Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ayodhya Verdict Belongs in the Hall of Shame of Indian Judiciary

The long awaited ruling of the Allahabad High Court on the disputed Ayodhya site was announced today.

Here's a brief excerpt of how the BBC has reported the Ayodhya verdict:

In a majority verdict, judges gave control of the main disputed section, where a mosque was torn down in 1992, to Hindus.

Other parts of the site will be controlled by Muslims and a Hindu sect.


Allahabad High Court is trying to create a false appearance of Solomon's wisdom by ordering what is being advertised as "split-the-baby" verdict.

In reality, though, the court has wrongly sided with the violent Hindutva outfits in practice by giving the main site where Babri masjid stood to Hindus. This verdict has set a dangerous precedent, raising alarms about hundreds of other mosques in India which are claimed as ancient temple sites by the violent Sangh Parivar.

L.K. Advani and other major Hindutva leaders, including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, have welcomed it and vowed to build "Ram Temple" on two-thirds of the disputed land awarded by an extremely unwise and politically motivated decision of the Allahabad Court.

Here's the Breaking News report:

Breaking News! Veteran BJP Leader LK Advani, who spearheaded the Ram Mandir (Ram Temple) movement in the 1990s, welcomed the Allahabad High Court's verdict on Ayodhya land. Advani hailed the High Court for acknowledging the disputed site as Lord Ram (Ram Lalla)'s birth place.....Meanwhile, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi has welcomed the Ayodhya Verdict and said that decks have been cleared for the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

With mass murderers like Modi welcoming the Allahabad court verdict, it brings nothing but shame to India's judiciary and its much-hyped secular democracy.

In his Ayodhya opinion, Justice S.U. Khan, the only Muslim judge in the three-judge panel of the Allahabad High Court, made a reference to the Treaty of Hudaibiya as follows: "When prophet Mohammad entered into a treaty with the rival group at Hudayliyah(sic), it appeared to be abject surrender even to his staunch supporters."

This quote from Justice Khan shows how defeated and marginalized even the very few well-educated and well-placed Indian Muslims feel at this point....something reflected throughout his verdict. He basically threw in the towel and gave in to the likes of Justice DM Sharma, the most unabashed pro-Hindtva judge on the panel who "established that the property in suit is the site of Janm Bhumi of Ram Chandra Ji" in his opinion.

This is the most damning evidence of absolute Hindutva fascist dominance of India's "secular democracy" on the streets and in the courts of India today. It does not augur well for either democracy or secularism in India.

It's important to understand the environment at Benaras Hindu University archeology department that produced the alumni who provided the so-called "archeological evidence" to support Justice Sharma's unabashed pro-Hindutva opinion.

Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is known to be dominated by extreme right wing Hindus, many of whom are graduates of Benaras Hindu University which has practiced Apartheid against its Muslim students.

Here's an excerpt from an article by MIT scholar Omar Khalidi criticizing the ASU's role in distorting evidence used in the verdict:

Justice DV Sharma's judgment in the Babri masjid case given on Thursday claimed that 'the disputed structure was constructed on the site of the old structure after demolition of the same. And that the Archaeological Survey of India has proved that the structure was a massive Hindu religious structure'.

What Justice Sharma was referring to was the ASI's report of 2003 of dubious value on Ayodhya. What the ASI claimed were the base of pillars which held up the temple, were in fact not pillar bases at all. The Siva shrine at a lower level adds no strength to the claim of a Ram temple. The terracotta from different levels has been so jumbled that it can be linked to no particular stratum and period. Moreover, the presence of animal bones and glazed earthenware found at the site makes it difficult to claim that a Ram temple existed on this site between the 12th and 16th centuries.

The ASI's role in marshaling dubious evidence in support of the existence of a Ram temple at Ayodhya is the right occasion to assess its activities as a handmaiden of Hindutva.

Numerous examples of the ASI's role in transforming medieval heritage can be seen across India.

* In 2007, the ASI cooked up history at Chittorgarh, a fort near Udaipur, Rajasthan, by signposting an underground passage as the location of Padmini's jauhar or self-immolation, based on the myth of Emperor Alauddin Khilji's alleged atrocities. Numerous modern temples abound in the medieval fort.

* In 2003, the ASI virtually converted the 15th century Kamal Maula mosque in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh, into a temple by allowing Hindu worship in it.

* Since 1977, the ASI has allowed the construction of three new Hindu temples in the precincts of Sher Shah Suri's mausoleum in Sasaram, Bihar. These bathroom-tiled temples with their calendar-art frescos mar the magnificent mausoleum's vistas.

* In 1970, the ASI allowed a kumkum sprinkled stone on the southeast corner of Charminar in Hyderabad to be converted into a full-fledged Bhagya Laxmi temple. A modern temple is protruding out of a major medieval monument in defiance of the ASI's own rules.

* At the turn of the 21st century, almost all the grand gates in historic Golconda fort and Hyderabad are riddled with Hindu temples, signs and icons flying in the face of the ASI's preservation mission.

* In 1948, the ASI converted the Jama Masjid in the Daulatabad fort near Aurangabad into a Bharata Mata Mandir (Mother India temple). The very name is so candidly, crassly contemporary as to make a mockery of a medieval site.


Here is a video clip of Omar Khalidi on ASI's role in promoting Hindutva claims on various religious sies in India:



Hindu alumni of Benaras Hindu University (BHU) archeology department have played a major role in producing "archeological evidence" that the Allahabad High Court relied upon. Professor Ahmad Hasan Dani who attended BHU and studied archeology, says that he was ostracized and treated as a pariah by Hindu students and faculty at BHU. He was not allowed to sit and eat with his fellow students, he was asked to keep his plates and dishes separate in his room, and required to stand outside the dining hall to be served his meal and then wash the dishes himself. Later, when he graduated at the top of the archeology class, he was offered a faculty position, but the University head and former president of India Radhakrishnan told him that he would be paid a salary but he would not be allowed to teach. Here is a video clip of late Prof Dani talking about it:



Let's hope and pray that this latest verdict does not lead to more innocent blood being shed because of an unwise and unjust court ruling favoring the Hindu provocateurs and perpetrators of the crime of demolishing Babri mosque in 1992 and subsequent massacres of Muslim minority. Let's also hope that the Indian Supreme Court eventually reverses the Allahabad court verdict on appeal.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Gujarat in 2002

Full Text of Allahabad High Court's Ayodhya Verdict

21st Century Challenges For Resurgent India

BHU Paper on Temple at Ayodhya

R adical Hindutva Government in Israeli Exile?

India 's Guantanamos and Abu-Ghraibs

Gujarat Muslims Ignored by Politicians

Rise of Hindu Fascism in India

The 21st Century Challenges For Resurgent India

Hindu Rashtra ideology was driving force for Malegaon conspirators

The Rise and Rise of Mangalore's Taliban

Who Killed Karkare?

Hindutva-Military-Intelligence Nexus

Malegaon Files

Samjhota Express Blast

Muslims Falsely Accused in Malegaon Blast

Hindu Nationalists Gang Up on Musharraf at Stanford

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Violence Against Indian Christians

Pr iest Survivor: Hindu Radicals are Terrorists

Gujarat Pogrom of 2002

81 comments:

gunam said...

On preliminary understanding of the judgement are as under :

It is a civil suit regarding the title deed of the disputed property

Court has dismissed the petition on the ground of law of limitation as MPLB had made any legal claim within the prescribed law.

If the court would have taken on the basis of the above fact the claim of MPLB has not meaning.

However the learned judges including a muslim has given a workable solution to avoid all type of communal problems.

if MPLB wants to go disputing the same to sc, there are enough radicals in hindu party to play the long drawn legal battle.

it is a known history that the hindu temples were destruced by moghul rulers.

If the compromises does not work, slowly but steadily it will create polarization of the society which is not a good sign for any democracy.

Mayraj said...

I do not believe Babar built on sacred Hindu land. This was the ruler who implemented a cow eating ban. This is not his spirit reflected. But, BJP and its ilk are mean spirited and so is this court.

Pavan said...

Thanks. Muslims are aggrieved but a few like Javed Akhtar have
welcomed the verdict. It is going to the Supreme Court. I am not sure
how relevant it is to the younger generation. Its all quiet here.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is an excerpt from an OpEd in the Hindu titled "Force of faith trumps law and reason in Ayodhya case" by Siddharth Varadarajan:

New Delhi: The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has made judicial history by deciding a long pending legal dispute over a piece of property in Ayodhya on the basis of an unverified and unsubstantiated reference to the “faith and belief of Hindus.”

The irony is that in doing so, the court has inadvertently provided a shot in the arm for a political movement that cited the very same “faith” and “belief” to justify its open defiance of the law and the Indian Constitution. That defiance reached its apogee in 1992, when a 500-year-old mosque which stood at the disputed site was destroyed. The legal and political system in India stood silent witness to that crime of trespass, vandalism and expropriation. Eighteen years later, the country has compounded that sin by legitimising the “faith” and “belief” of those who took the law into their own hands.

The three learned judges of the Allahabad High Court may have rendered separate judgments on the title suit in the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi case but Justices Sudhir Agarwal, S.U. Khan and Dharam Veer Sharma all seem to agree on one central point: that the Hindu plaintiffs in the case have a claim to the disputed site because “as per [the] faith and belief of the Hindus” the place under the central dome of the Babri Masjid where the idols of Ram Lalla were placed surreptitiously in 1949 is indeed the “birthplace” of Lord Ram.

....From at least the 19th century, if not earlier, we know that both Hindus and Muslims worshipped within the 2.77 acre site, the latter within the Babri Masjid building and the former at the Ram Chhabutra built within the mosque compound. This practice came to an end in 1949 when politically motivated individuals broke into the mosque and placed idols of Ram Lalla within. After 1949, both communities were denied access though Hindus have been allowed to offer darshan since 1986. In suggesting a three way partition of the site, the High Court has taken a small step towards the restoration of the religious status quo ante which prevailed before politicians got into the act. But its reasoning is flawed and even dangerous. If left unamended by the Supreme Court, the legal, social and political repercussions of the judgment are likely to be extremely damaging.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's another story from The Hindu on the verdict:

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan was critical of the judgment delivered in the Ayodhya title suits on Thursday, saying: “This is panchayati justice which takes away the legal rights of Muslims and converts the moral sentimental entitlements of Hindus into legal rights.”

Mr. Dhavan said the destruction of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, had taken place on a Muslim site, and this fact could not be disputed and rendered invisible by pretending that Muslims were not entitled to the site in any way.

“If this panchayati solution is to be endured, the degree of Muslim entitlement should have been left intact so that the site belonged to them,” he said.

Mr. Dhavan said the destruction of the Masjid was akin to the demolition of the Buddha statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan, and people would say that India's secular justice was majoritarian in nature without lending dignity to India's minority.

Endorsing Mr. Dhavan's views, senior advocate P.P. Rao said: “It is difficult to appreciate how the property can be divided by the court while dismissing the suits. This is nothing but a panchayati type of justice.

Senior advocate K.K. Venugopal, however, wanted time to go through the full judgment and said: “It is a statesmanship-like judgment and it is good for the country.”

Senior lawyer Harish Salve said: “Going by the gist of the judgment which is available, two of the judges constituting the majority have come to the conclusion that the Hindus and Muslims were in joint possession and have been declared to be joint owners. On that basis, on account of the cross suits, they have ordered a partition — on a one-third each basis.

Advocate Wasim Qadri, while welcoming the judgment, said: “It shows the respect and faith in the judiciary and democracy in this country. This is a victory of governance as per rule of law and constitutional scheme. Though I am not a party, being a like-minded person, this is one way of settling the dispute. This is a good signal for India.”

Anonymous said...

There is no denying that Babri Masjid demolition is a shameful blot on the secular ethos of India. I was born in Ayodhya, and trust me, when it comes to my opinion about these bastards like BJP, VHP and Bajrang dal, there is no one who hates them more than me. I personally feel the judgment serves India, and I am happy that India as a country has matured enough to debate about it, rather than resort to violence.

But before you criticize today's verdict, may I ask:

1. Who are you to question the credentials of High court?

Are you a legal expert? Or are you a social scientist?

The matter is still sub-judice in the Indian supreme court. There has been criticism, euphoria and even relief, but India as a country is debating it out, rather than resorting to violence. Do you think you are more qualified than the 3 judges who passed the verdict? And before you pass your verdict declaring the judgment as a shame of Indian judiciary have you read the verdict apart from copying and pasting from news articles?

2. Since you always bring in a comparison with Pakistan for your every blog. May I ask, has any Pakistani court ever taken a case for temple destruction in Pakistan. And why Temples in Lahore have simply vanished? And what happened to the Krishna temple in Lahore that was demolished to make a shopping complex? Did Pakistan even allow any sort of legal recourse to its Hindus?

And since you are so fond of statistics, may I ask statistically what is the number of Hindus in Pakistan now as compared to in 1947 as compared to number of Muslims in India?

3. Ayodhya seems to be top of your radar, but not Pakistan where yesterday Nato forces killed 3 Pakistani soldiers on Pakistani territory. The Pakistani govt seems to be fighting the judiciary, and the president is fighting the corruption charges and where military controls everything. And when in your own blog you are providing statistics as to how great was the period when Pakistan was ruled by a dictator.

All the above may sound like a flame. But lets accept it, things are not 100% right in South Asia as a region. But before you throw stones at others, look for yourself what is the current state of Pakistan.

I believe we Indians have moved on, or at least want to move on. There are extremist bastards still around, but then we the young people don't care about them. As far as the verdict is concerned - I would say it only reads: "LETS MOVE ON". And it is shameful if you read it in any other way.

Anonymous said...

There is no denying that Babri Masjid demolition is a shameful blot on the secular ethos of India. I was born in Ayodhya, and trust me, when it comes to my opinion about these bastards like BJP, VHP and Bajrang dal, there is no one who hates them more than me. I personally feel the judgment serves India, and I am happy that India as a country has matured enough to debate about it, rather than resort to violence.

But before you criticize today's verdict, may I ask:

1. Who are you to question the credentials of High court?

Are you a legal expert? Or are you a social scientist?

The matter is still sub-judice in the Indian supreme court. There has been criticism, euphoria and even relief, but India as a country is debating it out, rather than resorting to violence. Do you think you are more qualified than the 3 judges who passed the verdict? And before you pass your verdict declaring the judgment as a shame of Indian judiciary have you read the verdict apart from copying and pasting from news articles?

2. Since you always bring in a comparison with Pakistan for your every blog. May I ask, has any Pakistani court ever taken a case for temple destruction in Pakistan. And why Temples in Lahore have simply vanished? And what happened to the Krishna temple in Lahore that was demolished to make a shopping complex? Did Pakistan even allow any sort of legal recourse to its Hindus?

And since you are so fond of statistics, may I ask statistically what is the number of Hindus in Pakistan now as compared to in 1947 as compared to number of Muslims in India?

3. Ayodhya seems to be top of your radar, but not Pakistan where yesterday Nato forces killed 3 Pakistani soldiers on Pakistani territory. The Pakistani govt seems to be fighting the judiciary, and the president is fighting the corruption charges and where military controls everything. And when in your own blog you are providing statistics as to how great was the period when Pakistan was ruled by a dictator.

All the above may sound like a flame. But lets accept it, things are not 100% right in South Asia as a region. But before you throw stones at others, look for yourself what is the current state of Pakistan.

I believe we Indians have moved on, or at least want to move on. There are extremist bastards still around, but then we the young people don't care about them. As far as the verdict is concerned - I would say it only reads: "LETS MOVE ON". And it is shameful if you read it in any other way.

Anonymous said...

There is no denying that Babri Masjid demolition is a shameful blot on the secular ethos of India. I was born in Ayodhya, and trust me, when it comes to my opinion about these bastards like BJP, VHP and Bajrang dal, there is no one who hates them more than me. I personally feel the judgment serves India, and I am happy that India as a country has matured enough to debate about it, rather than resort to violence.

But before you criticize today's verdict, may I ask:

1. Who are you to question the credentials of High court?

Are you a legal expert? Or are you a social scientist?

The matter is still sub-judice in the Indian supreme court. There has been criticism, euphoria and even relief, but India as a country is debating it out, rather than resorting to violence. Do you think you are more qualified than the 3 judges who passed the verdict? And before you pass your verdict declaring the judgment as a shame of Indian judiciary have you read the verdict apart from copying and pasting from news articles?

2. Since you always bring in a comparison with Pakistan for your every blog. May I ask, has any Pakistani court ever taken a case for temple destruction in Pakistan. And why Temples in Lahore have simply vanished? And what happened to the Krishna temple in Lahore that was demolished to make a shopping complex? Did Pakistan even allow any sort of legal recourse to its Hindus?

And since you are so fond of statistics, may I ask statistically what is the number of Hindus in Pakistan now as compared to in 1947 as compared to number of Muslims in India?

3. Ayodhya seems to be top of your radar, but not Pakistan where yesterday Nato forces killed 3 Pakistani soldiers on Pakistani territory. The Pakistani govt seems to be fighting the judiciary, and the president is fighting the corruption charges and where military controls everything. And when in your own blog you are providing statistics as to how great was the period when Pakistan was ruled by a dictator.

All the above may sound like a flame. But lets accept it, things are not 100% right in South Asia as a region. But before you throw stones at others, look for yourself what is the current state of Pakistan.

I believe we Indians have moved on, or at least want to move on. There are extremist bastards still around, but then we the young people don't care about them. As far as the verdict is concerned - I would say it only reads: "LETS MOVE ON". And it is shameful if you read it in any other way.

Anonymous said...

The Muslims should go all the way to the Court of Human Rights

Riaz Haq said...

It seems that the title issue was not that clear cut. Here is what the three judges said on that issue:

6. What will be the status of the disputed site e.g. inner and outer courtyard?

Justice Sibghat Ullah:

Both the parties are declared to be joint title holders in possession of the entire premises in dispute and a preliminary decree to that effect is passed with the condition that at the time of actual partition by meets and bounds at the stage of preparation of final decree the portion beneath the Central dome where at present make sift temple stands will be allotted to
the share of the Hindus.

Accordingly, all the three sets of parties, i.e. Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara are declared joint title holders of the property/ premises in dispute as described by letters A B C D E F in the map Plan-I prepared by Sri Shiv Shanker Lal, Pleader/ Commissioner appointed by Court in Suit No.1 to the extent of one third share each for using and managing the same for worshipping. A preliminary decree to this effect is passed.

However, it is further declared that the portion below the central dome where at present the idol is kept in makeshift temple will be allotted to Hindus in final decree.

It is further directed that Nirmohi Akhara will be allotted share including that part which is shown by the words Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi in the said map.

It is further clarified that even though all the three parties are declared to have one third share each, however if while allotting exact portions some minor adjustment in the share is to be made then the same will be made and the adversely affected party may be compensated by allotting some portion of the adjoining land which has been acquired by the Central Government.

The parties are at liberty to file their suggestions for actual partition by metes and bounds within three months.

List immediately after filing of any suggestion/ application for preparation of final decree after obtaining necessary instructions from Hon'ble the Chief Justice.

Status quo as prevailing till date pursuant to Supreme Court judgment of Ismail Farooqui (1994(6) Sec 360) in all its minutest details shall be maintained for a period of three months unless this order is modified or vacated earlier.

Riaz Haq said...

Contd:
It seems that the title issue was not that clear cut. Here is what the three judges said on that issue:

6. What will be the status of the disputed site e.g. inner and outer courtyard?

Justice Sudhir Agarwal:

(i) It is declared that the area covered by the central dome of the three domed structure, i.e., the disputed structure being the deity of Bhagwan Ram Janamsthan and place of birth of Lord Rama as per faith and belief of the Hindus, belong to
plaintiffs (Suit-5) and shall not be obstructed or interfered in any manner by the defendants. This area is shown by letters AA BB CC DD is Appendix 7 to this judgment.

(ii) The area within the inner courtyard denoted by letters B C D L K J H G in Appendix 7 (excluding (i) above) belong to members of both the communities, i.e., Hindus (here plaintiffs, Suit-5) and Muslims since it was being used by both since
decades and centuries. It is, however, made clear that for the purpose of share of plaintiffs, Suit-5 under this direction the area which is covered by (i) above shall also be included.

(iii) The area covered by the structures, namely, Ram Chabutra, (EE FF GG HH in Appendix 7) Sita Rasoi (MM NN OO PP in Appendix 7) and Bhandar (II JJ KK LL in Appendix 7) in the outer courtyard is declared in the share of Nirmohi Akhara (defendant no. 3) and they shall be entitled to possession thereof in the absence of any person with better title.

(iv) The open area within the outer courtyard (A G H J K L E F in Appendix 7) (except that covered by (iii) above) shall be shared by Nirmohi Akhara (defendant no. 3) and plaintiffs (Suit-5) since it has been generally used by the Hindu people
for worship at both places.

(iv-a) It is however made clear that the share of muslim parties shall not be less than one third (1/3) of the total area of the premises and if necessary it may be given some area of outer courtyard. It is also made clear that while making partition by metes and bounds, if some minor adjustments are to be made with respect to the share of different parties, the affected party may be compensated by allotting the requisite land from the area which is under acquisition of the Government of India.
(v) The land which is available with the Government of India acquired under Ayodhya Act 1993 for providing it to the parties who are successful in the suit for better enjoyment of the property shall be made available to the above concerned parties in such manner so that all the three parties may utilise the area to which they are entitled to, by having separate entry for egress and ingress of the people without disturbing each others rights. For this purpose the concerned parties may approach
the Government of India who shall act in accordance with the above directions and also as contained in the judgement of Apex Court in Dr. Ismail Farooqi (Supra).

(vi) A decree, partly preliminary and partly final, to the effect as said above (i to v) is passed. Suit-5 is decreed in part to the above extent. The parties are at liberty to file their suggestions for actual partition of the property in dispute in the manner as directed above by metes and bounds by submitting an application to this effect to the Officer on Special Duty, Ayodhya Bench at Lucknow or the Registrar, Lucknow Bench, Lucknow, as the case may be.

(vii) For a period of three months or unless directed otherwise, whichever is earlier, the parties shall maintain status quo as on today in respect of property in dispute.

Riaz Haq said...

Contd:

It seems that the title issue was not that clear cut. Here is what the three judges said on that issue:

6. What will be the status of the disputed site e.g. inner and outer courtyard?

Justice Dharam Veer Sharma:

It is established that the property in suit is the site of Janm Bhumi of Ram Chandra Ji and Hindus in general had the right to worship Charan, Sita Rasoi, other idols and other object of worship existed upon the property in suit. It is also established that Hindus have been worshipping the place in dispute as Janm Sthan i.e. a birth place as deity and visiting it as a sacred place of pilgrimage as of right since time immemorial. After the construction of the disputed structure it is proved the deities were installed inside the disputed structure on 22/23.12.1949. It is also proved that the outer courtyard was in exclusive possession of Hindus and they were worshipping throughout and in the inner courtyard (in the disputed structure) they were also worshipping. It is also established that the disputed structure cannot be treated as a mosque as it came into existence against the tenets of Islam.

Anonymous said...

The judges are trying to reconcile thousands of years of history. There are no real winners or losers amongst the litigants. And yet the process has produced a big winner - they are decent and reasonable people who want to live in peace and harmony.

-Tim

gunam said...

I really would not know why nobody is discussing about the actual case of the legal validty of claim on property.

When the property does not belong to MPLB, they have no business to interfere on what structure stays on the lan.

Rahul said...

The judgement is super Mr.Riaz. The judges have shown great intelligence.

Mr.Riaz don't go much on legal implications. Let me ask you, what is Ayodhya for the muslijm community. Its not MECCA oe MEdina. Its Ayodhya. Its much more mattered for the Hindu community.

Along with legal laws, spiritual laws and faith scriptures are also to be considered. The JUdges have equally divided the land between the petitioners. No one is a full gainer or a full loser. The injustice against the Muslim community was the destruction of Babri Masjid, which is a separate issue.

If faith did not matter than no court would first ask the witness to take oath over the Quran & bible. Faith matters.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Riaz
Shame on you and your thinking.
What are you representing here, Muslims of India, Muslims of world or some judiciary.
Have you gone through ASI findings on basis of which the judgement is done.

First you belong to your own country before shaming Indian Judiciary.

Shame on your and your statistics.

We Indian's have moved from Babar to Better, learn from Indian Muslims on how to live with other relegion.

If this verdict is wrong SC and concerned lawyers will take it up

anoop said...

This was a great verdict. Everyone seemed happy. But, unfortunately you are not happy, for obvious reasons.

There is a wonderful analysis on today's Dawn by Nadeem Paracha.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/03-lessons-from-ayodhya-ss-05

He writes: "The verdict, at least on the surface, does seem to be a masterstroke. It has not only managed to cleverly soften the religious sentiments of both the communities (regarding the issue), it has also come out looking like a firm expression of India’s 63-year-old democracy its pluralistic dynamics. "

And,"India remained calm on the day of the ruling. 1992 did not repeat itself. Many Indian commentators also saw this as “India moving on.” And I tend to agree with them. "

India has moved on. Recently, in the state of Karnataka, where I come from, I can proudly say that Hindus in a village helped build a mosque destroyed by nature's fury. The muslims of the village were very tiny in number. But, the way they have showed the tolerance that is the idea of India.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Hindus-help-rebuild-mosque-in-Karnataka-village/articleshow/6639377.cms

Compare this to today's Pakistan. Has Pakistan become more religiously fanatic since the 1990s? Are there more ideological motivated or religion inspired violence in Pakistan than 20 years ago? The answer to both the questions is YES.

Considering Indian judgements are taken into consideration in Pakistani courts and debates, it seems most in the legal community in Pakistan consider Indian judiciary is far better and mature than the Pakistani one(Like the recent debate in the courts and media in Pakistan regarding Indian court ruling of 'Basic Structure of the Constitution'). They have once again proven they have it what it takes.

Riaz Haq said...

The bottom line is that by awarding 2/3rd of the disputed land to the hooligans, the Allahabad High Court has set a very dangerous precedent.

The Allahabad High Court has awarded the hooligans land that they did not control. It's their reward legitimized by the court for resorting to hooliganism and violence. This is going to prompt them to indulge in more violence at all other places of minority worship.

Saurav said...

Mr. Riaz, This is NONE of your business. Worry about Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is the reaction of Dr John Dayal, Secretary General, ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL on Ayodhya verdict:

The judgment of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High court today [30th September 2010] on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute is patently based on populist and political sensitivities, rather than on points of law. Its implications, not just for the Muslims who were a party in the dispute, but all other religious minorities is yet to be fully assessed, but here is little doubt that there is an ominous aura to a verdict being touted by some as the only way to inter community peace in India. Judges SU Khan, Aggarwal and D V Sharma – the last of the 18 justices who have heard the case since its inception — have given a legal cloak to popular Hindu mythology and faith that the Lord Rama was born at the very spot where the mosque was built over the ruins of a Hindu temple sometime in 1528 AD during the reign of Emperor Babar.

The fractured judgement — Justice Sharma took an absolute and unabashed pro-Hindu line while the other two appeared to give somewhat more consideration to the arguments of both Hindus and Muslims — does not bring a closure to the dispute as an appeal in the Supreme Court is inevitable. But Hindu groups, who see the demolition of the mosque on 6 December 1992 as the natural outburst of an injured majority sentiment, have hailed this as a glorious victory. RSS chief Bhagwat has called upon all Hindus and others to join in a national campaign to build a “magnificent” Ram temple at the spot. Political leaders such as Mr Lal Krishan Advani have supported this move, and others have asked the Muslims to be magnanimous in defeat. The more virulent right wing of the Sangh Parivar, unmoved by calls of restraint, has demanded absolute control of the Mosque land, and everything else around it.

---

That is as maybe. But jurists, law scholars and thinkers among the minority communities have been left numb at the Lucknow bench’s effort to play “village mediator”, accept mythology and theology as legal facts, and then proceed to divide the disputed land in a three way distribution – one part to the Muslims and two parts to two different Hindu groups. This surprised most because it is not even a prayer by any one of the many litigants. This also treads a very thin edge of the legal wedge in
India where land disputes between religious groups is legion, and documentation, written and archaeological very scarce. Even in the Hindu Muslim relationship, there are at least three other major Temple-mosque disputes and the Sangh Parivar lay claims to as many as 3,000 mosques built at various times over former temples. Forgotten in this claim is the history of Buddhist stupas and shrines all over the country which were demolished to make way for temples during the first Hindu resurgence a thousand years ago. There are, however, no Buddhists of Indian origins in any numbers to make a claim. Also apparently blown away by the wind is the law of the land that the religious character of a building, church, mosque, temple or gurudwara, has been “fixed” for all times from the moment of India’s Independence on 15th August 1947 and no one can usurp each other’s religious places.

http://johndayal.com/2010/10/the-high-court-judgment-on-ayodhaya-if-it-becomes-the-law-of-the-land-through-the-supreme-court-has-ominous-ramifications-for-india%E2%80%99s-minority-communities/

Anonymous said...

riaz why are you so interrested in the ayodhya verdict?

Why not shed a 'rational liberal muslim' tear for the countless victims of hudood ordinances and blasphemy laws in Pakistan itself?

India for all its flaws has a functioning judicial system which all major groups respect.
Notice how muslim parties who disagree are in a very civilized manner appealing against the verdict to the Supreme Court instead of taking to the streets.
Similarly all Hindu groups are prepared to wait out and accept the Supreme Court's final verdict which may look nothing like the high court verdict.

This is the sort of societal respect for institutions that is a very very far distant hope for Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "India for all its flaws has a functioning judicial system which all major groups respect."

Courts are supposed to render judgments based on law, not religious myths, political considerations and other such factors. The Allahabad court has failed in this respect, setting a terrible precedent.

As to comparing the judiciary in India and Pakistan, both Indian and Pakistani judiciaries show up near the top of the corruption scale in surveys by Transparency International.

Even the top judges in India have been receiving bribes for favorable verdicts, according to former Indian law minister Shanti Bhushan.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "What I am discussing is the writ of independant institutions and the soceital respect they enjoy.There have been countless cases ...."

You have probably not heard about Sharad Pawar refusing Supreme Court order to distribute rotting food to the hungry Indians.

joker said...

I was just wondering why there are soo many comments on this post telling Mr. Haq that Ayodhya Verdict is none of his business… I guess these people do not understand that this is not internal matter on India! It Is a issue for the entire humanity and the entire Muslim because world because their place of worship was disrespected in this verdict!
Anyways it’s I disagree with Mr. Haq that this verdict is a shame for India or it’s judiciary! as only those nations feel any shame who have any degree of self respect left!. A country that claims to be secular and then passes a verdict based on HINDU MYTHS! Should not and will not feel any shame in it! As the BJP leader’s celebrate on this shameful verdict! I heart goes out for my Muslim brothers in India who at the face of this verdict … to prove their nationalism … or fear of the Gujarat and ayodhya riots in the past …. Do not even have the option to hold a peaceful protest in the so called secular india!

Veer Mathur said...

Riaz incorrectly said:
"As to comparing the judiciary in India and Pakistan, both Indian and Pakistani judiciaries show up near the top of the corruption scale in surveys by Transparency International."

INDIA #84
'09 '08 '07 '05
3.4 3.4 3.5 3.3

PAKISTAN #139
2.4 2.5 2.4 2.2

UGANDA #130
BANGLADESH #139(TIE)
SOMALIA # 180
CHINA #79
NEW ZEALAND #1

Corruption Index by Transparency International

I can't stop you from propagating an anti-India bias; nevertheless, please try to be accurate.

joker said...

All the archeologists who excavated the babri mosque were Hindus! And most of them were from “Banaras Hindu University” here is YouTube link of one of the first Muslim students of the Banaras Hindu University i.e. Professor Ahmad Hasan Dani. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u-MB75eCTs

Here he will tell how he was treated worse than animals as an Indian Muslim student at this university . After viewing this YouTube link we should ask our self how can ex-students or professors ( E.g. B B Lal ) affiliated with such a discriminating and racist Indian Hindu university give a fair account after excavating babri mosque!

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Tim

"The judges are trying to reconcile thousands of years of history. There are no real winners or losers amongst the litigants. And yet the process has produced a big winner - they are decent and reasonable people who want to live in peace and harmony."

you said it.

@Riaz

I think the fact that there were no communal violence shows that both Hindus and Muslims somehow want to get along. BJPs realization that there is nothing much further to be gained from Ayodhya may have helped to maintain peace as well.
If it were in Pakistan I'd have expected a few suicide bombings.
What is really a shame is the lack of any progress in investigations into communal violences carries out against Muslims in the wake of Ayoddhya. Many of these criminal thugs are ministers in various states, not only bringing shame to Indias claim to be a secular democracy, but also sets out a template for future violence. In Kerala, a virulent Islamist(who had lost a leg in Sangh parivar terrorism) with a big beard is being rotten in prison for decades for everything from terrorism allegation(though nothing proved) to rabble rousing, but the likes of Thakkare or Joshi will never get punished under law.

DCruncher4 said...

Riaz , don't worry, no court in Pakistan would ever say that the crude form of hatred expressed in Passport form of Pakistan against Ahmediyas should be expunged.

Anonymous said...

@Zen, I cannot agree with you more.

I see no shame in this court verdict; the bigger shame is that people like Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi and the other thugs from BJP and VHP are still not convicted.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "I think the fact that there were no communal violence shows that both Hindus and Muslims somehow want to get along."

I am glad that there has been no violence after the Ayodhya verdict so far. But I am afraid this decision has set a dangerous precedent and possibly opened a Pandora's box.

To illustrate this point, let me offer a quote from Dr. John Dayal of All India Christian Council:

"This also treads a very thin edge of the legal wedge in
India where land disputes between religious groups is legion, and documentation, written and archaeological very scarce. Even in the Hindu Muslim relationship, there are at least three other major Temple-mosque disputes and the Sangh Parivar lay claims to as many as 3,000 mosques built at various times over former temples. Forgotten in this claim is the history of Buddhist stupas and shrines all over the country which were demolished to make way for temples during the first Hindu resurgence a thousand years ago. There are, however, no Buddhists of Indian origins in any numbers to make a claim. Also apparently blown away by the wind is the law of the land that the religious character of a building, church, mosque, temple or gurudwara, has been “fixed” for all times from the moment of India’s Independence on 15th August 1947 and no one can usurp each other’s religious places."


Based on private emails I have seen, I think there is genuine anger and worry among Indian Muslims, particularly in UP, underneath the calm surface.

Here's a sample: "I sort of expected the court to bow down to the emotions running high around this subject. Lawyers and judges have changed due to anti Muslim atmosphere in the country. You would not expect lawyers to hit and jump on a lawyer who was defending an alleged terrorist, or to throw him out of Bar Association. It happened in Lucknow. Judiciary is compromised in other places too, specially Gujarat.

I think the Supreme court action will be similar to the one by the Allahabad High Court. They are afraid of the public and they know politicians only look at the votes"

Mayraj said...

Riaz: "I am glad that there has been no violence after the Ayodhya verdict so far. But I am afraid this decision has set a dangerous precedent and possibly opened a Pandora's box."

I agree.
BJP will not change its colors.
There is something very strange about India. The caste system was always strange;but, seems downright barbaric today and yet educated people cling to it.
The educated ones should have not only denounced it;but, proven in daily behavior they do not follow it any longer.
I do not know how Muslims living in India cannot complain about it.
They seem to have accepted it as Okay. I find that unacceptable.

gunam said...

Hi,

I am educated that does not mean that i donot have any attachment for my culture and value.

Ram is representative figure for how human has to lead a life of sacrifice at personal level for the benefit of family and society.

Even if the court has made the judgement on the basis of myth, i think it is fine and that is what is being done by muslim all over the world, in the name of belief which does not have any rational backing.

When i see the argument in this forum, it is like kettle calling the pot as black

gunam said...

If the case of title deeds has been dismissed by hc on the ground of law of limitation, supreme court might not even accept the case as the mplb does not have any legal right over the land or the property.

Probably congress can try the same stunt what it did for the shah bano case to get an constitutional amendment at the risk of irritating the hindu mass for whom ram is an ideal

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from an OpEd by Romila Thapar, a distinguished historian of Early India:

The verdict claims that there was a temple of the 12th Century AD at the site which was destroyed to build the mosque — hence the legitimacy of building a new temple.

The excavations of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and its readings have been fully accepted even though these have been strongly disputed by other archaeologists and historians. Since this is a matter of professional expertise on which there was a sharp difference of opinion the categorical acceptance of the one point of view, and that too in a simplistic manner, does little to build confidence in the verdict. One judge stated that he did not delve into the historical aspect since he was not a historian but went to say that history and archaeology were not absolutely essential to decide these suits! Yet what are at issue are the historicity of the claims and the historical structures of the past one millennium.

A mosque built almost 500 years ago and which was part of our cultural heritage was destroyed wilfully by a mob urged on by a political leadership. There is no mention in the summary of the verdict that this act of wanton destruction, and a crime against our heritage, should be condemned. The new temple will have its sanctum — the presumed birthplace of Rama — in the area of the debris of the mosque. Whereas the destruction of the supposed temple is condemned and becomes the justification for building a new temple, the destruction of the mosque is not, perhaps by placing it conveniently outside the purview of the case.
Has created a precedent

The verdict has created a precedent in the court of law that land can be claimed by declaring it to be the birthplace of a divine or semi-divine being worshipped by a group that defines itself as a community. There will now be many such janmasthans wherever appropriate property can be found or a required dispute manufactured.What happened in history, happened. It cannot be changed. But we can learn to understand what happened in its fuller context and strive to look at it on the basis of reliable evidence. We cannot change the past to justify the politics of the present. The verdict has annulled respect for history and seeks to replace history with religious faith. True reconciliation can only come when there is confidence that the law in this country bases itself not just on faith and belief, but on evidence.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Gunam

"i think it is fine and that is what is being done by muslim all over the world, in the name of belief which does not have any rational backing.

When i see the argument in this forum, it is like kettle calling the pot as black"

can you provide some examples from the modern history for your argument? What Baber may have done 5 centuries ago, Hindu fanatics are doing in 21st century in "modern secular democratic India", with the full blessing of judiciary and government. People who started communal violence on the basis of this are still walking freely. There is no point in always shooting the messenger(Riaz).

Riaz Haq said...

Omar Khalidi, an Indian Muslim scholar at MIT, says that Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the handmaiden of Hindutva. Here's a Rediff report on it:

The ASI's role in marshalling dubious evidence in support of the existence of a Ram temple at Ayodhya is the right occasion to assess its activities as a handmaiden of Hindutva, says Omar Khalidi.

As India [ Images ] reinvents itself through archaeology and tourism, official organisations such as the ASI, state archaeology departments and tourism bureaus lend themselves as the handmaidens of Hindutva, points out Omar Khalidi

Justice DV Sharma's judgment in the Babri masjid [ Images ] case given on Thursday claimed that 'the disputed structure was constructed on the site of the old structure after demolition of the same. And that the Archaeological Survey of India has proved that the structure was a massive Hindu religious structure'.

What Justice Sharma was referring to was the ASI's report of 2003 of dubious value on Ayodhya. What the ASI claimed were the base of pillars which held up the temple, were in fact not pillar bases at all. The Siva shrine at a lower level adds no strength to the claim of a Ram temple. The terracotta from different levels has been so jumbled that it can be linked to no particular stratum and period. Moreover, the presence of animal bones and glazed earthenware found at the site makes it difficult to claim that a Ram temple existed on this site between the 12th and 16th centuries.

The ASI's role in marshalling dubious evidence in support of the existence of a Ram temple at Ayodhya is the right occasion to assess its activities as a handmaiden of Hindutva.

Four traits that mark archaeology

Four characteristics mark Indian archaeology since colonial times: it is a monument-specific archaeology based on geographical surveys, literary traditions and Orientalist scholarship. These characteristics combine to form a traditionalist, location-driven excavation agenda that privileged some sites to the Hindus without regard to the historical provenance of any site or monument.

Taken together, the four characteristics privilege ancient references to monuments, whether in legend or literature, as authentic, while all medieval and modern ones are perceived as tales of depredations.

The ASI's colonial origins are transparent in its philosophy and operation. Mortimer Wheeler, director-general of the Archaeological Survey of India between 1944 and 1948, advised Indian archaeologists that 'Partition has robbed us of the Indus Valley… We now have therefore no excuse for deferring any longer the overdue exploration of the Ganges [ Images ] Valley. After all if the Indus gave India a name, it may almost be said that the Ganges gave India a faith."

His student BB Lal (ASI director, 1968 to 1972) took his advice. He excavated the Gangetic sites in search of evidence for the mythical periods described in the epics Mahabharata [ Images ] and Ramayana [ Images ] identifying two kinds of pottery -- painted greyware as an indicator of the former and northern black polishedware of the latter. He then attempted to match archaeological sites with places named in the epics.....

gunam said...

@Zen,

Pls understand that the world does not work in isolation. Every action in every part of the world has impact on the others. Hindus has been the most passive sect and has never been on any persecution mode. That is the reason you have three major religions along with parsi and jews

HOwever, the hindu radicalism is being fanned by the christian and islamic fundamentalism in their majority states as protection to the culture.

Pls tell me any non-christian holding higher offices in a christian majority states. I am not talking about islamic majority as there is nothing to talk as there is no scope.

Please visit part of india and you can see the beautifull temples destroyed by the muslim rulers.

Further the case has been dismissed on the ground of law of limiatation, meaning that the muslim had claimed their right for the property with the law of limiation, which is a general english law adopted in india.

Belief are belief, whether it is hindu or muslim. Pls see the back side and you can see how many belief are being stuck by muslim even with the movement time. actually there is no reform or movement in the islamic belief, rather they go backward. One such brilliant is as under :

http://secular-hindu.sulekha.com/blog/post/2010/06/saudi-clerics-advocate-adult-breast-feeding.htm

Riaz Haq said...

Here's more from Omar Khalidi of MIT on malfeasance by Archaeological Survey of India:

Hindu temples under monuments

The ASI has been looking for Hindu temples under every medieval monument. The unearthing of Jain idols in the vicinity of Fatehpur Sikri in the 1990s was the occasion to blame Emperor Akbar for destroying temples. When the annual meeting of the World Archaeological Congress in New Delhi coincided with the second anniversary of the Babri masjid demolition in December 1994, its two Indian organisers barred discussion of the event, since they were closely associated with the Ayodhya movement.

Numerous examples of the ASI's role in transforming medieval heritage can be seen across India.

* In 2007, the ASI cooked up history at Chittorgarh, a fort near Udaipur, Rajasthan [ Images ], by signposting an underground passage as the location of Padmini's jauhar or self-immolation, based on the myth of Emperor Alauddin Khilji's alleged atrocities. Numerous modern temples abound in the medieval fort.
* In 2003, the ASI virtually converted the 15th century Kamal Maula mosque in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh [ Images ], into a temple by allowing Hindu worship in it.
* Since 1977, the ASI has allowed the construction of three new Hindu temples in the precincts of Sher Shah Suri's mausoleum in Sasaram, Bihar. These bathroom-tiled temples with their calendar-art frescos mar the magnificent mausoleum's vistas.
* In 1970, the ASI allowed a kumkum sprinkled stone on the southeast corner of Charminar in Hyderabad to be converted into a full-fledged Bhagya Laxmi temple. A modern temple is protruding out of a major medieval monument in defiance of the ASI's own rules.
* At the turn of the 21st century, almost all the grand gates in historic Golconda fort and Hyderabad are riddled with Hindu temples, signs and icons flying in the face of the ASI's preservation mission.
* In 1948, the ASI converted the Jama Masjid in the Daulatabad fort near Aurangabad into a Bharata Mata Mandir (Mother India temple). The very name is so candidly, crassly contemporary as to make a mockery of a medieval site.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's more from Omar Khalidi of MIT on malfeasance by Archaeological Survey of India:

ASI's impact on heritage tourism

The ASI's representation of India's archaeological legacy in Hindu terms has had a direct impact on heritage tourism. Unlike ecotourism, medical tourism and such like, heritage tourism has had vast appeal to the increasingly rich, upwardly mobile, tech-savvy upper caste Hindus at home and abroad.

The ASI's representation of Indian archaeological sites as essentially Hindu is revealed by a close scrutiny of the web sites and printed tourist guides and promotional literature. In the Indian tourism ministry and state tourism department web sites and literature, India's past is invariably described as the 'Hindu golden age' and all subsequent eras until the colonial era as the age of Muslim tyranny. Such representations of India as Hindu is most blatant and obvious in the Incredible India promotion directed toward the diaspora in North America, Europe and wherever it is the rich live.

When tourists come to the sites and monuments, they learn who they are and where they come from. If they come through the promotions by the tourism ministry and state tourism departments, they learn that they are Hindus and the Muslims caused all the depredations. To anyone who has been a tourist in India, the various self-appointed touts and guides at the sites are ubiquitous. They provide a spicy supplement to the official narrative of Muslim vandalism.

The wide appeal of Hindutva among the Indian diaspora can be partly explained by their experiences at tourism sites. The ASI and the official tourism bureaus' characterisation of Indian archaeological sites as the focus of Muslim vandalism reinforces what was learnt through biased textbooks. The growing Islamophobia in the West further adds to the mental images of Muslims as violent bigots.

As India reinvents itself through archaeology and tourism, official organisations such as the ASI, state archaeology departments and tourism bureaus lend themselves as the handmaidens of Hindutva.

Omar Khalidi, independent scholar and staff member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is also the author of Khaki and Ethnic Violence in India and Muslims in Indian Economy

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Gunam

I fully agree that world do not work in isolation - but I never said otherwise. What you did not answer is how can you do in 21st century what Muslim rulers may have done in 15th century under the pretext of a "modern secular democracy". When many Indians talk about human rights of Hindus in Malaysia and Dubai while ignoring the mob violence after Ayoddhya against Muslims in India and the impunity the culprits enjoy. Safety and security of minorities in many parts of India is non linear and asymmetric. They have freedom of worship in many ways that Hindus in Muslim countries do not have, but they face enormous discrimination in soceity and their life is very unstable and insecure to the point that all you need is a rumour(like a cow was killed) to be lynched and burnt alive. This applies even if you are fairly powerful or famous as the example of Ehsaan Jaffrey showed in Gujarat.

Riaz Haq said...

In his Ayodhya opinion, Justice S.U. Khan made a reference to the Treaty of Hudaibiya as follows: "When prophet Mohammad entered into a treaty with the rival group at Hudayliyah(sic), it appeared to be abject surrender even to his staunch supporters."

This quote from Justice Khan shows how defeated and marginalized even the very few well-educated and well-placed Indian Muslims feel at this point....something reflected throughout his verdict. He basically threw in the towel and gave in to the likes of Justice DM Sharma, the most unabasged pro-Hindtva judge on the panel who "established that the property in suit is the site of Janm Bhumi of Ram Chandra Ji" in his statement.

This is the most damning evidence of absolute Hindutva fascist dominance of India's "secular democracy" on the streets and in the courts of India. It does not augur well for either democracy or secularism in India.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's what the epilogue of Justice SU Khan had to say:

"I have not delved too deep in the history and the archaeology. This I have done for four reasons. Firstly, this exercise was not absolutely essential to decide these suits. Secondly, I was not sure as to whether at the end of the tortuous voyage I would have found a treasure or faced a monster (treasure of truth or monster of confusion worst confounded). Thirdly, having no pretence of knowledge of history I did not want to be caught in the crossfire of historians. Fourthly, the Supreme Court in Karnataka Board of Waqf Vs. Government of India, 2004 (10) SCC 779 has held in Para-8 as follows:-

'As far as a title suit of civil nature is concerned, there is no room for historical facts and claims. Reliance on borderline historical facts will lead to erroneous conclusions.'

"As this judgment is not finally deciding the matter and as the most crucial stage is to come after it hence I remind both the warring factions of the following.

"The one quality which epitomized the character of Ram is tyag (sacrifice). When prophet Mohammad entered into a treaty with the rival group at Hudayliyah, it appeared to be abject surrender even to his staunch supporters. However the Quran described that as clear victory and it did prove so. Within a short span there from Muslims entered the Mecca as victors, and not a drop of blood was shed."

He then went on to talk of how resilient India proved itself in the aftermath of the 1992 demolition of the structure in Ayodhya and wondered whether the country's buoyant economic growth had a role to play. He also warned, however, quoting the poet Iqbal to make the point (the same poet he had quoted earlier to underline the point about India's resilience) that we shouldn't take it for granted that each fall will be followed by a bounce back.

In the same context, he also cited Darwin's dictum that "Only those species survived which collaborated and improvised", noting that it was ironical to be quoting Darwin in a religious context.

Finally, he makes an appeal to Indian Muslims in the following words: "Muslims must also ponder that at present the entire world wants to know the exact teaching of Islam in respect of relationship of Muslims with others. In this regard Muslims in India enjoy a unique position. They have been rulers here, they have been ruled and now they are sharers in power (of course, junior partners). They are not in majority but they are also not negligible minority.

"In other countries either the Muslims are in huge majority which makes them indifferent to the problem in question or in negligible minority which makes them redundant. Indian Muslims have also inherited huge legacy of religious learning and knowledge. They are therefore in the best position to tell the world the correct position. Let them start with their role in the resolution of the conflict at hand."

Riaz Haq said...

In 1832 under the Mughal rule, India was among the world's two largest economies along with China, a status it will not regain until after 2032, according to a recent CNBC report.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/39376706

Riaz Haq said...

A group of over 50 eminent Indian historians, artists and activists find the Ayohya verdict "gravely disturbing, according to an IANS report:

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) The Allahabad High Court judgment on Ayodhya is a "blow" to India's secular fabric, a group of over 50 eminent historians, artists and activists said Friday, raising their "serious concerns because of the way history, reason and secular values" have been treated in the verdict.

Coming together under the umbrella of Sahmat (Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust), they questioned the court's premise to base its judgment on the findings of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which had claimed that remains of a temple were found beneath the mosque.

"The judgment delivered by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute has raised serious concerns because of the way history, reason and secular values have been treated in it," said a joint statement signed by eminent personalities like Romila Thapar, D.N. Jha, K.N. Panikkar, Irfan Habib, Zoya Hasan, M.K. Raina and Madan Gopal Singh.

".. the view that the Babri Masjid was built at the site of a Hindu temple, which has been maintained by two of the three judges, takes no account of all the evidence contrary to this fact turned up by the Archaeological Survey of India's own excavations -- the presence of animal bones throughout as well as of the use of surkhi' and lime mortar (all characteristic of Muslim presence) rule out the possibility of a Hindu temple having been there beneath the mosque," the statement said.

It also alleged that the ASI's findings were fraudulent.

"The ASI's controversial report which claimed otherwise on the basis of pillar bases' was manifestly fraudulent in its assertions since no pillars were found, and the alleged existence of pillar bases' has been debated by archaeologists."

According to the statement, site notebooks, artefacts and other material evidence relating to the ASI's excavation be made available for scrutiny to scholars, historians and archaeologists.

"No proof has been offered even of the fact that a Hindu belief in Lord Rama's birth-site being the same as the site of the mosque had at all existed before very recent times, let alone since time immemorial'."

"Not only is the judgment wrong in accepting the antiquity of this belief, but it is gravely disturbing that such acceptance should then be converted into an argument for deciding property entitlement. This seems to be against all principles of law and equity," the experts stated.

As they see it, the most objectionable part of the judgment is the legitimisation it provides to violence and muscle-power.

"While it recognises the forcible break-in of 1949 which led to placing the idols under the mosque-dome, it now recognises, without any rational basis, that the transfer put the idols in their rightful place."

"Even more astonishingly, it accepts the destruction of the mosque in 1992 (in defiance, let it be remembered, of the Supreme Court's own orders) as an act whose consequences are to be accepted, by transferring the main parts of the mosque to those clamouring for a temple to be built," the statement said.

For all these reasons, the statement said, they "see the judgment as yet another blow to the secular fabric of our country and the repute of our judiciary".

"Whatever happens next in the case cannot, unfortunately, make good what the country has lost," they added.

Pradeep said...

@Mr.Haq - You said..."The bottom line is that by awarding 2/3rd of the disputed land to the hooligans, the Allahabad High Court has set a very dangerous precedent."

I totally agree with you.

However your argument that the land should be returned to Muslims because Ram is a fictional character is flawed. You are not respecting Hindu beliefs when you say that. Additionally if historic proof alone is reason enough, it has been proven that there was a hindu temple in the place where the mosque stood. To stop further such claims India has enacted the Places of Worship Act 1991 so that further such disturbances do not happen.

Pradeep said...

Mr Hq - You said... "Courts are supposed to render judgments based on law, not religious myths, political considerations and other such factors."

Agreed. However Indian judiciary has a long history of bending the law for the sake of religious harmony. If courts were indeed to apply the same laws to every one, then there should have been a Uniform Civil Code in India thus no special laws for Muslims to allow them to marry multiple times. Additionally, in the Shah Bano case the SC was overruled by Govt.

My argument is not to justify the verdict. It is just to show that such bias in the past has been to the advantage of Muslims too. However in this particular case, I think it is the duty of the majority to ensure that the minority does not feel disillusioned. So I think that the verdict should be in their favor. Not as an act of magnanimity but with the idea that being the majority comes with a burden.

gunam said...

@Zen,

Going back to history as the justification is not the practice of hindus. It is started by muslim and it has got up with hindus.

With regard to gujarat, a minister has been named as an accused and it is being pursued. It is pushed equally by fair thinking hindus.

With regard to destruction of temple, the muslim countries donot allow the construction and where is the question of destruction.

Dubai mob destroyed the make shift only one temple in dubai.

If transparency is what you talk about the gcc or muslim countries, i think you are living in coco world.

as an educated hindu, i am tired of the secularism and i feel it is high india is declared a hindu country if the securalism has to survive. Jews, parsi have lived for years togather with hindus without persecution.

When the buddha were destructed in afghanistan, the whole world including USA was watching the same. when the same devil turned back at usa, it is doing the witch hunt to catch them in pakistan and afghanistan.



Is this forum talking about 100000 kashmir pandit who has left the premises and mvoed away from kashmir. has any body asked about who holds the possession. Has the kashmiri muslim left the place of hindus as such. These are all recent events.

If taslima comes to calcutta, the public property and the society is takne to ransom against a weakened cpm party. In all aspect when modi suggested to provide her residnece in gujarat, did any muslim there make any noise. Sorry, my understanding is that for muslim, politeness is equal to cowardness.

Behaviour of muslim has pushed the hindus to polarization that the minority vote bank politics of muslim is not working in gujarat.

Enough brave [ as per defintion of muslim are in place now in india to handle these elements now ] are available to give the taste of the bravery to muslim


Pls give some similar incidence in any of the muslim majority country including pakistan. I would be happy to change by thoughts.

I have no complaints about riaz as he has a right to have an opinion and so am i.

Deepak said...

Riaz,

So why is Pakistan not bouncing back in economy as they are the rightful heirs of Mughals. May be Mughals relied on Hindu brains for the economy.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Pradeep

"My argument is not to justify the verdict. It is just to show that such bias in the past has been to the advantage of Muslims too"

I couldnt agree with you more. This is one reason why I think that it is futile to talk about archaelogical technicalities about an emotional issue in a complex soceity like India, and let the myth be allowed to save the face, if it saves lives.

@Gunam

"With regard to destruction of temple, the muslim countries donot allow the construction and where is the question of destruction."

There are many temples in Malaysia, Indinesia, Bahrain and Oman, and even in Pakistan AFAIK, just to name a few(OK, Saudi is a shameful exception, but they account for less than 5% of Muslims of the world). If you ask me whether the life of Hindus in these countries is better than life of Muslims in much of North India, I#d say yes as they are not subjected to mob violence and pogroms like Mulsims in India have been subjected to in the past.
Kashmiri pandits have been treated equally bad as well, but that however unjustifiable is limited to a very specific community.

About your grand theory of Hindu tolerance and Muslim aggressiveness, these are very popular myths that was started by European colonial historians and are not justified by any historical facts over last few decades(there are studies by many Western post colonial sociologists that says that much of the "communal riots" in India are systematic mob violence started by Hindu fanatics ala RSS).

gunam said...

@zen

Temples in islamic countries might have been there, but are they are there now? Start with pakistan.

I love this conversation with you as i have observed that you have objective thought process rather than prejudices.

Please take the minority percentage in pakistan at the time of partition and now. That will tell you the truth, if you want to see.

I have travelled enough in GCC to make the statement and followin are the great practices of GCC :

NO other belief is allowed to practice but for oman.

Government policy is done in such a manner there can never be a colonization of a particular tribe to live in their small.[ like missisaga is the heaven of srilankan tamils.]

Economic realities makes hindu work there and they want hard working non interfering sect for their productivity. With the opening up of the economy in india, they have choice to take a high cost english guy or medium cost indiann is the reality.

If you feel that hindus are aggressive why is that they donot have any problem in any country. Lot of temples are built in many western country and there is clash of civilization. Probably this is something which you can ponder and share your thought with us

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Gunam

You fall into the trap of categorizing "Islamic" and "Muslim" in a way that has been propagated by Western media. Why do you think that Pakistan alone represents the whole Muslim world? Even in Pakistan, there are still temples left and Hindus still exist though there has been violence directed against them in the past. In far east Muslim countries there exist many temples. I have been to GCC countries as well - there exist many temples not just in Oman, Kuwait and atleast one temple in Bahrain. Anyway, my point was just this - in India, Muslims enjoy freedom of worship in a way that Hindus in many Muslim countries do not. But this comes at a price - there are occasional communal riots and "casual discrimination against Muslims"(to quote "The Economist"). So they pay a heavy price for some of the privileges that they have in India. They have no choice as they can no longer go to Pakistan, and there the situation would be no better.
As for the Hindu violence - I was just pointing out some of the studies by both Indian humanists like Yoginder Sikand and also some Western scholars. This in no way mean that majority of Hindus have any problem with Islam or Muslims. They have accepted Muslims as a part of their life long back. But there are significant number of Hindu goons and they can cause a disproportionate amount of trouble to life and property of Muslims(and Christians) as countless riots in post independent India has shown.
As for Hindus not creating clash of cultures in the West, Hindus in general are(or more likely have been in the past) less assertive in asking for their religious rights in foreign countries. This is an admirable thing. But more than that, Islam is the primary cultural enemy of Christian Western world and animosity towards Muslims have created clash thoughout the history. Western world is by and large rational and secular, but throughout the history they had problems accepting aliens, be it Jews, Mormons or Muslims or even a different denomination of Christianity. Here eastern religions such as Hinduism or Buddhism is seen as no threat to Christian supremacy and hence in general are ignored by Westerners.

Anonymous said...

It is sometimes said that the Indian minorities with full human rights are the Hindus living abroad!

Even a country like Uganda has made good to Indians the excesses of the Idi Amin regime.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a piece by Jawed Naqvi of Dawn on Ayodya verdict:

A story ascribed to the progressive Urdu poet and wit Raghupati Sahai Firaaq Gorakhpuri gives an agreeable perspective on last week’s court verdict on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhumi dispute.

Rightwing Indian nationalists hallucinate about an imagined Golden Period from their history, which they require as a tool for political mobilisation. The Nazis conjured lofty images of Germany’s past to critique their messy present of the 1930s. One such Hindu nationalist approached Firaaq Saheb who he admired as a professor of English literature at the Allahabad University.

The man whispered to Firaaq conspiratorially. “My father was digging a 20-foot deep trench to lay the foundation of a new house, when he discovered a yard of copper wire. It conclusively proves there was electricity in ancient India.” Firaaq Saheb took a small sip of his dark Rum with soda and replied after a moment’s pause: “When my father was digging the foundation for his house, he didn’t find any wire. He died believing that in ancient India there was wireless too.”

Last week’s high court verdict on the Babri Masjid has no basis in either law or logic. It rewards the right-wing vandals who took law into their own hands while demolishing the Babri Masjid. The judgment pulls off a feat by avoiding any reference to the demolition, arguably one of the most painful moments of modern Indian history. In its intellectual content the judgment was somewhat on par with the man whose father found a copper wire while he was digging. It would have been funny if it were not so dangerous and if it did not set a precedent for worse things to come. One can only hope that India’s Supreme Court will bring more gravitas to this vexed issue.

Some years ago, Justice Haider Raza, a former Marxist who was handling the Ayodhya case, told me that matters of faith were not justiciable under secular law. He said the only thing he could do was to determine the ownership of the land on which the mosque stood before it was demolished on December 6, 1992. He retired before he could find a legally tenable answer to the 61-year old dispute. Or was it a 124 years old issue? That was when Colonel Chamier, an Englishman serving as the District Judge decided a suit claiming a right to build a temple outside the mosque premises. He visited the site. He concluded that it was built in Babur’s time, that it was on land held sacred by Hindus, and then said:

“… but as that event occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now to agree with the grievances.” Justice Raza couldn’t have agreed more with Chamier’s conclusion though he would have avoided the passing reference to a matter of faith in a legal dispute. So why did the three judges give a verdict which bases its findings on obscurantist evidence, whether from the Muslims or the Hindus?

gunam said...

@zen

Supremacy of islam, please clarify in what way islam is overtaking the west.

Pls compare the gdp of the western countries and that of the so called rich gcc countries.

Pls read the following article :

www.newsweek.com/2009/08/14/we-are-all-hindus-now.html

It will tell you the thought process of american becoming that of hindus. It is neither mad increase of count by evangalizing or by increase in count by population increase.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Gunam

I am not sure whether you understood the meaning of my previous post.

I did not say anything about supremacy of Islam, I rather said about historic clash of Islam and West and the collective phobia that West has about Islam since ages. Hindus do not have to encounter such a backlash in West and quite often, the behaviour of Hindus in the West has helped whereas Muslim immigrants' attitudes have often been counterproductive.

As for Hindus in USA, I am not sure what you are trying to prove by pointing out a rather ludicrous CNN type of journalism whereby the article author argues that just because many Americans are getting disillusioned with Christianity and embrace elements of Paganism, they are like becoming Hindus. Then why couldn't she argue that Americans are becoming Buddhists or pre Christian Romans or Babylonians as all of these religions have similar ideas like reincarnation, polytheism etc. ala Hinduism in contrast to Semitic religions.
There has been a wave of Hare Krishna movement during 70s Hippie age. Apart from some drug addicts, most of those Westerns who embraced such movements are back to Christianity, living with their families in USA or Europe.
In the future, I wouldn't be surprised if some Westerners develop some kind of Hinduphobia - so far Hindus have benefited from some very favorable dynamics. Those who immigrated to West from India earlier were highly qualified corporate materials and has done well. But the situation is slowly changing. With mass immigration of Hindus to some Western countries, esp. to USA, and many of them only superficially skilled and willing to take any job for any wage, there is a new wave of anti Indian sentiment in USA and Australia, though they are significantly milder than anti Muslim or anti Mexican sentiments. Even in Germany, there is a new wave of ethnic jokes(in German) about dark skinned professionals wearing sloppy sweat shirts and ridiculous Indian English accent.
It would be interesting to know what Riaz thinks of these topic as he had written in teh past about these kind of issues.

gunam said...

@zen

I think so, even today the best educated of the indian move. Further the other would be enterprenuer who are moving all over the world basically marwardi or gujarati banias.

Further jokes might be a way of human's expression of sadism or jealous.

Point i was trying to make was that there are hoards of these swamiji's who move around and have their set of follower.

Moot point is that there is no such flash point like banning of burqa like what is happening in the europe.

There is no aversion or profile with regard to the immigration of indian hindus into any part of the world including gcc.

Anonymous said...

LK Advani's most recent comments on the Allahabad verdict would convince many that in any civilized country he would either be in the zoo or behind bars.

Anonymous said...

How many temples are there in Pakistan or how many are protected? Everyone is talking about faith guiding this judgement but no one has thought that the faith was merely based on the evidences provided. If there were evidences which were against the existence of Ram temple, why were they not produced before the court in the last 60 years....Secularism doesn't mean sacrificing the majority faith. Like one of the three judges rightly said can anyone question the exact place where Lord Christ was born??? Siding with minority doesn't make anyone secular. For being a secular, you have to act like one. Apeasement can not win minority votes.

Riaz Haq said...

The Allahabad Court verdict is misguided and dangerous for peace in India.

Lost in the discussion is the fact that there are hundreds of Hindu temples standing on top of the ruins of Buddhist shrines and stupas that were destroyed during the first Hindu resurgence a thousand years ago to make way for Hindu temples.

After Hindu persecution of Buddhists in India, there are very few of them to lay a claim on anything. And even if they did, the Hindutva outfit called ASI, backed by Hidutva judges like Justice Sharma of Allahabad High Court, will throw their claims out. Here is a link to a video clip of MIT scholar Omar Khalidi talking about it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0icjKR9SPaU

In ancient lands with old civilizations, it is easy to understand that digging will find old artifacts from layers of earlier civilizations, triggering endless claims and counter-claims.

I have had the occasion to visit 10,000 year-old city of Jericho, considered the world's oldest city by archeologists, in Palestine where there is a deep trench dug by archaeologists that reveals 23 layers of civilizations...each built on top the ruins of the prior layer.

Unless there is an agreement and legislation to prevent destruction of current religious structure, there will be a Pandora's box that can potentially tear apart many societies and create widespread violence and destruction.

Aware of the potential damage to the fabric of India, Dr. John Dayal of All India Christian Council wrote as follows:

"India where land disputes between religious groups is legion, and documentation, written and archaeological very scarce. Even in the Hindu Muslim relationship, there are at least three other major Temple-mosque disputes and the Sangh Parivar lay claims to as many as 3,000 mosques built at various times over former temples. Forgotten in this claim is the history of Buddhist stupas and shrines all over the country which were demolished to make way for temples during the first Hindu resurgence a thousand years ago. There are, however, no Buddhists of Indian origins in any numbers to make a claim. Also apparently blown away by the wind is the law of the land that the religious character of a building, church, mosque, temple or gurudwara, has been “fixed” for all times from the moment of India’s Independence on 15th August 1947 and no one can usurp each other’s religious places."

Mayraj said...

Yes, Of course civilizations can build over one another. The Sumerians were discovered under Babylonian ruins.
The issue here is replacement of religious buildings. But, these buildings have been replaced for different reasons. Apparently even Hindu Princes demolished Hindu temples built by predecessors.

http://www.indianmuslims.info/books_info/history/temple_destruction_and_muslim_states_in_medieval_india_richard_m_eaton.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a review of Richard M. Eaton' book "Temple Destruction and Muslim States in Medieval India" by Yoginder Sikand:

The notion of the Muslim Sultan as temple-breaker, Eaton says, derives essentially from history texts written by British colonial administrators, who, in turn, drew upon Persian chronicles by Muslim historians attached to the courts of various Indian Muslim rulers. Eaton argues that British colonial historians were at pains to project the image of Muslim rulers as wholly oppressive and anti-Hindu, in order to present British rule as enlightened and civilized and thereby enlist Hindu support. For this they carefully selected from the earlier Persian chronicles those reports that glorified various Muslim Sultans as destroyers of temples and presented these as proof that Hindus and Muslims could not possibly live peacefully with each other without the presence of the British to rule over them to prevent them from massacring each other. Although some of these reports quoted in British texts were true, many others were simply the figment of the imagination of court chroniclers anxious to present their royal patrons as great champions of Islamic orthodoxy even if in actual fact these rulers were lax Muslims.

Dealing with actual instances of temple-breaking by Muslim rulers, Eaton appeals for a more nuanced approach, arguing that in most cases these occurred not simply or mainly because of religious zeal. Thus, the raids on temples by the eleventh century Mahmud Ghaznavi must be seen as motivated, at least in part, by the desire for loot, since the temples he destroyed were richly endowed with gold and jewels, which he used to finance his plundering activities against other Muslim rulers in Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere. Beginning in the early thirteenth century, the Delhi Sultans' policy of selective temple desecration aimed, not as in the earlier Ghaznavid period, to finance distant military operations on the Iranian plateau but to de-legitimize and extirpate defeated Indian ruling houses. The process of Indo-Muslim state building, Eaton says, entailed the sweeping away of all prior political authority in newly conquered territories. When such authority was vested in a ruler whose own legitimacy was associated with a royal temple, typically one that housed idol of ruling dynasty's state-deity, that temple was normally looted or destroyed or converted into a mosque, which succeeded in “detaching the defeated raja from the most prominent manifestation of his former legitimacy". Temples that were not so identified were normally left untouched. Hence, Eaton writes, it is wrong to explain this phenomenon by appealing to what he calls as an “essentialized theology of iconoclasm felt to be intrinsic to Islam".

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

here is a disgusting and tasteless piece of anti Indian racism by a New-zealand commentator

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gHGqy5o0VQ

The call it a Breakfast show! Is this what people watch when they are having breakfast?

IMO, Indian immigration is beginning to create Indophobia and it could get worse in the next few decades as economic prosperity of West declines and also people may take harder look at Indians own living conditions and standards.

@Riaz

I wonder why you completely ignored the commonwealth preparation fiasco of India. I thought unless you are seriously incapacitated, you would have written atleast one post as it was a sweet pot :-) (though your Indo-skepticism has been validated in this case)

Riaz Haq said...

Zen:"I wonder why you completely ignored the commonwealth preparation fiasco of India."

The mismanagement leading up to the CWG in Delhi didn't surprise me at all, although I am very pleasantly surprised by the laudable performance of Indian athletes so far at the Games. I wish them well.

Anonymous said...

Please note that Thalia Gigerenzer
writing in the Bay Citizen uses the term "low caste". Obviously, being married to a white she is now a very superior caste (VSC ..or is it VVSC?)


Was Mahatma Gandhi a racist?
By Jharna Kukreja Chauhan – October 8th, 2010
Email Facebook Twitter Print
Mahatma Gandhi; Mohandas Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – commonly referred to as ‘Mahatma’, is known the world over as a symbol of truth and non-violence. That’s why many may find it surprising to know that the ‘Father of the Nation’ has his share of detractors.

Some hold him responsible for the partition of India in 1947 and the resulting bloodshed of both Hindus and Muslims. His decision that India should pay Pakistan Rs 55 crore also drew flak from several quarters. Nathuram Godse assassinated Gandhi in 1948 because he felt that he had betrayed the Hindu cause.

Now in San Francisco, a group that call themselves the Organisation of Minorities for India are demanding the removal of a statue of Gandhi on the pretext that he was a racist.

John Cote writes in the San Francisco Chronicle -

The group was formed four years ago to publicise the oppression of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs and other Indian minorities…they say Gandhi was a racist who harboured violent urges.

The group plans to present management of the Ferry building (where the statue sits) with a demand to remove the statue and replace it with one of either Martin Luther King Jr or BR Ambedkar

Thalia Gigerenzer writes in The Bay Citizen -

The great peacemaker a bigot? It may sound sacrilegious in the United States but anti-Gandhi sentiments have long been part of the low-caste political movement in India. But these groups have only recently become vocal among Indians in America

…..While this group is growing more vocal, it is still a minority among the Indian community, for whom Gandhi is akin to a deity. “It’s like calling God racist”, said Neeraj Bakshi of the protestors…many feel that Gandhi is being unfairly maligned.

United Press International writes -

“The popular image of Gandhi as an egalitarian pacifist is a myth…we plan to challenge that myth by disseminating Gandhi’s own words to expose his racism and sham.” says Bhajan Singh, a member of the Organisation for Minorities of India.

***

This however, is not the first time Mahatma Gandhi has been accused of being a racist. Some of Gandhi’s early editorials during his stay in South Africa are controversial. On 7th March 1908, Gandhi wrote in the Indian Opinion – “Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilised…They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals”. His writings can be found in ‘The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi’.

Two professors of history have also examined this controversy in their book ‘Making of a Political Reformer: Gandhi in South Africa, 1893-1914′. They write that the young Gandhi was influenced by segregationist notions prevalent in the 1890′s..but that his experiences in jail seemed to make him more sensitive and mellow.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is an excerpt from an interesting OpEd by Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed published in Daily Times on Ayodhya verdict in Allahabad:

By making a big point of dubious archaeological evidence, especially the claim that Lord Ram was born exactly at that spot where the Babri mosque had stood since 1528, Justice Sharma has made concessions to Hindu fundamentalism. A superior court of a secular democracy is not expected to base its ruling on controversial historical evidence and mythology

The non-conformist Punjabi Sufi, Bulleh Shah, wrote a couplet that captures the irony and tragedy inherent in the masjid-mandir controversy at Ayodhya. He wrote:

“Dha day masjid, dha day mandir Dha day jo kujh dhainda ee Par kissay da dil na dhawee(n) Rab dilaa(n) wich rainda ee” (Tear down the mosque, tear down the temple Tear down everything in sight, But do not (tear down) break anyone’s heart Because God lives there).

It seems Bulleh Shah’s distinction between dogma and spirituality was rather idealistic: destroying sacred places and breaking the hearts of followers has been part of politics and, unfortunately, remains so in contemporary South Asia. Long before Muslim invaders began to attack Hindu temples, the common practice in India was that when a Hindu prince challenged a raja and defeated him, he plundered his royal temple where the wealth of the vanquished raja was kept. That temple was destroyed and a new one built instead to mark the personal glory of the victorious prince who became the new raja. He then kept his gold, silver and precious stones in it along with his favourite deity. That temple became the exclusive preserve of the royal family until the raja was defeated by another challenger. And so, the story of the victor and the vanquished continued.

I would not be surprised if Mahmud Ghaznavi had heard about this. He might have used the Islamic call for jihad to embellish his 17 raids on India with higher inspiration, but in practice he did what was the prevalent custom in India. Now, the problem is that destroying the places of worship of rival groups has been part of the story of conquest all over the world, and that includes the story of the Aryan tribes as well who entered the subcontinent some 3,500-5,000 years ago. They defeated the adivasis (indigenous people) and must have destroyed the sacred places and temples of those defeated groups. Then, of course, there was the transformation of India into a Buddhist society under Ashoka, only to be followed by a Hindu revival that wiped out all traces of Buddhism from India. The Buddhist temples must have disappeared as a result.

Riaz Haq said...

Aurngzeb is pained as the devil incarnate by hateful Hindutva bigots to justify their own atrocities against Indian Muslims, ordered the protection of Hindu temples.

Richard Eaton in his book "Temple Destruction and Muslim States in Medieval India" quotes an order issued by Aurangzeb to local officials in Benares in 1659 to provide protection to the Brahman temple functionaries there, together with the temples at which they officiated. The order reads:

In these days information has reached our court that several people have, out of spite and rancour, harassed the Hindu residents of Benares and nearby places, including a group of Brahmans who are in charge of ancient temples there. These people want to remove those Brahmans from their charge of temple-keeping, which has caused them considerable distress. Therefore, upon receiving this order, you must see that nobody unlawfully disturbs the Brahmans or other Hindus of that region, so that they might remain in their traditional place and pray for the
continuance of the Empire.

Anonymous said...

> Subject: NATIONAL CONVENTION ON AYODHYA- NOVEMBER 27, 2010- LUCKNOW
>
>
> Dear Friends,
>
> Anhad had called a National Meeting of a small group of academics,
> writers, lawyers, social workers and activists on 15 Oct 2010 in New
> Delhi to discuss the issues arising out of the judgment on Ayodhya.
>
> The statement issued by the meeting is pasted below.
>
> The developments after the September 30 Verdict on Ayodhya clearly
> show that there is a need to reflect on the serious repercussions and
> grave implications of this judgment for Indian public life, and the
> principles of justice, secularism, democracy and rationality.
>
> ANHAD is calling a NATIONAL CONVENTION in Lucknow on Saturday, November
> 27, 2010
> to discuss the issues arising out of the September 30 verdict .
>
> We are inviting secular, democratic groups, women's groups, anti
> gobalisation movements, people's movements to join and endorse the
> National Convention, to Mobilise for the convention and to support it.
>
> ANHAD will make all efforts with the endorsing groups to raise
> resources to look after the logistics in Lucknow. the mobilisation and
> the travel will have to be borne by the participants/ their
> organisations.
>
> It will be our endevour to make a detailed note on the judgment
> available by the end of this month.
>
> For endorsements , all other questions related to the National
> Convention please write to "Mansi Sharma" .
>
> Sincerely
> Shabnam Hashmi
>
> ----------------------------------------
>
>

Anonymous said...

>
>
> Statement on the Judgment of the Allahabad High Court on the Ayodhya
> Dispute
>
> Released at the National Meeting called by Anhad
>
>
>
> Ayodhya Verdict: Repercussions and Civil Society's Response
>
>
>
> 15 Oct 2010
>
>
>
> A meeting of concerned citizens, academics, writers, lawyers, social
> workers and activists took place on 15 Oct 2010 in Delhi to discuss
> the issues arising out of the judgment on Ayodhya.
>
>
>
> They were unanimous in their dismay over the judgment of the three
> judges of the Special Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court, who
> recently passed their final verdict in the 60 year old title suits
> over the bitterly contested property in Ayodhya. They were distressed
> with the grave implications of this judgment for Indian public life,
> and the principles of justice, secularism, democracy and rationality.
>
>
>
> The judgments of Justice DV Sharma and Justice Sudhir Aggarwal are
> based on language and arguments which effectively and dramatically
> invert the principle of a secular state, which subordinate faith to
> law, by making the law subordinate to faith. The non-secular, nay,
> anti-secular idiom of the judgments of the two Judges is deeply
> disturbing.
>
>
>
> The meeting was of the opinion that verdict constitutes a dangerous
> precedent, which can be used against other vulnerable groups in
> future, like dalits, tribals and women. For almost 500 years, Muslims
> had worshipped routinely in the Babri Mosque, while Hindus worshipped
> at the Ram Chabutra in the open area adjacent to the mosque, in a
> spirit of mutual communal goodwill. The disputed claim of Hindus to
> the land on which the mosque stood is based on naked aggression from
> 1949 to 1992. With this judgment, the movement which challenged
> India’s secular Constitution and took hundreds of lives, and fostered
> fear and hate has triumphed.
>
>
>
> This movement demanding that a grand Ram Temple should be built on the
> site in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid stood is often understood to be
> a clash between Hindus and Muslims. The meeting affirmed that there is
> indeed no such clash, and there never has been. It has always been a
> dispute between two alternate visions of India; between Hindutva and
> secularism; between a minority of persons unreconciled to the secular
> democratic idea of India, and the majority of Indians of every faith
> who believe in and live this idea.
>
>
>
> The judgement reopens again the question about the terms on which
> people of minority faiths would have to relate to cultural domination
> of the religious Hindu majority. In effect, it interrogates the
> guarantees of the Indian Constitution, which pledged equal rights and
> equal protection of all persons, regardless of their religious
> persuasion. Both in courts of law, but more importantly in the arenas
> of society and the polity, the meeting resolved to battle for the
> restoration of the values of the freedom struggle, and the
> Constitution which the people of India gave themselves.

Siraj said...

There is an invisible and silent strategy right from the top. to downplay the contribution of Muslims in India's history. While some parts cannot be deleted outright but manipulating; wherever possible, by change of words is a lot easier. e.g The British and Portuguese arrive but Muslims (not Turks or Afghans) invade. An old historic temple collapses, which is easily attributed to sabotage by Muslims. Even Taj Mahal does not feature prominently on display in the tourist brochures any more.

Some bright guys have figured out that the change of thought may be brought about much easily through tourist literature than hard core history books.
In the good old days, it was not fashionable to call the bad guys as terrorists.

Girish Shahane is a courageous Mumbai-based columnist, who is not afraid to call a spade a spade.

http://in.news.yahoo.com/columnist/girish_shahane/14/the-lonely-planet-misguidebook

Riaz Haq said...

Here is an excerpt from a piece by Girish Shahane, Mumbai-based freelance journalist. He writes the blog Shoot First, Mumble Later:

...These sorts of errors bothered me far less than the constant highlighting of atrocities, often fictional ones, by Muslim rulers. The entry on Konark read, "The massive Sun Temple was constructed in mid-13th century, probably by Orissan king Narashimhadev I to celebrate his military victory over the Muslims. In use for maybe only three centuries, the first blow occurred in the late 16th century when marauding Mughals removed the copper over the cupola. This vandalism may have dislodged the loadstone leading to the partial collapse of the 40m-high sikhara." As a child, I'd heard the tale of a giant magnet holding the Sun Temple's girders in place. By the time I was in my late teens, I knew Indian temples were made of stone and used little metal. The idea of a lodestone atop the Sun Temple keeping the structure together, while making compasses on passing ships go haywire, was manifestly absurd. Not too absurd for Lonely Planet, though, which lays blame for this imaginary vandalism at the door of Mughals, whose only connection with Konark in the late 16th century was a laudatory passage about the structure composed by Abul Fazl in the Ain-i-Akbari.

Temples, even grand ones can collapse from natural causes, as evidenced by the recent fall of the 500 year old gopuram of the Srikalahasti temple.

In India, however, any damage to old Hindu religious structures is reflexively attributed to 'the Muslims'. That phrase itself is objectionable, in my view. Lonely Planet never clubs the British and Portuguese together as 'the Christians', so why place rulers from varied ethnic backgrounds and historical eras into a hold all category such as 'the Muslims'?

The Sun Temple isn't the only instance of Lonely Planet inventing acts of Muslim vandalism. The entry for Himachal's Brajeshwari Temple states, "Famous for its wealth, the temple was looted by a string of invaders, from Mahmud of Ghazni to Jehangir". Mahmud did, indeed, loot the Brajeshwari temple. But Jehangir was neither an invader, having been born and bred in India, nor a plunderer of holy sites. He loved that region of the country, and did much to improve it.

Mughals keep unjustly getting the wrong end of the stick throughout the book. The background to Amritsar and its Golden Temple reads, "The original site for the city was granted by the Mughal emperor Akbar, but another Mughal, Ahmad Shah Durani, sacked Amritsar in 1761 and destroyed the temple." Durrani was, of course, not a Mughal at all. But hey, these guys are all Muslims, right? Mughal, Turk, Afghan, big difference. That attitude is probably why Allaudin Khilji is wrongly labelled a Pathan: "Chittor's first defeat occurred in 1303 when Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Pathan king of Delhi, besieged the fort, apparently to capture the beautiful Padmini, wife of the rana's (king's) uncle, Bhim Singh." Actually, misidentifying a Turko-Afghan as a Pathan is a minor error. The big howler in the sentence is LP's propagation of the myth of Rani Padmini. Back in the early 14th century, Khilji was on a campaign in Rajputana, capturing one fort after another, and Chittor was on his list. He didn't need a special reason to besiege it. The great poet and mystic Amir Khusro, who chronicled Khilji's campaign, made no mention of any Padmini. The story was dreamt up much later to contrast the treachery and lasciviousness of the Muslim ruler against the bravery and chivalry of his Hindu Rajput antagonists. I feel like saying to the Rajputs, "Guys, Khilji won, you lost, get over it."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent expose published by Tehelka.com on "tapes implicating ultra Hindutva outfits in terror blasts gathering dust" in India's law-enfocement agencies:

Tehelka has accessed 37 audio tapes, two videos and several witness statements that cast further light on the Malegaon blasts case of 2008..
...
The tapes show that the conspiracy was not just restricted to the 12 who were arrested. They throw up names of those who were sympathisers and funders, as suggested by Hemant Karkare in his last ­interview to Tehelka on 25 November 2008, a day before his death. The people mentioned are majors, brigadiers, police chiefs and politicians. But after the filing of the chargesheet, there has been silence...

Damningly, Tehelka also has a copy of an important department communication to a top ats official officials in the beginning of the year, with information on Ramji Kalsangra, a key accused. Kalsangra is wanted not just in the Malegaon blasts case but also for the Ajmer dargah, Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad), Malegaon mosque and Samjhauta Express blasts. Kalsangra was the one who planted the bombs and rode the bike used in the blasts. He was declared absconding. However, the department communication accessed by Tehelka speaks of specific information about Kalsangra’s whereabouts —
The tapes accessed by Tehelka also contain what amount to confessions of rioting. For instance, RP Singh, an ­endocrinologist at Apollo Hospital, tells Dayanand Pandey, “We burnt 25 Muslims at one go. Killing Muslims by day, practicing medicine at night: we have to do this. We have to spread terror. No more crying” (translated from Hindi).

Riaz Haq said...

According to WikiLeaks leaked cable of August 3, 2009, Rahul "Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the group (LeT) among certain elements in India's indigenous Muslim community. However, Gandhi warned, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community".

http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/12/wikileaks-on-india-kashmir-torture.html

Now, Times of India is reporting the following:


With the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reportedly set to book a Hindutva leader for involvement in the 2007 Samjhauta train blasts, evidence is mounting about the existence and growth of a saffron terror network in India. Swami Aseemanand has been identified as having played a key role in plotting the attack that killed 68 people, 60 of them Pakistani nationals. The self-styled Abhinav Bharat ideologue's name also figures in 2007's Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts. Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorism Squad had earlier arrested Hindutva activists like Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and others, including a serving army lieutenant-colonel. It claimed the right-wing group Abhinav Bharat planned the Malegaon blast in 2008. Clearly, saffron extremism has emerged as a serious threat that must be firmly beaten back. This calls for increased surveillance and monitoring of such groups' activities and members, and locating and dismantling terror modules wherever they exist. And those guilty of crimes must be given exemplary punishment.



Read more: Threat to harmony - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/Threat-to-harmony/articleshow/7230743.cms#ixzz1AKTd2OCH

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a Washington Post report on the conviction of 31 Muslims in Godhra train fire case:

NEW DELHI - An Indian court in the western state of Gujarat has found 31 Muslims guilty of setting fire to a train coach nine years ago, killing 59 Hindu passengers in an incident that sparked some of the worst religious violence in India in recent years.

The verdict was delivered inside the jail by Judge P.R. Patel who charged the men with murder and criminal conspiracy in the plot to kill the Hindu activists. The judge acquitted 63 others accused in the case.

Sentences are scheduled to be announced Friday.

The defendants bought gas, cut into the vestibule to pour it inside and torched the train, said J.M. Panchal, the public prosecutor in the case.

The Sabarmati Express train was carrying Hindu activists on their way to build a temple at a disputed site. Police had accused the Muslim mob of executing a well conceived plan in the town of Godhra on Feb. 27, 2002.

However, human rights activists and lawyers defending the accused have argued that it was an accident and not an act of sabotage.

The court on Tuesday upheld the conspiracy argument, but acquitted 70-year-old Maulana Hussain Umarji, who was accused as a key conspirator.

"We are not satisfied with this judgement. There are so many contradictions. We will appeal in higher courts," said I.M. Munshi, the defense lawyer

The burning of the train triggered reprisal riots in the following days that left more than 1,000 Muslims dead in Gujarat. The verdict on Tuesday is the first among nine court cases examining those accused in the violence.

Riaz Haq said...

There is a systemic anti-Muslim bias in the criminal justice system of India, particularly in Gujarat, that makes it extremely difficult for any Muslim accused to get a free trial.

In this particular instance, Justice Bannerjee, various human rights activists and lawyers have argued that it was an accident and not an act of sabotage.

Here's an excerpt from a Tehelka story on how the investigation was handled by the notoriously anti-Muslim Gujarat police that says "if there was a “conspiracy” in Godhra, it was not by the Muslims". ASHISH KHETAN picks apart Judge Patel’s verdict and shows how a devious lie was constructed:

Parmar was the chief investigating officer of the Godhra carnage. It was he who had constructed the premeditated conspiracy theory which was supposedly under independent review by the SIT. When the SIT was formed, Parmar was serving his fourth post-retirement extension given by the Gujarat police. How could a probe officer be inducted into the SIT to review his own investigation, petitioners protested. Under pressure, the SIT reluctantly dropped him from the probe team. But, in another malicious move, it inducted Parmar’s aide Ramesh Patel instead. The logic? Patel was familiar with the case so his presence would help the investigators.

The idea behind the SIT was to have an independent review of the Gujarat police investigation by neutral officers. That purpose was defeated when the probe in effect was handed back to the Gujarat police, under the cloak of the SIT.

Raghavan visited Gujarat only for three days in a month. For all practical purposes, the investigation was carried out by the Gujarat police. In less than 10 months, IGP Jha claimed he had concluded his scrutiny of the Godhra carnage investigation carried out by the Gujarat state police. He claimed to have re-examined all the crucial police witnesses. But dismayingly, when Murli Mulchandani and Kakul Pathak were examined by the SIT, they were not quizzed about their damning confessions made before this TEHELKA reporter. Even the basic question of whether they were caught on camera by TEHELKA was not put before them.

Even more dismayingly, though this reporter’s statement was recorded by the SIT, his testimony — about Pathak and Mulchandani admitting on camera that they had fudged their statements — and the supporting sting footage were not produced before the court. When you consider the fact that both testimony and evidence produced by this same reporter has been cited as an important piece of evidence by the SIT in three other riot cases — Naroda Gaon, Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society — the inconsistency becomes even more glaring. Why did the SIT not want to nail Pathak and Mulchandani? Why did Jha accept the sanctity of the Gujarat police investigation in toto?

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main48.asp?filename=Ne050311CoverStory.asp

If there was a “conspiracy” in Godhra, it was not by the Muslims. ASHISH KHETAN picks apart Judge Patel’s verdict and shows how a devious lie was constructed

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Ws260211SABARMATI_TRAIN_BURNING_CASE.asp

Godhra Carnage: A Muslim Conspiracy?

See what two BJP men and a star witness told TEHELKA during a sting operation


http://www.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Ws250211acquitted.asp

Those acquitted have lost nine years of their lives. Only because they are Muslim

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Op050311Actions_speak.asp

Riaz Haq said...

Muslim rulers deliberately projected as intolerant: Katju

Vidya Subrahmaniam, The Hindu

New Delhi: Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju on Sunday attributed simmering Hindu-Muslim tensions to a deliberate rewriting of history to project Muslim rulers as intolerant and bigoted, whereas ample evidence existed to show the reverse was true.

The judge also said that Indians were held together by a common Sanskrit-Urdu culture which guaranteed that India would always remain secular.

Justice Katju said the myth-making against Muslim rulers, which was a post-1857 British project, had been internalised in India over the years. Thus, Mahmud Ghazni's destruction of the Somnath temple was known but not the fact that Tipu Sultan gave an annual grant to 156 Hindu temples. The judge, who delivered the valedictory address at a conference held to mark the silver jubilee of the Institute of Objective Studies, buttressed his arguments with examples quoted from D.N. Pande's History in the Service of Imperialism.

Dr. Pande, who summarised his conclusions in a lecture to members of the Rajya Sabha in 1977, had said: “Thus under a definite policy the Indian history textbooks were so falsified and distorted as to give an impression that the medieval period of Indian history was full of atrocities committed by Muslim rulers on their Hindu subjects and the Hindus had to suffer terrible indignities under Islamic rule.”

Justice Katju said Dr. Pande came upon the truth about Tipu Sultan in 1928 while verifying a contention — made in a history textbook authored by Dr. Har Prashad Shastri, the then head of the Sanskrit Department in Calcutta University — that during Tipu's rule 3,000 Brahmins had committed suicide to escape conversion to Islam. The only authentication Dr. Shastri could provide was that the reference was contained in the Mysore Gazetteer. But the Gazetteer contained no such reference.

Further research by Dr. Pande showed not only that Tipu paid annual grants to 156 temples, but that he enjoyed cordial relations with the Shankaracharya of Sringeri Math to whom he had addressed at least 30 letters. Dr. Shastri's book, which was in use at the time in high schools across India, was later de-prescribed. But the unsubstantiated allegation continued to masquerade as a fact in history books written later.

Justice Katju said the secular-plural character of India was guaranteed both by the Indian Constitution and the unmatched diversity of the Indian population. The judge attributed the diversity to the fact of India being a land of old immigrants, dating back to 10,000 years (Justice Katju and fellow judge Gyan Sudha Misra first propounded this thesis in a judgment, excerpts from which were carried as an op-ed article in The Hindu edition dated January 12, 2011). The diversity, reflected in the wide range of religions, castes, languages and physical attributes found among the descendants, led the founding fathers to draft a Constitution with strong federal features. “Diversity is our asset and our guarantee for staying secular,” said Justice Katju.

Earlier, a resolution passed at the conference urged the government to forthwith set up an Equal Opportunity Commission as recommended by the Rajinder Sachar Committee.

The resolution said: “The conference resolves that inclusive growth is not possible without equal opportunities being given to all sections of society, particularly minorities and other marginalised communities.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1704204.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC story on damning testimony against Narendra Modi by an Indian intelligence official:

A senior police officer's sworn statement to India's Supreme Court alleges that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in the state.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the violence in 2002.

Sanjiv Bhatt says he attended a meeting at which Mr Modi is alleged to have said that the Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger.

Mr Modi has always denied any wrongdoing.
'Vent their anger'

The riots began after 60 Hindu pilgrims died when a train carrying them was set on fire.

Sanjiv Bhatt was a senior police officer in the Gujarat intelligence bureau during the 2002 riots.

In a sworn statement to the Supreme Court, he said that his position allowed him to come across large amounts of information and intelligence both before and during the violence, including the actions of senior administrative officials.

He also alleges that, in a meeting in the night before the riots, Mr Modi told officials that the Muslim community needed to be taught a lesson following an attack on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims.

The Gujarat government has responded to the allegations by saying they have already testified before a special panel investigating the riots and will wait for the court's verdict.

Riaz Haq said...

Some 700 people have been killed in more than half a dozen militant attacks in Mumbai since 1993, including the horrific assault in November 2008. And the violence shows no signs of abating, according to Soutik Biswas as of the BBC who traces the origins of Mumbai violence to anti-Muslim riots by Hindu fanatics in early 1993 after Babri Masjid demolition by the BJP-Sangh Parivar-led Hindu mobs:

The most commonly peddled narrative is that by attacking its much touted financial and entertainment capital, you deal a body blow to India and get global media attention. But that is only a small part of the story. Many residents will tell you that Mumbai began going downhill in early 1993 when it convulsed in religious rioting and murder for two weeks following the demolition of the Babri mosque by Hindu fanatics in December 1992. At least 900 people died, mostly Muslims. Two months after the riots, the underworld set off series of bombs to avenge the riots, killing more than 250 people. Many of them were Muslims too.

That is when the rule of law broke down, many say irretrievably. A 1998 two-volume report on the religious riots was ignored by successive governments, who failed to prosecute politicians and policemen involved in the rioting. At the same time, the authorities were seen to proceed swiftly with prosecuting those involved in the bombings, leading to allegations that the government was anti-Muslim. The seeds of mistrust between the two largest communities in India's most cosmopolitan city had been firmly planted.

The image of Mumbai as a liberal city ruled by law and reason has long turned out to be a chimera, according to Gyan Prakash, author of Mumbai Fables, a much acclaimed book on the restless city. Over the years, say many analysts, the state's authority has been eroded as a nexus of greedy politicians, a thriving underworld, unscrupulous property developers and a discredited police force seem to have been ruling the roost, undermining institutions.

Last month, gunmen shot dead the city's leading crime journalist on a rainy morning and zipped away openly on their motorbikes. A block of flats meant for war widows was allegedly grabbed by politicians, retired army officers and other such privileged folks, until the courts stepped in. "Conspiracies hatched by politicians, builders, criminals, Hindu militants and Muslim dons appeared to be the underlying dynamic of the city. Anger and violence ruled the street," wrote Mr Prakash of the city in the mid-1990s. Not much has changed - the poisonous cocktail endures, and makes the city easy to attack. The rich in Mumbai, as a friend says, live with one foot in New York and one foot in the city. The poor and the middle-class bleed.

Behind the deceptive facade of its glitzy nightlife, fancy ocean-front flats owned by film stars and businessmen, and India's most expensive building, owned by its richest man, Mumbai is a tired and bitter city, being eaten up from within. The majority of its people live in slums, and millions live on the streets. This cannot make for a very happy place, and the city's "resilient spirit" has now become the cruellest Indian cliche. And what attracts religious extremists to launch attacks here? They are appalled, says the city's most famous chronicler, Suketu Mehta, that Mumbai stands for "lucre, profane dreams and indiscriminate openness"....


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14140991

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a piece by Soutik Biswas of the BBC on "offensive" books censorship in India:

Three Hundred Ramayanas:Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation, finds itself at the centre of a fresh controversy. It has been dropped from the history syllabus of Delhi University after protests from hardline Hindu groups and a number of teachers. They believe the many versions recounted in the essay offend Hindu beliefs.
-----------
Hindu groups first protested against the inclusion of Dr Ramanujan's essay in the syllabus in 2008. At that time, the head of Delhi University's history department was also assaulted by some hot heads. But the teachers had stuck to their guns and refused to drop the essay.

Three years later, bowing to renewed pressure, the university's top academic body decided to take the essay out of the history syllabus, though, reportedly, a minority of teachers protested against the decision. One of them, Abha Dev Habib, described the decision as "very regressive and unfortunate".

So why have the right-wing groups railed against Dr Ramanujan's essay?

Journalist Sugata Srinivasaraju suggests that the groups love the "soap telling" of the epic poem which iconises Ram and "want the narrative to retain the structure and simplicity of a bedtime story so that you fall asleep in consent and total belief as you listen to it". Literary critic Nilanjana S Ray writes in her blog that this may "have been part of the general climate of intolerance and the battle over who had the right to tell the country's history and its myths that was part of the Indian landscape between the 1980s and the 2000s". She talks about how self-appointed censors wilfully scan texts for "offensive" phrases.

Ms Ray is correct. Last year Mumbai University withdrew Rohinton Mistry's novel Such a Long Journey - shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1991 - from its curriculum after the nationalist Shiv Sena staged protests against its "derogatory" references to party members. Mr Mistry said the move was "a sorry spectacle of book-burning".

Last year the state of Gujarat banned Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld's incisive Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India long before it had been released in India. Gujarat's ruling Hindu nationalist politicians had been told that the book sensationalised Gandhi's friendship with a German man, who may have been homosexual. All this was far from true, but the ban stayed....the ease with which attacks on free expression can be mounted in a country which never tires of calling itself the world's largest democracy betrays a weak and inffectual state, which often fails to respect and protect dissenters. That, many believe, means mischievous, trouble-making minorities can easily subdue and attack dissent.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15363181

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Indian Bollywood star Sharukh Khan on discrimination he has suffered in India:

In an emotive first-person article titled 'Being Khan' featured in Outlook Turning Points magazine, the actor said he feels he has been used by political leaders as a "symbol of what is wrong about Muslims in India".

Shah Rukh Khan on the cover of Outlook Turning Points magazine


"I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India," explained the 47-year-old actor.

"There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country - this even though I am an Indian, whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave and return to what they refer to as my original homeland."

The star said he was prompted to make the film My Name is Khan "to prove a point" after being repeatedly detained in US airports because of his last name.

The political drama sees Khan playing a man with Asperger's syndrome who is mistaken for a terrorist while traveling in the USA.

Shah Rukh Khan has described what it means to be a Muslim post-9/11.

In an emotive first-person article titled 'Being Khan' featured in Outlook Turning Points magazine, the actor said he feels he has been used by political leaders as a "symbol of what is wrong about Muslims in India".

Shah Rukh Khan on the cover of Outlook Turning Points magazine


"I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India," explained the 47-year-old actor.

"There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country - this even though I am an Indian, whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave and return to what they refer to as my original homeland."

The star said he was prompted to make the film My Name is Khan "to prove a point" after being repeatedly detained in US airports because of his last name.

The political drama sees Khan playing a man with Asperger's syndrome who is mistaken for a terrorist while traveling in the USA.



"Ironically, I was interrogated at the airport for hours about my last name when I was going to promote the film in America for the first time," he said

Khan, whose wife Gauri is a Hindu, said he chose his children's names Aryan and Suhana in the hope they would not be subjected to the same levels of suspicion in the future.

"I gave my son and daughter names that could pass for generic (pan-India and pan-religious) ones - Aryan and Suhana. The Khan has been bequeathed by me so they can't really escape it," he wrote.

"I pronounce it with my epiglottis when asked by Muslims and throw the Aryan as evidence of their race when non-Muslims enquire. I imagine this will prevent my offspring from receiving unwarranted eviction orders or random fatwas in the future."


http://www.digitalspy.com/bollywood/news/a453190/shah-rukh-khan-talks-life-as-a-muslim-post-911.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece in The Guardian by Arundhati Roy on Afzal Guru's hanging:

Spring announced itself in Delhi on Saturday. The sun was out, and the law took its course. Just before breakfast, the government of India secretly hanged Afzal Guru, prime accused in the attack on parliament in December 2001, and interred his body in Delhi's Tihar jail where he had been in solitary confinement for 12 years. Guru's wife and son were not informed. "The authorities intimated the family through speed post and registered post," the home secretary told the press, "the director general of the Jammu and Kashmir [J&K] police has been told to check whether they got it or not". No big deal, they're only the family of yet another Kashmiri terrorist.

In a moment of rare unity the Indian nation, or at least its major political parties – Congress, the Bharatiya Janata party and the Communist party of India (Marxist) – came together as one (barring a few squabbles about "delay" and "timing") to celebrate the triumph of the rule of law. Live broadcasts from TV studios, with their usual cocktail of papal passion and a delicate grip on facts, crowed about the "victory of democracy". Rightwing Hindu nationalists distributed sweets to celebrate the hanging, and beat up Kashmiris (paying special attention to the girls) who had gathered in Delhi to protest. Even though Guru was dead and gone, the commentators in the studios and the thugs on the streets seemed, like cowards who hunt in packs, to need each other to keep their courage up. Perhaps because, deep inside, themselves they knew they had colluded in doing something terribly wrong.

What are the facts? On 13 December 2001 five armed men drove through the gates of the Indian parliament in a car fitted out with a bomb. When challenged they jumped out of the car and opened fire, killing eight security personnel and a gardener. In the firefight that followed, all five attackers were killed. In one of the many versions of the confessions he was forced to make in police custody, Guru identified the men as Mohammed, Rana, Raja, Hamza and Haider. That's all we know about them. They don't even have second names. LK Advani, then home minister in the BJP government, said they "looked like Pakistanis". (He should know what Pakistanis look like right? Being a Sindhi himself.) Based only on Guru's custodial confession (which the supreme court subsequently set aside, citing "lapses" and "violations of procedural safeguards") the government recalled its ambassador from Pakistan and mobilised half a million soldiers on the Pakistan border. There was talk of nuclear war. Foreign embassies issued travel advisories and evacuated their staff from Delhi. The standoff lasted months and cost India thousands of crores – millions of pounds.

---------
What sets Guru's killing apart is that, unlike those tens of thousands who died in prison cells, his life and death were played out in the blinding light of day in which all the institutions of Indian democracy played their part in putting him to death.

Now he has been hanged, I hope our collective conscience has been satisfied. Or is our cup of blood still only half full?..


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/10/hanging-afzal-guru-india-democracy

Riaz Haq said...

Ghettoization, discrimination against and segregation of #Muslims in @narendramodi's #gujarati #India http://nyti.ms/1eH0qFQ #IndiaElections

Even as candidate for prime minister, Mr. Modi has not given up his sectarian ways. Nor has his party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Of the 449 B.J.P. candidates now running for seats in the lower house of Parliament, all but eight are Hindu. The party’s latest election manifesto reintroduces a proposal to build a temple to the Hindu god Ram on the site of a medieval mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya, even though the destruction of that mosque by Hindu extremists and B.J.P. supporters in 1992 devolved into violence that killed several thousand people.

Continue reading the main story
Amit Shah, a former Gujarat minister and Mr. Modi’s closest aide, is awaiting trial for the murder of three people the police suspect of plotting to assassinate Mr. Modi. (Mr. Shah calls the charges a political conspiracy.) He has made speeches inciting anti-Muslim sentiment among Hindu voters, including in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, despite an outbreak of sectarian violence there last September.

The problem isn’t just about rhetoric. Judging by the evidence in Gujarat, where Mr. Modi has been chief minister since 2001, a B.J.P. victory in the general election would increase marginalization and vulnerability among India’s 165 million Muslims.

Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, has become a wealthy metropolis of about six million people and three million private vehicles. Office complexes, high-rise apartments, busy markets and shopping malls have replaced the poor villages that once dotted the land. The city has a mass transit system called People’s Path, with corridors reserved for buses.

But Ahmedabad ceases to swagger in Juhapura, a southwestern neighborhood and the city’s largest Muslim ghetto, with about 400,000 people. I rode around there last week on the back of a friend’s scooter. On the dusty main street was a smattering of white and beige apartment blocks and shopping centers. A multistory building announced itself in neon signs as a community hall; a restaurant boasted of having air-conditioning. The deeper we went into the neighborhood, the narrower the streets, the shabbier the buildings, the thicker the crowds.

The edge of the ghetto came abruptly. Just behind us was a row of tiny, single-story houses with peeling paint. Up ahead, in an empty space the size of a soccer field, children chased one another, jumping over heaps of broken bricks. “This is The Border,” my friend said. Beyond the field was a massive concrete wall topped with barbed wire and oval surveillance cameras. On the other side, we could see a neat row of beige apartment blocks with air conditioners securely attached to the windows — housing for middle-class Hindu families.