New Age Islam Edit Bureau
Has the time come for war?
The rise of Hindutva
RIP Gauri Lankesh
The end of the world as we know
Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya
Dr Muhammad Khan
Gauri Lankesh, fundamentally
Compiled by New Age Islam Edit
Counter Extremism Across The
By Munir Ahmed
is currently hunting terrorists in the tribal belts, but it needs to have a
swift series of firm actions against banned outfits operating with different
names in cities
strange game is on in the region we live in. Not only intra-region players are
over actively engaged in the futuristic negotiations to finalise the roadmap
for their geo-political collaboration, the US also reinterpreting its recently
announced most controversial foreign policy for South Asia. The new approach
and methodology directly hit Pakistan despite uncountable and unmatchable
sacrifices during the last four decades in particular.
Trump’s statement has endorsed Pakistan’s general perception about the US that
it never proved to be a sincere and loyal friend but a master.
Pakistan has taken the new US stance very seriously though the reaction was
lame initially. The distrustful statements by the US government have done
irreparable loss to the Pak-US ties that were spread over almost 70 years. After
slapping once again, the US is trying to console the situation while Pakistan
is more interested to find solace elsewhere. Seemingly, Pakistan has said no to
‘more slavery’, and is now looking for some strategic collaboration around its
is on a consultative process with the neighbours China, Iran and Turkey while
talks with Russia on the future collaboration are in the offing. The insiders
say it would be done sooner.
foreign minister Khawaja Asif has successfully completed deliberations with
Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on the weekend. In a joint press
conference, both countries have agreed to politically engage Afghanistan for
peace in the region. Pakistan also reiterated its strong support to one-China policy
on its core issues of Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and South China Sea. The East
Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is not only a threat to China but also to
favourable statement of the Chinese Foreign Minister was that China stands with
Pakistan in the changing regional and global scenario. The Chinese FM also said
that China supports Pakistan in safeguarding its national sovereignty and
dignity, and that the international community should recognise Pakistan’s
efforts to eliminate terrorism.
countries concerned should understand that financing and supporting jihadis was
once the US’ strategy. It will take joint efforts and shared resources to
counter the jihadi ideology
comments in support of Pakistan come days after the BRICS summit declaration in
which China — along with Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa — had named
militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan as a regional security concern and
called for their patrons to be held to account.
Pakistan is on to a terrorism cleansing process and hunting terrorists in the
tribal belts. Yet, it needs to have a swift series of firm actions against
those living in the cities, and operating with different names and pursuing
dangerous agendas. How many were the mosques turned ‘Lal Masjid’ in Islamabad
after the actual Lal Masjid operation in President Gen Pervez Musharraf regime.
The citizens of Islamabad are well aware of it, hope the law enforcing agencies
know them too.
the right steps might have been taken then, and necessary vigilance and
monitoring might be on now to limit them and their activities. The concrete
results are not visible even in the federal capital that is fast becoming the
hub of religious extremist groups. It seems that the residents of Islamabad believe
that they are sitting on a ticking bomb, and the responsible agencies and
institutions are having leisure lunch at the Margallah Hills of Islamabad.
a cleric running a ‘madrassa’ in Islamabad is reaching out to the suburban and
rural areas for taking oaths on the holy book Quran for his Tehreek-e-Haram
mandated to ‘liberate’ Khana Ka’aba (the House of Allah), what to talk about
wiping off the banned outfits.
a firm and strong stance of Turkey, former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar quite
reluctantly took action against one of the components of the grown up and deep
rooted Gülen movement in Pakistan by the followers of the Turkish preacher
Muhammed Fethullah Gülen who is being hosted by the US for the last 19 years.
In a way, the US is also housing and hosting a mastermind of the military coup
that twice took place in Turkey in the recent years.
government cancelled 413 visas of the Pak-Turk School Teachers across the
country. It is said that several hundred Gülen movement supporting business are
working in Pakistan. Pakistan government provided pieces of land to Pak-Turk
Schools in different cities on subsidised prices on the pre-text that these
schools would provide contemporary education to local children on nominal fees.
the banned outfits is not that easy. This menace cannot be eliminated by
announcing the new US foreign policy or condemning Pakistan for not doing
enough. Not even the BRICS declaration would serve the objective. The concerned
countries need to understand the reality that the jihadis were financed and
supported by the US strategy, and it would take joint efforts, resources and
time to get rid of their ideology.
Pakistan also needs to genuinely address the situation. No one can believe that
Pakistan lacks information and resources. Maybe the country is a little
over-occupied in other helm of internal and external affairs. But, Pakistan’s
will is evident to eliminate extremism from the country.
tug of war for the vested interest in the region shall not go insane or
intense. China, Turkey and Russia do understand the situation and support
Pakistan. Iran would do so after the negotiations held yesterday (Monday).
President Donald Trump needs to understand that changing partner in the region would
serve no miraculous output. Rethink you policy once again, and support Pakistan
for an across the board action against extremists.
By Shaukat Qadir
see the abyss and the brink at which we stand today. Time has come to keep all
options on the table
the wake of last week’s article, I found myself confronted by two recurring
questions: what are we to make of the Chinese support that came as soon as our
Foreign minister landed in Beijing; and can we recover from where we are today?
first is easily enough answered. At the core of suzerainty lies the concept of
having to go begging to your Suzerain before he finds it in him to be
benevolent. If only it were so easy to respond to the second. But alas and
alack, I feel this merits a lengthier musing.
me to first begin by saying that I have never been in favour of military
takeovers. Indeed back in 1985, Gen Zia moved to legitimise his presidency with
the following ultimatum that went something like this: those who believe in
Islamic governance must vote me into office for another five years. As a young
Lt Col at the time, all I knew was that I didn’t wish to do as the good general
then what to do?
hard, I wrote to my superiors, informing them that if forced to vote, I would
be casting a negative ballot. In short, I was fully prepared to sign off on my
career then and there. To my superiors’ utmost credit, they let me stay on. And
by the time Musharraf’s turn came to partially leave the barracks for the
presidency, I had just retired and had assumed the position of Vice President
of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute. My oft quoted comment about him
from that time was this: “He certainly seems sincere but the pertinent question
is not what he is today — but what he will be three years hence.”
by the rampant corruption of the Zardari era, the three years of uncertainty
characterised by the Sharif era, during which Imran Khan demonstrated the chaos
he could wreak if he so wished, many of my more courageous and decisive
friends, began to hopefully discuss the possibilities of a military takeover.
Yet still did I stubbornly persist in my reluctance to see the country dragged
down this path once more.
now do I see the abyss and the brink of which we stand today. Perhaps it is too
late. But the time has come to keep all options on the table. For if not now,
then when? And I say this not privately. No, the time for that has gone. Thus
let me state what I have to, loudly and clearly, for all to consider as
dispassionately as they can. Or tear me to pieces if they so prefer.
my response to the second question is, quite simply, yes. Everything short of
death can be recovered. But. This is where the devil always lies, in the buts.
Thus can Pakistan recover, even from here. But to do so we need an incredibly
strong person at the helm.
who loves this country sufficiently to sacrifice his or her person for it.
Someone who will not just take unpalatable and un-politic, ugly even, decisions
and assume responsibility for them — but also to deconstruct this sham
democracy that cripples us. Someone who will govern for a specified period and
not beyond. Someone who will rebuild our socio-politico-economic pillars with
the prevalence of equality of justice always firmly at the fore.
from the above, does it become clear that irrespective of the process by which
such an individual comes to power — the nature of that rule will, out of
necessity, be dictatorial. And we needed that person the day before yesterday.
Which means that today is already late.
I see it, the problem is this: there is no such individual ready to loom large
on our political horizon. That is not to necessarily say that there is none.
One could very well be ensconced among even this sorry lot. Yet if none is
easily identified — then our distorted, corrupt and unjust political system is
unlikely to offer us a leader in the true sense of the word. Democracy or no
democracy. In other words, not only will the rule of this certain someone be
dictatorial — he or she will have to assume or be granted power through
undemocratic means. But who could or would be willing to take on this role?
Pakistan, only one institution has been known to have the wherewithal to sweep
in and seize political power: the Army. And each time this happened, apart from
the glorious Ayub Khan years, it has wrought nothing but havoc, fuelled as it
has been by the quest for self-perpetuating rule
a country like Pakistan, only one institution has been known to have the
wherewithal to sweep in and seize political power: the Army. And each time this
happened, apart from the glorious Ayub Khan years (1958-1963), it has wrought
nothing but havoc, fuelled as it has been by the quest for self-perpetuating
resulted in nepotism at the national level, promoting cronies on the basis of
loyalty to, perhaps a particular Army chief, rather than on military capability
and leadership within the Army and without. From Ayub’s nepotism to Zia’s
pandering to the religious right to Musharraf’s corrupting of senior military
officers in terms of post-retirement job prospects — what we have seen is a
steady yet inevitable decline in the notion of collective self-determination.
Indeed, were it not for the sheer calibre of our junior and mid-level military
leadership, we might have by now sunk to hopeless new depths.
there is a way around this. What if the tenure of military power was fixed at
the outset, say five years? This surely would deal with the problem of an
endless clinging to power. And if the military leadership could find someone to
whom they could entrust this onerous burden — either among retired soldiers or
civilians — this would go more than some way to preventing repeated instances
of military misrule.
as with most things, there is a caveat. If whomsoever takes up the challenge by
way of another military intervention turns out to be as pusillanimous as all
the military men who have gone before — then our fate will not only have been
sealed, but duly precipitated.
may or may not lead to the nation’s salvation. But make no mistake. If it
doesn’t, then we are doomed.
if such a path is to be once again embarked upon — we need to come up with a
charter outlining duties, priorities as well as future direction. A return to
justice, for example, may be the first priority of a long, long list. Today’s
world is a conflicting mix of uncertainties, where change remains the only
a military strongman were to come out of the wings to take centre stage and
steer this country in the right direction — I would wish the poor misbegotten
soul a tremendous amount of luck as well as, if I may be so bold, a word or two
up your loins, the time for war is here. And may it be one that saves Pakistan.
By Kuldip Nayar
September 11, 2017
a clutch of followers, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat
was about to storm in Kolkata when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee
cancelled the use of hall which the RSS hired to address a meeting. Bhagwat was
quite right when he criticised the cancellation as undemocratic. But the record
of the RSS in polluting the Hindu-Muslim equation is so long that the
precaution is quite in order. True, Mamta Banerjee looks dictatorial. But her
act can be rationalised. Still I wish that she had allowed another voice,
however, critical, to be raised.
steps like including Muslims in Other Backward Classes (OBC) and giving stipend
to selected mullahs and moulvis do not go well with the democratic India we are
trying to build. Appealing to the sentiments of a particular community is
obviously meant to get their vote. This is worse than what the RSS does.
a small temple, which came up overnight on the site where the Babri Masjid once
stood, the chapter had been closed for the time being at least. But that does
not seem to satisfy the Muslims, nor is it in their interest, as they perceive.
The BJP, guided by the RSS, is trying to create the same atmosphere. The
equivocal stand by the government on pluralism has only helped the Hindutva
Minister Narendra Modi could have done something positive to clear the vitiated
atmosphere. But his party does not appear to do so because it’s getting
dividends in keeping the society polarised. No outsider could interfere because
the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, did little to follow
the Supreme Court’s judgment, which said that the status quo should be
‘Hinduising’ a secular society, the integrity of the country is in danger.
Religion can never integrate a nation as the example of Bangladesh cutting
itself asunder from Pakistan shows. The imposition of Urdu forced the same
Islamic East Pakistan to become independent, sovereign republic of Bangladesh.
has stayed as one country because the various cultural entities have not been
disturbed. True, the Hindus are 80 per cent of the population. But the
minority, the Muslims, have not been threatened except by a lunatic fringe.
the RSS is really interested in Hindutva, it should be agitating for the rights
of dalits who despite discrimination have remained in the fold of Hinduism.
True, some have sought freedom through conversions to other religions. But they
have only adversely affected the Muslim and Christian societies. The converts
from among the dalits face more or less the same discrimination in the
religious society they join.
RSS chief, claiming to be championing the cause of Hindus, did not react to the
recent burning of a dalit because his goat strayed into the land of an upper
caste member. Now that Modi has caught the imagination of the country, he
should help the dalits and ask the upper castes to give up discrimination
have not seen even a mild criticism by Modi or his ardent followers, who claim
that they would build a future India which will know of no discrepancy. At
least the burning of dalits, if not the daily prejudice, should have been
covered by the widely-watched Doordarshan network. But it seems that the
government itself doesn’t want to raise the pitch on this issue because it is
dominated by the upper castes. Surely, this does not constitute the freedom of
the institutions in the country are languishing. Had the media, an important
institution, been free from pressure, the RSS would not have dared to challenge
the basic structure of the constitution, which includes secularism.
spread of the BJP is a point of concern because it ignores the aspirations of
Muslims. Modi’s slogan of development has gone down well because it gives the
hope of reducing, if not ousting, poverty. Unfortunately, his regular contacts
with the RSS efface even the wishful thinking that Modi would build the society
without any prejudice or bias.
By Kamal Siddiqi
Lankesh, editor of the weekly Gauri Lankesh Patrike publication, was shot dead
by five unidentified attackers who entered her house in Bangalore earlier this
month. She was a fearless journalist who in some ways symbolised the best of
the Indian media – outspoken and fearless. Her death sparked shock and outrage
across the country, with journalists, politicians and activists sharply
denouncing the murder. In the words of journalist Nilanjana Roy of the
Financial Times, “If you judge the calibre of an editor by the quality of her
enemies, Gauri Lankesh was one of India’s best.”
the time of her death, she had been overseeing the weekly edition of the Gauri
Lankesh Patrike, her Kannada-language tabloid, one of the very few Indian
newspapers that proudly carried a female publisher’s name on its masthead.
in 1962 to a prominent Karnataka family, her father, a Kannada writer, P
Lankesh, was adored for his poetry, short stories, plays and films. He received
India’s highest literary prize, the Sahitya Akademi award, in 1993. Gauri, his
oldest daughter, inherited his spirit, uncompromising anti-caste views and
religious scepticism. Today, she is survived by her sister, Kavitha, a film
director and lyricist, and her brother, Indrajit, a film producer and
was not just her paper that rankled many. It was her ideas. The forum for
communal harmony, the Komu Souharda Vedike, that she started in 2005,
frequently clashed with Hindu rightwing groups. She enraged religious zealots
with her rationalist views, influenced by the 12th century Hindu reformer
Basavanna, and by the jurist and Dalit leader Dr B R Ambedkar.
were some who expected her to tone down her criticism of extremists after she
lost a defamation suit in 2016 filed by BJP leaders. But it only made her more
bold, say former colleagues. Free on anticipatory bail, ready to appeal against
the verdict, she said: “I oppose the BJP’s fascist and communal politics . . .
I oppose the caste system of the ‘Hindu Dharma’, which is unfair, unjust and
gender-biased.” To say such things so openly in present-day India is rare.
to say, Gauri Lankesh was a strong critic of Modi’s government, but she spoke
truth to all forms of power — religious, political, caste-driven and communal.
She was unafraid of making enemies, and she made them with relish — a recent op-ed
she wrote attacked “flag bearers of the Hindutva brigade”.
killing once again brings into the limelight the state of affairs in Modi’s
India where the media is facing its greatest challenge yet through political
intimidation, abuse, threats and accusations of being “anti-national” after the
2014 election. Many Indian publications we are told are now more comfortable in
self-censorship and do not report issues and incidents where they feel they
would get into trouble. It is a sad state of affairs given the grand legacy
that the Indian media has created over the years of being independent and
is more painful in the case of Gauri Lankesh is that there are those who
actually celebrated her murder. Some senior members affiliated to the ruling
party commented that her murder was justified and that she had it coming.
of the tweets in question was sent by user Ashish Mishra, who wrote in response
to a news story about Lankesh’s death: jaisi karni vaisi bharni (you reap what
news also came into play. Certain publications close to the ruling party
published incorrect information to prove that the murder was the work of others
despite all evidence pointing to Hindu extremists.
only silver lining is that Indian social media users have launched an online
campaign against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it emerged that he was
following via his Twitter account users who appeared to celebrate and justify
the Gauri murder.
was the top trend in the country last week with users demanding that Modi
un-follow the handles and apologise.
say that Lankesh was fearless, reckless, and driven by injustice. “We can’t fit
into his shoes,” she had said in 2000, hesitating at the thought of taking over
her father’s legacy. But she filled them well. One newspaper wrote that it
would take three bullets, fired at close range in a murder that reminded many
of the previous killings of rationalist thinkers, to finally silence her
fluting, unrepentant, fearless voice. Let us pray the Indian media rises to
this challenge and fights against the consistent attempts to silence its voice.
By Khayyam Mushir
the eve of the new millennium, at a New Year’s party, I recall the frenzied
atmosphere in the countdown to the year 2000. Apocalyptic predictions for the
turn of the century had littered the pages of newspapers and tabloids alike for
was said global computer mainframes housing the World Wide Web, the satellites
orbiting the Earth and even our personal computers would simultaneously
malfunction at the very moment the minute hands struck twelve across the world.
As a consequence, traffic systems would shut down, electricity grids would go
cold, stock markets would crash, bank accounts would disappear, and mankind
would find itself beset with a catastrophe of a hitherto unprecedented global
scale, and one entirely of its own making. The world as we knew it, was about
however, the year 2000 arrived like a damp squib the next day. The world had
not ended – computers, microchips and motors across the globe continued to
buzz, click and whir with confidence, and aspirin and yoghurt were still all
that were needed to rescue me from the pounding headache and the indigestion I
had achieved in the aftermath of my new year revelling.
the near two decades since, however, global investments in science and digital
technology in particular have created a global information explosion. Coupled
with the availability of ever more sophisticated, yet cheap, commercial and
personal repositories of digital information together with revolutionary
advances in manufacturing, they have engineered the arrival of what is now
termed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Seventeen years into the 21st
century we now stand at the threshold of a brave new world that promises to
change the way we live, work, think and survive, through breathtaking advances
in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital information, autonomous
transport, machine learning, biotechnology and surveillance. While the
developments in each of these fields merit consideration in depth, it is intriguing
to examine the exciting offerings in digital surveillance and the consequent
impact on global transparency.
the following: private investments in commercial surveillance satellites,
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, biometrics, social media analytics and cyber defences
are burgeoning in response to market demand. In 2015 the sale of detailed high
resolution satellite imagery, of objects no more than a foot long from above
400 miles from the ground, was approved by US regulators. According to ‘Foreign
Affairs’ magazine, in competition with the satellites previously costing
hundreds of millions of dollars, and which can only cover around five percent
of the earth’s land mass, new entrants in the global market are designing
miniature inexpensive satellites offering increased precision.
Labs in the US intends to launch over 100 satellites in 2017 to cover the
Earth’s entire land mass in medium resolution every day. Another company, Terra
Bella, will collect both HD photographs and video clips from outer space. Black
Sky Global in the US will launch a 60 satellite constellation to obtain images
of the earth’s most populated areas and intends to sell this imagery at less
than $100 each, while others will provide radar imaging irrespective of time
and weather. By 2021 more than 600 commercial satellites will orbit and collect
data from the earth.
derive information from this avalanche of data, other private companies are
focusing on big data and data analytics. Consider the massive social media
content available online: data analytics firms such as Dataminr are running
algorithms on Twitter to provide real time updates of business news and crises.
In 2015, Dataminr alerted its clients five minutes after the first explosion of
the Paris terrorist attacks. Similarly, data analysis of social media content
will provide everything from predictions of investor sentiments and stock
market performance to consumer preferences and the monitoring of events that
will become breaking local or global news.
rapidly expanding industry is that of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with a global
commercial and military market set to triple in size in a decade, with both
states and individuals providing the demand. High quality video and photographs
can already be obtained from cameras mounted on the Chinese UAVs flooding
Pakistan’s local markets for hobbyists.
this portends the arrival of a new age of global transparency: both individuals
and governments will now be able to engage in largely unfettered surveillance
enabling them to collect intelligence on organisations and individuals. On the
upshot, this means that more information will be available in the public
domain, which will significantly reduce, if not altogether prevent, governments
and organisations from exploiting the rights of the populace in their
countries, and from remaining immune from public scrutiny. We can imagine more
and more incidences of information leaks that continue to expose the wrong
doings of elected governments, armies and dictators.
can further hope that global satellite imaging may give us unique opportunities
for fighting climate change, identifying untapped natural resources, predicting
disasters and thus preventing major losses of life. Global conflicts may also
be avoided as information sharing between traditional antagonists becomes more
fluid, technological advancements necessitating the need for collaboration and
the downside, however, it must be pointed out that technology usually develops
at a pace which outstrips the promulgation of laws and regulations that aim to
govern and ring-fence its misuse. And often this happens because laws are
enacted in response to deleterious effects on society. In the third world, even
when such legislation is finally promulgated, our experience tells us that
implementation is usually weak, as legal loopholes coupled with traditionally
weak governance institutions provide more incentives to thwart the letter and
spirit of the law. In the wrong hands the mass marketing and availability of surveillance
technology may lead to an increase in the intensity and sophistication of
terrorist attacks, as an example. Terrorists will possibly be able to plan
attacks on unsuspecting physical targets with more precision, and may
simultaneously utilise cyber warfare to render traditional surveillance and
counter terrorism systems inept.
is a post-truth world where major conflicts continue in traditional hotbeds of
political crises like the Middle East, and where populism is being celebrated
in the most dangerous fashion – as we witnessed in the last week with the
chest-thumping jingoism of Donald Trump in response to the maniacal actions of
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and which is equally evident in the aggressive
posturing of Putin’s Russia, not to mention Brexit and the exclusionary
diatribes of leaders across Western Europe. One wonders if in such a world a
culture of global surveillance is more likely to evolve into an Orwellian
nightmare, breeding mistrust and acrimony, more than it counsels, peace and
tolerance. While we can only proceed to vest our trust in the collective wisdom
of mankind, any planning for the future must recognise that in many ways, this
is certainly the end of the world as we know it.
By Dr Muhammad Khan
Tayyip Erdoðan, the Turkish President is the only international leader, who
dared to raise voice against the Rohingya’s genocide at the hands of Myanmar
security forces. Following the recent organised attacks (starting from August
25, 2017) by country’s powerful military on the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine
state of Myanmar, President Eradogan said in a speech in Istanbul, that, “There
is a genocide there.” While pointing towards oblivious international community,
he further said that, “Those who close their eyes to this genocide perpetuated
under the cover of democracy are its collaborators.” It was not just a
condemnation of the Muslims’ genocide by Myanmar’s so-called democracy, but
indeed, he exposed the reality of those who preach peace, secularism and a free
world for all and above all, those who were given Nobel Peace Prize for
eye witnesses say, Myanmar ‘security forces and vigilantes attacked and burned
villages, shooting civilians and causing others to flee. Contrary to Government
claims that, only 400 Rohingyas have been killed, the fact is that, thousands
of Muslims (Rohingyas) have been killed, injured, brutalised and women folk
were gang raped. Only few incidents have been reported on social media as
evidence. After the massive killings of Rohingya Muslims, there was a brief and
vague statement of UN Secretary General, who said, “The current situation
underlines the urgency of seeking holistic approaches to addressing the complex
root causes of violence.” It indicates a statement of a helpless man. UN
Special rapporteur on the human rights however feels, “that many thousands of
people are increasingly at risk of grave violations of their human rights.”
Human Rights Watch emphasised the Myanmar Government to “stop this offensive”
and allow ‘humanitarian assistance’ and neutral journalists to know the facts.
Washington Post feels that, in Myanmar ‘democracy dies in darkness’. While Aung
San Suu Kyi, the current leader of democratic Myanmar was receiving the Nobel
Peace Prize (which she won in 1991) at a Nobel ceremony at Oslo’s City Hall on
June 16, 2012, a formal genocide campaign had already started against the
Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. Upon a question over the killing of Rohingya
of Muslims by Buddhist state, this Nobel laureate even did not condemn the act,
which clearly indicates her biases and future plans. Indeed, a democratic
Myanmar (Burma) has proved to be darker than the Burma under Military Junta.
New York Times’ in its September 9, 2017 opinion writes, “For the last three
weeks, Buddhist-majority Myanmar has systematically slaughtered civilians
belonging to the Rohingya Muslim minority, forcing 270,000 to flee to neighboring
Bangladesh — with Myanmar soldiers shooting at them even as they cross the
border.” This prestigious newspaper considers this as an “ethnic cleansing”. A
prior report; “Yale study” carried out much earlier than the current wave of
violence had ‘suggested that the brutality toward the Rohingya might qualify as
genocide.’ Many international peace prize winners have joined the movement,
asking Aung San Suu Kyi to return the Nobel Peace Prize.
there is a general silence among the nation states (both democracies and
autocracies) over this organised genocide of Rohingyas, there are people with
conscious, who feel their moral responsibilities to raise their voices against
the brutalities under a Nobel peace laureate. So far over 400,000 people had
signed a petition, demanding the Award Committee to withdraw the Nobel Peace
Prize from Aung San Suu Kyi. People like George Monbiot, a Guardian columnist
emphasised the world to sign more on the petition “Why? Because we now
contemplate an extraordinary situation: a Nobel peace laureate complicit in
crimes against humanity.” This columnist is not a Muslim, but a promoter of
peace and humanity. On its part, the Muslim world is as insensitive as rest of
the world, the modern democracies.
2012, on the eve of receiving Nobel Peace Prize, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi said,
“Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the
homeless and the hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true
sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live
in peace.” Today she is the architect and mastermind of the Muslims’ genocide
of Rohingya Muslims and doing all reverses. The international media clearly
revealed; “During the crackdown, government troops were accused of an array of
human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killing, rape and arson.” How can
Aung San Suu Kyi deny these undeniable ground realities, which have been filmed
by neutral observers?
the recent precedence of liberal intervention by US and West in countries like
Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, should not there be an imposition of sanctions
against Myanmar over the massive human rights violations or a demand for a
separate state for the Rohingyas on the pattern of East Timor or South Sudan.
Population of East Timor is 1.269 million, whereas, population of Rohingyas in
Rakhine state is 1.3 million with another 1.5 million as diaspora.
recent UN Security Council meeting remained inconclusive over this genocide and
earlier in March 2017, Russia and China blocked a resolution over the issue,
which led the current massive human rights violation against Rohingyas in
Myanmar. In summary, the harsh realities of global politics is; there are no
human rights for the Muslims anywhere in the world and international politics
is essentially interests based, where major power decide the issues according
to their strategic and economic interests, rather for the grieved communities.
Should an indolent Muslim world, an inert OIC and acquisitive Muslim elites
learn a lesson now?
By Jawed Naqvi
is an easy explanation for her death at the hands of suspected Hindu extremists
that Gauri Lankesh stood for secularism, gender equality and a host of human
rights, which offended her foes. These are all ludable causes associated with
Indian liberals who oppose Hindutva.
few from this club have truly targeted the right-wing quarry’s beating heart as
Lankesh and her ideological soulmates did. And they did it by rejecting their
Hindu identity. That is by far the bigger challenge for Hindutva — people
disowning their Hindu identity. Muslim- and Christian-baiting is a means to
dealing with this potentially insurmountable challenge. Lankesh and her fellow
apostates, if that is the word, include, but are not confined to, social
reformers in the Lingayat community of rationalists and Shiva mystics that are
common in southern India.
many of her grieving supporters, Lankesh’s sympathy for causes she embraced was
firmly aligned with her aloofness from Hinduism, which goes beyond the fact
that she was buried and not cremated. Let us stay with the crucial point. Lalu
Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi are
perceived as ideologically disparate politicians fighting Hindutva in their
different ways. In their opposition to the extremists, they indeed reject Hindu
majoritarianism as well. But they do not disown the popular perception (or
reality) that they belong to the religious or cultural majority, which their
Hindu identity constitutes.
saw Hinduism not as a religion open to change but as a hidebound hierarchy
ranged against women and the lower tiers of society.
may see themselves as good, kindly, or even atheist and non-practising Hindus,
followers of Nehru, perhaps, or Bertrand Russell or even Karl Marx. Yet, for
better or worse they would perhaps struggle to denounce their Hindu identity,
as Lankesh did, be it for political expediency or by cultural reasoning.
cadres carrying Ganpati idols in Kerala in recent years offer as good an
evidence as any that being overtly Hindu may have become a political
requirement in this era of religious surge that shapes the new identity
politics. Hindutva seems to have sent devout Marxists cartwheeling, grudgingly,
hopefully, towards religion, a paradox of sorts. Right-wing groupies may deride admirers of
Lankesh as anti-Hindu but her liberal supporters do not, in their own
reasoning, see the Hindu identity as problematic, which Ambedkar and Gauri
Lankesh, among others, did.
saw Hinduism not as a religion open to change but as a hidebound hierarchy
ranged against women and the lower tiers of society. Which is more or less how
her liberal admirers may also see it. The difference is that she underscored
her non-Hindu minority identity in the battle with Hindutva. And, for rejecting
that identity, from the perspective of her right-wing foes, she became an
apostate worthy of matching retribution.
this: The clarion call of Hindutva is: “Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain.” (Own your
Hindu identity with pride.) And what was Lankesh saying? “I am not a Hindu.”
there should be no column for apostasy in a multifaceted system of beliefs that
Hinduism has so far spawned. Apostasy is thus not a term that should lend
itself to Hinduism.
be sure, apostates have been a feature almost exclusively within Semitic
religions in which there is one God, one Satan and one Book. I once unburdened
on Shimon Peres my knowledge of Judaism, which I had picked up from The Ten
Commandments, the movie about Moses. I asked him why Israel, which should
follow the tenet ‘Though shalt not kill’, does just the opposite with the
Palestinians. Peres, who was visiting Delhi as deputy prime minister of Israel,
cleverly dodged the question, and said a brilliant mind like Einstein’s could be
snuffed out with a bullet. And a brilliant mind needed to be protected, with
force if necessary.
less contrived answer would be that killing fellow humans is not entirely
forbidden for Jews, regardless of a commandment they were handed. The Book of
Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Torah and the Christian Old Testament,
decrees death for apostates though it may be no longer practised. “And that
prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath
spoken perversion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of
of apostasy and blasphemy, now routinely punishable by mob justice, have become
a cottage industry in many Muslim countries. That’s what Fahmida Riaz was
trying to alert her Indians friends about: “Tum bilkul hum jaisey nikley/Ab tak
kahaan chhupey thay bhai?” (You’ve turned out to be just like us [in troubled
Pakistan]. Where were you hiding all this while, brother?)
secular-communal binary, shared enthusiastically by Lankesh’s liberal admirers,
was not her winning card, however. If recent history is anything to go by, we
can see that the more vociferous the call for secularism the greater the
victory graph of the communalists becomes. Ambedkar had warned against the
trick. But he also gave the antidote, emphasising that Hinduism is constructed
around self-absorbed castes that have little in common with each other except
when there is anti-Muslim violence. Muslims provide traction to Hindutva and
vanquishing an entire community may not necessarily be the chief aim of the
extremists. The real objective, in Gauri Lankesh’s view, as I understood her,
was her fear of the subjugation of the vast and potentially intractable
majority of Hindus by the elite, splintered as they are into mutually exclusive
impact of Lankesh’s ideas could go beyond the fact that she challenged
Hinduism. A less consolidated Hindu identity was possible had Ambedkar won his
battle with Gandhi’s notion of a benign Hindu-Muslim binary. It would then
perhaps be a struggle to forge a hastily assembled counter identity of Indian
Muslims. Had Lankesh been around to assist Ambedkar before partition she would
have challenged Jinnah and Gandhi alike.