Sunday, June 19, 2022

The Charade called Nupur Sharma Controversy

I was planning to write a follow-up to my previous blog about the BJP bringing in paradigm shifts in Indian politics. However, the Nupur Sharma controversy forced me to change my blog's direction as well. Let's peel the layers of this controversy slowly.

To begin with, what exactly did Nupur Sharma say? I am not going to repeat that because I am genuinely afraid to get arrested for repeating something that's factually correct and cited numerous times in Islamic literature. In this age of social media, the first casualty is freedom of speech. And in India where minority appeasement and mob mentality still infect government machinery, saying the truth will land you in trouble. But should Nupur Sharma have said what she said? Maybe. Maybe not. She was baited into it for sure. When the Gyanvyapi mosque case started getting traction, the collective mafia of Islamists and secularists in India went into overdrive to trivialize the faith of billions of Hindus. They made fun of Bhagwan Mahdev to such a low level that it's a testament to Hindus in this country that such rampant baiting did not lead to riots. But sometimes it's better not to speak the truth or state the facts. Especially when the party you represent is at the Center and at the helm of the state government. That's not how being responsible works. Sometimes it's better to let progress be made through peace. Sometimes it’s better if people wake up slowly to the reality of Gyanvyapi instead of saying something that can be used to rile up the masses. That's where Nupur Sharma was wrong. Again, what she said wasn't incorrect or worthy of libel, or derogatory. But did she need to say that?  

What should the BJP do here? This is a difficult task. There is no doubt that the way controversy unfolded would raise eyebrows. However, the BJP was compelled to punish Nupur Sharma. She was not supposed to bite the bait as a representative of the ruling party. She shouldn't get carried away. Furthermore, the BJP is a political party. They will always act in their short-term interest. At this point, they do not want to get involved in another Muslim controversy. It overshadows all the good work they are doing or attempting to do. It plays directly into the opposition's strategy to corner the party on the issue of secularism. The secularism mafia gets a bigger forum to spread lies, rumors, and agenda-driven narratives. And all this for a matter that's sub-judice? Only a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable for this case to get heard and this matter becoming public. It's a small victory to start with. But now a whole lot of work got wasted with this stray comment. A bit of a necessary digression here - one should not speak on behalf of the BJP or assume BJP would support them in case of a controversial statement. The statement may be true, and the facts may be right in the front but if the topic is not helping the electoral or political motive, BJP WILL NOT COME TO RESCUE! And as is the situation in MH, for example, opposition-ruled state police will hunt you down, arrest you, beat you and even kill you if necessary and BJP won't don't anything. There are political compulsions obviously but moreover, BJP is the ruling party in over half of India. It cannot act reactionary like Mamta in WB or Afzal Sena in MH. BJP is a national party with an ambition to implement its agenda over the next several decades. If one wants to speak, do that with full knowledge that consequences are only for her/him to bore. 

The international controversy, if we can even call it that, was hilarious. I don't think anyone except for the so-called liberal and woke media took that 'discourse' seriously. Three nations with a stunningly awful record on human rights (Iran leads the world in executing people by hanging!) lecturing India about minority rights? This whole thing feels very well-orchestrated charade. This is now less about what Nupur Sharma said and more about settling scores and generating controversy to achieve nefarious objectives. Is the US playing the role of 'god' through Qatar, 'punishing' in Indian govt. for not siding with them against Russia? Is the Islamist lobby in India flexing muscles, threatening the govt. that any change in the status quo of Gyanvyapi will lead to violence? Has the 'woke' 'liberal', and 'secularists' in India finally found the elusive controversy to latch onto the next election? So many legitimate questions. 

Whether controversy was unnecessary or not, whether what Nupur Sharma said was legitimate or not, whether international geo-politics attempted to take advantage of this situation or not, the reality is, people did die in this episode. Should they be out pelting stones, burning properties, and attacking the police for such a flimsy reason? Definitely not but innocent people (being stupid does not mean one is not innocent!) suffered. Unfortunately, this can be avoided by the People alone. Don't fall for someone else's politics, don't sell yourself short for a Biryani, and don't get caught in someone else's fight. Relax, think and vote intelligently. It is as simple as that! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Changing Paradigm of Indian Politics

The elections in five states concluded recently. The results were as expected. The cacophony of political commentary was also along the line of expectations. AAP winning a state is used to overshadow BJP winning other 4 big states. Why did BJP win? Hindutva, RSS, anti-Muslim, Congress not doing its job, Rahul Gandhi's leadership, disparate opposition, it's not BJPs win but Modi's, it's not Modi's win - it is Yogi's, it's not Modi or Yogi's win but Shah's win -  the list is long, banal, old and incoherent. Some political Pundits decided to up the ante. They started talking about how BJP actually did not win UP. It was a moral victory for the Samajwadi Party. For these stalwarts, Akhilesh becoming second largest party is a win that's worthy of jubilation. Ok, I did not see that line of thinking coming but then majority of India's so called Media and political analyst are either compromised or virulently stupid. In any case, it is no surprise that yet again the Media and the analysts failed to understand why BJP keeps winning and they will continue to do so in near future. 

1) In current political arena, BJP is the only party that has a strong ideology, a strong ideology believing cadre, a strong view on culture, country, civilization, a long view on development, consistently updated and changing leadership, strong state level leadership and most importantly, a strong identity. Suffice to say, there is literally no other political party in India that has any of the above. Apart from Communists, all other non-BJP parties are either family run fiefdoms or a gang lead by a rabid and bloodthirsty personality. It is ironic that Communists, at least on paper, have ideology, ideology believing cadre and an identity. They also have a strong view on culture, country and civilization. But Communists are strongly anti-development, and when situation arises, they brazenly go anti-India as well. They are virulently anti-Hindu as well, something, they hide under the garb of anti-Brahminism. In short, on all fronts, Communists are outdated in thinking, outdated in their political gimmicks and literally, 'outdated' in its leadership. 

2) Modi and BJP have ensured they continue to work on agenda items from their manifesto. Political parties in India always treated their election manifesto as a toilet paper. It's a document they would put together for show. Even general populace assumed that nothing from that document will ever get implemented. Modi and BJP changed that drastically. Not only they worked hard on implementing the points but they ensured that this gets communicated across the electoral spectrum. They may bungle some items (farm laws), they may go slow (labor laws) or they may succeed in a spectacular fashion (Article 370, Ram Mandir) but voters know that what's coming their way. 

3) Development, development and development! One of Modi govts. greatest success has been implementing policies to provide basic necessities to the poor. Modi govt. ensured that the marginal sections and poor sections of the society feel feel empowered (Jan Dhan Yojana, UPI) to take advantage of the opportunities. The much vaunted 'Garib' of our country is finally treated as a human being and a partner in the growth. The govt. will no longer play the role of 'Maay-baap'. The economy will create opportunities and the government will work hard to ensure that everyone gets opportunity to take advantage of it. Whether it's massive road building program or building tens of airports and port or fanatically working towards providing piped water facility at every house or empowering the masses through UPIs, the govt. is working towards increasing the productivity of an individual. The economic growth through increasing productivity will be able to withstand any future shocks with relatively ease. 

4) Playing politics through electoral way. Since the fall of Rajiv Gandhi govt. in 1989, Indian national politics was stuck in the backdoor politicking under the guise of coalition politics. Sonia Congress was master of deal making and it ensured their stronghold on national politics for couple of decades. This type of politics lulled all political parties into thinking that they don't need to worry about voters anymore since a deal can always be stuck later on. Modi lead BJP changed that scenario for good. Everything has to pass through the litmus test of what common voters opinion. And to ensure voters do get their say, BJP has been fighting elections at every level and in every state. This shrank the base of national political parties rapidly. And unless regional parties change their ways, their imprints will vanish equally rapidly. For now, the Indian voter is firmly in the driver's seat. She gets to decide the fate of the country and this is one of the biggest success of BJP and Modi. 

All the ink I spilled above does not obfuscate the shortcomings of BJP. It does not mean BJP is doing God's work. BJP is after all a political party and they will act in their own political interest first. Just look at the Mamta orchestrated post-poll violence in West Bengal, BJP simply left its cadre in lurch. However, within the framework of democracy, democratic principles, party politics and associated complexities, BJP and Modi has changed the game drastically. And it is heartening to see that the game is finally benefitting the common man!  

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Five State Results and Afzal Sena

The recent elections in five states have upended the primary media narrative around BJP winning, yet again! However, the narrative in the mainstream media remains the same. The talk, the stories, the reasonings behind the results steadfastly orbits around the black hole of Secularism and Hindutva. That's not surprising, obviously. The mainstream media missed out on the rise of Modi in 2014. They insisted that this is one off. Then came numerous state elections where BJP continued to win or continued to increase the vote share yet it was brushed off for one or the other reason. Then came 2019 General Elections. The atmosphere was built as if Modi will not have majority at all, at best or he and BJP will lose power altogether. Of course, the reality on the ground was far different. Now came the 5 state elections where BJP won handsomely in four states yet the focus was either on AAP winning BJP or how Congress dysfunction led to BJPs win. The results are not because of decline of Congress or leadership of Gandhis. The decline of Congress and pungent leadership of Gandhis are not a secret for at least 20 years. The results are not because of banal sounding poll rhetoric of opposition parties and past the due date dynast political parties. The enquiry is never how BJP continues to win. I mean, there's some enquiry but mostly that enquiry is conducted through the lens of Hindutva or through the term 'Majoritism'. Is BJP winning because of better governance? But Is BJP winning because there hasn't been a single corruption accusation against the central govt.? Is BJP winning because they and Modi handled the global pandemic far better? Is BJP winning because they are building more roads, more ports and more airports? Is BJP winning because govt.'s deft handling of foreign relations? Is BJP winning because inflation has been largely been kept in check for almost a decade? Is it because the so called activist have taken over Opposition space, which may be a grand media spectacle but not so much a political and election strategy?

Perhaps, and this is critical, BJP and the BJP govt. is keeping in sync with changing aspirations and expectations of the voters? And, actually delivering on a lot of those promises, fulfilling the aspirations? 


The political game that's been underway in Maharashtra is like an 'unputtable' Dan Brown novel for students of politics (Not political analyst!). The way the current Uddhav Thakrey govt. was formed, the parties that came together to keep BJP out of power was of staggeringly unholy. Of course, there's nothing unholy in politics. No one, literally no one insisted for BJP to ally with Shiv Sena. In fact, a good chunk advised them against allying with that party. Yet, BJP decided to go ahead with the alliance and the in return they got Baba ji ka Thullu at every juncture since the elections. And as if that inane alliance wasn't enough, BJP in a brain-freeze movement decided to form an ill fated alliance with Ajit Pawar. That move reeked such an awful odor that even this author decided not to vote for BJP. Fortunately, that move didn't even last for 24 hours. It was, as it turned out to be, a power move by Sharad Pawar to force Congress's hand in forming an alliance with Shiv Sena. Fast forward couple of years, Ambani bomb threats, multiple corruption scandals, Home Minister absconding, DGP of the state absconding, Hindu-Muslim riots etc. and we are still left with this unholy alliance of three parties. 

I had guessed that this alliance will not survive more than six months. I was absolutely wrong. But I am glad BJP is making amends for its earlier mistakes and taking a long view. They continued to make in-roads into rural MH. They fought hard in local elections - from Panchayat to Municipal elections. They are clearly the largest party in MH right now but still shy of absolute majority. Of course, local elections may not be indicative of Assembly elections but winning local elections shows strong cadre base and enthusiasm at the ground level. BJP's resurgence in UP started with them fighting at local elections only. Second, BJP is refusing to pull the govt. down but at the same time, they are doing everything in their power to show the real face of this utterly corrupt govt. The ED raids is proving to be very successful since it's hurting where it supposed to hurt - the moneybags. The only way these politician will get worried about is losing their corrupt money. And as it's very apparent, they have been doing very shabby job in money laundering. 

When will this govt. fall? Hard to say that now. Maybe after Mumbai municipality elections. The indication is BJP will emerge the largest party in Mumbai municipality but more than that, if Shiv Sena gets decimated then they will lose their hold over money they siphon off from this richest municipality in India. The death by thousand cuts will be too much bear and govt. may fall. 

However, whenever the govt. is to fall, few things are certain. BJP has emerged as the largest party in MH. Congress will continue to lose it's share to NCP, however, NCP will not grow much beyond it's current confines. But this mess also means NCP will survive. Worse will befall on Shiv Sena though. They will get decimated electorally. But that's not the worse part. By the end of this drama, the only mainstream regional party that was avowedly Hindutva would have turned into Afzal Sena. An utterly despicable way to go! 


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Hijabis, the Hijab, and The 'Secularists (India waale)'

The Hijab wearers and Hijabis are two entirely different species. They have different objectives and compulsions. Different history and obviously, different future. The recent Hijab row in KA is not what it seems. It's not about Hijab at all. No one is denying right of a woman to wear Hijab. The argument here is to follow the school uniform, which does not allow Hijab. The girl students can wear Talibani attire from their homes to the school - they may even walk few steps behind their fathers or walk in chains, for anyone to care. But if they want to take education in the school or take exams, then they need to shed Talibani attire, and transform into a normal student. Student, who aspires to learn and not carry the sword of religion everywhere. From the law and from judiciary's perspective, the row is related to the rights of school institutions to manage their own schools. Some schools don't have uniforms, some do. The expectation is for students to follow the mandate School authorities have established. And, if they don't want to follow it then they can enroll into schools that aligns with their dressing preferences. That's it. That's the extent of this whole thing. 

But are these so called students really looking for explanation or even answers on their concerns with dress code? 

The 'Hijabis':

The question for the ' Hijabis' is not the dress code or religious attire. Especially since these Hijabis aren't the one wearing the Hijab. The question is not even the freedom of attire. The real question is, can Hijabis impose the Hijab not only on the hapless Muslim women of India but also, indirectly, on the non-Muslim population of India? Can they impose their regressive, militant and  medieval thought process on forward looking and largely secular country? Can they force the judiciary to move away from reason, rationality, constitution and law? Can they force political parties to toe their line? Can they establish their version of Islam supremacy over everyone? Can they change definition of secularism so much so that Jihadi mindset is now considered as a legitimate Secularism in India? By the way, there's nothing new to this sort of religious imperialism. Whether it's cutting the country into pieces for the sake of religion, to having a different personal law, from having a different govt. body to look after their interests, to having govt. subsidies to travel to Hajj; these Hijabi's have done it all and then some. The list of such 'triumphs' of Hijabis is long and still continuing. At some level, one has to give them credit for being so successful in their mission - they ethnically cleansed Hindus from Kashmir and yet managed to portray Kashmir as a cause for Muslim persecution! 

The Hijab: 

This one is a tough one. Some Muslim ladies obviously like to wear their Hijab. There is nothing wrong in that, their choice. However, considering how in post WWII world has generally progressed, and how the Hijab essentially demarcates line between modern world and not-so-modern world, one need to question the the sudden love towards Hijab. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are some of the few countries that enforces Hijab and these countries are entirely non-democratic. The timeline and scale of enforcement is also varied.  Iran enforced the Hijab only after 1979 and Afghanistan enforced it after 1995. What's more amusing is Iran doesn't impose head-to-toe Burqa the way these so called Muslims 'feminist' students of Karnataka are demanding. Moreover, throughout the history of Islam, the dress code varied per the geographic region. For example, Kashmiri Muslim women always wore traditional Kashmiri clothes till vary recently. Post WWII, situation started to shift when the oil money from Saudis started flowing into rest of the world. The Hijab started appearing conspicuously across non-Arab world. It became the symbol of pure form of religion when in reality, it only represented the effect and impact of hegemony of Saudi brand of Islam.  Perhaps, the Karnataka controversy is just an extension of that agenda? It will be impossible to prove that but it is not far fetched to surmise that  when there is no consistency on Hijab imposition even among the Islamic countries, this particular manufactured controversy is clearly a political and religious agenda setting by Islamists. 

The Secularists (Jamaat-e-Liberals): 

Now, let's talk about worse among the worse. I mean, the absolute filth, bottom of the barrel awfulness. The absolute worse among all mentioned above is not the jihadi mindset, Islamists or foreign money. It's the 'jamaat' of  self proclaimed woke, the so called liberals, the so-called Secularists that are found only in India. These dangerous morons practice a special brand of secularism. That's because these people are not liberal, nor woke and what's worse, they are so far away from Secularism that the French who devised the very concept may just be burying themselves in in Pere-Lachaise. This secular mafia has certain definitive traits. They are staunchly anti-Hindu, they are staunchly anti-India, they are staunchly anti-progress, they are generally staunchly against anything that's rationale, anything that requires dialogue, or requires understanding of context or requires mature dialogue. Moreover, they are staunchly against finding a solution or against resolving any issue. They want to maintain the status quo. Because unresolved issues helps these creatures to survive. They get to yap about it on Twitter, yap further on TV channels, write mind numbingly stupid Op-eds in the newspaper. Somehow these awful people have made into political, judicial and public discourse as well. 

For some reason, the wokenss doesn't apply to caging Muslim women in Hijab. The choice cannot be given to them. The liberalism does not have apply to rights of educational institutions to have dress code. The 'expertise' does not agree with the fact that Islamic jurisprudence does not mandates the burqa! The agenda is to rile up the issue to stratosphere, corner the government, bring the educational institutions to their knees, adversely impact student's right to education and defame the society and the country along the way. The fact these so called liberal, woke, secularists are in agreement with Talibani mindset isn't jarring enough. The reality, as it appears, is that these so called secularists are here to further the Talibani agenda! 

The hope:

But all is not lost. The controversy (and potentially violence) generating religious, quasi-state actors and the non-state 'secular' 'activists' will not be successful in their nefarious design. The Hijab or Burqa is not universally admired or agreed upon across Muslims in India. Time and again, Indian Muslim women have risen above and shown the world their worth. Numerous examples across broad social spectrum have succeeded in variety of fields to emphasize the point that patriarchal structure of their religion can be won over. Similar controversy was generated against Triple Talaq but it failed to garner any traction. Same fate awaits this issue as well. In the meantime, the emergence of Muslim women as a voting block has potential to disrupt electoral structure across the country. The continued success of BJP in numerous state and central elections points towards the potential that Muslim women might be voting for BJP. 

The irony is, though this issue is manufactured through college going Muslim women, it is the Muslim women only who can win this fight. I still have high hopes that this time they will fight. The children of Shah Bano will triumph. 

Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Identity of Victimhood

We are celebrating 75 years of independence this year. The achievement is not just merely a number reflecting years our country stayed independent and stayed together but it signifies the immense hard work that has gone into getting our country out of poverty and destitution. From literally running out of food in 1960s to a grain surplus nation, from rationing Milk to a country with one of the highest milk productions. The achievements are too numerous to mention and each one of it is of staggering proportion (Polio eradication!). 

And all this despite our democracy which is lead, generally speaking, by myopic, corrupt and family centric business/mafia enterprises masquerading as political outfits. However, at a macro level, political parties across the spectrum and since independence have done their bit in strengthening democratic fabric. They all fought elections rather than grabbing the power by, well, Power. All political actors abided by the rule of the land and abided by the court rulings. And most importantly, they all accepted people's mandate graciously. But democracy has its limitations. As in, it attracts the crowd that wants to win at any cost. It does not necessarily attract the best and the brightest. It attracts hustlers. The myopic nature of political parties is not the fault with politicians, it's the design fault of the democracy. One of the necessary way to win the elections is to create fear among the electorate. Creating the want or need of agitation is the key ingredient. The lack of mature conversation and dialogue is not a fault with democracy, it's an essential and unfortunate necessary evil. 

Issue manufacturing is almost a requirement for running an election. However, sometimes this issue mongering goes out of hand and threatens not just the mentality of the society but pose grave danger to the future as well. In India, one such issue that's becoming draconian in its reach is the constant sense of victimhood by everyone. Everyone is a victim in India. They are victims of caste, class, religion, gender(s), region, language, food preferences, capitalism, socialism, communism, of history, of can come up with 'n' number of dimension and there will be some group in India that will be grieving and aggrieved. This week NDTV published a column by a Muslim IT professional who is allegedly persecuted as a tenant because, what he surmises, he is a Muslim and a meat eater. Is the writer simply a stupid with a megaphone? Or there's something more to it? 

Discrimination does happen, at all levels, all the time. Theoretically speaking, it should not happen. At least not because of identities such as caste, religion or eating preferences. But to surmise that he is discriminated only because he is a Muslim and that this sort of discrimination is faced only by Muslims and that's why, by extension, India fails as a nation is nefarious attempt to tarnish the image of the hard-working country.  Ask any Marathi person in Mumbai trying to rent or buy an apartment in Gujrati dominated societies how they were discriminated. Ask any Hindu trying to rent or buy an apt in Muslim dominated areas and listen to their stories. Such narratives are numerous and across the broad spectrum of the social fabric.

The key aspect to note is that there is recourse for all such issues. A person can go to the police and file a complaint, go to the court with grievance. The laws are strictly against any sort of discrimination. What does it signify when one,  without using any of these avenues, simply starts shouting from the rooftop? 

The answer is emergence of new 'identity' on a social and political platform -  the identity as a Victim - a perpetually bereaved class. Mind you, Muslims polity and Muslim politics are Granddaddy’s of Victim politics. Everything is an affront to them, and everything is a danger to them. But now game is picked up by everyone. Farmers, despite not paying taxes and getting free electricity are the victims of ....well, for being farmers. Students? Remember the Rohit Vemula suicide controversy? No one knows what exactly happened, yet the unfortunate death of a young person was leveraged by everyone for their own interest and Victimhood was claimed on the basis of caste, religion, student status, student politics on college campus etc. A glass pane is broken in church? - all Christians are now in danger in India - they are all victims of Hindutva, Hinduism, Brahminism....I don't even know what else. Bring a rule to make it easy for persecuted minorities from Islamic nations to come to India? For the reasons no one knows, Muslims in India are suddenly now in danger. The list just goes on and on. And once you claim the status then you are free to do anything in the name of Victimhood. Go on rampage, destroy property, kill people but the so-called journalists and so-called Press will side with you. 

Unfortunately, instead of having a nuanced dialogue political parties act as a megaphone for such incidences. In fact, it is increasingly becoming impossible to discern the reality from fabrication. Is a particular incidence actually an incidence with some merit or it's simply a political stunt? The Delhi University fracas is a great example how issue manufacturing and Victimhood narrative is imposed on public so as to help few political parties and start political careers of some individuals. 

One can argue that this is all part and parcel of the politics. And the real issue is politics has seeped too much into our social fabric (is there even a single social or culture program in India that gets inaugurated by a non-Politician now?) Maybe, the argument has its merits. Not all Christians feel that they are in danger because Barkha Dutt proclaimed that a broken window in a Church tantamount to religious persecution. Not all Muslims feel in danger because a law is made for persecuted minorities of outside nations. Yet and this is where the tire hits the actual road, - no Muslim or Christian organization ever came forward to denounce this narrative setting. No archdiocese, who otherwise will eagerly defend rapist padre in Kerala, has come forward to denounce Barkha Dutt and her drama of birthing Victims. No Muslim organization has come forward and said that Muslims are not and will not be victims of a law that has nothing to do with citizens of India. And that's because it is clear to these organizations that playing the card of Victimhood pays dividend. The constant bombarding of stories that one or the other is a Victim in India, because of other Indians, because of Indian state or a society, in an 'inceptionian' way started forming a narrative in psyche. In a generation or so, people will start hating their own background, their own country, their own society, history, their own civilization. 

By the way, this has happened before. We are still suffering self doubt as a nation because of British imperialists leveraging issue manufacturing and Victimhood complex (Muslims, as usual, were always the victims even during British rule). The self doubt is evident in our foreign policy and military strategies even now.

The reality is, asking political parties to mend their ways is a tall ask. They are not different animals than us. For better or for worse, they are extension of us. If we want to emerge as a strong nation then the work starts at much micro level. We need to become strong in minds, understand the context, not fall for traps and for short term benefits. And, vote accordingly. 

Of course, all this has been said before. I am simply rehashing! 



Sunday, August 22, 2021

Talibans, Talibs and New Age Indian ‘Taliberals’

The speed with which Talibans took over Afghanistan may seem astonishing but there was nothing surprising about it. The question was ‘If’ rather than ‘When’. The American resolve (if there was any such thing!) was vanishing rapidly since Trump came to Presidency. Biden’s poll promise was a pull-back at the earliest as well. Both Presidents acted in their own fashion - blundered through strategically, tactically, geo-politically and logically. The backdoor deals and discussions were happening for last few years. These deals weren’t about what to do with Talibans. The discussions provided space for one superpower to hold on to its last shred of dignity, a past superpower to meddle again to gain some footing on world level and an emerging self-proclaimed superpower to showcase their prowess. Ohh and then there were drug lords – who wanted to ensure heroine keep flowing uninterrupted and oil and gas companies who have been eying Afghanistan’s natural gas reserves for decades now.  All in all, there are so many actors with competing priorities that, having a strong central player as a ruler in Afghanistan was a critical requirement. Requirement of these external parties, not of Afghan people. No one, literally, no one gives a damn about these poor souls. They are proverbial ants in this game of giants.

Talibans trace their ideology to Deoband -  small dusty town in North India. Talibs means students. In this context, students of Deobandi school of Islamic thought. The ideology is conservative, bloody and violent. Something that even Talibans readily agree to. When Talibans first took over Afghanistan in 1990’s they were dubbed as Islamic terrorists’ outfit. They were accepted as legitimate only by UAE and by Pakistan, while rest of the world shunned them. This time though, the soft corner for them is emerging from all quarters. Articles about them being ‘reformed’ are getting printed in western press. And so called public celebrities in India are siding with them. Majority of the people who are showing soft corner for Talibans are self-proclaimed liberals and woke. These new age Taliban sympathizers or ‘Taliberals’ are not united nor do they work towards a central goal. For example, in India the so called woke liberals are opposed to Modi govt. The opposition as a political ideology is natural form of dissent but these self proclaimed ‘secular’ ‘ liberals’ are closet extremists. The goal of  Indian Taliberals is myopic and insidious.  They do not believe in democratic values and to defame the democratically elected govt. in India, they are in the process of throwing their lot with Talibans. The first step is to equate Talibans with Hindu nationalists. The second step is to whitewash Talibani past and highlight phony caste and religious violence in India. Third step is to willfully ignore new cycle of Talibans are unleashing in Afghanistan, especially on women. It’s ironic that if Talibans ever come to power in India, they will be hanging these so called woke liberals first.

But why are these Indian Taliberals dangerous? After all, this same lot sided with Yakub Menon – one of the mastermind behind Bombay bomb blasts that killed over 300 people, who was convicted by Supreme Court of India after due course of law? The same lot opposed Triple Talaq even though the law safeguarded interests of Indian Muslim women and they continue to oppose abrogation of Article 370 even though the law was anti-India and anti-Hindu.

These Taliberals are dangerous because they are now attempting to take their nefarious agenda international and take decisive steps towards siding with India’s sworn enemies. And, the important part is, they are still virtually untouchables in India. They still glide over the rough tides with ease, they still are impervious to justice and law. They still are heavily funded by foreign money. They still have access to NYT, The Economist and most of the foreign press and they are increasingly getting forum in US and European universities. Deeply ensconced within democratic nation and democratic fabrics the Taliberals are getting ready to unleash the cycle of misinformation, agenda driven narration and their habit of equivocating. 

The Talibans are not fighters by any stretch. They can never face a military power. They won because they could wait longer than US but if they ever face any sort of military again, they will simply run away hiding in burqas. They can be defeated but these newly emerging Taliberals are a whole different ball game. The fight will be long but it’s necessary to be on vigil against these new age enemies within.

Note: I did not coin the term 'Taliberals'. It's courtesy of Twitter. Forgot where I saw that term but I thought it's the most apt representation of new age 'woke' 'liberals'

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Pan-Islamism - Dying By Multiple Cuts!

Pan Islamism and solidarity among all Islamic nations have long been a pipe dream through out Islamic history. And this delusion carried itself further post 1950s as multiple nation-states that professes their allegiance to Islam were established. The Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) was established with a vision of forming a bloc of Islamic nation that stretches from Morocco to South-east Asia that will counter the western, liberal influence on geo-politics.  The reality, obviously, is far different. There never been pan Muslim solidarity throughout the history of Islam. And situation did not change at all despite establishment of OIC. And given the competing priorities of some of the strong (and some delusional) Islamic nations, one can safely bet that such unity will continue to be a pipe dream. 

The issue of Israel is perplexing to most observer. It's been going on for so long that it's hard to remember what is it about to begin with. But the issue did serve its purpose for multiple state actors for decades. Under the guise of fighting with Israel, various Islamic nations of middle-east attempted to either spread their influence or straight up gobble additional geographic areas. For this blog's scope, let's ignore the Islamic nations of south-east Asia, Africa and Pakistan. That leaves us with key actors Iran, the immediate neighbors of Israel such as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Now, get ready for the whirlpool of competing priorities and messed up histories! 

Saudi wants to assert itself as vanguard of Islam. That means taking up every issue - real or imagined, related Islam. Since Israel -  a Jewish state is established literally at the heart of Islam's birthplace, Saudi's have to fight against them. Since they are too lazy to fight, they outsourced it to Hamas. But fight against Israel is rather secondary when it comes to priorities. The priority is to project Saudis are the only one steadfastly fighting against Israel and as the only true friends of Palestine. That's the important target. Because they do not want Persian (Iran) or Turkic (Turky) influence to grow in their backyard.  The conflicting ethnicities of these three nations are to be paid attention here. Saudis are Arabs, Iranis are proud Persians and Turky is turkic.  

This brings us to Iran - For Iranian theocracy to survive, they have to keep fighting the enemies of state - real or imagined. These enemies are Israel and US. Since US is too far for Iran showcase any 'fighting' spirit against, they have to make do with Israel. All the big and fervent rallies in Tehran aside, the reality is Iran do not posses any military capabilities to harm Israel. So Iran choose the Saudi way of outsourcing the fight. They support  Hizbollah - another terrorist organizations. Iran funds them and ask them to die so that they can tell their domestic audience how Shia power is growing and how they are raining hellfire's on the Jews. 

Since Saudis are Sunnis who hate Shias and Iran is Shias who hate Sunnis for Sunnis hating them, the fight between them, for all practical purposes, eternal. In fact, hate each other more than they hate Israel! 

Now, Turkey is an interesting case here. They believe they are Europeans but they also believe they ought to own pretty much whole of middle-east since it once belonged to Ottoman empire once. And, also, and most importantly, they also believe all Islamic nations should bow to them since they were the last Caliphs. (The Caliphite was discontinued post WW 1 by Britishers. For some reason, Gandhi in India decided to start a moment - 'Khilafat' movement against this British decision.) 

The only way Turkey can showcase their military chops , you guessed it right -  is by going after Israel. For the records, modern day Turkey was not like this for last several decades. The emergence of Erodogan meant emergence of delusional self of Turkey. Now Turkey is not only meddling or trying to meddle with Israel but they want to be an actor in Syria / Lebanon conflict. They are openly siding with Pakistan against India. They are trying to play a role in Azerbaijan - Armenia conflict. They are all over! But this is what happens when one gets free money for years. Turkey has been one of the largest recipient of military aid from US for decades now. 

Turkey not only considers their identity as Caliphs of Islam, which obviously puts them at odds with Saudi and Iran, but their Turkic ethnicity is increasingly becoming a focal point of their expansionist mindset. Turkey readily supporting Azarbaijan in recent skirmish between Armenia and Azarbaijan is an indicator of this new world view. 

Iran is Persian, a proud one at that. Saudis are Arabs, a proud one at that too. So, not only Turkey is fighting with Saudi Arabs and Irani Persians for numero uno position in Islamic world, both Irani and Saudis are worried about ethnic Turks overpowering them again as Ottomans once did. All in all, it's excruciatingly confusing. 

This brings us back to the recent development of UAE embracing Israel. For last several decades this anti-Israel mindset had a great hold over Islamic nation bloc's foreign policy. The first break in the rank was Egypt deciding to be cool with Israel in 1979 and then Jordan following the course in 1994. However, for next two decades the so called resistance in Palestine intensified further. Till the lull that happened in mid-later part of 2010's. As the realization that Palestine issue is no longer important to even Israel and the fact that Palestine is nothing but a pawn leveraged by external powers to serve their interest sets in, more Arab countries will join the bandwagon. 

However, this does not mean the state actors, the self-proclaimed vanguard of Islam, will stop their attempt to establish hegemony. That will continue. It will only need a new enemy. And the whole cycle will begin again.