24th World Book Day. 99 Books We Must Read.


The World Book Day was chosen by the UNESCO General Conference to “pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.” The first World Book and Copyright Day was observed on 23 April 1995.

Most educated Indians are indeed curious about the things which concern them immensely. But unfortunately, the media or formal education does not offer us insightful explanations. Paradoxically, the present young generation seems less interested in reading and more inclined towards the electronic screens. An important cause is that the most useful books that really educate us and reveal our various aspects, and of our world, are seldom publicised with the vitality which they deserve. So the curious mind gradually resigns itself to whatever is popularised by the powerful elite, without ever questioning it.

A selection of 99 books is hence listed here to educate the curious mind and society – to provoke imagination and to reveal certain realities which journalism is generally too shy or embarrassed to care. Continue reading 24th World Book Day. 99 Books We Must Read.

Knowledge, Education & Wisdom: Maladies and Remedies

Superior intelligence is the only human ability that enables us to overcome all other species. We use our intelligence to gain knowledge of all the living and non-living things in the world around us. As we gain more knowledge we also develop wisdom that guides us to carefully use the power that comes with knowledge. These are the only trait that sets humans apart from all the other living beings and allows us to tame the most ferocious beasts and make medicines from snake venom.

A very important advantage we humans have is the capability of beliefs and opinions; animals are only capable of emotions and intuition. As we acquire wisdom, we understand that our lives are temporary and everything changes with time. Our health and abilities, possessions and power will cease to exist sooner or later. Governments, cultures and civilisations will rise and fall over time just as the great civilisations of Indus and Nile have long disappeared. But the only thing that continues to flourish and pass from one generation to other, from one civilisation to other is knowledge. For example, the people who first invented the wheel are now in complete oblivion, but wheels are used every day in bullock carts, the smallest toys as well as the largest power stations.

Knowledge, unlike myths, cannot be fabricated but only acquired after careful study. Since the dawn of civilisation, humans have tried to organise and acquire more knowledge and impart it with discipline. Continue reading Knowledge, Education & Wisdom: Maladies and Remedies

Surah Hadid: A Reminder to Muslims from the Almighty

57. Surah al-Hadid

The Iron

All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies God and He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He gives life and He gives death; and He has the power over all the things. He is the First (Alpha) and the Last (Omega), and the Manifest and the Hidden; and He is Omniscient. It is Him who created the heavens and the earth in six phases; then He arose upon the ‘Arsh. He knows all that enters the earth and all that emerges from it; and all that comes down from the sky and all that ascends thereto. And He is with you wherever you may be and God is the Seer of what you do. (1 to 4)

His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and to God (all) things are returned. He causes the night to pass into the day and He causes the day to pass into the night; and He is best aware of all that is in the minds. (5 & 6)

Keep faith in God and His Messenger, and spend out of which He has made you custodians; and such of you as trust and spend (aright), theirs will be a great reward. (7)

What is with you that you keep not faith in God – when the Messenger calls you to have faith in your Lord, and He (God) has already taken a covenant from you – if you are believers? It is Him who sends down clear proofs to His servant, that He may bring you forth from darkness to light; and indeed God unto you is benign and merciful. (8 & 9)

And what is with you that you spend not in the way of God, when to God belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth? Those who spent and fought before the victory are not the same (as everyone); they are greater in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards. To each has God promised good, and God is aware of what you do. (10)

Who is such will lend to God a goodly loan, so He may multiply it for him and his may be a generous reward? On the day when you will see the faithful, men and women, their light shining forth before them and on their right hands: “Glad news for you this Day – gardens underneath which will flow streams, wherein you shall abide”. That is the great triumph. On the Day when the hypocrite men and the hypocrite women will say to the faithful, “Look on us that we may borrow from your light!” It will be said, “Go back and grope for light!” Then they will be separated by a wall wherein is a gate, the inner side of which contains mercy, while the outer side thereof is toward the punishment. They will call unto them, “Were we not with you?” They will say, “Why not? But you tempted and bewildered yourselves, awaited and doubted, and vain hopes deceived you till the decree of God came to pass; and the deceiver did deceive you regarding God. So today, nothing be taken from you as ransom, nor from those who disbelieved. Your home is the Fire; that is your patron, and a gruesome abode.” (11 to 15)

Is not the time (therefore) ripe for the hearts of those who believe – to be humble before God’s reminder and to the descendent Truth – and not become like those who received the Scripture before, but the term was prolonged for them and their hearts were hardened, and many of them are mischievous? (16)

Know that God revives the earth after its death. We have made clear Our signs/revelations for you, that perhaps you may understand. Lo! The charitable men and the charitable women, and (who) lend to God a goodly loan, it shall be multiplied for them, and theirs will be a generous reward. And those who keep faith in God and His Messengers – who are indeed the Truthful and the testimony bearers – are with their Lord; for them is their reward and their light. As for those who reject and belie Our signs/revelations, they shall indeed be inmates of the Hell. (17 to 19)

Know that the life of this world is only amusement, diversion and beauty, and boasting among yourselves, greed and rivalry in wealth and children; as the example of a rain whose vegetation impresses the farmers; then it dries up and you see it turn yellow, then it becomes husk. And in the Hereafter there is grievous torment as well as forgiveness from God and acclaim, whereas the life of this world is but the wares of deception. Vie with each-other for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a paradise whereof the expanse is like the expanse of the heavens and the earth; which is prepared for those who kept faith in God and His Messengers. Such is the grace of God, which He grants to whom He wills, and God is of Great Largesse. (20 & 21)

No tribulation afflicts the earth or in yourselves but it is in a Book, before We bring it into being – Indeed, that is easy for God – so that you grieve not for what has escaped you, nor boast of what comes your way; and God doesn’t love any prideful boasters. Such are the stingy and (they) advice to people stinginess. And whosoever turns away, verily God is all Wealthy and Extolled. (22 to 24)

We verily sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and sent down with them the Scripture and the Balance, that people may establish with justice. And We sent down the iron, wherein is mighty power and (many) uses for people, and that God may know those who help Him and His Messengers in their obscurity. Lo! God is Strong, Mighty. (25)

And We sent indeed, Noah and Abraham, and placed the Prophethood and the Scripture in their progeny. And among them are guided, but many among them are mischievous. Then We followed them up in legacy with Our messengers; and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, also to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who emulated him. And they invented celibacy – We never prescribed it for them – but only seeking God’s pleasure, and yet they observed it not with proper observance. So We give, to the faithful among them, their reward, but many of them are mischievous. (26 & 27)

O you who believe! Be wary unto God and have faith in His apostle. He will give you twofold of His mercy and will make for you a light whereby you may walk, and will forgive you – and God is Forgiving, Merciful – so that the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) may know that they control nothing of the grace of God, but grace is (only) in God’s Hand, to give to whoever He wills. And God is of Great Largesse. (28 & 29)

Book Review: Hindustan Mein Zaat-Paat aur Musalman

Indian Dalit Muslims' Voice

(In India, caste & Muslims)
Masood Alam Falahi
Publisher: Ideal Foundation Mumbai,
Farid Book Depot Delho
farid@ndf.vsnl.net.in – Home
Office Phone:011-23289786,23289159
Price. INR.100

Frank admission of caste among Muslims in North India

Reviewed by: M.A. DELVI, NO.8 – 3RD CROSS,

It is hazardous to review a book which has the ingredients and potentials of opening a pandora’s box. The book by Masood Alam Falahi falls under this category. To consider caste or social stratification in Muslim society is almost a taboo let alone study and follow its ramifications and impacts on society. The credit goes to Falahi to break this taboo and present this malady in all its crude nakedness. Although studies into the reasons for the persistence of Hindu caste structure, particularly among the middle and low caste converts to Islam were…

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Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Resignation Speech

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's Caravan

Most of us know Dr. B R Ambedkar’s ideological fights with Gandhi. Not many, however, would know the kind of issues Dr. Ambedkar had with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister.

The so called modernist Pt. Nehru had turned so conservative after India’s freedom – or he was a conservative throughout his life that Dr. Ambedkar could no more remain his co-traveler and had to resign from his Cabinet on September 27, 1951. Reproduced [Ambedkar’s Writings, Vol. 14, Part Two, pages.1317-1327] is the full text of Dr. Ambedkar’s speech on his resignation

Text of the Resignation

ambedkarThe House I am sure knows, unofficially if not officially, that I have ceased to be a member of the Cabinet. I tendered my resignation on Thursday, the 27th September to the Prime Minister and asked him to relieve me immediately. The Prime Minister was good enough to accept the same on the…

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Prophet Muhammad – The Benefactor of Humanity

If grandeur of design, pettiness of means and immensity of results, be the three measures of human genius, who could dare to compare any great men with Mohammed? Head of the State as well as of the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope’s pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar. If ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports.

Every philosopher or reformer who has influenced the world came from a privileged family or a prosperous civilisation. Prophet Muhammad was, in this regard, unique. He was born among the Bedouin tribes of Arabia, in a region ignored by all the great empires and civilisations. His only advantage was that he lived in the full light of recorded history. Born to Abdullah and Aamena, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was orphaned at the age of 4 years. Thereafter he lived with his grandfather Abdul Mutallib, who was a highly respected tribal leader in Mecca, a first among equals. The only matter of pride for the Prophet was a respectable lineage and a noble character. He was the most trustworthy person in Mecca, even among his adversaries. When all the great civilisations had sunk into the Dark Ages, he gave the humanity a universal message that raised a golden civilisation of scientific discoveries, technological inventions, medical and philosophical revolutions, multicultural coexistence and marvellous arts. Continue reading Prophet Muhammad – The Benefactor of Humanity

Islam and the West

A speech by HRH Charles George, The Prince of Wales, at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford on 27th October 1993

Ladies and gentlemen, it was suggested to me when I first began to consider the subject of this lecture, that I should take comfort from the Arab proverb, ‘In every head there is some wisdom’. I confess that I have few qualifications as a scholar to justify my presence here, in this theatre, where so many people much more learned than I have preached and generally advanced the sum of human knowledge. I might feel more prepared if I were an offspring of your distinguished University, rather than a product of that ‘Technical College of the Fens’ – though I hope you will bear in mind that a chair of Arabic was established in 17th century Cambridge a full four years before your first chair of Arabic at Oxford.

Unlike many of you, I am not an expert on Islam – though I am delighted, for reasons which I hope will become clear, to be a Patron of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. The Centre has the potential to be an important and exciting vehicle for promoting and improving understanding of the Islamic world in Britain, and one which I hope will earn its place alongside other centres of Islamic study in Oxford, like the Oriental Institute and the Middle East Centre, as an institution of which the University, and scholars more widely, will become justly proud.

Given all the reservations I have about venturing into a complex and controversial field, you may well ask why I am here in this marvellous Wren building talking to you on the subject of Islam and the West. The reason is, ladies and gentlemen, that I believe wholeheartedly that the links between these two worlds matter more today than ever before, because the degree of misunderstanding between the Islamic and Western worlds remains dangerously high, and because the need for the two to live and work together in our increasingly interdependent world has never been greater. At the same time I am only too well aware of the minefields which lie across the path of the inexpert traveller who is bent on exploring this difficult route. Some of what I shall say will undoubtedly provoke disagreement, criticism, misunderstanding and, knowing my luck, probably worse. But perhaps, when all is said and done, it is worth recalling another Arab proverb: ‘What comes from the lips reaches the ears. What comes from the heart reaches the heart.’

The depressing fact is that, despite the advances in technology and mass communication of the second half of the 20th century, despite mass travel, the intermingling of races, the ever-growing reduction – or so we believe – of the mysteries of our world, misunderstandings between Islam and the West continue. Indeed, they may be growing. As far as the West is concerned, this cannot be because of ignorance. There are one billion Muslims worldwide. Many millions of them live in countries of the Commonwealth. Ten million or more of them live in the West, and around one million here in Britain. Our own Islamic community has been growing and flourishing for decades. There are nearly 500 mosques in Britain. Popular interest in Islamic culture in Britain is growing fast. Many of you will recall – and I think some of you took part in – the wonderful Festival of Islam which Her Majesty The Queen opened in 1976. Islam is all around us. And yet distrust, even fear, persist. Continue reading Islam and the West

good academic writing – what’s your list?


I asked people in one of my Australian writing workshops to tell me what they thought was essential in good academic writing. The purpose of the activity was to generate criteria that participants could use to steer their own writing. The list was not meant to be an evaluative rubric, something that could be used to assess distance from the ideal. No, the list was an expression of aspirations.

So here is the list that the workshop participants produced – with just a bit of editing from me.

The text is written clearly – complex ideas are explained and difficult terms are defined – the content is accessible to the reader. Even when concepts and theories are obscure, complex or difficult, they are not overcomplicated, but made comprehensible.

The text is well organized – it is clearly structured so that you know where you are in the argument.

The text…

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Zakir Naik Media Trial: Defamation aka Journalism

Indian media has an uncanny habit. It gets obsessed with certain issues and controversies for a short time that last less than a fortnight. Trivial news items and discussions are blown out of proportion and important ones left out. Issues related to politics and ideology do usually eclipse the issues useful to general society. Eventually, the everyday necessity of general awareness is unwittingly ignored. The obvious setback of a controversy-addicted news media is that it cannot quench the hunger of knowledge which leaves the society morally and intellectually malnourished thereby perpetuating social evils besides administrative and economic disorders. This sensationalist attitude of the media, that resembles a cannabis addicted youngster, has left the populace longing for uncontaminated food, water and unpolluted air. A generation has grown up that doesn’t remember the taste of delicious mangoes and can hardly see a locality with families of different communities living as neighbours.

Media’s Crusade Against the Islamic Preacher

The recent controversy around Dr. Zakir Naik, an Islamic preacher, was one such pill, carefully administered by a fascist lobby. The controversy began with a cunning report. The Daily Star, the leading newspaper in Bangladesh published a story about the terrorist attack in Dhaka. It reported that the gunmen who killed 22 people at a café in the Bangladeshi capital had posted some of Dr. Naik’s ideas on social media. This news was then reported by the Indian Express, Times Now and NDTV on July 5 and in Scroll which further added that the controversial preacher is banned in UK, Canada and Malaysia.

Dr. Zakir Naik responded by uploading a video on his YouTube and Twitter blogs on July 8 in which he exposed the lies of these media houses. The Islamic preacher was never banned in Canada or Malaysia but was actually honoured with the Tokoh Ma’al Hijrah Award for Distinguished International Personality in 2013 by the King of Malaysia, which is Malaysia’s highest civilian award.

The Daily Star then quickly removed the news page from its website and published another one clarifying that it stands corrected and expressed protest against the misunderstanding. Though media outlets had reported that the responsibility for the Dhaka attack was claimed by the misattributed Islamic State (ISIS), the Bangladesh government’s investigation shows otherwise.

Zakir Naik Media Trial

Since then, all the media agencies have been running a smear campaign against this soft-spoken preacher who is a household name for millions of Muslims around the world. Besides being given highest national honours by the heads of states of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Gambia, Zakir Naik is also the founder of the Peace TV network, available free-to-air in 200 countries and has a total viewership of over 200 million. This makes Peace TV the largest religious TV network in the world, which is uplinked to satellite from United Kingdom and UAE. Dr. Naik has shared stages with lawyers, journalists, bureaucrats, judges, politicians, Bollywood personalities and religious leaders including the famous Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. But all the media outlets have published guile reports to falsely associate Zakir Naik with Wahhabi extremists while none of them have reported in the recent days about his public dialogue with Ravi Shankar in 2006. This is because Dr. Naik had exposed the spiritual guru’s supremacist views in his erroneous book on Hinduism and Islam which was published after the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Zakir Naik’s Peace TV does not have a cable licence in India, so cable operators are prohibited from relaying it. But like the thousands of channels available around the world, it can be viewed using a private antenna, which is not prohibited. As of now, Bangladesh has banned the Peace TV on cable, but private viewing is still permitted. Dr. Naik, as usual, is on a foreign tour holding peace conferences and other events.

Liberalism – Slander Journalism

Mainstream media and politics are distant cousins. Media outlets have the tendency to flirt with political/ideological sides and become a narrow pool of like-minded journalists who gradually lose the touch of reality and public opinion. This is why many leading news agencies gave terribly wrong analyses on the popularity of Narendra Modi and Donald Trump.

Among the most misleading criticisms published by such journalists was by Saba Naqvi in the Times of India on July 9 calling him a “preacher from hell”. An essay of not more than 700 words, Naqvi has written 10 blatant lies about Zakir Naik, terrorism, sectarianism, current affairs and history. Naqvi seems to believe that Islam is nothing more than a cultural identity, which is exactly the narrative of Sangh Parivar. Shekhar Gupta, who had interviewed Dr. Naik on NDTV, writes that Zakir Naik is a “dangerous misinterpreter of maladies” and promoted religious fundamentalism. Ironically, Gupta has neither studied religion nor geopolitics. In fact, Shekhar Gupta and Saba Naqvi have hardly ever studied or reported the complexities of theology, religion, geopolitics or terrorism. TV channels, as usual, got their choicest pseudo-intellectual critics who are obsessed with maligning certain Islamic Schools of Thought.

Mainstream media can easily support the opinions of a Bangladeshi or Pakistani exile to criticise Islam but cannot understand the swarm of Islamic scholars and Muslim intellectuals who preach Islam and build communal harmony.

Liberalism, therefore, is emerging as a fanatic ideology whose supporters would resort to all kinds of sinister methods and lies when faced with a formidable challenge. All the constraints of journalistic professionalism, objectivity, integrity and fact checking are candidly broken. Character assassination is also a card to be played lest all the other methods fail. This is when mainstream journalism turns into toxic propaganda. Social Media channels too, that are otherwise liberal and fairly objective, have shown their talent of misinterpreting Zakir Naik’s talks. This kind of attitude that conceals and belies the truth is referred to in Arabic as ‘kufr’ and a person who does this consistently is called a Kaafir (which by the way is a word of secular and pre-Islamic origins). Everyone in this world who tries to reform the society goes through such trials.

Zakir Naik, Wahhabism and the Middle East

Contrary to Arnab Goswami’s defamation, Zakir Naik frequently condemns terrorism and violence by quoting the Qur’anic verse in his programmes, “… whoever kills anyone, unless for murder or spreading corruption in land, it is as if he has killed the whole mankind. And if he saves anyone then it’s like saving all the people” (The Table Spread, 5:32) But none of the news or opinion platforms, whether print, electronic or online have mentioned it anywhere. Anyone who watches Dr. Naik’s programmes in their unedited entirety knows that the preacher is all against violence and has been actively promoting inter-faith dialogue and understanding.

Mahatma Gandhi had said that all religions proceed from the same God but are all imperfect because they have come down to us through imperfect human instrumentality. Dr. Zakir Naik, therefore, holds public gatherings for free, to present a practical path that is free from human manipulations. He commands respect from several Muslim and non-Muslim guests who thank him for opening their eyes to brightness and clarity.

Almost every media house, of late, has been associating the Mumbai based preacher with Wahhabism which they consider to be an extremist Islamist ideology. Bewitched by a habit of naively buying the narrative of Western lobbies, almost every Indian media agency is propagating the notion that neo-Wahhabism (known as Salafism) is the cause of global terrorism. Salafism, in reality, is just a theo-jurisprudential School of Islamic Thought that emerged in the twentieth century. Ironically, articles in the print media criticising Salafism are never written by anyone who is a proper cleric from a madrasa or at least has a master’s degree in Islamic Studies from a university. All of them are poets, writers, historians or at best professors of cultural studies.

Contrary to the media portrayal, Salafism is a very broad creed and is not synonymous with the Saudi Wahhabism. It has gone through many changes and bifurcations since its founding by Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab in the eighteenth century in the Najd region of Arabia. Salafism traces its legacy to Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 14th century CE) and the Ash’ari School of Islamic theology. It emphasises a pure and pristine monotheism (Tauheed) based on Qur’an and the Prophet’s tradition (Sunnah). Similar to other revivalist movements around the Muslim world, it opposes superstition, hero worship, grave reverence, extravagant celebrations, the transactional nature of religion which accumulates wealth by exploiting the ignorance of laymen and blind loyalty to scholars or creeds. Through its influence in the House of Saud it also reunited a fragmenting Muslim world, in the matters of religious jurisprudence (Fiqh), during a declining Ottoman Empire.

The famous School of Deoband in India is closer to Salafi jurisprudence, and also opposes extravagance and grave reverence. Interestingly, the most respected Salafist scholars drew inspiration from an Indian Sufi luminary named Shah Waliullah Dehalwi, who was a contemporary of Ibn Abdul Wahhab. Salafism therefore, like Buddhism, Sufism or Marxism is far from a monolithic creed. Noted Salafi scholar Dr. Yasir Qadhi, who studied under the most influential Salafi scholars, has listed seven strands diverging from Salafism. Six of them are concerned only with theological and jurisprudential issues and the seventh strand – the terrorist one – has emerged only in the late 1990s. Ironically, the very word ‘salafi’ was popularised by a scholar named Rashid Rida whose views differ widely from the contemporary mainstream Salafism.

Several Salafist scholars have denounced and condemned terrorism as much as military aggressions in the past few decades. Dr. Yasir Qadhi, besides many others, who graduated from the Islamic University of Medina, has repeatedly condemned terrorism and also criticised the Saudi regime for its indifference towards the Syrian refugee crisis. Some scholars like Yusuf Qardhawi, who condemn the 9/11 attacks, opine that suicide terrorism may be allowed by a military commander when a country is besieged and extreme conditions like those in Palestine prevail.

Most critics of the misattributed Islamist terrorism don’t know that Palestine is a centrepiece territory in the Middle East and has been occupied since about 100 years. Some prominent terrorist organisations in Palestine are Communist groups founded by Christians. More than 9 million Palestinians live under horrible conditions like refugee camps, military occupation, economic suffocation, systematic deprivation and poisoning of water bodies to name a few.

Terrorism is Not a Muslim Monopoly

This explains why terrorism by a fringe of radical Muslims has emerged only since the 1980s while Wahhabism is about 250 years old. In fact, suicide terrorism, before the Iraq War 2003, was dominated by the LTTE of Sri Lanka which is now a defunct Hindu Communist organisation. Hezbollah, a Shia group in Lebanon resorted to terrorism after the Israeli invasion in 1982. Indira Gandhi was assassinated when she ordered the violent removal of Khalistani (Sikh) terrorists from Harminder Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar. Taliban, which subscribes to Deoband School in India and emerged only to reconcile the tribal infightings in Afghanistan, had not employed terrorism before the American invasion in 2001. They were actually supported by CIA against the Soviets and Hollywood had dedicated the movie Rambo III to Mujahedeen of Afghanistan. The assassin of Governor Salman Taseer of the Punjab province in Pakistan was eulogised by the largest Sufi School.

Terrorism, therefore, is neither a monopoly of Muslims nor Wahhabism. It is always, without exception, a desperate reaction to military aggression by a foreign or a mainland government. Presence of a ‘conflict zone’ or excessive ‘military intervention’ is always the cause of terrorism. Religious fundamentalism is hardly the cause. The above explanation is not a justification for terrorism but an empirical cause of its rise, understood through several years of academic research. Two wrongs, of course, do not make a right. It only aggravates the problem.

The Ulterior Motives

When Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was preaching in Mecca and nothing seemed to stop the spread of Islam, some Meccan chieftains offered reconciliation to him. They promised to make him the king if he could accept only a few aspects of their paganism, if not all. In our times, a prominent leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had once said to his karsevaks that the only problem between Hindus and Muslims is about the mode of practices and rituals. If Muslims, he said, can understand that there isn’t much difference between qawwali and bhajan or between idol worship and grave worship, then all differences would disappear.

Dr. Zakir Naik, along with the mainstream Schools of Islamic Thought outrightly rejects both qawwali and grave worship as infringements to Sharia (as a result of monotheism). But mainstream media believes that non-clerical and non-practising Muslims are the proper representatives of Islam and Sharia, just because they are rich or famous. This is a grave logical flaw and can be very dangerous if similarly applied to extremists, who can also acquire riches and fame (though bad fame).

The Portuguese imperialists, in Sri Lanka, had used the divide and rule policy to weaken the Buddhists and Hindus, even as both the belief systems are based on Dharma, Karma and Moksha. In a similar move today, fascist divisive forces in India are working to weaken the Muslims along sectarian lines, even as they all believe in Monotheism, Prophethood and Final Judgement. These are the fanatics who judge people’s right to citizenship by the religion of their ancestors.


If India is to flourish as a great land of peace and prosperity, then the government and media should refrain from targeting sections of the society. The police and intelligence agencies must stop the policy of making scapegoats to conceal their inefficiency of catching the real culprits. Journalists of different inclinations need to strengthen their integrity and learn to acknowledge and tolerate the conflicting religious views instead of ignoring them and lobbying a majoritarianist approach. Indian journalists and scholars need to independently report and analyse international affairs instead of copy-pasting articles (and geopolitical narrative) from Western media. Until that happens, the best Indian talent will continue to migrate away from the misinformed lot, only to be later appeased by a demagogic leader at the Madison Square Garden.