Connect with us

Blog

Portrait of a Muslim home in shadow of rising BJP colossus

The leaderless Muslim, mesmerised by Nehruvian blandishments, pitched his tent in the Congress park as its permanent vote bank.

Published

on

personal opinion

It was a spectacular celebration. The beating of drums, sprinkling of colours, group songs, dancing continued well after dusk.

As I watched from my window, a thought crossed my mind: Why had we not been invited? Ours is the only Muslim home in the colony, but a pride of place has always been accorded to us in all celebrations, including Holi. We have inherited this knack of integration from our elders. The Mahant of Shiv Sharan Das temple in Lucknow always made special “bhang”-free “thandai” for my father on Holi.

Image result for muslim holi celebrate

I called up the President of the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) to register my protest. He was vacationing at Corbett Park. There had been deaths in the neighbourhood; RWA had therefore not organised a Holi celebration. It was private initiative — some friends had come together for the festivities.

We know them well, but they probably did not include us in their list of revellers because they thought we may not be in the celebration mode or in depression at the turn of political events. Such are the ogres imagination conjures up.

Yes, one is afflicted by deep anxiety, but Narendra Modi’s extraordinary victory is only a fraction of the problem. The anxiety is accentuated by the context in which politics is unfolding. Spaces for open discussion — political, social, economic and cultural — are shrinking. In any case they are all in the hands of philistinism and propaganda. This afflicts not all of the media, but a large chunk of it. A creeping voicelessness therefore is our anxiety.

I was with family in Mustafabad, my village near Rae Bareli, where my sister keeps a television with its tube burnt out — no images only sound. It is surrealistic. We heard the election results in stupefied, stunned silence. My cousin Asghar broke the silence.

“The state of the Muslims in the country is just like your television, Suraiya — blind but noisy.”

Suraiya asked: “How have the Muslims fared?”

Asghar: “They have helped the BJP win and now they are terrified at the outcome:

Khuda ko aihle Jahaan
Jub banaa chuke to, Firaq
Pukar uthe ki, isi ne
Hamein banaya tha.

(After men had completed making their God.
Look, they screamed, it is He who made us)”

Juggle around with this couplet and you get a fair idea of how Muslims are themselves responsible for the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). First they help strengthen the BJP, then they cry: We are afraid.

Suraiya was angry. She sought my intervention. “Why blame the Muslims?” she asked.

I said: “Asghar is right. Blindfolded by their myopic mullahs, Muslims have since Partition followed false Gods.”

Asghar chipped in: “The headline story one day was: Mayawati to field 100 Muslim candidates. The media lapped it up. The 100 Muslim candidates became a chant, mornings, afternoons, evenings.”

Next headline: Akhilesh-Rahul Gandhi alliance will attract Muslim votes. Will Rahul repel Muslim votes because of Congress inaction during the demolition of Babri Masjid? Will Akhilesh be able to neutralise Muslim anger against the Congress? Muslim, Muslim, Muslim. Do you think this “Muslim, Muslim” incantation is honeyed music even to the most moderate Hindu? It is custom-made for Hindu consolidation.

Suraiya asked: “Which party then should the Muslims have supported?”

There was silence.

“None,” I said.

“What do you mean?” Suraiya persisted.

“The only role at this juncture for Indian Muslims in India’s electoral politics is to enable Hindu consolidation. This may not occur to the Muslim voter, but this is the consequence of his politics.”

Image result for How have the Muslims fared

Basically, the Muslim is not at fault. The Congress is — from the very beginning. When it agreed with Lord Louis Mountbatten and Mohammad Ali Jinnah to Partition the country on religious lines, it had diluted its own stand on the two-nation theory — Hindus and Muslims constituted two separate nations. Once you created Muslim Raj (Pakistan), India had glided seamlessly from British Raj to Hindu Raj.

I have argued this case in my book: “Being the Other: The Muslim in India”. A fair bargain could have been struck with the Muslim even at that stage, avoiding all the hypocrisy about secularism.

The leaderless Muslim, mesmerised by Nehruvian blandishments, pitched his tent in the Congress park as its permanent vote bank.

In the 1980s, V.N. Gadgil, General Secretary of the Congress, took me into confidence. “Muslim appeasement is beginning to rankle with the Congress’ Hindu base.” This “appeasement” was exposed by the Sachar Committee Report in 2005. Successive Congress governments had brought Muslim socio-economic status down even below the Dalits. Some appeasement.

After the Muslim vote defected en masse from the Congress following the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, a seering truth has settled in the Muslim mind. The Congress had cheated the community from day one. So he left the Congress but having done so, where should he go? Rank casteist parties — Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — opened their doors. In a daze, the Muslim walked in as an enabler of casteist power. There was nothing in it for him.

And now, Congress, SP, BSP are all fallen icons, piled up in a lifeless heap. Where should the Muslim go?

Suraiya’s was the last word. “Are you saying we should not complain about the BJP’s anti-Muslim plank? They were open on where they wanted to take the nation? Our plaint should be registered against parties which pretended to protect our interest but knowingly or unknowingly facilitated the BJP’s Hindu Rashtra? With rampaging hatred against Pakistan, unsettled conditions in Kashmir, it is custom-made to target us as the Other against which Hindu consolidation will progress.”

Had “Hindu Raj” been accepted at the outset, she added profoundly, the excruciating process of welding “Hindu Rashtra” from the caste pyramid would have been avoided. The Muslim was used as a foil in this process. This hurt.

By : Saeed Naqvi

(A senior commentator on political and diplomatic affairs, Saeed Naqvi can be reached on [email protected] The views expressed are personal.)

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blog

US equipping forces to counter Russia and China

Published

on

US equipping forces

United States perceive Russia’s and China’s growing clout as grave threat who seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models, pursuing veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic and security decisions.

The forces’ of five major powers are constantly changing their postures for the major looming war with new capabilities of their acquiring weapons in space and cyberspace, nuclear deterrent forces, missile defense, advanced autonomous systems, and resilient and agile logistics to equip their high-quality troops to win the new types of conflicts.

Keeping in view the current scenario in Afghanistan, resurgent Russia and the aim to provide 360-degree European, the NATO Military Committee meeting was held in Brussels.

NATO faces changes in Afghanistan and in Iraq, to the east as the alliance deploys troops to deter a resurgent Russia, and to the south, where NATO is working with partner nations to build stability and military capabilities in North Africa and the Middle East.

The NATO leaders addressed issues of security and stability in Europe’s southern neighborhood. “This is one of the greatest transnational security challenges that we face, and one which impacts every nation around the globe,” Committee Chairman Gen. Petr Pavel of the Czech army said.

“NATO’s network of partners, complemented with international organizations such as the European Union and the United Nations, allows us to work more effectively and in a comprehensive manner.

Defence Secretary James N Mattis stated, “North Korea and Iran persist in taking outlaw actions that threaten regional and even global stability. Oppressing their own people and shredding their own people’s dignity and human rights, they push their warped views outward.”

On the other hand the there is a tough competition among global terror groups of ISIS, AlQaeda etc.With the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the terrorists of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant are facing prestige issue and are switching their loyalties to Al Qaeda in North Africa and Yemen.

And despite the defeat of ISIS’ physical caliphate, violent extremist organizations like ISIS or Lebanese Hezbollah or al Qaida continue to sow hatred and continue threatening the world.

Concerning the Global Coalition against ISIS and NATO’s involvement in Iraq, the Chiefs of Defence recommended enhanced coordination with the European Union and other international partners as well as the possible adaptation of the NATO Training and Capacity Building activity in Iraq (NTCB-I) to better respond to the needs of the Iraqi authorities in the area of defence sector reform.Meetings with Ukraine and Georgia allowed the respective Partner CHoDs to provide briefings on their challenging regional security situations and progress reports on their national defence force development.

The CHoDs recognized the ongoing transformation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2017 and stressed their continued commitment to Ukraine through the Comprehensive Assistance Package. On Georgia, the Allied Chiefs recognized its significant and enduring contribution to NATO’s Operations and Missions, especially to Resolute Support. The CHoDs commitment to supporting the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package was restressed and they noted the opportunity for further NATO-Georgia interoperability.

After assuming power, Trump questioned the value and purpose of NATO, calling the Alliance “obsolete” and as costing us [the United States] a fortune.” But since then US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has made numerous visits to European countries, holding several bilateral meetings and assured that the U.S. would strengthen its traditional alliances while building new partnerships and listening more to other nations’ ideas.

Moreover, the recently-released US National Defense Strategy reaffirms the US commitment to NATO by explicitly focusing on “fortifying” the transatlantic alliance and referring to the US’ alliances and partnerships as“ the backbone of global security”.

Continue Reading

Blog

Medical tourism in India on rise

Published

on

doctor png-min

India Tourism has been seeing a year on year growth; there has been an increase in domestic travellers as well as foreigners travelling to India. India also attracts patients from several countries for Medical treatments.

Medical tourism or health and wellness tourism refers to the industry where people from across the world travel to other countries to get medical, dental or surgical care and at the same time visit local attractions of that country.

Out of the total Medical tourism across globe approximately 63% is shared between Singapore, Thailand and India with Singapore and Thailand being the leaders in the field.

India has seen a regular growth in Medical tourism traveller’s and from 2013 -2016, the medical visas issued annually has grown from 1.22 lacs to 1.78 lacs.

Following are some of the reasons why people choose India for their treatment:

– World Class facilities and services available in India
– Good qualified doctors
– Cost (Some of the major surgeries in India cost 10-20% of the cost incurred in Western Countries)
– No waiting period for treatments

Some challenges which need to be addressed for patients choosing India as preferred Medical tourism hub

– Improve perception on hygiene and service across the globe
– Ensure quality and service
– Step down facilities for Post Surgical care for recovery. India lacks in centers that can take care of recovery needs post treatments and the patient has to spend more days at a hospital.
– Medical Visa – Procedure to obtain medical visa needs simplification as it can get quite cumbersome as per current regulations

Based on statistics released by the government, Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the top destinations for visitors travelling for Medical tourism. Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi have the large number of quality hospitals and take the maximum share of the pie as of today. These cities have a several hospitals to choose from and offer good connectivity across the globe.

Medical tourism or health and wellness tourism can be divided in to 2 different types:

Curative: This is where the traveller’s come in for specific treatments, a few of the preferred treatments are listed below:

Cardiac Surgeries including bypass surgeries

Knee / Hip Replacement surgeries

Orthopedic surgeries

Cosmetic surgeries

Ophthalmology

Rejuvenation: Traveller’s want to explore the ancient treatments and traditional medicines offered in India and hence they come to India, a few are listed below

Ayurveda
Yoga
Siddha
Yunani
Naturopathy

Considering that we can excel in various parameters catering to medical tourism, our country has tremendous potential to increase our share in the Medical Tourism segment.

Jay Kantawala, Founder of WIYO Travel says, “Medical tourism in India has been seeing a year on year growth in the past decade and is expected to grow 2 ½ times in the coming 8-10 years and become a US$ 1.6 Billion market in coming decade. This industry will get a boost if Visa process is simplified and simple cross border payments. In addition to this we are seeing Health care institutions opting for certifications for NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers) and JCI (Joint Commission International) accreditations, which help in building trust amongst travelers”.

Continue Reading

Analysis

56% smart cities prone to floods: Report

More than 2,200 cities and towns in India are located in districts which have witnessed at least 11 floods in the last 18 years.

Published

on

Hudhud Storm

As much as 56 per cent of smart cities are prone to floods which are responsible for 77 per cent of all disasters in India, a report said on Friday.

The report, based on disaster data between 2000 and 2017, observed that India has a mean of 11 flood events per district over the last 18 years.

Image result for smart cities floods prone

Following floods, other disaster share was cyclone (22 per cent), extreme temperature (11 per cent), landslides (seven per cent) and earthquakes (four per cent). Drought, however, was only one per cent of all disasters.

“Ninety-eight per cent of India’s 642 districts have received at least one flood event,” stated the joint report ‘Decoding the Monsoon Floods’ by NGO SEEDS and Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) based in the University of Louvain School of Public Health, Brussels.

It said that floods affect over 15 million people every year. Of 15.6 million people affected by floods in India in 2017, over 316,185 were people with disabilities.

“More than 2,200 cities and towns in India are located in districts which have witnessed at least 11 floods in the last 18 years,” the report said.

Further signifying the scale of infrastructure that needs to be secured against the future risks, the findings said that 56 per cent of India’s planned smart cities fall in districts reporting a high number of flood events.

Since 2000, India has faced 215 flooding events both from floods and cyclones. This accounts for 77 per cent of all disaster events.

“Assam is the most flood-prone state, with areas like Lakhimpur reporting over 30 flood events within this period. Even known drought-prone areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan have witnessed more floods than the country’s average in the last 18 years,” said Anshu Sharma, Co-founder and Mentor, SEEDS.

“Unpredictability, urbanisation and invisibility of flood risk are major concerns that need to be addressed urgently,” Sharma added.

Citing the 2015 Chennai floods in Tamil Nadu, the report pointed out how the natural sinks like wetlands, that act as a sponge against floods, had shrunk due to rapid urbanisation, leading to catastrophic results.

“Estimates put the remaining original wetlands of Chennai at just 10 per cent.”

“Concrete encroachment on Cooum River, Adyar River and Buckingham Canal which serve as the main rainwater drains, poorly designed drainage systems and ageing civil infrastructure added to the problem,” the report said.

Debarati Guha-Sapir, Director, CRED, said: “We are witnessing a disturbing trend of a large number of climate induced disasters… The launch of this regional report is a huge step towards better understanding of local nuances of disaster events.”

Suggesting preparations for the 2018 monsoon and cyclone seasons at policy and community levels, the report said that with a scale this huge, informal nature of the losses and limited resources, coping practices at the community level are very beneficial.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular