Have you heard !!! Jammu is suddenly becoming dangerously communal?

Posted on August 6, 2008. Filed under: India, Kashmir, Muslims, Politics |

All of a sudden, the ruling elite of India, including the Governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir have found alarming traces of “communalism” in the Jammu “pro-land transfer” agitation. This follows a few days after the ex-CM of the state Farookh Abdullah  lamented the lack of firmness on the part of the state administration in dealing with the “law and order situation” arising out of the non-Muslim umbrella organization’s agitation. The state police and security forces have responded with firmness, shooting to death agitators. Two local TV stations were closed down by the police, on the pretext that they were “inflaming communal hatred”.

It is so shocking really, as so far there was no communalism in the state, not when the Islamic militants targeted the secular schools so that children were forced to go to the madrassahs which were never targeted, not when the Kashmiri pundits and other Hindus were ethnically “cleansed” out of the Muslim majority part of the state, not when anti-India and anti non-Muslim propaganda were given a free press in media representing the Muslims, not when none of the apologists and defenders of Islam mentioned anything about the rights and feelings of the non-Muslims of Kashmir.

Communalism starts only when non-Muslims try to copy successful Islamic tactics of agit-prop, not when Muslims carry out their tactics of blatant religious-communal mobilization. There is precedence in Indian history, especially in the history of Kashmir, when one of its late Hindu period king, Harsha, carried out iconoclasm with Islamic zeal (by the Thaparian theory, any textual claim of violence on the part of non-Muslims have to be taken literally as having actually been carried out, and all such claims of violence on the part of Muslims have to be taken as fanciful and propaganda). We do not exactly know what were the motivations of Harsha, money or gold from temples, or bitter personal rivalry with the priests over authority.  But we have even more explicit claims of collaboration between mainly Brahmin and “Hindu” elite priests on the one hand and Muslim rulers, adventurers on the other.

So it is not surprising that sections of modern “Hindu” elite feel their hearts melt at Islamic “grievance”, imagined or otherwise. There could be personal histories, elements in the upbringing, feelings of alienation, romantic inclinations (Jadu, son of King Ganesh of Bengal, is rumored to have converted to Islam after getting besotted with Asmantara – a Muslim beauty, and subsequently ruled as Jalaluddin Muhammad), masochistic tendencies, or simply perhaps admiration for some of the “pleasures” promised in the lifestyle of Islam for males – we can only speculate about the reasons behind this phenomenon. (On a more frivolous and subversive note, there are so many more media reports of celebrity “Hindu” women falling in love with Muslim men – never Hindu men falling in love with Muslim women – should not the Hindu men sit up and take notice – Rani Kamala of Gurjar did not commit suicide after being abducted by Malik Kafur and presented as a concubine to Alauddin Khilji, reports indicate that she continued to flourish – maybe Hindu society has made the romantic and sexual life of its women very dull and boring!!)

India needs to think where it is going. Kashmiri Muslims once had wanted to return to Hinduism – who were the Hindus who prevented them and why? Are there things that need to be eliminated and dropped from Indian non-muslim culture that are in the way of greater fulfillment of its adherents? It is not a simple black and white question. The dilemma over Jammu is symbolic of a more fundamental dilemma in Indian society. Perhaps it needs to liberate itself from self and other imposed restrictions that prevents it from seeing clearly and taking the right steps, and taking proper sides.

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