- By M.J. Aslam
Secular Democracy was adopted by the Indian leaders in 1947, as a pledge to the international community from newborn Indian State, as a system of governance, thenceforth, where people of different religions and cultures would be free to express their opinions and ideas, where those in majority would honour & hear the minority, where dissent and criticism against the rulers, their policies and actions would always be gladly accepted. But, the time has evinced that the minds of the majority who rule in the biggest democracy have failed to get themselves rid of the historical baggage of the rule by the “foreigners & invaders” for centuries over “their land”. Ever since India won independence, people all over the world have seen the germs of this malady of socio-political-religious supremacy of the majority community emerging in one or the other form. (Hindutva campaign is a strong example in sight). It has plagued the very essence of this Secular Democracy as the majoritarian hegemony, is being continuously propagated & practiced on socio-economically weak castes, ethnic & religious minorities in different shapes & shades. It has led to thousands of communal frenzies in India since partition and, admittedly, the Muslim population of 200 million odd—indisputably poor, illiterate & voiceless lot—has been the worst affected. The recent developments of gagging the voice of intelligentsia have intensified already intolerant and hostile atmosphere in Indian society where they & the dissent feel greatly harassed.
The difference of opinion whosoever holds it, has to be, however, always differentiated from intentional defamation of any religion & religious beliefs of any community. It can’t be permitted to be done under any name lest the composite culture of a society falls apart.
It’s true that sectarianism has made the Muslim community, the world over, & in Indian sub-continent, in particular, quite hollow & vulnerable to internal & external threats. But even greater harm to the interests of this community has been coming from the label-Muslims who under varied brands of moderates, secularists, media-hacks and intellectuals are tirelessly supporting the staunch enemies of the community in their anti-Islam agenda. Actually, they are the heretics who not simply differ (which may be appreciable) but they are the ones who have renounced religion either expressly or impliedly, directly or indirectly, by words or deeds—two recognized kinds of apostates in Islam. So, they have become the linchpins of anti-Islam & anti-Muslim brigades who use them for proving their anti-Islam-rhetorics & disparaging Islam & its followers.
Time & again, whenever, there is a crisis faced by the Muslims in India or elsewhere in the world, these ever-ready-tools are intentionally bought & brought by anti-Islam forces on TV channels & in the press, too, apparently, not without preconditions of fixed payments, for digging holes in Islam & its Sacred Book which service of theirs please the payers most. Like domesticated pets they kowtow to the scripted-lines of the partial biased anchorpersons & vociferous majority zealots and, thus, facilitate their job of denigrating Islam & its followers for the fixed material gains. So, the heretics in whatever shape of writers, intellectuals, actors, patriots, politicians, etc, are given excessive coverage in the media, as they are projected as liberals & moderates among the orthodox Muslims, because they speak what they want them speak as programmed robots. They present them as “rare showpieces” of how they the Muslims should be. But, pierce the veil of Muslim names from these & suchlike entities, you will find them religious perverts doing everything for money, positions, recognition & awards. And, their anti-Islam services are used as a part of the ruse to present as though it is expression of one’s liberal & free thoughts. Had it been so, then, the majority community’s religion or sacred books would also get dissected in TV talk shows, similarly. Has anyone till date, for that matter, seen any Hindu actor, howsoever seemingly liberal & moderate he/she may be, having turned heretic like most of the Muslim actors-showbiz people (their profession is not under discussion here) & mocking and criticizing Hindu religion in media? The answer is: No.
It is not liberalism or humanism, or free talk shows, as they call it, since it is being orchestrated under a well-thought of anti-Islam & anti-Muslim machination. The question is: when those Muslim heretics known for their anti-Islam mindset are extended extra-space by Indian media to vomit it out, why those Hindus who are held guilty of blasphemy of their religion & Gods are not produced & shown by them as liberals & moderates among the Hindu community? It isn’t possible for obvious reasons in a Hindu majoritarian society. Nor should the Muslims ever want it to be shown as respect for all religions is one of the essential mandates of Islamic creed. Defamation of religions is prohibited under the Indian & international laws. (Ref section 295-A of the IPC, 1860; Ramji Lal Modi v. State of UP, AIR 1957 SC 620= SCR 860 (5 Judges ruling that the section is a reasonable restriction on freedom of speech under Article 19(2) & ref also UN Charter/Human Rights Committee resolutions in this regard).
In the public interest, to avoid hatred & disharmony among the communities, intentional defamation of any religion & religious beliefs do not fall within the terrain of right of free speech. But in Indian media, there is a clandestine vicious campaign going on to defame & denigrate Islam, Muslim religious beliefs & practices, demoralize 200 m Muslims, demonize their genuine preachers & leaders, but only with active support of the Muslim heretics of which the adherents must be fully aware to take notice of it to doggedly avoid comingling of Gaw Mutra with Aab e Zumzum.