Saturday, April 23, 2011

Behind the Enemy Lines!

Dhirendra  Sharma

The force of  social change and reform  is such that any progressive paradigm would  arouse negative emotions in chauvinists.  Since the conservatives  cannot face  challenges  of  progressive ideas, they  resort to  communal -civil disorder and  violence.  Most often then not, the emotions are fuelled by the political and religious vested interests.

 Today, e.g., no one  would believe that  until  the  19th century,  workers and   women had no rights to vote.  Karl Marx (1818-83) was the first to call “Workers of the World Unite”. And the Christians used to burn the witches to control the plague epidemics in Europe.  

In the United States, anti-slavery movement  lead to the Civil War ( 1861-65). Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) banned  the Slavery,  but the  Messiah of Liberty  was assassinated by  a faithful   Christian, the  follower  of  Christ.  
In India, the Hindus used to burn  young widows ( sati) while chanting the Vedic mantras.  Swami Dayananda Sarasvati ( 1824-1883) was the first social reformer who condemned the bigotry. He stopped  idol worship, advocated equal rights for women and the dalits (out-castes).  The Swami in his  magnum opus    Satyartha Prakahs ( Light of Truth)  detailed why  he  was “Not a Hindu”. In 1883  he was  killed with poisoned food served by  his brahman  Hindu cook.

So,  the struggle against socio-economic discrimination,  and  injustice is  common and universal.   Not any community, region or religion specific.   The Islamic jihadi violence too is indicative   of   the same conflict between the new  world order challenging  the traditional belief systems.  But   the contractors of faith   trying to      enforce obedience against questioning the outdated  belief systems.   The Islamic world is facing today anti-Blashfamy  reform  movement.

But smuggling arms, conspiring  suicide bombing, killing and kidnapping of    unarmed citizens for any Divine or Messianic  Mission, specially   against the democratic governance, cannot and must not   be  condoned as defending Human Rights  of  minority or sub-nationalist aspiration.  In the name of  the Human Rights of  Kashmiris or the Palestinians, e.g.,  attacking   airports, and   towns and cities,  and destruction of  educational centres  cannot be justified. The question is then not the colour or the creed  of the conspirators but  how can    we,  disown the past,  and move   forward  with a futuristic vision of  21st century Democratic United Nations.

Once  I  visited Auschwitz camps  where    million Jews systematically  were sent to gas chambers.  That was the 20thcentury, the Age of Social Revolution spreading in Europe.  But the   followers of  the Messenger  of Peace, were trying to Save the World for the Second Coming of the Son of  Mary.   During the 1946-48 partition in India,   I  witnessed the killing of innocent men, women and children belonging  to both Divine Faith ( Hindus and Muslims).  I saw   at Amritsar Railway station  trains  streamed in from  across the divided border  - massacred – human bodies hanging from the roof  and protruding out of the windows…

Whom should I hold guilty ?  Where should I go seeking the justice?  But in 1984, I defended many Sikh families and protected the Sikh Temple ( Gurudwara), in my  neighbourhood,  in New Delhi.  Still, I could  do nothing  to help  300 innocent –men, women and children,  many of them Sikhs  who were drown in the deep   sea     when  an Air India flight  was destroyed in the mid-air over the Atlantic Oceon, by the  Sikhistani Singhs ( Lions).  The Saint Bhindrewala had vowed  “to clear ( kill)  all Hindus from Panjab”.  That was what the Sant  told me one dark  night in Jalandhr.

In 1989. after  a  trekking expedition  in Kashmir,  as  I arrived at a village,   I noticed a huge Mosque built just over the rampart  of  the ancient Buddhist site of  Avantipuram.  Many   black banners  were  hanging around in  the village. Perhaps   in protest against “ Indian occupation”,  I thought.  NO, the Kashmiris were mourning the death of Ayatollah Khomeini (1900-89),  the founder of the  Shite fundamentalist republic in Iran  (in 1979).

  Who was he?. “Oh, you don’t know! He was (Peace be upon Him)…a Great  Soul,  the Saint of  Shias.  (wo ek bahut badi atmaa the..)  and that it  was he who had got  “The Mosques built  here  …”  confirmed  the village school teacher.

To my Kashmiri  hosts,  I narrated how   an old man  during the partition days, went on fast  demanding the Hindus stop  killing of  Muslims  in  India. The Mahatma  was killed by   a Marathi  Hindu manoos. That was the great soul Gandhi. But   the late Khomeini  led  Shias and Sunnies to kill each other and more than 100,000 Arab- muslims – Iranian  and Iraqis  fought  an unending war   with  guns Made-in- USA. But  “ you Kashmiri brothers  tell me that  the Khomeini  was a  Great Soul (“ badi atma”)   who made muslim brothers to kill each other!”

The next day  in Srinagar, I visited “Freedom Fighters” in their den.  They told me they received  arms training, and money from  other  “brother countries”.  On the wall  the banner read: “hans-ke liya hai Pakistan, Lad-ke lenge Hindustan.”  ( By laughing we got Pakistan. By fighting we”ll capture India).  Next day, the local media reported  acid attacks  on  the college-going Kashmiri  girls.  I asked   local  friends  to condemn  the attack on  the girls.

   “You will fly  out  of  here  tomorrow.  But our homes would be bombed…”.  lamented the helpless muslim Kashmiri intellectuals.

I do not deny violation of  Human rights in Kashmir and Palestine. But there  are no innocent leaders and preachers on any side.   The Friday sermons in the Mosques  do not speak of  Human Rights but call for Jihad.

Brother Shabir Shah is the   Mandela of Kashmir, who  lost his youth 25 years inside the   Indian jail. He was visiting us in Delhi. One  Friday, he was taken  to  the Jama Masjid Mosque,  and was asked  by the  Shahi Imam  to speak on  the atrocities of  Indian soldiers.

 “I have come here to do ibadat, ( prayer) not politics.”  retorted Shabir  Shah. I wanted to take him to the Gandhi Samadhi ( Raj Ghat).
  “I would be killed..” confined the  brother Shabir.

I learnt that  Marx and Gandhi are not covered by the Blashfamy laws.
The genesis of  Kashmir and  the Palestine   is  rooted  in denial of Democratic paradigm. In the  21st century Space Age, no nation can be governed by the  preachers of  age-old  belief systems.

Dhirendra Sharma  ( Sharma is author of India’s Commitment to Kashmir).

(The responsibilities of the contents of the article rest on the writer)

Dhirendra Sharma
Centre for Science Policy/Concerned
Scientists & Philosophers,
"Nirmal-Nilay", Dehradun 248009 (India).
+(0135) 2735 627.Mob. 989788 3741
Mo. 989788 3741.

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