Tag Archives: Communalism

Amaresh Misra, the candidate of Ulema Council from Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency

We are posting an excellent statement released from Lucknow that slams communal forces for attacking the Election
commission on the Varun Gandhi issue. Amesh Mishra the candidate is backed by the Ulema Council.  PTH posted several pieces on Varun Gandhi and many communal visitors sent us email and some also left comments. The purpose of the earlier posts was not to denigrate India or Indians but to condemn what needs to be condemned. As South Asians we immediately get encouraged by such trends. We have to counter intolerance and bigotry of all kinds. Raza Rumi

While speaking at election rallies in the old Lucknow town area on 23-4-2009 and 24-3-2009, Amaresh Misra, the candidate of Ulema Council from Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency, slammed communal forces for attacking the Election commission on the Varun Gandhi issue. Accusing Mr.Varun Gandhi of violating Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the Indian constitution, Mr. Misra said that through Varun Gandhi, the BJP is trying to create another Narendra Modi. Continue reading

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Yes, Varun Gandhi is a scary bigot

Raza Rumi

PTH’s post and the subsequent sharp comments have attracted some ire among the readers as to what is Varun Gandhi issue doing here? Indeed, the question merits some deliberation. We in Pakistan are constantly being demonised by the Indian mainstream media as a ‘terrorist’ country and that we are a great threat to the ‘secular’, shining India. Varun gandhi’s remarks as the saner elements of Indian media and commentators are saying only show that people have gotten away with such crap. The fissures in the secular Indian democracy get even more evident when such speeches are delivered.

Varun Gandhi’s remarks on Muslims, hate speech that goes beyond all measures of ‘hate speech’ concerns us as it only exposes us to brigades of hatred, communalism and violence across the border. If our jihadis or Islamists get inordinate attention then why should a bigoted idiot like the young Gandhi not worry us? Imagine if by a stroke of misfortune he comes to power surely we are all set to be chopped off as we – the Muslims – have ‘scary’ names; and that Pakistan would be the next target once Narendara Modi-esque pogroms are completed against Indian Muslims. Continue reading

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“It will cut off Muslims’ heads- Jai Shri Ram”: Nehru’s grandson

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

If Nehru could see this, he would probably not be as blind to the religion and caste-based ugliness of his constituents as he was when he refused to recognize that there was some logic to Muslim grievances.  If the scion of the supposedly secular Nehru-Gandhi family could use such language what should one say of others?  

Varun Gandhi reminds one of our own Mr. Aamir Liaqat Hussain.  One suspects that both had sheltered upbringing as is obvious from the copious amounts of baby fat on their faces and one also suspects that there might be greater issues pyschologically, mentally and indeed self image that are at play.

Continue reading

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History and Interpretations:Communalism and Problems of Indian Historiography 4

Posted by Shaheryar Ali

History and interpretation – Communalism and problems of historiography in India

by Irfan Habib*

IF one looks back at 1947 to find out in what ways it brought about changes in the approach to the medieval (that is, the post-ancient, pre-British, and, in much of earlier discourse, the ‘Muslim’) period of India’s history, a few major shifts of emphasis could, perhaps, be immediately identified.

First of all, Partition meant that the two communalist camps, Hindu and Muslim, found two different ‘national’ homes. Until 1947 there had been a running debate between the advocates of the two communities. But with 1947, the Muslim side in the communal historical debate shifted entirely to Pakistan, where in its seemingly final version, the history of ‘Muslims in India’ was now projected as a struggle for a separate nation right from A.D. 712, when Muhammad ibn Qasim entered Sind at the head of an Arab army. This was the reading of history pursued with much energy by the late Ishtiaq Husain Quraishi, and as recently as January this year the publication has been announced of a two-volume Road to Pakistan, its Vol.I comprising a 653-page account of “the period from A.D. 712 to 1858”, written by “eminent historians and scholars of Pakistan” and edited by Hakim Mohammad Said of Hamdard (Karachi).

In India, the contrary interpretation found its high priest in the well-known historian R. C. Majumdar. To him the entire period from c. 1200 onwards was one of foreign rule; Muslims were alien to Indian (Hindu) culture; the Hindus, oppressed and humiliated, wished nothing better than to slaughter “the Mlechhas” (Muslims); the British regime was a successor more civilised than “Muslim rule”; yet real opposition to the British came from Hindus, not Muslims, even in 1857; and, finally, the national movement’s course was throughout distorted by concessions made to Muslims by Gandhiji, who was so much personally to blame for Partition. This view runs like a red thread in the volumes of History and Culture of the Indian People (first volume issued 1951), published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan with financial assistance from the Government of India, and edited by R. C. Majumdar, whose great industry must extract admiration from his worst critics. (An early critic was D. D. Kosambi, who wrote that if Islam was so alien to India as the original patron of the series, K. M. Munshi, and its editor R. C. Majumdar thought, then they should have worried about their own “good Muslim professional names”!). Majumdar went on to author texts on the Rebellion of 1857 and the freedom movement in which the same stance was firmly maintained. Though after Majumdar’s death (1980), there has not appeared on the scene a historian of similar calibre in the Hindutva (or even the ‘soft Hindutva’) camp, the often unproven hypotheses and inferences that he bequeathed have all become firm truths for a very large number of educated people in India. Continue reading

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History and Interpretations:Communalism and Problems of Indian Historiography 3

This is the third part of the history’s diverse interpretations and their contribution in understanding the world. Indeed, we are not bound by any, nor is any particular version a gospel of truth but as analytical tools these approaches enable us to make sense of the mess that we know, preach and live with as History. Readers are encouraged to comment and indicate examples that validate or challenge the various ways of interpreting History. [Raza Rumi – Ed]

Shaheryar Ali

we have explained, the “critical” turn of “Modern History”, we have covered, the debate of Marxism and History, the various models, the critique of Nationalism as a philosophy, the advent of “Orientalism”, “Post-colonial critique”, the “critique of modernism”. Critique of “civilizing missions”.

The project of modernity, including the “Enlightenment” have come under critique, the new historiographies focus on the “oriental” and “euro centric” mind set of Modern thinkers. Tariq Ali for examples says:

“How many citizens have any real idea of what the Enlightenment really was? French philosophers did take humanity forward by recognising no external authority of any kind, but there was a darker side. Voltaire: “Blacks are inferior to Europeans, but superior to apes.” Hume: “The black might develop certain attributes of human beings, the way the parrot manages to speak a few words.” There is much more in a similar vein from their colleagues. It is this aspect of the Enlightenment that appears to be more in tune with some of the generalized anti-Muslim ravings in the media. (Tariq Ali in “This is the real out rage”)

Here we see the usefulness of Marxist historiography, the belief in “Purposefulness of History”. When George Bush started his War on Terror, what were the philosophical justifications? It was once again, the good old “modernizing mission”. The war to preserve “civilization” from old backward “barbarians”. Hence the term “Neo-colonialism”.

Ali is trying to make a connection between modernism and neo-colonialism and imperialism.

I want to address yet another question, for the sake of clarity here. We live in epoch of confusion and hyper-reality. Capitalism in form of imperialism has created the greatest propaganda system that ever existed, the “free media”. Continue reading

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History and Interpretations: Communalism and Problems of Indian Historiography 2

by Shaheryar Ali

We have analyzed, the origins of “communal historiography”, the “socio-political construction” of communal-identities, the conversion of “communal politics into Religious Nationalism.

Here we have given a critique of Colonial Historiography, by the secular-nationalist historians of India. What becomes clear is that colonialism in  India  resulted in formation of 3 types of Nationalism, which Romila Thapar characterizes as Anti-colonial Indian Nationalism, Hindu and Muslim Nationalism, both of whom were not anti-colonial but relied on colonialism for their historical legitimacy, we have demonstrated that looking into history and culture of India in terms of “Muslim” and “Hindu” was essentially British. Continue reading

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History and Interpretation:Communalism and Problems of Historiography

Shaheryar Ali

There has been an interesting debate going on in the pages of PakTea House e-zine regarding Indian history. This debate is also at the heart of the “history wars” which are  going on in India and Pakistan. In Pakistan it has acquired a specific character because , a version of  communal historiography had to be adopted to built “Pakistani Nationalism”.

When a nation state was to be built on Muslim identity and Muslim separatism, it had to rely on a version of history which starts with Muslim invaders, all the debates in such form of history revolve around a particular community, in this case “Muslims”. It is supposed that somehow that community was always “separate”, “distinct” and somewhat independent of other people this community was living with. This type of history is just self-serving; it lives and thrives on a particular kind of politics. This communal or as thesedays its fashionable to call it “nationalist” politics, Hindu nationalist and Muslim nationalist politics. For this type of politics, history is just a tool to justify the contemporary politics with ancient events.

It therefore becomes important to demolish a historical structure, like Babri Mosque, as a symbol of “national revival”, correcting the “historical wrongs”, avenging the so called  Muslim colonialism. No one bothers , how many temples in India were demolished by Hindu rulers and how many mosques were demolished by Mujahid rulers. [Aurangzeb for example closed down the Shia Mosques in Hyderabad, and converted the main Imam bargahinto a horse stable, or Mahmood of Ghazni’s loot of mosques in Multan, which belonged to different sects]. Here Turkish invasion and Arab invasion of India becomes “Muslim Invasion”. The fact again finds no audience that Arabs fought along with locals against Turks in many towns. Continue reading

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