Ambedkar on Islam, Partition and Hindu Raj

Dr B R Ambedkar, Dalit icon and architect of Indian Constitution was a personality whose writings are used by all kinds of people to highlight their points. The  Marxist Left in India use them to fight Hindutva Right, the non Marxist Left and the centrist Congress use them to fight the Hindutva and the Communists, the Hindutva Right use it to attack Islam and the Dalits try to use them for their own survival.

So what did Ambedkar write about Islam ?

In his book Pakistan Or The Partition Of India, a collection of his writings and speeches,  published in 1940 Ambedkar wrote :

Hinduism is said to divide people and in contrast Islam is said to bind people together. This is only a half truth. For Islam divides as inexorably as it binds. Islam is a close corporation and the distinction that it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is a very real, very positive and very alienating distinction. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity, but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The second defect of Islam is that it is a system of social self-government and is incompatible with local self-government, because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his but on the faith to which he belongs. To the Muslim ibi bene ibi patria is unthinkable. Wherever there is the rule of Islam, there is his own country. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin.

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Oppressor at home the bigger villain ?

India’s Hindutva ruling party and its leader Modi wants to make India a Hindu country run by rules and regulations of Hindu traditions. They garner votes by spreading hate of other religions and its followers.  But interestingly  here we see follower of a non Hindu religion, Islam, petitioning the Prime minister for help.

 

When mother-of-two-girls, Shagufta Shah, became pregnant a third time, her husband asked her to get an abortion.
Shamshad Sayeed didn’t want another daughter; neither did his parents.
“They feared that if I deliver a girl again, she will be a burden,” Shagufta said. “When I refused repeatedly, they started torturing me. On March 24, they forcibly tried to take me to the hospital and, when I resisted, they started beating me mercilessly.” Failing to get the child aborted, Shamshad and his family threw Shagufta out of the house.
“He (Shamshad) verbally gave me triple talaq and I was left on the road to die,” she said.
Taking a cue from fellow Saharanpur resident Atiya Sabri, Shagufta too decided to raise her voice against the instant divorce practice and wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help.
The triple talaq is a Sharia law practice which allows men to end a marriage simply by saying “talaq” to their wives three times in succession.
While many Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia have outlawed the custom for years, India -home to the world’s third-largest Muslim population- continues to allow it.

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Shagufta approached the local police station the same day she was thrown out. “However, they took my complaint and only assured me that they would look into the matter. They did not register an FIR and chased us away,” she said.
“Since then, my brother and my father are getting threatening calls and they (Shamshad and her inlaws) are threatening to kill us.”
Failing to get any help from the police, Shagufta sent a letter to the PM with copies to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the National Commission for Women as well as the district magistrate and top cop.
“Mr Prime minister, it is my humble request to please help this poor and helpless woman. I also request you to ensure that this evil tradition ends so that woman like me and other victims get justice and live a dignified life,” she wrote.

 

She believes she will get help from the Prime Minister. Modi will be happy to help her and to underline the pet rhetoric of his party that those living in a Hindu country cannot follow personal laws of a foreign religion. This will also help BJP to pose itself as a champion of women’s rights. Non BJP opposition who is taking a stand of minorities themselves should decide their personal laws can easily be exposed here as pandering to patriarchs of Muslim community for votes.

For muslim women living in very conservative families, BJP’s Hindutva may seem much less oppressive than that they face day in and day out in their homes. For them BJP government will be a better ally than non BJP governments which depends on votes controlled by Muslim patriarchs.

Take home message is this:

If a severely patriarchal tribe do not reform itself, women of the tribe may ask and get help from a more powerful patriarch of a rival tribe.

If you want secularism and is troubled by gender oppressive religious laws, you should be in the fore front of the Muslim women’s struggle against oppressive patriarchal customs. If you are not there, the void will be filled by Hindutva and we may only get a Hindutva version of patriarchy instead of the Islamic one.

 

Sacked and hounded Urdu journalist needs your help

Shirin Dalvi, the sacked and hounded Urdu journalist needs your help.

Last year, in January, she was sacked from her post of editor of Mumbai edition of Urdu daily Avadhnama. Her crime was re-publishing of a Charlie Hebdo cartoon on the front page,  ten days after the horrific killing of Charlie Hebdo journalists by Islamic fundamentalists. This was a drawing by the assassinated French cartoonist Cabu published in 2006 cover of the magazine titled “Mohammed Overwhelmed by Fundamentalists,” in which a bearded man is shown covering his face and saying that “it’s hard to be loved by idiots.” It is still not clear whether the publishing of cartoon was a mistake or an honest attempt to criticise fundamentalists who killed cartoonists. Looking at her past record I tend to believe the latter, though faced with death threats she said it was a mistake.

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Image credit – Indiatimes

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Malaysian rapper arrested for allegation of insulting Islam

In a music video produced by the popular Malaysian Rapper Namewee, five non Muslim characters were seen uttering the word Allah (God). Also a scene in a song was supposed to be in front of a mosque. This was enough for him to be nabbed from the airport as he returned to the country from a foreign trip and put in jail.

The musician, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, 33, was arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday after returning from an overseas trip.

He was brought to Penang late last night and taken to the Penang courthouse this morning. The singer-songwriter is being investigated under Section 295 of the Penal Code for defiling a place of worship with intention to insult the religion. The section carries a jail term of up to two years, or a fine or both, upon conviction. Assistant court registrar Ahmad Tajudin Zaini granted a four-day remand, which ends on August 25. Several religious groups had previously lodged police reports against Wee over his music video, claiming that it insulted Islam.

Namewee - Getty images

Namewee – Getty images

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FAQ Terror attacks

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Why are you bothered only about terror attacks in the West and not about those taking place more near to you in Asia or Africa?

 

I am bothered when innocent people are killed anywhere in the World. I may be more bothered when it happens in places where such things never happen because it means violence is spreading. When it happens in liberal Western Europe with a secular democratic polity which opened its gates to thousands of refugees from war and terror torn countries, it bothers me more. I fear that it may result in closing of gates and hardening of attitudes towards Muslims. I fear it may result in strengthening of racist right wing political parties there. That in turn will strengthen the Islamists.

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