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Gandhigiri, Taliban and the need for reform in Islam

Be careful before you try “Gandhi-giri” – It may earn you a fatwa.

Most of you may have already come across these two seemingly unrelated news items. A closer look at them though underlines the need for a vigorous discussion on reform within Islam.

Unfortunately this is almost a taboo topic in media and a lot of us prefer not to “worry” about it (- and before someone asks - No, I am not suggesting that “Hinduism” is perfect – read the previous post if you dont believe me!) but at least we do not stifle discussion of such topics and there is broad-based consensus around the need for reform of discriminatory and narrow, orthodox practices. Back to the news-stories:

The first one (from rediff): Praising Gandhi earns Kashmir CM a fatwa 


“Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Mufti Bashir-ud-Din, Saturday asked Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to undertake penance for his recent utterances asking people to adopt Gandhian philosophy for worldly success.

The chief minister had reportedly said…”adoption of Gandhian philosophy was the route to success in this world.”

The Grand Mufti, while asking the chief minister to clarify his position on the matter, said, “Gandhi was relevant to his community but for the Muslims Prophet Mohammad was the only leader to be followed.”


The second story: ‘Taliban’ writ in Haryana village


“CHANDIGARH: Barely 25 km from the bustling township of Karnal is village Mundogari, where people don’t buy television sets, don’t get themselves photographed, or even listen to Hindi film music.

It’s not because they don’t have the financial wherewithal to do so; it’s because the 5,000-strong Muslim population of the village is under the near-total sway of retrograde maulvis whose edicts have barred the folk from any form of recreation.

…The only connection of villagers — who don’t travel out — with the outside world is the radio on which the only programme they are allowed to listen to is the news.

…Eighteen year old Shadaqat Ali, who owns an STD/PCO outlet, says, Koran doesn’t allow us to watch TV and listen to music in any form. On being asked who informed him about it, he says: “Maulvis have informed the entire village time and again and about TV’s ill-effects.”

…Maulana Ajmal Khan, the imam at Sector 20 Masjid, Chandigarh, says: “If you want a photograph clicked for the passport, or on the admission form, you can have it, since it’s out of necessity. But you can’t have it hanging on the wall.” Islam also does not allow singing and dancing or any such form of entertainmen, he adds.” 


Related Posts:

Is a reformation within Islam finally under way?

Excerpts from “Can Islam Reform Itself?” and finally

Can Muslims change their religion?

October 14th, 2007 Posted by | Impact of Islam on India, Islam & Reform, Jammu & Kashmir related, Politics and Governance in India, Politics of Minority Appeasement | 40 comments


  1. Dear Shantanu

    Islamic fundamentalism is very similar to other fundamentalism. The key strategy used by their leaders is to prevent the flow of information to their ‘followers’ and to prevent them from thinking for themselves. Critical thinking is anathema, frowned upon. Myanmar is a case in point.

    Its solution: more information. Fortunately, the fanatic side of Islam, like that of communism or other dicatorship, should ease a little bit over time as the internet spreads its roots to all parts of the world and provokes critical thinking. Good school education will be another solution – something which can’t be delivered with the current governance arrangements (refer chapter 7 of my book).

    The good thing is India allows the open contest between ideas. I appreciate what Ghulam Nabi Azad said. He should now remind the Mufti that there is a place for Gandhi in society and there is a place for Mohammed – so long as the key message of Islam remains peace (which is what Islam means). He should inform the Mufti about Gandhi stood for, eg:

    “[Moslems] are my blood brothers.” (Young India Dec 30 1926).

    “I broaden my Hinduism by loving other religions as my own …” (Young India, Jan 19, 1928)

    Hopefully the Mufti will reflect carefully on what Gandhi did and said.

    I trust there are Muslims on this forum who will also speak out their mind.


    Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Comment by Sanjeev Sabhlok | October 15, 2007

  2. Both Christianity and Islam give too much power to the clerics. And the mullahs are just more harmful at the moment. The religious code (or the cleric’s interpretation of it) is in contradiction to the constitutional freedoms. This inherent conflict must be resolved as in the laws of the nation take precedence over those of any religion.

    I also have to disagree a bit with Sanjeev. Even though Gandhi embraced the muslims, it was not reciprocated. He campaigned for the Khilafat and still got betrayed. I appreciate what Gandhi did but he miscalculated when it came to muslims.

    Comment by Prakash | October 15, 2007

  3. Muslims Against Sharia Poll:
    Does Islam Need to Be Reformed?

    Comment by Muslims Against Sharia | October 18, 2007

  4. The problem for Hindus specifically and Indians generally is that they often say and believe things which are not true. This really hurts our ability to respond to any crisis including the one of Islamic extremism.

    Most Indians, including our supposed Muslim moderates like Shabana Azmi mouth the trite phrase that all fundamentalism is equal and present in all religions. That is not a true statement . There are two reasons why it is not true. One is that while Islamic fundamentalists are those who read the Koran literally and follow the supposed word of their god, those who are considered fundamentalists in Hinduism, namely the RSS and VHP, do not follow the letter of Hindu scripture. In fact these two organizations often disagree with the practices of Hindu orthodoxy, whether it is in the call for abolishing the caste system or wanting priests of all classes to be allowed to perform priestly duties in the temples. An excellent analysis of the misrepresentation of Hindu groups has been done in Koenraad Elst’s book “Decolonizing the Hindu Mind”, where he points out that these Hindu groups are more reform oriented, because their focus is on building Hindu unity.

    Another fundamental difference between these fundamentalist groups is the use of sophisticated weapons. Islamic fundamentalist and various terrorists do routinely train their followers for the specific purpose of planting bombs and killing masses of people in various countries. I don’t know of a single case in recent times where the Hindu fundamentalist groups planted bombs in public places for the express purpose of killing those who belief differently from them.

    We also persist in the myth that it is poverty that drives people to commit acts of violence like terrorist bombings. Yet we routinely see that in the last few years, it is the educated Muslim who is indulging in these acts of violence. Whether it is the nineteen educated Muslims who decided to fly planes into the World Trade Center or the educated Indian doctor who was charged in Australia for terrorist links, we find more and more terrorists are in fact from the educated classes. Even the poster boy for terrorism, Bin Laden, is not some poor uneducated Muslim—he is a billionaire.

    We also persist in our mistaken belief that Islamic terrorism is a new phenomenon. This actually takes some leap of faith on our part because it involves being absolutely blind to any lesson of history. This is especially true for Hindus, who faced centuries of persecution and slaughter at the hands of various Islamic invaders.

    The problem with Hindus, and in fact all moderates , is that they fail to criticize the unreasonableness of certain belief systems. We Hindus, who have been taught to respect others beliefs, think that all belief systems are only to find some kind of spiritual truth. This is just not so. Many religious beliefs are actually life-negating and in fact promote wholesale violence against non-believers. I think Sam Harris (author of “The End of Faith”) accurately points out the problem of having tolerance toward unreasonable beliefs. Just as we would not tolerate slavery or another inquisition, we should not tolerate religious beliefs which allow followers to kill so many people.

    Comment by Subadra Venkatesh | October 19, 2007

  5. Prakash i’ll have to disagree with a bit. Christianity gives power to clerics but Islam doesnt. Clerics are only supposed to give guidance in affairs regrading religion. unfortunately where there is lack of education, these clerics do gain more importance than needed.

    I second Sanjeev on the point that there is lack of information and communication. e.g. very few pple in Pakistan are aware of Gandhi’s teachings, had they any awareness, they wud have a different perception.

    as far as teh khilafat movement is concerned, the Khilafat movement was initiated in the first place to save the Khilafat (traditional islamic govt). Muslims did support Gandhi by teh way and hundreds (including leaders) were penalized e.g. maulana shaukat ali, maulana Muhammad ali jauhar. I do agree that muslims were discouraged, by Jinnah who believed in winning a movement constitutionally. its kind of sad that gandhi’s non-violent movement resulted in so much violence taking the lives of both muslims and hindus.

    i wish the world could open their hearts and minds to the teachings of Gandhi, and the true spirit of islam, and in fact all religions that in their true essence preach Peace.

    Comment by maria | October 20, 2007

  6. Welcome home, Maria. It gladdens my heart to see words of moderation and peace flow from across the border. I have no doubt that human mind will break free from all artificial barriers of faith and religion in its quest to find peace and happiness.

    Peace is possible only when believers of the major religions of the world envision universal brotherhood as an attainable goal and disown the idea of exclusive rights to any particular group. I subscribe to the view that world peace cannot be achieved except as a by-product of spiritual revolution.

    It is time for each one of us to stand up and answer some pertinent questions – How can God, the Creator and Master of the Universe, advocate and approve the practice of apartheid among His own Creation? How can He approve the claim of superiority of one race over the other? Are there children of lesser gods inhabiting this earth?

    We can unlock the door to peace and happiness when we find the honest truth and declare it fearlessly.

    A god that discriminates is not God. Or is He? This seems to be in the mind of the poet when he said:

    aSvam naiva gajam naiva
    vyaaghram naiva cha naiva cha
    ajaaputro balim dadyat
    devo durbala ghatakah

    [ ????? ??? ??? ??? ???????? ??? ? ??? ? ?
    ????????? ???? ??????? ???? ??????????? ? ]

    Roughly translated it means, ” Not the horse, not the elephant, not the tiger by any means, but it is only the lamb that is led to sacrificial alter. Even god is against the weak.”

    We must reform ourselves. Then the religion will reform itself. It cannot be the other way. And it cannot be any other way.


    Comment by Nandan | October 20, 2007

  7. Maria, I will take your word for the way powers are given to muslim clerics. But in reality as the article points out they do wield a lot of power and this is true even in western countries.

    A lot of muslims did support Gandhi but you cannot deny that he had to give up a lot of things especially at the cost of hindus to get them on his side. You could reference the book by Koenrad Elst – “Gandhi and Godse” for an account of these.

    To conclude though, I hope along with you that people will just learn to live together. It would mean not forgetting the past, but learning from it.

    Comment by Prakash | October 20, 2007

  8. Hi again! Subadra i agree on a few points with you but there’s a request to all the bloggers to not confuse ‘extremists’ with ‘fundamendalists’. whats wrong with believing in the fundamentals of ur religion, islam or hinduism. lets not forget it’s a word concocted by the west.

    I agree the problem lies in the fact that “Islamic ‘f’undamentalists’ are those who read the Koran literally and follow the supposed word of their god” but not all muslims agree or see these individuals as following the word of God in the first place. u see there are so many interpretations. each sect or scholar has his/her own. my point is the koran doesnt really go abt saying -go forth and kill pple.

    terrorists, islamic or hindu, whether they use sophisticated weapons or not, have no right to make innocent people suffer. as far as islamic extremists are concerned, i dont think they know a jack abt what Islam truly is. the sophisticated weaponry and the training that u speak of has been pooled in by the West for political purposes and their own agendas i.e. from the time of teh soviet invasion till today. these stupid jihadis are made to think its for Islam. Islam today is misused by muslims themselves today. pple pick and choose interpretations as long as it suits their own agendas, whether regarding women’s rights, governance, or other traditions or even for power.

    as far as the WTC attack was concerned or even Osama (abt whom i have a conspiracy theory abt being a CIA agent having martinis somewhere, meanwhile providing the US with the perfect excuse to blow up and take over the region), they are from educated backgrounds but once again the root cause of their acts lies in rebelling against the economic and political hegemony of the west. by the way i’m not supporting them but just saying islam is a context but thats not why they’re terrorists. they’re terrorist because of all thats happened in the middle east over decades.

    ur right abt the islamic invaders. especially teh afghanis (:S hard to digest when ur from the lineage of durranis). but u know the overwhelming number of muslims in india and pakistan today are not because of these invaders, its because of the work and teachings of the sufi saints all over teh subcontinent.

    so the islamic belief system is not unreasonable, but yes the narrowminded interpretation of few muslims tarnishes their image. similarly acts of the bjp or rss does not really mean that all Hindus are narrow-minded.

    Islam teaches tolerance like all other faiths but if there is no tolerance, its for insulting the beliefs of individuals of other faiths, whatever they may be.

    Comment by maria | October 20, 2007

  9. Dear All

    I had a look at these further discussions on this topic. Very promising discussion. In particular I went to the Muslims Against Sharia link and thought this was a very well considered article:


    Do read it.

    I am a firm believer in open communication and the power of discussion to cleanse one’s mind. The internet is a great forum for such a thing. Even if a few people here and a few people there are talking of these things, in the end, a subtle and steady shift will take place in the world. Towards peace.

    By the way, on Gandhi and knowledge about him in Pakistan, I know a Pakistani in Melbourne who is married to an Indian. Her PhD (recently completed) was on Khan Abdul Gafoor Khan’s influence in the North West province of Pakistan. You’ll recall he was a firm believer in (and if one may say so, a follower of) Gandhi’s ideas. People still remember him in villages there, and his influence has moderated a number of primitive tribal practices that used to take place in that part of the world.

    We all know that Islam stands for peace. I have therefore nothing against Islam as such. Islam is similar to Hinduism in a way that I like: its priests and Muftis don’t have the the same power and influence as a Catholic bishop or pope does. Therefore there are diverse opinions within Islam itself as to the extent the Koran is to be read literally, and what its intent is. People can interpret the Koran for themselves.

    Therefore, you get a diverse mix of good and bad in Islam. In principle, I agree that a religion called Peace can’t have anything to do with the extremist violence that sometimes arises from some of its “followers”. Those are common criminals who should be captured and tried for their crimes like any other murderer.

    Let us be clear: the hands of no religion are clean. After all, Gandhi was not killed by a Muslim. More Muslims are killed by the Police in communal riots that periodically break out in India because the Police tends to be largely populated by Hindus.

    (You may also want to see my notes at:


    Please also download and read the material at:

    http://www.liberalpartyofindia.sabhlokcity.com/communal/lbs-comm-notes.doc )

    In general, I am unable to support ANY religion as a whole since the hands of no “religion” are clean. I do acknowledge that it is not the religion but its followers we are talking about. I don’t have any objection to people who support their own religions — so long as they don’t preach violence and hatred. For example, my father is a Hindu and has a book, Glimpses of Vedic Metaphysics: http://www.sabhlokcity.com/metaphysics/

    I don’t object to providing a link to that book. Prakash provided a book in relation to Godse above. I’m sorry, could we never cite Godse. That man killed a saint. I don’t care what his cause was. He can’t get to kill Gandhi. No one can get to kill anyone else in the first place, and take the law into their own hand. And to have killed Gandhi is abominable beyond imagination.

    Finally, maybe we should model our thoughts on this young couple in Melbourne, one a Muslim from Pakistan, one a young Hindu from India. A good example of peace amongs all religions and countries. People are the same irrespective of their beliefs.

    Finally, I’m not enamoured by the Gates of Vienna project. I think it has a negative slant against Islam (and doesn’t acknowledge the problems with other religions). Facts don’t support that kind of a belief. ALL religions have spawned “followers” who have killed brutally in the name of their religion. To that extent (I’m not against religion per se) ALL religions are equally to blame.

    Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Comment by sanjeev sabhlok | October 21, 2007

  10. Dear Sanjeev,

    I am surprised that you are uninterested in reading a book on the person who assassinated Gandhi whom you all the more claim is a saint!

    This elevation of Gandhi and many others to the status of an unassailable national icon is something that I find very difficult to comprehend and also very Indian.

    To err is human and Gandhi was a human being. (FYI, i dont exclude the gods out either.

    There is a famous nayanmar (shaivite) Nakeerar who questioned lord Shiva’s poem) Why is it so difficult to discuss and critique these national icons? You seem to be of a liberal and open mind, and I am surprised that you make such an argument. I am not defending Godse here.

    His assassination was unlawful and unhumane. But he was tried in court and sentenced to death. Why did the then congress government seal up his testimony? Since he killed Gandhi, his testimony does not deserve to be heard by the citizens of India? Is this how liberalism works?

    My contention is that most religious problems in India arise out of failures from religious communities to accept responsibility for historical crimes. People living a life in denial are only planning for a future confrontation.

    Comment by Prakash | October 21, 2007

  11. Hands of no relgion are clean? That means one should not defend oneself. How come everywhere terrors are in the name of Islam? So other religions should keep mum and do nothing?let them and their terror flourish.

    When Islam will acknowledge that there are other religions existing on this Earth, Half of the probelms will be over.

    Godse may have done this act because of partition on the land of India and that also may be because of the Gandhiji. This is what I think.

    When many followeres of Islam can kill many innocents, why just one incident of Hindu is bothering many on this Earth?

    Comment by Indi | October 22, 2007

  12. Dear Prakash

    Thanks for your comments. I am on leave this week trying to finish up my book, so I have time to respond at some length.

    Even if Godse’s testimony were released (and I have no opinion on that: these things should emerge automatically after 30 years I’d imagine – no record should be banned by government from automatic release after 30 years) I would not read it.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify the distinction between an assassin and a terrorist. I have written in my book that if we are serious about finding long lasting solutions to our chronic problems of terrorism, we should debate publicly with their leaders. But even if we so debate, and an agreed solution is then found, all those with blood on their hands, all those who directly instigated and supported any killing, would necessarily have to be tried and appropriately punished for their crimes. I am sure terrorists won’t mind living to jail if their primary objectives are achieved through a negotiated solution.

    But Godse wasn’t a terrorist like the leaders of ULFA presumably are. Terrorists have political motives; they have a murderous ideology (like fanatic Islam or fanatic communism). They represent a particular world view, no matter how abhorrent (ULFA represents scientific socialism: an extreme form of communism derived from Che Guevara: I have been part of search teams that seized books by Guevara and similar literature from ULFA hideouts deep inside villages in Assam).

    Instead, Godse was an assassin. An assassin is a one-man mission to shut down a ***particular*** man’s life; imagining that it will solve anything or achieve any political goal. I am not sure there is anything to gain for India’s future trajectory by listening to a sole assassin, who was possibly as mad as the Unabomber, Kaczynski. However, if you have read Godse, and believe he had anything sensible and of value to add to the debates for a great India, please feel free to illuminate us.

    By the way, when I say Gandhi was a saint, I mean he aspired for the best in mankind: he was not perfect, neither is anyone of us — but he kept trying to get better. I don’t believe in “saints” in the religious sense, but there are surely saintly people. He was one. He is not my ‘icon’. I critique him fairly robustly in my book in chapter 1. I think he was ***very*** good, but missed out in some fundamental understandings of liberty.

    You contend that “most religious problems in India arise out of failures from religious communities to accept responsibility for historical crimes.” What do you mean by that? Could you please clarify? I hope we are not talking of the ‘justice of yesterday’ — see chapter 4 of my book.


    Comment by Sanjeev Sabhlok | October 22, 2007

  13. Dear Sanjeev,

    Thanks for the reply. You seem to be involved in a lot of good work and i wish you well.

    I took your “saint” comment a bit too literally and then my comment does not apply to you. But there are a lot of people in India who just think it is taboo to critique these leaders.

    Yes, Godse and his friends, instead of protesting against certain actions of Gandhi, decided that the best thing was to assassinate him. In his opinion, the partition was the last straw. The irony was the assassination actually went against what they wanted to do. They literally brought a curse upon themselves and the organization by assassinating Gandhi who was revered by Hindus. I can try to write out what he said, but the book does a much better job. The crux is that he lists out the actions of Gandhi that he felt went against the interest of the country. He tells why they were so and, you look back now and see that he may not have been way off.

    As for the last comment, I am just talking about all the hindu-muslim trouble we have as a society today. Take the case for the ram temple for instance. Why dont we just do a proper ASI survey, conclude from the results and if there was a temple before, just acknowledge it and move on. There is no good that will come out by keeping the case closed. I am not saying temples be built by demolishing mosques that stand over them today. But there is no reason to sweep the truth under the carpet either. I think everyone has a right to know. It is a part of our history and we just have to live with it.

    Comment by Prakash | October 23, 2007

  14. Sanjeev, Prakash, Subadra, Maria, Nandan and Indi: Thanks for sharing your thoughts and contributing to this discussion.

    I have been tied up in a few things since the last few days and have not found time to respond intelligently to some of the points that have been made.

    I shall endeavour to do that in the next few days.

    In the meantime, pl. do continue to contribute and share your thoughts.


    Comment by B Shantanu | October 24, 2007

  15. Dear Prakash

    Just finished the next revision of my book on the weekend (I’m looking for comments on contents from people – not on editorial matters since there is a lot of cleaning up to do yet) – if you find time please send me comments at sabhlok at yahoo dot com. – book is at http://www.sanjeev.sabhlokcity.com/breakingfree.html)

    Back to the Godse issue: I’d appreciate if you give me a summary of the top 3 issues that Godse blamed Gandhi for.

    The partition that you have cited as one, was simply not Gandhi’s fault. It was precipitated by numerous factors including (a) adversarial actions of the Hindu MahaSabha which became radicalised after the 1920s, and led to constant friction with the Muslim League, (b) by Nehru not agreeing to share power with Muslim League in UP early 1940s (forgetting the date) – I don’t think Nehru did anything wrong, but given some more political savvy, he should have tried to bring the League onboard, (c) Jinnah’s personal dislike of Gandhi’s methods – in fact his jealousy of Gandhi’s having taken control over the entire national movement – recall Jinnah was a member of the Congress at one time when Gandhi had just come in from South Africa. Yes, if Gandhi and Jinnah had been closer together the partition would not have happened. But that is not a Gandhi issue: it was a Jinnah problem.

    There are numerous other causal factors, including Moutbatten’s approach and British policy, Nehru’s refusal to support Gandhi’s idea of Jinnah becoming prime minister of united India, etc. The word ‘Pakistan’ also did not exist until the 1930s – it was invented in England by an Islamic writer to represent geographical areas some of which till today lie within India. And no one bothered about the word ‘Pakistan’ it for quite a while including Jinnah.

    The point being, our partition has a very long and convoluted history . Gandhi did his level best to prevent it. Don’t know what Godse could say about Gandhi having caused the partition – could you summarise that please? That would be news!

    Therefore, unless you can demonstrate that there was genuine, historical truth in Godse’s thought, he is best discarded in the trash bin of history as an eccentric madman who misunderstood facts and did not know about Hinduism itself. Gandhi was and should be (in my view) a role model for modern Hindus; a social reformer par excellence, looking after ‘harijans’, living with them, cleaning toilets himself. Godse stood for nothing; and demonstrated his lack of philosophical moorings by killing Gandhi.

    I therefore still think Godse was a confused person and it is not right to given him the status beyond that of an ordinary criminal. Since I don’t have the time to read his book — I’d prefer if you can provide persuasive arguments that he made (if any) that we can use for the betterment of India. Else let us drop the Godse issue permanently.

    On the other issue, I’m in agreement with you. Nothing stops any Indian university from funding PhD students from conducting such research. And of course ASI could do some research itself. Research must never be stopped because of any political or social mishaps. Research is a quest for the truth. And we must always know the truth no matter how ‘bitter’.

    Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Comment by Sanjeev Sabhlok | October 30, 2007

  16. Dear Sanjeev,

    I agree with you that Jinnah, not Gandhi, was the reason for the partition. My point is more on how Gandhi attempted to stop the riots post-partition. Probably, best summed up here
    http://www.bharatvani.org/books/ayodhya/ch14.htm (scroll down for 14.4)

    Also read the following.

    Our discussion is not if Godse was confused, insane or whatever. It is more about whether there is any truth to his testimony. Gandhi was criticized for his muslim appeasement policies by many including Ambedkar (see link at ivarta). My point is he went well out of his way to court muslims in vain, and we are doing a repeat of it today with reservations based on religion and a lot of pseudo-secularism crap. It is high time we treat them as EQUALS!

    Comment by Prakash | October 31, 2007

  17. This is in response to Maria’s request that bloggers not confuse fundamentalism with extremism.

    My contention was not that those who believe in the fundamentals of their religion will necessarily and automatically become violent extremists.

    My contention is that all monotheistic faiths have as their base, a set of beliefs which make them intolerant and disrespectful of other faiths. This intolerance is what leads eventually to extremism whether in the form of violent acts of terrorism or even aggressive evangelical movements which seek to destroy native cultures and replace native belief systems.

    Any religion which claims that the god it believes in is the only true god, that the book the followers read is the only true book and is the inerrant word of god, that the path taken by the believers is the only true path, and that all non-believers shall suffers eternal hell, is, at its basic form, an extremely intolerant religion. People who hold such beliefs can never accept the beliefs of those not of their faith. In so far as there are moderates in these monotheistic faiths, these are actually people who do not really follow the fundamentals of their faith.

    The problem is also that most books of monotheistic faiths claim to be unique; the god described in them is unique, the prophets that come are unique, the divine revelations are unique etc. Once a religion claims that it is unique message of god and no other people of any time ( in the past or the future) can experience the true nature of god, then it really becomes incumbent upon believers to either go out and destroy others or at least convert them.

    On the other hand, religions which define themselves more introspectively in mystical and spiritual terms, which define god in more nebulous terms of a non-personal god or at least a impartial personal god who is not constantly seeking to punish people for their transgressions and is totally without the ego that requires constant belief ; such religions generally manage to coexist with others without trying to interfere in one way or another in others’ belief systems. These religions recognize that religious beliefs are a function of where one is born and contend that while religious experience is personal, it is available to all people whatever their personal god.

    Thus, there is no claim to uniqueness. For example, most Hindus hold that Krishna is an avatar, but very few contend that he is the only incarnation. Nor do they claim that no other incarnation will ever take place. That is why a supposedly fundamentalist group like the RSS often says that it recognizes the divinity of Jesus or Mohammed and is prepared to accept them also as teachers—this is because the RSS mistakenly believes that such magnanimity and inclusiveness, which is part of Hindu thought, will be welcomed and reciprocated by adherents of monotheistic religions. It doesn’t realize that if Muslims and Christians started accepting Krishna as another avatar or prophet, this would go against the most important tenets of their faith. Hindus don’t become less Hindu if they accept anyone as another guru, but monotheistic faiths will become something other than what they are if they accept other incarnations or prophets.

    I contend that the concept of a religion which allows for people to chose their personal god(s) without imposing a specific one on them, allows people the space to follow their beliefs as long as they don’t seek to impose it on others, a religion which might have scriptures but doesn’t claim that every single word in them is the inerrant word of god—such a religion might be useful in a pluralistic world.

    Now, there are those who contend that religion is not necessary and that all problems can be solved through rational thought. Here, I think that we need to recognize that there is a spiritual dimension to human existence. Humans seek and are consoled by the presence of the divine in their lives and this allows them to lead a happier life. In addition, we also have studies which show the positive physical benefits of spiritual and mystical practices such as meditation and yoga etc.

    On a side note, with regard the idea that Islam is a religion of peace because the word Islam means ” peace”, I have to say that often names don’t reveal the truth about the nature of the ideology. Islam was never peaceful even at the time of the prophet. In fact, it is my understanding that the prophet himself led numerous attacks on various groups and towns etc. It is interesting that one never hears Jains or Buddhists constantly claiming to be of a peaceful religion. Maybe they just don’t need to , since none of their followers routinely indulge in random acts of violence.

    The argument that Islam spread in India only through the mystical practices of Sufism is a gross misreading of history. While it is true that many Indian Muslims did follow the mystical practices of Sufism which allowed them to coexist peacefully with members of other religions, we need to recognize that Sufism is not the brand of Islam followed by most Muslims today.

    Comment by Subadra Venkatesh | November 1, 2007

  18. Subadra: Thanks for a great comment.

    In this context, you and some others may find these posts interesting:

    Hinduism – NOT “monotheism in disguise”

    India as a role model for global peace and prosperity

    and Comment on “Religion Without Truth”

    Comment by B Shantanu | November 3, 2007

  19. Dear Prakash

    Thanks for your links. I’ve had a brief look at them. In summary, nothing new in them that I haven’t read elsewhere, and nothing that persuades me that Godse was justified in killing Gandhi. Yes, he had his arguments and reasons. But a lot of people can have arguments; that doesn’t give them a right to kill.

    I also noticed a lot of ‘communal’ and inflammatory stuff on these pages. I think the key point we have to note is that communal perceptions (tribal perceptions) are not compatible with a free society. I understand it is hard for people to get out of their ‘communal’ frame of mind, but a free society needs to treat each person, one at a time, and on merit. And so, justice is the key to India’s future.

    I have no doubt that “reservations based on religion and a lot of pseudo-secularism crap” as you state, must go. That is what I argue in my book. You are right on that. And so, the key is to move on from such debates into the future.

    I also argue that (this is a summary, in relation to the issues that emerged during my reading these articles):

    (a) if a person commits a crime such as participating in a riot, then the person must be brought to justice. We have ignored justice completely in India. But we need to build a very strong police and justice system – and how that can be done has been discussed in my book; and

    (b) if people are angry (as Godse was), they have only one choice in a free society: to participate in the political process and change the laws. I oppose many of the things that Advani has done and said, but on at least one thing we must admire him: unlike Godse he has not gone about killing people (though one can argue he has at least inadvertantly incited a few people) – instead he has participated in the democratic process and attempted to persuade people to considering his views. I think his party must be opposed because it mixes religion with politics, but that is merely one view. So long as Advani contests elections, he can more or less say anything he wishes to.

    India has a history of Hindu-Muslim disputes – and the links you pointed me to incite people like us — who were not even born when these things happened — to provoke us to start taking sides with one or the other , to start thinking communally. I believe a lot of innocents could be misled by such articles.

    Let me make myself more clear. The solution to India’s future will NOT come from such articles, but by breaking the stranglehold of history over us, and ensuring we insist on freedom, which is underpinned by individual justice. Individuals must be seen as individuals, not as a part of group. Even if they participate as part of a group. Each person is individually responsible in a free society.

    I speak about this new India in my book — which, to me has more meaningful material for those genuinely interseted in a great India. For those intersted in finding an excuse to hate another ‘community’, eg. Muslim or Hindu, or whatever, there is plenty of petrol available in our history to set one’s emotions on fire! I don’t think there is shortage of material to ‘hate’ each other!!

    It is time to move on. Let us let the sins of those who are dead and gone be buried or washed away with them. They cannot be punished any longer.

    Let’s move on and live one person at a time, build a society where everyone can expect equal treatment and equal justice. Try out the solutions of modern free societies I recommend in my book.

    I believe India can get away from the mess of its history, but the way would be for people like you and me to look ONLY to the future, and to learn to ignore the past since we can’t go backward in time, and we are now in the 21st century.

    In closure: what will I do by reading what you have pointed me to? Become angry at Gandhi? At Jinnah? But why?? These people are dead and gone. I don’t care too much about them. I care about the future of our children. The future will be made by what you and I do, not by what these ancestors did. Let us write our own history of the future.

    That also means one day I’ve got to write another book, Breaking Free of Our History!


    Comment by sanjeev sabhlok | November 8, 2007

  20. Dear Sanjeev,

    “Yes, he had his arguments and reasons. But a lot of people can have arguments; that doesn’t give them a right to kill.”
    You can go over my previous posts. I never justified killing Gandhi.

    “I also noticed a lot of ‘communal’ and inflammatory stuff on these pages.”
    India’s past is filled with such stuff whether we like it or not. I think we differ here in that I prefer that we confront our history head-on instead of omitting whatever is communal and only accepting the “good” part.

    I agree with you on points a and b!

    “The solution to India’s future will NOT come from such articles, but by breaking the stranglehold of history over us, and ensuring we insist on freedom, which is underpinned by individual justice.”
    My belief is that we are who we are because of our past. The past cannot be changed. And the way you put it makes it seem like our history is restraining us from progress.

    “I care about the future of our children. The future will be made by what you and I do, not by what these ancestors did. Let us write our own history of the future.”
    I, like you, want to see a strong and prosperous India. It just seems like we have different views. I believe our actions will only add on to those of our ancestors. While you seem to be of the opinion that we can wipe the slate clean and write our own future.


    P.S: Apologies to the moderator for carrying the discussion a bit offtopic.

    Comment by Prakash | November 9, 2007

  21. Subadra and Sanjeev,

    Thanks for the great comments and incisive posts. A pleasure to read them.


    Comment by Patriot | November 10, 2007

  22. subadra… i wld like to cooment on ur two points…..frst tat islam is an intolerant religion…..its a gret misconception and there r many misconceptions as far as islam is concerned….for vryones kind information islam is the only religion whose one of the 6 basic tenets include Belief in all saints and prophets of all religion , Belief in all religious books….these 2 beliefs r included in the list of 6 basic beliefs….no muslim is a muslim if he dsnt beliv this…..islam recognizes all previous saints includng jesus…..u told jains n buddhists dsnt advertse tat their religion is peaceful….but muslims does coz janism and budhism r not the religions wich r misunderstood…..but islam is the only religion in the wrld wich is misunderstud the maximum….u told islam wasnt peaceful at the time of prophet(pbuh) also…..i tell hinduism wasnt peaceful even at the time of krishna also…coz he was the architect of the war of mahabharat….and hinduism wasnt peaceful even at the time of ram coz even he had a war wth ravana…..even jesus asked his followers to pick up arms at one of his lives incident….

    Comment by prince of angels | March 25, 2008

  23. @ prince: No one here needs lessons on Islam’s tolerance or intolerance…As I have written before, readers of this blog are wise and sensible enough to form their own opinions…

    You said, “…islam recognizes all previous saints includng jesus…”

    Does Islam recognize Lord Shri Ram and Lord Shri Krishna? Or Lord Shri Vishnu?

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 25, 2008

  24. Dear Sir,
    It is something very surprising that we only talk of tolerance, distancing from history, distancing from ancestors, and distancing from the past, when it comes to only one way of life.
    When it comes to other philosophies and thinking it is totally the other way around.
    Yes Sir,!! What do the ‘philosophers’ talk about,
    On the other hand:
    “forget the desruction of temples, it is history”
    forget the rapings of the socirty women, it is history”
    forget the lootings of somnath temple it is history”
    forget the forcible conversions, it is history”
    Let us not double speak.
    What is good for one is good for the other. If one is consigned to a basket as HISTORY, everything in the past gets consigned to IT.
    Let us start at the very beginning. I AM FULLY FOR IT!!
    Everyday is then History. Every Second passed is HISTORY. Let us not forget that.
    Let us THINK and THINK but let it be justified.
    Let it be postive; applicable universally and not lopsided.

    Comment by v.c.krishnan | March 26, 2008

  25. @shantanu….as u told, readers of this blog r wise enuf to form their own opinion….tats y i dnt force them to form opinion…i jst present my opinions those who thnk its beneficial wil accept otherwse reject …as simple as it is…but u cant restrict me from gvng my opinions as i ve the freedom of xpression…Islam respects all religions and all saints then be it ram krishna or vishnu….

    Comment by prince of angels | March 26, 2008

  26. *** TROLL ALERT ***

    All, please do not feed the troll on this and some other posts.

    Also, some of you may find this link interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll#Concern_troll

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 26, 2008

  27. Hi prince of angel

    Why dont you make your blog to propogate your beloved religion? What are you doing here? why dont you argue with http://www.faithfreedom.org site?. They are doing harm to your religion, go and just let them know how peaceful is your religion? dont spend your time here. You can change people’s opinion, only when there are some truth in your words. Rest it is like beating around the bush.

    Jai Hind!

    Comment by Indian | March 26, 2008

  28. …@indian:- if u r so truthful y u r afraid of me….and if i am beating around the bush y dont u stop me from doing that by the strength of pen….not threatening….and i dont need ur advises as to where i shld gve opinions and wich sites i visit…

    Comment by prince of angels | March 27, 2008

  29. Asking for thruth is something threatening to you? No body is threatening here anybody. And nobody is afraid of anyone here. And I am not ! I refered you that site faithfreedom.org because I saw potentiality in you. Your words will be more meaningful there. They need reasoning and knowledgable person who can argue with them. I am only interested if somebody can defeat them who has thruthful knowledge of all religion specially Islam. Not only me whole world is waiting for that who will get away with $50.000. its up to you how you want to understand the point?

    Jai Hind!

    Comment by Indian | March 28, 2008

  30. …@brother indian:- i apologize if i upset anyone here…i knew about faithfreedom.org….but tat site will attract attention of ppl who dsnt knw islam….ppl who knws islam finds tat site vry meaningless and worthless to ever give time…..coz tat site is simply filled with either misconceptions or misinterpretations or misinformations and mainly references out of context….and morever i am not concerned bout Islam (the main subject of tat site) as Islam is Gods religion, God will only protect it from attacks….i am more intersted in my contry and my ppl….i came across this site wich usually deals with indian politics and comments of indians….but a gret tragedy will always pursue indian muslims….tat indian muslims are misunderstood and rejected in their own contry itself…..when they never attack anyones elses religion but their religion is always under attack, kwng the fact muslims are sensitive about religion…..God only gve guidance to indian majority community tat they understand the sad plight of their muslims brethren and dont fall prey to indian dirty politics of spreading hatred against indian muslims….

    i dnt knw how com educated persons like u can say “Not only me whole world is waiting for that who will get away with $50.000.”….do u think all this fuss ever carry truth…tis is all politics to gain name and fame….if anybody wld ever had com across any limitations in islam….he would had surely had a public debate wth any of the scholar of islam…there are many muslim scholars world wide….this is not something new…islam had survived such onslaughts from the time islam was born….if anyone is so true in his claims there wld surely been a public debate or atlest a challenge …..

    truth always comes bravely in open…not in hiding…

    Watch it yourself @ http://www.biharanjuman.org/Zakir_Naik/Zakir-Naik-woman-accepts-Islam-Mumbai-Nov-2007.htm

    Comment by prince of angels | March 29, 2008

  31. @ prince: Please stick to the topic.

    Do you agree with the main post above or not?

    This blog is a personal blog and beyond a point, I have neither the time nor the patience to let it become a place for a slanging match.

    So if you have to say anything to me (or on the topic), please say it…otherwise desist from commenting…It simply adds to the clutter..

    I have been indulgent so far and have even given you time and space to respond to others who disagreed with you…But I would like to draw a line here..There are many many issues that are being discussed here.

    If, as you say, you are really so worried about our country’s future, pl. read and comment on the posts to do with national security, corruption, governance and other issues..

    If your special interest is Islam and Indian Muslims, please by all means start a blog of your own or join another group/site.

    You will always be welcome here..and I am a strong believer in “freedom of expression” so I will go to great lengths to ensure that every voice gets heard but there is a sensible limit to any discussion and I believe we are reaching that limit.

    I hope you understand. Good luck.

    Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 29, 2008

  32. @shantanu:- i was jst trying to comment on indians questions to me….i am replying to questions asked to me…if thoese questions are out of topic then the questionnaire has to be warned at frst hand….still i respect ur advice…..n hopefully will comply…

    Comment by prince of angels | March 29, 2008

  33. I read the above comments with a lot of interest. I would like to make some “neutral” (in my opinion) observations. I would like any reader to take two steps back, leave aside pre-existing opinions to the extent possible and then evaluate the observations.

    1. I think Prince is making a fundamental comment under all the verbose language. That comment is why do we doubt the patriotism of Indian Muslims, ab initio, and why do we ask them to prove their patriotism every now and then? In my opinion, this is a valid complaint …. after all most of the Indian muslims chose to live on in pluralistic India, not go to theocratic Pakistan. If the muslims of India are ghetto-ised today, and that breeds violence, who is to blame?

    2. Backwardness of islam –
    prince makes another interesting comment ….. that muslims live by their religion and their religious book. Again I think it is a valid comment, especially based on my own experience that muslims, in general, tend to distil everything through the lens of their koran. And, this tends to put them in conflict with modern society, which then leads to a feeling of insecurity and a further withdrawal into their religious cocoons.

    My understanding is that this is because Islam is a much younger religion at 1400 years or so compared with Hinduism, Judaism or Christianity. Islam is still caught in an “us vs them” syndrome and yet to mature beyond the holy book.

    As an equivalent example you can look at Christianity in 1300-400 AD – these were the dark ages of Europe, the ages of the crusades, witch burning and the inquisition. Similarly, for hinduism, you have to go back before the bhakti movement – probably the darkest decades/centuries of hinduism. (BTW, Buddhism took root as a reforming religion during this period)

    The solution is Education. Not more madrassas or funding for madrassas but English/local language (not urdu, except maybe UP) medium schools teaching the children the tenets of the modern world. Because the muslim population has access to so few modern schools (blame their clergy/the vote bank politicians) that they have been doomed to a vicious cycle of poverty and ignorance.

    This is the message that we have to take to the broader muslim community of India, bypassing the mullahs. Again, my own view based on very limited interactions is that the muslim community today is willing to bypass the mullahs because they are beginning to understand the opprobrium that the mullahs have brought on the general community.

    3. History – we certainly need to learn our history and the glories of our past civilisation, especially in sciences and mathematics. We also need to learn why we lost out to invaders and not just that greeks, mongols and persians beat us and looted us.

    We need to learn why and how the Rajputs lost to the mughals, how the battle of Plassey was lost, why the Marathas lost to the british, and why Laxmibai lost Jhansi in her battle with the british. These are the critical lessons of Indian history as applied to our geo-politics of today.

    BUT, while learning history, we can NOT visit the crimes of the invaders of 500-1000 years ago on Indian citizens today. That is the difference between the Mumbai riots and the barbarity of Chengiz Khan and Babar and Timur.

    When we became independent on 15 August 1947, we drew the line under whatever had gone on before, for ever. After all, India as it exists today did not exist before 1947, not even during the British rule (even if you disregard the partition).

    We drew the line in 1947 and said we are a NEW Republic of many nations and we shall be united as the (Federal) Republic of India. We said that we have many different nations of people and tribes within the same geographical region of India, but henceforth, we shall all be subsumed into one nation, one people.

    Therefore, to pick on OUR people and hold them responsible for what happened or may not have happened 500 years back is to sow the seeds of a civil war.

    (BTW, this is linked to my post on the MNS/Maharashtra ….. I was trying to drive home this very same point by taking a contrary position ….. if you pick on a group of people because of their identity, you can not stop another group of people doing the same. There is NO difference)

    If you refuse to draw a line, there will never be an end to the blood-letting. And, if you do not believe me, please go through the history and the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The fragmentation is still going on ……

    I can see frightening parallels with India.

    4. Different laws for different communities
    I think we all agree that this is an intolerable state of affairs in a modern nation-state. However, we need to attack and question those who propagate, support and enforce such laws, and not the communities themselves.

    That way we try and ensure the removal of such inequalities and lack of freedom (especially for the women) while not creating a “siege” mentality within the communities, whether they be muslim, christian, sikh or for that matter hindu (reservation rules).

    I would welcome reasoned feedback, and will ignore flames.


    Comment by Patriot | March 31, 2008

  34. @patriot :- thanks for the acknowledgement..

    the point is the majority community of india are still in inferiority complex feeling the pain of subjugation which indians suffered during the foreign invasions in past….

    …we shld learn that we are staying in the age of democracy and secularism…and not in the age of imperialism….so we should stop comparing imperialistic regime with todays regime….

    ….just coz muslims ruled india for a long time…doesnt justify the genocides and injustices carried upon them….

    …just coz muslims follow islam doesnt make them eligible to be punished every now and them, coz of any political event outside the borders of india….whether a suicide bomber blows up in palerstine or iraq…..why should india vibrate????

    ….just coz some terrorism act takes place in afghanistan or iraq or palestine…..indian muslims have to suffer the consequences….they are tortured , blamed , oppressed , offended etc….their religion is abused , their patriotism is questioned……is advancement , progress of india lies in anyway in torturing muslims…???

    adavancement of any country lies in respecting each others faith , staying in peace and harmony with each other…staying united …education , employment…etc
    there are many issues in which todays youth should utilise their energy…

    simply distancing a particular section of society….degrading them , humiliating their faith , dishonouring their women…will only lead to political instability which in turn will lead to collapse of the state…

    …its high time todays majority communitiy’s common youth should protect himself from constant brainwashing from dirty politics which has adopted minority suppression policies…under the garb of minority appeasement policy….and are simply misguiding todays youth..to take out the frustration on minority communities…

    …remember a human can tolerate attacks on his honour till a limit…..otherwse this can lead to heavy losses to the country hardly imagined…

    Comment by prince of angels | April 2, 2008

  35. @ prince: For the last time: Stick to the point.

    If you agree with Patriot’s comments (#1 ~ 4), say so – clearly and in plain language without “ifs” and “buts”. If you don’t say so too.

    Also do respond to my question in comment dated 29th March.

    Comment by B Shantanu | April 2, 2008

  36. @prince:

    Ummm, no, I do not think that the hindus (or Indians) suffer from an inferiority complex.

    In fact, as I look at modern, democratic, secular India, I see a land of confident people taking their rightful place at the world table. In the next 30 years, India will be the third largest economy in the world in nominal terms. I see Bangalore as the centre of the IT industry of the world, the Rupee as one of the strongest currencies, and our people dominating industries globally. India (and China) will become the centre of the world again as they were 1000 years back.

    To me, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (and Irfan Pathan and Rohit Sharma) are the shining symbols (from an allegorical perspective) of a resurgent India. They show that mofussil India is marching forward and taking its place alongside the traditional power centres of India. And, they are doing it without a chip on their shoulder.

    So, no, I do not see any signs of inferiority complexes anywhere.

    The key question to me is whether the muslim community of India want to step up to the plate, modernise and join this resurgent India or will they continue to listen only to their mullahs and the theocrats and shun progress? IF they choose the latter, only THEN will this be known as the resurgence of Hindu India.

    Think about it.

    Comment by Patriot | April 2, 2008

  37. And, prince, if you bring in Palestine in a different post, then you should expect others to bring in the al-qaeda and the lashkar as a counter point.

    And, if muslims have been questioned in India, it has been because of atrocities committed here – remember the Mumbai train blasts? 190 innocent people butchered. Why? Why did they have to be killed by the “islamists”?

    Anyway, as Shantanu pointed out, please stay on topic. Else, you are just a troll.

    Comment by Patriot | April 2, 2008

  38. …i am always to the point unless and until sombody invokes me to stray out of topic….

    @patriot:- i fully agree to your point that india is emerging as a confident state in the world….i am not talking of the confidence of india against the worldly achievements….but specially about indias past….that too specially in the medieval age…after the invasion of muslims till the freedom of this country…this stage of indian history is something not considered cherishable by majority community…..but naturally they suffer from indferiority complex….about the defeat of indian kings to muslim emperors……about their subjugation to the foreign invasion etc etc……this is what i am refering to when i say ‘inferiority complex’….this is the most important point which is becoming an obstacle in indias advancement…..and alos dividing the country on communal lines….the evidence of inferiority complex is very clear among indians trying to stay in ‘fools paradise’ all the time trying to shift the blames of the origins of all the anti social elements present in indian society e.g. caste system , sati , widows pathetic conditions , devdasis , untouchability etc etc (never ending list) very shamelessly on the invaders or the foreign religions like islam and christianity…..they even go to the extent of alleging islam and christianity for the origin of caste system…..now this is too much…..their theory could be refuted by the most important fact ‘dalits conversion” …if caste system was something alien to indian society why did dalits converted to islam , christianity , buddhism in lots..???

    ..as far as your question of bomb blasts , train blasts etc are concerned ….these took place after godhra riots….bombay bomb blasts took place after babri masjid episode…point to be noted….

    @shantanu:- i couldnt find what was your comment….but i guess it was something like if ‘bravery lies in accepting the truth and bring reformation in religions’ …i deliberately didnt answered coz you ppl may get offended…you told that hindus are brave as they accept the drawbacks in their religion and are ready to bring reformation….and you questioned are muslims too brave???…my answer is, for bravery there should be reformation and for reformation there should be drawbacks….religion of muslims doesnt have a single drawback…so no question of reformation….i guess this what your argument was???….and i hope you got the reply….if you wanna counter argue on this point……most welcome..

    Comment by prince of angels | April 3, 2008

  39. @ prince: You say (emphasis mine):

    my answer is, for bravery there should be reformation and for reformation there should be drawbacks….religion of muslims doesnt have a single drawback…so no question of reformation


    My friend, please grow up a bit…please read a little more widely…please do not pretend that burying your head in the sand makes the storm go away…pl. look outside the narrow confines of your dogma…

    Others far better educated than me (and far more well read than me) have commented on the need for reform within Islam..

    What would you say when people explode bombs in the name of “Allah”?

    What do you say to the stone-age laws that consider the evidence of women as being worth less than that of a man in a case of sexual assault?

    Read up what Tanveer Ahmed, Fareed Zakaria, Salim Mansur and others have written…and if you still insist that Islam is perfect, I have neither the time nor patience to argue with you…

    Be happy…but be aware that you are on *troll* territory…my patience is beginning to wear thin…

    I will not allow you to comment any more on this post except in response to *my questions* above.

    P.S. Also, I have so far resisted the urge to put a blanket ban on your comments but some of them are so extraordinary and outrageous that I have not even bothered to edit them (you know the ones that I have deleted). Unless you are prepared to discuss things a little more sensibly, I am afraid that I will have no choice but to summarily delete ALL your comments.

    So this is really your last chance of redeeming yourself…Show us that you are capable of a logical, rational discussion…otherwise stop wasting everyone’s time here.

    Comment by B Shantanu | April 3, 2008

  40. Placing this here for record..From a recent piece in Deccan Chronicle:
    Kashmir’s Grand Mufti on Wednesday stirred up a real hornet’s nest by asking for declaring Ahmadis or Ahmadiyyas as non-Muslims through a legislation in the state Assembly.
    The cleric, Mufti Muhammad Bashiruddin, who is recognised by both the state government and the Centre as official ‘Mufti Azam’ or Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, while speaking at a meeting of religious leaders here organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Personal Board headed by him, said that all legislators should jointly table a bill in the state Assembly during its coming session and ensure it was passed with voice votes as well to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims.
    …Ahmadiyya is a reformist movement within Islam founded in British India towards the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed (1835–1908), who claimed that he was the Mujaddid (divine reformer) and the promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by Muslims.
    The adherents of the Ahmadiyya movement are referred to as Ahmadis or Ahmadi Muslims. India has a significant Ahmadiyya population, most of them living in Kerala, Rajasthan, Orissa, Haryana, Bihar, Delhi, UP and in Qadian in Punjab, the birthplace of Mirza Ahmed.

    Comment by B Shantanu | May 4, 2012

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