The Tragedy of the Great Indian Family

164 Comments

There is nothing much left to be said about the Rizwanur Rehman case that has not already found mention in all the Orkut communities, blogs, email forwards, online petitions, media coverage and government sound-bytes regarding the administrative shakeups (the removal of the Police Commissioner and transferring of concerned police officials) that the tragic case has brought in its wake. [For those of you who do not know what I am talking about, this wikipedia page gives you a brief overview of the case that has rocked West Bengal for the past month or so.]

In this day and age when we claim to have become “modern” (where modernity has sadly been defined as wearing skirts, talking in English and downloading ringtones), the fact that such a positively medieval thing can actually happen in a supposedly progressive city like Calcutta has left many of us in the educated middle-class elite angry and surprised.

Angry at the violence and the futile loss of life. Understandable. Angry at the police openly claiming to be able to bend the Constitution as they pleased. Again understandable.

But should we really be so surprised?

Growing up in Calcutta, I always heard cautionary stories, from various quarters, of what happened to people who crossed economic boundaries and got married. Stories like “Did you hear about that rich girl marrying into the poor family and the family members then exploiting her to bring money from her loaded dad?” Or ” I knew it ! That girl from the shanties then brought her whole family over to the rich guy’s house and kept on sucking money —a plot all along”. Or the one about that girl from a “decent family” who got forced into performing “chi chi” acts with strange men by her piss-poor husband who lived across the “railway line” among “them.”

While many may have been exaggerations and some patently false, there were more than a few of these tales which were actually true. In telling us these stories, “society” hammered it into us that the rich-poor successful romance, an oft-repeated theme in Bollywood/Tollywood movies, was merely a fantasy sold to us by the dream-merchants and that in real life what happened after the end credits rolled was not a “happily ever after” fairy tale but a ceaseless nightmare of endless wrangling born out of a failure on the part of both sides, often in spite of their best intentions, to adjust to an environment radically different from what they were born into.

In other words, if the families were woefully maladjusted economically, then the union was doomed to ultimate failure.

Because marriage after all, as your grandma would tell you, is not just between people, but between families and their attendant social contexts.

Ashok Todi is a product of this above mindset, the father of a daughter brought up in the lap of luxury (Priyanka Todi tells her mother-in-law that she has tried to prepare herself for poverty by not turning on the AC for the last few days —an indication of how little Priyanka knew about the real issues of being poor), a stupendously rich man with a monster ego and the smugness that comes from knowing that he can make the law bend to his will. He comes into Rizwanur’s home, first tries to buy him and his family off (based on the assumption that a rich-poor relation is but the opening gambit in an extortion game) through the totally “filmi” brandishing of a blank cheque book, then threatens to finish them off, then brings in the cops, unleashes his extended family, resorts to emotional blackmail by claiming to be ill and then does something, which as long as investigations are pending, we do not know for sure but can surely be suspicious of.

Also a product of the same mindset are many of the anguished email forwarders and petition signers, who suddenly have discovered the elephant in the room. Now here’s a rhetorical question to the shocked aunties and anguished uncles: if the same thing that had happened to Todi had happened in their family (i.e their daughter eloped with a man who lives in a shanty in one of the city’s poorer neighborhoods), would they accept it with smiling acquiescence? I would think not. Would they put a contract out on their son-in-law? Perhaps not (and for some that might be because they don’t have the police force to act as their personal gunda army) but they would at the very least sulk and emotionally blackmail and at the worst, cut off all social contact with the offending couple.

Does that make them as bad as Todi? Definitely not. Because they are not accessories to murder, like Todi in all probability is. But the sanctimonious finger-wagging does expose more than a little of “middle class” hypocrisy, even more so when people express shock about the “divisions in society” as if they themselves are totally oblivious of it in their own lives. And for all those who in the spirit of self-flagellation would say “Indians are the biggest hypocrites”, I suggest you watch the classic movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” [where the story centers around the character of Spencer Tracy, ” a lifelong fighting liberal who loathes race prejudice” getting all upset and suspicious when his daughter reveals her fiance (Sidney Poitier) to be black], to be convinced how universal this hypocrisy is.

So was it only about poverty? What about religion? While in my middle-class upbringing, caste and religion were never defining distinctions but “poverty” (and the closely-related word: “low culture”) definitely was, things would be different in a conservative family where it is conceivable that the Islamic faith of Rezwan was no less an obstacle for parental approbation. When Ashok Todi was asking Rezwan whether he would convert for his daughter’s stake, he was articulating the most potent fear in inter-religious marriages—-the perceived humiliation inherent in a religious conversion for the family that has “lost” one of its members to another religion. However in my opinion, the biggest obstacle in this case was not the religion of Rezwanur (and people may disagree with me here) but the economic condition of his family: between a Muslim scion of a 250 crore business empire and a Hindu version of Rezwanur I can bet that Ashok Todi would gladly prefer the cash-rich son-in-law.

Or was it all about one and only one thing– fear? The fear of being slow-bled for money. The fear of being ostracized by your supposed friends and relatives. The fear of having people whom you snubbed coming back to snub you. The fear of your offspring being hurt. Or tortured. Or simply the fear of the unknown, the people whom we do not understand, the people whom we cannot connect with.

Is this fear justified? Perhaps it is. Parents are always fearful for their wards and there will always be real-life incidents that feed this fear. But the most important thing that Indian parents have to realize is that no matter how convinced they are that their adult children are taking wrong decisions about their romantic commitments, at some point of time they have to stand back and let them “make their own mistakes”. Unless this happens, the Hum Aapke Hain Kaunkian “Dhiktana Dhiktana” ideal of the great Indian family will continue to remain a noose around one’s neck, catching in its strangulating knot as it has in this case–a well-liked upwardly mobile professional of humble origins, his family, a young girl and yes even the father of the bride.

[Incidentally, this is my 400th post according to WordPress]

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164 thoughts on “The Tragedy of the Great Indian Family

  1. Well,Gotta agree with you on the above,but even if u look at it from the perspective of an outsider with an objective mindset,it seems a tad barbaric to get your son in law hacked for the ‘crime’ of belonging to another religion

  2. I think the real challenge is for an individual to be independent from both ends; as in, can a Todi daughter tear herself off her original family AND if need be, off her new family if the marriage turns sour? That would bring a change from both horror stories, the ones you were told and the one playing out now – proper women’s lib.

  3. This incident has not surprised me at all – infact that’s what makes me sad and angry at the same time. Even after coming to the U.S. I have met several so called ‘educated’ Indians who have their minds set way back in history. I come from a broken family and I remember my father having the hardest time trying to deal with the scornful looks and the horror comments when trying to arrange my marriage in the old fashioned way.
    I totally agree with you on your thoughts on what we consider being modern entails these days. The last few years that I visited home (kolkata), I’ve been amazed at the modernization trend there. The first shocker was when some of my younger cousins started speaking with me in English. I had to stop them and ask ‘accha dara – tui hothath amar shathe engiri-te kotha bolchish keno???’ That took them by surprise but they did get back in line there for a few moments. After a few days of my stay there, I realized that nightclubs, cell-phones, malls, 5-star hotels, high-rises and of course the call centers were believed to be the epitome of modernization in Kolkata. It made me sad to see everyone (especially the teenagers) were living in a movie world – they dressed, talked and acted like their favorite bollywood stars in every aspect of their lives. The call centers provided them a sense of being important and independent with high paying salaries and they did not think twice about spending Rs.800 for a JD&coke at Tantra.
    Anyhoo – I can go on and on but I’ll give everyone a break!:) Nice article Greatbong.

  4. It is very difficult to take an objective decision about the merits of the case. I believe that much of the brouhaha has been raked up by the media because the person in question belonged to ‘minorty community’. Knowing the so called “secular credentials” of Indian press, this is questionable. Hence all of this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    In recent times, the press has highlighted (across the front pages) about the “gay marriages”. Much like the flash in the pan, the NGO’s who hailed the “new movement” are nowhere in the picture now. The lesbian couples are ostracised in every respect. This is not to say that I support the same sex marriages but I am using this crude example to hghlight the hypocrisy in the issue. No one would have expected this to become a political hot potato but then an atrocity committed against a “muslim” by a “hindu” in communist ruled state is “unheard” off. I believe that this fascination about the murder is akin to the media sponsored “Jessica Lal” case. Very soon, I should expect the sms polls to come in picture and the clicktivism mechanism to kick in action with “online petitions” et al.

    Your post highlights the same issues, albeit in a different vein. Howsoever “modern” (in whatever way you wish to define it) we may get, I believe that the foundation for stable marriage by and large depends on almost similar family backgrounds. This isn’t “retrograde” mindset but in almost every case, I am sure that this applies. Love may indeed be blind but then brings in it’s own set of bitter realities. The jury is indeed open to debate; I have stated my own position.

    Keep up the good work. Your posts do bring in fodder for thought process to munch on and I really look forward to your write ups. Cheers!

  5. I dont know its just too much a debatable matter, whether she is right or her father. Is it Rizwanur who died in an accident, suicide or was killed. Well actually its kind of unknown path. But whatever be the case one thing is clear, you cannot keep everyone happy all the time. Yourself, your parents or your love. Somewhere someone has to compromise.

    But when did GB start writing without the funny bone and sarcasm.

  6. It is a tragedy all around for everyone involved. I think we Indian parents need to let our adult children make their own decisions if they want as kids are the one who will enjoy/suffer for those decisions. Hope this incident enlightens at least a few.

  7. @Vikram: Would disagree with you regarding the religion bit being of primary importance.

    @Akasuna no Sasori: Yes can she? Maybe she cannot (hearing that comment about the AC I wonder how worldy wise she really is). But then it is something she has to discover for herself.

    @Mala: Thanks

    @Abhishek: Thanks

    @100rabh: “I dont know its just too much a debatable matter, whether she is right or her father.”

    What? Where did you find me debating who is right?

    I do write a lot of posts here without sarcasm or humor—if you think this is a humor blog and this post is debating who is right and wrong , then you have got this post and my blog pegged a lil bit wrong.

    @Jitendra: True.

  8. Nice post GB, coming from Andhra , where we are currently experiencing another “marriage crisis” of Chiranjeevi’s daughter having eloped with a person of her choice, it makes us realise how have we really evolved as a country in the last 20 years.

    Irrespective of the fact that we are enjoying great success in various aspects, tha average mindset seems to be bottled down in the deep blue seas…My deepest sympathies with the Rizwanpur family.

  9. As usual the CBI and political one-upmanship has made a mess out of this issue almost ensuring that the truth will never come out.

    Some interesting stuff on this case.

    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Rizwan-was-ready-to-convert-to-Hinduism/220517/

    Another excerpt from a NDTV article-

    ‘Rizwanur was ready to convert’
    Sourav Sanyal
    Saturday, October 27, 2007 (Kolkata)

    http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070030854&ch=10/27/2007 11:42:00 AM

    As the CBI grapples with the murder versus suicide theory in the Rizwanur Rehman case, what is getting overlooked perhaps is the Rizwanur-Priyanka love story.

    In some documents that Rizwanur himself handed over to some human rights activists before his death, the 30-year-old Muslim youth stated that he was willing to convert to Hinduism – if that is what the Todi family wanted.

    He even designed a new logo for Lux Cozi, which is the brand name of the products of Ashok Todi’s company. (more in the hyperlink)

  10. Guruji aap mahaan ho. Kya Nukri waukri kar rahi, aapto comedy ki kitaab likho. Jald hi Nobel prize mil jayega. ” Dhiktana Dhiktana” , simply brilliant. Aap to schopenhaur ke level ke insaan ho . Jald hi aashirvaad de dena

  11. Was surprised to see the focus on the ‘economic’ aspect of the incident in your blog rather than the ‘religious’ one (which is I feel more of media hype) as I recently had a similar argument about this. I completely agree that its the economic aspect which bothered the Todis more than anything else.
    Consider when (though maybe a bit far-stretched) Sharmila Tagore (‘thakurbari’ et al) married Pataudi against the family…strip him away of his ‘Nawab’ and cricket glory and you get a similar story here!

  12. sigh …. someone stole my name! Thats what happens if one decides to be a silent reader for a long time.

    A truly sad day it is…

    And on the subject of the blog. Yes, I totally agree with you. The marriage was most probably destined for failure, but it should be a failure that the couple should have either worked to avert, or accepted as a result of their decisions. And however much we might not agree with a poor-rich wedding or a hindu-muslim wedding or whatever, nothing justifies the harassment and killing of people.

    Ummm, well thats kind of what the constitution says, but the cops having strong biceps are very capable of bending that huge a book, sometimes we have to think about who really are our masters and get out of the delusion that we are.

  13. Very well written. I usually don’t read your serious posts completely (the Andaman one being an exception), but it was different with this one. Aah, the age-old question of religious tolerance! I think it’s sad that so many educated people still manage to harbour religious intolerances. I mean, take the BJP leaders for example – Advani, Jaitley and the rest of the circus crew. These are well established lawyers but I am sure they would have problems with their offsprings marrying people of different faiths. This begs the question if education alone is enough to result in a progressing India, at least wrt her people. Or maybe, we should rethink what ‘education’ means in our country.

    I know you laid a greater emphasis on economic status than religion, which was refreshing to see, but I feel a majority of educated Indians still have a greater problem with the latter.

  14. Religious, socio-economic reasons aside I am not too sure about the moral implications of a teacher and student relationship.

  15. Did you seriously compare the pervasive Indian hypocrisy to a fictional Hollywood movie? (I checked on imdb, it is not listed as true story or inspired by true events, correct me if I am wrong here). That is a seriously bad argument.

    While the disappointment that comes with the kids getting married against parents wishes is quite universal, only a really rich and obnoxious, “Kanoon hamari jeb me hai”, type characters like Todi would likely take such steps as getting a head crushed on the train tracks and almost get away with it. Only in India.

    What amazes me is that people of my generation who would be parents soon and probably face these kind of questions in another 20 or so years are not really broad minded enough to take it with an open heart and will hold the same convictions again. Have to wait for another generation I guess.

  16. @Srikanth: Yes I know. I had meant to refer to the Chiranjeevi case but I forgot.

    @Rishi: I dont think anyone is overlooking the “love story” aspect here.

    @GreatBong Admirer: Yes I am very great. Didnt we all know that?

    @Anonymouse1: Hmm

    @Anonymouse2: Indeed thats what happens when one remains silent. Someone else steals his opinion !:-)

    @ArSENiK: Hmm.

    @TQ: Moral implications of teacher student relationship? How does this come into the picture here?

    @vasuki: Sorry

    @Aravind: Fiction is a reflection of truth and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is famous precisely because, among other things, it paints a picture of social reality in US at a time when civil rights was a burning issue. The point I was trying to make was that social hypocrisy isnt just confined to India. When people refer to Premchand’s works and say that the paint a true picture of caste in India, do you ask if those were actually “true” incidents? That’s because works of art (books or movies or paintings) often mirror the society in which they were created.

  17. @gb Glad that I found your blog today (thanks to Aparna) and lost half a day of work because of it 🙂 Sometime back I was talking about this case with some firang friends of mine. I called it an example of how in today’s India it is very hard to perpetrate such an act and get away with it. If it had happened 20 years back, the story would have barely made a splash on some local dailies. We always had a free and effective media (one just needs to live a few years in US to realize how much better we have it in India), but in the past the story would not have gained such a momentum so fast, just from paper circulation (this was no case of Jugantar reporting in the pre-independence era).

    I agree with you that religion was probably not the biggest issue here, it was more like a rubbing of salt on the wound. And it was not very hard to imagine how shocking such an incident could have been to the Todi family – I can almost hear the more caustic-tongued relatives ranting about how it was such a bad idea to let the girl venture out of the house without any supervision. These people, like a large section of India, are still living in a different century. Ashok Todi was surely desperate; combine that with the ego and smugness that you talked about, and it should come as no surprise that he will contemplate some extrajudicial action – specially when he had the top brass of the city police pretty much eating out of his hand. That is why it surprised me that you will consider this surprising!

    While I cannot begin to think what Rizwanur’s family must be going through, and I do not have the temerity of even trying that, I choose to take a dispassionate stance and look at the positive things that are coming out of this. We have a long way to evolve as a society, and things are not going to change overnight. But do you think the next time around prominent police officers will be so eager to forgo any consideration of law and their duties, and jump on the bandwagon to please people in positions of money and power? Even though most people will just do their part by hitting the “Forward” button, some will talk, some will think. And maybe, just maybe, a few will change their attitude – that is a start!

    I should stop, before my comment reaches the size of a blog post. I was thinking of writing about this case – but now I can just link to your post 🙂

  18. @Namesake: “That is why it surprised me that you will consider this surprising!”

    I said I was angry. I didn’t say I was surprised !My point is that there is nothing to be ‘surprised’ about the whole affair.

    I agree with what the rest of what you said—maybe twenty years ago, nothing would have happened (think Bantala, Birati etc) but now with a more independent media , at least some action has been taken against the errant police officials.

  19. I completely agree with you Arnab, but the root of the problem is deeper than just the difference in social status of the two families. It has to do with how closely tied are the actions of children to the social standing of their parents in society; the extent to which parents in India interfere in the lives of their children.

    It has everything to do with the extent to which Priya Todi’s actions affected her father’s social status. This is the factor that is more pre-dominant in Indian society than in the United States*. And thats where I disagree with you on the fact that the hypocrisy is universal. I’m not saying that the United states doesn’t suffer from similar social prejudices. Sure it does. But I’m not sure if someone would have his daughter’s husband bumped off because he was poor, is all I’m saying.

    *I tend to compare these two since these are the only two countries in which I have had the chance to observe from a bird’s eye view if not closely, the functioning of society.

  20. Not convinced still greatbong. The movie was filmed 40 years ago, and wasn’t written or directed by a someone as culturally significant as Premchand.

    You are better off without that argument I reckon.

  21. This is veryx2 tragic case. My blood boils at the injustice.

    Im sure likes of H2B2 will ask why Moslem man elope with Hindu woman in 1st place and not Moslem woman. Why not? Is it wrong if they r in love? And should the poor man be killed 4 it?

    If Todi proven guilty he shud be hanged. So 2 that Mukherji police fella for aid’n’abet murder.

  22. GreatBong,

    I think there are 2 perspectives to look at wrt this story.

    The first one is how forward are we when it comes to allowing inter-caste or inter-class marriage. Yes, I agree that there are umpteen cases where a rich girl from one caste married a really poor guy from another caste , and this decision was made in more haste and frenzy, and soon turned out to be an immature and bad decision and the girl came back. According to me, amongst us Indians it is a subjective matter, and most people differ on this when it comes to their own family member doing something like this.

    The second perspective, which is of much more importance, is the role of the lawmakers in this issue. I would like to point to this issue

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Hyderabad/Last_of_Sohrabuddin_Sheikh/articleshow/1986526.cms

    Again, a matter of a inter caste love story opposed by families and religious fanatics. As a result of which, Sohrabuddin was murdered and Kauserbi was raped and murdered. The fact, is that , whatever happens if 2 mature people decide to go together, their families should not be able to bend the law to this extent to get them separated. If it’s their mistake, yes parents have a right to persuade,convince them , but definitely , someone can’t get killed for being in love. And, the law should not side with anyone party. And, I am sure after this, some people will be transferred, bla bla bla, and life will go on again till we are reminded of this sad truth once again. I strongly advocate that these people should be brought to book.

  23. “…the biggest obstacle in this case was not the religion of Rezwanur (and people may disagree with me here)”

    I tend to disagree. I feel that economic disparity is a cause, but the religious bit is a bigger cause. The combination of both is of course, explosive.

    Incidentally, I have heard this said among many families I know (including mine), and maybe this will find resonance with other readers as well: “You may marry ANYONE you wish, EXCEPT a Muslim.”

    Has anyone else heard this being said?

  24. The whole affair is quite despicable and the height of it was a person (probably a cop) postulating that “it was natural for Todi to do so” [not verbatim]. Just a cool headed quasi-logical answer frightens me more than the angry mobs or a beating. It lets us know how comfortably snug are we in our shells of our hypocrisy.

    “In telling us these stories, “society” hammered it into us” You have hit it right at the spot. I believe society and different social structures (like government, political parties, religious, faith based groups, families, schools, colleges) always try to demarcate the normal, stable so it tries to socially program everyone. People at the the boundaries are the worst hit: poor, people with different sexual orientation, out-castes, tribal etc.

    Another point which I would like to make is that it is neither a megalomaniac plan of clash of civilizations or grand scheme but our own prejudices by smallest of our action that collectively pollutes the social consciousness.

  25. Regarding Shan’s comment above: Dead on… the thing about “anyone but…”

    A bit of dark humour here: What if Rizwanur had been a girl too? Or Priyanka a guy? Same sex Religious/Economic … it bears imagining, to think what Ashok Todi might have done

  26. I always find it interesting when you garnish your entree with pop culture like ‘Diktana Diktana’ Katherine Hepburn and Steve Martin.

    I tend to agree with Shan, I think religious disparity plays a much bigger role in this case simply because relgious polarization has intensified in India more than before. Well, inter religious marriages have always been a major issue. Although if Rizwanur was a rich Muslim, I am certain the outcome would have been different.

  27. Great post ! Agree with every word of it. I share every bit of your cynicism about the middle class .

    Again , Ashok Todi has been accused of thwarting the marriage of another relative of his who married their Driver .

    Seems He can start an alternate “marriage breaking specialist ” business agency – already has had enough practice. I am sure middle class educated Bengalis would form a large part of his clientele.

    I think a revealing aspect of the case is how Indian families view their daughters as “property” almost. No wonder , a significant number of Indian women from middle class-upper middle class households are sexually abused by their family members including Fathers/brothers/uncles.

    In this context , films which are ” all abt. loving ur parents ” seem ridiculous . when can we see a movie where a Priyanka Todi exacts revenge on a Asok Todi ?

  28. @Abhirup:

    He can get Babu Bajrangi as partner. Bajrangi has a successful business of saving Hindu girls from marrying Muslims (murder is just a hobby). “Todi Bajrangi & Goons” sound like an effective name for their new venture. 🙂

  29. Agree with Shan and Aditi. I don’t know the details of the case, but generally speaking, I think Hindu-Muslim divide plays a much larger part than class divide when it comes to marriage.

    @shan: Yes, have heard it many times. Doesn’t Mrs. Mehra in “A Suitable Boy” say something like that too?

  30. Dear GB, I think it is complete stupidity on the part of Priyanka Todi to decide to get married to that poor guy. After all, all marriages (either arranged or love) end up being stale things after sometime. Also, I don’t know why people think about money as a negative influence. It is very difficult to build an empire and climb the steps in social ladder and much more difficult to sustain the place there. I don’t justify Ashok Todi’s actions, but the real culprit Priyanka Todi, who due to her stupidity and immaturity, created such a mess and is now living coolly in her bungalow whereas Ashok Todi and this poor guy’s family are in the fray. I think court should punish her first.

  31. Interesting point indeed Kishor. No one is following anything regarding Priyanka Todi. What happened to her? Did she know anything related to this incident? No interviews nothing.

  32. “between a Muslim scion of a 250 crore business empire and a Hindu version of Rezwanur I can bet that Ashok Todi would gladly prefer the cash-rich son-in-law”

    This says it all… every society (whether Indian or not) is one major hypocritic circle. This is the worst form of society, if parents are against a particular religion, they should be against it irrespective of their social status.. but NO! as long as the “other” one is rich and famous it’s ok to “mix” (or “loose” a person from our family as you put it).

    How much ever we deny it… ultimately money rules!

    Also a very important point as you put it.. all those who are signing those online petitions and stuff will NEVER approve of the same thing in their own house… how ridiculous is that!

  33. Arnab,

    Well written as usual. And I agree that history says that ‘Ai rokom to hoyei thake!’

    But what was nice was the spontaneous outflow of outrage and support from the masses, even before the media created a circus out of it!

    Some evolution in the thought process? What do you feel?

  34. Dear shark:

    Really money rules. This is the harsh reality. What would you prefer if u were given an offer either to live in African jungles without money or a software engineer job in New York ?

  35. Hi GB,
    Nice, thought-provoking post. Has provoked lots of thoughts, it’s easy to see. But also brings out lots of people out of their closets: no I don’t refer to same sex marriages and stuff..Like just how someone feels that marriages should be between culturally & economically ‘equal’ families…like how someone feels that this whole thing is a media exercise…like how one has to be forward to ‘allow’ intercaste or inter-religion marriages…like how someone now goes and thinks that Priyanka Todi is stupid…

    Come on, a girl married a guy and the guy gets killed in the bargain. It’s a bloody human tragedy. Whether one’s convictions approve marriage between two people (how often an arranged marriage between ‘equal’ families sneered at by someone in the crowd? does it not happen?), one’s sensibilities can’t be so blunted that we don’t recognize the tragedy in this episode: the guy’s death. And certainly you can’t blame anyone’s religion or poverty or stupidity for being the root cause of this tragedy.

    Ten years ago if you wrote or responded to blogs, people would probably have called you crazy. Today, if there is an event and someone feels strongly about it they write a blog, start an SMS campaign or an online petition campaign. It may not be an effective way of expressing feelings (after all, how many of the world’s 5 billion read GB’s blogs), but as long as it is not a money-making exercise by cellphone companies, these campaigns should be tolerated as the fad for this age & time. Eventually who knows which form of protest will evolve something more meaningful.

    After all, these campaigns & blogs certainly beat wise-cracking at the expense of dead people (ref: “Todi Bajrangi & Goons” sound like an effective name for their new venture)

    Care

  36. i’ve lived in cal for some years, by the time i went to live there i’d become what i’m, basically could not fit the garb of a good hindu daughter-in-law and i lived in a hindu area and soon i noticed that there were some rickshawwalas who would not give me a ride because they were convinced that i’m a muslim, similarly there were neighbours who would not share the rick with me for the same reason, they all spoke about it openly in bangla thinking that i would not understand… i’m mentioning this only to make a point that its not just the money which matters… In Rezwanur’s case it was a too tragic that he was poor and also a muslim…

    i totally agree with your theory about “fear”… fear of unknown… and history has enough such instances, where people have reacted adversely to anything unknown, both dated and modern but what we need here is a solution… how are we going to solve it… i see no hope and i’m upset… and ours or any education will not help becoz it is meant to make us a good clerk or just an efficient bit of machinery in the global scheme of things… no school tells you to overcome discrimination, on the contrary they help in creating a further divide, discriminating girls from boys, white from blacks, beauty from ugliness , rich from poor, good from bad etc… so where is the solution… am i being a Utopian by thinking that there could be a solution…

  37. Hi GB, I would like to draw your attention to the perils of the hapless villagers who go to sleep with the sound of bombs and firing of bullets and wake up-i.e. if they are able to sleep at all-with the smell of gun powder,the flowing of blood, procession of dead bodies and the spine-chilling wails of unfortunate people. Pritam says sittin in Delhi it is easy to make a comment. Let me make this very clear I am a Calcuttan who is living in Haldia in East Midnapore-the district in which the by-now infamous Nandigram is in-for quite sometime now due to my profession. Thus due to geographical proximity to the troubled spot I get the opportunity to meet a lot of people who hail from that cursed land called Nandigram.
    Seeing various reports on the television,newspapers and most importantly getting to hear from the horse’s mouth I believe I’ve become quite abreast of the situation and have been able to decipher where the root of the trouble lies.
    Nandigram, as we all know has a long history of protesting against injustice and not giving in to coercion. It may be recalled that the place wher Nandigram is today had resisted the British empire and had set up their own free state-Tamralipta with its own national flag-even when the whole of India was chained by the British rule. One of India’s biggest women freedom fighters, Matangini Hazra-whose large statue can be found in the heart of Calcutta, hails from this place. So, it was nothing new when Haldia CPM MP Lakshman Seth issued a notice under the instructions of Mr.Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, that land in Nandigram will be acquired for setting up a comprehensive ‘Chemical Hub’ over 25,000 acres of land. The villagers were quite naturally perplexed, because most of the people living here were half or uneducated paesants who had no other means of livelihood except for tilling of land which they have been doing for generations….They started protesting the takeover of their farmland and houses(how can houses be left out as they come in the same area) by bringing out processions and guarding their lands in shifts saying they will protect their land till the last drop of blood. On the 6th of January, Benoy Konar, who ironically is the CPM’s farmer wing’s leader roared:” If they(Nandigram people) don’t allow us to make industry there, we’ll make their life HELL”. That he did when on the very next day, firings started from the other side of Tekhali bridge which left 7 people dead, a majority of whom were minority Muslims.A lot of water flowed down the Haldi river,which flows by Nandigram and the farmers became more firm in their resolve not to give away their livelihood and then, came the red letter day March 14, which has become the most infamous day after April 19(the day in which General Dyre opened fire on innocent protesters in Jallianwala Bagh).
    On March 14, the police marched in with CPM armed men in tow and opened fire on innocent villagers killing atleast 30 innocent villagers(although the official figure shows a mere 14). Let me tell you even small children were torn apart by policemen and thrown into the tretches dug up by farmland acquisition protesters and after putting sand sacks on them, police drove their Mahindra jeeps over them.
    And from then on Buddha has been forced to withdraw his plan of a ‘Chemical hub'(whose name we had never heard till last year) from Nandigram due to national and international pressure.But knowing the egoist he is, he did not take it down well having to eat crow. He thereafter turned a blind eye and withdrew all his police force from that area,when his party men started to take revenge of their CM’s humiliation. A few months went peacefully and people felt everything was gradually coming to normal. But only a few sinister men at Alimuddin street and some of their comrades in Khejuri knew that it was just the lull before the “HELL”storm. It was the time taken by the CPM to accumulate in Khejuri(opposite Nandigram) armed criminals from all across the state and also from neighbouring Bihar and Jharkhand to teach these unarmed, helpless, poor villagers the lesson of their lives. This has started for the 4-5 months and they would be killing 2-3 sometimes 4-5 villagers everyday by firing from long range rifles and even machine guns and burning their homes in the middle of the night, not to mention the not so ocassional pelting of bombs.This has been continuing and has increased rather then decreased. Public speeches by leaders like Brinda Karat asking to give the villagers Dumdum Dawai(the thrashing of their lives) have not helped the cause.
    Whatever I have written is just the tip of the iceberg. You should come to Nandigram and see to believe the plight and misery they are in, how thousands of villagers have been rendered homeless and how thousands of women and children heve been rendered shelterless and are living without food. Just spare a moment for them.
    Before ending, I would urge the central or state govt. just for humanity’s sake please do something for these people urgently. I know if the state govt would have honestly wanted this violence to have stopped, they could have done it in a day, but I still believe better sense would prevail on those that matter.
    O yes, and before ending I must also add that I am no Trinamul or Congress worker or supporter- as anybody raising a voice against the govt is deemed here by the CPM-but an engineer working in a reputed organization.

  38. We all know what is going to happen don’t we? Priyanka Todi will refuse to implicate her father and will disown Rizwan’s family totally, having being brainwashed to do the “right” thing by her family. She will refuse to acknowledge any threat perception from her father or his goons, and the matter will die a natural death because the star witness, the victim’s wife will become a hostile witness.

    …sigh…

  39. Todi is a Marwari businessman but NOT in the ‘blue-blooded’ league of the Birlas, Hadas, Khemkas, Mohtas or Khaitans. (The Birlas got their offsprings married into the other clans that I have named).

    Even Mittal, whose family started out in the Burrabazaar area of winding lanes filled with hundreds of small Marwari traders, chose the daughter of his erstwhile Burrabazaar neighbour to marry his son. The Mittal son and the would-be bahu were sent to study together at Wharton. The duo eventually graduated with their degrees and duly married with lots of pomp in Kolkata. Sighs of relief. Izzat and khandaan SAFE.

    Todi made his money through satta, an illegal form of gambling. When his dens were raided, he used this opportunity to build up a rapport with the police force and even ‘sponsored’ the police chief to win the post of the chief of the Cricket Association of Bengal.

    My question is, WHY was Priyanka unmarried at the age of 26?
    The Marwaris belief in marriage for their daughters by the age of 21, or at least a suitable engagement by then.
    They are ready to spend a lot to ‘acquire’ Mr. Right-son-in-law.

    Why was Priyanka SO desperate to leave the comforts of her paternal house– even to the extent of getting married to a NOT-suitable boy?

    What is the REAL story of the Todi household?

  40. @greatbong: i agree this is more class issue than religious. sadly it became a religious one b’coz of over eager media to “find” news in everything.
    the girl’s father would have done (assuming he did) the exact same if the boy was a hindu.

    every community and within that community every family has a “firewall” around it. and they wouldn’t want an “alien” to enter the circle.

    it will take decades if not centuries to break these walls. this case is not an aberration but a symptom of the existing system in india. and we cannot wish it away.

  41. @kishor, shan
    if money can buy me comfort in the jungles beside the great green greasy Limpopo, (a.c. , delicious food, superlative health-care, entertainment…etc, etc),
    i would surely prefer it to
    living on the warm updrafts from the grills of the new york sidewalks.

  42. as usual i will add my jobless two bits:

    i agree with the person who said, class and religion were an explosive mix.

    last year a really good friend of mine, a bengali guy from calcutta married his best friend, a marwari girl from delhi.

    they faced a lot of opposition which i sort of laughed at then.

    i mean, he was a rhode scholar and a financial adviser in london (now at wharton). she was a chevening scholar and an investment banker.

    but his family had struggled financially while hers was insanely rich.

    my friend had to put up with a lot of ribbing from people in his own family about marrying a rich girl which he put up with through gritted teeth. the girl was denounced by her family as having set a bad example to her cousins by not just studying too much and working outside the country but also now marrying out of choice.

    anyways, the girl’s family relented. and man the wedding was spectacular. we were put up on the deluxe suite of a five star in delhi with spectacular non-veg buffets lunches and plied 24 hours with absolut and black label. (@ mala: jd and coke at Tantra is rs. 350 not 800). the katirdari was out of this world.

    the ostentation of the celebration made me understand then that marriages are not inspired by bollywood but rather are true depictions of marriages of the rich. i swear on God. in fact it went beyond anything i had ever seen in a movie.

    moral of story: us bengalis still bitched about the vegetarian food for dinner at the wedding venue (which i may add was awesome).

  43. @ WTF
    Man…speaking of food at marriage parties, nothing beats the traditional Bengali ‘batch’ system marriage food…

    The assitant ‘Thakur’ (deputy o the traditional cook) with his ‘phish phries’ dripping with a mixture of oil and sweat, waiting to scoop a new fillet while you savour the previous one, the helper guy trying to coax you a few more ‘papod aar chatni’, while you desperately try to keep that last cubit of stomach space for those dozen hot ‘lengchas’ that your cousin bet you wont be able to finish up.

    Not to forget the Dalda fried ‘Radhabollobis’.

    Screw the caviar and champagne..

  44. GB – nice post. I disagree with you on the idea of noose around one’s neck. The family is a support system and guess what, it doesn’t come free. You have to give up some privacy/liberties for having that support system.

    In western societies, the social unit is an individual and in our culture it is the family. Neither is a perfect state of being. There are losses in both scenarios. In individualistic societies, filial support is absent from so many lives to the extent of being scary. In our society, there are cases of too much interference.

    Let’s face it – even if Ashok Todi had not done anything, this marriage wasn’t exactly going to last long. So it comes down to making sure law of the land is followed. Rest of all this brouhaha is quite useless.

  45. It’s a heart-rending soap opera story, but must be taken in the right context:

    1) The boy was Muslim and poor, the girl was Hindu and rich.

    2) India bore the brunt of 800 years of Islamic rule, a time in which a minority ruled the majority through brutality, weaponry and plunder.

    3) India’s neighbors – Pakistan and Bangladesh were formed on religious grounds where Muslims are 98% of the population, where they can practice bigotry and intolerance unchallenged.

    4) India does not have a uniform civil code, which allows muslim men to practice polygamy.

    5) Indian Muslims according to census rates have a birth rate of 30% a decade while Hindus have 20%.

    6) Islam can never really integrate itself with Indian society, since it’s most basic premise is that there is one and only gone god.

    7) Also, their belief system can argue that killing of non-muslims is legitimate.

    8) Crimes of apostasy in Islam are punishable by death.

    Points 1-6 are facts.

    There is no arguing against them.

    I just thought they needed mentioning because people wonder why baby fetuses were balanced on a sword in Godhra.

    Going by 7) and 8) Rizwanur’s death was justifiable according to the Hadith and Sharia law.

    Case closed.

  46. Uhhh huh …. while I cannot validate whether it was justifiable under either Hadith or Sharia, the fact is that we do not follow either of them. Let us first accept those as the basis for our legal system and then accept the death as justifiable.

    The constitution exists in isolation and should be absolute. History is irrelevant in this context. As of 2007, the current Indian constitution does not allow anyone to be killed on the basis of her religious beliefs, and it is irrelevant if it did at any time or if any other legal system justifies it.

    That is kind of what defines a civilized society. The cost of living in such a society is that only you are bound by the rules you lay down, the ones on the other side do not have to play by them. Kind of what the US faces today and kind of what Rome faced back in its day.

    The choices are to live as barbarians and to treat everyone as barbarians or to insist that everyone be treated civilly and to occasionally suffer at the hands of those who do not accept it, but to treat even them in the same civil manner.

  47. @Swati

    An interesting point there. I was reading through multiple blogs/stories/articles and somewhere it was noted that Priyanka threatened her father that he better back off, or she will reveal all to the press.

    Now, what exactly is she referring to here ? hmm ..

    On a “Phir bhi dil hain hindustani” (read as “how any top dramatic news story gets exploited for commercial purposes”) side note, please expect Mahesh bhatt to announce this next movie based on this story.

    @Kishor – What an interesting point man !!!

  48. What irks me most is that The Telegraph has been making it a headline for god knows how many weeks now. No one disagrees with the causes, but such an essentially lopsided sense of public morality/conscience is probably what explains it all.

    And being liberal my foot. Imagine raising your child for all these years with so much love, caress, pampering, and then seeing her off with someone who, for whatever reason, you don’t like…is it then too far-fetched to imagine Todi’s reaction? I mean, it’s “his” daughter and whether he assents to her marraige is none of anyone’s (including, yes, all the dhorna in front of St. Xaviers’ givers) business. I’m not refuting that how Todi acted in the context of the marraige was medieval, but it certainly was his personal affair.

    Todi of course crossed the line if he did conspire in the killing, but, for some reason, the holier than thou reaction of the media and the public is more irksome than the actual case.

    I do wish that justice be finally served, but I also wish that we, as citizens of Calcutta/India, be less lop-sided in our conscience scale. Things have been going on in Nondigram which are far far more gruesome and important – just why aren’t candles being lit for them too?

    In any case, I’m glad that your post looks at the incident from a slightly different angle than the rest of the media.

  49. @Manu

    “The family is a support system and guess what, it doesn’t come free. You have to give up some privacy/liberties for having that support system”

    Are we allowed to choose before we were born whether we want this support system or not ? And hence, also choose whether we want to compromise on giving up privacy/liberties for that support system ?

  50. Col YAVESH KUSHWAHA(Retd):

    the bigotry of the educated person apparently extends to our armed forces too does it?

    spectacular. you beat the ‘if it was your daughter you would have done the same’ people..

    @ rishi:

    dude you’ve made me so hungry its unbelievable.

    i forgot to mention in that story that a reception was held at st.paul’s. chicken biryani and mutton kassa with thick slices of ice cream and jalebi were served.

    all was forgiven.

  51. Two reasons why Hindu parents are zealously reluctant to allow their children to marry in to Muslim households are :

    (a) They cannot be sure of the intentions of the Muslim spouse. Mosques ‘do’ enjoin their followers to entice and then marry members of the opposite faith to boost the numbers of the ‘holy’. This is fact. A cache of flyers and tape recordings have been unearthed from mosques.

    (b) Once a girl is married in to a Muslim household, she is usually lost forever. She is rarely allowed to visit her parents, forget about living the lifestyle of the past.

    I have personal knowledge of this happening to many Hindu girls. Two of them were sisters of my close friends. One of them a distant relative of my wife’s.

    This of course does not ameliorate Todi’s horrific crime ‘if he is guilty’. Or the sickening inaction of the police.

    Hindu parents should bring up their children in such a way that they do not fall in to the snare of luring and motivated suitors, Muslim or Hindu. Rather than hopelessly failing to apprise them of such threats, and acting with kneejerk, heartless brutality when it is too late.

  52. @Col YAVESH KUSHWAHA(Retd) am

    It is always the-GOOD-US versus the-utterly-horrible-them.

    Palestinians-vs-Israelis
    Hutu-vs-Tutsi
    Catholic-vs-Protestant
    Blacks-vs-White
    baaper bari versus shoshur bari
    creationism-vs-darwinism
    my rational system of belief versus your stupid dogma…

    My husband, who claims to know the Marwari psyche, claims that it was the religion that drove the Todis’ frantic and desperate to take such drastic measures.

    Are there any Marwaris among the readers of GB who would like to comment?

  53. Hi, anybody observed this funny thing in Om Shanti Om promos ?

    They mention as 31 stars in a song whereas all the actors present in that song are either workless junior artistes like Dia Mirza, Zayed Khan, etc. or old fellows such as Jeetendra, Dharmendra, etc. I don’t know where the 31 stars are ?

  54. @ Swati

    I dated a Marwari girl for 6 years and got to a know a lot of the culture in a Marwari household. Many points below are generalized

    1. Like any other highly successful business community (Sindhis, Gujratis, etc), Marwaris (from almost all varnas, as well as Jains) are culturally quite conservative. They are quite religious (Hindus and Jains) and are very respectful of the traditional (and often joint) family system.

    2. As expected, they have acute business sense and have a knack for making the right investments.

    Historically, the Marwaris(Baniyas and Jains)have played a stellar role in preventing the complete collapse of the Hindu community in India. When India was under the political subjugation of Islam (especially under Mughals), the Marwari community selflessly bankrolled, generation after generation of Kshatriyas in their fight against the Mughals, all over India, including in places as far as Asom.

    Had it not been the Marwaris in Kolkata, Suhrawardy and Jinnah would have pulled a Noakhali during the ‘Direct Action Day’ in 1946.

    People of Marwar, like the Parsis have made Bharat proud over the past centuries for their busness acumen and leadership.

  55. @Col KUSHWAHA
    The point is not WHY India does not have a uniform civil code, the point is that whatever code we have does NOT condone a killing.

    To answer your specific question, my thoughts on why we have or do not have something, is because the people don’t want it, or don’t ask for it. It is a democracy, if people wanted it bad, they would get it. The people want reservation, they get it, the people want separate civil codes, they get it too.

  56. @ rishi khujur : Marwaris

    Marwaris fought magnificently to protect Hinduism. Jaswant Singh, Durgadaas, Ajit Singh were Marwari scions. Even after capitulation, the tiny Jai Singh handled himself with such dignity that an aged Aurangzeb accorded him respect.

    Alas, Marwar failed us once, it refused to side with Dara Shukoh in the battle of Dharmat against the evil forces of Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb’s own father-in-law sided with the legitimate ruler Dara. If the forces of Achalgar were on Dara’s side, the outcome of Dharmat may have been different. The fate of India may have been different.

    But that is the past. Marwaris have and continue to play a brilliant role in Indian history and business.

  57. @ swati : They may be Jains, but bride burning and female foeticide is also very much a part of their (and our?)lives.

    Yes, but is that a uniquely Hindu or Jain issue? Remember, the female/male ratio of China and Pakistan are both worse than India’s.

    Very few of Chinese or Pakistanis are Hindu or Jain.

  58. @ swati : “It is always the-GOOD-US versus the-utterly-horrible-them.

    Palestinians-vs-Israelis
    Hutu-vs-Tutsi
    Catholic-vs-Protestant
    Blacks-vs-White
    baaper bari versus shoshur bari
    creationism-vs-darwinism
    my rational system of belief versus your stupid dogma”

    And of course, the most narrow and exclusivist sectarianism, us Muslims vs the rest of the world kaffirs & zimmis.

    Rationality in my faith be damned.

  59. W.T.F, Rishi,

    Damn you guys !!! You made me really hungry now … I am practically salivating after reading your posts !!!

    I’m off to the nearest restaurant to tuck in some Korayer Dal and Alu Posto and Chitol Maach. 😀

    Hujur

  60. I totally agree with your view about economic status being more important factor..

    But another thing here is that it involves the GIRL marrying a poor muslim guy and not a Guy marrying a poor muslim girl…

    How could they bear their grandchildren being poor and muslim, and there is this whole association of girls being ‘parivar ki izzat’ which should never be tarnished…

    We can just hope women’s financial and social idependence changes something in future…

  61. I totally agree with your view about economic status being more important factor..

    But another thing here is that it involves the GIRL marrying a poor muslim guy and not a Guy marrying a poor muslim girl…

    How could they bear their grandchildren being poor and muslim, and there is this whole association of girls being ‘parivar ki izzat’ which should never be tarnished…

    We can just hope women’s financial and social idependence changes something in future…

  62. Nothing surprising Arnab considering the fact that you will find similar examples of this in our different facets of life. india may have evolved from being a village to being a country with expressways and malls but essentially we have remained feudalistic villagers in our mindset. its just that our money power have increased. With this I am not trying to make derogatory remarks about villagers essentially, but thats the harsh truth. think about the way we drive as an example, where everybody wants to reach too quickly. Will suggest readers of this post to refer to the book by Prof. Dipankar Gupta – “Mistaken Modernity – India Between the Worlds.”

    Btw, well written post Arnab, as always..

    Happy Deepavali…!!!

  63. Anonymouse: “To answer your specific question, my thoughts on why we have or do not have something, is because the people don’t want it, or don’t ask for it. It is a democracy, if people wanted it bad, they would get it.”

    The above statement is a specious heap of balderdash. Our constitution is in principle a democracy, but it’s a perversion of the same. What respect can you have for a democracy, which even after 60 years, has only a 61% literacy rate? China, our free-market socialist neighbor has a 91% literacy rate.

    Our leaders didn’t build this country on a strong foundation of laws, which constructed it to benefit from the same divide and rule policy that they learnt from their British masters. They have willfully kept most parts of it ignorant and divided, and have successfully founded two or three generations of political dynasties that rule this kleptocracy and keep it as derailed as their forefathers left it.

    Any nation is built on strong leaders with vision, it’s this lack of vision and cohesion which makes our nation weak. When constitutional laws are bent on religious lines, you allow all sorts of perversions in society. How do you justify polygamy in a nation with the second largest population? We banned child marriage, why is polygamy, which is just as barbaric mandated by law, specifically for ONE community?

    If we were truly secular, we would have a uniform civil code. If we were truly enlightened, we would have a one-child policy. But we will never see these things in our lifetime.

    This is a democracy in which an energy hungry country is deprived of nuclear resources by a party with 5% of the electorate.

    I ask of you, what good has democracy done for us?

    W.T.F:
    Why do you accuse me of being a bigot? Because I state the facts? Because I ask for a uniform civil code? What could be more secular than a uniform civil code? Why hasn’t India separated the church (or the mosque) from the state?

  64. Todi family has to marry their other daughters.

    Todi asked priyanka to give time to take stock of situation and in the mean time he will marry the other sisters.

    Any controversy or bad name can spoil name in any society.

    And telegraph…even TOI seems a better option now.

  65. @ Col YAVESH KUSHWAHA(Retd) am:

    i am all for a uniform civil code.

    your ‘facts’ have nothing to do with the fact that the police interfered in a legal wedding between consenting adults. furthermore, the justification of rizwanur’s death on the basis of sharia is most logically bankrupt thing i have ever heard.

    you should also educate yourself in the manner in which the civil code for hindus was enacted.

    Nehru and Ambedkar were fought tooth and nail by conservatives because monogamy, divorce, adoption out of caste and equal share in inheritance have absolutely no basis in the shastras. the entire country was outraged. they expended a huge amount of political capital to reform hindu society. and neither they nor anyone else has had the stomach for the same fight against muslims.

    the lack of a uniform civil code is major failing of indian secularism. on the other hand, the special marriages act (the act under which the unfortunate couple were married) is a major success.

    by tying up this murder to islam’s history you represent your bigotry. that is why i call you a bigot.

  66. That Nehru and Ambedkar only reformed Hindu society shows that they did a half assed job of it, and doing a half assed job is worse than doing nothing at all. This is a big mistake as muslims have fought demographic wars all over the world.

    “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths, a statistic.”

    This quote from Lenin makes a good point about our mentality. It’s how we are. It’s why this story is such big news. We will weep for a Romeo and Juliet, but a million starvation deaths will get you vultures and a photo opportunity.

  67. @ Col Kushwaha

    WTF has done a great job of responding. But still, to put in my 2 paise, you paint a highly negative and hopeless picture of the country. Everything was bad, is bad, and is not going to change. In that scenario, we really cannot debate anything. The only certainty is that it is best to leave the country. I am not sure thats a good way to look at things.

    Neither are the comparisons with China valid. Would you prefer the slaughter and suffering in China to achieve your 91% literacy rate or would you prefer the freedom and plenty in Kerala to achieve 99%? It is possible, it has been done, and it will be done again. Believing that is the only way anything can get better, abandoning hope or advocating the killing of people is not going to take us anywhere.

  68. “Everything was bad, is bad, and is not going to change. In that scenario, we really cannot debate anything.”

    Yes we can.

    “The only certainty is that it is best to leave the country. I am not sure thats a good way to look at things.”

    I’m not writing Hallmark cards am I?

    “Would you prefer the slaughter and suffering in China to achieve your 91% literacy rate”

    I would prefer if India employed a one-child policy.

    “or would you prefer the freedom and plenty in Kerala to achieve 99%”

    Behold the great Kerala miracle for all to see, three cheers for Kerala! What about the other states good sir, especially the one from which the Gandhi family has always contested. Uttar Pradesh, 186 million people, it adds 10 million every three years.
    “Abandoning hope or advocating the killing of people is not going to take us anywhere.”

    I never advocated the killing of anyone. I just pointed out that a certain belief system thinks it’s fine.

  69. Rizwanur was an opportunist. Did you see the state of his well being (he is of course a ‘graphic designer’ for the media who actually taught ABC of how to play with MS Paint)? I know a guy a who knew this fella personally and his ex-GF Pompy. I have had several confirmations from various quarters close to the guy that the guy was a kind of gold digger.

    Besides, he was a no one, tumbled a gal some 8-9 yrs his junior and married her hoping to get an endless supply of Lux underwears for himself throughout his life.

    The problem is more with the Bongs hating the rich Marwaris of Kolkata. Their hatred for Marwaris far outweigh that of their communal feelings for Muslims. Since, there are vested political interest, the sobbers for the Rizzu cause are siding with the utter-most lower class Muslim family, who don’t have any idea where their next bread would come from, against the super-rich Marwari family.

    My personal thought is that Rizwan’s death, though unfortunate, would serve as a deterrent to such gold diggers like him – be they are Muslims or Hindus.

    Rizzu dead, GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

  70. Well i am with the Colonel on this one pathetic civvies. He is mostly right about Islam, however his take on dictatorship etc is a bit hard to take.

    There is nothing wrong in being an Islamophobe. If you do not have a phobia about this murderous & sadistic cult then there is something wrong with u.

    In other words any non-muslim person who is not an Islamophobe is living in La La Land or in other words is a few fruits short of a picnic basket.

  71. @Beau Peep:
    “Rizwanur was an opportunist”
    “I know a guy a who knew this fella”
    “I have had several confirmations from various quarters”
    “he was a no one”
    “utter-most lower class Muslim family”
    ————————————————————–

    Your post, while adding nothing but bigotted gossip to the debate, says nothing about the case, but does speak volumes about you.
    Please take such uncorroborated rubbish to the Rediff board.

  72. @ shourideb bhattacharyya:

    you seem to be under the misapprehension that cowardice and phobias are manifestations of logic, reason and high intelligence.

    more importantly, this seen in the light that, the real danger that terrorism or bullying poses (and by the same token islamic fundamentalism) is not that it can kill or hurt people- it can condition the responses, prejudices.. let’s call it mindspace of the living. that they can scare us into a pattern of behaviour which suits them.

    so after a terrorist attack mumbai goes right back to work the next day taking time out only to form 2 km long blood donation lines. bombs in mosques and temples, there are no riots.

    so, by not being islamophobes, pardon the vast majority of the people of this country who have chosen not to let bullies dictate to us how to judge people or how we should live our lives and most importantly, how to think.

    you are completely free to your entire basket of fruit (in particular bananas).

  73. @ swati
    i have met priyanka’s cousins and found them nice, down to earth, traditional and they dont show off their status or money. They are definately not the rich brat kind….

  74. @beau peep
    This marriage-thingummybob, in fact any marriage, reeks of opportunism.

    Each party hopes to be the gainer. Usually, the bride wants financial and social security– while the groom looks for free ‘love’, delicious meals and spotless laundry.

    The sad fact is that, at the end of the month,
    1. there is never enough money to buy de-beers stuff to impress the uppity neighbour,
    2. you don’t want to go beyond the 6th position in the kamasutra, er– not with your own wife,
    3. the rajma-chawal never measures up to mother’s cooking and
    4. dhobi does the laundry better but his prices add up to a hefty bill.

    If Rizwanur managed to get himself a rich wife, good luck to him. He did not have to pay with his life in lieu of den-mohr.

    @sunny
    What I have observed, in front of outsiders– a traditional Marwari family will never flaunt its wealth. And the Gen-x members are very eager to aquire the right degrees from the right places (Wharton, Carnegie-Mellon, that famous Swiss business school etc etc) so that the old family business is reinvented to be yet more money-spinning than ever.

    If their family structure is old-fashioned, they are quite ready to embrace new businss strategies. Otherwise, what gave their forefathers courage to leave the familiar environs of Rajasthan and come to far away Bengal, if not to explore the incredible trading opportunities offered by the East India Company?

  75. GB, thanks for going beyond the religoius angle which the media is making the people believe.

    Just wanted to share with you couple of things. Firstly, the family in question is a Marwari of Kolkata. Sad but true, till now, the marwari community believes that marriage after graduation is the only goal for their daugthers. I have seen the best student in my school days not take up science in her 2 as it would have hurt her more as in future she would not be allowed to go for medicine or engineering, or any higher degree that she was a natural for. Now I see my alumni junior, who in many ways has been luckier to have completed a post graduation degree, still dreaming of starting a her own consultancy but is made to meet a prospective groom every month. The only thing that has changed over times has been the groom being filthy rich and no less.All my junior wants is the permission from her future-in-laws to let her work.

    Ashok Todi must have been influenced if not a complete believer of this kind of a role for his daughter. And he had the money to turn things his own way. It would not have made any difference if Priyanka like her cousin Spriha would have married their family driver Tarapada. Somewhere I felt that they must have been yearning to set themselves free, hoping to take some decisions in life without the intrusions of their family… Take the case of Razia Sultana in love with her Abysinian slave. Or the bangla adage of “Bojro aatuni, foska gero” (The tighter the knot, the easier it is to unravel).

    Kolkata in the basic mindset has not changed much. So for any Bengali girl, the ‘Any chosen guy from our caste’ has gone over to become ‘Any guy other than a Muslim’ over time as one gets to be financially independent and very marriagable. But here the case has been more to do with the idea daughter and the economic status.

  76. Gangadevi wrote:
    “So for any Bengali girl, the ‘Any chosen guy from our caste’ has gone over to become ‘Any guy other than a Muslim’ over time”

    My take on this issue:

    I strongly believe that Hindu women are smart enough to know what’s good for them, their families and for Hindu society. As someone who disregarded caste as a criteria while getting married, I personally am all for Gandharva Vivahas. 😀

    Regarding your comment on the Bengali Hindu’s acceptance of inter-caste marriages and reluctance for their daughters not to marry Muslims or get converted, I think Bengali society has come to a realization lately that is echoed by Elst’s advice to Hindus regarding their daughters in the “Demographic Seige”:

    http://koenraadelst .bharatvani. org/books/ demogislam/ appendix. html

    Excerpt:

    A piece of practical advice to conclude with: before you start
    teaching Muslims, teach your own community first. Your daughter will think twice about becoming the “breeding cow of a Muslim family” if she is properly informed about Islam. And to get a proper perspective on Islam, she should first know what mighty heritage she is carrying, what treasure she would throw to the wind if she were to drop her native tradition in favour of Islam.

    “Vaccinate your children” – takes on new meaning when it comes to tackling Islam.

    Some interesting insights relating to the Priyanka case:

    1) Rizwanur’s parents also persuaded Priyanka to convert to Islam:

    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Rizwanur-Priyanka-were-asked-to-convert/233338/

    2) Rizwanur was ready to convert to Hinduism. Given the Quranic command to kill any apostate leaving Islam and everyday incidents of such apostate killings in the Islamic Ummah, it appears that Rizwan was murdered (for agreeing to convert to Hinduism) by Javed Khan and other Muslim bigwigs:

    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Rizwan-was-ready-to-convert-to-Hinduism/220517/

    3) Here’s a story with a “happy” ending in Kolkata. Hindu girl Ujjala converts to Islam tearfully to marry Muslim boyfriend Asad.

    So the question remains: Why didn’t Asad embrace Hindu Dharma instead? Because Ujjala’s parents didn’t even try or broach the subject.

    Atleast Priyanka’s family had the foresight to try and ask Rizwanur to return to his ancestral Hindu roots:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/this_world/3732343.stm

  77. @ Hujur
    Reminds me of the famous incident from the Bosnian conflict…the love story between Bosco (a Serbian native and Admira, a Muslim Bosnian).

    When Bosco tried to meet Admira from the Muslim side of Sarajevo, the jihadis shot Bosco and Admira and displayed their body in the no-man’s land to rot, as a example to the Serbs.

    The photograph (which I remember seeing as a kid), of Bosco and Admira, rotting on the barbed wires is still etched in my memory.

    PS: Most Bosnians are ethnically the same as Serbs (unlike the common misconception), but were converted to Islam under Turkish rule.

  78. I really really hope that murderous people like Col Yavesh Kushwaha(Retd)AM don’t make up a large part of our armed forces. Fortunately this vicious piece of work is retired, but there may be others who would even look at their Muslim mates in the army askance and with suspicion. Truly my respect for the army goes down day by day…

    The only thing worse than a self serving bigot with a sword is a self righteous bigot with a gun.

  79. @Shan

    Hello,

    People like Col Khushwaha might be reprehensible for you but for someone like me who has been associated with the armed forces, their anger is understandable because of the following reasons.

    1. Our armed forces are fighting a low intensity conflict in Kashmir with religious fundamentalists for close to two decades.
    2. The nature and conduct of this conflict has played a major role in shaping the opinions of many of the officers serving in the Army.
    3. During the course of this conflict the armed forces often find themselves losing life and limb for the security of the very same people who abet and support terrorists.
    4. This support has no basis except commonality of religion between the terrorists and the local population.

    Therefore it is no surprise that Col Khushwaha(rightly) makes the kind of assertions about Islam that you find so disturbing.

    Your description of an ex army officer as “vicious” and “murderous” is extremely unfortunate as is your assertion that he would look at his Muslim army mates in askance (in violation of his oath). Considering that nothing that the Col has said implies the above, I would be grateful if you could
    specify as to what led you to make these allegations.

    An excerpt from a TOI report to illustrate the difficult conditions that the Army faces in kashmir –

    “Though police and paramilitary forces had cordoned off the area around the hotel, huge crowds gathered. “Lashkar Mujahidu agay bado, hum tumarah saath hai,” some of the residents in the area known to be a terrorist stronghold shouted in plain view of soldiers.
    “All these security forces with army back-up could not flush out two terrorists from the hotel for three days. How can they protect us?” said Riyaz Ahmad Dar, a Sopore resident.”

    Thanks

    Sunil

  80. This entire issue..is tied into Asian parents in my experience even Singapore and Hong Kong Chinese) believing that taking a child through life…gives them the right to interfere with everything until either the parent or the child is dead…i guess it depends on how much the parent does for the child..but i still think that Asian parents have inherently low respect for their children…

    I have no idea how to work around this…i have had the fortune of coming from a mixed family..so noone is quite in the position of telling me who to love…But a poor Muslim?…my Sinhala-Tamil-Christian-Buddhist family would freak out too…its such a bloody shame on our entire society…can someone please explain what makes the Buddhists, Hindus and Christians of the sub-continent better than the Muslims?…

    Lets hope that the people on this forum yet to be parents do not repeat what they so bemoan today…

    P.S

    @Hujur: Seriously? you SERIOUSLY believe what you are saying? “Vaccinate” your children? Where are defenders of Hinduism/Buddhism/Native faiths like you when ppl are killed in caste-related nonsense?…every religion has its faults….if any of the Gods we worship had the good sense to show themselves on BBC…we’d all be worshipping the same one…until then…it is my modest opinon…that we should stop killing each other over divine deities someone in India, Israel or Saudi Arabia may have dreamed up in a delusional fit…

  81. Upon reading everyone’s comments…i’ve realised that the beautiful thing about this blog…is that comments are not edited/controlled….reading them scares the shit out of me…the sheer extent and viciousness of racism on a mere blog…makes me truly grateful that a religious riot in the sub-continent “only” happens once in a while..

    Despite this hatred…I feel that the enduring secular-ness of India…is the only true proof of the existence of God in the world today…to be slightly gay…it is proof that simple love/affection for your neighbour…can often out-weigh incredible hatred and evil…

  82. Anthony wrote:
    can someone please explain what makes the Buddhists, Hindus and Christians of the sub-continent better than the Muslims?…

    Rishi’s response:
    Know more about Islam and you will know who claims to be the “better” one….and the “ultimate” truth.

    Dear Anthony, either you are too ignorant or you are feighning one. In either case, educate yourself more before launching into a hail of misdirected misinformed tirade.

  83. Why are the Muslims hated?

    1. Because, we have to hate somebody…. anybody… the us-vs-them kind of thing.
    2. Because, self doubt has yet to enter the mainstream Islamic thought process. Every ulema-or-what-have-you are preaching a WE-ARE-RIGHT-they-are-wrong kind of message and exhorting their flock to wreck havoc and sow death and destruction.

    Somehow, the moderate voice of Islam is so muted that we think it to be non-existent.

    This religion is the newest kid on the block (622 CE) and is yet to mellow down. Of course, there was the Sufi movement and other allied tolerant strains of Islam, but somehow—- this Wahabi cum Deobandi style of a-good-kafir-is-a-dead-kafir is taking the upper hand.

    @sunil
    Thanks.
    You reminded us of Kashmir. Now it is easy to understand the colonel’s anger.

    @gb
    I am sure that you have Muslim readers. Wish to see their comments too.
    Priyanka, at first, said that there was not a word said about her conversion.
    Now, she is trotting out a lot of outrageous statements. Her lawyers are quite a well known firm,(Fox & Mondal), even to non-litiginous people like me.

  84. @ Swati
    Its a myth that Sufism was a tolerant strain of Islam. When it comes to Kafirs (Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs) and Dimmis (Jews, Chrsitians), NO STRAIN OF ISLAM IS TOLERANT.

    Two places in the subcontinent where Sufis sucked up the maximum number of converts are Kashmir and Bengal.
    Would encourage you to read the works of Sufis like Ali Shah Hamadani (Kashmir), Jalal -al -din Tabrizi (Bengal).

  85. @Swati

    Hello,

    1. Considering the way Muslims have waged war against kafirs (remember the mutiliated bodies of Jawans during Kargil, BSF jawans slung on bamboo poles like dead animals by Bangladesh Rifles) the Colonel’s anger is not only understandable but also justified.

    2. Islam is not the newest kid on the block, Sikhism is. By your logic Sikhism should be the most violent of all religions (since it is yet to mellow down), which it is not.

    3. Since you question Priyanka’s statements on Conversion, it would only be fair to apply the same questioning logic to the alleged offer to convert extended to Rizwan, and also to the assertions of Rizwan’s family about Ashok Todi’s culpability in Rizwan’s death.

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  86. @Sunil
    Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak, a man of peace. The warlike aspects emerged only when Aurangzeb started his persecutions.

    Islam’s us-against-them message was instrumental in in forging a theocratic empire out of rag-tag bands of warring Bedouin tribes. The harsh desert has bred a rigid religion, severe and uncompromising. (Can the same be said of Judaism?!?)

    I will always wonder why Priyanka had to leave her comfortable existence to seek happiness in the by-lanes of Tiljala. Why her arch-conservative father had not got her married at the usual age? In my mind, Rizwanur was murdered by the goons at the behest of Ashok Todi. What secrets was he afraid that his daughter would blurt out to such an ‘undesirable’ man and his family? For me, the REAL mystery will always be that.

    @rishi_khujur
    I only know a few songs of the Sufi saints which are all quite metaphorical about the souls longing for God, no matter by what name you call the supreme being. Rumiism, of the middle east, also had similar ideas.
    Will check upon the names you have mentioned. Can you suggest some references?

  87. @swati
    “why Priyanka had to leave her comfortable existence to seek happiness in the by-lanes of Tiljala.”
    1.Teacher student affair.
    2.conservative parents dont allow girls to mix with opposite sex …but teachers are exception.

    Orkut has been instrumental in starting affairs these days …its hot list and crush list are THE tools.

  88. @swati
    you may see arena chowringhee orkut community.There are profiles of students and teachers there. Rizwan id is rizcorp….see teachers name list at a ‘poll for best teacher’…also check the teachers scrapsbooks..

  89. Dear Swati,

    As Sunil rightly pointed out, “Islam is not the newest kid on the block, Sikhism is. By your logic Sikhism should be the most violent of all religions (since it is yet to mellow down), which it is not.”

    The Bahai faith is much younger (founded in the 19th century) and very very peaceful. So I guess the “newest kids on the block” is anything unlike the “Religion of Peace”.

    Not that age has anything to do with wisdom or pleasantness. Some wines do taste better with time. But some foods, like Chinese take-out food, are not only unpalatable and stink as they get stale, but may cause severe food poisoning after a few weeks. 😀

    And oh, Anthony, the wisdom of any belief systems lies in its core theology. May I suggest two portals to learn more about the “Religion of Peace”:

    http://www.faithfreedom.org/Author/Sina.htm

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

    Hujur

  90. Swati di:

    KASHMIR

    The books/chronicles to refer to for seeing the abject hatred and exclusivism promoted Sufi Islam against Hindus and Buddhists:

    Chronicles (I consider them more accurate)

    1. Ali Hamadani (aka Shah Hamadan)- Zakhirat-ul-maluk -14th century.
    The British Museum Manuscript of the book [Add. 7618,Vol II, p. 447] has 250 folios, 1034” x 9”, 15 lines, 3 inches long, written in neat Nastaliq.

    I was fortunate to recieve translated excerpts for use in a project on Kashmir I worked on.

    2. Unknown Sufi – Baharistan-i-Shahi – 17th century(transated from Farsi by Kashi Nath Pandita)

    Books like Kashmir, Wail of a Valley by Mohan Lal Loul, Gyan Sagar publications, 1999,
    give a lucid walk through Kashmir’s past. It is important that educated people, both Hindus and Muslims get to know the reality of our land.

  91. @Sunil:

    If only it were as simple as that.

    The same points you have outlined apply to other insurgency ridden areas of Indian as well. Militants have support among the locals in Manipur and Nagaland as well. There is obviously some degree of regional empathy, that is undeniable, but for the army to brand a community/religion as the undeserving Col. Yawesh did is simply bigotry.

    Do you mean to say that is is justified for a armyman in Imphal to brand all Manipuris as murderers and enjoy the sight of an innocent Manipuri being killed (and for entirely different reasons under different circumstances, I might point out – this was a rich man killing his Muslim son-in-law, nothing to do with insurgency or people who the murderous Col. has fought against in Kashmir)?

    The fact that he extrapolates his experience in one situation and causes if to color his view of an entire community clearly places him in a category of communal thugs and bigots.

    There is no excuse for that, at least in my book.

    Of course some others on this board differ – someone even said something on the lines of “Rizzu is dead. Good riddance.” The Col should invite him for a drink.

  92. @ Swati di

    BENGAL

    The inability of the Hindus/Buddhists to look at the bigger picture and understand the geo-political, imperialist ambitions inculcated by the Koran to its followers, has been a generational problem. In every generation, there are too few Hindus who understand the implications of Islam. That is why Hindus have supplied (through conversion) nearly 60% of the Islam’s strength (almost all Muslims in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are children of Hindu converts) and continue to be in a reactive/damage control mode in the territories where they are in majority. In Bengal, Hindus have already ceded 70% of the territory to Islam (Bangladesh) and are rapidly being demographically pushed out of the territories where they hold political and geographical control (West Bengal).

    Sufi Islam’s role in converting Bengal can been seen in these book

    1. ‘Abd al-Latif. “Safar-n?ma” . In A Description of North Bengal in 1609 A.D. Translated by Jadunath Sarkar. Bengal Past and Present(1928)

    2. ‘Abd al-Razzaq. “Matla‘ al-sa‘dain” . Extracts in The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, translated and edited by H. M. Elliot and John Dowson, 4: 89–126. 8 vols. Allahabad: Kitab Mahal, 1964

    3. Bah?rist?n-i-ghayb?: A History of the Mughal Wars in Assam, Cooch Behar, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa during the Reigns of Jah?ng?r and Sh?hjah?n, by M?rz? Nathan. Translated by M. I. Borah. 2 vols. Gauhati, Assam: Government of Assam, 1936

    4. Siyar-al-Arifin (17th century compendium of Sufi bigoraphies)

  93. @rishi_khujur

    Thanks for the references

    Some of the conversions were forced but many people belonging to the lower castes, tired of the high-handedness of the higher castes, willingly joined a religion that said that ‘all men are created equal’.

    I am sure that the Hindu philosophy also said the same, only the village priest did not put it into practice.
    When your own religion rams your inferiority down your throat every moment of you life, you don’t pause to consider ‘geo-political imperialist implications’.

  94. @ Swati di:

    “tired of the high-handedness of the higher castes, willingly joined a religion that said that ‘all men are created equal’”.

    Very interesting thoughts, something that is commonly touted around in India a lot.

    But the facts point otherwise.

    In Northern India,
    Proportional to share of population of different Varnas (and subvarnas) Most converts to Islam have been Kshatriyas groups, followed by Brahmins and then other ‘so called working castes” like Julaha, Kurmi, Luhaar.

    Vaishyas (trader community) was the least converted, second least were the so called ‘shudras’.

    In Bengal however, (unlike the common assertion)the communities that were completely out of reach for the priestly class and remotest from Classical Hinduism were the FIRST to be converted. The Chandal tribes in deltaic regions (who followed Aagama Hinduism) like Patualkhali, Noakhali, Kumilla.
    and Northern Hills like Rangpur and Bogra (with HIGH Buddhist presence) saw the maximum loss and easiest domination by Islam.

    Compared to that, places like Gour, Panduah, Tribeni which inspite of being centers of Islamic political control saw a resilient Hindu population because of the presence of classical Hindu thought process.

  95. @ Swati di:

    By no means I am supporting the Varna system-by birth and am all for its abolition. I am only pointing out the realities of how conversion took place during the past millenium.

  96. @ Swati di

    A book that looks at Islam in Bengal quite well. It also looks at the commonly accepted reasons that scholars ascribe to the success of Islam in Bengal. A must read for Hindus and Muslims (who want to return back to Hinduism)

    The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760
    Richard M. Eaton
    The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1993

  97. Dear Anthony,

    Personally, I am opposed to *any* totalitarian, expansionist system whose agenda is dominate, conquer and rule the world through mass-murder, conversion and/or demographic warfare. Be it Nazism or Islam, I will oppose them on principle – Some pragmatists will oppose such totalitarian political cults, whether or not other naïve day-dreamers choose to do so.

    Do Hindu Dharma, Sikh Dharma or Buddha Dharma make it a religious obligation for their adherents to rule the world? The answer is No.

    Try proving to your fellow readers that Islam’s ultimate goal is not to rule the world.

    Islam divides the world into two parts, namely the Dar-ul-Islam (“House of Islam” where Islam reigns supreme) and the Dar-ul-Harb (“House of War” where war should be waged by Muslims until Islam rules) . This dichotomy is independent of where Muslims live in large numbers, or even form the majority, but depends on where Islam rules supreme – by applying Shariah – or where it does not rule. So, this dichotomy is not religious in nature, but political.

    Between these two parts of the world naturally exists a state of war, until the House of War is no more and Islam rules the world (Sura 8:39 and 9:41). Thus, for the Islamic community, there is a religious duty to wage war against the disbelievers, until those either convert, or submit. This religious war is called jihad.

    Allah’s angel Jibreel’s words to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) foretell that Islam will spread worldwide and conquer all other religions. The message is found in Surah 48:28 and 61:9, which are translated into English as follows:

    “He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness” (Surah 48:28).

    “He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion, that He may make it overcome the religions, all of them” (Surah 61:9).

    Note carefully that the Quran contains the final, immutable unchangeable directives of Allah to his believers and is the foundation and raison d’être of Islam. If anyone dares to suggest that the Quran be purged of its majority of hate-filled verses, he or she will face the fate of the apostates as prescribed in the Quran.

    If you have the stomach to digest reality and not bury your head in the sand ostrich-style, you may wish to learn more about what the religious duty of every Quran-abiding “believer” is towards unbelievers like you and me (under the sections Terror, Unbelievers, Freedom of Religion at Ali Sina’s website):

    http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/quran_teaches.htm

    Personally, I don’t care what God anyone worships or does not care to worship. It doesn’t matter to me if anyone worships a smelly old sneaker, a strand of hair or a piece of driftwood.

    To quote a courageous ex-Muslim lady from Syria,Dr.Wafa Sultan, “you can believe in stones, so long as you don’t throw them at me…”. You may wish to see her video on al-Jazeera:

    http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=1050wmv&ak=null

    Unless more such courageous apostates emerge, you will see more of Jihad and less of peace, my friend.

    – Hujur

  98. Dear Anthony,

    Since you wrote: “I feel that the enduring secular-ness of India…is the only true proof of the existence of God in the world today”,…let me add that…

    It is common sense that India is secular today only because of its Hindu majority. And consequently, if India is to continue to remain secular, the Hindus must strive to maintain their current demographic majority. Or else, you can kiss secular India goodbye and prepare to live under Islamic rule – as Islam and Secularism are simply incompatible.

    As Islam gets more and more demographically powerful in the Indian subcontinent, the faster it hastens the death of the secular state. We have seen the results of Islam-in-action over the last few decades: first came the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, then the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh and now the Islamic majority Kashmir valley.

    Once Muslims reached a majority in these regions by conversion, mass-murder and over-breeding, there has been an unprovoked, ongoing, silent genocide there of all the non-Muslims (viz. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians) to this day – as prescribed in the Quran.

    Islam’s appetite for territory is simply unquenchable. An ongoing religious cleansing of Hindus still continues in several parts of India where Muslims are just 40-50% of the population. In a massive Islamic land-grab, rural Hindu communities are being butchered in massacres to create fear and force them out their homes and driven out of the districts of Rajouri (in the North), from the coastal areas of Kerala (in the South) and in the East – viz. 7 key districts of Murshidabad, Nadia, South 24 Parganas and huge pockets of Medinipur, North and South Dinajpur and Malda (all in W.Bengal).

    Its not the rural areas alone that are facing the Islamic lebensraum. There are frequent bomb-blasts and mob attacks on Hindu civilians, crowded temples, festivals and business establishments in various Indian cities– that have numbed the Hindu populace from thinking about the inevitable future of a dominant Islam in India.

    The Islamic noose is tightening around India’s future. So, shouldn’t my children be vaccinated against Islam?

    You may disagree. But then you are not alone. There are millions of radical universalists and naïve day-dreamers in my Bengali community that have paid and continue to pay a heavy price – for their complacence and reluctance to face the reality of Islam.

    Just click on the link below to the read the online version of the book: “My People, Uprooted: A Saga of the Hindus of East Bengal” by Tathagata Roy

    Look at the left frame, start with “Foreward” and continue onto the various chapters.

    http://www.bengalvoice.com/uproot_menu

    This book is a forceful exposure of the ongoing silent genocide and atrocious human rights violations in the erstwhile East Bengal, later known as East Pakistan (after the partition of India was forced on the Hindus in 1947) and now known as the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh.

    Better still, check out the preview of the panels of the two online exhibits on Bangladesh and Kashmir at:

    http://www.factusa.org/

    And be sure to visit: http://www.hrcbm.org

    – Hujur

  99. Latest Indian Census Reports Increased Rate of Growth for Muslim Community

    Rajiv Malik, HPI Correspondent

    NEW DELHI, September 7, 2004:

    “In terms of growth of different religious communities,

    – Hindus showed a decline over the previous decade, their population growing by 20.3% during 1991 and 2001 as compared to 25.1% during 1981-91.

    – The Muslim population on the other hand, grew by 36.0% during 1991-2001, compared to 34.5% during 1981-91.”

    These statistics were revealed in a report entitled “2001
    Census Data On Religion” released at a crowded press conference held in New Delhi’s prestigious Vigyan Bhawan Annexe on the afternoon of September 6th, 2004. The report containing data on religion as collected during the 2001 Census for the country as a whole and for each state and union territory by districts was released by Census Commissioner J. K. Banthia who presented a copy to Chairman of Minorities Commission Shri Tarlochan Singh. Noted social scientist and
    demographer Prof. Ashish Bose was also present at the event.

    The report has create a political controversy in India over this high Muslim growth rate, so much so that it has been withdrawn temporarily.

    Following are some of the excerpts from the report-

    Out of the total population of 102.8 crore (or 1.028 billion) in the country as at the 2001 Census, the Hindus were 82.7 crore (or 827 million) in number and constituted 80.5% of the population of the country. The Muslim population stood at 13.8 crore (or 138 million) comprising of 13.4% of the population.

    The next in size are the Christians (2.4 crore or 24 million), followed by Sikhs (1.9 crore or 19 million), Buddhists (79 lakh or 7.9 million), Jains (42 lakh or 4.2 million) and those following “Other” religions and persuasions including the tribal religions, etc. (66 lakh or 6.6 million).

    Among Buddhists also there has been a sizeable decline in the growth rate from 35.3% during 1981-91 to only 24.5% during 1991-2001. Also though there is slight increase in the growth rate of the Christians (from 21.5% to 22.6%), there is noticeable decline of Sikh growth rate from 24.3% in 1981-91 to only 18.2% during 1991-2001. Most prominent in the 2001 Census data released is the growth rate of Jains (26.0%)
    during 1991-2001 as compared to their growth of only 4.6% during the previous decade 1981-91.

    For more details please visit the Census Commissioner, India’s website : http://www.censusindia.net.

  100. Hello Shan,

    1. The conflicts in Manipur and Nagaland are political/regional and not religious like the conflict in Kashmir is. (has there been genocide perpetrated against the minorities in these two states, like in Kashmir ). As far regional empathy is concerned, I wonder where it was when the KPs were being slaughtered and driven out.

    2. We do not know for sure if the Colonel is extrapolating his experience or not. The colonel has only stated assertions that he thinks are facts and expressed his opinion on Islam based on those assertions. If you think he is wrong please question those assertions instead of engaging in name calling.

    3. On Rizwan: As Rishi rightly pointed out your assumption that it was a rich man killing is Muslim son in law is clearly a case of the same extrapolation and bigotry that you accuse Colonel Khushwaha of. (Only this is worse since unlike the Colonel you dont provide any evidence to back your assertions.)

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  101. Hello Swati,

    1. On Sikhism: The Sikhism that is practised today is not the same as the Sikhism that Guru Nanak propounded. It is more in Line with the Khalsa Panth that was founded by Guru Gobind Singh with the express purpose of fighting the Moghuls and their allies in North India. It had the same us vs them message (Raj karega khalsa aaki bache na koy is a common way to end the Ardaas or the Sikh Prayer) and the same unifying objective (the baptisement of the Panj Piaras). However unlike Islam its objective was not to conquer and impose but to protect and preserve and that is why it is not violent even when practised in its warlike form.So the problem is in the objective of the religion and not in the circumstances it is created in.

    2. On Priyanka: You are welcome to your theories on it but I think that an underlying assumption in your views is that Ashok Todi is basically a bad person, which is yet to be proven.

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  102. Hello Shan

    Sorry I forgot to add this earlier.

    1 On regional empathy: How can there be regional empathy when most of the terrorists are foreign (Afghan, Uzbek, Sudanese etc). Surely you dont mean that Kashmir and Sudan are in the same region or are they?

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  103. @ sunil:

    you seem to be unaware that the naga movement( started by A.N. Phizo) sought to a create a Christian state supported by a radical Anglican Priest Michael Scott.

    your differentiation of “conquer and impose but to protect and preserve and that is why it is not violent” (as regards sikhism) borders on the ludicrous. remember khalistan?

    sikishm is an extremely violent/militaristic religion (not unlike islam) but its followers rejected extremism because of its horrible repercussions.

    @ hujur:

    please educate yourself about the economics of population growth. start with malthus and then figure out why his views are universally rejected today by modern economists. finally, before you mouth off on public forums, first understand why india’s population control policies have failed to work.

    it reflects more badly on me to respond to someone who cannot tell the difference between bangladesh and india but..

    so consider this: if there is a common brotherhood of hindus.. that the suffering of hindu in pakistan or bangladesh is a moral duty of every indian hindu to object to… and that muslims are the same, historically or geographically..whether he is an indian, bangladeshi or pakistani..

    who is the real naive universalist here?

  104. Hello WTF

    On the Naga Movement: Did the Nagas drive out all the minorities from Nagaland or commit genocide against them in pursuit of their secessionary goals. Did they hire and support foreign Christian Mercenaries to fight the Indian Governement? Clearly not. This just goes to show that the problem of destroying and debilitating any ideology not in line with their beliefs is peculiar to Islam.

    On “sikishm is an extremely violent/militaristic religion “: I would be grateful if you back up this assertion by providing answers to the following questions.

    1 How many non sikhs have been driven out of Punjab by the Sikhs?
    2 How many temples/mosques have the Sikhs destroyed and supplanted with Gurudwaras.
    3 How much property of non sikhs has been appropriated by the Sikhs
    4 How many non sikh women and childern have been abducted and converted by the Sikhs
    5 How many Sikhs put their religion before their country.(Another way of looking at it is the number of Sikh soldiers who refused to enter the Golden Temple during Bluestar -ans NONE)
    6 How many Sikhs think that killing a non sikh will earn them a place in Jannat

    Since you are not going to have any answers to the above questions lets try a different way of judging the “violence” of the Sikhs

    Let us take for example the Punjab under Ranjit Singh since it was the only time a large Sikh Theocratic state existed in India.

    1 How many non sikhs paid jiziya during Ranjit Singhs rule ans NONE.
    2 How many non sikhs were part of Ranjit Singhs core administration – His army had French Artillerymen, Muslim Cavalry, Jat Infantry, Dogra Generalship and Hindu Viziers all treated equally.
    3 How many Sikh places of worship were constructed over destroyed mosques or temples – Ans None – His contributions to sufi shrines matched those to the Gurudwaras, he pledged his hair to a Hindu temple and the Kohinoor to jagannath puri.

    He did not do it because he was a “nice guy” but because his religion did not teach him hatred. On how Islam teaches hatred read Rishi’s and Hujur’s translations of the Koran and Hadiths in earlier posts.

    If you are not convinced by the above please quote one Sikh scripture which promotes hatred and violence in the same way as the many passages in islamic scriptures do.

    On Khalistan:I knew some one would raise this.

    1. It was a political game played between the Akalis, the congress and bhindranwale abetted by Pakistan. This is borne out by the fact that it was the local Sikh population that defeated extremists and not the Army.

    2 Even at the peak of the Khalistan Movement Bhindranwale was quoted as saying that in case Khalistan was created he would be against transfer of population like partition and all minorities would be free to practise their religion. The fact that the high priest of the extremist Sikh movement (and individually an extremely violent man) respects the right of existence of other religions just goes to show that Sikhism is not the “violent militaristic” religion you make it out to be but the other way round and in stark contrast to the “religion of peace”

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  105. well written..sunil
    Thats what I keep trying to explain…
    I think people like Shan and WTF are not the people we can reason with, howmuchever hard you show them facts (am sure the feeling is mutual).

  106. Dear Anthony,

    I am reposting this reply as it didn’t go through yesterday.

    Personally, I am opposed to *any* totalitarian, expansionist system whose agenda is dominate, conquer and rule the world through mass-murder, conversion and/or demographic warfare. Be it Nazism or Islam, I will oppose them on principle – Some pragmatists will oppose such totalitarian political cults, whether or not other naïve day-dreamers choose to do so.

    Do Hindu Dharma, Sikh Dharma or Buddha Dharma make it a religious obligation for their adherents to rule the world? The answer is No.

    Try proving to your fellow readers that Islam’s ultimate goal is not to rule the world.

    Islam divides the world into two parts, namely the Dar-ul-Islam (“House of Islam” where Islam reigns supreme) and the Dar-ul-Harb (“House of War” where war should be waged by Muslims until Islam rules) . This dichotomy is independent of where Muslims live in large numbers, or even form the majority, but depends on where Islam rules supreme – by applying Shariah – or where it does not rule. So, this dichotomy is not religious in nature, but political.

    Between these two parts of the world naturally exists a state of war, until the House of War is no more and Islam rules the world (Sura 8:39 and 9:41). Thus, for the Islamic community, there is a religious duty to wage war against the disbelievers, until those either convert, or submit. This religious war is called jihad.

    Allah’s angel Jibreel’s words to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) foretell that Islam will spread worldwide and conquer all other religions. The message is found in Surah 48:28 and 61:9, which are translated into English as follows:

    “He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness” (Surah 48:28).

    “He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion, that He may make it overcome the religions, all of them” (Surah 61:9).

    Note carefully that the Quran contains the final, immutable unchangeable directives of Allah to his believers and is the foundation and raison d’être of Islam. If anyone dares to suggest that the Quran be purged of its majority of hate-filled verses, he or she will face the fate of the apostates as prescribed in the Quran.

    If you have the stomach to digest reality and not bury your head in the sand ostrich-style, you may wish to learn more about what the religious duty of every Quran-abiding “believer” is towards unbelievers like you and me (under the sections Terror, Unbelievers, Freedom of Religion at Ali Sina’s website):

    http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/quran_teaches.htm

    Personally, I don’t care what God anyone worships or does not care to worship. It doesn’t matter to me if anyone worships a smelly old sneaker, a strand of hair or a piece of driftwood.

    To quote a courageous ex-Muslim lady from Syria,Dr.Wafa Sultan, “you can believe in stones, so long as you don’t throw them at me…”. You may wish to see her video on al-Jazeera:

    http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=1050wmv&ak=null

    Unless more such courageous apostates emerge, you will see more of Jihad and less of peace in this world.

    – Hujur

  107. Dear Sunil,

    If I may add to your well-written set of points…

    This so-called Khalistan issue was a limp, dead horse that was resuscitated, well-armed and well-funded by an Islamic regime as part of the Operation Topac plan to balkanize India.

    I would also recommend the SATP article: “Sikh Ethnic Uprising in India and Involvement of Foreign Powers” by Suneel Kumar

    http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/publication/faultlines/volume18/Article4.htm

    – Hujur

  108. @ sunil:

    when it comes to sikh secessionists its a matter of politics. when it comes to islam, suddenly, its a matter of the religion being inherently bad.

    i just saw an interview by pervez musharaf where he spoke about how pakistan assisted in raising a force of jihadis to fight communism in afghanistan. (he didnt mention kashmir obviously)

    pakistan has been given 10 billion dollars post 9/11 to fight terrorism. instead, civil society has been suspended and fundamentalist parties are patronized, armed and set loose. so liberals within islam have been constantly under attack not just from extremists within their religion but from the most powerful countries in the world.

    how do you overlook the fact that the taliban, al qaida and the pakistani army were set up by the USA? that jihad as a global force in the modern era was conceptualized as force to contain russia by the West? is this not politics?

    in any natural environment, if suddenly one creature is strengthened above others, it is going to take over. that is what is happened in the social structure of muslims.

    a lot of the bloody nature of the koran is over-hyped because:

    1. the bible is equally bloody. yet the Christians are the most liberal in the world today. [the bible, for example, says unbaptized babies will go to hell/apostasy is supposed to be punished by death in the old testament]

    2. people who are not robots to do whatever they’re told (especially by their religion). [liberal upper class muslims in pakistan, bangladesh party harder than any indian liberal]

    tomorrow if someone throws 10 billion dollars at the VHP and RSS, india will be a theocracy faster than you can blink.

    the biggest sufferer in this is not us, it is the common muslim. subjugated within his own religion and reviled by everyone else.

    if you are truly concerned about their plight think about how ‘higher reasoning’ (i.e. questioning of the koran as a true record of word of god and the mullah as his representative) can be encouraged amongst Muslims just the way it was in Christianity.

    but rishi is right.. neither of us is going to convince the other.

    but if you think you’re going to come onto a public forum and vent your frustrations abusing muslims by selective interpretation of facts without being challenged please think again.

  109. Hello Hujur,

    Many Thanks for the links. They contain very useful information.

    Hello WTF

    Inspite of the several digressions in your post, I will humbly try to address your arguments one by one.

    1. “when it comes to sikh secessionists its a matter of politics. when it comes to islam, suddenly, its a matter of the religion being inherently bad. ” – YES. Because the creator of Sikhism did not make killing others a central part of it’s philosophy, the secessionist movement fell flat due to lack of theological support from the very religion it was based on. This is clearly NOT the case with Islam.

    2. “how do you overlook the fact that the taliban, al qaida and the pakistani army were set up by the USA? that jihad as a global force in the modern era was conceptualized as force to contain russia by the West? is this not politics?” – I am not overlooking this. However the fact that Jehad is intact, alive and kicking inspite of all the major powers against it is proof of its solid theological moorings and support amongst ordinary Muslims. Just because the US supported it does not mean that the US created it, it was always there waiting to be unleashed. (Which superpower was throwing 10 bn dollars at Islam when it was ravaging and destroying the subcontinent during the middle ages???)

    3. “in any natural environment, if suddenly one creature is strengthened above others, it is going to take over. that is what is happened in the social structure of muslims” – By this logic the Christians in the west should have overpowered the minorities or the Hindus in India should have decimated the supposedly weaker Muslims. Why is this Phenomena peculiar only to Islam???

    4. “the bible is equally bloody. yet the Christians are the most liberal in the world today. ” Precisely. Why is that only Islam is rigid in its adherence to the gory chapters of the Quran. Why is it that Muslims do not condemn and question these aspects like Christians do????

    5. “liberal upper class muslims in pakistan, bangladesh party harder than any indian liberal” – What has partying got to do with Religious Bigotry??? By your own admission you have to be an upper class liberal in Pakistan/Bangladesh to get away with partying, not so in India. Why??????

    6. “tomorrow if someone throws 10 billion dollars at the VHP and RSS, india will be a theocracy faster than you can blink” – First and foremost the objective of the RSS and the VHP is not to turn India in to a theocracy. Know thy enemy my friend. Secondly even if India is to become a Hindu theocracy, it will continue to be secular (in the truest sense of the term) since Hindu Dharma accepts and respects all Religions as equal. To illuminate yourself further on this I suggest you go through Hujur’s answer to Anthony’s queries on this post. Thirdly, knowing Hindus, India will not be a theocracy even if you throw 10 trillion dollars at the RSS/VHP.

    7.”if you are truly concerned about their plight think about how ‘higher reasoning’ (i.e. questioning of the koran as a true record of word of god and the mullah as his representative) can be encouraged amongst Muslims just the way it was in Christianity” – I agree we should, but who is going to save us from the fatwas and the bounty hunters. By the way why do only muslims require this encouragement, while all other religions can do it perfectly well on their own??

    8. “but if you think you’re going to come onto a public forum and vent your frustrations abusing muslims by selective interpretation of facts without being challenged please think again” . Considering that you have not answered any of the questions I raised in my response to your earlier comment, this applies more to you than to me.

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  110. Hello WTF

    Sorry I forgot to address this earlier:

    1. “a lot of the bloody nature of the koran is over-hyped because” – Since you insist on believing this inspite of the Overwhelming evidence to the contrary, provided on this forum by Rishi and Hujur, could you for once please please provide some evidence to support your assertion instead of blowing hot air.

  111. You are probably right that it’s the wide economic disparity, and its attendant social consequences, that triggered Ashok Todi’s war against Riz more than his religious denomination. But the Hindu-Muslim issue threatened to erupt at one stage. I wonder if you know that a bunch of MLAs had complained to Buddha about Riz getting harrassed by the police some time before the boy’s death, and all the MLAs were Muslims. Also, the two police officers who gave Riz a hearing and, in fact, took up his complaint seriously were again Muslims. So, while Todi himself might have been moved by considerations other than communal, there was a distinct and growing feeling in the city, at least among the Muslims, that they were not getting heard, let alone getting redressal, because the boy was a Muslim and the girl a rich Hindu’s daughter. The hypocritical lot – and I agree that in a similar situation many of the protesters would have been struck by the same thoughts that invaded Todi’s mind – actually played an important and positive role in defusing possible communal tension. The fact that mashimas and pishis from middle-class Hindu Bengali society joined in the protest nipped an incipient argument that might have turned dangerous and very unfortunate for Calcutta society. In the larger context of Calcutta, the character of its civil society, the coming together of the people, cutting across class and religion, was extremely important. In fact, it showed up a flip side to the surface-deep modernity that you talk about – English, mobiles and skirts. While many in each generation will take up the dominant social veneer to pass off as one of the elite core, it’s reassuring that in modern-day Calcutta certain social and cultural values retain their sanctity. The city, by and large, reacted to the Rizwanur affair as a horror story of the entire state apparatus being summoned and pressed into irregular work for breaking up the union of two young lovers. Sounds filmi, but at a popular level this sense of horror seems to have filled the people with revulsion, and forced Buddha – who played footsie with the Police Commissioner during CAB election and for whose sake he stooped to a Reaganesque description of Dalmiya as “evil” – to act against his buddy. Possibly, this gut-felt revulsion also helped mashimas, boudis and pishis not to contemplate on their latent hypocrisies. Frankly, GB, nor have I until I read your blog so late. Anyway, I would go with the positives of social mobilisation – in this case, justice for Riz – rather than criticise the collected group for their own shortcomings. Thanks for the blog. It has made me think 🙂

  112. @ sunil:

    thank you for answering my post despite my transgressions.

    sadly you assume that islamic society is homogeneous and basically unlike other human societies.

    but in any society there are liberals and fundamentalists. the question is why is balance of power so skewered in favour of fundamentalists in islam?

    according to rishi, hujur and you now, the problem lies within islam, the bloody nature of religion.

    according to me, the problem lies in the support of extremists in islamic society by the West which prohibits liberalism and democracy from taking root. this is best exemplified by the U.S supporting the King of Saudi Arabia despite his tyrannical rule and best demonstrated by the present crisis in Pakistan where liberal parties are being excluded from political life because they do not support the army-imam nexus.

    i stated specific arguments about why the bloody nature of the koran is over-hyped, namely, that the torah and bible are equally bloody. in fact, they’re all practically the same.

    you did not respond to this. instead you said,”Why is that only Islam is rigid in its adherence to the gory chapters of the Quran. Why is it that Muslims do not condemn and question these aspects like Christians do????”

    because dangerous people in their societies are armed and financed.

    for all our talk about indian democracy, we are lucky that such people in hindu society are of no use to the West.

    most insurgencies in the country are funded from somewhere else. look at what Tamils are doing in sri lanka with POPULAR tamil support, monetary and otherwise (karunanidhi repeatedly praises the LTTE). i don’t see the same comparison happening between tamils and muslims.

    i am more than aware of what the RSS and VHP stand for. i do not want to live in a country where they are in power (and please note.. they have no mainstream support in india). the same thing people say what hindutva stands for, osama bin laden says the same thing in his videos about islam being peaceful nowadays. we know what happened to minorities in pakistan and bangladesh.a lot of people are not going to allow india to be dragged down to their level.

    and if you think they can be credited for india being a successful secular democracy .. i have nothing to say to you.

  113. Religion is a kind of hat that we inherit from our ancestors.
    We neither adore it, nor do we usually utterly revile it. Yet, time after time, it deeply divides us and gives us a banner under which to march to war.
    It was ‘brilliant’ of the USA think-tank to tap the strong religious feelings to create the jihadi groups to throw against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
    It is now indeed poetic justice that the western society is under attacks from the same jihadis.
    Unfortunately, we Indians are considered collateral damage. If for one set of people we are Dar-ul-Harb and so free game, the other side considers us as a stinking third world country whose denizens are no better than cockroaches, and therefore, totally expendable.

  114. @ WTF
    I would encourage you to understand the differece between LTTE and Islam inspired terrorism by reading the charters of two twerror groups. LTTE and Hezbollah.

    You will understand what Sunil is talking sbout.

  115. @ rishi:

    i would encourage you to distinguish between terrorists/fundamentalists and the communities/ethnicities/religion they represent.

    when you speak about hezbollah.. what about hamas?

    and who is supporting hezbollah- have you analyzed the politics between syria and lebanon with regard to israel? the role of iran? the battle between shias and sunnis?

    why do you guys only talk only about one side of the picture?

    what about the hijab and extremists being banned in the muslim majority maldives from national television? what about the ‘we are watching you’ campaign in Egypt? what about bangladesh seperating it’s judiciary from the executive? what about the massive pro-democracy movement in pakistan that is slowly gaining strength to fight the rule of mullahs?

    this conceptualization of the ‘nature of muslims’ something distinct from other terrorists and other cultural hegemony attempts is based on half-truths. the idea of a MONOLITHIC islam is an utter and complete lie.

    where do you get this united concept of a muslim consensus from? the koran? you think muslims can agree on what the koran means? then why are there shias and sunnis?

    you cannot carve our an exception for muslims like the way you do [all terrorists are bad but MUSLIM terrorists are the WORST sir.. ]. it’s sheer insanity and lunacy. i mean try explaining that to someone whose family died in a terrorist attack in ireland, punjab, assam or sri lanka.

    the only exception is that if you can prove to me that muslims are a new species of ape. then ill agree to everything you say.

    please tell me either muslims are human beings or not. reading all these comments im not really sure anymore.

  116. Hello WTF,

    Many Thanks for your response.

    I dont think Muslim society is homogenous and neither do I think that all Muslims are bad (One of my closest friends is Muslim)

    Let me try to summarize your stand and reply to your arguments. If I miss out or misinterpret anything please let me know.

    1. Islamic terrorism is a construct of the west which supported the radical elements for its benefit and is now faced with its own Frankenstein.

    2. “Such people” in Hindu society are of no use to the west so we don’t have Hindu terrorists.

    3. The Bible and the Quran are equally bloody so Theologically Islam is not more violent than Christianity.

    4. Tamil terrorism is as bloody as Islamic terrorism but because of our bias against Islam we don’t put them in the same category.

    5. Hindutva as being explained by the RSS is the same as Islam being preached by Osama Bin Laden in its core thought.

    My Response:

    1. If Islamic terrorism is a construct of the west then now that the West is bearing the brunt of its supposed folly, it can easily turn off the tap of funds and weaponry and control it. Since the oppressive regime of the Sauds is supported by the US, the US can just as easily ask them to crack down on terrorism and destroy its foundations in Saudi Arabia. Why has then the US failed to do this? Why has the West not been able to stem the flow millions of petrodollars that keep the terrorist breeding madarsas alive in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and other Islamic countries? If the US has created a fundamentalist Islam, who created the Islam that was being followed by the likes of Mohammed Ghauri and Aurangzeb. Who was strengthening their hands?? Who was not allowing the moderates to speak up?? Surely there was no Cold War being fought then. The answer is that Islam itself strengthens the hands of the people you describe as fundamentalists. Islam makes it the divine duty of every follower to destroy and annihilate any competing ideology (for details please look at translations provided by Rishi and Hujur). Therefore the argument that Islamic Fundamentalism was created with US funding is fallacious. It has been in existence since the creation of Islam and is an integral part of it.

    2. From a strategic viewpoint “such people” in Hindu society could have been of greater use to the West had it been their intention to use them (and IF such people had existed). Such people could have been used to wean India away from the Soviet Union and surround it. Such people could have been used to contain China. Such people could have been used to exploit the natural wealth of India for the benefit of the West. Control of close to 1 billion Hindus would have given the US a huge strategic advantage in international politics. Therefore the argument that there are no Hindu terrorists because the US has no use for them is fallacious. The US did not create the concept of Jehad against Kafirs for the Glory of Islam, it just armed it (in select geographies for a brief period of time).

    3. The Bible may be equally bloody in describing the punishments that will be meted to one if he/she were to profess apostasy but does it endow Jannat to its followers who kill people who don’t follow Christianity. The difference between the Bible and the Quran is that the former tries to create a disincentive for people who want to leave the religion while the latter creates an incentive for people to kill others who don’t follow their religion. The result of this difference is for all to see.

    4. Is the purpose of Tamil terrorism to convert the rest of the world in to Tamils? Do the Tamils say that anyone who is not a Tamil should be killed or converted? Do the Tamils abduct Sinhalese women and children (or from any other community) and convert them? Do they want to conquer the world and create a theological Tamil Empire? Is the capture and enslavement of Non Tamil civilians an integral part of Tamil Ideology? NO. The difference between the Tamil Movement and Islamic Terrorism is that the former is a regional conflict being fought for the control of land while the latter is an Ideological Conflict being fought for the control of minds and souls.

    5. This is how Al Qaeda’s ideology has been defined (on Wikipedia):

    “The group has been defined as “a radical Sunni Muslim umbrella organization established to recruit young Muslims into the Afghani mujahideen and is aimed to establish Islamist states throughout the world, overthrow ‘un-Islamic regimes’, expel U.S. soldiers and Western influence from the Gulf, and capture Jerusalem as a Muslim city,” by the United States Department of Defense.[5] [6] Al-Qaeda’s objectives include the end of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate. Reported beliefs include that a Christian-Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam,[7] and that the killing of bystanders and civilians is Islamically justified in jihad”

    And this is how the RSS’ ideology has been defined:

    “Their general philosophical outlook is cultural nationalism known as integral humanism, aimed at preserving the spiritual and moral traditions of India.[1] The RSS believes that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life.[2] The proclaimed purpose of the organization is “serving the nation and its people in the form of God – Bharata Mata (Mother India) and protecting the interests of the Hindus in India”.”

    I leave the rest to you to decide.

    As an aside, I never credited the RSS with India’s secularism. I said even if their “so called narrow anti minority” vision was to be imposed in India, India’s Secularism (not Pseudo Secularism but in the truest sense of the word) would not be compromised. Please don’t misquote me.

    Thanks

    Sunil

  117. @ sunil:

    let me say from the outset that your comment is the most coherent and to the point summary of arguments that i have read till date in the various debates we have had on islam on this website. in particular, i appreciate the fact that you have not given to hyperbole or appeals to sentiments.

    however, i hope you will allow me to answer the points you have raised.

    you say the following things:

    1. that Islam has always been a bloody religion. America has nothing to do with Islam wanting to kill kafirs on a global scale.

    2. The bible kills apostates. The koran kills non-believers.

    3. That Hindu extremism could have been used to divide the country by the U.S

    4. Tamil extremism is not as bad as Islamic extremism

    5.The RSS is a nicer organization than Al Qaida.


    On point 1:

    ghazni and aurangzeb were not terrorists- they were tyrannical rulers/invaders (please look up the Justinian Code and what rights Jews had in his empire- he is considered the father of modern civil law). we are talking about a period of time where the Europeans jazzed into the Americas and killed between 10-20 million people, and many in the name of Christianity. this is not counting what Genghis Khan did. by that logic, imagine how many people Ashoka killed feeling the need to convert to Buddhism. so much for the benign Hindu King image.

    most importantly you speak of a time when there was no modern state, no human rights or secularism. religious freedom was a joke. scientific temperament was yet to be invented.

    i never said that the US created Islamic fundamentalists.

    in EVERY society you have liberals and fundamentalists. the US has given global jihad the means to operate in the modern era, not just by arming extremists, but by training people like Osama bin Laden and the ISI in setting up and running covert international organizations.

    by specifically co-opting the religious fervour of extremists in the Cold War, the US paved the way for them to take over in their home countries. This is demonstrable beyond proof, in the taking over of the Taliban once they defeated the Soviets with American stinger missiles and intelligence in Afghanistan.

    in a milder scale, the US has constantly supported the Pakistan Army choosing to look away (as Pakistan has always tried to create extremists to fight their war in Kashmir) because India has always been an ally of Russia. even now it is allowing the Army to exclude mainstream liberal parties by rigging elections and making extremists win because they support the Army.

    and this is the axis of international Islamic fundamentalism primarily (not counting Iran,,where the US backed the Shah when he clearly lacked popular support practically inviting an Islamic revolution)- the Taliban, Al Qaida and the Pakistan Army.

    Saudi Arabia- American supported monarchy
    Pakistan- American supported Dictator
    Afghanistan- Recovering from the middle ages imposed by the Taliban only because 9/11 happened

    when we say that liberals hold no power in Islamic society, there is a reason for it.

    2. i believe that india has reaped the benefits of adopting modern ideologies. especially during its inception, nehru had a strangle-hold on the leadership of the country and was an extremely potent force against hindu extremists. plus the army being under civilian control makes a massive difference.

    3. you’re looking in the wrong place by drawing such fine distinctions between the two religions.

    by examining scripture you fail to give importance to ‘higher reasoning’. in literature courses across the world, the facts and circumstances of the writing of the bible are discussed with absolute academic freedom. this dispels the myth of it as an inconvertible record of God’s word.

    only when liberals come to power in Islamic countries can muslims have the freedom to reject those parts of the koran that are discordant with modernity, just the way Hindus have abolished caste (which may i add has the highest ratification from scripture).

    4. in case you are not aware, many Tamil extremists hope that Tamil will be the bridge religion replacing English and Hindi in India. I believe even Karunanidhi has acknowledged this as possible.

    does that answer your question?

    and what do you think is going to happen to Telugus, Kannadigas and Malayalis in a Tamil country especially if a Cauvery water dispute arises?

    i see no difference in either because both islamic and tamil fundamentalist are chauvinistic movements which place the superiority of one culture over another.

    5. im sorry if a misquoted you. Despite the language employed by these organizations, let’s look at their aims:

    – overtly patriotic and nationalistic.
    – no line between religion and state.
    – imposition of an original culture/language in their home lands.

    i dont know dude. both sounded like jingoism to me. except of course,the al qaida adds that its ok to kill civilians. on the RSS part i consider the silence ominous.

    p.s. hinduism is not a way of life for Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims. they are not called hindus for a reason. please dont fool yourself (as no less than a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Krisha Iyer has) by believing this a secular statement. by that logic, stripped of dogman, even islam is a way of life.

  118. WTF:
    except of course,the al qaida adds that its ok to kill civilians. on the RSS part i consider the silence ominous.

    Rishi’s response:
    First of all RSS doesnt talk about killing, it doesnt need to.
    Your understanding of RSS represents the fallacy in your arguments.

    The rest of your rants have been responded to many times before.

  119. Hello WTF

    I will first try to reemphasize my points since I don’t think the interpretation in your post is an accurate reflection of my stand. Forgive me for being repetitive.

    1. Islam has always been a violent and bloody religion. America has used this violence in Islam for its own petty ends but America is not guilty of making Islam violent.

    2. The Bible describes punishments that will be meted to apostates AFTER THEIR DEATH (in your own example). The Koran exhorts its followers to KILL non believers if they don’t convert (in several examples quoted by Rishi and Hujur).

    3. Considering the size of the community and the assets at the disposal of Hindus, Hindu extremism could have been far more beneficial to the US, if the US could find Hindu extremists of the same mould as the Muslim extremists it used.

    4. Tamil extremism is as bloody, violent and reprehensible as Islamic extremism. However it is the by product of a territorial dispute and not an Ideological war that aims to stamp its culture on the rest of the world.

    5. The RSS and the Al Qaeda are not comparable either in their goals or in their methods.

    I will now try to respond to your comments. Please bear with me as some of my responses might be long.

    1. Ghazni, Timur, Aurangzeb, Abdali and countless others were motivated by Islam in their tyranny. This can be explained by the fact that their oppression did not extend to their Muslim subjects but only to the non Muslim ones. (Abdali desecrated the Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) by filling its Amrit Sarovar (pool) with Cow Blood and Carcasses while giving grants to build dargahs during his first Invasion of Punjab, Timur spared the Muslims in his massacre of Delhi). Only Non Muslims were required to pay special taxes (Jiziya) and relegated in legal status.

    On Ashoka: Ashoka’s war was not motivated by religion unlike Ghazni and Company. He did not differentiate between Hindus and non Hindus when he attacked and destroyed Kalinga and neither did he force conversion on anyone even after he became a devout Buddhist. Ashoka’s comparison to Aurangzeb is really inaccurate in this context.

    On The barbarity of Medieval Times: By this logic the barbarism should have also been displayed by Hindu Rulers towards their Muslim Subjects. The fact that there is no record of such barbarism being exercised by Hindu Rulers on Muslims belies the “those times were barbaric so what was done is not Islam’s fault” argument. Shivaji never discriminated against his Muslim subjects, Rana Pratap at the height of his struggle against the Mughals returned with full Honour the Bibi Ghar of Abdur Rahim Khan Khana when it fell in to his hands. (Due to this act, Abdur Rahim refused to fight him). There are countless other examples of such chivalry but that would be a different debate altogether. Therefore the critical differentiating factor that made rulers tyrannical towards one section of their subjects was ISLAM.

    On US contribution to Islamic Extremism: It has been proven beyond any doubt that the US armed Islamic extremists during the cold war. But could the US have indoctrinated them as well? Can the US create extremism when there exists none. Also would not the creation of an extremist Islam dampen its relations with Israel and earn any US politician the ire of the phenomenally strong Israel lobby. I think that you are giving to much credit to the US. If it were that simple the US could well have dismantled what it created.

    On Pakistan: The US is helping extremists because they support the Army and the US wants the Army in power so that it can destroy the extremists. Doesn’t make sense to me.

    On Saudi Arabia and others: Islamic terrorists come from countries other than the ones where you claim the US has considerable influence. How is the US creating terrorists in Sudan, Uzbekistan, etc. Plus you overstate the influence of the US in Saudi Arabia. The House of Saud is engaged in a double game with the extremists and the US. They allow the US to station troops for their own security and to dispel the reservations of their conservative subjects on the presence of Foreign troops on their soil they turn a blind eye to the Funding to terrorist breeding Madarsas. So the Funding of terrorism is from the Muslim Public and not the US.

    On Iran: Look what happened when the US supported an extremely liberal government in a Muslim majority Country.

    When we say that the liberals hold no power in Muslim Society it’s because Islam does not recognize liberalism.

    2. You cannot wish away the inherent difference between the nature of the message being propagated by the scriptures by citing higher reasoning. The bulk of the population in any country does not attend literature classes where religious scriptures are discussed objectively. The bulk of the population believes every word of what the scripture says (this applies to Hindus and Sikhs as well). Therefore to believe that there will come a time in Islamic Society when the liberals will rule and higher reasoning will prevail is wishful thinking, because not only does the Koran teach the ordinary Muslim to reject liberalism, it also incites them to resist any change in their religion. As far as the caste system is concerned please refer to my discussion with Ravi Ivaturi on the Banana Republic post detailing the importance of a scripture in the religion, in determining centrality of a concept to a religion.

    3. By your own logic if the all powerful US can imbue Islam with violence, do you think it could not have manipulated Nehru? Even after Nehru there were periods when the leadership was weak (early Indira years, early Rajiv years, Lal Bahadur Shastri years, Janata Party Years) when the US could have moved in and taken advantage of “Hindu Fundamentalism”. So Nehru cannot be credited with having thwarted US designs for creating Hindu Terrorists. As an aside it was Nehru who allowed the RSS to march in the Republic Day parade in 1951 (I think) in recognition of their contribution during the partition and gave it National Standing.

    4. Tamil is not a religion but an ethnicity. There is no way an ethnicity can be imposed on someone belonging to a different ethnic group. I think you are confusing the issue with the Dravidian Movement which aims to protect Dravidian and Tamil culture and more specifically the Tamil language which he claims is under assault from Hindi, which is a perfectly legitimate goal. The Islamic Movement however wants to rule the world in accordance with Sharia and believes that by imposing their Religion on others they will earn the love of God and a place in Jannat. There is I think a cardinal difference between the two.

    I agree that both the Tamil and Islamic movements are Chauvinistic, however unlike Islam; Tamils don’t have a book that guides their actions and defines Tamilness. Imposition of a Tamil Culture on the rest of the world is not a central goal of the Tamil movement and neither does every Tamil have to believe in the immutability of this goal or a Book to be considered Tamil.

    5. I will humbly try to explain the ideology of each of the organizations (taken from the Wiki definitions) under question so that it’s easier for us to demarcate between the two:

    Al Qaeda:

    a. Aimed to establish Islamist states throughout the world,

    b. Overthrow ‘un-Islamic regimes’

    c. Expel U.S. soldiers and Western influence from the Gulf

    d. Capture Jerusalem as a Muslim city

    e. End of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate.

    f. Killing of bystanders and civilians is Islamically justified.

    Now the RSS:

    a. Preserving the Moral and Cultural traditions of India (NOTE: INDIA not HINDUISM)

    b. Protecting the Interests of Hindus. (Perfectly legitimate goal).

    c. Serving the nation and its people in the form of God. (NOTE: NATION not HINDUS).

    I agree that the RSS is overtly nationalistic (which is not wrong) but it accepts that there should be a line between Religion and the State and does not believe in the imposition of a monoculture in India.

    I agree that Hinduism is not a way of life for others (which is good) but the aim of the RSS is preservation of the Hindu way of life and not its imposition. The difference between the RSS and the Al Qaeda is the same as that between the supposedly militarist religion of Sikhism and Islam, one wants to protect, preserve and serve while the other wants to conquer, destroy and impose.

    Like Rishi, I would like to humbly request you to visit a nearby shakha and again, Know Thy Enemy my friend.

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  120. @ rishi:

    you seem to assume that my understanding of the RSS stems from some jhola-kurta intellectual snobbery.

    while that might truly be the case, i find the commitment of the RSS to the Hindu identity/culture over and above or analogous to the nation, to be incompatible with what is the true nature of nationalism as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Basically, the RSS confuses being Indian with being Hindu. but that is only my opinion.

    furthermore, i get freaked out when i hear any organization, whether it be the muslim brotherhood, Akali Dal or the RSS, talk about the ‘glory’ of ‘culture’ and the propagation of the same through a State. i also believe this to be a perversion of religion to politically rally people.

    i gave over to hyperbole when i said the silence of the RSS was ominous. But i wont be the first person to say that it may be the gateway drug to harder intolerance because it seems the RSS is a bit like Vikas Yadav, the name that keeps being linked to very public murders without any evidence whatsoever.

  121. @ sunil:

    On islam’s bloody history:

    here’s the gap in our positions-

    according to you, islamic terrorism is the continuance of a tradition of violence in islam.

    according to me, islamic terrorism is a unjustified response to modern conflicts disguised within the garb of religion.

    to substantiate my view i have suggested the following:

    The most amount of violence and persecution in human history has been wrecked in the name of Christianity. (i have mentioned that the old testament/torah does prescribe death for apostasy, you got that wrong). Yet there is a difference between the persecution of Jews between Emperor Justinian, the Spanish and Hitler. And none of them can be used to judge the common 21st century Christian.

    if this is logically true then the same must hold for Ghazni (plunderer), Aurangzeb (tyrannical ruler) and Osama bin Laden (two bit terrorist).

    in no less work than Machiavelli’s Prince (Henry Kissinger being an ardent fan) the advantages of couching aggression in religious terms has been advocated. i think al qaida or the pakistan army, do the same thing.

    On America fermenting insurgencies in india:

    with regard to America imbibing violence in India, consider the instances of the Chinese and Russians doing the same in Indian society through the communist parties, the naxalites and the maoists.

    this highlights that biggest problem in india are related to poverty and not to religion. the common hindu being in majority has no reason to believe in a threat to hinduism within india notwithstanding the propaganda of the VHP and RSS. Why will he take to arms to defend it? Against whom? the secular state who the common man loves?

    interestingly enough it is the BJP which made the radical shift in foreign policy from delinking Kashmir/Pakistan to strengthen our friendship with America. I consider this one of the greatest achievements of Vajpayee and a very important leap in india’s foreign policy. so maybe the affinity of hindus and americans is not that far fetched.

    On islamic terrorism and other extremists:

    you have taken the unenviable burden of defending extremists by trying to show them relatively better to islamic ones.

    judging by the fact that you consider tamil an ‘ethnicity’ i doubt you really know much about Eelam movement which is sought to be carved out from North Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. i also think you are unaware that the DMK wanted Tamil Nadu to secede from India when it was conceived.

    the most stunning thing i find about your logic is, for someone who sees a seamless web in the violence of Islam, you cannot see the connection between the LTTE and it’s prime backers, ideological and monetary, the Tamil supremacists. instead you accuse me of confusing the two.

    i think you also fail to understand that people in india maybe more passionate about linguistic identity that religion.

    by your logic of distinguishing territorial disputes from religious ones i suppose the shooting of hindi speakers in Assam by ULFA is not as heinous as Pandits being shot in Kashmir because hatred of hindi is not insitutionalized in a book as a historic prejudice.

    however considering we live on earth, all disputes at the end of the day, whether religious or language (that’s what tamil is) are territorial. it just gets more complicated when like in isreal/palestine or kashmir, it becomes about both about religion and territory.

    this leads to the unfortunate conclusion that, ‘a book that guides their actions’ notwithstanding, fine distinctions like the one you’re drawing are an exercise in futility.

    violence based on prejudice, ancient or modern, is still violence based on prejudice.

  122. Hello WTF,

    I will again try to summarize your views and answer your arguments. Please let me know if I miss out on anything.

    1. Islamic terrorism is an unjustified response to modern day territorial conflicts that have a religious angle to them as well.
    2. Since we don’t judge modern day Christians on the basis of the acts of persecution of Jews carried out by Justinian, the Spaniards and Hitler, we should not judge the modern day Muslims on the basis of the acts of Aurangzeb and his ilk.
    3. The Old Testament and the Torah prescribe death for Apostasy which I have got wrong.
    4. The advantage of couching aggression in religion has been advocated in Machiavelli’s Prince and that is what the Pakistan Army does. Meaning that the Pakistan Army and Al Qaeda are inherently aggressive towards India and they just cover it in the form of religion.
    5. The common Hindu has no reason to take up arms against the state and so the Americans have not been able to incite “Hindu Terrorists”. The poor have an incentive to take up arms against the state and hence China has been successful in inciting Maoist insurgency in India.
    6. I have taken the unenviable burden of defending Tamil extremists while showing them to be better than Islamic ones.
    7. I am ignorant about the Elam movement which seeks to carve out from Tamil Nadu and North Sri Lanka a Tamil country. Tamil is not an ethnicity.
    8. I see a seamless web of violence in Islamic extremism but ignore the support the LTTE gets from ordinary Tamils.
    9. People In India are more passionate about linguistic identity than religion.
    10. In my view shooting of Hindi speaking people by ULFA is not as heinous as Killing of Pandits in Kashmir because hatred of Hindi is not institutionalized in a book.
    11. All disputes are territorial while it just gets more complicated when religion is also involved.
    12. Violence based on prejudice is still violence based on Prejudice, ancient or modern.

    My Response

    1. If Islamic terrorism is territorial in nature what motivates educated people from Countries, Cultures far removed from the zones of conflict (Britain, Sudan, India, US, Uzbekistan etc) to partake in it? The answer lies in the fact that Islamic terrorism is ideological in nature and the reason for its ideological moorings is the Koran. Another fact to back this assertion is that none of the Islamic terrorists want just to gain territory that is under dispute, they want to impose sharia on the world and create an Islamic caliphate (see Al Qaeda’s mission statement)
    2. Agreed. We should not judge Muslims on the basis of the acts of Aurangzeb. However here there is a critical difference between the Christians and Muslims. While modern day Christians have accepted these acts to be horrendous and created societies where Jews have prospered, Muslims still consider these acts of barbarism to be for the “Glory of Allah”. There is not one Muslim who has publicly condemned the atrocities of Aurangzeb, instead they prefer to call him a “pious ruler”. The Bulk of the Pakistanis still consider Ghazni to be a benevolent ruler who was tolerant towards Hinduism and had Hindu Commanders in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, in the chronicles of Al Beruni and the destruction of Somnath. The reason for this difference between Christians and Muslims is that while the Bible doesn’t promote violence against non believers, the Quran actively incites it thereby allowing Muslims to sanctify and deny it. This is further substantiated by the fact that the bulk of Muslim majority countries still have discriminatory policies towards non muslims, unlike the bulk of the Christain Majority countries.
    3. Agreed. But the Bible still says that unbaptised babies will go to hell and not that Killing of non Muslims will take you to Jannat. Death for apostasy is different from Jannat for murder, in my view at least.
    4. I am just stunned by this assertion. Are you trying to tell me that the The Pakistan Army is just inherently aggressive towards India and finds it convenient to hide behind religion? Do you know the raison de etre of Pakistan’s existence? Do you know why Pakistan wants to undermine India’s sovereignty? Are you implying that generation upon generation of Pakistan’s officers are just born with an aggressive streak against India which they hide in the garb of their religion? Please don’t be naïve. The Pakistan Army hates India because India symbolizes the very anti thesis of what Pakistan is. India is a land of kafirs, Pakistan is a land of the pure. Their objective is to destroy India and assimilate it in their Islamic Caliphate. The very underlying nature of their animosity is religious and not the other way round. The same applies to the Al Qaeda.
    5. This is exactly what I have been trying to tell you while you have been crediting Chacha Nehru with ensuring that there were no Hindu Terrorists. However this begs to question, why then are there ordinary educated Muslims who are ready to take arms against the state. What incentive do they have that the ordinary Hindus don’t? The answer is the “Glory of Islam”.
    6. I have categorically said, and I quote “Tamil extremism is as bloody, violent and reprehensible as Islamic extremism.” Please don’t attribute to me views that I don’t subscribe to.
    7. At the risk of repeating myself: The Tamil movement says: This land belongs to Tamils (since they are the majority there) and hence they want to be separate. In other words this is our land and we want you to leave us alone. The Islamic Movement Says: All the lands belong to Allah. We are followers of Allah, you are not. So either submit to us or we will conquer you and apply Sharia. Both the movements are equally reprehensible in their methods and objectives, but the latter has far greater and more devastating ramifications than the former.
    8. Yes I see a seamless web of violence in Islamic extremism and condemn the support the Tamil Movement gets from ordinary Tamils with as much unequivocal disdain as I condemn the support that the Islamic movement gets from Ordinary Muslims.
    9. Incorrect: As a dip stick test compare the number of people killed in religious rioting with the number of people killed in linguistic rioting.
    10. Please see point 7. It applies to ULFA as well.
    11. Many disputes are territorial (ULFA, LTTE, NAGALAND). However the war being fought with Islamic extremism is ideological since it involves participants from all parts and backgrounds in the Islamic world fighting not for a piece of territory but for Global Domination of lands, minds and hearts.
    12. Fully agree. I never said otherwise. However we need to understand the nature of the motivation driving that violence to better calculate the ramifications it has for us. Clearly in light of the points above Islamic Violence based on religious prejudice has the capability to cause maximum damage to the world and hence should be tackled with greater priority than others.

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  123. Dear WTF,

    On Tamil Ethnic identity:

    “Among the Tamils, Tamil language is the emblem of Tamil ethnic identity. …although “language constitutes the single most characteristic feature of a separate ethnic identity…ethnicity is frequently related more to the symbol of a separate language than to its actual use by all members of a group.” Tamil language functions as the emblem of Tamil identity because of the existence of the various symbols of boundaries in Tamil culture.”

    Link: http://www.tamilnation.org/books/History/pandian.htm

    Judging from above, it is you who I doubt knows much about the Tamil Movement.

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  124. @ Shan : “Hurray! Sunil is the new HHBB!”

    Thanks for the compliment. You of course remain the same old Shan. There can be no one like Shan.

    Thank God for that !!!! 🙂

  125. TRIP IN ENGLAND
    =================

    Hi all,

    I’m back after a business trip around South England, where I noted significant changes.

    The ethnic mix of certain areas has been metamorphosised. It is really scary. My cousin lives in a place called Shepherds Bush in London. On my first visit to his house a decade & half ago, there were a few Arabs strolling the streets. 5 years later on my next visit, I noticed 10% of the shops were Arab, and 10% of the folk were head to toe burkhaed Arab women behind … prams (what else?). This time, 75%, yes seven-ty percent of the shops are owned by Arabs, Somalis & Turks. It is chilling.

    Same for Southall (in West London). On my first visit as a child nearly 2 decades back, 95% were Sikh. On my visit this time, 40% are Pakistanis, 15% Somalis, 5% Bosnian, Albanian or God knows what, but Muslim. Sikhs appear to be reduced to 40%. Places in East London like Eastham now resemble nothing short of a gentrified (sic) Dhaka.

    On the other hand, native resentment is nearing boiling point. I took 15 taxi trips, of which 4 were Pakistani drivers. All the others, all 11 of the others, without fail, soon asked if I was Indian or Pakistani (or Hindu or Muslim).

    As soon as I mentioned Hindu, what would follow for the entire trip was a relentless, pauseless no holds barred harangue by the drivers against the “religion of piece”. About how every Brit native was fed up at the “whole mass of whining, population swamping, terrorizing hordes” of the religion of piece, who were “taking over cities left right and centre, breeding like (I blush to mention), scrounging on benefits, engaging in drugs, violence and trafficking etc etc etc”. And also how Hindus were com-pletely different.

    This is not my terminology, but quote unquote their ‘exact’ rhetoric. This sentiment, in varying grades of colorful language, was echoed by nearly all British people I meant who broached the subject. In nearly all these comments, they were the ones who initiated and conducted the discussion, not me.

    I conclude that two potential eruptions of Krakatoan proportions movements are simultaneously brewing. On the one hand is a pampered, viciously deceptive and exploitative, numerically exploding and increasingly terrorizing movement, sheltered by the power of Arab dollars, obliging media puppets, and cowardly policy framers.

    On the other hand, local populaces who are waking up in horror to the fact that they are rapidly plunging in to becoming a minority today, a slaughter-lamb tomorrow, in their own countries. They are seething with boiling discontent.

    These two channels are on collision course, and ferociously collide they will.

    – It is not possible to say when, but both parties realizing that the time is nearly up.

    – It is not possible to say how the escalation will materialize (street fights, terrorism, or even slow & resigned capitulation by the British). But one thing is certain, the facts indicate that the comfortable and deceptive status quo is very unlikely to hold.

    This trip was a real eye-opener.

  126. @ Beau Peep : “The truth is that Modi was in ICU when the Gujarat riots took place. He fell sick and subsequently suffered a heart attack when someone used blasphemous words about Md. Ali Jinnah”.

    Yes, you are very right.

    Jinnah was actually an ayurvedic practitioner who wanted to distribute free medicine and hajmolas among Hindus.

    Noakhali was a musical campaign by Muslim qawwali-singers to save the delicate ears of their Hindu brothers & sisters from the depredations of roaming band of Akali hard rock minstrels. Their actions were very successful (the clue’s in the name “No-Akali”).

    Also, direct action day was actually a 5km marathon run in Calcutta to raise charity money for plying constipated Hindu dadus with free fuchkas. The ugly RSS took the opportunity to borrow Muslim costumes from the local ‘lunghees for hire’ club, and poke a few rich Bengali babus, just to paint Muslims in a bad light.

    The nasty BJP had been trying to malign Muslims for a long time before Direct Action Day, even though it had not been founded then, but found it near impossible due the overwhelmingly peaceful actions of Islam in the last 1,500 years, encouraged by the page after page of sublime serenity that is the holy Quran.

    The fact that Pakistan was created with NIL violence, in tranquility so overpowering that it even humbled the previous 1,200 years of peaceful Islam in India, is proof of the triumph of Islamic good over the evil of the HIndu.

    Hindu = Caste Brahmin = RSS = BJP = VHP = Nazi = Hitler = Eichmann = Pol pot = Rumpelstilken = Shivaji = Vivekananda = Dracula = Vampire = Hannibal Lecter = Christopher Lee = Anthony Hopkins = smelly armpits = very very very bad. Sorry, Pol Pot was good.

    Incidentally, Jinnah did not want to create Pakistan, but PARK-i-stan, a place where Hindus could ‘park’ their cars, Maruti vans and rickshaws at reduced rates. He was unfortunately misheard and misunderstood by some of his other peaceful co-religionists, who like any tenant who hasn’t paid rent for 1,200 years, proceeded to invite their beloved Hindu landlords to a competition of ghazals (for males) and arm wrestling (for females).

    Even so, this minor misunderstanding hurt Jinnah the good ayurved so profoundly, that the left auricle of his golden heart promptly developed a minor fault line, so he took to bed and did not get up after till he died.

    At which news the evil Hara Bom started beating a dadra taal on his burgeoning bhunri, and the vicious Col Yavesh took a break from his full time profession of suspecting squeaky-clean Muslim army colleagues (especially the ones reading the Pakistani bestseller “100 ways of crashing a plane in to the parliament of your host nation”), to invite the pitchfork wielding Narendra Modi for a round of drinks and cutlets (prepared from the sheep that Beau Peep had lost …. non-halal cooking. Of course).

    The hors d’ouvres were optional.

    Yum yum.

  127. @ Swati : “Religion is a kind of hat that we inherit from our ancestors. We neither adore it, nor do we usually utterly revile it”.

    IMHO, spirituality is the drink of nectar, religion is the chalice.

    Those who can swim, can plunge into the fast flowing river of nectar and drink to their heart’s content. For the others, the chalice is a must to scoop and drink the nectar, and carry it to their loved ones back home.

    However, when the chalice begins to get corroded, it affects the drink it carries. When it becomes so oxidized, that it poisons the drink, it is time to either polish the chalice, or discard it for a new one.

    Golden chalices are the easiest to polish, steel ones can be kept for a while, while iron ones should be discarded.

    Spirituality is a fact. More and more people are experiencing it by different means, and the conclusions all seem to reverberate what the ancient Hindu sages of yore preached to the world. If you have time, I hope you will enjoy the many good / some bad (even fraudulent) observations in the website http://www.near-death.com/ , especially the one http://www.near-death.com/experiences/reincarnation04.html If you read nothing else, please read this one, it will be a rewarding experience.

    Sorry for the desultory nature of the comment … I hope you enjoy the website cited.

  128. @ Anthony : “if any of the Gods we worship had the good sense to show themselves on BBC…we’d all be worshipping the same one”

    Not necessarily. To many people religion is more important than spirituality. They will continue to cling on to the delusions of their forefathers in spite of irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

    Never trust anything the BBC says without a handfuls of skepticism 🙂

    Also, a subjective method of realizing God has been firmly established in … drum roll … Hinduism (Patanjali’s Nirivikalpa Samadhi). Many of these experiences are now being realised and communicated without fear of Inquisition across the world. Please refer to the websites I mentioned above for Swati, especially http://www.near-death.com/experiences/reincarnation04.html

    “…until then…it is my modest opinon…that we should stop killing each other over divine deities someone in India, Israel or Saudi Arabia may have dreamed up in a delusional fit…”

    You are preaching to the wrong people, we Hindus already know and desire this heart and soul. Please preach this to the people who for the past 1,200 years have been, and are still continuing to brutalize us.

    When you have succeeded in converting the last one of them so that they do not consider us as evil vermin, who it is their religious duty to varyingly convert and exploit or kill and eradicate, then I will drain my moat.

    Until then, in the light of 1,200 of years of history, failing not once time after time and incident after incident, culminating in the massacre of 3 million (primarily) Hindus in Bangladesh hardly 25 years ago, do you have the right to decry actions intended to preserve the lives of hapless Hindus?

  129. WTF,

    I am very fond of your comments, and especially admire your fervent and genuine insistence for patience and tolerance in the face injustice by Islam. However, I confess that some of your recent comments of trying to ‘understand’ the violence in Islam, are landing more and more off the mark. IMHO, I think your comments are revealing that what you are trying to defend, even from a noble motive, is something that cannot be shielded.

    You are trying to draw a parallel between Islamic terror and the resulting violent Hindu reaction. Please realize that we do not live in a perfect world, and you will never, ever encounter a 100% benign / 100% malignant situation. There will be good and evil on both sides. While dreaming of utopia, we will have to take a stand based on these imperfections, like the Pandavas & Kauravas did. Compared to the relentless, ideologically motivated, frenzied, millennia of torture proudly unleashed by Islam on India (& most places on earth), the resultant reaction of Hindus, even in the rare instances it ‘may’ be construed unjustifiable, is a drop in the ocean. The two are not the same, and never, ever will be.

    I am amazed that you think that if the USA chucks $10 billion at India, India too will turn in to a cesspool of Taleban-like madmen with sacred threads and tikis. This hypothesis has no historical basis whatsoever. Hindus have frequently experienced stages of high prosperity before. Far from turning them in to rabid fanatics, it has resulted in an efflorescence of culture, temple building, projects of social benevolence (canals, land grants) and increased trade. It has turned them into softer, gentler beings.

    If I, a Hindu fanatic (sic), find Uncle Bush the secret philanthropist has deposited $5m in my Xmas stocking, I will not immediately give up my job, rub my hands, and start devising devlilishly devious means of blowing up Pakistani children. I will give up my job, promise to never get up before noon, buy up 2 years stock of Girish’s notun gur sandesh, and start touring the world.

    You also talk about evil alien powers exploiting a poor, deprived, oppressed Islam to suit their own needs. You are making it sound as if the Islamists were like innocent lambs, falsely corrupted and misguided by jolly foreigner, who will immediately become paragons of virtue once the black hand is removed. This is definitely not so.

    The frenzied hatred of kaffirs in Islam is atavistic, the legendary brutality is historically ingrained. If foreign powers are exploiting Islam, Islam is exploiting foreign powers as well. Even without any foreign fillip, Islam has traditionally caused immense pain and suffering on its many millions of hapless and innocent victims, especially when it was in power. What foreign power prompted Turkey to massacre 1 million Armenians? What foreign power goaded Pakistan to murder 3 million Bangladeshis? USA or Russia or China? What foreign powers maneuvered Muslims to slaughter Hindus to get their cherished Pakistan? I would say it was the Muslims who maneuvered the British in this dirty game. Your argument is refuted by historical reality at every step.

    I agree with you that Xtianity was once equally, if not more brutal than Islam. However, you cannot assume that the softening process of Xtianity will automatically replicate in Islam, for the following reasons :

    1. the softening process in Xtianity involved a horrific war (1618-1648) which nearly wiped out a third to a half of Xtian Europe. Do you wish the same to occur in Islam and areas inhabited by it, including India? Rhetorical question, of course you don’t.

    2. There were umpteen distractions and opportunities faced by Europe to make it profitable to pursue commercial interests and divorce religion (colonization, discovery of new nations with vast resources). The world has become a lot more saturated since then to enable a standard Islamic fanatic to lay down his gun.

    3. Ideologically, Xtianity offers a far more brooding promise for the afterlife until Judgement Day cometh. Islam on the other hand offers instant rewards for dying in the process of murdering kaffirs. This may seem bizarrely humorous to us, but believe you me, it is one of the most powerful motivators for jehad.

    4. Xtianity was blessed with liberal leaders like Burke and Paine. The depressing galaxy of Islamic personages is no way even near in offering us any hope of such a renaissance ever occurring in Islam.

    5. The clinching argument is the population detonation. Europe never, ever experienced a sustained, contrived population explosion that Islam is promoting by fair means or foul. This itself will ensure that in spite of the dam of petro-dollars and the rising numbers of decent, hionest, hardworking Muslims :-
    (i) the flood of poverty in Islamic lands will ultimately turn endemic,
    (ii) the lack of literacy and resultant intolerance axiomatic,
    (iii) the constant search for lebensraum a sine qua non, irrespective of how many Kashmirs, Palestines, Kossovos and Albanias are ceded to them.

    And fanaticism and terrorism the only outcome.

    The future looks bleak. I genuinely admire your views and stance; they are a lot more noble than mine. However, in the light of the present and growing menace, I find them far less pragmatic and as a result, dangerous. Please read my comment on my recent observations in England above.

    I sincerely hope you are right. I dreadingly believe you are wrong.

  130. @ HHBB

    Noakhali = No-Akali
    That one was innovative.

    All:

    Speaking of Noakhali, a friend of mine is working on a short multimedia presentation/movie on Noakhali massacres named ‘Noakhali46’.
    We are looking for research material, references, Photographs on THE NOAKHALI MASSACRES OF 1946. If anyone wants to help, write to me at rishi_khujur@rediffmail.com

  131. Hello WTF,

    Thats is a convenient statement to hide behind when faced with arguments you dont have answers to.

    @Shan

    Thanks for the compliment. If I only I could return it, but then you are unique. (Thankfully)

  132. Hi all,

    I had sent this comment earlier, but as it may have got stuck, am re-sending.

    I am back after a week long business trip over South England. I noted significant changes since my last trip :

    (1) The ethnic mix of certain areas is metamorphosised. It is really scary.

    My cousin lives in Shepherds Bush (London). On my first visit there 15 years ago, a few Arab men were strolling the streets. 5 years later, 10% of the shops were Arab owned, & 10% of the folk were head-to-toe burkhaed Arab women behind … prams. This time, I was shocked to see 75%, yes seventy-five percent of the shops were owned by Arabs & Turks. It is chilling.

    Same for Southall, where my wife’s best friend & her husband (a very decent Pakistani family) live. On my first visit to Southall as a child (2 decades back), 95% were Sikhs. On my visit this time, 40% are Pakistani, 15% African-Muslim (Somali), 5% Bosnian / Albanian / God knows what (but Muslim). Sikhs appear to be reduced to 40%.

    Places in East London like Eastham now resemble nothing short of a gentrified (sic) Dhaka. My cousin & British friends inform me this is the trend over the UK, & it is far worse in getting far worse in North England (Manchester, Birmingham & Bradford).

    On the other hand, native resentment is nearing boiling point. I took 15 cab-trips, of which 4 were Pakistani drivers. All the others, all 11 of the others, without fail, soon asked if I was Indian or Pakistani (or Hindu or Muslim). As soon as I said Hindu, what would follow for the entire trip was a relentless, pauseless no holds barred harangue by the drivers against the “religion of piece”. About how every Brit native was fed up at that community “whining, swamping in population, terrorizing & scrounging”. Of how they were “taking over cities, breeding like mad, engaging in drugs, violence and trafficking etc etc etc”. And also how “you Hindus are completely different from them. How come?”.

    In many instances, I ended up defending the Muslim community from their verbal tirade.

    This is not my rhetoric, but quote unquote their words. This sentiment, in varying grades of colorful language, was echoed by nearly all British people I meant who ventured to broach the subject. In nearly all these comments, they initiated and conducted the discussion, not me.

    I conclude that two potential eruptions of Krakatoan proportions are simultaneously brewing :

    (i) On the one hand, logarithmic growth of a pampered, numerically exploding and increasingly violent religious movement, sheltered by petro-dollars, obliging media puppets, and terrified policy framers.

    (ii) On the other hand, native populaces are waking up in horror to the fact that they are rapidly reducing to a minority. They are seething with barely suppressed furied discontent.

    These two channels are on collision course, and must brutally collide. It is not possible to say when, but both parties know that time is disastrously running out for one of them.

    It is not possible to say how the escalation will manifest(street fights, terrorism, or even slow and resigned capitulation by the British).

    Yet one thing is certain, the facts indicate that the comfortable and deceptive status quo is very unlikely to hold.

    This business trip was a real eye-opener.

  133. Hi..

    🙂 This isn’t the first time I am reading your posts, but it’s the first time I am leaving a reply.
    I agree with you on the point that Indians aren’t the only hypocrits. Hypocrisy is universal, maybe the reasons/excuses of being hypocrits differ. Whether it’s U.S, Europe or anywhere else in the world; Hypocrisy is a quality that is not restricted by any culture.

    Well written article!

  134. The water runs deeper than it seems. Prasun Mukherjee can only become a scapegoat because the administration needs to feed the public someone to allay the frustration. Power corrupts but even high ranking police officers can be equally victimized and have value conflicts. Prasun couldn’t have antagonized Todi’s feeling or be in his bad books by denying a favor. No one would have thought it would reach so far. Maybe they were expecting him to succumb to the pressure before he needed to be “eliminated”. And there’s no proof that the police did it. You can hire local goons for money to do such dirty jobs and they won’t care what your name is or what religion you belong to as long as they get paid well.
    There are a lot more players involved in this. I wonder what any father would have done, had her child married someone secretly without his consent or against his wishes? The religion, the social/economical disparity and the fear of a ruined future aside, it was an act of rebellion- something a power hungry figure, who is used to submission, can’t accept. Least from his own offspring. Todi had money, but when it couldn’t stop Priyanka from defying him made got him enraged.
    A few years later, Priyanka will get married to some NRI who is blissfully aware of all the happenings. Unless of course, she decides to take her own life in protest and you have a modern Romeo Juliet story and something more to write about in your blog.
    We are also not aware if Priyanka was disillusioned during her stay with Rehman and thought it is better to get back to the comforts of her parental home. Only she can speak the truth. And as far as I can see, she won’t.

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