Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Sects among Indian Muslims: Sectarian hate, urge to correct others and Sunni-Shia or Barelvi-Deobandi divide


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

1. The feeling that 'I am right' and 'I will correct others' is so deeply engrained that people don't realise when they cross the line. Actually, it's gross, unfair and impolite.

2. As a Muslim, I can do social welfare, but I have no role absolutely in what a rich or poor, Hindu or Parsi, believes or does or trying to have a say as far as their faith is concerned. 3. Arrogance of piety is a syndrome. Similarly, as a Sunni, I will practice things in my way, not to intervene in Shia or others' style. Our paths intersect, we interact and meet and have social relations. 4. But I have no business to 'teach' and 'lecture' or 'scold' others, either a Bohra or a Ismaili or an Ahl e Hadith. Then, there are sub sects too, difference between schools of jurisprudence and streams of thought from diverse institutions. 4. If you have a missionary zeal and you are on a mission to convert other sects into your own sect, then it's understandable to some extent. 5. But this self righteousness is also a prejudice and subtle bigotry as you feel self as 'superior' and others as 'corrupted', holding oneself as 'refined'.

6. One must not have the wish to 'Govern' others. It is basically 'inferiority' complex, the wish to get validity by hoping that other also becomes your 'carbon copy'

7. We are all majority and minority at different places. Numerical strength doesn't give any group the right to force others to behave in a particular way.

8. In any situation, personally, I would try to make it a level playing field for the MINORITY because I too live like a minority and I know what it feels. So I must try to be large hearted with minorities within own community.


9. If you are educated or refined, then in any civilized society, you must stop intruding in others' faith or trying to impose your expectations on them. 10. At the most, if you have a burning desire, you can tell your closest friend or start a movement, but should know the risks too. Better follow own path, respect diversity and not meddle in others' affairs.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Ten lessons from the tragic story of Karbala: Imam Husain and his supreme sacrifice, significance of martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad's grandson

[By Shams Ur Rehman Alavi]

1. Imam Husain was one of the most powerful men in his era on the earth. Entire Islamic world was aware of Husain's status.

2. In his childhood, he played in the lap of Prophet (PBUH) who doted on his grandsons. Husain had no want for political power. His single gesture or call could bring revolution across Muslim lands but he didn't want bloodshed.

3. As Prophet's grandson, he had to keep highest moral and ethical standards and not succumb despite tricks, treachery and tyranny. He could never accept a cruel imposter or an unjust ruler's allegiance as it'd have been setting a precedent to have an unworthy or debauched man heading the ummat and this was impossible.

4. The 'bayt' or his allegiance was necessary as Yazid needed legitimacy from people in Islamic world that he had Hussain's [Family of Prophet PBUH] support. The events and the political power's cunning led to the unfortunate massacre at Karbala that is remembered till day and that inspires generations to stand for truth and justice.

5. The sacrifice proved to be the single biggest event that stunned Muslim world. Prophet's grandson and kin were slayed at Karbala. And, it was Prophet's household, granddaughter Zaynab and others who were mistreated and yet survived to tell the tale of the massacre.

6. The anger led to a massive revolution and almost everyone involved in the battle, had to pay the price. Karbala's message was for fight against tyranny and injustice, immense courage in the face of a huge force and yet not compromising when it comes to moral values, justice and ethics.

7. After Husain's martyrdom, his son Imam Zayn Ul Abideen, spent his entire life in prayers and solitude. The Prophet's lineage, their sons and descendants, who commanded moral authority, were seen as a 'threat' by rulers and hence constant attempts were made on their lives and to disconnect them and their teachings from public.

8. However, the fact that it was the House of Prophet that was targeted, makes every Muslim remember Karbala as a symbol of supreme sacrifice and it's legacy is for all Muslims and others, not just for any sect or group, alone. Unbiased and fair mind will take one close to truth.

9. The poetry and literature is full of Karbala's reference as an event that reminded people that how submission is not for a powerful ruler or monarch or worldly authority, but complete submission is for the Almighty. 

Iqbal sums it up: 

Gharib-o-sâda- o-rangi.n hay dâstân-e-Haram 

Nihâyat iski Husayn ibtida hay Ismâil

Allama Iqbal also wrote, 'Har zabaan pe qabza hai Husayn ka', and each couplet shows his depth of emotions for Imam Husain's sacrifice.

10. Last point. In entire Islamic history, either lives of Ahl e Bayt, the sacrifice of Imam Hasan, Imam Husain, Jafar, Abbas, infant Ali Akbar and Ali Asghar, or beyond this, the unfortunate events at Jamal or Siffin, the lives of individuals ranging from Mohammad bin Hanafia to Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, the stand taken by people in the harsh circumstances, have lessons for us.

 It's an amazing legacy that offers so much and it must be seen as a responsibility to carry the message. There is no scope for sectarianism here. It can't be from the prism of sects. It is not Sunni or Shia history. 

It is Muslim history and world history. Karbala's message is for all. Those who feel emotionally inspired, must stand for truth and resist immoral authority, tyranny and injustice, lead their lives on principles and values.

Saturday, July 08, 2023

News to Noise: TV news era ending, viewers shun watching news on channels in India


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The era when people started their day, watching news on TV, has gone. 

No longer, the families sit for the prime time news in the evening. 

TV news is almost dead. The system of 'watching news on channels' by entire family or even individual, has disappeared. 

TRPs can be managed to some extent and money pumped but the truth is that media companies' heads had it coming. 

The extreme NOISE, the fake news, hatred, agenda based propaganda and communalism that was aired day in and day out, had frustrated the viewers. 

Large number of Muslims had long ago STOPPED watching the channels due to their clear agenda. But eventually, others too got fed up of the same style and focus on topics like alleged Love Jihad or Prayers in Public. 

Why would someone get his or her BP shot up, after watching the loud and uncouth anchors, the sickening language, the charges and counter charges, yelling and shouting participants in debates that appear to be staged.

1. A substantial number of people who earlier watched news and discussions, have turned away from watching news channels in India and stopped getting news from TV due to constant commotion on screen, anchors' antics, weird discussions on controversial issues, regularly. 

2. A large section of people got disgusted & habit of watching TV news suffered, as debates turned high pitched. People fight and shout, and audience have got alternatives, they are now getting news from Twitter, Inshorts etc. Cable TV has been disconnected in many homes.

3. News media was going through a long crisis even otherwise. TRPs had gone down. Still, there was no attempt to invest in new formats, documentaries, focus on lives of people, serious issues, real problems of citizens, special reports or global affairs' coverage. 

4. Fiction, exaggerations, superstitions were aired to get eyeballs and this brought down standards. Less serious work was undertaken in terms of journalism. Either its English or Hindi channels, the indifference is same.

Channels can't sustain for long as advertisements are going towards digital platforms. People have lost interest and obtaining news through TV that used to be an essential ritual and part of their daily life, is gone.

5. The creativity is limited to the fact that Headlines are based on 'tukbandi' and rousing emotions or by boisterous conversations. All these news 'tamasha' promoters have ensured that the field of journalism has changed for worse, little scope has been left and news media will just drag somehow without any impact on society. 

6. The owners sold their souls and result is that overall journalism suffers today, jobs are dwindling and revenue is drying up. People were no longer interested in self obsessed anchors' monologues or watching a panel of selected people who argue, fight and make cheap comments. 

7. Either its English or Hindi and the regional news channels, the exasperation among viewers is clear. People have not just sort of 'boycotted' but consuming news through TV that used to be an essential part of one's life, is a thing of past now.

8. The hate peddlers and hate promoters have ensured that the field of journalism has changed for worse, little scope is left for the next generation of budding journalists, and news media will just drag without serious impact on society. 

9. Probably, this was bound to happen, as softness and sanity had totally disappeared. All the channels were doing exactly the same thing. Even moderate anchors were shunted out and journalists who focused on real issues, were sidelined. The result is that now there is struggle for survival.

10. People no longer feel dependent on TV and have no patience for watching news or debates that cause stress, anxiety and tension. After all, everyone wants a bit of relief and entertainment. Who can bear the ANGRY AND SHOUTING LOUTS anymore? 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Muslim leader from Bengal and former Member of Parliament, Badrudduja, his life and times

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Freedom fighter and prominent leader late Badrudduja is recalled for his politics as well as his firm stand on issues and oratory.

He was active during freedom struggle and participated in almost all the movements.
Even in pre-partition era, he was Mayor of Calcutta.
After 1947, his role in West Bengal politics became important. 

Badrudduja was never hesitant to speak on Muslim issues and took up the issue of injustice and atrocities with Muslims. Blitz and other newspapers termed him a 'reactionary'. However, he was unmoved and undeterred. He fearless intervened and took up the causes of the citizens. 

When he was targeted by the then State law minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray, he responded to the personal attack in a manner that the former had to apologize. Badrudduja said, 'If my loyalty to my religion and culture is used to brand me, then I'm proud of it'.

In 1967, he was elected MP as IDP candidate. In Assembly & Parliament, he was vocal & hence faced consequences. Also, with Krishak Praja Party (KPP) and then IDP.  In his political life, he remained a man firm on principles and never compromised.

For example, he refused to accept that just Muslim lawmakers will have to sign a document on Kashmir. Objecting, he said that it was wrong to just ask Muslim members to sign it. Often in conflict with governments, he was imprisoned time and again.

Syed Badrudduja was born in Murshidabad, Bengal in 1900. He studied law and was Mayor of Kolkata in 1943-44. He had participated in movements during freedom struggle. later, he went on to become the  member of legislative council of West Bengal after independence.

He was elected MLA several times. Besides, he contested and won in Lok Sabha elections too. One must remember than Bengal and Punjab were most affected by partition. West Bengal was left with few influential politicians from the Muslim community, after 1947.

Both these states were cut from the middle and divided among separate countries. Badrudduja didn't move and remained in India. It was a time when Muslims of Bengal and even North India, needed political voice. 

He showed that politics was possible without joining INC or Communists, took an independent line. He fearlessly spoke and raised the issues concerning Muslims. Either it is about lack of institutions or education, he was actively taking them up in Assembly as well as Parliament. 

As far as eloquence is concerned, Tagore was fulsome in praise when he saw him speak in 1938 and termed it a 'Gift of God'. When Badrudduja was moved by the complement, Tagore said that he was a writer and oratory was a totally different skill. His English speech had cast a spell on none other than CV Raman. Similarly, he could keep audience spellbound with his Urdu speeches.

Link and Link.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Aasim Bihari: Freedom fighter who led movements, battled for downtrodden all his life

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Ali Husain Aasim Bihari who was a freedom fighter, big leader, organised workers in Bihar & Bengal, brought out newspapers, formed multiple organisations.

He, led Momin Ansari community, and all his life fought for workers' rights. Suffered a lot in process and his family also lived in challenging circumstances.

Hailing from Bihar Sharif, Nalanda, he had to shift to Kolkata to earn a living and it was here that he began involved in freedom movement and started an unprecedented political and social journey despite financial constraints.

Aasim Bihari left a huge legacy but led a tough life. His family bore consequences of his immense passion for awakening the masses, at the cost of his own health and finances. He opposed partition of India and worked for uplift of downtrodden. He passed away in independent India and was buried in Allahabad.

I don't think it is easy to write about his missionary zeal and his sacrifices without getting tears in eyes. He faced personal tragedies, the death of his brother, the lack of money that caused hardships to his daughter, the suffering of his wife and entire family. 

He was ailing and couldn't be treated. He had declined the post of minister, also refused to take a princely sum, luring offer from a major political party, and his integrity for the cause was unquestionable.

In a life of constant struggle. Aasim Bihari formed organisations, led agitations, ran campaign to release nationalist leaders from jails after Jallianwalabagh massacre by sending letters from people of all parts of country to Queen & Viceroy. Brought out journals, weavers were organised amd turned into a political force.

Born in 1889 [1890*], he passed away in 1953. From Jamiatul Momineen, his lifelong fight for rights, awareness, awakening and education among masses, continued. CM recently released book on him and it has been decided to add a chapter on his life in school textbook.

[There is slight variation in references about his year of birth. However, the date of birth is April 15.]

Monday, June 19, 2023

Indian History: Battles were not fought due to religion or communal factor, stop distorting medieval India's history

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Raja Man Singh led the Mughal army and fought the Mewar army, nearly 445 years ago.

Man Singh's army had Hindus and Muslims. Mewar army too had both Hindus and Muslims.

In fact, Hakim Khan Sur fought against the Mughal army. In medieval era, people fought for power or prestige but were not as petty to look at everything from a religious lens.

The battle of Haldighati was not the sole such battle. All attempts to communalize, fall flat. Was Raja Man Singh good? 

Were all the North Indian or even South Indian rulers who never opposed Delhi or later allied with British rule, bad? And the lone man who died fighting, is termed villain!

Respect courage, then praise everyone's valour or condemn the cowards too. Medieval era was different. They had their culture, traditions and alliances as per need of the hour. Read with open mind, without bias and taking sides.

It was on June 18, 1576 that the battle of Haldighati was fought.

The battle like many others were not about Hinduism or Islam. Almost all the other Rajput states' rulers were with the Mughal kingdom. Similarly, Muslim soldiers were part of Mewar army too.

Now let's go to another century. Or see the case of Deccan or other parts. Shivaji's army had a large number of Muslims. He had Muslim generals and confidantes.

Unfortunately, after independence people who were in search for hetoes of their communities, in order to connect self with them and boost own ego, started looking for personalities from religious and other angles, like kinship. Communalism was injected and battles, petsonalities were chosen as 'our' or 'their' in this race.

[Shams Ur Rehman Alavi]

#History #India #Mughal #Rajput #Hindu #Muslim #IndianHistory #Communalism

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Ilyas Azmi: A Muslim politician who raised voice courageously over issues pertaining Indian Muslims

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

It's time to talk about late Ilyas Azmi. He was politically active till the end of his life. 

There are many things to remember about him. He was among those who kept talking about Dr Abdul Jaleel Faridi, unlike other leaders of his generation.

But the most important was his role after the Batla House incident in 2008, when TV channels had targeted youth of Azamgarh & East UP, Ilyas Azmi raised voice.

Cops made youth drape keffiyeh before media to stereotype the community youth. Azmi protested wore the same keffiyeh and entered parliament.

Raising copies of Mail Today that had its cover page about the police bias. He and Akbar Ahmad Dumpy strongly raised the issue when most community scholars and leaders were mum. 

There were different phases in his career but this one act of resistance was important and unforgettable. He roared and raised slogans in the house, and it had impact.

In those days, TV channels even used the term 'aatank garh' for Azamgarh. Newsrooms were not much different from today, even if people have forgotten the era. Many of the anchors who are today considered torch bearers of secularism had shown their Islamophobic side and the readiness to fall for any thing claimed by cops.

Azmi broke the psychological barrier then. This is another aspect that they were later taken to task by Mayawati who was angry that he and Dumpy raised slogans on the issue in front of speaker. 

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Indian Muslims are a forward community, ahead on social indicators: Exposing media's false propaganda regarding 'backwardness'


The Indian Muslims are a forward looking community. 

There is no doubt about it that despite challenges, Indian Muslims have moved ahead and progressed. 

Less in government jobs and lacking in resources, yet, Indian Muslims have established themselves in all spheres and all the fields. 

Quite often, we hear the term 'backward' linked to Muslims without any statistics or documentary proof.

In fact, on social indicators and as far as social evils and other regressive practices in society are concerned, these are less prevalent in Muslim community. Of course, community has less representation in government service [jobs] and politics.

But, Indian Muslims, especially, Muslim women have also been stepping forward in education. Definitely, there was lack of resources and financially issues but Muslims still managed to stand up and today they are doing their best to move ahead. 

From Child marriages to Female Foeticide, there are so many indicators on which Indian Muslims fare better. Female Feticide is a major issue in India. Similarly, when it comes to sex ratio, Indian Muslims fare better. 

READ: Indian Muslims a forward community: Journos' conditioning that never lets them go beyond 'backwardness' narrative