Syed Waseem Rizvi heals the wounds of his­tory

HIs­tory HAs to BE BAsED on FACts AnD not GEopo­lIt­I­CAlly Con­vE­nIEnt fiC­tIons suCH As tHAt Au­rAnGzEB wAs AC­tu­Ally A pA­tron oF tHE HIn­Dus, rAtHEr tHAn tHEIr sCourGE.

The Sunday Guardian - - World -

The Wah­habis would like the world to be­lieve that the tenets of Is­lam are in­tol­er­ant, when in fact the op­po­site is the case. All hu­man lives are chil­dren of the Almighty, and not sim­ply those who be­lieve in the ver­i­ties ex­pressed with such elo­quence in the Holy Qu­ran. Com­pas­sion, benef­i­cence and mercy are the virtues that are sought to be in­cul­cated in the com­mu­nity of be­liev­ers through the mes­sage re­vealed to Prophet Muham­mad 16 cen­turies ago. How­ever, what Wah­habi the­ol­ogy does is to seek to main­stream the op­po­site of such val­ues, cre­at­ing in the process an ex­clu­sivist, hate­filled vi­sion of the world that is in perpetual in­ternecine con­flict. Un­for­tu­nately, for more than a cen­tury, the UK and later the US backed and boosted Wah­habism in or­der to achieve spe­cific geopo­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives. Ini­tially, the the­ol­ogy was de­ployed against the Turks and their empire, through cre­at­ing an opinion within Arab com­mu­ni­ties that the Sufi doc­trine favoured by the Caliphate was a per­ver­sion of the true faith, rather than an em­bod­i­ment of its virtues. In­deed, an in­ver­sion of re­al­ity took place, with Wah­habism be­ing touted as the faith in its “purest” form. Sub­se­quently, Wah­habism was put into ser­vice in the 1960s against Arab na­tion­al­ists such as Ahmed ben Bella and Ga­mal Ab­del Nasser, and fi­nally in the 1980s against the USSR in Afghanistan. The CIA, out of con­sid­er­a­tion for its (dog-wag­ging) ISI tail, de­clined the as­sis­tance of Pash­tun na­tion­al­ists in its bat­tle against the Soviet in­vaders, pre­fer­ring in­stead Pash­tun and Arab Wah­habi groups nur­tured by the Pak­istan army, which since the time of Zia-ul-Haq in the 1970s has seen it­self as the prin­ci­pal Wah­habi sword bearer against in­fi­dels. Decades later, in 2001, Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush made the same er­ror, brush­ing aside the of­fer of help from Prime Min­is­ter Atal Be­hari Va­j­payee in favour of a re­newed al­liance with Pervez Mushar­raf and his toxic army. Much of the dif­fi­cul­ties that the world has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing since owe their ori­gins to the fate­ful Bush post-9/11 de­ci­sion to anoint a lead ar­son­ist as the prin­ci­pal fire-fighter.

Jawa­har­lal Nehru, in ef­fect, sought to in­cul­cate a col­lec­tive guilt on the Hin­dus of In­dia for the mur­der of Ma­hatma Gandhi. This had been per­pe­trated by an in­di­vid­ual whom this colum­nist be­lieves to have been a dupe of a sec­tion of the colo­nial bu- reau­cracy. The con­spir­a­tors, al­though dis­cov­ered by the au­thor­i­ties, were al­lowed to com­mit their fell deed. The Viceroy-turned-Gover­norGen­eral wasted less than a minute af­ter the shoot­ing be­fore cor­rectly iden­ti­fy­ing the killer as a Hindu, al­though this in­dis­cre­tion has been sought to have been passed off as a stray re­mark. Nehru kept in place the numer­ous acts of dis­crim­i­na­tion against Hin­dus that had been per­pe­trated by the colo­nial au­thor­i­ties (such as the takeover of tem­ples), and since then, he and his suc­ces­sors have only added more items to the list, mak­ing In­dia among the few coun­tries ( Bahrain be­ing an­other) where the ma­jor­ity com­mu­nity has been dis­crim­i­nated against. To the credit of the Congress Party led by So­nia Gandhi, they have been open about such a bias, for ex­am­ple by Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh ad­mit­ting to the tilt with pride. His­tory has to be based on facts and not geopo­lit­i­cally con­ve­nient fic­tions (such as that Au­rangzeb was ac­tu­ally a pa­tron of the Hin­dus, rather than their scourge). Sev­eral tem­ples were de­stroyed dur­ing the Mughal era and al­ter­na­tive houses of wor­ship built atop their ru­ins. The wound that this has cre­ated in the psy­che of a com­mu­nity that is al­most a bil­lion strong needs to be healed, and the surest path to such an out­come would be to re­store the Ram and Kr­ishna janamb­hoomis to their pris­tine state, and to do the same at the Vatican of the Hindu com­mu­nity, which is Varanasi. These three rec­ti­fi­ca­tions and these three alone would suf­fice to en­sure that a wound, which has for gen­er­a­tions had the ca­pac­ity to en­gi­neer de­struc­tive splits within the na­tional fab­ric, gets healed. While Wah­habis, who al­ways look to cre­ate ten­sions, would op­pose such moves, yet the com­pas­sion and mercy that suf­fuses the Holy Qu­ran would get per­fectly met by such an act of benef­i­cence by the Mus­lim com­mu­nity to­wards their Hindu broth­ers and sis­ters.

That Mus­lims are over­all as mod­er­ate as any other com­mu­nity in In­dia has been shown by the wel­come they have ac­corded to the Supreme Court de­ci­sion to do away with the triple ta­laq and its at­ten­dant in­jus­tices to Mus­lim women. An­other ex­am­ple of fealty to the di­vine virtues ex­tolled in the Holy Qu­ran has been shown by the ef­forts of Shia Wakf Board Chair­per­son Syed Waseem Rizvi to en­sure an am­i­ca­ble res­o­lu­tion of the Ram Janamb­hoomi dis­pute, through en­sur­ing both that Hindu sen­ti­ments get re­spected and si­mul­ta­ne­ously, prayer fa­cil­i­ties for Mus­lims be not sim­ply re­tained, but en­hanced, they be­ing non-ex­is­tent at that lo­ca­tion at present. Should a sim­i­lar spirit of ac­com­mo­da­tion be found at Mathura and Varanasi as well, our Hindu and Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties would join to­gether ex­actly as they ought to have a cen­tury ago, be­fore Ma­hatma Gandhi de­cided to side with the Wah­habis in the mat­ter of the Khi­lafat ag­i­ta­tion, thereby strength­en­ing that group over the rest of a vi­brant com­mu­nity in a way that di­rectly led to the 1947 par­ti­tion of In­dia.

Both Hin­dus and Mus­lims should ig­nore the fa­nat­ics within their midst and en­sure that an un­der­stand­ing be reached by the mod­er­ate ma­jori­ties of both faiths on those three lo­ca­tions, so that the unity so needed be­tween Hin­dus and Mus­lims be­comes as hard as a di­a­mond. The ef­forts at con­cil­i­a­tion of Syed Waseem Rizvi in­di­cate that such an out­come is pos­si­ble, and in­deed, that it could be near.

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