Thursday, October 20, 2011

Madrasa education confident to make society more unyielding in Bengal

There is an age-old saying – it’s futile to measure force of the blizzard before its first wind blows. The subject of minority education, especially Muslim education, that was lying dormant till the other day in Bengal has come to the surface out of the blue almost and is showing no sign to retire soon. On the contrary, it is gaining strength with each day it passes. And without doubt, vote-bank politics, sturdy enough to segregate a well-knit social unit even, is playing a great role here.

Islamic radicalism in Bengal is getting bigger once again; a representative body of private religious madrasas in the state has rejected Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s offer of affiliation to 10,000 madrasas. West Bengal Rabeta Madaris-e-Islamia Arabia alleges presence of a conspiracy to bring religious madrasas in political fold.

It must be kept in mind an identical claim has been with Muslims in Bengal for decades, if not more. What leads to this sudden renunciation then? After all Islam has hardly any relation to the philosophy of renunciation.

Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, Chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, said, “Muslim should be aware of the government recognition offer for Islamic madrasas. Most of the Islamic madrasas in West Bengal are following the syllabus of Darul Uloom Deoband and Mazahir Uloom Saharanpur. Any madrasa run by Rabeta will never take Government recognition announced by the Chief Minister of West Bengal.” He has also said in glowing terms, “If Government wants to do something leave targeting Madrasa. Madrasa should have right to go their own way, destination Islamic Education.”

“Religious Madrasa should not take any Government Assistance. In Sachar Report we have seen only 4% Madrasa students. The rest are going to school or modern education centres. Government should take care of schools not Muslim-run Islamic Madarsa. Madrasas are teaching Islamic lesson. We have right to teach Islamic Education and build Islamic Educational Institution to our choice, which stated in Indian Constituency. We will abide Indian Constituency not State run Government Rule,’ Maulana Nomani also said.

If this happens to be the uncompromising posture of Islamic radicals in Bengal, dark days are ahead only. The aforesaid discourse speaks of bigotry merely, of a mindset that is always ready to exploit any situation to help Islam emerge victorious. This gets more confirmed when Darul Uloom Deoband and Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind madrasas were advised (in the conference of West Bengal Rabeta Madaris-e-Islamia Arabia) to keep safe distance from Government Financial help to run the madrasa. Madrasa, as it was heard in the conference, should follow common processes to collect donation from Muslim Community, society.

To cut a long story short, Islamic school of thought is not ready to mingle with other parts of the greater society and considers any such interaction nothing apart from a face-to-face encounter or vicious struggle. There is perhaps no room for peaceful co-existence in Islam and this makes it anxious all the time within itself. And its relation with others, accordingly, remains strained without respite. Society turns into the final casualty on the whole.

We can see writing on the wall already – the more madrasa education gets popular, intransigence rules the day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AMU Study Center movement, Kishenganj propels neo-radicals

It is already known to all – Muslim students, desperate to have Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Study Center in Kishenganj, Bihar, drummed up strong protests against delay in its establishment through creating a 15 hours of blockade throwing rail communication system in Eastern India out of gear on October 13, 2011. What followed next was a complete disaster as tens of thousands of railway passengers including Union Railway Minister, Dinesh Trivedi were left stranded. Even if the strike was withdrawn ultimately, damage had already set in.

Here is a minuscule picture of the crisis. According to railway department reports, no less than 30 thousand passengers including Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, on his way to Kolkata, were left stranded. Altogether 18 long distance trains like the Guwahati Rajdhani were badly affected. Some of these were - Rajdhani Express at Aluabari, Kamrup Express, Uttar Banga Express, North East Express, Saraighat Express, Bongaigaon Express, Teesta Torsha Express, Capital Express, Kanchankanya Express, Puri-Guwahati Express and others.

Apart from this NH-31 was also blocked for several hours and owing to it, movements of vehicles among states came to a halt. It is worthwhile to mention, people in the environs expressed their solidarity to the agitation through folding all activities.

What makes Kishanganj, town and district headquarter of Kishanganj district, Bihar a favored spot for AMU Study Center? As per latest statistics, the district, not to speak of the town, enjoys a high Muslim density; 70% Muslim population has made it a Muslim arsenal finally. On the word of local people, AMU Study Center has become a part of Muslim identity and this must be accepted since it was not possible for a mere 100 protestors from an Islamic student organization to hold the state almost to ransom. They were joined by hundreds of Muslim activists of Trinamool Congress and Congress from districts of Kishanganj, Purnia, Katihar, Araria, Supaul, Khagaria and adjacent North Dinajpur, West Bengal.

If truth be told, a well-favored who’s who of Muslim leaders, cutting across political antagonisms, was present to spearhead the virulent campaign and express Islamic solidarity behind the cause. They included Chowdhury Abdul Karim, Cabinet Minister of West Bengal Assembly and also prominent Trinamool Congress leader, Tariq Anwar (MP), MLAs Akhtar-ul-Iman (RJD), Zakir Hussain (LJP), Mohammad Afhaq, Dr Javed, Mohammad Tousheef (all Congress) and West Bengal MLAs Gulam Rabbani and Ali Ramz alias Victor, former Bihar minister Haji Subhan, Araria Zila Parishad chief Shagufta Azim, ex-Kishanganj Zila Parishad chief Faiyaz Alam along with champions of Jamiat-ulema-e-Hind and AMU Students Union president A A Feroz. The meeting was presided over by Asrarul Haq, MP (Congress) – Kishanganj.

The presence of people from Bengal to lead the agitation is enough to spark debates regarding federal structure of India and the constitutional right of every state to manage its own affairs. This is coming to the fore in government circles of Bihar too but what do they prefer to steer clear of is that any Islamic movement tries best to accomplish the target – to preserve its own identity through challenging the hypothecated Hindu hegemony.

A few leaders, it has been learnt, has been charged for causing public damages along with public inconvenience. They are Ghulam Rabbani (Trinamool Congress), Ali Ramz alias Victor (Forward Bloc), Convener of the Kishanganj Education Movement (KEM) for AMU, Wasiqur Rahman and patron Md Hanif – all from Bengal, Asrarul Haq (Congress MP from Kishanganj) and three Bihar MLAs Akhtar Ul Iman (RJD), Dr Javed and Mohammad Tousheef (both Congress). But it is also no secret that charges will continue to live in records only – none is ready to hinder Islamic maneuver and become a part of alleged majoritarian communalism (?).

There is no way to have a sigh of relief – entire episode was just a dress rehearsal while the real and sturdier performance may take place before long. It was indeed a great success, enough to embolden radical Islamic mindset. But there has been another more revelation – struggling for a demand (study center to take place in Bihar only) by people, cutting across political lines and above all state barriers, has scores of implications. To cut a long story short, Islamic movement is changing its course of action and accomplishment of AMU Study Center in Kishenganj will be its first success.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Need of constitutional safeguards to save Bengali Hindus

Fate of Bengali Hindus is dwindling – scores of reports, articles and meticulous investigations have evidenced this from time to time and unless something is done before long, the entire community will be doomed forever. Hence, there is the need of pro-active people to change the destiny. They can take lessons from Bimalangshu Roy Foundation in the Indian state of Assam – engaged in saving the community from ultimate ruin. It has asked for immediate interference of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to execute Immigrant (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950, in the state as per Supreme Court directives and also to render the benefit of proviso to Section 2 of the said Act to the minorities of Bangladesh, persecuted, displaced and also compelled to migrate to different parts of Assam.

Dr. Rajdeep Roy, managing trustee of the Foundation named after his father, two time MLA from Silchar and a champion of the cause of the displaced Bengali Hindus in the past, has taken a leading part in this regard. He sent a letter to Singh and Gogoi on September 19 urging upon them to ensure constitutional safeguards for the Bengali Hindus who had been forced to flee from Bangladesh.

As per Dr. Roy, he appealed to the Prime Minister to recognize the displaced Hindu Bengalis as refugees and treat them as Indian citizens.

What does the letter include? In his letter to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, Dr. Roy said the history of Bangladesh, and its transition from a secular to an Islamic State, had left in its wake several episodes of genocide of minorities forcing them to take refuge in Assam. Moreover, discriminatory laws, such as Vested Property Act 1974 under which the government could confiscate property of persons deemed enemy of the State, had been responsible for appropriation of lands of minorities , thus acting as a catalyst for forced migration of minorities.

It was in this line that the Parliament while enacting the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950 specifically protected against expulsion, persons ‘who on account of civil disturbances or fear of such disturbances’ were displaced from or left their places and subsequently residing in Assam. Such provision was made in proviso to Section 2 of the said Act and this enactment was still in force unrestrictedly in Assam.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Each Kojaagari Laxmi Puja brings back horror of Noakhali

There is a well-known saying across India – whatever may be the extent of disaster in social life Bengali Hindus can’t steer clear of celebrating Puja, especially Kojaagari Laxmi Purnima – it’s a part of their social entity. Who did state this at first, it’s not known but without doubt this is valid for two factors mainly – Kojaagari Laxmi Puja is celebrated in almost each Bengali Hindu household and had Bengali Hindus desired to end it, they could have done it with the infamous, horrendous Noakhali genocide. But it never happened.

The Islamic pogrom against Bengali Hindus in Noakhali and Tipperah, positioned in the then Chittagong division of pre-partitioned Bengal, started on October 10, 1946 – on the day of Kojaagari Laxmi Puja. And when I am writing this article it is also another day of Kojaagari Laxmi Puja, dated October 11, 2011 – almost 70 years have passed by now but the religious persecution of Bengali Hindus in Noakhali, enough to put even Gestapo and perpetrators of Soviet Gulag to shame, haunts Hindu psyche on each Puja day.

As per history, Noakhali genocide affected the areas under the Ramganj, Begumganj, Raipur, Lakshmipur, Chhagalnaiya and Sandwip police stations in Noakhali district and the areas under Hajiganj, Faridganj, Chandpur, Laksham and Chauddagram police stations in Tipperah district. A total area of over 2,000 square miles turned into a cremation chamber of Hindus completely. The whole saga took place to avenge defeat of Muslims on Direct Action Day, August 15, 1946 – a face-to-face fierce battle started by Muslim jingoists to wrest Calcutta, the second city of the British Empire after London, from Hindus, ended with valiant reprisal by Hindus.

An assortment of reports, investigations do authenticate that 6,000 – 7, 000 Hindus were killed on the whole but above all massacres, rapes, abductions and forced conversions of Hindus and loot and arson of Hindu properties, perpetrated by the Muslim community in the districts of Noakhali caught the attention of humanity worldwide. The event not only sealed the fate of dreams of a free, undivided India but also of Bengali Hindus once and for all.

Now the subject remains of the extent of tortures on Hindus in Noakhali.

Here are some excerpts.

“Worst of all was the plight of women. Several of them had to watch their husbands being murdered and then be forcibly converted and married to some of those responsible for their death. Those women had a dead look. It was not despair, nothing so active as that. It was blackness…….the eating of beef and declaration of allegiance to Islam has been forced upon many thousands of as the price of their lives” – written by Miss Muriel Leister, member of a relief committee sent to Noakhali, on 6th November, 1946,(V.V. Nagarkar – Genesis – p 446).

October 23, 1946 edition of Amrita Bazar Patrika stated clearly:

“For the 13th day today, about 120 villages in Ramganj, Lakshmipur, Raipur, Begumganj and Senbag thanas (police stations) in Noakhali district with a Hindu population of 90,000 and nearby 70,000 villagers in Chandpur and Faridganj thanas in Tippera (Comilla) district remained besieged by hooligans. Death stares the people of these areas in their face and immediate rushing of supply to these areas with the help of military, who alone could do it, would save the lives of these people, most of whom have been without food for the last few days.”

On 16/10/1946, The Statesman reported:

“In an area of about 200 sq miles the inhabitants surrounded by riotous mobs, are being massacred, their houses being burnt, their womenfolk being forcibly carried away and thousands being subjected to forcible conversion. Thousands of hooligans attacked the villages, compelled them (Hindus) to slaughter their cattle and eat. All places of worship in affected villages have been desecrated. The District Magistrate and the Police Superintendent of Noakhali took no step to prevent it.”

Noakhali carnage took place due to several factors, one of them was the need of Muslim vengeance to defeat in Great Calcutta Killing by Hindus. On October 10, 1946 the pogrom started with the rabble-rousing speech of Gulam Sarowar, an ex-M.L.A of Muslim League at Begumganj Bazar. A dreadful anti-Hindu speech by quoting verses of Quran exhorting Muslims to kill the Kafirs and idolators and perform religious duty was given. This was followed by violent assaults of Muslim mobs on Hindu properties, killings of hundreds of Hindus, rapes of Hindu women – a complete savagery.

When the correspondent of 'Amrit Bazaar Patrika' S.L.Ghosh reached noakhali, he reported:

"The horror of the Noakhali outrage is unique in modern history in that it was not a simple case of turbulent members of the majority community (Muslims) killing off helpless members of the minority Hindu community, but was one whose chief aim was mass conversion, accompanied by loot, arson and wholesale devastation... No section of the Hindu community has been spared, the wealthier classes being dealt with more drastically. Abduction and outrage of Hindu women and forcible marriages were also resorted. The slogans used and the methods employed indicate that it was all part of a plan for the simultaneous establishment of Pakistan."

Each Kojaagari Laxmi Puja brings back horror of Noakhali more and more – an episode that remains unparalleled in the history of savagery even, in every sense of the term.