Saturday, November 3, 2007

BJP: The Politics of Intolerance

Can we Indian allow ourselves to become victims of communalism?

[By Sadia Dehlvi]

Each time the Hindutva genie threatens to emerge from the bottle, tormenting images of hatred, persecution and violence come to the fore. The controversial BJP election CD contains narrative and visuals of terrorism, cow slaughter, of Muslim men delighting over deceiving innocent Hindu girls into marriage and producing a litter (pillas) of thirty five from five marriages. Along with chants of Jai Sri Ram, the mission statement is to save the Hindu Dharma from the Islamisation of India with a resolve to rid the country of traitors. The kind of nationalism it perpetuates is rooted in resentment against Muslim rule and Muslims whom they view as settler colonisers. The evident goal of Hindutva is to institutionalize the notion of the Hindu Rashtra. The toxic content of the CD simultaneously seeks to induce a paranoia of insecurity amongst the majority and appeals to the most banal emotive instincts of an illiterate electorate.

In a 1961 address to the AICC, Nehru held that communalism of the majority is far more dangerous than the communalism of the minority. Not condoning the latter he stated, “ When minority communities are communal you can see that and understand it. But the communalism of a majority is apt to be taken for nationalism”. In portraying themselves as the sole nationalists, the strength of Hindutva has been effectual in sidelining the nationalism of Nehru, Gandhi and Ambedkar.

If Muslim appeasement myths were true, the social and political realities of the minority would speak differently. The painful truth is that the story of Indian Muslims has been scripted by the broader Hindutva agenda. With minority rights remaining on the outside of integrated development policies, Muslims today are sitting on the edge of the Indian frame. If communal agendas continue unchecked and secular tempers not developed, India’s largest single minority will fall out of the picture completely.

The spiritual tenets of Hinduism are peaceful and celebrate diversity and inclusion whereas Hindutva is a warped nationalist ideology rooted in the politics of intolerance. One would like to believe that brand Hindutva of the BJP has exhausted itself and the electorate has learned to choose development over the politics of intolerance. The sheer knowledge that parties flaunting divisive agendas remain a vital force striving for Central authority is terrifying.

It is equally disheartening and worrisome that instead of a renewed pledge to secularism, Rahul Gandhi testifies that his family was responsible for the break up of Pakistan. When young leaders whom you would have thought had their heart in the right place need to address jingoistic national chauvinism one must acknowledge the deep rot in our political system and raise serious questions. Whatever the political necessity of the moment we can not allow space for the creation of Muslim demons or Hindu triumphs. Hindu Muslim unity, the defining factor of Indian secularism is under grave threat. Constant vigilance is required if we are genuine about putting brakes on the acceleration of religious divides.

Does the Congress need the malice of the BJP to hand out its own ideas of secularism? Is the prescription of banning political parties good enough or will they emerge stronger with new identities? Narsimha Rao dismissed four state governments after the Babri Masjid tragedy that eventually led the perpetuators of the crime to victory at the Centre.
The privileged positions of power were exploited in the frenzied and psychopathic violence of the Gujrat riots of 2002. The savagery left intense scars on the Muslim psyche and India’s largest religious minority negotiated its existence among society and state with a wounded spirit.

When the BJP was in power, a camouflaged Hindutva furthered its agenda through various cultural and educational organizations. Strident Hinduism gained respectability in media, academia and the film world with sworn secularists discovering concealed virtues in the party. The damage is not irreparable but the internecine conflict between secular forces makes the restoration process messy and complex.

Can we, the people of India allow ourselves to be continuously bitten by the lurking venomous snake or can we collectively strive to crush its head forever. The change can be brought only through judicial, bureaucratic and parliamentary resolves. The question is that does any political party have the genuine will, integrity or the strategy to mobilize the masses against such rapturous forces? Secularism is not just about giving a fair deal to the Muslims but a democracatic idealology for an empowerment for all backward classes. If constitutional ideals are to succeed, someone has to take the lead in organizing secular forces and allowing for cherished values to become immune to the clashes of power. Ideologically, culturally and intellectually, the resistance to communalism has to be fought on a war footing or else we will succumb to its malignancy. History will then see India as a failed secular state.


manoharnotani said...

Hi Sadia,
I am an admirer of the work you are doing. I am a freelance translator-cum-edit & documentation professional.
I would love to translate your new book on Sufism "Sufism: The Heart Of Islam" in Hindi.
Kindly let me know. I am presently translating The White Tiger into Hindi for Harper Hindi.

manoharnotani said...

Hi Sadia,
I am an admirer of the work you are doing. I am a freelance translator-cum-edit & documentation professional.
I would love to translate your new book on Sufism "Sufism: The Heart Of Islam" in Hindi.
Kindly let me know. I am presently translating The White Tiger into Hindi for Harper Hindi.

Munna said...

Hi Sadia,

Better you get your facts right,when u say sumthing against zakir Hussian,You urself a big kafir ,u dont know hat islam is

Anonymous said...

Interesting read, unfortunately the problem we have in India is that we are rooted in the ideology of religion. We still talk about hindu-muslim unity. Instead of worrying about law and order and guaranteeing folks justice we wax and wane about secularism. Our constitution grants every citizen right to live and prosper. We as a country Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or otherwise should be concerned when rights of any community be it majority or minority is trampled upon. We should be concerned when justice is not delivered. The day people believe that there is Justice there will be no need to speak of unity, and coining the words unity in diversity. If there is one failure in India it is the fact that there is no Justice.

Naushad said...

In the Name of Allah Who is Infinite Compassion and Love

Dearest Sister Sadia Dehlvi,

As-salamu 'alaykum.

I am a single male 43, Syed Muslim from Pune, India. I recently bought your book Sufism the heart of Islam and eagerly look forwrad to read it.

Over the years Allah the Most High has granted me major spiritual and mystical experiences.

Pasting below is a brief article I wrote on the same.

You are humbly requested to kindly let me know your views on the same and oblige.

With love and blessings,

Brother Naushad Somji.

The scriptures of many religions speak of a coming leader who will consummate the fulfillment of the divine will on earth. He will manifest in his person the righteousness and compassion of God, and he will bring about the final defeat of evil, and establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. This person who will be specially chosen by God for this mission and empowered to accomplish it. Prophecies that a leader will come and accomplish such a mission are nearly universal.

In 1997 when I was 30, Hadrat Imam Ali (as) appeared to me in resurrected form at the Holy Shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chisty (ra) at Ajmershareef. He looked into my eyes, smiled and went away. This opened my heart and my spiritual journey began. I started to isolate myself from people and my personality changed completely. Thereafter I experienced the divine knowledge of Allah gradually entering my heart and soul and I became very religious. Since then I have been meeting many dead Islamic Saints who have also appeared to me in their resurrected forms.

A few years after my experience at Ajmeershareef, Hadrat Syed Badruddin Shah Hussani (rh) appeared to me also in resurrected form. He prayed over a glass of water and made me drink it, thus making me his mureed or disciple. He came to India some 1000 years ago and was martyred. His head is buried at the Holy Shrine in the jungle near the town of Pen, in the state of Maharashtra. He nevertheless continued his fight for the cause of Allah despite the head being severed from his body. His body is buried in the town of Parandha in Maharashtra, an eight hour drive from Pen.

Two months later, Hazrat Syed Khwaja Muinuddin Chisty (ra) appeared to me in resurrected form. He gave me a fruit to eat and said that he was giving me the Khilafaat, the position as leader and spiritual master.

Of all my meetings with the Holy men of Islam, the most remarkable was with Prophet Mohammad (saw) who appeared to me along with Hadrat Imam Ali (as) and three more men whom I did not recognize. Prophet Mohammad (saw) led us all in afternoon prayers, and then we had lunch, all eating from the same big plate. After the lunch as the Prophet (saw) was leaving he shook hands with me with a big smile and I kissed his hands respectfully.

This could be connected to the awaited Mahdi.

"The promised Mahdi will be among my family. God will make the provisions for his emergence within a single night "…… (Islam. Ibn Majah, Sahih, Vol. 2, P. 519)

ameen legal solutions said...

Give your views about indian judiciary

Danish Memon said...
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Danish Memon said...
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Danish Memon said...

Hi my name is Danish i am engieneering student
i was just listening your statement against Dr zakir naik on youtube in a NDTV clip , i was surprised to see oyur ignorance mam ..1> no where dr zakir said that he supports terrorisim , he said if Osama bin Laden is fighting enemies of Islam I support him and we should not belive what CNN or BBC reports about anyone
2> If you don't agree with wahabism ideology who gave you right to call me and my family exteremist .barelvis have their point of view and Deobandis & wahabis have their . Dr zakir said what he thinks according to Quran is right he never ssaid that those who go to shrines of KGN or other saints are wrong ,
3> please don't divide Muslims in name of Sunnni barelvi deobandi wahabi shai khoja etc etc .and get ur facts right 75% Muslims in world follow sunni deobandi school of Thought , sunni Wahabi School of Thought

mad.monk9 said...

Seeing you on TV as a panelist, I had the impression that here was a woman who was apologetic about her Muslim identity. Out of curiosity, I googled 'Sadia Dehlvi' and stumbled upon this goldmine of your writing....
I admit that my impression of you was completely incorrect.I now appreciate what you say about the failure of the Indian State towards its Muslim citizens.
Above all else, I appreciate your style of writing. Here's more power to your pen ( or should that be your 'keyboard'!)

muslim said...

as salamu 'alaykum

Respected Mam , is it possible to get your email address?

I am 32 years old based in Delhi and I like your articles in times of India, especially your articles about Sufism.

My email is

Please delete my email address in case you wish to publish my comment on your blog.


Jawed Anwar kHAN said...

Sadia ji If you donot have sense of listening and thinking how you became a Muslim writer you should be somewhere at mazar, or railwy staion.

Kullo Nafsun ZAiqatul Maut....

means every living being should have the taste of death ,,, so be carefull ... agar aapke pichhle khandan chor the to aapko bhi chori karna chahiye aisa nahi socho..

Indian said...

Y u support reservation of muslims in India... that will divide us further. i suppose religion and caste should not be the basis of reservation rather economical stature & talent should be prime for India's development.
Also I saw your comments regarding the population. I think you should read some things about global warming and watch a few movies like "inconvenient truth". You will realize how much we are overloading the earth with the population in terms of resources but instead you are happy with the fact that Europe has a major increase of muslim population. Isn't it very religious based and communal... rather practical... I stay abroad and I m proud to be an Indian but whenever the issue of population comes I feel embarrassed. I understand we have a big consumer market because of that but what about the resources. What about employment, education. On a national television please don't propagate these illogical thoughts. Be practical not driven by religion only. I respect all religions but many a times we interpret it in a different way. Thanks

Ali said...

Sadia dehlvi is an epitome of a Mushrika here is what she says: I never miss a Thursday haziri at Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, and usually go for the dua e roshni which is held daily before the sunset prayers. Then I stay on for the prayers and for the qawaali that follows. I go on other days as well. Luckily, I live in the neighborhood so it’s just a hop across. Usually on Sunday mornings, I visit the dargah of Shah Farhad near the Pratap Chowk metro station. That, too, is a very special dargah. My grandfather used to visit it regularly. He commissioned the roof that you see over it. Despite being next to the main road, it’s very peaceful there.

Then once in two weeks I go to Mehrauli to the dargah of Khwaja Bakhtiar Kaki and on the way back, I also stop at the dargah of Mai Sahiba, the mother of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Other dargahs that I frequently visit are that of Bibi Fatima Sam and Hazrat Naseeruddin Chiragh Dilli. I have been initiated into the Chishti Sufi order and therefore feel a strong bond with the Chishti Sufis. We believe that the Chishti Masters are God’s friends… “Allah Mohammad chaar yaar, Haji, Khwaja, Qutub Farid… Haq Farid Ya Farid.”

The Whirling Candle said...

Mushrik is a word misunderstood or visiting awliyas is a concept misunderstood. I don't know which one is prominent. Inshallah may God show us the righteous path and pluck all the veils on our heart.

The Whirling Candle said...

Mushrik is one who commits shirk.
Shirk is polytheism or idolatry.
Visiting Awliyas is with a concept of respect and with a belief that friends of god never die.
So there is no shirk in it.

Being with our family gives us peace.
Remembering my father brings smile on my face.

Similarly being in the proximity of Awliya brings peace and we smile because we feel the presence of divinity.

Altogether we are attracted more towards truth.

So Its a view and perception a person has on Awliyas that makes a difference.

As Fariduddin Attar Quotes,"every one approaches in his own way but all reach to him".

If some one don't want awliya let them be and some one respects please don't stop.

Its the only solution for not conflicting with our own brother or sister.

joe said...

Dear Sadia, I read your article in TOI today. Sorry to comment on this blog about but wanted to make some corrections to your knowledge about the religion of peace 'ISLAM'. If you look at indian history, you will realise Mughals and other muslim rulers who ruled India (except Akbar), were brutal and tortured people and, the only way to escape this was conversion to Islam. So please do not say Islam has been peaceful until ISIS. It was infact, always brutal. Now do not say that what mughals followed is not islam- standard fatta by muslims.

Secondly renaissance was a result of the inner reform with in Christianity and not pushed by Islam. Why do you muslims have to keep your self high every time and not accept that plurality is order of the one divine. Anybody can be creative from any race, caste or religion.