By M Ghazali Khan
‘The situation was such that Pakistan was presenting a narrative. This narrative gave an impression that Indian Muslims are not with the government on this issue [abrogation of Art 370]. Not only this, but some of the phrases that have been used give a clear message that Indian Muslims are feeling suffocated [and besieged] and that they can take up arms. This is what was said yesterday in the UN as well. This means that, God forbid, if an incident [like this] occurs here, be it because of internal forces or external forces, the needle [of suspicion] will stop at Indian Muslims without delay…Think over it carefully. Khan Saheb [Imran Khan] is facing world pressure. Terrorism has been promoted and [terrorists] have been trained in his country. They have used it as a tool in different places at different times. Because of this, he is facing international pressure. And they will continue to do it [promote terrorism] in future. [Therefore] He is putting the Indian Muslims in the dock in advance.’
This was the reason presented by the General Secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Maulana Mahmood Madani, in Mufti Yasir Nadeemul Wajidi’s programme ‘Surgical Strike’ for travelling all the way to Geneva and holding a press conference there, along with some members of European Parliament.
There is no doubt that any statement from any Pakistani politician that can harm the interests and wellbeing of Indian Muslims MUST be condemned and opposed with full vehemence. But did Imran Khan really say anything that would force the Jamiat or any Muslim organisation to travel to Geneva and hold a press conference there?
In his more than 50 minutes speech Imran Khan spoke about the dangers of environmental pollution, Islamophobia in Europe, unfair ban on Hijab, intermittent incidents of blasphemy against Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the west and the emotional pain it causes to Muslims the world over.
To be fair to Imran Khan, this was the most candid speech ever delivered by a Muslim head of state on the floor of the UN. The most commendable aspect of Mr Khan’s speech for any Muslim is that not only did he deal with the fast-spreading Islamophobia in the western world but his was also the first-ever speech ever made by a Muslim leader in which world leaders were told, in no uncertain words, how much Muslims loved their Prophet who, ‘is the ideal we want to live up to.’
Imran Khan is also the first politician who has exposed the fascist ideology of RSS at this international platform. It was due to his constant onslaught on RSS and its ideology that forced RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat to meet international media in New Delhi and tell them that if any member of his organisation was found guilty of participating in mob lynching action would be taken against him.
In his UN speech, Imran Khan asked the world leaders, ‘Don’t you think that 180 Million Muslims will be radicalised in India as they see 8 million Kashmiris locked up? And what about 1.3 billion Muslims who are watching this knowing that this is only happening to Kashmiri Muslims.’
Interestingly, neither any Muslim organisation nor any fair-minded non-Muslim in India found anything outrageous in Imran Khan’s speech. And none of the Muslim leaders present during the speech heard anything that could be interpreted as an incitement or an appeal to the youths in their respective countries to reach Kashmir and join an Afghanistan like Jihad there. But, as an Urdu poet says, ‘Andhe ko andhere meN badi door ki soojhi’ (a blind person sitting in pitch-dark imagining bizarre things), ‘Hazrat Maulana’, perhaps suffering hallucinations, discovered conspiracies hidden in two words: ‘180 Muslims’.
This audacity on Imran Khan’s part was too much for the Maulana to tolerate. He alleged that Mr Khan had been trying to drag and involve Indian Muslims in the controversy even before going to the UN. Therefore, he rushed to Geneva and held a joint press conference along with some members of the European Parliament to tell the world about Pakistan’s designs to implicate Indian Muslims in Kashmir dispute.
Despite being reminded that Imran Khan was talking about Kashmir situation and not Indian Muslims, Maulana Madani continued insisting that Imran Khan was trying to incite and involve Indian Muslims.
Imran Khan’s concern about the danger of Indian Muslim youths being radicalised is shared by many in India, not only Muslims but fair-minded non-Muslims too who are opposed to Hindutva and have been speaking fearlessly against mob-lynchings and anti-Muslim propaganda sponsored and supported by BJP.
Mufti Yasir asked Mahmood Madani several pinching questions all of which were dodged with additional lies. Mufti Saheb should have reminded this fellow of Qur’anic injunction: ‘Do not confound Truth by overlaying it with falsehood, nor knowingly conceal the Truth.’ (Qur’an, 2:42)
This so-called ‘Islamic scholar’ shamelessly lied on record and denied that there was a curfew in Kashmir. He said that Kashmiris had locked themselves inside their houses as a protest. He refused to acknowledge the sufferings inflicted on Kashmiris who have been imprisoned in their houses, living without telephone and internet facilities, have no supply of food and medicines, whose men are picked from homes and tortured, who are witnessing abductions and tortures of their children and worse than all, their women being raped.
Why did he go to Geneva, who would have sponsored his trip and who would have organised the press conference in question is not hard for anyone to guess. You cannot hold a local press conference even with local journalists with the ease and agility with which his press conference was arranged in Geneva, especially when Madani cannot communicate properly in Urdu, his mother tongue, let alone any foreign language.
When asked why is it always Jamiat, his party, that keeps coming with unnecessary explanations on every issue, Madani responded with a counter-question saying, ‘Do you find no Sikh organisation during Khalistan movement condemning it?’
Only if someone could tell this gentleman the difference between opposing and deploring a separatist movement and unnecessarily going out of way in trying to please the fascist government.
If his memory is too weak, he needs to be reminded that, unlike shameless and insensitive Muslim leaders like himself, the Sikhs have not forgotten the mass killings of 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and have not forgiven those who had organised and participated in those pogroms. Because of their relentless efforts, careers of many leading Congress politicians have been destroyed. To show his anger over Operation Blue Star, late Khushwant Singh had returned his Padam Bhushan award.
Sikhs do not have brazenly selfish, self-serving, megalomaniac and sycophant leaders like Madani who have forgotten the rapes of Muslim women, in Gujarat, Muzaffarnagar and want to do the same with regard to Kashmir. To show Jamiat Bhakts how a self-respecting man, conscious of the welfare, respect, dignity and interests of his community behaves in such moments, let me quote some excerpts from veteran British journalist Mark Tully’s book Amritsar: Mrs Gandhi’s Last Battle. He writes:
‘The most crucial Sikh was now President Zail Singh. He let Mrs Gandhi know that he was deeply distressed by the attack on the Golden Temple, and his officials let other Indians know that their first Sikh President was thinking of resigning. This would have caused an unprecedented constitutional crisis… Zail Singh insisted on seeing the Golden Temple. Mrs Gandhi reluctantly agreed, although the Generals had told her that even the parikarama had not yet been cleaned and that they could not be sure they had recovered all the dead bodies. They also warned that they could not guarantee the President’s security… Later Zail Singh admitted that he had hardly been able to control his tears when he saw the Golden Temple…
‘When Zail Singh returned to Delhi he cancelled his commitment to present the National Film Awards, one of the great events of the year in India, but he decided against resigning. Instead, he insisted on writing his own broadcast to the nation and he told Mrs Gandhi that he would criticise the Congress government and his old enemy Darbara Singh. To Mrs Gandhi that seemed a small price to keep the President in office.’ (Jonathan Cape, London, 1985).
In contrast, we remember Madani Saheb, the news published in some newspapers and circulating on social media in December 2013 about you using Narendra Modi’s bulletproof car during your tour to Ahmadabad.
This may sound rather unpalatable to dig up painful incidents of the past but at times, for a better understanding of the present, looking into history becomes necessary, no matter how painful some incidents are. And for this reason I would like to remind the readers of 1980 Moradabad massacre of Muslims that had shaken to the core each and every Muslim and fair-minded non-Muslim in the country, on which late Syed Shahabuddin—indeed the same Shahabuddin who was defamed by Jamiat Bhakts as a BJP agent, something none of the past or Jamiati leaders, including the father and the son in question, has had the courage to say publicly—and late G. M. Banatwala had delivered very moving speeches in the parliament and Azam Khan in UP assembly.
Even in those depressing times, Asad Madani, the self-styled Fida-e-Millat, late Maulana Asad Madani (may Allah forgive him), was desperate to please the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi. When the students of Aligarh Muslim University were demonstrating against this massacre at the Delhi Boat Club, he was sent to mollify and persuade them to go back to Aligarh. It was Waseem Ahmad (Bhindi), who later became Rajya Sabha MP who saw him approaching the students. As soon as he saw him, he cried, ‘Lo, here comes the founder of Millat Katao Tehreek, sarcastically referring to Maulana’s Mulk-O-Millat Bachao Tehreek that the late Maulana had launched to support Mrs Gandhi. Since he is no more, I would not go into the details of he was received there.
In those days he faced Muslims’ wrath wherever he went. On one occasion stones were pelted at his car near Muzaffarnagar in which he and one of his sons, it might have been Mahmood Madani himself, were reported to have sustained injuries.
This reminds me of yet another incident that had taken place, perhaps in 1972, much before Moradabad massacre. Badar Kazmi, General Secretary of UP Muslim Majlis, then a young man, perhaps in his 20s and an active member of Youth Majlis, had organised a programme in the Jama Masjid of Deoband. Other known young activists, who were part of this programme included known Urdu columnist and writer Maulana Nadeemul Wajidi, father of Mufti Yasir Nadeemul Wajidi and Shahid Hasan, who had been expelled from AMU for agitating against Government’s decision to abolish University’s minority character and has recently retired as a senior officer in Intelligence Bureau. However, it cannot be said with certainty whether or not Maulana Nadeemul Wajidi was present in the mosque at that time. All three were in their 20s and I was a school student, perhaps 13 or 14 then. I and other boys of my age were and admired their fearless activism.
In order to foil the programme some local politicians and Jamiat Bhakts in the town hatched a plot according to which Maulana Asad Madani would lead Juma prayers and would suddenly go to the pulpit without congregators’ prior knowledge. But soon after the khutba Azan as Asad Madani proceeded towards the pulpit, Badar Kazmi stood up to walk out of the mosque, followed by others, and what he and others said to the Maulana and how the mosque resounded with laughter, I should better avoid going into details of it. Badar Kazmi himself has himself published the details of it on his Facebook wall and in the comments column of Urdu version of this article.
In his Surgical Strike Interview, Mahmood Madani has also referred to some old speeches, delivered in 1958, by late Maulana Hifzur Rehman saheb (1900 – 2 August 1962) and Dr Syed Mahmud Saheb and has tried to misguide the younger generation. He will never talk about how Maulana Hifzur Rehman, Dr Syed Mahmud and Professor Humayun Kabeer were frustrated with the step-motherly treatment of Muslims by the Government and how, much to the annoyance of senior Congress politicians, had found themselves compelled to hold a Muslim Convention on 11-12 June 1961 leading to the formation of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat.
According to Syed Sabahauddin Abdur Rahman: “Dr Saheb narrates that Pundit Nehru did not like holding the Convention. But disregarding his displeasure he went ahead in organising the Convention and was elected as its Chair. This was the first ever large gathering of Muslims held 13 years after the country’s independence. His address in it, as the Chair, was very forceful. Some extracts of his speech reverberated all over the country. In it he said that ‘Muslims are being treated like criminals, traitors and as second class citizens. Muslims will not accept the status as second class citizens at any cost.’ Pundit Nehru had mixed reactions to these allegations. He was saddened by the points raised by his old comrade and expressed his displeasure with Dr Saheb. But according to Dr Saheb, Pundit Jib found himself compelled to say: ‘Although I consider the second-class citizen’ allegation as wrong; yet when someone like Syed Mahmood is saying this, we must give it a thought. This is a matter of shame that due to our shortcomings Muslims are thinking like this.’”