Articles Comments

Pak Tea House » India, journalism, Justice, Kashmir, Pakistan, Raza Rumi » Tufail Ahmad -an extreme right wing RSS Stooge at MEMRI

Tufail Ahmad -an extreme right wing RSS Stooge at MEMRI

 

Tufail-Ahmad-683x1024-nazi

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Tufail Ahmad, the Director of South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington DC, has recently gone on a rampage against Raza Rumi calling him a “fake liberal” and an “ISI” agent.  Raza has advised against this response but I am writing this in the exercise of my freedom of speech.  Tufail Ahmad is saying the aforesaid about a person who has always spoken out for the rights of minorities, women and marginalized communities in Pakistan and who almost lost his life for speaking out unwaveringly for the principle. Have some shame at long last. The nerve of this BJP stooge, this shameless uncle Tom, this apologist of Modi’s fascist world view to turn around and attack a person like Raza Rumi and to accuse him of working for the ISI.

What passes for a liberal in extreme Indian right wing eyes is if you basically bow down and kiss Indian arse and not under any circumstances criticize Indians or Indian policy where you feel it is wrong. In this world view everything about Pakistan is wrong and everything about India is right. And if you dare disagree with the Indian right wing paradigm you are likely to be hounded by shrill accusations that you work for ISI. This is McCarthyism 2.0. This is the Tufail Ahmad doctrine of dealing with Pakistanis – by setting the narrative in a way that is perpetually skewed against Pakistan and Pakistanis. If you are a self respecting Pakistani or have an opinion even slightly critical of India, you are precluded from being a liberal or at least a real one at any rate.

Or perhaps the  real reason why Tufail Ahmad is on Raza Rumi’s case is because last year I exposed his pedaling of lies by AQ Khan and Shorish Kashmiri. This useless specimen of humanity began insulting me and attacking Raza. To date however, he has not produced the original copy of Chattan weekly which Kashmiri referred to in his book and which was the basis of the dispute.

Whatever the case Tufail Ahmad is the product of a diseased mentality which is the product an increasingly shrinking space for Muslims in Indian political thought. It is a depressing thought but the fact is that Muslims today are caught between Darul-Uloom Deoband  which has kept them backwards and then you have self hating types whose idea of patriotism is akin to fellatio to right wing Hindu bigots. Sample the arrogance of this low life:

There is no civil society in Pakistan, only a handful of progressive writers, especially women; if there is one civil society in Pakistan, it is controlled by religious groups and shepherded by the army.

Pakistani civil society does not exist according to this jerk.  Pakistani civil society which has faced down violence, military rule and the Mullahs does not exist, because Tufail Ahmad says so. Forget Asma Jahangir, Hina Jilani, Habib Jalib and other countless heroes in Pakistan are only a “handful of progressive writers”. Come to think of it I cannot even count a handful of progressive writers in India.

He then says that in order to qualify as a true liberal you have to support the Baloch separatists (as distinguished from those Baloch human rights activists who actually are working for the human rights of Baloch people). He writes:

Over the years, Pakistan has not produced any evidence of Indian hand in Balochistan, but if you are morally concerned about the people of Balochistan, why to even oppose any support for Baloch rebels?

“Why to even oppose any support for Baloch rebels” – I am not going to comment on the odd structure of this sentence complete with head bobbing – that shows that Tufail mian is not completely at ease with the English language.  But there is an answer to that “why”. Because these Baloch separatists have been killing innocent people – mostly Punjabi immigrants who settled in Balochistan way before partition. There are no good terrorists or bad terrorists. The nerve of this two bit kiss ass to Modi sarkar to describe Hurriyat Conference, a  non-violent political movement,  as being ISI backed but then justifying Indian support of terrorists in Balochistan. Is there no shame?  He then goes on to enlighten us further:

It is time Indians also understood this: Pakistani diplomats are doing much better than their Indian counterparts. To the Indian youths: have the patience of a Buddhist monk; do not expect Modi to deliver a permanent peace; Modi is not a superman. The Pakistan conflict is rooted in Pakistan’s religious identity and cannot be resolved as long as it exists.

So basically as long as Pakistan exists – as long as it does not break down into smaller states or is reintegrated into Akhand Bharat- according to Tufail Ahmad there will always be conflict. He then advises Modi government to break the neighbour’s nose! This guy is sitting in judgment over who can and can’t call themselves true liberals in Pakistan.  What we know for sure is that Tufail Ahmad is a right wing Indian lapdog – a Nazi poodle if you must of the RSS and Shiv Sena.

Well I have news for jokers like him :   Pakistan is here to stay and nothing you can do and no amount of barking will undo that fact. Try breaking our nose and see if we don’t hit back.

Written by

Filed under: India, journalism, Justice, Kashmir, Pakistan, Raza Rumi · Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • HP

    Majumdar,
    .
    “A pan India exchange of population was neither feasible nor really required- the cost of such an exercise (in blood and money) would have far outstripped any possible benefits even in 1947. A peaceful, negotiated demographic settlement in the two Eastern provinces- Bengal and Assam – or even their border districts alone would have been sufficient.”
    .
    I agree. In Punjab it happened anyway, preceded by retributive genocide.

  • HP

    Gorki,
    .
    “I think we are now coming to final conclusions then.”
    .
    Unless you have anything left to discuss in your “critical assessment” of TNT.
    .
    “TNT being a fact of life in India therefore population exchanges were the best possible solution in 1947.”
    .
    Gorki, As I said earlier, there were two possible choices: (a) Constitutional safeguards according to what they wanted, to maintain unity, OR (b) A peaceful and negotiated settlement with or without voluntary population transfer. The third route, starry eyed denial and doing nothing up until the last minute is what got us into the gigantic mess we were in.
    .
    “If there is no one left around to say ‘TNTeeeee….’ means that the discrimination of a minority by a majority (as previously defined under the TNT) is probably a wholly new animal but of course not TNT.”
    .
    Just like there is no TNT in USA where Azaan is not allowed because of noise ordinances prohibiting loud, electronically amplified sound.
    .
    Gorki, You got me on the Sikh issue. I am not so familiar with Hindu-Sikh divide as you obviously are. 🙂
    .
    “Like I said, in a self defined majoritarian State, not worth the paper they were written on.
    I rest my case. (Refer to Pakistan’s first law minister’s resignation letter for evidence)”
    .
    Yes, that is true, but here we are talking about Constitutional guarantees if India were to remain united, in which case it would have been secular.

  • Majumdar

    HP mian,
    .
    There are of course other possible nations in the subcontinent apart from the two main obvious ones- X-tians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Joos etc. But they may or may not want a separate nation state of their own for various reasons. They may trust either or both of the two principal nations to accommodate them honourably; or may consider a separate nation state unviable; or may simply decide that they may as well lump it ‘cos no one is going a f*** about their demands anyway.
    .
    Regards

  • HP

    Majumdar,

    I think you meant, ‘cos no one is going *to give* a f*** about their demands anyway.”
    .
    But yes, without being fully conscious of the Hindu-Sikh divide that may exist in Delhi or Chandigarh I agree with your statement.

  • Majumdar

    HP mian,
    .
    My suspicion is that Hindu-Sikh divide is rather weak these days in Ch’garh, Delhi or elsewhere …..
    .
    Regards

  • HP

    Yes, that’s my suspicion too. I am just being extra careful because Gorki may be lurking somewhere to pounce on any casual misstatement on Hindu-Sikh divide.

  • Mohan

    After Patels, now Sindhis are demanding reservation.

  • Javaid

    About the article regarding Greece and Turkey.
    .
    ” the myth of a ‘peaceful population exchange”
    .
    1) Gorki, nowhere does your article contradict the fact that the exchange was peaceful, simply that in opinion of the author it was politically wrong.
    .
    A view shared by only a few as the article itself admits:
    .
    “The Turkish-Greek population exchange has been regularly lauded as a success and even as a peaceful model that can be emulated in other parts of the world.”
    .
    “Nansen received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his work on behalf of displaced people. “…”giving them the opportunity for a new start in life.””
    .
    2)Considering the fate of the Kurds and rise of Islamist parties in Turkey or the rise of populist right-wing parties in Greece, the deal does seem to be for the best. The article assumes that the staying of minorities would have somehow prevented this but the question remains as to how they would have been able to do this considering the fact that they were an outvoted minority and that they wouldn’t been given any special safeguards.
    .
    Essentially your argument seems to be that a soft majoritarian arrangement (with religious minorities) is better than a majoritarian arrangement (with ethnic minorities). Both have easily pointed out flaws. This eventually leads (as it is now) to arguments as to which one is more wrong rather than which is right.
    .

  • tajender
  • tajender
  • Gorki

    HP:
    Again for the sake of closure
    1. I take it that you and Majumdar Sahib are in broad agreement that:
    a) Partition with population exchanges was the right thing in 1947
    b) Hindu Sikh divide is unclear to you
    .
    Regarding the first.
    I must say that when one assumes we have heard it all you unexpectedly spring new surprises. So the TNT was supposed to have been a State by State affair! Applicable here, not there, and so forth. I think this definition is present in only in two heads in the continent, HPs and Majumdar Sahib’s. At least the later is a bit more honest and calls himself a RWer.
    Aree Bhai TNT is not a piece of jello, that could be squished, smoothed, compressed to meet a child’s fantasies.
    As it was advocated and as it was understood in 1947, ALL the Muslims of British India were ONE SEPARATE NATION so it was either applicable or not throughout the length and breadth of the land. The reason that what emerged (only population exchange in border States) was because it was applied ruthlessly ONLY on one side of the divide; on the Indian side, the much detested Nehru, Gandhi and the congress REJECTED the TNT and actively and forcefully put the power of the Indian State to oppose it. Otherwise had it been an official policy of the State, Majumdar Sahib’s friends (the kind who followed Advani’s Rath Yatra to Ayodhya) would have made it certain that the bloodbath would have engulfed the entire country. .
    .
    About the second. I can only conclude that you are being purposefully disingenuous. Even people who live under a rock in India are aware of the two decade long Khalistan struggle that claimed more than 70,000 lives based on a demand for a Sikh State. It was a direct outcome of Sikh fear of ‘Hindu domination’ exactly the language of the TNT. most social scientists believe it was brought about due to the TNT and the partition itself. The reason that it failed are many. Among them is that the State crushed the militancy ruthlessly. Every one in India knows the gross human rights violations, murder of thousands of young men, militants and innocents alike that finally led to suppressing the militancy. As Majumdar Sahib implies, the Sikhs have decided to ‘lump it’. At least his is an honest position.
    I wish I could say the same about yours but unfortunately I can’t. Yours is another copout. You want to sound liberal pr-minorities etc. but as I mentioned before, your pro-minorities liberalism is just like your interpretation and application of the TNT -opportunistic and selective!!

  • Gorki

    Javaid Sahib,
    Regarding the population exchanges.
    Please read my above discussion. A population exchange as was applied in Greece-Turkey in India would have been a colossal tragedy, with a bloodbath from Kerala to Kashmir that would have looked 1947 like a small riot. It did not happen because India actively rejected the TNT.
    Secondly you should ask your govt. why they closed the doors on the Indian Muslims so soon after the partition. I am sure that there are many right wingers in India who would like the Muslims to migrate to Pakistan if people like you can motivate your govt. to accept them.
    Even in the case of Greece-Turkey, most people left reluctantly, there were thousands of deaths, much human misery. Not all Nobel prize winners are liberals and humanists.
    Henry Kissinger and Mencham Begin were winners too.

  • Majumdar

    Gorki sb,
    .
    Partition with population exchanges was the right thing in 1947
    .
    Population exchanges only in the three partitioned provinces, Madrasi, Mallu and Bhayya Muslims cud have remained where they were on Aug 13, 1947.
    .
    Regards

  • Gorki

    Majumdar Da,
    “Population exchanges only in the three partitioned provinces, Madrasi, Mallu and Bhayya Muslims cud have remained where they were on Aug 13, 1947….”
    .
    There is nothing wrong with my comprehension so I understand what you are saying. Unfortunately it was the ‘Bhayya Muslims’ who were most enamored with the TNT. To leave them be and yet exchange someone else elsewhere is a whole new concept that is beyond absurd. My point is that your fellow travelers (the kind who rode the Advani’s Rath Yatra) would not have bought your present day soft Hindutva.

  • Majumdar

    Unfortunately it was the ‘Bhayya Muslims’ who were most enamored with the TNT. To leave them be and yet exchange someone else elsewhere is a whole new concept that is beyond absurd.
    .
    Given the demography and geography, there was no reason to do any chhed chhad with them. On their part, Bhayya Muslims too wud have had to lump it. On the border marchlands, it was a different matter altogether.
    .
    My point is that your fellow travelers (the kind who rode the Advani’s Rath Yatra) would not have bought your present day soft Hindutva.
    .
    My fellow travellers and me may not agree with each other on every matter, but we respect each others opinions and let things be.
    .
    Regards

  • Majumdar

    Gorki sb,
    .
    most social scientists believe it was brought about due to the TNT and the partition itself.
    .
    If the Khalistan movement was an inevitable consequence of TNT and partition, why did it peter out eventually.
    .
    As Majumdar Sahib implies, the Sikhs have decided to ‘lump it’.
    .
    I dont think it is as simple as that. If it was a matter of merely “lumping” it, we still have to explain why the main political voice of Sikhs- the SAD- has had a alliance with the Sanghis running back almost half a century, including almost 20 years of unbroken alliance running currently.
    .
    Regards

  • HP

    Gorki
    .
    You seem to have a short memory, but may be it is intentional.
    .
    “I take it that you and Majumdar Sahib are in broad agreement that:
    a) Partition with population exchanges was the right thing in 1947″
    I think this definition is present in only in two heads in the continent, HPs and Majumdar Sahib’s. At least the later is a bit more honest and calls himself a RWer.”
    .
    Let me reiterate: I said there were two possible choices in immediate pre-independence India: (a) Constitutional safeguards according to what they wanted, to maintain unity, OR (b) A peaceful and negotiated settlement with or without voluntary population transfer. The third route, a starry eyed denial and doing nothing up until the last moment is what got us into the gigantic mess we were in.
    .
    If you go back a few weeks from now I said exactly the same thing in one of my longer posts that also Majumdar liked. This was even before YLH and Co joined in the discussion. There was however one difference between Majumdar and me, and that was that I preferred option (a) and he option (b). The commonality between our positions was that neither of us liked option (c).
    .
    “I must say that when one assumes we have heard it all you unexpectedly spring new surprises.”
    .
    There is no new surprises, I have said exactly the same thing all along.
    .
    “The reason that what emerged (only population exchange in border States) was because it was applied ruthlessly ONLY on one side of the divide;”
    .
    In Punjab the genocide happened on both sides, including a population transfer.
    .
    But Gorki, you are making a fundamental mistake here that most Congress nationalists are wont to do. The enunciation of TNT and the attended implications (demand for Constitutional safeguards, demand for autonomy, etc) do NOT automatically imply enmity and violence. That it resulted in bitterness, acrimony, and violence in this case especially on that scale has other reasons going for it which must also be highlighted. That is all I have been saying.
    .
    “on the Indian side, the much detested Nehru, Gandhi and the congress REJECTED the TNT and actively and forcefully put the power of the Indian State to oppose it. Otherwise had it been an official policy of the State, Majumdar Sahib’s friends (the kind who followed Advani’s Rath Yatra to Ayodhya) would have made it certain that the bloodbath would have engulfed the entire country.”
    .
    Again, Gorki, in Punjab it didn’t require Majumdar’s friends (the kind who followed Advani’s Rath Yatra to Ayodhya) to do the ethnic cleansing all by themselves. The fact is, and you are likely to deny it, urban Punjab was among the most communally divided places in India in the 1930s and 40s. This was the place of the Arya Samajis, Rangila Rasools, Ilm-ud-dins and so on. But it was restrained by rural politics which was anti-communal. Once the Unionist Party fell apart and the city politicians were in charge it all went to communalism and sectarianism in entire Punjab. On India’s eastern border, except the brief interlude of 1946, nothing of that sort existed at least on that scale. And the fact that Western Punjab was de-facto in control of Pakistan whole exacerbated the minority situation further in Pakistan.
    .
    “but as I mentioned before, your pro-minorities liberalism is just like your interpretation and application of the TNT -opportunistic and selective!! ”
    .
    All I ever said is it is incorrect to blame TNT, Jinnah, and the origin of Pakistan, to be the only one responsible for the violence and mess we were in. This is not only inaccurate historically but also counter productive to your stated objective of peace and friendship through “mutual understanding”. If that sounds opportunistic and selective to you I will let that be.

  • Gorki

    Majumdar Da,
    The point is that what you are proposing is NOT TNT and TNT was never advocated as you are now doing, applying it to ‘geography etc’.
    Please read it again.
    I understand that to you it was a convenient tool to ‘rid India of the majority of the aliens’
    It wasn’t the same to the AIML supporters and detractors in the United provinces, where the main political battles were. Had there been no congress the application of TNT would have been ruthless, across the length and breadth of India.

  • Majumdar

    HP mian,
    .
    You are right about Punjab. The main combatants were: on the blue side- the Akalis and on the green side- the ML’s volunteer fighting force and the Khaksars. The do pasli ke Sanghis were minor players….
    .
    Regards

  • Javaid

    “A population exchange as was applied in Greece-Turkey in India”
    .
    I was only referring to the situation in Greece-Turkey. TNT or not, I believe that the Liaqat-Nehru pact was the logical step with two secular majoritarian nations established.
    .
    While you would not agree with the majoritarian label for your own country. I do believe that HP and YLH would probably see it that way. Ofcourse it is undeniable that Pakistan’s majoritism has been harsher than Indias (which you credit to the denial of the TNT rather than good leadership, stability, etc)
    .
    “much human misery”
    which could have been avoided if the Greek Muslims stayed in Turkey and the Turk Christians in Turkey as the author naively imagines? Surely you don’t propose some sort of Greko-Turko union. Do consider these problems and solutions in context. There are many who would think otherwise.
    .
    While not Greek, Turkey’s president Edrogan himself is Georgian. Would you advise him to be thrown out to Gerogia since his religion should not be taken as a good enough identity for Turkey? In a way the TNT (in its broadest sense) provides comfort to many ethnic minorities who share their religion with the ethnic majority, especially when there is already a state for their ethnic majority. Azeris in Iran, Georgians in Turkey, Muhajirs in Pakistan, Muslim Serbs in Bosnia, etc
    .
    This also extends to Pakistani Hindus in India. After all, what right do they have to be in India unless you believe that India is a home for Hindus or Pakistan is territorially part of the “republic of India” in which there would be little to differentiate this stance from India’s right. You have pointed out the flaws in the TNT (of your interpretation) but really offer no alternatives for the situation, either for 1947 or for today (or for Greece-Turkey for that matter).

  • Majumdar

    Gorki sb,
    .
    I understand that to you it was a convenient tool to ‘rid India of the majority of the aliens’
    .
    That is a very crude way of putting it. Rather than getting rid of aliens, I see it, it was a way of maintaining an Indic domination in the Republic of India while at the same time maintaining a cordial relation with the Muslim part of India (i.e Pakiland). You may recall the Grossdeutsch v/s Kleindeutsch debate in German nationalism in the 19th century, mine is the Kleindeutsch position with the INC replacing the House of Hohenzollern/State of Prussia and the AIML representing the House of Austria; Indics being the Protestants, Muslims being the RCs. You wud recall also of course that within a few years of 1866 and 1870, Germany and Austria became BFFs (it didnt do either any good but that is a different matter altogether).
    .
    Regards

  • Gorki

    Dear Majumdar Da, HP,
    .
    Partition based on demographic majorities complete with population exchanges in which the ‘minorities have to lump it’ is a majoritarian argument. Nothing wrong with that; most of the World works that way. Only don’t be a hypocrite and make it sound as if it is in some ways for the benefit of the minorities.
    .
    On BJP and Akali Dal alliance. The BJP is in alliance with the PDP next door too. Democracy makes strange bed fellows. More on Khalistan issue if you want and when time permits.
    .
    Javed Sahib,
    Also later if time permits.
    Regards.

  • Majumdar

    Gorki sb,
    .
    Only don’t be a hypocrite and make it sound as if it is in some ways for the benefit of the minorities
    .
    Did I say that partition was for the benefit of minorities on both sides. Dont remember saying that….
    .
    Regards

  • tajender

    where is maria and indrani these days lagta hai clean chit milne walee hai.

  • HP

    Majumdar,
    .
    Gorki says that to me of course. But he forgets, again, that my first preference was option (a). 🙂

  • tajender
  • tajender

    Inability to track down murderers of rationalists Dabholkar and Pansare who are roaming free in the raj of meat ban. ndtv.com/opinion/in-sen

  • Gorki

    Dear Javaid,
    There is a lot going on here. Let me reply the best I can.
    …..
    1. “A population exchange as was applied in Greece-Turkey in India……
    …..which could have been avoided if the Greek Muslims stayed in Turkey and the Turk Christians in Turkey as the author naively imagines? Surely you don’t propose some sort of Greko-Turko union….”
    .
    There are 54 million Hispanic in the US, and 2.5 million Turks in Germany. If one goes by that logic either these countries should be in perpetual Union-Disunion or else population exchanges are needed every few decades.
    It doesn’t work that way anymore.
    That was the 1920s Europe, a period obsessed with nationalism, homogeneity and national purity. And you are well aware how well that turned out for the European. Most liberal democracies today are identity neutral as far as citizenship and rights are concerned, regardless of majority-minority status.
    .
    2. “While not Greek, Turkey’s president Edrogan himself is Georgian. Would you advise him to be thrown out to Gerogia since his religion should not be taken as a good enough identity for Turkey?….”
    .
    I think you have the wrong number here. I am not the one for throwing out people for being different. 🙂
    .
    3. In a way the TNT (in its broadest sense) provides comfort to many ethnic minorities who share their religion with the ethnic majority, especially when there is already a state for their ethnic majority. Azeris in Iran, Georgians in Turkey, Muhajirs in Pakistan, Muslim Serbs in Bosnia, etc
    .
    I see that you have scrupulously avoided mentioning the Hazaras in Afghanistan, the Kurds and Yazids in Iraq, Turkey Syria etc. and Shias and Sunnis in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, Ahemadis in Pakistan etc. 🙂
    Listen, cherry picking examples one can prove anything. I don’t want to p,at that game. My point is that once identity consciousness is heightened in mixed cultures there is much more chance for conflict. In a country like India it is a volatile mix.
    .
    4. You have pointed out the flaws in the TNT (of your interpretation) but really offer no alternatives for the situation, either for 1947 or for today (or for Greece-Turkey for that matter).
    .
    Please check my reply to number 1.
    .
    5. While you would not agree with the majoritarian label for your own country. I do believe that HP and YLH would probably see it that way. Ofcourse it is undeniable that Pakistan’s majoritism has been harsher than Indias (which you credit to the denial of the TNT rather than good leadership, stability, etc)
    .
    If by being majoritarian you mean an overwhelming majority then there is no question; barring some small companies nations all countries are so. But not all majoritarianism is similar and the majoritarianism of the USA is different from that of Israel, which is again different than that of say Iran. Pakistan may be majoritarian but better than the Gulf States which are better than Saudi Arabia.
    Actually I do agree also with the implication of your comment however that general populace in both Pakistan and India are quite similar, and quite illiberal. India though a liberal democracy has a long way to go, has had its pogroms and anti minority riots, Ayodhya and Delhi 1984.
    We still remain chauvinistic as individuals and our liberal wing is only slightly larger as a percentage compared to yours. No one contends that the firmly secular and liberal nature of the leadership in the initial years of our country and constitution making played a decisive role in where we are today. However we have something else. We retain diversity that was lost to Pakistan soon after its formation when the minorities were actively hounded out.
    .
    The ‘stability’ and ‘good leadership’ that you mention, it did not just happen by chance; but by necessity; of governing a very diverse population. Most India watchers abroad feign surprise at how mellow Modi had been in his first year as a PM and how little change in day to day life the minorities have seen. Knowledgeable Indians know that it could not have been otherwise.
    Try as anyone might, in diverse societies with sizable minorities, to be effective the government can either govern as a centrist or not at all.
    In other words the responsibility of governance roughs out the abrasive edges of the leadership so that it (as well as most of their followers) then move towards the middle; sometimes by conviction at other times grudgingly. This pull towards moderation would have been difficult if not impossible if we had consciously striven to become a homogeneous population. If you read the article I linked one more time it made the exact point, though tangentially.
    Regards.

  • kalay

    to PTH


    Scared of brahmins because dishonest guys are afraid of of their own slanders against them.
    A fascist religion from Arabia can exist only by slandering and terrorizing.

  • Javaid

    My point in mentioning the Bosnians, Muhajirs was not to cherrypick, but to simply point out the fact that your abject rejection of the TNT (by which we essentially mean religious identity) throws hammers in many different identities, especially those displaced by religion.
    .
    You are right that identity conscious should be managed but at the same time it should also be respected, something which the proponents of a United India were clearly unable to do.
    .
    Afterall, according to your civic nationalism should a Hindu or Muslim not be able to adopt a religious identity if he so wishes?… or is this a no go limits for this civic nationalism?
    .
    Even in the US and Canada which you so admire, Native American populations (after years of brutal treatment) have been given the right to refer to themselves as the first nations of the land. This would probably be a failure as a political idea, but these people do consider themselves “different nations” nonetheless. There is no need for the US to clamp down on this narrative and it doesn’t lead to violence either.
    .
    My point in stating this is by no means to compare the Muslims to the Native Americans as Muslims have be fared infinitely better but to show that different nations even as articulated by the TNT could have lived as one if better managed. So pointing fingers and (veiled) accusations of disunity at the TNT fall flat from this perspective.
    .
    Regards

  • Gorki

    Dear Javaid:
    .
    You will have to elaborate the first point. Sorry couldn’t understand.
    .
    “Afterall, according to your civic nationalism should a Hindu or Muslim not be able to adopt a religious identity if he so wishes?… or is this a no go limits for this civic nationalism?
    .
    Why not?
    Civic nationalism has nothing to do with the identity the citizens wants to pick so a question doesn’t arise as to any ‘no go’ areas.
    All civic nationhood means is this:
    As far as the State (legislature, executive, judiciary etc.) is concerned it will be identity blind when dealing with citizens. In other words one’s identity does not confer any advantage or disadvantage on the citizen.
    .
    “…as the first nations of the land. This would probably be a failure as a political idea, but these people do consider themselves “different nations” nonetheless…”
    .
    Why would that be a failure of the political idea?
    It is ‘United States of America…” A Union of States (nations) Similarly India has many ‘nations’ within it even today. A separate nation does not mean each nation should necessarily be a Nation-State too; no?
    .
    Listen, again I have no problem with the Muslims referring themselves as a nation (many Sikhs I know do it too).
    The Republic of India that is there is seen by many of us, yours truly included, as a Union of many -groups, tribes, nations.. what ever you want to call it; all equal with an equal stake in the State.
    Agreed it doesn’t always work that way but that is the task before us, to make it so 🙂
    Regards.

  • Javaid

    “A separate nation does not mean each nation should necessarily be a Nation-State too; no?”
    “I have no problem with the Muslims referring themselves as a nation ”
    .
    In a way, couldn’t this be interpreted as an acceptance of the TNT then? Other than this point, I am in agreement in your views regarding people being able to choose their identity and agree that the TNT should not be a pillar of the Pakistani or Indian state today.
    .

  • Gorki

    Dear Javaid Sahib:
    Thank you for your posts.
    I think we have little disagreement.
    Even on the TNT, as you define it, there is little to quibble about.
    TNT was a historic argument and I agree with some here that it was proposed as a political statement in response to a ONT.
    The 1940s were unsettling times, nationalism was rife and the World had seen the worst global devastation in the name of nationalism. Under such circumstances a fear of domination by a more numerous group is understandable.
    Now in 2015 I hope we have evolved a bit more and understand not only the benefits but also risks of unbridled nationalistic passions. I hope India and Pakistan continue to move towards civic nationhood for the sake of our peoples.
    Regards.

  • Kaal

    Latest article by. Tufail Ahmed
    .
    Why Not Constitutional Path For Muslims?
    .
    Imagine this: I am a five-year-old girl, hungry since yesterday, wearing torn clothes, begging for a few coins at a traffic light. Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s motorcade stops; my hands stretch out to him and he asks: Are you a Muslim? I fumble: my religion, I am hungry. He does not respond; he proceeds to the 50th anniversary celebrations of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), an Islamist organisation that has opposed reforms among Muslims. “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful,” wrote the Roman philosopher Seneca.
    .
    Having served as a diplomat in Muslim countries, Ansari understands Islam’s role in politics. Addressing the AIMMM, he praised Narendra Modi’s slogan of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas (Together with all, Development for all) but argued: “affirmative action” is a “pre-requisite” for Muslims’ progress. In other words, he advocated quota for Muslims. Like Asaduddin Owaisi, Ansari is unhappy that backward castes among Muslims already get reservation.
    .
    Before 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was demanding separate territory for those who believed in Islam. Ansari wants quota for those who believe in Islam. For Jinnah and Ansari, Islam must become a criterion of politics and policy-making. Unfortunately for Ansari, when India was engulfed in the Partition’s religious bloodshed, the Indian Republic’s founders. rose above religion and authored a Constitution that rejected any role for religion.
    .
    Any attempt by Ansari and others to insert Islam as a criterion of politics must be condemned. Keeping with the constitutional ideal, it is time India’s youth spoke outrageously against leaders who advocate quota in the name of religion and caste. Ansari’s concern might be Muslims, but youths’ concern should be the nation’s daughter at the traffic light.
    .
    In the 1857 war, Hindus and Muslims fought together. After that, Muslims — noted the late Muslim reformer Hamid Dalwai — missed historical opportunities for progress: Sir Syed’s renaissance movement among Muslims emerged in opposition to Hindus; Muslim leaders failed to align with Hindus during the freedom struggle. After 1947, this Muslim separatism was bolstered through riots-for-vote politics and the practice of secularism to keep Muslims in their cocoon. Instead of ending this vacuum, Ansari is using the quota politics to keep Muslims separated from mainstream.
    .
    There are about 40 lakh central government jobs. To Ansari: let’s assume all jobs are given to Muslims. Will that end the Muslim backwardness? Barack Obama became America’s first black president because he led all Americans, not just the blacks. India is yet to produce a Muslim who could present himself as the leader of all Indians.
    .
    At the AIMMM event, Ansari spoke as the leader of Muslims, not as the nation’s Vice-President. Indians are in search of a Muslim politician in the mould of APJ Abdul Kalam, not Hamid Ansari.
    .
    Some journalists noted that Ansari also urged Muslims to begin reform through ijtihad, consensus by reasoning. Ansari too could do ijtihad in his thinking and come out with a new politics in tune with the Constitution, not compliant with Islam. A numerical definition of ‘minority’ is inadequate to explain the Muslim situation. For example, the blacks were in majority during the Apartheid in South Africa, but practically a minority as they were subjugated.
    .
    Qualitatively, Indian Muslims do not qualify as a minority. Only women, Scheduled Castes and Tribes are India’s first sociological minorities because they are subjugated while Muslims conduct themselves as a politically vocal group, not a sign of subjugation. It is our criminal silence that Indian kids are begging at traffic lights while the nation’s debate is conducted in the name of religion.
    .
    Media sucks up to the political class, which loves to be sucked. People like Ansari may not understand this: India has tools to measure poverty; it could grant reservation to those holding BPL (below poverty line) cards. There are other ways. Under the Constitution, all children aged between 6-14 years must be in school, not begging at bus stops, but they wouldn’t be brought into television studios before journalists verify their religion. Ansari must keep in mind: the Sachar-like reports were produced to serve official secularism.
    .
    To Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind: you agitate for Muslim quota but when did Islam begin serving only Muslims? Why is it that Islam cannot speak for all? How is it that a poor Muslim deserves your voice, not a poor Hindu? A Muslim agenda could be: if Muslims are backward, you could advocate jobs for all. If Muslims are in jails, advocate justice for all. If Muslims lag behind, open a school for Hindus and Muslims alike, as Christians and Hindus do. On July 25, a Muslim girl refused to take a pre-medical examination because it required her to remove burqa: blame the burqa, not the government if she remains backward.
    .
    Ansari’s speech is troubling. Teaching Muslims, he said: “modernity has become a tainted expression” and added: “The instrumentality of adaptation to change, ijtihad, is frowned upon… Forgotten is its purpose, defined by the late Sheikh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi as ‘the ability to cope with the ever-changing pattern of life’s requirements’. Equally relevant is Imam Al-Ghazali’s delineation of the ambit of Maslaha — protection of religion, life, intellect, lineage and property.”
    .
    Of all, Al-Ghazali is the 11th century Islamic jurist who single-handedly shut the door of ijtihad by advocating unquestioning faith against reason, ending Islam’s golden age from 8-12th centuries during which Muslims were translating Aristotle and Plato. Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, argued: “Muslims needed to rediscover the teachings of Al-Ghazali and proclaim themselves ‘holy warriors’ (jihadists) in the path of Allah.”
    .
    Maslaha, singular of Masaleh, looks good when translated as pragmatism but its deeper meaning is: expedience. In
    .
    October-December 2011, Aligarh-based journal Tahqeeqat-e-Islami argued: Islam is based on “expedience.” It quoted 14th century jurist Ibn Taymiyyah, the father of jihadists, as saying: “jurists are unanimous on the presence of prudence and expedience in the commandments of Shariah.” It quoted Prophet Muhammad as saying: one who leaves Islam should be killed as expedience to safeguard Islam. Ansari’s mention of Al-Ghazali and Maslaha will gladden the hearts of Islamists and jihadists.