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.

Tuesday, August 18, 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

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

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

How Indian middle-class, a product of institutions built in Congress era, turned against it



It's often discussed that how the urban middle-class that had emerged due to the institutions that were built in India, after independence, turned against the same model and went on to hate it. 
The generation that got jobs due to colleges, schools, hospitals, IITs and AIIMs, PSUs and major institutions, vital installations, was the first that provided the push to Ram Temple movement in the decade of 1980s.
Also, later when Nehru-Gandhi family was targeted, it was generally the middle-class that lived in cities, bought this propaganda and wholehearted supported the BJP. Over the years, the babus who enjoyed job security and even managed to get his next generation, fully settled, turned into the Congress-hater.
Actually, as it is about past, one must remember how certain rulers felt that if they tried to uplift masses, it would be disastrous for them as the people would have growing aspirations, will seek more, and would never be satisfied. 
In princely states, some of these rulers didn't want people to get educated. If masses are poor, they are resigned to fate. There is less of feeling of entitlement, let alone raise voice or speak against the regime and the Raja. 
Post-independence, there was nation building, institutions were set up, lakhs got govt jobs. Those benefited, those who came out of poverty, they wanted continuous growing prosperity---for self, not others i.e. not for other sections. 
Their next generation too wanted same, the 'entitlement'. Also, this class that didn't have to worry about two square meals, was now relatively affluent. With luxury, comes time to think of golden past. As it happens, those who enjoyed fruits of development, became critics of the set up that propped them, saw it as completely against their traditions, culture and Sanskar. 
Remember, the more misery, poverty and unemployment, it suits the ruler who has committed supporter base. It's a wonderful idea and system to ensure that focus is not kept education or job creation, that institutions are sold or destroyed.
Many rulers considered 'clever' in the past, who managed to keep their throne and had totally 'dedicated subjects', followed this model. Even otherwise, as they say that if all get educated, its tough as they would want desk job, which will create imbalance in society.
The thought that let them have 'chutney roti' and they would be happy with a 'mithai' once or twice on festivals. This keeps the public happy, otherwise, once it is used to comforts, there is no more thrill in it and no question of being grateful for smaller or even bigger things.
After all, 'optimum' number of people uplifted (out of poverty). It is not for the rest, entire populace. Now, the need for more people as cheap labour. Less job security for them would ensure that they are insecure, fearful. The more vulnerable, the more dedicated they would be.
For any ruler or regime in a modern democracy, toughest task is to deal with 'expectations'. How you deal with it, because expectations will continue to rise. And, there'll be anti-incumbency, too. So, how can a dream merchant, deal with it for long! Be a crook or totally break the system. Do both.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Coronavirus shows inequality in 'system': Celebrities get facilities but ordinary citizens run from pillar to post, suffer




Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
Coronavirus has once again brought to fore the inequalities in the 'system'.
That, how it is unfair towards not just the poor but also a common citizen, unless he or she is a celebrity or politician. 
For influential people, it's easy. For them, it's just an ailment and there are chances of recovery because they don't face procedural issues or stigma. 
There will be no trouble in getting tested or getting timely medication. If a celebrity or a politician gets unwell, he won't have to worry about getting treatment or finding hospitals. 

He will not face issues--poor infrastructure at hospital or lack of hygiene at the quarantine centre apart from factors like quality of medication, availability of oxygen, cost of treatment.  The celebrity will get doctors' focus, full attention, medicines and the best available medication. 
But common person? From trying to get self admitted to worrying about expenses, it's a really tough journey, at times, too lonely. The standards that are applied in his case could be too tough for him and his family. This 'tension' worsens the situation.
At every step, there might be issues, depending on the hospital he is treated in--private or government, and several other factors. Every one deserves equal attention and at least, basic treatment but doesn't happen. In many cases, the fear, apprehensions have caused shock. 
From delay in getting ambulance to not finding proper hospital, it's not easy for an ordinary citizen. However, when it comes to celebrity, the sense of 'power' is such that they don't feel anxiety, fear, panic attacks. After all, they don't need to worry about these issues. 
This is the difference, at least, in India. Any other person and his entire family faces uncertainty, suffer a lot due to stigma in society apart from lack of adequate attention, non-availability of medicines. Strangely, even citizens seem to have resigned to the fate. 
They don't demand or expect best facilities. It is a general feeling that the celebrities deserve the best and that they are 'more than equals' in our society, hence, no collective anger over this discrimination in services. 
Media too doesn't run campaigns to keep focus on cost of treatment or equality for patients. The result is that there is little scope for a nationwide consensus or a push to ensure that there is at least a semblance of equality in terms of health services for all patients. 
Photo courtesy: Oles

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Muslims ahead on nutrition, health indicators: Status of women, dietary discrimination in other communities


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
Firstly, this post is not for those who've no interaction with Muslims but have preconceived notions about the community and without statistics or any report, generalize, branding entire community as backward.
This is about the fact that in Muslim households, girls are valued much more, comparatively, and this is evident, statistically, also.
Even when female foeticide was rampant in North India, this was not a major problem in Muslim society.
In households, you often hear, 'Hamare huzoor ki nasl bhi unki beti se chali'. Many people don't understand that at ground level, even among the poorest of poor, this slight difference in attitude due to religion, plays a major role.
This is to highlight how certain religious teachings, sayings about women's status, have impact. Those working in social sector sector for years, knew difference but said, 'ya, they [Muslims] have less of this problem among women' (or in malnutrition too) but won't tell more.
There are big regions where Muslims don't have much land holdings, less than even 1% in govt jobs, yet, on these indicators like nutrition among girls, doing much better & despite less affluence, attitudes towards girl child-daughters, different-visible. Problem is sweeping generalization, false narrative.
Either it was about dietary discrimination or birth of girl child, these social evils were prevalent more in other communities. But nobody termed them as 'backward'. Backwardness is in social evils, attitudes. Being less affluent is not being backward. Open mind, shun prejudices.
It's not that we don't know or won't focus on our own shortcomings, we do and we must make an effort to get rid of social evils, try to improve. If on one indicator, we are doing well, we must try to do even more better in coming years. But branding & falsehood will be tackled.
It's not that you have a sex ratio of 850 in a region but still remain 'forward' or that women-girls in your community are more stunted, anaemic and malnourished, but you continue to term others as backward just because of your power to brand others and use majoritarian privilege to brand the 'other'.
This blog has a series of posts on this issue. Also, regarding backwardness, the false narrative that is shaped and how propaganda is used as a means to brand an entire community. More on this topic, with statistics would be posted, soon.
It is interesting that if you ask journalists on social sector beat, why they don't give religion-wise figures on these indicators, they quickly say, 'oh ya, we never thought about it'. Nobody else will tell your story, you need to tell it, claim your voice.
Else, even if community doing well, the report will be published with a classification among Muslims, OBCs, Dalits and Tribals, not as Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jain, Buddhist--and you won't even know your own progress. Either it is NHFS or similar reports, keep an eye, read, write and tell. This series about the 'backwardness narrative' will continue and figures will be shared in coming posts.
Photo courtesy: Mr Joy Deb, Pexels