MY LEAST POPULAR BLOG POST seems to be the one on the questions raised about Islamists perhaps by RSS or ‘saffron’ propagandists. Not one ‘like’. Not one comment on the blog. It is politically incorrect to speak anything which may anger Islamic fundamentalists.
You can write a ‘Ramayana Vishavriksham’ or a parody with any character from any Hindu epics. Toilet seats, women’s undergarments, floor mats or liquor bottles with pictures of Hindu gods have not evoked any violent protests from Hindus. A Hindu girl found fault with my post against such practices which she said were not bad at all.
But publication of a story by a Bangalore daily, by a Muslim writer, in which the half-wit Muslim protogonist had the most common Muslim name resulted in one of the worst communal riots ever in that city in the 1980s.
Or the silence may be out of fear – if not of being targeted by the community, at least of being accused of Islamophobia. You can attack any Hindu belief, custom or leader and you get praised as a liberal ‘progresive’, but you cannot say word about Islam without first praising it as a great religion of peace. If you don’t you are communal, an RSS stooge.
No doubt real Islam is a great religion. Its emphasis on the rich sharing their wealth and on sacrifice is commendable. But there are two Islams: the Islam of Allah and the Islam of the Mullah. And this difference was pointed out by a Muslim himself – Shahrukh Khan. It is the Mullah-dictated Islam that is posing problems.
Like the Hindu sanatnvaadis who place meaningless rituals and symbols above the spirit and philosophy of Hinduism, fundamentalist interpretations of Islam care more for the sharia laws pronounced centuries ago in another social and historical context and its physical symbols, more than the intention behind them.
Polygamy in an age where many men got killed in wars leaving too many women behind cannot be a Shara sanctioned practice today. Same with Hijab and other symbols which were time-specific and need to be updated. Will you wait for a camel on a London road instead of taking a cab just because in another age and time that was the only transport used?
Islam preaches peace and brotherhood. Why then do you read every day of Boko Haram and ISIS butchering innocent people and children? Why are ancient heritage structures and cultural symbols destroyed? Why are Muslims in Myanmar, China and most other countries facing persecution as they fail to integrate with local people? Why are some Muslim groups like Ahmedias outcastes and sufis killed?
It is fashionable to rightly decry untouchability practiced only by foolish, outdated, Hindus. But not a word can be said about such practices in Islam. Caste discremination, dowry system, child marriages are bad in Hindus. But you can lean on sharia or some misinterpreted old verse somewhere to justify it in others.
The only reaction to my post came not in comment on the blog but in an email from a friend, saying it was NOT true that no fatwa was issued against terrorism.
I asked her: Who issued it and when? Was it issued before Pakstan itself became a victim of the Frankenstein’s ghost of terrorism it created and nurtured? Was it it by some Sufi or Shia cleric or by a Sunni, the Islamic faction ruling Pakistan?
She had no answer for it. She is NOT a Muslim so she felt the neccessuty to be objective and fair to Islam. She cannot just rely on any interpretation of some aayte or kalma.
At an Inter Religious Harmony meeting addressed by a retired General I had suggested making it compulsory for everyone to study and pass an examination in a religion other than his or her own. Very few people of one religion have any deep understanding of other religions.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who could quote Tirukkural or Swami Chinmayananda who could quote offhand from any book of the Bible are very rare.
If they were not, would there have been so much of strife in the name of religion today?