Monday, October 16, 2006

On Gujarat

Ahmedabad-based sociologist Shiv Vishvanathan on Gujarat'2002: “What happened in Gujarat was a mini Rwanda: your neighbour raped you; people killed between 9 and 6 and went home singing. It was like a football match where the Hindus won. There remains festivity around it, the state denies victimhood, and there is no erasure.” State acquiescence and connivance can only partially explain such an overriding phenomenon of exclusion.

From this month's cover story on Gujarat'02 in Himal Magazine.
One of the reasons I will never ever vote for the BJP.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Prejudice against muslims in public institutions

This news item sheds light on a major issue.That of anti- muslim prejudice which exists in Indian public institutions.Some would suggest that this is a one off case.There is substantial difference in the perception of this issue.Most non muslims tend to downplay it while within muslim circles it is considered a major issue.A prominent Muslim businessman has said (off the record) that if it were'nt for corruption and political connections it would be even more difficult for muslims to do any business due to the communalism and prejudice of the lower bureaucracy and administration.
Admittedly this prejudice has grown due to recent acts of terrorism. Earlier the jan sanghis and assorted rightwing Congressis made life difficult for muslims.They used to go after muslims for revenge against historical Muslim invasions and the partition of India.Now minority appeasement and terrorism are the reasons cited.Some of the prejudice is also due to class bias as there is a huge underclass of muslims. Other reasons cited are treatment of minorities in Pakistan,bangladesh and Saudi Arabia or the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits.
All this talk about muslim appeasement by the rightwing obscures the very real fact that muslims are economically and socially backward.
See for example a recent survey here
A recent article in the Guardian makes the same point.
Some of this backwardness is self inflicted by the lack of interest of many muslim parents in the education of thier children. So what do we do ? Some muslim intellectuals like former IAS Officer Saiyad Hamid have suggested reservation of muslims in government jobs .The AP government had promised reservation but it was struck down by the AP High Court.However public opinion seems to be strongly against reservation so I don't think this will happen.

India Muslims

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ayaz Amir in Dawn has take on the Denmark Cartoon issue.
Muslim masses in general want their rulers to stand up to the West. Hence the popularity of the tyrant Saddam Hussain and Usama bin Laden in some sections of the Muslim world.They are admired not for their actions but for having the guts to face up the West.The Americans and others instead of admitting this pretend that the radicals "hate freedom". Current Muslim leaders are seen as ineffectual and do not seem to articulate the anger which Muslims feel.In a simplistic manner the reasoning goes : Since our governments do not do anything we will have to do something ourselves .People lose touch with Fiqh and then go astray.They forget the virtues of Sabr (patience) and depending upon Allah and go off on a tangent.