Sunday, November 30, 2008


clipped from:

My stepfather’s reaction came in the form of a text message the next day. It read:
  • “Pardon Afzal [Muhammad Afzal, accused of attacking the Indian parliament in 2001],
  • hang Sadhvi [a woman accused of participating in the only act of Hindu terrorism in a Muslim neighbourhood],
  • Ban the Bajrang Dal [a Hindu extremist organisation],
  • talk to Simi [a Muslim student organisation of which the Indian mujaheddin, responsible for a string of attacks in Indian cities, is said to be a part],
  • restrict the Amarnath pilgrimage [a Hindu pilgrimage that led to upheavals in the Kashmir valley last summer]
  • fund the Haj.
Wow! Truly, my India is great! Fwd 2all Hindus.”

a roll call of the issues and violence that have divided Hindu and Muslim India over the past year.

Almost a call to arms, it contained the great, twofold rage that has grown in Hindu India:
  • the feeling that Islamic terrorism seeks to destroy the vigorous “new India”
  • and the suspicion that the state is either unable or unwilling to defend itself — for cynical reasons, such as shoring up the Muslim vote for the government.

Mumbai stands as a symbol of the new and energised India

Within hours of the attacks Hindu groups gathered
  • chanting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” (Victory to Mother India) and
  • singing “Vande Mataram” (Bow to you Mother), a patriotic song that Muslims had objected to as the choice for the national anthem because it implied obeisance to gods other than Allah.

When the terrorists say on their websites that they seek to break up India and reclaim it for Islam

And India has proved to be the softest of soft targets.

More than 4,000 Indians have died in terrorist attacks — the country is the second biggest victim of terror after Iraq and virtually every one of its big cities has faced a terrorist attack. Yet the government has no centralised terrorist database, its intelligence is abysmal and there is little evidence that the state knows who it is fighting.

disservice to Indian Muslims. When there are no real suspects, arrests or trials, everyone becomes a suspect. Already an underclass, with low literacy rates, low incomes and poor representation in government jobs, Indian Muslims are increasingly alienated

Nobody wants to listen to genuine grievances about poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in the face of a real threat to the country

some Indian Muslims are simply beginning to see their grievances as part of a global conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim.

the largest Muslim minority population in the world (13.4% of the population, or about 150m)

they are not immigrants.

a divide like this re-energised the Hindu nationalist BJP
The hour of men like Narendra Modi, who oversaw a pogrom of Indian Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, might have come at last.

Aatish Taseer is the author of Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands, to be published in March by Canongate.

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