Two Guise of Lucknow – A Travelogue

By Anwar Ali Tsarpa

It usually happens that most of the planned trips remain mere surreal, and most of trips that took place are unplanned. So, I suggest, plan not just board. In such a sudden tour I reached Lucknow. Dawn was looming. I grabbed an auto to Hussain Gunj; a Muslim dominated area in Old Lucknow. Travelling in an auto at dawn was like sunny day after snowfall where even weak airstream carries small particles of snow, making the day cold. I strolled around to find a cup of tea to keep me warm to fight the morning chill weather. For a milk loaded, deep good quantity tea in Thakur Ganj the chai walla charged only 5 rupees that would have cost at least 10 in Delhi.

I put myself in an autorickshaw to my friend’s place. In a small autorickshaw four people bound to sit in place of three. Four were facing towards us with their back towards the driver; one each on the right and left of the driver. It was ten people in a rickshaw of three. One man, probably new like me in the city dared to speak in satire language, “Bhai’ya chaat khali hai” (Brother the rooftop is empty). Other passengers smiled; driver choose not to respond but starred. Memories of similar cases in Delhi clicked my mind. I was told by a friend, a resident of Batla House in Delhi, that the similar rickshaws in Delhi called the “Grameen Sewa”, and number of mini-buses that runs from Maharani Bagh to Abul Fazal, belongs to Pradhan of the area. Even the Phat Phat Sewa that runs from Jama Masjid to Batla House belongs to a rich man in Old Delhi. The owner has a daily turnover of five-six lakh from all source of income. Even the police “don’t dare to say anything” to them; “when the battery rickshaw banned in Delhi, rickshaw’s belonging to Pradhan were roaming freely”.

People in Lucknow wear dark clothes, sweater, mostly in different shades of grey, blue or brown. Due to harsh winter morning, they cover their head with a muffler from cheek to the upper side, opening face and back side of the head. After emergence of Delhi’s Chief Minister Arwind Kejriwal in politics he is portrayed as the icon man of this fashion, “The Muffler Man”. Women wear a scarf in pink, orange and rarely white.

I was reconnoitering the city of Nawabs. Most of the signboards in Lucknow are in Hindi. Now, most enterprises use both Hindi and English. Sigh Board of government offices is in dual language Hindi and Urdu. Names of some business units are as: Tathagat Yoga, Shri Sai Business, Agarwal Jewellers, Dastar Khan, Radhy Shyam Sweets, Gadha Bandar, Chappan Bhog etc. Lucknow which is considered to be the domicile place of Urdu seems to have disowned the language. The city known for its Nawabi culture and sweet flavour in language are now like a fairytale. Rare sigh boards would find in Urdu and few with Arabic “Al” (the) to articulate that the enterprise belongs to Muslim. Even on many places the combination of “Al” is wrong in grammatical terms.

The walls and pillars in the city are painted with graffiti paintings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses or leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mahatma Gandhi; that I had not observed in my past tours to the city in 2016. On various chowk statue of leaders like Kashiram, Mayawati, Jyotiba Phule, Ambedkar, Nehru, Gandhi, Maharana Pratap etc. are erected. The whole city has hoardings of BJP leaders like Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Yogi Adityanath, Akhilesh Yadav (BSP) etc. Even young youth leaders also have hanged huge hoardings all over the city that gives a peculiar look. One hoarding regarding the Babri Mosque that catches my attention was:

“Chalo Chalo Ayodhya:

Supreme court ka hai samman, Mandir hai is dash ka maan!

Hindu Muslim sab nay mana, Ram Mandir wah’in banana! – Sawpinal Singh”.

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It remembered me the news reports that such hoardings had used in violence ridden Muzaffarnagar to ignite communal discord.

Due to receiving me as an uninvited guest at my friend’s place it took some time to prepare the breakfast. Thus, his father pushed a Hindi paper “Dainik Jagran” towards me. I have not that hold on comprehension in Hindi to read a newspaper. But I could read the headlines. From the front-page story, I came to know that as many as 10 lakh students of the 66 lakh-odd who registered for the Uttar Pradesh Board exams have skipped their papers in the first four days of the cycle, the highest in five years.

After having a roti with desi ghee, I went to ISKCON temple at Shaheed Path, Lucknow. They were celebrating the day (13 February) as the sixth anniversary of Bagwan’s entry on the place. According to the speaker inside, the temple established on the same day in 2013. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), has the responsibility to broadcast Vedic knowledge in English medium. Abhay expound the Vedic conclusion that real freedom means liberation from the miseries of material life: birth, death, old age and disease, a state that can be permanently attained by awakening one’s pure love for God. One of the aims of the temple is to provide free food daily so that no one in the 10 km radius of the temple sleeps hungry.

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Janeshwar Mishra Park falls on the way, operating in Gomti Nagar. The lust green park, lush freshness, water bodies, and silence remind me of summers in home-town Kargil. Claimed to be Asia’s largest park, it is made in memory of late politician Janeshwar Mishra Sharif Bhai from Samajwadi Party.

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Developed with a cost of 168 crores, the park measures around 376 acres. Two large water bodies on the site have been developed with a view to harness migratory birds and provide a haven for birds in winter and summer months through the creation of lagoons and marshy lands. Due to the shift in government from Samajwadi to BJP the site has not fully developed as per the plan. The new government has also neglected the park; as a result, remained deserted from various necessary facilities. Due to unavailability of electric vehicles in such a huge park we were tired.

We landed our bums on the two-wheeler and moved the direction towards Lucknow’s popular “Tunday Kababi” at Kapoor Tala, Ali Ganj for dinner. Tunday Kabab, also known as Buffalo meat galouti kebab is a dish made out of minced meat. It incorporates 160 spices with other ingredients that include finely minced buffalo meat, plain yogurt, garam masala, grated ginger, crushed garlic, ground cardamom, powdered cloves, melted ghee, dried mint, small onions cut into rings, vinegar, sugar, lime. The restaurant embarked in 1905 is famous for serving buffalo meat galouti kebab. The restaurant was discontinued for a period when Yogi Adityanath government had banned buffalo kebabs after a crackdown on “illegal” slaughterhouses.

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In the last week of March 2017, I was in Lucknow to present a research paper at a conference at Shakuntala University. I met my friend’s mom while returning from the conference. She said that “Beta, ab to Yogi ji ka raj hai. Ab to Ladkiyan daer raat tak goom sakte hai. Sab kuch accha hoga ab” (Son, its Yogi’s raj now. Now, ladies would be safe to roam late in the night. Everything will be fine). Today when I met her again, without poking her our last conversation I asked, how the Yogi is doing? She replied: “Kuch mat kaho, boht kharab hai; kuch b nhi badla” (Don’t talk, very disappointing. There is no development at all. Everything is in a mess). Then I reminded her of our last discourse. She immediately took a U-turn: “Beta, itna b kharab nhi hai!” (Son, it’s not that bad!”.

I had a feeling in the evening that I have seen a new image of Lucknow. Both ISCKON temple and Janeshwar Mishra Park are not part of old Lucknow’s Nawabi tahzeeb. During my past trip I had been to British Residency, Hazrat Ganj, Bada Imam Bada, Chota Imam Bada, Rumi Darwaza, Chattar Manzil, Begam Hazrat Mahal Park etc. Many of them are reflections of the Nawabi culture in Lucknow. The statues of freedom fighters on public places are icon of resistance. But at the same time statues and British colonial memorials in the Residency and in a small museum in Zoo are depicted in a heroic style. Is not this absurd and contradictory that both oppressors and the oppressed are in same line? This do not reflect the true face of history.

On the next day, we went to Amina Abad, an old market in Lucknow famous for its chiken embroidered garments. The Bazaar has operated since the time of Nawab of Awadh in the first half of 18th century. Now also, as the day breaks, the Aminabad market glittered with the sequins and colors of silk and muslin. Most customers are women. Beautiful black big eyes are the only part appears outside the Burqa of mostly women in Ameena Abad.

While returning, we gave a visit to Amir-ud-Daula Public Library situated between the lust green trees. The library has a collection of two lakh books on ancient Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu literature reflecting the true Lucknow’s tehzeeb under one roof. The Urdu section is in worse condition without proper order of the books. Termites also finish the dust loaded books. This is not the only place, similarly, Urdu literature in the 350-years-old Anglo-Arabic Secondary school library at Lahori Gate in Delhi is in worst condition.

To do away with tiredness Lucknow’s famous “Sharma Ji ka Chai” at Hazrat Ganj is the best choice. The first stall had installed in 1960; now have various branches in all over Lucknow. People stand even in a long queue to get a cup of tea with a potato loaded Samosa.

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The day was 14 February, the much-hyped Valentine Day. But in Yogi’s Lucknow, my friend, who had seen past Valentines in the city, was surprised over the disappearance of red teddy bears and valentine gifts from the market. We could see the Anti-Romeo Dals (or squads) to “ensure the safety of college-going girls” and “check eve-teasing”. But youth experience of them are like Haddi in Kabab (Bone in Kabab). One joke that roaming around in murmuring voice in the city was that the establishment would say “Na karengay na karna dengay” (Neither I do, nor allow others to do).

At night I choose to stay in the room of one of my friends from Kargil. In a Hindu dominated area, where his college locates, he was refused to rent a room due to his Muslim identity and domicile state, that is Jammu and Kashmir. Finally, he got a small room through a reference. With the fear of sacking from the room, people cook chicken clandestinely, eat in close-door and throw bones in a far place.

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Next day lunch was what I had waited anxiously, “Idrees Biryani”. A mutton Biryani popular in Lucknow. You won’t regret to pay 120 rupees for a quarter-kilo Biryani. My Hindu friend was waiting while I had lunch. Then to take him lunch we went to another popular place called “Bombay Pav Bhaji”.

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I waited for him to finish his food. When I returned from ISCKON temple his sister was astonishingly asking, do Anwar go to temple also? I offered my prayers even at his home. This is the coexistence and understanding of Hindus and Muslims in one part of Lucknow and there are others who permeate hatred on basis of religion. I came back with the question does Lucknow have two different guises: the radical jingoists and the moderate pluralists? Or is the city divided in Old and New Lucknow like the division of India and Bharat?

Kashmir will become a second Waziristan If…

Muslims divided the Indian Sub-continent that led to the creation of Pakistan.  They ruled over Indian Sub-continent for about 800 years before the British. There was no such demand of an independent Muslim country during those 800 years when they were ruling. During all these years, they created a new language for themselves, which they considered the first ever language of the Muslims. Urdu inherited words from mainly Persian and Arabic and is an Islamic modification of Hindi language. Muslims ruled the Indian Sub-continent and used Persian as the main language of their administration.

Pakistan Militant Leader
FILE – In this Tuesday, July 12, 2016 file photo, masked Kashmiri Muslim protesters shout pro freedom slogans in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Roaming freely in Pakistan, despite a $10 million bounty on his head, one of India???s most wanted men, Hafiz Saeed warns of demonstrations countrywide to force Pakistan to sever all ties with the United States if it cannot convince Washington to intervene in the decades old Kashmir dispute. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin, File)

Hindus and Sikhs who are indigenous civilizations to the Indian sub-continent lived among the Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan before the partition. Our forefathers who lived then tell us that none cared about religion as Hindus were considered as an integral part of our societies. They had shops, businesses and were living among us. We did not even think for a while that they are different, there was no such thing at all. But since the inception of Pakistani state in 1947, things began to change even in Afghanistan. We were taught or told that societies and villages having hindu populations would not receive Allah’s blessings and that their [hindus’] hearts are closed and that they would never accept Islam.

Pakistani state officially triggered this trend through indoctrination and streamlining the Muslims’ mass mentality and perceptions that hindus should either accept Islam or their societies would be under the Allah’s wrath. Muslims started to sideline and isolate Hindus in Pakistan and Afghanistan shortly after the inception of Pakistan in the villages of Khyber Pashtunkhwa and Afghanistan. Pakistani state policy of strengthening the ideology of two-nation theory manifested even in Afghanistan in a bid to create stronger foundations for its new born Islamist state. I would not here mention the forceful evacuations, looting and rape of the Hindus populations in major cities and townships of current day Pakistan. I focus on the ideological and systematic indoctrination that led to the current day crisis at Kashmir that has fed up the Indian state.

68 years later since the inception of Pakistan in 1947, the word Hindu has become the most cursed word among the Muslims of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It gives very negative connotations and meanings and is used as slang in Muslims day-to-day conversations. Hindus are the most prosecuted people in Pakistan and there are hardly few families currently living in Afghanistan as Pakistani backed Afghan Mujahideen took over Kabul in 1992, most of the hindu population left Afghanistan to take refuge in current day India or western countries. Now one can hardly find the remains of their relatives, temples and worship places.

Pakistani state security is deeply rooted in fanaticizing its Muslims and the Muslims in its neighborhood, supporting Islamic Extremism and Jihad in order to strengthen its two-nation theory. Pakistan occupied Baluchistan, Pashtun Tribal belt and even since its inception, has been trying to occupy Afghanistan in an effort to establish the two-nation theory as a strong basis for Muslims’ nationhood in South and Central Asia.

Pakistan established many madrasas for teaching and systematically indoctrinating its Muslims with South Asian Islam that primarily consider the Hindu as its core enemy, like Middle Eastern Islam considers Jew as its primary enemy. Most of the students in these Madrasas come from Pashtun tribal belt known as FATA and Afghanistan. Pakistan established its South Asian version of Islam in Afghanistan. It has numerous ideological, political and armed groups to preach and propagate the South Asian Islam in its most radical form structured against the Hindus. They established training grounds and camps for those Madrasa students who showed extreme radical South Asian Islamist behavior and made sanctuaries for them in the unconstitutional or lawless Pashtun tribal belt and especially in Waziristan.

Thousands of terrorists are trained and provided arms in those training centers under the patronage of Pakistani Army and Intelligence and then sent to the neighboring countries for carrying out terrorist attacks in the name of Jihad. They take recruits from a large 200+35 millions Muslim population of Pakistan and Afghanistan and about 70,000 Islamic Madrasas and hundreds of training centers in Khyber Pashtunkhwa, FATA, and PoK provide the ideological and armed force for Pakistani interferences and terrorists attacks in the neighboring countries. This establishes Pakistan’s hold on the Muslims’ mass mentality and streamline it systematically towards firmly rooting its state security in Islamist ideology based on which it came into being.

Those nationalist, liberal and secular Muslims in Khyber Pashtunkhwa, PoK, FATA, Baluchistan and Sindh who accuse the Pakistani state of its policy to support Islamic Extremists or terrorists and those who demand freedom and rights for Pashtuns and Baluchs or Sindhis are abducted, killed and dumped. Thousands of Baluch, Sindhi and Pashtun youth are among the missing persons who are against Islamic extremism and who demand or struggle for the rights of their people or freedom. But no one cares and Pakistan continues its Waziristan type Islamist settlements in PoK that infiltrate into Indian Kashmir and carry forward the Pakistani state policy.

What is going in Kashmir today is the Pakistani led South Asian version of Radical Islamic ideology rather than any freedom movement. A freedom war is fought for resources, rights, and protection of culture and language and for a national identity that is under occupation of a foreign power, which is not the case in Kashmir. If Pashtuns and Baluchs or Sindhis demand freedom, they do for their national identity and to save their large Muslim populations from the Pakistani state Islamist radical ideology that finally leads to terrorism. Had there been no Pakistani state; Pashtuns, Baluchs and Sindhis might not need any freedom, instead they could accommodate as autonomous states under New Delhi as in the current day India. Pakistani state has threated our culture, language, social norms, and identity and has been using our people as cannon fodders or raw materials in their Islamic Madrasas-cum-terrorists breeding factories that establish Islamic Sharia Law and order to take the lead in everything superimposing our indigenous secular and democratic culture and society.

Today Pakistan has placed international terrorists networks including Al Qaeda and others in Waziristan and has made them safe places. Waziristan literally has become an international terrorists’ capital. Pakistan forcefully evacuated about 1.6 millions local Waziristani people to accommodate the foreign terrorist networks and killed about 200,000 Waziristani people who resisted forceful evacuation.

Pakistan plans to establish J & K and PoK as second Waziristan to serve its deep state policies known as strategic depth. It will remain a continuous trouble for India and the region if Pakistani plans are not nipped in the bud.

By Umar Daud Khattak

Mission Commander, Pashtunistan Liberation Army

Mr. Umar Daud Khattak is an exiled Pashtun political activist struggling for the Independence of Pashtunistan, now based in Kabul, Afghanistan. He can be reached at daudumar@gmail.com

Influential religious organization in Kargil calls for shutdown against Kashmir killings

Ladakh Express 20th July 2016: ikmt-headerIn a recent press note, influential religious organization Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust Kargil calls for a complete Shutdown in Kargil District on Thursday 21st July 2016 against the human rights violation in Kashmir valley.

As per the press note the organization has planned to stage a protest rally at Kargil town following by the Zuhar Prayers at Jamia Masjid Kargil.  Beware that the recent conflict in Kashmir Valley has killed more than 50 people and more than 3000 have been injured. As per the media reports many of the casualties are in critical condition.

A new row of demonstration and killings have been erupted in Kashmir valley after the killing of young militant leader Burhan Wani on 8th of July.

Why Kargil must have a centre for UGC-NET exam?

Taxis charge ₨ 700-800 for one side from Kargil to Srinagar while buses charge ₨ 400. Most of the students choose to travel by bus because they can’t effort an expensive journey. It goes around ₨ 2000 after calculating the both side travel, food and accommodation charges. I came to know that four buses are leaving for Srinagar from Kargil on 9th of July 2016 in which most of the passengers were students going to appear in the UGC-NET paper scheduled on 10th of July.

Kargil

I was one among the students who were going to appear in the paper. Before dawn we proceed towards Srinagar. After travelling 190 KMs, passing through the rough, dangerous and road from among the high mountains of Zojila Pass, in the chill weather of morning we reached at Sunamarg at around 11:00 AM. Whenever we set to travel via Zojila Pass we use to say a warm good-bye to our family members. On the way till Sunamark my fellow travellers received call once in an hour from their family members. These calls were because of the fear of the dangerous route to Srinagar. Unfortunately after reaching to Sunamark we came to know that Srinagar city is on strike, demonstrating against the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani and his two associates.

We had planned to take the breakfast at Kangan as we like the food quality there. Because of the strike Police doesn’t allowed the vehicles to proceed towards Srinagar. We entered a Kashmiri restaurant at Sunamark to have breakfast. The restaurant Wala lied that because of strike all the restaurants in Sunamarg don’t serve bread; so we had no choice other than eating rice in the morning which is not a routine in Ladakh and Kashmir. Since then we anxiously waited to through the road till 5:00 PM in the afternoon. Suddenly there was a rumour that the UGC-NET paper has been postponed. A guy told that due to poor network he had received only the half text of a message regarding the postponement of the exam. After receiving the whole message his phone got switched off due to low battery; but before showing it to anyone else. This created more curiosity among the students to know the actual information.

I took the guy to the tourist Bungalow and charged his phone, than only the students came to know that the exam has been postponed and the next date to inform on a future date. When the students came to know about this, three of the four buses, many small commercial vehicles and private vehicles set back to Kargil as hundreds of those students were going for the same exam. Passing again through the rough and high mountain passes we reached back to home at mid-night in a tired and very poor condition.

Some students who had travelled a day before to Srinagar faced more problem than us. When I contacted some of them I came to know that they had no food to eat due to strike in the valley. Some of the vehicles carrying students were attacked on the way by the stone-pelting. This is not the only trouble Kargili peoples, especially student’s face but there are uncountable concerns to raise here. But this time I am only focusing on the UGC-NET issue. The students have been demanded many times to the concerned authorities to establish a separate exam centre in Kargil for UGC-NET and other such exams. After travelling such a long journeys how we can expect a student to face a competitive exam? Why a student should risk his life to achieve one of his fundamental rights? Is not this a structural injustice, discrimination and humiliation of citizens in a democracy? If yes, than this issue should be solved before conducting the next exam.

By Anwar Ali Tharpa

Exclusive interview with President ISK Sheikh Nazir

After the disputed presidential election in the Islamia School Kargil (ISK) on 5th April 2016, a new phase in the history of Kargil as well as ISK seems to be emerged. The “reformation” which I mentioned in former articles as a “peace process” really seems to be a “long” and tiresome process. The enigma of turning 30 years back, the power sharing formula to the newly elevated Chief Patron Syed Jamal Musavi and to know the details of Sheikh Nazir’s tour to Delhi, Ladakh Express had an exclusive interview with Sheikh Nazir Mehdi Mohammadi. Here is the interview.

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Sheikh Nazir Mehdi Mohammadi

Ladakh Express (LE): We heart that, in your tour to Delhi you met with prominent personalities, who were they and what were the agendas in the meetings?

Sheikh Nazir Mehdi (SNM): First of all we met with the representative of Wilayat e Faqi, Ayatollah Mehdavipur, in which we discussed the issue of reformation in the society. It is decided that the issue of Jama Masjid is to be solved first, without that nothing else will be discussed before. If the issue of Masjid is solved than we will discuss other issues as well; and if this is not solved than we will not be ready to discuss any other issue. He (Mehdavipur) also ensured us to solve the same first and we hope this will be solved soon. However two meetings with IKMT were held recently but ended without any result. One more meeting is being scheduled after Ramazan let’s see what happen in that.

We told him (Mehdavipur) that the points Ayatollah Mehdavipur mentioned in his letter over the issues of Kargil are not the primary concerns. The major concerns are issues in belief and jurisprudence, which include jurisprudence issues like – Jama Masjid, Mutahhary School, Qatilgah, the usurped money of Wash Rooms, moon issue, judiciary; and belief issues like – innovations they have created in the religion. All these will discuss one by one but only after solving the problem regarding Jama Masjid.

In addition we met with the representative of Jamia Al-Mustafa – Aga Salihi, in which we discussed some social issues and issues related to Islamia School.

We went to Mukhtar Abass Naqvi to congratulate him on joining Rajya Sabha. During the meeting we discussed some primary issues of Kargil. The most important among them was Zojila Tunnel on which he assured us to start work as soon as possible. Secondly we requested him to provide helicopter service for serious patients during winter season. Thirdly we discussed the airbus service for Kargil. On these issues he didn’t refused but assured to take the issue to concerned authorities. Moreover we discussed the Ladakh Scott issue and many other issues as well. We hope that all this will fulfil soon.

 LE – The points you mentioned in your last speech (on 27 June) and the points you mentioned in your former speech (on 23 May) in which you manifest to go 30 years back were contradictory.

SNM – In my first speech I told that we wish to live a life as we were before the conflicts, 25-30 years back. The idea was that at that time we had no possession over heritages. In addition we had no innovations in the religion as they (IKMT) have created. My idea was to live such a life without imposition of any innovations. Let us embrace our religion without any additions.

LE – What do you mean by innovations and additions?

SNM – Whatever is present there (in IKMT) and not here is innovation. It was not present before; i.e. was Waqfas (supplications to Wilayat e Faqi) present before? No it was not. Was chanting slogans on Ashura present before? No it was not. All these are innovations which should abolish because these are causes of conflict in the society. Why they are doing this? Is this Mustahab or Wajib; then why they are doing this? All these are issues of belief and jurisprudence which I mentioned in detail in my last speech.

LE – In the same speech you mentioned that ISK will keep politics on bay. Up to what extent you would deal with politics?

SNM – I told it before also that political issue will not be discussed inside ISK premises. We will setup a wing to deal with political affairs and would not let politics to get interfere in ISK premises.

LE – To whom you submitted the white cloth which was signed by 3300 people and what was written on that?

SNM – I wrote whatever I told you here (above).

LE – This will be my last question. Chief Patron Aga Jamal Musavi told that he will be awarded the same power as Zakiri have in IKMT. When this power sharing formula will be decided?

SNM – Here, no power is going to share with anyone. If Zakiri have the power than tell him (Syed Jamal) to have it from Zakiri, he will not get any power from us.

LE – Thank you for giving your valuable time.

Let’s make India safe for women

In the movement of empowering women, zealous efforts have been made in the history of humanity. But still the goals of empowerment are unclear even to the feminist activists and organisations. Different people from different region, ideology, ethnicity etc have different connotation for the term, women empowerment. But all have one thing stranded in mind is empowerment. Millions of organisations conduct conference, talks, seminars, papers, research works etc. Eight March of every year has been celebrating as women’s day in all over the world. But, because of the unclear goal, results of these events are still blurred.

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Women celebrating the Birth Anniversry of Lady Fatima Zehra (s.a.) in Iran. PC – IRNA

Generally in the prevailing history United State is considered to be the first country to give women the right to franchise, equality, economy etc. Countries like France feel liberty and equality in looking women without modesty. Many countries feel themselves developed as providing more space for women in parliament, organisations, institutions and other jobs. In this contemporary connotation of women empowerment third world countries and especially the Islamic countries are first from the bottom. The “imposition of modesty”, ban on driving, less space in political arena etc are the issues for which the Islamic countries are being criticised.

When we turn older pages from history we find the same Islam to be the first in empowering women. There is nothing new in the “Bati Bachao Andolan”, Save Daughter Movement. In 7th century when there was a tradition of burying female child’s alive, it was Prophet Mohammad who not only saved daughters but also provided respect and dignity for them. Prophet not only franchised but also gave a status of political advisor to his daughter Fatima Zehra. His revelation “Quran” carried a complete chapter on women.

Prophet Mohammad proposed his daughter as a complete role model for humanity. Every aspect of her life can be seen as a guide to human life. Her role as a daughter, than as a wife and as a mother are awe-inspiring. As a daughter her obedience to her father was unattainable for any other human being. After all Prophet Mohammad in praise of her said, “Fatima is part of my heart”. In the incident of Mubahila when Quran asked Prophet to bring their women (plural means asking for more than one, but) prophet did not find anyone better than Fatima.

As a spouse she was the bravest woman of history. She assisted Ali in his political affairs. She provided aid to the wounds of Ali, than she used to encourage Ali to go in field on the coming day. Her hand was the saviour of the poor in the city. She encouraged Ali to distribute their wealth among the needy. In all those days of tyranny from antagonist she did not drop her faith and passion for the path of justice.

In this era of 21st century women is still suppressed in the jaws of tyranny. The patriarchal thinking, using women as sex slaves by human traffickers and terrorists, taking hard work from women as workers, prostitution, dowry etc are the major concerns of women in all over the world. However the numbers of small but disadvantageous issues are inestimable. To cope up with these common concerns there is a need to follow the path of Lady Fatima Zehra. It is true that her era and issues were different from the contemporary one but the principles to tackle them never change. Her principle of morality, resistance against injustice, propagation of right and justice still urge humanity to follow the path. Secondly it’s well said that history influence the current issues. So to deal with them learning history of great personalities like Lady Zehra is significant.

On the birth anniversary of Lady Zehra let’s salute her, let’s salute all the women of our society. Let’s pledge to respect all women as Prophet Mohammad did to his daughter. Let’s make India and the world safe for women.

By Anwar Ali Czarpa

How Islam Spread in India

Today, there are over 500 million Muslims throughout the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), making it one of the largest population centers of Muslims in the world. Since Islam first entered India, it has contributed greatly to the area and its people. Today, numerous theories about how India came to be such a largely Muslim land exist. Politically, some (such as the Hindutva movement in India) try to make Islam seem foreign to India, by insisting it only exists because of invasions by Arab and Persian Muslims. The truth, however, is far from that.

The Earliest Muslim Indians

Even before the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in the 600s, Arab traders were in contact with India. Merchants would regularly sail to the west coast of India to trade goods such as spices, gold, and African goods. Naturally, when the Arabs began to convert to Islam, they carried their new religion to the shores of India. The first mosque of India, the Cheraman Juma Masjid, was built in 629 (during the life of Prophet Muhammad) in Kerala, by the first Muslim from India, Cheraman Perumal Bhaskara Ravi Varma. Through continued trade between Arab Muslims and Indians, Islam continued to spread in coastal Indian cities and towns, both through immigration and conversion.

Muhammad bin Qasim

The first great expansion of Islam into India came during the Umayyad Dynasty of caliphs, who were based in Damascus. In 711, the Umayyads appointed a young 17 year old man from Ta’if to extend Umayyad control into Sindh: Muhammad bin Qasim. Sindh is the land around the Indus River in the Northwestern part of the subcontinent, in present-day Pakistan. Muhammad bin Qasim led his army of 6,000 soldiers to the far eastern reaches of Persia, Makran.

He encountered little resistance as he made his way into India. When he reached the city of Nerun, on the banks of the Indus River, he was welcomed into the city by the Buddhist monks that controlled it. Most cities along the Indus thus voluntarily came under Muslim control, with no fighting. In some cases, oppressed Buddhist minorities reached out to the Muslim armies for protection against Hindu governors.

Despite the support and approval of much of the population, the Raja of Sindh, Dahir, opposed the Muslim expansion and mobilized his army against Muhammad bin Qasim. In 712, the two armies met, with a decisive victory for the Muslims. With the victory, all of Sindh came under Muslim control.

It is important to note, however, that the population of Sindh was not forced to convert to Islam at all. In fact, for almost everyone, there was no change in day-to-day life. Muhammad bin Qasim promised security and religious freedom to all Hindus and Buddhists under his control. For example, the Brahman caste continued their jobs as tax collectors and Buddhists monks continued to maintain their monastaries. Due to his religious tolerance and justice, many cities regularly greeted him and his armies with people dancing and music.

Patterns of Conversion

The successive waves of Muslim armies penetrating into India followed much the same pattern. Leaders such as Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad Tughluq expanded Muslim political domains without altering the religious or social fabric of Indian society.

Because pre-Islamic India was entirely based on a caste system in which society was broken into separate parts, conversion to Islam happened in a step-by-step process. Often, entire castes would convert to Islam at a time. This would happen for many different reasons. Often, however, the equality Islam provided was more attractive than the caste system’s organized racism. In the caste system, who you are born to determines your position in society. There was no opportunity for social mobility or to achieve greater than what your parents achieved. By converting to Islam, people had the opportunity to move up in society, and no longer were subservient to the Brahman caste.

Buddhism, which was once very popular in the subcontinent, slowly died out under Muslim rule. Traditionally, when people wanted to escape the caste system, they would move to the major population centers and convert to Buddhism. When Islam became an option, however, people began to convert to Islam instead of Buddhism, while still leaving the caste system. The myths of Islam violently destroying Buddhism in India are simply false. Buddhists were tolerated under Muslim rule and no evidence exists that shows forced conversions or violence against them.

Wandering teachers also had a major role in bringing Islam to the masses. Muslim scholars traveled throughout India, making it their goal to educate people about Islam. Many of them preached Sufi ideas, a more mystical approach to Islam that appealed to the people. These teachers had a major role in bringing Islam to the masses in the countryside, not just the upper classes around the Muslim rulers.

Did Islam Spread by Force?

While some claim that Islam’s huge population in India is a result of violence and forced conversion, the evidence does not back up this idea at all. Although Muslim leaders replaced Hindu kings in most areas, society was left as is. Stories of forced conversion are very few and often not credible enough to warrant academic discussion.

If Islam spread through violence and warfare, the Muslim community today in India would exist only in the areas closest to the rest of the Muslim world. Thus only the western part of the subcontinent would have any Muslim population at all. What we see instead is pockets of Islam throughout the subcontinent.  For example, Bangladesh and its 150 million Muslims are in the far east, separated from other Muslim-majority areas by Hindu lands in India. Isolated communities of Muslims exist also exist in western Myanmar, central India, and eastern Sri Lanka. These communities of Muslims are proof of Islam spreading peacefully throughout India, regardless of whether or not a Muslim government existed there. If Islam spread by force as some claim, these communities of Muslims would not exist.

Conclusions

Islam is an integral part of India and its history. As the Indian subcontinent remains today a multi-ethnic and multi-religious place, it is important to understand the position Islam has in the region. The political claims that some making regarding Islam as if it is an invading religion and foriegn to the people of India need to be defied with the truth of Islam’s peaceful spread throughout India.
Bibliography:

Hodgson, M. The Venture of Islam . 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961. Print.

Kennedy, Hugh. The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2007. Print.

“World’s second oldest mosque is in India.” Bahrain Tribune 07 06 2006, n. pag. Web. 23 Nov. 2012..

Alternative solution to rape culture

By Anwar Ali Czarpa

Anger has been raged up among Indians in these days when the whole world is marking the International Women’s Day. The BBC controversial documentary “India’s daughter” has once again pushed the whole India to put on the thinking caps to look for a solution to the rape culture. In the mean while more rape cases have been reported from Ahmadabad where a six-years-old girl was allegedly sexually attacked with the perpetrator inserting an iron rod into her private parts. Similarly in Kathua Kashmir a ten-year-old girl was kidnapped and raped.

Womens Day 1

Let me discuss the controversy first!

Country’s mass has been discussing the statement of the alleged rapist of 16 Dec, his lawyer and many other who have the similar view, which kept women’s equally responsible for rape. The BBC documentary “India’s daughter” has its own limitations, while the statement of the rapist has its own limitations and similarly the lawyer have his own limitations. Am not defending them at all, but the thing I want to make is, “they don’t reflect the whole society”. Here one can’t make judgement from particular to general.

Secondly, the mass is looking a panacea for this infamous rape culture in India and Delhi in particular. Most people have the view that the mentality should be change. I think this change is not easy as it is to say, and it’s not the cause of rape.

If one look for a solution than he should know, why people do rape? Obviously when their desires prolonged! So, what thing prolongs their desires (Lust)?

Obviously, the porn videos? The hot scenes in movies? Nude advertisements?

Let me be a little harsh!

If this lust don’t let prolong, by these vulgarities, the entire problem will be solved. But unfortunately our Indian society accepts these film stars and porn stars, as celebrities.

Is there anyone who can ask them, why they promote these inhuman things? Is it necessary to telecast a bed time scene to show a marriage life or love? Is it necessary to show nude women to advertise a product? This society says that the women are using as a sex object, but they can’t see, women are using as a product to advertise other products? If these models don’t let their body to use for advertising cause, 90 % of the rape victims will be protected.

Anger raged up among the society when the rapist says that “women are equally responsible for rape cases”. If we keep us calm and think for a while, his statement is partially true. Obviously women can be saved, if women want.

Here I want to quote an example. Do you know the top ten countries in the world with highest rape crimes? They are as below:

  1. USA
  2. South Africa
  3. Sweden
  4. India
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Germany
  7. France
  8. Canada
  9. Sri Lanka
  10. Ethiopia

Did you notice one thing? There is no any country from Middle East, in the top 10 countries with highest rape crimes, why? It has many key reasons:

First thing is Hijab they, which the world say “imposed” in their society. They don’t allow vulgarity in their movies, advertisements and public parks.

Second, the capital punishment also thwarts the people from thinking about such a major crime. Third, the culture of drinking alcohol is low in Middle East countries.

I know that, in this modern society, the statements I kept are looking as old arguments and spiritual one, or conservative or fundamentalist. But it’s true that the solution is here only. The so called feminism, secularism, liberalism and other ism’s are only a part of conspiracy theory to keep humanity busy in un-necessary things, or to cover the wicked deeds of the arrogant powers.

By Anwar Ali Czarpa, Assistant Editor, Medhaj News

Union budget 2015: Cruel joke with Minorities-SC-ST

The first full general budget presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government on Saturday failed to meet the expectations of an average citizen particularly minorities as it made major cuts in social expenditure that is a matter of serious concern, says Abdul Bari Masoud of Muslim Mirror News.

Budget 1

Even though in his lengthy budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley invoked ‘Daridra Narayan’ a verse from the Hindu Holy book Upanishad underlining the government’s commitment to the Constitutional principles of Equality and Justice for All.

“Our commitment to the ‘Daridra Narayan’ is steadfast, as is commitment, without concern for caste, creed or religion”. But, in fact, more than 22 per cent minority population got raw deal in the budget as their budget kitty was mere increased by four crores which is not even a fraction of the whole budget.

Similarly, there has also been a significant decrease in the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan allocation from Rs. 43,208 crore to Rs. 30,000 crore while in the Tribal Sub Plan it has gone down from Rs. 26,714 crore to Rs. 19,000 crore. The Finance Minister has made huge spending cuts in the social sector in essential programs of the government, leaving the burden of spending on the states.

For example, expenditure on Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan has gone from 28,000 crores to 22,000 crores, the Integrated Child Development Scheme has gone from 16,000 crores to 8,000 crores and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme goes from 13,000 crores to 9,000 crores. This amply shows that the Modi government is least bother about welfare of the poor and disadvantage population of the country. In contrast, the minister has gone out of his way to appease the corporate sector with several major cuts and exemptions.

In his speech, Jaitley made a passing reference about minorities saying “an integrated education and livelihood scheme called ‘Nai Manzil’ will be launched this year to enable Minority Youth who do not have a formal school-leaving certificate to obtain one and find better employment. Further, to show-case civilization and culture of the Parsis, the Government will support, in 2015-16, an exhibition, ‘The Everlasting Flame’. The allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs is being protected. The BE for the year 2015-16 is `3,738 crore”.

The Minister’s speech should be termed as a cruel joke with minorities when he stated that ‘the allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs is being protected’. Does he want to say that by retaining the Minority Ministry, the government is doing a favour to minorities?
There was a demand for an Increase the budget allocation for the Minority Ministry to cater to the multitude of developmental deficits confronting minorities across sectors. However, it seems that the Modi government forgot its own slogan of “Sab Kaa Saath, Sab kaa Vikas”.

Kashmir Killing: Wamiq’s father pins hope on new government

Kashmir Killing 1

Kashmir

I want killers of my son to be hanged’

The father of slain teenager Wamiq Farooq on Saturday said that he is hopeful that new government in state would bring ‘killers of his son to justice by hanging them’.

Hailing from Rainawari area of Old City, seventeen year old Wamiq Farooq was killed on January 31 in 2010 after police allegedly targeted him with a teargas shell in Gani Memorial Stadium Rajouri Kadal here.

Farooq Ahmad, who is a street vendor by profession, told reporters that he will continue his fight till the killers of Wamiq are punished. “It has been long time. My son was killed in 2010 but so far no one has been punished or arrested. The previous government did nothing in this regard but I am hopeful that there would be progress in the case of my son after new government takes over,” he said.

“My son was not pelting stones when police killed him. He was playing and soon after hearing Azaan, he was walking towards mosque to offer Asr prayers,” he said, adding: “but police targeted him without any provocation and this has also been stated by locals that he wasn’t pelting stones.”

When asked why he hopes from new government, he said: “It is the primary responsibility of government to ensure justice,” “I won’t stop till perpetrators aren’t brought to justice,” he added.

He claimed that the National Conference led coalition government lost assembly polls because ‘it spilled the blood of innocents’. “You witnessed what happened to their chair and it is because of martyrs’ blood,” he said.

The father of slain teenager said he wants killers of all the teenagers killed in 2010 to be punished. “Like my son, I want punishment to all those 120 plus youth killed in 2010. They are like my sons and I have same intention for them as well,” he said.

He informed that on Sunday a seminar and Fateh Khwani would be held at Martyrs’ Graveyard Eidgah.