Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Hatred for Hindus... by... Kunwar Khuldune Shahid TFT Issue: 28 Mar 2014

(Kunwar Khuldune Shahid traces the roots of the recent torching of a temple in Larkana)

There are over 35,000 Hindus living in Larkana, making up around nine percent of the city’s population. And so when the ever-ready Muslim mob conjured the blasphemy card, in turn torching a temple and a dharamshala in the city on March 16, the religious tension in the city was as palpable as it gets. The reverberations of said tension were felt in Osta Muhammad and Dera Murad Jamali as well, as the Pakistani Muslim’s ancestral animosity towards Hindus, coupled with a baseless allegation of Holy Quran’s desecration, spilt bigotry all over the country.

It is very important for Pakistani Muslims (97 percent of the population) to differentiate themselves from Hindus. After all it’s precisely this difference that became our state’s raison d’etre in 1947. And differentiating is the first step en route to the development of hatred that eventually inflates into bigotry.

For the average Pakistani Muslim this bigotry wards off the increasingly looming identity crisis, and reaffirms the illusions of historical and religious grandeur.
Mehmood Ghaznavi was Shia-phobic

The destruction of the Somnath Temple in 1,025 AD by Mahmud Ghaznavi is one of the “proudest” moments in the “history of Pakistan” that ostensibly began when the first Muslim (Muhammad bin Qasim) entered the region in the 8th century. During his endeavour to destroy the temple, Ghaznavi also butchered 50,000 Hindus – about the same number of people that the Pakistani Taliban have obliterated in over a decade with significantly deadlier arsenal. Such is the status of destroying a Hindu temple in defining the ideology of Pakistan that the fact that Ghaznavi invaded Multan in 1,005 AD to ruthlessly massacre Ismaili Shias is conveniently forgotten.

Ghaznavi was Shia-phobic, a murderer and plunderer; however, his massacre of Hindus and destruction of temples elevates his status to a ‘national’ hero even though he had died 900 years before the idea of this nation was conceived. It goes without saying that had Ghaznavi been alive he would have been very proud of the mob that destroyed the Hindu temple in Larkana.

An excerpt from Tipu Sultan’s – another hero and role model for Pakistanis – letter to Bekal’s governor, Budruz Zuman Khan in 1790 tells us more about him than the thousands of Hindu massacres that he orchestrated and the multiple coerced conversions that he oversaw;

“Don’t you know I have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over four lakh Hindus were converted to Islam? I am determined to march against that cursed Raman Nair (Rajah of Travancore) very soon. Since I am overjoyed at the prospect of converting him and his subjects to Islam, I have happily abandoned the idea of going back to Srirangapatanam now.”

From Ziauddin Barani’s Fatwa-i-Jahandari calling for “an all-out struggle against Hinduism” under Muhammad bin Tughlaq to Muhammad Ali Jinnah dubbing Pakistan’s establishment “essential to prevent Hindu imperialism spreading into the Middle East” in the lead up to August 1947, Muslim rulers and leaders in the Indian subcontinent often established antagonism against the Hindus as an integral part of their governance and policy making.

The bile against Hinduism that Pakistani school curricula spew has been well documented and condemned by liberal quarters. “The foundation of Hindu set-up was based on injustice and cruelty” (Grade 6, Social Studies Book); this is one of the many gems from the books that our children are taught to further proliferate xenophobia inside their already jingoistic heads. However, the significance of hating Hindus for Pakistanis is a lot more than just biased historical narratives or pumping up bigotry under the garb of patriotism.

It is not being implied that Hindus do not – or have never – reciprocated these sentiments

It is very important to realise here that it’s not being implied that Hindus do not – or have never – reciprocated these sentiments. The stereotypical Hindu of ‘secular’ India manifests similar communal antagonism. And the nation might very well be on the verge of electing a communalist as their next prime minister in the shape of Narendra Modi. However, what needs to be understood and underscored here is that an Indian Hindu manifesting communal bigotry contradicts the ‘idea’ of India, while a Pakistani Muslim by doing so conforms to the ‘idea’ of Pakistan. Opposition to Hindus, and antagonism between Hindus and Muslims, form the founding principle of Pakistan.
Ideally the Islamo-fascist clamours of the 1940s, that became patriotic anthems of the movement for Pakistan, should have no relevance to events in modern day Pakistan. But how can you expect Hindu-Muslim harmony in a state that was created through fanning the embers of Hindu-Muslim disharmony? How can Pakistan expect the Hindus and Muslims inhabiting the country to evolve into one nation, after creating a state that owes itself to the principle that Hindus and Muslims of the Indian subcontinent are two different nations and cannot survive in unison?

The rather popular “Arabisation” of and obsession with our Islamic identity is the direct corollary of the Pakistan movement, since the Muslim inhabitants of this region were told that they had nothing in common with the Hindus of the region. This has obviously resulted in Pakistanis considering their country as a quasi-Arab land.

Refusing to acknowledge the commonalities between Hindus and Muslims of the Indian subcontinent is a part of the legacy of our founding fathers, and the reason why Pakistan was created in the first place. We might castigate the Pakistan Studies curricula all we want, but if anti-Hindu material is taken out of these books, the curriculum designers and the narrators of Pakistan’s version of Indo-Pak history would find it really hard to justify the creation of Pakistan.

Jinnah might have told the Pakistani Hindus on August 11, 1947 that they are “free to go to their temples,” but as long as his separatist movement and the cult of Ghazvani and Tipu Sultan is extolled, the Pakistani Muslims would continue to feel equally “free” to torch these temples.

For Pakistan to achieve religious harmony and existential stability it would inevitably have to question its founding ideology. That’s the paradox staring the country in the face right now.

- See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/hatred-for-hindus/#sthash.tDNZMRoZ.dpuf

Happy days, you bet.............. By.... Jawed Naqvi....in Dawn A Pakistan daily..

WITH Narendra Modi’s rise as a hugely mandated leader, India’s political pendulum, not for the first time, has swung firmly towards the western state of Gujarat. Before him, Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Jinnah were Gujarati leaders who played a towering role in the freedom movement. Morarji Desai was the first elected prime minister from the state in 1977. Strangely enough, Gen Zia liked him and gave him Pakistan’s highest civilian award.
If Gujarati is the lingua franca of India’s bourses today, the reasons are not far to seek. Gujarat’s mercantile capitalists came from diverse religious backgrounds though this may have also impacted on the state’s evolution as a communal cauldron. Hindu, Muslim and Parsi traders exploited the tribespeople and occasionally faced their wrath. The militant Devi movement against alcohol vendors was an example of this conflict. The mercantile classes were traditional allies of the Indian state from the pre-Mughal days through colonialism till today.
While the state’s forces invariably aligned themselves with the traders, the rulers almost always found themselves on the wrong side of the peasantry’s interests. When Maratha warrior chief Shivaji raided the merchants of Surat, including Hindu and Muslim traders alike, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb sent his army to their rescue. The Mughal state’s contradiction with the Sikhs in Punjab, who too were of the peasant stock, can be explained to an extent in the trader-peasant tussle.
Nehru, the intellectual Brahmin that he was, displayed a marked aversion of the mercantile classes though Gandhi saw them — and he was one of them — as the trustees of free India. It may not be without irony that Modi’s first day in office on Tuesday coincides with Nehru’s 50th death anniversary.

Much focus has been on the businessmen supporting Modi.

It cannot be said with certainty where the trigger for Gujarat’s communal forays was precisely located. However, the fact that the British enlisted the services of the Pathans from the northwest in a failed effort to crush the Gujarat farmers’ uprising led by Patel has lingered in public memory. The tug of war over the Muslim-ruled state of Junagarh between India and Pakistan also seems to have left bitter memories.
An insightful essay by a Gujarati author in the latest Outlook suggests the state’s evolution as an abstemious entity that subscribes to a simple lifestyle that comes from its Baniya ethos rather than from its feudal past. “An illustration is whilst Modi has just three people working for him at his residence in Gandhinagar, [the prime minister’s house at] Race Course Road has 50, which again suggests the idea of efficiency in Gujarat.”
Terrorism, according to the Outlook piece, “is another issue which the Gujarati feels strongly about. So much so that even during Navaratri (a non-political platform), people dance to specially written couplets mocking terrorism and Pakistan.”
There are far too many Gujaratis, of course, who defy the stereotype that Modi identifies with. Dancer and political activists Mallika Sarabhai leads the field. Yet, the focus during much of the election has been on Modi’s business supporters, and they were tycoons from Gujarat. They own newspapers and TV channels that played a major role in advancing his campaign and in building his image as the man the country needs.
As far as Pakistan’s interest in Modi goes, his backers are the same businessmen who own an oil refinery and a major thermal power facility coming up in Gujarat. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit at Modi’s inaugural may not be as sudden as it seems.
As far as the world of sport is concerned, notice how one Gujarati after another wants to be the head of the country’s cricket administration. Of course, notice also that a large part of the betting network that has threatened the sport can be located in Gujarat, or among Gujarati business communities.
Historian David Hardiman in his study of the usurers of 18th- and 19th-century western India, has observed how speculative trade could easily turn into outright gambling. Indira Gandhi was aware of this tendency when she decreed that meteorological data pertaining to monsoon predictions be kept secret in order to pre-empt predatory moves against unsuspecting farmers.
“In Marwar, it was common for Baniyas to take bets on the rainfall. Plates and vessels were left on the roof, and adjudicators determined the extent to which it had rained by counting the number of drops on a plate or weighing the water in the vessel. Bets could be placed on the number of drops or the weight of the water. This form of betting was so common in Bikaner state in the 19th century that there was a tax on it.”
Mercantile classes across the world are leading purveyors of superstition. It is not surprising that an inordinately large number of TV channels in India cater to self-styled boon givers who may get your son or daughter married or find you promotion in a government job. A woman devotee told a clean-shaven Nirmal Baba with tears gushing that with his blessings she was able to buy a plane ticket to come for his darshan.
Hardiman quotes a story narrated by the 17th century-chronicler Muhmot Nainsi. In this story the Baniyas in Kutch suffered because of four successive years of good rain and bumper crops. They, therefore, approached a person skilled in powers of black magic who agreed to lock up the rain and cause a famine in the land.
Modi has vowed to usher happy days for India. Place your bets.
The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.
Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2014

(Jawed Naqvi is a Delhi-based journalist, representing the Pakistani daily: Dawn, Karachi. He is a former Chief Reporter of Gulf News and News Editor of Khaleej Times, and a veteran journalist who has also worked for
many years with Reuters in Delhi. He has covered wars from frontlines in Iran, Iraq, Western Sahara, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Jaffna. After the nuclear tests of 1998, he embarked on a mission of cross-border journalism, campaigning against nuclear madness and human rights abuses. )

एक कविता ..........पानी की बूंदों से ,........ विजय शंकर सिंह

पानी की बूंदों से ,
मैंने अक्सर सीखा है ,
तेज हवा और चपला में भी ,
टप टप गिरना , प्यास बुझाना ,
चुपके से धरती में खोना ,
सूखे तरु को , जीवन देना ..

बारिश जैसे, तुम भी बनो ,
जब ताप बढे, क्रोधित सूरज का
उठे आंधियां, धूल भरी ,
जब बाँझ बने, जीवन धरती का ,
जन जन जब, बेकल हो जाए ,
दूर दूर तक, जल दिखे .
भूमि मरू सी, हो जाए .

तब तुम उठो, घटा बन कर ,
चलें अब्र जल, भर भर कर ,
आसमान का. रंग बदल दो ,
गर्जन , घर्षण ,चपला लेकर ,
उतरो तुम , इस तृषित धरा पर ,
जीवन को संबल दो प्रिये ,
अधरों पर मुस्कान खिले
तृषित ह्रदय की प्यास बुझे !!

Monday, 26 May 2014

स्वागतम मोदी सरकार !!

एक अभूतपूर्व चुनाव प्रचार के बाद भाजपा अपने दम पर बहुमत में आयी है. समर्थकों का उत्साह बढ़ा है. उम्मीदें बहुत बढी हुयी हैं. क्या होता है, क्या हो पाता है, यह तो कल ही पता लगेगा. बहुत पहले उन्होंने ने भी कहा था, सबकी आँखों के आंसू पोंछे जायेंगे. लेकिन वे आंसूं आज भी अभाव, असमानता, भुखमरी, बेरोजगारी के आँखों में मौजूद है. इस नयी सरकार और नए प्रधान मंत्री महोदय से यही आशा है कि जैसे वे एक कुशल रणनीति के अनुसार इस मुकाम तक पहुँचने में सफल हुए हैं, उसी प्रकार वह एक कुशल रणनीति के सहारे अपने घोषणा पत्र में किये वादे पूरा करने में सफल होंगे.

फेसबुक पर एक पोस्ट और फोटो देखी थी कुछ दिनों पहले, उसमें दो कैलंडर थे. एक 1947 का और एक 2014 का. दोनों कैलेंडर एक ही जैसे थे. नीचे लिखा था, वह पहली आजादी थी, अंग्रेजों से, और यह दूसरी आज़ादी है, कांग्रेस से. बात तो सही है. भाजपा का कांग्रेस मुक्त भारत का नारा सफल हुआ. और एक नयी सरकार आयी. लेकिन 1947 में जो हुआ था, आज़ादी के समय और आज़ादी के बाद, कम से कम वह न हो. हालांकि कुछ अतिउत्साही मित्र इसे भी वही रूप देने की कोशिश कर रहे थे, पर गनीमत थी वह कोशिश आभासी दुनिया में ही थी, धरातल पर नहीं. 

यह चुनाव कुछ अन्य कारणों से भी महत्वपूर्ण रहा है. भाजपा को चुनने के पीछे तीन तरह की मनोवृत्ति काम कर रही थी. 
एक, वह तबका था, जो कांग्रेस के शासन, घोटालों, ढुलमुल पन, और कुछ हद तक अहंकारी शासन से ऊब कर बदलाव चाहता था. विकल्प में भाजपा सबसे बड़ी और अनुभवी दल दिखा, मोदी का गुजरात में काम भी दिखा, और लोगों ने कांग्रेस की जगह भाजपा को चुन लिया. 
दूसरा, वह तबका था, जो विचारधारा के स्तर पर भाजपा के करीब था. वह एक ख़ास विचारधारा, जिसे भाजपा , के लोग राष्ट्रवादी विचार धारा कहते हैं, और जो इनका परम्परागत वोट है, उन्होंने अब मत चूको चौहान की तर्ज़ पर मेहनत किया और जिता दिया. यह भी उम्मीद थी कि अगर अपने दम पर सरकार बनती है तो, धारा 370 , कॉमन सिविल कोड, और राम मंदिर सहित अन्य संघी एजेंडे भी पूरे होंगे. 
तीसरा वह तबका है, युवा है, और जिसके सपने हैं. विकास की बात जिसे बहुत आकर्षित करती है, और उसे लगा कि देश बदलेगा, उसकी उम्मीदें जगीं तो उसने भी जान लड़ा दी. 

उपरोक्त के अतिरिक्त एक छुपा हुआ अजेंडा भी था. गुजरात के दंगों में मोदी की क्षवी एक सख्त और न्यायप्रिय प्रशासक की न हो कर एक प्रतिशोध लेने वाले प्रशासक की होकर उभरी थी. गोधरा का बदला ही यह दंगा है, ऐसा प्रचारित भी कुछ लोगों ने किया और इसे सामान्य प्रतिक्रिया के रूप में उचित भी ठहराने का प्रयास किया. यह दंगा एक भूत की तरह मोदी से चिपका है और दुनिया में इसे लेकर बहुत बहुत बातें कहीं गयीं है.दुर्भाग्य यह है कि मोदी में यह क्शवि उनके अंध भक्त प्रमुखता से देख रहे हैं. विरोधी तो उसे और भी प्रचारित कर रहे हैं और करेंगे. इस तरह मोदी को हिन्दुत्व का, झंडाबरदार करने की कोशिश की गयी और अगर सोशल साइट्स को पैमाना माने तो यह इस चुनाव के लिए मुख्य कारक के रूप में ठहरता है. यह स्थिति मोदी या किसी भी प्रधान मंत्री के लिए घातक है. उसे सबका विश्वास मिलना चाहिए और वह संदेह से परे होना चाहिए. 

ऐसा नहीं है कि मोदी को इसका एहसास नहीं है. उन्हें है. इसी लिए उन्होंने विकास, आतंरिक सुरक्षा, देश की अस्मिता, आर्थिक स्थिति आदि मुद्दों को रेखांकित किया. लेकिन उनके अंधभक्तों ने घुमा घुमा कर उन्हें उसी भंवर में डालना चाहा जिसका अंत दुर्भार्ग्यापूर्ण है. आतंरिक सुरक्षा और आतंकवाद में भी धर्म देखा गया. इसे आतंकवाद थमे या न थमे, लेकिन समाज में वैमनस्य और अविश्वास का वातावरण ज़रूर फैलेगा, जो आतंकवाद के लिए उर्वर ज़मीन का ही काम करेगा. 

आज़ादी तो थी, पर दुखद अंगभंग भी था. कितनी बेदर्दी और अतार्किक, तरीके से, अंग्रेजों ने 1857 के विप्लव की एकता का बदला लिया था. हमारे सारे महान नेता उस वक़्त बौने हो गए थे. एक सांझी संस्कृति, सांझी विरासत, और आज़ादी की सांझी लड़ाई ऐसे बंट गयी जैसे किसी कसाई ने छुरा चला दिया हो. कागज़ पर रेखाएं खींचने से मुल्क नहीं बंटा करते. पर बंटा. शायद यही नियति और काल होता है. 2014 कोई आज़ादी नहीं बल्कि सरकार का बदलना है. जो पहले भी हो चुका है, और आगे भी होगा. 

नयी सरकार आ गयी है. क्या करती है, क्या कर पाती है यह अभी भविष्य के गर्भ में है. पर एक बात है. यह सरकार उनकी भी है, जिन्होंने इसे वोट नहीं दिया है. उनकी भी है, जो इस के घोषणा पत्र को नहीं मानते. यह सरकार उनकी भी है जो इस दल के एजेंडे और विचारधारा से सहमत नहीं हैं. यह देश की सरकार है. इसकी प्रशंसा भी होगी और आलोचना. यही लोकतंत्र की खूबी है. हमारे यहाँ आलोचना से परे तो न राम रहे है. और न ही उनका राज.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Now, we have a democratically elected totalitarian government. by. Arundhati Roy.


In Pakistan, apprehensions are rife about Narendra Modi’s flamboyant success. But fervent Modi supporters in the Indian middle classes prefer to place him in the economic governance arena. Dawn recently talked to renowned Indian writer, Arundhati Roy, in Delhi to explore what Modi’s rise means for India.
“The massive, steeply climbing GDP of India dropped rather suddenly and millions of middle-class people sitting in the aircraft, waiting for it to take off, suddenly found it freezing in mid-air,” says Ms Roy. “Their exhilaration turned to panic and then into anger. Modi and his party have mopped up this anger.”
India was known for its quasi-socialist economy before it unfettered its private sector in 1991. India soon became global capital’s favourite hangout, sending its economy on a high. The neo-liberal roller coaster ride, however, hit snags. The Indian economy, after touching a peak of over 10pc growth in 2010, tapered down to below 5pc in the last three years. The Indian corporate class blames this lapse solely on the ruling Congress party’s ‘policy paralysis’. Its ‘meek’ prime minister, Manmohan Singh, was now identified as a hurdle. The aggressive Modi thus provided the ultimate contrast.
“What he [Modi] will be called upon to do is not to attack Muslims, it will be to sort out what is going on in the forests, to sweep out the resistance and hand over land to the mining and infrastructure corporations,” explains Ms Roy. “The contracts are all signed and the companies have been waiting for years. He has been chosen as the man who does not blink in the face of bloodshed, not just Muslim bloodshed but any bloodshed.” India’s largest mining and energy projects are in areas that are inhabited by its poorest tribal population who are resisting the forcible takeover of their livelihood resources. Maoist militants champion the cause of these adivasis and have established virtual rule in many pockets.
“Bloodshed is inherent to this model of development. There are already thousands of people in jails,” she says. “But that is not enough any longer. The resistance has to be crushed and eradicated. Big money now needs the man who can walk the last mile. That is why big industry poured millions into Modi’s election campaign.”
Ms Roy believes that India’s chosen development model has a genocidal core to it. “How have the other ‘developed’ countries progressed? Through wars and by colonising and usurping the resources of other countries and societies,” she says. “India has no option but to colonise itself.”
India’s demographic dynamics are such that even mundane projects, such as constructing a road, displace thousands of people, never mind large dams and massive mining projects. The country has a thriving civil society, labour unions and polity that channel this resistance. The resistance frustrates corporate ambitions. “They now want to militarise it and quell it through military means,” she says. Ms Roy thinks that the quelling “does not necessarily mean one has to massacre people, it can also be achieved by putting them under siege, starving them out, killing and putting those who are seen to be ‘leaders’ or’ ‘instigators’ into prison.” Also, the hyper Hindu-nationalist discourse which has been given popular affirmation will allow those resisting ‘development’ to be called anti-nationals. She narrates the example of destitute small farmers who had to abandon their old ways of subsistence and plug in to the market economy.
In 2012 alone, around 14,000 hapless farmers committed suicide in India. “These villages are completely resourceless, barren and dry as dust. The people are mostly Dalits. There is no politics there. They are pushed into the polling booths by power brokers who have promised their overlords some votes,” she adds, citing her recent visit to villages in Maharashtra that has the highest rate of farmer suicides in India.
So is there no democracy in India then? “It would be too sweeping to say that,” she retorts. “There is some amount of democracy. But you also can’t deny that India has the largest population of the poor in the world. Then, there hasn’t been a single day since independence when the state has not deployed the armed forces to quash insurgencies within its boundaries. The number of people who had been killed and tortured is incredible. It is a state that is continuously at war with its people. If you look at what is happening in places like Chhattisgarh or Odisha, it will be an insult to call it a democracy.”
Ms Roy believes that elections have become a massive corporate project and the media is owned and operated by the same corporations too. She opines that “some amount of democracy” in India is reserved for its middle classes alone and through that they are co-opted by the state and become loyal consumers of the state narrative of people’s resistances.
“The 2014 elections have thrown up some strange conundrums,” she muses. “For eg, the BSP, Mayawati’s party, which got the third largest vote share in the country, has won no seats. The mathematics of elections are such that even if every Dalit in India voted for her, she could have still not won a single seat.”
“Now, we have a democratically elected totalitarian government,” she continues. “Technically and legally, there is no party with enough seats to constitute an opposition. But many of us have maintained for several years that there never was a real opposition. The two main parties agreed on most policies, and each had the skeleton of a mass pogrom against a minority community in its cupboard. So now, it’s all out in the open. The system lies exposed.”
India’s voters have given their verdict. But the blunt question that Ms Roy raises remains unanswered: where will India’s poor go?
Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2014