It is neither new nor unique that some Muslims support Hindutva. Like many other features the resurgent religious fascism in India borrows from Germany and Italy where reviled minorities ended up aligning with their tormentors
By Jawed Naqvi
TWO media-savvy Muslim clerics have covertly offered their support to Narendra Modi. Maulana Mehmood Madani represents a faction of the Sunni Jamiatul Ulema-i-Hind.
Maulana Kalbe Sadiq speaks for a section of India’s Shias. There are several other clerics, initially hand-reared by the Congress to flaunt India’s garbled depiction of secularism under the canopy of the Muslim Personal Law Board.
They too are waiting for their chance in the political backrooms for a high yield auction of votes. Some have rushed to Sonia Gandhi. Others are negotiating the terms with state-level leaders in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and so on.
It stands to reason that if some of the Muslim clerics can support the right-wing Hindu ideologue other Muslims too could work for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and they do.
The shadowy Indian Mujahideen (IM), whose origins and purposes are as dubious as the fake encounters of young men and also women that are staged by intelligence agencies and their political minders, chiefly in Gujarat, did their bit for Narendra Modi in Patna the other day.
By killing six innocent people and injuring several more with their crude bombs at his rally they gave a fillip to Modi as only they can do. They may not be Modi’s hirelings but they seem to have an agenda that tallies with his.
It is no longer strange to observe how every time the mysterious IM explode crude bombs they help the BJP and right-wing associates in the government to thrust India more resolutely towards a militarist state.
Even when Muslims are the victims of bombings, including those blamed on Hindu extremists, such as the blasts on the Samjhauta Express, the ultimate political beneficiary is the Hindu right.
The other day in Uttar Pradesh Narendra Modi exhorted Muslims to come to his rally wearing their traditional skullcaps and burqas. Like the Congress, the BJP too fishes for Muslim support by pandering to their religious stereotypes.
It is not surprising, therefore, that Muslims wearing skullcaps are leading the main movement for the restoration of the Babri Masjid. Objectively, they are in cahoots with Modi’s men who demolished the mosque in the first place, the ones that wear saffron headbands with tinsel. Old-fashioned liberals would describe this bonding as unity in obscurantism.
Together, the two undercut the liberal discourse and also simultaneously undermine secular politics.
It is neither new nor unique that some Indian Muslims support Hindutva. Like many other features of India’s resurgent religious fascism the country borrows several examples from Germany and Italy where reviled minorities ended up aligning with their tormentors.
The web is crawling with reference books on Hitler’s Jewish collaborators in various fields and they should not be confused with the Uncle Tom syndrome among the blacks in America.
There is this fascinating review by William Hughes of Lenni Brenner’s book of about 10 years ago titled, 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis.
The book, according to Hughes, showed how the Zionists had a long history of cooperation with the Nazis, especially after Adolf Hitler had come to power in 1933. “The Zionists were also in bed, to some extent, with the other members of what later became known as WWII’s ‘Axis of Evil,’ that included Benito Mussolini’s Italy, and Tojo Hideki’s Japan.”
Brenner gives another example of the Third Congress of the Jewish Community of the Far East in Japanese occupied China. “At that time, too, Tokyo was already aligned with Hitler and Italy’s Mussolini, in the notorious Anti-Comintern Pact.”
Now we can go back to the ramblings of Guru Golwalkar in the 1940s or even earlier. The Mussolini-loving ideologue had praised Hitler’s treatment of the Jews, and in a book still in vogue with his followers he prescribed the same medicine for the Muslims in India.
Like the strange Jews of Germany and Italy, this hasn’t deterred some of India’s Muslims from aligning with Hindutva.
The rise of Narendra Modi is more recent, but, like his Guru’s anti-Muslim vitriol, it too has its roots in India’s colonial history.
To defeat the formidable challenge posed by Hindu-Muslim unity in 1857, British intellectuals and historians devised a policy to sow suspicion between India’s two largest communities. Modi is a byproduct of that successful strategy. Europe’s racially inspired political theories completed the package of simmering hatred. The two-nation theory was propounded by Hindu and Muslim politicians alike. People do tend to forget that it was Hindu idol Vir Savarkar who had originally propounded the essentials of the two-nation theory.
Challenging the theory, of course, is the reality of the world’s second largest Muslim population living in India. Brazen lies, a feature of Mussolini’s rise in Italy, are used to implicate this or that group of Muslims in cases of subversion. Liberal Hindus too are at the receiving end.
The other day, a Hindi scholar known for his support of Hindutva spread the canard that Parikshit Sahani, son of the leftist movie actor BalrajSahani had become a Christian evangelist. Parikshit’s letter of rebuttal was never published. Any lie will do.
Prime minister Nehru did not attend Sardar Patel’s funeral, so said Narendra Modi at a rally. That was enough to send secular activists into a tizzy. They had to dig out newspaper clippings and other visual proofs of Nehru’s presence in the procession to heave a sigh of relief.
A major rally is planned in Delhi by what remains of “the left and democratic forces”. It seeks to bring respite from the political melee of people running helter-skelter without a single real agenda being discussed. Rahul Gandhi is on a victimhood trip of his assassinated forebears when he is not railing against ISI getting the better of the Muslim victims of Muzaffarnagar. The left is busy retrieving its lost pocket boroughs in Kerala and West Bengal, just the right time for Muslim clerics to go on their gold hunt.
- Jawed Naqvi is a senior Indian journalist and the correspondent of ‘Dawn’ in New Delhi.