Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Rajendra Sachar Commission Report: Missing Facts No One Dares to Speak Of

Sowing seeds of another partition of our motherland, the Rajendra Sachar Commission Report on the status of Indian Muslims has now been tabled before Parliament and our 'secular' politicians are all set to create another communal divide in the country for votes.
Even if it was a well-known fact for decades that Indian Muslims were backward, the commission has prepared interesting and useful statistics on the representation and performance of our Muslim brethren in almost all walks of life and from that perspective the commission's work shall very much be appreciated.
But the manner in which the Commission prepared the report is highly unacceptable as the Commission just went to Muslims and asked how they felt in Indian society and Muslims shot back saying they were deprived. Had the Commission gone to Muslims in the UK or to Muslims in France or in the United States and asked how they were feeling in their respective country or society where they are a minority, no doubt Muslims there too would have answered that they were being discriminated against. Wherever Muslims are a minority, they say they are oppressed even as it is the minorities of Muslim majority countries who are really and legally oppressed and discriminated against.
The interesting facts here are not what the Commission tried to find out but what it did not try to find out.
Even while pointing out that the literacy rate among Muslims is below the national average and even while unsuccessfully trying to get the statistics of Muslims in the armed forces, the Commission did not investigate, for example, out of a thousand Muslims, how many educated and eligible Muslims were willing to serve the armed forces compared to educated and eligible men or women in other communities. It might have received a very low figure, naturally, since Muslim psychology prevents them from serving the military of a Dar al-Harb (house of war).
The Commission did not try to find out, compared to their counterparts in other communities, how many Muslim girls above the age of eighteen were unmarried. Why should the exchequer pay a commission to find out something that is already known? The Commission did not point out that the Muslim majority district of Malappuram in Kerala has a high number of grand-mothers below the age of thirty and that there are so many women at the age of eighty who have been fortunate enough to have the inheritance of five to six generations and the religion of these sisters of ours might have been a very sensitive one.
Minority rights and special privileges for minorities are part of our constitution and the same grant our minorities the chance to run educational institutions as they desire. Here, the Commission did not want to prepare statistics on how many Muslim educational institutions were serving the country and students compared to the number of Christian educational institutions. The Commission might have felt that Muslim community had so many madrassas before finding and giving us comfort in the statement that these madrassas were not feeding terrorists.
The Commission claimed that students of these madrassas formed just 4.3 percent of Muslim children in India. That may or may not be a fact, but every one knows that, even while not attending madrassas, Muslims kids are given religious education. And the Commission did not see how many Muslim children were getting religious education compared to national average. Here the Commission might have observed that our Muslim children were very much well educated!
We can still have facts and figures that the Commission did not want to have but enough is enough, let us stop here.
Instead of just asking Muslims how they were feeling in our society and instead of just recording their answers, the Commission should have tried to find out the root cause of the Muslim backwardness as well. That the Commission did not do that sincerely may be something good because it might have finally observed that Muslim psychology was the real culprit for their backwardness and might have ended up in the Commission being tagged 'communal' or 'saffronist.'
The impression the Commission wanted to give was that it was because of discrimination that Muslims were being backward in our society. Finally that blame too belongs to our Hindu majority, a society sometimes which is the most religiously tolerant, which constitutionally extended special privileges and rights to a minority community which once proclaimed that they were a different nation and a different people and different civilization with a separate religion, separate language, separate culture, and separate heritage and carved out and bagged the first Islamic republic in history.
In this background we should be taking into consideration not alone the status of Indian Muslims but that of Muslim in their own countries too. The status of Muslims in Pakistan or Bangladesh is as bad as that of our Muslim brothers. They are represented very well or they alone are represented in all the walks of life in these countries and still common Muslims there lag behind. Are they discriminated against? We can have a close watch on the status of Muslims in all the Islamic countries and one will see that no Muslim society without oil revenue except that of the democratic, secular, liberal Turkey has been able to succeed in the way of progress.
Even in the developed western countries like France, UK or Germany, Muslim performance is very bad compared to others. They are immigrants but Hindu immigrants or Sikh immigrants or Buddhist immigrants don't fail in their thrust for education and progress. Furthermore, people of Indian origin in the United States who are mostly Hindus have outperformed all the other groups in that country and are revered as a "model minority." After all our Muslims too were Hindus once.
So the question here is, Is it Islam that blocks the progress of our Muslims brothers? The editor of an Azerbaijani daily recently wrote stating that Islam stands in the way of humanity's progress. No, religion can not and shall not stand in the way of humanity's progress but religionism can. That was the experience of Europe with Christianity and that is known to us as the dark ages. Intellectual performance and education are ingredients of progress, here critical thinking and analysis matter and religionism is obviously an obstacle. Hindus lacked these qualities throughout centuries where caste and other social evils for religion had the upper hand in the society and the Hindu civilization, once the greatest of humanity, faced a natural decline. But now that Hindu society is evolving, the Hindu civilization is all set to regain the glory of past that it once lost in the axis of time for evils in the name of religion.
Having had this analysis it is the Muslim psyche that has to change if they really want to succeed towards progress. Instead of being interested more in the Palestine conflict or the Iraq invasion or in Danish cartoons, our Muslims should be concerned about education and social progress. Again, our Muslims should not give their ears to the ulema who are more interested in the cause of ummah or politicians who are interested only in Muslim vote bank. Ulema and our self-proclaimed secular politicians want our Muslims to be uneducated. It is only then that their purpose is served. That any society which does not give preference to education in general and girls' education in particular fails is the law of nature. But here no one can help out Indian Muslims. No one, no leader, no state, no clergy, but they alone.

The Islamic Paradox - Pardon for Afzal and Saddam, Penalty for Apostates

The outcry on the death penalty awarded to Muhammad Afzal, the accused in the Parliament attack case of Dec 13, 2001 is more of a policy and position of a community than the issue of hypocrisy. When the streets of Bangalore just one kilometer away form my office are disturbed with communal tension for the execution of Saddam Hussein, I feel both are different sides of the same coin.
Official records say that India has executed fifty five people after independence from the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi in 1949 to the rapist cum murderer Dhananjoy Chatterjee in 2004. In the case of the death penalty awarded to Afzal, the nation has been a witness to the opposition to the same as has never happened before.
In the case of the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi, that Gandhi was a messenger of peace and an advocate of ahimsa and even the connotation that the atma of the Mahatma has already forgiven his assassins for the biblical model of forgiveness and mercy that he practiced and preached did not generate this much objection in sending his assassins to the gallows. The ruling Congress lost no time in executing them.
The execution of Dhananjoy Chatterjee was solidly campaigned against by the wife of the West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and the Congress administration in New Delhi was not reluctant to dismiss his clemency appeal either. The President, APJ Abdul Kalam later criticized the media for the sort of coverage that they had given to the execution of Dhanajoy, saying that a criminal has been made martyr by the media.
Our secular politicians are against sending Afzal to gallows as they hope that they can win the hearts of Muslims and converting the same to votes for this. The belief that this opposition to death penalty at a wrong time can win Muslim hearts, brings to light the Muslim minds.The Muslim leadership of India is opposed to the execution of Muhammad Afzal as for them he has committed no crime under Islam but his action was a part of the Islamic Jihad, waging a war in thirst of the take over of India and of the entire world. His conspiracy to attack the Parliament, the highest seat of lawmakers of the world's largest democracy and the second largest country of infidels, form an Islamic perspective was an attempt to annihilate anything that is un-Islamic and is something for which he should be praised.
He has been awarded the death penalty not under Shariah, the 'god'-made legal system, but under the provisions of a man made law and penal code of a non Muslim country. Forget that Indian Muslims are opposed to a uniform civil code and that they are in favor of Shariah ruling them on personal matters but at the same time would prefer a uniform man-made criminal code. Now that they see these tactics does not serve their purpose, they are opposed to the punishment awarded as per this man-made criminal code as well. Here the Muslim community wants Afzal to be tried as per Shariah, or is it that he can not be even charged under Shariah for waging jihad?
Their objection to the death penalty to Muhammad Afzal is no objection to the death penalty in general, but it is an objection to the process of a Muslim being tried by a non-Muslim establishment which has no scope under Shariah, the charge of conspiracy being filed by a non-Muslim prosecution, most of the witnesses being non-Muslims, the verdict being given by non-Muslim judges, the execution to be carried out probably by a non-Muslim hangman and the decision on the clemency petition to be taken by a non-Muslim dispensation.
That the head of this dispensation happens to be a Muslim is just accidental, moreover the Presidency is something highly decorative for the Indian constitution. They may even doubt the credentials of our president as a Muslim who reads Bhagavad Gita and begins his day with M.S. Subbulakshmi's Suprabhatam.
Under Islam there is no validity for an infidel charging a Muslim or the infidel punishing a Muslim, but only a Muslim charging and punishing the infidel. For Islam, an infidel charging or punishing a Muslim is as oxymoronic as a slave charging or punishing his Master.
The same Muslim leadership which is opposed to the capital punishment awarded to a terrorist has ironically taken a 360-degree turn in so many cases or themselves have awarded capital punishment as the Uttar Pradesh Minister Haji Yaqoob Qureishi, announced a cash reward of Rs 51 crore for anyone who beheads the Danish cartoonist who caricatured Prophet Mohammad.
It is further observed that our secular intelligentsia and the media are silent on such instances. The secular media, which is self-determined to wipe out even the last drop of communalism from the face of our society either totally ignore such inhuman laws of seventh century Arabia or at most they deplore such barbarian justice even with a sympathy to the takers of the same.
Many rape victims have been sentenced to death in Islam, given the bias and prejudice of shariah towards women, but in no case our Muslim leadership or the secular intellectuals have condemned this. In Islamic Jurisprudence, a woman being raped is a crime committed by her as projected by the Australian cleric with his controversial unveiled woman and uncovered meat comparison. Stoning rape victims to death is thus acceptable for them.
Apostasy is a concept completely alien to Indian religions and Indian tradition, but for Islam this is one of the major crimes that a Muslim can be put to death. Even recently, an Afghan namely Abdul Rahman was charged with rejection of Islam and was awarded capital punishment, but our Muslim leadership had no objection and they were definitely happy in killing an apostate of Islam. Secular members of our parliament did not drag this issue to the floors of the house as they had done with Danish cartoons. The initiative of the central government might have been a prerequisite here, but the West Bengal Chief Minister never ever thought of extending this innocent man a political asylum in his state in the name of secularism as he had done with a post-Godhra Muslim victim of Gujarat.
Apostasy of Islam is any action by a Muslim that invalidates Islam. Islamic theocracy Saudi Arabia is infamous for beheading innocent people for even possessing a Bible. As long as this is the interpretation of apostasy for Islamic law, our Muslim leadership has no problem with capital punishment and we see no secular politician condemning this as they have condemned the execution of the former Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein.
The opposition of our Muslims to the execution of this tyrant, who ordered many of the worst genocides of our times too shall be understood in the same sense. That the victims of this dictator were mostly Muslim hardly matters here, as the his trial and his execution were not under shariah but under the international law which is no compatible to Islamic law and further this was at a time when a Muslim territory was under non Muslim occupation.Therefore, there are offenses that Muhammad Afzal could be beheaded or hanged or stoned to death, but that sentence should have to be awarded by an Islamic court. For this, Afzal should have either rejected Islam or should have desecrated a copy of the holy Koran or should have drawn some pictures of Prophet Muhammad killing time in his condemned cell.
"Crucify him, crucify him" might be the cry of our Muslim community then, which now shouts, "release unto us Afzal, release unto us Afzal, let us not forget Salman Rushdie."
The signal that the Muslim community is sending here is clear - for us first is Islam, not India and we are subject only to the Islamic law and not to the law of the land. The politicians who are concerned only about gathering votes by whatever means, have no problem with releasing a terrorist.
Pardon for terrorists and tyrants, penalty for apostates and blasphemers is thus a fascinating slogan for both our Islamic crusaders strong minded for the holy takeover of the world and for our hypocritical politicians on whom we have trusted our destiny and the achievement of a presidential pardon to Muhammad Afzal would be a key milestone in our journey to dhimmitude and later to submission.

Islam: The Greatest Colonizer Of All Time

Whenever there are terrorist attacks against west, there is a tendency in the Muslim world to interpret that these attacks against western societies as a natural backlash of the colonization of the Islamic world by Europeans for almost two centuries. I was reminded of this argument again, when I recently watched the video of the discussion of the noted secular Muslim activist Wafa Sultan on Al-Jazeera TV where an Egyptian Muslim cleric presenting this claim asking her, who colonized whom, whether UK colonized Egypt or Egypt colonized UK.
European colonization began with the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in CE 1492 and this was a unique historical event with political, cultural, military and religious aspects that lasted for half a millennium and the consequences of this well discussed and much written chapter of history continues to produce more and more related discussions and of course, will cause more and more related events in the future as well.
European colonization had been in two different ways, one that happened in Americas and in Australia, where the indigenous population was systematically oppressed and were forced to flee from their own land and the Europeans migrating to theses lands. This was the transculturalization of a region wherein the indigenous people of these lands finally lost their existence and the United States and Canada and even the geographically east Australia and New Zealand collectively being known as being part of the western civilization, there was a cultural destruction.
In the first case there were large scale immigration from Europe to Americas and Australia and the ethnicity of the majority changed and that was the reason why these continents are now regarded as being part of the west. But indigenous masses of Latin-American don't claim that they are part of the west, but express their identity whenever possible, even as the evil of colonialism still hunts them. Any way western colonialism could not make the natives a part of its own civilizations or west had no such intention.
Another way was what happened in Africa and Asia where the indigenous people were relatively not forced to flee their lands and there was no large scale immigration from Europe to these two continents but the Europeans just ruled over them so that the cultural and social identify of the people of Africa and Asia were not much affected. These regions continue to be part of the pre colonial civilizations to which they actually belonged. This was the way that the Islamic world too had been colonized by Europeans, there were only political and military effects and the culture and religion of the so called Islamic world were unchanged, there was relatively no cultural destruction.The spread of Christianity in Europe too had its own cultural impacts, but the people of Europe are not unaware or ashamed of their pre Christian pagan past but they are proud of it. Admittedly, paganism in Europe was heavily struck down by Christianity from the very day that Emperor Constantine the great decriminalized that religion in his portion of the empire in CE 313 and later in the entire Rome that he reunified in CE 324, the empire that had been partitioned by Diocletian, his predecessor.
Pagans were subject to strong persecution, pagan temples were either destroyed or were converted to Christian churches, Pagan books and literature were burned. The destruction of this European or classic Paganism was imminent as the imposition of Christianity over Europe was very rapid given its support from the successive rulers and was finished by the time of Emperor Justinian-I. Historians may go ahead with their debate on the intensity of the influence of paganism on Christianity, as argued by Edward Gibbon, but the destruction of European paganism as a religion and a culture was almost total.
Europe, where Christianity flourished, was the seat of two other prominent civilizations, Greek and Roman. The Greeks embraced Christianity, but only as another religion, they haven't lost their logistic, cultural and civilization identity and they find esteem dignity in the civilization that existed before the introduction of Christianity.
The Roman civilization may no longer be there as it had been known as it has now been divided into different cultures like Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. This was a natural process as Latin as a language began dying and new languages derived from Latin. Modern people of these cultures find no reason to be ashamed of the that much celebrated pre Christian pagan Roman civilization to which they once belonged.
The justification that many Muslim intellectuals find for Islamic terror is that it is a result of the long political oppression of the Islamic world by the west in the colonial period and they allege the west of being egotist ethically, culturally and intellectually. But not only Muslim society was the victim of western colonialism, so were the Hindu (Indian), African and scenic (indo-china) societies. None of these societies have produced terrorism and the contemporary rise of Hindu nationalism in India can not be viewed as a product of western hegemony.
When the term Islamic world is used, one has to be aware of the fact that the so called Islamic world is because of an Islamic colonialism, stronger and powerful than that of the west. A careful analysis will conclude that Islam was the greatest colonizerr of all time and the most egotist ideology ever known to humanity.
This is where we need to look back on the spread of Islam. Islam spread to all the territories that it conquered. Not only did the indigenous population of these conquered countries embrace Islam for one reason or another, but the cultural, social and intellectual aspects of of these lands were subject to a concrete transformation without immigration. Finally these civilizations became extinct and became known as part of the Islamic civilization even while the ethnicity of the people of these lands did not change.
The shores of all the rivers referred to as the cradles of civilization ,except the Huang-He-Yangtze in China which was not subject to Muslim conquest, the Tigris-Euphrates in modern day Iraq, the Nile in Africa, the Indus in the Indian subcontinent have all lost their connection to their profound inheritance. The Muslim masses on the banks of these rivers are either unaware or ashamed of their great pre Islamic heritage.
What happened with Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and Egypt was even worse - that Arabic, the language of Islam, was forced upon them and that these regions lost even their languages, Egyptian in the case of Egypt and Sumerian in the case of Mesopotamia. Even in this case, the Indus valley or the modern Pakistan is only a partial exception, as Urdu which was not the tongue of the land but one that was born out of Islamic conquest is the official language. This was a cultural holocaust.
The most notable point here is that, the invaded masses who embraced Islam are totally in the dark about their pre-Islamic heritage and are ashamed of the same, which did not happen with the people colonized by the west. At least as far as the non Arabs conquered by Islam are concerned, for them Islam was not just a submission to Allah, it was a submission to Arab language, Arab culture and Arab tradition and a submission to fight for the Arab cause, Arab superiority and Arab Imperialism. Whereas communities colonized by westerners defended this conquest later, because of the unique colonial nature of Islam, people conquered by Islam found a cause in being conquered and the conquered joined the conqueror in fighting for this cause, triggering a chain reaction of Muslim conquests.No colonized people glorify and iconize invaders or alien rulers as their heroes but Muslims do. We can not imagine Native Americans glorifying Columbus or Indians of the subcontinent glorifying the British or Russians or Ukrainians glorifying Genghis Khan. The best example of this peculiar psyche would be that of Invaders like Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammed Ghuri who attacked the people of the Indus valley.
Even though they looted their properties, massacred their forefathers, gang raped their foremothers and enslaved them, they are the heroes of Pakistan and its people. Finally, this glorification and iconization turned so ridiculous where Pakistan naming one of its missiles after Muhammed Ghuri and Afghanistan opposing this saying that Pakistan has no claim over Afghan heroes and that only peaceful concerns may be named after them!
That the invaders glorify the invasion is understandable, but here, in the case of Islam, both the invader and the invaded glorify these bloody invasions. Western colonialists did try to brainwash the natives through the education system that they introduced, but even this kind of attempt was not very effective
Islam as an Identity of the invader was so potent that it has been able to brainwash and indoctrinate the indigenous people to that extent that they find pride in being invaded. This indoctrination was clever enough to cleanse out all these people had in their memories about their past, so that for them their history and civilization began only with this invasion.
Along with the western factor, Islam too has been a threat to the social, cultural, linguistic and religious identities of the colonized societies. But the hands and arms of Islam have even been mightier than that of the west, as far as the indigenous people of the lands invaded by Islam, from Morocco to Pakistan to Indonesia are concerned, and they consider themselves to be a part of the Islamic world. The people of the territories ruled by west are not treated, or they don't treat themselves as being a part of the western world.
Islamic colonialism was so horrendous and destructive when compared to the characteristics of western colonialism, as it was not only something political or militarily but something more influential, cultural, religious and psychological too. To be more exact, even the one fifth of the humanity which identifies itself as Muslims is a product of this ultra-colonial nature of Islam.
The ethical, cultural and intellectual egotism of the west may be a fact, but such egotism and hegemony are even deeper for Islam. This has always been apparent in its intolerant nature towards other cultures and religions; the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas is a recent example. This will be apparent again, if Islam becomes more powerful than the west, politically or militarily.