India’s Composite Culture and Muslim Stalwarts

Ram Puniyani
August 9, 2020

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Contrary to present impression that Muslims are separatists due to whom the partition of India took place, the truth is that Muslims contributed to freedom movement and upheld India’s composite culture in equal measure. The partition process, mainly due to British policy of ‘divide and rule’ well assisted by Hindu and Muslim communalists is being hidden from the popular vision in India and Muslims in general are held responsible for the same. Not only that the communal historiography introduced by British to pursue their policies has become the bedrock of communal politics and worsening of the perceptions about Muslims is in progress in India.

Yet another example of this has been a series of tweets by the bureaucrat, who is close to retirement, K. Nageshwar Rao. Contrary to the service rules he has made statements, through his tweets which are appreciative of RSS-BJP and demonise the stalwarts Muslim leaders who not only contributed to the freedom movement but also later gave valuable service in laying the foundation of Independent India. As per Rao, his tweets he accuses Maulana Azad and the other Muslim Education ministers of “deracination of Hindus”. After naming “Maulana Abul Kalam Azad — 11 years (1947-58)”; “Humayun Kabir, M C Chagla & Fakruddin Ali Ahmed — 4 years (1963-67)”; and, “Nurul Hassan — 5 years (1972-77)”, he posts: “Remaining 10 years other Leftists like VKRV Rao.”

He points out that their policies were meant to “1. Deny Hindus their knowledge, 2. Vilify Hinduism as collection of superstitions, 3. Abrahamise Education, 4. Abrahamise Media & Entertainment, 5. Shame Hindus about their identity!  and 6. Bereft of the glue of Hinduism Hindu society dies.”

Then he goes on to praise RSS-BJP for bringing the glory back to Hindus. These statements of his on one hand promote the Hate and on the other tantamount to political statement, which civil servants should not by making. CPM politburo member Brinda Karat has written a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah to take suitable action against the erring bureaucrat.

Rao begins with Maulana Abul kalam Azad. Surely Azad was one of the major leaders of freedom movement, who was also the youngest President of INC, in 1923 and later between 1940 to 1945. He opposed the partition process tooth and nail till the very last. As the Congress President in 1923 he wrote a remarkable Para, symbolizing the urge for Hindu Muslim unity, “If an angel descends from heaven and offers me Swaraj in 24 hours on condition that I give up Hindu Muslim Unity, I will refuse. Swaraj we will get sooner or later; its delay will be a loss for India, but loss of Hindu Muslim unity will be a loss for human kind”. His biographer Syeda Hamid points out “He spoke without an iota of doubt about how debacle of Indian Muslims has been the result of the colossal mistakes committed by Muslim League’s misguided leadership. He exhorted Muslims to make common cause with their Hindu, Sikh, Christian fellow countrymen.” He was the one who promoted the translation of Hindu scriptures Ramayan and Mahabharat in to Persian.

Surely Mr. Rao, neither has read Azad or read about him nor knows his contributions to making of Modern India. While today, the ideological formation to which Mr. Rao seems to be pledging his commitment is critical of all that happened during Nehru era, it was during this period when as education minister Azad was shepherding the formations of IITs, Academies of Science, Lalit kala Academies. It was during this period that the efforts to promote Indian composite culture were undertaken through various steps.

The other stalwarts who are under the hammer have been outstanding scholars and giants in their own field of education. Humayun Kabir, Nurul Hasan, Dr.Zakir Husssain gave matchless ideas and practical contributions in different fields of education. One can say that contrary to the accusations, India could match up to the Computer era, software and associate things, due to creation of large manpower in these areas mainly due to these foundations which were laid down particularly in the field of education during this period.

The charge that these ‘Muslim’ education ministers white washed the bloody Islamic rule is a blind repetition of the offshoot of communal historiography introduced by British. While Kings were ruling for power and wealth, their courts had Hindus and Muslim both officers. The jaundiced vision sees this as a bloody Islamic rule but as a matter of fact the syncretic culture and traditions developed precisely this period. It was during this period that Bhakti Traidtion with Kabir, Tukaram, Namdeo, Tulsidas flourished. It was during this period that humane values of Sufi saints reached far and wide. It was during this period that poets like Rahim and Raskhan produced their classic literature n praise of Hindu Gods.

We also need to remind ourselves that large number of Muslims participated in the freedom Movement. Two scholars Shamsul Islam and Nasir Ahmad have come out with books on the myriad such freedom fighters, to recall just a few names. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Zakir Hussain, Syed Mohammad Sharfuddin Kadri, Bakht Khan, Muzzafar Ahmad, Mohammad Abdir Rahman,, Abbas Ali, Asaf Ali, Yusuf Mehrali, Maulana Mazahrul Hague.

These are just a few of the names. The movement, led by Gandhi, definitely laid the foundations where composite Indian culture and respect for all religions, others’ religion was paramount and this is what created Indian fraternity, one of the values which finds its place in the preamble of Indian Constitution.

This blaming of Education ministers who were Muslims is an add-on to the process of Islamophobia in India. So for there have been many actions of Muslim kings which are selectively presented as being bloody, now the post Independent History, where glorious contributions have been made by Muslim leaders are being used to further deepen the divisive process. We need to pay respects to builders of modern India, irrespective of their religion.

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News Network
September 14,2020
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Anant Kumar Hegde

New Delhi, Sept 14: Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Meenakshi Lekhi, Anant Kumar Hegde and Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma are among 17 Member of Parliament (MPs) who have tested positive for coronavirus in the mandatory tests conducted before the Monsoon Session of Parliament which began on Monday.

As many as 12 MPs from the BJP the most from any party in Lok Sabha, were found infected with the disease during the test followed by the YSR Congress's two MPs and one each of the DMK, the Shiv Sena and the RLP.

Others who have been detected Covid-19 positive include Pratap Rao Jadav, Janardan Singh, Sukhbir Singh, Hanuman Beniwal, Sukanata Majumdar, Goddeti Madhavi, Bidyut Baran, Pradan Baruah, N. Reddeppa, Selvam G, Pratap Rao Patil, Ram Shankar Katheria, Satya Pal Singh and Rodmal Nagar.

The Lok Sabha members were tested at the Parliament House on September 13 and 14-- a during a mandatory test for those attending this year's Monsoon Session which will end on October 1.

BJP MP Sukanta Majumdar in a tweet on Sunday morning declared he had tested Covid-19 positive.

"I am doing well and taking doctors' advice. Requesting all those who have come in close contact with me in the last few days to monitor their health and get tested in case of any symptoms," Majumdar tweeted.

The results come at a time when India on Monday registered 48,464,27 Covid-19 cases across the country with a massive spike of 92,071 cases including 1,136 deaths in 24 hours.

Earlier, at least seven Union Ministers and around 25 MPs and MLAs had contracted the disease. Among them were Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who underwent a thorough medical examination at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) before the parliament session started.

An MP and several MLAS have died from the highly-infectious pandemic. The Monsoon Session of parliament this time is being held with large-scale safety protocols in place that include staggered seating of MPs in chambers of both Houses to maintain physical distancing.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the MPs this time registered their attendance using the 'Attendance Register' App: a step forward in digitalising operations at the Parliament.

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News Network
September 23,2020

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Jeddah, Sept 23: Saudi Arabia has announced the gradual resumption of Umrah and visits to the Two Holy Mosques with a limited number of pilgrims, starting from Oct. 4, 2020, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday citing a source at the Ministry of Interior.

The ministry source said that based on the reports of the competent authorities regarding coronavirus developments and in response to the aspirations of many Muslims at home and abroad to perform Umrah, and based on the leadership's keenness on the health and safety of the visitors the Two Holy Mosques, a royal approval has been given to allow the performance of Umrah and visits to the Two Holy Mosques gradually while taking the necessary health preventative measures.

In the first phase, citizens and expatriates from within the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah at a capacity of 30 percent from Oct. 4 that translates to 6,000 pilgrims per day following the health precautionary measures of the Grand Mosque.

In the second phase, citizens and expatriates inside the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah, visit the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and pray in Two Holy Mosques, starting from Oct. 18, with a 75 percent capacity limit that is equivalent of nearly 15,000 pilgrims per day and 40,000 worshippers per day following the health precautionary measures for the Grand Mosque, as well as 75 percent of the capacity in line with the health precautionary measures for the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque.

In the third phase, pilgrims from abroad would be allowed to perform Umrah as of Nov. 1 with a full capacity of 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 worshipers per day and it will continue until the official end of the coronavirus pandemic or the official announcement that the danger is over. The arrival of Umrah performers and visitors from outside the Kingdom shall be gradual from the countries that are free from health risks related to the coronavirus pandemic, the source added.

The fourth phase will allow the performance of Umrah, visit and prayers by citizens and expatriates from inside and outside the Kingdom, at 100 percent of the normal capacity of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque, when the competent authority decides that the risks of the pandemic has disappeared.

Meanwhile, the entry of pilgrims, worshipers and visitors shall be regulated through the application (Etamarna), which will be launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, with the aim of implementing the health standards and controls approved by the Ministry of Health and the competent authorities.

The source called upon pilgrims, worshipers and visitors to adhere to preventive measures and apply the health instructions and requirements, including wearing face masks, keeping a safe distance, and avoiding a physical contact.

The source affirmed the Kingdom's keenness to enable the pilgrims from inside and outside the Kingdom to perform the rituals in a safe and healthy manner fulfilling the preventative requirements and spatial distancing in order to ensure human safety and protection from the threats of this pandemic, and achieve the objectives of the Islamic law in preserving human lives.

The source explained that the stages announced in this statement will be subjected to continuous evaluation, according to the developments of the pandemic.

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News Network
September 18,2020
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Kumaraswamy

Bengaluru, Sept 18: Former Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday urged the Centre to include Kannada and other regional languages in the administration.

The Centre has said 'No' to a question on whether it proposes to amend the constitution to give primacy to Kannada and other regional languages on par with Hindi.

"This is an indication of the rejection of a language. Kannada, like Hindi, is also an official and recognized language. The Centre should include Kannada and other regional languages in the administration," a statement from Kumaraswamy said.

He also stated that Articles 343, 344, and 345 in the Constitution encouraged the promotion of Hindi.

"Let BJP leaders, who talk about changing the Constitution, make an effort to amend the law to give equal primacy to regional languages at par with Hindi. The Centre, which is refusing to give equal primacy to regional languages, must remember that they have formed the government with the support of the non-Hindi speaking Parliamentarians. It is duty-bound to include all official languages in the administration," the former Chief minister said.

He further stated that the Supreme Court had recently directed the Centre that all government orders and publications should be in all the recognized and official languages.

"Besides, the Centre must keep in mind that all languages are equal in a federal system in India," he added.

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