Shameless Fascist attacks again


The MET department can forecast the ‘severe’ storms to be hitting the skies, but, alas, there isn’t a department that can broadcast the storms to be hitting our lives.

Yes, I’m more than hinting at the communal polarization made by the RSS along a certain set agenda. It gets clear that the Right Wing wants to dent if not kill the very existence of the largest minority community of India-  the Musalman of Hindustan. 

For the last two weeks I have been on the move …travelling from Uttar Pradesh to  Uttarakhand and hearing of the  provocations whipped to such an extent that the ‘other’ reacts and with that rioting takes off. The communal havoc taking place in Western Uttar Pradesh seems spreading out, what with non -  issues played up to such an extent that killings and displacements take off!

After all, it wasn’t a  question of M.A. Jinnah’s  portrait hung in the  premises of the  Aligarh  Muslim  University but more of an excuse for the  RSS  cadres to  enter the premises and  hit the students  and  disrupt the academic structure. In fact, prior to this so called Jinnah portrait controversy, one had been getting the news of Right Wing outfits’ efforts in  full swing  to set up  RSS shakhas inside the   premises of the AMU. Tell me, why should shakhas be established in educational institutions? Quite obviously to provoke and then attack and kill not just  students but also academic space!

Though I have not studied at the AMU,  on the occasions I had visited the campus it was not just peaceful but orderly; with students moving about in that disciplined manner. Along the strain of that fading old world charm, it houses traces of the past grandeur of togetherness. Not to overlook an underlying fact which  seems getting trampled upon  in the  midst of the communal  virus: a  large  number of the students  and  faculty  in the AMU are non-Muslims and there’s  been  little trace of communal disruptions.

During one of  my earlier  visits to this University township, I met several offbeat personalities. Professor Jamal Khwaja and his  spouse, Hameeda Durreshahwar Akbar Khwaja, who were so  taken up by  Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru’s call for secularism that way back in  the 1950s, this couple  named  their four children  with a double  name –that is,  a  combination  of the  Hindu and  Muslim  names! As Hameeda told  me that Jamal  Khwaja’s  father  Abdul  Majeed  Khwaja  was a  close  associate  of  Mahatma Gandhi   and  it is  in their ancestral Aligarh   home that  Gandhi  had   stayed  in 1920 …and later they came in close contact with  Pandit  Jawaharlal Nehru  and  this changed their  entire outlook. “ I also feel that  names  are   linguistic and not  much to do with the religion one is earlier   centuries   Muslims  kept  names according  to their  native  places   from which  they’d come to settle  down  here.  And though we are  practicing  Muslims, we   decided to  name  our four  children with a  combination  of   Hindu and  Muslim names  -  the  eldest  is  Jawahar Kabir, the second  Gita Anjum,  the  third  Rajan  Habib and the  youngest  Nassir Navin… In fact , when we named our daughter, Gita Anjum,,  born in  the  mid -50s,  she was blessed with words  to the  effect  “may   God  grant  her  the  purity  of  Gita  and  the  sparkle  of  Anjum!” And with  immense pride this couple even detailed the details to their children - Rajan  Habib – retired  IAS  of Andhra  Pradesh cadre, the   other two sons  engineers working  in the  US and  Gita  Anjum  a  senior neurologist in  a  New Delhi hospital.

Much in keeping with old traditions, this couple has not flaunted their secularism nor their political lineage. Though Professor Jamaal Khwaja  was a  parliamentarian  decades  back,  after  his term ended  he  went  back to  the  teaching  profession at  AMU and  today he and his spouse lead a  quiet, retired life in Aligarh.

Aligarh is also home to the Lall Khani Muslamans. Lall Khan  was  in the court  of  Emperor  Akbar and  one  of  his  sons  had   converted to  Islam and  his  descendants are known as the Lall  Khani  Musalmans and they are  from Rajput lineage.  In fact, in Aligarh  I had met well - to- do Muslims who‘d talked with  much pride about their  Rajput  lineage.  Rao  Ghufraan  explained, “Over 400  years  ago  my  forefather  was the   Raja  of   Jwalapur  in  the  Haridwar  region and   his son  converted to Islam  after being   born  by the  blessings  of a Sufi…  we  are    practising  Muslims  but do  retain the Rao surname…I  describe myself as a  Muslim  Rajput.  After all, Rajput blood runs in  my veins. One can’t overlook the lineage factor but I’m also bound  by  my religion  - Islam.”  Rao  Ghufraan recounted a rather touching scenario that took place around the  time  of   the  Partition -“As a  group  of Muslim  Rajputs  whose forefathers  had been Hindus  were reluctantly preparing to  move towards  Pakistan,  one  of their  Hindu  relatives   suggested that they   re-convert to  Hinduism  and stay  put   but they   refused   and   moved  on…it  got  so  very sentimental  and emotional.”

In  Aligarh  I’d also  met  a descendant  of the Nawab of  Chattari, Javaid  Said , who  told  me that  they still  follow several Rajput  practices.  “My grandfather had always encouraged us to touch the feet of the elders for their blessings. This when my grandfather was a staunch practising Muslim.” And another  interesting  input  which  Javaid  detailed was his family’s bonding  with  his  Hindu   Rajput  relatives. “One of them, Kunwar Madhusudan  Singh  of  Barauli is also based  in  Aligarh and our families meet  regularly. After all, it’s the great Rajput blood flowing   through our veins which  holds strong.”

    *******               ******                *******

Whilst keying in, I’m trying to recall what I’d spoken to the AMU students for  one of the guest lectures I‘d been invited for. Well, that was soon after the 2002  pogrom of Gujarat and I had  spoken of the dangers of fascism. Today, there’s little  left to  be said or  heard, as  RSS  cadres seem running  our country, out to devour and demolish each one of us,  one by one.

Today, no sector remains untouched. Even the so called commercial and technological hub of Haryana,  Gurugram, is controlled by  right -wing goons who have  grabbed ‘namaaz’  as an  excuse to hit and hound the Muslim community of  Gurugram, who are  primarily  labourers and  migrants and rickshaw pullers. For the last several  years I have  been witnessing  Friday  namaaz  being held under trees along the side of the  streets and roads…and soon after the namaaz is over, prayers-mats are piled  on rickshaws and  carted away and the namaazis  walk to their  various work places. There is no noise or  confusion or chatter …all very  peaceful.

 And when I asked the namaazis why do pray out in the open, in the  midst of the afternoon heat and sun, they told me, “ Where are  masjids in Gurugram? Only two mosques. And we are not permitted by the administration to construct any mosque! The only thing left is to be told not to pray at all! We are getting targeted on any pretext!”

Yes, such is the state of affairs!  Shocking …but nothing really shocks today as  fascist forces are controlling and  manipulating our lives.