strength, it also helps in many ways that don't need to be explained in a Facebook post or Twitter thread. But you have people who get ticket from parties, won or lost & yet never even visible. 

People say 'education is the solution' but you have no dearth of it. Mute, voiceless but 'educated'. I will give example of Rehan Naeem, close to Akhilesh Yadav, got elected as MLA from Lucknow in last term. Well educated, 'modern' but never seen or raised voice. 

An elected leader comes to represent people, the city. Urban issues, civic issues, vision. But even Lucknowites don't remember him. It's a great opportunity, if you are elected as MLA from capital, you have cameras, attention, but if you fail to even speak, let alone work, then?

If you don't speak up, duffers or plants get the chance & they are made to represent 'you'. That's how you are seen as. But that's not the end. One doesn't need to be a legislator or even a corporator, or to win election. 

One does need to have commitment, the ability to learn, understand PR, how media and world functions. You've to be a leader who attends calls, gives bytes, ready to learn things, not be petty and short-sighted.

Media too needs people but not the sort of ones whom you call and get weird replies or delayed responses. Once it's known, that he is the 'go to' person who will speak with facts, that he talks some sense, there is recognition. But questioning, dismissing others!

The bottom line is that there is no alternative to hard work and learning. Stop blaming others or targeting small or big people for own failure. You need to hone your skills, get facts ready, just like you work hard in any other field. That's the road to recognition, which helps.

It was after several terms that a Muslim MLA was elected from Lucknow. Hence, there were expectations. Still, he was never heard or seen. Even when after the term as MLA, he could have spoken as ex-MLA or leader but despite several major issues confronting citizens and Muslims, he was never visible. 

Now, I am giving example of Lucknow, just because this city has a very strong Muslim 'elite', the 'class' too, you meet them in parties, functions, events & you will marvel at their knowledge but somehow withdrawn from politics. 

Activists, lawyers, youngsters rose to the occasion and spoke up in last two years or so, but not him. If there is an incident of lynching or an assault, hate crime or discrimination, if a leader speaks up, it does have impact. 

When a politician takes representation, leads, takes up petititons to ministers or bureaucrats, it is published in media, citizens too feel the strength. But if you're in politics, still, you fail to do the most basic job, it's really sad.

This is the reason we need to have multiple 'visible' leaders take up politics. You've to have certain basic ideas--clarity about your goals, not negativity, but self-determination and focus on getting ahead. You have to be able to carry people along, so you must have patience, ability to listen & be large-hearted. If just for theka, tenders etc, then.

Human behaviour is same everywhere. We like people who are efficient. Journos need byte, reactions. If you don't respond, fail to be media friendly and despite having nothing extra to add, show tantrums, who will come to you and why? So learn to be courteous, understand world.

It is in no way to be taken as UP Vs South etc. In certain regions when there is established leadership, the next generation learns, takes cue, transition is easy. Sometimes other factors, comparisons are always not fair. 

Lot of finer things can't be described in Tweets, nuances lost in conversations on social media. Population alone is not a factor. Difference in degree of communalism in regions is yet another aspect in this society. 

Yes, Moradabad district has more Muslims than Hyderabad district. Hyderabad suffered during Police Action & what happened in 1948, is not even known to 95% outside. There were riots till 1990s. There is a party that has managed its base, did well to keep sectarianism at bay, despite attempts.

But there is absolutely no comparison between Malda, Purnea or Moradabad or Katihar or Mewat. Don't just waste time in these debates, rather, if you are interested, take up leadership role. A strong leader can emerge from Cuttack too, from Balasore too. 

Speak up on issues--on not just Muslim issues, talk about your vision of the capital or city or state, about what your city or place will need in 2050, about infrastructure, about daily issues, about cost of medicines, about power bills, about civic issues. 

You have to do it with a mission, without hoping that next day, you will get a reward. It takes time but citizens notice that there is a person who is constantly raising issues. That he doesn't talk nonsense, he talks about things that matter. 

Anyone who is serious must work on the ground & avoid getting rattled or engage in long social media' debates, just for ego. Much better to take a plunge, learn, do serious work and make a mark. If you are educated and have a passion, don't waste it. 

Don't get into negativity or the frame that 'x gets more attention'. When you become leader or at least turn into a recognizable face in public life, as leader in your field, it also helps change perception about your community. Frankly, things aren't as tough as they appear, just that one needs to throw self in public life, act. 

Frustration, hopelessness and self-loathing are useless. Don't lead to any solution. Learn, Lead.

READ: Way Ahead for Indian Muslims is to be change maker, lead the society