Hamid Ansari’s Woes: Plight of Pluralism in India

Ram Puniyani
February 20, 2021

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India began as a plural democracy; respect for diversity was the core value. The provisions of safeguards for minorities were in built. These safeguards were formulated by the Constituent Assembly’s committee on Minorities headed by Sardar Patel. Seven decades down the lines where do we stand in matters of security and economic welfare of the religious minorities. Most of the inquiry commission reports related to communal violence, the scholarly works on communal violence by the likes of Paul Brass, Asghar Ali Engineer and recently from Yale University give a very painful picture of the communal violence, showing that the Muslims minorities in particular and lately Christian Minorities have suffered adversely. Sachar Committee Report (2006) showed the economic marginalization of Muslim minorities.

The events of last few decades and more so of last six years show the rising intimidation, marginalization and increasing fear among this community. The lynchings in the name of cow-beef and the harassment around love jihad have brought to fore the type of problems our country is facing on the scale of democratic freedoms. This was most clearly demonstrated when the large section of media with full support of the ruling dispensation coined the terms  like ‘Corona bomb’ and ‘Corona Jihad’ in the wake  of rise of Covid. To add salt to the wound, the present Government initiated NRC in Assam on the grounds that over 50 Lakh Bangladeshi’s have infiltrated into India particularly in Assam. When the final count came only 19 odd lakh people were found without proper citizenship papers out of which 12.5 Lakhs were Hindus!

Undeterred by this the ruling Government brought in Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in which the persecuted communities in neighboring countries are entitled for citizenship barring the Muslims. The trap was clear that those people who were without papers and were Hindus will get the citizenship through the back door while millions of Muslims without proper papers will be disenfranchised from citizenship to be shunted to detention centers.

It was in this background that our ex-Vice President Hamdi Ansari wrote his memoirs “By a Many Happy Accident: Recollections of a Life”. In discussions and interviews by different channels around the release of the book he voiced some of the concerns. He tried to emphasize that our citizenship is not based on religion. As most of the comments on his book and also on his life revolved around his being a Muslim, he underlined the fact that in his diplomatic and political life Muslim ness did not matter, what mattered was professional competence. As such this sums up his career which spanned over four decades and served the country in a very honorable way.

That apart the communal elements constantly targeted him for his being Muslim. In one of the republic day parade (2015), when army saluted as Jan Gan Man, national anthem was sung. A picture was circulated to create misconception that Ansari did not salute when the anthem was being sung. In this picture President is seen saluting along with him Prime Minster Narendra Modi and defense Minster are also saluting. Ansari stands still and picture highlights his not saluting. The criticism of his not saluting tricolor was propagated. At such an occasion only President, who is Commander-in-Chief of army salutes. No one is supposed to salute at that time. What Ansari did was as per the protocol, while those who saluted with President did not follow the guidelines laid down!

When Ansari retired in his farewell speech the Prime Minster took a dig. “. “A big part of your working life was in West Asia... in the same atmosphere and debate... after retirement, it was minority’s commission or AMU... that was your circumference,”

In the response to release of his book the communal forces again are uttering that India gave you so many top positions and your are disgruntled! You can very well leave the country and stay in the one where you feel at home. These types of comments show the mindset of the sectarian nationalists who see the citizens only in their religion’s identity. Ansari is not talking of his personal unhappiness. Being a thorough democrat and Indian nationalist, he is trying to draw our attention to declining ethos of our country. Since the identity issues, the emotive issues like Ram Temple, Cow-beef, Ghar Wapasi and Love jihad have taken the front stage our democratic foundations are being eroded to no end.

Similarly he points that with current Government the word secularism has gone into eclipse, it has disappeared from Governments dictionary. One can argue that even earlier the practice of secularism was on a weak wicket, e.g. the responses to Shah Bano Judgment did go contra to the values of secularism. Numerous reasons can be attributed to the weakness in practice of secularism. Still at most levels it had honorable place. What was missing was the astute sense of implementing it in the complex scenario where intense propaganda against protective clauses for minorities was projected as ‘minority appeasement’. Now there is not even an iota of consideration that as a secular state Prime Minster should not inaugurate a religious place of worship or issues like violence in the name Cow-Beef should not enjoy impunity. There is not even smallest consideration that in CAA how we can bar granting of citizenship to people of particular religion.

Ansari points out, “Overall, the very fact that Indian-ness of any citizen being questioned is a disturbing thought,’ and “enhanced apprehensions of insecurity amongst segments of our citizen body, particularly Dalits, Muslims and Christians” and the “illiberal form of nationalism that promotes intolerance”.

The critics of pluralism and diversity assert that what is prevailing is the genuine secularism as it has balanced the earlier tilt towards minorities. They also try to equate few other killings as lynching’s, to show that there no insecurity for dalits and minorities as such. Ansari’s observations need to be taken seriously and course correction of our democracy needs to be undertaken.

Comments

Subhash Sirur
 - 
Sunday, 13 Jun 2021

Mr.Hamid Ansari was a supporter of Islamic organization P.F.I based in Kerala even when he was the Vice President of India.He attended their meetings.What is P.F.I ,one can easily find out on google.

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News Network
September 20,2021

Bengaluru, Sept 20: The state’s Covid-19 numbers continued their descent - a trend which first set in eight weeks ago. In the last seven days, Karnataka registered 6,131 cases, which is 6.6% lower than the 6,571 cases recorded the week before.

The decline allayed fears that cases were on the rise again between September 15 to 17, when case numbers increased to beyond a thousand per day, after days of a decline.

Considering weekly averages, Karnataka’s Covid-19 numbers fell by 29% over the last 30 days, but of equal concern is that the statewide testing numbers, which despite getting a boost in the middle part of last week, have been steadily declining.

In the last seven days, the state government conducted 9.78 lakh tests, which was 9.84 lakh the week before. The average number of tests conducted has declined by 20.4% over the course of the last 30 days.

The state’s declining case numbers are due to abrupt drops in case registrations on some days. Sunday was one of these days with Karnataka recording 783 new cases. Out of these, Bengaluru Urban disclosed that it had identified 267 new cases, comprising 34% of the statewide total for the day.

The decline in the number of new cases in the city has been less steep. Over the last 30 days, the average number of cases have fallen by 8.6%, with testing rates having plummeted by 12.9%.

The next highest cases were recorded in Dakshina Kannada (97), Udupi district (82) and Mysuru district (69).

The new statewide cases, coupled with 1,139 discharges, leave Karnataka’s active caseload at 15,383. Health officials also announced 16 new fatalities. Barring two of the deaths which happened on Sunday, six were backlog deaths which had occurred in July and May.

Covid-19 among children

Between September 12 and 18, the state recorded 247 new cases of Covid-19 of children aged below 11. Among teens (11 to 19), it recorded 827 new cases. In contrast, 289 pre-teen and 888 teen cases were reported in the week before last (5-11 September). Over the last 14 days, pre-teen cases comprise 4.1% of daily Covid-19 cases.

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News Network
September 15,2021

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Days after his Taliban-RSS remark sparked a row, screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar said that ‘Hindus are the most tolerant majority in the world’ in Shiv-Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’.

In his earlier statement, Akhtar had said that Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) were similar to the Taliban in their form of extremism.

Clarifying his remarks, Akhtor wrote, “Actually, in the recent interview, I have said ‘Hindus are the most decent and tolerant majority’ in the world. I have repeated this time and again and also emphasised that India can never become like Afghanistan because Indians by nature are not extremists. It is in their DNA to be moderate, to keep to the middle of the road.”

Further, Akhtar went on to explain what according to him was similar between the Taliban and Hindu right-wing. 

“As a matter of fact, there are a lot of similarities. While the Taliban is forming an Islamic government based on religion, the Hindu right-wing wants a Hindu Rashtra. The Taliban wants to curb women’s rights and put them on the margin, the Hindutva right-wing has also made it clear that they don’t like the freedom of women and girls,” he said.

Akhtar was earlier criticised by the Shiv-Sena for his controversial comment. An editorial in Saamna said that even though Akhtar was secular and spoke against fundamentalism in general, he was completely wrong in comparing the RSS with the Taliban.

In his piece, Akhtar praised Uddhav Thackeray and said that even Thackeray's worst critics could not accuse the chief minister of discrimination and injustice -- so it was beyond his understanding why the Thackeray government might be referred to as ‘Talibani’.

“My detractors have said that while I am criticizing the Hindu right-wing I have never stood against fanatics among the Muslim fold. They have accused me of not saying anything about triple talaq, of not speaking on purdah or any other regressive practice within the Muslim community. I am not surprised at the fact that they are totally unaware of my activities over the years,” he also said.

“Over the past two decades, I have been given police protection twice because of the threats to my life from fanatical Muslims: first, because not only had I vociferously opposed triple talaq when the issue was not on the national radar, but I had, along with an organisation named Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD), toured several cities across India like Hyderabad, Allahabad, Kanpur and Aligarh and from a variety of public platforms spoken out against this retrograde practice,” he said.

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News Network
September 14,2021

Dubai, Sept 14: The UAE Cabinet has issued Resolution No 83 of 2021, designating 38 individuals and 15 entities on its approved list of persons and organisations supporting terrorism (Local Terrorist List).

The resolution underscores the UAE's commitment to target and dismantle networks that finance terrorism and its related activities.

The resolution demands that regulatory authorities monitor and identify any individuals or entities affiliated with or associated with any financial, commercial or technical relationship and take the necessary measures according to the laws in force in the country in less than 24 hours.

Following is the full list of added individuals:
1. Ahmed Mohammed Abdulla Mohammed Alshaiba Alnuaimi (UAE)
2. Mohamed Saqer Yousif Saqer Al Zaabi (UAE)
3. Hamad Mohammed Rahmah Humaid Alshamsi (UAE)
4. Saeed Naser Saeed Naser Alteneiji (UAE)
5. Hassan Hussain Tabaja (Lebanon)
6. Adham Hussain Tabaja (Lebanon)
7. Mohammed Ahmed Musaed Saeed (Yemen)
8. Hayder Habeeb Ali (Iraq)
9. Basim Yousuf Hussein Alshaghanbi (Iraq)
10. Sharif Ahmed Sharif Ba Alawi (Yemen)
11. Manoj Sabharwal Om Prakash (India)
12. Rashed Saleh Saleh Al Jarmouzi (Yemen)
13. Naif Nasser Saleh Aljarmouzi (Yemen)
14. Zubiullah Abdul Qahir Durani (Afghanistan)
15. Suliman Saleh Salem Aboulan (Yemen)
16. Adel Ahmed Salem Obaid Ali Badrah (Yemen)
17. Ali Nasser Alaseeri (Saudi Arabia)
18. Fadhl Saleh Salem Altayabi (Yemen)
19. Ashur Omar Ashur Obaidoon (Yemen)
20. Hazem Mohsen Farhan + Hazem Mohsen Al Farhan (Syria)
21. Mehdi Azizollah Kiasati (Iran)
22. Farshad Jafar Hakemzadeh (Iran)
23. Seyyed Reza Mohmmad Ghasemi (Iran)
24. Mohsen Hassan Kargarhodjat Abadi (Iran)
25. Ibrahim Mahmood Ahmed Mohammed (Iran)
26. Osama Housen Dughaem (Syria)
27. Abdurrahaman Ado Musa (Nigeria)
28. Salihu Yusuf Adamu (Nigeria)
29. Bashir Ali Yusuf (Nigeria)
30. Muhammed Ibrahim Isa (Nigeria)
31. Ibrahim Ali Alhassan (Nigeria)
32. Surajo Abubakar Muhammad (Nigeria)
33. Alaa Khanfurah - Alaa Abdulrazzaq Ali Khanfurah - Alaa Alkhanfurah (Syria)
34. Fadi Said Kamar (Great Britain)
35. Walid Kamel Awad (Saint Kitts and Nevis)
36. Khaled Walid Awad (Saint Kitts and Nevis)
37. Imad Khallak Kantakdzhi (Russia)
38. Mouhammad Ayman Tayseer Rashid Marayat (Jordan)

Following is the full list of the added entities:
1. Ray Tracing Trading Co LLC
2. H F Z A Arzoo International F Z E
3. Hanan Shipping L.L.C
4. Four Corners Trading Est
5. Sasco Logistic L.L.C
6. AlJarmouzi General Trading LLC
7. Al Jarmoozi Cargo & Clearing (L.L.C)
8. Al Jarmoozi Transport By Heavy & Light Trucks (L.L.C)
9. Naser Aljarmouzi Ceneral Trading (L.L.C)
10. Naser Aljarmouzi Cargo & Clearing LLC
11. Wave Tech Computer LLC
12. NYBI Trading - FZE
13. KCL General Trading F Z E
14. Alinma Group

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