On Spineless Response of Liberals to Muslim Mob Violence

At the height of the battle against The Satanic Verses Shabbir Akhtar, the Muslim philosopher who acted as a spokesman for the anti-Rushdie campaign, mocked the equivocations of Western liberals. ‘Vulnerability’, he wrote, ‘is never the best proof of strength’. The more you cave in to those who would censor, the more they wish to censor. And the more you seek to appease the hardliners, and view them as the ‘real’ Muslims, the more you marginalise progressive movements in the Muslim world. The myths enshrouding the Rushdie affair have ensured that the lessons we have drawn from the battle over The Satanic Verses are the very opposite of the ones we should have learnt.

Words of Kenan Malik

Tribune: Another View on Aurangazeb

Pakistan newspaper The Tribue Article:

Historians do not often agree on much, least of all about South Asian history, but there seems to be an almost unanimous consensus that the downfall of the Mughal Empire should be blamed on Aurangzeb.

Most historians who study the Mughal Empire have sought to blame the sixth emperor entirely for its collapse, contrasting his religious conservatism with his great grandfather Akbar’s eclectic tolerance that undoubtedly led to architectural innovations and cultural synthesis during the latter’s reign. Those who admire the synergetic traditions that developed in Akbar’s court point to the stylistic fusion that took place in Fatehpur Sikri and to how some talented Hindus played an important role in his administration.

But even as Aurangzeb’s sectarian and messianic tendencies may have been the immediate catalyst for some of the rebellions that eventually triggered the downfall of the Mughal Empire, they should not be seen as the sole reasons for the empire’s disintegration. Challenges to Mughal rule had already begun right after Akbar’s military successes and historians, who write admiringly and uncritically about Akbar’s “secularism” and eclectic tastes and draw too sharp a distinction between Akbar and Aurangzeb, miss many such crucial points.

One of the points that these historians appear to overlook is that although most Mughals were consciously “secular”, at no point during their rule did they allot administrative posts in proportion to the actual population of Muslims and Hindus; Muslims were always over-represented. It is pertinent, then, that although Aurangzeb identified closely with Islamic orthodoxy, more Hindus were employed in his court than Akbar’s. Aurangzeb, like his predecessors, continued the practice of seeking alliances with Hindu rulers but he abandoned the practice of developing marital ties with them. This decision did come with a cost and it is true that without the bonds of inter-marriage and with a tax base that was becoming less stable, the motivation for the Rajputs to fight Mughal battles began to wane.
Furthermore, in their support of the arts and music, the tastes of the early Mughals remained strongly biased towards the Muslim traditions of Central Asia and Persia. The only foreign non-Muslim influences were the Chinese traditions. Miniatures sponsored by Babar were entirely in the Samarqand/Bukhara tradition while, during Akbar’s rule, Persian and Western imitations also became popular.

Interestingly it was only with Akbar’s son Jahangir, who was born of a Rajput mother, that the Mughal arts lost their hotchpotch and uneven character and began to develop a distinctive and more consistent style. Jehangir was considerably influenced by Rajput tastes and rewarded skilled Hindu artisans with prominent positions in his court. With a remarkable eye for excellence in design and execution in the arts and crafts, he encouraged talent and promoted merit without discrimination. He also took an interest in local flora and fauna and, like Akbar, had an interest in philosophy. Aurangzeb’s elder brother Dara Shikoh and father Shah Jahan were inheritors of this taste for creative sophistication and ornamental exuberance.

Yet even as it became more influenced by indigenous Indian cultures, Mughal court culture remained inaccessible to ordinary citizens of the empire. With Shah Jahan, a refined delicacy came to define courtly tastes, but there was also a trend towards rarefied formalism, which prevented the Mughal tradition from imbibing popular and folk influences in the manner of the Rajput or Bundelkhand rulers.

Mughal courtly culture also remained somewhat apart from the folk traditions of the Indian masses through the promotion of Persian as the language of culture, and Urdu as the language of administration. Although popular with urban intellectuals and the cultural elite, Urdu, with its plethora of Persian and Arabic words and non-Indian script could not gain mass acceptance and remained a language primarily of the elite. Outside the Hindi belt, this was an even bigger problem.

But it was not just a cultural aloofness or the dominance of the Muslim minority that made Mughal rule unpalatable. Even more fundamental factors were in play. For instance, the high rate of taxation on the peasantry was simply unsustainable. But another important reason for the unravelling of Mughal power was that beyond Sindh, Punjab, Kashmir and the Yamuna and Gangetic plains, Mughal rule had simply not made enough of a positive contribution to justify its continuity.

It is therefore somewhat ironic that some of the highest admiration for the Mughal Empire’s “unification” of India into a highly centralised polity comes from people who are ardent advocates of economic and political decentralisation of modern India. Another factor often ignored is that the “unification” of India that Akbar had achieved was almost entirely through war and coercion.

But more importantly, the benefits of this centralisation did not flow throughout the empire. Some territories paid tribute but received no tangible gains in exchange. In particular, the regions corresponding to present-day Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Chota Nagpur and Vidarbha, eastern Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and much of North Bihar were starved of investment, and experienced stagnation or decline.

Furthermore, beyond the main trade routes that linked northern India to the rest of the world, the Mughal state invested neither in agricultural expansion nor in manufacturing or infrastructure to promote trade. Since the bulk of the Mughal manufacturing towns was located either along the Yamuna and Gangetic plains (or along the Indus), it is no coincidence that Mughal legitimacy survived primarily only in these regions of India.

Thus, considering the steady drain of wealth from areas further away from Mughal capitals and urban centres, it was almost inevitable that alienation from Mughal rule would set in very quickly. The plateau regions of Central India (and other outlying regions) simply had no stake in a unified Mughal empire and that is why a broad and secular coalition of forces arose in defiance of Mughal authority in such areas.

Unfortunately, such shortcomings of Mughal rule have largely escaped the attention of serious historians in India. And those who have been critical have focused almost exclusively on the communal angle (on the repression of Hindu religion and culture), ignoring socio-economic and political factors that may have been equally, or far more, relevant. Communally focused critics of Mughal rule have often ignored how particular caste categories offered their services and allegiance to the Mughals, and received tangible benefits in return. The Kayasthas in particular experienced upward mobility as they rose from being scribes and junior record-keepers to holding important administrative posts, and achieved a social rank comparable to court Brahmins. Mercantile caste categories also had a stake in the success of Mughal rule. Hindu money-lenders and shopkeepers did quite well in the prosperous Mughal towns, and a majority of the top revenue administrators under the Mughals (even during the reign of Aurangzeb) were either Hindu Banias or Brahmins.

Bihar’s Maithil Brahmins had been promoted by earlier Islamic rulers, and their regional and local authority was not challenged by the Mughals. And while other regional Hindu rulers (such as the Mewar and Hill Rajputs, or the Bundelkhandis) often felt oppressed by Mughal rule, they nevertheless lived lives of considerable comfort and leisure, and this restrained them from organising collectively and mounting any serious challenge to Mughal rule.
But perhaps the most crippling deficiency of Mughal rule was the failure of Mughal rulers to devote even a fraction of their treasuries to anything resembling modern education. In that respect, Aurangzeb can be held to blame as he was especially sceptical about the relevance of modern science and technology. Whereas the European nations had begun to invest in printed books and public universities, the Mughal rulers demonstrated at best a passing interest in the sciences. As a result, even though the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb had successfully fended off the expansion of European trading settlements in India, no durable foundation for the unity and scientific advancement of India had been laid by the Mughals. Mughal rule had left India largely incapable of dealing with the challenge of European military and cultural ascendance.

For British historians, however, treating Mughal rule as the high point of Indian civilisation has served a tactical purpose: by depicting it as such, they have tried to create an impression that all great things in India have required external stimulus.

Their interest in Mughal rule has also stemmed from the subconscious desire to represent colonial rule in India as not too different from that of the Mughals. The fact that the Mughals came as alien conquerors and created a vast empire gives apologists for British colonial rule an excuse to ignore the uniquely devastating consequences of European colonisation.

That the Mughals increased the taxes on the peasantry, introduced a language that was laden with foreign words and written in a foreign script, and in certain respects remained aloof and apart from indigenous cultural trends, makes British rule appear more a continuation than a sharp departure from the Indian experience.
But in spite of such parallels, there are vital and important distinctions that separate Mughal rule from British rule in India. Firstly, at no point during the Mughal rule was the impoverishment of the peasantry and the broad masses as extreme as it was during the period of British colonisation. It should also be noted that whereas Indian manufactures acquired a well-deserved reputation for outstanding quality, and were in great demand during the reigns of Jahangir and Shah Jahan, India became a dumping ground for European exports and manufacturing suffered a precipitous decline after the Battle of Plassey.

For all their flaws and alien instincts, the Mughals came to settle in India. Over time, they became steadily indigenised and that is why the last Mughals resisted the British during the rebellion of 1857. Local influences rubbed off on the Mughals to a much greater extent than on the British rulers.
But more importantly, even as the Mughals frittered away the wealth they extracted from the peasantry, their legacy of fine arts and architecture remained in India and India’s wealth was not systematically transferred to another country (as was the case with the British).

Thus, no matter how artfully British intellectuals have used their representations of Mughal rule to rationalise the immiserization of India during British rule, the colossal drain of wealth and destruction that took place simply has no parallels in Indian history. For that reason, Mughal rule cannot and should not be equated to European colonisation.


M.F.Hussain’s Nude Paintings of Hindu Gods & Goddess

Franch Journalist Francois Gautier’s Words:

It’s time all of you have a look at M.F. Hussain’s highly blasphemous paintings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses: http://users1.jabry.com/pg211/site/coll/pras/hussain/hussain.htm

These are mainstream paintings, many of them were owned by Modi R
ussi, chairman of Tata Steel, who died in 1993 and appeared in catalogs and books, before everything went underground when Hindu Jagruti (who has been banned by the Govt last month, please protest) and Prafull Goaradia, Lok Sbha MP from the Jana Shangh, started raising awareness about them. The evidence is so scathing & appalling that even the secular courts and judges of India had to accept the numerous petitions filed against Hussain, who could never return to India.
There are 2 questions that arise to the mind. The first pertains to the passivity of Hindus: nobody is telling them to riot and kill in the name of their religion, as Muslims are doing now all over the world because the Islam ‘hate film’; but how can they allow Hussain to be India’s best know painter, that even in India gets so much praise?
The second is about reciprocity: Indian Muslims should have been the first to protest these horrible paintings, given the fact that since Independence, they have been able to practice freely their religion here in India, whereas Hindus do not have the same latitude in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

Cow Breeding & Protection at Pandurangan Temple, Govindapuram, near Kumbakonam.

It is totally Non-commercial work. The milk from the temple is used for non-commercial purposes and used to support the old inmates. Heartening to see a lot of temple in Kumbakonam are into Gomatha nurturing and protection. I have witnessed it in Sarangapany Temple and in Bopendara Swamigal mutt.

Church diktat bans soccer on Sundays for Mizoram youth

AIZAWL: Youth of Christian-dominated Mizoram are at a crossroads between passion and religion. The dilemma follows a recent appeal on a ban on playing football on Sundays by the Synod, the highest decision-making body of the powerful Mizoram Presbyterian Church.

A statement signed by Synod moderator Rev Thangzauva and Synod secretary “Upa” (elder) DP Biakkhuma says, “The Presbyterian Church Synod appeals to all people of Mizoram to refrain from any sporting activities on Sundays as Mizoram is a Christian state and Sunday is a sacred and important day for Christians.” It, however, expressed happiness over the success of Mizo youth in sports. The statement added, “The church appeals to all people to respect our sacred day.”

Jonathan L Hnamte, a member of the Seventh Day Adventists Church, criticized the statement of the Presbyterian Church saying it clearly exposes the apathetic attitude of Mizoram’s biggest church towards other Christian denominations. “Members of the Seventh Day Adventists and also some other denominations, observe Saturday as the Sabbath just like the Catholics, the Presbyterians and the Baptists observe Sunday as the holy day,” said Hnamte.

He added that they had tolerated people playing football or other games near their places of worship on Sabbath, while having church service, for years. He said the Presbyterian Church was powerful enough to dictate terms to the state government. Accusing its leaders of acting like religious bigots, he added that issuing restrictions to the people of Mizoram revealed their arrogant attitude.

He said liquor was prohibited since the past 15 years as successive governments could not defy the church’s “appeal” despite the state losing revenue.


Highly critical of Muslims & Govt. Dinamani Editorial on anti-US protests by Muslims

தவறு! தவறு! தவறு!


கடந்த 5 நாள்களாக சென்னை அண்ணா சாலையில், ஒரு சில இஸ்லாமிய அமைப்புகள் போராட்டம் நடத்தி வருகின்றன. தங்களது மத உணர்வைப் புண்படுத்தியதற்கு எதிர்ப்பு தெரிவிக்கும் உரிமை அவர்களுக்கு உண்டு. ஆனால், அமெரிக்காவுக்கு எதிராகச் சென்னையில் நடத்தும் இந்தப் போராட்டத்தின் மூலம் அவர்கள் என்ன சாதித்துவிடப் போகிறார்கள் என்பது புரியவில்லை.

இந்தப் போராட்டம் அமெரிக்காவுக்கு எதிரானதா? அந்தப் படத்தை தயாரித்த சாம் பாஸில் என்ற நபருக்கு எதிரானதா? இதுவரை எங்குமே வெளியாகாத திரைப்படத்தை இணையதளத்தில் வெளியிட்ட யு ட்யூப்-க்கு எதிரானதா? யாரை எதிர்க்கிறார்கள் நமது தமிழக இஸ்லாமியச் சகோதரர்கள்?

எங்குமே திரைக்கு வராத, நபிகள் நாயகம் (ஸல்) பற்றிய தவறான சில கருத்துகளை முன்வைக்கும் “இன்னோசென்ஸ் ஆப் முஸ்லிம்’ என்ற ஆட்சேபணைக்குரிய திரைப்படம் யூ ட்யூப்பில் தொடர்ந்து, புதன்கிழமை வரையிலும்கூட, மின்னூட்டம் பெற்றுள்ளது. அதை யூ ட்யூப்பிலிருந்து அகற்ற வேண்டும் என்று எகிப்து மற்றும் லிபியா நாடுகள் கோரிக்கை விடுத்தபோதும், அந்நிறுவனம் அதனை ஏற்கவில்லை. “அந்தக் காட்சிக் கோப்புகள் எங்கள் நிறுவனத்தின் விதிமுறைகளை மீறாமல் இருக்கிறது’ என்பதுதான் அந்த இணையதள நிறுவனம் தெரிவித்த பதில்.

இந்தப் படத்தை தயாரித்து, கதை எழுதி, இயக்கியதாகச் சொல்லப்படும் சாம் பாஸில் என்பவர் இதுவரை ஹாலிவுட்டில் படம் எடுத்தது இல்லை. அங்கே இப்படியொரு நபரே கிடையாது. இவர் அமெரிக்காவில்தான் இந்தப் படத்தைத் தயாரித்தார் என்பதற்கும் சான்றுகள் இல்லை. அவர் 50 லட்சம் அமெரிக்க டாலர் செலவில் தயாரித்த இந்தப் படத்துக்கு பத்து யூதர்கள் பணம் அளித்ததாகச் சொல்லப்படுவதிலும் உண்மை இல்லை என்று ஹாலிவுட் திரையுலகம் தெரிவித்துவிட்டது.

இந்தத் திரைப்படம், இஸ்லாமியர்கள் மத்தியில் ஒரு அமைதியின்மையை உருவாக்கி, அதன் மூலம் கலவரங்களை ஏற்படுத்த வேண்டும் என்ற ஒரே நோக்கத்தில் தயாரிக்கப்பட்டிருக்க வேண்டும் என்பதும், சாம் பாஸில் என்பது ஒரு புனைப் பெயர் என்பதும்தான் இதுவரை உறுதியாகியுள்ள தகவல்கள்.
÷இந்தப் படத்தைத் தயாரிக்க அமெரிக்க அரசு எந்த வகையிலும் உதவியிருக்கவில்லை என்பதைப் பார்க்கும்போது அமெரிக்கத் தூதரக அலுவலகத்தைத் தாக்குவதிலும்கூட நியாயம் இருப்பதாகத் தெரியவில்லை. அதனால், ஆட்சேபணைக்குரிய அந்தத் திரைப்படத்தை இணையதளத்திலிருந்து அகற்ற வேண்டும் என்கின்ற கோரிக்கையையும் அதற்கான எதிர்ப்பையும் முஸ்லிம் அமைப்புகள் முன்வைப்பதே சரியான போராட்ட முறையாக இருக்கும்.

அமெரிக்காவில் உலக வர்த்தகக் கட்டடம் அல்காய்தா-வினரால் இடிக்கப்பட்டபோது, அமெரிக்க அரசு மேற்கொண்ட நடவடிக்கைகளை விமர்சனம் செய்து “ஃபாரன்ஹீட் 9/11′ என்ற குறும்படம் வெளியானது. இதற்குப் பல விருதுகள் கிடைத்தன. அமெரிக்காவில் வாழும் அனைத்து முஸ்லிம்களையும் சந்தேகக் கண்ணுடன் அமெரிக்கா பார்க்கிறது என்பதை மையமாகக் கொண்ட இந்தத் திரைப்படத்தை இஸ்லாமியச் சகோதரர்களில் எத்தனைப் பேர் பார்த்தனர்? தனக்கு முஸ்லிம் பெயர் இருப்பதாலேயே ஒரு மனிதன் அமெரிக்காவில் எத்தகைய இடையூறுகளை சந்திக்கின்றான் என்பதை மையமாக வைத்து எடுக்கப்பட்ட “மை நேம் இஸ் கான்’ திரைப்படத்தை பார்த்த இஸ்லாமியச் சகோதரர்கள் எத்தனைபேர்? திரைக்கு வராத, தாங்களும் அதைப் பார்த்து ஒரு முடிவுக்கு வராத படங்களை யாரோ சொல்கிறார்கள் என்று எதிர்ப்பது எந்தவிதத்தில் நியாயம்?

அமெரிக்கத் தூதரகத்தின் மீதான தாக்குதல் ஒருநாள் மட்டுமே நடைபெற்றிருந்தால் அதை உணர்ச்சியின் எழுச்சியால் ஏற்பட்ட மனக்கொந்தளிப்பாகக் கருதலாம். ஆனால் தொடர்ந்து 5வது நாளாக அமெரிக்கத் தூதரகத்துக்கு எதிர்ப்பு என்ற பெயரால் அண்ணா சாலையை ஸ்தம்பிக்க வைப்பதும், ஐந்து நாள்களாகப் பொதுமக்களை அவதிக்குள்ளாக்குவதும் ஏன் என்பதுதான் புரியவில்லை.
÷முன்னாள் குடியரசுத் தலைவர் அப்துல் கலாம் அவர்களை விமான நிலையத்தில் பரிசோதனைக்கு உள்படுத்திய போதும், அமெரிக்காவில் ஒரு பல்கலைக்கழகத்தில் பேசுவதற்காகச் சென்ற நடிகர் ஷாரூக் கானை பரிசோதனைக்கு உள்படுத்தியபோதும் இந்திய முஸ்லிம்கள் மனக்கொதிப்புக்கு ஆளாகவில்லை என்பதை எண்ணிப் பார்க்கும்போது, இந்தப் போராட்டம் அரசியல் காரணிகளைக் கொண்டது என்பதைப் புரிந்துகொள்ள முடிகிறது.

சில இஸ்லாமிய அமைப்புகளின் அழைப்பை ஏற்று அண்ணா சாலையை மறிக்கும் இஸ்லாமியச் சகோதரர்கள் ஒன்றை சிந்தித்துப் பார்க்க வேண்டும். அண்ணா சாலையை மறிப்பதும், போலீஸ்
தடியடி நடத்துவதும் உலகம் முழுதும் ஒளிபரப்பாகிக்கொண்டிருக்கின்றன. இத்தகைய தவறான அணுகுமுறையால், அனைத்து இஸ்லாமியர்களும் இப்படித்தான் போலும் என்கின்ற தவறான கண்ணோட்டத்தை அது உருவாக்கும் என்பதை ஏன் போராட்டத்தில் கலந்து கொண்டவர்கள் உணரவில்லை?

அது இந்து அமைப்புகளாக இருந்தாலும், இஸ்லாமிய அமைப்புகளாக இருந்தாலும் அவர்களுக்குத் தரப்பட்டிருக்கும் பேச்சு சுதந்திரத்தையும், வழிபாட்டு சுதந்திரத்தையும், பொதுமக்களை பாதிக்கும் விதத்தில் பயன்படுத்தினால் சட்டம் தனது கடமையைச் செய்ய வேண்டும். உணர்ச்சியைத் தூண்டிவிட்டு அரசியல் ஆதாயம் தேட முயலும் யாராக இருந்தாலும் அவர்கள் அடையாளம் காணப்பட்டு அகற்றி நிறுத்தப்படாவிட்டால், விளைவுகள் விபரீதமாக இருக்கும்.
÷அரசியல்வாதிகள் மெüனம் காக்கிறார்கள், சரி. ஊடகங்கள் ஏன் இந்தத் தவறான அணுகுமுறையை, அவசியமில்லாத போராட்டத்தைக் கண்டிக்கத் தயங்குகின்றன?



House Negro

There were two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would. The house Negro, if the master said, “We got a good house here,” the house Negro would say, “Yeah, we got a good house here.” Whenever the master said “we,” he said “we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro.

If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,” the house Negro would look at you and say, “Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?” That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a “house nigger.” And that’s what we call him today, because we’ve still got some house niggers running around here.

This modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about “I’m the only Negro out here.” “I’m the only one on my job.” “I’m the only one in this school.” You’re nothing but a house Negro. And if someone comes to you right now and says, “Let’s separate,” you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. “What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?”

…Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive…To keep you from fighting back, he [the white man] gets these old religious Uncle Toms to teach you and me…

Words of Malcolm X